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 Avalonian Oracle

avalonian-oracle-boxHow I absolutely love the stories of King Arthur, his knights of the round table, & the gods, goddesses, & magical beings associated with those stories. I have been to England & climbed to the top of Glastonbury Tor, which I still consider to be one of the highlights of my life. I was understandably excited when I heard news of The Avalonian Oracle being published by Schiffer Books. The complete title of this deck is, The Avalonian Oracle: Spiritual Wisdom From the Holy Isle. The 128-page paperback guidebook is written by Jhenah Telyndru with artwork by Emily Brunner. The deck comes housed in the 6 x 9 x 1 1/2″ hinge-lidded magnetic closure box that is pretty much standard now for Schiffer decks. The deck can be stored on its end so the footprint in a bookshelf is very small.

The Avalonian Oracle is a 46-card oracle deck with a twist. There are seven “suits,” avalonian-oracle-2which are referred to as “Cycles.” The guidebook is organized so that the cards belonging to each cycle are discussed in each chapter, which results in the guidebook containing seven chapters of card meanings and interpretations. The other two chapters consist of an introduction and the guidebook concludes with a chapter devoted to eight card spreads and a few concluding paragraphs with suggestions as to how to use the cards as a magical tool.

The introduction in most guidebooks is basically a “how to use this deck” chapter, but that is not the case for The Avalonian Oracle. The chapter is important and should not be glossed over in order to get to the meat of the book. The introduction lists the names of the cards in each “cycle” and by their titles and brief explanation of the “cycle” this gives you a good overview of the overall feel and vibration for each cycle of the deck. The introduction is also an excellent reference point to use as you do readings with the deck. The cycles are not indicated on the cards, but you can easily discover to which cycle they belong if you refer to the introductory pages. That will then tell you in which chapter you can find each card’s meaning.

The cards themselves build upon the concept of the spiritual journey and include such avalonian-oracle-1beings one would expect to encounter when taking a spiritual journey that is of a Celtic nature. Cycle One (5 cards, referred to as Seeds) focuses on your journey to Avalon and the various stages that comprise that part of your journey. Cycle Two (5 cards, referred to as Stations) is about the stages of healing we encounter. Cycle Three (5 cards) depict the goddesses you may encounter on your journey (Rhiannon, Ceridwen, Blodeuwedd, Arianrhod, & Branwen). Cycle Four includes a card for each moon of the year (13 cards for 13 lunar cycles) . Cycle Five (9 cards) is entitled the Nine Morgens who are important ancestresses. Cycle Six (3 cards) represent the 3 realms of the universe as the Celts saw them. Cycle Seven (6 cards) represent the forces that make up the Avalonian cosmology. When doing a reading it is important to note from which cycle your cards originate because knowing that will add a deeper meaning to your readings.

The information included for each card varies from Cycle to Cycle. For example, the cards of Cycles 1 – 3 include with their card interpretations a card description, keywords, quest, divinatory meaning, and affirmation. This same information is included for the cards of Cycle 4 (the 13 Moons of Avalon), but a brief explanation of the particular herb associated with each of these cards opens the card interpretations. The final card of the deck, The Silver Wheel, includes an herbal association as well as a brief discussion of the mythology of the Silver Wheel. Otherwise, all other cards follow the descriptive outline of card description, keywords, quest, divinatory meaning, and affirmation.

The cards measure 3 3/8″ x 5 1/4″. They are well laminated with a glossy finish. Card avalonian-oracle-3backs are completely reversible although the guidebook does not provide reversed card meanings. The cards are are of sturdy, yet flexible card stock that makes them easy to shuffle. They have a blue border with silver detailing. The herb, plant, animal totem, symbol, or spirit associated with each card is depicted within the card image itself and also in isolation as an additional feature of the card in the lower left or right-hand corner of each card.

The Avalonian Oracle provides very deep readings. I recommend that when using this deck you leave your reading out for a while so you can ponder it. I have gained many fresh insights into various situations simply by leaving the reading out so I can look it over as I walk past it throughout the day. If you have an affinity to the Celtic pantheon, culture, or the Goddess in general, you will really enjoy this deck.

Blessings!

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

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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.

 

The Way Card Oracle deck review

The WayCard Oracle: A Guide to the Inner JourneyUsually, an oracle deck consists of cards containing images, a title, and perhaps a few keywords. The WayCard Oracle is quite different from typical decks. It does not have a single image other than an arrow pointing up on the card back and as a watermark on the card image. Other than the arrow, each card has a single word in a dark green italic font.

