My Go-To Knick Knacks in a Reading Space

Sandalwood mala prayer beads and a smoky quartz cintamani stone.

My earliest memory of a psychic reading was in Taiwan with a nun at a monastery that my aunt, who is a nun, resided at. (Do I still refer to her as my aunt if she’s now a nun? I have no idea…) When you’re an Asian kid, grown-ups, especially grown-ups of the holy variety, don’t have names. They only have titles. So in Chinese, since we only spoke to her in Chinese, she was Shi Fu, or Teacher, and in English, privately amongst ourselves, she was The Psychic Nun. The aunt who is a nun is Auntie Nun. Auntie Nun is a little bit psychic while The Psychic Nun was full-on knew-your-past-life and knew-your-future psychic plus could-speak-to-the-dead so also medium. The Psychic Nun is referred to in the past tense because she’s no longer with us. I heard of her passing a few years after my maternal grandmother’s passing. It’s okay. She was like a billion years old already anyway and with all that good karma, is off to somewhere awesome.

Anyway, that introduction was way off-track from the subject matter of this post. This post is about go-to knick knacks in a tarot or divinatory reading space. I’m not asking about what you need to get your read on (because inevitably some holier-than-thou advanced tarot reader master will pipe up and say, “I don’t need anything but the power of my mind… I am not bound to materialism… toot toot“)–right, right, we all know that. But I’m asking what kind of knick knacks do you like in your reading space. I don’t need a pink toothbrush for effective dental hygiene but I like it when my toothbrush is pink, so I have a pink toothbrush. Get it?

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Benevolence and Your Book of 1,111 Acts

What if the story of your life is told through a record of your acts of kindness, your benevolence, compassion, and personal sacrifices?

I’ve created a blank notebook that can help you to tell just that kind of story.

In fact, I’ve created three different versions of the notebook. You can either print out the notebook yourself and set it into a binder or you can have it print and bound by a third party publisher.

Keep scrolling down for the free downloads and printing instructions.

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The above video explains the premise for this notebook and the #1111acts. For those who have a copy of my book, The Tao of Craft, check out page 152, in the chapter “The Tools of Craft,” section titled, “Accumulating Good Deeds.” I’ve even pulled that section out as an excerpt, so if you don’t have the book, just check out the PDF below.

“Accumulating Good Deeds” (from The Tao of Craft)

Unlike most tags, this one is something you’ll work through for life. The idea is to log 1,111 acts within your lifetime.

Why the hashtag #1111acts? It’s my little effort to help transform the tone of discourse we see online these days. You’ll take part, too, won’t you? Any time you undertake neutralizing a negative energy in this world, even in the world of social media, especially in the world of social media, by contributing a positive energy, include the hashtag #1111acts.

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Review of the Tarot of Bones by Lupa

Animal bones have enthralled me since an early age. So I am excited about reviewing Lupa Greenwolf’s The Tarot of Bones and the deck’s companion book.

The Tarot of Bones is a photographic portfolio of assemblage art pieces by Lupa, herself a hide and bone pagan artist. The images of a tarot deck tell stories, and through those stories, our own life story is divined. Likewise, bones tell stories, and oracle bone divination is as old as humankind. From that premise comes The Tarot of Bones.

We begin with The Fool, Key 0, depicted by a coyote skull atop a field of flowers. The Magician is a corn snake skeleton formed into an ourosboros. The High Priestess is the skull of a wolf over a crescent moon formed from a mirror. On either side, an assemblage of trees. The Empress is a whitetail doe while the Emperor is the skull of a goat.

I love the stories that Lupa provides in the companion guidebook. For instance, she reveals that Key V: The Hierophant was the first card in the tarot deck she started designing, but it was also the last card to be completed. Here, by the way, we see a javelina skull amid religious texts. The Lovers is a pair of albatross skulls positioned in an assemblage to represent a mating ritual.

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Book Review: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack’s The Fortune Teller, which was released earlier last week (June, 2017), is one of my favorite novels to make reference to tarot. It is the story of a woman who unlocks her heritage as a seer, tracing her roots back to ancient Alexandria, and in doing so, reveals the origins of the tarot.

We follow the characters across many continents, countries, time periods, and delightfully, historic figures and fictional interact. Tarot enthusiasts of all stripes will enjoy this novel and I highly recommend that you add it to your summer reading list.

Spoiler Alert: In this review I’ll highlight the key features of the novel and what I loved about it, though in doing so, may give away a couple of spoilers. I promise it won’t take away from the ending or the enjoyment of reading this book for yourself.

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The Golden Botticelli Tarot by Lo Scarabeo

There is a tarot deck that has become a prop in my front sitting room. I leave it out on an end table and most of the time, a guest will reach for it and flip through the cards. I always know when that has happened, even if I am in a different room, because immediately thereafter I hear the squeal. “Oh my god! What is this deck? It’s gorgeous!” Then there’s a range of follow-up commentary, from those recognizing the art of Sandro Botticelli, to those who are either “Now this is the most fascinating deck of playing cards I’ve ever seen” to “So is this like a tarot deck, like the psychic fortune-telling cards you use?”

That deck is the Golden Botticelli Tarot designed by A. A. Atanassov and published by Lo Scarabeo. I love the reversible card backs and the ornate design that, to me, captures the Florentine Renaissance.

The cards are a mosaic of imagery from Botticelli paintings piecemealed together digitally. And it’s done with such seamless mastery that you almost can’t tell.

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Tabula Mundi Tarot: A Must for Any Metaphysician Tarotist

The Tabula Mundi Tarot is a Thoth-inspired deck that harmonizes mythology, world religions, historic references, alchemy, the Kabbalah, Thelema, and astrology. It is, as the deck creator M. M. Meleen puts it, the creator’s magnum opus.

