Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Review

GaSTR (4)

Ghost and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Status: Currently reading with it

Best for: Questions involving spirits, this is a very spirit oriented deck. This is also a great deck for people who love folklore and supernatural or the macabre.

Favorite cards: Page of Pentacles, Two of Cups, Justice

Acquired from and date: 2015. A gift from the lovely from The Lantern Collective. My eternal thanks.

 

GaSTR (3)

 

This is a lovely yet complicated deck. This isn’t really the kind of deck that you can simply pick up and use. You’ll need to study it. You’ll need to research it. You’ll need to keep the Little White Book handy. And you’ll probably need to break out a magnifying glass. But it is a lovely deck that can give some truly deep answers – if you’re willing to deal with the various voices that come from it.

It’s also a varied deck. It has lots of cards with soft, pastel colors and yet somber cards with dark blues, greens, or browns. The yellow-cream border is thin but frames the movement in the cards nicely. The detailed cards has so many lovely colors and that might suggest a gentle tone but in reality, the subject matter and cards themselves are somewhat macabre. This isn’t a deck cobbled together of Casper the Friendly Ghost but pulls stories from mythology, folklore, and even literature.

 

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by  Lisa Hunt and US Games

 

There’s a lot going on in all these cards. The art is gorgeous, heavily detailed and yet simplistic in a way. The cards’ imagery isn’t as complicated as they might seem at first glance. This is largely because the art style has a lot of movement in it. It all looks very windswept or as if you’re looking through a veil. That’s likely on purpose, by the way, but it also comes across as the artist’s style.

So breaking out the magnifying glass may be necessary for some cards but you probably won’t miss an important detail if you don’t. Which is good because there’s so much more you need to be keeping an eye on in this deck.

Each card in the deck tells a different story. The Tower card speaks of the Fall of the House of Usher. The Chariot is the Wild Hunt. The Magician is a Psychopomp. The High Priestess is the Sibyl / Enchantress. The Lovers is the Spectral Bridegroom and the Emperor is the Hawaiian Mo-o (Dragon Ghost-Gods). The featured ghosts and spirits are wildly varied. But this also works against the deck because without the Little White Book, you have absolutely no idea what story is being indicated. And if you’re not well-read on all the spirits, you may not understand what nuances are being shared within the card-story combination.  I almost think this may have been better as an oracle deck simply because it would be easier to related to rather than trying to figure out if you should read the cards based on the entities selected, the cards themselves, or some combination thereof.

 

GaSTR (6)

 

I’m very excited by a deck that has lots of POC or varied content like this. But I think a lot of the POC get washed out in this deck mostly because the color palette or motion within the cards. The figures within these cards often appear small compared to the complex, dreamy backgrounds so if you’re not paying attention, you may miss that the Knight of Wands actually features the Hawaiian demigod hero Hiku. Again, I cannot believe this is not intentional as most of the cards have a lot going on but it’s worth mentioning.

There is one card change and that’s to the Devil card. It’s now the Chains card as represented by Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol. I’m kind of on the fence about this change because while I love the idea of the Devil as Chains but while Ebenezer Scrooge has the ‘ lots of obsession and addiction until destruction’ theme in spades, Jacob Marley is, ultimately, the catalyst to save Scrooge. The Devil card doesn’t actually promise this. The Devil card can serve as a wake up call but I don’t typically see it used this way? Maybe that’s just me but I think it highlights a major concern for this deck: do the stories actually fit the cards?

Yes, they do but they do it in a way that you might not use the cards as. The subjects of the cards were chosen to represent a specific feature of the cards. Likewise, the spirits and stories are also seen from a specific point of view. Not all the stories are all-encompassing and I believe there are nuances that can be derived from knowing the folklore and stories behind each spirit or subject of the cards. Essentially, you can derive a LOT of meaning just from the card subject as much as you can the card itself. It really depends on how you connect to the cards.

 

GaSTR (5)

 

This deck would hugely benefit from a guidebook. The Little White Book doesn’t go into why the author chose each spirit for the cards. You can only try and guess to which story was selected. I have no idea how well Lisa Hunt understands each of the featured stories so how deeply do you look when it comes to the ghosts and spirits’ stories? How far down that rabbit hole do you need to go? I find myself assigning my own spirit or associations to some of the cards and adding another layer of nuance to work with that’s easier for me to understand or works better with the card selected.

Another quirk of this deck is the lettering. The deck as a fluid script for titling the cards and I almost find it distracting. I’m not super fond of fluid script fonts anyway – I find them sometimes hard to concentrate on or read – so this may be my bias acting up but I also cannot see what other font could be used. I think maybe no lettering at all and working out some other means to tell the cards from one another would be easier. Again this would be easier to do if the deck was an oracle rather than a tarot. Or, maybe it’s the yellow of the border that throws it off. I almost think that it would be better white? Nit picky, sure, but it’s one of the things that stands out to me.

A third quirk is the deck back. It’s simplistic compared to the rest of the deck. Three ghosts in a circle. It’s almost odd and quirky compared to the deck. Luckily, the deck back is reversible so that’s a point in its favor.

It has a wide amount of voices. What I mean is that some decks have a unified voice. They all speak together and send a singular message but instead, this deck is like listening to a crowded room. There’s a lot to hear and some days seem “louder” than others to me.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but something to keep in mind.

 

Ghost and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

 

LWB inside

 

Aside from the above, the deck works well. It shuffles as well as any US Games deck. I find the card stock on the thin side but it still feels sturdy. It has held up well over the years I’ve owned it. Sheen and size compare to all other US Games decks – the size is good for shuffling and still keeping that classic tarot shape and the sheen will wear down over time and use. Not a bad thing at all.

The box it came in is your average thin cardboard box for cards. I believe mine became unglued soon after receiving it so I just ended up crocheting a deck bag for it. As said, the Little White Book is a fairly standard LWB but do not throw it away! It is your ONLY guide to what stories or spirits are featured in the cards. In fact, I wrote the stories and spirits down in my tarot journal just because I feared losing it. I took photos too and saved them in a cloud. You can probably get a replacement copy of the LWB online but I sometimes find it difficult to narrow down the stories or spirits represented by the images alone.

 

 

 

Chariot from the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

 

I don’t really think this is a great deck for beginners or people who use their cards on the go. There’s just too much deviation to be a standard RWS deck for most beginners to get a handle on. That’s not a bad thing but if you’re trying to use memorized keywords for your readings, you may find that you’ll struggle. There’s also a lot of detail so some folks who have trouble with decks like Fairy Lights or Shadowscapes may struggle here too.

Overall, do I like this deck? Yes. I like it quite a bit and I regularly use it for spirit based questions. I feel that in order to really get this deck, I’d have to devote some serious time to researching the stories and spirits included in the deck and meditate with each card. Some decks require this kind of time and others don’t. I don’t mind that. I would definitely buy it again.


