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Review – Tarot de St Croix

Tarot de St. Croix

Author: Lisa de St. Croix
Artist: Lisa de St. Croix
Devera Publishing
2013
ISBN #978-0-9858321-9-3

Tarot de St Croix cover

“Tarot de St. Croix” is a 78 card deck that comes with an accompanying 96 page booklet, both enclosed in a sturdy box with a lift-off top. The box is in the same lovely orange that dominates the deck, with a scan of the Sun on the cover, and smaller card images running along three sides.  It is structured along traditional lines, using traditional titles for the Major Arcana, with Strength as VIII and Justice as XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, with the Court Cards as Page, Knight, Queen and King.

Note: I am proud to say that this deck was published through Devera Publishing, an independent publishing house in Portland, Oregon.

In her introduction, Lisa talks about this deck as being both contemporary and multi-cultural. Inspiration came from current events, personal experiences, mythology, and synchronicity. Lisa describes the Tarot as a visual encyclopedia to the soul.

Lisa’s introduction to the Tarot came from accompanying her mother to a Tarot reading in Johannesburg, South Africa. Some time after her mother’s death the Marseille deck that her mother had purchased at that reading came into her hands, and she began her study of the Tarot. At this time, Lisa was living near a Zuni Indian reservation. At the winter solstice Lisa took a shamanic journey, where Isis instructed her to paint a Tarot deck. She painted this deck as if it were a Tarot reading, and she were receiving wisdom. The introduction also includes thoughts on reading the cards, drawing a daily card, Tarot journaling, a three card spread, a five card spread, and a nine card spread.

While the commentary in the booklet is minimal, Lisa does have a blog where she expands on the card meanings, sharing what they are to her, and her experiences as she was painting each card. It is well worth checking out her blog. The companion booklet shares Lisa’s life experiences, and her philosophy.

The Major Arcana are presented as a two page spread, with commentary on the left hand page, and the card meaning, along with a ¾ page color image on the right hand page. In the commentary Lisa talks about what inspired her for the card, and bits of her own life experience.

The Fool

The Fool is both the beginning and the end of the Major Arcana in the archetypal journey of the soul.

The Fool is inspired by the Pueblo Indian sacred clown Koshare. He wears the mask of Coyote, the trickster. He represents a playful way to look at a situation. The Fool makes a shadow puppet scene of danger. The message is to look beyond our fears to see what really lies behind it. The path leads towards the full moon which symbolizes the cyclical nature of life. The boat represents a journey into the mystery. The Fool’s knapsack lays open in front of him, what will he take with him? The aspen stick with eyes symbolizes the witness and the wisdom gained on his journey.

I lived for a number of years on the Zuni Indian Reservation, where I was fortunate to see their ceremonial dances. One evening as I stood on the rooftop watching the dances below, a Koshare, the sacred clown climbed up the ladder and tricked me into buying a plastic turquoise necklace for twenty dollars, the crowd roared with laughter. I felt embarrassed but also delighted to play the fool n their ceremony. I treasure that necklace, it reminds me to laugh at myself.

The Minor Arcana pips (numbered cards) are presented as groups – i.e. Ace’s together, two’s together et cetera. There is short commentary on what each number means, followed by the number in each suit, a short commentary, and its meaning. Small color scans for each of the four cards appear at the bottom of the page.

Aces

Aces offer the potential of something new that will succeed. Aces are linked to the Magician, the great manifester.

Ace of Pentacles

The full blooming sunflower against the brilliant sky is an expression of abundance.

Meaning – Begin a new project with confidence knowing that it will grow to its fullest potential and flourish.

The Court Cards are presented as groups – Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings. A full page is given to each card, with commentary about the card at the top, a full color scan in the middle, and the meaning at the bottom.

Page of Cups

This young Page dreamily looks at the water cupped in her hands, imagining romance. She is sensitive and vulnerable as she sits on the lotus, nestled between the stamens.

Meaning: In order to blossom in love and relationships it is necessary to expose tenderness and vulnerability.

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The backs show a ¼” orange border, surrounding a mirror image of clouds, the moon, and a figure. The card backs are reversible – and they really draw one in! The cards are 3” by 4.5”, sturdy and semi-gloss. The card faces show a ¼” orange border surrounding a central image. For the Major Arcana, the card number (in Roman numerals) and title run across the bottom of the card. For the Court Cards, the title and suit run across the bottom of the card. For the Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards), the number and suit, all in text, run across the bottom of the card.