The WayCard Oracle begins with the Hero/heroine card, which represents each of us. The deck continues with a card for each of the Elements and the remaining cards are named for life stages and experiences we all encounter at various times in our lives.

The WayCard Oracle contains a total of 33 cards that measure 3 x 5″. The card finish is matte and there is no heavy laminate. The WayCard Oracle is housed within a 6 x 9 x 1″ hinged lidded box with magnetic closure that can be stored upright on its end like a book. Those with card collections as large as mine (294 as of this blog post) will appreciate this as that style of box conserves much-needed bookshelf space.

The guidebook is a 6 x 9″ paperback containing 96 pages. There is a brief introduction, a section about how to use the deck, and the card interpretations. Car interpretations consist of a number of keywords, an applicable quote from a visionary; such as, Joseph Campbell, Jean Houston, Hildegarde of Bingen, among others.

The WayCard Oracle is meant to be used more for introspection and guidance. The deck creator, Martha Winona Travers, states that there is no yes or no card, but she does provide a few sample questions to demonstrate how a question requiring a yes/no answer can be restructured so that The WayCard Oracle can properly address the question.

I find that The WayCard Oracle provides insightful readings. I recommend it to those of you who may find the typical oracle and tarot imagery to be distracting. It is an interesting system that reminds of me other such decks, most notably, The Universal Cards by Juliet Jaffray Hubbs and Nora Monaco, which also works very well, and The Dolphin Divination Cards by Nancy Clemens. The guidebook for The WayCard Oracle is very well written. It contains thorough card interpretations along with suggestions as to how best to integrate the energy of each card into your life.

Blessings!

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

UFO & Alien Management: Book Review & Author Interview

UFO and Alien Management: A Guide to Discovering, Evaluating, and Directing Sightings, Abductions, and Contactee ExperiencesUFO & Alien Management

Dinah Roseberry

Paperback spiral-bound

SchifferBooks.com

$12.99

I’m not big into aliens and UFOs, but I will tell you I saw a UFO once, maybe twice, but definitely once & one of my best friends was with me so I have a witness. It was hovering over a home in our neighborhood & we ran the 2 blocks back to my house screaming our heads off all the way. It’s one of those things a person just never forgets. What if you have had a UFO or alien experience, but you have blocked it from your consciousness?  UFO & Alien Management addresses that as well as offers information for those who do remember their experiences, or bits & pieces of them. The author, Dinah Roseberry, focuses on offering information on how any reader of this book can take themselves through a UFO/alien regression in order to discover if they have hidden memories. If you just suspect you MIGHT have had an experience, this book is definitely geared to help those who may be repressing memories to bring them forward so they can then be dealt with in a healthy manner.

UFO & Alien Management has a sturdy cardboard cover akin to higher grade paperback books; however, unlike a typical book, this one is spiral-bound. This is done so the book will lie flat when a person is reading the text for a guided regression session. As you read UFO & Alien Management you will not have to keep your hand on the book to keep it open to a page or weigh the sides of the book down with rocks or anything if you are using it for a regression. It lies perfectly flat for this purpose, which is a very nice touch as it makes the use of the book easy and convenient.

Printed on semi-glossy high-grade paper and consisting of 80 pages, UFO & Alien Management  is a presentation in a simple and straightforward manner. Dinah Roseberry has a very personable way of writing and you will feel as though she’s right there next to you telling you all about the subject matter. UFO & Alien Management would be enjoyable by anyone who has had an alien or UFO experience, but even if you haven’t and you’re just a fan of Star Trek or Star Wars, the book is a very interesting read.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with Dinah about her book. What follows is that interview.

Nefer: The importance of spiritual protection during an ET regression is a new one on me. Would you care to further expand upon the reasoning behind this? Have you or your clients had negative experiences, hence the need for protection?

Dinah: There are all kinds of situations where one should practice protection. Paranormal investigators (the smart ones) do this routinely because things can turn wrong on a dime. Star Beings are an unknown; there is lots of speculation about good, bad; right, wrong; safe, dangerous. It’s best never to take chances. I have definitely heard of those who have had frightening things happen to them relating to UFOs and Star People. Protection is protection and can be used for anything—a trip to the dentist, a long drive down a dangerously icy highway, a visitation from aliens. Why wouldn’t someone want their spiritual protection in place before becoming involved in things unknown? It never hurts to be careful. My recommendation is not to enter this field without it.

