Book Review: Color & Conjure

Color and Conjure: Rituals & Magic Spells to Color

Text: Natalie Zaman

Art: Wendy Martin

Llewellyn Books, 2017

$14.99 PB, 176 pages

 

Just in time for Halloween/Samhain is a lovely witchy coloring book, Color & Conjure with spells and commentary by Natalie Zaman and line drawings by Wendy Martin. If you’re a witch, pagan, or are interested in spells AND you enjoy coloring, then this is the PERFECT coloring book for you.

Containing 176 pages, Color & Conjure consists of 13 sections:

  • How to use this book
  • Money
  • Love
  • Family
  • Protection
  • Health
  • Creativity
  • Personal Power
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Magic & Nature
  • Awaken the Chakras
  • Coloring pages
  • Resources for adapting & enhancing your spells

In the section entitled, “How to use this book,” Natalie Zaman points out that intention and focus are of primary importance when performing spells & that coloring can be a valuable tool that helps to increase focus upon magical intentions. When you combine your intention, focus, a few well-thought-out words and perhaps some magical correspondences suddenly your coloring page becomes a powerful magical tool.

Color & Conjure is not simply a magical-themed coloring book. There are other titles that fit that description. Color & Conjure combines coloring with actual spells so that your own coloring can be used in combination with candles, oils, herbs, and other tools in order to set energies into motion that help to manifest positive change in your life.

Each chapter consists of 3 – 5 (mostly 5) spells with the chapter on the chakras containing seven, one spell for each of the seven main chakras. Instructions on how to perform the spell are included that cover wording, the use of candles & easily available kitchen herbs, and also suggestions as to which colors to use to color in the images based upon the meaning and magical correspondences of the colors. Instructions are very simple so even if you have no experience with spells you will be able to easily put Color & Conjure to good use.

What I particularly like about Color & Conjure, other than the wonderful idea of combining spells with coloring, is that the pages on which the spells are printed always include a small version of the corresponding coloring page, which is located in full size in the latter half of the book. You can follow the author’s coloring suggestions on that smaller version of the coloring page or make up your own just to see what it would look like and then color in the main coloring page. That smaller version of the coloring page is a great place to experiment with color and artistic mediums. The type of paper used in the coloring book is the same throughout so you will know how your artistic mediums will respond on the large coloring pages by practicing on their smaller counterparts. Each chapter’s lead page also has an image you can color.

Each spell includes the page number of the corresponding coloring page. For example, on page 38 the spell, “Mirror, Mirror,” which is a spell for self-love and self-appreciation has a smaller version of its corresponding coloring page on the lower left-hand side, along with a ribbon that includes a hand pointing to the words, “see coloring page 121 where you will find a large version of the same coloring image on page 38.

color & conjure color pageThe page numbers of the coloring pages are 1/3” from the bottom edge of the page next to the binding of the book. Each coloring page is completely perforated for easy removal for coloring and you can then set the page with your candles and other magical tools when performing the spell. Coloring pages are all printed single-sided.

After the spell is completed you can bury the coloring page, burn it, or keep it in your Book of Shadows as a remembrance of the spell you performed. I really like how the page numbers are so close to the binding. When you pull the coloring page out of the book the page number remains within the book so all you have on your coloring page is the image itself.

Coloring images have a ¾” border on all four sides so you can even frame these if you so desire. Wendy Martin’s use of line is quite pleasing to the eye. Line thickness varies ever so slightly throughout each coloring page that helps to emphasize some symbols over others. Many adult coloring books have highly intricate images for which you need to use something with a very fine point like gel pens. Wendy’s images have large enough areas to color that you can easily use crayons with Color & Conjure. Many adult coloring books do not work well with crayons due to the intricacy of the images. The drawings have an overall open and friendly energy to them and the compositions are all pleasing to the eye.

Color & Conjure will appeal to any magically minded person who also enjoys to color, but even if you don’t, this coloring book is a great resource of very simple and easy to perform spells. I recommend it to any artistically inclined witch, but also to anyone who would like a resource of quick and simple spells.

The remainder of this review is intended for artists and colorists who wish to know the technical details regarding how this paper accepts various artistic mediums:

  • Overall size: 9 x 9 x 1/2″
  • Paperback
  • Page total: 176
  • Main coloring pages: 50
  • Smaller versions of main coloring pages: 50
  • Images of chapter headings: 11
  • Title page coloring image: 1
  • Concluding page image: 1
  • Perforation: yes
  • Protective sheet: none
  • Paper weight: 60 lbs (my best estimate)
  • Recommended artistic mediums:
    • colored pencils ~ layering & burnishing up to 4 layers of colors works well on this paper weight. I have not tried more than 4 layers of color.
    • crayons
    • water-based markers ~ I used Tomball, Zig, and a generic no-name store brand. This paper holds up well to 4 layers of blended water-based markers. As you add a fourth layer be careful because at this point the color will begin to bleed through the page.
    • Gel, glitter, and milk pens

Color & Conjure derwentI did attempt to use Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. I layered 3 colors and then applied water somewhat sparingly. The paper did buckle on the colored surface as well as the reverse side of the page. Most of the buckling disappeared once the page was completely dry, but I can still feel the buckling if I run my fingers over the page; as a result, I do not recommend watercolor pencils or watercolors.

Crayons and colored pencils GLIDE over this paper. I had to be careful to not run out of the lines because the crayons and pencils glide so easily and quickly. This paper also helps crayons and colored pencils to present a very level color coverage. I did not see any streaking as I applied color. Gel, glitter, and milk pens all present even coverage on this paper so I highly recommend their use for smaller areas of the line drawings.

