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Author Archives: Bonnie Cehovet

About Bonnie Cehovet

Bonnie Cehovet is a writer and professional Tarot reader, residing in the Pacific Northwest.

Review – Voyager: DIY Mindfulness Psychology

Voyager: DIY Mindfulness Psychology

Author: James Wanless, Ph.D.
Publisher: Buro Voor Tarot
2016
ISBN #978-907715376-5

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I have followed the work of James Wanless for … well, it seems like a lifetime! From the creation of his Voyager Tarot deck, through his books (Voyager Tarot: Way of the Great Oracle, Intuition At Work, Sustainable Life: The New Success. and New Age Tarot), and the Sustain Yourself cards. It is all about finding the resources to live our best lives, and leave the best imprint on the planet. In Voyager: DIY Mindfulness Psychology Wanless aims to create a path for becoming a “Universal Human” through the practice of “transformative mindfulness”.

In his foreword, Wanless speaks of being at a professional breakpoint,  not wanting to continue as he had, knowing that he had to take the next leap. The leap that he took was to commit himself to the path of aliveness.  He is now living his destiny! He feels that Voyager psychology works because it is the right message for the right times.

Wanless reminds us that we are free to be whomever we want to be, that we choose our own way of life, and in that way are becoming personally free. With that freedom comes a responsibility – to be responsible for ourselves. We are our own life anchor.

One of the essential skills for DIY psychology, according to Wanless, is being mindful. To see yourself truthfully, and as well as seeing what is going on in your life truthfully. It is important to see yourself as you are, and to not judge yourself. Wanless also reminds us that we do not want to project that which we “want” to see as our truth. He also makes the very interesting observation that mindfulness opens the doorway to self-remembering. Through “re-membering”, Wanless feels that we can regain our natural state of wholeness – that of being happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise.

The work of mindfulness psychology is based on the use of the Voyager Tarot cards. They assist the reader in attaining and keeping the basic state of mindfulness. One of the ways that this is done is that of picking a card a day from the deck, and connecting with the archetypes. The reader reflects on themselves, and their day, through the cards. Wanless explains that the intent of the Voyager cards was to act within the system of Tarot, but that it is also a multi-use tool, given its updated imagery. He feels that the Voyager Tarot is the right “media and medicine for the challenges and pathologies of the times”. Because it is inclusive of many psychologies, it is essentially a “hybrid brand”.

A very important thought in this book is that once the reader knows themselves, they possess the tools and inner resources to create their own future, and fulfill their own prophecy. It incorporates oracular divination, Hermetic psychology, depth psychology (the psychology of the collective unconscious), cognitive behavior, Holistic psychology, self-actualization, transactional psychology, a transpersonal psychology, and more!

Voyager psychology helps the reader to ground and center, to find their identity (termed self-identity in this book), and to find their sense of security (termed self-security in this book). The Voyager Tarot helps the reader create a life map – how to make decisions wholistically, to do what is purposeful and meaningful for you as an individual.

The reader is encouraged to embody the archetypes of the Tarot in their life, to keep on growing, and to improve themselves. It is interesting to me that Wanless speaks of trying to find his path in his 70’s, andhow many of his clients are women in their 50’s who are also trying to find their path. This is reflective of my clients also, and of my life – I am in my late 60’s … about to go into my seventh decade, and consciously trying to activate a new life path.

He talks about “folk therapy counseling” – basically kitchen table wisdom, which most of us are already familiar with. The Voyager cards become a map – a “Multidimensional Awareness Profile” – which includes seventy-eight stages of consciousness, symbolized by the seventy-eight cards of the deck. There is a nicely done chart that shows the association of the cards through numbers (i.e. the Magician, card number one, with the Aces; the Priestess, card number two, with the Two’s, etc.)

The plan here – to remember and be mindful of who you are!

There is a section on choosing a daily card that emphasizes that how we chose our cards gifts us with the ability to manage out life on a daily basis. We can trust the mystery (draw cards face down), or follow our curiosity (draw cards face up).

Different “maps” are described, including the Wholeness MAP, the Life Card MAP, the Fortune Creation MAP, the Hero’s Journey MAP, the Question and Answer MAP, the Mental Health MAP, the Mental Health Checklist MAP, the Physical Health MAP, the Health Checklist MAP, the Business Success MAP, the Relationship MAP, the Checklist Relationship MAP, and the Spiritual Illumination MAP.

