Tarot in Wonderland by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith

Tarot in Wonderland is a whimsical, playful deck that nudges you to not take yourself or the situation you’re in too seriously, and yet when times have truly gotten rough, it’s going to be there for you to offer insightful advice. It’s that close friend of yours who’s a jokester most of the time and kind of a goof-off but if you’re crying and hurting for real, that friend gets real, too, and is there for you 300%. That’s Tarot in Wonderland.

I had the great honor of attending the launch party for Tarot in Wonderland and heard the legendary Barbara Moore speak about her deck. I shared a couple of photos on Instagram if you want to check it out.

Now let’s talk about the deck. Thank you to Llewellyn for finally upping their packaging production. The magnetic flap, the hard casing, the cut-out nook for your deck, ribbon, and the book that fits perfectly up top is by leaps and bounds better than what Llewellyn deck packaging used to be. See here, for example, for the Mystical Cats Tarot. or here, near the end, when I again gripe about the product packaging for the Llewellyn Tarot.

Barbara dedicated the deck to Hermes, messenger of the gods and the divine trickster. Due to many humorous mishaps along the way, the deck took four years to bring to fruition…probably thanks to Hermes. But it was all worth it in the end because the length of time devoted to this deck means a lot of close attention to detail went into it.

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The Lost Tarot (Majors Only) by Hans Bauer

The Lost Tarot is a self-published Majors only tarot deck brought to us from the brilliant mind of Hans Bauer. The deck art is premised on a fictionalized back story of an English merchant, William Bradford, who purchased from Leonardo da Vinci an optical device (i.e., the very first camera, prior to the invention of the camera as we know it today) that da Vinci had invented, essentially a camera obscura device. The back story of the deck continues: Bradford took a series of photographs with the device and, in 1994, a stack of Bradford’s medieval photographs were found in Nottingham, England. Restoration efforts commenced and now we’ve got an incredible tarot deck for the 21st century based on those medieval photographs taken with Leonarda da Vinci’s optical device.

Weaving the back story for The Lost Tarot. Click on image for link to image source. Deck descriptions and marketing copy put forth the narrative: the “Circa 1517” image seen above is purportedly the original photograph as taken by Bradford with the camera device he purchased from Leonardo da Vinci. To the right, “2017 Recreation,” is the digitally corrected version used for the modern tarot deck. I love it.

The premise is charming, innovative, well thought out, with brilliant world-building as you’d expect from a renowned screenwriter like Hans Bauer of Anaconda (1997) fame (which starred Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, and Owen Wilson, among others) and Titan A.E. (2000).

To execute that premise, Bauer took photographs at various Renaissance faires in Texas and also staged some at his studio, mimicking a photography style as best as he could conceive of it that might have been taken by a prototype camera from 1517, centuries before the actual invention of the camera in 1839. Thus, the photographic art is expressed with a distressed and antique tone. The purpose, the painstaking attention to every detail in the execution of this Majors only tarot deck, and then finally, the cards themselves as a working tarot deck excite me.

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The Mother Wound Tarot Reading

In feminist circles, the mother wound is oft talked about. The mother wound is the relationship tension often inherent between a mother and a daughter. It’s a daughter:

  • feeling like the mother is fundamentally disappointed in how the daughter has come out, that the daughter hasn’t met the mother’s expectations;
  • feeling dysfunctional because the mother has explicitly or implicitly conveyed to the daughter that there is something fundamentally wrong with the daughter;
  • feeling like you can never repay the enormous sacrifices the mother has made for the daughter; or…
  • feeling afraid that she might outshine the mother and therefore hurt the mother’s feelings somehow, so plays down her attributes intentionally, tries to be smaller and more helpless than she actually is.

For me, when ill-dignified maternal cards are consistently showing up in synchronistic patterns throughout a tarot reading for a querent who is biologically female, who identifies by gender as female, or has transitioned, I’ll explore the mother wound. The mother wound can be such a pervasive root cause of the internal conflicts in our lives.

If you intuit that you may be affected by the mother wound at some soul or fundamental level, a tarot spread programmed specifically to address that mother wound can help.

If you’re looking to explore the mother wound or just probe deeper into the spiritual implications of your relationship with a mother figure, try out this spread.

The Mother Wound Tarot Spread

The card positions correspond as follows:

  1. What did my mother hope for me?
  2. What did my mother have to sacrifice for me?
  3. What lesson did my mother learn because of me?
  4. What is the best quality I inherited from my mother?
  5. What is the worst quality I inherited from my mother?
  6. What lesson do I have to learn from my mother?
  7. Optional: A message from my higher angels.
  8. Optional, if your grandmother is no longer in this world: A message from my maternal grandmother.

