Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards

The Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards is a fun, beautiful New Age divination deck by Kyle Gray with art by Lily Moses. It’s a quintessential Hay House deck and one I’m really loving. These cards will pleasantly surprise you with resonant messages. Readings with Angels and Ancestors will bring clairvoyant images that leave you with a lasting imprint.

It’s a 55-card deck printed on heavy-duty cardstock in an absolute matte finish. Angels and Ancestors is a self-contained system and kit, which means you don’t need to know a darn thing about cartomancy to pick this deck up and begin working with it. The guidebook is a wonderful primer for the beginner.

Let’s see how you’re connecting to this deck, shall we? Let your eyes scan across the three cards–left, center, and right. We’re going to be following the ceremonial instructions provided in the companion guidebook. Take a moment to concentrate on your breath and continue scanning the cards, from one to the next. I’m going to rephrase the recitation a bit for the purposes of this exercise.

Start by reciting to yourself:

I am here in this space to forge a sacred bond with the Angels & Ancestors oracle deck today.

Now recite to yourself:

Guardians of the four corners,
Mother in the Earth, Father in the sky,
Angels, ancestors, sacred ones,
I call on you and welcome you here now.

The full transcript in the guidebook goes on further, but I think this will suffice for our purposes.

Continue reading “Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards”

Shadow Work (Bell Chimes In #37) & Applying it Right Now to A-Z New Age Practices

Bell Chimes In is baaack for 2019. =) And we kick off the series with #37, on shadow work.

Well, it’s not really about shadow work. I realize now in retrospect I never even actually addressed what shadow work is, or even what it is to me. I just jumped right in to my opinions and tangential thoughts.

Anyway, I want to conjoin that video chat with a blog post on the most recent thing to fire up the tarot, pagan, occult, and New Age communities: Doreen Virtue’s “An A-Z List of New Age Practices to Avoid and Why.” At first my response to that article won’t seem to relate to shadow work, but just stay with me. I’ll get there.

Which by the way, is totally okay. Shadow work, that is. It didn’t make it onto Virtue’s list of demonic things. So we’re good. Phew.

Continue reading “Shadow Work (Bell Chimes In #37) & Applying it Right Now to A-Z New Age Practices”

Sacred Rebels Oracle Cards by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison

On the year of this blog posting, the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck is now five years old. I’ve had it for a while now, and only now have gotten around to sharing my impressions of it. The deck is by Alana Fairchild, one of the reigning voices in New Age spirituality.

Personally, I love the deck art, I love the spirit of what this deck is trying to achieve, and overall production design is lovely. However, it would be remiss of me as a person of color to not also mention that many people of color do have some bones to pick with Alana Fairchild decks. An argument can be made that she culls from the surface of cultural and religious traditions that she doesn’t fully study or immerse herself in, and then photoshops those traditions through a White lens. Instead of trying to sway you one way or the other, let’s just walk through the card images and you can decide for yourself how you feel.

Sacred Rebels is premised on the celebration of individualist spiritual paths, refusing to follow tradition, orthodoxy, or the mainstream, in pursuit of living your own personal authentic truth. I totally get behind all of that.

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Buy the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, Vitruvian Ed.

SOLD OUT. This deck is now out of print.

Deck Description:

Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is a hand-illustrated 78-card tarot deck (with 2 additional versions of Key 0, for a total of 80 cards) inspired by late Renaissance woodcut prints, with symbology based predominantly on medieval European alchemy, Hermeticism, Zoroastrianism, astrology, the Kabbalah, Abrahamic angelology, Egyptian mythology, Sufism, and late Renaissance Christian mysticism.

The narrowly-tailored premise of Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is to transform tarot keys into calling cards for accessing a spirit world of beneficent immortals.

The artwork is original black and white line drawings done by hand, by me, in pen and ink, then digitally remastered to monochromatic sepia tones. The cards are bordered with a tea-stained parchment design.

All decks will be anointed with hand-crafted holy anointing oil made of Ceylon cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, myrrh resin, and sweet lemongrass.

R E A D :

F R E E   D O W N L O A D S :

The Vitruvian Edition:

While the First Edition SKT deck was in black and white, a largely faithful scan of the original line drawings I did by hand, the remastered Vitruvian Edition is in monochromatic sepia tones with redesigned architecture.

The namesake for this edition comes from Vitruvius, who lived around 80 B.C. to 15 B.C. Vitruvius was a Roman architect who taught that every structure must exhibit three qualities: stability, utility, and beauty. These three qualities have come to be known as the Vitruvian Triad.

A millennium after Vitruvius, Leonardo da Vinci was inspired by the Roman architect’s works. One of da Vinci’s most famous sketches–rendered in sepia ink–is the Vitruvian Man (1487).

Limited Print Run

We will place our print run order based on the number of pre-orders we get plus a couple hundred extra to spare. That’s it.

