Golden Venetian Lenormand

The Golden Venetian Lenormand is a sister deck to Eugene Vinitski’s Venetian Tarot, which I’ve reviewed before here. Vinitski has teamed up with author, philologist, and art historian Elsa Khapatnukovski to produce a masterpiece of a Grand Jeu Lenormand, which consists of 54 cards (rather than the popularized Petit Lenormand or Petit Jeu Lenormand, which consists of only 36).

However, you can also select out the 35 Petit Lenormand cards and work with this deck as a Petit Lenormand. So in essence, you’re getting two decks in one. You’ll definitely want to purchase your copy of the Golden Venetian Lenormand via Vinitski’s Etsy shop here.

Like Vinitski’s Venetian Tarot, the Golden Venetian Lenormand is crafted in a High Renaissance style with a design focus on classical humanism.

The Lenormand oracle is a predictive fortune-telling system from the late 18th century based on the Game of Hope by Johann Kasper Hechtel, an illustrated edifying card game steeped in Christian allegories. In the 19th century, 16 more cards were taken from other well-known European cartomancy systems of the time and the 36-card Petit Lenormand was expanded into a 52-card fortune-telling deck, plus the additional 2 jokers.

By the way I love the little details of insight from Khapatnukovski. For example, the Fox card, No. 14, Khapatnukovski acknowledges that you’re not likely to come by a fox in Venice, but because it’s common symbolism in the Lenormand system, here it is. This particular fox is running over a canal holding a seagull in its mouth. The seagull, symbolic of freedom and a desire to dream, locked in the jaws of a fox, show the anguish of mind of a trapped individual.

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Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts

The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts first came out in 1996, published by U.S. Games. At the time it was a bordered deck and had a different card back design. This year the deck has been re-released, now borderless and with a beautiful new card back.

There is both a 90s throwback vibe to this deck and a timeless quality. Ancestral Path reminds me of the way multiculturalism was celebrated in the 90s. You’ve got original works of art done by hand, with minimal digital retouching, not like the majority of decks we get today, which involve heavy-handed amounts of digital work. One isn’t better or worse than the other; it’s just iconic of different times.

Note here that Key 8 is Justice (and Key 11 is Strength). Ancestral Path is a fusion of different deck systems, which will become a bit more apparent when we get to the Minors. Here, though, I love the emphasis on priestess energy in the Hierophant card. Yes, it’s still a true Hierophant card, but I love how Cuccia-Watts has reinterpreted it with more feminine energy.

I love the simple elegance of the card backs, with that beautiful pastel blue and what’s reminiscent of a pearl. Technically these are not reversible card backs, but I mean, unless you’re looking, they’re more or less reversible. I love the meta quality to The Fool, which is a self-portrait of the artist holding up The Fool card in this deck, which is a self-portrait of the artist. Clever.

What’s interesting to me is how modern The Fool card feels in this deck, compared to the rest of the deck art. Thus, it almost conveys the narrative that this deck is about traveling back in time. At the point of The Fool, we are in the present day, and the nod to the deck itself in Key 0 is about the type of journey we’ll take with Ancestral Path. This is about ancestors and it is about past lives. At least that’s what I got out of this juxtaposition.

Some of these artistic interpretations of the Majors really made me think. Take, for instance, The Hanged One (Key 12), which is a baby turned upside down, meaning ready to be birthed. I really love the transition from the Star to the Moon to the Sun here. I’ve been using Ancestral Path for past life readings and find it to be quite clear for such purposes.

The Wheel of Fortune card in this deck is incredible. There’s some homage to medieval Cellarius star atlases. Here we see traditional astrology juxtaposed with modern astronomy. A master astrologer herself, Cuccia-Watts integrates much of her spiritual beliefs into this deck.

The Tower is a powerful card. Near the bottom you’ve got what looks like Stonehenge, then the Sphinx, then the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and then a cathedral or basilica, and above that, what looks like a modern skyscraper.

