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Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is a hand-illustrated black and white 78-card tarot deck (with 2 additional versions of Key 0 cards, for a total of 80 cards) inspired by late Renaissance woodcut prints, with symbology based predominantly on medieval European alchemy, Hermeticism, Zoroastrianism, astrology, the Kabbalah, Abrahamic angelology, Egyptian mythology, Sufism, and late Renaissance Christian mysticism. The narrowly-tailored premise of Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is to transform tarot keys into calling cards for accessing angelic realms, or the spirit world of beneficent immortals.

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You can check out images of all the cards by clicking on the banner below:

Continue reading “Pre-Order the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot”

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.

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If you’d like to pre-order the deck now, here’s how you do it.

  1. $55 USD for the deck only (no guidebook, nothing but the cards and a dinky LWB)
  2. $65 USD for the premium package (that’s deck, guidebook The Book of Maps, children’s activity book, and online video course)
  3. No additional shipping charges for U.S. mainland residents
  4. Add $17 shipping if delivery is to a U.S. territory or international address
  5. International buyers: for multiple deck orders, please contact us before you order so we can talk about consolidated shipping cost
  6. All decks are individually consecrated (one by one) and come with a numbered, hand-signed Certificate of Authenticity card

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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.

Then I placed the black candle on a hand-drawn mat of Crowley’s birth chart. The hand-drawn birth charts were as precise to the degree as I could render them, with both the traditional sacred seven, key personal sensitive points, Arabic Parts, and modern dwarf planets.

Here I’m presenting the software generated versions of their charts.

Let’s address the astrological charts of Arthur Edward Waite and Aleister Crowley. I wasn’t able to source reliable records of Waite’s time of birth, but we do know his date of birth and location of birth.

Meanwhile, we seem to have Crowley’s full birth and time details. Note that both charts pictured here are Tropical Whole Signs (not the more common Placidus charts that modern astrologers tend to use).

Based on what we do know, both Waite and Crowley were sun sign Libras and, as it turns out, also both moon sign Pisces. Though Waite was born in 1857 and Crowley in 1875 (an 18-year difference), and on different days of October, the two days just happen to have the moon fall in Pisces and both happen to be born under a waxing gibbous moon phase.

Since we don’t know Waite’s time of birth, typically a sun chart would be read, where the time is set to the default 12:00 pm local time. However, given the fun equivalences between their two birth charts already, based on the known and confirmed data, I decided to set Waite’s hour of birth to Leo rising, so that both Waite and Crowley’s charts would feature Leo rising. (Plus, Waite strikes me as a Leo rising type of guy anyway.)

The white candle would be placed to my right and the black candle to my left. Physical copies of Pictorial Key and Book of Thoth would be close by. Prior to commencing work on my cards, I’d place my left hand on the mat of Crowley’s chart and my right hand on the mat of Waite’s chart, then recite: “With [naming my HGA], my Holy Guardian Angel bearing witness, present, and standing guard, I hereby call upon the spirits of Arthur Edward Waite, born October 2, 1857, and Edward Alexander ‘Aleister’ Crowley, born October 12, 1875, and ask that both appear to me to lend guidance, instruction, commentary, inspiration, and tutelage in the crafting of my tarot deck. I am now working on [state the set of keys I’m at work on for that session, ex., Realm of Fours, Realm of Sevens, the Aces, or the Court Queens, etc.]. I am open and receptive of your presence, by me or through me, in the manner of your preference.” (Yes, so to be more precise, I didn’t just endeavor for evocations, but was open to either evocation or invocation.) Also of note, when I did feel their presence in-session, I’d always address them as respectfully as I could, with the title “Mr.” so it was always Mr. Waite and Mr. Crowley.

Click to download high-resolution image file for your free use.

At the close of each session, I’d recite: “I now close this space and send away any and all who have entered who do not belong here. Return to where you came from. I thank you for your time and instruction. I seek to end this session and now bid you farewell.” (In one of the earlier incidences, I felt a mocking sense of, “Oh, okay, so that’s how you do it. Sure. Is there no structure, honoring of traditions, and respect for ceremony anymore?” but the spirit presence left nonetheless.)