Ghosts and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt © US Games Systems

Review: Oracle of Visions

Oracle of Visions

 

Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti © US Games Systems

Status: Reading with it

Best for: Everything. This deck loves questions and claims that it can do it all but it is less specific than other decks.

Favorite cards: 20, 30, 40

Acquired from and date: A birthday gift from my father. June 2015.

 

Oracle of Visions

 

This is one of those decks that is so beautiful but is less useful than one might imagine. The cards are colorful, bright, and brilliant but do not have a distinctive meaning. You can use them as prompt cards and they’re excellent for a whole host of intuitive usages.

The imagery here is definitely fantastical and reminds me strongly of dreams – some things just won’t make sense in a mundane way. But if you view the card as a dream, suddenly it starts to become more believable.

There are 52 cards in the deck and, while keywords and descriptions are given in the included book, the cards are numbered. This encourages you to come up with your own meanings for the cards.

Quick note, my images are darker and fuzzier than the cards are themselves. It’s really hard to get photos of just how beautiful this deck is without perfect lighting. My photos do not do this deck justice.

 

Oracle of Visions

 

The artwork is, without a doubt, Ciro Marchetti’s work. Beautiful and vibrant, the art is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve seen Marchetti’ work before. There’s often simplistic backgrounds with a humanoid figure as the main attraction to the card. the cards are very detailed so sometimes you’ll discover new things about a card that you didn’t see before.

One of the things I love is that circus arts / carnivals are featured prominently with this deck. Masks, especially that of the jester are everywhere. Tightrope walkers and even implied aerial silks are seen within the deck. Dancers, actors, and other members of the arts are also featured. It’s the theme of the deck. If this is your scene, then you’ll love the deck. If not then you’ll want to stay away.

Additionally, there is a lot of nudity or partial nudity in the deck. At least half the images feature a cloth draped woman and at least one has frontal nudity. By and large, the art consists of women but there are a few masculine figures present. Animals such as horses, fish, birds, and apes are also featured.

There is a distinctive lack of POC in the deck. There are a few vaguely Asian women but none facing forward. They are either in profile or shown from behind. This is a shame as fantastical as this deck is apparently POC are more fantastical? Such a shame.

 

Oracle of Visions

Because of the coloring this deck is dark but with bright pops of color. All the cards have a black border with a gold thing including the card number. The cards are large, 5 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. The card stock in on the thinner side but that’s a benefit as this deck is on the large side and if the card stock was thinner, I’d have difficulty shuffling it. Breaking in the deck has only helped with the shuffling and the cards have stood up remarkably well over time.

The cards are somewhat glossy so I often end up taking photos in indirect light or low light to avoid reflections. While this isn’t an issue for most people, it can be extremely frustrating when you just want a quick but pretty photo to drop on instagram.

One thing to know about this deck is that there aren’t any set meanings. The cards are merely numbered, not named, so you’ll need to dive for the book for every card meaning or use the images to come up with the meanings. Ciro Marchetti encourages the reader to come up with their own interpretation of the cards, a system I truly love. I always have my own interpretations of any deck but this one encourages it.  This also means the client and supplicant can derive their own meaning from the cards. Mermaids may hold special meaning to you and therefore the mermaid card (middle of the image to the left) means more to you than it would another person. It also means that meanings may shift and change as you shift and change as a person.

 

Oracle of Visions

 

The deck comes in a thicker cardboard keepsake box which has withstood the test of time. The LWB is actually quite good but I think this deck could have benefited from a larger sized book because of how often you may reference it – all the time or not at all. Weirdly, the LWB doesn’t come with a spread. I don’t mind this but at the same time, it’s definitely something I find I like included in the LWB. The book gives a brief intro on how to interpret the cards and several pages on the deck creation process. These pages are included in the back of the book.

When it comes to the spirit or essence of this deck, I find that I often have multiple “voices” talking to me. It’s more like the characters in the deck are the voices of the deck rather than there’s one uniform voice for the deck. That’s fairly unusual for me to run into in my experience. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I find that these “voices” aren’t actually helpful when it comes to the readings. They’re more like noise or a bunch of people talking at once but way off in the distance.

I feel like this deck is far more useful if you’re in the mood to use it. It’s fun and fantastical but it also has a lot of darker images and themes implied. The idea that carnival or circus folk can be sinister comes to mind here (and that’s a negative stereotype that continue today). If you’re in the kind of mood to see double meanings or the seeking out meanings beyond what’s originally presented, then this deck is a great choice.

As mentioned I don’t use this deck as often as I thought I would primarily because I don’t often find reasons to use it. Clients want clear cut answers and this deck doesn’t often them. Instead, it’s like a person than answers a question with another question or side-steps a question with half of an answer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the answers are there you just have to dig deep for them. Most of my clients are not readers themselves so this process isn’t a good choice for them. In personal readings, I’ll either use this deck extensively or not at all for that same reason.

That isn’t to say it isn’t a good divination deck. It certainly is. But it’s not your typical ask-and-answer deck and that needs to be kept in mind when considering this oracle.

 

Oracle of Visions

 

Overall, I love this deck but I find I don’t reach for it very often. Because I’m not one to dive for the book every time I want to draw a card, I’ll need to study the image to find out a meaning and when I draw cards for myself, I’m usually using personally defined keywords.

That being said, this is one of the those decks I use often to create writing prompts for myself or to help define a character in my fiction writing. I also like to use it for meditation or catalyst draws to change things up.

Is it good for beginners? No unless you are highly intuitive. I find most beginners want a deck with set meanings that are clearly defined, even with oracle decks. This is not that deck. Is it still an awesome deck? Yes. Established readers or Marchetti fans will love this deck. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re a beginner and love the art, pick it up. It can be a great teaching tool for increasing intuition but you may find that it’s not as useful for readings as you might imagine.

 

Oracle of Visions

 

 

 


Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti © US Games Systems

March Round Up

We made it to the other side of March. Yay! This month has been truly insanely busy for me between medical appointments (everyone’s OK, no worries!), caring for sick people, chasing after paperwork, birthdays, funerals, and a small snowstorm. I signed up for a bunch of stuff that I’m now scrambling to complete because I can see the end of March and those deadlines are looming.

When it comes to the blog, I unintentionally took the first week of March off. I needed the rest but I truly dislike leaving everyone without content to enjoy. I’ll try not to let that happen again. The posts that did make it were more on the spiritual side of things.

 

Secular Witchcraft Defined by This Crooked Crown

 

Tumblr followers know I identify as a secular witch and this month tackled how I define and work within my paradigm to some degree. Secular Witchcraft Defined proved to be an interesting read and one I hope will help out new witchlings in understanding this newer form of witchcraft. To counter this, I talked about my current focus of Getting Back to My Roots on a spiritual level. I even offered an Awakening Spring Ritual for some ideas on how my witchcraft and spirituality are separated. For those thinking about working with spirits, which is a bridge between my witchcraft and my spirituality for me, How to Know What Spirit You’re Talking To might offer some insight for you. If you’re looking to see those beings, check out Enchanting Objects for Second Sight for a helping hand.

Spring is here in the Northern Hemisphere although the snow storm and cold snap recently sure doesn’t feel like spring here in Rhode Island. If you’re trying to counter the final winter push, try the spell Burn Away the Winter Blues.  If you need a push to get over that winter lethargy, give the Forged in Fire spell a look. It’s mean to kick procrastination in the ass and celebrated fifty Spell Saturdays. (There, uh, should be more but let’s celebrate our victories and not failures, OK?)

We also saw the Curse and Blessing of the Sun which is a spell that can be a curse or a blessing, depending on your intent. My brother the Necromancer has really been into the Sun as a being of worship recently so I’ve been inspired to create a shrine for him and some spells. By the way, the Curse and Blessing of the Sun has been updated. I originally said that you should create two boxes if you want a curse and a blessing at the same time but I don’t know what I was thinking. Clever wording can create both in one box so check out that spell for new tips.

 

The Curse and Blessing of the Sun Spell

 

I don’t really work healing spells too much so I rarely post them but the Sand Healing Spell is specifically designed for those with chronic illnesses that spend a lot of time in one place. It’s a jar spell and one that’s very low key. It’s not designed to heal you but rather focus on alleviating pain and symptoms. I hope it helps!

On a more practical and mundane front, I wrote a guide on Where to Buy A Tarot Deck which is a question often asked to me and others on social media. We also saw two reviews this month, one on the beautiful Scrying Ink Lenormand deck by Siolo Thompson, the creator of the Linestrider Tarot. There was also the book view for The Soul Searcher’s Handbook by Emma Mildon which scored a 4.5 out of 5. I love both of these things so I’m really happy to recommend them to you all. Speaking of things I loved I started a new mini series I’ve nicknamed “Obsession” which dives into what I’m currently working on or obsessed with right now. I hope this gives a fun insight into the everyday workings around here.

 

Heart

Heart from Scrying Ink by Siolo Thompson and Nourish the Sacred Feminine from Sacred Creators by Chris-Anne Donnelly | thiscrookedcrown.com

 

Other quick news for This Crooked Crown:

  • I recently changed up my newsletter to come out twice a month – once at the full moon and again at the new moon.The newsletters are smaller but contain mini divination readings for the current moon phase which is always fun.
  • Flying Salves arrived in the shop at the end of February and quickly sold out. I hope to have them in again by the end of May, if not sooner.
  • We reached out first goal over on Patreon. I’m always, always floored by the support I receive from everyone and cannot thank you all enough.
  • I received the absolutely amazing  Idiosyncradeck Tarot and the Amethyst Oracle from Jessica Bott who is probably better known as Cracked Amethyst. I’m absolutely in love with them both and can’t wait to do more readings with them.

 

Getting Back to Your Spiritual Roots by This Crooked Crown

 

So that’s what was up this month at This Crooked Crown. It was super busy in a way I wasn’t expecting but I’m thinking I’ve made the most of it. What were your favorite posts? What do you want to see more of? Planning on trying any of the spells? See you in April!

 

Review: Scrying Ink

 

Scrying Ink

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.

 

Heart
Heart from Scrying Ink by Siolo Thompson and Nourish the Sacred Feminine from Sacred Creators by Chris-Anne Donnelly

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.

 

Scrying Ink

 

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.

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Cozy night in.

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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

Where to Buy A Tarot Deck

Where do you get your magical or spiritual tools? Witchlings and newbies often feel lost because they’re not sure where they can get supplies and if it matters where those supplies are procured.

Here’s the short answer: You can buy them anywhere you like.

 

Where to Buy A Tarot Deck

 

Amazon and other online retailers are the easiest places to buy a tarot deck. You can pick up a deck for less than $25 easily, and some decks sell for under $15. You also get reviews from fellow readers and could quickly google up more images of the deck to help you with your decision.

Decks are usually in the game section of online retailers and there’s often a lot of price variances depending on where you’re getting a deck. Sometimes the deck aren’t actually cheaper online so be aware of that. Usually though, getting a mass produced deck off the internet is the cheapest and easiest way to get a deck.

I’ve already talked about how buying a deck for yourself isn’t a bad thing so browse through your favorite online retailer and see what decks appeal to you.

 

 

Independent artist also sell their decks online and they’re definitely worth checking out. New indie decks are popping up everywhere and there’s so many good ones! Often supported by Kickstarter and other crowd-sourcing campaigns, they may be bought from the artist’s website or online shops like Etsy.

Be aware that each indie deck will vary in quality due to publishers and costs so they may not be exactly what you expected in terms of quality. I’ve been pleasantly surprised many times though so it’s usually worth the risk!

Indie decks also tend to run at a higher cost due to the printing cost but the money is usually going straight to the creators so it’s worth it. Indie decks may also be limited edition and may not be printed another time so if you see one you like, you might want to snap it up.. Some of my favorite decks are indie and I adore them to pieces plus I get to support the creators and that’s always a bonus.

 

 

Of course, you can go old school and check retail locations.

Bookstores are an extremely good source for decks but you’re might not find anything that you like. Tarot decks are usually sold with other paper goods, like books, so bookstores are a less-than-obvious choice that might yield some great choices.

Game stores may also have decks, although they’re more likely to have card games used as divination tools. In particular, check stores that cater to the Dungeon & Dragons crowds or other board games. I picked up an out-of-print deck for under $25 while my companion picked out Magic the Gathering cards in a store like this. Don’t forget to check out the dice too – these places often have amazing dice collections that are perfect for divination too.

New age stores, metaphysical stores, and new age markets are the most obvious place to look for a deck of cards but they may be marked up higher. That being said, you’re more likely to find some really interesting decks here and may even run into independent artists creating their own decks.

Typically, decks are either overpriced or underpriced so be aware of what the original print price was and what the price is online before you buy.

 

 

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Hmmm what deck should I use today?

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Used bookstores do occasionally have decks. I’ve scored a few decks from used bookstores. You’ll usually find these decks up at a counter under lock and key or tucked in the probably small metaphysical section (check near the religion stuff). If not, you can ask to see if that store takes any of those decks in. You may be able to strike a deal with the store owner for them to accept decks and give you a call so you can buy them. This is especially good for collectors.

Used goods stores, flea markets, and yard/garage/estate sales are another great place to score some decks. I find them less often this way and they’re usually not in the greatest of condition. You will almost always need to cleanse the picked up this way and you should probably do that before you bring it into your space.

Pro Tip: If you’re buying a used deck of cards, make sure to count the cards and see if any cards missing. You can still read the deck without cards and some companies will even let you replace cards if you contact them, but it’s way easier to just avoid this step entirely if you can.

