Tarot for Real Life by Jack Chanek – A Review

Tarot for Real Life by Jack Chanek, published by Llewellyn Books, presents one of the best approaches to learning tarot that you can find. I love its focus on the Minor Arcana rather than the Majors, though it most certainly gives due treatment to the Majors as well.

The structure and layout of the book also makes it user-friendly, and the go-to reference you’ll want at your fingertips. If you’re looking up a specific card, there’s a separate table of contents in the front pages just for the 78 cards.

The meat of the book is subdivided into six parts: Practical, Intellectual, Emotional, Aspirational, Personal, and The Big Picture. Respectively they correspond with discussions on the suit of Pentacles, Swords, Cups, Wands, the court cards (under Personal), and the Major Arcana (under The Big Picture).

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Tarot Neocolonial de las Américas by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

Tarot Neocolonial de las Américas is one of the most impressive decks I’ve come across. Often, decks either have beautiful artwork but the substance isn’t there, or the substance is there and the art is mediocre. Puerto Rican American artist Patrick McGrath Muñiz has created a deck with delectable esoteric elements, expressing themes of colonialism, consumerism, and climate change, while still producing a tarot deck operable for divination.

Muñiz utilizes classical Renaissance, Baroque and Latin American colonial art styles that blend Christian iconography from colonial Latin America with contemporary consumer media subculture.

Misteriorum Creationis Humani (2018) by Patrick McGrath Muñiz

This will be a review of his Tarot Neocolonial de las Américas, but I strongly urge you to check out his portfolio of art. They’re incredible! His style is sociopolitical commentary and satire depicted through the blending of classical European art with alchemical and hermetic symbolism. Take, for instance, his work “Misteriorum Creationis Humani” (2018), oil on canvas.

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La Santa Muerte Lenormand by Dan M. Pelletier and Illustrated by Callie L. French

A Lenormand oracle deck for La Santa Muerte devotees, this beautifully crafted deck, both as thought form and fine art, will aid you in love, health, abundance, dealing with substance use, removing blockages, and working through legal troubles. Our Lady of the Holy Death is known for answering prayers that other saints will not; and likewise, this 38-card Lenormand oracle might take you where other Lenormand decks have not.

La Santa Muerte (Spanish for “Our Lady of the Holy Death”) is theorized to have originated from the Aztec deity Mictēcacihuātl, Goddess of Death. An alternate theory is a lineage to the Moirai of Greece, in the form of Parca Morta, the Fate of Death. La Parca is the feminized Grim Reaper dating back to the bubonic plague. Señora de la Noche, our Lady of the Night, is beloved and venerated by many communities across the Americas.

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Wheel of Fortune, Three of Wands, Three of Cups: Etteilla Deck Art Update

I’ve gotten a bit undisciplined, or at the very least haphazard with the order I’m drawing these cards. I hop and skip around the deck, arbitrarily picking what to draw next based on my whims.

So here we are at the Wheel of Fortune.

I went with the 1870 Jeu de l’Oracle des Dames version of Card 20 for reference. The monkey king with a cape and sword situation didn’t really vibe with me.

Lady Fortuna as depicted in the illustration is a syncretizing of Haudenosaunee traditional indigenous patterns draped in a Greco-Roman style. (Update: I digitally fixed her left sleeve so it wouldn’t be so wonky looking.)

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Oracle of Novice Witches Look-See

Oracle of Novice Witches is a 50-card deck featuring 24 witches and wizards from history and folklore, 13 tools of the craft, and 13 animal familiars. The deck was created by Francesca Matteoni and with art by Elisa Macellari.

The full-color guidebook accompanying the cards features a profile summary of every witch and wizard depicted. Entries for the tools of craft define each tool’s purpose and how it’s generally used. For the familiars, animal symbolism and correspondences are provided.

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The Art of Adventure Tarot by Bilal Lashari

With a berry and jewel toned color palette, The Art of Adventure Tarot is a space-faring sci-fi graphic novel in the form of a 78-card tarot deck. The deck is the brainchild of Pakistani filmmaker Bilal Lashari and illustrated by Manuel Pasmino.

This fun-filled deck is a little bit of everything. You get Victorian Steampunk that’s retrofuturistic with industrial machines and robotic motifs. It’s dystopian. It’s utopian. And everything in between.

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Dark Wood Tarot by Sasha Graham and Abigail Larson

Box Design and Monogrammed Card Backs

Created with the intention of being a shadow tarot deck, the Dark Wood Tarot by Sasha Graham and illustrated by Abigail Larson unveils the hidden aspects of your inner psyche. It is designed to guide you into uncharted territory, expressed as the forest deep.

Major Arcana, Keys 0 – XIII

Atmospheric, gothic-inspired, with a Legend of Sleepy Hollow vibe to it, and steeped in animal symbolism, this is a deliciously witchy deck– the Shadow Witch, to be exact. If you love animal symbolism, you are going to love this deck.

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DIY your own SKT study journal

click to download high-res 4 MB journal cover (back and front), for spiral-bound production

If you have MS Word, then you can use all the templates in this post to create your own spiral-bound tarot journal keyed to the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot.

Convert your final document to PDF and upload it onto a third-party print-on-demand publishing site like Lulu.com.

The above cover design is for 6″ x 9″ trade paperback size journals, spiral bound.

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Angels and Ancestors Oracle, Sámi Erasure, and Takeaway Lessons

Inlé’s Inlet recently posted the above deck review and commentary on the Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards, which raises cultural awareness of some concerns with the imagery in this deck. To be more precise, it’s not the imagery that’s of concern, but the lack of credit and acknowledgement for where the sources of inspiration came from.

The distinct drum design featured on the Drum card, the Shaman card, and on the card back of the Angels and Ancestors deck (photographs of it in my deck review) have been taken directly from Sámi religious and spiritual iconography.

However, no credit, reference, or source citation was provided in the accompanying guidebook, in effect erasing the Sámi, who are a historically marginalized indigenous minority.

This is a form of appropriation of indigenous cultural intellectual property rights. Yet this particular instance is one that could be reasonably remedied.

In this type of a scenario, I do think addressing the issue head-on is the compassionate approach.

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