Earlier I acknowledged that while crafting the Majors, I didn’t feel Waite or Crowley’s presence. However, by the Minor Arcana, I definitely did. In the beginning (the Realm of Fours, Fives, Sixes, and Sevens), the collaboration was cordial enough, with what felt to me like polite, restrained, and dignified disagreements. I also felt babied, like perhaps whatever I had achieved in crafting the Majors impressed them, and so there was an eagerness in the collective spirit presence to help me and to give me very detailed, instructive guidance. My feeling was, I think I’ve impressed them with my diligence and dedication. I would also be honest and confessional when I did not understand something, and the response I felt was always patient, sympathetic, and kind, followed by strong, effective nudges in the right direction.

The polite and restrained pleasantries, I felt, soon turned into more vehement disagreement, or at the very least a polarizing energy was airborne around me. By the Seven Upper Realms, I no longer felt a collective spirit presence, but it was either one or the other, and I felt very much stuck in the middle and ineffectively mediating.

The analogy I would give is I felt like a child caught in the middle of her two parents arguing with each other, on the brink of divorce, and while both parents were loving enough to not intend to take it out on the child, it inevitably happened and it just felt awkward.

I didn’t want to say too much in the regard of my very personal, subjective, and wholly unverifiable impressions of the evocation experiences, but I did want to say one thing about Crowley. I never felt like he was evil. Actually, I found his presence to be nurturing (maybe the wrong choice of wording). There was an irreverence, maybe, but not toward me, so I wouldn’t be able to attest to that irreverence anyway. If I had known nothing of Crowley’s biography prior to the evocation experiences, I would not have gathered any of that popularized information from my experiences. He came across as kind, interesting, and paternal in his own way, without being authoritarian (whereas Waite felt to be more of a stickler for traditions, pushing me to read the Bible and to become more learned about Christian mysticism, Western alchemy, and Hermeticism). Mr. Crowley felt to be more open and interested in my Eastern esoteric background than I felt Mr. Waite was, though that makes sense, given some of the Taoist and Hindu influences in the Thoth deck and in Crowley’s writings.

There were times I had the palpable impression that Waite was discouraging of my decision to call in Crowley and work with Crowley. The discouragement would come across as cautionary, with a sense of genuine concern for me, followed almost immediately by yet another push to go read the Bible. I often felt like Waite had rules for me, and wanted me to play by those rules. Waite would convey to me the absolute importance of boundaries so that I could stay focused and ever mindful of Spirit, rather than get distracted, whereas Crowley asserted that boundaries inhibited union, and inhibited union would impede the advancement of my training.

Waite also felt emphatically encouraging of my interests in connecting tarot and psychology. In my evocation experiences and perceptions, the general sense I would get was that Crowley directed me backward, to consider more ancient mythology, whereas Waite directed me forward, to consider how I could express the tarot through my own pictorial language, the one I speak at present in modernity. Waite encouraged me to think within the context of my own time period, and not try to parrot or resurrect the past. Crowley wanted me to unearth what had been lost. Waite wanted me to be more innovative and advance the tarot beyond what it has been.

I feel a strong kinship with Waite because I acknowledge harboring a certain degree of elitism and stuffiness myself, which is resonant with Waite. While crafting Spirit Keeper, I often felt like the messages I was learning from Mr. Waite was to show and not to tell—plant signposts but do not give the step by step instructions or explanations, because we must each discover the way for ourselves. Also, my instructions only apply to me and my path, and might not apply to another, so by giving too much explanatory material expressed through my subjective lens could risk misleading others—or that’s what I felt like he kept conveying to me. Thus, “plant signposts, but do not explain” was often the lesson I felt like I was being taught from the spirit of Waite. Signposts were more than enough to help others find their own way. Explaining too much risks being counter-productive and they’d be tempted to follow my way, meaning they would forego their own way, the true path they should be taking. Therefore, “show, don’t tell.”

Meanwhile Mr. Crowley taught a very different lesson: be transparent, and not only do you show all, but tell all. Everything I know, tell it all, even the subjective and unverifiable, I should put it all out there and trust that people have the intelligence and dignity to decide for themselves what applies to them and their paths and what doesn’t. I don’t need to be the decision-maker on their behalf. I am not their keeper. They are their own keeper. So what if they forego taking their own paths to follow mine? Eventually they’ll realize they took the wrong path and correct themselves, and they will be all the wiser because of it. Plus, if I am so convinced that what I have discovered is the Truth with that capital T, then why would I not share it with the world, explicitly in full detail, so that there would be no mistaking or misinterpreting of that incredible so-called Truth? Unless—he’d taunt—I did not in fact believe I had discovered the Truth with that capital T and therefore I am no Teacher with that capital T. Teachers Tell the whole Truth, he insisted. That is the way of Thoth.