The four suits depict four different cultures of antiquity. You’ve got feudal Japan in the Swords, and as we go through these photographs of the cards, you’ll see that the suit of Staves depicts the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ramses II in Egypt, the suit of Cups depicts Arthurian Britain, and the suit of Sacred Circles is indigenous First Nations Americas. Here in the suit of Swords, the progression of paintings tell an epic story about the Ainu, or indigenous people of Hokkaido.

The court cards are titled King, Queen, Prince (for the Knight), and Princess (for the Page). In Ancestral Path, court cards are deified ancestral figures. In the suit of Swords, for instance, you’ll find Izanagi and Izanami, Shinto kami, along with Tsukiyomi and Amaterasu, moon god and sun goddess respectively. In the suit of Staves (Wands), you’ll find Osiris and Isis for King and Queen, then Nephthys and Horus for the Prince and Princess (Knight and Page) cards.

The narrative illustrated across the Staves suit is that of the Osirian myth, the cycle of death and resurrection, with the deck creator taking cues here from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Here, as noted in the little white book, the 7 of Staves is about solving the riddle of the sphinx. The 6 of Staves expresses the pitfalls of patriotism and hero worship

The 5 of Staves, which in the RWS shows the five individuals with staves fighting each other, and in the Thoth is titled Strife, here in Ancestral Path shows a much more serene and peaceful scene. Here, the 5 of Staves is about negotiation, cooperative efforts within a diverse group of people, and pooling talents to create something great. Many of the cards in this deck have been reworked, and so when reading with Ancestral Path, trust what you see depicted on the card more than you do memorized textbook card meanings.

The larger size of the deck is something you will either love or find cumbersome, and will be a matter of personal preference. I found it a bit cumbersome, but that’s just because I find any deck larger than 2.75″ x 4.75″ cumbersome. The muscle memory in my hands are so used to that standard tarot size that anything not conforming to that can feel awkward.

The coloring is magnificent. It goes without saying that Cuccia-Watts is an extraordinarily talented artist. You can see a clear foreground, middle ground, and background, and every image feels spacious. There’s actually an excruciating amount of detail in every card, but it never overpowers you because Cuccia-Watts understands balance. She knows how to paint a landscape that lets your eyes temper the detailing with the bigger picture, and it’s truly remarkable.

Here in the Cups courts, the King is Arthur and the Queen is Gwenhwyfar; Lancelot and Morgana are the Prince and Princess. The Cups tell the story of Morgana’s Reverie, as King Arthur’s sister prepares herself for the role of the psychopomp on the path of the King’s initiation into the knowledge of his genetic inheritance and his spiritual responsibilities.

I like the recasting of the tarot 7 of Cups here. In Ancestral Path, this card is about visions and intuition. It’s about reality being the illusion and having to trust that which lies behind the obvious. When the 7 of Cups shows up, it’s a moment to reflect on the meaning and purpose of your existence.

Cuccia-Watts and the author of the guidebook, Tracey Hoover, have brought out original expressions of the classic tarot architecture. In the 6 of Cups, while they stay true to textbook essential meanings, we also learn that this card can denote avoidance of negative childhood issues.

The suit of Pentacles (Coins/Disks) has been renamed to Sacred Circles. In the Sacred Circles, the King and Queen are Grandfather Thunder and Grandmother Moon, and for the Prince and Princess, Father Sun and Mother Earth. This suit tells a Menominee legend of bear and thunder spirit ancestors, narrating a vision quest.

The Aces in this deck symbolize raw mythical power. The Ace of Sacred Circles depicts a drum, which per Native American lore, measures the heartbeat of the earth and carries in its rhythms divine messages between the worlds of the living and the dead.

The little white book by Tracey Hoover is quite meaty. The tone and point of view for the card meanings is more spiritual in nature, however, and not quite as practical. When using Ancestral Path for readings of a spiritual nature, the little white book’s guidance will come in handy, though if you’re looking for more practical meanings, the tarot beginner will want an additional companion text.

