Review: Crystal Visions Tarot

Crystal visions tarot 1Originally published in 2011 by US Games Systems, Inc., The Crystal Visions Tarot has remained among my favorite decks to this day. That is notable considering my collection is now up to around 300 decks. The hallmarks of The Crystal Visions Tarot are the bright colors, muted backgrounds that make the main images “pop,” a nice sturdy yet flexible laminate for easy shuffling, and a LWB (Little White Book) that is not so little. The artist, Jennifer Galasso, was inspired by the Stevie Nicks’ CD, Crystal Visions, when creating the deck. Crystals appear frequently in the card imagery in their natural form as well as in the form of crystal balls.

Crystal visions tarot 2The Crystal Visions Tarot numbers 78 cards: 23 major arcana and 56 minor arcana. The cards of the major arcana all have traditional titles with Strength as arcana # 8 and Justice as arcana # 11. There is an extra card entitled, The Unknown Card. The Unknown Card represents some aspect of the situation under question that is still unknown. When it comes to extra cards in a tarot deck it is up to the reader’s discretion as to whether they include the extra card(s) in their readings or not.

The suits of the minor arcana are: Cups (Element of Water), Swords (Element of Air), Pentacles (Element of Earth), and Wands (Element of Fire). The court cards are: Page, Knight, Queen, and King.

The artwork and text of the Crystal Visions Tarot are by Jennifer Galasso. The imagery follows the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition so this is a good deck for beginners. The color scheme and figural representations make  Crystal visions tarot 3 the Crystal Visions Tarot quite readable without a constant need to refer to the LWB, unless someone is absolutely brand new to tarot. It is one of those decks that works very well with a person’s own innate powers of intuition. If you are interested in a good divination tool that can help you to further strengthen your intuition, the Crystal Visions Tarot is such a tool. I highly recommend this deck for both new and well-seasoned readers.

The Crystal Visions Tarot has a very thin, yet sturdy laminate. I have used this deck extensively for six years now and it shows no signs of wear whatsoever. Cards are typical tarot-card size and the deck shuffles easily.

The deck comes housed in a tuck-box that appears to have the same light laminate as the actual cards. I will say after six years the box has a bit of wear, but that is to be completely expected as I have never housed the Crystal Visions Tarot in a bag or another box.

Crystal visions tarot 4The LWB is the same size as the cards, with a single staple as its binding. It contains 64 pages. Card interpretations relate the imagery depicted on the card to the card meaning. Reversed interpretations are included. The card back design is completely reversible for those who read with reversals.

For beginners, the Crystal Visions Tarot is a great deck because the artist followed a specific color scheme for the majors and each of the suit that make the cards much simpler to identify in a reading. The cards of the major arcana all feature a tan border along the base in which the title is presented. Cups cards have a pink basal border that contains their titles. Swords have a light blue border along their base, Pentacles green, and Wands pale orange or salmon. Dominant colors within the card images themselves are  purple, pink, white, blue, red, and green. Colors are bright, yet soft. Artistically speaking, the Crystal Visions Tarot is truly an outstanding deck and is among my personal favorites.

The Crystal Visions Tarot would appeal to anyone who is looking for a deck that is easy to read, especially if they are a beginning, but it’s also great for seasoned readers who may work with crystals and crystal balls who may desire a deck that features their magical tools. The Crystal Visions Tarot also has a lovely pagan look to it so those who follow a pagan path would also find this deck to be desirable.

Wishing you many blessings!

~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

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Full DisclosureI purchased a copy of this deck via Amazon & did NOT receive a review copy from the publisher.

Deck Review: The Gaian Tarot

Gaian Tarot boxThe Gaian Tarot may end up being your go-to tarot deck if you are interested in goddess and earth-based spirituality or if photo realistic art impresses you. Using colored pencils, Joanna Powell Colbert brings women of color, amazing animals, and gorgeous natural settings to life in her beautiful Gaian Tarot. Originally self-published, The Gaian Tarot has been mass-published by Llewellyn (now out of print) and most recently by Schiffer Books.