I cannot convey to you how much I love this deck. To me, the Tabula Mundi Tarot supersedes the Thoth. It will take me an untold number of years to unpack just a modicum of what this deck can offer a practitioner. In fact, that is why this particular deck review write-up comes so late. I’ve had this deck on my reading desk for almost a year now.

The premise of the deck is a visionary journey, by the Fool, through a wormhole in the fabric of space-time, a journey where the Fool experiences visions of various “pictures of the world,” or tabula mundi. Here, I’ll be reviewing both the deck and the companion book, Book M: Liber Mundi.

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Tarot and Shadow Work for Activating Dynamic Power

$28

At Tarot Summer School 2017

To enroll in the course for $28, click the above button or click here to go to the Tarot Summer School landing page and check out my course offering, “Tarot and Shadow Work for Activating Dynamic Power.”

Course Objective:

To strengthen your personal vitality and the reservoir of metaphysical powers you can command or control, through attunement to those inner and outer alchemical forces embedded into the archetypal tarot architecture.

Course Description:

We often hear about using tarot for shadow work. This course takes that concept a step further to address how tarot and shadow work can be utilized to cultivate dynamic personal power. The more personal power you wield, the greater likelihood of success you’ll enjoy in achieving your goals. To break vicious cycles that hold you down and to overcome that which haunts you, you need force. You can summon that force from within you and to navigate that inner landscape of yours in search of your powers, we use the tarot.

The course addresses how to source power from five specific inner reservoirs, corresponding with the architecture of tarot, which are as follows:

  • Expert or authoritative power, which we harness through Fire;
  • The power of charisma, or appeal, harnessed through Water;
  • The power of punishment to reinforce your personal sovereignty, harnessed through Air;
  • The power of reward, or building relations, harnessed through Earth; and
  • The power of change, or the power of esoteric knowledge, harnessed by attuning to Spirit.

The tarot will be used as an anchoring and centering tool for navigating the inner landscape in search of those five reservoirs of power. We can also better understand these five powers of social psychology through the Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana.

We will cover both the psychological and the metaphysical facets of these powers and how you can activate them by navigating your shadow landscape with the tarot. Overcome lack mentality. the pain of failure, recurring underachievement, fear, inertia, and insecurity by activating these five powers that are just beyond the nether regions of your own mind and will.

Tarot, social psychology, chakra strengthening, self-reflection, personal ritual, spell-crafting, and basic East Asian Qi energy work will be covered. The course content delves unabashedly into faith-based material.

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Review of the Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid

I love Colette Baron-Reid’s work and have her Wisdom of the Oracle cards. I also have both Wisdom of the Hidden Realms and Wisdom of the House of Night. In my guest waiting room while clients wait their turn, there’s always a Colette Baron-Reid oracle deck out for them to tinker with. So I was eager to check out her transition from the oracle world into tarot via her newest work, The Good Tarot.

The artwork in this deck is mesmerizing, I love the emerald card back design, and the deck is a resplendent addition to the genre of New Age Aquarian consciousness tarot decks targeted for the mainstream Indigo Crystal child that has risen in popularity this last decade.

The soft-focus, ethereal point of view superimposed over the classic tarot architecture is an intriguing premise. I would consider this deck to be kid-friendly. Heck, tarot reading parents can totally use this deck to improvise bedtime stories. (That would be a really cool idea actually, especially with The Good Tarot, which is rich with magical creatures, the fairy tale ethos, and the promise of a happily ever after.)

The premise of the Good Tarot suggests a tinge of rivalry with the Doreen Virtue tarot premise, which is the attempt to cast a spiritually protective net over the tarot by eliminating any window of negative energies to come through and to eradicate “scary” cards that might otherwise be triggering to those of softer dispositions. Even if there is no intent to compete, Baron-Reid and Virtue certainly appeal to the same target market.

Let’s start by seeing how well you connect with these cards. From the above photo, choose one of those three cards– left, center, or right. We’ll circle back to this later and I’ll reveal which card you drew.

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Supporting Mystic Mondays Tarot by Grace Duong

I have the extraordinary privilege to preview the galleys for the Major Arcana of the upcoming Mystic Mondays Tarot by artist and designer Grace Duong. She’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her deck, so be sure to check it out here.

The deck is called “Mystic Mondays” in reference to its use as a projection or divination tool to use on Mondays, for setting intentions, connecting to spirituality, and personal empowerment, every Monday. It’s about beginning each week mystically. The Mystic Mondays Tarot is for you to set intentions on Monday and set forecasts for the rest of your week. “By creating space to connect with your inner voice,” says Duong, through the Mystic Monday Tarot, “you learn to trust your own intuition and to let it be a guiding force.”

Duong based the deck on the Rider-Waite-Smith, but gave the classic imagery a modern-mystic makeover. Utilizing color symbolism and color psychology to showcase the archetypal expressions of each card, Duong has created a vibrant, visually stimulating deck that has a chic vibe to it.

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Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova

Deck Pictured: Triple Goddess Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)

Imagine a written book that captures the spirit and the style of your best friend, who happens to be a psychic and damn good tarot reader, agreeing to sit down with you at your kitchen table to teach you tarot. That best friend is straight with you, cuts to the chase with no meandering explanatory treatise, and is both encouraging and entertaining.

That’s Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova. The book is 288 pages, portable, a book you’ll want to take with you on the go, and forecasted to be Llewellyn Publications’ next big star.

I love the content organization. Cynova presumes you don’t know the top of the deck from the bottom and starts there, guiding you every step of the way. Right from the beginning she addresses many of the common misconceptions and answers the frequently asked questions that tarot novices have.

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