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Review: Tarot of the Crone, Third Edition

Tarot of the Crone –
Third Edition

Author: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Artist: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Publisher: Arnell’s Art
2017
ISBN #978-0-9894739-4-1

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Inspired by the ancient holy one. She is
grandmother, witch and hag. She has been
ignored or trivialized because she holds
powers that others fear or deny. Powers of
time and transformation, of death and shadow,
of wisdom and pain, of magic and wonder.
Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

I have followed this deck since its inception – as a handmade Limited Edition. To realize that this is the third birthing is absolutely amazing! The deck and companion book hold incredible power – power that we hold in our hands to help us to understand ourselves, to understand life, and to help others understand themselves and their lives. It is the power of transformation, the literal power of the Crone.

Tarot of the Crone is a 78 card deck with an 85 page companion book. Deck and book come packaged in a hard cardboard, life top box. The box has a black background, with a picture of the Star on the cover. The bottom of the box features pictures of the Priestess and the Wheel.

The Major Arcana follow traditional titles, with the following exceptions: High Priestess/Priestess, Hierophant/Tradition, Lovers/Crossroads, Wheel of Fortune/Wheel, Hanged Man/Sacrifice, and Judgment/Calling. Justice is VIII, Strength is XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Disks. The Court cards are entitled Beast, Witch, Grandmother, and Shadow.

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The cards are 3” by 4 ½”, with a glossy surface. The card backs are a solid black, which fits in well with the journey of transformation that this deck represents (the Crone’s journey). The card faces show a ¼” black border, with the card number/title in white at the bottom of the card. Roman numerals are used for the Major Arcana, with the numbers for the Minor Arcana written in text.

The companion book dedicates the deck to Hekate. In the front of the book is an explanation of who the Crone is, and how to meet her/bring her into your life. The Major Arcana cards are said to represent times when the Crone is speaking directly to the soul of the Seeker. The Minor Arcana represent qualitied or aspects of our magical, emotional, mental and mundane lives. There is a listing of the colors used in this deck, and what they symbolize. Each suit is based on two colors (along with black and white): Wands – Red and Yellow, for Power and Will, Cups – Red and Purple, for Feeling and Soul, Swords – Blue and Yellow, for Mind and Ability, Disks – Green and Brown, for Life and Flesh.

The prelude to the Minor Arcana defines the elements and the numbers, as well as the Faces (Court cards). Beast is defined as the primal instinct of the power. The wild and whole expression of the element. Witch is defined as the focused use of the power concerned with fulfilment and expression of self. Grandmother is defined as the mature expression of the power concerned with family and community. Shadow is defined as the element’s overdone, destructive and devouring power.

Each card is presented with a poem, an explanation of the cards energy, and a small, full color photo. (Note: Two cards are presented, with the full color photos following, side by side.) For the Magician, the poem reads:

I am the Something
That comes from nothing

 I am the Mistress of Illusion
I am the Mistress of Reality
 
I am the One
Who passes between

img014 The Fool is said to look beneath the everyday world. The Fool accepts the risk of becoming lost in the Void. Lorenzi-Prince goes on to say that we need to become formless and timeless to create a new future.

img015 The Magician is represented as a mask with living eyes. This is a force that manifests out of the void and into the world. Here we find will and confidence. We are reminded, however, that the mask is also an illusion. The Magician knows reality and illusion, and crosses freely between them.

img016 Crossroads features faces in shadow, with tripe Hekate standing at a crossroads on a moonless night. Hekate is not there to show us the way, she is there to challenge our path.

img017The Seven of Wands is associated with the theme of Risk. The cloaked figure stands amidst flames and lines of raw power. She embraces danger in the hope of further achievement. We are encouraged to trust our experience, and take educated risks.

img018The Beast of Wands is associated with the theme of Cat. A sleek black cat dominates this card. The cat combines instinct and intelligence to achieve her desires.

img019The Ace of Cups is associated with the theme of Grace. Lorenzi-Prince reminds us here that at the root of all emotion is the ability to feel.

img020The Five of Swords is associated with the theme of Contradiction. I love the five abstract swords in the card, and how they clash! We are asked to look at not only the other side of a situation, but to turn the situation inside out and look at that. Questions have a tendency to lead to more questions.

img021The Grandmother of Discs is associated with the theme of Homemaker. The small, loving acts of the Grandmother sustain the home, the community, and the world.

Tarot of the Crone continues to be the story of the transformation of the Crone. The white borders of the second edition have been replaced with (more appropriate, IMHO) black borders. The original poems are included, along with the interpretations that appeared in the second edition. Published in conjunction with the illustrious Arnell Ando, the deck, companion book and black box scream quality and professionalism. IMHO, this is a collectors item, and a must have for ritual work of many types. And yes – it flows well as a divinatory deck too!

