A lot of folks have been asking about whether the Book of Maps files can be purchased now, though the deck itself is out of print and no longer offered for sale. Yes, if for some reason you would like to purchase what had been the Premium Package files for the SKT Vitruvian, you may do so for $15.
Although this Kickstarter indie-published version of Light Seer’s is now out of print, you can get the mass market version from Hay House, which will be released on December 3, 2019, so stay tuned. In the pre-order stage, it is already one of Amazon’s #1 New Releases, so this is definitely a deck to pay attention to.
In the meantime, I’ve been working with this deck for the last month and would like to share my impressions and offer a walk-through of the cards.
Right out of the gateway, we have just the most exquisite work of art. I found the tarot art here emotionally and intuitively moving.
Our Fool or lightseer is holding an amethyst in one hand, with a subtle elemental nod to Air, while holding a walking stick in the other, which can also be interpreted as a staff of office, denoting a certain spiritual status, or potential here.
The sacred geometry below with golden light emanating upward lets us know that this is about a spiritual journey. The Fool has her eyes closed and is about to do the trust fall over the edge of a cliff into the fountainhead of Spirit below.
Here’s the First Septenary of the Major Arcana. I love the continuation of the sacred pool imagery from The Fool here in The Magician, though instead of the trust fall, now our lightseer can harness energy or Astral Light from the sacred pool.
There are clear modern elements to the deck, setting it in our century. I love the depiction of Astral Light, or the energy that the lightseer harnesses to heal our world. If you look at the trail of white dots across the High Priestess, Empress, and Emperor, they almost seem to connect. I love the renaming of the Hierophant card to the Keeper of the Sacred.
I love how fresh and modern this deck is, and yet there are the nods to traditional iconography, like the lemniscate on the hood of the Magician’s shirt, the ankh tattoo on the Emperor, the heirophant’s cross on the Keeper of the Sacred’s shirt, or the bow and arrow on the woman’s shoulder in the Lovers card.
The Messianic lamb and lion symbolism in the Strength card, representing peace, is sentimental. And that Justice card! I love it!
The first time I saw this deck in person was at the Masters of the Tarot conference at the Omega Institute in New York. I was sitting on the panel next to Mary K. Greer, who was using Light Seer’s Tarot as her working deck. We were talking about the tarot and Mary took out this deck and showed me that Death – Rebirth card. My jaw simply dropped to the floor. The creativity, the passion, the imagery, the symbolism, the artful mastery of tarot knowledge, I mean all of it and how it alchemized together was just stunning to me.
So I was a bit intrigued by the artist choice of featuring the unicursal hexagram, a symbol often associated with Crowley’s Thelema, on The Devil card. Although the Thelemic symbol is a little different, at least for me, admittedly that was the first thing to come to mind.
The Star, Moon, and Sun cards here are just beautiful, and innovative. I don’t think I’ve seen a Moon card interpreted in quite the way Donnelly has interpreted it here (and I’ve sure seen a lot of Moon cards…). Donnelly’s Judgment card here is oddly Crowleyian, with strong tiebacks to Thoth, no?
Encoding the deck with sacred geometry was just brilliant of Donnelly. It’s attuning the deck’s resonance to the Divine, and unveils the arithmetic of nature. In that World card, each of the four geometric designs along the four corners invoke the tetragram.
Here we are at the suit of Wands. All four of the Aces here will visually express the very traditional concept for the Aces of sowing seeds. You’ll see a very innovative and thematically consistent link across these four cards.
I love how the people depicted on the cards are people we can all identify in the present. It’s contemporary and expressive of the world we live in today. Even the Ten of Wands here is a scene I can see in a part of the world right now. Oh, and the perspective and point of view on that Eight of Wands!
A rare feat that Donnelly has mastered is creating a deck that meets you at your level. If you want pretty pictures to storytell with, I’m not sure you can find a better deck today for that purpose. There is a grounding and relatable energy in this deck that can connect with Millennials and Gen Z as well.
And yet if you use your psychic sight to look behind the imagery, Light Seer’s Tarot goes deep. I think that is why you also see so many Old Guard tarot readers and tarot scholars loving this deck and working with it right now. The subtle nod to the salamander in the Page of Wands and just how classic iconography for the Queen of Wands is converted into 21st century sensibilities demonstrates a virtuoso level of understanding for the tarot that I haven’t heard other deck reviewers point out about Donnelly’s Light Seer’s. So I want to highlight that and let you look at these cards to discern that for yourself.
I may be showing my age here, but I had no idea what a VSCO girl was until a week ago when that reference came up in conversation and I was like, “a WHAT?” In case you’re in the same boat as I was, here’s a link to an article from The Cut and here’s another on The Vox on this VSCO girl phenomenon. Now that you know what that newly sprung lifestyle trend is all about, can’t you see this deck totally appealing to that demographic?
