Scrying Ink by Siolo Thompson © Bay & Willow
Status: Currently reading with it
Best for: Any style of readings, spiritual readings, personal readings
Favorite cards: Crown, Broom, Crossroads, Scissors
Acquired from and date: Siolo Thompson’s shop Bay & Willow. September 2016.
I’m a really big fan of Siolo Thompson’s work. I absolutely adore the Linestrider Tarot and watched this deck develop in absolute excitement. Scrying Ink is a Lenormand style deck which made me even more excited. This deck combines everything that I love about Lenormand decks with the beautiful art of Siolo Thompson.
Overall, the deck’s really solid as a Lenormand. It’s a 40 card deck not a 36 card deck – it has extra cards in it. Namely, an extra set of Male and Female cards plus the Crown and the Broom. The Scythe has been swapped for the Scissors. I’ll go into this in a bit but I’m always interested in decks that are slightly outside the cookie cutter norm so this was more of an incentive to me.
For me, the deck feels “cooler” energy-wise than the Linestrider Tarot does, perhaps less attached. I think that partially comes from the fact that the Linestrider Tarot was the artist’s first deck and this is their second. That first creation always has a ton of energy. That being said, the deck reads beautifully and has the feel and voice of a wise guide or mentor that lets you work out for yourself what you need to do rather than handing you answers.
You’ll have to know your Lenormand to use these cards appropriately. Or, you can use them as an oracle-style deck, but you’ll still need to have developed a fairly strong association game to really get to the cards. I find that despite there being very set meanings for this style of deck, it’s those very set meanings that sometimes requires additional intuitive insight to get to the bottom of the problem. Perhaps because of the additions and changes in this deck, I find that using your intuition can be helpful in getting to the truth of the matter.
If you’re familiar with the Linestrider Tarot, then expect the art of the Scrying Ink to be much of the same. Splashes of colored ink over black and white drawings on typically on streaked backgrounds.
The art is beautiful as usual and the color is used in brilliantly. There’s drips of inks here and there rather than coloring the whole card. For example, in the Broom, only the lacing is red. In the Crown, blue ink forms a secondary crown alongside the actual crown image – which is so brilliantly done because while a ruler might be free to do as they wish, they’re also imprisoned by their obligations and responsibilities to their country and people. The blue ink forms a secondary crown, yes, but it also forms bars over that crown, like a jail cell door.
The line art really reminds me of the art from classic fairy tale books I grew up, such as Grimm’s fairy tales. This seems to stand out more than it does with the Linestrider Tarot, perhaps because there are so few humanoid images in Lenormand decks. Lenormand cards are comprised of animals and objects mostly so it sometimes has only a handful of humans on the cards at all.
The type is clear, solid, all capitalization, and easy to read. That’s not something easily found in Lenormand style decks. I’ve a few Lenormand decks that have tiny type or just the numbers leaving you without that keyword to work with or requiring you to use the imagery or look up the number in a book.The cards are not numbered, however, so that’s something to keep in mind.
The backgrounds are something I’m kind of on the fence about. They’re typically a light gray or cream colored streaking that is different for each card. Ink is usually used to add color to the drawings such as with the Ship. But I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the streaking is hard to photograph or maybe because it’s sometimes distracting but there are some cards where the background stands out more than others when I don’t think it should. That being said the backgrounds also help tie it together. This might be a weird thing to nit-pick but it’s one of the very few things I’m sometimes not thrilled about with this deck.
Another weird thing for me is the card backs. It’s a black and gray design that reminds me of tattoo ink at first then fairy tales second. It’s also somewhat “hazy” and on close inspection, you can see how it’s printed on the card. I wouldn’t look at the back of those cards and be able to guess what the Scrying Ink is actually like from it.The card backs are also not reversible which isn’t a big deal at all as Lenormand style readings aren’t meant to be read in reverse anyway.
I like the Crown addition (of course I do) but I especially like it because it fills in that space that handles where our responsibilities lie. The Crown might appear if we’re taking on too much responsibility or if you need to own up to your own responsibilities. It’s like the Tower card in this sense but with less emphasis on isolation or the unattainable.
