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Review: The Sacred Mandala Tarot: mystery, mindfulness and manifestation

The Sacred Mandala Tarot:
mystery, mindfulness and manifestation

 

Author: Heather Mendel
Artist: Heather Mendel
Foreword: Carrie Paris
A Word of Art
2016
ISBN #9-780971-097612

Sacred Mandala Tarot cover

The Sacred Mandala Tarot is a 78 card Tarot deck that is built upon a foundation of sacred geometry. It follows a traditional format, with the Major Arcana using traditional titles, with the following exception: the Hanged Man becomes the Hanging Man. The suits are Wand, Cups, Swords and Coins (Pentacles). The Court cards have been renamed to: Page/Student, Knight/Seeker, Queen/Seer, King/Sage. The deck comes with a beautiful mesh bag to hold the cards.

The deck is accompanied by a 204 page companion book. In her foreword, the renowned Tarotist/artist Carrie Paris makes a strong point about the manner in which Mendel encourages the use of the art of mindfulness into the practice of divination. This is definitely where I find myself lately – standing apart from outcome, while being very aware of what is going on in the present. Or, as Paris words it, how we align ourselves with the present. Paris goes on to talk about how our chosen beliefs affect our reality. I was very happy to note that the tone of the foreword was in keeping with the gentle tone of Mendel’s work. I have met both ladies, and they are what they speak – gentle, creative souls. Paris shares this quote from Carl Jung:

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.”

That quote brought me great peace – it was/is an affirmation that I am where I need to be, doing what I need to do.

In her preface, Mendel sets the tone for working with this deck. Whether we believe that the future is pre-ordained (already scripted), or whether we believe that the future us unscripted, and evolves from our thoughts, this is what we are going to draw to us. By taking back our intuitive wisdom as our birthright, we can balance thinking with “non-thinking”, and feeling with “non-feeling”. We are consciously choosing to be in the present, enhancing the ability of this incredible companion book to enter into the realms of time and transformation.  From the book:

“Some who receive this deck will choose to continue using it in familiar and traditional ways, others may consider some of the new possibilities offered within the text. As always, the choice is ours and the future we create will be so influenced. May it be bright, deep, rich, creative, and fulfilling.”

 Mendel talks about belief, sanctity, intuition and psychic ability, divination, and the mythic Hero’s Journey. She touches on mindfulness, mysticism and manifestation, and the evolution of consciousness. She talks about the present being the key to the future, She describes her approach to reading the Tarot as an expansive and graphic storytelling of the present moment, and its choices that are creating the future. She also talks about mandalas as used in spiritual work, and creating them from shapes and symbols.

The Major Arcana is described as being composed of mythic archetypes, while the Minor Arcana deals with everyday life. The sacred geometric shape associated with the suit of Wand is the Torus and the mandala is composed of flames. The cards in suit of Cups is represented by a mandala of waterlilies and feature the Flower of Life. The cards in the suit of Swords is represented by a mandala of the clouds and sky and include Metatron’s Cube. The cards in the suit of Coins (Pentacles) is represented by a mandala of red rock and include the Tree of Life. Ending the introductory section is one of my favorite writings – The Desiderata. I was surprised to see it there – and very pleased!

Each of the 78 cards is presented with a full page black and white image, and the following categories: Card Name and Mantra, Key Words, Magical Mandala, Illustration Details, Mystical Motif, Meaning and Mystery, Mindful Manifestation, and Questions.

The following spreads are presented: The Four Worlds: My Reality, My Beliefs, Yes/No Reading, The Life Reading: My Potential, My Present, At the Crossroads: Making A Choice, Journey to Consciousness: My Soul’s Purpose, Connection and Consciousness: Love and Relationship, and Lighting My Way: From Dream to Reality.

At the end of the book is a bibliography and a listing of Tarot related websites.

 

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The cards are 2 3/4” by 4 ¾”. The card backs are black, with the geometric design of Metatron’s cube in the center, and are reversible. Mendel describes how she created the image: “I used Metatron’s Cube as a sacred geometric shape of 13 circles that when joined center to center offers 78 paths – that seemed like a perfect diagram for a 78 card deck. The white lines are outlines of kabbalah’s Tree of life.”