In the issue of who bears a stronger influence over the final design of Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, Waite or Crowley, I would emphatically insist that it is equal. But here’s the thing. Waite (or I should give a caveat and say my imaginative perception of the evocation experience) could be more adamant about executing designs a certain way and could feel a bit more overbearing on me—for my own good. Meanwhile I felt like Crowley gave me a lot more leeway and breadth to be myself. He’d advise, offer thoughts, but then really make it clear that I’m being given the space to go in my own independent direction. So Crowley’s influence is absolutely there in those cards, but his influence was more often of the kind that pushed me to be independent. I think as it is with any child, we tend to visibly resemble one parent more than we do the other, but if you get to know us well, you’ll see that the indelible influence of both parents is absolutely there.

By the time I got to working on the court cards (my Four Empyrean Courts), I no longer felt supervised in the minutiae or attended to by either Waite or Crowley. When they were present, it was my perception that they were more interested in each other (and not in the pleasant, amiable way…) than in me. So with the courts, I felt I was left to handle it on my own, with only intermittent guidance from these two, and mostly to the effect of an indifferent, “Yeah, that sounds fine. You’re doing fine. Keep going.”

If it satiates anybody’s curiosity, what I do find amusing is I don’t think Waite or Crowley like the name of my tarot deck. If either had more say in the matter, they would have had me go with a different name, I believe. They seemed to like Two Paths Tarot, and I might have gone with that deck name for them if I hadn’t publicly announced Spirit Keeper’s Tarot as the name of the deck already.

The sentiment I intuited from the evocation experiences was that both insisted this was my deck and Spirit Keeper is not and should not be a transmission of their ideas. Instead, they were lending counsel to me on how I might best express my own ideas or how to find my own path. So, for instance, Crowley could very much be an all-or-nothing type of personality. Either it was his and therefore entirely his way, or it wasn’t his and therefore he would give wide latitude for my personal viewpoints to come through, because he had no stake in the game. Whereas Waite would be more than happy to tell me that my viewpoint was wrong.

The relationship I perceive on my end is very much that of parents and child. To a large extent, I would assert that I was a respectful child and listened to my instructions as much as I could. However, I am still my own person with my own way of thinking, and as nearly every child does in adolescence, rebelled against some of those dictated instructions, especially as I gained more and more confidence in myself, which was attributed directly to their tutelage. It’s the irony of good parenting, right? If you’re a wise parent, then you will have taught your child how to find her own voice and eventually she will use it to disagree with you.

Overall, I feel content and at peace with the crafting of my deck because I leave with the sense that both of these spiritual tarot parents are proud of me. Let me explain. It’s like my actual parents. Overall, when all is said and done, I know in my heart that my parents are proud of me. Do they agree with every decision I’ve made? Absolutely not. If they had more control over me and more say over some of the decisions I’ve made, they would have pushed me hard to go in a different direction.

Yet my parents are proud of my accomplishments and proud of the kind of person I’ve become. Likewise, that’s how I feel from my evocation experience and the final work product of the deck. My spirit mentors don’t agree with every design decision I’ve made for my deck, but they are also understanding enough to know they need to leave the youth to their folly and the lattice of my choices do need to be my own. I feel they’ve come to appreciate my heart, my intentions, and that they are ultimately proud of how far I’ve come under their tutelage. So I am content and at peace with my Waite-Crowley reconciliation efforts.

Did I successfully evoke the spirit presence of Waite and Crowley? I would never give an unequivocal yes and I would not make such a wild claim. I can only say that’s what it felt like to me. The 38-day religious, ceremonial, and mystical experience of crafting Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is not one I will soon forget.

Was it all nothing more than fabrications from my own imagination? Hallucination? Faulty memory? Even if my experience was phantasmagoria, I say so what?

It produced a tarot deck I adore and am eager to share with you and anyone willing to give me the time of day. It caused a cosmic shift inside of me. It deepened my perspective of the tarot. In the mere span of 38 days, I am not the same person at the completion of this deck as who I was when I first started. I was a spirit in search of experience, and when I achieved that experience, I went in search of science, and when I found my science, the evocation petitions brought me face to face with Spirit.

