I’m intrigued by the strong opinions that tarot readers can hold for collaborative decks. Collaborative are decks where the artwork is done by a cast of different artists and illustrators, often of varying experience in art, from the amateur or self-taught to the professional. The Button Soup Tarot was organized by the Cult of Tarot forum members and the result turned out really well.
I speculate that the collaborative deck appeals mainly to a rather special, rare, eclectic, and liberal-minded personality. Each and every card is going to feature a different style, created with a different medium, ranging from traditional to digital art. I’m loving this particular collaboration. It feels celebratory and there’s such a joy to it.
The Muses of Tarot is a book and deck set by Ethony Dawn, with illustrations by Lena and Sasha Semenkova. The book is about 13 muses of the tarot that came to Ethony in her visions and channeled messages to her that correspond with the 78 cards of the tarot deck. In addition to the book, you get a set of 13 Muse oracle cards, 13 altar cards for those Muses, 13 invocation cards, and 7 chakra energy amplifier cards.
The 13 names of the Muses are original conceptions by Ethony that describe universal or archetypal spirits, and by “spirits” here I mean an embodiment that our superconsciousness can take on. They also represent 13 types of tarot readings. For example, Adoria is the Muse of love & relationship readings. Brujula is the Muse to invoke for tarot readings about big changes coming up in your life. Divina is the Muse of predictive tarot readings. Holistix is the Muse of health, healing, and wellness readings. Veilia is the Muse of mediumship. And so on.
In terms of production quality, you always get luxury from Ethony. Everything from cardstock, full-colored guidebook pages, and every fine detail of the packaging design is top rate. The finish on the box, book, and cards is this velvety rose petal texture that’s ultra matte. The box features a magnetic strip closure and every aspect of the graphic design is clean, fresh, feminine, fun, and has that cosmopolitan vibe to it.
When it comes to production values, this is perfection. This is what deck creators ought to strive for. Love it all. Now let’s talk about the content.
The premise for this deck and book set, and the manifestations of the 13 Muses must have been a comet of divine inspiration that nose-dived straight into Ethony’s inner genius. I love what she says about the Muses:
“When I work with my creative muses, I believe I am making an agreement with a daemon to bring something from the ether into the material world. . . . The muse and I have a creative love affair. I bring my background, experience, personality and flair to the project, but I am also working with an element of pure magic.”
These images are provided to the public for free download and under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means the following:
You can share the images. You are free to copy and redistribute the illustrations in any medium or format.
You can adapt the images. You are free to transform, build upon, redesign, edit, revise, and in any way remix the illustrations for any purpose, including commercial purposes. Yes, you are free to profit financially from your adapted images of the SKT Vitruvian Majors, Aces, and Archangels.
Attribution or credit notes. My preference is that you make it very clear what part of the image or adapted image is attributed to my original work and what part is attributed to your creative additions. In other words, if you color in one of these black & white images and then sell your colored in SKT image, please make it clear in your product description that I am the artist for the black & white image while you are the artist for the coloring application. If you have traced part of my original art and then redesigned it, transforming it from the original, please include a note about what parts were my original and what parts you’ve redesigned and transformed. I say “my preference” because if you unintentionally forget to do that, I’m not going to be mad at you. =) But just please try not to forget.
While this license is free, if you do commercialize your SKT-based work, I’d be beyond thrilled to receive some merch! =) Send to the below address.
P. O. Box 20021
Castro Valley, CA 94546
The Angel Tarot and Occult Tarot by Travis McHenry first came out via Kickstarter, and then got picked up for traditional publication by Rockpool, which launched earlier this year. I’ll be covering both in this review.
The Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz is this perfect RWS-based deck that checks all the boxes that people keep saying they want in a tarot deck, but don’t seem to notice that Simplicity Tarot exists. It flies quietly, humbly under the radar, and I have no idea why. Muniz’s deck features all the hallmarks for what our community keeps saying we want in a tarot deck, and yet this deck isn’t trending. Why is that?
Here is this deck with imagery that feels classic, timeless, not overly modern, with refinement and elegance, beautiful on any reading table spread, and has the diverse representation so many of us readers today want in a deck.
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:
The Human Condition,
The Muses & Apollo,
The Classical Liberal Arts,
The Cardinal Virtues, and
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. At the very end of this post are links to zip files for you to download the formatted high-res image files if you’d like to print out your own deck.
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 Level: Advanced
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.”
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.
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.
This is fun! A delightful soul and kindred spirit gifted me with the above book, which you can download a pdf of at the Internet Archive, since it’s in the public domain. The Oracle of Human Destiny (1825) is credited to someone going by the pen name “Madame Victorine Le Normand” and is written in first person, with references to doing divinatory readings for Napoleon.
You’ll need a standard deck of 52 playing cards. I opted for the pips, pages (knaves), queens, and kings from a Tarot de Marseilles deck. Works just as well.
From the below charts, decide which of these 12 questions (along the right side of the page spreads) best expresses what you want to ask the oracle. Then note the corresponding zodiac sign on the left side of the page spread.
For example, say I want to ask about financial stability to come, business opportunities, or employment. I might opt for Libra and the question I’ll be asking will be, “Inform me whether I shall ever be Promoted, Wealthy, or Fortunate?”
If there is one Ciro Marchetti deck to have, it’s the Encore Tarot. This is the deck that fully showcases Marchetti’s talent as an artist, the consistent clarity of his vision, and evinces the magnificence of tarot art, taking what had been possible traditionally to new modern heights.
When future tarot scholars look back at our era, the one deck artist’s name I am very sure will come up time and time again is Ciro Marchetti. His style is so distinct, so unique that it has indelibly trademarked itself in the collective consciousness. I can spot a Marchetti deck by the artwork before knowing he was the creator, just as I (and all of us) can spot a Marchetti wannabe.
I’ve always been a huge admirer of Marchetti’s talent, though admittedly, in my own past I’ve been known to be ambivalent about digital art decks or, more specifically, new media art. But then that’s been a long-raging cold war in the arts community anyway– new media art vs. the old visual arts (or “fine arts”).
Marchetti is the new media artist who changed my mind. New media art is defined as art created by using digital technology, forms of digital art and computer-generated graphics. Old visual fine arts would be drawing by hand, painting, sculpture, in essence what is “hand-crafted.” However, these definitions can get a bit dysfunctional, especially when you get into hand-drawing with a stylus digital pen on a computer pad vs. hand-drawing with a pencil on sketch paper.