The card faces show the mandala for the card suit, with the card number in the center. The image is centered on the card, surrounded by a thin border that carries a specific color for each suit: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins.

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The Three of Cups shows three female figures, dressed in pink, extending their arms out to each other. The mantra the Three of Cups is: Celebrate the circle that is unbroken. One of the questions to ask is: With whom do you laugh the longest and the loudest?

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Death shows the image of an hour glass, with the sand running into the bottom. The mantra for Death is: Without expectation, I yield to change and welcome the new. One of the questions to ask is: What do you believe about death?

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Strength shows a dark haired female figure, seated, petting a black panther. The mantra for Strength is: Gentleness is strength, and strength is gentle. One of the questions to ask is: How do you relate to the wild?

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The Hierophant shows a female figure with her head balanced on her hands, surrounded by the petals of a water-lily. The mantra for the Hierophant is: From my heart I listen deeply and completely. One of the questions to ask is: What do listening and love have in common?

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The Emperor shows a male figure holding a clock, a symbol of Chronos and Kairos. The mantra for the Emperor is: I organize the details of the grand scheme. One of the questions to ask is: Are you able to summon The Sacred Warrior within when needed?

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The Ace of Coins shows a six-sided mandala. The mantra for the Ace of Coins is: Manifestation grounds intuitive vision. One of the questions to ask is: Do you value Nature as a teacher?

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The Seer/Queen of Swords shows a female figure, dressed in blue, seated, holding a sword in her right hand. There is a full moon in the sky behind her. The mantra for the Seer/Queen of Swords is: I balance my time between thinking and being. One of the questions to ask is: Are you a good listener?

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The Ace of Wands shows a magical wand bridging heaven and earth. The mantra for the Ace of Wands is: I celebrate my ability to fulfill my creative vision. One of the questions to ask is: Do you practice “being” as well as “doing”?

I am very impressed with both deck and book. The black background draws me in (as representing a void), and the simplicity of the mandalas and the “clean”, vivid images go a long way to being able to work with this deck. I appreciate the foundation in sacred geometry, and feel that this deck lends itself to readings, personal work, journeying, meditation, and more. The deck is limited only by the imagination/vision of the user. I recommend it as an investment in one’s self.

© April 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of hte author.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Review – Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition: Tarot of the Holy Light Vol 2

Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition:
Tarot of the Holy Light
Vol 2

Author: Christine Payne-Towler
Senior Editor: Michael Dowers
Associate Editor: Christine Payne-Towler
Cover: Michael Dowers (Note: This is a provisional cover.)
Noreah/Brownfield Press
2016
ISBN # 978-0-9673043-4-2

 Foundations cover

Dedication

In honor of,
in answer to,
in anticipation of
the world community of Tarot.

With thanks to Sophia at every step.

 I have been a fan of Christine Payne-Towler’s work since it first crossed my radar. I recently had the chance to meet Christine in person, and she is a very down to earth, knowledgeable individual, with a great sense of humor. Her works include: The Underground Stream: Esoteric Tarot Revealed, The Tarot of the Holy Light (deck), and The Tarot of the Holy Light (Vol 1 – companion book). Where Tarot of the Holy Light (Vol 1) is the user’s manual for the deck, demonstrating the traditional assumptions built into the outline of the classical Tarots of continental Europe, the 296 page Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition: Tarot of the Holy Light Vol 2 deals with the esoteric background of this deck, and how to put these cards truly to work in your life. It traces the historical references that support Western Esotericism per se. It also helps the reader to put the Continental tradition, and its Alpha-Astro- Numeric (AAN) foundation, to work in an individual’s life.

In the beginning of the book is a list of illustrations, chapter by chapter, followed by Tarot deck citations. In his preface, Angel Lozada talks about reading Payne-Towler’s Underground Stream, followed by an in-depth interpretation of his astrological chart with her. A friendship formed, and he began studying the traditions of Tarot with her.  He notes that in working with the correspondences associated with the Tarot, Payne-Towler takes into consideration the Continental traditions that are often overlooked, and sometimes rejected. He sees her emphasis on influences from the Spanish Portuguese schools, as well as contributions from Protestant Masons.

