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

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Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

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

 

 

 

Beautiful Creatures Tarot: Deck Review

The Beautiful Creatures Tarot                                                                                    Beautiful Creatures Tarot
Book: J. r. Rivera
Artwork: Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Schiffer Books, 2015
http://schifferbooks.com
The Beautiful Creatures Tarot comes housed in the sturdy laminated magnetic hinged box for which Schiffer is now known. The box measures 6 X 9” and can be stored on its end like a book thus requiring less room in your bookcase. The magnetic lid remains closed so the deck can be stored as if it were a book. The deck is stored within two recessed wells and the 6 X 9” guidebook rests on top of the cards.
The Beautiful Creatures Tarot is a collaborative effort between J. r. Rivera (guide book author) and Jasmine Becket-Griffith, who is well known as the artist behind a number of oracle decks. Her style focuses on the eyes of her characters, which are always lovely and oversized that immediately draw your attention to the faces of the characters she paints.
The Sun & 10 of Waters from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot, Schiffer Books 2015.

The Sun & 10 of Waters from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot, Schiffer Books 2015.

The card images are lovely representations of 1 – 3 females on each card all of whom sport the trademark large eyes of Griffith’s style. Griffith paints with acrylics and her images contain a luminescence that creates an aura of mystery around the figures she creates.
The Beautiful Creatures Tarot differs from traditional Tarot decks in two main areas: some of the major arcana cards are renamed, and the court cards do not reflect the typical medieval court organization, but are based upon astrological correspondences.
The differing card names within the major arcana are as follows:
The Fool = The Explorer
Strength = The Fortitude
Justice = The Equilibrium
Hanged Man = The Swinging One
Death = The Transformation
Temperance = The Mediator
The Devil = The Addiction
The Tower = The Unexpected
The court cards of The Beautiful Creatures Tarot can be confusing to someone who is new to Tarot. The Pages are
named for each of the Elements and are called Nymphs. Their information concludes the chapter on court cards while the other court cards are named for their astrological correspondences. They begin with the Ram as Aries, moving to Taurus as the Bull, the Twins as Gemini, and so on.
The 4 Nymphs (Pages) from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)

The 4 Nymphs (Pages) from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)

One example is that the Ram of Fires corresponds to the traditional Queen of Wands.
The Ram of Fires from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)

The Ram of Fires from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)

Suits are Fires (Wands), Waters (Cups), Airs (Swords), and Earths (Pentacles).
The guidebook has 152 pages with black and white images of the cards. The spreads include a one card/one answer spread; a 3-card spread; The Beautiful & Ugly; The 3-Card Mirror Within; The 3-card Beauty, Truth & Light; the 5-card Triage en Croix; the 5-card Mind Over Heart; 5-card 30-Day Outlook; 5-card Voice of the Beautiful Creatures; the 7-card Vice Versa; & the 7-card Family Tree and Hereditary spread. As far as spreads go this book presents an excellent selection from which to choose.
The card interpretations begin with keywords and a description of the card’s imagery. Both upright and reversed meanings are provided. There are two additional cards: You Are One and The Supernatural, thus making The Beautiful Creatures Tarot an 80-card Tarot deck. The guidebook concludes with eight lined journal pages for notes.
The cards measure 3 ½” x 5” and are constructed from a sturdy card stock with just enough flexibility to allow for relatively easy shuffling. The borders are purple along the base with the card title in white along the base of the image. The rest of the border is black.
Extra Cards: You Are One & The Supernatural from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)

Extra Cards: You Are One & The Supernatural from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books, 2015)

Images consist exclusively of females, except for The Lovers and 2 of Waters. Jasmine Becket-Griffiths is known for depicting females with large, prominent eyes and faces with the body being smaller and not emphasized as much as the head. The artwork has a fairy tale ethereal air to it. The cards are really lovely and card backs are completely reversible for those of you who take reversed card meanings into account for your readings.
Card back from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)

Card back from The Beautiful Creatures Tarot (Schiffer Books 2015)

Overall, The Beautiful Creatures Tarot makes for a lovely addition to your Tarot collection. My banker husband who is not into Tarot at all kept telling me what a “cute” deck this is. The Beautiful Creatures Tarot does have a nice energy to it that makes the deck very enjoyable and is definitely is a must-have for all fans of Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s artwork.

