Button Soup Tarot: A Cult of Tarot Collaboration Deck

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.

Button Soup Tarot reads surprisingly well. I say “surprisingly” because it’s no big secret that most tarot readers are skeptical of how cohesive the messages from a collaborative deck can be. But then, I mean, when you do psychic readings, aren’t you pulling from the collective consciousness, and isn’t the collective consciousness little more than, well, a hot mess?

I love the namesake, Button Soup, a reference to the folk tale Stone Soup, where a traveler arrives in a village seeking food, but no one is willing to share. The traveler claims he can create an incredible soup with just one stone. Eventually, every villager chips in a little and all the contributions result in an incredible stew, and enough for all.

There’s also quite a Who’s Who dimension to this deck, as many incredible deck creators we all know and love contributed cards. Pamela Steele (Steele Wizard’s Tarot, Wizard’s Pets Tarot), Jessica Leigh Henry (Lions Gateway Tarot), Joan Marie (The Friar’s Delight Lenormand, which is in the queue for a forthcoming review from me), Yasmeen Westwood (Tarot of Enchanted Dreams), Gaby Merman (forthcoming Chromatic Chapel Tarot, and if this Instagram account is any indication, holy moly does that look like an amazing deck I can’t wait for!), Emilie Muniz (Simplicity Tarot), Kristine Gorman, and the incomparable M. M. Meleen (Rosetta Tarot, Tabula Mundi, Pharos Tarot).

Every artist featured is incredible– I was just naming a few whose decks I’ve reviewed in the past, or names I’m more readily familiar with.

My friend Cerulean, Mari Hoshizaki, was the one who alerted me that this collaboration was in the works, so of course I had to contribute. You see my Queen of Swords drawing in the above photo. =)

My favorite way to read with the Button Soup Tarot has been a simple past, present, future, and bonus 4-card reading. I shuffle, focus on the matter at hand, then cut the deck into three card piles, right to left. I go right to left here, so the right-most card pile is past, center is present, and left is future. If you want to give this approach a try, of course you can read any direction you like, left to right if that makes more sense to you.

So that’s the three card reading– past influences causing what’s going on in the matter at hand, present status, and where this trajectory is headed (future projection). Then I choose which area– past, present, or future– I’d like a little more info on, and pull a second card from that corresponding card pile for the “bonus” in this 4-card reading method.

And this deck takes to that method perfectly.

The card back design, deck box, everything is just beautiful. I’m so in love with how this deck came out. I don’t think any deck collection is complete without a couple of collaborative decks. They’re so much fun and such an incredible way to celebrate the tarot community.

This deck was organized by Joan Marie of Rabbits Moon Tarot. She also runs the Cult of Tarot forum. You can buy the deck here, with proceeds going to support the Cult of Tarot forum, an invaluable gathering place of tarot aficionados.

I should also mention that the li’l white book was so much fun to read! The artist for each card contributed a passage on the card meaning, interpretation, and artist intentions for the card they drew. To read this collective glossary of card meanings was a treasure.

Tarot Tag: 15 Questions, via Arwen

This tarot tag is from 2017, started by Arwen, and I’m only getting around to it now. But it’s a fun one!

EDIT: Omg, no, I did do this tag before! Back in April of 2017! See here. That’s hilarious. I totally forgot!

1. What is your current favorite deck?

I’ll start by disqualifying my own deck.

I’m in love with the Majors only Pharos Tarot by M. M. Meleen. It’s Thoth-based and Meleen’s artwork is exquisite. You can learn more about it and order your copy from Meleen here. I’ll be posting an in-depth review of the deck and its guidebook in the near future.

Artistically and theosophically, I see the evolution from her Tabula Mundi Tarot. I love seeing the way Thoth influences this deck compared to the Thoth influences in the Tabula Mundi.

Continue reading “Tarot Tag: 15 Questions, via Arwen”

The Muses of Tarot by Ethony: Book and Deck Set

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.

This illustration is one of my favorites in the deck.

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.”

Continue reading “The Muses of Tarot by Ethony: Book and Deck Set”

Creative Commons License for the SKT Vitruvian Majors

Click me to download the Major Arcana image files for free

I thought I talked about this before, but there still seems to be some confusion around the issue, so I am hoping this post will clarify.

You can download the black & white image files for the SKT Vitruvian Major Arcana illustrations here. (To be more specific, it’s the Majors, the four Aces, and the four Archangels.)

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.

Benebell Wen
P. O. Box 20021
Castro Valley, CA 94546

Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz: A Tarot Deck for Everyone

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.

Continue reading “Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz: A Tarot Deck for Everyone”

Tarocchi di Mantegna (1465) Instructional Engravings

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:

  1. The Human Condition,
  2. The Muses & Apollo,
  3. The Classical Liberal Arts,
  4. The Cardinal Virtues, and
  5. 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.

Continue reading “Tarocchi di Mantegna (1465) Instructional Engravings”

Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey & Card Journaling Therapy

Click on photo to purchase book

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 LevelAdvanced

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.”

22 Journaling Prompts with the Tarot Tableau

DOCX   |   PDF

Click above to download.

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.

Click on worksheet to download fillable PDF

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.

Continue reading “Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey & Card Journaling Therapy”

The Oracle of Human Destiny: Cartomancy + Bibliomancy Reading Method

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.

Table of the Celestial Signs with Corresponding Questions, Part 1 of 2

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?”

Continue reading “The Oracle of Human Destiny: Cartomancy + Bibliomancy Reading Method”

Ciro Marchetti’s Encore Tarot (& New Media Art vs. Old Visual Arts)

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.

Continue reading “Ciro Marchetti’s Encore Tarot (& New Media Art vs. Old Visual Arts)”