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Review : Le Tarot Noir – Imagerie medievale popuaire

Le Tarot Noir
Imagerie medivale populaire

Author: Justine Ternel
Artist: Matthew Hackiere
Editions Vega
2013
ISBN #978-2-85829-618-7

 Le Tarot Noir cover

Many thanks to Alison Cross (reviewer extraordinaire!) for bringing this deck to my attention. I knew going in that I would be purchasing this deck directly from Mr. Hackiere, that it was a full 78 card, Marseilles style deck, and that the companion book was only available in French. I knew that I had to have it anyway!

It came wrapped so well that a sharp knife and I had a difficult time opening it! Needless to say, it got here in excellent condition! Included was a well-constructed, lift top box, a 128 page companion book (in French), and the 78 card deck. I fell I love immediately!

The cover to the companion book and the top of the box are the same: all text in gold, against a black background. The image of the Two of Cups is done in a lighter gold. Throughout the companion book it is the same – gold text against a black background. There is a short introduction, with the text for each Major Arcana card on the left hand page, and a full page, full color image of the card on the right hand side. The pips have a short write-up on each suit, and on the Aces. For Two through Ten of each suit there is an image only. The suits are Baton, Coupe, Deniers, and D’Epee. La Justice is VIII, La Force is XI. At the end of the book is a bibliographie.

Since there is not all that much text in the book, I am going to use an online translator to create the English version of this book. It will take time – but it will be worth it! From what I understand, the text leans more towards card playing than the divinatory aspect, so I am not losing anything by not rushing to do the translation.

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The cards themselves are a sturdy 4” by 5 ½”. The backs are black, with an inset border in gold (a fine border, followed by a wider border). In the center of the card we see the same border, in an oval shape, surrounding a flower. (The image is also in gold.) The backs are not reversible. The card faces show a black border, followed by a thin gold border, which is followed by a slightly wider gold border. The background for the images is a cream/bone color. The cards are gilt edged.

For the Major Arcana, the card title is presented in French in black lettering against a cream/bone background at the bottom of the card. For the Court cards, the card title and suit is presented in French in black lettering against a cream/bone background at the bottom of the card. The pips, which are presented Marseilles style, do not show a title, but do show the card number in the middle of the card on the right and left hand sides.  The color palate is subdued, using green, brownish-red, blue, black, and yellow.

The pips are Marseille style, showing suit icons only.

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The Valet de Baton shows a figure standing, looking to the right hand side of the card (the future). Both hands are placed on an upright baton.

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La Roue de Fortune shows a wheel with three animalistic figures on it. They all have tails, and the same face (almost like a mask). They are differentiated by their bodies, with the central figure wearing a crown.

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Arcane XIII (which is not named in this deck, but is known as Death), shows a skeleton wielding a scythe as he walks through a field with arms coming up from the soil – and one lone flower in the background.

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Reyne de Deniers shows a female figure, facing the left hand side of the card (the past). In her right hand she hold her suit symbol, inher left hand she holds a scepter.

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La Justice shows a female figure, wearing a crown, seated. In her right hand is an upright sword, under her left hand the scales of justice.

I found this deck to be very well done, with quality materials and presentation. I would not hesitate to use it in different ways, such as divination, meditation, journeying, card a day, personal growth, and storytelling.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review – The World

The World

Author: Robin Wildt Hansen
Kindle
2015
ASIN #B00Q20ZC7I

The World Cover

“I stand in front of my desk, feeling five pairs of eyes watching me
in the candle light. I point one hand upwards towards the sky,
and the other down towards the earth.”
~ Robin Wildt Hansen

When I sat down to write this review, I knew that I was going to use the term “Tarot sci-fi”. Even though I have since come to know that the “real” term for this type of writing would be “magical realism”, Tarot sci-fi certainly fits. Hansen has taken the Tarot Major Arcana, and used them as a background for writing about the initiatory process. The reader is taken into magical worlds, which contain magical elements, with the aid of a protagonist that inhabits the real world.