That Six of Cups is just adorable. I love seeing the boy and the puppy in the sky, and then the path of eight bowls (here in the suit of Cups, the chalices are represented by singing bowls) leading to the man and the dog.
Also, the more I study that Five of Cups, the more profound I find it to be. You see the individual’s personal light or life force being drawn downward, spiraling into the vortex below, and the bowl knocked over by her left foot is spilling Astral Light downward as well. There’s a winding path behind her leading to the horizon, to the stars, and yet here she is, stuck, unable to continue on, her life force being pulled downward. There is that remaining bowl just behind her right hand full of Astral Light that she could use to replenish her vitality with, but she seems to be ignoring it, and ignoring her path beyond.
If you could weave mercy, grace, and openness together and contain it in a deck of cards, you would get Chris-Anne Donnelly’s Light Seer’s Tarot. This is a deck of love and heart.
There’s no denying that if you lurk in online tarot discussion forums, so much controversy has been drummed up from this deck, which at first blush, if you’re just looking at the gentle, compassionate imagery, you don’t even quite understand. People cast stones because they’ve projected their own inner shadows outward and pegged those shadows onto others, because it’s easier to see it painted upon another’s face than to see it as a reflection of yourself. The irony here is all that happened over this deck precisely because of how magical, powerfully healing, and effective this deck has been at its own stated purpose.
Whether people realize it or not, this deck, by its very existence, has allowed people to exorcise those inner shadows, project them outward, and in doing so, feel just a little bit purged of that shadow. The unfortunate consequence, however, has been the airborne negativity as everyone purges and heals themselves.
In the suit of Swords, we have ravens, which invoke the Air elemental for this suit. Here, you are looking at different ways to process pain.
I guess it would also be remiss of me to not mention the controversy that was sparked over the Ten of Swords card. I’ve been very public about standing behind Donnelly. Now that some time has passed and we’ve all had a chance to reflect, I think what happened to her, surrounding the original Ten of Swords, had to happen, exactly because of the enchantments Donnelly cast. I just think she perhaps did not anticipate how those energies would be directed in its pathways to achieve her Great Purpose.
See, Donnelly’s intention for this deck was Healing. It’s infused with so much Astral Light, that channel of power that Light Seers and lightworkers draw from, encoded to mend old, deep-seated wounds of every spiritual, emotional, and psychic nature, and she put so much of herself into crafting a deck that would serve that purpose of Healing. She called upon and invoked the full force and potency of Astral Light to be channeled into these cards.
And I do believe that her deck achieved its Purpose. Light was shed on dark situations. All the magic she had intended for the deck came to Being. It’s just that… the consequence was the energetic blowback, the hit she had to take so that the Astral Light she was casting could project outward, onward, and forward.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the force of Light, of compassion, healing, and delivering to this world a tool for drawing out that Light in us created an equal and opposite kickback on her, the creator, and that energetic blowback was maybe magically unavoidable if she truly wanted her Purpose to be achieved. So if anything, seeing the blowback is evidentiary that she achieved her Purpose.
The above is the deck creator’s revised Ten of Swords after the feedback she received for her original Ten of Swords illustration. Yes, I know that what you see above is not congruent with how the Ten of Swords is more commonly depicted or even conveyed. Connelly is an artist first and foremost, however, so she has that subconscious artist’s drive to be creative with the way she depicts universal themes.
Have you ever seen a work of art at a gallery that you didn’t quite love at first glance, didn’t quite understand, and in fact, don’t even find all that impressive? And then you read the artist’s intentions, the back story, and all of a sudden, that same work of art takes on new depths of poignancy for you?
That was this Ten of Swords for me. I could see myself in that woman, because when I have truly gone through a Ten of Swords moment, ironically the way the deck creator did for her original Ten of Swords artwork, you’re going to find me with all my scars and wounds concealed, my back turned toward you, and I am going to look numb. Anyone who has truly been through the darkest morass life can throw you can probably sympathize with how that woman in the Ten of Swords feels: dazed, detached, and having lost all sensation. Profound pain is an out of body experience, and that is exactly what I see in this Ten of Swords.
Because the artist was going through a textbook Ten of Swords moment in her personal life, she channeled all of that hurt and how she processed that Ten of Swords hurt into this card and what you see is the product of a truly profound, hermetic Ten of Swords moment. To me, this card is heartbreaking to look at. Honestly, it’s so hard, I can’t even keep my gaze for too long, because this image is so much harder than that classic Caesar-on-the-ground-stabbed-by-ten-swords RWS imagery.
At another tarot get-together earlier this year, a handful of us tarot people were doing group readings with multiple decks all at once and one of the decks on the table was Light Seer’s. The Page of Swords from this deck came up in a prominent position in the spread and Barbara Moore went on and on about what a beautiful, also insightful and instructive illustration Connelly had produced for the tarot Page of Swords.