Still, at 30 pages in length, it’s a great primer, and great at offering an orientation and introduction to the Ancestral Path tarot deck. I love how some of the keys have been interpreted here. For instance, the Nine of Swords can indicate a prophetic dream. The Queen of Swords expresses joy in the creative process. It’s about making something from nothing, and can also denote children, grandchildren, and family pride. The old school depiction of the Queen of Swords is usually a severe woman who is widowed and childless, so I really like this re-branding for her.

The Princess of Cups, depicting Morgana, can reveal a magical being, a healer, and someone knowledgeable in herbs and the mysteries of the earth. The guidebook ends with a classic nod to the Celtic Cross spread, which again, to me feels very 90s. I think every LWB from the 90s featured either the Celtic Cross or the Horseshoe.

The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts is a must-have in any deck collection, especially if you’re looking for iconic representations of where we were at as a tarot collective in the 90s. That it can be reprinted today in 2019 and feel wholly relevant is a testament to how remarkable this deck is.

I would recommend this as a beginner’s tarot deck. It reads with ease and the little white book is enough to get anyone started. The artwork captivates, opening up the beginner reader’s intuition in ways that will further deepen one’s curiosity for the tarot. And yet there is so much to unpack here, and from what I know of Cuccia-Watts’s astrological work, the symbolism on each card plunges far below the surface of what you see pictured. Thus, the advanced reader has much to work with here.

The Fours: 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 Fours is the sixth of seventeen videos in this series, “Tarot Card Meanings with Benebell.”

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Tarot Fortune-Telling, Divination, and Life Coaching (Part I)

Whether fortune-telling with the tarot is okay or not okay is this weird hill that people are hell-bent on dying on. At the end of the day, whether a tarot reading is fortune-telling, divination, psychology-based, or some form of life coaching is just a difference in style, I think. We’re all doing the same thing. We just prefer different terminology because we’re trying to craft a particular image of ourselves.

Recently in online tarot social media, the topic of fortune-telling and whether this is something we want to encourage or discourage came up in discussion. It reminded me of a recent personal event.

Back in July I was visiting my parents in upstate New York. Mom, Dad, me, and the Hubby walked into a Chinese restaurant where my parents are friends with the owner. The owner came over to chat and asked us how we’ve been, and in particular, what I’ve been up to. They’re all speaking Mandarin Chinese.

Mom said to the owner, “My daughter is a fortune-teller.” (For those who speak Mandarin, she said, Ta hui bang ni suan ming. And yeah, I get it, my pin yin is probably all wrong there.)

I’m sure my face scrunched up into a grimace. “Ma, no, that is not what I do,” I replied in English.

“All right. Fine. Then you tell Auntie what it is that you do,” said Mom.

Continue reading “Tarot Fortune-Telling, Divination, and Life Coaching (Part I)”

SKT Tarot Readings Diary (Free Download)

This is the tarot readings diary keyed specifically to the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck that I promised back when I shared the downloads for the tarot journal collab with Scarlet, linked here.

SKT Tarot Readings Diary

This is a Tarot Readings Diary keyed specifically to the SKT. That means the “Classes & Workshops Log of Notes” is a note-taking section for all video courses outlined in the Free Esoteric Tarot Online Course for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, linked here.

The short form card meanings compiled from both the First Edition LWB and the Vitruvian Edition LWB are provided in the back of the Tarot Readings Diary for your convenience of reference.

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Tarot Card Meanings with Benebell (Study Journal Free Download)

This is the tarot study journal keyed with the SKT that I promised back when I shared the downloads for the tarot journal collab with Scarlet, linked here.

Tarot Study Journal

The Tarot Study Journal is for you to record all your card meanings and correspondences reference material. The structure of this journal is the same as the one previously shared for the tarot journal collab, except this one includes the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck. In other words, it’s a study journal for the Tarot de Marseilles, Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, and the SKT.

For those who have been following along the Tarot Card Meanings with Benebell video lecture series, this Tarot Study Journal is basically keyed to that video lecture series. So you can print out a copy of this journal and take all your notes from the lecture series in these pages.