© March 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Tarot

 

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Review: The Tarot Coloring Book

The Tarot Coloring Book

Author: Theresa Reed
Forward by: Mary K. Greer
Sounds True
2016
ISBN #13-978-1-62203-790-2

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Books that are well done will reflect the personality of their author – The Tarot Coloring Book certainly does this. Throughout its 180 pages we see all 78 cards of the Tarot presented through imagery, symbols, the meaning of their colors (and why choosing your own colors is sometimes better), their history, and how they work in a spread.

The book is 9.1” by 10.9”, making the illustrations a really nice size to work with. Physically, it is spiral bound, with a hard binding on the left hand side, allowing the title and author to be seen while the book is shelved. The front and back covers are glossy hard cardboard.

There is commentary in the front of the book from several different sources, with a forward by Mary K. Greer. In her introduction Reed talks about experiential learning … a very hands on way of experiencing the Tarot. She comments that each individual, as they are coloring the cards, will find themselves seeing symbols that they have not noticed before, that patterns and stories will begin to emerge. The student will begin to develop their own meanings for the cards, while learning traditional ones at the same time.

In her chapter on “How To Use This Coloring Book”, Reed presents the following steps: (1) Get a Tarot Deck, (2) Gather Your Coloring Supplies (there is a caution here that felt tip pens will bleed through the paper), (3) Set the Scene (organize your work space), (4) Begin Coloring! Yes – it is just that easy! One important thought here is that Reed views coloring as a contemplative experience – which I totally agree with! (I am a decidedly “non-artistic” person, so if I am working with a coloring book, it is not with the intent of being artistic. It is with the intent of taking a time out in my day, and melding with the material that I am working with.)

As each card is finished, Reed recommends taking a moment to examine the finished image. Some of the questions that she recommends the student asking themselves are: What did you learn about the card? Do certain cards trigger emotions for you? Do particular cards deliver a message to you? Reading this over, to me it makes sense to keep a separate journal as you are working your way through this coloring book to record your journey.

There is a brief history of the Tarot in general, and the Rider-Waite deck in particular, along with short meaning for the colors used in the deck. There is a short section on reading the Tarot, along with a list of ten ways to use the Tarot in everyday life.

Each of the 78 cards is presented with text on the left hand side, and a full page card image on the right hand side. The text includes the card name and number, the element for the Court cards, a sentence describing the energy of the card, how the card may be interpreted in both upright and reversed positions, the main symbols in the card, and suggestions for coloring. (I noted the same thing in James Rickleff’s The Tarot Coloring Book – the suggestions for colors to be used. In both books the colors are only suggestions.)

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Please note: I colored the above Tarot card – the choice of colors was mine.

Let’s take a look at the Queen of Pentacles. The sentence that appears under her title is “The Queen of Pentacles symbolizes material success and abundance.” The upright interpretation is one of caring and reliability – the “earth mother”. The reversed interpretation is that of being clingy, scared, unfocused, and having trouble trusting the world. The symbol mentioned is that of the rabbit. Suggested colors include a yellow sky, brown earth, light blue mountains, green trees, a blue river, and a yellow crown with red decorations. You can see my version of life above. (She is the Queen that represents me in the deck, which is why I choose to color her as an example.)

I love the content, the way the book is organized, and the fact that while this book is aimed at those new to the Tarot, making best use of the material is also beneficial for all levels of Tarot students/readers. And … it is fun to play with!

 © March 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Tarot

 

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Review: Tarot Kaizen

Tarot Kaizen

Author: Alison Cross
Self-published
2016
ASIN  B01N7NS80Z

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Kaizen is a Japanese term that derives from the business world.
“Kaizen” literally means “change for the better” and as a
business philosophy it has come to represent a philosophy based
on small changes that lead to overall continual improvement. Not
a bad philosophy or life, is it!
 

This is what we at Tarot Kaizen seek to do with our Tarot deck:
through small daily exercises we will work towards
incorporating the symbolism and meaning of a new deck into
our Tarot knowledge.
(from the book)

 In her introduction, Cross talks about decks that we as Tarot readers/aficionados tend to collect. We love our decks, but once we have them we may not, for whatever reason, work with them. She set up the Facebook group Tarot Kaizen to show people how to move their decks into the working deck category. The group itself has been running or about five years, but only runs once or twice a year. To that end, Cross collected all of the daily exercises used in the group into this e-book, so that individuals can begin this work any time they want to, whether a group is running or not.

