Review of the Tattoo Tarot by Megamunden

It’s fascinating how the tarot world experiences these synchronistic psychic waves, where a particular theme takes hold and several decks on the same theme by different artists come out around the same time. Right now, it’s tattoo-themed tarot decks and one of the best and most marvelous specimens of the trending theme to behold is the Tattoo Tarot by Megamunden.

The Majors in the deck didn’t come ordered by key number, though you’ll see later that the Minors were. So in the two photographs of the Majors, I’m presenting the cards in the exact order they came in. By the way, random comment: I appreciate the modesty in The Star card, without compromising or modifying the symbolic significance of her nudity.

While the stated theme is tattoo-inspired, the aesthetics here remind me of medieval woodblock printing–and done exceptionally well. The artistry here is impeccable and any illustrator is going to acknowledge and appreciate the design talent here. As Marseille-based tarot decks come, Tattoo Tarot is one of my favorites, and the more you peruse these images, the more it’ll become one of your favorite TdM decks, too.

Continue reading “Review of the Tattoo Tarot by Megamunden”

Physical Proofs Are In! Now Awaiting Full Shipment.

These arrived yesterday evening… on my birthday. I’ll get going on snapping more high-resolution, professional marketing shots of the cards soon enough.

The white ding you see in the top left corner of the box in the bottom center photo above does concern me, but if that’s the worst of it, then count me happy. I also think when you opt to go with such a solid-black matte finish, white dings like that are bound to happen.

As for the cards themselves, I’m quite happy. The cardstock is 350 gsm. That’s thicker than mass market standards, so you’re getting higher quality, but not as thick as 400 gsm (getting into the realm of oracle deck stock) where you can’t do the riffle shuffle. It was important to me that the cards are in fact functional in the hands of a real life tarot reader, but ultimately, you’re the judge of whether I succeeded at that. =)

There’s a little white booklet (literally titled “little white booklet”…ha…) that doesn’t have a whole lot in terms of meaty content, but I think will do the job in terms of orienting someone on the premise of the deck, assuming they haven’t been following my progress notes and therefore don’t already know. There was no way I could have fit any of the Book of Maps card by card, symbol by symbol content into this LWB so I didn’t even bother trying.

Okay, now for those who are actually interested in getting their hands on this deck, here’s the plan so far.

No, you did not miss the boat on some pre-order launch that came and went. It hasn’t happened yet. I don’t like to point and shoot without information, so that’s why I didn’t do an early bird pre-order offer.

Also, instead of following Business and Marketing 101 rules, I’m just going to tell you the plans as they come to me, so we’re always on the same page together, even if it means maybe later down the line we might have to also backtrack together. So just bear that in mind.

Continue reading “Physical Proofs Are In! Now Awaiting Full Shipment.”

Review of Carnival at the End of the World Tarot

The Carnival at the End of the World Tarot is “an oracle for uncertain times.” It’s an art deck exhibiting the beautiful macabre, with a haunting melody and flow to the cards, that have just a tinge of an old horror film set with circus clowns and supernatural happenings.

The deck is a tarot byproduct of an art collection by Nicolas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, who are based out of upstate New York, a region very close to my heart. The country of origin noted on the tuck box for the deck notes Taiwan, which again is close to my heart so already I’m adoring Carnival.

The above photo shows the extra card in the tarot deck. They’re based on the main characters in the Carnival at the End of the World: Doctor Falke, Count Orlofsky, and Madame Lulu. The premise of the deck is based on the cast of characters from Truppe Fledermaus, a photographic fable and art collection by the deck creators, which preceded the tarot deck. Heck, you can read a review of the art exhibition in the New York Times, here.

The Majors aren’t numbered, but you do get recognizable titles, i.e., The Fool, The Magician, High Priestess, The Empress, etc. The correspondences that the artists chose to work with for assigning characters from their work to the tarot keys is what I’d consider unconventional. For example, the elephant for The Emperor, actually based on some of Crowley’s writings I might have corresponded with The Hierophant, though I certainly see why they went with the hand forming the sign of the cross for their Key 5. The High Priestess with the antlers and veil of stars can trip up a more conventional tradition-based tarot reader if it weren’t for the card title.

Continue reading “Review of Carnival at the End of the World Tarot”

Reflecting Back on the Design Process

While I’m waiting on production of the first print run, I want to share some of my reflections on my design process and the personal experience of creating and illustrating this deck.

Plus, everyone keeps asking me about it. Admittedly I thought I covered this ground, but guess not, given how often I get asked the same question. So let’s talk about my design process. How was Spirit Keeper’s Tarot created, or at least the technical side of things?

In the above photograph you’ll find my tools of trade. I sketch with a mechanical pencil using HB graphite lead (for those who do pencil drawings, this can matter, since most of us have that whole metal tray set of graphite pencils at different softness and hardness levels….), erase frequently, then go in with a superfine tip black pen. I always have straight edges, a protractor, and compass on hand, because that’s how I manage those lines, or angles, or circles you see in the card illustrations.