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SKT 3″ x 5″ Tarot Stickers (Template Download)

These are free downloads of SKT tarot sticker templates. Each sheet consists of a three-card reading that’s a form of energetic intention setting. You can print these out in color (sepia tones) or grayscale (if your printer only has black ink).

The following templates are formatted to print on the 3″ x 5″ blank rectangle labels by Avery, Label No. 94213. You can order the blank rectangle label stickers directly from Avery here. Direct from Avery, 10 sheets (that’s 30 tarot stickers in total) go for $8.00 plus $3 flat rate shipping, so $11 for 30 tarot stickers. That’s not too bad. It’s not great price-wise, but not too bad. Also, the more sheets you order, the more economical the price.

After you print out one of the selected sheets of tarot stickers (each sheet consists of three cards), start with the left-most card. Place the fingertips from your dominant hand on the tarot image. Close your eyes, relax your breathing, and focus your thoughts on the specific goal you want to achieve or what it is you want to manifest. Visualize that goal coming to fruition.

Then transform that visualization into light. Intuit what color light such a goal, outcome, achievement, or manifestation would be if it was in the form of light energy. Send that beam of colored light from your head, down through your arm, out the fingers of your dominant hand and send it into the tarot image, feeling yourself press that energy into the card.

Repeat for the center card. Repeat again for the third to the right. Take your time. Do not rush the process. Remain calm, confident, and self-assured from beginning to end.

I like to affix these stickers onto the glass of three white pillar candles. Set these three candles out somewhere meaningful to you. Every time the candles are burning, the powers and beneficent forces of the selected cards are activated and sending those energies into your space, enriching your environment.

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SKT Vitruvian Mini: Do-It-Yourself Printables

Bonus Offering with the 2020 Metaphysician’s Day Planner

This blog post will showcase the do-it-yourself printables for a Vitruvian Mini tarot deck. These digital files are a bonus offering that comes with the 2020 Metaphysician’s Day Planner, so if you want these printables, then you’ll want to order the 2020 Day Planner!

It started with having to configure the template for the box design of Spirit Keeper’s Tarot Vitruvian Edition. To make sure everything fit as it’s supposed to, I printed out the box design template, cut it out, folded, and assembled it into an actual box to make sure the designs were aligned as intended.

Of course my initial thought was to print the mock-up and assemble at actual size. However, in the moment, I didn’t have the means to, and could only print it smaller, to scale, on a standard 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper. So I did.

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Coming Soon: 2020 Metaphysician’s Day Planner

The 2020 Metaphysician’s Day Planner is coming soon.

I’ll be out of the country for most of September, but when I return, we’ll get the pre-order launch up and running. No change to price– it’s the same as the 2019 offering.

The day planners still include your birth chart in Whole Signs and your 2020 solar returns chart. Charts include the traditional and modern planets, the four classical personal sensitive points (ascendant, imum coeli, descendant, and midheaven), Chiron, Ceres, Eris, black moon Lilith, white moon Selena, Vesta, Pallas, and Hygeia.

However, some minor changes to the contents. Also, in the interim, if you’ve been using a metaphysician’s day planner, I’d love your input (comment with your suggestions below). What didn’t work for you? What do you definitely not want me to change? What can be improved? I’d love to hear what you have to say when I go to finalize the 2020 content layout.

For those who’ve never purchased a metaphysician’s day planner before, see below links to previous versions and you’ll get a sense of the contents.

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How to Read with Your SKT

This should have been my intro to you on how to read with the SKT, so it’s coming a bit late. Most folks get the vibe that the SKT is for “serious” readings only, and doesn’t work for everyday uses. Is that true? I believe every tarot deck is multipurpose and there are never any limitations to what you can do with any tarot deck. But are some decks better suited for specific purposes? Sure.

