Spirit Keeper’s Tarot: First Edition and Vitruvian Edition

What are the differences between the 2018 First Edition Spirit Keeper’s tarot deck and the 2019 forthcoming Vitruvian Edition?

I showed a walk-through of the Vitruvian Edition in a YouTube video here, which also offers direct comparisons to cards redesigned from the First Edition. So be sure to check that out if you want to know exactly which cards in the deck were redesigned.

Also, please note that the First Edition is now out of print. It’s featured in this blog post only as a point of comparison for the Vitruvian Edition, which you can pre-order now until March 20.

You can also check out the Gallery of All Cards to view every single card in the deck, both the First Edition and Vitruvian Edition. However, the exact color tones in the actual printed Vitruvian deck will be significantly more muted than the digital images you see on screen.

I’m also still tweaking the exact color tones, so the Vitruvian images in the Gallery are works in progress. I keep printing and re-printing tweaked test copies of the deck to scrutinize the color tones and every singe time so far, I’ve found issues that I wanted to correct, so bear in mind what’s there is still subject to minor tweaks.

Recently I went on Instagram and turned the question on you folks and asked what you intuit to be the differences between the First Edition and Vitruvian. People had some incredible observations and insights! Now it’s my turn to share how I perceive the differences. =)

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How to Read Tarot Cards: Eden Gray’s Hungarian Method

Skill Level: Intermediate & Up

This is the third video presentation of Sightsee the Tarot, a new series I’ve started on my YouTube channel.

If you haven’t watched the previous videos on a psychological approach to the tarot, the Nine-Card Open Face Spread and Self-Help Tarot Journaling (Tarot Counseling), watch those and then return to this session, or at the very least, watch the first three minutes of the Self-Help Tarot Journaling video for the theoretical model distinctions between predictive tarot reading and tarot counseling. I’ll be making reference to those distinctions as we explore predictive tarot reading.

Please note that intermediate proficiency with reading tarot in spreads is presumed. I proceed with explaining Gray’s approach with the understanding that you already know how to read the cards. Also, in terms of a tarot spread, this particular method can be rather vague, and relies heavily on the skill of reading cards in pairs. So elemental dignities also comes in to play.

Nonetheless, armed with a book of card meanings, I think this may still be a good video workshop for the total tarot beginner to work through. So do not be dismayed, tarot beginner! Still give this tutorial a shot!

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Self-Help Tarot Journaling (Transformative Tarot Counseling)

Skill Level: All (General)

This is the second video presentation of Sightsee the Tarot, a new series I just started on my YouTube channel.

If you haven’t watched the first presentation yet, the Nine-Card Open Face Spread from Jung and Tarot by Sallie Nichols, go watch that and then return to this session, because we’ll be building on what was covered about Jung and Tarot.

Since this is a journaling-only session where the tarot cards you’ll be working with will appear across the screen for you, you won’t need your own deck and you don’t even need any knowledge whatsoever of the tarot.

Attributions for the cards you’ll be journaling through are going to be provided for you, given through the perspective of Jungian archetypes and applicable in a psychological approach to the tarot.

Start by downloading the supplemental handout linked below. It’s going to be a 10-page PDF file.

Tarot Journaling Hand-Out

Applying Transformative Tarot Counseling Techniques

You can print it out and write directly on the handout sheets, then add it to your tarot journal, or you can copy the questions longhand into your tarot journal and work directly from the pages of your notebook.

This guided journaling session is intended to help you work through any anxieties or frustrations you currently face and arrive at different perspectives, gained insights, and realizations of the answer.

Subject | Key 1 The Magus or Key 2 The Priestess

For the first card we’re journaling through, you’ll be selecting from either Key 1 or Key 2 to represent you. You project your sense of identity out onto the archetype of either the magus or the high priestess and then work through prompts to gain a different perspective of yourself.

This is insight into the inner divine masculine or inner divine feminine, and applying core counseling techniques in a tarot journaling prompt for yourself to help you better realize the anima or animus.