In her introduction, Payne-Towler starts out by noting that the Tarot is esoteric by its structured and numbered categories. It can be used as a magical calculation tool in the absence of astronomical tables and special knowledge. She states that we need to keep in mind that the Church had a powerful hold on the transmission of metaphysical and theological subjects. We must work backwards through existing materials to define the root ideas of Tarot they were originally. What we see now is a series of clichés that serve to obscure the original template of the Tarot.

The discussion moves on to Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), a philosopher who lived in Bohemia. His works inspired esoteric groups such as the Rosicrucians, the Masons and the Martinists. The discussion of his work, and the influence it had on the esoteric structure of the Tarot, is incredible! Immense research has been done here – research that could act as the starting point for any student’s research. You have to be able to think to understand what is being presented – once you start thinking, the world opens up! One sentence stands out: “Tarot of the Holy Light is about the search for the precedents of Tarot’s unique outline, an experiment in thinking the way our illuminated ancestors did.” Payne-Towler also notes that all of the sources that she cites work within the Continental magical assumptions. The reader is gifted with the foundation that Payne-Tower comes from personally. I loved this section, because it states in no uncertain terms what she will and will not accept in working with the Tarot, its esoteric base, and its traditions. Her stated aim is to clarify core issues, and to understand the logic behind the intersection of Astrology, Alchemy, and Kabbalah.

Chapter 1 – Clairvoyance and Apprehending the Cosmic Body sets the stage, addressing the essential quality at the foundation of all esoteric traditions. It is this quality of magical imagination that is found in historical magi of every age. It is all about knowing your own energy body.

Chapter 2 – The Hermetic Cosmos talks about the mathematical matrix of Ancient Astrology, which Payne-Towler notes is the root source for the working vocabulary of the Western Mysteries. Here we get into the importance of birth charts, and how the planets as they transit our chart affect our lives. From the book: The specific goal of a Tarot Magus is to front-load the cards with these astral values so we can read our Tarot spreads at the greatest number of levels, granting us the most holistic insight into ourselves, our powers, and our times.

Aside: Payne-Towler did a very magical series of classes based on Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition that, in part, reviewed individual class members charts, showing how an individual  can use the movement of the planets to help them understand what is going on in their life.

Chapter 3 – The Alphanumeric Doctrine of Correspondences shows how our modern alphabet was influenced by ancient astronomers to carry numeric and astrological data within each letter. This presents a philosophical foundation for both the Hermetic philosophy and the Kabbalah.

Chapter 4 – The Kabbalistic Alchemists recounts the growth of Kabbalistic thought among the magical Christians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In this chapter the reader is introduced to the magic of the Tarot of Holy Light icon (which can be downloaded from Payne-Towler’s site (http://www.tarotuniversity.com/) , so that the reader can construct their personal chart in Tarot terms.

Chapter 5 The Cosmos In The Tarot discusses the interlocking traditions of the Tarot in a visual manner. In the Pips we see the development of the Alchemical implications of the Doctrine of Essential Dignities.

Chapter 6 The Seven Planetary Properties talks about Jacob Boehme’s insight into the Planetary Properties, showing their esoteric and theological fundamentals. We also see the alchemical interrelations of Astrology as they are projected onto The Kabbalah Tree, analyzing the astral body of the practitioner.

Chapter 7 Yoga of the Restitution examines the worldview and lifestyle associated with Jacob Boehme’s “Yoga of the Restitution”, complete with illustrations created by Boehme’s students. This is incredible artwork!

Chapter 8 Theosophic Spirituality or The Alchemy of the Restitution notes that the root to Boehme’s basic approach and vocabulary were adapted from the Agrippan synthesis, specifically the astro-healing model. This material was taken up by the Rosicrucian and Masonic movements that followed.  It is also interesting to note Boehme’s insistence on the development of visionary skills.

