If you do not currently own a Tarot deck, here’s my advice on how to purchase one. The main criteria is that the imagery of the deck appeals to you. You will be viewing that deck fairly often so you’re going to want to get a deck you find to be pleasing to your eye. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and these days there are hundreds of decks to choose from, so where do you start?
If you’re relatively new to Tarot I would recommend that you begin with a deck for which all the pips are fully illustrated with scenes. The pips are the minor arcana – the four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords & Pentacles) and their cards, Ace – King. Some decks only represent the pips numerically. For instance, the 2 of Cups will be just that, a picture of 2 cups. The 6 of Pentacles will be simply a picture of six pentacles, and so on. When the pips are fully illustrated the cards are depicted scenically.
A good example of this is the 3 of Cups, here from The Rider Waite Smith (known as the RWS) deck. This one has been painted by artist Carol Herzer. Here we have three woman holding their cups aloft as they celebrate something. The 3 of Cups represents having a reason to celebrate. It can also indicate having a good time with friends. You see that idea depicted here through the symbols used for the card. This is what I mean by a fully illustrated pip card. For someone who is new to Tarot it is crucial your first few decks have fully illustrated pips. This will make the flow and narrative of your readings much easier to follow and comprehend.
There are many decks that contain fully illustrated pips. As a Tarot instructor, over the years I have recommended several decks to my students that are in various styles, but they have one thing in common. All the pips are illustrated.
Firstly, I would recommend any version of the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot. You can google the title and then click on “images” to view various styles of this deck.
My second suggestion is The Robin Wood Tarot.
Done in the RWS style, Robin Wood’s depiction of the pips, as well as the major arcana, is very straightforward and simple to understand. Many times while using this deck with clients they can glance down at the table and know immediately how the reading will turn out based upon the images on the cards, yet they know nothing of Tarot. I highly recommend The Robin Wood Tarot for beginners. Plus, it’s a lovely deck that has a pagan feel to it.
Another nice deck to start with, especially for those of you with smaller hands, is the Hanson-Roberts Tarot. These cards are playing-card size so they are easier to shuffle and larger readings will take up less room on your table. The artwork is done in colored pencil and is lovely and done in the RWS tradition.
If you like computer graphic art, I also recommend any Tarot deck by the artist
Ciro Marchetti. I own all his decks & must say he is among my all-time favorite Tarot artists. I especially like his Legacy of the Divine deck, as well as his Tarot of Dreams, which is my personal favorite.
Lisa Hunt is another Tarot artist I highly admire & find inspiring for my own artistic endeavors. She has a number of decks in print and you can search
her at Amazon to find a list there. My all-time favorite of hers is The Celtic Dragon Tarot, which I believe has just entered its 14th printing, if I’m not mistaken. This was the first non-RWS deck I purchased back in 1999 and I must say after using only the RWS for nearly 20 years, The Celtic Dragon Tarot introduced me to a whole new world of decks not strictly done in the RWS tradition. Lisa Hunt depicts each card with a dragon and lovely Celtic scenery all done in watercolor.
A good website to visit in order to see at least six images from every card deck is Aeclectic Tarot at http://www.aeclectic.net/. They also include deck reviews and here you can make an informed decision as to which deck to purchase. Purchase links are also included.
My main tips for choosing a Tarot deck are:
- The pips should be fully illustrated scenes if you’re a beginner.
- The artwork should be pleasing to your eye.
- There are many themes of decks available now so choose a theme that interests you.
It can be daunting to sift your way through the hundreds of Tarot decks available these days. Take your time and I’m sure you will end up with the deck that is perfect for you.
Wishing You Many Blessings,
Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.
The Egyptian Lenormand now available for pre-order at Schiffer Books and Amazon.
The Turtle Lenormand now available for pre-order.
My forthcoming Aloha Spirit of Maui Oracle deck.
