My Go-To Knick Knacks in a Reading Space

Sandalwood mala prayer beads and a smoky quartz cintamani stone.

My earliest memory of a psychic reading was in Taiwan with a nun at a monastery that my aunt, who is a nun, resided at. (Do I still refer to her as my aunt if she’s now a nun? I have no idea…) When you’re an Asian kid, grown-ups, especially grown-ups of the holy variety, don’t have names. They only have titles. So in Chinese, since we only spoke to her in Chinese, she was Shi Fu, or Teacher, and in English, privately amongst ourselves, she was The Psychic Nun. The aunt who is a nun is Auntie Nun. Auntie Nun is a little bit psychic while The Psychic Nun was full-on knew-your-past-life and knew-your-future psychic plus could-speak-to-the-dead so also medium. The Psychic Nun is referred to in the past tense because she’s no longer with us. I heard of her passing a few years after my maternal grandmother’s passing. It’s okay. She was like a billion years old already anyway and with all that good karma, is off to somewhere awesome.

Anyway, that introduction was way off-track from the subject matter of this post. This post is about go-to knick knacks in a tarot or divinatory reading space. I’m not asking about what you need to get your read on (because inevitably some holier-than-thou advanced tarot reader master will pipe up and say, “I don’t need anything but the power of my mind… I am not bound to materialism… toot toot“)–right, right, we all know that. But I’m asking what kind of knick knacks do you like in your reading space. I don’t need a pink toothbrush for effective dental hygiene but I like it when my toothbrush is pink, so I have a pink toothbrush. Get it?

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Benevolence and Your Book of 1,111 Acts

What if the story of your life is told through a record of your acts of kindness, your benevolence, compassion, and personal sacrifices?

I’ve created a blank notebook that can help you to tell just that kind of story.

In fact, I’ve created three different versions of the notebook. You can either print out the notebook yourself and set it into a binder or you can have it print and bound by a third party publisher.

Keep scrolling down for the free downloads and printing instructions.

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The above video explains the premise for this notebook and the #1111acts. For those who have a copy of my book, The Tao of Craft, check out page 152, in the chapter “The Tools of Craft,” section titled, “Accumulating Good Deeds.” I’ve even pulled that section out as an excerpt, so if you don’t have the book, just check out the PDF below.

“Accumulating Good Deeds” (from The Tao of Craft)

Unlike most tags, this one is something you’ll work through for life. The idea is to log 1,111 acts within your lifetime.

Why the hashtag #1111acts? It’s my little effort to help transform the tone of discourse we see online these days. You’ll take part, too, won’t you? Any time you undertake neutralizing a negative energy in this world, even in the world of social media, especially in the world of social media, by contributing a positive energy, include the hashtag #1111acts.

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Review of the Tarot of Bones by Lupa

Animal bones have enthralled me since an early age. So I am excited about reviewing Lupa Greenwolf’s The Tarot of Bones and the deck’s companion book.

The Tarot of Bones is a photographic portfolio of assemblage art pieces by Lupa, herself a hide and bone pagan artist. The images of a tarot deck tell stories, and through those stories, our own life story is divined. Likewise, bones tell stories, and oracle bone divination is as old as humankind. From that premise comes The Tarot of Bones.

We begin with The Fool, Key 0, depicted by a coyote skull atop a field of flowers. The Magician is a corn snake skeleton formed into an ourosboros. The High Priestess is the skull of a wolf over a crescent moon formed from a mirror. On either side, an assemblage of trees. The Empress is a whitetail doe while the Emperor is the skull of a goat.

I love the stories that Lupa provides in the companion guidebook. For instance, she reveals that Key V: The Hierophant was the first card in the tarot deck she started designing, but it was also the last card to be completed. Here, by the way, we see a javelina skull amid religious texts. The Lovers is a pair of albatross skulls positioned in an assemblage to represent a mating ritual.

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Book Review: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack’s The Fortune Teller, which was released earlier last week (June, 2017), is one of my favorite novels to make reference to tarot. It is the story of a woman who unlocks her heritage as a seer, tracing her roots back to ancient Alexandria, and in doing so, reveals the origins of the tarot.

We follow the characters across many continents, countries, time periods, and delightfully, historic figures and fictional interact. Tarot enthusiasts of all stripes will enjoy this novel and I highly recommend that you add it to your summer reading list.

Spoiler Alert: In this review I’ll highlight the key features of the novel and what I loved about it, though in doing so, may give away a couple of spoilers. I promise it won’t take away from the ending or the enjoyment of reading this book for yourself.

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The Golden Botticelli Tarot by Lo Scarabeo

There is a tarot deck that has become a prop in my front sitting room. I leave it out on an end table and most of the time, a guest will reach for it and flip through the cards. I always know when that has happened, even if I am in a different room, because immediately thereafter I hear the squeal. “Oh my god! What is this deck? It’s gorgeous!” Then there’s a range of follow-up commentary, from those recognizing the art of Sandro Botticelli, to those who are either “Now this is the most fascinating deck of playing cards I’ve ever seen” to “So is this like a tarot deck, like the psychic fortune-telling cards you use?”

That deck is the Golden Botticelli Tarot designed by A. A. Atanassov and published by Lo Scarabeo. I love the reversible card backs and the ornate design that, to me, captures the Florentine Renaissance.

The cards are a mosaic of imagery from Botticelli paintings piecemealed together digitally. And it’s done with such seamless mastery that you almost can’t tell.

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