Decks found this way are usually underpriced but you do occasionally see some people grossly overpricing decks due to lack of research or emotional attachments.

 

 

Sometimes other readers end up selling decks. Collectors may be thinning their collections or their spiritual path has changed so some of the decks don’t work for them anymore. Sometimes people buy decks because that look awesome but then the deck doesn’t end up resonating with them well. Or they just need cash fast.

The bonus of buying from fellow readers is that the cards are probably well cared for. They may be worn or altered though, so be sure to inquire about this before purchase. The energy from the deck is also probably pretty good, assuming the seller actually used it to read with, of course.

This is just like buying anything else from a person – you take a risk but you’re probably dealing directly with the current deck owner. It’s also a good way to get your hands on rarer or out of print decks.

 

 

The internet itself is another place you probably aren’t checking. Online decks accessible via your browser have been around since the internet itself really took off. App stores for you mobile devices have a literal TON of apps you can download and use.  This is without a doubt probably the easiest for anyone who is even slightly tech savvy.

There’s a great deal of variation and some decks even publish their own app version of the deck like the Wildwood Tarot or Witches Tarot. I’m seeing a lot of  good things from the up-and-coming Labyrinthos folks (Golden Thread Tarot, Labyrinthos Academy,and Luminous Spirit Tarot) but I find the meanings rather minimal. I highly recommend Galaxy Tarot which allows you to do readings, have daily draws, and has a wealth of information to learn from.

This is definitely a growing market. The deck will be virtual so you can’t hold it in your hands but it’s super low-key and so long as you have your device, you have a deck. It can be really convenient that way and some apps will even do daily draws for you.

This is probably the best option for those folks who aren’t even sure they want to read tarot. Many apps are free or relatively cheap. They also come with build-in meanings so you can teach yourself how to read the cards from these meanings.

And before you ask: yes, they work perfectly well.

 

 

So those are just some of the places you can get decks from. Finding your perfect deck can be difficult but these are some good places to start looking. Following other readers and seeing what decks they’re excited for and picking up is a good idea as you’ll see where they’re getting their decks and usually, why. Good luck and happy hunting!


 

Decks featured:

  • Sacred Rebels by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison © Blue Angel Publishing
  • Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne Donnelly © Chris-Anne.com
  • Linestrider Tarot: Kickstarter Edition by Siolo Thompson ©
  • Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud and Wendy Froud with Robert Gould © Harry N. Abrams
  • Enchanted Lenormand by Caitlin Matthews © Watkins Publishing
  • Deviant Moon Tarot Borderless Edition by Patrick Valenza © US Games Systems

 

5 Tips to Loving Yourself + Tarot Spread

Quick post and then I’ll let you get back to your evening. There’s a ton of tips floating around about how to love and care for yourself. I’m not going to rehash all of that info because I’m sure you’ve run into it before. Here’s some of my favorite ideas.

Keep reading because there’s a tarot/oracle/divination spread at the bottom you might enjoy!

 

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Walk along the water with me?

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01 Focus on what you love

I pick one thing that I really like about myself and buy or create something nice for it. For example, I’m really fond of my hair so when I’m feeling down in the dumps, I’ll buy a new hat, make a new hair accessory, or try a new hair style.

It helps reinforce that there’s stuff I like about myself and that I’m still super cute even in sweats and a baggie tee while procrastinating today’s workout.

 

02 Forgive yourself

Life’s tough and sometimes it sucks. And when you suddenly remember that mistake you made when you were five, it’s like the world is crashing down for about fifteen seconds.

Forgiving yourself isn’t easy. How do you come to terms with something you’re still ashamed about or still embarrassed about? For me, I sit and and say, “yeah, that thing happened and it sucked. I’m sorry it happened but I can’t change it now. I know not to do that thing again.” And that little mental convo helps ease the regret that clings to that memory and it can ease out of the forefront of my mind. It doesn’t instantly forget that memory but it makes it easier to go on with my life.

 

 

03 Making time for yourself

I’m not really a meditation girl. I spend about five minutes on meditation, total, a day. I’m far too restless to sit otherwise. And half of that five minutes is actually me telling myself today’s to do list.

But all those thoughts running around in your head can be addressed when you’re not busy doing a thousand and one other things. Taking a moment to stop, think, and know that you’ve got eight more things to do before lunch is important. Know what else is important? Acknowledging how much of that to do list is actually for you.

If your to-do list is entirely for someone else or work, then you need to carve out time for yourself. And if you can’t find time, make time by dropping or rescheduling something that isn’t important.

 

 

04 Treat yourself

Typically when I’m treating myself,  I buy myself flowers or a book. Usually I mix up something super tasty while I’m at it. I don’t do it often and I make sure that what I’m making or buying isn’t witchcraft related. It helps separate my work and the rest of me. Don’t get me wrong, almost everything I do is witchcraft related eventually. Untreated flowers become dried flowers for my herbal creations, books are broken down to see if I can utilize any ideas in my spells. Food may later become offerings. These are all things that may happen but that’s not why I’m doing them, so it counts as a treat in my eyes.

Why and how do you treat yourself? Are you treating yourself for good accomplishments? To even out bad days? How about ordinary days? You know the ones that you have most of the time. Do you treat yourself then?

Figuring out how to treat yourself is super important. It can make ordinary days special and memorable. It can ease dealing with crappy co-workers or take the bite out of an argument with family.

It doesn’t have to be food based or shopping based, as many “treats” are. I sometimes dedicate an evening to doing something fun but “wasteful” like surfing pinterest pinning ideas for my dream home on a secret board. Or I’ll pop in a favorite Disney movie or read a favorite book once again. It’s a treat. For you. Who cares what others think of it?

 

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Always nice to visit the water.

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05 Stop doing things when they’re no longer fun

I don’t know about you but there’s lots of people out there that start doing a hobby and it no longer is fun. Sometimes projects become frustrating or you realize that the people around a hobby aren’t people you want to be with. Whatever the reason, they’ll be a point where you’ll stop and ask yourself “why am I doing this?”

And if you don’t have a good answer for that question, then stop it. A good answer might be “because I want to master this” or “I’m doing this for a commission” or “I want to achieve this goal”. If it’s not those reasons then it’s probably not worth your time right now. Put the project and hobby aside until you get inspired to pick it up again.

Your hobbies should be enjoyable. If they’re not, what’s the point?

 

Ready for the spread?

loving-myself-by-this-crooked-crown-3

A simple spread to be sure but it focuses on big questions.

01 How can I love myself?

This card doesn’t tell you what to love about yourself or why you should love yourself. Instead, it tells you how to treat yourself with love. It tells you how to show your love of your own self in the same way a card might show how you love someone else.

