Category Archives: Tarot

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.


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 –

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.


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.


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
ISBN #978-0-9915299-2-6


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.


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.


Queen of Turtledoves

A virtuous woman who is true to her word.



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



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


Ace of Eagles

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



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


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

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 –, or from Arnell Ando –

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 –, 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.


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:


The Magician (Sunrise Tarot)

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


The Hermit (Sunrise Tarot)

An attempt to look inwardly for clarity from surrounding sources.


The Hanged Man (Sunrise Tarot)

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


The High Priestess (Sunset Tarot)

The alchemical Bridge connecting knowledge to wisdom.


The Wheel (Sunset Tarot)

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


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 – 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
ISBN # 978-0-9673043-4-2

 Foundations cover


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 ( , 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

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 – Tarot of Empowerment

Tarot of Empowerment


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


“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).


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.
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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