Although I’m a straight female, Key 1: The Magus pulled at me more and I felt I identified more with the magus than the high priestess while going through this exercise, so I journaled with The Magus. In other words, you don’t just simply choose Key 1 because you’re a guy and Key 2 because you’re a girl. It’s more about how you identify with the archetypal energies these keys represent.

Known, Conscious | Key 12 The Hanged Man

For the second card, we’ll all be journaling through The Hanged Man from the New Era Elements Tarot as feaured in the video. There are many reasons I chose this card. In esoteric tarot, it’s considered the most important card in the tarot deck for truly understanding the tarot. It’s the card that facilitates the initiation (which comes after, in Key 13: Death), or transformation of consciousness.

If you’re coming in to this journaling session with a sincere intent to work through a problem you’re facing, then more likely than not you feel a bit like the hanged man and need to figure out what next course of steps to take to progress forward. So it’s just a great card for processing current anxieties, fears, and roadblocks.

Also, it kind of works out perfectly that when this video is produced, the year 2019, 2 + 0 + 1 + 9 = 12, so we’re in the year of the Hanged Man.

Unknown, Unconscious | Key 3 The Empress

Since we’re working with The Hanged Man as the known and conscious, the underlying Key with a common numerological denominator is Key 3 in the tarot, The Empress. Thus, working with that attribution, we journal through The Empress to retrieve insights from our own unconscious, the layers underneath our current known anxieties, fears, and roadblocks.

Next Step | Key 4 The Emperor

The Emperor is a critical card in the tarot Majors to work through for personal sovereignty and achieving a sense of self-determination. It’s about independence and coming in to your own. It also happens to follow Key 3: The Empress in the consecutive order of the Majors. The coming year, 2020, will incidentally be an Emperor year (2 + 0 + 2 + 0 = 4).

In the next video of this series, we will be moving out of the world of tarot psychology and into the realm of fortune-telling and predictive readings with the tarot, working with the techniques and reading style of Eden Gray. Be sure to check the Series Page for the scheduled upload.

Sightsee the Tarot: Series Page

Click on the Series Page for a List of All Episodes

Reading Tarot for Others (Free Book of Maps Chapter Download)

The Book of Maps Vitruvian Edition is going to be a significantly larger volume book than the First Ediiton, with new chapters.

A collection of those chapters are intended to showcase the more practical side of the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, especially how a professional tarot reader or one who reads tarot for others might be able put the deck into everyday use.

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Sightsee the Tarot: Video Series

SIGHTSEE THE TAROT is a video series on my YouTube channel that takes you on a tour of the tarot, from discovering new books and tarot thought leaders to workshopping classic tarot spreads and tinkering with particular tarot decks.

Together, we’ll work through specialized reading techniques, provocative topics in the world of tarot, or explore notable perspectives and points of view. I’ll guide you every step of the way through these hands-on presentations. Pause as needed and resume the video only when you’re ready for the next step.

When you can’t have a tarot instructor in your home with you, in person, this Sightsee the Tarot series is the next best thing. As your host for this series, here is my objective: to coax you out of your comfort zone and get you to try out a diverse range of approaches to the cards.

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The Black Tarot: Lines of Intuition

In 2018, The Black Tarot launched a successful Kickstarter campaign. You can read more about the deck here on its official website. The minimalism of the deck is so intuitively well-attuned to our current zeitgeist, what with the KonMari tidying up speak joy method raging across the nation while every beauty, lifestyle, and health guru on social media is pushing the minimalism aesthetic. So the Black Tarot comes to us during interesting times.

Stay with me here: I envision a fashionista with her hair expertly tousled, smoky eyes, silver studded rings on every finger, wearing black and heather gray, boots, and telling me the story of my life and what’s to come with this deck. Something about this deck just feels so in tune with what’s going on around us at the moment.

The deck comes in a tuck box and one single card deftly sums up everything you need to know about its point of view and the structure of the suits.

