Tag Archives: Art

Review: Revelations Tarot, by Zach Wong

By Psyche | July 31, 2005 | Leave a comment

Revelations Tarot, by Zach Wong
Kit: Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738706078, 199 pp. & 80 card deck

The artwork of the Revelations Tarot is a sort of cross between pseudo-art nouveau and stained glass and the effect works. Each card also has a reverse image, not a mere mirror image, but a separate picture interwoven to display a different interpretation.

The major arcana depicts each character wearing a mask, representative of ‘a “human” relation, similar to that of mythical gods who stand in human form among us to ease our comprehension of the message they deliver’, apparently further identifying them with archetypes rather than physical people.

The minor arcana of the Revelations Tarot is distinctly different from many decks I’ve seen. The suits are arranged as one might expect, ranging from ace to ten, then the court cards of Page, Knight, Queen and King, and many of the scenes depicted are familiar owing to the inspiration drawn from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. For example, the Eight of Swords (a particularly beautiful card), depicts a woman bound with a loose cord in the upright meaning, and her blindfold off and unbound in the reversed. The colour schemes are not wholly unifying and the characters depicted in the suits are often quite weird and wonderful. The characters of wands are ‘magicians, warriors, saves, and opulent individuals’; swords are ‘warriors, highly ornate and decorated, firm, and serious’; cups are ‘merpeople of the oceans and seas’; and pentacles are ‘metallic humanoids that are one with their element’.

Each card is given an upright and reversed meaning in the Revelations Tarot Companion, with specifications for which image is the reversed in certain cards (e.g. The Hanged Man). Each interpretation takes three focuses: the individual, a relationship, and a situation. The meanings are also accompanied by helpful descriptions of the images and symbols used in the card and how they were intended by Wong.

The last two cards in the deck are cards depicting two different spreads, the Horoscope Spread and the Seven Day spread, both spreads are explained in more detail toward the end of the Revelations Tarot Companion, the book accompanying the deck. Indeed in addition to the two spreads mentioned above, two additional spreads are also given in the companion work, the usual Past, Present, Future spread, and the Four Elements Spread.

Overall this is a beautiful deck; different, yet easily accessible. Deck collectors will love it.


Review: Kissing Darkness, by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld and David Wayne Dunn

By Psyche | November 29, 2003 | Leave a comment

Kissing Darkness: Love Poems, by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld and David Wayne Dunn
RiverWood Books, 1883991838, 93 pp., 2003

In 1980 David Wayne Dunn first wrote to Carolyn Mary Kleefeld after reading her first book of book, Climate of the Mind, expressing his admiration. Over the next seventeen years, they continued their correspondence sharing poetry and gradually their more intimate experiences. The poems in this book were written between 1996 and 2002, which Dunn and Kleefeld wrote for each other.

This lover’s dialogue in poetry, Kissing Darkness, written over a five year period, expresses romantic and erotic ideals, conveyed in vivid metaphor.

The poetry in this collection is interspersed with beautiful illustrations, being Kleefeld’s bright and expressive series of paintings titled Immortal Letters and Dunn’s colour ink drawings.


The Fairy Ring, by Anna Franklin

By Mike Gleason | November 30, 2002 | Leave a comment

The Fairy Ring: An Oracle of the Fairy Folk, book by Anna Franklin, illustrated by Paul Mason
Llewellyn Publications, 0738702749

One thing needs to be very clear at the outset. This is NOT a Tarot deck. It has no Major Arcana, as such, instead it has eight Fairy Festival (Sabbat) cards, there are only 13 cards in each of the “suits” of the Minor Arcana (there is no “ten” and the Page has been replaced by the Lady). It also includes four cards illustrating layouts and the meanings for each position within the layouts. These cards will be an invaluable aid to becoming comfortable and familiar with these new layouts.

These cards are interesting on many levels, ranging from the expected ones of divining information and serving as a meditation tool to the unexpected use as a kind of mug shot book of the Celtic branch of the wee folk. Utilizing the book which explains the cards, one can gain more insight into the habits and behaviours of the most elusive inhabitants of our world.

Proper methods of behaviour towards these races are discussed, as are their expectations of the humans they choose to interact with.

Granted that there are a very limited number of fairy folk discussed, and this group is all derived from Celtic lands (specifically the British Isles), still there is a wide variety of types discussed. In all there are 56 spirits covered (each suit contains one double card). Of these, ways of contacting and working with are given for 40. The other 16 are “not recommended” to work with, for various reasons.