The plan here – to BE the map that you create! The powers that transform you are those of awareness, symbols, surprise, play, positivity, payoff, practice, and counseling (including conversational counseling, archetypal counseling, and self-creation counseling.

In the section “The Book of You”, Wanless presents the 78 cards of the Tarot, what they mean, and how they work in your life – both as positive energy, and as shadow energy.

At the back of the book is a template for daily card draws, as well as a listing of references sources, other works by Wanless, his social media contact information, and available training in his systems.

This book is a great source and resource, aiding the reader into exploring understanding themselves, and living authentically.

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

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – Tarot Decoratif

Tarot Decoratif

Author: Ciro Marchetti
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
Independently Published
2016

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“A Tarot deck if a magical illustrated book like no other.
Every time you open its cover it offers you a different
and unique story.”

from the companion PDF

The Tarot Decoratif  is a 78 card deck that combines features from both the Marseilles and Waite-Smith schools of Tarot. It is self-published as a Special Edition, aimed primarily at collectors. The images follow traditional images close enough that the deck can be used easily for reading, if one is familiar with the Tarot. Marchetti is a digital artist, with several decks to his credit (Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Tarot of Dreams, Tarot Royale, The Gilded Tarot) – all of which are unique and outstanding in their own way.

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This Special Edition comes with a plethora of goodies – a signed signature card; a themed, satin lined bag; and a heavy, black, lift top box. (I am partial to black – I find the box stunning!) Reading cloths are also available for separate purchase. The option to personalize the card backs is no longer available, as the cards have already gone to the printer. There is no companion book, but there is a PDF available for download in which Marchetti describes the thought process (rational) for his personal design choices.

A small note about the PDF: I fully appreciate hearing the “story behind the story”. Seeing what is in the mind of the creator as he is creating. Those who have followed Marchetti’s work know that each of his projects is stand-alone, with vibrant energy and compelling story-lines. Many of us know that Marchetti had effectively “retired” from creating Tarot decks, and was focusing on Kipper and Lenormand oracles. He was nudged into changing his mind when he attended a presentation by Russell Sturgess at a TarotCon in West Palm Beach. Sturgess presented what to Marchetti was an entertaining and compelling view of the history of the Marseilles Tarot, the core of which was that its symbolic content was a “hidden in plain sight” reproduction of the religious beliefs of the Cathars, as expressed through the imagery of the Major Arcana. Hence, the interest to create a Marseilles based Tarot was ignited. To maintain the integrity of the deck, Marchetti reached out to a select group of people (including readers, publishers, authors, and artists of Marseilles style decks) that are acknowledged to be experienced voices in the world of the Marseilles Tarot.

Marchetti talks about the early woodcut decks, and how commercial appeal would have factored into the production of the decks. In designing the Tarot Decoratif, imagery from multiple decks was cross-referenced, as well as interpretations and views from various sources. The imagery that made the most sense was then chosen to be used. The result is imagery that is decorative, but still easily recognizable, and easily read.

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The Tarot Decoratif is a reflection of Marchetti’s personal style, and personal choices. While deeply imbued in the Marseilles style, there is enough imagery to make it interesting to those that find it a bit difficult to read with icons only.

While reading the PDF is not necessary to understanding this deck, I found it of personal interest. I did not agree with all of it, and you may not either, but it does give us insight into why the imagery in this deck is presented in the manner that it is.

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The cards are 3 ¼” by 5 ¼”, on a glossy card stock finish. There is a contrasting matt spot varnish over the outer border design. The backs have a black background, with gold inner borders and imagery, and are reversible. The card faces show a black background, with the same dual gold borders as the card backs. The Major Arcana (Trumps) show the card number, in Roman Numerals, centered at the top of the card. The card title, in French, is centered at the bottom of the card. The card of Death is numbered, but not titled.

The Court cards show the insignia for the character centered at the top of the card, with the card title and suit centered at the bottom of the card. The pips (numbered cards) show the card number, in Roman Numerals, centered at the top of the card, with the suit name centered at the bottom of the card.

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The card imagery is bold, with bright, intense colors. The pips are Marseilles style, with icons and no imagery, with the exception of a single image in the top, middle or bottom of the card. For example, the IV of Deniers shows the top of a male figure in the center of the card, with a shield beneath it. The X of Deniers shows treasure chest in the middle of the card, while the VI of Batons shows a rider seated on a horse centered at the top of the card.