Every aspect of crafting the SKT was toward the aspiration of designing a perfected language for talking with Spirit. As a deck creator, to me, that meant I need to do a great deal of research into a great many subject areas to first understand, for myself, a prisca theologia, and then craft the language from there.

I think some people have gotten the wrong impression that you need to know the full history, depth, and every facet of implication for every single symbol in every single card to even operate this deck, and that as a result, to read competently with the SKT, you need to master an entirely new system of the tarot and do advanced mental acrobatics with the deck.

A good analogy to use here might be to think of the deck as an app (an app for contacting The Beyond…) and the symbology of the deck and every thread of history or mystical tradition I’ve woven into the deck’s imagery is the coding I, a programmer, used to create that app.

So to use the deck for contacting The Beyond, no, you do not need to have read The Book of Maps before working with the cards. You don’t need to know Zoroastrianism or have studied Manichaeism, Egyptian mythology, or Hermeticism. You don’t need to understand the astrological correspondences, the I Ching, or why this is put there or that symbol repeats itself across certain cards in the deck.

The symbols pictured on the deck and every aspect of its design, along with all the rituals the original pen and ink drawings were steeped in are part of the programming I, the deck creator, had to do to produce this kind of deck. It’s the coding. That’s it.

If you’re a programmer yourself and you want to understand the coding, then that’s when you might be interested in The Book of Maps. If you want to take a peek under the hood, then that’s when you deep-dive into an intensive study of the cards and the system I’ve devised.

If you’re interested in a long-term, committed, and self-dedicated spiritual experience that can endow you with a new, additional set of lenses through which to see the world, then that’s what I believe the ritual coloring is for.

Otherwise, no, what you see there, all that busy detailing, the self-regulated commandment I imposed on myself that every design decision required meaning and reference to a longstanding history and tradition of mysticism, all of that is the coding to create the kind of deck I wanted to create.

It has nothing at all to do with how you read with the deck.

Once the finished deck is in your hands, you can read it straight out of the box. Sure, your level of mastery over the tarot and over other metaphysical traditions or cultural symbology will certainly give you greater latitude and depth for communicating with Spirit through the cards, but anyone– anyone at all– can take these cards out of this sigil- and incantation- empowered box to contact Spirit.

At least that was my ambition. Whether I fell short is a discussion to be had by reviewers, but please consider the instructions offered in this write-up and try them out with your copy of SKT before you decide that the deck falls short of my statements of purpose.

First Edition, 2018

Let’s start with the three versions of Key 0 you get. If it makes sense for you to read with all three shuffled into your deck and working with 80 cards, then go for it. I would interpret that as not limiting the scope of your readings.

My intention, however, for the three versions of Key 0 is for each version to give you access to a different level of operation with the cards.

Vitruvian Edition, 2019

So if you’re just starting something new, or you’re asking about possible future undertakings, what path to take, and no action or progress in any one direction has yet been taken, then read with The Initiate as Key 0. This unlocks potential and helps you choose which path to take.

If you want to ask a question to receive a divinatory answer, then that would be the standard Seeker card. If you want to use the deck for mediumship, or for petitions of spirit entities, then use The Keeper card.

Any of the three versions of Key 0 will connect you to the Akashic Records, though perhaps different facets of the Records.

When you want a question answered by The Beyond, start by personifying what’s there in the Beyond listening to you, the facet of Spirit that will be replying.

That Spirit knows you really well. The spirit understands what you know and don’t know, how your mind works, and therefore can use the SKT deck as a common language you and that spirit share to communicate the spirit’s message to you.

Assuming the spirit knows everything about you, the spirit will be able to pull up the right symbolism and imagery from the deck to present to you to convey the message.

In other words, because what you know and how your mind works is different from what I know and how my mind works, the precise way the language of the SKT deck will be used by the spirit world to communicate with you vs. communicating with me will necessarily be different.

The deck art on the SKT is less about pretty pictures for you to tell a story with, and a lot more about designing a language, a divine Logos. It’s like the coding for an app you’re using on your phone. You don’t need to know the precise coding for the apps you use. You just need to know the basic operations for that app’s user interface and then off you go.

