Avoiding the Thoth Tarot Because Crowley

A recurring sentiment you’ll hear, even among tarot readers, is that Crowley’s Thoth deck should be avoided, because Crowley. After e-mailing me paragraphs of rehashed Internet research on the salacious nuggets of the man’s biography to lay the foundation of their point, the inevitable question will come: “Should I avoid working with the Thoth because it’s got bad juju?”

I’m always amused when this question is presented for me to answer, as if I have any reasonable idea whether you in particular should work with or avoid working with the Thoth. It’s a matter of personal preference, and so it’s a question I can’t answer without knowing you through and through.

Continue reading “Avoiding the Thoth Tarot Because Crowley”

Giveaway: The Simple Tarot Beginner’s Kit by Angie Green

Angie Green, the creator of the Simple Tarot, is running an incredible giveaway for the Beginner’s Kit! You can read a review I did of the deck here.

I get the incredible opportunity to team up with her and run a giveaway through my channel for one of her Simple Tarot Beginner Kits!

Deadline for Giveaway: March 15, 2019

Winner Announced: March 16, 2019

From Angie:

The winner will receive a Simple Tarot Beginner Kit by Angie Green.

From Me:

In addition to winning Angie’s Simple Tarot Beginner’s Kit, you will also win and receive a signed copy of Holistic Tarot.

About the copy of my book: Note that this is from the first print run of Holistic Tarot. There have been subsequent edits, revisions, and many other print runs, so just know that this edition has all the original typos and errors. It’s from the very first batch of HT ever printed. So maybe it’ll be worth money someday? Who knows. Anyway.

I’m also going to include the following in a magical tarot starter kit:

  • a consecrated crystal,
  • a bottle of aura, energy, and space clearing spray,
  • a blank tarot journal that I will intuitively hand-select for you, and
  • a plush velveteen drawstring bag for your tarot deck.

Eligibility for the Giveaway

U.S. residents only. This giveaway is limited to those living in the United States.

Second, I ask that more seasoned tarot readers to please sit back on this giveaway. I’d like this giveaway to be reserved for those just starting out on their tarot learning journey.

So, how do you enter? To enter, complete To-Do #1, To-Do #2, and To-Do #3. That’s it. =)

To-Do #1:

Share any one of the below photos of the Simple Tarot on Twitter, Instagram, or as a public Facebook post with the hashtags #thesimpletarot and tag the deck creator @thesimpletarot and in your caption, share why you’re excited about this tarot deck and giveaway! Or you can gush about all the cool free tarot resources Angie gives away here: https://thesimpletarot.com/resources and share that link.

#thesimpletarot

@thesimpletarot

To-Do #2:

Link to a posting from this website (benebellwen.com) or a video from my YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/c/BenebellWen) that you really liked and felt was insightful to you, including a few short words on why you liked it. 

To-Do #3: Most Important!

Leave a comment to this blog post that includes:

(1) Hyperlink to your completed To-Do #1, and

(2) Hyperlink to your completed To-Do #2.

When you leave your comment, please be sure to include the e-mail address that you’ll check in the event you win, because the winner is going to be notified on March 16, 2019 by the e-mail of record per the comment you’ve left to this blog post.

You do not need to publicize your e-mail address in the comment! It can stay private!

When you fill in the comment box, just input the Email address in the Email line only, where it includes the note, “(Address never made public).”

I will see your Email address, while it remains unpublished on the blog post, and will use that Email address to contact you in the event you’ve won.

Only those who leave a comment below with a working e-mail address (and who reply within 24 hours to the notification that you’ve won) are eligible.

The winner will be announced here on this post on March 16, 2019.

I will e-mail you to let you know you’ve won and will need your full mailing address. I’ll mail you the Holistic Tarot starter kit, give your name and address to Angie, and she will mail you the Simple Tarot Beginner’s Kit.

Selection Process:

The name of each commenter to this blog post (To-Do #3) will be written on a slip of paper and put into a container. I’ll pull a name at random and film the drawing, which I will then post to my Instagram on March 16, 2019.

On the same day, I’ll privately notify that individual via e-mail and update this post to announce the winner.

The winner will have 24 hours to reply to my e-mail and claim the prize. If I don’t hear back from the winner in 24 hours, I’m going to draw a second name and the prize will be awarded to the second runner up, who again, will have 24 hours to claim the prize, and so on, and so on, until somebody claims the prize within the 24 hours of e-mail notification. =)

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

3/17/2019 Update

Sorry, sorry I’m late to this! It’s been a hectic weekend!

Image14

#9 is the winner. Hello, Dana! You’ll be getting an e-mail from me in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Website Terms of Use

Tarot Correspondences by T. Susan Chang

This book is such a must-have. Those of you who’ve been following along in my orientation video series for Spirit Keeper’s Tarot will have seen that I recommended Tarot Correspondences as the tarot book to get if you want to work with correspondence systems.

Chang’s Tarot Correspondences is tailored to all levels of tarot proficiency, whether you’ve “been reading for decades” or “you just picked up your first deck,” (as noted in the Introduction). “Correspondences,” she writes, “are patterns and connections inherited from esoteric systems. In tarot, correspondences line up with specific cards.”

Working with tarot correspondences is premised on the doctrine of sympathy, a Hermetic principle that the way one system goes with the other is part and parcel to the magic that happens. Correspondences, notes Chang, are the bridge between worlds. And I couldn’t agree with her more.