The colors in this deck – predominately orange, yellow, and gold – are intense, vibrant, and absolutely command your attention! This is a very personal deck for Lisa, not only that she was instructed to paint it while on a shamanic journey, but that it reflects her thoughts, her travels, her early years spent in South Africa, and her meditative practices. I purchased this deck while I was at NWTS (Northwest Tarot Symposium). At this time, Lisa was in India meditating and painting … very reflective of the life of this deck.

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Queen of Pentacles: The Queen Sheba is carried on a gold palanquin, surrounded by the riches of the earth (ripe fruit, fragrant flowers, and abundant herbs). She embodies the qualities of abundance, nurturing, and generosity. “Meaning – Enjoy the senses, and share with others.”

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Knight of Cups: This Knight welcomes the flow of feelings. Lisa notes that her son has always followed his heart, and as a result he has been able to make his dreams come true. “Meaning – A person who acts from the heart.”

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The Empress: As the great mother, the Empress nurtures and provides. Her rule is through love. This painting was begun on the spring equinox. As she painted this card, Lisa watched the blossoms on the tree across from her studio open, and the bulbs flower. “Meaning – If we open ourselves to what we need and give and receive love, abundance will flow.”

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Ace of Swords: “The wisp of smoke at the end of the sword suggests that something is smoldering, ready to ignite. The new moon suggests the beginning of a new phase that will develop.” “Meaning – Innovative ideas will expand bringing clarity and wisdom.”

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The World: “The World is the culmination of the Tarot archetypal journey, it speaks of wholeness and numinous revelation.” “Meaning – The World shows you that you are connected to all that is.”

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The Hermit: “The Hermit spends time alone in contemplation. The Hermit is an ally when it comes to dealing with shadow. Look within, and let it be illuminated. Questions will be resolved.” “Meaning – The Hermit invites you to spend time alone to allow your inner wisdom to reveal itself.”

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Three of Wands: “The Mother watches her progeny’s boat come in. Three wands blossom with the promise of success. The figurehead leads the boat towards the spirit world. “Meaning – Visionary leadership will see a project flourish.”

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The Magician: “The Magician uses will, the elements and Spirit to manifest that which is desired.” “Meaning – The message of the Magician is that through focused energy we are able to harness the means to create our destiny.”

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Seven of Pentacles: “The girl in the leopard skin reaches eagerly towards many projects.” “Meaning – Pause and evaluate your goals, before  unleashing energy to achieve them.”

I am impressed with this deck to the point that I am in awe! The vibrant colors draw the reader in and make them feel at home – warm and protected. There is a very sacred feel to these cards, partially because of the archetype that the Tarot is, and partially because Lisa has shared so much of herself and her sacred life journey with the reader. I highly recommend that the reader make best use of Lisa’s blog, where she goes in-depth into what the cards mean to her, and where she was in her journey when she painted them.

Lisa has placed herself in some of the cards along the way, and has included other individuals from her life. Quite an interesting card is the Page of Swords, which integrates her son drawing the golden mean on a blackboard with a sword. A subtle way if showing that the golden mean is at work in this deck. This is a comfortable deck for all levels of Tarot student, and certainly what one could term a “teaching deck”.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent from the author

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Northwest Tarot Symposium – Part 3

Northwest Tarot Symposium – Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2, I shared my impressions of this awesome symposium from an overall perspective, and took a closer look at the presenters. In Part 3, I will be sharing thoughts on the vendors. Overall thought – they were awesome!

Ailynn – Carried the Queens of Tarot aromatherapy sprays (for all four Queens and the Moon).

Amaris Rising (janet.brayson@gmail.com) – Carried Tarot, crystal, and potion bags, crystal pendulums, and more!

Cat’s Eye – Carried hand-crafted Tarot decks and hand painted Lenormand boards and cloths.

Charlene DeLong – Carried New Earth Tarot deck and books, along with hand crafted crystal necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

Chocolate Fandango – Everybody’s favorite stop! Incredible chocolate treats, including chocolate bark, truffles, and gift sets, with milk, dark and white chocolates.