Nefer: It sounds from reading your book, UFO and Alien Management, that you have worked with Archangel Michael a long time. What has your experience with him been like?

Dinah: I always feel protected now that I know he is about. I found out about his protective nature when attending an Angel workshop with Pat Cassell. Through her, he offered a specific prayer so that he could be called upon whenever I needed him for protection. Believe me, I keep him running! I don’t always call on him just for myself, either, but for anyone going through anything! A psychic I know asked me once if I had a request for Michael. (She hears her answers audibly in her head (clairaudient).) I asked for more protection. He answered: “What, again?!” She said that he laughed and then added, “Of course.” I also interact with the archangel Raphael for my health and other angels have shown up in varied readings I’ve had. I’m always in awe whenever I feel they are around.

Nefer: What is/are your reason(s) for writing this book? How do you hope your book will help others?

Dinah: To be absolutely honest, I decided to write this book because of money. Not making money, but because I know that people sometimes find the high cost of hypnosis for alien abduction or UFO experiences to be beyond what they can manage. I went through this personally and just had to let things pass me by, because I could not afford to purchase assistance. Some fifteen years or so later, an opportunity was given to me to become a certified hypnotist (more archangel, guide, and light being help). I found that there was a way to conduct a “pre-session” via visualization that could give lots of information about any kind of UFO event for someone wanting to “find out what really happened.” For my process, one just has to be calm, persistent, follow the rules closely, and allow the information to surface. Then, at that time, a person can decide if a hypnotist or other assistance is needed. Oftentimes, their questions will be answered and no more help will be desired. The book takes a self-help approach, giving the methods, the preparations, the goals, the cautions…it offers a helpful and important place to start.

Nefer: Can someone benefit from your book who has had no UFO or ET experiences?

Dinah: The short answer is yes. Some people don’t think they have had an experience, when in fact they have. This can bring that kind of thing up from the subconscious. Also, people interested in the topic can use the method to make contact, but I do suggest caution with this and for people to consider the dangers.

Nefer: You list different types of aliens. Most readers will only be familiar with the Grays. Is it safe to assume different alien races have different agendas; and if so, how do we know this to be the case?

Dinah: This, of course, is total speculation. I haven’t a clue about agendas. Much of what I have experienced, read about, heard about, etc. spouts theory—just like I do. (Although I should mention that I’ve had several experiences and was part of a small group who—on September 13, 2012—saw 19 UFOs.) We really don’t know the truths or whys. Are there people who do know? I believe there are. And yes, I believe they are keeping information from us. (I guess you can see that I’m a bona fide conspiracy theorist.) My thinking is this: if we, here on this planet, have people who have agendas, why wouldn’t that kind of thing occur everywhere in some fashion? The whole thing is a scary concept. It always rolls back to the question: Do we really want to know? Uhmm, sorta kinda maybe—as long as there are no big spider aliens. I just couldn’t deal with that. (And I should say that I’ve heard that there are bug aliens that resemble spiders.) We very well could be taking a chance trying to interact just because of this agenda thing. Speculation all.

Nefer: In your considered opinion, are aliens here to merely observe (as in: “hey! Let’s take the kids to the zoo!”), to help with our technological development or physical evolution, or to take our planet for their own? What is/are your reason(s) for your opinion?

Dinah: I do believe they are observing and one source has said to me that we are never alone in our lives—there are dozens of aliens standing in our rooms watching everything we do—24/7. (Creepy.) We’ve all heard about the good ones, too. They are here to help us move our vibrations upward—boy do we need more help if that’s the case. There must be some truth to the theory that there is a council that rules over the whole body, otherwise why wouldn’t they just come on down and a) take over, b) have us for lunch—or take us to lunch, c) get rid of all the scum—or add said scum, d) cure our diseases or wipe us out with their own brand of germ; or e) give us still more technology (maybe they already have and that’s why we have so many problems). I try to keep an open mind on these things. I want really bad to believe in the good…and I’ve had mostly good experiences. Others I’ve talked to, not so much. Which brings us back to your beginning question about protection!