Since it was a group reading, everyone gave a little two cents on how they’d interpret that particular card and I just remember thinking, wow, Light Seer’s really is this layered, nuanced deck that holds untold potential for card readers. These depicted scenes are deceptively simple because of how freakin’ good they are. They aren’t “busy” with the detailing per your perception because they speak so clearly with one single voice. One theme, one story emerges so clearly from every single card. But if you take the time to explore the foreground, the middle ground, and the background, so many esoteric symbols reveal themselves, giving any occultist or master tarot reader much to work with.
We close out with the photographic walk-through of the suit of Pentacles. I love the message of the Knight of Pentacles here: wherever he goes, he fertilizes the earth with a trail of personal magic. I love the combination of magical pentacles and mandalas here.
Oh, and let’s talk about the card backs. I love the quadratic lines symbolic again of Astral Light being sourced from that singular monad at the center, branching outward into the four elements and four directions, but also connecting Above with Below. The green edging is evocative of the heart chakra and the intention of healing that Donnelly set in to the crafting of these cards. Paired with the black, symbolic of the veil and the Mysteries that these cards will help to unravel, I find the aesthetics of Light Seer’s to be perfection.
I was not sent this deck for review or with business/marketing purposes. Chris-Anne is a friend and someone I love dearly, so it was gifted to me in that context. And there’s your bias disclosure.
Did you acquire a copy of this deck for yourself? Have you been working with the Light Seer’s Tarot? What have been your impressions?
Me, I love how powerfully healing this deck is. For those who are emotionally processing personal trauma, this deck is cathartic and soothing. I have found it to read beautifully on tragedies, ancestral wounds, relationship break-ups, and both clarifying and wise in the insights this deck gives.
If you don’t own this deck already, then the Hay House version that’s coming out is worth taking a look at.
I’ve been at work on something, but in the meantime, wanted to come up for air and share this. Because I found it pretty cool, and suspect you might, too.
Well, the above is not it. That’s my own sketch of the Key based on Postel’s text.
Here’s the original illustration from the 1547 publication, Absconditorum Clavis by Guillaume Postel (1510 – 1581).
Postel was a truly fascinating figure and if you’ve got some time, read a biography on him. He also believed in the Eastern esoteric concept of soul dualism, though he framed it differently, i.e., instead of saying “yin and yang” aspects of soul, he said “female and male” aspects of the soul, with one being emotion and the other being intellect. Oh. Wow. Anima and animus, anyone? (Yeah, yeah, I know, not the same…) Nonetheless, bear in mind that Postel pre-dates Carl Jung by some odd 365 years.
This is an excerpt chapter from the 2020 Metaphysician’s Guidebook, a 400-page companion guidebook that is included with your custom order of the 2020 Metaphysician’s Day Planner.
If you want to get inspired by someone’s success story to see what tips you might be able to pick up from that individual’s path to success, do not look at the positive steps that led to the success–
Look to how people respond to failure.
When experiencing failure, most people treat it as a personal injury. They attribute their failure to something inadequate in themselves. They take the failure as a sign that they truly aren’t good enough, aren’t worthy.
When I experience failure, I never assume it’s due to my own inadequacy. Instead, I view it rather objectively.
Clearly I did something wrong. I made a misstep. I didn’t exert enough force. I underestimated my opponent. All I have to do is try again but next time, without that misstep.
I don’t experience shame or a reduction of self-worth when I’ve failed. Instead, I think rather matter-of-factly, “Well, I won’t do it that way again!”
I attribute it entirely to an error in judgment—and never to any form of personal lacking.
Maybe that’s egotistical and presumptuous of me, but all through my life that has helped me create my own reality. There’s this tacit doesn’t-need-to-be-said-aloud given in my life—I deserve the best. So I am never fearful, nervous, or insecure about pursuing the best. I have never shortchanged myself in terms of what I feel entitled to, because at that unspoken innate root of me, I just know I’m destined for the best.
In no way am I saying that I actually am destined for the best, or that I always get the best, or that I am anywhere close to being the best. But the subjective, totally personal reality I’ve created for myself positions me positively, in a way that allows me to be fearless, and to shoot for the stars.
Overcoming nurture can be the biggest challenge for many, however.
Maybe all throughout your life you were told you aren’t good enough, that you’re inadequate, or that you’re less-than.
Maybe you were born from a place of disadvantage, so you’ve always had to run twice as fast as everyone around you just to catch up, and if you aren’t running twice as fast as everyone around you, then you’ll never catch up.
