Way of the Panda Tarot by Kim Tsan

I knew that the Way of the Panda Tarot would be cute and cuddly, but I was not prepared for its depth of wisdom or its exploration into a unique philosophy of life. In the same way kids say the darndest things, pandas do, too.

This deck is that stuffed teddy bear you had when you were two that you wouldn’t go anywhere without; it’s Blankie, who you wouldn’t ever let go near a laundry machine. In fact, the pandas depicted on the deck each have names and back stories, which you’ll learn about in the guidebook.

When you order the deck, you’ll get a Little White Booklet, which is packed with info on its own. You can also order an extended, comprehensive Guidebook. I’m going to talk about it all.

Click image for enlarged view.

First, the guidebook. It’s the official operation manual for your deck, and its bible. The book itself is written in such a way as to be interactive. Tsan’s writing style is whimsical, full of delights, gently-worded sanity, and a lot of wisdom.

Before we continue on, choose a card, left, center, or right. Remember your selection, because we’ll revisit these three cards at the end and give you a quick little divinatory reading.

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The Reverie Tarot and Midnight Reverie Tarot

As of this posting there are only two weeks left of the Reverie Tarot Kickstarter campaign, so please go here and support this psychedelic tarot pop-art project. The simplicity and minimalism here means you need to rely on your intuitive powers, which is what will help you dial up your clairs.

Constance Watkins has penned a dream-like world that brings tarot numerology to life. The Reverie Tarot and Midnight Reverie Tarot set is beautifully paired and would make a great gift to any poet, writer, or artist for them to keep close by on their work desk, especially since Watkins offers a guidebook of card meanings to go along with the deck. I wasn’t sent the guidebook to review and haven’t seen any of it, so you may want to reach out to the Kickstarter campaign for details.

With this deck, instead of examining the surface imagery of your situation, you examine its underlying numerological code. In fact, in addition to a classical tarot reading with the cards, also consider the numerological significance of the numbers splayed out in front of you.

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Divine Masculine Tarot Prototype Look-See

Tarot of the Divine Masculine by Vasich & Vasich is a deck I’m really excited about. It features extraordinary talent in every aspect of its conception and design.

This post is a look-see of some prototype cards from the deck. You can also check out more images of the deck on Marko Vasich’s Instagram feed, @markovasich, linked here. The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to launch today, October 1, 2019, so please go here and support their campaign.

The artwork here is done in oil paints. Like Da Vinci and Renaissance oil painters, the technique used is a multi-layering method, also known as the Flemish technique, which is what gives these works of art such vivid coloring. These works are hand-painted on gessoed art board. I can’t stop extolling the beauty of the art in this deck.

Look at the detailing etched into the temple columns for the background of the King of Wands. Look at the hairs on the lion’s mane. Check out the lizard or gecko coiled around the man’s left ankle and shin. Even the checkerboard tiling is painted with such expertise and subtlety as to exude realism.

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Golden Venetian Lenormand

The Golden Venetian Lenormand is a sister deck to Eugene Vinitski’s Venetian Tarot, which I’ve reviewed before here. Vinitski has teamed up with author, philologist, and art historian Elsa Khapatnukovski to produce a masterpiece of a Grand Jeu Lenormand, which consists of 54 cards (rather than the popularized Petit Lenormand or Petit Jeu Lenormand, which consists of only 36).

However, you can also select out the 35 Petit Lenormand cards and work with this deck as a Petit Lenormand. So in essence, you’re getting two decks in one. You’ll definitely want to purchase your copy of the Golden Venetian Lenormand via Vinitski’s Etsy shop here.

Like Vinitski’s Venetian Tarot, the Golden Venetian Lenormand is crafted in a High Renaissance style with a design focus on classical humanism.

The Lenormand oracle is a predictive fortune-telling system from the late 18th century based on the Game of Hope by Johann Kasper Hechtel, an illustrated edifying card game steeped in Christian allegories. In the 19th century, 16 more cards were taken from other well-known European cartomancy systems of the time and the 36-card Petit Lenormand was expanded into a 52-card fortune-telling deck, plus the additional 2 jokers.

By the way I love the little details of insight from Khapatnukovski. For example, the Fox card, No. 14, Khapatnukovski acknowledges that you’re not likely to come by a fox in Venice, but because it’s common symbolism in the Lenormand system, here it is. This particular fox is running over a canal holding a seagull in its mouth. The seagull, symbolic of freedom and a desire to dream, locked in the jaws of a fox, show the anguish of mind of a trapped individual.

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Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts

The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts first came out in 1996, published by U.S. Games. At the time it was a bordered deck and had a different card back design. This year the deck has been re-released, now borderless and with a beautiful new card back.

There is both a 90s throwback vibe to this deck and a timeless quality. Ancestral Path reminds me of the way multiculturalism was celebrated in the 90s. You’ve got original works of art done by hand, with minimal digital retouching, not like the majority of decks we get today, which involve heavy-handed amounts of digital work. One isn’t better or worse than the other; it’s just iconic of different times.

Note here that Key 8 is Justice (and Key 11 is Strength). Ancestral Path is a fusion of different deck systems, which will become a bit more apparent when we get to the Minors. Here, though, I love the emphasis on priestess energy in the Hierophant card. Yes, it’s still a true Hierophant card, but I love how Cuccia-Watts has reinterpreted it with more feminine energy.

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Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards

This is not a full deck review, just a look-see. Wisdom of the House of Night oracle cards were published back in 2012 and this deck has been in my collection for years and years, but I never picked it up to give it a go until now.

The deck is a collaboration between Colette Baron-Reid and the author of the House of Night series, P.C. Cast. I’ve never read the books and all I know about the series is what I can look up on Wikipedia. Basically, it’s YA fantasy involving vampires, but in the book’s universe, they’re called vampyres, with the y.

The artwork here is by the amazing New York based artist Jena DellaGrottaglia, who also did illustration work for the Mystical Shaman deck, Wisdom of the Hidden RealmsThe Enchanted MapThe Good TarotGoddess Oracle, and Spirit Animal, among others. She takes Photoshop digital art to the next level.

What inspired me to share this look-see of the deck is its premise: to commune with Nyx. Use the 50-card deck to receive oracles from the goddess Nyx.

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Divine Muses Oracle by Maree Bento

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.

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The Amenti Oracle: Living with a Feather Heart

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.

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The Herbcrafter’s Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert and Latisha Guthrie

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.

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White Sage Tarot by Theresa Hutch

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).

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