If you have two moms, then do this reading twice, one for each mom. If there is someone who doesn’t fit into the traditional box of mom but to you, has always been like a mother, then this spread could still work. “Inherit” can be a figure of speech.

This spread can work for interacting with and reflecting on your relationship with any mother figure in your life. It can even be used to commune with a patron goddess who has been like a mother figure to you and this spread can be revealing for your spiritual path.

Instead of doing the full spread as noted, let’s say you’re doing a tarot reading for someone and you intuit that the mother wound is a root issue. Shuffle the deck and focus on one of the above-listed questions, such as “What lesson do I have to learn from my mother?” or “What did my mother hope for me?” and then draw a card. Go with a follow-up mother wound question that makes the most sense to ask given what came up during your tarot reading.

Media Download

If you’d like to download and then share the spread via social media, there are four different color options, which you can see in the above preview. Click on the image thumbnail to download.

I’ve gotta tell you. I must have some crazy good karma from a past life, because I don’t understand the mother wound concept and have never had the misery of experiencing it.

What fuels so much of my personal power is this unconditional conviction that my mother is proud of me, that I have not only met but exceeded her expectations of me. And yet, to the fourth bullet point, I’ve never felt any pressure, externally imposed or self-imposed, to downplay my attributes in front of my mother so that her “feelings” won’t get hurt. That’s because she’s accomplished, fierce, independent, and incredible in her own right.

To the second bullet point, if anything, my mother is the one who has healed my self-inflicted wounds of feeling like there’s something fundamentally wrong with me. Society has often made me feel like I’m by some nature dysfunctional, wired wrong, or too different. It’s my mother who has always been the one who had to single-handedly convince me that there was nothing wrong with me. When something crazy happens in my life, something totally woo-woo that no one believes or at the very least, gives me the side-eye for, Mom believes. Mom believes wholeheartedly, without condition, without doubt or skepticism.

And to the third, this may be the only one that’s plausible, and yet once again, mother saves the day. She has never, explicitly or implicitly, made me feel like I haven’t repaid her for her sacrifices. Unequivocally, she lets my sisters and me know that we are the best investment she has ever made. I’ve never felt like I owed her anything for her sacrifices. Rather, it’s a deep reverence, acknowledgement, and gratitude for the advantages I have in life thanks to her.

I think I’ve told this story so many times, but you can tell it’s because I love it. Once at a monastery (I was 16, a girly girl, you know, at that age…), the head monk guy told my mother that my shorts were too short and the way he said it was very, you know, dripping with implications. Truth is, out of respect, I probably shouldn’t have been wearing such short shorts at a Buddhist monastery. But what did Mom say? Mom yelled back at the monk guy. “Aren’t you a monk? Why are you staring at the bare legs of a 16 year old? You’re supposed to be a zen master. She’s just a child. Who’s really the one to blame here? Also, those are not short shorts. My daughter has long legs.”

That defensive reaction in protection of her own daughter, even in the face of a spiritual master she venerated, exemplifies the love I’ve always received from my mother. Yet within that deep love and support she gives me, she also calls me out on my bullshit. She’s the first to tell me when I’m blowing hot air. Last week I went back to my hometown to visit her and I happened to be wearing mala prayer beads around my wrist. She pointed at them. “Did you wear those at your tarot event so everybody will think you’re spiritual? Don’t be so fake.” (I told her that weekend I would be presenting at the Readers Studio.)

I weep for those who have to overcome the mother wound. I do. Because the power I command and the accomplishments I have under my belt are all attributed to the privilege of having dodged the mother wound.

Lately in interviews, I consistently get asked how do I do everything that I do, what are my time management secrets, how do I organize, where does my confidence come from, where do I get the audacity to believe in my own capabilities, from what deep source of seemingly unlimited energy do I seem to draw from. The truth is, I can do all that I can do for one simple reason: Mom. Since my birth, Mom cast a deep reservoir of her own power for her daughters to draw from, and we’ve drawn from it ever since, even now as grown adults, we still draw from the well of power Mom cast.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Relationship Compatibility by Your Tarot Court Significator

Queen of Swords from the Tarot in Wonderland (Barbara Moore); Game of Thrones Tarot (Liz Dean and Craig Cross); Bad Bitches Tarot (Ethony Dawn)

Even though I don’t personally buy in to generalizations about astrological sign compatibility, they sure are fun to read (and write). Instead of zodiac signs, I’m going even broader and exploring elemental compatibility between the tarot courts. Zodiac signs aren’t the only way to determine tarot court correspondences, but it’s the one I’m going to go with for the purposes of this blog post.

