The Intangible Cost of Self-Publishing a Tarot Deck

This is the sequel follow-up blog post to “The Actual Cost of Self-Publishing a Tarot Deck” that came after “What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?” If you’re not up to speed already, then start by reading the latter link (“What Does it Cost…”) and then the first (“The Actual Cost…”).

Here I want to address the intangible costs to being an indie tarot or oracle deck creator. Oh, and yeah, be forewarned that this is a very, very long and rambling blog post.

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The Actual Cost of Self-Publishing a Tarot Deck

Back in September of this year, I posted cost projections for self-publishing a tarot deck, “What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?” linked here. I think it’s worth your while to compare the projections from that previous post with the actual calculated and accounted for figures I’m providing here.

At this time we have completed packing and shipping out all sold decks and I’ve got a tally for you of actual costs. In other words, this is what I actually spent out of my pocket to produce Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and its companion guidebook, The Book of Maps, alongside an analysis of what I’ve actually earned in terms of income.

In a future post that will supplement this one, I want to talk about the intangible costs of independent publishing, everything from opportunity cost and work-life balance to the cost on your mental health and wellness. For now, this post will be about actual calculated dollars and cents only.

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Case Study for the Guided Akashic Tarot Reading with the SKT

Video installment #11 in the orientation course series for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is a guided meditative tarot reading rendered through accessing the Akashic Records. The direct link to the video on YouTube is here or you can check out the entire course series on this page here.

In this post I’ll be documenting an Akashic Tarot Reading I did for myself, guided by Video #11. I’m using it as a case study so that it might help round out your own approach with the reading exercise and to think about how you can interpret your own results from the Records.

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Behind the Scenes of the Glamorous Deck Creator

From my Instagram feed @bellwen

As those of you who have been following these blog posts for the last half a year will have figured out by now, I’m trying to document the journey of creating and self-publishing a tarot deck, commenting on all aspects of that journey for future aspiring deck creators to reap insights from.

This post will be part comments and part photo essay. Through it, I hope to take you behind the scenes of a self-published deck creator’s process. I hope to take you on the ride of a newly printed tarot deck from what it goes through at my home before it leaves our front doorsteps to arrive at yours.

Meanwhile, I hope to initiate aspiring deck creators into the less-than-glamorous aspects of this undertaking and to begin to convey to you just how much work is involved when you commit to self-publishing your deck.

These are candid shots I’m taking with my camera phone in hopes of sharing with you, as-is, what I see through my eyes. And if you still think the lifestyle of a deck creator is glamorous, then you have a very different definition of that word than I do.

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Updates and Comment on the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot

Just a quick (well, if you consider 20 minutes “quick”) video giving some updates on the tarot deck and personal commentary. It’s been frenetic and I have miles to go before I sleep, but I wanted to address some of what’s gone on during the process of self-publishing and selling this deck, and also try to answer some questions, like, will there be a second print run, or second edition?

Second print run of the deck as you’ve been seeing it? No.

A second edition? Yes, but not until 2019 is well under way. That’s because the second edition will undergo a redesign and be cast with a different energetic imprint. Also, I want to complete everything that needs to be completed for the first print run and give myself some time to learn whatever lessons need to be learned from the first print run.

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Tarot Ritual Candles

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 from the deck and also the original illustrations found in The Book of Maps.

I previously shared how you can craft your own tarot notecards or stickers here. This post will share how you can use those stickers to make your own altar, ritual, or just decorative candles.

So long as you can get your hands on sheets of self-adhesive sticky paper that you can then print tarot card images on, the possibilities are endless. For myself, I took two dollar store neutral white candles and made them twins by affixing the same angel sticker on both. I consecrated the stickers first by passing them through the smoke of incense. Just in terms of practicality, anointing the paper stickers or using holy water might not be a good idea. The liquid on paper– you know. The result might not be aesthetically pleasing. But you do you.

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Pre-Order the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot

SOLD OUT.

Sign up to receive e-mail notification when Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and the Book of Maps are available for 2019 pre-order.

Although the First Edition is sold out, I’ll be re-designing the deck and releasing the deck for sale again in 2019. Sign up by clicking on the banner above to receive e-mail notification as soon as pre-orders are open.

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.

R E A D :

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

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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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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.

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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.”