Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights Walk-Through

The Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights was published back in 2005 by Lo Scarabeo, with the artwork collection edited by Pietro Alligo. It’s art deck featuring the works of the late 19th and early 20th century French painter Léon Georges Jean-Baptiste Carré, living around the time Waite and Crowley.

Carré moved to Abd-el-Tif, Algeria and concentrated his body of work on Orientalist subjects. (Orientalism is the European and Western study and commentary on Middle Eastern culture.)

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The Lua Tarot by Maree Bento of DivineMuses

The Lua Tarot created by Maree Bento is a black and white collage deck of 19th century engravings. Lovers of the Victorian Era, you are going to adore these cards. “Lua” means “moon” in Portuguese, which is the perfect name for this deck, given its style and how the grayscale speculative aesthetics induces inner reflection.

Bento is the creator of the Divine Muses Oracle, which I’ve reviewed here. There’s this mystical-alchemical dream quality to her art style, and while Divine Muses was more mystical, Lua Tarot is more alchemical.

From a compositional standpoint, Bento layers the imagery with seamless perfection. There are clear stories going on in the foreground, midground, and background. You get a strong sense of earth and sky in every card image. Bento balances detailing and space in such a way that your eyes are always relaxed.

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Button Soup Tarot: A Cult of Tarot Collaboration Deck

I’m intrigued by the strong opinions that tarot readers can hold for collaborative decks. Collaborative are decks where the artwork is done by a cast of different artists and illustrators, often of varying experience in art, from the amateur or self-taught to the professional. The Button Soup Tarot was organized by the Cult of Tarot forum members and the result turned out really well.

I speculate that the collaborative deck appeals mainly to a rather special, rare, eclectic, and liberal-minded personality. Each and every card is going to feature a different style, created with a different medium, ranging from traditional to digital art. I’m loving this particular collaboration. It feels celebratory and there’s such a joy to it.

Button Soup Tarot reads surprisingly well. I say “surprisingly” because it’s no big secret that most tarot readers are skeptical of how cohesive the messages from a collaborative deck can be. But then, I mean, when you do psychic readings, aren’t you pulling from the collective consciousness, and isn’t the collective consciousness little more than, well, a hot mess?

I love the namesake, Button Soup, a reference to the folk tale Stone Soup, where a traveler arrives in a village seeking food, but no one is willing to share. The traveler claims he can create an incredible soup with just one stone. Eventually, every villager chips in a little and all the contributions result in an incredible stew, and enough for all.

There’s also quite a Who’s Who dimension to this deck, as many incredible deck creators we all know and love contributed cards. Pamela Steele (Steele Wizard’s Tarot, Wizard’s Pets Tarot), Jessica Leigh Henry (Lions Gateway Tarot), Joan Marie (The Friar’s Delight Lenormand, which is in the queue for a forthcoming review from me), Yasmeen Westwood (Tarot of Enchanted Dreams), Gaby Merman (forthcoming Chromatic Chapel Tarot, and if this Instagram account is any indication, holy moly does that look like an amazing deck I can’t wait for!), Emilie Muniz (Simplicity Tarot), Kristine Gorman, and the incomparable M. M. Meleen (Rosetta Tarot, Tabula Mundi, Pharos Tarot).

Every artist featured is incredible– I was just naming a few whose decks I’ve reviewed in the past, or names I’m more readily familiar with.

My friend Cerulean, Mari Hoshizaki, was the one who alerted me that this collaboration was in the works, so of course I had to contribute. You see my Queen of Swords drawing in the above photo. =)

My favorite way to read with the Button Soup Tarot has been a simple past, present, future, and bonus 4-card reading. I shuffle, focus on the matter at hand, then cut the deck into three card piles, right to left. I go right to left here, so the right-most card pile is past, center is present, and left is future. If you want to give this approach a try, of course you can read any direction you like, left to right if that makes more sense to you.

So that’s the three card reading– past influences causing what’s going on in the matter at hand, present status, and where this trajectory is headed (future projection). Then I choose which area– past, present, or future– I’d like a little more info on, and pull a second card from that corresponding card pile for the “bonus” in this 4-card reading method.

And this deck takes to that method perfectly.

The card back design, deck box, everything is just beautiful. I’m so in love with how this deck came out. I don’t think any deck collection is complete without a couple of collaborative decks. They’re so much fun and such an incredible way to celebrate the tarot community.

This deck was organized by Joan Marie of Rabbits Moon Tarot. She also runs the Cult of Tarot forum. You can buy the deck here, with proceeds going to support the Cult of Tarot forum, an invaluable gathering place of tarot aficionados.