I own Joanna’s self-published edition as well as the Schiffer edition. I was not fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the Llewellyn edition, but I was very happy with the self-published edition, which is printed with vibrant soy inks & despite its large size shuffles like a dream. The Schiffer edition varies from the self-published edition in that each card was given a blue border that surrounds the original white border. Card titles appear against the white border that originally served as the border of the self-published edition.

What I really appreciate about The Gaian Tarot, in addition to its themes, is how the art Gaian Tarot - Hermitspills across the border. You will see little elements that spill across the border. A plant, have of a fish’s body, leaves, part of the moon, fruit, vegetables, and so on. This gives the images a vibrancy and life that you don’t really see in most decks. It gives the impression of the images moving or of their energy spilling forth, especially when the cards are laid out in a spread. It’s a very interesting effect that I wish more artists would make use of, but perhaps that will become more commonplace in the future.

The Gaian Tarot comes housed in Schiffer’s very sturdy hinged box with magnetic closure lid that measures 6 x 9″. I love Schiffer’s boxes. The magnetic closure allows for the deck to be stored standing up on its end as if it were a book. It will not fall open on the shelf (at least none of mine have ever done that). It takes up very little room on a bookshelf or inside your tarot cabinet, as the case may be. As a person with around 300 decks I really appreciate this.

Gaian Tarot - FoolThe cards are large so those of you with smaller hands may have difficulty rifle-shuffling them. The cards measure 4 x 5 3/4″ and the deck is 1 1/4″ thick.  Due to their size and the laminate they are difficult to shuffle. I do not recommend rifle shuffling this deck. The card stock is sturdy and has a nice laminate making it easy to spread the cards out face down on a table and shuffle them by simply moving them around instead of rifle-shuffling them. The deck has a silver gilded edge that looks lovely with the blue border on the face of the cards and the blue in the background of the card backs. 184-

Colors are rich and vibrant. Although created with colored pencils, most of the images look painted. The art  of Joanna Powell Colbert is truly lovely. The Gaian Tarot is on one of those decks that is a feast for the eyes. I enjoy simply looking at the images, though the deck itself provides me with insightful and accurate readings on a regular basis. It is one of my go-to decks; and, with such a huge collection on-hand, that says a lot for The Gaian Tarot.

The accompanying 184-page paperback guidebook is very well written and beautifully Gaian Tarot guidebookdesigned by the design team at Schiffer Books. The Gaian Tarot guidebook2seconds on the major arcana, four suits, and spreads are color coded along the upper right-hand edge of the book so you can easily flip to any particular section. All card images are in full color, but the image size is only 1 7/8″ high; otherwise, this would be a great guidebook for studying the deck. Card meanings for the major arcana consist of a narrative description of the scene depicted on the card, the meaning of the card should it appear in a reading, the “shadow” interpretation (in other words, reversed), themes, symbols on the card and their meanings, an affirmation, but the most useful section of each card’s interpretation in my opinion are the journaling prompts.

If you journal with your tarot decks as I do, you will really love the guidebook for The Gaian Tarot. Each card of the major arcana is accompanied by ten journaling prompts, on average. The prompts are connected to the meaning of the card. The journaling prompts help the reader to gain a deeper perspective of the card and can really be used with any deck, not just The Gaian Tarot. Here are the journaling prompts for a card that frightens many people: Death ~

  • What is ending or needs to end in my life?
  • How might this ending be a blessing in disguise?
  • In what way may pruning back the dead wood or unnecessary in my life bring about a new vitality?
  • What are my beliefs about death?
  • Am I prepared for my own death?
  • Do I have a will and other necessary end-of-life documents in place?
  • What kind of end-of-life care do I want to have?
  • What do I want done with my remains after I die?
  • How do I honor that which has ended in my life?
  • How do I remember my Beloved Dead?
  • What kind of healing does Death offer me?
  • What kind of healing can I offer the earth through the example of Death? (The Gaian Tarot guidebook: 55-56)

As you can see, each of these prompts are not only thought-provoking, but Joanna Powell Colbert brings up some very important issues we all need to get taken care of before the inevitable occurs.