This book contains over 100 daily exercises – it is suggested that the exercises be worked with on Monday – Friday, taking weekends off. On Monday – Thursday a new card will be worked with every day. On Friday Cross provides the reader with a 3-5 card spread so that they can work with the cards as they learn them, and that they have an opportunity to work with cards that they have not yet studied. Friday is also a review day, in that the reader determines which cards they like, which ones they are ambivalent about, and which ones they do not like. I love the advice that Cross gives he reader  at the end of their studies, if they do not like the deck they have been working with, they should set it aside (as opposed to selling it). In a few months time, take another look at the deck. You may find that it has grown on you!

What do you need you work with the Tarot Kaizen system? Time, this e-book, a Tarot deck, and a Tarot journal. (I will also add “the commitment to follow through”.)

I was pleasantly surprised to see that for some of the exercises the reader is required to write a Haiku! I have limited experience with Haiku’s, so I am really looking forward to this! Links are provided to show how this is done.

Okay – Here’s a concept that is completely new to me – Pidgin Tarot! What the heck? Pidgin is a combination of words, sounds, and body language from multiple languages and cultures. It is used to form a relationship between different pieces of information – in the case of the Tarot, it is usually associations made for numbers and Tarot suits. What Cross has done is thrown together keywords for the numbers and keywords for the suits. This allows the reader to apply the same principles to any deck. Yes!

I love how the exercises begin – with a “Flick Through” of the deck (come on – we all do this with a new/new to us deck!). An interesting thought presented here is that if the reader is not quite sure which deck they want to use in the exercise, to do the Flick Through with multiple decks, in order to see which one they really want to work with.

The exercises are short, with simple, easy to follow instructions. Divide you cards into three piles: attract, repel, and meh. Interview your deck. Establish the themes and systems within your deck for the Major Arcana. Establish the themes and quaternities (sets of four, such as the seasons). Determine your birth card. (I use the dual Birth Card system, which can be applied here.) Putting together the energy of a Court Card with the energy of the Suit. What does the Empress mean to you?  Write a Haiku.

Cross has a writing style that is very personable. You feel like she is in the room, egging you on (ummm Encouraging you!). You feel like you are in a very special space, doing magical work that is important to you, and getting to know yourself and your cards.

I am using this system to get to know my newest deck, the Third Edition of the Daniloff Tarot. It will be interesting, because this deck has extra cards, so I will be making up some of my own exercises!

Tarot Kaizen is a very special tool to add to your Tarot resources! How far you can go with it depends only on how far you are willing to go, how far you are willing to open your thinking about the Tarot, and your willingness to keep a commitment to doing the work.

© March 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2017 in Tarot

 

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Review – Pithy Tarot:Quick and Easy Meanings For Tarot Cards

Pithy Tarot –
Quick and Easy Meanings For Tarot Cards

Author: James Ricklef
KnightHawk Books
Third Edition
2017
ISBN #978-154118899-0

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I have followed James Ricklef’s work from way back when – from the days of his incredible “Ask KnightHawk” column, to his Tarot books (Tarot Tells The Tale (re-released as Tarot Reading Explained), Tarot: Get the Whole Story, Tarot Affirmations, The Soul’s Journey, and Tarot Spreads: Get The Whole Story), his Tarot coloring book (I have one – great fun to play with!), and his Tarot deck Tarot of the Masters.

 This is the third edition of the Pithy Tarot. What exactly is the Pithy Tarot? It is an incredible resource that presents easy to remember meanings and interpretations for the 78 cards of the Tarot. The intention is to stimulate further personal insights for the reader. They act as a jumping off place, if you will, for integrating the Tarot into real life. There is a whole range of meanings – from amusing (even us Cappies need to be amused from time to time!), to profound, to inspirational. They come from diverse sources, sources that will appeal to each of us in our own way. Words carry power – it is not wrong to say that this is a powerful book!

In his introduction Ricklef explains why he chose to use “pithy” meanings for the cards. They are not meant to encompass the cards, but to point towards a deeper meaning, and to encourage the readers exploration. This book began as posts in Ricklef’s blog. Soon people began to ask him to gather the meanings into a book … and so he did! Some of the meanings are meant to give advice, some to act as spiritual insights, and some act as warnings.

Ricklef’s suggestions on how to use the Pithy Tarot meanings include advice for the day, a caution or warning for the day, a card that can act to help interpret the events of the day, or pondering the message and allowing your imagination to take you where it will.

For each of the cards, pithy meanings are given, along with suggestions on how to us them in your life. For example, some of the meanings given for the Fool are: Look before you leap, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” (Alexander Pope), and Do not be afraid to march to the beat of a different drummer.

