Sapere Aude Magnets with the SKT Revelation Decks

click image file to download

Click on the above image if you want to download the high-res JPG file. This is going to be a 2″ x 3.5″ magnet that will accompany each SKT III deck purchase. They’re produced by the same company I ordered the 2″ x 2″ magnets from, for those who remember the First and Vitruvian Edition packaging.

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Book of Maps: Revelation Edition – Cover Design Art (Updates, Notes, Downloads)

I test-printed several copies of the Book of Maps galleys from Lulu to review formatting, images, etc., and in all those copies, the cover art came out fine. However, due to how dangerously close to the edges of the book I go with the ornate floral border design, in some copies that people are ordering, the gold margin part gets cut off. Sigh.

Here’s a BEFORE cover design preview. The pink part (the bleed) is where the cuts are made. The shaded in pale green part on the front and back covers are the margins, but in theory all of it should still show. It’s just a cautionary note that you’re getting pretty darn close to the bleed.

And here is the high-res 300 dpi 5 MB printable and free downloadable JPG image file for the BEFORE cover art:

click on image to download

You can click on that image file to download and save it. If you’ve ordered the Premium Package, then as you know, your order of the digital e-book (in PDF form) means you also have a limited personal license to print physical copies of the book for your own private uses.

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The Sailor Moon Tarot (Majors only)

Throughout my girlhood I was a huge, huge fan of Sailor Moon. In a past posting, I shared how I named my violin Darien/Tuxedo Mask. Darien during practice, Tuxedo Mask during performances. And one day a friend mentioned that there exists a thing called the Sailor Moon Tarot. Predictably, I bought it within minutes of learning of its existence.

Although I’ve had this deck for years, I never got around to doing a write-up about it. Finally here it is: the Sailor Moon Crystal Tarot, Major Arcana.

The card backs are… well… because it’s a Sailor Moon tarot deck, it’s forgiven.

Is that Toei Animation sticker geniune or fake? Argh. The only way for me to verify for sure (maybe? allegedly.) is to peel that sticker off and examine its adhesive backing to see if it bears the official watermark. But I don’t want to do that because this is a collector’s deck for me. I really don’t want to tamper with it more than I have to.

EDIT: Apparently, it’s not a fake. Toei Animation did officially license a Sailor Moon Crystal 25th Anniversary Celebration limited edition run of tarot cards, Majors only, published out of Taiwan. That’s why all the text on here is in Traditional Chinese, rather than Simplified Chinese. Ahhh.

This deck is Golden Dawn astrology-based, sorta… -ish… The manga and its cartoon adaptation, if I may say so, has always been weirdly occult. Like if you see it, you see it, and you won’t ever be able to unsee it.

So here, for instance, in modern astrology The Fool card is often associated with Uranus. So Sailor Uranus is featured on Key 0: The Fool card. By the way, about Sailor Uranus, if you aren’t a Sailor Moon fan. In her civilian disguise, she wears masculine presenting clothes. And in her initial storylines, there are dialogue exchanges to the tune of, “What a handsome boy,” etc. Later on in the narrative, it’s revealed that Sailor Uranus is transgender. By the way, the lore around Sailor Uranus was set way back in the 1990s. So none of this is a recent thing.

Continuing on, Key 1: The Magician corresponds with Mercury. Here, The Magician is represented by Sailor Mercury. Sailor Moon is, well, the Moon, and so she’s The High Priestess. Key 3: The Empress corresponds with Venus, and there you see Sailor Venus. And on it goes.

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Flip-through of the Elemental Power Tarot

I want to start off by saying that I love this deck. The Elemental Power Tarot comes with an impressive guidebook, and Melinda Lee Holm’s artwork is phenomenal. [Oops–inaccurate statement; she’s not the artist, but I’m going to leave that sentence as-is for now, to make a point. Will give correct attribution later in this review.] Production quality is impeccable– the beautiful matte finish, great quality cardstock, the packaging, the full-color guidebook, all of it.

I mean just look at that card back design. I love it. Some reviewers grumbled about the cardstock quality, but I didn’t have any issue with that at all. I’m also digging the unconventional size dimensions of the cards (at least as it goes for tarot decks).

For me, the issue is miscommunications in how the publisher may have set consumer expectations. It isn’t fair to pin the issue on the artist/deck creator, so really accountability rests on whoever was tasked to do the marketing and promotional materials for this deck. Yes I’m being intentionally cryptic for now. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

Let’s start with how I came to acquire this deck. A fellow tarot friend wanted to put me through a bit of an experiment. He pitched to me: I want to send you a deck, but you have to first promise me you won’t look up any info about it, or read any reviews, or try to find reviewer card images of the deck, okay? The only thing you are allowed to look at before receiving the deck is the publisher’s marketing copy and the sample card images presented on the deck box itself. Okay?

