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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A friend gifted me with the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot and Guidebook, believing I’d love this deck, and boy was she right! This deck is currently the darling of the tarot community. Everyone is just fawning over and crushing on it.
Let’s start with the Guidebook, Tarot: Notes From the Pagan Otherworlds. It’s perfect bound, a beautiful compact square size, and features the Page of Cups.
I’m so thrilled to have the companion guidebook. It does an incredible job explaining the deck creators’ rationale for depicting the various cards as they have done, e.g., in this deck, the Nine of Swords is the card of transformation, so on it is depicted a swan, symbolic of the struggle this deck’s Nine of Swords represents–the struggle of coming into your own. This deck’s Nine of Swords is one of the most exquisite Nine of Swords I’ve come across.
The deck and guidebook together would be an incredible gift and starter tarot kit for someone just learning tarot. However, the deck is a bit of a mix between the Rider-Waite-Smith structure, placing The Fool first, Key 8 being Strength, and Key 11 being Justice, as you’ll see in subsequent photos in this review, but features unillustrated pips (meaning no narrative imagery on the pip cards), reminiscent of Tarot de Marseille.
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Imagine Keziah Mason, a Salem witch in the 17th century per Lovecraftian imagination, and the tarot deck she would have used for divination. The 2016 self-published Book of Azathoth Tarot is one imagining of what that deck might have looked like. Azathoth is a deity from the Cthulhu pantheon invented by H. P. Lovecraft in his fiction works.
Although largely unknown and unrecognized during his lifetime, H. P. Lovecraft was a prolific writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. A driving theme through many of his works was the theme of esoteric knowledge, hidden, dark truths that only the few and the audacious can uncover. And so his fictional world is a perfect setting for the imagination of a tarot deck.
The Book of Azathoth Tarot is the work of an incredible artist who goes by the name Nemo. You can order your copy of the Third Edition here.
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The Awakened Soul oracle cards by tarotist Ethony and artist Danielle Mulligan are a treat to behold. It is the divination deck for the modern witch. It is evident to me that these deck creators have called upon the spirit and consciousness of 21st century Gaia and channeled Her messages to us. So much of Ethony’s energy and blessings have been infused into this deck that it’s quite the honor to work with these cards.
Let’s start superficial, of course, with the box. Oh gawd I love the box. I love the matte finish, the sturdiness, the interior bee design, an incredible symbol for how Mother Earth nourishes life by calling upon the services of Her children and a call to each one of us to channel the spirit of the bee in our own endeavors and in how we nourish our society.
Not only have I been using the oracle deck for daily ritual and rumination, but many of the clients I read for have, too. It was quite surprising to me the number of clients I work with who also had this deck, so it was great that they could follow along with their deck when I provided oracle readings with the Awakened Soul.
That’s right. I’ve done professional readings with the Awakened Soul oracle deck. I broke my own rule. As some of you may know, generally I do kind of get elitist and poo-poo use of oracle decks in professional reading sessions. I stick with tarot and as a client, would prefer to go to readers who stick to tarot. Lenormand decks are okay too, but I had avoided the oracle-oracle decks. Yet something about Ethony’s deck called to me, and I really, really wanted to share its energy and power with those I was working with.
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The Amor Oscuro Lenormand by Modern Witchy Woman Diana Chin is an independently published deck that is a glimpse inside an artist’s sketchbook, sketches that narrate what Chin describes as “the story of an interracial couple through 36 symbolic messages.” The Amor Oscuro pays homage to diversity in divination through the lens of a multiracial woman.
You can order your copy of the Amor Oscuro just in time for the holidays, here, via GameCrafter. I’ve been getting back into Lenormand as of late and have loved doing so with Chin’s Amor Oscuro. If you’re a Lenormand deck collector, then you’re going to want to get this one.
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I’ve spent this past Scorpio month tinkering with the Starlight Dragon Tarot by Nora Huszka and Steph Engert, which was perfect, since I get a Scorpio vibe from this deck. Here we have a 79-card tarot deck, though you can certainly use just the traditional 78, that summons into your life the bold spirit of dragons. It is a majestic yet cerebral deck to get your favorite tarot reader this holiday season and while I would consider it a more advanced deck to work with, any artist or writer friend of yours will pull boundless inspiration from the energy of the Starlight Dragon so for sure get it on your gift list!
I’m reminded a bit of T.A. Touchkoff’s Russian Gypsy Fortunetelling Cards (Harper San Francisco, 1992) in terms of the square format and aligning the cards along four edges to form divinatory mosaics. However, the Starlight Dragon is unique in its own right and springs to life from its magnificent coloring. You’ll detect the bold signature of Huszka’s handiwork, and yet what we get from the Starlight Dragon, especially after having worked with Huszka’s Gypsy Palace Tarot, is a declaration of this artist’s incredible versatility.
Often when you examine multiple decks from the same artist, it can get difficult to tell one deck apart from the other because the artistic point of view is the same. Here we get a touch of Huszka’s penchant for bold coloring but she has challenged herself as an artist and creator to pull out from within an entirely different visual perspective and I commend her for that. Again, it speaks volumes of the artist’s versatility.
The card back imagery is incredible. We see what appears to be a single double-headed dragon knotted in the formation of a lemniscate, depicting the colors representative of the spirit energy from the Majors and the four elemental energies of the Minors and peeking through the lemniscate are two dragon eyes. Along the four corners you’ve got glyphs representing the four phases of the moon. Every detail of Starlight Dragon Tarot is thoughtfully executed and done so with perspicacious precision.
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Lately my go-to reading deck has been the Golden Thread Tarot by Tina Gong, published by the Labryinthos Academy. Although as of this writing the deck has been sold out (giving you a sense of how in demand it has been!), if I were you, I’d write to the deck creator directly and see if you can get on a pre-order list for the second print run.
In Taoist cosmology, the Huang Tao (黃道), or Golden Path (has also been translated as Yellow Path), designates the path of the sun, representing the solar calendar. For harmony and prosperity, one should time significant life events (such as weddings, business grand openings, funerals, etc.) to the Golden Path. The Golden Path also represents the space-time continuum. Whether Gong was cognizant of it or not, the Golden Thread Tarot pays homage to the Golden Path, which is particularly poignant, given that the tarot deck as Gong has created it is purposed for divination and insight into one’s Golden Path. As modern and fresh as the Golden Thread Tarot is, it connects to a very ancient, very traditional cosmological and metaphysical principle.
Gong began the deck as an illustration project, though it evolved into both the physical deck you see pictured here and a companion mobile app. You can learn more about the app here on her website. I often say that I use tarot like a lantern, holding it up to shine through the darkness and gain you greater visibility for what is around you, so you have a clearer sense of your own path. The Golden Thread Tarot turns out to be a perfect manifestation of that concept. The opaque black background the images are set against represent the proverbial darkness and the gold line drawings illustrating the key symbols of the Rider-Waite-Smith inspired tarot imagery represent that light shining through our darkness, giving us Sight.
I also love how Gong describes the concept as inspired by the night sky and “the archetype of a single string that connected all things within the universe, threading images in a murky unknown.” Each card feels like a Jungian archetype from the collective unconscious.
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