Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Ruminations on the Court Cards

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Rumination Notes:

Aces to Threes

Drawing the cards in sets of three, actual card size. This is how I begin.

I’ve been struggling with how to depict the tarot courts since back when I was still doing the Majors. And the whole time, I’ve been reading, brainstorming, researching, thinking– though no drawing– how the heck am I going to do this, and do this with any semblance of justice.

The more texts I studied on angelic correspondences to the elements, directions, and/or astrology, the more confused I got. Do I go Golden Dawn since up to this point so much of my point of view with the deck has been GD-influenced, or do I follow the lead of religious scholars turned mystics who say some of the Golden Dawn attributions for the Kabbalah are anti-Semitic in their source origins? How do I reconcile Christian mysticism, Jewish mysticism, and Islamic mysticism when it comes to angels? How do I also do it all with resonant subtext to Chinese, Taoist, and Buddhist ideas of angelic(-like) realms?

Also, when deck creators want to incorporate multiculturalism, they typically follow– shit–what’s his face–I can’t think of the name without looking it up. I’ve got it in an end note citation in Holistic Tarot if you really care. Anyway, Eden Gray followed what’s-his-face and everybody after Eden Gray followed Eden Gray so we go with this whole notion of Wands medium-hair, fair-eyed, Cups light-hair, light-eyed (or those two swapped), Swords dark-hair, medium-eyed, and Pentacles dark-hair, dark-eyed, so we typically end up with Asian or Middle Eastern for Swords and then Middle Eastern, Native American, or African for Pentacles. I opted not to go that route.

Agrippa made note of correspondences between geography, directionality, and the four elements, though he kept it relatively vague. Crowley then gave his thoughts on geography, directionality, and the four elements. His directionality conflict with Agrippa’s, but the geography and four elements kind of lined up. Well, lined up close enough to work for me. So that’s what I went with instead of what has become the more popular and trending ethnic associations for the four courts.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg of daunting considerations for the courts.

Drawing angel wings on the knights assembly line style…

The more I thought into it, the more stressed and nervous I got. And I did not want to go the direction of “screw everything and everyone, I’m gonna follow my intuition and channel it from my own higher consciousness” or whatever it is people say when they don’t want to listen to precedent or read books. How do I honor precedent and still acknowledge my intuition?

The art style for the deck I opted for is in the spirit of Renaissance humanism, a time when Christian mysticism and paganism merged in eclectic ways and mystics of that time were far more cosmopolitan and worldly than we folks today give them credit for being. I think the louder establishment voices of that time in history for structured Catholicism and the Church came as a knee-jerk reaction of the establishment to the subversive undercurrent of diverse thoughts that were emerging at the time.

Click to enlarge for viewing.

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Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Rumination Notes Aces to Threes

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Rumination Notes:

Fours to Aces

Annnnd…. I’m done with the pips. Phew!

Let’s recap. On June 13 of this year, I got into my head this fantastical idea of drawing my own tarot deck. It was supposed to be a ha-ha fantasy but then I couldn’t shake the ha-ha fantasy out of my head, so immediately I got to work.

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Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Rumination Notes Fours to Aces

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Ritual Coloring of the

Major Arcana

I shared all my digital files for the Major Arcana from the tarot deck I’m currently drawing at the end of June, 2018 here: Spirit Keeper’s Tarot (Majors Only). Then went on to explain the purpose for ritual coloring of the Majors, among other thoughts, here in a subsequent video and blog post: Ritual Coloring of the Major Arcana, though there I share some draft images from the Minors as well. If you’re not subscribed to my Instagram, then you probably don’t know that I’ve been sharing progress photos of my work as I go along. In the event that interests you, subscribe here, IG: @bellwen.

So as I explained in the last blog post on drawing my own deck, after completing the Majors and beginning on the Minors, I started with the Fours. And the suit order I’m going in for each number set is Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, which I’ve renamed to Scepters, Chalices, Swords, and Orbs. Lots of really specific reasons for the renaming. I definitely didn’t do it just for shits.

