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The Secret Language of Birds

October 6th, 2011

Adele Nozedar’s inspiring tarot deck, The Secret Language of Birds, with illustrations by Linda Sutton has now been released. I’ll paste in below the brief foreword I wrote for the book and if you have the opportunity to come to this year’s UK Tarot Conference in London 14-15 October, Adele will be giving a workshop and there are lots of other great events too – including workshops by John Matthews and Anna Franklin. More details here.

A Little Bird Told Me… Foreword by Philip Carr-Gomm to The Secret Language of Birds Tarot

Intimations of how your life might turn out, of how you could grow and change, of how you could become the person you’ve always wanted to be, arrive in all sorts of ways: through half-remembered dreams, through the advice of a friend, the encouragement of a lover, the skilled guidance of a mentor. In almost every culture, though, such promptings and insights have also been sought in magical ways: through the images that might appear to a seer in a crystal ball or on the surface of a mirror, through the pattern made by falling earth on a drum-skin or sticks cast on the ground. But of all methods ever devised to see beyond appearances, and to glimpse a deeper purpose, the Tarot is the most sophisticated.

Whether this magical set of 78 cards originated in India or Egypt, or in the minds of Atlantean sages if they ever existed, we will never know. But we do know that the cards first appeared in the historical record in Italy in the 15th century, at that time of a great flowering of culture that gave birth not only to the most sophisticated system of divination, but also to that most sophisticated of art-forms: opera. And here in the glorious images of this Tarot the two combine, with the original Italian names for the Major Arcana, and half a dozen faces of famous singers to be discovered by opera lovers or the simply curious.

Anyone who has used the Tarot sensitively will know how it can speak to us. Here, though, we are introduced to a further dimension: we are invited to hear its song. In ancient times, sages and shamans, Daoists and Druids, indulged in ornithomancy: watching the flight and listening to the cries of birds to determine the wishes of the gods and the destiny of mortals. In this Tarot, the inspiration of this ancient art has been combined with modern understanding to offer something quite unique that calls to you from somewhere far away, which is at the same time very close: a realm of wisdom and of the heart, whose song sometimes sounds like the most haunting of operatic arias, sometimes like the most melodious birdsong, but which you know, deep down, to be in reality the song of your own soul, echoed back to you in the words you are reading and the images you are gazing upon.  

And here are details of the workshop on 15th October:

A Little Bird Told Me – The Role of Birds in Divination

Presented by Adele Nozedar and Philip Carr-Gomm

Birds were once considered to be messengers of the gods, and the Tarot itself has been called ‘the game of Gods and Birds’. Ancient societies set great store by their augurs, who divined the will of the gods from the flight patterns and behaviour of birds, and amongst the Celts the Druids were said to possess ‘Raven-knowledge’. Learning about the symbolism of birds and the ways in which they can act as our allies should help us improve our Tarot reading skills.

Adele about to sing for 'The Fever Tree'


Adele Nozedar has been a singer, has started a record label, and now runs the Aladinn’s cave of the Nepal Bazaar in Hay-on-Wye. Her books include The Secret Language of Birds: A Treasury of Myths, Folklore and Inspirational True Stories, and The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols. Her The Secret Language of Birds Tarot is published by Schiffer Books.