At the end of the book there is a bibliography and an index – both of which are helpful as a foundation for further study.

This is a phenomenal book, going deeply into the esoteric nature of the Tarot. It is well written, well sourced, and very easy to follow. Each time you re-read a section in this book, you will come away with more information. And, whether you agree with it or not, you will come to an understanding of the traditions behind the Continental system of Tarot. It is a wonderful companion to Vol 1 – Tarot of the Holy Light: A Continental Esoteric Tarot. It is a gift to find all of this information gathered in one place! And … Payne-Towler is generous with charts and images – visual cues to understanding this material.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohbited without written

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – A Year In The Wildwood Tarot

A Year In The Wildwood:
Explore the Wildwood Tarot

Author: Alison Cross
Foreword: John Matthews
Kindle
2015
ASIN: B01D00N4VS

A Year In the Wildwood Tarot cover

I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Alison Cross had taken her work on the Wildwood Tarot and turned it into an e-book. A Year In The Wildwood contains all of the entries Alison wrote for the Wildwood Tarot’s Facebook page. With humor and style, she takes us through a  year-long journey through the cards.

I have to add a note here that I might not place in other reviews, and that is because these are names that are recognizable in the Tarot world. This book was edited by Sara Donaldson (many will recognize her as a member of TABI), and converted to epub and mobi formats by Gavin Pugh.

The Wildwood Tarot is the creation of Mark Ryan, John Matthews, and Will Worthington. It is a based on the seasons and the Wheel of the Year. In his foreword, Matthews talks about the magical place that the forests and woodlands that act as the background for this deck are. Matthews and his fellow author Mark Ryan had always intended to write a more complex workbook to accompany the original deck and companion book that came out in 2011 but to date have not had an opportunity to do so.  Matthews notes that Alison’s work is a splendid addition that acts to deepen the study and the use of the imagery for both personal use and the use of the cards for reading.

Cross gifts the reader by beginning the book with an explanation of what the Wheel of the Year is, and that, as defined by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, the Wheel consists of three concentric circles, with the hub representing the core energy of the year, and acting as the Heart of the Forest. Each quarter pivots upon one of the Wildwood guardians (Spring – The Shaman, Summer – The World Tree, Autumn – The Seer, Winter – The Wanderer). The second ring shows the eight major festivals, and the pairs of Major Arcana cards that rule over each festival. The third ring consists of the Minor Arcana suits – Ace through Ten.

There are notes on how to use this book, which consists of four chapters – one for each of the suits (The Time of Arrows, The Time of Bows, The Time of Vessels, and the Time of Stones). At the beginning of each chapter there is an outline of the Majors that will be encountered, the associated element and season, the names of the Court Card guardians, and key words about what this time represents. Each Wildwood card is then presented according to the date its energies begin on the Wheel of the Year.

The cards are presented text only, beginning with the cards associations. This is followed by a short text on the card, and questions that the character in the card asks of the reader. For example, the Shaman asks:

What stirs you to be close to nature?

What “magic” can you use to make changes in your life this season?

How can you apply magic to everyday life, today?

 What I really liked was the suggestion that the student could return to the Shaman at any time to work with him. This, combined with the questions, makes this book special, and will help to open up the perspective of anyone who works with it – whether new to the Wildwood Tarot, or a seasoned reader.

The technical information presented here, along with suggestions on how to use it, are invaluable. Those already working with this deck will appreciate it, and those who do not have this deck yet will more than likely want to purchase it to work with.

At the end of the book Appendix I lists each card in the deck, and the dates they are activated. Appendix II lists Moon and Sun cycle exercises, and is followed by a list of useful resources.