The above thumbnail snapshot does not show the cards in the order I completed them. Because of the digital filenames, when I take a screen shot of the file folder that the scans of these images are in, they’re in alphabetical order. Also, these screen shots don’t include the titles and captions.

Continue reading “Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Rumination Notes Fours to Aces”

Ritual Coloring of the Major Arcana

I posted a video over the weekend in which I ramble in many different directions. It was supposed to be a video in which I introduce you to the black and white line drawings of the Major Arcana from the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, which are now available for your free download. It was also supposed to be me making a case for undertaking a ritualized process of coloring in the black and white line drawings.

And instead, I went off on a tangent about God, the Devil, my lifelong love of art, and the role of religion in occult study. I do at a couple points keep to topic and mention the tarot deck and coloring in a tarot deck, but I’m afraid most of it is just a winding road of rambles.

Yes, you can tell I’ve cut and edited the clips because the original rambling was even longer, which all but turned into an unfiltered incoherent video diary of what I did for each Key. When I went to edit the video clips, I thought, yeah, I’m not going to post a one hour video, so I literally cut about half of the footage. Hence the noticeable heavy-handed cutting here. Don’t worry, I promise you, you’re not missing out: the cut ramblings were very boring.

If you haven’t already downloaded the Majors-only black and white line drawings (all umteen zip file folder versions of them…) and the companion guidebook (your operation manual), go here:

Download the Majors from the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot

I’m now at work on the Minors, but it’s going to take a lot longer to complete than what it took for the Majors, because I need to return my focus to other projects in the pipeline, both professional and personal.

For the Majors, I worked on them pretty much during every single millisecond of non-day-job-work time I had for sixteen days (new moon in Gemini to the full moon in Capricorn). I won’t be able to commit that full-force on the Minors, so the time allotted for the Minors will need to be distributed out more evenly and in a more balanced way with my regular schedule.

Like I did with the Majors, my process for the Minors is to first read Mathers, Papus, Waite, and Crowley, find the common denominator (not easy at all; really struggled with this), then factor in my point of view, philosophy of life, and how I’m sensing that common denominator energy in today’s collective unconscious, and then depicting that personalized and updated extrapolation, all while attempting to keep with that medieval grimoire woodblock print art style.

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Tarot Summer School 2018

Click to reserve your Season Pass! $199. Installments available.

This is my third year participating as a master class instructor at Tarot Summer School and the line-up is spectacular. You’re not going to want to miss this intense semester, so get the Season Pass!

You get lifetime access to any course you purchase. If there are 7 courses you’re interested in and you buy each separately, that’s almost the cost of the Season Pass. For $199, you’ll get all 13, and get access to the courses for life. So it’s not like you have to do all 13 courses this summer. Buy it this summer and save it for later. Revisit the courses as frequently as you like. It’s a pretty incredible deal when you think about it. Click on the banner above to book your Season Pass, or check out the courses separately below.

I’ve hyperlinked the titles to their respective course description page at the Tarot Readers Academy. There are also hyperlinks for each instructor’s own website or professional landing page. That way if there are any names you’re not familiar with, you can learn more about their work.

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The Mother Wound Tarot Reading

In feminist circles, the mother wound is oft talked about. The mother wound is the relationship tension often inherent between a mother and a daughter. It’s a daughter:

  • feeling like the mother is fundamentally disappointed in how the daughter has come out, that the daughter hasn’t met the mother’s expectations;
  • feeling dysfunctional because the mother has explicitly or implicitly conveyed to the daughter that there is something fundamentally wrong with the daughter;
  • feeling like you can never repay the enormous sacrifices the mother has made for the daughter; or…
  • feeling afraid that she might outshine the mother and therefore hurt the mother’s feelings somehow, so plays down her attributes intentionally, tries to be smaller and more helpless than she actually is.

For me, when ill-dignified maternal cards are consistently showing up in synchronistic patterns throughout a tarot reading for a querent who is biologically female, who identifies by gender as female, or has transitioned, I’ll explore the mother wound. The mother wound can be such a pervasive root cause of the internal conflicts in our lives.