The cards of the minor arcana are grouped according to their number. Each number opens with a list of general themes that apply to that number and several short paragraphs that provide additional elaboration upon the themes of each number. As with the major arcana cards of The Gaian Tarot, the interpretation of each minor arcana card includes a narrative description of the image, the upright meaning, the reversed, meaning, and affirmation. Minor arcana cards do not include journaling prompts.

 

The Gaian Tarot guidebook concludes with a chapter on card spreads entitled, “Working with the Cards.” Joanna Powell Colbert showcases several of her tarot colleagues in this section of the book by including their contributions for a number of the spreads. Spread titles include: James Wells’ Helpful All-Purpose spread (4 cards), Joanna’s New Moon spread (5 cards), Joanna’s New Moon spread # 2 (9 cards), Beth Owl Daughter’s Predict Your Future By Creating It spread (6 cards), Joanna’s Seeking Clarity spread (10 cards), Joanna’s New Year spread (7 cards), Joanna’s “Elder of Fire/Whispers of the Ancestors spread (5 cards), Carolyn Cushing’s Soul Practices with The Gaian Tarot: Path, Practice, & Posture spread (3 cards) followed by her Aligning with the Earth spread (7 cards), and James Wells’ Gaian spread (4 cards). The guidebook ends with a half page of end notes and a 2-page bibliography.

The Gaian Tarot is softly feminine. The overall energy of the deck is quite calming and Gaian Tarot - Sunsoothing. I can approach this deck with a question about a matter I find upsetting, but as the reading unfolds I fall under the deck’s calming spell and suddenly the problem doesn’t seem to loom so large. I find this deck to have healing energy. So much can go into a card via the intention of the artist. I have not asked Joanna Powell Colbert if she intended this deck to impart calming, healing energy to those who use it, but I’m willing to bet that was part of her intention behind her creation of the images. I can certainly feel it every time I work with The Gaian Tarot.

Anyone who works closely with the Goddess and earth-centered spirituality, who loves animals, has respect for other life forms with whom we share this planet, will love The Gaian Tarot.

Wishing you many blessings!

~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

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Full DisclosureI received a copy of this deck from the publisher to consider it for review. I only review those decks and books that I find personally useful and feel would be of interest to my followers.

The First Light Tarot

Dinah Roseberry      The First Light Tarot      Schifferbooks      $24.99

First Light Tarot: 22 Majors, 22 Insights, 22 Spread Cards

The First Light Tarot consists of 66 cards and a 96-page paperback guidebook. The cards are housed in a recessed well inside of a 6 x 9” hinged box with a magnetic closure that allows the box to be stored standing on its end as if it were a book. The First Light Tarot also includes a 6 x 18” fold-out laminated Reference Card that provides card names and major keywords, concepts, astrological correspondences and basic interpretations for quick and easy reference.

Entitled The First Light Tarot, this deck is more of an oracle deck. The First Light Tarot consists of a 22-card major arcana with the traditional card titles, along with an additional 22 Insight Cards for a total of 44 cards with interpretations. There are an additional 22 Spread Cards meant to be used by readers in order to create their own spreads. A single card position is noted on each of the Spread Cards that include two Wild Cards so readers can come up with their own names for a card position within a spread.

 

The 22 Insight Cards lend a more oracular feel to The First Light Tarot. The 22 Insight Cards and the 22 Major Arcana cards can be used in isolation for readings or combined. Only one spread is included, entitled the Universal Spread, which is a 10-card spread that is laid out just like the Celtic Cross, but card positions have different associations than in the traditional Celtic Cross tarot spread.

The artwork for the card images consists solely of gorgeous photographs of outer space taken by the Hubble Telescope that have been cropped to focus on a particular area within the larger original photos. The title of The First Light Tarot refers to the very first time light hits the mirrors contained within a telescope that enables the telescope to take its very first photograph. It is a moment of tremendous excitement for the telescope developers and the staff of NASA.

