Inspirational Wisdom From Angels & Fairies is a lovely oracle deck written by Frances Munro with artwork by Judy Mastrangelo, published by US Games Systems, Inc. (2016). The deck is housed in a tuck box that features elements of the images from five of the cards and is accompanied by a 57-page guidebook that has an additional 2 blank pages for notes. The cards measure 3 x 5″ and have a semi-gloss matte finish. They shuffle easily. Card backs are not reversible and reverse interpretations are not included.
The guidebook is quite nice. Each card is illustrated with a small black and white detail from the overall card image at the top. Below the black and white image is a brief interpretation of the card’s meaning. Each card’s interpretation concludes with either a prayer, exercise, affirmation, or meditation to use.
The cards are borderless (yay!) with the title across the center along the top of the card. Each title is rendered in white type. There is a colored border across the base of each card that is in a color that contrasts with the color scheme of the image. Each border contains a brief 2- 3 line summary of the card’s meaning.
Now to see the deck in action.
I did a simple 3-card reading for myself regarding my teenage daughter. She is 18 and feels she ought to rule the roost and enjoy all the benefits of still living with her parents while doing basically whatever she feels like at any given moment. This will NOT fly here, so I asked the angels & fairies for guidance as to how best to handle the situation. The cards I received are as follows:
Card 1: I Give You Star Dreams ~ the caption reads: “Feel blessed & know that the troubles that have followed you are now far behind.” The guidebook goes on to say that I have the power to move forward by looking at the situation with a healing heart. There is also mention of being calm at bedtime. I have had issues with insomnia lately because I allow my brain to squirm like a toad. The exercise included with this card involves visualizing a deep blue night sky envelop me as it helps me to feel more mellow. I can see how that would be beneficial to me at this time.
Card 2: Guardian Angel of Winter ~ the caption reads: “Your time is often taken up with problems that belong to others. Use your wisdom & the angelic energy to prioritize your own needs.” The guidebook continues to say that there is an angelic host waiting to help me to put my own needs first so I can deal with them before dealing with the needs of others. When you are a reader & a healer it’s very important to focus energy on yourself first. In that way you are better equipped to serve others. I have been forgetting this lately as I’ve become too absorbed in other people’s problems. This really hit home for me. The exercise associated with this card is to sit quietly for 5 minutes a day as I ask the angels to help me direct my energies toward my own life. Wow, what great advice & such a lovely & useful suggestion.
Card 3:Doorway to Fairyland ~ the caption reads: “Imagination is the key that will open doors & show you the way.” The guidebook says that I feel the need to move forward, but cannot always see the way to go. Very true. My daughter is exerting her independence as an 18-year-old, but still lives under our roof. This card says that I need to lift my spirits and see the world from a different perspective. That tells me I need to change my point of view about the situation. I have been attempting to exert my authority, but it’s clearly time for a new approach. Also, this card speaks to me of creativity, which tells me that I need to focus more energy on my art. Perhaps through the act of being creative a new approach to the situation will come to me. I often do receive great ideas while I’m being creative. The prayer that accompanies this card is also appropriate for me at this time.
The sample reading demonstrates how Inspirational Wisdom From Angels & Fairies works. The guidebook provides just a 1- and 2-card reading, but as with any oracle deck, it’s always fine to make up your own spreads.
The energy of this deck is very calm, loving, and healing. The imagery is colorful without being overly bright, and the representations of the angels, fairies, and animals are truly lovely works of art.
The caption on each card makes the deck very easy to use for beginners who may have never used a card deck before. You basically know the gist of the reading before you ever refer to the guidebook. The guidebook is very short and well written in a concise and straightforward manner. Personally, I do not enjoy wordy guidebooks. I like all the information provided in a neat little capsule up front & center. Frances Munro accomplishes that very well with Inspirational Wisdom From Angels & Fairies. I enjoy using this deck & highly recommend it, especially if you’re a beginning with no card reading experience. This would also make a great first deck for an intuitive child.