Continue reading “Tarot Correspondences by T. Susan Chang”

Reviewing the Lunar Nomad Oracle by Shaheen Miro

The Lunar Nomad Oracle is a Lenormand-based oracle deck with a dream-like, visionary aesthetic that’s surreal and almost, I want to say, Dadaist style to the art. It feels subversive, almost anarchical, and yet undeniably beautiful.

The deck art here has a Victorian-inspired digital photo-collage style, giving off a vintage feel, and yet through a point of view and aesthetic that’s wholly modern. For instance, there’s something fresh about the negative photography for the Mice card. Reading spreads with the Lunar Nomad Oracle is like visualizing a dream sequence. It’s beautiful.

Continue reading “Reviewing the Lunar Nomad Oracle by Shaheen Miro”

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

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.

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

Click Affiliate Link

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

Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) and Thoth Comparison with Spirit Keeper’s Tarot

Keys I to VII

Over the last few months as I shared progress photos of my card illustrations, especially when we got to the Minors, RWS folks started to get confused by my pictorial interpretations, though I think that’s because Thoth influences started to show up more prominently.

On my shortlist of objectives for creating Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, one of those objectives was to harmonize the RWS and the Thoth together, which I’m going to say right up front turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. It was so hard for me that in fact at many points during the process, I was beating myself up and lamenting, damn, I’m failing so bad at this.

I figure a side by side review of the decks will help clarify some of the confusion about where I’m getting what for the symbolism I’ve opted to go with in Spirit Keeper.

To do that, I’m using The Original Design Tarot Deck published by Siren Imports for the RWS and the Thoth Tarot Deck published by U.S. Games for the Thoth. I printed a sample copy of my deck, which you see above on the very right, but this is not what’s going to be produced for sale. I printed this physical copy to scrutinize the lines, production quality, alignment, that kind of thing, and because of that, I’ve already spotted things that need to be fixed, which will get fixed before final production. So just bear in mind that what you see here for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is pretty damn close to what will be offered for sale later down the line, but with editorial improvements.

Speaking on the design of the Majors from my frame of mind, the voice of what I might describe as my inner genius came through more distinctly. And by genius I don’t mean hey look at me I’m objectively a genius, no. I mean that inner genius we all have that we need to go through the structured, methodical process to unlock. That inner genius is what I’m saying really came out.

I say that because I think something shifts by the time I reach the Minors. More on that later.

Keys VIII to XIV (with Thoth VIII and XI switched intentionally)

I’m picturing the cards in the exact order I drew them. You’ll see back in the First Septenary Keys I to VII, there were no human figures depicted. I had started the project with the intent on having no depictions of humans. Where human-like figures would be used, they’d be, like, you know, with an animal head or something, the way you see in The Emperor, or most of the face concealed from view, like The Empress.

Then I got to Key 8 Strength and broke that rule. Doh.

By the way, I devote a whole section in The Book of Maps, the companion guidebook that will go along with Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, to the Key 8 and Key 11 situation and my struggle with deciding how to approach the 8 and 11 switch, which funny enough, involves the Justice card and those goddamn balancing scales.

I felt like there had to be more to the reasoning for Waite’s switch than the order of the zodiac wheel. My speculation at the end of that struggle is it had to do with differing theology, so then I had to decide where my own theologies aligned.

Since I went with Key 8 for Strength and Key 11 for Justice, following Waite’s switch, for an easier comparison, in the above photo I switched 11 for 8 and vice versa in the row of Thoth cards.

Keys XV to XXI

Although there are inevitable nods to the Marseille, the reason I didn’t focus my intentions on actively integrating the Marseille is because for Spirit Keeper, my focus is on the esoteric and occult expression of the tarot. The Marseille is by original intention a deck of playing cards that later got appropriated into a form of divination or fortune-telling, whereas both RWS and the Thoth were from beginning to end intended as esoteric and occult expressions of the tarot. You could even argue that both the RWS and the Thoth tarot decks are the product of spell-crafting, born from fertile pools of knowledge and magical experience. That is why these two in particular are the chosen parents.

Continue reading “Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) and Thoth Comparison with Spirit Keeper’s Tarot”

Am I Creating a Fluffy Tarot Deck?

Ongoing working draft of the cards.

Nevermind that the premise of the Major Arcana for Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is to connect you to your Holy Guardian Angel, and therefore by definition is an angel tarot deck, which we all know occultists immediately giggle at, but now as I study how some of the imagery for the cards are coming along, I can’t help but giggle to myself and confess: oh man, I’m creating a fluffy tarot deck.

Maybe I can defend such an accusation by saying it’s not fluffy, it’s just a strong statement in favor of self-empowerment and an expression of religious faith. (But isn’t that what all designers of fluffy decks say? Crap.) Take The Tower, for instance. More commonly, the focus here is on a punishing Act of God, or having to tear down what you’ve so meticulously and painstakingly built, because you’ve built it wrong. There’s typically a forceful sense of calamity when you consider The Tower.

Yet here I’ve added a talisman to The Tower: I’ve given the Seeker an axe. There’s also blood dripping from the axe, suggesting that you’ve done this before; this isn’t your first time at the rodeo, so you know what you’re doing–you can do this. Also, if you consider the bigger picture here, we see that the serpent tail of the Demon is coiled around this tower, along with chains binding this tower to the Demon, so this destruction also destroys servitude to the Demon. There’s an element of liberation here.

Is that nice-washing The Tower card?

Continue reading “Am I Creating a Fluffy Tarot Deck?”

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.

Continue reading “Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Ruminations on the Court Cards”

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.

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