Dinah Roseberry’s goal for The First Light Tarot was to create a deck that could easily be used straight out of the box and not require any great study, thus being user friendly. The card interpretations for The First Light Tarot are traditional tarot major arcana interpretations for the 22 Major Arcana cards while interpretations for the 22 Insight Cards have a more oracular feel to them that are based upon Numerology. The two types of cards create two 22-card decks that can also be used in combination with one another. The First Light Tarot works well as a stand-alone 22-Majors only deck, a 22-card oracle deck, and in combination. The cards also work well with both traditional tarot spreads and spreads commonly found in guidebooks that accompany oracle decks, most of which are strongly based upon traditional tarot spreads. Card imagery of The First Light Tarot lacks the symbolism of tarot cards so readers do not feel bogged down with symbolic associations due to the simple imagery found in outer space photographs.

The 22 cards of the Major Arcana of The First Light Tarot have astrological associations that are factored into their card interpretations. The 22 Insight Cards have numerological associations as part of their interpretations giving The First Light Tarot a heavy dose of Numerology if one also takes into account the numerological associations typically associated to cards of the Tarot major arcana.

The card images of The First Light Tarot are beautiful, but unlike other Schiffer decks, the card stock is flimsy with a semi-gloss finish. The Major Arcana, Insight, and Spread cards all have different card backs so they can be easily sorted by looking at the reverse side of each card. The cards are very flexible and are therefore easy to shuffle despite their size. The First Light Tarot lend themselves well to both tarot and oracle spreads making this a well-rounded deck with numerous applications.

Blessings!

~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

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Full Disclosure: I received a copy to consider for review by the publisher. I only review decks that I find useful to myself & that I feel my followers will also enjoy.

The Pagan Ways Tarot: Deck Review

Pagan Ways TarotThe Pagan Ways Tarot, created by Anna Franklin, is obviously a pagan-themed Tarot deck. If it strikes you as being somewhat familiar you may own a copy of The Sacred Circle Tarot (Llewellyn Publications), which she also created in collaboration with Paul Mason. The deck comes housed in a sturdy box nestled into two sections separated by a cardboard insert. The 6 x 9” guidebook rests on top of the desk in a hinged box with magnetic lid closure. This is a very nice feature of Schiffer decks that keeps the overall box measuring 6 X 9” and the magnetic lid allows for the box to be stored in a bookshelf on its end. The lid will not fall open.

The cards are covered in a shiny glossy laminate. They shuffle easily, but may be a bit difficult to shuffle for those of us with smaller hands. The card image is inset within a black border with the card title for the major arcana cards located in the lower border and number in the upper board. The minor arcana numeric and court card designations are located within the top border while the card titles are located within the bottom border. Titles of the minor arcana cards in numerous cases correspond to the Thoth titles. Court cards are designated Princess, Knight, Queen and King. The Princess and Queen cards correspond to the pagan sabbats or stations of the Wheel of the Year. Knights represent the action taken by their suit’s particular element while Kings represent the element itself.

Images for the Pagan Ways Tarot are created via photographic collage and computer manipulation in a very realistic manner that gives one the impression that you are looking through a window at a very real living scene. Anna Franklin states in her introduction to the 190-page paperback guidebook that she depicts gods and goddesses on every card. She chose to depict them in everyday clothing rather than in the garb of their time period and culture in order to create a cohesive look for the deck. A card such as the 3 of Swords does not depict a god, but Anna Franklin includes a brief dialogue between The Fool and the deity represented by this card. In the case of the 3 of Swords no deity is depicted, but the focus is on the stormy background and the deity speaking to The Fool is the Egyptian god, Set, who is the god of chaos, storms, and the desert.

Anna Franklin depicts The Fool’s journey as occurring through the entire tarot deck. His journey is not strictly limited to the major arcana, which is the case for the majority of decks. As a result, The Fool is the main character of the Pagan Ways Tarot and he dialogues with the god or goddess depicted on every single card. The dialogue develops The Fool’s character as he learns the lesson of every card.

The Fool introduces the Pagan Ways Tarot, but at that point the organization of the guidebook departs from tradition. Instead of seeing The Magician as the next card we see the Ace of Swords. The Fool then travels through the cards of the Swords (the element of Air and Intent) suit, followed by Wands (the element of Fire and Will), Cups (the element of Water and Love), and the Pentacles (the element of Earth and Manifestation). Once the dialogue between The Fool and the gods and goddesses of the minor arcana concludes then we meet the archetypical cards of the major arcana.

