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.
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.
The prayer of the Magus is as follows:
The Will of the Magus
is the Law of Righteousness.
The Gift of the Good Mind
is the Good Deed done for the Holy One.
To give relief to the downtrodden
is to bring honor to the Holy One.
Who is the victorious
who protects the teachings of the Holy One?
Be it known that I am;
I am the Guide for both Worlds.
May Conscience come with Wisdom
and deliver us all to the Holy One.
The Magus consecrates the feather during the prayer by passing it across the smoke of a sacred fire (the modern practitioner might consider the smoke of sacred incense) and anoints it with sacred water (the two forms of purification in Zoroastrian magic). The falcon feather is then empowered as a protection talisman that wards evil.
The Prayer of the Magus is also used as a routine mantra recitation for sustaining the powers of the Magus to connect to both Worlds.
Note: First verse is a translation of the Ahuna Vairya from the Gathic canons and the second verse is based on the Kem Na Mazda, an Avestan exorcism incantation. Vohu Manah has been reworded to “Good Mind.” Ahura Mazda has been reworded to “the Holy One.” References to the “Good Priest” has been translated to “Magus.”
In a contemporary application of the instructions, if sourcing an actual falcon’s feather is either impracticable or unethical for you, then work with a sympathetic representation of the falcon’s feather. A charm, talisman, or illustrative sigil of a falcon’s feather would work equally well. What you would then do– if I’m throwing out my personal recommendations– is to then call upon and draw in the animal spirit of the falcon to lend power to the craft, since it wouldn’t be inherently part of the object the way it would be in an actual falcon’s feather.
Why is this random Zoroastrian magic spell in a book that’s just supposed to be about the cards in the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck?
Because it’s part of the sigil magic and symbolism I wove into the Page of Swords, silly.
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.
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.
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.
You send me $25 via PayPal and then e-mail me at email@example.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.
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.
In case you want. Also, title of post intentional, to fly under the radar of the SEO spirits.
Just a doodle I did that didn’t end up becoming a tarot card in Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, though I’ve included it in one of the frontispieces of the companion guidebook, The Book of Maps. (Both deck and book forthcoming.)
In the front pages of the book, you’re going to find the above image along with the following recitation below it:
ANGEL WHO RECORDS, whose Hand seals upon the Book of Remembrance, who bears witness to All to enumerate every deed, since Creation, from the beginning of the world to this day, from my cradle to my grave, I invoke you to read to me, to show me, to transcribe upon my heart, to place upon the mantle of my mind the pages of the Book I petition for. Let it be the Truth. Let that Truth, come what may, ever be used to work the Highest Good. And so may it be.
Well, those first three words are supposed to be in small-caps, not all-caps.
Anyway, that image is dedicated to the public domain so you can do as you will with it. Click on the image file above to download. The above text/recitation is also dedicated to the public domain. (For those who are all like, dedicated, what the heck is up with Bell’s speech today and all this dedicated talk? It’s a legal term. Yes, “dedicated.”)
In very short explanation, that means you can do whatever you want, either commercial or non-commercial, with the image, including modify, edit, change it up, create derivatives, etc.
I won’t outright say in this post who it’s supposed to be, but I mean, come on.
Personally I don’t love my art here, which is why it didn’t make it into the final tarot deck, but it’s still deeply meaningful to me.
There are so many reasons why this is going up, but if I’m going to be typing text right now, I’d rather be typing in the work-in-progress that is the guidebook to the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck, so we’re cutting it off here.
Above is some digital fun with the Paint Can function. The only purpose it serves here is to demonstrate how you can color it in. The bare-bones outline of the angel turns out to be rather versatile (I think, but maybe you might think differently).
Above is more Paint Can fun. No, guys, this is not how I legit color stuff. I’m not going to color a tarot deck with Paint Can. This is all just to show what you could do with the image file even if you’re not artsy.
So many reasons for this. Regrettably for me, it’s back to writing the guidebook! =)
May this open a road, a door, remove a block, or inspire a meaningful insight for you.
This is another image you’ll find in the Book of Maps, but won’t be one of the cards in the tarot deck. You’ll find it along with the following caption:
FOR WHOSOEVER LOOKS UPON HER will feel Her emanations of healing Light. What had been drained from the body is hereby restored. What had been empty is now filled with Her Love. She is the Angel that Heals the Healer. She gives Strength to those who must be strong. She lights the Path for those who light the Way.
I’m also dedicating this image to the public domain, mainly because I can’t rightly call it mine. Although I did draw that by my own hand, it’s based heavily (like, heavily– in fact, I’m sure you can identify who is who) on religious art and the iconography of well-known, much-loved figures.
Psst… produce a wallet-size card of the image that resonates with you deeply and on one side, have the image and on the other, the recitation or your own written words, and either color it in for yourself or leave it as-is in black and white, or modify it in any way you like, and keep the card in your wallet as a personal talisman.
Or you can print and produce it to affix onto the side of a pillar candle. If you work in a professional capacity in the spiritual fields, you can turn these works into something that you give to your clients. These are just some thoughts and ideas for you to get started. Your creativity is your only limitation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I posted a video over the weekend in which I ramble in many different directions. It was supposed to be a video in which I introduce you to the black and white line drawings of the Major Arcana from the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, which are now available for your free download. It was also supposed to be me making a case for undertaking a ritualized process of coloring in the black and white line drawings.
And instead, I went off on a tangent about God, the Devil, my lifelong love of art, and the role of religion in occult study. I do at a couple points keep to topic and mention the tarot deck and coloring in a tarot deck, but I’m afraid most of it is just a winding road of rambles.
Yes, you can tell I’ve cut and edited the clips because the original rambling was even longer, which all but turned into an unfiltered incoherent video diary of what I did for each Key. When I went to edit the video clips, I thought, yeah, I’m not going to post a one hour video, so I literally cut about half of the footage. Hence the noticeable heavy-handed cutting here. Don’t worry, I promise you, you’re not missing out: the cut ramblings were very boring.
If you haven’t already downloaded the Majors-only black and white line drawings (all umteen zip file folder versions of them…) and the companion guidebook (your operation manual), go here:
I’m now at work on the Minors, but it’s going to take a lot longer to complete than what it took for the Majors, because I need to return my focus to other projects in the pipeline, both professional and personal.
For the Majors, I worked on them pretty much during every single millisecond of non-day-job-work time I had for sixteen days (new moon in Gemini to the full moon in Capricorn). I won’t be able to commit that full-force on the Minors, so the time allotted for the Minors will need to be distributed out more evenly and in a more balanced way with my regular schedule.
Like I did with the Majors, my process for the Minors is to first read Mathers, Papus, Waite, and Crowley, find the common denominator (not easy at all; really struggled with this), then factor in my point of view, philosophy of life, and how I’m sensing that common denominator energy in today’s collective unconscious, and then depicting that personalized and updated extrapolation, all while attempting to keep with that medieval grimoire woodblock print art style.