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Flip-through of the Music in She Oracle

This is a quick flip-through of the Music in She Oracle deck of 42 cards, and not a formal review. As the marketing copy for the deck notes, these cards are designed to guide you through life events and challenges, from the inspired perspective of music industry icons.

The art is by graphic designer and NYC-based art director Natalie Mertz, who is also the proprietor of Math and Medium, a graphic design and brand consulting firm. Music in She Oracle is published under Math and Medium.

Each card features the portrait of a musical artist in a pop art style, and corresponds to a particular archetype. For example, Bob Marley is The Peacemaker, Jimi Hendrix is The Alchemist, John Lennon is The Activist, Johnny Cash is The Straight Shooter, Ozzy Osbourne is The Madman, etc.

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Flip-through of the Tarot of Mystical Moments

This is not going to  be an in-depth review, but just a quick flip-through the Tarot of Mystical Moments by Catrin Welz-Stein and published by U.S. Games Systems. It came out in January of this year (2021) as a companion to the Oracle of Mystical Moments published back in 2018. I’m not familiar with the Oracle, so I’ll be giving my impressions of the Tarot on its own merits.

With a graphic design background, the artist digitally collages with mixed media, working from vintage photos, public domain art, and master paintings. Prior works from the times of yore are then transformed into surrealist compositions. That’s where this deck shines– the transformative aspect of taking masterpiece art or art styles that feel familiar to you and transforming them into fresh, surrealist, high-concept compositions.

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New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson

New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson and published earlier this year by Llewellyn is a must-have for your personal occult library, and this book review will try to convince you of why.

The text is subdivided into Twelve Rites, from defining witchery and discussing initiation to coverage of common practices in North American traditional folk witchcraft, with exercises and practical work, all the way to commentary on witchcraft in pop culture.

That is one ambitious scope, and Hutcheson pulls it off– this is quite the hefty tome of a book!

Let’s start with defining who is a witch. I appreciate Hutcheson’s acknowledgement: “Whatever image pops into your head when that word passes by in conversation–whether whispered reverently or barked in anger– that will be the definitive image for you.” That kind of has always been my own bone to pick with the term “witch.” What does it even mean? How is the label useful today? He continues, “Many magical practitioners reject the term ‘witch’ either because of its negative or its religious connotations.”

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Thoth Journey Tarot: The Oracle of Change by Joanna-Kate Grant and Aia Leu

When I first saw the Thoth Journey Tarot, it was love at first sight. If you like the  art style of Mary-El Tarot, Navigators of the Mystic Sea, or the Mystical Dream Tarot, then Joanna-Kate Grant’s Thoth Journey Tarot is right up your alley. The artwork is done by Aia Leu. If your aesthetic is vibrant colors, surreal dreamscapes, and pagan-leaning, you’re going to love this deck.

Also, apologies for inadvertently giving anyone FOMO (fear of missing out), but according to the Seedpress website, there are only 45 copies of this deck left, so if you know for sure you want this deck, get on it. Order page here.

The book, to me, is really the main focus here. It reads like meditations, poetic and zen-like. We follow the journeys of a character, a she. One card entry progresses into the next like pages of a journal, accounts of her life and world. Reading each chapter is a magical act– I’d always feel uplifted and rejuvenated after.

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Book of Maps Files in Your Inbox! ;-)

Later today, tomorrow, or Friday, if you pre-ordered the premium package for the SKT: Revelation, then the e-mail for the Book of Maps will be in your inbox shortly.

I apologize for the delay. In a previous status update I said I’d get it to you in the first two weeks of May, but regrettably, that didn’t happen. Life got in the way. =)

If you do not receive it, first make sure to check every single e-mail inbox for the addresses you might have given to us. Second, make sure to check the Social or Promotions tab in Gmail or your spam folder. Our communication might’ve gotten caught up in there. If truly a glitch has happened and you did not get the e-mail, please reach out to abelldelivers@gmail.com.

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SKT Production Status Update: Still on Proofs

Comparing the First Edition, Vitruvian, earlier prototype (came out darker than I wanted), and most recent uncut proofs

Above, bottom row of cards right to left: The Lovers card from the black & white First Edition, the Vitruvian Edition, one of the earlier test prints (see how it came out too dark?), skip over The Chariot, and way on the left-most side bottom row is The Lovers card from the latest printed color proofs (in sheets).

Here are the color proofs of the cards in uncut sheets. Top row: Justice, Hanged Man, Death. Bottom row: Magician, High Priestess, Empress. (Using standard tarot titles for your convenience of reference, rather than referring to them by their SKT titles.)

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