Tarot 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
On 9 July 2015, Montreal’s Metonymy Press, along with Toronto’s Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA) celebrated the Toronto launch of Oliver Pickle's She is Sitting in the Night: Re-visioning Thea’s Tarot. Read More
Under the Roses Lenormand, by Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 9781572817609, 39 cards, 55 pp. booklet, 2014It’s only in the past few months that I’ve begun to play with Lenormand oracles, and it’s been a challenge to locate a design that I connect with, but I think I’ve finally found it with Under the Roses Lenormand. It’s illustrated with a subdued pallet, and the backgrounds are sepia toned, which allows the primary colours of the symbols to really pop. It has a kind of Victorian nostalgic feel that I really enjoy.The Lenormand oracle is named after Marie Anne Le Normand, a 19th century French celebrity fortune teller. Though she never used the cards herself, she did popularize cartomancy and fortune telling in general. This deck also takes its name from sub rosa, a Latin metaphor meaning “under the rose” that refers to buried secrets -- an apt name for a divination deck. Read More
Prisma Visions Tarot, illustrated by James R. Eads, written by Katherine Tombs James R. Eads, 79 cards, 96 pp. booklet, 2015There have been a number of gorgeous self-published decks coming out in recent years, and the Prisma Visions Tarot ranks high amongst them. It comes packaged in a sturdy flip-top box, with 79 silver gilt-edged cards, and a small booklet outlining the deck’s symbolism and use.This is James R. Eads’ second tarot deck, following the Light Visions Tarot, which was produced in a limited edition of 500 copies, and has since sold out. Unlike his previous deck, the Prisma Visions Tarot is full colour, and is slated to be available indefinitely.The trump cards of the Prisma Visions Tarot are bordered, but for the four suits, each card carries on from the next, creating a panoramic landscape for each suit. The cards have an impressionist feel, and the backgrounds are predominantly dark blue, and give the impression that the scenes take place at night, with the exception of the dusky oranges and yellows of the Pentacles. Read More
Infinity Tarot Deck, artwork by Severino Baraldi, text by Perluca Zizzi Lo Scarabeo, 9780738746357, 78 cards, 36 pp. booklet, 2015The Infinity Tarot is an Italian-designed tarot deck, inspired by these words of mystic poet William Blake, who recognized that the spiritual essence of humankind is imagination.
To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower, To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. -- William BlakeThe above quote is inscribed on the tarot box, and the deck itself encapsulates this concept of nature and the infinite. This deck is unique because of the unusual shape of the cards.The cards are rounded like the symbol for infinity, and about the same size as an average tarot deck, though the shape does make the cards a little unwieldy when shuffling, but you get used to it. The back of the cards has a colourful design of creatures and gemstones. They are presented in an elegant box of the same shape. Read More
Teen Spirit Guide to Working with Mediumship, by Ceryn Rowntree Soul Rocks Books, 978-1-78279-414-1, 147 pp., 2015Immediately upon starting to read this book, I felt like a close friend was speaking to me. Rowntree has a reassuring, sympathetic, humourous and, above all, realistic voice that teens will find endearing. She never talks down to them, so important at a time when they may be questioning themselves about everything. Yet she validates their experiences, instructing them to trust their own inner wisdom telling them they really are communicating with departed loved ones.She begins with a discussion of death -- where else? -- and continues to explain the spirit world, what mediumship is, how to safely open up and close down to spirit communication, how to be a responsible medium, and reactions one may encounter from people if they find out you’re a medium. I thank Rowntree for adding that latter chapter. It’s hard enough as an adult wondering if you should tell others what you do for fear of being laughed at; with the acute awkwardness sensitive teens might feel if their gift is revealed, Rowntree’s guide is invaluable. Read More