Deck Review: The Gorgon’s Tarot

The Gorgon’s Tarot                                                                                                                

Box cover

Box cover

Dolores Fitchie
Schiffer Books
$45.00

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fool page from The Gorgon's Tarot guidebook.

The Fool page from The Gorgon’s Tarot guidebook.

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

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

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

 Example of a short reading.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you all many blessings,

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

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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.

Deck Review: The Radiant Wisdom Tarot

The Radiant Wisdom Tarot
Laughing Womyn Ashonosheni
Sophronia Press, 2012
ISBN #: 978-0-9854206-0-4
$65.00 USD
http://RadiantWisdomTarot.com

 If you appreciate smaller tarot decks due to having small hands, bright colors, easily comprehended symbolism, and nice extras like an extra suit and an included velvet bag, then The Radiant Wisdom Tarot is for you.

 At 3” X 4”, The Radian Wisdom Tarot fits comfortably in my hands despite being thicker than most decks due to a fifth suit.  The cards are printed on a supple card stock that was immediately easy to shuffle right out of the box.  The laminate is light weight yet thoroughly protective of the cards.

 The extra suit of Bridges represents the process of manifestation and the cards of this suit represent the energies that create a bridge from initial inspiration or idea to the final physical results (manifestation).  The deck is housed in a 9 X 5” blue velvet drawstring pouch that has plenty of room if you’d like to add your favorite crystals, stones, and/or a packet of herbs.  The velvet bag is a very nice added touch to The Radiant Wisdom Tarot.

 The Radiant Wisdom Tarot consists of 92 cards:  22 major arcana and 70 minor arcana of five suits with 14 cards each.  Suits are:  Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and the extra suit is Bridges.  Court cards are:  Mystic (Page), Achiever (Knight), Nurturer (Queen), and Keeper (King).  All minor arcana cards are titled.  For example, the 2 of Air is entitled, “Indecision,” the 1 of Fire is entitled “Enthusiasm,” the 6 of Water is entitled, “History,” and so on.

 The cards of the major arcana, with the exception of Strength, have all been renamed and are as follows:

 Fool = Simplicity, Magician = Manifestation, High Priestess = Spiritual Guide, Empress = Generosity, Emperor = Strategy, Hierophant = Conformity, Lovers = Love, Chariot = Success, Justice = Balance, Hermit = Solitude, Wheel of Fortune = Opportunity, Hanged Man = Perspective, Death = Transformation, Temperance = Flexibility, Devil = Breakthrough, Tower = Awakening, Star = Gratitude, Moon = Intuition, Sun = Expansion, Judgment = Consciousness, and the World = Wholeness.

Various cards from The Radiant Wisdom Tarot.

Various cards from The Radiant Wisdom Tarot.

As you can see, a main keyword for the meaning of each major arcana card was used as the new title of that card for The Radiant Wisdom Tarot.

 The paperback guidebook measures 5 ½ x 8 ½”  and has 213 pages.  It begins with an “about the Author” section and a brief introduction.  A summary of the chakras and brief advice on working with crystals and stones is also included along with a brief discussion of grounding.  The cards are discussed in terms of a general meaning and then what they specifically mean when they appear in a reading.  Furthermore, each card is discussed in terms of its “Ease” and “Effort,” which is an interesting concept to include for any deck and is one of the things that makes this deck unique when compared to others.  Advice on how to go with the flow of the energy of each card regarding how that card’s energy is experienced through the situation in question is what is discussed for the “Ease” of the card.  The “Effort” of the card represents flowing with the energy outside of the experience embodies by the card.   The foundation of each card’s energy Is included as a Key Phrase.  Every card interpretation also includes a simple phrase explaining how that card’s energy lends itself to a creative pursuit or project.  Correspondences to other cards, astrology, chakras, colors, and runes are also included.  The guidebook concludes with six spreads unique to this deck.  I have tried them all out and they all work well for me and have offered up some useful insights.

 Usually, when a deck creator decides to include a fifth suit it will correspond to the Element of Spirit, or Ether, recognized as a fifth Element in addition to Air, Fire, Water and Earth. However, The Radiant Spirit Tarot is unique in that the deck creator chose to focus on the process of creation and manifestation of ideas into physical end results, thus her suit of Bridges embodies the energies of the process of creation and manifestation.   In The Radiant Wisdom Tarot the suit of Bridges represents the process of creativity from initial idea or desire to the final physical product.  Thus, The Radiant Wisdom Tarot is a useful deck for artists and writers who wish to consult the tarot about their projects.  I have done so with this deck; and again, I was given some very clear and helpful insights to my creative process.