 

 

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There is interesting symbolism throughout the deck, including three dice in mid-air in Le Bateleur, the Alepha and Omega signs on the page of the book in Le Pape, the cherub over the male figure in L’Amoureux, the flaming cauldron between the male and female figures in Le Diable, the family pictured in the IV of Batons, and the male figure appearing to study in the VIII of Deniers.

 

 

This is a vibrant, well done deck that would be a welcome addition to any Tarot collection, both from a collector’s point of view, and from a reader’s point of view.

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

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – Oriental Tarot (Tarocchi Orientali)

Oriental Tarot (Tarocchi orientali/Tarocchi Foudraz)

Edited by: Giordano Berti
English translation: Vic Berti
Images by: Claudio Foudraz
Araba Fenice S.a.s.
2016

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Giordano Berti has presented us with the reproduction of a delightful deck, created by Claudio Foudraz in 1845, in Turin, Italy. The original deck (in the form of uncut sheets) is preserved at the Academy of Sciences at Turin, which graciously allowed this reproduction. This is a Limited Edition of 700 copies, printed on a special “Vellum” paper. The deck was rediscovered by chance by Giuliano Cripps, president of the Italian section of the International Playing Cards Society. It was made public by Nicola De Giorgio in the Playing Card Magazine in 2014. The publisher commissioned an expert artist to add delicate watercolor consistent with mid-nineteenth century style. A comparison between the original and the colored version can be seen here –  https://rinascimentoitalianartenglish.wordpress.com/oriental-tarot-1845/.

The Oriental Tarot, or Tarocchi Foudraz, is a Chinese style deck, done in the manner of the Marseilles Tarot (pips are not illustrated).  Claudio Foudraz, through his research, reinterpreted many characters (in both the Triumphs (Major Arcana) and the Court cards). Berti also notes that even the pips have been reinterpreted, in both form and geometric arrangement.

The cards and 18 page companion booklet come in an amazingly special box done in a beautiful marbled gray, with silver inserts. (It looks exactly like a book!) It is held together on the side with gray ribbons that thread through a central eyelet. The inside of the box is done in a beautiful burgundy velvet. The booklet is a treasure in and of itself, where Berti shares his wisdom on the fashion of “chinoiserie” that inspired Claudio Foudraz in the creation of this deck.

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The cards are 2 5/8” by 4 5/8”. The card backs show a repetitive pattern of black images on an antique colored background. The backs are reversible. The card faces show a minimal white border, followed by a thin black line. The background is the same antique color as the card backs. The Major Arcana (Triumphs) show the card number in Roman numerals across the top, with the card title, in French, across the bottom. The Court cards show the card title across the bottom. The pips show the card number, in Roman numerals, either in the upper left and lower right corner, or in the middle on the right and left hand side of the card. The Ace and Deuce of Cups, the Ace of Deniers, and the Ace of Swords show no number at all.

The artwork and coloring are phenomenal! Basic line drawings with minimal background and soft coloring that does not detract from the image. La Papesse shows a female figure, seated, oriental style, with he hands folded into her sleeves, holding a rose colored fan. La Lune shows two castles, with a wolf and a dog between them, and a rose colored crayfish in the forefront, in the stream.

Le Monde shows a male figure, dancing on the world, holding a wreath in both hands. I love the Roi De Baton! We see a male figure, seated on his throne, looking to the left of the card. He wears yellow trousers, with spirals on them, an embroidered, rose colored tunic, and a yellow hat. A rose colored umbrella rises over him from behind. He holds his baton in his right hand.

The V of Batons and the III De Coupe both show a reinterpreted symmetry for the symbols.

The Cavalier De Denier shows a traditional pose, with the character on horseback, holding the symbol for the Denier in his right hand. The horse faces the left hand side of the card, with his head turned to face forward. The Roi De Coupe shows a male figure, seated, facing forward. He is wearing an embroidered blue tunic, with lavender trousers. In his right hand he holds a cup. A blue umbrella rises behind him.

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The interpretation for Le Pendu is quite interesting, showing a figure holding onto a line that has been strung between two poles. He wears a rose colored tunic, with yellow trousers and rose colored slippers. In his left hand he is holding something circular.

