Evocation of Waite and Crowley

The following is an excerpt from The Book of Maps, the companion guidebook to the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, a hand-illustrated black and white tarot deck crafted with practitioners of the mystic arts in mind. The pen and ink drawings were inspired by woodcut prints from the late Renaissance. Symbology called upon is based predominantly on medieval European alchemy, astrology (the Sacred Seven), Hermeticism, Zoroastrianism, Abrahamic angelology, Kabbalah, Catholicism/Christianity, Sufism, and Egyptian mythology.

By the way, the date of this posting is the mid-point between Waite’s birthday and Crowley’s birthday. How fun is that!

Excerpt from The Book of Maps:

Evocation of Waite and Crowley

My purpose for including this section is to document my personal ritual practices in attempting to evoke the spirit presence of A. E. Waite and Aleister Crowley, with my own Holy Guardian Angel present, while conceiving Spirit Keeper’s Tarot. This is not a how-to instructional nor does it purport to teach anything about evocation. Treat this section as nothing more than a memoir of what I did to create my tarot deck.

I set out on the Major Arcana cards with the intention of evoking Waite and Crowley, but sincerely did not feel like I succeeded during the crafting of the Majors. I never actually felt their presence (tenuous and subjective as it is anyway) but did feel the very strong and powerful presence of my Holy Guardian Angel, who I’ve opted to leave unnamed in this Book.

Instead, I felt like my work on the Major Arcana was being used as a test or trial, to see whether I was worthy of being given assistance in my endeavor. So the crafting of the Majors was very much my own. It wasn’t until commencing the Minors, beginning with the Four of Scepters (Four of Wands) that I felt the very strong and powerful presence of both Mr. Waite and Mr. Crowley.

Before writing this chapter of the Book of Maps, I had decided to keep this part of my crafting process private, in large part because I had no idea what I was doing. I was also aware that revealing such practice could be construed as a marketing ploy, which I certainly did not want. So I made no mention of it.

Before undertaking a Key set (i.e., Realm of Twos, Realm of Threes, etc.), I’d light two long taper candles, one white and one black, with W etched in gold on the white candle and C etched in silver on the black. I placed the white candle on a hand-drawn mat of Waite’s rectified birth chart (birth chart rectification is an astrological calculation used to best guess the time of birth when it is unknown). Considering the number of times the word “rectified” comes up in Waite’s Pictorial Key, I personally found a lot of humor in having to use a rectified birth chart for his evocation.

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Labyrinth: Your Path to Self Discovery by Tony Christie – Book Review

A year ago from this day, in fact on the anniversary exactly, I posted a review of the Labyrinth Wisdom oracle cards by Tony Christie. That oracle deck remains as one of my favorites. They’re powerful and insightful for personal readings and great as an addendum or clarifying reading to a professional tarot session with a client. Now I get the pleasure of reviewing the companion book to Labyrinth Wisdom— Labryinth: Your Path to Self Discovery.

The first line of the Introduction hooked me instantly: “In life you experience a series of doorways, gateways, and openings to love, light, and wisdom that, if taken, will bring you to a higher state of existence.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the metaphor of the labyrinth and the rich history that it comes with, so I have read many books on the subject that I can compare with Christie’s. In that comparison, Christie’s book comes out on top. The explanatory power that these 267 pages plus an extensive bibliography for further reading is just incredible. If this is a topic that intrigues you the way it does for me, get Labryinth. It will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the subject area.

We begin with clear definitions of what a labyrinth is, types of labyrinths, and its origins. The labyrinth, in short, is a symbol of your journey in life with its twists and turns as you make your way toward your personal center. It can also be used as a form of divination meets walking meditation: journey through a labyrinth with a specific question in mind, and the labyrinth takes on the symbolic meaning of that question.

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Zoroastrian Magical Protection Charm

The following is an excerpt from The Book of Maps, the companion guidebook to the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, a hand-illustrated black and white tarot deck crafted with practitioners of the mystic arts in mind. The pen and ink drawings were inspired by woodcut prints from the late Renaissance. Symbology called upon is based predominantly on medieval European alchemy, astrology (the Sacred Seven), Hermeticism, Zoroastrianism, Abrahamic angelology, Kabbalah, Catholicism/Christianity, Sufism, and Egyptian mythology.

For more information about the deck, go to:

Excerpt from The Book of Maps

Zoroastrian Magical Protection Charm

In an Avestan text dated to the 9th and 10th centuries, Ahura Mazda reveals to Zoroaster the magical powers of the falcon feather. The Magus who prays over a falcon feather can empower the feather into a charm that will ward off evil, cure and cleanse one of evil possession, and protect whosoever wields the feather against demons.