Christine Payne-Towler and Toni Gilbert – Carried The Underground Stream and Tarot of the Hoy Light books and decks, with readings by Christine and Toni.

Crystal Quarry – Carried crystals, rocks, and minerals in many forms, including points, spheres, clusters, runes, chakra sets, and more!

Devera Publishing – This wonderful booth featured no only self-published decks, books, and learning cards, but also carried displays from U.S. Games Systems Inc. and Schiffer Publishing.

Divine Muses – Carried hand-made, self-published collage motif Tarot and Lenormand decks.

Divining/Designing – Carried an assortment of Goddess bracelets, necklaces, Lenormand charm bracelets, Tarot and Lenormand bags.

Gaean Allusions Pottery – Carried wheel-thrown, hand decorated stoneware, goblets, mugs, and plates, clay amulets, beads, and buttons, featuring New Tarot-themed designs, as well as Celtic, Pagan, Fantasy, and NW Native American.

Global Mineral – Carried rocks, minerals, stones, and jewelry. (Yes, I added to my stock of rose quartz! One can never have too much rose quartz!)

James Wanless – Carried several goodies, including his Sustain Yourself deck and companion book.

Other Worlds of Wonder – Carried Pagan and humor bumper stickers, wood burning art, Native American cards, totem cards, and framed house spells.

Pye Wackets – Carried alternative, earth based spiritual tools. Intuitive readings were available from Reverend Camille Moritz, Oracle and crystal divination from Rondell, and Oracle, Angel Card, and aromatherapy with Sheila.

Rare Earth Designs – Carried wood and leather journals, Runes, oghams, geomancy sets, boxes, cases, wands, Ouija boards, and fiber arts tools.

Raven’s Reflections – Offered oracle readings with her own uniquely designed divination cards.

Rosarium  Blends – Carried hand-crafted ritual incense, naturalperfumes, enchanting oil blends, and erotic apothecary goods and accessories.

Tarot of Empowerment – Featured the Tarot of Empowerment deck and book set, card prints, greeting cards, and more!

The Guiding Tree – Carried statuary, home décor, alter decorations, ritual tools, Tarot boxes, and body/mind/spirit products.

The Green Wolf – Carried costumes, ritual tools (made from hides, bones and skulls), and books.

Disclaimer: No, I do not have a wonderful memory, and no, I did not take good notes! Complete credit for the above (except for any errors!) goes to the awesome Jadzia DeForest, who included this comprehensive listing of the Vendor’s Bazaar in the NWTS printed programme.

 Northwest Tarot Symposium Part 1

Northwest Tarot Symposium Part 2

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

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Northwest Tarot Symposium – Part 2

Northwest Tarot Symposium – Part Two

In Part 1 I gave you an overview of just how well thought out, and well presented this weekend was. (Many thanks to the DeForest’s and their helpers!) In Part Two I am going to share who the presenters were, and link to their work. I adored the format of this venue – fifty minute presentations, which allowed attendees to experience more presentations, and get a nice sampling of what is being offered in the Tarot world at this time.

There was a schedule of presenters and rooms in the (full color!) programme, which made life very easy! It was also noted which interest level ach presentation was aimed at: Novice, Adept, or Master. And yes, anyone could attend any of the presentations. This just made it easier to choose presentations that would interest you, and fit your comfort level.

Just as an aside – the hotel provided water and coffee, which was much appreciated. Sitting in an air conditioned venue for several hours can be a bit dehydrating.

Note: I was not able to attend all of the presentations. If I have gotten something wrong here, please let me know, and I will correct it.

Jadzia DeForest talked about “Tarot Suits & Numerology”. Jadzia refers to the four suits and the number cycle within the Tarot as building blocks. By learning the keys of the suits, elements, and numerology. An excellent base is developed for further Tarot studies.

Jay DeForest talked about “Beyond the Cards: How Does Divination Work?” Jay has a marvelous sense of humor, and it was a delight to hear him talk about what goes on during a reading, about where the information comes from, and how symbols work with our subconscious to help provide information, and expand our range of observation and awareness.

Jaymi Innowen Elford talked about “Inspiring The Muse”. The focus here was on helping writers use the Tarot to brainstorm stories, characters, and settings using the pictures, symbolism, and structure of the Tarot.

