The Fives: Tarot Card Meanings

New to this video lecture series?

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The above-linked Introduction page will give you an overview of what this series is about and provide a course contents listing.

The Fives is the seventh of seventeen videos in this series, “Tarot Card Meanings with Benebell.”

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Ciro Marchetti’s Encore Tarot (& New Media Art vs. Old Visual Arts)

If there is one Ciro Marchetti deck to have, it’s the Encore Tarot. This is the deck that fully showcases Marchetti’s talent as an artist, the consistent clarity of his vision, and evinces the magnificence of tarot art, taking what had been possible traditionally to new modern heights.

When future tarot scholars look back at our era, the one deck artist’s name I am very sure will come up time and time again is Ciro Marchetti. His style is so distinct, so unique that it has indelibly trademarked itself in the collective consciousness. I can spot a Marchetti deck by the artwork before knowing he was the creator, just as I (and all of us) can spot a Marchetti wannabe.

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Marchetti’s talent, though admittedly, in my own past I’ve been known to be ambivalent about digital art decks or, more specifically, new media art. But then that’s been a long-raging cold war in the arts community anyway– new media art vs. the old visual arts (or “fine arts”).

Marchetti is the new media artist who changed my mind. New media art is defined as art created by using digital technology, forms of digital art and computer-generated graphics. Old visual fine arts would be drawing by hand, painting, sculpture, in essence what is “hand-crafted.” However, these definitions can get a bit dysfunctional, especially when you get into hand-drawing with a stylus digital pen on a computer pad vs. hand-drawing with a pencil on sketch paper.

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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.

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Bad Bitches Tarot (Second Edition)

Fresh year, fresh edition of the Bad Bitches Tarot by Ethony. You can read my review of the first edition here. I’ll be comparing the new second edition of the deck, published in late 2019, with the first edition, side by side.

By the way, if you order the deck from ethony.com, you’ll get the platinum bonus, which includes a complimentary 10-module online course, “How to Read Tarot Like a Bad Bitch.

“The Bad Bitches Tarot is a Modern spiritual tool for enchantresses, CEO’s, mothers, moon daughters, witches and sages that brings the classic archetypes of the Tarot to a new generation of empowered women.” I love that mission statement and the deck really does deliver on those counts. For sure.

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Download Major Arcana Card Meanings

These were prepared specifically for enrollees of the Witchcraft Fundamentals course, but maybe you might find them helpful, too. Pictured above is the back pocket folder I recommend you making with the last pages of your Doctrinal Basis workbook.

Oftentimes tarot books with card meanings focus on the practical, mundane indications of the cards. Heck, that’s what Holistic Tarot did, and did so almost exclusively.

That means when you’re using the deck for readings where the purpose is spiritual (meaning, directed more toward religiosity or aspirations of personal transcendence), reading for card meanings out of a text like…. well, I’ll just keep throwing myself under the bus… like Holistic Tarot is not going to be too insightful. Maybe a little bit. (I’m proud of that book.)

But trying to make sense of Pictorial Key or Book of Thoth if you’re not already acclimated to that style of writing may be presenting a barrier of entry that we can quite easily break down right now.

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The Tarot World 2010 – 2019: Decade in Review

The Fountain Tarot

Reflecting on this last decade, from 2010 to 2019, is on everybody’s minds. And I’ve been thinking about how the tarot world has evolved through these years.

Balancing the paragraphs of text will be photos of decks published in the 2010s that I’ve reviewed in the past. Please know that the placement of images will not relate in any way with the text around it– after having written this piece, I went back and inserted the images at random. (Oh, and click on any of the photos to read my review of the pictured deck.)

Tarot Mucha

While I get into a little social commentary here, I do want to emphasize that I’m speaking from my perspective only, so I can only report what I experienced through the decades (yep, I want to start with the last decade, 2000 to 2009). How old I was, where I was in my life, what my primary interests were at any given time– all of that factors in to my experiences and interactions with the tarot world.

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Modern Witch Tarot by Lisa Sterle

The Modern Witch Tarot by Lisa Sterle is a faithful RWS updated for this decade. Everything about it encapsulates what 2010 to 2019 has celebrated. Sterle has revitalized a deck from 1910 with youth, mondern-day intersectional femininity, and given the tarot new currency.

I love the fresh cartoon-style illustration and can see the value in modifying some of the esoteric symbolism in the original Rider pack to reflect 21st century alternative spirituality, such as changing the Tetramorph in Key 10 to featuring the four astrological symbols of the fixed signs, or featuring what looks like a white anemone on Death’s flag.

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The Light Seer’s Tarot by Chris-Anne Donnelly: Healing for the Ages

Although this Kickstarter indie-published version of Light Seer’s is now out of print, you can get the mass market version from Hay House, which will be released on December 3, 2019, so stay tuned. In the pre-order stage, it is already one of Amazon’s #1 New Releases, so this is definitely a deck to pay attention to.

I’ve been working with this deck for the last month and would like to share my impressions and offer a walk-through of the cards.

Right out of the gateway, we have just the most exquisite work of art. I found the tarot art here emotionally and intuitively moving.

Our Fool or lightseer is holding an amethyst in one hand, with a subtle elemental nod to Air, while holding a walking stick in the other, which can also be interpreted as a staff of office, denoting a certain spiritual status, or potential here.

The sacred geometry below with golden light emanating upward lets us know that this is about a spiritual journey. The Fool has her eyes closed and is about to do the trust fall over the edge of a cliff into the fountainhead of Spirit below.

Click on photographs for an enlarged view.

Here’s the First Septenary of the Major Arcana. I love the continuation of the sacred pool imagery from The Fool here in The Magician, though instead of the trust fall, now our lightseer can harness energy or Astral Light from the sacred pool.

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Spirit Keeper’s Tarot Major Arcana Free Download

Although the First Edition black and white and second Vitruvian Edition sepia-toned Spirit Keeper’s Tarot decks are now out of print (forever, as they were both limited edition decks), for those interested, you can download a 30-card version of a black and white Vitruvian. These are the Majors only, with only The Initiate card as Key 0, plus the 4 Aces and the 4 Archangels (tarot Kings).

DOWNLOAD ZIP FILE

And for a glossary of card meanings for the 30-card deck, click below to download the DOCX file for Microsoft Word or the PDF.

Spirit Keeper’s Tarot (Majors, Aces, & Archangels)

Download

DOCX | PDF

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Way of the Panda Tarot by Kim Tsan

I knew that the Way of the Panda Tarot would be cute and cuddly, but I was not prepared for its depth of wisdom or its exploration into a unique philosophy of life. In the same way kids say the darndest things, pandas do, too.

This deck is that stuffed teddy bear you had when you were two that you wouldn’t go anywhere without; it’s Blankie, who you wouldn’t ever let go near a laundry machine. In fact, the pandas depicted on the deck each have names and back stories, which you’ll learn about in the guidebook.

When you order the deck, you’ll get a Little White Booklet, which is packed with info on its own. You can also order an extended, comprehensive Guidebook. I’m going to talk about it all.

Click image for enlarged view.

First, the guidebook. It’s the official operation manual for your deck, and its bible. The book itself is written in such a way as to be interactive. Tsan’s writing style is whimsical, full of delights, gently-worded sanity, and a lot of wisdom.

Before we continue on, choose a card, left, center, or right. Remember your selection, because we’ll revisit these three cards at the end and give you a quick little divinatory reading.

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