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Journal Notes on a Deck Production Process

Proofs Line Sheet #1

The ball is now officially in motion. It’s well past the point of no return. Also, fair warning: this is a really long progress update.

I ended up not having to convert my card image files from JPG to PDF, and could submit them directly as JPG files, which I was really happy about. By the way, if you want to see all finalized images, I’ve shared a Gallery of All Cards here.

Proofs Line Sheet #2

Also, aspiring tarot deck creators: from the line sheets I’m sharing, you can now see why it makes sense to design 80 cards, right? Even if you are sticking to the 78, I would still recommend creative ways to utilize the remaining 2 cards. Even if you say you’re going to print 78 cards only instead of 80, you’re getting charged for 80 anyway. Do you see my point?

And check out the ordering of the cards on the line sheet. My educated guess is that the automated printing machine will be cutting the cards starting from the bottom row of the sheet, going left to right. (Not all that important to know, but for the curious nerds, something fun to observe.) You’ll see what I mean.

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2019 Metaphysician’s and Metaphysical Day Planners

$25

The 2019 Metaphysician’s Day Planner

Okay, so at this point, I would reckon about 95% of the people who are going to be buying this have already bought this before and know all about my Metaphysician’s Day Planner already, so I’m not sure how much I really need to say about this thing? =)

If, however, you stumbled here by chance and so have no idea what I’m talking about, in 2017 I debuted a Metaphysician’s Day Planner, which you can read all about and see pics of here, the 2017 Metaphysician’s Day Planner.

I did one again in 2018, which you can watch a video walk-through of and read more about here, the 2018 Metaphysician’s Day Planner.

Product Description

You send me $25 via PayPal and then e-mail me at abelldelivers@gmail.com with the completed form (you’ll see it below) and within 3 business days, you’ll get a confirmation e-mail that your order has been received. If you don’t get a confirmation e-mail in 3 business days, something went wrong and we didn’t get your order, so contact us again to follow up.

However, the digital e-delivery of your order won’t arrive in your inbox until November 30, 2018.

What’s the $25 for? You get the digital files only (as a PDF e-delivered to your e-mail inbox) of the 2019 Metaphysician’s Day Planner. It is going to come formatted and ready for third party print-on-demand printing with a site, such as Lulu.com (it’s the most economical option I’ve found, and substantially cheaper than if you tried printing locally, but you can also home or office print it for free if you have that kind of access). I’m going to recommend that you get it spiral-bound for easy use.

Your $25 Day Planner includes customized options, such as:

  • Your choice out of three size options: (Option A) U.S. Letter, 8.5″ x 11″, (Option B) Trade Paperback, 6″ x 9″, (Option C) A4 European Standard, 8.27” x 11.69” or 210 mm x 297 mm
  • Your birth chart in Tropical Whole Signs (not Placidus), featuring decan rulers along the outer ring, both traditional and modern planetary considerations, a couple asteroids, and key personal sensitive points.
  • Your 2019 solar returns chart, but it’s not a true solar returns chart. It’s just a transit chart for your birthday in 2019 with location of birth changed to your current location of residence.
  • Your choice out of the provided options of what I refer to as “Divinity Pages” (only because I have no idea what else to call it). Click here to view all Divinity Page selections you can choose from.

You will get a folder full of lots of different day planner cover options. You can mix and match or choose any cover option you like. You do not need to tell me what your cover option is. You get all of them. You get to choose on your own time. OR! Create your own! Or customize, edit, modify, and change up any of the cover art options I send you!

You will also get the digital files only (both a PDF formatted digital file and also a MOBI e-book file to upload onto your e-reader) of a companion guidebook to the Day Planner. For those who have the 2018 Day Planner, don’t get too excited. It’s pretty much the same exact content as the 2018 one, only updated with some of the 2019 astro info.

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The Spirit Keeper’s Tarot Coloring Book

I know that adult coloring books are all the rage right now, but I wanted to produce a tarot coloring book for children, which sure, adults can use, too. The premise of the coloring book is to use the tarot, and namely, my Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck, to impart everyday insights to children. So it’s instructive to the extent of “everyday wisdom, but with a slight universal-religious bent.”

While writing the text to go along with the card drawings, I pictured only one particular child and envisioned myself talking to her. So I have written this book entirely to her. Her parents come from a particular background and faith, and so do her grandparents (and she’s being raised by her grandparents), so all wording is with that in mind. Whether it ends up being applicable to anyone else in this world, that remains to be seen. But just so you know, I wrote this book to her.