Toni Gilbert talked about “Archetypal Dreamwork and Tarot Cards”. I have admired Toni’s work for a long time now, and felt badly when I was unable to attend her presentation. Toni defined what archetypes are, discussed archetypal imagery (such as Chaos and Black Hole), Fusion, and the ubiquitous Big Bang theory. Shen then showed how these translate into the Tarot.Also discussed were Freud’s levels of consciousness, and how if we contemplate and understand our dreams,  we will find guidance for healing in our waking life.

Miriam Jacobs talked about “Tarot and the Chakras”. Her presentation connected the chakra system with the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. The two systems used together guide us to choose meditations that address the challenges presented by the cards.

Mellissae Lucia talked about “Crowd Funding Your Deck”. Mellissae offers an insider’s perspective on navigating a crowd funding campaign, including both the practical and spiritual aspects.

Marcia McCord talked about “First Steps With Lenormand”. This is another presentation that I was unable to attend, so I cannot tell you much about it. I will say that Marcia is a lovely and talented lady, with a great sense of humor. Attendees no doubt left with a whole new perspective of the Lenormand!

Heather Mendel talked about Intuition and the Sacred Feminine. Our lives are a mystery as we walk through the dark and the light. In her work, Heather blends the Tarot and the Kabbalah in search of the Sacred Feminine. Heather shared insight from her own life, relating it to her journey, and the journey that we all face in connecting with the Sacred Feminine. I could have listened to Heather all day long!

Teresa Michelsen talked about “Bringing the Tarot to Life”. Teresa addressed her topic by showing attendees how to step into a Tarot card and live it for a day, or a week, or however long they want to. In entering a card, we move away from thought and emotion, and into the realm of acting, speaking, and doing. Her stated goal with this method is to directly put into practice approaches to living and interacting with others, that achieve our best results.

Barbara Moore talked about “What Is My Soul’s Purpose?”, using the 3X7 format as a baseline. Her presentation included scans from various decks, which was a really nice addition (which also meant that in the creation of her Power Point, she ended up having to match loose cards to the decks that they came from!). Attendees were also presented with a handout including spreads that brought her topic home.

Carrie Paris talked about “The Magpie Oracle: Casting Shiny Objects or A Bright Future”. In this presentation, attendees learned about the rich history of collection oracles, and how they can be put to use. This is one oracle that I am going to have to work with!

Christine Payne-Towler talked about “Sophia Among the Alchemists”. This is one presentation that I fortunate to attend, and was very happy that I did! Christine’s focus was on the key concepts associated with Sophia’s appearance among the Renaissance and reformation Magi. Quite an in-depth presentation, and well worth attending!

Leeza Robertson & Amy Barilla talked about “Tarot and Tea”. The presentation was designed to build, grow, and expand an individual’s relationship with their deck. Focus was on enhancing knowledge of each card, while creating a spread to show the message that was needed for the situation right now. This is paired with a crystal or gemstone, and a power mantra.

Mark Ryan; talked about “The Wildwood Tarot”. Concepts discussed were those inherent in the Wildwood Tarot.

Major Tom Schick & Valentina Burton talked about “Using La Loteria cards as Oracle Cards”. I count myself blessed to have met Major Tom and Valentina, even though I was not able to attend their presentation. Major Tom created his own version of La Loteria cards, a Mexican bingo type game. Valentina wrote a book on using La Loteria for divination.

Pamela Steele talked about the “ABC’s of Tarot”. This was a broad spectrum presentation, addressing things like ethics, and how to phrase questions.

Gina Thies talked about “Keys XV to XXI – The 4 Natural Enemies on The Path”. This is one lecture that I was unable to attend. Hopefully at some point in time she will talk about this again. Her presentation centered on The Devil, and doing shadow work with the Tarot. Here we are confronting our demons/obstacles.

James Wanless talked about “Tarot Is Psychology” … and that it is not beyond the pale to read the Tarot without drawing the cards! (You learn this technique quickly when you are doing readings over the radio, and suddenly discover that you don’t have your cards!) He addresses the Tarot as a reflective mirror for self-knowing. The exercises included in this presentation (exercises that the attendees did) were both insightful and fun!

Carmen Waterman talked about “The Creators Journey”. Carmen is an awesome artist, and a compelling presenter! She shared her journey with her deck – what she did right, what could have been done better, and what was a learning experience. She has a sense of joy and humor – the time spent with her was magical!