I wish to thank Dinah Roseberry for taking the time to reply to my questions about UFO & Alien Management. I believe her contribution to the field to be an important one as it will allow many to access regression techniques that until now may have been beyond their means. I do reiterate what Dinah has said and stress the importance to everyone to please invoke some type of spiritual protection before any regression attempt. This also goes for contacting your spirit guides and even reading Tarot, Lenormand or oracle decks. 

 

People can find out more about Dinah Roseberry and her books at  www.roseberrybooks.weebly.com or specifically her  book UFO and Alien Management at www.ufomanagementgroup.weebly.com.

The Kabbalistic Visions Tarot: Deck Review.

Kabbalistic Visions Tarot box cover featuring the Hanged Man card. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.
Kabbalistic Visions Tarot box cover featuring the Hanged Man card. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.
The Kabbalistic Visions Tarot
Book: Marco Marini
Art: Luigi Scapini
$45.00 USD
http://schifferbooks.com

The Kabbalistic Visions Tarot sums it all up in a nutshell through its title. The interpretations offered in the book by Kabbalistic scholar Marco Marini are based completely on the Kabbalah. Marini is both a scholar and a teacher. His vast knowledge shines forth in the guidebook. I have no background in Kabbalah and admit that I understand very little of it. A great deal of the guidebook, therefore, went right over my head. I’m happy to report that after experimenting with the deck off and on for several decks (something I do for all my deck reviews so I get to know the deck well prior to reviewing it) I have come to discover that the cards work well with the traditional RWS interpretations as well. So for those of you who learned Tarot card meanings from the likes of Eden Gray, Rachel Pollack, and others, you can use this deck with the card interpretations you have learned over the years. Mr. Marini also includes a divinatory interpretation of each card so a reader need not focus solely upon the Kabbalistic aspect of the deck and the deck can easily be used by someone who knows nothing of Kabbalah, such as myself.

The Fool, Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.
The Fool, Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.

As for the other half of the title, “Visions,” the artwork of Luigi Scapini is just that – visionary. No other word describes it, except perhaps “trippy.” It’s very trippy. I haven’t used that word in decades, but it nicely describes the art. The images are not just otherworldly, but they look very shamanistic in nature. I immediately thought of Graham Hancock’s wonderful book, Supernatural, which is about altered states of consciousness attained through trance – many of which were induced via the use of hallucinogens, shamanism, and the wondrous visions shamans receive on their journeys to the otherworld.  There are illustrations in Hancock’s book drawn by actual shamans and the artwork of Scapini for The Kabbalistic Visions Tarot is very reminiscent of shamanic otherworld visions.

If you’re interested in simple renditions of the pips or an RSW clone you will find neither in The Kabbalistic Visions Tarot. What you will find in this deck is a visionary world of surreal images populated with characters and each cards’ Kabbalistic significance explained for those who wish to focus on that aspect of Tarot.

This is not your mother’s Tarot deck.

Scapini’s visions are surreal. The little white dog of the RWS Fool card has been replaced by a baby crocodile that chomps on the Fool’s left leg. The Magician appears in his traditional “as above, so below” pose,

The Magician, from Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.
The Magician, from Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.

but he points to a disembodied eye above a sun within a prism surrounded by four calla lilies. The Popess (aka High Priestess) is the famous Venus of Willendorf figure that dates to the Upper Paleolithic (28,000 – 25,000 BCE). She is depicted in black and spews milk from both nipples as she feeds her many blue and yellow babies to either side of her while two green primate-type creatures with erect phalluses face one another along the base of the image.

In a word, trippy, and that’s just the first three major arcana cards. The art is highly detailed and although the cards measure 3 ½” x 5 ½”, they each have a thick black border that measures approximately 5/8” on all four sides of the image. The image itself measures 2 3/8” x 4 3/8”. The paintings are created to look as though they have been painted upon ancient scrolls so the edges of each image is frayed with rips and tiny gaps and both ends are rolled under as though the image is on a scroll that has just been rolled open. Card titles appear on the base of each scroll and have been painted by the artist since the font is the same, but there are slight differences to show the titles were hand-created, which is a lovely touch that adds to the already unique personality of The Kabbalistic Vision Tarot. Each scroll is unique. The artist did not use a template. Painting the images to make them appear to have been painted on ancient scrolls is a very interesting idea that appeals to me, but I just wish the borders were more narrow so the artwork could be showcased at

The Popess, Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.
The Popess, Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.

slightly larger dimensions. The images have a lot of very interesting detail and if you really enjoy Tarot art as I do, I recommend you first view this deck with a magnifying glass so can see all the tiny nuisances of the imagery, some of which are really quite startling and thought provoking.

