The Bad Bitches Tarot by Ethony has my kid sister’s name all over it. Okay, it doesn’t literally, and she’s not exactly a “kid” anymore, but if I were to profile who would fall in love with the Bad Bitches Tarot, it would be the yuppie upper east side Manhattan dwelling Millennial fashionista third-wave feminist who thinks it would be really chic to have a tarot deck out on her coffee table.
I showed the deck to my sister by video chat and she just gasped. “Omigod it’s gorgeous. But I don’t know how to read the tarot.” To demonstrate how she could totally use this deck for herself, I pulled a card for her–the Six of Wands–then read the card’s meaning out of the accompanying Guidebook. The meaning, straight out of the book, fit perfectly with her situation.
We then pulled another card, the Seven of Swords. Again, I read that card’s meaning to her straight from the book. The sis major LOL-ed at how blunt the message was. Ethony’s Bad Bitches Tarot Guidebook has attitude, style, and a modern, punchy tone. Sis totally approves.
“So I can just read that tarot deck for myself? Pull a card like you just did and then read about it from the little Guidebook?” (It’s embarrassing to me as a tarot author how minimal my sisters know about the tarot…)
“Yes.” I said. (Or you could read the card meaning from that giant book your sister wrote but whatevs.)
“I love it,” she beams. And really, you can’t help but to love this deck. It’s a goddess deck for the digital Millennial age. It photographs beautifully for Instagram shots, with rose gold gilded edges and a semi-matte finish that’s got just the perfect relaxing ASMR shuffling sound when you riffle the cards.
I didn’t receive my copy of Ostara Tarot until well after the spring (or vernal) equinox this 2017, but I am looking forward to taking the deck out again in March of 2018 to tap in to the equinox energies through this deck. However, really, this deck is perfect for year-round use. A case can be made that the expressions from this deck can apply to any spoke in the wheel of the year.
For me, the spring equinox is a pivotal moment in the year because my fruit trees are in blossom. Many of our flower plants are also beginning to show signs of reemerging life. It is the time of the year when my yard is a wash of pinks, purples, whites, and yellow. It’s breathtaking to see.
There is a Seven of Pentacles vibe around my place during the spring equinox. The garden work you put in the past year begins to show and you can count the blossoms to get a sense of the fruit harvest to come this summer and autumn. However, it also is a time to check yourself and remember never to count your chickens before they hatch because I’ve definitely been duped before! I think I’m about to get quite the harvest for the summer and then an icy rain kills all the blossoms overnight, or you just never know what might happen between this moment and the next sabbat.
The Badgers Forest Tarot by Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven, who is also the creatrix of The Rabbit Tarot, The TaRat (Tarot of the Rat), The BlueDogRose Tarot featuring domestic animals, and The Riderless Tarot, a horse-themed deck. I think she is an animal lover, but I’m not sure. You’ve got to check out all her tarot decks, which are self-published and listed through Etsy.
This is my favorite animal spirit deck, for sure. When I read with this deck, it’s less tarot and more oracle deck, and more specifically, I’m checking out the animal spirit depicted on the cards drawn. Typical tarot card meanings come secondary. And if you’re looking for an animal spirit oracle deck, even though this is tarot–and it does fit what I consider to be the parameters for a tarot deck–this is really a great one. Continue reading “The Badgers Forest Tarot: Animal Lovers Rejoice”→
The Sirian Starseed Tarot by author Patricia Cori and illustrator/designer Alysa Bartha is premised on the esoteric (some would say New Age) belief that walking among us humans are a handful of aliens, or aliens-that-look-just-like-humans, or ancient aliens (?), and I think it’s different from what Scientologists believe but I can’t be sure because to an ignoramus like me, they sound the same. Both indigenous Native American and esoteric Buddhist belief systems include an idea similar to starseed people, so maybe there’s a grain of truth in it all somewhere.
The Sirian Starseed Tarot was channeled to Patricia Cori and there is a fascinating workshop she did, hosted by North Atlantic Books, the deck’s publisher, that you can watch here on YouTube. I highly recommend that you check out the webinar, especially if you will be working with the Sirian Starseed Tarot.
The Major Arcana in this deck is breathtaking to view and eerily accurate to work with. Check out Keys 0 through XIII above (Death becomes Transition…I know some old school tarot readers aren’t too fond of the “Death becomes Transition” interpretation of Key XIII…). However, what you need to do when working with this particular deck, especially if you’re a seasoned tarot reader, is to check your tarot knowledge at the door and work with this deck within its own universe of a system. You’re going to have a much more enriching experience with the Sirian Starseed if you do just that. Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of hang-ups, biases, and cognitive dissonance.
Llewellyn has just come out with its Tarot Calendar for 2018 and it is a thing of majesty. Tarot nerds, enthusiasts, and aficionados: rejoice! This is your monthly calendar that you’re going to want hung up on your wall at home or in your reading space. It’s simply marvelous.
The calendar features cards from so many tempting decks that just gives the calendar such magic. It’s vibrant, well-produced, and after 2018 has gone and passed, you’ll want to hold on to your calendar for memory’s sake.
I am absolutely charmed and captivated by the Mystical Tarot, a deck by Giuliana Costa and published by Lo Scarabeo in 2017. The artwork is going to be reminiscent of the art style in the classic Sola Busca Tarot, timeless, painstakingly detailed for maximum sign and symbolism intuitive work, and just all around an incredible deck to work with. It lends itself perfectly to a professional tarot reader’s go-to “workhorse deck,” and essentially reads like a Rider-Waite-Smith.
The artwork is magnificent to behold. At the bottom of the Majors, as you can see in the photograph above, are glyph references for the astrological correspondences. The world that these characters in the cards inhabit is both familiar as our world but…also not. It seems to be an other-world as well. The above glimpse of Key IX starts to give a hint as to what I’m talking about (look up in the sky), but as we progress along, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
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.
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.
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.
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.