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.

Continue reading “Grogu Does a Tarot Reading (Fan Art)”

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.

Button Soup Tarot reads surprisingly well. I say “surprisingly” because it’s no big secret that most tarot readers are skeptical of how cohesive the messages from a collaborative deck can be. But then, I mean, when you do psychic readings, aren’t you pulling from the collective consciousness, and isn’t the collective consciousness little more than, well, a hot mess?

I love the namesake, Button Soup, a reference to the folk tale Stone Soup, where a traveler arrives in a village seeking food, but no one is willing to share. The traveler claims he can create an incredible soup with just one stone. Eventually, every villager chips in a little and all the contributions result in an incredible stew, and enough for all.

There’s also quite a Who’s Who dimension to this deck, as many incredible deck creators we all know and love contributed cards. Pamela Steele (Steele Wizard’s Tarot, Wizard’s Pets Tarot), Jessica Leigh Henry (Lions Gateway Tarot), Joan Marie (The Friar’s Delight Lenormand, which is in the queue for a forthcoming review from me), Yasmeen Westwood (Tarot of Enchanted Dreams), Gaby Merman (forthcoming Chromatic Chapel Tarot, and if this Instagram account is any indication, holy moly does that look like an amazing deck I can’t wait for!), Emilie Muniz (Simplicity Tarot), Kristine Gorman, and the incomparable M. M. Meleen (Rosetta Tarot, Tabula Mundi, Pharos Tarot).

Every artist featured is incredible– I was just naming a few whose decks I’ve reviewed in the past, or names I’m more readily familiar with.

My friend Cerulean, Mari Hoshizaki, was the one who alerted me that this collaboration was in the works, so of course I had to contribute. You see my Queen of Swords drawing in the above photo. =)

My favorite way to read with the Button Soup Tarot has been a simple past, present, future, and bonus 4-card reading. I shuffle, focus on the matter at hand, then cut the deck into three card piles, right to left. I go right to left here, so the right-most card pile is past, center is present, and left is future. If you want to give this approach a try, of course you can read any direction you like, left to right if that makes more sense to you.

So that’s the three card reading– past influences causing what’s going on in the matter at hand, present status, and where this trajectory is headed (future projection). Then I choose which area– past, present, or future– I’d like a little more info on, and pull a second card from that corresponding card pile for the “bonus” in this 4-card reading method.

And this deck takes to that method perfectly.

The card back design, deck box, everything is just beautiful. I’m so in love with how this deck came out. I don’t think any deck collection is complete without a couple of collaborative decks. They’re so much fun and such an incredible way to celebrate the tarot community.

This deck was organized by Joan Marie of Rabbits Moon Tarot. She also runs the Cult of Tarot forum. You can buy the deck here, with proceeds going to support the Cult of Tarot forum, an invaluable gathering place of tarot aficionados.

I should also mention that the li’l white book was so much fun to read! The artist for each card contributed a passage on the card meaning, interpretation, and artist intentions for the card they drew. To read this collective glossary of card meanings was a treasure.

Tarot Tag: 15 Questions, via Arwen

This tarot tag is from 2017, started by Arwen, and I’m only getting around to it now. But it’s a fun one!

EDIT: Omg, no, I did do this tag before! Back in April of 2017! See here. That’s hilarious. I totally forgot!

1. What is your current favorite deck?

I’ll start by disqualifying my own deck.

I’m in love with the Majors only Pharos Tarot by M. M. Meleen. It’s Thoth-based and Meleen’s artwork is exquisite. You can learn more about it and order your copy from Meleen here. I’ll be posting an in-depth review of the deck and its guidebook in the near future.

Artistically and theosophically, I see the evolution from her Tabula Mundi Tarot. I love seeing the way Thoth influences this deck compared to the Thoth influences in the Tabula Mundi.

Continue reading “Tarot Tag: 15 Questions, via Arwen”

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.

Continue reading “SKT III Status Update Report”

Tarot Skills for the 21st Century by Josephine McCarthy

Josephine McCarthy is one of the preeminent magicians of our time. She is the founder of Quareia and author of several incredible tomes, among which I’ve read The Work of the Hierophant and The Exorcist’s Handbook. I’m also a big fan of her deck, LXXXI, which I’ve reviewed here. I am now so excited to be sharing with you my thoughts on her latest endeavor, a comprehensive book on tarot that covers both the mundane and the magical meanings of each card.