The major arcana of the Pagan Ways Tarot  represents The Fool’s journey along the path of initiation. Card titles are a mix of traditional and pagan with such titles as The Lady and Lord for the Empress and Emperor, respectively. Additional changes include: The Elder for the Hierophant, Wyrd for the Wheel of Fortune, the Underworld for the Devil, Rebirth for Judgment, and Universe for the World. As with the minor arcana, The Fool engages in conversation with the character depicted on each card of the major arcana. The dialogue lends a vitality to the guidebook you do not often see and it makes for an enjoyable read.

The guidebook for the Pagan Ways Tarot is printed on high quality paper and what I like the most about it is that the cards are depicted in actual size and also in full color. This is not common among guidebooks, but Schiffer has done this with a few earlier decks. This feature makes the guidebook a wonderful study aid. You can take it with you to study easily enough and leave the actual cards at home.

The guidebook for the Pagan Ways Tarot concludes with three appendices. The first is a glossary of symbols depicted on the cards and a brief interpretation of each. This is very useful when a particular symbol catches your eye as you’re doing a reading. The second appendix is entitled “Using the Cards for Divination” and includes four spreads: the Zodiac Spread, a 7-card Planetary Spread, the 21-card Romany Spread, and the traditional 10-card Celtic Cross. Card positions are explained, but the guidebook does not contain any sample readings. The final appendix entitled “Using the Cards for Meditation and Spiritual Development” includes suggestions for meditating upon a single card, connecting with the Elements, and focusing on the Wheel of the Year.

The Pagan Ways Tarot is a well thought-out deck that will appeal to pagans and non-pagans alike. The imagery is vibrant, imaginative, and a pleasure for the eyes. I highly recommend it.

Blessings!

~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

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Full Disclosure: I received a copy to consider for review by the publisher. I only review decks that I find useful to myself & that I feel my followers will also enjoy.

Deck Review: Tarot of Dreams (USG Edition)

Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti is one of my all-time favorite decks. Previously available only as a self-published edition by the artist, Tarot of Dreams is at long last available for the mass market. I am very happy to see this deck receiving the exposure it so richly deserves.

Published by US Games, Inc., Tarot of Dreams is housed in a very sturdy lidded box measuring 5 ½” x 6 ¾” x 1 ½”. The box has a smooth matte finish and depicts isolated elements of five card images along the edges, five full card images on the back of the box, four partial card images, and a photo of the cover of the guidebook that showcases the Knight of Wands. The cover of the box is graced with the gorgeous image from the Ace of Swords card.

Within the box the guidebook rests on top of the cards that are divided into two stacks that fit smugly (but not tight) within the box. The two stacks of cards rest against each other. There is no divider to keep them separate. I recommend storing the deck in a horizontal position in order to prevent the cards from sliding into one another and shifting within the box. My copy did arrive with both The Fool and Magician cards slightly dinged, which probably occurred due to shifting during shipping. The cards have a matte look to them, but the finish is a semi-gloss. They are not exactly slippery as are many other decks, but my copy has been shifting on me so I now make sure to store it horizontally so card shift does not occur. For those of you who are like myself and are a stickler for keeping your decks as pristine as possible, you will most likely wish to do the same.

The Tarot of Dreams guidebook is written by Lee Burnsten who has written companion books for The Gay Tarot, Universal Marseilles Tarot Companion, and The Zodiac Tarot. The guidebook measures 5 ¼” x 6 ¼” and contains 112 pages, including two pages for notes. The guidebook is organized into eight sections:

  • Introduction
  • Esoteric Symbol Systems in the Tarot of Dreams
  • Introduction to the Major Arcana
  • The Major Arcana
  • Introduction to the Minor Arcana
  • The Minor Arcana
  • Reading the Cards
  • The Story Spread

The Story Spread is the only card spread described within the guidebook. It consists of nine cards and for those of you familiar with the Lenormand Square of 9 spread, the Story Spread is arranged in a similar manner.