Personify a beneficent entity beyond the veil who is listening, who you are now having a conversation with. Let’s say you ask the question, “How do I heal my pain?” Conceptualize your reading as you talking to that beneficent spirit beyond the veil.

If you’d like to know who you’re speaking with, then that’s your first question. Or if you don’t need the meet-and-greet, just proceed with a spread of cards as you would normally do.

In the above example, the first card to the left is my meet-and-greet, me asking who I’m in contact with. The card that came up was Key 8: The Force.

I assume that this beneficent spirit knows me through and through, knows how I work with astrology, knows the cultural lens through which I will see the symbols on that card, and also knows my process of research– so if insight is being given here that I don’t understand or know about yet, clues are provided so I will be able to follow a path of research and arrive at the message later.

I set the intention for the center card to be my answer: how to heal. The Scarlet Shield (Queen of Swords) is the answer to how I can heal myself from my present pain. The third card to the right indicates my chance for recovery based on all known or manifested factors.

In this three-card reading I did for myself, see how the intertwined serpents appear in both the left-most card and the right-most card, and how they change between the two. There’s also a serpent pictured on the shield in the center card, the Queen of Swords. You’ve got the lion’s head in both the left and right card, and that masked head on the shield in the center.

These remarkable patterns formed in your readings are meaningful, but it’s not so much that you need to sit there and dissect some deep, profound message out of the patterns. It’s more that they “prove” the presence of Spirit. Synchronicities are the indication that you’re not alone. =)

Look at the intertwined serpents in Card 1 and Card 3

Back to that center card, how to heal. How would you read these cards? Don’t change or diverge from your normal approach to reading cards or how you characteristically process information.

Except now, add the understanding that these cards before you are formed from a language and a beneficent spirit is using this language to communicate to you, working with the symbols and patterns of symbols from the SKT to speak directly to you.

So it’s almost like you’re playing a game of Pictionary with a spirit.

And you know how in Pictionary, it’s easier to win when you are partnered with someone you know really well, because you can draw symbols that your partner will definitely be able to pick up on? So it’s the same here. But you’re the partner and Spirit is “drawing” or pulling up the symbols that you are most likely to pick up on, but it’s unique to you, not necessarily universal.

So what came up in that three-card reading was for me, and me alone, because Spirit pulled up those symbols and those patterns specifically for me to see.

When I see any Shield card, the symbol of the shield immediately tells me, “I need protection.” It’s like after putting ointment on your wound, you want to cover the wound with a bandage to protect it while it heals. Shields in my readings always start with the message, “protect yourself.” Maybe that’s warding, or taking more proactive measures to do daily shielding recitations and personal rituals, or it’s a message that my mind or my physical body needs to be better protected.

The Shields or tarot Queens in this deck are also about achievement of something. The shield is about forming a boundary, and then deepening. I’ll contrast that with the tarot Kings in a bit. The Queens/Shields are taking something to greater depths, and the element here is Air, the suit of Swords, so everything I associate with that from my tarot studies comes in to play here.

Kings, the Archangels in the deck, expand. If Queens/Shields are about drawing boundaries around something and then deepening what is already within your scope, then Kings/Archangels are about expanding, outreach, emanating beyond yourself. The Archangel of Mysteries (King of Pentacles/Coins) is telling you there is something for you to master and mastery will lead you to your own material wellbeing.

“Archangel” is just a generic title and doesn’t need to conform to Abrahamic mythos. It just suggests a high-ranking divinity.

Here’s an example of another three-card reading. You don’t necessarily need to phrase your questions as questions. Think of the reading as a conversation with a friend, a wise, loving friend you go to for advice. Here, the inquiry began with simply, “I’m lost. Please navigate me out of my darkness.”

Then three cards were pulled. The left-most card indicates where you are right now. In a way, it identifies a spirit entity, but I also interpret that as being the personification of my current state of mind. My Two of Orbs (Pentacles/Disks) card, titled The Nocturne, is my “dark night of the soul” card.