Alison Cross has a knack for writing, for looking into the heart of things. She also has an innate sense of humor that anyone who follows her blog will understand.  She has made this book a valuable resource that stands on its own feet.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review: Revealed by the Letters – Guidance and Prediction by the Hebrew Alphabet

Revealed by the Letters –
Guidance and Prediction by the Hebrew Alphabet

Author: Orma Ben-Shoshan
Artist: Orma Ben-Shoshan
Kabbalah Insights
2016

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“Revealed by the Letters” is a 44 card deck based on the Hebrew alphabet. It comes with a 36 page interpretation booklet. It is the “little brother”, if you will, of Ben-Shoshan’s “Tokens of Light”, which was published in 2011. The cards are designed to provide focused answers and practical advice on life’s important questions. The inside page of the interpretation booklet carries an image of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, showing the placement of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In her introduction, Ben-Shoshan indicates that according to the Kabbalah, these letters are the building blocks used by the Almighty when creating the world (and everything in it), with each letter representing a certain energetic frequency, and is a world onto itself.

The answers contained within these cards help us to understand the forces that are controlling us at any given point in time, as well as what energies we are about to face. The individual is advised to focus clearly on their question, without any distractions. The answers they receive will be based on the clarity of their question. It is also advised not to ask more than two questions per session. It is also advised to not use the cards merely for entertainment purposes. If the answer received is vague, it may be due to lack of focus on the question, or that you were not meant to receive an answer at this time.

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The spreads presented in the Interpretation Booklet are simple One, Two and Three card spreads. It is also recommended that the reader read only for themselves, as this deck is meant for self-consultation. Each card is presented with a discussion of the card, and the advice given to work with the energy within the card.
The cards themselves are small (2 ¼” by 3 3/8”). The backs are a light lavender, with Hebrew lettering in gold. From the top right hand side of the card a hand comes down, with a finger extended that appears to “spark” an area above the letters. The card faces show a ¼” dark lavender border, followed by a thin gold border. The card number is centered at the bottom of the card in white, while the Hebrew letter is centered at the top as a “ghost” (light gray coloring).

Each card is presented with the card number, the associated Hebrew letter, an explanation of the energy of the card as it plays out in life, and advice on how to use the energy. The presentation is text only. There are two cards dedicated to each of the 22 Hebrew letters, representing different aspects of the letter.

The artwork is done in basic colors, with a clean, somewhat fantasy quality to it. It is easy to connect with the imagery.

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I love card 2 (Aleph). Here we see the back of a lively character appearing to enter the frame of a picture. From the book – Aleph is all about taking a new direction in order to scape a pressing reality, rather than dealing with it. The advice given is: “Appreciate the people who truly love you. Do not take unnecessary risks! Take a step back and reconsider your moves carefully.”

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Number 8 (Dalet) speaks of the individual having a sense of impending scarcity, which leads them to hanging on, and being stingy. The advice given here is: “Scarcity is a matter of attitude only. Keep the door open in both directions – giving and receiving, and thus you will take part in the cycle of life. Do not withdraw alone to your fortress, show interest in what’s actually going on around you and you will find the positive and beautiful things in life. In the area of health, a thorough and accurate diagnosis should be conducted by a specialist to a medical problem that might arise.”

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Number 19 (Yod) talks about an abrupt energy release, a spark that ignited plans into being. The advice given here is: “If you get stuck half-way and you cannot remember what led you into a situation that squeeze you from all of your energies, look back to the starting point. If you remember the cause and the source, you can return to the right path that will lead you to the goal.”

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Number 33 (Peh) says that destinies are determined by the power of the spoken word. Whoever has good verbal skills and compelling and authoritative speech, shall come out the winner. The advice here is: “Speak openly, say what is on your heart, and express in exact words what you think or feel. Life and death are in the power of the tongue: Your mouth and speech can grant you control, or – on the other hand – might destroy you.”

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Number 43 (Tav) speaks of the end of the race, termination of a process, closure of accounts and drawing conclusions. The advice given here is: “Avoid arrogance due to your talent or achievements, do not patronize or set apart above others, or take advantage of your power against people that you feel are inferior to you.”