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Labyrinth: Your Path to Self Discovery by Tony Christie – Book Review

A year ago from this day, in fact on the anniversary exactly, I posted a review of the Labyrinth Wisdom oracle cards by Tony Christie. That oracle deck remains as one of my favorites. They’re powerful and insightful for personal readings and great as an addendum or clarifying reading to a professional tarot session with a client. Now I get the pleasure of reviewing the companion book to Labyrinth Wisdom— Labryinth: Your Path to Self Discovery.

The first line of the Introduction hooked me instantly: “In life you experience a series of doorways, gateways, and openings to love, light, and wisdom that, if taken, will bring you to a higher state of existence.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the metaphor of the labyrinth and the rich history that it comes with, so I have read many books on the subject that I can compare with Christie’s. In that comparison, Christie’s book comes out on top. The explanatory power that these 267 pages plus an extensive bibliography for further reading is just incredible. If this is a topic that intrigues you the way it does for me, get Labryinth. It will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the subject area.

We begin with clear definitions of what a labyrinth is, types of labyrinths, and its origins. The labyrinth, in short, is a symbol of your journey in life with its twists and turns as you make your way toward your personal center. It can also be used as a form of divination meets walking meditation: journey through a labyrinth with a specific question in mind, and the labyrinth takes on the symbolic meaning of that question.

Continue reading “Labyrinth: Your Path to Self Discovery by Tony Christie – Book Review”

Zoroastrian Magical Protection Charm

The following is an excerpt from The Book of Maps, the companion guidebook to the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, a hand-illustrated black and white tarot deck crafted with practitioners of the mystic arts in mind. The pen and ink drawings were inspired by woodcut prints from the late Renaissance. Symbology called upon is based predominantly on medieval European alchemy, astrology (the Sacred Seven), Hermeticism, Zoroastrianism, Abrahamic angelology, Kabbalah, Catholicism/Christianity, Sufism, and Egyptian mythology.

For more information about the deck, go to:

Excerpt from The Book of Maps

Zoroastrian Magical Protection Charm

In an Avestan text dated to the 9th and 10th centuries, Ahura Mazda reveals to Zoroaster the magical powers of the falcon feather. The Magus who prays over a falcon feather can empower the feather into a charm that will ward off evil, cure and cleanse one of evil possession, and protect whosoever wields the feather against demons.

The prayer of the Magus is as follows:

The Will of the Magus
is the Law of Righteousness.
The Gift of the Good Mind
is the Good Deed done for the Holy One.
To give relief to the downtrodden
is to bring honor to the Holy One.

Who is the victorious
who protects the teachings of the Holy One?
Be it known that I am;
I am the Guide for both Worlds.
May Conscience come with Wisdom
and deliver us all to the Holy One.

The Magus consecrates the feather during the prayer by passing it across the smoke of a sacred fire (the modern practitioner might consider the smoke of sacred incense) and anoints it with sacred water (the two forms of purification in Zoroastrian magic). The falcon feather is then empowered as a protection talisman that wards evil.

The Prayer of the Magus is also used as a routine mantra recitation for sustaining the powers of the Magus to connect to both Worlds.

Note: First verse is a translation of the Ahuna Vairya from the Gathic canons and the second verse is based on the Kem Na Mazda, an Avestan exorcism incantation. Vohu Manah has been reworded to “Good Mind.” Ahura Mazda has been reworded to “the Holy One.” References to the “Good Priest” has been translated to “Magus.”

In a contemporary application of the instructions, if sourcing an actual falcon’s feather is either impracticable or unethical for you, then work with a sympathetic representation of the falcon’s feather. A charm, talisman, or illustrative sigil of a falcon’s feather would work equally well. What you would then do– if I’m throwing out my personal recommendations– is to then call upon and draw in the animal spirit of the falcon to lend power to the craft, since it wouldn’t be inherently part of the object the way it would be in an actual falcon’s feather.

Why is this random Zoroastrian magic spell in a book that’s just supposed to be about the cards in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck?

Page of Swords

Because it’s part of the sigil magic and symbolism I wove into the Page of Swords, silly.

Tarot of Enchanted Dreams: Deck Review

The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams by Yasmeen Westwood is a digital photography-collage tarot deck that transports the would-be enchantress into a fairytale fantasy. The color palette of blues, purples, pinks, and silver sets a mystical tone. If you were that little girl or boy who used to dream of being a princess in a faraway magical land of angels, fairies, and unicorns, then this is absolutely the deck for you.

At the craft of digital photo collage art, Westwood is talented. The layering is seamless, color tones adjusted to be perfectly complimentary, and the black borders very much work to balance out the artwork. The cardstock feels like industry standard, maybe somewhere between 300 and 310 gsm, not entirely sure. It’s also shiny, with a very glossy sheen.

Continue reading “Tarot of Enchanted Dreams: Deck Review”

What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?