The center card answers, “How do I get out? What’s the Way?” Here, the card pulled is the Stronghold of the Vale (Page of Pentacles). Notice the envelope in the bottom right corner. Every time a Stronghold card shows up, it’s a messenger from a higher-status spirit entity, a god or goddess of rank, and a message from such a divinity has been brought to you by this messenger. The suit of the messenger will reveal the identity of that Divinity.

Here, it’s Orbs (the suit name in the SKT), or Coins, Pentacles, Disks. This is the element Earth. This is an earthly divinity. What symbol on that card leaps out at you and tugs at your attention the most? For me, it was the bear. Is that a bear? What animal is that? What animal that looks like to you is what that animal actually is, in the moment, for your reading. So disregard my deck creator intentions. You are seeing what you are supposed to be seeing in the imagery.

Now let’s say I see a bear. Did you know Artemis is associated with the bear? If it would have been characteristic of you to see a bear and take on a path of research to discover that information, then a bear will be placed in your line of sight so that you arrive there. If that is not characteristic of you, then Spirit won’t take that route to send you the insights. So always bear that in mind (doh, no pun intended): the spirit entity you’re speaking with knows you even better than you know yourself, and will place in front of you what you most need to see to arrive at the answer that spirit wants you to arrive at.

Now once you have a sense of who sent the messenger, receive the message. Pull another card. Here, the card pulled is the Eight of Swords, the spirit titled The Captor. To me, this is a warning that someone is trying to sabotage my efforts.

Remember my question: How do I get out from this darkness I’m in? This center card is to show me the way out. Well, there’s a very strong oppositional force trying to hold me back. I need to fight and remove that oppositional force to clear my own path. That’s what’s in my way and that’s why I feel trapped in darkness.

Back to courts. Courts are always messengers from the Divine. And yes, they can be prognostications of people classically attributed to the tarot courts. I believe that even in real life, people can show up as messengers. They unwittingly channel the words of Spirit through their human mouths for just a moment, and you hear it, and it holds a much deeper significance and has a much greater impact on you than that person may have ever intended.

The four Shining Ones (tarot Knights) from the First Edition SKT

When a Shining One comes up– The Shining Flame, The Shining Dew, The Shining Winds, or The Shining Quarry– you’re missing a key active ingredient in your personal alchemy and to get to where you want, to achieve that goal of yours, to reach a place of fulfillment, this is the key active ingredient you need to manifest.

The four Shining Ones (tarot Knights) from the Vitruvian Edition SKT

So if it’s The Shining Flame, the key active ingredient missing, preventing you from fulfillment is Fire, and so you’ll want to think about how that translates into your life in practical, tangible terms. This also showing you want alchemical stage you’re in right now: that of the awakening. The Shining Dew reveals the key active ingredient missing is “Waters and Waves,” and this is a stage of personal purification.

And again, you don’t even need to read the Empyrean Courts in any way remotely close to what I’ve said here. The point of this post is to try to get you out of the hang-up over having to know the coding that the programmer used and just learn the user interface, work with it in a way you like, and enjoy the uses of the app. =)

So the irony to me is while a deconstructionist analysis of each card’s symbolic anatomy would probably be fun to any nerdy occultist who wants to know how everything under the hood was arranged, if there’s any deck to read intuitively, straight out of the box, it would be the SKT.

The one difference I would say is that this deck isn’t about intuiting your own knowledge, but rather, it’s about intuiting spirit presence and trying to make sense of the messaging meant for you conveyed by that spirit presence.

The cards in the SKT deck altogether represent a language system and so reading the cards is an intuitive exercise of parsing through the linguistics of Spirit. Instead of ramming your head against the wall trying to make logical sense of it (even if you don’t realize consciously that’s what you’re doing), try to backtrack from the perspective of the spirit trying to communicate with you and see if you can follow the grammar and syntax being used. Why would a spirit entity use these particular symbols and signs to communicate to you?