The Rosetta Tarot by M. M. Meleen

I’d call this a review of the Rosetta Tarot, Papyrus Gold Edition, but let’s be honest here– it’s just going to be me fangirling for a dozen consecutive paragraphs.

You know how there is the writer’s writer, i.e., an author who is just highly lauded among the author community, or the artists that the art community itself is head over heels for? Whether the writer’s writer or artist’s artist attains mainstream commercial appeal might be a different story altogether, but among their professional and industry peers, these people hold clout.

M. M. Meleen is like that. I don’t think a deck collection will ever be complete without an M. M. Meleen deck. She’s the real deal. And she’s the total package. I’ve reviewed the Tabula Mundi Tarot before here. You can also watch a Sightsee the Tarot video workshop where we walk through a tarot spread from Meleen’s Book M: Liber Mundi.

The Rosetta Tarot, published back in 2011, is a Thoth-based deck. While her Tabula Mundi Tarot was, too, I feel like that one showed a lot more of the artist’s own hand and point of view. Whereas here in the Rosetta Tarot, the Thoth influence is a lot more pronounced.

One of the things that made me think was how similar my experiences with creating my deck were to Meleen’s path with the Rosetta Tarot. Meleen describes the initial intention of the Rosetta to be “the love-child of the Thoth tarot and the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot. As it evolved the genes of the Thoth parent proved dominant. (As a friend commented, ‘Thoth is kind of like that.’)” Whoa! I experienced the same exact situation with my SKT! With the SKT, I think physically it resembles the RWS more (whereas the Rosetta is quite unequivocally taking on the physical attributes of the Thoth). But echoing what Meleen says about her experience, I also feel like the SKT ended up with a personality that’s predominantly Thoth.

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New Chapter Tarot by Kathryn Briggs (a Liminal-11 Publication)

Kathryn Briggs is a graphic novelist, illustrator, and arts educator. Following the end of her marriage, she left the UK, where she had gone to art school and launched her career in the arts, and returned home, back to Philadelphia. The New Chapter Tarot is her story of starting a new chapter, told through paint.

With a matte finish and the absolute perfect hand-held size (about one-fifths shorter than standard tarot), this deck is a delight to read with. It reads like a Book of Changes, because these cards were born from its creator’s journey of personal evolution. New Chapter Tarot is described as featuring beautifully diverse representation, mythology, sacred geometry, blended with iconic traditional tarot symbolism. Briggs herself is a practicing witch.

The card back with the heron and owl touching wings is a stunner of a drawing. I interpret the heron as symbolizing exoteric knowledge and the owl as esoteric knowledge. I also love that the High Priestess card is featured on the box, which is a representation of the Mystery of the Triple Goddess or, as the guidebook notes, “Mami Wata bringing devotees into the spirit world to gain Knowledge.” Oh, and as you can see from the photo, like the standard Thoth card backs, they’re non-reversible.

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The Tarot Courts and Your Birth Chart

Crowley’s Book of Thoth assigns zodiacal domains to the Kings (Thoth Knights), Queens, and Knights (Thoth Princes). Each rulership begins at 21° and ends at 20°.

So, for example, the Queen of Swords begins her reign at 21° Virgo and ends at 20° Libra. At 21° Libra, the Knight (Thoth Prince) rules until 20° Scorpio.

It’ll be fun to superimpose this over your birth chart to see which court cards rule over your natal planets and personal sensitive points.

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Madhouse Tarot by Eugene Vinitski and Elsa Khapatnukovski

Madhouse Tarot by the tarot powerhouse duo Eugene Vinitski and Elsa Khapatnukovski is a gripping storybook that captures the human experience of unreason. This is a deck that delves into that part within every one of us, the unreason that is the reason we feel alienated, exposing the piece of our soul that’s been fragmented from turmoil.

These illustrations explore the supernatural. From portraits of horror and torment to unsettling visions, with the aesthetic of a Victorian asylum meets the Roaring Twenties (you’re going to see quite a few references, including well-known figures from that time period), the premise of this deck is in a class all its own.

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Grogu Does a Tarot Reading (Fan Art)

(click to download JPG)

You can click on the above image to download the 4.26 MB, 500 dpi art print, if you want. It’s 8″ x 10″, which you can print centered on a standard US Letter 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Make sure to check your printer settings. You could also select “print to fit” and print the drawing borderless.

And if you want to make your own Stuff with this cute little doodle, click on and download the below.

(click to download)

You can create your own custom T-shirts, coffee mugs, stickers, whatever. You do you.

If you don’t like my saturation, color, or contrast levels and you know a thing or do about photo editing, then go ahead and edit the images until you’re satisfied.

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Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights Walk-Through

The Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights was published back in 2005 by Lo Scarabeo, with the artwork collection edited by Pietro Alligo. It’s art deck featuring the works of the late 19th and early 20th century French painter Léon Georges Jean-Baptiste Carré, living around the time Waite and Crowley.

Carré moved to Abd-el-Tif, Algeria and concentrated his body of work on Orientalist subjects. (Orientalism is the European and Western study and commentary on Middle Eastern culture.)

