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“AboraMana” is a deck of 89 cards and a book explaining the cards and the system of the deck|
AboraMana, Channeled Goddess Wisdom Cards
Author: Neithard Horn
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Atglen PA
Category: Goddess Updated 2012 Level: Beginner
A Review © Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2011 for tarotcanada.org
Neithard Horn spent 4 years between December 1999 and October 2004 living in a cave on La Palma, Canary Islands. In that time and that place, he began receiving channeled images from the Goddess, whom he sometimes calls LilithAboraMana. The accompanying 176 page book is designed as a script to help you work with the 89 cards which consists of: The All-Including Truth, The Hall of God, 2 sets of Jokers (Fate/The WarriorGoddess) , 2 Sets of You (You/Know Thyself) and 5 suits; water, fire, air, stone (not earth) and AboraMana all of which are interpreted through the 8 Rays of Creation.
The artwork is appealing, unique, beautifully coloured, sexual, sensual and somewhat twisted all at the same time. This system is designed for women but the Goddess (he refers to her by many different names) , in her infinite wisdom, has sent this information to us through a man. Abora is the name for Energy of Life in the language of the Archuca, an extinct indigenous matriarchal society which once lived on Island San Miguel de La Palma, Islas Canarios. Mana is the name of the Energy of Life in the indigenous language of the Hawai’ians which was a patriarchal culture – AboraMana balances the male and female life forces, the yin and the yang. In this deck, Mr. Horn, and AboraMana, Goddess of Life, Love and Beauty, have created a new system of meaning, a new religion, based on life in another world – you could call this The Revelation of Neithard Horn. When he is on his home planet, not Earth, he lives in AltantaCaldera (the capital city) as a MasterWithoutSeat in the Guild of Artists and Artisans of the WaterQuarter which means he can create his own deck. The city is divided into four quarters based on the elements: water, fire, air and stone (not earth) . He makes his journey there using, for want of a better expression, a time machine based on a sensory deprivation tank. I am not sure if this is a real tank or one provided by the Goddess to assist his transit to his home planet – I somehow don’t think he took a sensory deprivation unit to a cave but one never knows.
Mr. Horn doesn’t view this as an Oracle or a Tarot Deck: “It is an illustrated cosmology, presented in the form of a religion, that explains the human position in the grand scheme of creation for the first time from an exclusively woman’s point of view in a logical, holistic and scientifically correct manner.” I am searching for the Menopause cards but the closest thing I see that might work is 56 –The Bitch in The House of Fire (hot flashes would seem to fit here) . Hmmm – interesting picture of a woman with large firm breasts contemplating her own genitalia (reminiscent of the 60’s when women gathered in group and checked out their own genitalia in a hand mirror to raise feminine consciousness) – this is a Tantric sex card – a card of sacred prostitution. The card is labeled as being from the AboraMana Tantra theory book; and exhorts us to love yourself and love your body as it is. Okay – maybe not the menopause card after all but loving yourself and loving your body are part of the acceptance of getting older. Maybe they don’t have Menopause in AboraMana’s world – where do you get one of those tanks? How long was he in that cave again?
It would take me forever to go into all of the details of the world of AboraMana so I will leave it here. This would be a good deck for anyone interested in channeled information, good artwork and tantric sex. This truly is a journey into another world and it wasn’t unenjoyable. 89 cards was a lot to try and shuffle but I do think these cards could be used with any tarot layout and as a divination deck even though it was created for a much higher purpose. The creator is definitely on my list of people I would like to meet.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel for http://facingnorth.net/Tarot-Cards-and-Books/aboramana.html
Originally published in the American Tarot Association Quarterly Journal, Summer 2011 issue
This deck is the creation of Neithard Horn, a German born during WWII who’s worked an incredible range of jobs while traveling around the world. While some may find the notion of a Goddess-oriented deck created by a man strange or jarring, Horn’s life path is one few Americans can begin to fathom. He spent five years living in a cave on the Canary Islands while channeling images for this deck.
