Prisma Visions Tarot: A Deck Review

01 Prisma Visions Tarot - Box Set

Oh gawd I love this deck…!!

When I first saw the Prisma Visions tarot by James R. Eads, I knew I wanted it. Then after I learned more about it, the continuing narrative of the Minor Arcana cards forming four long, exquisite landscapes, and the bold symbolist-surrealist imagery in the Major Arcana, I knew I had to have it.

02 Prisma Visions Tarot - Majors I

I love the bordered Majors juxtaposed with the borderless Minors (shown later). Eads’ art here is a contemporary tribute to French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, calling to mind Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and even some Degas. You can view all the images on the Prisma Visions website, here, though I’ll provide some samples in this review.

03 Prisma Visions Tarot - Box and Cards

I love the flip top box and pretty much the design for every part of this deck and its packaging.

04 Prisma Visions Tarot - Card Back

You have a modernized all-seeing eye on the card backs, and while the card backs are not reversible, I still read with reversals when using this deck.

05 Prisma Visions Tarot - Silver Gilded Edges

The gilded silver edges are an exquisite detail. You’ve got a thick, heavy, and durable cardstock here, so the cards are thicker than traditionally published tarot decks. I do love the thicker cardstock. There is a semi-gloss finish to the cards. It’s not the full on glossy of, say, typical Hay House oracle decks, and it isn’t the papery matte finish that I tend to prefer.

06 Prisma Visions Tarot - Majors II

Continue reading “Prisma Visions Tarot: A Deck Review”

The Llewellyn Tarot: A Classic, Versatile RWS Deck

LlewellynTarot_0BoxSet

I’m always looking for RWS-based tarot decks that I can recommend for beginners who aren’t visually ready for the original RWS, and I’ve found one: the Llewellyn Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson and published by Llewellyn Worldwide. This deck has climbed up to my top five recommended beginner tarot decks or, heck, anyone interested in the Wales and Welsh culture of the Middle Ages.

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The deck comes with a really comprehensive 5″ x 8″ guidebook that does a good job introducing tarot to the beginner but also has so much traditional Welsh folklore and mythology that I found it to be an incredible read, and should be equally enlightening to any seasoned tarotist. The cards themselves are 3.125″ x 4.5″, with thick borders all around. I’ve seen many tarot readers trim their copy of this deck and I’ve got to say, it looks a lot better trimmed.

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The soft watercolor paintings by Ferguson (of the Arthurian Tarot fame) transport the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery to medieval Wales, bringing to life Celtic legends, deities, and mythic figures. Although it is a distinctly different style from Kris Waldherr‘s art, something about Ferguson’s work here reminded me of the Goddess Tarot.

Continue reading “The Llewellyn Tarot: A Classic, Versatile RWS Deck”

Tarot Pink, a Collaboration Deck: My Two of Wands

Tarot Pink Promotional Banner by Roxi Sim
Tarot Pink Promotional Banner by Roxi Sim, Creator of the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot

Tarot Pink for Cancer is a collaborative tarot deck project organized by Ron Leong, founder of Tarot eCards, a digital app for storing electronic versions of whole tarot decks on your smartphone. The mission of the collaborative tarot deck project is to raise funds for breast cancer research. The concept is to reach beyond the tarot community and introduce tarot to the greater public as a tool for emotional, spiritual, and physical healing, with a focus on fighting breast cancer.

The theme of the deck is “Tarot Pink,” with an emphasis on the tarot’s ability to inspire, empower, and support in a person’s physical wellness journey. Although the financial cause is dedicated to breast cancer research, the deck itself is keyed to all forms of physical healing and the path to wellness. The color pink evokes that healing, compassion, empathy, and soft, understanding, non-judgmental support.

You’re going to want to get this deck. Mary Greer is writing an introduction in the guidebook. You’ve got contributions from some of the biggest names in the tarot world: Robert Place of Alchemical Tarot and Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery; Ciro Marchetti of Gilded Tarot and Legacy of the Divine; Eric Dunne of Tarot Illuminati; Marie White of The Mary-el Tarot; Kris Waldherr of The Goddess Tarot; Pamela Steele of Steele Wizard Tarot; Mary Griffin of The Hezicos Tarot; Emily Carding of The Transparent Oracle and Tarot of the Sidhe; Roxi Sim of Pearls of Wisdom Tarot; Major Tom Schick of Major Tom’s Tarot of Marseille; James Ricklef of Tarot of the Masters; Carrie Paris of the Magpie Oracle; J. R. Rivera of Beautiful Creatures Tarot, and oh my goodness, so many more.

You are going to recognize a lot of the names on the contributors list. Tarot Pink will be available as both a mobile app. and a printed deck. The app. will be available as early as July, 2015 and the printed deck available in September, 2015. Please support our efforts over at Indiegogo and please help share news of this deck and our fundraising via social media with #TarotPink.

This is definitely going to be a keepsake deck. A lot of incredible folk have infused these cards with the kind of positive, empowering Qi energy that would help in any path to healing, so use it for yourself, use it for those reading the cards for their healing journey, get it as an inspirational gift for someone, or heck, get it as a collector’s deck. Considering the kind of efforts that have been devoted to the creation of Tarot Pink and the practitioners who’ve worked on it, this deck is going to vibrate at a very cool higher frequency, if you ask me.