If you intuit that you may be affected by the mother wound at some soul or fundamental level, a tarot spread programmed specifically to address that mother wound can help.

If you’re looking to explore the mother wound or just probe deeper into the spiritual implications of your relationship with a mother figure, try out this spread.

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Peace Oracle by Toni Salerno and Leela Williams

The Peace Oracle by Toni Salerno and Leela Williams is a 45-card oracle deck premised on divinatory guidance to help us achieve both inner and outer peace. It’s about helping you through life’s challenges. When you’re feeling most stuck, the Peace Oracle is intended to guide you through overcoming those obstacles.

The iconic art style of Toni Salerno is vibrant contemporary, neo-impressionistic fantasy. That’s present throughout the Peace Oracle, which I think works perfectly with the modern spiritual point of view expressed in the deck.

Try out an oracle card reading with the deck to see if it resonates with you. Start by defining a challenge you currently face, that you’d like some divinatory guidance on how to overcome. Then select one of the cards above: left, center, or right. The card drawn will reveal a critical key or factor you need to consider to help you overcome your challenge. Now let’s proceed with the deck review.

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Money Tarot by Eugene Vinitski

This isn’t so much a formal deck review as it is a “let’s ooh and ahh this Vinitski deck together.” I reviewed his masterpiece deck The Venetian Tarot previously, here. And now I have the incredible opportunity to offer you a first-look into the Money Tarot.

The Money Tarot pulls art from actual bills of currency around the world and superimposes actual money art onto the tarot deck structure. The accompanying little white booklets–and there are two of them–tell you the bill that each tarot card image comes from. Also, loving the reversible card backs.

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Your Saturn Returns (Free Saturn Return Survival Kit)

In Episode #29 of “Bell Chimes In,” I talk about the Saturn Return. I also make reference to the Decisive Age and how it may relate to your Saturn Return. (What is a Decisive Age? Find out more here.)

A Saturn Return is a period of time, typically within a year, when the transiting or present Saturn’s positioning is at the same degree in the same zodiac sign as it was in at the moment of your birth. In other words, if Saturn was positioned at 3° in Capricorn when you were born, and currently Saturn is at 3° in Capricorn, then you, my friend, are in the throes of one of your Saturn Returns. Typically, there are three: the First Saturn Return, the Second Saturn Return, and your Third Saturn Return.

For the general population (there are a few astrological exceptions, which I get into in the video), Saturn can create a large weight or obstacle that holds you back. People cross a major threshold in their lives during a Saturn Return. You’ll hear astrologers talk about the First Saturn Return as a coming-of-age, when the process of growth may be difficult, but is the necessary rite of passage that must be crossed in every person’s life path.

You can find free Saturn Return Calculators online. Here’s one that I like. Input your birth details, click “Calculate,” and the dates of your three Saturn Returns, all Saturn Oppositions, and Saturn Squares are provided.

Going through or about to go through one of your Saturn Returns? Here’s a fun Saturn Return Survival Kit you can download for free.

DOWNLOAD PDF:

Your Saturn Return Survival Kit

The Saturn Return Survival Kit is granted to you under a Creative Commons license, Attribution 4.0 International. Continue reading “Your Saturn Returns (Free Saturn Return Survival Kit)”

Your Year Ahead Twelve-Month Tarot Forecast Reading

Selecting a significator card. Deck pictured: Golden Universal by Lo Scarabeo.

For quite a while I offered a Year Ahead twelve-month forecast reading, but I received so many requests in 2017 that the reading type burned me out. So I won’t be offering it in 2018, but it’s an incredible tarot reading methodology and one you can absolutely do for yourself. So in this post I’ll show you how you can do my Year Ahead forecast reading all on your own.

The Year Ahead forecast reading consists of the following steps:

  1. Solar Return Astrology Analysis
  2. Preliminary Four Worlds Reading
  3. Elemental Key for the Year
  4. Twelve-Month Four-Quarter Projections
  5. Six Points Revelation Spread
  6. Power Word for the Year

Now let’s address each in turn.

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