Full Disclosure: I received this deck from the publisher in order to consider it for review. I only review those decks that are of interest to me & which I feel would also be of interest to my followers.
Paulina Cassidy’s artwork is very popular among collectors. She is known for her ink and watercolor paintings of faeries and whimsical nature sprites. Working from a sketch that evolves into a pen and ink drawing, Paulina then adds soft pastel watercolors to her pieces. Her artwork is collected around the world. Paulina Cassidy is also a mass-market published Tarot and oracle artist with two tarot decks and two oracle decks to her credit. They are:
The Paulina Tarot (US Games Systems, Inc. 2008)
The Joie de Vive Tarot (US Games Systems, Inc. 2011)
The Faerie Guidance Oracle (Llewellyn 2012)
Witchlings (US Games Systems, Inc. 2014)
In this blog post I review all four of her decks and sit down for an interview with the artist herself. My questions are in bold below and Paulina’s responses are in italics. My review commentary appears in regular type.
Were you formally trained as an artist or self-taught? How long have you been an artist?
I started drawing from the age of 3; quietly sitting at the kitchen table with paper and pen; happily lost in my own little world. At 14, I started creating cartoons for local newspapers, but altered my direction at around 17 when my style developed into something completely different than cartooning. I worked mainly with pen and ink for a number of years after that, as well as having created regular illustrations for magazines. In 1998, I delved full time into this when I launched my website, Restless Moon Gallery. It’s an interesting process in discovering one’s artistic voice as we experiment and grow, whether one is self-taught or formally trained.
What sparked your interest in Tarot and how long have you been interested in it?
A number of years ago, a collector requested that I consider making a tarot deck. I thought the task to be too challenging at first, but I proceeded, regardless. I began working on my first deck in 2006/2007, and two years later, the Paulina Tarot was born.
The Paulina Tarot (2009)~
US Games Systems, Inc. published Paulina Cassidy’s first work, The Paulina Tarot, in 2008. Housed in a simple tarot box with 44-page LWB (little white book), the entire set measures 3 x 5 x 1 ¼” and retails for $21.95. The Paulina Tarot is a traditional 78-card tarot deck. Major arcana titles are traditional. Suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Court cards are the traditional Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The cards have a thin white border, card titles appear in black within the white border below each image, and the backs are fully reversible. The LWB, written by Paulina Cassidy, includes a brief description of each card’s imagery, and several keywords for both upright and reversed interpretations. Only one card spread is included, the traditional Celtic Cross.
The cards measure the same as the box and are very easy to shuffle. They have a semi-gloss finish that allows them to glide smoothly together without sticking together. The images, unlike some of her other work, is rendered in full color with the backgrounds completely painted in watercolor. The color scheme varies and is in general keeping with the theme of each card. Backgrounds range from lovely bright pastels to somber grays that gives the deck a balanced color scheme.
The imagery of The Paulina Tarot is highly intricate. The characteristic swirls, tiny flowers, stripes, dots, and other design elements of Paulina Cassidy’s work adorn each card. As an artist myself, I appreciate all the work that went into creating each image. In order to fully appreciate The Paulina Tarot I highly recommend that you avail yourself of the use of a magnifying glass. This is one of those decks that would have benefited from being printed in a larger size.
Within a spread the cards depict lively faerie and fantasy characters within a whimsical landscape. Natural elements, such as trees, flowers, and celestial bodies are anthropomorphized, which adds a great deal of whimsy to the images. Overall, The Paulina Tarot is highly detailed making it a feast for the eyes.
Your artwork is very intricate. Has this always been your style or did it evolve in recent years?
I’ve been creating intricate pieces for years, mainly using pen and ink. It’s always been a meditational process for me. As well, it’s an evolution filled with self-discovery. My wish is to evolve with each piece I create, always.
On average, how long does it take for you to create a card image?