We are introduced to Hansen’s protagonist, Arkin, who is a high school age boy whose mental state borders on schizophrenia. His touchstone is numbers – everything around him must be in even numbers – the instability of the odd number having the potential to create danger. His books in his room at home are all placed in piles of eight – this is how it should be.

Arkin experiences a breakdown while at a party with his friends from school. When he wakes up, he finds himself still at his friend’s house, being addressed by his friend’s father, John Francis, who is a psychiatrist. He is offered help, if he is willing to be admitted to the psychiatric ward where Dr. Francis practices. In the end, Arkin decides to agree to be admitted. Here he meets another doctor, Dr. Memphis, who wants to put Arkin on traditional therapy.

Arkin is admitted for observation, and makes the choice to work with Dr. Francis, in his spiritual healing program. Dr. Memphis, however, insists on the stipulation that if Arkin dies within the next five years, his brain goes to Dr. Memphis for study.

The scenarios that follow present the path of initiation through the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The reader moves in and out of the physical world, into spiritual/magical worlds where wisdom comes at a price. The reader’s perception of what is real and what is not is tested, sometimes in very surreal ways. Anyone who has journeyed, or who has worked on personal initiation, understands that letting go of reality, and being willing to experience alternate realities (madness, if you will) is necessary for personal empowerment.

Tarot per se is not referred to in this book, except as the basis for each chapter. It would be helpful if the reader had a strong background in the Tarot, and some idea about the initiatory process, before they read this book. Otherwise, the story, as good as it is, is simply a story.

This is an excellent novel, very well written, with a solid basis in the Tarot, and with a solid understanding of the initiatory process. It will expand the thinking of the reader, and perhaps help them to see both the Tarot and themselves in a little different light.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in fiction books, Tarot

 

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What’s In A Number?

What’s In A Number?

numbers

What’s in a number? Numerology is a science in and of itself. For those of us that read the Tarot, numerology has a definite place. I recently had the privilege to read the book “Marseile Tarot – Towards the Art of Reading”, by Camelia Elias. Regarding numbers, Elias talks about the cartomantic oral transmission that numbers signify quantity and direction, or length. She also makes an important point in that cartomancy is a system that has developed from making logical inferences.

Aces are defined as new beginnings: Ace of Cups (house), Ace of Batons (an opportunity), Ace of Coins (wealthy means), Ace of Swords (death, or a decision).

The Two’s are viewed as either cooperation or “splits”.

The Three’s are viewed as either increments or scattering.

The Four’s are viewed as either stability or constraint.

The Five’s are viewed as health and the body (i.e. five limbs).

The Six’s are viewed as paths and choices.

The Seven’s are viewed as challenges.

The Eight’s are viewed as wishes and fears.

The Nine’s are viewed as changes.

The Ten’s are viewed as “a little, and a lot”, endings spilling over into new beginnings.

Elias adds another dimension – Cups and Coins indicating closeness, while Swords and Batons create distance. Cups and Coins are viewed as slower than Swords and Batons.

Allow the story to play out … allow the numbers to talk.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review: Marseille Tarot – Towards the Art of Reading

Marseille Tarot –
Towards the Art of Reading

Author: Camelia Elias
EyeCorner Press
2015
ISBN #978-87-92633-42-2

Marseile Tarot cover

“If the cards address the querent’s issues in a
very direct manner, then they do so because
there is a question to begin with.”
~ Camelia Elias

I love Elias’ very direct approach to things – even though it sometimes has me mumbling to myself, and even though I don’t always agree with her. Let’s start at the beginning – Elias’ stated purpose with this book is to cover the following four basic questions:

  1. Why do we read cards?
  2. What’s so special about the Marseille Tarot?
  3. How can the cards uncover our blind spots?
  4. What does it mean to live a magical life, when we allow the stories that the cards tell us to offer solutions to our real problems?