Since there are differing elemental correspondences for tarot out there, here’s the one I’m working with:

Those who are Fire signs are part of the Wands court, Water signs are Cups, Air signs are Swords, and Earth signs are the court of Pentacles. Psst… I’m the Queen of Swords by both sun sign and rising.

To determine your elemental court, you can use your sun sign (what is commonly referred to as your horoscope sign), but for some relationships, you may want to go with moon sign. Checking compatibility points for moon signs, rising, and Venus signs in addition to sun signs can bring a more well-rounded insight to a very specific romantic pairing. Closeness of friendships can also be determined through an account of the moon signs in addition to the sun.

The relationship compatibility I want to explore here is not limited to love. These considerations can be applied to friendships, acquaintances, or professional partners, or heck, even which public figures seem to resonate with you and which for some inexplicable reason just don’t.

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Readers Studio 2018: First-Timer’s Insights

Readers Studio 2018 was both my first time as an attendee and first time as a presenter. The tarot community is truly one-of-a-kind. Having now experienced the astrology community, pagans, Taoists, and Buddhists as social collectives, the favorite is hands down my tarot peeps. You won’t find a warmer, more enthusiastic, more diverse, more welcoming, more integrated and united, or more supportive tribe.

The Readers Studio is a weekend extravaganza of three master classes, breakfast roundtables, general sessions, tarot incubators, study groups, showcases, and many delicious event offerings. They also feed you, so there’s a cocktail party, luncheon, formal dinner banquet, and breakfast buffet. Ongoing throughout is the merchant faire where you can buy amazing goodies from small artisanal proprietors or get a tarot reading from one of the Studio’s selected celebrity psychic readers.

This post is going to be a review of my first Tarot Readers Studio experience. I’m sure I’ll be attending in 2019– and next year as an attendee and eager student only– no onstage pressures (yay) so I’ll be able to focus entirely on mingling, learning, and of course, sharing an unconscionable number of live tweets and Instagram posts.
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Alchemystic Woodcut Tarot by D. W. Prudence

The AlcheMystic Woodcut Tarot: Secret Wisdom of the Ages by D. W. Prudence and published by Red Feather, an imprint of Schiffer Publishing, has just raised the bar for tarot deck creators everywhere. Take note, people. Your new aspiration is to meet the gold standard of an occult tarot deck that AlcheMystic has just set.

The deck seeks to document the efforts of alchemists, magi, and mystics past, and their pursuit of the Great Work. In turn, it’s designed to help the occult practitioners of today in their pursuits. AlcheMystic is going to appeal to ceremonial magicians, those who study Western occultism, and who synthesize different correspondence systems and esoteric principles together when reading tarot (e.g., you are going to examine a card through astrological, Kabbalistic, and Hermetic considerations when you interpret it in a reading). It’s designed for tarot readers who possess an active initiative to dive to the darkest waters of what the tarot can offer. Yet I believe the wealth and layering of symbolism on each card enables it for scrying by intuitive readers as well.

We have to remember the roots that the New Age spirituality movement, including Wicca, grew from: the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn alongside the Catholic Church, and beyond that, Hermetic Qabalah and Rosicrucianism, alongside Magic and the Zohar, and beyond that, Emblemata, Apocrypha, the Sepher Yetzirah, the Book of Enoch, and the Torah. Interwoven throughout most of the centuries that esoteric studies developed is, of course, astrology and alchemy. These are the roots that the AlcheMystic Tarot brings back to our attention, and has done so through an exceptional deck.

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King Billy and the Royal Road: Tarot-Inspired Children’s Book

King Billy and the Royal Road by R. C. Ajounuma and published in the UK by SilverWood Books is endearing. The book is written in poetic form, triplet line stanzas with an AAB CCB rhyme scheme. You’ll also find a lot of slant rhymes, or near-rhymes. Here’s how the book starts:

A trumpet blew loud,
Like a call from a cloud,
And Billy awoke with a start!

He looked overhead,
Then under his bed,
In search of the source of the blast.

