Tag: divination

The Complete Arthurian Tarot

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The Complete Arthurian TarotThe Complete Arthurian TarotThe Complete Arthurian Tarot, by Caitlin and John Matthews, illustrated by Miranda Gray Connections Book Publishing, 9781859063880, 78 cards, 240 pp., 2015 This intricate set of tarot cards was first introduced in 1990, and was the first Arthurian tarot deck. Caitlin Mathews was trained in the esoteric mystery traditions through schools founded by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Dion Fortune, and Gareth Knight. She is also an acknowledged world authority on Celtic Wisdom. John Matthews is a historian, folklorist and author, who has written more than 90 books detailing the Arthurian legends and grail studies. The couple have combined their expertise in the creation of the Arthurian Tarot, which adds to the riches of Western esoteric heritage. In their words:
Our inspiration for this tarot is the quest for the Hallows, or "holy things." These are the Regalia of Sovereignty, the Goddess of the Land -- she who grants the kingship. These ancient treasures may still be sought, not as museum artifacts, but as spiritual empowerments that align us to our soul’s vocation.
The Arthurian Tarot is a very high quality book and card set that is nicely packaged and presented in a well-designed box. The cards are printed on quality, durable stock with vivid designs. The card designs are detailed and inviting, and they depict the essence of the grail mysteries. This deck differs from traditional tarot decks in that the suits of the minor arcana have been changed in keeping with the symbolism of the Hallows. So instead of the sword, wand, pentacle, and cup, we have the sword, spear, stone, and grail. The traditional icons of the major arcana have also been adjusted to incorporate Arthurian characters, for example, the High Priestess is now the Lady of The Lake, Strength is Gawain, and the Magician is Merlin. Each card’s image is bordered with a black frame which gives the reader the impression of looking through a window into an alternate realm. The images themselves are intricate, vibrantly coloured and have great depth, which facilitates a detailed reading. Read More

The Fountain Tarot

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Detail from the Knight of Wands, from The Fountain TarotThe Fountain TarotThe Fountain Tarot, created by Jonathan Saiz, written by Jason Gruhl, and designed by Andi Todaro The Fountain Tarot, 79 cards, 112 pp. booklet, 2015The Fountain Tarot comes in an attractive shiny box, and the cards themselves have silver-gilt edges. Illustrated in a prismatic rainbow of pastels, the finish is matte rather than glossy, which allows the delicate detail of the original oil paintings to emerge. The cards are illustrated in a beautiful reinterpretation of Pamela Colman Smith’s artwork in the Rider Tarot, integrated with the sacred geometry that influenced Lady Frieda Harris in her illustrations for the Thoth Tarot, which ultimately gives it a more contemporary feel.As with many decks published these days, The Fountain Tarot comes with 79 cards, consisting of the traditional 78-cards plus a bonus card. The extra card is called the Fountain, and is unnumbered, bearing instead a lemniscate representing infinity. The card itself represents the “eternal context beyond human experience in which anything and everything can happen.” Further, it’s a card of spirit, “the aether in which we navigate our imperfect lives and the substance of life itself.” Read More

The Witch’s Oracle

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The Witch's Oracle, by Marla BrooksThe Witch's Oracle, by Marla BrooksThe Witch’s Oracle, by Marla Brooks, illustrated by Aunia Kahn
Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 978-0-7643-4931-7, 45 cards, 112 pp., 2015

Divination tools, be they card decks, runes, or pendulums, carry a certain resonance that an astute reader will feel as soon as they look at them, or hold them in their hand. This is largely how they decide to work with a particular tool. And so it was when I received The Witch’s Oracle.

As I opened the postal carton and looked at the box, it felt to me like Samhain. The box and the cards themselves are dark, velvety and deep, and reminded me of the richness of the traditional regalia witches wear on that sabbat. The red and black brocade card back becomes iridescent as the angle of light hitting it changes: quite stunning.

Card illustrations by Aunia Kahn are simple but not simplistic, depicting witch’s tools, symbols, and real and mythical beasts. Even if the cards were not labelled, you would not have to guess what they represent. The brocade used on the card back, in different colours, is used as background for some of the cards and works beautifully.