Some of the meanings given for the Wheel of Fortune are: Change is the only constant in life. (paraphrased from Heraclitus), What goes around comes around, Shit happens. Get over it, and There you go again.

Some of the meanings for the Ace of Cups include: Before all else, see love first, Love yourself, and Listen to the wisdom of your heart.

Some of the meanings for the King of Pentacles include: Money talks, Believe in your ability to be abundant, and A man’s home is his castle.

In his appendix Ricklef talks about creating meanings from quotes, proverbs, and traditional sayings. He notes that what the reader creates for themselves will be special to them because they have a bit of the reader’s heart and mind in them.

On the back cover, Ricklef notes that brief, catchy meanings will tend to stick in the readers memory much more easily than lengthier explanations. This book is fun to work with, and encourages the reader to come up with their own pithy meanings.

Note: The “Pithy Tarot” page can be found here.

© January 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Tarot

 

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Review – Trionfi della Luna Tarot

Trionfi della Luna
333

Artist: Patrick Valenza
Self-published
Deviant Moon Inc.
2016

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The Trionfi della Luna 333 is a 78 card Marseilles-style deck, with 10 bonus cards, an 2 alternate cards (Diavolo/Devil and Fulmine/Tower). (It is a cousin to the Deviant Moon Tarot.) The cards come in a flip-top box, wrapped in a stunning gold printed art wrapper that is signed on the back. (I am going to frame mine to hang in my office.) A little added flavor was the Devil card that was tucked into the wrapper! I opened the wrapper very, very carefully – it was folded with expert care, so that I could take it off in one piece, with no tears, and keep “forever”!

  • The bonus cards are numbered I-X.

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The deck itself evolved from a series of spontaneous ink drawings created on the wrappers of signed Deviant Moon Tarot decks. This was originally a majors only deck – I am so happy that Patrick decided to complete it! There is a downloadable LWB on the Deviant Moon site (or there will be soon – it was not up yet when I started this review).

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All of the titles in this deck are in Italian, with the suits entitled Spade (Swords), Bastoni (Wands), Coppe (Cups), and Danari (Pentacles). The Court cards are entitled Re (King), Regina (Queen), Caval (Knight), and Fante (Page). The Two of Pentacles follows form for a Marseilles deck and carries the information for the printer (Deviant Moon, New York).

 

 

 

 

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The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”. The backs are burgundy, with cream colored quarter moons within a diamond shape, and are reversible. The card faces show a ½” antique white border, followed by a thinner black border. The background for the images is an antique cream color. For the Major Arcana, the number is at the top of the card, in Roman numerals. The card title is at the bottom of the card, in Italian. For the Court cards, the title and suit are across the bottom of the card. As this is a Marseilles-style deck, the Minor Arcana show icons only, with the card number, in Roman numerals, centered on either side of the card.

The art style is uniquely Deviant Moon – strange creatures, other-worldly landscapes, and a sense of “in your face” reality. Bad dreams type reality! Perhaps I should say “surreal”, as opposed to reality! The background is medieval combined with 19th century lined illustrations.

 

Whatever it is – it works! It took me a long time to get used to the Deviant Moon Tarot, but once I was over that little bump in the road, I wanted every deck that Patrick could ever conceive of putting out there!

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We see La Papessa standing on a pile of books, with flames behind her. La Giustizia (Justice) stands with her sword and scales in an almost menacing manner. I love the eye that takes center stage in La Ruota (the Wheel of Fortune). Interesting that in the Re di Spade (King of Swords) he holds in front of him a shining sword, yet the sword that he holds behind him drips blood, There is a fire behind him, and the quarter moon in the sky drips blood.

 

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The Ten of Swords shows eight curved swords, with two straight swords in the middle, dripping blood. The Regina de Bastoni (Queen of Wands) shows the figure facing the left hand side of the card, with ghost faces behind her. The Fante di Dinari (Page of Pentacles) is quite the interesting figure, as it is shown running after the Pentacle icon, which has wings.

 

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of Patrick’s work. It is innovative, and exciting. I think that you will all enjoy this deck!

I am going to put in a plug here for the book that Patrick wrote concerning his journey with the Tarot, and how his art evolved. It is a huge, amazing book, and you all need to read it! It is called the Deviant Moon Tarot Book (U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 2015).

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

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – Voyager: DIY Mindfulness Psychology

Voyager: DIY Mindfulness Psychology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – Tarot Decoratif

Tarot Decoratif

Author: Ciro Marchetti
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
Independently Published
2016

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

from the companion PDF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Tarot

 

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