The booklet starts out talking about the European infatuation with Chinse arts and crafts, reaching its peak between the XVII-XVIII centuries. Berti goes on to talk about the impact that Chinese art had in France in the second half of the 17th century, and how the Chinese style reached Italy through the Piedmont region. The late 18th century was to see the rapid decline of the Chinese style in Europe.

Berti leads us through the history of Turin lithographer Claudio Foudraz, who produced both French playing cards and Tarot cards. The imagery for the French playing cards (which can be found on existing sheets), shows one sheet of 24 figures, 12 of which are done in the Chinese style. Berti reminds us that, rather than representing historical reality, these figures reflect conventional representations that were fashionable until a few decades earlier. The point is also made that similar imagery can be seen in the paintings of aristocratic and upper class mansions of the eighteenth century, as well as in furniture and porcelain decorations.

There is a short background given on Foudraz, along with an in-depth note section at the end of the booklet. I would also like to note that color images are used throughout the booklet.

I love paintings from the orient, the beautiful fabrics and the flow of both clothing and surroundings.  Here we see sumptuous embroidery on the silk dresses, reflective of the aristocracy and upper class in China in the 18th century and the early 19th century. It is an amazing, seductive deck that lives in a world of its own.

This is a collectors deck, not only because it is a Limited Edition (700 copies), but because of the companion booklet, in which Giordano Berti shares his knowledge of Chinese fashion as it relates to the Tarot. A beautifully done work of art, that is all about art!

While not a learning deck, it can easily be used by beginners to Tarot, as well as those that are well versed in Tarot lore.

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

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Tarot, Uncategorized

 

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Review – The Marziano Tarot

The Marziano Tarot

Author: Robert M. Place
Artist: Robert M. Place (recreation of images by Michelino da Besozzo)
Hermes Publications
2016
ISBN #978-0-9915299-2-6

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The Marziano Tarot is a recreation of the oldest known Tarot deck, conceived by Marziano da Tortona and first created by Michelino da Besozzo in Milan between 1412 and 1425. The deck consists of four suits comprised of Aces through 10’s, two Court Cards (King and Queen), and four trumps (representing classical gods). The deck is accompanied by an 18 page LWB.

The LWB starts out with a short history of Tarot, and how it was originally used as a trick taking game. Place puts the development of Tarot in Italy over the 15th century as the precursor for the French Marseilles style Tarot.

In the Marziano Tarot, each of the suits is represented by a bird:

Eagles, representing the life goal virtue, and assigned the gods Jove, Apollo, Mercury, and Hercules.

Phoenixes, representing the desire for riches, were assigned the gods Juno, Neptune, Mars, and Acolus.

Turtledoves, representing the goal of chastity, were assigned the goddesses Pallas, Diana, Vesta, and Daphne.

Doves, representing the desire for sensuality, were assigned the gods/goddesses Venus, Bacchus, Ceres, and Cupid.

It was quite interesting to me that Place states that there are no existing cards from this deck. He redesigned this deck as if it had become a standard deck that was later reproduced in woodcuts and hand colored. The images on the cards are based on Marziano’s descriptions as translated by Ross Gregory Caldwell, and on the woodcuts found in the 15th century Hypnerotomahia Poliphili, early printed cards, as well as other Renaissance sources.

The cards are presented in text only, with suggested divinatory meanings. The statements in quotations assigned to each god are taken from Marziano’s descriptions, as translated by Ross Gregory Caldwell.

The final page of the booklet describes how Place sees the cards being read. In their simplest form, he sees the cards as a series of pictures that invite the reader to make up a story. He sees this as an exploration of the unconscious, searching for gems of insight.

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The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”, of sturdy card stock. The backs have a white background, covered in black stars. The central figure is a large bird that appears to have a snake in its mouth. It is not reversible.

The card faces on the pips and court cards show a white border, followed by a black border, surrounding a central image. The trumps show the same borders, with the name of the god/goddess centered  at the top of the card, with the card number in Roman numerals under the title, on the left hand side of the card. The card titles are in Italian.

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Queen of Turtledoves

A virtuous woman who is true to her word.

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Bacco

Bacco (Bacchus) – The embodiment of the grapevine, he represents drunkenness, but also ecstasy, and initiation into the mysteries.

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Pallas

Pallas – The embodiment of wisdom, she represents intelligence, debate, and philosophy.