Print Your Own Tarot Stickers and Notecards

How lovely are these homemade print-them-yourself tarot notecards! To make them, I first printed the card images on self-adhesive mailing label sheets, so by default, this is also a tutorial on how to print tarot stickers, since the printed self-adhesive sheets themselves are stickers.

Oh, I did mention that when you order the Premium Package for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck, book, and online course set, you will also get a digital file folder filled with selected high-res images of cards, right? It’s the Majors, the Aces, the Archangel (King) cards, and the Shields (Queens) in the deck, along with other miscellaneous image files for you to tinker and craft with.

This tutorial post will demonstrate one idea for those image files.

Continue reading “Print Your Own Tarot Stickers and Notecards”

Physical Proofs Are In! Now Awaiting Full Shipment.

These arrived yesterday evening… on my birthday. I’ll get going on snapping more high-resolution, professional marketing shots of the cards soon enough.

The white ding you see in the top left corner of the box in the bottom center photo above does concern me, but if that’s the worst of it, then count me happy. I also think when you opt to go with such a solid-black matte finish, white dings like that are bound to happen.

As for the cards themselves, I’m quite happy. The cardstock is 350 gsm. That’s thicker than mass market standards, so you’re getting higher quality, but not as thick as 400 gsm (getting into the realm of oracle deck stock) where you can’t do the riffle shuffle. It was important to me that the cards are in fact functional in the hands of a real life tarot reader, but ultimately, you’re the judge of whether I succeeded at that. =)

There’s a little white booklet (literally titled “little white booklet”…ha…) that doesn’t have a whole lot in terms of meaty content, but I think will do the job in terms of orienting someone on the premise of the deck, assuming they haven’t been following my progress notes and therefore don’t already know. There was no way I could have fit any of the Book of Maps card by card, symbol by symbol content into this LWB so I didn’t even bother trying.

Okay, now for those who are actually interested in getting their hands on this deck, here’s the plan so far.

No, you did not miss the boat on some pre-order launch that came and went. It hasn’t happened yet. I don’t like to point and shoot without information, so that’s why I didn’t do an early bird pre-order offer.

Also, instead of following Business and Marketing 101 rules, I’m just going to tell you the plans as they come to me, so we’re always on the same page together, even if it means maybe later down the line we might have to also backtrack together. So just bear that in mind.

Continue reading “Physical Proofs Are In! Now Awaiting Full Shipment.”

Reflecting Back on the Design Process

While I’m waiting on production of the first print run, I want to share some of my reflections on my design process and the personal experience of creating and illustrating this deck.

Plus, everyone keeps asking me about it. Admittedly I thought I covered this ground, but guess not, given how often I get asked the same question. So let’s talk about my design process. How was Spirit Keeper’s Tarot created, or at least the technical side of things?

In the above photograph you’ll find my tools of trade. I sketch with a mechanical pencil using HB graphite lead (for those who do pencil drawings, this can matter, since most of us have that whole metal tray set of graphite pencils at different softness and hardness levels….), erase frequently, then go in with a superfine tip black pen. I always have straight edges, a protractor, and compass on hand, because that’s how I manage those lines, or angles, or circles you see in the card illustrations.

Continue reading “Reflecting Back on the Design Process”

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.

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?

Page of Swords

Because it’s part of the sigil magic and symbolism I wove into the Page of Swords, silly.

What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?

I wanted to post this for the aspiring deck creators to crush your dreams. I’m kidding. Sorta. Here’s the thing. If you’re aspiring to self-publish your own tarot deck, then I want to make sure you go in fully informed and with a very comprehensive strategic plan. Can you arrive at the other side of all this having earned some money? Yes, you can. If you’re smart. I’m hoping this post will help you to be smart.

A lot of indie deck creators kind of just wing it, forget to account for certain costs, and end up losing money on their venture. The rare success stories are lauded with such fervor that we start to believe that a financially successful tarot deck is the norm. Well it’s not. The norm is the deck creator who didn’t do the math right, and even though a healthy dollar amount was raised through crowdfunding, much of what was earned was inadvertently wasted, and the tarot deck never makes it past its first print run.

So if you plan on crowdfunding your deck production through a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, then this post can help you ascertain how much you’ll really need to ask for. Or if you go the route of bootstrapping it yourself, what is that going to look like? How are you going to maneuver your budget planning?

To keep the topic streamlined, the only thing we’ll talk about here is money. Numbers. So we’re beginning the train of thought assuming you have a marketable tarot deck. If your deck is shit none of this matters. So assuming you have a product that can generate a healthy level of demand, let’s proceed.