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Button Soup Tarot: A Cult of Tarot Collaboration Deck

I’m intrigued by the strong opinions that tarot readers can hold for collaborative decks. Collaborative are decks where the artwork is done by a cast of different artists and illustrators, often of varying experience in art, from the amateur or self-taught to the professional. The Button Soup Tarot was organized by the Cult of Tarot forum members and the result turned out really well.

I speculate that the collaborative deck appeals mainly to a rather special, rare, eclectic, and liberal-minded personality. Each and every card is going to feature a different style, created with a different medium, ranging from traditional to digital art. I’m loving this particular collaboration. It feels celebratory and there’s such a joy to it.

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The Muses of Tarot by Ethony: Book and Deck Set

The Muses of Tarot is a book and deck set by Ethony Dawn, with illustrations by Lena and Sasha Semenkova. The book is about 13 muses of the tarot that came to Ethony in her visions and channeled messages to her that correspond with the 78 cards of the tarot deck. In addition to the book, you get a set of 13 Muse oracle cards, 13 altar cards for those Muses, 13 invocation cards, and 7 chakra energy amplifier cards.

The 13 names of the Muses are original conceptions by Ethony that describe universal or archetypal spirits, and by “spirits” here I mean an embodiment that our superconsciousness can take on. They also represent 13 types of tarot readings. For example, Adoria is the Muse of love & relationship readings. Brujula is the Muse to invoke for tarot readings about big changes coming up in your life. Divina is the Muse of predictive tarot readings. Holistix is the Muse of health, healing, and wellness readings. Veilia is the Muse of mediumship. And so on.

In terms of production quality, you always get luxury from Ethony. Everything from cardstock, full-colored guidebook pages, and every fine detail of the packaging design is top rate. The finish on the box, book, and cards is this velvety rose petal texture that’s ultra matte. The box features a magnetic strip closure and every aspect of the graphic design is clean, fresh, feminine, fun, and has that cosmopolitan vibe to it.

This illustration is one of my favorites in the deck.

When it comes to production values, this is perfection. This is what deck creators ought to strive for. Love it all. Now let’s talk about the content.

The premise for this deck and book set, and the manifestations of the 13 Muses must have been a comet of divine inspiration that nose-dived straight into Ethony’s inner genius. I love what she says about the Muses:

“When I work with my creative muses, I believe I am making an agreement with a daemon to bring something from the ether into the material world. . . . The muse and I have a creative love affair. I bring my background, experience, personality and flair to the project, but I am also working with an element of pure magic.”

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Creative Commons License for the SKT Vitruvian Majors

Click me to download the Major Arcana image files for free

I thought I talked about this before, but there still seems to be some confusion around the issue, so I am hoping this post will clarify.

You can download the black & white image files for the SKT Vitruvian Major Arcana illustrations here. (To be more specific, it’s the Majors, the four Aces, and the four Archangels.)

These images are provided to the public for free download and under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which means the following:

You can share the images. You are free to copy and redistribute the illustrations in any medium or format.

You can adapt the images. You are free to transform, build upon, redesign, edit, revise, and in any way remix the illustrations for any purpose, including commercial purposes. Yes, you are free to profit financially from your adapted images of the SKT Vitruvian Majors, Aces, and Archangels.

Attribution or credit notes. My preference is that you make it very clear what part of the image or adapted image is attributed to my original work and what part is attributed to your creative additions. In other words, if you color in one of these black & white images and then sell your colored in SKT image, please make it clear in your product description that I am the artist for the black & white image while you are the artist for the coloring application. If you have traced part of my original art and then redesigned it, transforming it from the original, please include a note about what parts were my original and what parts you’ve redesigned and transformed. I say “my preference” because if you unintentionally forget to do that, I’m not going to be mad at you. =) But just please try not to forget.

While this license is free, if you do commercialize your SKT-based work, I’d be beyond thrilled to receive some merch! =) Send to the below address.

Benebell Wen
P. O. Box 20021
Castro Valley, CA 94546

SKT III Status Update Report

I’ve just finished up the first drafts of the Fives, so I figured it might be a good time to share a status update on SKT III (edition still unnamed). There are some videos up already on my YouTube channel to get a little more into the creator intentions behind each card, though public videos ended at the Threes. I’ve put the videos on pause for now, in terms of releasing them.

Works-in-progress drafts only; final production subject to change

If you might recall, Key 1: The Magus was the very first card I learned digital painting on. The line work was done by hand, scanned in, and the color was subsequently done via digital painting software programs. Then it was Key 2: The Priestess, and so on.

It’s amusing to look back on those first five keys, because it’s painfully obvious how scared of color I was. =) I didn’t know what I was doing. I was winging it. And you can tell.

It’s not until Key 6: The Lovers card that a noticeable improvement happens. Then after Key 7: The Chariot, off I went! =) Now that I know how to color, after finishing the Tens I’m going to return to Keys 1 through 5. I’ve already made notes on how I want to revise them.

The three versions of Key 0 in the SKT (left to right): The Initiate, The Seeker, and The Keeper

You can click on any of these image files for an enlarged view.

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