Tarot for the week of October 6, 2014 ~Deck: The Chrysalis Tarot Holly Sierra, Artist Toney Brooks, Author US Games, Inc. 2014
The week opens with Green Man, which is most commonly titled “The Emperor” in other Tarot decks. This card embodies the universal spiritual forces of Will, Control, and Organization. It represents skills at being organized, at knowing how to put a project together and get it off the ground, and it is usually a card of accomplishment since the Green Man gets things done. On the downside, the Green Man can be a bit controlling, sometimes even a control freak and the lesson of this card is to always remember it’s great to have a set goal in mind and a good idea of how to attain it, but you also have to be careful not to drive over anyone who may be in your way or may be too slow to join in. Patience may be required from time to time.
The 6 of Mirrors represents nostalgia. It often indicates
either yearning for the past or perhaps wishing to see an old friend. The 6 of Mirrors can sometimes indicate a reunion with an old friend or a family member you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s typically a happy and peaceful card.
The 6 of Mirrors (also known as the 6 of Cups in other Tarot decks) usually is a depiction of a garden. This is a card of slow and steady growth. So all that get up and go in the Green Man card will continue to evolve throughout the week. Things will grow at a pace that is appropriate for them and for you. An old friend may be of help.
The Celtic Owl, like the
Green Man, is another card of the major arcana. In other Tarot decks this is known as the Hanged Man. The Celtic Owl embodies the universal spiritual forces of Self-Sacrifice, Illumination, and often can indicate feeling like you’re stuck in limbo or in a rut.
At the start of the week you have all this great get-up-and-go energy around you that really gets things moving, but by the end of the week I think you’ll be ready for the weekend and wanting to rest and have time to reflect. The Celtic Owl can represent going within, meditating, finding the time to rest and relax. The upcoming weekend will come as a welcome break for many of us, but this will overall be a week of accomplishments.
So go out & make it a great week!
Wishing you & yours many blessings,
Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.
Magickal-Musings.com: readings, spells, free information
Visionary Art: Soul Portraits and Manifestation Mandalas created just for you
Egyptian Lenormand: only FOUR copies of the self-published edition remain. I ship worldwide.
The Gorgon’s Tarot is a rather unique deck. Like The Motherpeace and Daughters of the Moon decks, The Gorgon’s Tarot is round. The overall style of the deck is appealing to the eye. The images are depicted on black backgrounds with the images done in white. With the sole exceptions of the extra card, “The Blind Gorgon,” and The Devil card, The Gorgon’s Tarot is a strictly black and white deck. The Blind Gorgon is an extra card and it, plus The Devil card contain a splash of red.
The overall artistic style, graphic black and white images with mostly female characters and several kinds of animals; including leopards, ferrets, and cats, makes me think of art nouveau. What I particularly enjoy about The Gorgon’s Tarot is the manner in which patterns are worked into the images. Patterns are worked into the clothing of characters, background elements, suit symbols, and even some animals appear with patterns on their bodies. The use of patterns in The Gorgon’s Tarot make me think of Zentangles, a method of doodling that has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. The patterns add texture to the images in The Gorgon’s Tarot, and when used as part of the background elements they also add a sense of depth to the images.
The cards measure 5 ¾” across. When stacked, the deck measures nearly 1 ½” tall. I don’t have particularly small hands, but I am unable to rifle-shuffle these cards. They are well laminated so I use my deck on a table and the cards are able to slide across the surface. I mix them face down on the table, then reassemble my deck for the reading.
The guidebook is quite tiny, measuring 5 ¾” long by 2 7/8”
wide. The book is rendered in landscape orientation and contains no page numbers, but according to the table of contents the book has 168 pages. All cards are reproduced in miniature at 2 ¼” in diameter.
Card interpretations are typical of the Rider-Waite tradition, but I do suggest you read the author’s own description of her cards. She has a keen sense of humor that comes through not only in her discussion of her cards, but it is also apparent in the imagery as a whole. Interpretations are very short so it will not take you long at all to read the entire guidebook. Card interpretations include both upright and reversed meanings. Spreads are not included.
I enjoy using this deck. I find it works well for pretty much any type of question. I also enjoy reading the author/artist’s own take on her cards, which read as tiny short stories that often give the reader food for thought.
Example of a short reading.