If nothing else, please get the tarot app for your smartphone. It’s only a $2 donation. Do it! That is less than your morning cup of joe!

I was so honored and red with delight when Ron invited me to contribute to this amazing project. I hope by sharing about my card contribution, you’ll be inspired to go out and read about all the other amazing tarot people and artists and what they’ve done for this deck. And then, of course, actually get a copy! I’m not sure I have the authority to show you other works, so I won’t, but you have to go searching for them. My below doodle looks rinky-dink compared to what others have done. AH-MAZING! stuff.

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Go forth to plan out an ambitious future. You are called to aspire for the horizon beyond. The orb symbolizes healing and the power that love has for overcoming obstacles. Gaze into that orb and you will see: you walk the path of a soldier. Progress.

The caption underneath the card image is the card meaning blurb that will be accompanying the smartphone app version of the deck. The deck’s accompanying guidebook will have a longer description, which I’m providing after the jump. Continue reading “Tarot Pink, a Collaboration Deck: My Two of Wands”

XIII Tarot by Nekro: Deck Review

XIII Tarot - 01 Box Cover

The XIII Tarot by Nekro, published in 2014 by Fournier/Lo Scarabeo (and distributed in North America by Llewellyn) is a Gothic-inspired art deck with ornamental detailing, intense, evocative emotion, and a macabre motif. The art is in grayscale, with select sections of each card digitally enhanced a brilliant red.

The audience for the XIII Tarot deck is going to be aficionados of dark/gothic tarot decks, though without illustrated pips, it’s going to be better suited for Marseille readers.

XIII Tarot - Unillustrated Pips

Many of the reviews for the deck that I read on Amazon complain about the non-illustrated pips, but that didn’t bother me. You just have to know what you’re getting, as a deck buyer. In the context of Nekro’s highly detailed artwork, I like the non-illustrated pips. Illustrated pips, given Nekro’s highly detailed art work, along with the already highly detailed Majors might have been overkill.

Notice how the Majors stand out in a reading spread with the XIII Tarot.
Notice how the Majors stand out in a reading spread with the XIII Tarot.

When the cards are set out in spreads, the images on the Majors step forward beautifully, the Courts speak to us in their respective voices, and the pips provide supplemental information. For me, the deck reads quite well, but I see how visual-spatial-right-brained readers are going to prefer the illustrated pips that you might find in other Gothic decks like the Dark Grimoire Tarot by Michele Penco also by Lo Scarabeo, or the Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony, which sadly, is now out of print (I believe).

Continue reading “XIII Tarot by Nekro: Deck Review”

Review of Tarot of the Holy Light

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Back in 2011, Christine Payne-Towler came out with Tarot of the Holy Light, illustrated by comic book artist Michael Dowers. It was self-published by her via Noreah Press.

However, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I didn’t become aware of the deck’s existence until last year. You can order the deck over at Tarot University. This deck, along with Christine Payne-Towler, is going down in tarot history, mark my words, and while far be it for me to tell you what to do, I’d get a copy of this deck while it’s still available.

The Tarot of the Holy Light, with its little white booklet
The Tarot of the Holy Light, with its little white booklet

Anyone who has explored esoteric tarot has heard of Christine Payne-Towler. She’s written some of the most compelling, provocative articles on tarot scholarship available, many of which you can find at Tarot.com or at ArkLetters. Payne-Towler is one of my tarot heroines.

Continue reading “Review of Tarot of the Holy Light”

Blue and black, white and gold? The parable of the elephant, witness testimony, and the relationship of artist and critic.

Jardim Zoológico de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil. Source: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons
Jardim Zoológico de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil. Source: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

One summer in my childhood I was forced to attend a Buddhist camp at a monastery where we woke up at the crack of dawn to do shaolin and meditate, ate vegetarian, prayed our gratitude to everyone we knew and ever met before we could eat said vegetarian food, and had to sit in uncomfortable cross-legged positions while listening to lectures.

There was one lecture I remember when a monk told us the parable of four blind men who came upon an elephant, felt it, and were describing the elephant based on what they were perceiving. I’m totally paraphrasing the details here, based on memory, but the point remains the same. One blind man came upon the elephant’s trunk, another the belly, another the leg, and another the tail, and each one concluded matter-of-factly about the whole character of the elephant based on that one part they were feeling. The elephant is long and cylindrical… No, are you crazy? The elephant is flat and wide… No, no, the elephant is like a column or pillar…

Continue reading “Blue and black, white and gold? The parable of the elephant, witness testimony, and the relationship of artist and critic.”

The Witches Tarot: Deck Interview (and Review)

Witches Tarot 01

I totally swiped this deck interview idea from Kate at Daily Tarot Girl. Read her blog post about it here. I was gifted the Witches Tarot, a deck created by Ellen Dugan and illustrated by Mark Evans. It’s a Rider-Waite-Smith based deck with photographic digital art that is a near seamless blending of realism and fantasy.

