Animal bones have enthralled me since an early age. So I am excited about reviewing Lupa Greenwolf’s The Tarot of Bones and the deck’s companion book.
The Tarot of Bones is a photographic portfolio of assemblage art pieces by Lupa, herself a hide and bone pagan artist. The images of a tarot deck tell stories, and through those stories, our own life story is divined. Likewise, bones tell stories, and oracle bone divination is as old as humankind. From that premise comes The Tarot of Bones.
We begin with The Fool, Key 0, depicted by a coyote skull atop a field of flowers. The Magician is a corn snake skeleton formed into an ourosboros. The High Priestess is the skull of a wolf over a crescent moon formed from a mirror. On either side, an assemblage of trees. The Empress is a whitetail doe while the Emperor is the skull of a goat.
I love the stories that Lupa provides in the companion guidebook. For instance, she reveals that Key V: The Hierophant was the first card in the tarot deck she started designing, but it was also the last card to be completed. Here, by the way, we see a javelina skull amid religious texts. The Lovers is a pair of albatross skulls positioned in an assemblage to represent a mating ritual.
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There is a tarot deck that has become a prop in my front sitting room. I leave it out on an end table and most of the time, a guest will reach for it and flip through the cards. I always know when that has happened, even if I am in a different room, because immediately thereafter I hear the squeal. “Oh my god! What is this deck? It’s gorgeous!” Then there’s a range of follow-up commentary, from those recognizing the art of Sandro Botticelli, to those who are either “Now this is the most fascinating deck of playing cards I’ve ever seen” to “So is this like a tarot deck, like the psychic fortune-telling cards you use?”
That deck is the Golden Botticelli Tarot designed by A. A. Atanassov and published by Lo Scarabeo. I love the reversible card backs and the ornate design that, to me, captures the Florentine Renaissance.
The cards are a mosaic of imagery from Botticelli paintings piecemealed together digitally. And it’s done with such seamless mastery that you almost can’t tell.
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The Tabula Mundi Tarot is a Thoth-inspired deck that harmonizes mythology, world religions, historic references, alchemy, the Kabbalah, Thelema, and astrology. It is, as the deck creator M. M. Meleen puts it, the creator’s magnum opus.
I cannot convey to you how much I love this deck. To me, the Tabula Mundi Tarot supersedes the Thoth. It will take me an untold number of years to unpack just a modicum of what this deck can offer a practitioner. In fact, that is why this particular deck review write-up comes so late. I’ve had this deck on my reading desk for almost a year now.
The premise of the deck is a visionary journey, by the Fool, through a wormhole in the fabric of space-time, a journey where the Fool experiences visions of various “pictures of the world,” or tabula mundi. Here, I’ll be reviewing both the deck and the companion book, Book M: Liber Mundi.
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I love Colette Baron-Reid’s work and have her Wisdom of the Oracle cards. I also have both Wisdom of the Hidden Realms and Wisdom of the House of Night. In my guest waiting room while clients wait their turn, there’s always a Colette Baron-Reid oracle deck out for them to tinker with. So I was eager to check out her transition from the oracle world into tarot via her newest work, The Good Tarot.
The artwork in this deck is mesmerizing, I love the emerald card back design, and the deck is a resplendent addition to the genre of New Age Aquarian consciousness tarot decks targeted for the mainstream Indigo Crystal child that has risen in popularity this last decade.
The soft-focus, ethereal point of view superimposed over the classic tarot architecture is an intriguing premise. I would consider this deck to be kid-friendly. Heck, tarot reading parents can totally use this deck to improvise bedtime stories. (That would be a really cool idea actually, especially with The Good Tarot, which is rich with magical creatures, the fairy tale ethos, and the promise of a happily ever after.)
The premise of the Good Tarot suggests a tinge of rivalry with the Doreen Virtue tarot premise, which is the attempt to cast a spiritually protective net over the tarot by eliminating any window of negative energies to come through and to eradicate “scary” cards that might otherwise be triggering to those of softer dispositions. Even if there is no intent to compete, Baron-Reid and Virtue certainly appeal to the same target market.
Let’s start by seeing how well you connect with these cards. From the above photo, choose one of those three cards– left, center, or right. We’ll circle back to this later and I’ll reveal which card you drew.
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I have the extraordinary privilege to preview the galleys for the Major Arcana of the upcoming Mystic Mondays Tarot by artist and designer Grace Duong. She’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund her deck, so be sure to check it out here.