The packaged kit includes the 79-card deck and the 176-page AboraMana Wisdom Script in a custom lift-top box. The 79 cards are organized into eight planes (or groups) . There are seven “Joker” cards that are mixed and drawn separately at the beginning of a reading, while the remaining cards are shuffled and placed into a spread described in the book. Overall production values are high.
The cards feature beautiful but problematic artwork. Horn is a capable visionary artist with a gift for subtle and lovely colorizing. Image composition is excellent, and his complex ideas are executed with evocative imagery and deft original symbolism. The problems arise with his European gloss: Americans may find the female nudity excessive. Goddess imagery marketed to the American pagan community is simply not this breast-intensive. This isn’t a censorious observation so much as a consumer advisory. Horn’s work is art, not pornography, but it toes a line that not all viewers will find comfortable.
In the book, Horn writes about his inspiration for the deck and describes his conceptual content, ideas and feelings about the cards. Like the artwork, the book is problematic. The writing is uneven. Some card descriptions are overwritten while others have a scant line or two. The artist doesn’t give the reader a good idea of what the cards will actually mean in a reading. There are numerous tangential “lectures” (i.e. rants) and asides interspersed in the format irrelevant to the deck and the reading process. This makes the book more difficult to use. There is a single layout provided at the end of the text. The diagram and explanation of how to read this spread are inadequate.
Maybe this is such an obvious point that someone missed it: a visionary visual artist with no previous writing experience should be guided with a strong editorial hand. The author’s English is acceptable, but there are gaffs that should have been fixed. Additionally, the book would have benefitted from collaboration with an experienced author with experience in divination techniques. Since editorial guidance or divinatory expertise weren’t supplied, there is a gaping hole between the artist’s elaborate concept and the reader’s ability to actually gain any wisdom from a card layout.
The cards emerged from a visionary concept of great scope, inspired creativity, and genuine devotion to the Mother Goddess and all of her aspects. The critical secondary component, the book, fails to provide useful oracular insights. Even readers with psychic talent for drawing meaning from imagery will be challenged. This is a one-artist gallery show with an explanatory catalog by the artist, and a barely functioning oracle deck. My guess is that this product will primarily appeal to Europeans, to individuals with an educated artistic palate and cosmopolitan tastes, and to collectors.
AboraMana: Channeled Goddess Wisdom Cards
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN #: 978-0-7643-3696-6
· Cards: 4 ½” X 3”, heavy card stock, nicely laminated
· Guidebook: 8 X 5 ½”, 176 pages, glossy paper, B&W full size images of each card
· Box: 11 ¾ X 6 X 1 ¾”, sturdy & laminated with a hinge-style lid with magnetic closure
The AboraMana is not your typical goddess oracle deck. Firstly, the author is male and his goal for this deck was to create an oracular system that would help the women of today find their place in the world and to help them assert their inner power. Secondly, the deck was not created in some nice artist’s studio, not even a loft or a space in a room set aside for the creation of art. Neithard Horn created the deck via channeling from the Goddess in a cave on the Carnary Islands and also on a beach on the Hawaiian island of Kua’i. Lastly, the manner in which this deck operates is very different from most others. As one who has consulted various tarot and oracular decks over the past 33 years I grew accustomed to approaching a deck with a question, problem, or a situation about which I needed more information. When using a deck I am looking for answers. The AboraMana does not provide the reader with the answers itself. Instead, the interpretations of the cards are written in such a way (remember, also that this is all channeled material throughout) as to ask questions of the reader. If you take the time to examine the questions and formulate your own answers, therein lies your answer or solution. In that way, this deck is an excellent tool for guided self-examination.
There is only one lay out discussed in the book and the author does not say whether the deck is useful with typical tarot lay outs or not. As an experiment, I used the deck with a number of typical tarot lay outs, including the 3-card past-present-future, the 3-card body-mind-spirit, and the Celtic Cross. At first, the cards did not seem to wish to cooperate. However, after a few prayers to the Goddess explaining I just wanted to see if the deck could be used another way and asking for Her permission, suddenly, the deck worked just fine in these traditional lay outs. I do suggest that if you purchase this deck and wish to use traditional tarot lay outs with it that you first ask the Goddess for permission. I tried for over an hour to use these cards traditionally, without any success until I began to pray to Her. Some may consider this to be hokey, but that was my experience with this deck, for what it’s worth.