02 How can I care for myself?

This is your self-care methods. It may suggest that you reread a favorite book, binge watch TV, meditate, or any number of other self-care choices available to you. When you draw this card, make sure to correlate it with real-life actions in addition to ethereal or mental actions.

This card might be a little harsh. It may tell that you need to cut back on snacks and focus on healthier food choices. It might tell you to get out of the house and go make friends. It might even tell you to drop toxic friends for your health.

03 What can I do better for myself?

This card will focus on things you’re already doing. They will be things that you should focus on now, for yourself. If your attention is scattered or you feel like you’re being pulled in a thousand directions, this card will tell you where to focus your attention and how to get back on track.

It can also tell you things like “go make some more friends so you’re less lonely” or invite more art into your life. It might suggest that you take a class to inspire your yoga routine or start taking up daily writing prompts to upgrade your writing skill.

This isn’t necessarily about bettering yourself but doing things that you already like doing and focusing on that. It may also be a suggestion that you should focus on controlling your finances or getting a job promotion. It’s less self-oriented than any of the other cards and can involve how you deal with the world around you.

 

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Soul on fire

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Give it a try! It’s a simple little reading but can really answer some questions if you’re kind of floundering right now. If you don’t want to read for yourself, you can always buy this reading over at my etsy or storenvy shops.


Decks featured:

  • Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne © Chris-Anne.com
  • Linestrider Tarot: Kickstarter Edition by Siolo Thompson ©

Review: Bleu Cat Tarot

 

bleu-cat-tarot-05-this-crooked-crown

Bleu Cat Tarot by Beth Seilonen and Schiffer Publishing 

Status:  Currently reading with it

Best for: Everyday questions but especially those with a fun or not-so-serious edge to them. Great for cat lovers or fans of the Siamese cat breed.

Favorite cards: Magician, Sun, Tower

Acquired from and date: Bought myself in early February 2014 from Amazon

 

 

My adoration for cats has been life-long and well-known. Early 2014 rolled around and I realized I didn’t own a cat related deck at all. Which was weird because there’s a great many cat-centric decks out there! My problem was that I’m kind of specific on the kind of decks I want to own so many of the more popular ones weren’t super interesting to me.

Then I found this one. The Bleu Cat Tarot is minimalist, and simple at it’s core. Artfully done images of Siamese cats are done in indigo but keep the playful yet dignified attitude of cats. And it has Siamese! My favorite breed of cats.

This isn’t just a novelty deck to catch the small niche of Siamese lovers. It reads extremely well as it’s a RWS clone. It’s definitely one of those deck you’ll either love or feel “meh” about.

Super quick note: The blue of the ink and the black ink lines are darker and more pronounced in the deck than in the instagram pictures. The other photos have shadows because I wanted to stay true to the coloring of the ink. Simply put: The cards are white, not beige.

 

bleu-cat-tarot-04-this-crooked-crown

 

The Bleu Cat Tarot is a four tone deck. It has vibrant purple-blue denim indigo with a lighter gray-blue that matches the border and background flecks. (The depth of the blue color doesn’t show well in my photos due to lighting.) Then there’s the white of the card and the black ink of background imagery. The card images themselves look something like parchment paper, not entirely smooth despite the card itself being smooth. This is likely intention and comes from the type of paper the art was originally hand-drawn on.

The artwork is stylized and you’ll know just from glancing at these accompanying images or even the box art whether this is for you. There’s no sneaky surprises when it comes to the art. It’s entirely consistent.

The life within the art speaks to anyone who has ever owned a cat. The Death card? A dying plant and the cat standing on a cat carrier (prepping for a trip to the veterinarian, according to the included book). But there are still esoteric images like the High Priestess or Hermit.

The court cards (page, knight, queen, and king) add a little humanity but donning on appropriate hats, helms, and crowns. So you have a page with a plumed hat and a stack of books or a knight with a sword and feathered helm. It’s nothing so out of sorts with the rest of the art. In fact, some tolerant cats might even deal with the costumes in the courts fairly well in real life.

The writing has a slight “Asian” feel to it, reminding me a tiny bit of Chinese restaurant menus in a good way. It’s all in capital letters, blue on gray background. The Major Arcana aren’t numbered but the minor is, save for the Ace, which is spelled out. Since the text is computerized, like the borders, it’s uniform and therefore isn’t hard to read.

The borders are small and suit the deck. At first I wasn’t fond of them but they grew on me. Not all of the border is computerized. The diamond at the bottom of the cards and the triangle at the top of some of the cards are part of the original artwork. The borders and text were added later on the computer. Unlike a lot of decks with borders, this border doesn’t take away from the art. It kind of feels a bit weird though. At first I didn’t like the borders but not I’m rather apathetic to it. The borders exist and they’re small enough where it’s not worth the effort to attempt to trim them.

 

 

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Bleu Cat Tarot by Beth Seilonon and Schiffer Publishing

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The deck is a Rider-Waite-Smith clone but switches out the swords, wands, cups, pentacles for feathers, plants, fishes, and balls, respectively. It goes along with the cat theme beautifully. But with all thematic swapping of suits, it takes some getting use to.

The other thing is that this deck can be kind of tricky if you’re not overly familiar with the components of a RWS deck. The deck doesn’t contain many details so if you don’t have a firm grasp of the RWS tradition, you might find yourself stuck trying to figure out what the card might mean just from the image. Intuitive readers might have an easier time with this deck, if they can get into it. If not, then it probably won’t click much at all.

You also have to channel your inner cat mentality. For example, the 7 of Fishes (Seven of Cups) had a bunch of food bowls in it, floating around. Which matches the traditional imagery of the Seven of Cups well but also matches a cat’s mentality. What kind of fantasy does your cat have? Probably something related to food, I’d gather.

I’ve also used this deck with great success for answering questions about being deceived, pride /ego, procrastination, and laziness.It’s also extremely good at spell related questions, especially glamours and illusions. It’s also unusually good at spirit related cards and handles faery related questions without having to deal with the faery decks’ run-around behavior.

This deck does sometimes throw you the odd “well, what did you expect?” sort of answer. All readers get the “how do I overcome this thing?” where the deck answers “by overcoming it”. Super helpful. This deck does that too but it adds a slightly sly or even cutting response. Exactly like a cat would, really. I guess if you want straightforward answers, you’d need a dog themed deck. Ever meet someone who is super intelligent but perpetually done with people and just sits back, making snarky comments? That’s this deck.When it wants to sass you, expect ALL the sass.

That being said, generally speaking the deck answers the questions in a helpful manner. It’s pretty good at giving you a different perspective. I also think it helps calm down things when you’re feeling panicky. That’s probably more the color palette than anything else but sometimes I feel like the deck is saying, “hey, chill out”.

Since the cards only have four colors throughout it, the cards could come off as “boring”. It photographs well but it’s not a deck I break out for client readings often unless it feels appropriate in some way. It’s definitely not a festival or faire kind of deck. It could be a really good deck for trying to read your animal’s inner thoughts and mood but I usually stick to using it for everyday questions for myself.

