Faery Godmother Oracle Cards

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.

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Influence of the Angels Tarot by Jody Boginski Barbessi

Influence of the Angels is one of the most exquisite angel tarot decks. Although the artwork is digital collage, it doesn’t feel like it at all. Classic paintings of antiquity are expertly modified into the tarot architecture and bring to life the Christian perspective of angels. The technical work here is flawless.

Angeles, notes Barbessi, are celestial messengers between God and humankind. In Influence of the Angels, the Major Arcana feature named angels while the Minor Arcana feature nameless ones.

I love that the deck comes with a meaty 184-page guidebook that delves in to the chosen symbolism on the cards, angelic messages, and presents this deck as a comprehensive beginner’s deck where you can begin working with the cards right out of the box. The back of the book provides two spreads tailored for the deck that anyone, beginner-level to seasoned reader can use.

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New Era Elements Tarot by Eleonore F. Pieper, Ph.D.

The New Era Elements Tarot by Eleonore F. Pieper is a modern deck that places the tarot archetypes in modern-day history and events.

Sepia-toned, featuring brilliantly-detailed sketch art, New Era features some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen on a deck. Many of the images are difficult to look at, as you’ll see in this review.

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The Crow Tarot by MJ Cullinane & What I Do With a New Deck

The Crow Tarot took the tarot world by storm in 2018 and became the talk of the town. It began independently-published and crowd-funded, raising $120,000 in what felt like a blink of an eye. It was fully funded on Indiegogo around this time, February of 2018, and here I am one year later, February of 2019, reviewing the mass market version of the deck by U.S. Games.

Given that most mass market decks take one to two years to go from contract to market, it’s evident that as soon as the Crow Tarot was picked up for mass publication, it was expedited to the front of the line. And no wonder! The deck is absolutely stunning.

Margaux Jones (MJ) Cullinane is a Seattle-based artist and graduate from the prestigious Parson’s School of Design. I couldn’t definitively identify the medium of the artwork in this deck, but on Cullinane’s bio page in the companion book, she notes that her unique and signature digital collage technique was self-taught and since that’s the only artist’s medium mentioned, I’m guessing this deck is rendered by that signature digital collage style.

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The Black Tarot: Lines of Intuition

In 2018, The Black Tarot launched a successful Kickstarter campaign. You can read more about the deck here on its official website. The minimalism of the deck is so intuitively well-attuned to our current zeitgeist, what with the KonMari tidying up speak joy method raging across the nation while every beauty, lifestyle, and health guru on social media is pushing the minimalism aesthetic. So the Black Tarot comes to us during interesting times.

Stay with me here: I envision a fashionista with her hair expertly tousled, smoky eyes, silver studded rings on every finger, wearing black and heather gray, boots, and telling me the story of my life and what’s to come with this deck. Something about this deck just feels so in tune with what’s going on around us at the moment.

The deck comes in a tuck box and one single card deftly sums up everything you need to know about its point of view and the structure of the suits.

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Falnama Oracle Cards (A Turkish and Iranian Divination System)

The stunning and exquisite Falnama Oracle Cards by Asli and Polat Canpolat and published by Red Feather in 2018 has been flying under the radar and I have no idea why. I can’t believe these cards haven’t already become the next big thing among cartomancers.

The card backs are a beautiful, subtle green and feature three different designs, as you see above. I wasn’t entirely sure what the correspondence as between the different card back designs and what was on the card faces, but that could very well just be my own ignorance. =)

Source: Smithsonian Exhibition

Falnama is a genre of Turkish and Iranian literature traced back to 17th century Iranian traditions. They’re books, and I saw several of them displayed at the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul.

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Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards

The Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards is a fun, beautiful New Age divination deck by Kyle Gray with art by Lily Moses. It’s a quintessential Hay House deck and one I’m really loving. These cards will pleasantly surprise you with resonant messages. Readings with Angels and Ancestors will bring clairvoyant images that leave you with a lasting imprint.

It’s a 55-card deck printed on heavy-duty cardstock in an absolute matte finish. Angels and Ancestors is a self-contained system and kit, which means you don’t need to know a darn thing about cartomancy to pick this deck up and begin working with it. The guidebook is a wonderful primer for the beginner.

Let’s see how you’re connecting to this deck, shall we? Let your eyes scan across the three cards–left, center, and right. We’re going to be following the ceremonial instructions provided in the companion guidebook. Take a moment to concentrate on your breath and continue scanning the cards, from one to the next. I’m going to rephrase the recitation a bit for the purposes of this exercise.