Symbolic inclusion from the Kabbalah and Astrology is located in the upper corners of each card. These attributions of symbols to the cards follow the standard established by the Order of the Golden Dawn with the exception of the addition of the three planets discovered in modern times: Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. Symbolic representation of these three plants is also included in lieu of the Golden Dawn’s use of elemental symbols.

For the minor arcana the Decan system of the Golden Dawn is retained. Pages are assigned the three zodiac signs that correspond to their particular suit. The knights, queens, and kings are assigned zodiac signs following the Golden Dawn’s associations, meaning that each card is designated as representing two-thirds of one sign and one-third of another. The astrological association for each card is described in the guidebook.

Although references to the Kaballah are sprinkled liberally throughout the text of the guidebook and symbolic representation of the seriphoth appear along card borders no mention of the Tree of Life card is made. There is no meaning or interpretation ascribed to it. I realize it was included in order to provide a visual aid in order to illustrate the correspondences between the Tree of Life & cards of the major arcana. It also serves as an excellent aid in meditation if one decided to use it in that manner, but due to its lack of an interpretation I recommend removing the Tree of Life card from the deck prior to a reading.

The major arcana is discussed as the Fool’s Journey. Card interpretations consist of keywords and brief phrases followed by a lengthy discussion of the imagery and symbolism contained on each card. The card interpretations conclude with a mention of the corresponding Hebrew letter and its meaning in brief, plus the planetary association of the card. The minor arcana are fully illustrated throughout with imagery that lends itself well to first-time Tarot readers. There is an extra set of court cards entitled “Palace.” The Palace cards provide an environment for the court cards as well as for the characteristics of their particular suit.

I recommend this deck to both beginning and advanced Tarot readers. The imagery is lovely throughout and due to the presence of black border on all the cards the colors have an additional vibrancy.

If you are a fan of Ciro Marchetti you will know that The Tarot of Dreams has been self-published by the artist several times. The self-published editions are prized and are strictly for my own personal use. I have all previous versions of the deck and am happy to now have a mass-produced and less expensive edition that I can use with clients. My clients really enjoy the imagery and find it easy to comprehend even if they have no experience reading tarot. The Tarot of Dreams is very user-friendly.