It varies, and I sometimes re-do a card image until I’m happy with it. I seem to have no definite answer to this, as I tend not to keep track of time when creating. I sort of become lost in another world, another zone . . . somewhere out of time.
What inspires you and your art?
Anything that supplies my soul with a sense of mystery and magic. It’s a collective and intermingling gathering of energies found, for example, in music, books, nature, art, animals, people.
The Joie de Vivre Tarot (2011) ~
Building upon her love of animals, nature, and people, Paulina Cassidy followed up her Paulina Tarot with the Joie de Vivre Tarot, published by US Games Systems, Inc. in 2011.
Housed in a tuck box with the LWB written by Paulina Cassidy, the Joie De Vivre Tarot is yet another delight. The LWB has 59 pages with two blank pages for notes. Card interpretations consist of several keywords, a brief description of the imagery, the general meaning, and a brief reversed interpretation. The LWB concludes with a 5-card spread entitled, “Spreading the Joy.”
The major arcana cards are traditionally titled and the court cards are also the traditional Page – Knight – Queen – King. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins (Pentacles in The Paulina Tarot).
The Joie De Vivre Tarot is a deck that vibrates with a childlike joy, the beings depicted in this deck are “sentient souls of love who will help you tap into intuition and connect to divine source,” (LBW, p. 1). The characters themselves are emphasized with less anthropomorphic aspects than what appears in the Paulina Tarot. The majority of color lies within the brighter range of pastels and backgrounds tend to be less developed than in the Paulina Tarot so there is a bit more negative space giving the eye a place to rest while also emphasizing the main character depicted on each card.
You have a knack for portraying nature spirits. Can you sense their presence? If so, what does it feel like?
I often do sense their presence. It’s a particular uplifting shift in the atmosphere. I cannot see them with the naked eye, but I sense their personalities. They bring with them a certain purity, playfulness, and wisdom. Quite influential, and they love to be portrayed.
The Faerie Guidance Oracle (2012) ~
In 2012 Paulina Cassidy’s The Faerie Guidance Oracle was published by Llewellyn Books. Representing a slight departure from the whimsical creatures she had created for her Paulina Tarot and Joie De Vivre Tarot, The Faerie Guidance Oracle is her first oracle deck. The deck consists of a total of 40 cards and a 262-page guidebook, once again written by Paulina Cassidy herself. The deck is housed in a flip-lidded box of very thin cardboard. The book and deck lie nested within the box side by side.
Each card depicts a different faery with titles such as, Enlightenment, Determination, Faith, Compassion, Dreams, Intuition, Change, Energy, and Spirit. Titles are placed at the top center of the card within the border. Each card also has a brief 2-line synopsis of the card’s overall meaning at the base of the image within a light tan border that surrounds the image. Rendered in Paulina Cassidy’s distinctive style, the color scheme runs from dark blues and grays to sunny yellows and everything in between. The color scheme is nicely balanced. The images have a lovely ethereal look to them.
The guidebook is quite impressive. It begins with a brief introduction as well as “how to use this deck” section. There are two card spreads: the Facet du Jour, which is a card of the day; and, the Crisis Spread, for which the cards are chosen consciously instead of by chance and the number of cards in the spread can vary. The bulk of the guidebook consists of the card interpretations. There is a full-size black and white image of the card on the facing page. Paulina Cassidy then devotes 2 – 3 pages for each card’s meaning that then concludes with a “reflection” that relates symbols within the card’s image to the meaning of the card.
What advice do you have for aspiring deck creators?
Patience and consistency. These are two of my keywords for card deck productivity. The task can be daunting and will feel at times as though it’ll take forever. It happens to me with each deck that I create. Remember my aforementioned keywords during the long haul. Eventually, a finished deck will manifest, and it will have been worth every bit of effort.
Witchlings (2014) ~
Paulina Cassidy’s most recent publication is Witchlings, published by US Games Systems, Inc. in 2014. Witchlings is a card and book set that comes housed in a lidded box. The guidebook contains 201 pages with 3 pages for notes. There are 40 cards.