 As a result, my sample reading is going to focus on a creative project of mine that has stalled, The Magickal Musings Tarot.  My question is:

“What is the reason for the long stall?  Do I need to drop the project for now to start on something else?”

 For this reading I used the “Personal Alignment” spread from the guidebook. This spread is very useful because the card positions tell you what things in your life you should keep the same and which you should change in order to manifest the changes or end result you desire.  This spread tells you what is necessary in order to remain committed to a project.  My cards are as follows:

The Radiant Wisdom Tarot, sample reading using the Personal Alignment spread.

The Radiant Wisdom Tarot, sample reading using the Personal Alignment spread.

 1:  Unknown.  The guidebook says to keep this card face down for the length of the reading.   Although it’s very hard for me not to look, I am following the rules, hence the card back in the picture here represents the first card of the “Personal Alignment” spread.

 2:  3 of Water:  Loyalty.  The card position is defined as what I need to maintain in my life in order to remain committed to my project.  Using traditional Rider-Waite interpretations, the 3 of Water (corresponding to the 3 of Cups) is happiness, joy, social gatherings with friends, and a reason to celebrate.  So right there this card is telling me that I need to be in a happy mood in order to create, which is very true.  The guidebook says that I need to ask myself is I truly do intend to remain committed to this project to the very end or should I perhaps try something new.  The phrase about creativity for this card says:  “Creativity is supported through devotion.”  The card is telling me I need to maintain a support network (I do have a group for The Magickal Musings Tarot on Facebook).

 3:  4 of Water:  Serenity.  The card position is described as what I need to change or adjust in order to maintain my commitment to my deck project.  The 4 of Water is all the importance of maintaining peace and harmony in our lives so that we remain in balance.  The phrase about creativity for this card is, “creativity is supported through inner peace.”  I can’t speak for others, but as far as I am concerned, I cannot create artistic works when I am under stress.  This card is telling me I need to focus on eliminating or somehow decreasing the amount of stress in my life.  Easier said than done for most people, but I am taking this under advisement.

 4:  Simplicity (The Fool).  The card position here represents the type of external support system I need in order to help me to complete my deck.  According to the guidebook, Simplicity focuses on the combination of innocence and trust with the wisdom we gain through our life experiences.  In other words, I need to trust the higher powers that I will be guided in the direction that is right for me at this time of my life.  Regarding external support specifically, this card is telling me to rely upon past experience and how it made me feel.  I did just finish creating a Lenormand deck, The Egyptian Lenormand, so I am well aware of all the work that went into creating each original work of art for each card of that deck; and, for a tarot deck I would need to multiply that by 2 since my Lenormand deck has 39 cards.  It was a LOT of work, but I feel I could do it again, and yes, probably times two, so a tarot deck is not completely out of my reach, especially since I have around 20 images already completed.  The creativity phrase for this card is, “Creativity is supported through play and adventure.”  Something tells me I need to lighten up regarding my approach.

 5: 5 of Water: Disguise.  The card position here represents that internal spark within upon which I can rely and repeatedly activate.  According to the guidebook, some truth is being hidden by me or someone else and that I need to focus on discovering this truth.  The phrase regarding creativity is:  “Creativity is supported through disguising reality.”  I’m not sure what that means right now and need to think about it.  I think this hidden truth is that I am fully capable of creating a 78-card tarot deck and that I just need to buckle down and do it.  We often do not know what we are capable of until we actually try to accomplish it, then we often surprise ourselves.

 6: Achiever of Earth:  Effectiveness.  This card position represents the most gentle manner in which I can motivate myself to get moving on my deck.  According to the guidebook, the Achiever of Earth (equivalent to the Knight of Pentacles) represents “our ability to have an impact on the world.”  He represents a new endeavor and that along the journey my skills will increase. I have already seen this occur during the creation of my Egyptian Lenormand deck.  Artistic abilities is like a muscle.  The more you use them the finer tuned they become.  This card states that creativity is supported through “successful action.”  In other words, I’m being told to just get off my butt and DO it.