This is a very strong and helpful deck. I really do appreciate the advice to only read for yourself, due to the nature of the cards. Our journey through life after all, is an introspective one.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction is prohibited without the written consent of the author.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in non-Tarot divination

 

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Review – Tarot of Empowerment

Tarot of Empowerment

 

Author: Judyth Sult
Artist: Gordana Curgus
Tarot of Empowerment
2016
ISBN #978-0-9864446-7-8

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“Tarot of Empowerment” is a 22 card, Majors only deck that comes with a text only LWB (Little White Book). (There is a companion book that can be purchased separately, and is absolutely amazing!) The cards follow the structure of a traditional Tarot deck, with the 22nd card entitled “Unknown”. This card represents a situation where the universe is not quite ready to respond to our question, to give us information. Patience is needed before making a decision, or taking an action. Quite a relevant card, but one would need to be prepared to explain this to a client in a manner that they would understand!

The card titles are traditional, with the following exceptions: Questor/Fool, Sustenance/Empress, Authority/Emperor, Advisor/Hierophant, Choices/Lovers, Introspection/Hermit, New Perspective/Hanged Man, Life Cycle/Death, Entrapment/Devil, Chaos/Tower, Awakening/Judgment. The renamed cards are meant to give a contemporary interpretation to the traditional archetypes.

The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”. The backs show a black border around a golden door that is opening to the universe. There is a mandala-like figure in the middle of the card, outlined in purple. The backs are reversible. The card faces show the same black border, surrounding a thin gold border. The card number is entered at the top of the card in a gold oval, with the card title across the bottom, in an oval gold banner. The artwork is done largely in pastels, with a muted quality to it. I find the cards very compelling!

In her introduction, Sult talks about doing a reading for Curgus, and coming to the realization that as an artist, Curgus work reflected the Tarot archetypes as she had imagined them. They worked together on both the words and the images, consciously eliminating he symbols and religious allegories with hidden meanings that can be found in traditional decks. (I am very attached to exactly what they eliminated, but I find value in both versions of the Tarot.)

Sult sees reading the Tarot as being on a quest to become engaged with universal truth, and with your own intuition. To do this well, one needs to set aside one’s ego and any attachment to the outcome. She also talks about framing questions (she does not see yes/no questions as empower, which I have to agree with, as I find them limiting).

The cards are presented as text only, with the card name and number, a short saying, a description of the card and its energy, upright and reversed meanings, empowerment (how the energy empowers the client), and numerology (the energy that the card’s assigned number carries).

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The deck starts out with a bang! We see the Questor (Fool), backpack on his back, opening the golden doors and stepping through them, out into the universe. A white dove is flying in the sky, welcoming him. Empowerment: “Questor is empowered by being spontaneous and optimistic about the issue in question.”

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Sustenance (Empress) shows a lovely, long haired woman standing. She is dressed in a lovely blue gown, and her hair is flowing. There is a cross at her neck. Empowerment: “You are empowered when you use your words and skills as tools to strengthen worthy causes and people around you.”

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Determination (Chariot) shows a golden bird in the center of the card, flying through the night sky. An intent male image is being carried by the bird. Under the bird we see an image of the world. Empowerment: “You are empowered to have faith in yourself and the decisions that you need to make, and to travel with your personal beliefs and values as your compass.”

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Justice shows a yin/yang symbol in the center, over back to back images of a woman reflecting. Empowerment: “You are empowered by Justice when you make fair decisions based on the rules, no matter the emotions or relationships involved.”

The intent of this deck is to have Tarot serve as a tool to empower individuals to make the choices that will improve their life. The images reflect both strength and beauty, and draw the reader (and their client) in. This is a powerful deck, and could be used in any number of ways (for readings, journeying, meditation, journaling, in comparative readings, etc.).

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book

Chrysalis Tarot –
Companion Book

Author: Toney Brooks
Artist: Holly Sierra
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
2016
ISBN #978-1-57281-798-2

Chrysalis Tarot book cover

The “Chrysalis Tarot” is the 216 page companion book for the Chrysalis Tarot deck. The cover illustration shows a cosmic version of the Nine of Spirals, featuring Aeolus, Master of the Four Winds. The reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to Aeolus face, with the eyes connecting on both a real-time and a soul level. It is time for each of us to re-examine our own world view!

