Top 5 Oracle Decks of 2018

Continuing with the 31 Days of Tarot community challenge by Ethony, let’s talk about my top five oracle decks for 2018.

These are my top five oracle decks from the previous year, meaning (1) acquired the deck in the year 2018, and (2) actually worked with the deck in 2018, but most of these were published well before 2018.

The Celtic Shaman’s Pack by John Matthews and Chesea Potter is a deck I plan on reviewing in-depth at some future point. It’s an older deck that was then re-released  (and given a redesign) in 2017, but one I didn’t acquire myself until 2018. And I love it. Wow, I can’t even.

The guidebook that comes with the cards is everything you want to get you oriented in working with Celtic shamanism for yourself. I cannot shower this oracle deck with enough high praise, except to say you’ve got to try it to believe it. You can look forward to me posting a deck review of it this year, in 2019.

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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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31 Days of Tarot 2019: Day 1

How many years before something becomes a tradition? I don’t know. In any event, you may have heard of Ethony Dawn’s yearly “31 Days of Tarot” community challenge that she hosts every year.

You can watch Ethony’s YouTube video here introducing the 2019 prompts and get the full listing here on her website. Be sure to also connect in to the tarot YouTube community or find the community on Instagram via the hashtag #31daysoftarot19 to catch up on what everybody else is saying in response to each of the daily prompts.

I’ll be participating via Instagram and by blog posts (though after the first few prompts, I’ll be aggregating the daily prompts into end-of-the-week blog post recaps).

Reading, Energy, Major Lesson for 2019

I’m using a prototype test deck for Spirit Keeper’s Tarot where I’m test printing different shadings of sepia and different styles of the parchment background to get the aesthetics as close to what I want as possible. In the SKT deck, you’re given 3 versions of Key 0 to choose from for a significator card. For this reading prompt, I’m using The Seeker card as my Key 0 significator.

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Is there a pagan community? PantheaCon’s current issues 2018 and my concerns.

This month, PantheaCon has been under scrutiny. A firestorm has erupted, dividing the community and showing us where the rifts are, perhaps rifts that have been here for a very long time. The Wild Hunt summarized the issue succinctly in this December 3 post (first three paragraphs).

Presenters were announced for the 2019 PantheaCon scheduled programming and segments of the community weren’t happy about two of those presenters. The trans community reported concerns with Max Dashu’s alleged stance against trans women participating in events intended to celebrate biologically-born women.[*] Pagans of color reported concerns with Witchdoctor Utu’s alleged cultural appropriation. In both instances, I want to emphasize “alleged” not just for legal reasons, but because there really are disputes about whether these allegations are even true or have, at least in part, been misrepresented and factually distorted.

[*] – Psst… please see updated note at the end of this post.

In response, the organizers at PantheaCon then un-invited the two controversial presenters. Yes– their presentations were accepted, announced to the public, and then in response to the reported concerns, un-invited publicly and neither will now be presenting at PantheaCon 2019.

PantheaCon has also issued a public statement here (undated) noting that it was “a mistake to include Max Dashu in the program” because having Dashu at the event could pose a safety issue for the trans community. Furthermore, “all trans-exclusionary advocates and those in close association with them will not be presenting at PantheaCon for the foreseeable future.”

A late November issue of pagan community notes from The Wild Hunt, here, reports that allegedly Witchdoctor Utu was un-invited from presenting at PantheaCon 2019 because of his “veneration of certain black ancestors and the Underground Railroad” that were construed as cultural appropriation (Witchdoctor Utu is not black). Yet let’s not overlook the public support Witchdoctor Utu has received from native practitioners of the tradition he practices, so really, the only conclusion anyone can take away from this is the community is divided. For another perspective, Irene McCalphin of Mammy Is Dead shared a beautiful, powerful, and poetic piece here, “Social Gaslighting and the Make Witches Great Again (MWGA): Love Letter to QTPOC Witches here inspired by what went down with the PantheaCon and Witchdoctor Utu controversy.

