Readings with the Divine Muses Oracle cards by Maree Bento feel like a lucid dream. Through my inner ear, I can hear music playing softly in the background as I work with the deck. Bento has worked an exquisite, mysterious magic with a touch of alchemical intrigue into Divine Muses.
Each card represents an archetypal force of alchemy, magic, and mythology that has real world manifestations. They’ve made recurring appearances throughout Bento’s life, which is what inspired her to create this oracle deck.
The cards, along with its companion book, are a “guide that yokes the celestial into the terrestrial, the sacred into the mundane,” writes Bento about Divine Muses.
Inspired by the Emerald Tablets and the wisdom of Ma’at, Jennifer Sodini’s Amenti Oracle: Living with a Feather Heart deck and book set is a wondrous modern vision of ancient lore. The illustrations are beautifully done by Natalee Miller.
The product design is both whimsical and mystical– a matte magnetic flap clamshell box with a velveteen setting inside where a tuck box of the cards fits perfectly. Then you’ve got this book that’s somewhere in between hardcover and paper. It’s superb.
The Herbcrafter’s Tarot is a masterpiece, but it’s more than that. It’s a beautifully compiled trove of knowledge. Its companion book, written by Latisha Guthrie, is going to be one of your favorite go-to grimoires. The artwork by Joanna Powell Colbert is just perfection. She’s like a modern-day Pliny the Elder.
Production value for this deck is top shelf. It comes in a sturdy top and bottom lid box with a matte finish and everything, the deck and book, tucks in perfectly, with a matching green ribbon for ease of taking the cards out from its box.
The artwork is absolutely stunning. Look at Key 8: Strength, featuring garlic. I love the inclusion of garlic snapes and the detailing of honey-preserved garlic (one of my favorite recipes, by the way).
To see how you connect with the deck, choose one of the three cards above and remember which one you chose– left, center, or right. At the end of this review, we’ll revisit your selection.
The White Sage Tarot by Theresa Hutch and published in late 2018 by U.S. Games is a charming and whimsical little pocket-size deck in a tin in soft pastel hues. It doesn’t feature any humans and instead, focuses on the animal kingdom, though there are references to man-made objects as you’ll see.
The deck description provided by the publisher notes that the intention for White Sage Tarot is to be a balance of masculine and feminine energies. However, it still felt more feminine to me.
You get these quick-reference chakra correspondence cards because understanding the chakra correspondences will factor in to how you read with these cards. There’s also a little white booklet with card meanings that help you to read with this deck that otherwise diverges from traditional tarot imagery.
The cards follow the RWS order of keys in the Majors and rely on animals as omens. While upon first impression the deck may not seem beginner-friendly, there’s a way to get really beautiful and powerful readings with the White Sage Tarot, though I’m probably a bit of a maverick here…
…I totally sidestep traditional tarot reading techniques. I don’t even treat this deck as a tarot deck (even though it is, and totally follows the classical tarot structure).
The Gill Tarot, created by Elizabeth Josephine Gill and first published back in 1991, has been reprinted by U.S. Games earlier this 2019. The tarot community declared, “We want a reprint of The Gill Tarot!” and U.S. Games obliged. Yay!
I received this deck as a Conference gift, which the publisher gave to all attendees at Readers Studio 2019 in New York, New York.
Before actually seeing the cards in the deck, I assumed I wasn’t going to love it, that this wasn’t going to be for me. (You know what they say about what happens when you ass-u-me…yep, so true.) But I am loving it. I mean omigosh, that Empress card! That Justice! That Death card! Temperance! How do I even count the ways I love the artwork here!
There’s a retro flashback-to-the-90s tarot art style going on here, which I just adore. I really miss the days of tarot art before the whole “let’s-photoshop-the-shit-out-of-everything” high-def digital fantasy art movement that’s now taken over the tarot world.
The prominence of the Arabic numerals on the pip cards makes more sense when you’re working with a Qabalistic approach to the cards, which is in line with Gill’s original intentions for the deck. To start, Gill designed the four Minor Arcana suits based on the four kabbalistic worlds: Atziluth with its essence of Fire for the suit of Wands; Briah with its essence of Water for the suit of Cups; Yetzirah with its essence of Air for the suit of Swords; and Assiah with its essence of earth for the suit of Disks.
To initiate your understanding of the design, Gill recommends that you lay out the court cards, all the Kings in a row, left to right as Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks respectively. Then below it, all the Queens in a row, left to right as Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks, then below that the Princes and then below the Princes, the Princesses. Then when you study the grid layout, you’ll better understand the cosmological movement of power.
Each numbered pip, corresponding with a sephirah from the Tree of Life, marks a particular stage of the querent within the four kabbalistic worlds, and when you study and understand that courts grid, you’ll understand the exact positioning of the querent at any given moment in time and space.
When 10 shows up, for example, you are in a position of discernment but are more susceptible to the vices of greed or avarice, and the suit of that 10 will tell you which of the kabbalistic worlds and what corresponding life lessons you’re going through.
The 9 cards indicate something important pushing out from your subconscious, yearning to be known and acknowledged, where the virtue to be gained is independence, but the vice you’re currently more susceptible to is idleness.
The 8s mark a juncture point of mental functions, with the virtue being honesty and the vice being dishonesty. The 8s indicate the forces of communication at play. And so on the numbers go until we get to the Aces, where the A cards indicate the alpha and the omega. You’ve struck the root cause of what’s going on with you.
How you prefer to read tarot decks will determine how you feel about the keywords in The Gill Tarot. If you’re unwilling to syncretize the system of interpretation you’ve built up to this point with this specific deck of cards, then the prescribed keywords here can be distracting.