The deck has 89 cards, but it is not organized like a tarot deck. There are groupings of cards that can be construed as suits: the Houses of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, & House of AboraMana. The author suggests laying out the entire deck in the order he specifies in the guidebook. You will need a large table or counter for this exercise. If you do this, and I highly recommend that you do, you will be able to see connections among the cards within each House, and also further connections between the cards within each subset of each House. This exercise will aid in your understanding of the cards and how they work together as a cohesive system.
The Houses are further sub-divided into various sets, which also are organized into cohesive groupings. They are as follows: The Jokers (Fates) , Your Fighting Spirit, The Hall of God, The Matrix That is the Human Soul, The Science of Physics, The Pillars of the Universe and Time, Magic Physics, The Four Elemental Houses, The Science of Biology, Life-Death, AboraMana, Magic Biology, Devi and Deva, Humankind, FirstWoman and FirstMan, The Temple, Religion and Ceremony, You, and Who are You? Define Yourself. As you can surmise from the titles of the various sets there is an inherent hierarchy within the deck as it moves from universal divine forces through the manifestation of the Universe and of Time, and on into Physics, the Elements, physical life (Biology) , onwards to humankind, religion, and finally the big question of who we are. I found that once I laid out all the cards on my dining room table that the entire exercise, although a bit tedious at first, was quite enlightening and it helped me to work better with the cards, so I highly recommend following the author’s guidelines on page 16 of the guidebook in laying out all the cards in the deck before you begin to use the deck for readings. You’ll be glad you took the time to do this.
As mentioned, the guidebook only contains one layout, which is similar to the Tree of Life lay out found in many tarot books, but the lay out works a bit differently than the Tree of Life. The card interpretations provided in the guidebook have no reverse meanings, with the sole exception of a single card, Number 17, that appears twice in the deck with the second version of the card being a reversed image of the first entitled, “The Mirror.” Interpretations pose various questions to the reader or suggest areas of the reader’s life that ought to be further examined. This is basically a non-predictive oracle.
As a mother I cannot recommend that minor children use this deck simply because there is a great deal of nudity in it with graphic depictions of male genitalia. Now, the nudity does lend itself to the interpretation of the card so it’s not nudity for nudity’s sake as a number of card interpretations do focus on sexuality. However, my daughter is just 12 and although she is reading her own tarot cards, personally, I would not want her to ever view this deck. Then, that’s just me and everyone has different views on the matter.
The artwork itself is visionary in nature. Created in a cave on a tropical island and later also on a beach, the images, as well as the interpretations, are all channeled. The images have a dreamlike quality to them. Cards with bright colors are balanced by others with earthier tones.
The cards shuffle well and although they are highly laminated (they will last through countless shuffling) , in the humid environment of Houston where I live the cards do not stick to one another.
Regarding packaging, Schiffer sets a higher standard and I sincerely wish other publishers of tarot and oracle decks would follow their example. The cards and guidebook come packaged in a very sturdy and strong cardboard box that is also heavily laminated. The lid is hinged with a magnetic closure and it closes perfectly every time. Within the box the cards and guidebook lie side by side. Both the box and cards will last through years of regular use.
Author's Notes: AboraMana is a new feminine cosmology, a women-only religious way to change woman's attitude about herself, her place in this society, and her place in the grand scheme of creation.
AboraMana is NOT a way to instant-enlightenment, it is an illustrated book of lessons to be learned - and that will take some time.
AboraMana is NOT another oracle-deck, it is definitely NOT a kind of Tarot, it never was meant to be used for divining and reading. That you can use the AboraMana-deck as an oracle is like an afterthought of the Goddess, the cherry on the cake, but not the cake itself.
Where To Buy: At the publisher, Amazon. Barnes & Noble, and more. On my island we have no bookstore no more, except the SmallTown Coffee in Kapaa.
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