A Curious Herbal (1737) by Elizabeth Blackwell: Hand-colored engravings

These hand-painted engravings of healing herbs and garden vegetables are a delight, and I’m sure at least one creative person seeing this will get ideas, download, and do something lovely with these illustrations, so here you go.

They’re from Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal (1737). Below you’ll find a zip file you can download of high-res images from the book. Or view it in the entirety, courtesy of The British Library, Catalogues & Collections.

A Curious Herbal (1737)

Download Zip File

About the Book:

Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal is notable both for its beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants and for the unusual circumstances of its creation.

[It] contains illustrations and descriptions of plants, their medicinal preparations, and the ailments for which they are used.

The first herbal was written by the Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century AD.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Aberdeen in about 1700, but moved to London after she married. She undertook this ambitious project to raise money to pay her husband’s debts and release him from debtors’ prison.

Blackwell’s Herbal was an unprecedented artistic, scientific and commercial enterprise for a woman of her time.

She drew, engraved and coloured the illustrations herself, mostly using plant specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden.

It was highly praised by leading physicians and apothecaries (makers and sellers of medicines), and made enough money to secure her husband’s freedom, although she later had to sell the copyright as well.

This finely-bound copy of A Curious Herbal is from the collection of King George III, held in the British Library.

British Library 34.I.12 -13

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.

Continue reading “Morning Calm Oracle by Seo Keller”

The Oracle of Human Destiny: Cartomancy + Bibliomancy Reading Method

This is fun! A delightful soul and kindred spirit gifted me with the above book, which you can download a pdf of at the Internet Archive, since it’s in the public domain. The Oracle of Human Destiny (1825) is credited to someone going by the pen name “Madame Victorine Le Normand” and is written in first person, with references to doing divinatory readings for Napoleon.

You’ll need a standard deck of 52 playing cards. I opted for the pips, pages (knaves), queens, and kings from a Tarot de Marseilles deck. Works just as well.

From the below charts, decide which of these 12 questions (along the right side of the page spreads) best expresses what you want to ask the oracle. Then note the corresponding zodiac sign on the left side of the page spread.

Table of the Celestial Signs with Corresponding Questions, Part 1 of 2

For example, say I want to ask about financial stability to come, business opportunities, or employment. I might opt for Libra and the question I’ll be asking will be, “Inform me whether I shall ever be Promoted, Wealthy, or Fortunate?”

Continue reading “The Oracle of Human Destiny: Cartomancy + Bibliomancy Reading Method”

The Mystical Dream Tarot by Janet Piedilato

The Mystical Dream Tarot published by Eddison Books is an unconventional tarot deck that blends shamanic journeying with transpersonal psychology. The deck creator, Janet Piedilato, is a transpersonal psychologist, healthcare consultant, and ordained minister, with doctorate degrees in Biology and Psychology.

Right up front in the Introduction of the guidebook, Piedilato lets us know that this deck will not be following “traditional tarot, where the meanings are merely set for us to memorize and then to place in patchwork interacting spreads.”

Rather, the Mystical Dream Tarot features “dream images” used to “dig more deeply into the personal consciousness, helping each of us find answers which are within our own unique psyche. . . . [Mystical Dream Tarot] does not demand we memorize and follow dogmatically a formalized path chosen for us.”

So here I might respectfully raise the counter that all decks can do just that. I don’t think certain tarot decks demand that you memorize card meanings while others “dig more deeply into the personal consciousness.”

You the tarot reader make the decision on how you want to read the deck. Because I could very well take this Mystical Dream Tarot, pull cards, and then look up each card meaning in the guidebook, one by one, and interpret a spread of cards strictly and narrowly through the printed text. And I could very well take the RWS deck, throw out every RWS card meanings book ever published, and just read it in an improvisational style, digging into my personal consciousness.

The images in this deck are all sourced from Piedilato’s dreams, which she then transcribed through the structure of the tarot deck. However, I’m not entirely sure whether Piedilato herself then created the art based on her dreams or whether Tom Duxbury was the artist commissioned to bring her dream visions to life. Either way, the artwork is beautiful. I love the style of art. It is in perfect harmony with the deck’s premise and point of view.

Continue reading “The Mystical Dream Tarot by Janet Piedilato”

Halloween Mood Decks

Does any tarot reader not end up having to sling a ton of cards around Halloween season? =)

Halloween seems to be that time of the year when everyone wants a tarot reading. Pro readers are getting booked for spooky parties and local festivities. When the mood is light and celebratory and the veil is thinning, here are some of my favorite decks to tinker with in late October. Even when the crowd you’re reading for are teenagers, I think these decks are age-appropriate and sure to enthrall.

Each of the hyperlinked headings with the deck name will take you to my review of that deck.

Continue reading “Halloween Mood Decks”

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.

Continue reading “Golden Venetian Lenormand”

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.

Continue reading “Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards”

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.

Continue reading “Divine Muses Oracle by Maree Bento”

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.

Continue reading “The Amenti Oracle: Living with a Feather Heart”

How to Self-Publish Your Tarot or Oracle Deck

$40

For what is a rough average cost of buying a tarot or oracle deck, you will get a comprehensive course pack, including a 245-page handbook and a fully customizable deck creator’s journal that will help you every step of the way through designing, printing, marketing, and selling your own tarot or oracle deck. You’ll be getting industry trade secrets that I haven’t seen shared anywhere else.

The objective of this course is not to tell you what to do. The objective is to first ask, what do you want to do and what is your plan? Okay, now that we’ve established that, let me share with you my insights on how you can make sure you achieve what you want to do, you can sell that idea and people will want to buy it, and how to fine-tune that plan of yours so you ensure your success.

Is there a formula for success? Yes, yes there is.

And step by step, variable by variable, I will take you through that formula. Run your own fact pattern into that formula and you will produce the best possible outcome for yourself. I’m going to share with you how you can maximize the marketability of your creative project.

No matter what your deck project is, we’ll nudge it farther along to bring you more marketing power, more sales, more visibility, and to make your project the best version it can possibly be.

The digital course files you’ll get, Part I

Continue reading “How to Self-Publish Your Tarot or Oracle Deck”