I did a 3-card draw of Past/Present/Future regarding today’s big headline hear in Texas about an Ebola patient in Dallas and how others he had come into contact with may be also infected. My query revolved around the general welfare of the people of Texas, the state in which I reside.
I received the 9 of Swords, Judgment, and the 7 of Cups.
A portion of the text for the 9 of Swords reads:
… she is unable to heed the wisdom of the snakes who try to tell her that our fear is so often much worse than any real threat, the bark worse than the bite. She dwells in a solipsistic bubble of terror and grief. She needs to find a way to pierce through it, and she’s not lacking the tools to achieve this. After all, swords can cut both ways.
The 9 of Swords clearly speaks to the fear that Ebola may become a real outbreak here in Texas and this card is picking up on my concern for my daughter as well as the people of Dallas.
Judgment in the Present position is all about preparing for our next stage in spiritual evolution. Things have come to a close and new developments are on the horizon. I see this card as a shift in perspective due to some form of illumination or perhaps a spiritual awakening. It could indicate that new realizations about Ebola and how to combat it will result from the medical profession’s work with this patient in Dallas.
The 7 of Cups in the Future position represents the need to narrow down choices and focus better on alternatives offered. Given the current situation, I feel this reflects the media and all of the conflicting information that is now being announced to the public. On the one hand we’re told Ebola is not communicable except via bodily fluids, then in another newscast they tell us you can catch it via bodily contact from the perspiration of the infected individual. All of these cups represent people wondering who do we believe? Or do we simply believe what we wish to believe and go on about our lives?
Overall, the cards tell me there is tremendous fear surrounding the entire situation that can be mitigated once people become better informed about how Ebola is transmitted. The 7 of Cups I take to be a warning to not listen to everything we hear and take it at face value. The public needs to evaluate the sources of their information as some are not as thorough or accurate as others. By remaining informed we can combat the disease and take the proper measures to protect ourselves.
The Gorgon’s Tarot speaks well to my intuition. I don’t
know if it’s because they are black and white so the absence of color may be a favor or if it is the varied patterns that are used on the cards. Perhaps it is those patterns that speak so much to my inner knowing, but I find that I don’t use the book at all. I examine the images and I ascertain how they make me feel and what they make me think. Then I factor that into my own interpretation of the cards and I find that method is working very well for me when I use The Gorgon’s Tarot.
Suits are the traditional Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. The major arcana is also traditionally named with Justice at arcana 8 and Strength at Arcana 11. Court cards are the traditional Page, Knight, Queen and King. As a result, I recommend The Gorgon’s Tarot to beginners, especially if they want to work with a deck that is fairly unique.
Wishing you all many blessings,
Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.
Magickal-Musings.com: readings, spells, free information
Visionary Art: Soul Portraits and Manifestation Mandalas created just for you
Egyptian Lenormand: only 5 copies of the self-published edition remain. I ship worldwide.
A collaboration between Juno Lucina (Author) & Monica Knighton (artist), The Healing Tarot: 78 Ways to Wellness, is – as far as I know, a unique concept. The deck can be used two different ways: as a straightforward typical Tarot deck following the traditional Rider-Waite interpretations, or as a method to read on your health specifically. The guidebook runs 192 pages & contains both traditional Rider-Waite interpretations as well as health interpretations of every card in the deck that are based upon medical astrology.
There is an interesting health orientation to every card. Body parts and clues to various maladies are included in the card imagery. All card images are presented as black and white sketches with a pen and ink look to them. If you love brightly colored decks, as I do, you are going to be sorely tempted to color in the images – however, due to the sturdy, yet light laminate coating, I don’t recommend you attempt it. I don’t believe anything but gel pens would adhere to the cards and over time with repeated shuffling that color may erode. The black and white sketch style to the deck lends a certain charm and it also allows for much easier visibility of the finer details of each work of art contained within The Healing Tarot. In fact, the minute details included in the images is quite outstanding & the lack of color makes the finer details more pronounced, in my artistic opinion.