The images in this book are from Carolus Zoya’s Tarot de Marseille, a rare Tarot deck made in Turin at the end of 1700. The deck is from the private collection of K. Frank Jensen, and the images are being used with his permission.

Elias notes that context is everything, and that the answer to the question unfolds from the question itself via the images in the cards. In her readings she combines the cunning-folk method of reading (based on making logical inferences about the meaning of the cards) with the visual argument method (which relies on the subjective and individual art of perceiving).

“Marseille Tarot” features full-length readings, based on real-life tarot consultations, which is a tremendous boon to understanding Elias’ method of reading. The stories that evolve in Elias’ readings are based on first hand observation of the categories of Embodiment (human, animal, celestial), Function (to lead, to split, to cut, to illuminate), Gesture (sitting, walking, pointing, howling), and Voice (silence, loudness, beyond the verbal).

Each card is presented with a full color scan, a short discourse on the card and its function, a short question (with three cards drawn in response, all presented as full color scans), an interpretation of the cards, keywords for the card being discussed, function for the card being discussed, health indicators, and public life.

Sample questions include: The Fool – “Can I trust my partner?”, The Charioteer – “What is my strength?”, and The Moon – “I would like to buy a new house for my family. Is this a good time?”

Functions include: The Popess (cunning woman, study), The Lovers (partnership, dividing), Strength (overpowering, dominating, enduring), and Temperance (measuring, moderating, regulating).

Health indicators include: The Magician (stress, nervous agitation, migraines), Justice (respiratory problems), and The Devil (binding, enslaving, manipulating).

Public life includes: Death (with Justice, forensics analyst), The Stars (with The Moon, a spa), and Judgment (with The Hermit, gurus).

There is note made of color and numbers, and how they apply to the cards.

For the Court cards, Kings are seen as symbols of power, Queens as emblems of truth, Knights as Emblems of development, and Pages as symbols of initiation.

At the end of the book we see several readings interpreted.

The card images are full color, and gorgeous! This book is well written, beautifully formatted, with a stunning full color interior and a list of references that impresses! It is packed with information that is meant to be put to use. Whether you are a beginning student, a Tarot Sage, or somewhere in-between, you will find wisdom and value in this book.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Chocolates Starring At The Northwest Tarot Symposium!

chocolate

Image “borrowed” from Casey Scanlon on Facebook! She is the lovely lady that will be manning the vendor table with the chocolates!

I am sure the chocolates got your attention! Jadzia and Jay DeForest (founders of Devera Publishing) are presenting what we all hope will be an annual event this coming March – the Northwest Tarot Symposium. The focus, however, is not limited to Tarot – also included are oracles and the Lenormand. The Northwest Tarot Symposium (NWTS) will be held at the Monarch Hotel in Portland, Oregon, March 6th – 8th 2015.

This years presenters include Barbara Moor, James Wanless, Julie Cuccia-Watts, Jadzia DeForest, Jay DeForest, Jaymi Elford, Toni Gilbert, Miriam Jacobs, Mellissae Lucia, Marcia McCord, Heather Mendel, Teresa Michelsen, Carrie Paris, Christine Payne-Towler, Leeza Robertson and Amy Barilla, Casey Scanlon, Major Tom Schick and Valentina Burton, Pamela Steele, Carmen Waterman, Courtney Weber, and Katrina Wynne.

There will be vendors carrying books, cards, decks, ritual tools, jewelry, crystals, statuary, Tarot boxes, aromatherapy sprays, chocolates (ilk, dark, and white), learning cards, and more!

A potlatch table will be available, where people can place decks and books to be given away, or they can pick up a deck or book that they may not have, but are interested in.

Pamela Steele (The Steele Wizard Tarot, The Wizard’s Pets Tarot) is the driving force behind an incredible silent art auction – this will be a first for me, and I am really looking forward to it!

Enough for now! Check all of this out, then make your reservations post haste! Hope to see you all there!