The cards have a narrow pastel border that vary in shade from card to card: purple, yellow, orange, green, pink, and other shades. Each card is graced with the whimsical image of a “witchling” who is an expert spellcaster of a particular type of spell. A little purple owl named Orion accompanies each witchling. Orion is “the universal Familiar of the Witchlings, acts as protector, mentor, assistant and friend” (p. 6). Orion is a benevolent energy whose spirit also assists all who use these cards.
Paulina Cassidy designed Witchlings is no ordinary oracle deck. It can also be used in spell work. The deck can be used as an oracle deck and an oracular message is included for every card, but where this deck truly excels is in its use as a magical tool. There are 2 – 4 simple and short spells included for every card. The spells are performed with inexpensive materials that are easily available in the typical home’s spice cabinet. The spells are very short and simple to perform. You do not have to be a practitioner of magic to use this deck to its full capability.
Paulina Cassidy also wrote the guidebook. For each card the guidebook includes a 4-line poem, the oracular meaning, 2 – 4 spells, and for many of the cards inspirational creative suggestions and meditations are also included for the majority of the cards.
Overall, the work of Paulina Cassidy presents tarot and oracle readers alike with four delightful decks from which to choose. Her characters seem to come alive in the spreads and I love to see the interactions of the characters as they look at one another in a card spread. Delightfully dreamy, Paulina Cassidy’s body of work appeals to many around the world who are avid collectors of her art.
If you would like to be a featured artist on my blog, please email me at email@example.com.
What do I believe in? I get asked that question often by friends, family, clients, so I thought I’d explain a bit here.
Firstly, I believe in treating everyone as you yourself wish to be treated. I live by the Golden Rule. When someone doesn’t treat me as I treat them that’s when I walk away. We all have our own paths to walk & I never attempt to change another person. I figure they are the way they are because they need to attract certain lessons into their lives. So be it. I move on. I value myself too much to remain in a relationship where the other person is not treating me in the same manner I treat them.
My mom taught me this lesson, one of the most important lessons I have ever learned.
Secondly, I believe in what many consider to be the unseen world (note: unseen does NOT equal unreal). I believe in fairies, ghosts/spirits, angels, and the reality and power of the Egyptian gods. These are the reasons why.
I was raised Catholic & attended church fairly regularly from birth until the age of 14 when I was confirmed in the faith. I could see fairies in our backyard since I was a small child & I grew up with a playmate named George who was not imaginary. He was the ghost of a little boy from the 1920s, the reality of which was validated when a psychic lady came to visit my parents one day & saw him. She described George exactly as I had alway seen him, freaking out both my parents.
I grew up with a tremendous love & respect for Jesus Christ, for the great Teacher & Healer he was/is, and I firmly believe the time He walked this planet He was God Incarnate. When I was 9 I was in the hospital with a severe case of gastric enteritis. I saw Christ walk into my room. He sat on the edge of my bed and without saying a word He placed his left hand on my abdomen. The discomfort immediately left me as He gazed into my eyes. My entire body filled with a peaceful warmth I have never felt since. The next morning the doctor could not explain the reason I was suddenly perfectly fine. I insisted to everyone Christ had visited me and that during that visit He healed me. Unbeknownst to me at the time our family doctor was Jewish. He later converted to Christianity and would often say my experience was his inspiration.
Despite my strong faith and beliefs, I walked out of church on my confirmation day, turned around & informed a very shocked godmother & parents that I would not be returning to the Catholic Church – ever. I had done all that was required of me. I did not believe in how the Church ran things, so I would not be returning.
It was then that I embarked upon my spiritual journey.
During my senior year in high school I read the first of 2 books that changed my life: Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham. I began practicing Wicca in 1980 & tried for several years to forge a relationship with the Egyptian deities, but They wouldn’t have me. I was told I wasn’t “ready.” Whatever “ready” was, I wasn’t it. I thought I was ready, I felt ready, but … In the meantime I worked with the Celtic pantheon, mainly the goddess Brigit. I was happy, but not completely spiritually fulfilled.