The Broom and Whip have been separated. If you’re familiar with Lenormand decks this the Whip (11) can be confusing. I typically like to think of the Whip more like the Whisk – it can stir things up but it can smooth things out too. I think the Whip’s original meaning has a lot of historical implication lost to us. Remember the Lenormand came about in the 1800s or so. The whip would have been used to imply punishment or hurrying – you whip a servant for theft, possibly child for disobedience, and a horse to hurry. This kind of thinking wouldn’t have been unusual at all at the time so we have to remember that. Since we do not allow such things anymore, most people don’t really think of the whip much anymore. Save for Indiana Jones and “whipping yourself into shape”, whips aren’t commonly thought of. We’ve lost touch and meaning to the original intent of the card. It became more of a whisk or even a broom. This still has historical merit and meaning. the Whip is known for aggression, disagreements, discipline, and violence. It’s the card of physical activity. On a more modern scale, it comes up when you’ve had a disagreement with your spouse or parents and it something of the “oh shit” card in my book when it comes to household stuff. It’s the text message saying you’ll be receiving surprise visitors in fifteen minutes and you have a sink full of dishes and laundry scattered across the house. It’s annoyance and anger. It’s abuse and it’s harsh reality.
The Broom and Whip helps separate out some meanings. Now the Whip stands more of what it was originally intended for. The Broom is used for clearing away what happens after the Whip – the hurt, the dust from physical activity, etc. The Broom is a healthy separation whereas the Whip could mean a nasty break up. The Broom is compromise or a fresh start. It’s cleaning house. It’s also work so that physical aspect isn’t missing from the Broom either. The Broom also helps bridge the gap when it comes to swapping the Scythe for the Scissors.
The Scythe for the Scissors was an interesting change and one I wasn’t particular fond of when I first got the deck. Now I love the change. I personally associate really well with your standard Scythe card. The Scythe is the cutting of ties but it’s also reaping what you sown. It requires rapid action. The Scissors encapsulates all this meaning is a more understandable fashion for modern readers. I find that the Scissors associates well with the Broom because that clearing away the unwanted idea. The Broom now covers that aspect of the Scythe card, allowing for clearer and cleaner readings.
The Male and Female cards are some of my least favorite cards in any Lenormand deck. I’m not fond of the binary system (though I get it and it’s easily worked around in any Lenormand deck) so I tend to just use the Male/Female cards as “self” or referring to a particular individual when it comes up in an oracle-style reading for me. In this deck, there’s your typical humanoid Man/Woman card (Lord and Lady) but there’s also Female and Male. These two cards associate directly with the Child card. How? They’re deer. The Female card is a doe, the Male card is an antler, and the Child card is a fawn. I adore this. I read this as a subtle difference between Man and Male. The Man card might refer to a co-worker whereas the Male card suggests a masculine energy instead – that could be your female non-nonsense boss. The difference is subtle but extremely useful for my readings. It allows for people to be able to subscribe to a card more easily. If you’re non-binary, you might select any of these card depending on your mood at the time. I’m still searching for a deck that offers a more options in terms of sex and gender but this is a good alternative to the Man/Woman style cards.
Overall, the cards given an impression of a wise mentor, as stated above. The energy isn’t as mischievous as the Linestrider Tarot can get but isn’t afraid to throw down as needed. I find this deck tells you exactly what you need to know but sometimes leaves you to draw conclusions and the details of the situation. For this reason, I find myself using this for answers and personal readings. I don’t just mean my own readings for myself but the readings that dive into my own mentality and spirituality. It’s rare for me to have a deck like this so it’s really very perfect in my opinion.
The deck itself is large. It’s not as big as Blue Angel Publishing decks are but larger than my smartphone in width and as tall as a it in height. While at first I was surprised at the deck as they’re still a bit large for my hands, they’re a good in between size for a large deck so it’s still fairly easy to shuffle. According to the website’s information, the deck measured 5.75 by 3.5 inches.
The deck’s matte but has a slight sheen to it when you turn the cards in the light. To me, that’s the perfect sheen for a deck. I want to be able to take photos without messing with a thousand camera settings and lighting to get it.
The card stock is thinner than I expected but that’s not a bad thing. Because of the size, the flexibility the thinner card stock has allows for it to shuffle easily. This immediately solves the “my deck is too big to shuffle issue” because while the deck is on the large size, the flexibility of the cards means that it can be shuffled or even bridged without worrying about the cards bending. The cards are smooth with a noted rounded edge which I like.