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Ace of Eagles

Ace of Eagles – Actions that initiate justice and virtue, a good cause, doing things for the right reason.

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Giove

Giove (Jupiter) – The embodiment of justice and just punishment, he represents authority, law, virtue, religion, and truth.

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Ace of Doves

Ace of Doves – Beauty for beauty’s sake, leading to spiritual transformation.

This is not a traditional deck, therefore it is not a deck for teaching. It is a unique recreation, and a definite collector’s item. Once the learning curve with only two Court Cards, and the 16 trumps represented by gods/goddesses is accomplished, the deck reads well.

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

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review -Sunrise Tarot & Sunset Tarot

Sunrise and Sunset Tarot

Author: Giovanni Monti
Artist: Giovanni Monti
English edit: Arnell Ando
Museo dei Tarrochi – Mutis Liber
2016

Sunrise Tarot & Sunset Tarot cover

The Sunrise Tarot and Sunset Tarot decks are Major Arcana only, and are sold as a set. The decks are both shrink wrapped, and come in a cardboard box with title cards and a wax seal on the lid. This is a limited Edition set of 100, hand numbered and signed by the artist. It is available from the Museo dei Tarrochi – http://www.mutusliber.it/, or from Arnell Ando – http://www.arnellart.com/museodeitarocchi/msdk51.htm.

There is a Deluxe Version (limited to 30 sets) that comes in a luxurious wooden box with title cards and a wax seal on the lid, 20 postcards, and one illustration from the Sunrise Tarot or the Sunset Tarot, hand signed by artist Giovanni Monti. The Deluxe Version is available only from the Museo dei Tarrochi –  http://www.mutusliber.it/, while they last.

Giovanni Monti is an Italian painter, photographer and video artist who manages the exhibition space ‘Fantomars’ in Bologna (Italy), as well as writing a popular art blog. In the Sunrise & Sunset Tarots Monti creates a gateway into dreamtime, into hidden concerns, and into the bigger picture behind our readings. The original artworks are on permanent exhibit at the International Tarot Museum (Riola, Italy).

I have never seen two decks offered together like this. They can be used separately, or together, to give greater depth to a response. The Sunrise Tarot is defined as “ … bright, surreal collage landscapes with uneven edges, set within white borders. Each card begins to brighten one’s view until everything becomes clear, so that wisdom naturally follows perception.”

The Sunset Tarot is defined as “The approach of nightfall brings attention to a hidden, mysterious nature of unknown darkness.”

As Major Arcana only decks, these cards spark with energy! When combined, they offer a reading with multiple dimensions. By their names alone, we see that they address the two times of day when the veil is the thinnest – sunrise and sunset. Thus light and shadow come into the reading. You may choose to use the Sunrise Tarot for things that are either in their beginning stages, or are being built up, and the Sunset Tarot for things that are winding down, coming to an end, or being released.  The accompanying pamphlet gives the main energy for each card in both decks.

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The cards are 3.75” by 5”, done on semi-gloss card stock. The backs show a black and white design, and are not reversible. (Note: The card backs are the same for both decks.) The card faces are numbered, but untitled. The card faces for the Sunrise Tarot show a white border, surrounding bright, surreal collage landscapes. The card faces for the Sunset Tarot show dark blue borders surrounding darker surreal landscapes. The art style for both decks is collage.

Some of my favorite cards are:

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The Magician (Sunrise Tarot)

Tools of consciousness capable of working with the light without relying solely on the mind.

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The Hermit (Sunrise Tarot)

An attempt to look inwardly for clarity from surrounding sources.

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The Hanged Man (Sunrise Tarot)

A perspective of the Whole creates the opportunity to join it.

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The High Priestess (Sunset Tarot)

The alchemical Bridge connecting knowledge to wisdom.

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The Wheel (Sunset Tarot)

The connection between the movement of stars and one’s essence.

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The World (Sunset Tarot)

A triumph of exceeding the limit of what is perceived with only five senses.

This can be seen as a collector’s deck set, as a set where either one or both decks can be used to obtain wisdom, or used in conjunction with any other deck to add depth to the response. I found the cards easy to work with (and I am not generally drawn to surreal art) – and I think that you will too!

Note: The one thing that I would like to have seen that is not here are reading templates specific for these two decks.

© July 2002 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2016 in Tarot

 

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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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