I have been drawn to ancient Egypt ever since I can remember. It was my love of Egyptian civilization that made me decide at the age of 9 to become an archaeologist after seeing the movie The Mummy, starring Boris Karloff. (A lot happened to me when I was 9 & that year was a major turning point in my life.) Coincidentally or not, this occurred a couple of weeks after I had been released from the hospital. After 3 universities and 3 degrees I became an academically trained archaeologist with a doctorate. At a far earlier age (2) I also became an artist & most of what I drew during the ensuing years was Egyptian-inspired.
Sixteen years later in 1996 during my Reiki master-teacher attunement I saw Isis herself in a vision. It would be the first of many times I would be blessed with a vision of Her. She said only 3 words to me:
“You are ready.”
I knew immediately what She meant & that began a spiritual odyssey that continues to this day.
It was a day or so after that when I began reading the second book that would alter my life, The Fingerprints of the Gods, by Graham Hancock. I read that book with the academically instructed mind of an archaeologist, but I came away with a very changed mind and fully realized that academia and mainstream science had much of it wrong where it comes to the ancient history of our planet.
A year later in mid-1997 I was receiving a healing from a friend and colleague. As she worked on me I slipped into a vision. I was in an underground cavern lit by some mysterious light source. There were stalagmites of various colors everywhere. I could see a large pool of water and in the center of the pool was a single column of what looked like pure quartz crystal that has been carved to strongly resemble an ionic Greek pillar. On top of the pillar was an amethyst crystal skull. I could see a white chevron in the center of the skull.
That white chevron is important.
The crystal skull spoke to me telepathically and relayed a message that completely changed the course of my life. I received validation that my chosen path of academia, the one I had worked so hard to embark upon and to remain upon, was NOT the path for me at all. And so, like the day I left the Catholic Church, I left my academic path and have never looked back.
After the amethyst crystal skull relayed its message to me the vision then changed. I was suddenly in a desert. A ten foot tall angel appeared in front of me, opened his right hand and within it revealed a strong and steady flame. He was the first angel I ever saw, but not the last. This angel told me telepathically that the flame would guide me where I needed to go next “in order to complete the process that had begun.” I figured the angel was referring to my visit to the cavern and the message from the amethyst crystal skull that still had my head reeling.
The angel took me by the hand and we flew up into the sky and across a vast desert. Once I saw the Giza Plateau on the horizon I knew the desert was the Sahara and that I had astral travelled to north Africa, and specifically to Egypt.
What happened next in a hidden chamber beneath the Great Pyramid is discussed in another blog post here. I suggest you read that once you’ve finished with this blog post.
As to the importance of the white chevron, that very same day I had this vision while a friend gave me a healing session, a shipment of rocks & crystals arrived at the new age shop where I worked at the time. I was basically the assistant manager and it was part of my job to process incoming orders. As I looked through all the pretty stones I was drawn to the amethyst not only because of the vision I had just experienced, but because purple has always been my favorite color; and, amethyst had been my mother’s birthstone.
I found an amethyst that contained a white chevon, much like the cheron that had been inside the amethyst crystal skull that had just been speaking to me in the vision. I purchased that amethyst for myself and for the past 18 years it has been a treasured part of my stone and crystal collection. More on the chevron at the conclusion of this blog post.
As to who or what the Egyptian gods and goddesses are, or were, well, it’s ARE – present tense. They never “went” anywhere, They are not gone nor are They dead. In fact, they are quite lively & wish only to help humankind spiritually evolve & “come into their own,” as they so often say to me.
As to where they came from, the ancient Egyptians long focused on the star Sothis (known to us as Sirius, the Dog Star) & its relation to the constellation of Osiris (known to us as the constellation of Orion) and the 3 stars of Orion’s belt, especially the central star. By the way, the Classic Maya civilization that I studied for my doctorate were also fascinated with that exact same star & believed that the god, First Father, came from that star. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences, do you?.