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Zillich Tarot by Christine Zillich: A Thoth-Inspired Watercolor Deck

Those of you who attended Readers Studio 2018 in New York will recognize this deck as having come in the event gift bags, courtesy of U.S. Games. The artwork is done in watercolors by German artist Christine Zillich. The deck art blends mythological, astrological, and Kabbalistic symbolism, featuring Crowley’s keywords on the pips.

Click on photo for enlarged view.

The cards are petite at 2.25″ x 3.75″ (compared to standard tarot size: 2.75″ x 4.75″) and remind me more of a typical Lenormand size deck. You get the deck in a keepsake metal tin. I love the blue-purple tones of the reversible card backs. I know I’m getting nitpicky here, but there’s just the slightest imbalance in terms of vertical spacing in the white caption boxes at the bottoms of the cards–there’s not enough space between the bottom edge of the artwork and the first line of text, compared to the amount of spacing between the bottom edge of the card and the last line of text.

There’s a typo with the roman numeral for Key 21: The Universe, but it doesn’t really bother me. While Key 20 (XX) in the Thoth deck is titled Aeon and in the RWS is Judgement, here in Zillich, it’s Justice, which confused me, so I turned to the LWB. Indeed the card is supposed to be titled “Justice,” so this isn’t a typo on the card (unless it’s a typo that appears on both the card and in the LWB…)

The description of the artwork for Key XX reads in relevant part: “Golden light from heavenly trumpets awakens the dead. . . . An old age ends and a new era begins. The eternal consciousness is reborn in the spirit of the primordial fire.” So that sounds very Judgement-y and Aeon-y to me. Assuming the keyword “Justice” for Key XX is correct, I’m not entirely sure how justice fits in to the card, even with the deck creators’ own meaning attributions for Key XX.

Click on photo for enlarged view.

The abstract cubist style pays a clear homage to Lady Frieda Harris’s style. That Death card is just absolutely beautiful and to me, almost has a dark goddess vibe to it. Some of the symbolic renderings in the Majors feel more RWS to me than Thoth, like how Key 8, while titled Lust, is positioned as it would be in the RWS (whereas Crowley goes through quite the trouble explaining white Lust/Strength “should” be Key 11) and Key 11 is Justice/Adjustment. Also, the depictions, most notably in The Hermit card, or even the Wheel of Fortune feel more RWS than Thothian.

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Top 5 Tarot Decks of 2018

In 2018 we saw so many incredibly innovative and ground-breaking decks to name that I could not reduce it down to just five. This was a difficult list to make and I wish I could name more. I even thought about doing a special mentions section, but then even that would get unduly long!

These are my top five tarot decks from 2018, though two of these decks were published in 2017. Also, my own deck, Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, was disqualified, since come on. I can’t pick my own deck.

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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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Review of the Luna Sol Tarot by Mike Medaglia

If you believe that the particular tarot deck a reader chooses to work the closest with reflects the character, aura, and essence of the reader, then the Luna Sol Tarot says to me that those who gravitate toward this deck are compassionate, loving, soulful, and forward-thinking, with values rooted in pluralism, inclusiveness, and diversity of both culture and beliefs.

Mike Medaglia is a comics illustrator with a Zen Buddhist background, along with being one of the co-founders of Liminal 11, the publisher of the Luna Sol Tarot. You may recognize his work from his previous contributions the Huffington Post and Elephant Journal. Thankfully for us tarot readers, Medaglia has now directed his attentions to creating a tarot deck and Luna Sol Tarot is a modern spiritual wonder.

Click image for enlarged close-up view of Majors.

With a muted color palette and timeless, ethereal quality to the art, this is a deck for meditation, self-reflection, inner child work, and daily wisdom. With his background in comic book illustration, Medaglia expertly tells a story of a thousand words in each picture, every card in this deck magically unraveling a full narrative arc with a beginning, middle, and end of a story that you’ll pick up on effortlessly. There’s such a beautiful Libran harmony and aesthetic balance to Luna Sol.

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