In each of the tables here, you’ll see the line items are numbered along the left column. My notes will correspond with each numbered line item.

YOUR COSTS

Let’s begin by itemizing your anticipated costs and expenses. How much money, in U.S. dollars, does it take to self-publish your tarot deck of 78 cards, packaged in a box, and accompanied by a little white booklet?

Also, don’t just look at the tables and end there. You have to read the line notes that explain where each expense description is coming from. Some line items you can probably cut out. Some will be cheaper for you. Though some may be more expensive. It all depends. So read the notes.

Continue reading “What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?”

Cultural Integration and the Prisca Theologia

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

Cultural Integration and the Prisca Theologia

I commented on cultural appropriation in my second book, The Tao of Craft. So this chapter is not about my thoughts on cultural appropriation, of which I have many. This chapter is on cultural integration and its necessity when it comes to the doctrine of prisca theologia.

Medieval philosophers and mystics on the quest to memorialize a single, universal theology searched beyond the borderlines of their own traditions. While their doctrines were based largely in Christian and Jewish mysticism, metastasized by the integration of Platonic philosophy and Sufism, the quest for that universal theology led these thinkers to consider Hinduism, Buddhism, and even a return to unearth the deeper heritage of their own pagan roots.

Cultural integration is conceptual alchemy that blends what had been separate artistic, intuitive paths of wisdom into one unified system of evolved thought. Integration of diverse doctrines is necessary for the advancement of metaphysics and science. That which closes itself off from integration will not evolve, and if you don’t evolve, then you can’t transcend.

The advanced civilizations of history were products of cultural integration. At the age of twenty, a Macedonian king—and a student of Aristotle—succeeded his father to the throne and with his newfound reign, expanded his father’s empire across Africa and Asia. Alexander the Great launched the Hellenistic Period (323 BC to 31 BC), when Greek culture, religion, mythos, and esotericism spread throughout Europe and later to the New World out West, changing the ideologies of the societies that Greek thought integrated into. Consequentially, the Hellenistic culture was indelibly changed by the people that Alexander’s army conquered. Alexander himself personally adopted many of the customary practices of the Egyptians and Persians. Thus, Egyptian and Persian culture wove their way into the global fabric in ways that now cannot be untangled.

Continue reading “Cultural Integration and the Prisca Theologia”

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.

Continue reading “Journal Notes on a Deck Production Process”

What is a Beneficent Spirit?

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:

In the weeks leading up to the pre-order launch, I’ll be posting excerpts from The Book of Maps while continuing the deck creator’s progress notes.

Excerpt from The Book of Maps:

What is a Beneficent Spirit?

At numerous points throughout The Book of Maps, I’ve referred to the spirits that you interact with through the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot as beneficent, noting for comparison that malefic spirits, or spirits who do not support your highest good and best interests, are blocked from interacting with you through the cards. A psychic barrier has been crafted into place so that only that which seeks to do good, cause good to be done upon you, and to confer benefits can come through.

However, what do I mean exactly by a beneficent spirit? Key 15: The Demon, for example, might not look beneficent to most of us. Few of us think of Death (Key 13: The Reaper) as beneficent, though if we’re being realistic, we can at least acknowledge that death is neutral. We might not be sure about what’s going on in the Ten of Swords, but The Destroyer isn’t our first impression of a beneficent spirit.

I would still categorize these spirits, even The Haunt in the Nine of Swords, and yes, all of the spirits herein as beneficent. Beneficent doesn’t mean dressed in white, glistening with a pastel ombré, a golden halo, smiling, and the persona of gentility. That’s dressing, and it’s neither good nor evil. It’s just dressing.

In fact, we’ve all encountered corruption and nefarious intents dressed up in a way that gives a superficial impression of goodness. It’s only when you look through the surface and past the superficiality can you pick up on the ill intent underneath.

The beneficent spirits as depicted in Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and as they can manifest through the cards can at times appear wrathful, ominous, or grim, but they are still by their natures beneficent spirits. Why? Because they act in your best interest. They seek to uplift you, not tear you down. They want to see you in a place of abundance, fulfillment, and empowerment, not a place of weakness, deficiency, or damnation. They never want to see you under prolonged suffering. However, they may let you endure pain in the short term if it means that tribulation will build the strength and character you need to achieve greatness.

Continue reading “What is a Beneficent Spirit?”