In his introduction, Brooks talks about how creating a Tarot deck is a transpersonal process, including imaginary conversations with the characters in their “dramatis personae”. In retrospect, he realized that perhaps those conversations, at least in part, were not so imaginary after all. The Chrysalis companion book is then not only about the Chrysalis Tarot, but also about his efforts to uncover the hidden realities of the universe that shape our lives and compel us towards our destiny.

The most talkative cards for Brooks were those representing the Troupe (the Chrysalis version of Tarot’s Court cards). I love that Brooks refers to the Tarot as a metaphysical looking glass that pinches the higher realms of reality. I also love the statement that if something unseen or imagined resonates with our consciousness, then it is real.

Part One examines the Chrysalis Tarot, and other forms of magic, while Part Two provides an in-depth interpretation of each of the 78 cards in the deck.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”  Nikola Tesla, from Chapter 1

Tesla’s comment on the secrets of the universe are really at the foundation of this deck. Brooks talks about Elpi, a Goddess from Greek mythology that is the archetype featured in card 17 (Elpi/Star). He talks about viewing the universe in a holistic manner, versus the “dead universe” worldview. Elpi represents the living universe. Brooks talks about experiential spirituality, defining spiritual alchemy as having a conversation with the numinous.

He goes on to discuss the Holy Grail, the Celtic Cauldron of Rebirth, and the return of the Shekinah. I loved the section on the Storyteller’s Vision Quest. The storyteller is a female shaman schooled in the ways of a holistic wise woman. (A shaman being defined as someone that is an adept at manipulating subtle energy.) Here Brooks notes that the Tarot as a healing modality emphasizing the sacred ideals of self-knowledge and self-acceptance. He talks about energy and archetypes, and about magic being real. All of this is a very thorough prelude to working with this deck – which is energetically different from a traditional Tarot deck, although it follows the same 78 card format.

Part Two present the individual cards – their meaning, and the meaning within the artwork. One thing that I did note, and like, is that Brooks does not recommend using reversals with this deck. Each of the Major Arcana cards is presented with a half-page black and white scan, the reasoning behind why each character was chosen to represent that archetype, and a page on what the archetype itself is all about. Some of the archetypal energies chosen are Merlin as the Fool, Gaia as the Empress, the Phoenix as Judgment, and Psyche as The World.

The section on the Minor Arcana begins by discussing the renaming of the suits (Stones/Pentacles, Mirrors/Cups, Spirals/Wands, and Scrolls/Swords). The Pips (numbered cards) are presented with a half-page black and white scan, information about the symbols within the cards, and the energy/meaning of the card.

The sixteen cards that represent the Court Cards in a traditional deck are replaced with something called the Troupe – they are archetypes, eight male and eight female, that are divided up into four roles (Mentors, Muses, Mystics, and Messengers). Collectively they are akin to a band of medieval troubadours whose purpose was to travel the land bringing news, gossip, wisdom and entertainment. They are presented with a half-page black and white scan, who the character is, and what the symbols within the card mean.

At the end of the book we have the nine card Fairy Ring Spread.

This is a very different take on traditional Tarot – yet it serves the same purpose. I found the material interesting, and easy to follow. I personally would not use this deck for ritual work, but it works well for readings, journeying, and for meditation purposes.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproductionprohibited wthout written permission of he author.

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review: The Deviant Moon Tarot Companion Book

Deviant Moon Tarot
(Companion Book)

Author: Patrick Valenza
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
2016
ISBN #978-1572816879

Deviant Moon Tarot book

The Deviant Moon Tarot companion book is hard cover (yes!), full color (yes!), solid, quality paper stock (yes!), with an absolutely amazing cover! Amazing art – that is a given with Valenza, combined with an equally amazing presentation of the art. I do not know that much about art presentation, so I queried Lynn Sparrow from U.S. Games Systems, Inc. about the process. She gave me the following description, one that was given to her by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Creative Director Paula Palmer (who designed the book!): “The cover has a matte finish with a crackle spot varnish for texture. The title and some of the art elements have foil stamping and the main image is debossed into the cover.” You have to see and feel this cover to truly appreciate it. Kudos to Mr. Valenza and Ms. Palmer!