That being said, I’ve noticed minor almost invisible scratches from finger nails and some wear on the card sides from overhand shuffling. I typically have short to medium length nails so I’m not surprised about the scratches. I’m not gentle with my overhand shuffling so the wear isn’t surprising either. All decks develop these sorts of things so I’m not sure why I notice it more in this deck. If you’re gentle with your cards and not a brutish monster like I am, you’ll probably be fine. (Seriously though, I really am not gentle with my cards so you’ll be fine. The cards are high-quality.)
My Linestrider Tarot is the Kickstarter version and it arcs. This means is does not lie flat when placed on a flat surface. This is probably due to my riffle style shuffling technique but my only issue with that version of Linestrider Tarot so I worried about it with the Scrying Ink. I needn’t have bothered. The Scrying Ink lies perfectly flat and I have no worries about arcing.
The deck is nicely packaged. It came in a plain cardboard but labeled box with a note card, a card introducing the Scrying Ink, briefing sheet about the Houses of the Grand Tableau, a black burlap bag, the guidebook, and the deck. It’s almost too much stuff. The box is large and strong enough to be keep around but it’s not a tuck box. I kept the sheets and stuff the deck came with in the box on the shelf separate from the bag, book, and cards.
When I fist opened the box, I was surprised at the burlap bag. It’s not super soft so it’s not really a material you’d expect a card bag to be made out of. Plus it’s a good size larger than the deck – four inches taller and about an inch wider. It made sense though once I saw the guidebook. The guidebook fits perfectly inside the bag. However, putting the book inside the bag means that the bag doesn’t close but it does cinch at the top. I haven’t had traveled with the deck yet so I don’t if it’ll survive being tossed in a suitcase or backpack but for storage in my home it’s good enough for me.
The guidebook included is your typical soft-covered stable based book with 53 pages. It’s nothing fancy in that regard. It has a little about section with a how-to in reading the cards. It includes an explanation of a three card spread, a nine card spread layout, and a breakdown of the Grand Tableau. Then it jumps into the card meanings.
The card meanings are number appropriately to Lenormand style. The Rider is number 01 and the Whip is number 11 and the Cross is number 36 and so on. Additional cards are at the back of the book.
Each card description comes with keywords, a general description, and playing card cartomancy equivalent. It also includes what to look for in particular readings and suggestion combinations of cards in these particular readings. (Dog + Man in a career reading could be a loyal business partner, co-worker, or boss whereas in a romance reading it probably means that your partner is loyal). This is all fairly standard when it comes to Lenormand guidebooks and each card takes up about a page in length of the guidebook, give or take. In the four additional cards, a little description on why those cards came to be is offered in place of the breakdown for particular readings.
It’s a good book for an small indie creator as it’s doing exactly what it’s suppose to. it might not be perfect bound or super fancy but it’s far more useful than a LWB.
It’s good to note that the first printing was limited to 250 copies and hasn’t been restocked. I don’t know if it will ever be restocked. A mini version of this deck (2.48 inches by 3.46 inches) available now with a different card back on Bay & Willow. While I don’t own this one, it’s on my list to pick up largely due to the size (I love pocket sized decks). I don’t know if it’s limited edition so snatch it up while you can.
Overall, I adore this deck. I like the changes within the deck quite a bite and my worries about the quality due to the Kickstarter version of Linestrider Tarot are alleviated. It’s a beautiful Lenormand deck that fits right in with more traditional decks while still being modern and approachable for everyone.
If you’re going to read this deck like an oracle and not Lenormand style, then it’s very beginner friendly. If you’re looking at this deck and hoping to learn the Lenormand style of reading, then you may want to learn with a different deck. The changes made in this deck will throw you if you’re not use to the cards or not reading intuitive.
It’s definitely a deck I recommend – if you can get it. It’s a lovely deck and one I wholly appreciate. I find myself pulling it out often to help with everyday questions or even help with journaling or writing.
Scrying Ink by Siolo Thompson © Bay & Willow
Rider and Nourish Your Sacred Feminine cards in the images from the Sacred Creators by Chris-Anne Donnelly