Event Page on Facebook – Northwest Tarot Symposium

Community Page on Facebook – Northwest Tarot Symposium

Internet Site – NW Tarot Symposium

Northwest Tarot Symposium – Registration

(c) 2000 – 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Sherlock Holmes Tarot

The Sherlock Holmes Tarot
Wisdom From the First Consulting Detective

Author: John Matthews
Artist: Wil Kinghan
Eddison Sadd
2014
ISBN #978-1-4549-1022-0

Sherlock Holmes Tarot Cover

“I never guess. It is a shocking habit –
destructive to the logical faculty.”

~ The Sign of Four

I have had my eye on this deck, and finally decided that I “had” to have it! I am very pleased with both the artistry and the presentation of the cards. The story of Holmes, Watson, and 221B Baker Street is as I hold it in my mind. If it wasn’t, the deck would have been gifted on. Why keep something that is very important in your life if it doesn’t fit the image that you have of it?

This is a 79 card deck, along traditional lines, with cards retitled to fit the theme of Sherlock Holmes. (Examples include Inspector Lestrade as the Fool (I had to think about that one), The Great Detective as the Magician, and Irene Adler as the High Priestess.) The extra card is listed as a Wild Card (represented by the Giant Rat of Sumatra). The suits are Observation (Swords), with an eye as an icon; Evidence (Wands), with a foot as an icon; Analysis (Cups), with a magnifying glass as an icon; and Deduction (Pentacles), with a question mark as an icon. The Court cards are Baker Street Irregular (Page), Peeler (Knight), Lady (Queen), and Inspector (King).

The deck and 160 page companion book come in a sturdy cardboard box with a lift-off top. The cover shows Holmes and Watson, while the back of the box gives information about the deck.

In their preface, Mathews and Kingham talk about this deck as reflecting the “inner landscape” of Sherlock Holmes. Indeed it does! I dearly love Sherlock Holmes (in my mind as portrayed by Basil Rathbone, with Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson). In Part One: The Wisdom of Holmes & Watson, we read about Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who imagined Sherlock Holmes and his deductive abilities.  The stories were popular from the very beginning, which is understandable. I have read them all over and over and over again! It was also interesting to read about real individuals that may have been used as prototypes in building the character of Holmes. The authors pose the question of whether Holmes himself would have approved of the Tarot, and come up with some interesting conclusions! In this deck we see the wisdom of Sherlock Holmes applied through the Tarot – IMHO to great advantage!

In Part Two: The Greater Mystery – The cards and their meanings, the game is literally afoot! This section starts out with a listing of renamed titles for the Major Arcana, the retitled suits and Court cards, and the icons that represent each suit. Each card is represented by a black and white image, The Game (a summary of the meaning of the card), The Fog (reversed meanings), Keys (shorter meanings), and Holmesian Wisdom (quotes from the Sherlock Holmes canon). Note: I love that the Holmesian Wisdom quotes are presented within the circle of a magnifying glass!

In Part Three: The Art of Investigation – working with the cards, the authors talk about what each of the suits does, and using the Wild Card. Spreads include the four card Lens Spread, the eight card Great Detective Spread, and the nine card Enquiry Spread. Several pages are left blank at the end of the book for notes and observations.

The Major Arcana depict figures and locations from the Sherlock Holmes stories, while the Minor Arcana depict scenes from specific stories. (It was a joy to go through this deck for the first time, and recognize so many people and scenes!)  I was also impressed with the representation of the Victorian era, of which I am a huge fan.

The artwork brought the theme together in a wonderful fashion – one could believe they were in the Victoria era, even if only for a short while. The high hats, candles, and gas lamps, along with foggy streets, tell the story. Tarot aficionados will be happy to note that Caitlin Matthews graciously agreed to pose for some of the cards in this deck!