Color & Conjure pageNote: If you are like me you may be hesitant to mar your coloring book with color. There is a simple fix. This is what I do with my coloring books. I basically very carefully take them apart. This is the method I use and so far I have not ruined a single image:

  • I carefully cut or tear the front and back covers from the spine of the coloring book.
  • Next, I begin with the first image (or title page) and carefully bend the page back and forth against the binding. Bend the page along where the paper actually meets the glue of the binding.
  • As you see the page begin to give slightly, VERY carefully pull or rip the page from the book. Do this slowly with patience.
  • Do the same to the last page of the coloring book.
  • Return and repeat the process with the remaining front page, then the remaining back page, and so on until you have pulled all the pages free from the spine.

I keep my coloring page originals in a manila file folder with the book cover for reference. When I wish to color an image I make a copy. Keep in mind that copies made on a printer can bleed based upon what type of ink you use in your printer. I copy the images onto 110 lb light cardstock. That takes any artistic medium fairly well, but again, be careful how much water you use if using watercolors or watercolor pencils as the cardstock can “pill up.”

Blessings!

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

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells, & Visionary Art

The Egyptian Lenormand: signed & activated copies

Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

Twitter: @NeferKhepri

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Full Disclosure: I received this book 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 in the Artist’s Spotlight

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)~ 

paulina-tarot-compositeUS 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) ~

paulina-cassidy-joie-vivre-compositeBuilding 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.

paulina-cassidy-faerie-guidance-oracle

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-witchlings

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 isisraanpu@gmail.com.

Blessings!

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

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells, & Visionary Art

The Egyptian Lenormand: signed & activated copies

Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

Twitter: @NeferKhepri

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neferkhepri/

 

Full DisclosureThe decks reviewed here were a combination of those sent to me by the publisher and my own purchase.

 

 

 

Book Review: Tarot Interactions

Tarot Interactions, by Deborah Lipp.  Llewellyn Publications, 2015. Paperback $16.99 Kindle $9.99

How many of us wished we had someone to tutor us when we first began learning to read tarot cards? I learned on my own with the massive help of Eden Gray’s classic text, The Complete Guide to the Tarot (Bantam Books). It was the only tarot book I could find in my home town in the late 1970s even after much searching and asking (plus dealing with weird looks!).

These days there is a wide variety of tarot books easily available and the task of choosing just 1 – 3 for a beginner can be quite daunting and overwhelming. As a tarot instructor myself I appreciate books that read like a course on tarot rather than start off with a dry (and often incorrect) “historical” overview of how the Tarot came from Atlantis, Egypt, or gypsies, then goes into a discussion of the symbolism and meaning of each card, and finally concludes with the classic Celtic Cross spread & perhaps a few others.

Tarot Interactions does not follow the conventional tarot book mold. In fact, it breaks it, and quite spectacularly. When it comes to tarot books I am very difficult to impress. I’ve been reading and studying tarot since 1976 and have basically read them all. Yet I always go back to Eden Gray, and another wonderful classic no one should be without, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, by Rachel Pollack (Weiser Books). I have been recommending these two books to my students for nearly 20 years. Now I can finally add a third, Tarot Interactions.

Tarot Interactions is quite different from the old formula we’re all accustomed to reading in a “how-to-read-tarot” book. What I really liked from the start is the personable method of writing Deborah Lipp has. As you read the book it sounds as though you’re sitting with her at your dining room table with a deck of tarot cards spread out before you. She is seated next to you sharing her method of reading the tarot while you sit there trying to soak it all up like a sponge. I love it when authors take the time to construct their writing style so that they are speaking WITH a reader as opposed to speaking AT a reader. Deborah Lipp is clearly well-informed about the Tarot, but she does not come across as a know-it-all. She comes across as a teacher who takes the reader by the hand in order to guide them through the material.

The title, Tarot Interactions, refers to how as readers we can relate to and use the Tarot. Furthermore, within a reading the cards interact with one another. Every two-card combination means something and also the meaning of a card changes based upon its position within a spread. In this manner the Tarot cards themselves also interact with each other. As a reader it is important to pick up on all of these nuances. Deborah Lipp explains how these interactions work and she offers a wide variety of exercises to take the reader through a learning process. Meanings of the cards are included, but she goes far beyond that and teaches through her book how the cards interact with each other and how meanings can change based upon a card’s position within a spread.

Meditation and keeping a journal are both encouraged, and I highly recommend at least keeping a journal as you work through this book. You will want to keep a record of the exercises you do and the results you get so as you work more with Tarot Interactions and time passes you can go back to check your progress. Meditation will help to open your psychic centers and heighten your intuition as well, so that is also a recommended practice while reading this book and beyond. Even as a seasoned reader myself I found the exercises to be useful. People who are new to Tarot will find the exercises not only useful but also great guideposts for their journey.

As I read Tarot Interactions I envisioned Deborah Lipp as a kindly teacher who only wishes for her students to understand the material at hand and is all too happy to share her own experiences with reading the cards. I wish this book had been written in the seventies when I was learning. It would have made my progress much easier.

I highly recommend this book to beginners, but seasoned readers will also find it to be quite useful as well.

Thank you for reading & I welcome you to share this post with your friends using the share buttons below.

Wishing you many blessings,

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

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells & Visionary Art

The Egyptian Lenormand: signed & activated copies available ONLY HERE

The Turtle Lenormand: my most recent self-published deck. 28 copies out of 50 remain

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