Schiffer deck packaging has been changed and the focus has moved away from the longer box to a shorter box that measures 9 X 6 X 1 1/2″. The box is still made from thick & sturdy cardboard with a heavy laminate. The lids remain with the nice flip magnetic closure. The great thing about the new size of box is that it fits very nicely on a bookshelf since it’s the same size as a typical 9 X 6 X 1″ paperback book. The magnetic closure allows the box to be stored on its end and you do not have to be concerned about the box falling open while on the shelf.
The size of the Guidebook is also very nice at 5 1/2 X 5 1/2 X 1/2″. It’s easy to hold and personally, I prefer the smaller size. Within the box for The Healing Tarot there are separate wells for the cards and book that are housed side by side. The Guidebook includes a 3 – 5 page discussion of each major arcana card and a 1-page discussion of each minor arcana card. Card interpretations include the traditional Rider-Waite for non-health related questions as well as the interpretation based on medical astrology & the Qabalistic Tree of Life that pertains to specific health issues and parts of the body. Cards are also discussed in terms of being positively or poorly aspected, depending on surrounding cards in the spread. Astrological associations of the cards and how they combine with one another in a reading are important, as well as elemental friendships, dignitaries, & the planets’ traditional relationships with one another. Three spreads are included for The Healing Tarot: Acute Illness, Healthy Zodiac, & Diet/Fitness. All cards are depicted in the Guidebook in 3 X 2″ for the major arcana and 1 X 1 1/2″ for the minor arcana. The cards themselves measure 5 X 3″ with a lovely shiny laminate and are easy to shuffle due to being relatively flexible, but without being flimsy.
Sample Reading: Seeing the Cards in Action.
I suffer from repeated sinus infections, and have ever since I moved to the Gulf Coast of Texas 17 years ago. It’s clearly allergy-related since plants bloom here almost year-round and with the high humidity levels of the Gulf Coast area, there is also mold to which I am highly allergic. The question I posed to The Healing Tarot is: what can I do to avoid repeated sinus infections (which have now progressed to also include throat & ear infections, neither of which I ever suffered from in the past).
I used the Acute Illness Spread since this is basically a chronic condition, plus, when it’s at its worst, I do become acutely ill. Last October I caught strep throat, which went into a sinus infection that progressed into an ear & throat infection. My GP had to take me through FIVE rounds of antibiotics before all the cooties were finally killed off. Needless to say, my stomach wasn’t such a happy camper either, not even with probiotics. The Acute Illness spread consists of 4 cards.
- Card 1: Nature of the Illness: King of Pentacles.
- Card 2: Cause of Illness: 4 of Swords.
- Card 3: Way Through Illness: 3 of Cups.
- Card 4: Outcome of Illness: 2 of Swords.
A quick glance at the imagery tells me that I may be pretty much screwed when it comes to my sinuses. Card 1, the King of Pentacles, depicts a crowned skeleton laying out on the beach. Well, that to me would be the Gulf Coast! He has his hand on a clock, which represents the long-term aspect of this condition that has gone back 17 years. So the nature of this illness is definitely related to the beach, or in my case, specifically the Gulf Coast. So right off the bat I see there’s no real way around the issue since my family isn’t moving in the foreseeable future.
Card 2, the 4 of Swords as the cause of the illness, again, based only on imagery & not even looking at the interpretations in the book, here we have a healer
who is working on a client. I find this very intriguing because when my husband and I first moved to the Gulf Coast area shortly after that I learned about reiki and began undergoing the 4-step attunement process. I am now a reiki master-teacher. Coincidentally or not, my sinus issues began after I completed my reiki training. Therefore, in my case, this card is a timing indicator. The first card identified the location, the second card narrows in on the time the health issue began to be a major problem for me.