Beautiful Creatures Tarot: Deck Review

The Beautiful Creatures Tarot                                                                                    Beautiful Creatures Tarot
Book: J. r. Rivera
Artwork: Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Schiffer Books, 2015
http://schifferbooks.com
The Beautiful Creatures Tarot comes housed in the sturdy laminated magnetic hinged box for which Schiffer is now known. The box measures 6 X 9” and can be stored on its end like a book thus requiring less room in your bookcase. The magnetic lid remains closed so the deck can be stored as if it were a book. The deck is stored within two recessed wells and the 6 X 9” guidebook rests on top of the cards.
The Beautiful Creatures Tarot is a collaborative effort between J. r. Rivera (guide book author) and Jasmine Becket-Griffith, who is well known as the artist behind a number of oracle decks. Her style focuses on the eyes of her characters, which are always lovely and oversized that immediately draw your attention to the faces of the characters she paints.
The Sun & 10 of Waters from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot, Schiffer Books 2015.
The Sun & 10 of Waters from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot, Schiffer Books 2015.
The card images are lovely representations of 1 – 3 females on each card all of whom sport the trademark large eyes of Griffith’s style. Griffith paints with acrylics and her images contain a luminescence that creates an aura of mystery around the figures she creates.
The Beautiful Creatures Tarot differs from traditional Tarot decks in two main areas: some of the major arcana cards are renamed, and the court cards do not reflect the typical medieval court organization, but are based upon astrological correspondences.
The differing card names within the major arcana are as follows:
The Fool = The Explorer
Strength = The Fortitude
Justice = The Equilibrium
Hanged Man = The Swinging One
Death = The Transformation
Temperance = The Mediator
The Devil = The Addiction
The Tower = The Unexpected
The court cards of The Beautiful Creatures Tarot can be confusing to someone who is new to Tarot. The Pages are
named for each of the Elements and are called Nymphs. Their information concludes the chapter on court cards while the other court cards are named for their astrological correspondences. They begin with the Ram as Aries, moving to Taurus as the Bull, the Twins as Gemini, and so on.
The 4 Nymphs (Pages) from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)
The 4 Nymphs (Pages) from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)
One example is that the Ram of Fires corresponds to the traditional Queen of Wands.
The Ram of Fires from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)
The Ram of Fires from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)
Suits are Fires (Wands), Waters (Cups), Airs (Swords), and Earths (Pentacles).
The guidebook has 152 pages with black and white images of the cards. The spreads include a one card/one answer spread; a 3-card spread; The Beautiful & Ugly; The 3-Card Mirror Within; The 3-card Beauty, Truth & Light; the 5-card Triage en Croix; the 5-card Mind Over Heart; 5-card 30-Day Outlook; 5-card Voice of the Beautiful Creatures; the 7-card Vice Versa; & the 7-card Family Tree and Hereditary spread. As far as spreads go this book presents an excellent selection from which to choose.
The card interpretations begin with keywords and a description of the card’s imagery. Both upright and reversed meanings are provided. There are two additional cards: You Are One and The Supernatural, thus making The Beautiful Creatures Tarot an 80-card Tarot deck. The guidebook concludes with eight lined journal pages for notes.
The cards measure 3 ½” x 5” and are constructed from a sturdy card stock with just enough flexibility to allow for relatively easy shuffling. The borders are purple along the base with the card title in white along the base of the image. The rest of the border is black.
Extra Cards: You Are One & The Supernatural from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)
Extra Cards: You Are One & The Supernatural from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)
Images consist exclusively of females, except for The Lovers and 2 of Waters. Jasmine Becket-Griffiths is known for depicting females with large, prominent eyes and faces with the body being smaller and not emphasized as much as the head. The artwork has a fairy tale ethereal air to it. The cards are really lovely and card backs are completely reversible for those of you who take reversed card meanings into account for your readings.
Card back from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)
Card back from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)
Overall, The Beautiful Creatures Tarot makes for a lovely addition to your Tarot collection. My banker husband who is not into Tarot at all kept telling me what a “cute” deck this is. The Beautiful Creatures Tarot does have a nice energy to it that makes the deck very enjoyable and is definitely is a must-have for all fans of Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s artwork.

Deck Review: The Gorgon’s Tarot

The Gorgon’s Tarot                                                                                                                

Box cover
Box cover
Dolores Fitchie
Schiffer Books
$45.00

 

 

The Gorgon’s Tarot is a rather unique deck. Like The Motherpeace and Daughters of the Moon decks, The Gorgon’s Tarot is round. The overall style of the deck is appealing to the eye. The images are depicted on black backgrounds with the images done in white. With the sole exceptions of the extra card, “The Blind Gorgon,” and The Devil card, The Gorgon’s Tarot is a strictly black and white deck. The Blind Gorgon is an extra card and it, plus The Devil card contain a splash of red.

The Blind Gorgon & Devil cards from "The Gorgon's Tarot" copyright Dolores Fitchie, 2014.
The Blind Gorgon & Devil cards from “The Gorgon’s Tarot” copyright Dolores Fitchie, 2014.

The overall artistic style, graphic black and white images with mostly female characters and several kinds of animals; including leopards, ferrets, and cats, makes me think of art nouveau. What I particularly enjoy about The Gorgon’s Tarot is the manner in which patterns are worked into the images. Patterns are worked into the clothing of characters, background elements, suit symbols, and even some animals appear with patterns on their bodies. The use of patterns in The Gorgon’s Tarot make me think of Zentangles, a method of doodling that has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. The patterns add texture to the images in The Gorgon’s Tarot, and when used as part of the background elements they also add a sense of depth to the images.

The cards measure 5 ¾” across. When stacked, the deck measures nearly 1 ½” tall. I don’t have particularly small hands, but I am unable to rifle-shuffle these cards. They are well laminated so I use my deck on a table and the cards are able to slide across the surface. I mix them face down on the table, then reassemble my deck for the reading.

