Drafting & Tinkering for SKT #3

To quell any confusion, yes, I’m at work on a third edition of the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot. No, not a new deck,  but a new edition of an already existing one, the SKT.

I have not yet arrived at a decision on coloring. Do I want it in sepia? Grayscale with accents of colors? Full color via digital applications? I don’t have any answers. I’m going to give all of the above options a few tries, compare, and see which path is right for SKT the Third.

The images in this post are sepia-toned only because my first order of business is to produce both a black-and-white and also a sepia-toned set of base images to work from. That way I can tinker with both and see which I want to work with when creating the full deck.

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Tarot Deck Piracy and Anti-Chinese Sentiments

See also: 7/07/2020 Edits below

“My legal counsel advised me to never do business with Chinese companies, because all of them will rip off your intellectual property.”

Paraphrased, but an accurate representation of what was said by a very prominent deck creator in our community. She’ll tell you my paraphrase isn’t accurate and that I’ve misrepresented her. She takes issue with me saying she used the word “all.”

I can’t recall if that precise word “all” was ever used, so let’s believe her and say I’m mistaken. She never said “all.” It was me who read into what was absolutely, unequivocally implied in the subtext.

Oh, wait. The below was sent to me, after I started feeling pretty terrible about maybe misconstruing what she had said. I was beginning to second-guess myself, thinking, man, I now feel like crap for thinking she said “all” when she didn’t. Many of her friends were messaging me, privately and publicly, telling me I got her all wrong, I am remembering her words wrong, and she never, ever said “all.”

Some deck creators saw that same post I saw and immediately thought it was problematic and insensitive.

Other deck creators believe she means well, but perhaps she worded her sentiments wrong– let’s chalk this one up to poor word choice. Maybe. But what I’ve seen from her, she is one fine writer.

And still others think I am the one who is way out of line, being overly sensitive, probably because I’m Asian, and poor, poor Karen for getting misunderstood.

I’ll concede that the truth is probably somewhere in that middle “no man’s land” intersecting point of the Venn diagram. I’m not 100% right, but then neither is she.

Here’s the thing. That was not her first offense. From what I have personally witnessed, it was her third. If we consider what the entire community has witnessed, who knows how many times she has repeated this rhetoric.

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Dracxiodos Tarot by Greg Traw

Greg Traw’s Dracxiodos Tarot is a psychedelic experience in a box, and if ever there was a chaos magician’s deck, this would be it. What’s more, Dracxiodos Tarot presents that chaos magician as, first and foremost, the Artist. The only Major Arcanum card to be titled, in fact, is the Artist card, assigned to Key V, classically the Hierophant.

The deck is independently produced and can be purchased directly from the artist here.

Reinforcing that theme of magician/alchemist as artist, the card back design features in the foreground an illustrator’s stylus pen and a paintbrush. Up top, in between the book pages featuring heiroglyphs is a razor blade pen, which I presume was Traw’s instrument of choice in the hand-cut collage works that this deck is comprised of.

By the way, the cards are huge! Above to the right is a deck at standard tarot size, 2.75″ x 4.75″. The Dracxiodos Tarot is 4″ x 8″. It’s a sturdy deck, too, 350 gsm white core cardstock with a matte finish.

The limited edition deck comes in a two-piece keepsake box and has been finished with this really incredible silver holographic edging that reminds me of labradorite.

Card Back Design, first version of Key 0, and First Septenary

Above in the bottom row, second card from the left with the pale green background, is Key V, renamed to The Artist. Every aspect of how this deck has been produced is in itself expressive of where contemporary art is today, and who the contemporary artist is. You’re going to see a global, culturally diverse influence. The point of view and visions are dynamic. Parts of Traw’s work are self-referential. These images are at once full of realism and surrealism.

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Show Me the Numbers: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing of a Tarot/Oracle Deck

While so many of us are still sheltered in place during the pandemic, I’ve noticed a spike in interest for creating a tarot or oracle deck and selling it. This is particularly relevant to artists and spiritual creatives who are looking into a stream of income that might help them stay afloat through uncertain economic times.

For you, we’ll talk numbers in self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. If this subject matter is really of interest to you, then read on. Don’t just watch the video, because I left a lot out of that video, which I’ll get to in this companion post.

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The Sixes: Tarot Card Meanings

New to this video lecture series?

Start Here

The above-linked Introduction page will give you an overview of what this series is about and provide a course contents listing.

The Sixes is the eighth of seventeen videos in this series, “Tarot Card Meanings with Benebell.”

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Crafting with a Ba Gua Mirror in Traditional Asian Witchcraft

Learn a little more about this common ritual tool in traditional Asian folk magic. I’m inviting you to give the ba gua or eight trigrams mirror a try.