The edition I received for review is hardcover, with a beautiful velvety matte book jacket. I love that the title anchors the book in the 21st century, while the book’s aesthetics feel Old World to me. I haven’t seen this quality and caliber of production value in a tarot book for quite some time now, so there is something quite exquisite about learning tarot from McCarthy’s text.

The book begins with a strong introduction, giving you a sense of who your teacher, the author, will be, and the context from which classical tarot interpretation sprang. Having read dozens of tarot books published in the last few years, this one is refreshing in its traditionalism, formality, and also its design as a handbook to teach tarot as a venerated practice.

Continue reading “Tarot Skills for the 21st Century by Josephine McCarthy”

Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz: A Tarot Deck for Everyone

The Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz is this perfect RWS-based deck that checks all the boxes that people keep saying they want in a tarot deck, but don’t seem to notice that Simplicity Tarot exists. It flies quietly, humbly under the radar, and I have no idea why. Muniz’s deck features all the hallmarks for what our community keeps saying we want in a tarot deck, and yet this deck isn’t trending. Why is that?

Here is this deck with imagery that feels classic, timeless, not overly modern, with refinement and elegance, beautiful on any reading table spread, and has the diverse representation so many of us readers today want in a deck.

Continue reading “Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz: A Tarot Deck for Everyone”

The Sevens: Tarot Card Meanings

New to this video lecture series?

Start Here

The above-linked Introduction page will give you an overview of what this series is about and provide a course contents listing.

The Sevens is the ninth of seventeen videos in this series. This is the realm of choice, mental reasoning, and philosophical discernment, where:

  • the Seven of Wands is the discernment between fight vs. flight;
  • the Seven of Cups discerns between vice and virtue;
  • the Seven of Swords is risk vs. control; and
  • the Seven of Pentacles/Disks is action vs. non-action.

Continue reading “The Sevens: Tarot Card Meanings”

Tarot Deck Piracy and Anti-Chinese Sentiments

See also: 7/07/2020 Edits below

“My legal counsel advised me to never do business with Chinese companies, because all of them will rip off your intellectual property.”

Paraphrased, but an accurate representation of what was said by a very prominent deck creator in our community. She’ll tell you my paraphrase isn’t accurate and that I’ve misrepresented her. She takes issue with me saying she used the word “all.”

I can’t recall if that precise word “all” was ever used, so let’s believe her and say I’m mistaken. She never said “all.” It was me who read into what was absolutely, unequivocally implied in the subtext.

Oh, wait. The below was sent to me, after I started feeling pretty terrible about maybe misconstruing what she had said. I was beginning to second-guess myself, thinking, man, I now feel like crap for thinking she said “all” when she didn’t. Many of her friends were messaging me, privately and publicly, telling me I got her all wrong, I am remembering her words wrong, and she never, ever said “all.”

Some deck creators saw that same post I saw and immediately thought it was problematic and insensitive.

Other deck creators believe she means well, but perhaps she worded her sentiments wrong– let’s chalk this one up to poor word choice. Maybe. But what I’ve seen from her, she is one fine writer.

And still others think I am the one who is way out of line, being overly sensitive, probably because I’m Asian, and poor, poor Karen for getting misunderstood.

I’ll concede that the truth is probably somewhere in that middle “no man’s land” intersecting point of the Venn diagram. I’m not 100% right, but then neither is she.

Here’s the thing. That was not her first offense. From what I have personally witnessed, it was her third. If we consider what the entire community has witnessed, who knows how many times she has repeated this rhetoric.

Continue reading “Tarot Deck Piracy and Anti-Chinese Sentiments”

Show Me the Numbers: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing of a Tarot/Oracle Deck

While so many of us are still sheltered in place during the pandemic, I’ve noticed a spike in interest for creating a tarot or oracle deck and selling it. This is particularly relevant to artists and spiritual creatives who are looking into a stream of income that might help them stay afloat through uncertain economic times.

For you, we’ll talk numbers in self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. If this subject matter is really of interest to you, then read on. Don’t just watch the video, because I left a lot out of that video, which I’ll get to in this companion post.

Continue reading “Show Me the Numbers: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing of a Tarot/Oracle Deck”