The front and back inside pages are made to look like advertisements from the 1920’s – with a twist! The reader is invited to attend “The Social Event of the Year” (which is advertised as a night of debauchery!), to purchase scalp fertilizer for balding hair, to purchase “Elegant Urns for After the Burn” (this under funeral supplies!), to “Say Goodbye to a Healthy Body” (Madam Morte’s Mercury Cream), and more! It is fascinating to read each one of these ads! The flip side of life, as it were.

A lovely extra is card 49 (The Beast), which is included with the book. There is a separate card that includes a short paragraph about the Beast, along with upright and reversed meanings. Please note: The extra card is included only if the book is ordered directly from the author. It is not included if purchased anywhere else.

In the Deviant Tarot Valenza is well known for presenting wonderfully unique interpretations of the Tarot, using symbolism inspired by childhood dreams and visions. In his companion book, Valenza takes us behind the scenes of the Deviant Moon (which I have to admit took some getting used to for me when it first came out), to share where his creative inspiration came from, and to explain the artistic techniques that went into creating this deck.

In his preface, Valenza talks about the challenge of writing a companion book. He knew that he was up to the challenge, but did not realize how long it was going to take to finish the project. I love that he chose to work in the middle of the night, because that was when it was quiet. I am definitely a late night person myself. For Valenza, this book chronicles a personal journey with the Tarot that was at least thirty years in the making (beginning in his childhood), and was a true growth experience.

Valenza talks about his journey with the Tarot, which began in the mid-1970’s, when he was nine years old. He picked up his first deck at a local mall with his parents (not on their first trip, however – he had to be persistent!). This deck, however, had to be exchanged, as it was in French! The deck that he exchanged it for was a less ornate Tarot Classic deck. What a great gift for an actively intuitive child with imagination! Love the pics that Valenza shared of himself as a child. When an artist/author shares the background of their work, for me the work takes on a deep, “otherworldly” quality.

The original 13 cards for the Deviant Moon Tarot were created when Valenza was between the ages of 15 and 18. The card dimensions were based on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, with a light coat of metallic gold paint being applied to the background of each image to create an ethereal glow. The cards had arched, Gothic borders, with the border color chosen to intuitively to compliment the color scheme of the painting. The character stylization was influenced by ancient Greek art.

When Valenza restarted the creation of the Deviant Moon in 2004 he switched from painting to digital photos. The rest is history!  I absolutely love that amongst his photographic sources were cemeteries, where he took a tiny sample of dirt from the gateways each time he visited them (leaving a generous gift for the gatekeeper in return), asylums, parks, and historic sites. A bit scary? Valenza does talk about confronting his nightmares – and never having them return again!

Many of the images in this deck came to Valenza fully in a flash of insight, or in a lucid dream. Two write about the images in the cards, he had to go back and examine them again in order to discern their meanings.

Each card of the Major Arcana is presented with a full page, color photo, a short discussion of the energy of the card, upright and reversed meanings, and a bit about his journey in creating the card. Also included are more full page, full color photos, as well as smaller photos.

The section on the Minor Arcana begins with an explanation of the border colors (Swords – Red, Cups – Blue, Wands – Green, and Pentacles – Black), and the fact that the Minor Arcana were not conceived in Valenza’s youth, but in his adult  years. Each card is presented with a full page, full color photo, a short discussion of the energy of the card, upright and reversed meanings, and a bit about the process of how the card was created. Full page, full color photos and sketches are included, as well as smaller photos.

I cannot say enough about what a joy this book is! Incredible quality, along with incredible depth. It will remain within reach at all times, as a resource, and not shelved! Filled with full color art on each page, U.S. Games Systems, Inc. has outdone itself in creating a quality product to showcase a quality product. If you don’t have the deck yet – go buy it! Then, of course, you need this incredible companion book to go with it! You could spend hours on the images alone, and even more hours on the how and why of this deck. Well worth your effort!

© 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without writen permission of hte author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Tarot

 

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