 

bleu-cat-tarot-2

 

When it comes to the practical stuff, the deck really shines. It’s a matte finish deck with thick card stock. It’s easily double in thickness of some of my “thin” card stock decks like Fairy Lights. While the thickness adds height to the deck itself, the cards shuffle easily. The card size itself is a not quite standard size for tarot decks. They’re in the ballpark of 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches. Around the size of a pocket memo book and a little shorter (but not wider) than my phone when in a case. I’d consider them a great size for cards but the thickness can make shuffling a bit less automated than a playing card deck.

The box it comes in is a keeper. A magnetic closing, thick cardboard box with white ribbon to keep the lid from flipping open entirely and cracking the hinge. The cards come right to the top of the box so you’ll need to place the included book on top of the deck so you don’t loose any cards. The lid does stay closed but if you’re aggressively tossing the box around, expect it to fly open. It’s only held closed by a magnetic. That being said, I haven’t felt that I’m at risk of losing my cards or damaging them if I keep them in my handbag or a small pocket of a backpack. I might add a rubber band to the box if I had the box in a tote-style of bag where it’s tossed in with everything else. I’m paranoid though so YMMV. I believe the deck was shipping in this box with plastic wrap over it, just as a heads up. It didn’t come with any additional packaging outside of this.

The included book is the same size as the deck itself. I find that the printing is a bit too close to the binding so you have to open the book widely in order to really read the card descriptions. The book doesn’t offer reversal meanings but does have a blurb around reversals. Pretty much, the meaning might slightly change but otherwise, read however you want.

Do at least skim the book. There’s little tidbits in there than can help determine meaning of certain cards or at least explain why they’re not exact clones of RWS. Also, the deck was created around Seilonen’s own Siamese cat’s antics so that comes through clearly with the book descriptions and introduction. The deck is meant to make cat owners smile at the kitty antics – and it does it’s job beautifully.

There’s two included spreads in the deck. They’re written for this deck so they fit the theme and are solid. Both are four cards each, one for situations and another for introspection.

 

bleu-cat-tarot-06-this-crooked-crown

 

The Bleu Cat Tarot is a cat tarot deck but it’s a cat tarot deck for cat owners who want to smile at the ridiculous kitty antics their own cats have pulled off. It’s not just for Siamese lovers – anyone can appreciate the cards, but the specific breed will pull in anyone who enjoys Siamese.

The art is stylized so if it’s not your style, you’ll want to give this a miss unless you’re a serious collector. It’s also not super beginner friendly as doesn’t have a ton of details to parcel out the meaning from. That being said, as a RWS deck, if you have a fairly good grasp of the cards, you should be able to read this deck easily.

While this deck isn’t vibrantly colorful or full of details, it’s full of fun and life. It’s definitely a deck that you either aren’t interested in or it’s totally your thing. It’s different while still being a RWS. As a Siamese and cat lover and someone who likes unique tarot decks, it was a must-have for me.


The Bleu Cat Tarot by Beth Seilonen © Schiffer Publishing

 

How to Find the Perfect Tarot Deck for You

Reading tarot cards is often considered a stable of magical practitioners. Lots of people read tarot cards though (and many magical practitioners do not) so there’s about eleventy-billion ways to learn how to read tarot and even more reasons to read tarot.

First, let’s get that troubling superstition about buying your own deck out of the way. It might work as a superstition for you, but it’s fairly new in the realm of superstitions and likely doesn’t apply now. You can buy your own deck. The deck will read perfectly well and will not carry negative energy because you bought it.

More importantly, the criteria for your tarot deck is one that needs to be considered carefully. Each person will want different things out of a deck. Ask yourself these questions to help narrow the field.

 

how-to-find-the-perfect-tarot-deck-for-you-by-this-crooked-crown

 

Do I like the art?

This is, by far, one of the most important criteria. It’s really hard to connect to a deck which has an art style you don’t like. I have all sorts of decks in all sorts of art styles and I can read with many of them but there’s a few I don’t use as often because I’m not super fond of the art style. I keep them often due to sentimental reasons or because they work well for a particular thing but otherwise, I could live without them.

Look at the art. Glance through google images for more pictures and check reviews. There’s some decks that have a fantastic cover or a handful of cards I love but I couldn’t stand the rest of the deck. Sometimes it’s the colors or something else. It’s a personal choice and don’t discredit that when it comes to a selection. You’re doing the reading so your aesthetic should matter.

 

 

Do important cards resonate with me?

Many  readers have particular cards that resonate with them. They might always look at the High Priestess or the Fool to determine if they like the deck. I usually check the Tower, Magician, and Hermit myself because those are the cards I like the most. If those cards don’t work for you, how does that diminish the deck’s quality or importance? I know there’s a deck that has a nice if kind of weird Tower card that I’m unsure about. Something’s not right with it for me so I end up not using that deck quite as often as I might otherwise.

Don’t forget to check the court cards too. The whole Arcana is important, not just the Major. Check the leaders of the Minor Arcana too. I know what happens with the Kings and Queens can make or break how I feel about a deck.

 

05

 

Is the content up to par for me?

This is both a personal decision and an aesthetics  decision. I have a deck that covers all sorts of places in the world at all sorts of eras. But it largely settles in the medieval and Renaissance eras. But Chariot and World, with a handful of other cards, are thoroughly modern images with cars, computers, and so on. Every time I see one of these cards, it throws me because there’s so few of them compared to the rest. It made me change how I use the deck because of this.

You’ll want to consider the tone and content. Are a few cards really graphic? Do they show a lot of nudity? Are their children everywhere? What doesn’t work for you?

As said, some of this comes down to artistic choice with the creator. Some decks just aren’t designed well or use the creator’s own understanding of the cards rather than the traditional meanings people generally expect.

 

 

What do I want to do with the deck?

Are you focusing on love readings? Personal questions? Spiritual questions? Do you want a deck you can connect with or one that just the job done without a lot of fuss? I find that decks have an energy to them almost (or exactly) like a spirit. My Heart of the Faerie Oracle is so sassy and always wants attention whereas my Claude Bludel’s Classic Tarot is Grumpy the Grandpa Grumpasaurus. I’ve used my Heart of the Faerie Oracle for most everything but it doesn’t like financial questions. My Classic Tarot likes business questions but not business questions that relate to the heart or passions. It’s strictly business.

Reviews will help you determine a general deck usage typically but also check out the creator’s own words. The Heart of the Faerie Oracle was designed for relationships of all kinds and that purpose is abundantly obvious.

 

 

Will this deck be hard to learn?

Some decks are not beginner friendly. They might have small or intricate images or only have subtle hints at what they’re suppose to be rather than spelling it out on the card. My Deviant Moon Tarot, for example, doesn’t display the words “Cups” or “Swords” so you either have to pay attention or know the deck. I have numerous decks that just give numbers for the Major Arcana, which may not even work since some decks swap out the numerical placement of the Fool, World, and a handful of other cards.

Many decks expect you to know stuff. For example, the Sherlock Holmes Tarot is wonderfully but if you’re not overly familiar with a great deal of the Sherlock Holmes writing, you’ll have a challenging time with it. The Ghosts and Spirits Tarot takes from stories all over the world relying on you to either know the stories from the images or memorize the stories associated with the cards. Fairy Lights seems to have a hidden story or knowledge expectation, perhaps just merely being familiar with fairy tales as a whole helps or maybe there’s a specific real life fairy court life being referenced. This tends to only happen in themed decks but it’s something to be aware of.

Others might take the creator’s personal knowledge of the subject, skewing traditional meanings which makes it difficult to remember if you’re just learning stuff.

Originality versus RWS traditional meanings also may come into play here as well so keep that in mind.

 

 

Is it a RWS clone? Based off of RWS? Original? Does that matter?

Many of the decks you’re probably going to run into are Rider-Waite-Smith based decks (RWS) referring to the acknowledged creators of the tarot deck popularized today. This deck is also known as the Rider-Waite deck but Smith was the artist and her contributions shouldn’t be forgotten either so there’s been considerable movement to include her in the name/titles.

The RWS decks are the standard when it comes to tarot cards. Some decks are flat-out clones where even the position of the characters are exactly the same. A good example is the Tarot of the Magical Forest. It’s certainly pretty to look at and different with the animal characters but if you compare it to a RWS deck, you’ll see it’s a clone.

Many decks just take the RWS traditional meanings and put their own spin on it. You get some great themed decks out of this as well as some fantastic classics too. But, you’re at the mercy of the creators’ understanding of the cards and how they learned the cards. The Devil is a good example here: some people will immediately draw it as a classic devil and debauchery kind of scene and others go for a wholly different approach.

Original decks may have some inspiration from RWS or they might take inspiration from older tarot cards (tarot was a playing card game before it was a divination tool) or they could invent some new stuff. This is far rarer and often swings into the realm of oracle cards rather than tarot cards.

Oracle cards are different in that the meanings are entirely dependent on the creators. These decks are typically extremely original with their content and often are themed. The Mermaids and Dolphins Oracle comes to mind as does the Sacred Creators Oracle. Since there’s no standard in meanings, you’ll either have to use the book or intuition to read the cards.

There’s also Lenormand cards which are a whole different system of card reading. They have even stricter meanings than tarot cards, have a few hundred years less history, and have designated spreads. They’ve seen an upswing in popularity of late and many people use them now as oracle cards in addition to Lenormand cards.

I have all these styles of decks and I use them all fairly often. I’m an intuitive reader so it doesn’t matter to me which system I use in the end. I just pick the best tool for the specific question at hand. If you’re not an intuitive reader, a Lenormand or RWS deck might be a better choice. If you have trouble with memory, are an intuitive reader, or you dislike classic occultism, an oracle deck might be a better choice for you.

I honestly suggest one of each if you’re going to do a lot of divination reading. Don’t break the bank but a RWS, Lenormand, and oracle will each have different approaches to the same problem and can reveal different aspects of the same question. Or pick your favorite. It’s up to you.

 

 

Do I like the size and feel of the cards?

Not all tarot decks are created equally when it comes to materials. Card thickness, sheen, card material, shape, and the mere size can all change. For example, all of the Blue Angel Publishing decks I own are huge – I have trouble shuffling them at time with my tiny hands. My Enchanted Lenormand? Fits in a pair of women’s jeans pockets (a claim that has either confused you or highly impressed you, I’d wager) and is about the height of a tube of lip balm.

Each reader will have a preference. For example, I like small to medium sized cards, slight to matte sheen, and a bit thicker than a playing card but not so thick you can’t easily shuffle them. I have a friend who loves large cards and another that adore shiny ones. It definitely comes down to personal preference but it’s something to be aware of. Look for these details in reviews.

 

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My favorites! The Queen of Swords, Page of Swords, the Hermit, and the Tower from the Dreaming Way Tarot

 

Do I want a companion book? What does it come with?

Most tarot decks comes with a tuck box which is exactly like a playing card box and a little white book with maybe a sentence to explain each card (also known as the LWB). Some tuck boxes and LWB are awesome and others are completely useless. Deviant Moon’s tuck box caused me so many issues when I got it that I spent the next day crocheting a bag for the deck just so I didn’t have to use the tuck box. Why? It was too tight and made closing the box and fitting all the cards difficult, risking even damaging the cards just to close the box.

Some decks have heavier cardboard boxes which are intended to house the deck permanently. And some others go completely overkill with their boxes and completely waste space. (I’m looking at you Heart of the Faerie Oracle and Enchanted Lenormand.) Often these decks include a companion book of some kind which makes up for the box size, usually.

I’ve also gotten decks in bags before which, like the heavier boxes, are intended for permanent storage but might not wholly protect the cards if dropped.

Companion books are a thing now and they’re pretty awesome. I’m not really a super fan of selling a companion book separately from a deck unless the deck comes with a LWB too but that’s just my opinion. Companion books are more complete LWBs, going into details about each card, usually a page or so, and often include a spread or two and some sort of introduction or forward from the creator(s). Some books are better written than others and they might be hard or soft covered. It varies from deck to deck.

 

 

Is the deck worth the price it’s being sold at to me?

This is more aimed at collectors than anyone else. I keep a list of decks I want and I periodically go through and examine the items on there, deciding if I want them for the reasons above or if the cost is worth what the deck offers. A RWS copy isn’t going to mean as much to mean as an oracle for example as I prefer original decks for the most part.

I see a lot of readers buy decks that they later sell off because they didn’t meet their needs. Sometimes, they wholly regret the purchase. Decks can be bought for the $25 price or under but many decks hover in the $35-45 range which, combined with shipping, can be a bit pricey if you don’t budget it. Many are more than even that and out of print or limited edition decks can go for hundreds of dollars.

Remember to take a second to think before purchasing. Many sellers don’t allow returns in this field so be aware before you buy what your options are if you don’t like the deck.

 

 

Does it have a companion app?

Some decks have their own companion apps. The mobile apps are sold separately but if you really love a deck, you can get the companion app and use the deck digitally on the road. Companion apps often also help you learn the cards.

Another good thing about companion apps is they’re often cheaper than the decks themselves so you can view all the cards without paying full price for the deck. Plus their ultra portable which can be a huge bonus if you’re a big traveler or aren’t public with your practice.

 

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What do others say about this deck?

Check reviews. Google up some reviews, ask around on social media, haunt the review section of retailer’s websites. Aecletic.com is a great place to start for this. Asking favorite bloggers is a good idea too. If you get a tarot reading from other readers, you can ask them how they feel about the decks used. There’s a good chance they’ll be happy to answer the question.