 All in all, a very helpful reading and it has helped me to decide to go for it and focus on creating my tarot deck.  Overall, in order to remain focused on the completion of my deck, The Radiant Wisdom Tarot is telling me that I need to focus on my interest in and loyalty to the concept of my deck (3 of Water).  In order to achieve that I need to introduce more peace and harmony into my life and eliminate as much stress as I can (4 of Water).  The external support to maintain my interest in this deck is my previous deck creating experience and the support group environment of Facebook (Simplicity: The Fool).  I need to focus on the sense of accomplishment that completing my Egyptian Lenormand has given me and allow it to serve as motivation to complete The Magickal Musings Tarot.  The 5 of Water suggests I focus on finding the truth. I take this to mean my own truth as an artist.  Finally, the Achiever of Earth is telling me to focus on increasing my skills as the project continues.  Perhaps I need to try some new artistic approaches in order to expand my boundaries and skill set.

2 of Bridges, from The Radiant Wisdom Tarot.

2 of Bridges, from The Radiant Wisdom Tarot.

As for the hidden card in position # 1, that turned out to be the 2 of Bridges, entitled, “Ground” which represents the need to be willing to follow through to the end and to focus on the end goal.  Very appropriate, I thought.

 As you can see, although the imagery of The Radiant Wisdom Tarot appears very simple at first glance, this deck provides very deep and thought provoking readings. It’s given me a lot to think about and I’ve decided to continue working on my own tarot deck.  Who knows what truths I may discover along the way?

If you’d like to see more cards from the deck in action, please check out this YouTube video.

Deck Review: The Mary-El Tarot.

The Mary-El Tarot

   Marie White

   http://www.schifferbooks.com

ISBN #: 978-0-7643-4061-1

$39.99

NOTE:  this deck and review contains nudity.

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if     you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”  ~ Frederich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

 

That famous and often used quote nearly sums up the Mary-El Tarot.  For those of you who know me you are well aware of my love for bright colors.  I collect brightly colored decks and the artwork I create is dominated by bright colors.  However, every once in a while something dark and somewhat macabre catches my eye.  It is such well-crafted decks as the Mary-El Tarot that provides us with necessary balance in the tarot world.

The Mary-El Tarot is based upon the Marseille, Rider Waite, and Thoth decks that also serve as its inspiration.  Following Crowley, Justice is major arcana 8 while Strength is major arcana 11.  The major arcana are all traditionally named.  The cards are laden with deep symbolism that is discussed in detail by Marie White in her guidebook.  I recommend you take the time to read the guidebook before you attempt to use this deck.  I suggest you take the time to highlight the significance of the main symbols depicted on the cards.  The interpretation of each card consists of a number of key words and phrases for both upright and reversed cards.  The keywords are followed by the upright and reversed traditional Rider Waite interpretations.  Marie White also includes her own interpretations of her images.  You do not see this very often when an artist takes the time to include both their own interpretations and the traditional Rider Waite interpretations.  This gives the Mary-El Tarot a unique perspective.  When you begin to shuffle for a reading I recommend that you decide ahead of time if you will be using the traditional Rider Waite interpretations or Marie White’s interpretations.  I have done readings for myself asking the same question twice and using first Marie White’s interpretations, then the traditional Rider Waite interpretations.  Both do work well with this deck, but again, I recommend you decide beforehand which set of interpretations you will use for each reading.

The minor arcana in both the book and brand new deck are arranged according to their numbers.  All Aces are together, followed by the four Two’s, the Threes, and so on.  As with the major arcana, both Marie White’s interpretations and the traditional Rider Waite interpretations are provided for each card, upright and reversed.  As with the major arcana, the cards are laden with intricate symbolism that Marie White discusses for each card.  The suits are Wands, Swords, Cups, and Disks.  Court cards are designated the usual Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings.  The guidebook concludes with the following spreads:  a daily Within and Without, a 3-card advice, relationship spread, a yes/no spread, past life, and a 10-card pyramidal tetractys spread.  The guidebook concludes with what I consider to be an important discussion of how to interpret the cards via the suggested interpretations, use of color and overall mood of each card.

If you enjoy decks that are somewhat darker in tone with a dreamlike element to them and intricate symbolic art, then you will enjoy the Mary-El Tarot.  Marie White takes great pains to thoroughly discuss the symbols she placed into each card that are integral to that card’s meaning.  I reiterate that it is recommend you take the time to read the guidebook thoroughly before jumping into using the deck.  You will be glad you took the time to do so.  Since Marie White also includes the more traditional Rider Waite interpretation that makes this deck useful for both beginner and advanced readers alike.