The packaging, as always from Schiffer, is strictly top-notch with a lovely hinged lid to the box that is also attached by white ribbon with a magnetic closure that allows the box to be stored standing on its end just like a book. There are two separate well-crafted recessed wells within the box; one for the guidebook and one for the cards. The deck’s guidebook is 256 pages and measures 5 5/8 x 7 5/8″. For each card a thorough discussion of the Kabbalistic imagery is included along with a simpler divinatory interpretation. The guidebook concludes with four spreads: The Kabbalistic Cross, The System of the Seven Cards, The Game of the Pyramid, and The System of the Twelve Cards. The book is paperback bound with nice, thick paper. Included is a nicely laminated poster that measures 14 X 20″ & is the definition of trippiness. Some details of the deck & the poster I do not consider suitable for children or even teens. My daughter took a look and freaked out. The cards have a thin yet sturdy laminate and are gilded in pewter. Word to the wise: do not shuffle these the first few times while wearing black pants unless you like glittery black pants. I thought it was a pretty cool effect myself.

If you are looking for a tarot deck that is unique and very different from the norm

Poster, from Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.
Poster, from Kabbalistic Visions Tarot by Marco Marini & Luigi Scapini. (C) Marini, Scapini & Schiffer Books, 2014.

whose imagery can help to create an altered state if you meditate upon it, then wonderfully unique and trippy Kabbalistic Visions Tarot is definitely the deck for you.

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

Readings & Candle Work
Visionary Art
The Egyptian Lenormand now available for pre-order at Schiffer Books and Amazon.
The Turtle Lenormand now available for pre-order.
The blog for my forthcoming Aloha Spirit of Maui Oracle deck.

Deck Review: The Dream Raven Tarot

dream ravens review images_Page_3dream ravens review images_Page_6The Dream Raven Tarot
Beth Seilonen
Schiffer Books
ISBN #: 987-0-7643-4316-2
Schiffer Books
$39.95 USD

 

Who would ever think that lime-green (or chartreuse) would work as a border color for a tarot deck?  In the case of the Dream Raven Tarot by Beth Seilonen, this color works beautifully and showcases the bright colors of the Dream Raven Tarot quite well.

Admirers of Schiffer Book’s decks will no doubt notice dream ravens review images_Page_5that with the publication of the Dream Raven Tarot and other recent decks of their spring/summer line that the sturdy cardboard hinged box with magnetic closure has become a bit smaller with also a change in the size of the accompanying guide book.  The guide book is basically square and measures 5 ¾” x 5”.  The deck itself measures 3 ½ X 6”, so it is long and may be a bit more difficult for people with small hands to shuffle.   The book and deck each rest within their own recessed well within the box side by side.  The box measures 6 x 9 x ½” so it’s the size of a paperback and due to the magnetic hinged lid you can store the box on its end as if it were a book and you never have to worry about the lid popping open spilling the book and cards.  The new box size now requires as much shelf space as a typical book and this will make storing decks much easier in my house, which has over the past few years become overrun with decks.

dream ravens review images_Page_2The Dream Raven Tarot has bright, vibrant colors with a raven depicted on each card.  The artistic medium is colored pencil.  Suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.  Court cards are also traditional: Page, Knight, Queen, and King.  The major arcana cards all have traditional titles with the exception of the Hanged Man, which his entitled simply “Hanged” in The Dream Raven Tarot.

The guide book is nicely laid out with nearly full size black and white depictions of the major arcana cards on one page with their interpretations on the facing page.  The minor arcana cards are depicted in miniature as the entire suit on a two-page layout at the start of each of the chapters on the particular suits.  An enlarged etail of each card is illustrated within a semi-circle to the left (even numbered pages) and to the right (odd numbered pages) of each card’s interpretation.  All cards have traditional Rider-dream ravens review images_Page_1Waite-Smith interpretations along with reversed interpretations.  Card backs are fully reversible.  Spreads include the Raven’s Claw (4 cards) and The Raven (6 cards).

The Dream Raven Tarot is a delightful deck that works well with every type of spread I have used – both traditional and non-traditional.  It’s a versatile deck with lovely energy.  Due to an unpleasant experience in childhood I am not a huge fan of birds.  However, I really enjoy using The Dream Raven Tarot and this will be a deck I return to in the future again and again, despite my massive collection.