I wanted to post this for the aspiring deck creators to crush your dreams. I’m kidding. Sorta. Here’s the thing. If you’re aspiring to self-publish your own tarot deck, then I want to make sure you go in fully informed and with a very comprehensive strategic plan. Can you arrive at the other side of all this having earned some money? Yes, you can. If you’re smart. I’m hoping this post will help you to be smart.

A lot of indie deck creators kind of just wing it, forget to account for certain costs, and end up losing money on their venture. The rare success stories are lauded with such fervor that we start to believe that a financially successful tarot deck is the norm. Well it’s not. The norm is the deck creator who didn’t do the math right, and even though a healthy dollar amount was raised through crowdfunding, much of what was earned was inadvertently wasted, and the tarot deck never makes it past its first print run.

So if you plan on crowdfunding your deck production through a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, then this post can help you ascertain how much you’ll really need to ask for. Or if you go the route of bootstrapping it yourself, what is that going to look like? How are you going to maneuver your budget planning?

To keep the topic streamlined, the only thing we’ll talk about here is money. Numbers. So we’re beginning the train of thought assuming you have a marketable tarot deck. If your deck is shit none of this matters. So assuming you have a product that can generate a healthy level of demand, let’s proceed.

In each of the tables here, you’ll see the line items are numbered along the left column. My notes will correspond with each numbered line item.

YOUR COSTS

Let’s begin by itemizing your anticipated costs and expenses. How much money, in U.S. dollars, does it take to self-publish your tarot deck of 78 cards, packaged in a box, and accompanied by a little white booklet?

Also, don’t just look at the tables and end there. You have to read the line notes that explain where each expense description is coming from. Some line items you can probably cut out. Some will be cheaper for you. Though some may be more expensive. It all depends. So read the notes.

Continue reading “What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?”

Register for the 2018 Card Reading Magic Summit with Tori Hartman!

I’m honored to be selected as one of the speakers at the 2018 Card Reading Magic Summit hosted by Tori Hartman. She and I will be talking about the steps to becoming a six-figure mystic. So many of the folks I love dearly will also be speakers, so personally, I can’t wait!

Register for the Free Pass Today

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The free pass only gives you access to the live airing of each speaker’s segment. If you’d like open access to all interviews for two weeks after the event, so you can take a little longer getting through them, get the Bronze Pass for just $5. Even cooler: you get access to all past events, too! Come on. That’s pretty amazing. $5?

There are also Silver Pass and Gold Pass options for those serious about the craft. These interviews are with professionals in the sacred arts industry who will share with you their trade secrets, professional experiences, and expertise in the field. You don’t want to miss the event.

Plus, every speaker will be offering a free gift! Mine is a 62-page PDF excerpt of a textbook I’m putting together for a future online course, “Sole Proprietorship in the Sacred Arts.” You’ll get to read the first seven chapters in a PDF download that you’ll get for free when you register for the Summit.

The 62-page excerpt will share my own story, then some myths about the six-figure mystic, designing your business model, defining your voice, branding basics, and what I consider the most important chapter: how to create value.

Last week I released a sneak peek into the 62-page PDF:

The Magic of Prosperity Consciousness

Click to Download PDF

This week, I’m releasing another sneak peek:

Introduction

Click to Download PDF

If you register to watch my chat with Tori live, on September 15, 2018, at 9:30 am PT, then it’s free! Or you can register for a two-week access, for just $5, which includes access to all events for the Summit. Be sure to check out all the tiered options below.

Register Today

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Becoming the Six Figure Mystic: Tori Hartman’s 2018 Card Reading Magic Summit

I’m honored to be selected as one of the speakers at the 2018 Card Reading Magic Summit hosted by Tori Hartman. She and I will be talking about the steps to becoming a six-figure mystic. So many of the folks I love dearly will also be speakers, so personally, I can’t wait!

Register for the Free Pass Today

Click Affiliate Link

The free pass only gives you access to the live airing of each speaker’s segment. If you’d like open access to all interviews for two weeks after the event, so you can take a little longer getting through them, get the Bronze Pass for just $5. Even cooler: you get access to all past events, too! Come on. That’s pretty amazing. $5?

There are also Silver Pass and Gold Pass options for those serious about the craft. These interviews are with professionals in the sacred arts industry who will share with you their trade secrets, professional experiences, and expertise in the field. You don’t want to miss the event.

Plus, every speaker will be offering a free gift! Mine is a 62-page PDF excerpt of a textbook I’m putting together for a future online course, “Sole Proprietorship in the Sacred Arts.” You’ll get to read the first seven chapters in a PDF download that you’ll get for free when you register for the Summit.

The 62-page excerpt will share my own story, then some myths about the six-figure mystic, designing your business model, defining your voice, branding basics, and what I consider the most important chapter: how to create value.

And just for a sneak peek, here’s the seventh chapter included in the free excerpt: “The Magic of Prosperity Consciousness.”

You can download and check out the sneak peek seventh chapter (eight pages) right now!

The Magic of Prosperity Consciousness

Click to Download PDF