Further note that members from all camps on all sides have reported receiving death threats, hateful and demeaning even defamatory remarks, trolling, and doxxing. Several members of the pagan community who dared to take a public stand along one of those noted position lines then had to subsequently disable all their social media accounts because they began receiving death threats, hate, and harassment. I believe every one of those members who say they’ve received death threats and harassment because I get those too for the most asinine reasons– like, “I hate what you said about reiki/starseeds/hexes/the tarot and you’re a total ignorant stupid bitch I hope you die a miserable lonely death and watch out my coven is going to curse you fuck you bitch die die die.” Not kidding. So I’m not one bit surprised people are sending death threats over serious controversial issues like the ones presented here.

Continue reading “Is there a pagan community? PantheaCon’s current issues 2018 and my concerns.”

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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The Actual Cost of Self-Publishing a Tarot Deck

Back in September of this year, I posted cost projections for self-publishing a tarot deck, “What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Tarot Deck?” linked here. I think it’s worth your while to compare the projections from that previous post with the actual calculated and accounted for figures I’m providing here.

At this time we have completed packing and shipping out all sold decks and I’ve got a tally for you of actual costs. In other words, this is what I actually spent out of my pocket to produce Spirit Keeper’s Tarot and its companion guidebook, The Book of Maps, alongside an analysis of what I’ve actually earned in terms of income.

In a future post that will supplement this one, I want to talk about the intangible costs of independent publishing, everything from opportunity cost and work-life balance to the cost on your mental health and wellness. For now, this post will be about actual calculated dollars and cents only.

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Tarot Correspondences by T. Susan Chang

This book is such a must-have. Those of you who’ve been following along in my orientation video series for Spirit Keeper’s Tarot will have seen that I recommended Tarot Correspondences as the tarot book to get if you want to work with correspondence systems.

Chang’s Tarot Correspondences is tailored to all levels of tarot proficiency, whether you’ve “been reading for decades” or “you just picked up your first deck,” (as noted in the Introduction). “Correspondences,” she writes, “are patterns and connections inherited from esoteric systems. In tarot, correspondences line up with specific cards.”

Working with tarot correspondences is premised on the doctrine of sympathy, a Hermetic principle that the way one system goes with the other is part and parcel to the magic that happens. Correspondences, notes Chang, are the bridge between worlds. And I couldn’t agree with her more.

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Case Study for the Guided Akashic Tarot Reading with the SKT

Video installment #11 in the orientation course series for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is a guided meditative tarot reading rendered through accessing the Akashic Records. The direct link to the video on YouTube is here or you can check out the entire course series on this page here.

In this post I’ll be documenting an Akashic Tarot Reading I did for myself, guided by Video #11. I’m using it as a case study so that it might help round out your own approach with the reading exercise and to think about how you can interpret your own results from the Records.

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Behind the Scenes of the Glamorous Deck Creator

From my Instagram feed @bellwen

As those of you who have been following these blog posts for the last half a year will have figured out by now, I’m trying to document the journey of creating and self-publishing a tarot deck, commenting on all aspects of that journey for future aspiring deck creators to reap insights from.

This post will be part comments and part photo essay. Through it, I hope to take you behind the scenes of a self-published deck creator’s process. I hope to take you on the ride of a newly printed tarot deck from what it goes through at my home before it leaves our front doorsteps to arrive at yours.

Meanwhile, I hope to initiate aspiring deck creators into the less-than-glamorous aspects of this undertaking and to begin to convey to you just how much work is involved when you commit to self-publishing your deck.

These are candid shots I’m taking with my camera phone in hopes of sharing with you, as-is, what I see through my eyes. And if you still think the lifestyle of a deck creator is glamorous, then you have a very different definition of that word than I do.

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Free PDF Download: Excerpts to Sole Proprietorship in the Sacred Arts

The following free PDF download is an excerpt from a manual that will be part of an online course forthcoming in 2019: Sole Proprietorship in the Sacred Arts.

Part guidebook, part hands-on workbook, this excerpt is 62 pages of reading and prompted brainstorming that will cover the following:

  • My story
  • Myths of the six-figure mystic
  • What is a business model?
  • What is voice and how do you define your voice? (This is the starting point of effective branding.)
  • Branding your identity (Let’s begin considerations for your brand’s physical appearance.)
  • How do you build a reputation? (Preliminary thoughts are provided; the online course will go more in-depth on this topic.)
  • How do you create value?
  • The magic of prosperity consciousness

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