Courtney Weber talked about “Tarot For One: The Art of the Self-Read”. Addressed are such things as ego, and the internal voice, and the attendee’s personal relationship with their deck. Work was also done on creating personal spreads that help with self-readings.

Katrina Wynne talked about “Sexual Symbolism In Tarot”. Katrina considers sexual energy and symbolism to be integral aspects of Tarot wisdom. The focus of this presentation was on learning immediate ways to relate to the message of each card, and their deeper, more personal meanings.

I want to thank all of the presenters for sharing their wisdom, and making NWTS a memorable experience!

Northwest Tarot Symposium Part 1

Northwest Tarot Symposium Part 3

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

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Northwest Tarot Symposium: Part 1

Northwest Tarot Symposium 2015: Part 1

The weekend of March 6th through March 8th saw the inaugural event for the Northwest Tarot Symposium (NWTS), in Portland, OR. The symposium, founded by Devera Publishing (Jay and Jadzia DeForest) was an outstanding success – so much so that I am going to do a three part blog on this – a general overall impression (Part 1), a synopsis of the presenters (Part 2), and a synopsis of the vendors (Part 3).

Note: The symbol for NWTS became the delightful little newt. The west coast now rocks with BATS and NWTS!

A tremendous amount of work went into this event, beginning with Jay and Jadzia themselves. The location of the venue (The Monarch Hotel) was a very good one. The rooms were nice, the staff very courteous (they held my luggage for me behind the desk when I checked out on Sunday, as there were still presentations to see, as well as a final walk through the vending area), and it was quite easy to get to both the presentations (which were in one area), and the vendors area (which included a showing of art for the silent auction), which was completely separate.

A special note of thanks to Pamela Steele, who vetted the art auction, and to Jadzia and December for the time and effort they put into making this part of the symposium go off without a hitch. It was awesome to see this much art in one place.

Totally not connected with the Art Auction, but of interest anyway, was the fact that Theresa Pridemore (The Portland Tarot), and Courtney Weber (Tarot of the Boroughs) were both present. Each lady has a deck out representing her own unique city – to me this was incredible!

Registration was in an area directly off the lobby, which was very handy. I was very lucky when I registered, as Katrina Wynne was doing the registering, and she is someone that I very much wanted to meet. Katrina did more than her fair share throughout the event, making sure that everyone got where they needed to go, and had what they needed to have. And she did so in a very unobtrusive manner.

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A full color programme covered everything that participants needed to know about the symposium: presenters (with bios and topics), presentation times and rooms, a map so it would be easy to move around, the story behind the little newt logo, and a list of vendors. Several of the presenters and vendors carried ads in the programme – thank you for helping support NWTS! I have another big shout out to make to the publishing community – Devera Publishing, U.S. Games Systems Inc., and Schiffer Publishing all carried full page ads! Kudos to The Fool’s Dog, The Tarot School, and the San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium for supporting NWTS with ads.

Both Jay and Jadzia were all over the place, making things happen. What a gracious, professional couple! They also had a booth to maintain for Devera Publishing, but they managed to get everything done, with the help of Jay’s sister Pat, Tom McConnell, December, Lizzie, Sierra, Pascale, and Tracie.

The Friday night Meet & Greet in the Monarch Hall was a tremendous success. The vending and art auction areas were open, there was a bar set-up, and wonderful finger food. What a treat to have a chance to meet some of the lovely people from the Tarot world that I have only interacted with online!

A cold cut, cheese and salad lunch was available both Saturday and Sunday. A nice break to sit down and have a longer chat with new friends! And there were also raffle drawings!

Saturday night saw us back in the Monarch Room with a bar set-up, finger food (which was very good!), raffle drawings, a great talk from the incredible Mark Ryan, and an awesome lineup of belly dancers, followed by music from Three For Silver.

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I had a fabulous time, considering that I arrived sans Tarot deck (when I usually bring three or four!), and had to stop at Safeway and pick up a notebook to take notes on the presentations! (NWTS will be presented again next year, so I am going to make best use of this notebook and save it for all coming NWTS events. What a history that will be!)

Hope to see you all here next year!

Northwest Tarot Symposium Part 2

Northwest Tarot Symposium Part 3

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

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Tarot

 

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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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