This video covers a few pointers on how to use a ba gua mirror to tell whether you’ve been hexed or cursed (a folksy practice that’s interesting to learn about, at the very elast), how a ba gua mirror can amplify your spell-crafting techniques, a simple intention-setting candle spell, how to make your own ba gua mirror if you can’t source one, and how to integrate this one tool and folk practice into what you’re already doing.

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Intuitive Tarot: Throw Out the Books?

Thank you to the hundreds (according to YouTube at least, who knows, right?) who showed up to participate this morning in the chatroom when the above video premiered.

By the way, can any of you help me with this? I really thought I had the recorded LiveChat transcript function turned on. I checked it several times before the video premiered and I checked it after. It’s on. However, it seems like the chat transcript from this morning has disappeared.

Does anyone know how I can make the chat transcript from this morning available to all? What everyone shared was so insightful and more valuable to the topic than just what I had to say in this video, so I want that chat transcript to be available to you. However, the function doesn’t seem to be working for me. Any help you’re able to give is welcomed. Thanks!

The Wise Woman’s Tarot by Flash Silvermoon, Illustrated by Barbara Vogel

Wise Woman’s Tarot is the magnum opus of the late Flash Silvermoon, a well-loved figure in the Goddess movement, Dianic Wiccan, and Priestess of Isis. Vibrant and multicultural, Wise Woman’s Tarot will be well-loved by anyone who embraces the Goddess.

I’m reviewing a 2002 First Edition printing of the deck, which comes with a spiral-bound companion guidebook. While a great beginner and introductory orientation into the world of tarot, the guidebook presents tarot through a specific lens.

Major Arcana, Key 0 & First Septenary

For example, in the section “The Heritage of the Tarot,” in talking about the origins of the tarot, there are references to Atlantis-Lemuria. The Wise Woman’s Tarot deck is “a Pandora’s Box of women’s mysteries,” notes the Introduction, inspired by the deck creator’s spirit guides, who urged her to make this deck.

The deck was completed on August 31, 1999 at 12:00 pm in Florida. I love that the author included that information– you know it’s for astrology reasons, and all of the astrological content in the guidebook confirms the creator’s intent to integrate astrology into this deck.

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Tarocchi di Mantegna (1465) Instructional Engravings

My current tarot obsession is the 50-card Tarocchi di Mantegna (or Mantegna Tarot) from 15th century Italy. These are 50 instructional cards subdivided into five “suits” or groupings:

  1. The Human Condition,
  2. The Muses & Apollo,
  3. The Classical Liberal Arts,
  4. The Cardinal Virtues, and
  5. The Heavenly Spheres.

From 1 to 5 we see the ascent of the human soul. Grouping 1 represents the social hierarchy from the Wretched (Impoverished), Servant, and Artisan to Magistrate, King, and Pope. This is the Earthly realm.

The Nine Muses led by Apollo in Grouping 2 corresponds with the Aristotelian element Fire. The Classical Liberal Arts are the intellections that arise from the element Air. The Cardinal Virtues correspond with Water. And finally, Grouping 5, the Heavenly Spheres, corresponds with Spirit.

Below I’ve arranged the cards in sequential order by their card numbers, and by the five groupings, with 10 cards in each set.

You can click on any of these image files for an enlarged view of the cards.

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Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey & Card Journaling Therapy

Click on photo to purchase book

Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey (2020) by Thomas of Hermit’s Mirror is a versatile, power-packed tarot reading method based on the Grand Tableau from the Lenormand tradition. Thomas takes that method many steps further and presents a way of reading the cards that you’ll turn to time and time again, for your personal readings and for your professional client readings.

Skill LevelAdvanced

To start, let’s introduce the basic tableau, the foundation of Thomas’s Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey. I’ve put together a Sightsee the Tarot video to guide you through the basic spread along with 22 tarot journaling prompts excerpted from Tarot Tableau.

In this workshop, we’ll be using the Tarot Tableau for a long session of free-writing as therapy. Writing therapy helps you to process your thoughts and experiences, which opens you up to new insights on how to get back to equilibrium, facilitate much-needed spiritual healing, and grow emotionally.

Working with your reading results from the Tarot Tableau method, you’ll answer 22 questions inspired by the 22 Major houses of the spread and after you’re done, you’ll attain newfound clarity in the situation you were inquiring about or, at the very least, understand the “why.”

22 Journaling Prompts with the Tarot Tableau

DOCX   |   PDF

Click above to download.

Print out the PDF linked above and free-write your answers to the journaling prompts. If you have a particular tarot journal layout and design going on already, you can download the DOCX and edit accordingly.

Click on worksheet to download fillable PDF

Download the above-pictured worksheet and either print it out or copy the layout into your tarot journal before you start the video. You’ll be recording your reading results on the worksheets.

The rest of this post will be my review of the book.

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