After this print run is sold out, we won’t be reprinting. Even if a future SKT deck happens, it won’t be for many years and it will be different from this version. SKT will not be handed over to a mass market publisher anytime soon, either.

All Decks are Anointed

I craft my own anointing oil from essences and macerated oils I make myself from raw ingredients painstakingly sourced to ensure quality. The Ceylon cinnamon bark was purchased at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. The cassia cinnamon leaf was imported from India. I use whole, highest grade myrrh resin (tears of myrrh) and lots of it (because making your own true essential oils requires a lot of myrrh). The lemongrass is fresh, local produce that is personally sun-dried over several months before the oil-making process even begins. And then the oil making process takes another several months before they’re ready. The olive oil is from Athens, Greece. Multiple layering of astrologically-timed ritual work is crafted into the anointing oil.

A Companion Course, Free and Online

With the First Edition, over 95% of purchasers ordered the Premium Package that included the online video course series. That’s why I decided to make the online video course series public and freely accessible. I figured this would be most convenient for all and would spread around the good karma.

In addition to that video series already freely available, I will be producing another set of videos to go along with this redesigned deck, with new content tailored around the aspiration to make this deck more intuitively accessible so that you don’t feel like you need to be anybody other than yourself or to know anymore than what you already know (or are willing to learn) to gain access to all that this deck can offer.

The set of videos that went with the First Edition deep-dived unapologetically into mystical realms that required the suspension of rational skepticism, i.e., we were talking about your Holy Guardian Angel, ritual magic, angels, demons, the Akashic Records, and that kind of thing.

The new set of videos will be more practical and applicable to everyday readings. How do you interpret SKT court cards in readings? How do you actually and effectively integrate basic beginner-level astrology with tarot readings, using the astrological correspondence system that the SKT deck follows? How do you use your deck and Book of Maps together to do an I Ching and tarot divination?

The Book of Maps

Only the $65 Premium Package will come with the Book of Maps companion guidebook to the deck and it’s just a PDF digital file.

Everything in the Book of Maps, First Edition will still be in the revised Book of Maps, with updated card images, card entries, and some minor line-editing. You can read sample chapters from the Book of Maps here (scroll down to the bottom of that page for the hyperlinked sample chapters).

There’s also an additional 230+ pages to this revised edition of the Book of Maps. The new additions will include more on how to read the SKT court cards, working with the Olympic spirits, integrating astrology with the tarot, integrating gematria with the tarot, and an entire reference section on using the tarot and I Ching divination together. You will be able to look up short form I Ching oracles based on your SKT tarot card readings by consulting this Book of Maps. No additional I Ching texts required.

Get on the mailing list to receive important updates and progress reports about your pre-ordered deck.

I will be sending progress reports, important updates, and everything related to your order of the SKT deck by the mailing list linked here: www.tinyurl.com/SKTnews.

From now until the pre-order window closes, I’ll also be sending exclusive previews, maybe some freebies, and who knows what else through that mailing list only.

Whether you’re just interested in staying up to date on the progress of the Vitruvian Edition or you’ve already pre-ordered your deck, get on this mailing list!

This isn’t some promo marketing thing. It’s 100% a my convenience thing. I can easily, by one click, send out notices to everybody who has consented to receiving e-mail notices and don’t have to keep track of or keep on updating any manually created email lists.

This edition is going to be the last SKT print run for a very long time… years, or maybe even never.

We are going to place a production order based on the pre-order quantity, plus some hundreds to spare and sell until they run out. And then that’s it.

We are not going to reprint this version of the deck. We might consider reprinting new versions of SKT way, way down the line in the future, for a possible five-year anniversary or ten-year anniversary special. In fact, there’s even the chance of never.

SKT will not be handed over to a mass market publisher. Maybe when J and I are so old and feeble we can barely hold a pen to write our own names, we might at that point give SKT to a publishing house, but it won’t happen anytime soon, so please don’t hold out for what you hope will be a cheaper version of the deck in two years.

Still got questions?

Please e-mail your inquiries to abelldelivers@gmail.com.

Redesigning the SKT Tarot Box

Redesigning the box for my deck has been so much harder than designing the first edition’s box, because I love my first edition box design. I love the symbolism, I love the energy of it, how it very much feels specific to a particular historic period, and I love how it complemented the black and white deck itself (first edition). Being so attached to it means parting with it has been the hardest part.

Specs wise, the new box will be the same as the first edition box– a top and bottom lid format, absolute matte finish, and really sturdy quality. Anyone who has the first edition might be able to attest to how freakin’ amazing these boxes are. If you’re curious, to get this quality for your tarot box, the stock is 1200 gsm. Compare that to the stock for the tarot cards themselves, which is 350 gsm.

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Zillich Tarot by Christine Zillich: A Thoth-Inspired Watercolor Deck

Those of you who attended Readers Studio 2018 in New York will recognize this deck as having come in the event gift bags, courtesy of U.S. Games. The artwork is done in watercolors by German artist Christine Zillich. The deck art blends mythological, astrological, and Kabbalistic symbolism, featuring Crowley’s keywords on the pips.