 

 

Those are good questions to ask if you’re looking for a deck. There’s a lot of choices out there so it can be tricky to find the right deck for you. Good luck and happy divining.

 


Decks featured (in order of appearance):

  • Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls by Matthew Lowes & Josephe Vandel ©
  • Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud and Wendy Froud with Robert Gould © Harry N. Abrams
  • Fairy Lights Tarot by Lucia Mattioli © Lo Scarabeo
  • Classic Tarot by Claude Burdel © US Games Systems
  • Deviant Moon Tarot Borderless Edition by Patrick Valenza © US Games Systems
  • Scrying Ink Lenormand Oracle by Siolo Thompson © Bay & Willow
  • Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi and Kwon Shina © US Games Systems
  • Tarot of the Magical Forest by Hsu Chi Chun, Leo Tang, Pietro Alligo, Giovanni Pelosini © Lo Scarabeo
  • Linestrider Tarot: Kickstarter Edition by Siolo Thompson ©
  • Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco © Blue Angel Publishing
  • Sacred Rebels by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison © Blue Angel Publishing
  • Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne © Chris-Anne.com

The Myth of Buying Your First Tarot Deck

There’s this superstition that you cannot buy your first (or any) tarot deck for yourself. It should be bought for you, given, or stolen but you should never buy it for yourself. If you do, the deck won’t work for you, or it’ll have negative energy, or bad luck, or whatever.

It’s not a superstition I ascribe to. In fact, I find it kind of rubbish.

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Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud, Wendy Froud, Robert Gould, & Harry N. Abrams. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m superstitious at heart. I studied major in folklore in university so it’s my thing. But, uh, I’ve tested this and I’m calling it: it’s not true.

First, let’s get to the root of this superstition. It’s not a historical superstition and I’m prone to believe it’s only a few decades old – perhaps calling back to an era where tarot cards weren’t published regularly and therefore were hard to come by. The decks would have been passed down like treasures. In this theory, it makes sense that people would believe that these decks held more power because they’re proven reliable and held sentimental value. (That doesn’t mean those decks are better than one you’d buy, by the way, just more personal.) My theory suggests that this tradition morphed into a superstition over time due to grandstanding and ignorance.

There’s a second reason why this superstition might have come to prominence. That reason is research. Back in the 90’s when the internet was still young but the New Age and Neo-Wicca movement was strong, you could buy decks fairly easily. But just because you picked up a deck didn’t mean…

A) You would know how to read it. Those little white books are infamously useless and many tarot reading books at the time were hard to get or steeped in occultism. Peer-learning was definitely a thing but you never knew if you were getting the complete education.

B) That deck or style suited you. I know many people from that area that just bought decks because they were the only ones they could find, not because they liked the art or how the deck read.

C) The resources were there for reviewing the deck before purchase. These days, if you want to buy a deck, all you need to do is hop on your social media to ask friends what they think or google up a review. That wasn’t easily available in the past and rarely did you have the time to do that before purchasing. These days, I can check multiple reviews in the store on my phone within five minutes.

So if you bought a deck and it didn’t seem to work for you, it could be for any one of those reasons and not because you simply bought the deck.

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Another source is possible. It could simply be one of those things published or spoken of by one group and then taught to their readers/followers and that passed along like a terrible game of Telephone until we have the superstition as it stands today. I haven’t been able to track it back that far but it’s definitely a reasonable theory.

It’s also likely to be at least partially a corruption of other bartering myths of which there are thousands. Superstitions of these kinds generally works like this: You should not buy X for yourself but it should be given as a gift or bad luck will follow. It might also have a condition, like you shouldn’t buy it on a Thursday in October or a neighbor has to buy it for you. These sorts of superstitions typically start in a regional area and build momentum as people move into new areas of the world. It’s a pretty common style of superstition. I’ve seen this style of myth attributed to just about everything from tallow candles, to eggs, to cattle. Historically speaking, these myths are likely partially existent to circumvent community bylaws that disallow various behaviors within a small community. For example, you can keep chickens in my state’s capital city which is across the river from where I live but you cannot in my city. I can read tarot in almost any city in my state but one next door to where I live. And in the capital city, it’s illegal to throw pickle juice off the back of a trolley. The bylaws might or might not make sense but you can bet there’s some sort of history to them. These superstitions may be born from these sorts of laws.

Whatever the source, the fact is that many, many, many tarot readers including myself buy their own decks. Many readers have bought their first decks for themselves, including myself. And I’ve never heard a case of someone who suddenly cannot read their tarot cards or claims to have bad luck because they bought their own tarot cards. Continue to hold to the superstition if you like but it seems highly irrelevant to do so in this day and age of consumerism.

You do you, but be critical in what you hear and read, OK?

 


Heart of the Faerie Oracle by Brian Froud and Wendy Froud with Robert Gould © Harry N. Abrams

Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco © Blue Angel Publishing

Sacred Rebels by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison © Blue Angel Publishing

Sacred Creators Oracle by Chris-Anne © Chris-Anne.com

Scrying Spell For Inspiration (Spell Saturday #32)

Sometimes the muses are just not playing and you need to get something on paper or under that horrid little blinking line in a word document. Instead of staring blankly at the screen and then surfing the web, try this spell instead.

This is one of those spells that requires a lot of thinking to prepare but once set up it’ll be simple to repeat whenever you need it. It’s a handy scrying spell too which is always fun.

ssfi

What you’ll need:

  • Quartz crystal
  • A scent you want to dedicate purely to inspiration and creative pursuits

Experiment until you find the right scent or scent combination to inspire you. You can use a candle, incense, aromatherapy, etc. Whatever you have, start it up and let the scent fill your work space.

Pass your crystal it over the scent source such as over an aromatherapy device, oil burner, candle, or incense.

Dedicate the crystal to your creative pursuits by saying the following:

In the depths of my heart and mind lies bright sparks, burning embers, and tamed passions

In the depths of your heart I will see what reflects in mine

In you I will see how to unlock my creativity.

Look into the heart of the crystal and let what comes to mind happen. Don’t fight it or force it. Just let the thoughts flow.

Every time you want to create something, fill your work space with that scent and look into the crystal’s heart.

Notes:

  • You can swap out the quartz crystal for any kind of stone with a crystalline shape or a reflective surface. Bonus if the stone is know for inspiration, creativity, opening the mind, or inciting passions.
  • Finding the stone as a pendant can make your life so much easier. Just wear as a necklace and you’ll have the stone inspiring your very heart.
  • You can use any kind of scent. It’s up to you. Don’t forget that you can combine scents to create a unique atmosphere. Just write down what you’re creating so you can replicate it later. I like to use a warm citrus spice with cool minty undertones and sandalwood for myself.