The Parallax Oracle –
Archetypal Kabbalah, Tarot, and The Tree of Life
Author: Heather Mendel
Artist: Heather Mendel
A Word of Art
I had the honor to meet Heather Mendel in person – her work personifies the very gracious individual that she is. (Her previous work includes “The Oracle Speaks”, “The Magic Moon Lenormand”, “The Sacred Mandala Tarot: Mystery, Mindfulness and Manifestation”, “The Sacred Mandala Lenormand Oracle”, and “The Syzygy Oracle: Transformative Tarot and the Tree of Life”.) The focus of her work is the Sacred Feminine, as expressed through the Kabbalah, Tarot, women’s spirituality, sacred geometry, and mythology. You can find her work on her site: www.sacredfemininekabbalah.com.
I knew that I wanted to work with this deck/book as soon as I heard about it. (Facebook is good for something!) It will appeal to readers that are interested in the Tarot, in the Sacred Feminine, and in working with the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life. I was very impressed with the presentation of the deck and accompanying book: the book cover and the box that the cards come in are black. Some might call this minimalist – I call it a reflection of the mysteries that they contain. The image on the covers for the book and deck is that of the four worlds.
The cards come in a lift-top box, with a lovely lavender mesh bag to store the cards in. There is a silver elastic tie that holds the box together. (I have feline “helpers”. A flick of a paw would have cards all over the place if the box were not contained!) The card backs are red, with a black and white yin/yang circle of the side view of a head, with a red apple (complete with a green leaf) in the center.
The card faces show the card, and where it sits on the Tree of Life. The suits are defined by color: Wands are yellow, Cups are red, Swords are blue, and Pentacles are green. The card faces show a black background, with a diagram of the Tree of Life in the suit color in the center. The numbered cards show the number where they sit on the Tree of Life. The Court Cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King show their respective crowns where they sit on the Tree of Life).
There are two additional “mystery” cards with purple arrows – one pointing up, one pointing down. They are meant to suggest that the focus for the reader is either the journey down the Tree of Life, or the journey up.
The Parallax Oracle, as noted on the box that the cards come in, is a Minor Arcana deck that can be used alone, or in conjunction with The Syzygy Oracle as a full Tarot deck.
The 179 page companion book is absolutely amazing! Part One addresses the esoteric basis of this work, covering intuition and the Hero’s Journey, the sefirot on the Tree of Life, the sefirot and the minor arcana, and using the Parallax Oracle in a spiritual practice. Part Two addresses each card through a black and white image, an affirmation, keywords, meaning, sefirot, suit, numeric significance, summary, questions, and notes.
In her preface, Mendel talks about the possibilities for connecting with the intuitive, and that it is really a continuation of work that was done with her Syzygy Oracle, which focused on engaging intuition through the archetypes. She sees the Tarot and the Kabbalah (with its four worlds and three levels of soul vibration) as a lens through which we view our daily activities.
I love the questions that are posed with each of the cards. For example, one of the questions for the Two of Swords is: “Do you have a regular practice to enter the silence?” For the Queen of Cups one of the questions is: “Do you believe romance lasts?” For the Nine of Coins one of the questions is: “How do you share your successes?” For the Six of Wands, one of the questions is: “Are you comfortable in the spotlight?” As you can see, the questions take the reader on an internal journey.
At the end of the book there is an appendix that includes a summary of the journey from 1-10, and a summary of the journey of the four suits and the four worlds.
“The kabbalistic teaching of the 10 “cosmic chakras” (sefirot) become a practical tool for spiritual practice. The Four Worlds become familiar as readers understand the interconnection of the four Suits; three levels of soul development— nefesh, ruach, and neshama— become evident in the understanding on the Court cards and their application to finding meaning and balance in our lives.” Heather Mendel
Experienced Tarot readers will find that working with the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life adds another layer of understanding to their readings – specifically in the areas of spirituality and esoteric teaching. For someone with a more Kabbalistic mindset the study of the ten sefirot brings the gift of a practical tool to their spiritual practice.
I want to add a small word of thanks here to Wald Amberstone, co-founder/director of The Tarot School. It was through him that I began to understand the connection between the Tarot and the Kabbalah, and to add that layer of wisdom to my readings.
© October 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.