Card # 3, the Way Through the Illness, is the 3 of Cups. So, does this mean I’m supposed to throw parties for myself & celebrate continuously? Sounds like fun,
right? When I examine the finer details of the 3 of Cups I realize that the food depicted is the key. The three dancing figures are holding (from left to right) an ice-cream sundae (wow, do I LOVE ice-cream!!), a glass of wine (I’m allergic to sulfates & nitrates so I stay away from wine because I get drunk on just 1 glass!), & a carbonated drink. I love Coke Zero, but do limit myself to 2 cans a day. Now, looking at the nude man laying on the ground he has his back to soda, chips, candy, cake, cheese (dairy – I am lactose intolerant), beer (again, I don’t drink), while in front of his feet there is a pot visible that says “chick ..” on it (the rest of the wording isn’t visible due to the way his feet are positioned. The pot contains what looks like vegetables and a chicken leg, so I can only assume the text on the pot should read in full, “chicken soup.” This man has his back to all this yummy stuff while the chicken soup is in front of him. That tells me I should turn my back on a big chunk of my diet and eat more healthy foods. That’s a major bummer, but it makes perfect sense because these foods contain sugar, which can create more phlegm in your system. Dairy definitely creates phlegm so these are things I should avoid. I have been doing much better lately eating less foods containing processed sugar, but ice-cream? Could I ever give that up? Only time will tell.
Card # 4, the Way Through the Illness, is the 2 of Swords.
This is the typical woman with the 2 swords crossed over her body. In the background is a castle that is mostly in ruins. What caught my eye is the large chunks of roof missing from the castle tower behind her In dreams, a house represents your body. A castle can therefore also represent your body, which is how I take this. The large chunks missing from the roof would indicate an existing problem in the head region, well, your sinuses are in your head, so that makes perfect sense to me.
Summing up my interpretation, I’d say that moving to the Texas Gulf Coast was a HUGE mistake that will no doubt have lasting repercussions on my health. However, if I avoid sweets & dairy foods, that will help, but lasting damage has already been done so I can probably expect the sinus infections to recur over the years. Well, that stinks, doesn’t it!
Now, based on the book, this is how the health interpretation pans out:
The King of Pentacles represents the skeletal system, including the teeth. It also advises to approach health in the same manner I do my business. I am very methodological & goal oriented. I am not that way about my health, but should be, so that’s good advice. Regarding the nature of the illness, which Card Position 1 represents, the skeletal system to me would represent something deeply rooted, perhaps even impossible to remove. Allergies certainly do qualify.
The 4 of Swords in Card Position 2 represents the cause of the illness. This card in The Healing Tarot is connected to partnerships & when poorly aspected it can represent always doing for others, draining one’s own energy, and therefore having a difficult time recovering from an illness. Well, that’s me in a nutshell. When I am sick I seldom rest due to my business & needing to take care of my family.
The 3 of Cups in the position representing the Way Through the Illness indicates that I’m surrounded by many pleasurable choices and I may have difficulty choosing. Given the depiction of food on this card, I am sure this is connected with having a teenage child. There are a lot of snack foods in our house & they are easily accessible to me during the day while my daughter is at school. In the 2 years she has been a teenager I’ve put on 6 pounds. I have cut back recently on how much I have in the house at any given time so hopefully that will help me since I don’t have a great deal of willpower when it comes to bypassing snacks.
The 2 of Swords represents the Outcome of the Illness. The 2 of Swords in The Healing Tarot indicates that I will feel better temporarily, but the underlying health issues will not be fully resolved. I already know the underlying cause is allergies. I cannot treat them with injection therapy because it only makes me sicker, so looks like I’m stuck and this conclusion matches my original one. In other words, I’m just screwed <sigh!>.
As you can see, The Healing Tarot offers fresh insights into health issues. The deck worked very well to address my health concern and I was even able to surmise a great deal just by examining the imagery before I even consulted the interpretations from the Guidebook. Personally, I enjoy using this deck and have found it quite useful. However, I do NOT recommend that anyone purchasing this book use it in lieu of consulting with a health professional. Always seek out professional medical attention first and do not attempt to diagnose health issues on your own. Throughout the Guidebook the need to consult with a doctor is stressed repeatedly within the individual interpretations of the cards. It’s good advice. Combined with care from your doctor, The Healing Tarot offers valuable insights into the physical, emotional & spiritual causes of illness, plus it gives you excellent ideas as to how best to approach the illness in order to facilitate healing and recovery. I highly recommend The Healing Tarot, but please remember to consult with your doctor as well.
Nefer Khepri, PhD.
Egyptian Lenormand (only 18 copies of my self-published deck remain!)
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 that 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.
The 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-Waite-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.