I don’t know if I’m good with children. I don’t have any myself. But I do have a bunch of nieces and nephews. I’m the kind of aunt who–true story– when tasked to babysit for the day, will teach your four-year-old kid how to play chess or a simplified version of Beethoven’s Fur Elise on the piano. I tend to start from a place of presuming that children are brilliant and capable of anything.

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Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Ruminations on the Court Cards

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Rumination Notes:

Aces to Threes

Drawing the cards in sets of three, actual card size. This is how I begin.

I’ve been struggling with how to depict the tarot courts since back when I was still doing the Majors. And the whole time, I’ve been reading, brainstorming, researching, thinking– though no drawing– how the heck am I going to do this, and do this with any semblance of justice.

The more texts I studied on angelic correspondences to the elements, directions, and/or astrology, the more confused I got. Do I go Golden Dawn since up to this point so much of my point of view with the deck has been GD-influenced, or do I follow the lead of religious scholars turned mystics who say some of the Golden Dawn attributions for the Kabbalah are anti-Semitic in their source origins? How do I reconcile Christian mysticism, Jewish mysticism, and Islamic mysticism when it comes to angels? How do I also do it all with resonant subtext to Chinese, Taoist, and Buddhist ideas of angelic(-like) realms?

Also, when deck creators want to incorporate multiculturalism, they typically follow– shit–what’s his face–I can’t think of the name without looking it up. I’ve got it in an end note citation in Holistic Tarot if you really care. Anyway, Eden Gray followed what’s-his-face and everybody after Eden Gray followed Eden Gray so we go with this whole notion of Wands medium-hair, fair-eyed, Cups light-hair, light-eyed (or those two swapped), Swords dark-hair, medium-eyed, and Pentacles dark-hair, dark-eyed, so we typically end up with Asian or Middle Eastern for Swords and then Middle Eastern, Native American, or African for Pentacles. I opted not to go that route.

Agrippa made note of correspondences between geography, directionality, and the four elements, though he kept it relatively vague. Crowley then gave his thoughts on geography, directionality, and the four elements. His directionality conflict with Agrippa’s, but the geography and four elements kind of lined up. Well, lined up close enough to work for me. So that’s what I went with instead of what has become the more popular and trending ethnic associations for the four courts.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg of daunting considerations for the courts.

Drawing angel wings on the knights assembly line style…

The more I thought into it, the more stressed and nervous I got. And I did not want to go the direction of “screw everything and everyone, I’m gonna follow my intuition and channel it from my own higher consciousness” or whatever it is people say when they don’t want to listen to precedent or read books. How do I honor precedent and still acknowledge my intuition?

The art style for the deck I opted for is in the spirit of Renaissance humanism, a time when Christian mysticism and paganism merged in eclectic ways and mystics of that time were far more cosmopolitan and worldly than we folks today give them credit for being. I think the louder establishment voices of that time in history for structured Catholicism and the Church came as a knee-jerk reaction of the establishment to the subversive undercurrent of diverse thoughts that were emerging at the time.

Click to enlarge for viewing.

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Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Rumination Notes Aces to Threes

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Rumination Notes:

Fours to Aces

Annnnd…. I’m done with the pips. Phew!

Let’s recap. On June 13 of this year, I got into my head this fantastical idea of drawing my own tarot deck. It was supposed to be a ha-ha fantasy but then I couldn’t shake the ha-ha fantasy out of my head, so immediately I got to work.

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Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Rumination Notes Fours to Aces

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Ritual Coloring of the

Major Arcana

I shared all my digital files for the Major Arcana from the tarot deck I’m currently drawing at the end of June, 2018 here: Spirit Keeper’s Tarot (Majors Only). Then went on to explain the purpose for ritual coloring of the Majors, among other thoughts, here in a subsequent video and blog post: Ritual Coloring of the Major Arcana, though there I share some draft images from the Minors as well. If you’re not subscribed to my Instagram, then you probably don’t know that I’ve been sharing progress photos of my work as I go along. In the event that interests you, subscribe here, IG: @bellwen.

So as I explained in the last blog post on drawing my own deck, after completing the Majors and beginning on the Minors, I started with the Fours. And the suit order I’m going in for each number set is Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, which I’ve renamed to Scepters, Chalices, Swords, and Orbs. Lots of really specific reasons for the renaming. I definitely didn’t do it just for shits.

The above thumbnail snapshot does not show the cards in the order I completed them. Because of the digital filenames, when I take a screen shot of the file folder that the scans of these images are in, they’re in alphabetical order. Also, these screen shots don’t include the titles and captions.

Continue reading “Drawing My Own Tarot Deck: Rumination Notes Fours to Aces”