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.
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.
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 Mapscard 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.
The Tarot of Enchanted Dreams by Yasmeen Westwood is a digital photography-collage tarot deck that transports the would-be enchantress into a fairytale fantasy. The color palette of blues, purples, pinks, and silver sets a mystical tone. If you were that little girl or boy who used to dream of being a princess in a faraway magical land of angels, fairies, and unicorns, then this is absolutely the deck for you.
At the craft of digital photo collage art, Westwood is talented. The layering is seamless, color tones adjusted to be perfectly complimentary, and the black borders very much work to balance out the artwork. The cardstock feels like industry standard, maybe somewhere between 300 and 310 gsm, not entirely sure. It’s also shiny, with a very glossy sheen.
I’m honored to be selected as one of the speakers at the 2018 Card Reading Magic Summit hosted by Tori Hartman. She and I will be talking about the steps to becoming a six-figure mystic. So many of the folks I love dearly will also be speakers, so personally, I can’t wait!
The free pass only gives you access to the live airing of each speaker’s segment. If you’d like open access to all interviews for two weeks after the event, so you can take a little longer getting through them, get the Bronze Pass for just $5. Even cooler: you get access to all past events, too! Come on. That’s pretty amazing. $5?
There are also Silver Pass and Gold Pass options for those serious about the craft. These interviews are with professionals in the sacred arts industry who will share with you their trade secrets, professional experiences, and expertise in the field. You don’t want to miss the event.
Plus, every speaker will be offering a free gift! Mine is a 62-page PDF excerpt of a textbook I’m putting together for a future online course, “Sole Proprietorship in the Sacred Arts.” You’ll get to read the first seven chapters in a PDF download that you’ll get for free when you register for the Summit.
The 62-page excerpt will share my own story, then some myths about the six-figure mystic, designing your business model, defining your voice, branding basics, and what I consider the most important chapter: how to create value.
Last week I released a sneak peek into the 62-page PDF:
If you register to watch my chat with Tori live, on September 15, 2018, at 9:30 am PT, then it’s free! Or you can register for a two-week access, for just $5, which includes access to all events for the Summit. Be sure to check out all the tiered options below.
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.
Over the last few months as I shared progress photos of my card illustrations, especially when we got to the Minors, RWS folks started to get confused by my pictorial interpretations, though I think that’s because Thoth influences started to show up more prominently.
On my shortlist of objectives for creating Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, one of those objectives was to harmonize the RWS and the Thoth together, which I’m going to say right up front turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. It was so hard for me that in fact at many points during the process, I was beating myself up and lamenting, damn, I’m failing so bad at this.
I figure a side by side review of the decks will help clarify some of the confusion about where I’m getting what for the symbolism I’ve opted to go with in Spirit Keeper.
To do that, I’m using The Original Design Tarot Deck published by Siren Imports for the RWS and the Thoth Tarot Deck published by U.S. Games for the Thoth. I printed a sample copy of my deck, which you see above on the very right, but this is not what’s going to be produced for sale. I printed this physical copy to scrutinize the lines, production quality, alignment, that kind of thing, and because of that, I’ve already spotted things that need to be fixed, which will get fixed before final production. So just bear in mind that what you see here for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is pretty damn close to what will be offered for sale later down the line, but with editorial improvements.
Speaking on the design of the Majors from my frame of mind, the voice of what I might describe as my inner genius came through more distinctly. And by genius I don’t mean hey look at me I’m objectively a genius, no. I mean that inner genius we all have that we need to go through the structured, methodical process to unlock. That inner genius is what I’m saying really came out.
I say that because I think something shifts by the time I reach the Minors. More on that later.
I’m picturing the cards in the exact order I drew them. You’ll see back in the First Septenary Keys I to VII, there were no human figures depicted. I had started the project with the intent on having no depictions of humans. Where human-like figures would be used, they’d be, like, you know, with an animal head or something, the way you see in The Emperor, or most of the face concealed from view, like The Empress.
Then I got to Key 8 Strength and broke that rule. Doh.
By the way, I devote a whole section in The Book of Maps, the companion guidebook that will go along with Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, to the Key 8 and Key 11 situation and my struggle with deciding how to approach the 8 and 11 switch, which funny enough, involves the Justice card and those goddamn balancing scales.
I felt like there had to be more to the reasoning for Waite’s switch than the order of the zodiac wheel. My speculation at the end of that struggle is it had to do with differing theology, so then I had to decide where my own theologies aligned.
Since I went with Key 8 for Strength and Key 11 for Justice, following Waite’s switch, for an easier comparison, in the above photo I switched 11 for 8 and vice versa in the row of Thoth cards.
Although there are inevitable nods to the Marseille, the reason I didn’t focus my intentions on actively integrating the Marseille is because for Spirit Keeper, my focus is on the esoteric and occult expression of the tarot. The Marseille is by original intention a deck of playing cards that later got appropriated into a form of divination or fortune-telling, whereas both RWS and the Thoth were from beginning to end intended as esoteric and occult expressions of the tarot. You could even argue that both the RWS and the Thoth tarot decks are the product of spell-crafting, born from fertile pools of knowledge and magical experience. That is why these two in particular are the chosen parents.
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.
Life… can be so hard. In theory my card image files (like what you see above, the Ace of Swords) should be perfectly centered. But it’s not. As you can see after I superimpose the template guidelines that the manufacturer sent me. Look at where the blue line ends on the left side, then look at where it ends on the right– it’s not symmetrical. Also, all content must be within the blue line. Crap. Oh.. F me.
So let me explain before you’re like, wow, you have no idea what you’re doing. I had previously formatted these image files toward Manufacturer A while I was working on some digital sampling with Manufacturer A. For some reason I assumed there was some sort of industry standard, so what works for one should work for all others.