Click on photo for enlarged view.

The cards are petite at 2.25″ x 3.75″ (compared to standard tarot size: 2.75″ x 4.75″) and remind me more of a typical Lenormand size deck. You get the deck in a keepsake metal tin. I love the blue-purple tones of the reversible card backs. I know I’m getting nitpicky here, but there’s just the slightest imbalance in terms of vertical spacing in the white caption boxes at the bottoms of the cards–there’s not enough space between the bottom edge of the artwork and the first line of text, compared to the amount of spacing between the bottom edge of the card and the last line of text.

There’s a typo with the roman numeral for Key 21: The Universe, but it doesn’t really bother me. While Key 20 (XX) in the Thoth deck is titled Aeon and in the RWS is Judgement, here in Zillich, it’s Justice, which confused me, so I turned to the LWB. Indeed the card is supposed to be titled “Justice,” so this isn’t a typo on the card (unless it’s a typo that appears on both the card and in the LWB…)

The description of the artwork for Key XX reads in relevant part: “Golden light from heavenly trumpets awakens the dead. . . . An old age ends and a new era begins. The eternal consciousness is reborn in the spirit of the primordial fire.” So that sounds very Judgement-y and Aeon-y to me. Assuming the keyword “Justice” for Key XX is correct, I’m not entirely sure how justice fits in to the card, even with the deck creators’ own meaning attributions for Key XX.

Click on photo for enlarged view.

The abstract cubist style pays a clear homage to Lady Frieda Harris’s style. That Death card is just absolutely beautiful and to me, almost has a dark goddess vibe to it. Some of the symbolic renderings in the Majors feel more RWS to me than Thoth, like how Key 8, while titled Lust, is positioned as it would be in the RWS (whereas Crowley goes through quite the trouble explaining white Lust/Strength “should” be Key 11) and Key 11 is Justice/Adjustment. Also, the depictions, most notably in The Hermit card, or even the Wheel of Fortune feel more RWS than Thothian.

Continue reading “Zillich Tarot by Christine Zillich: A Thoth-Inspired Watercolor Deck”

Taoist Metaphysics

This is the continuation of a six-part video series I’m doing on Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism as it has been practiced historically and culturally. We are now on to Video 4.

4. Taoist Metaphysics

This video lecture will be a beginner-level overview of Taoist metaphysics, which will begin with the Taoist mythology for the origins of the universe, cover Taoist expressions and esoteric thought on reality as it has been created by our minds and by physical matter. Concepts of magic and non-physical entities will also be addressed.

Continue reading “Taoist Metaphysics”

Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

This is the continuation of a six-part video series I’m doing on Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism as it has been practiced historically and culturally. We are now on to Video 3.

3. Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

What is the impact of Taoism on the everyday Chinese culture and the collective consciousness of its people? What are some of the guiding principles underscoring Taoist sorcery? This lecture will discuss some of the practical ways Buddhism and Taoism get syncretized in Chinese occultism.

Continue reading “Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice”

History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

This is the continuation of a six-part video series I’m doing on Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism as it has been practiced historically and culturally among the Han. Video 1 released earlier was the Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism. We are now on to Video 2.

2. History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

In this video lecture, we are going to cover over 4,000 years of history, going through the dynasties, beginning with the Xia, Shang, and Zhou, until we reach modern China. Our coverage will span beyond 4,000 years, preceding the Xia, to talk about shamanism in the Neolithic Era.

Works cited for everything covered in this lecture are in the end notes of The Tao of Craft (North Atlantic Books, 2016).

Next Lecture: Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

All videos in this series are closed-captioned for the deaf, hard of hearing, or those whose native tongue isn’t English. I’ve also made my best attempt at accommodating for the blind. If there is room for improvement in these regards, I’m open to friendly critique. Thank you!

For the full playlist, go here:

tinyurl.com/chineseoccultism

Continue reading “History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China”

Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism

Taoism is a nature-based religion, philosophy, and a 2,000 year old tradition of sorcery native to China since the Zhou Dynasty. In that same time, Buddhism enters China and a modality of it–esoteric Buddhism–is blended in with Taoist magic. Yet the roots of Taoist magic trace back even further than the dynasties of antiquity, back to Neolithic shamanism.

This introductory six-video lecture series will cover the ontology, theory, history, and cultural practice of sorcery at the intersection of esoteric Buddhism and Taoism. You’re on Video #1: Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism.

1: Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism

2: History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

3: Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

4: Taoist Metaphysics

5: Chinese Occultism as a Syncretic Practice

6: Taoist Magic in Contemporary Times

I’m creating this lecture series as an invitation to you to learn more about the occult traditions I practice. I hope you find within these offerings bits of insight, knowledge, and methods that you can integrate, syncretize, adopt into your own Path.

For the full playlist, go here:

tinyurl.com/chineseoccultism

Continue reading “Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism”