If there is one Ciro Marchetti deck to have, it’s the Encore Tarot. This is the deck that fully showcases Marchetti’s talent as an artist, the consistent clarity of his vision, and evinces the magnificence of tarot art, taking what had been possible traditionally to new modern heights.
When future tarot scholars look back at our era, the one deck artist’s name I am very sure will come up time and time again is Ciro Marchetti. His style is so distinct, so unique that it has indelibly trademarked itself in the collective consciousness. I can spot a Marchetti deck by the artwork before knowing he was the creator, just as I (and all of us) can spot a Marchetti wannabe.
I’ve always been a huge admirer of Marchetti’s talent, though admittedly, in my own past I’ve been known to be ambivalent about digital art decks or, more specifically, new media art. But then that’s been a long-raging cold war in the arts community anyway– new media art vs. the old visual arts (or “fine arts”).
Marchetti is the new media artist who changed my mind. New media art is defined as art created by using digital technology, forms of digital art and computer-generated graphics. Old visual fine arts would be drawing by hand, painting, sculpture, in essence what is “hand-crafted.” However, these definitions can get a bit dysfunctional, especially when you get into hand-drawing with a stylus digital pen on a computer pad vs. hand-drawing with a pencil on sketch paper.
This is a supplemental lecture in Module 11 of the Witchcraft Fundamentals course, titled “The Magic Chain.” If you’re working through the course in the order outlined by the syllabus, then watching this video lecture would come after having watched the video lecture for Chapter XI in the Doctrinal Basis workbook.
However, this supplemental lecture is being provided for free public access.
The Mystical Dream Tarot published by Eddison Books is an unconventional tarot deck that blends shamanic journeying with transpersonal psychology. The deck creator, Janet Piedilato, is a transpersonal psychologist, healthcare consultant, and ordained minister, with doctorate degrees in Biology and Psychology.
Right up front in the Introduction of the guidebook, Piedilato lets us know that this deck will not be following “traditional tarot, where the meanings are merely set for us to memorize and then to place in patchwork interacting spreads.”
Rather, the Mystical Dream Tarot features “dream images” used to “dig more deeply into the personal consciousness, helping each of us find answers which are within our own unique psyche. . . . [Mystical Dream Tarot] does not demand we memorize and follow dogmatically a formalized path chosen for us.”
So here I might respectfully raise the counter that all decks can do just that. I don’t think certain tarot decks demand that you memorize card meanings while others “dig more deeply into the personal consciousness.”
You the tarot reader make the decision on how you want to read the deck. Because I could very well take this Mystical Dream Tarot, pull cards, and then look up each card meaning in the guidebook, one by one, and interpret a spread of cards strictly and narrowly through the printed text. And I could very well take the RWS deck, throw out every RWS card meanings book ever published, and just read it in an improvisational style, digging into my personal consciousness.
The images in this deck are all sourced from Piedilato’s dreams, which she then transcribed through the structure of the tarot deck. However, I’m not entirely sure whether Piedilato herself then created the art based on her dreams or whether Tom Duxbury was the artist commissioned to bring her dream visions to life. Either way, the artwork is beautiful. I love the style of art. It is in perfect harmony with the deck’s premise and point of view.
“written by an idiot only looking to be trendy through appropriation”
“hot mess of an article”
“ignorant and frankly disappointing and offensive”
“piece of shit”
“articles like this just piss me the fuck off”
“a smug shithead”
“I just read the vomit in question and I am fucking livid”
“dipshit sneer piece … 85% dumb jokes”
“wildly offensive article”
“hex that bitch”
Love and light, apparently.
The salient takeaway point from the article, however, is the one fueling the anger and animosity: Radford’s conclusion that witchcraft is in “dogged resistance to logic” and requires a “suspension of belief in the scientific underpinnings of the universe.”
And my private response to myself after reading her article? Oh, man… We as a collective (so clearly I’m not saying we unanimously believe, but the dominating voice after averaging high and low and everything in between together) have put out a particular narrative about modern witchcraft, and then when we see exactly that narrative being reflected back at us tinged with a smidge of snark, we go off our rails because clearly none of the shadow work or meditation we’ve been doing has had any success.
Fresh year, fresh edition of the Bad Bitches Tarot by Ethony. You can read my review of the first edition here. I’ll be comparing the new second edition of the deck, published in late 2019, with the first edition, side by side.
“The Bad Bitches Tarot is a Modern spiritual tool for enchantresses, CEO’s, mothers, moon daughters, witches and sages that brings the classic archetypes of the Tarot to a new generation of empowered women.” I love that mission statement and the deck really does deliver on those counts. For sure.
The Rat is the start of the zodiac cycle, much like Aries in the Western zodiac. Thus, any year of the Rat is going to be prognosticated as a year of beginnings, of starting over, and new opportunities that come your way.
The Rat is considered to be business-savvy and entrepreneurial, so sole proprietorships are going to be more prosperous than usual. It’s a lucky year for small businesses or new startup ventures.
With 2020 being the year of the Metal Rat, we’re going to see a global focus on technology.
Metal years, no matter what the animal sign, are also more prone to social conflicts, so we may see more of that across the world stage. This is a year of nations and leaders trying to show off their power.
On the other hand, in terms of culture and humanities, it should be a great year for music.
These were prepared specifically for enrollees of the Witchcraft Fundamentals course, but maybe you might find them helpful, too. Pictured above is the back pocket folder I recommend you making with the last pages of your Doctrinal Basis workbook.
Oftentimes tarot books with card meanings focus on the practical, mundane indications of the cards. Heck, that’s what Holistic Tarot did, and did so almost exclusively.
That means when you’re using the deck for readings where the purpose is spiritual (meaning, directed more toward religiosity or aspirations of personal transcendence), reading for card meanings out of a text like…. well, I’ll just keep throwing myself under the bus… like Holistic Tarot is not going to be too insightful. Maybe a little bit. (I’m proud of that book.)
But trying to make sense of Pictorial Key or Book of Thoth if you’re not already acclimated to that style of writing may be presenting a barrier of entry that we can quite easily break down right now.
Eliphas Levi, considered one of the most influential occultists in Western ceremonial magic and witchcraft, asks and then answers that question.
The knowledge of great secrets and the consciousness of power.
Those are my two objectives for you in this course: (1) to confer to you the knowledge of great secrets, and (2) to endow you with the consciousness of your personal power, to show you the heights that your power can achieve.
At every single point of my work in putting this course together, I thought, how do I facilitate development of the most powerful, most knowledgeable, most versatile, wisest, and most formidable occultist there ever was? How do I show you how to be that person?
And that was the inspiration and the ambition behind this course.
Western Witchcraft I focuses on the doctrinal basis and theoretical fundamentals of transcendental magic. This course is an immersive study of the first 12 chapters in Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine, Part I, of the greater collected work Transcendental Magic: Doctrine and Ritual, and structured like a one semester 400-level university elective.
Be prepared for an intense amount of reading. The video lectures only supplement the reading assignments and are not a replacement for them. In addition to the reading assignments, the weekly practicum, ritual, and energy training is also demanding on your time and your efforts.
Attain familiarity with the doctrinal basis and theoretics of Western ceremonial magic
Study the first 12 chapters of Eliphas Levi’s Transcendental Magic, Part I: Doctrine (and to supplement, pick up selected key principles from the first 12 chapters of Part II: Ritual)
Gain essential insights from Levi’s Key to the Great Mysteries, the book he wrote after Doctrine and Ritual
Craft your first four altar tools and use Levi’s Conjuration of the Four ritual to charge and empower those tools (main focus in this course will be on the wand and the pentacle, per Levi’s assertion that the wand is first and foremost your most important ritual tool and second in importance to the wand is your pentacle)
Craft a divine lamp for ritual use and work through a prophetic astral vision
Train yourself to harness the Astral Light, then learn techniques to both strengthen and increase your flexibility with the Light to produce the Magic Chain
Build a rock solid foundation in the theoretical and magical principles of Western witchcraft and ceremonial magic, which will then be able to support the structure and edifice of any mystery tradition or Path you subsequently pursue
A future course offering, Western Witchcraft II, will advance upon the fundamentals established in this course. Western Witchcraft II will conform to Levi’s Ritual, Part II and delve into spell-crafting, talismans, seals and sigils, spirit conjuring, and the many forms, types, and purposes of ritual in transcendental magic.