In many channeling sessions over the years the gods have told me their physical home was that central star. They came to earth to teach & to heal. They have been to many other planets with intelligent life spreading their philosophy throughout innumerable galaxies, thus giving birth to countless religions, philosophies, and healing modalities. They would be considered extraterrestrials were they to visit earth today. Back then they were seen as Gods among men, & so They were. Great teachers. Great healers.
They still live today. They are immortal. They are powerful. They are loving and compassionate. They are approachable.
They still communicate with us if we would only listen, & they still wish to help us. For a brief time they were unwilling to have anything else to do with us humans, but something happened. I don’t know if it was the Sixties, or the advent of the Age of Aquarius, or maybe some astrological alignment they were waiting for, but the gods are ready now to help us advance along our path of spiritual evolution and enlightenment.
They ask two seemingly simple things of each of us.
Have a willing heart and an open mind.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Is it as simple as it sounds, though?
When you have what the gods term “a willing heart,” this means you are fully ready and willing to accept Them into your life. Once you allow the gods to enter your heart They also enter your psyche. Very deep changes occur on the soul level. Your perception expands. Your outlook on life is forever altered. Many aren’t ready for that. If you THINK you are ready, but you really aren’t, the gods will know and you will receive a sign accordingly.
If your heart is willing, what about your mind? Do you have what They would term an “open” mind?
By “open” the gods mean that you are not viewing Them from within the dogmatic construct of your own religious or spiritual upbringing. You are accepting the gods on THEIR terms, not yours, and not your religion’s, whatever that may be. The gods will also know if your mind is “open” and therefore willing to accept Them in Their True Form.
The process by which you accept the gods into your life will be discussed in a future blog post since I’m approaching 2,000 words with this post. Meanwhile, going back over all the things that happened to me when I was 9 that shaped the person I am today, there was one other event and it all has come full circle today while typing this post, thus validating to me the timeliness of sharing this information with you today.
When I was 9 I went on a class trip to the Sears Tower in Chicago. I purchased a stone display board on which had been glued the raw and polished versions of several stones, one of which was – yes – amethyst. My favorite. And yes, that is the reason I bought the display item in the first place. It hung on my bedroom wall until I graduated college and went off to grad school.
I packed the item away and did not take it out again until my daughter was in the third grade. She had to use it for some class presentation so I dug it out and allowed her to borrow it, but somehow it ended up never returning to me. I didn’t miss it. In fact, I have not given it a single thought – until today, that is.
As I was typing this blog post my daughter came into my office gleefully exclaiming she was cleaning her room, which about gave me a heart attack. My daughter cleaning? What was WRONG with her? She later returned saying, “Mom, look at what I found in my bookcase. Do you remember this?”
She handed me the cardboard with the stones still glued to it. The item I bought during my pivotal ninth year of life. The year I met Christ face to face & was healed. The year I decided to become an archaeologist. The year I fell and badly injured my left knee that resulted in a 39-year chronic condition. The year I set out on what was to evolve into my true life path and purpose.
It’s all come full circle now. Here I am holding that cardboard with those stones glued to it that a 9-year-old aspiring archaeologist bought for $3.00 on a school field trip to the Sears Tower.
Is it a coincidence that today of ALL days my daughter decided to clean her room, find this card of stones and give it back to me as I typed this blog post? Is it also a coincidence that I decided to google “amethyst crystal skull” to look for an image to use for this post and I found one for sale that just happens to contain a white chevron (and yes, I purchased it immediately and had massive chills doing so!)?
I don’t believe in coincidences. Do you?
UPCOMING: anniversary pictures in which some weird energy appears. Debunkers are welcome because I really want to know what it is or if my cell phone camera has a problem!
Thank you for reading & I welcome you to share this post with your friends.