However, if you’re willing to meet the deck creator at a merged, integrative place, then these keywords are effing amazing. Seriously. This deck reads beautifully if you will allow it to do what it needs to do. I don’t know how else to explain it without sounding crazy, but if you try to exert complete dominance and control over these cards, it can be cumbersome. But if you yield to them and let the keywords and color symbolism do the heavy-lifting for you, it’s such a powerful deck.
The simplicity and child-like innocence of the art style fools you into believing it’s a simple deck, but it’s not, oh not by a longshot. You don’t realize how deep, well thought-out, and full this charming deck of cards is until you surrender your preconceived notions and let these cards do their work.
In an earlier photograph for the deck look-see, you’ll note that the card back design is non-reversible. That’s because Gill does not intend these cards to be read with reversals. While the key numbering in the Majors is RWS, the vibes you get from the deck art are definitely more Thoth. There is a winsome magic to these cards that I can’t fully explain to you in words, that you simply have to experience for yourself.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the deck creator, which you’ll find in the opening passages of the Introduction:
“To be useful for spiritual searching, a system must offer a mirror in which one can see oneself . . . and it must be a guide to lead the seeker. There must also be a living, growing dynamic bond between the seeker and the object of study. Without that, nothing arises except the accumulation of information and an increase in vanity, based on a view of oneself as a being imbued with great amounts of mystical knowledge.”
I’ve worked with Tori Hartman’s Chakra Wisdom Oracle cards since 2014 when it was first published, and the oracle deck is lovely. So I’ve been greatly anticipating the release of Chakra Wisdom Tarot. The Chakra Wisdom Tarot presents a fresh, contemporary, and innovative Western interpretation of the Eastern chakra correspondence traditions.
An understanding of Hartman’s interpretive approach might help lend context to both the Chakra Wisdom Tarot and her previous Chakra Wisdom Oracle cards. Hartman is a psychic and she approaches cartomancy as a magnifying tool for clairvoyance and claircognizance. A near-death experience over 20 years ago awakened clairvoyant and claircognizant abilities within her, transforming her life purpose. Since then, she has been a teacher of the spiritual and metaphysical arts. Once you understand the defined scope of Hartman’s approach, her cards and even her chakra interpretations make a lot more sense.
In the first grouping of cards, color-coded red for the First Chakra, as it’s referred to in this deck and book set, or Muladhara, relates to “The Route Taken.” These 11 cards center around the theme of family beliefs and shifting old ideas (per the guidebook). The element is Earth and in terms of planetary correspondences, Hartman attributes the First Chakra to the Sun, which is a provocative interpretation.
There are many surprising assignments in the deck, which I appreciate because they push the limitations of my preconceived notions. For example, the Ace of Cups is assigned correspondence to the root chakra. While that may be a significant divergence from my classical understanding of the tarot and my native Eastern metaphysical practices with the chakra systems, it’s certainly groundbreaking and revolutionary. I like when deck creators walk toward the cutting edge, and Chakra Wisdom Tarot certainly does that.
From early childhood I’ve placed great importance on seeing birds and coming across feathers as divine omens. The Divine Feather Messenger oracle deck and book set honors that. The deck is created by Alison DeNicola, who was also the creatrix behind the Mudras: For Awakening the Energy Body deck and book set, which I’ve reviewed before here and Yoga Cats, which I haven’t written a review of yet, but I have this deck, have shown it off on my Instagram before, and is just criminally adorable!
Divine Feather comes in a sturdy two-piece top and bottom lid box with a beautiful, pristine matte finish. The aesthetics here is perfection.
DeNicola teams up with watercolor illustrator David Scheirer, who is a master of crisp line work balanced with deeply expressive color. DeNicola could not have found a better artist to work with on Divine Feather. Scheirer’s talent and eye for detailing perfectly memorializes each bird’s essence and persona.
Goddess oracle decks have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity as of late, coinciding with what feels like a global, collective acknowledgement of the divine feminine. Some of them have missed the mark, with cries from the community about cultural appropriation [also watch here and another here] but Invoking the Goddess is one done right, and as powerful as it is beautiful, a model to be followed.
In Tarot of Magical Correspondences, Eugene Vinitski has designed a magician’s deck, and it’s spectacular. After Kabbalistic Tarot, which I’ve reviewed before here, Vinitski had acquired so much research and knowledge that hadn’t been incorporated into that deck, and so Tarot of Magical Correspondences was born, built upon the works of Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, Manly P. Hall, Paul FOster Case, and Gareth Knight, among others.
The cardstock is thick, glossy, high quality, and the edges are gilded. You also get a guidebook packed with an impressive amount of information and substantive content, given its size. Each deck will also come with a Certificate of Authenticity numbered and signed by the deck creator. This is a limited edition deck, with only 700 copies available, so get yours over on Etsy while supplies last.
Vinitski notes that Tarot of Magical Correspondences is based largely on the works of Aleister Crowley, and the Kabbalistic references throughout are based on Golden Dawn attributions. Vinitski worked mainly off of Liber 777 by Crowley.
The Faery Godmother Oracle Cards by Flavia Kate Peters, illustrated by Julie Dhemiah Meacham, transports you to a world of mirrors, each one leading to its own mystical realm. The art and the keywords in this deck are evocative, whimsical, and to me, perfect for inner child work.
The artist, who goes by Dhemiah, paints in a fairytale style. She’s called to the spirit and magical realms and her art reflects the visions she channels from what she refers to as the “other worlds.” Her works are primarily done in acrylics and watercolors.
Before we continue with the review, three cards are presented to you above. Choose one: left, center, or right. Then at the close of this review, we’ll see what your card pick was and read its corresponding entry from the guidebook.