Sherlock Holmes Tarot_0001

The cards are 2 7/8” by 4 7/8”. The backs are gold, with 221B back to back in the middle of the card. (We all know who lived at 221B Baker Street!) The card faces show a ¼” white border, surrounding the card image. The card number and title is across the top of the card, in black lettering against a gold background. The Minor Arcana show the card number or title, but not the suit. Suits are indicated by icons placed in the upper right and left hand corners of the card.

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I am still not used to Inspector Lestrade as the Fool … but I am getting there. Here we see Lestrade, in a brown overcoat  and hat, facing away from us. He looks to be on the docks, gun in his right hand, lantern in his left hand. Holmesian Wisdom is “I take a shortcut when I can get it.”

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The Great Detective shows Holmes sitting in a chair, facing the reader, his hands in a “V” in front of him, his legs crossed. On the table in front of him is a lit candle, books, and other items of detection. He appears pensive, as only Sherlock Holmes can appear. Holmesian Wisdom is “A conjurer gets no credit once he explains his trick.”

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Irene Adler shows a young woman seated, in what appears to be a restaurant or tea shop. She is dressed for public with a hat, and is seated next to a table with a teapot and teacup. In the background we see both men and women standing. The Holmesian Wisdom is “Woman are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting.”

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The Three of Observation (Swords) features Holmes in a fit of depression, standing at the window looking out at the London fog, newspapers in front of him. The Holmesian Wisdom is “The most difficult crime to track is the one that is purposeless.”

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The Baker Street Irregular of Observation (Page of Swords) shows an envelope coming in through the mail slot in a door. The slot is open, and we see a pair of eyes looking through it. The Holmesian Wisdom is “They can go everywhere, see everything, overhear everyone.”

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The Five of Evidence (Wands) shows a candlelit room, with Holmes standing in the background, in a dark overcoat and hat. Holmes is seen subduing a red headed man. The Holmesian Wisdom is “I know my dear Watson that you share my love of all that is bizarre.”

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The Ace of Analysis (Cups) shows Holmes sitting in the middle of a candlelit room, wearing an overcoat and hat, and smoking his pipe. Papers are strewn all around him. The Holmesian Wisdom is “I can only see two things for certain. It’s the chain between them we are going to have to trace.”

Sherlock Holmes

The Lady of Deduction (Queen of Pentacles) shows Mrs. Hudson standing in front of a red door, holding a tea tray. The Holmsian Wisdom is “I do not encourage visitors.”

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The Peeler of Deduction (Knight of Pentacles) shows a constable, crouched over a body in a library. Next to the body we see a fallen notebook, and a small wooden box that has broken open. The Holmesian Wisdom is “Each fact is suggestive in itself. Together they have a cumulative force.”

This is not a learning deck – but it is a deck that would be thoroughly enjoyed by someone that likes themed decks, and/or someone that loves Sherlockian lore.

© 2000 – 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Review – Wizard’s Pets Tarot

The Wizard’s Pets Tarot

Author: Pamela Steele
Artist: Pamela Steele
Devera Publishing
2014

The-Wizards-Pet-Tarot-Pamela-Steele-

“Awaken your inner Wisdom.
Believe in yourself.
Connect to your highest truth.”

(The ABC’s of Tarot.

The Wizard’s Pets Tarot is the latest deck from artist/author Pamela Steele (The Wizard’s Tarot). The kit contains a 78 card playing card size deck that follows the Rider/Waite/Smith tradition, a companion book, and a black and white coloring book. The box is heavy duty cardboard, with a magnetic close on the right hand side. The cover shows a pictures of The Fool, while the back contains information about the deck, along with quotes from Den Elder, Juno Lucina, and Erik C. Dunne.

The thought process for this lovely deck evolved from the antics of Steele’s children when they were young. It started with the painting of a baby dragon as a gift for a baby shower, which morphed into requests for dragons doing all sorts of things! In 2010, Steele wrote and illustrated three children’s books (incredible books!) based on dragon characters. In 2012 Steele’s then nine year old granddaughter asked for a Tarot deck. When told she would have to wait (Steele could not find a deck that she felt was appropriate for children), Paige (Steele’s granddaughter) asked her grandmother to make a deck for her. What grandmother could refuse! And so … we have the Wizard’s Pets Tarot!