No, that’s not fair. But it’s life. It’s what you were handed and you can either deal with it and therefore overcome those disadvantages or you can dwell on the disadvantages and let that slow you down. Remember: you have to run twice as fast as everyone else just to catch up, so dwelling on the injustice is not going to help matters.
I think the single most compelling reason to acquire this deck for your toolkit is to use them as easy, go-to charging plates for your charms, talismans, gemstones, crystals, and other metaphysical knick-knacks. Here, Inna Vinitski has already done the work for you. Once you get these cards, consecrate them and voila! Incredible! A set of tools for planetary magic at your fingertips!
This post will both showcase the Seals of Solomon cards, which I urge you to get if you want to deep-dive into working with the Key of Solomon, and also get into what the Key says about these seals, or pentacles.
To start, let’s try a little something, shall we? Below in the photo of the three magic cards, take a moment to gaze at each one, connecting your third eye (that space just between your brows) with the eye depicted on the card back. For one of these three cards, the tug at that space between your brows will feel stronger, more intense than for the others. Note which of the three cards gives you the strongest intuitive sensation.
Remember it, because we’ll be returning to your card selection later.
Rune Equations by Simon H. Lilly, an artist and writer from Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, is a 34-card deck where rune divination has been converted into cartomancy. It’s a black and white deck at standard tarot dimensions (70 mm x 120 mm) that comes with a 170-page book. The book, Rune Equations, is an invaluable reference manual on rune divination and very much worth acquiring for your personal occult library.
There are three main rune systems that we know of:
the Elder Futhark or Germanic runes, which consists of 24 letters arranged in three groups of eight, or aetts (above photo, left page, top);
the Younger Futhark from the Viking Era, which consists of 16 letters and is the system associated with the Norwegian and Icelandic pagans (above photo, left page, bottom); and
the Northumbrian Futhorc, a 32-letter system best known as the English runes (above photo, right side).
This deck allows you to work with either the 32 Northumbrian runes or the 24 Elder Futhark runes.
Although the First Edition black and white and second Vitruvian Edition sepia-toned Spirit Keeper’s Tarot decks are now out of print (forever, as they were both limited edition decks), for those interested, you can download a 30-card version of a black and white Vitruvian. These are the Majors only, with only The Initiate card as Key 0, plus the 4 Aces and the 4 Archangels (tarot Kings).
I knew that the Way of the Panda Tarot would be cute and cuddly, but I was not prepared for its depth of wisdom or its exploration into a unique philosophy of life. In the same way kids say the darndest things, pandas do, too.
This deck is that stuffed teddy bear you had when you were two that you wouldn’t go anywhere without; it’s Blankie, who you wouldn’t ever let go near a laundry machine. In fact, the pandas depicted on the deck each have names and back stories, which you’ll learn about in the guidebook.
When you order the deck, you’ll get a Little White Booklet, which is packed with info on its own. You can also order an extended, comprehensive Guidebook. I’m going to talk about it all.
First, the guidebook. It’s the official operation manual for your deck, and its bible. The book itself is written in such a way as to be interactive. Tsan’s writing style is whimsical, full of delights, gently-worded sanity, and a lot of wisdom.
Before we continue on, choose a card, left, center, or right. Remember your selection, because we’ll revisit these three cards at the end and give you a quick little divinatory reading.
Solomonic magic is pretty much the foundation of occultism, modern witchcraft, and ceremonial magic west of India and China, encompassing Europe, the Middle East, and now the Americas.
What you will discover within the pages of this book I’m sharing, you’re going to find to be the keystones of Persian magic and witchcraft, the magical practices of Muslim-influenced Southeast Asian countries, the Golden Dawn (though many of their correspondences differ), hoodoo, Wicca, and maybe even the traditions you’ve inherited and have been wondering where those traditions might have come from.
If you’re serious about your occult studies, then I hope you’ll add this text to your library and read through it cover to cover at least once.
From my vantage point, this book is essential reading, even if for no other reason than to take it apart to realize once and for all this is not for you. That, too, is invaluable. Whether you want to strengthen the connection to these roots or you want to sever ties with the roots altogether and grow anew, either choice calls for an examination of this text.
The images from historically significant grimoires, the essence of the ritual instructions provided, and the methodology behind the crafting of seals, devising the magical scripts, and even how to prepare for ritual can help to inspire your own creativity, offering sparks and revelations for how to do Craft your way.
If you’re a total beginner, then please do not try out any of these rituals or operations on your own. Plus, the instructions are pretty clear that most of these conjurations should never be performed solitary.
At the beginner and intermediate level, a light read of this text is going to be the best introduction to ceremonial magic, witchcraft, and occultism west of the Indies you can get.
This should be your orientation manual into the Craft and the beginner steps for realizing your Great Work. Levi even says as much, which is why in a course I was putting together focused on Levi, I ended up having to back-track and start first with the Key of Solomon.