The box has a pull tab so there’s no struggling to open it, and the cards are small enough for easy shuffling. The booklet, with text by Marla Brooks, is small as well, as is the type size, which should have been bigger. Most of the pages have abundant white space, enough that some of it could have been used for easier reading.

The booklet contains sections on clearing, consecrating and charging the deck; how to work with the deck, including a couple of simple spreads; and card meanings. The latter is broken up into some background about the card’s symbol, the meaning of the card and a rhyming incantation to activate its energy. All sections were short, but enough to get some insight into the significance of each card drawn in a reading.

To test the deck I drew a single card, Skull, with the meaning of “carpe diem” and a reminder to not overlook the simple things in life. True enough for me right now, and a reminder I’ve received through other divination methods.

I also used the Witch’s Broom spread — a modified past, present, future spread — to explore the cards further. I drew Dreamcatcher to represent me; Spider to represent challenges I face; Owl to represent opportunities; and Triple Goddess, Ankh, and Chinese Dragon to represent the past, present, and future, respectively. The meanings of the individual cards relative to their positions — especially the Ankh card, representing the present — and the reading as a whole made sense to me.

The Witch’s Oracle is a good solid deck for beginners, either to the Craft or to working with cards. The cards are a fun way to learn about some classic witch symbolism and tools, just enough to whet one’s appetite to learn more from other sources. They’re straightforward enough and the spreads basic enough that someone just learning how to piece together a reading can receive useful information. And they’re pleasing to look at, with a real feeling of magick.

For someone serious about both the Wiccan path and card divination, I’d suggest starting with The Witch’s Oracle and then moving on to The Wicca Deck, which I previously reviewed. Between these two decks, one can gain a great grounding for further work with more intricate divination.

Silver Witchcraft Tarot Kit, by Barbara Moore

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Detail of the Ace of Pentacles, from the Silver Witchcraft TarotThe Silver Witchcraft Tarot Kit, by Barbara MooreSilver Witchcraft Tarot Kit: The Ancient Wisdom of Tarot, booklet by Barbara Moore, artwork by Franco Rivolli Lo Scarabeo, 9788865273104, 78 cards, 160 pp. booklet, 2014Illustrated by Franco Rivolli, The Silver Witchcraft Tarot is a Pagan deck that focuses on the cycle of the year and feminine energies. It draws upon traditional Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (RWS) imagery as well as nature-based “magickal spiritual understanding,” says Barbara Moore.When opening the deck for the first time, its most striking features are the silver gilded edges and vibrant colours. The cards are easy to shuffle, riffling showcases the beautiful gilt edging, and the cardstock feels sturdy, but not too thick. The large box that houses the cards and booklet shows off the prettiest card in the deck, the Ace of Cups, and is great for storage, but a bit cumbersome for travel. Read More

Tarot of Loka

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Tarot of Loka, detail from the back of the cardsThe Tarot of LokaTarot of Loka: A Card Game Based on Medieval Tarot Games, designed by Alessio Cavatore, illustrated by Ralph Horsley Lo Scarabeo, 9780738746753, 80 cards, 61 pp. booklet, 2015Loka is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning world, realm, or level of consciousness, an apt choice for an elemental fantasy game or tarot oracle, but there is no Vedic symbolism on the cards as might be expected. “Good” and “Evil” cards are a clever and original addition to the major arcana, making 80 cards instead of the usual 78.The major arcana are resplendently prominent in this deck, but their divinatory meanings are not. Marketed primarily as a game, the Tarot of Loka’s accompanying booklet does not discuss tarot interpretation, but it does endorse the cards’ use for readings, if desired. Tarot purists may not approve of using the same deck for both gaming and divination, but I like the versatility. After all, divination can be done during all kinds of mundane activities. Loka might be just the thing for bringing tarot into the mainstream as a fun and safe activity. Tarot originated as a card game, so any objections to its use this way are easily refuted. Read More

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