I see the Judgment card, what about you? The narrative of the poem follows Billy, a young boy who awakens with an aspiration, cannot fulfill it at home, and so journeys outdoors in search of what he’s looking for. Won’t give away what it is he’s looking for. It’s cute, though.

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Copyright Law and Tarot: Online Course

$17 USD

You’ll get the formatted digital files for printing this A5 size handbook.

In crafting this course, I started with the objective to teach copyrights to a fellow lawyer who might not have work experience in copyright law. What do I think would be everything a lawyer needs to know about copyright basics? That’s what I got down in reference text form first.

Then I went back in and made sure it was written in plain English so anyone would be able to read and understand the text. Finally, I applied the principles specifically to what a tarot reader should know.

Within the scope of my day job, I’m a lawyer who has represented individual artists on copyright claims against companies such as Warner Brothers and Estee Lauder, and prevailed in the artists’ favor. I’ve reviewed publishing contracts for writers entering into deals with the major mainstream publishing houses (and also the boutique metaphysical publishers). Finally, as an in-house attorney, I frequently encounter and have to resolve copyright issues, whether that’s licensing or sending out C&Ds, or its negotiating a work-for-hire or collaboration.

In addition to being an intellectual property attorney, I’m also a professional tarot reader, have written and published a tarot book, and worked on publishing tarot decks as well. I’ve also worked with many individuals in the tarot field on their copyright matters. So I think I’m in a unique position to be teaching tarot and copyright law.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, I believe you will know more about U.S. copyright law, how the Berne Convention applies, and basic duration differences between the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia than the average lawyer who isn’t experienced in copyright law. And so that means you’ll definitely know more than your average joe about copyrights.

If you’re a professional tarot reader, get this course to make sure you’ve been covering all your bases in terms of copyright, making sure you’re not infringing on people’s copyrights, how to spot copyright infringement, and copyright infringement defenses, including how to determine what is fair use and what’s in the public domain.

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Your Saturn Returns (Free Saturn Return Survival Kit)

In Episode #29 of “Bell Chimes In,” I talk about the Saturn Return. I also make reference to the Decisive Age and how it may relate to your Saturn Return. (What is a Decisive Age? Find out more here.)

A Saturn Return is a period of time, typically within a year, when the transiting or present Saturn’s positioning is at the same degree in the same zodiac sign as it was in at the moment of your birth. In other words, if Saturn was positioned at 3° in Capricorn when you were born, and currently Saturn is at 3° in Capricorn, then you, my friend, are in the throes of one of your Saturn Returns. Typically, there are three: the First Saturn Return, the Second Saturn Return, and your Third Saturn Return.

For the general population (there are a few astrological exceptions, which I get into in the video), Saturn can create a large weight or obstacle that holds you back. People cross a major threshold in their lives during a Saturn Return. You’ll hear astrologers talk about the First Saturn Return as a coming-of-age, when the process of growth may be difficult, but is the necessary rite of passage that must be crossed in every person’s life path.

You can find free Saturn Return Calculators online. Here’s one that I like. Input your birth details, click “Calculate,” and the dates of your three Saturn Returns, all Saturn Oppositions, and Saturn Squares are provided.

Going through or about to go through one of your Saturn Returns? Here’s a fun Saturn Return Survival Kit you can download for free.

DOWNLOAD PDF:

Your Saturn Return Survival Kit

The Saturn Return Survival Kit is granted to you under a Creative Commons license, Attribution 4.0 International. Continue reading “Your Saturn Returns (Free Saturn Return Survival Kit)”

Tarot Going Mainstream + So You Wanna Create a Tarot Deck?

This post is a combo, a two-fer. First, above, I share Episode #22 of Bell Chimes In, a cheeky rant on tarot deck creators. Oh, by the way, the deck I’m displaying is the Venetian Tarot by Eugene Vinitski, which I love and have been using religiously for all my personal readings as of late. Vinitski’s deck is totally not one of the decks I’m whining about in the video rant. I literally just showed this deck for the cover pic because it matched my outfit.

It turns out this video is somewhat related to something else. This month (January, 2018), Ethony over at Tarot Readers Academy is hosting the annual “31 Days of Tarot” challenge. For Day 26 (Friday), the prompt was to share your thoughts on tarot going mainstream. I have had so much fun watching people’s YouTube videos on this. Can’t link them all, but the most recent ones I watched are listed below. There’s a diversity of perspectives offered here, so definitely check out more than one.

Mad props and shout-out to Cape Code Creatures for keeping it real. I also love how personal Nobody Here gets.

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