The deck pictured in these photographs is the 2014 version produced by Devera Publishing. It comes in a beautiful full-lid lift top glossy box of high quality and the cardstock quality is great. Love that the accompanying guidebook fits inside the box and contains a wealth of tarot card meaning insights, many that would add to your compendium of tarot knowledge. The guidebook here is not just a rehash of the same old card meanings. There is a lot here specific to the symbolism on the deck and how that symbolism and manifestation exemplifies the traditional card meaning.
In a social justice law course I took back in my law school days, the professor went around the room on the first day of class and asked each one of us to offer what we think brings about social change in this world. A classroom populated by, um, well, white folks, offered thought bubbles like grassroots mobilization, advocacy, charismatic leadership, lobbying, equal access to justice, public policy, etc. Funny, I was thinking about it from a different perspective.
When it was my turn, I said, “Pain.”
Pain is not only the impetus for social change, but it is the impetus to greatness. Profound feelings of marginalization lead to zealous advocacy on behalf of others. Even when your pain looks different from my pain, the common emotional denominator between our pains is the same, and through that common emotional denominator, you and I can connect, create an incredible, powerful fusion, and together, through collectivism, become the impetus for social change and for mutual greatness.
A friend gifted me with the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot and Guidebook, believing I’d love this deck, and boy was she right! This deck is currently the darling of the tarot community. Everyone is just fawning over and crushing on it.
Let’s start with the Guidebook, Tarot: Notes From the Pagan Otherworlds. It’s perfect bound, a beautiful compact square size, and features the Page of Cups.
I’m so thrilled to have the companion guidebook. It does an incredible job explaining the deck creators’ rationale for depicting the various cards as they have done, e.g., in this deck, the Nine of Swords is the card of transformation, so on it is depicted a swan, symbolic of the struggle this deck’s Nine of Swords represents–the struggle of coming into your own. This deck’s Nine of Swords is one of the most exquisite Nine of Swords I’ve come across.
The deck and guidebook together would be an incredible gift and starter tarot kit for someone just learning tarot. However, the deck is a bit of a mix between the Rider-Waite-Smith structure, placing The Fool first, Key 8 being Strength, and Key 11 being Justice, as you’ll see in subsequent photos in this review, but features unillustrated pips (meaning no narrative imagery on the pip cards), reminiscent of Tarot de Marseille.
When you’ve dedicated yourself to the study of craft, you’re going to want to start your own written record of the path. It is the most natural thing and the concept of keeping a grimoire, book of shadows, or book of methods is found across all of the cultures of magical traditions, East to West. Now it’s your turn to feel that pull. You’ve got your big, beautiful blank book ready to go. Where do you start? How do you start?
By its nature, a private journal means no one can tell you what to do. Yet some of us just want tangible insights for inspiration, so that’s what this is. I’m most certainly not trying to tell you how to keep your own private journal. My own grimoire does not come close to following the instructions I am about to give.
Yet the other day, I was thumbing through a rather incredible tome, quite esoteric in nature for sure, and that tome offered some of the most brilliant insights into grimoire organization that I have ever come across. So I shall share that text with you today.
That’s right. It’s The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America.
Okay, it’s a cooking book. But I swear if you went through this thing you’d agree it’s esoteric as hell. Who knew broth making and a roux could be so complicated. I digress. And I’m serious. This book provides incredible insights into how you might consider organizing and creating your grimoire.
Imagine Keziah Mason, a Salem witch in the 17th century per Lovecraftian imagination, and the tarot deck she would have used for divination. The 2016 self-published Book of Azathoth Tarot is one imagining of what that deck might have looked like. Azathoth is a deity from the Cthulhu pantheon invented by H. P. Lovecraft in his fiction works.
Although largely unknown and unrecognized during his lifetime, H. P. Lovecraft was a prolific writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. A driving theme through many of his works was the theme of esoteric knowledge, hidden, dark truths that only the few and the audacious can uncover. And so his fictional world is a perfect setting for the imagination of a tarot deck.
The Book of Azathoth Tarot is the work of an incredible artist who goes by the name Nemo. You can order your copy of the Third Edition here.
Is there any value to making a distinction between fortune telling and divination? How might Chinese perspectives compare to or inform Western perspectives? This free video (or audio) lecture will examine the etymological origins of the words for “fortune telling” and “divination” in the Chinese language, apply medieval esoteric Taoist texts to tarot reading, and propose a theoretical framework through which to read tarot, as either a fortune teller or a diviner, though the two are not mutually exclusive. We will then run a comparative analysis of that with Western perspectives and examine Western esoteric texts on the subject.
The video lecture is about 34 minutes in length. Click on the below to begin watching. Although it is in video form, you can also listen to it as an audio.