The companion book starts out with a foreword from Kim Huggens (The Complete Guide to the Tarot Illuminati). She talks about falling in love with the Tarot at the age of nine, and her desire for a deck that she could relate to. In the “Wizard’s Pets Tarot”, Huggens has found a deck that appeals to her inner child, and calls the cards playful, mystical, and welcoming. She talks about the immersive world that Steele has created with this deck, and the magic and wisdom contained within. Seriousness, combined with playfulness, joy, and creativity.

Also included in the companion book are sections on What Is Tarot?, Tarot Myths and Truths, Tarot Ethics, caring for your Tarot deck, Asking Questions, and more. Spreads include a three card Past/Present/Future spread, a four card Decision Making Spread, the six card Soul Quest spread, and the ten card Celtic Cross spread.

Each card is presented with a color photo, a few words on the nature of the card, Guidelines, Reversed, and Instincts (questions for the individual being read for). Note: in all transparency, I need to let readers know that I had the honor to develop the questions for each card.

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The cards are 2 ½” by 3 ½”, with a lovely linen finish. The backs feature a black background, with a slender blue inner border, followed by a wider green border in a celtic pattern, and a slim lavender inner border. In the center we see two trees of life, mirrored to each other, so that the card is reversible. The card faces are free of borders, and show the card title/suit at the bottom. The artwork follows the Rider/Waite/Smith pattern, with some cards given over to delightful dragons.

Wizard's Pets Tarot_0002

The Magician carries the thought “As you think, you create.” The guidelines talk about creating through desire, and manifesting thought into form. Reversed talks about misuse of abilities and talents. Instincts includes the question “What do you want to create in your life?”

Wizard's Pets Tarot_0003

The Hermit carries the thought “Your heart knows the truth.” The guidelines talk about confidence and inner wisdom. Reversed talks about immaturity, and rejection of wisdom. Instincts includes the question “What are you refusing to listen to?”

Wizard's Pets Tarot_0004

Judgement carries the thought “Time to reinvent yourself.” The guidelines talk about awakening on many levels. Reversed talks about ear of change. Instincts includes the question “Why do you doubt yourself?”

Wizard's Pets Tarot_0005

The Page of Wands carries the thought “Be confident the news that you need is coming.” The guidelines talk about information coming from a new source, or perhaps a birth. Reversed talks about news pertaining to blockage in growth. Instincts includes the question “What new sources are coming your way?”

 Wizard's Pets Tarot_0006

The Queen of Pentacles carries the thought “Comfort and security crate a feeling of home.” The guidelines talk about intelligence, security, and creativity. Reversed talks about self-pity leading to lack of abundance. Instincts includes the question “Where are you being creative?”

Wizard's Pets Tarot_0007

The Queen of Swords carries the thought “You are stronger than you think.” The guidelines talk about strength and honor. Reversed talks about energy directed at chaos and destruction. Instincts includes the question “Where do you need to be flexible?”

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The Six of Cups carries the thought “Learn from the past.” The guidelines talk about a pleasant meeting with someone from the past, or a memory from the past. Reversed talks about the inability to adapt to change, and the emotional failure that follows. Instincts includes the question “What memories from my past are coming to me”

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The Two of Swords carries the thought “Overthinking a situation causes confusion.” The guidelines talk about being at a stalemate. Reversed talks about a release of tension. Instincts includes the question “Where do you need balance in your life?”

The Wizard’s Pets Tarot opens up a whole new world, with characters such as Edlyn Whiteoak, Sydney Brightscales, Jasper Stripetail, and Emo Rattlebush. I love the feel of the deck, and the small size. The coloring book takes the understanding of the cards to a whole other level. Suitable for you, your children, your grandchildren, and anyone that wants to connect with their inner child.

© 2000 – 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Tarot

 

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