I should also mention that the li’l white book was so much fun to read! The artist for each card contributed a passage on the card meaning, interpretation, and artist intentions for the card they drew. To read this collective glossary of card meanings was a treasure.

Pistis Sophia (Majors Only) Goddess Tarot by Kim Huggens and Nic Phillips

Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot is a 22-card Majors only deck by Kim Huggens and Nic Phillips, published by Schiffer. Pistis Sophia is the sequel to Sol Invictus: the God Tarot published by this duo over a decade ago.

The namesake for the deck comes from the Gnostic text Pistis Sophia, a compilation of narratives on the aeons and cosmology told through the stories of a feminine figure, Pistis Sophia.

The intention set for this deck was to take on a more hard polytheist approach to the goddesses, where the named goddesses are not mere faces to universal divine feminine concepts, but rather, are the goddesses themselves, in their own individual identifiable right.

What also sets Pistis Sophia apart from other goddess decks on the market is the creators’ scholarly approach. This becomes most apparent in the companion guidebook, which is a treasure trove of knowledge and impressively well-researched insights. The book itself, before we even get to the incredible artwork on the deck, is well worth your investment.

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Morning Calm Oracle by Seo Keller

A treasure of a divination system in a box that you’ll cherish, Morning Calm Oracle by trained shaman Seo Kelleher invites you to engage with a world of spirits, divinities, and nature magic from the Land of the Morning Calm, a name of endearment given to Korea.

The box design, sigils, and the tactile experience of handling the cards are an exemplary representation of East Asian magic. Those who are sensitive to energy will even feel the difference in the vibrations of this deck in hand compared to other decks you might have in your collection.

I am enchanted by the effortless beauty and the beneficence of this deck. The artwork is done by Alodia Yap, whose artwork is moving and melodic. Yap’s art style here is impressionistic. It works in perfect harmony with what Kelleher set out to achieve.

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The Cosmic Slumber Tarot by Tillie Walden

Tillie Walden is an award-winning American graphic novelist and comic book artist who has teamed up with the incredible small publishing house Liminal 11. Together they’ve created the Cosmic Slumber Tarot, an epic hyperspheric dimension of tarot space brought to life through manga.

Major Arcana, Keys 0 – 5

This deck reads like a graphic novel, which makes sense given the artist’s background. Walden’s color choices and pairings are gutsy. If I may be permitted to use a fashion metaphor (it’s just this random area of life I’ve got an interest in), this would be Betsey Johnson meets Alexander McQueen inspired by fairytales told through hallucinogen-induced dreams.

By the way, love that Empress card, reminiscent of the Nursing Madonna, paying homage to the history of painting the Virgin Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus.

You get a full-color hardcover guidebook that tucks snugly inside the box with your cards, which I always appreciate. These card meanings are comprehensive enough for the deck set to be user-friendly to total tarot beginners.

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Tarot of the Divine by Yoshi Yoshitani

Tarot of the Divine by Yoshi Yoshitani has become one of the magnificent tarot gems of 2020. And for me in particular, it’s a special kind of joy to encounter a fellow Asian American who is also into the tarot.

The deck is published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House. The Big Five publishing houses are taking a greater interest in tarot, witchcraft, New Age spirituality, and the occult, whereas back in the day, it would be just the specialty publishers like Llewellyn, Weiser, Hay House, Schiffer, or U.S. Games publishing tarot and oracle decks. That this deck was picked up by one of the bigger publishing houses was another factor for my intrigue in this deck.

I love the color palette– bold, bright, with just a touch of whimsical magic to awaken your inner child. The combination of Yoshitani’s illustration style, the enormous amount of research that went into this undertaking, the fairytales, and the tarot is a stroke of divine genius.

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The Edgar Allan Poe Tarot by Rose Wright and Eugene Smith

The Edgar Allan Poe Tarot by Rose Wright and illustrated by Eugene Smith brings to life the dark, macabre world of Poe, envisioned through the tarot. This deck is a creative writing major’s dream come true. The rich references to Poe’s works throughout the tarot illustrations are sure to delight.

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Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz: A Tarot Deck for Everyone

The Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz is this perfect RWS-based deck that checks all the boxes that people keep saying they want in a tarot deck, but don’t seem to notice that Simplicity Tarot exists. It flies quietly, humbly under the radar, and I have no idea why. Muniz’s deck features all the hallmarks for what our community keeps saying we want in a tarot deck, and yet this deck isn’t trending. Why is that?

Here is this deck with imagery that feels classic, timeless, not overly modern, with refinement and elegance, beautiful on any reading table spread, and has the diverse representation so many of us readers today want in a deck.

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