The Celestial Tarot by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark

This deck was first published back in 2004, so that’s 17 years ago from the date that this review is going up. This post is another one of my 2021-walk-down-memory-lane oldies-but-goodies deck reviews. I fished it out of who knows where from what old box of decks I totally forgot I even owned, and was delighted to rediscover the Celestial Tarot.

Underpinning the Celestial Tarot is astrology, astronomy, and mythology, with the 78 cards projected up and out onto our night skies to see what constellations, planets, and celestial phenomenon correspond with the tarot keys.

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#only10decks The 10 decks I’d take with me

…to that stranded remote island where I will only ever be able to use these 10 decks for the rest of my mortal life. Or so goes the prompt. I may have embellished a little. Katey Flowers on Tarot Tube started the hashtag. You can watch her video here.

By the way, at the start of her video she says she was inspired by the makeup community’s tag “only 10 eyeshadow palettes” and I have to confess I kind of guffawed at the thought of “only” 10 eyeshadow palettes.. Ten…palettes? I don’t even have one! Ah but then I’m sure most of the known world would guffaw at my struggles over choosing just 10 decks for this prompt.

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The Radiant Tarot by Alexandra Eldridge and Tony Barnstone

The Radiant Tarot: Pathway to Creativity is a Red Wheel/Weiser Books publication that came out earlier this year, authored by Tony Barnstone, a professor of English and environmental studies, and artist Alexandra Eldridge. This is a deck project 12 years in the making, “born from working with archetypal images, the universal symbolic language.”

Author Prof. Barnstone set out to create a deck that would be a harmonious balance between verbal and visual, rational and magical. That mission and vision for balance has produced an incredible guidebook to the Radiant Tarot that you’ll be able to use in your studies of the tarot, in general, well beyond this deck. The card meanings Barnstone provides are given through the lenses of the psychology and science of creativity, and “the world’s literary, artistic, and spiritual traditions.”

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Tarot History: Theories of Origin

I’m making an effort to complete the Holistic Tarot companion course video series. Here’s the ninth installment, on tarot history, or more specifically, theories of origin.

While there’s 33 pages of citations for the content of this video, I hope it’s clear that we’re still talking about speculation– hence theories of origins. I started this focused level of research back in 2014, even before Holistic Tarot was published, for a work of historical fantasy. Yes, a novel. That novel I’ve been struggling with, which I hope I can dedicate 2022 to.

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In Dreams Oracle by Boris Indrikov (U.S. Games)

Renaissance inspired fine art meets art nouveau and Russian surrealism in what is one of the most beautiful decks I’ve seen this year and heck, in a while. In Dreams is an oracle deck that you read prophetically in the manner you would interpret dreams. This is a deck for free association psychological– and psychic– exercises.

40 exquisite cards rich with texture and micro-detailing are subdivided into four suits, which are color-coded along the borders. That floral-geometric fractal design for the card backs– absolute perfection.

Then there is a bonus 41st card–the joker card. It’s the mirroring masked side profiles and the only card that has a message printed on it: “Do what you must and come what may.”

Border Color Element Sphere of Human Life
Blue Air External Events
Red Fire Action
Green Water Feelings and Emotions
Yellow Earth Material World

Blue bordered cards are from the suit of air, indicating an external event. Red bordered cards, fire, indicate action. Green, for water, indicates internal feelings and emotions. And yellow for the suit of earth represents the material world around you.

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The Robin Wood Tarot

For the longest time, I had just the yellow box 1971 Rider Waite deck by U.S. Games and the iconic green box Robin Wood Tarot by Llewellyn. The Robin Wood Tarot, first published in 1991, is — I’ll call it the first and the OG Pagan Otherworlds.

I’d describe this deck as being Celtic and pagan inspired with an undeniable 90s Wicca aesthetic. The version I’m showing here is from the 2011 Nineteenth Printing.

This isn’t going to be a full-on deck review. Instead, this is going to be a photographic walk-through of the cards, and not even in order, because my deck as-is, off the shelf, isn’t in order. However, what I have done for your benefit is put all the cards upright. =) My original as-is order had reversals.

The LWB that that deck comes with places relatively equal emphasis on both upright and reversed card meanings, and with a reversible cardback, that means I read reversals when using the Robin Wood.

The deck took the artist 10 years to complete. I remember how that used to be the norm– tarot deck projects would take the creator up to a decade to finish. These days artists manage to publish full-on deck projects in a matter of months. Nuts.

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The Paper Oracle: A Lenormand Deck by Eric Maille

The Paper Oracle was published earlier this year by artist Eric Maille, who also created The Ink Witch Tarot. While this is through and through a Lenormand deck, Maille has added a few creative upgrades– 7 additional cards.

There are 43 cards, though the first 36 numbered cards function like any other Lenormand deck. Work with the additional cards at your option. Above you can see the cards in numerical order, and after Card 36: The Cross, we get the set of 7 cards Maille has created, beginning with Card 37: The Non-Binary.

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The Christmas Oracle by John Hijatt with art by Vinnora

The 2021 Christmas Oracle is a limited run deck of 500 that would be a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite cartomancer. I met John and his husband several years back at PantheaCon where we were talking about the nascent stages of this deck concept. John started it back in 2015. I’m so excited that he’s now finally releasing this long-awaited deck project.

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How I Read Tarot Cards: Workshop at the World Divination Conference

Click on banner to register.

Nov. 20 – 21, Sat. & Sun.

The World Divination Association, founded by the amazing Toni @thecardgeek, hosts the annual World Divination Association Conference, a virtual event that brings together an impressive roster of authors, creators, and modern mystics. I’ll be one of the speakers this year, sharing my learned experiences and insights into reading tarot professionally for others.

For those who heard previous info about me doing a course on Freud and Jung, and how to apply psychoanalytic and analytic theory to tarot readings, due to some tech obstacles, I’m changing my workshop topic. The Freud and Jung workshop would have been PowerPoint intensive, along with a massive workbook, tons of researched reference materials, etc., and it wouldn’t have worked in the virtual event setting.

So I’m pivoting and going with a talking-head-video-livestream format where I’ll be talking about reading tarot professionally for others– not the business aspect, no, but the actual tarot reading part of it all. The heart and soul of reading tarot.

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