Start by reciting to yourself:

I am here in this space to forge a sacred bond with the Angels & Ancestors oracle deck today.

Now recite to yourself:

Guardians of the four corners,
Mother in the Earth, Father in the sky,
Angels, ancestors, sacred ones,
I call on you and welcome you here now.

The full transcript in the guidebook goes on further, but I think this will suffice for our purposes.

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Sacred Rebels Oracle Cards by Alana Fairchild and Autumn Skye Morrison

On the year of this blog posting, the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck is now five years old. I’ve had it for a while now, and only now have gotten around to sharing my impressions of it. The deck is by Alana Fairchild, one of the reigning voices in New Age spirituality.

Personally, I love the deck art, I love the spirit of what this deck is trying to achieve, and overall production design is lovely. However, it would be remiss of me as a person of color to not also mention that many people of color do have some bones to pick with Alana Fairchild decks. An argument can be made that she culls from the surface of cultural and religious traditions that she doesn’t fully study or immerse herself in, and then photoshops those traditions through a White lens. Instead of trying to sway you one way or the other, let’s just walk through the card images and you can decide for yourself how you feel.

Sacred Rebels is premised on the celebration of individualist spiritual paths, refusing to follow tradition, orthodoxy, or the mainstream, in pursuit of living your own personal authentic truth. I totally get behind all of that.

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Zillich Tarot by Christine Zillich: A Thoth-Inspired Watercolor Deck

Those of you who attended Readers Studio 2018 in New York will recognize this deck as having come in the event gift bags, courtesy of U.S. Games. The artwork is done in watercolors by German artist Christine Zillich. The deck art blends mythological, astrological, and Kabbalistic symbolism, featuring Crowley’s keywords on the pips.

Click on photo for enlarged view.

The cards are petite at 2.25″ x 3.75″ (compared to standard tarot size: 2.75″ x 4.75″) and remind me more of a typical Lenormand size deck. You get the deck in a keepsake metal tin. I love the blue-purple tones of the reversible card backs. I know I’m getting nitpicky here, but there’s just the slightest imbalance in terms of vertical spacing in the white caption boxes at the bottoms of the cards–there’s not enough space between the bottom edge of the artwork and the first line of text, compared to the amount of spacing between the bottom edge of the card and the last line of text.

There’s a typo with the roman numeral for Key 21: The Universe, but it doesn’t really bother me. While Key 20 (XX) in the Thoth deck is titled Aeon and in the RWS is Judgement, here in Zillich, it’s Justice, which confused me, so I turned to the LWB. Indeed the card is supposed to be titled “Justice,” so this isn’t a typo on the card (unless it’s a typo that appears on both the card and in the LWB…)

The description of the artwork for Key XX reads in relevant part: “Golden light from heavenly trumpets awakens the dead. . . . An old age ends and a new era begins. The eternal consciousness is reborn in the spirit of the primordial fire.” So that sounds very Judgement-y and Aeon-y to me. Assuming the keyword “Justice” for Key XX is correct, I’m not entirely sure how justice fits in to the card, even with the deck creators’ own meaning attributions for Key XX.

Click on photo for enlarged view.

The abstract cubist style pays a clear homage to Lady Frieda Harris’s style. That Death card is just absolutely beautiful and to me, almost has a dark goddess vibe to it. Some of the symbolic renderings in the Majors feel more RWS to me than Thoth, like how Key 8, while titled Lust, is positioned as it would be in the RWS (whereas Crowley goes through quite the trouble explaining white Lust/Strength “should” be Key 11) and Key 11 is Justice/Adjustment. Also, the depictions, most notably in The Hermit card, or even the Wheel of Fortune feel more RWS than Thothian.

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Top 5 Oracle Decks of 2018

Continuing with the 31 Days of Tarot community challenge by Ethony, let’s talk about my top five oracle decks for 2018.

These are my top five oracle decks from the previous year, meaning (1) acquired the deck in the year 2018, and (2) actually worked with the deck in 2018, but most of these were published well before 2018.

The Celtic Shaman’s Pack by John Matthews and Chesea Potter is a deck I plan on reviewing in-depth at some future point. It’s an older deck that was then re-released  (and given a redesign) in 2017, but one I didn’t acquire myself until 2018. And I love it. Wow, I can’t even.

The guidebook that comes with the cards is everything you want to get you oriented in working with Celtic shamanism for yourself. I cannot shower this oracle deck with enough high praise, except to say you’ve got to try it to believe it. You can look forward to me posting a deck review of it this year, in 2019.

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