The cards are beautifully drawn, and the descriptions and divinatory meanings given in the book give a good starting point for your own encounters with the inhabitants of the land of Fairy.

Even in you don’t want to use them for divinatory purposes you could spend hours meditating upon them, Each card provides an easy entrance into the world of the particular spirit.

It will be a while before I have any solid, personal opinions regarding the layouts developed for these cards, but at this time I can say that they appear to offer some very interesting insights.


Shapeshifter Tarot Set, by D. J. Conway and Sirona Knight

By Mike Gleason | November 29, 2002 | Leave a comment

Shapeshifter Tarot, by D. J. Conway and Sirona Knight, illustrated by Lisa Hunt
Llewellyn Publications, 1567183840

Before I began to read the book which accompanies this deck of cards, I took the opportunity to just skim through the 81 cards themselves. A couple of things struck me at once. One of these is the fact that there are a number of cards which do not correspond to the traditional Tarot deck (#21, #22, & #23 in the major arcane) and some rearranging of the court cards (the God of each suit corresponding to the Queen and the Goddess to the King of the traditional decks, plus the renaming of the suits. Then there are the suits themselves. The colours tend toward pastels, while the imaging is mythical in nature. While some may be slightly put off by these facts, I found them very beneficial.

The Descriptions and Prophecies contained in the book offer insights which come from a uniquely different perspective. They offer a Celtic-based interpretation unlike anything I have seen before. I don’t always agree with some of the ideas expressed by the authors, but their interpretations offer additional views into the world.

The rearranging of the highest two cards in each suit are dictated by the pre-eminence of the High Priestess (as representative of the Goddess) in many Pagan traditions, including that of the Gwyddonic Druid Tradition, while the swapping of swords (air in most systems) with wands (fire in most systems) is similarly influenced by the ritual style of working of that particular tradition.

Each of the suit cards is identified on the card, since the “traditional” symbols are absent from the actual image on the card. This absence makes for readings which have a much wider-ranging scope. Much of the traditional meaning is retained in this deck, through the forms used, but there is a lack of rigidity, and more of a feeling of fluid motion. When using these cards one is more aware of the changeable nature of our life experiences. One becomes more attuned to the fact that our olives are in flux, and that we CAN change what is forecast by changing ourselves. And isn’t that what divination is supposed to be about?

I have not had time to work at any depth with the layouts suggested, but from reading through them and meditating upon them, I must say they offer insights I had not experienced.

You could, of course, use a more “traditional” spread, or one of your own devising, so long as you are willing to make the mental shift to the more fluid meanings you are likely to find coming through these cards.

The appendices provide the correspondence between traditional decks and this deck, as well as a list of keywords.

I feel these cards would be an excellent deck for younger people. They would help them to avoid the pitfalls associated with many of the traditional decks (such as the association of Pentacles with money, and so on). They also should be good for meditation. You don’t NEED the book, but will find it an excellent explanation of the creation of this deck.


Review: Mehndi, by Carine Fabius

By Psyche | August 25, 2002 | Leave a comment

Mehndi: The Art of Henna Body Painting, by Carine Fabius
Three Rivers Press, 0609803190, 1998

The book opens with a short history lesson on the origin and uses of the plant and art form. Maps, pictures of the plant and practical applications are interspersed throughout the history and cultural lesson.

Indeed, the book is profusely illustrated with many wondrous designs all over the body, focusing mainly on the hands and feet, but there are many designs shown on the arms, chest, belly and back, ranging from very simplistic to extremely complex, both modern and traditional designs from various cultures which use henna art religious and celebratory occasions.

Easy to follow instructions are given on harvesting and preparing the plant for use in an easy to make recipie for the paste used to dye the skin, as wells as detailed explanations and diagrams for creation of an applicator, though a store-bought one with a metal tip is recommended, especially for finer, more detailed designs.

There are even exercises and techniques listed to help you along before you begin, and over 30 designs and symbols (some with short descriptions of their meaning) with instructions on how to proceed to create some of the beautiful designs illustrated, and application and creation techniques. I would have appreciated a more detailed explanation for the symbols and how they’re used in the given culture, but the descriptions are short and superficial.

At the rear of the book, there are a few studios listed in the States where you can have henna applied, as well as a short bibliography and some design books suggested for reference, as well as an index and short author biography.

A well designed book, I love the pictures, as natural henna only comes in a few shades of brown or red, the black and white pictures don’t take away much. If you’re interested in giving mehndi a go, this book could give you an excellent start.


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