The guidebook is quite tiny, measuring 5 ¾” long by 2 7/8”

The Fool page from The Gorgon's Tarot guidebook.
The Fool page from The Gorgon’s Tarot guidebook.

wide. The book is rendered in landscape orientation and contains no page numbers, but according to the table of contents the book has 168 pages. All cards are reproduced in miniature at 2 ¼” in diameter.

Card interpretations are typical of the Rider-Waite tradition, but I do suggest you read the author’s own description of her cards. She has a keen sense of humor that comes through not only in her discussion of her cards, but it is also apparent in the imagery as a whole. Interpretations are very short so it will not take you long at all to read the entire guidebook. Card interpretations include both upright and reversed meanings. Spreads are not included.

I enjoy using this deck. I find it works well for pretty much any type of question. I also enjoy reading the author/artist’s own take on her cards, which read as tiny short stories that often give the reader food for thought.

 Example of a short reading.

3-card reading with "The Gorgon's Tarot," copyright Dolores Fitchie, 2014.
3-card reading with “The Gorgon’s Tarot,” copyright Dolores Fitchie, 2014.

I did a 3-card draw of Past/Present/Future regarding today’s big headline hear in Texas about an Ebola patient in Dallas and how others he had come into contact with may be also infected. My query revolved around the general welfare of the people of Texas, the state in which I reside.

I received the 9 of Swords, Judgment, and the 7 of Cups.

A portion of the text for the 9 of Swords reads:

… she is unable to heed the wisdom of the snakes who try to tell her that our fear is so often much worse than any real threat, the bark worse than the bite. She dwells in a solipsistic bubble of terror and grief. She needs to find a way to pierce through it, and she’s not lacking the tools to achieve this. After all, swords can cut both ways.

The 9 of Swords clearly speaks to the fear that Ebola may become a real outbreak here in Texas and this card is picking up on my concern for my daughter as well as the people of Dallas.

Judgment in the Present position is all about preparing for our next stage in spiritual evolution. Things have come to a close and new developments are on the horizon.  I see this card as a shift in perspective due to some form of illumination or perhaps a spiritual awakening. It could indicate that new realizations about Ebola and how to combat it will result from the medical profession’s work with this patient in Dallas.

The 7 of Cups in the Future position represents the need to narrow down choices and focus better on alternatives offered. Given the current situation, I feel this reflects the media and all of the conflicting information that is now being announced to the public. On the one hand we’re told Ebola is not communicable except via bodily fluids, then in another newscast they tell us you can catch it via bodily contact from the perspiration of the infected individual. All of these cups represent people wondering who do we believe? Or do we simply believe what we wish to believe and go on about our lives?

Overall, the cards tell me there is tremendous fear surrounding the entire situation that can be mitigated once people become better informed about how Ebola is transmitted. The 7 of Cups I take to be a warning to not listen to everything we hear and take it at face value. The public needs to evaluate the sources of their information as some are not as thorough or accurate as others. By remaining informed we can combat the disease and take the proper measures to protect ourselves.

The Gorgon’s Tarot speaks well to my intuition. I don’t

5 & 6 of Wands, Queen of Cups from "The Gorgon's Tarot," copyright Dolores Fitchie, 2014.
5 & 6 of Wands, Queen of Cups from “The Gorgon’s Tarot,” copyright Dolores Fitchie, 2014.

know if it’s because they are black and white so the absence of color may be a favor or if it is the varied patterns that are used on the cards. Perhaps it is those patterns that speak so much to my inner knowing, but I find that I don’t use the book at all. I examine the images and I ascertain how they make me feel and what they make me think. Then I factor that into my own interpretation of the cards and I find that method is working very well for me when I use The Gorgon’s Tarot.

Suits are the traditional Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. The major arcana is also traditionally named with Justice at arcana 8 and Strength at Arcana 11. Court cards are the traditional Page, Knight, Queen and King. As a result, I recommend The Gorgon’s Tarot to beginners, especially if they want to work with a deck that is fairly unique.

Wishing you all many blessings,

Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

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