The deck is called “Mystic Mondays” in reference to its use as a projection or divination tool to use on Mondays, for setting intentions, connecting to spirituality, and personal empowerment, every Monday. It’s about beginning each week mystically. The Mystic Mondays Tarot is for you to set intentions on Monday and set forecasts for the rest of your week. “By creating space to connect with your inner voice,” says Duong, through the Mystic Monday Tarot, “you learn to trust your own intuition and to let it be a guiding force.”
Duong based the deck on the Rider-Waite-Smith, but gave the classic imagery a modern-mystic makeover. Utilizing color symbolism and color psychology to showcase the archetypal expressions of each card, Duong has created a vibrant, visually stimulating deck that has a chic vibe to it.
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The Vision Quest Tarot by Gayan Sylvie Winter and Jo Dose is an older deck from 1998/1999 published by AGM Müller. The pair are also the creators of The Oracle of the Goddesses, a now out of print 33-card oracle deck. I am loving the Vision Quest Tarot and find it to tap poignantly into inner realms in a way that few decks manage to do.
With powerfully clear and accessible symbolism, Vision Quest Tarot allows us to recognize archetypal images. The visionary symbols contain both the spirit of traditional tarot as well as that of tribal shamanism and the spirit of the ancient medicine wheel. Through indigenous imagery, we discover new aspects of our subconscious and learn to understand its messages. Vision Quest Tarot reveals ways of dealing with life’s challenges more creatively and with more insight.
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If you haven’t watched the episode of ArwenTalks where Arwen Lynch interviews author and deck creator Jaymi Elford about the Triple Goddess Tarot, then do so right now. It’s a fantastic interview and Jaymi gives you incredible insights into her deck creation process. I count Jaymi as one of the tarot community folks I’m closest to, so I’ll disclose the potential bias upfront. I adore her, so it’s going to be a bit hard for me to not by extension naturally adore everything she does. However, I’ll try my best to remain neutral and objective. I’ll even throw in some criticism. Promise.
The deck is produced by Lo Scarabeo with art by Franco Rivolli, an Italian illustrator who produces some of the world’s best pagan-inspired art. So the Elford-Rivolli team is going to be a powerhouse. The color palette was well thought out, as you can see above, and I love how Triple Goddess uses the structure of tarot to tell the story of the Triple Goddess, an archetypal motif found across many cultures, East and West, and not just in specific strands of pagan faiths.
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The Botanical Inspirations deck published by U.S. Games is one of the most exquisite botanicals inspired decks I’ve ever come across, and from these photos, I’m so sure you’ll agree. How lovely of a hostess gift would this be for that loved one cooking Easter Sunday dinner for you! Or a gift for celebrating the upcoming Beltane?
Botanical Inspirations is created by Lynn Araujo and the artwork is from the portfolio of painter and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759 – 1840). The copyright page of the guidebook notes Nora Paskaleva as the designer of the deck. What I love most, though, is the rich content contained in this beautiful box.
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If you’ve ever uttered the words “the cat is my spirit animal,” then you don’t even need to read my review–click here and order the Spirit Cats inspirational oracle deck right now. Nonetheless, keep reading. I am about to cause a cute overload.
Artist Nicole Piar has hand-painted 48 cards that call upon the familiar spirit of the cat to heal us, guide us, inspire us, and bring us joy. When I’m hit with a bout of anxiety, feeling stressed, fatigued, or need comfort, going through these cards will lift my spirit up immediately. There is a soft, playful, and gentle energy about the Spirit Cats oracle deck that will absolutely elevate your mood and put a smile on your face.
Piar has depicted these cats as kami, or nature spirits, and reflect a cat kami that is here as your guardian spirit or spirit guide. The deck in its entirety is the embodiment of a cat animal totem, which you can call upon for daily guidance, creative or intuitive inspiration, and to cultivate peace of mind.
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The Tarot de St. Croix was first published in 2014, distributed by Devera Publishing, and a second edition has just come out this year, which you can now order direct from the artist and creator, here.
The deck pictured in these photographs is the 2014 version produced by Devera Publishing. It comes in a beautiful full-lid lift top glossy box of high quality and the cardstock quality is great. Love that the accompanying guidebook fits inside the box and contains a wealth of tarot card meaning insights, many that would add to your compendium of tarot knowledge. The guidebook here is not just a rehash of the same old card meanings. There is a lot here specific to the symbolism on the deck and how that symbolism and manifestation exemplifies the traditional card meaning.
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