The cards are 2.75″ x 4.60″, a typical size for tarot, though perhaps a smidge smaller, which means they shuffle great in my hands, fan out just beautifully across a tabletop, and are very easy to work with. It’s published by Llewellyn and has a pretty standard Llewellyn/Lo Scarabeo cardstock quality. For an RWS tarot practitioner who likes modern digital art, the Witches Tarot would make an incredible workhorse reading deck.

Witches Tarot 03

The cardbacks are so pretty. There’s a galactic vibe to it and at the center, the triple goddess symbol, with the waxing crescent, full moon, and waning crescent moon. The backs are not reversible, however, as one edge is reddish and the other bluish. I’ve opted not to read with reversals when using this deck.

Now, without further ado, let’s interview the Witches Tarot with Kate’s suggested questions.

BENEBELL: What is your main mission or message in this world?

Witches Tarot Interview Q1

WITCHES TAROT [WT]: Page of Swords

The page is represented by a tall, thin teenage boy on a green plain. He wears a talisman with a hawk around his neck. This card, per the Companion guidebook is about thinking quickly and active decisively. However, use wit, not brute force. Per the traditional attribution of the card, that of messages, the hawk symbolizes messages. What an appropriate card to respond to the question with! In the Witches Tarot deck is embedded Ellen Dugan’s message, a message about her belief systems, her traditions and how she has integrated those traditions with the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, and a quick and natural wit about the deck’s style that will attract its followers.

Continue reading “The Witches Tarot: Deck Interview (and Review)”

Tarot and Socioeconomic Class: My Thoughts After drawingKenaz

Thorn Mooney recently shared her thoughts in her vlog, “Paganism, Tarot, and Class.” You really should watch her video first before reading onward, but to give background for my thoughts here, I’ll try to recap.

Mooney talks about witchcraft as a practice occurring lower down on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a practice that is more concerned with practical applications, like talking to the dead, love spells, money spells, or getting jobs. She uses the phrase “real world, tactile, necessary things.”

Those who endeavor into the esoteric or metaphysical, she says, are more concerned with self-actualization, per Maslow’s hierarchy, which is at the top of the pyramid. They’re working through long-term emotional or spiritual concerns, striving to be their best selves, and can endeavor with these concerns because their basic physiological needs have been met.

She then talks about how all that translates in her professional tarot readings. She has found, per her own experiences, that those who request readings from her online tend to ask about issues relating to purpose in life, spiritual direction, meaning, connection to deity or deities, which she acknowledges are very “important,” but “not critically important in the sense that, oh, ‘I might be evicted from my home tomorrow'” important.

::nods:: I get that.

In contrast, reading requests she gets from the shop she works at (i.e., in-person readings, I presume), clients are asking questions like “I don’t have any money to afford a lawyer and my ex-husband has filed for full custody of my kids and the court hearing is tomorrow. What is going to happen? Am I going to lose my kids?” or “My child is physically ill and we can’t afford healthcare. What do you see happening to us?”

“I am obviously not qualified to offer legal or medical advice,” Mooney remarks, “and yet I am repeatedly put in the position where I am asked to provide input, and technically [that input] is not from me, it’s from the cards, but that’s a really blurry line.”

Mooney continues, describing the nature of these lower-level-per-Maslow’s-hierarchy questions as “gritty,” noting that it’s rare for someone in that context to be asking her about finding higher meaning in the world.

And Mooney hypothesizes that it’s tied to socioeconomic class.

Continue reading “Tarot and Socioeconomic Class: My Thoughts After drawingKenaz”

Review of the Psychic Tarot for the Heart Oracle Deck

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The Psychic Tarot for the Heart oracle deck by renowned American psychic medium and author John Holland is keenly accurate. I recommend having it on hand, whether you know nothing about tarot and oracle cards or you’re a pro. It’s great for pulling cards when a sub-issue raised during a tarot reading might need supplemental information, which is how I use it. If you’re not that into tarot, then this is a really great deck to have, because you simply ask a question, pull a card, and the keyword you get pretty much answers that question and in this deck, a picture truly does tell a thousand words. The end. You don’t have to learn any traditions or take this deck to bed and study each card symbol by symbol. I can’t put my finger on why exactly this deck works so well, but it does.

However, I’m not so sure it’s suitable for professional readers as the exclusive tool. If you’re programmed to read tarot and love tarot and eat, sleep, and breathe tarot, then I would surmise that the Psychic Tarot for the Heart oracle deck won’t be right for you. That said, I highly recommend this deck for gift-giving, especially to those who are not full-force into tarot but are looking for a go-to oracle deck that will answer questions succinctly and be really spot on in its assessment of a given situation. On a mass consumption level, it’s actually a fantastic oracle deck for asking quick questions and getting quick answers. The messages and affirmations in the accompanying Guidebook are empowering and I really mean it– it’s an extraordinary oracle deck [for someone not that into tarot] to consult everyday.

Tarot folk can get very set in our ways, which isn’t a good thing, but because of how set we can be, sometimes getting such a person to try out an oracle deck like this one may be a hard sell. If, however, you’re someone who loves oracle decks already, then without reservation I’m telling you you’re going to like this deck.

Keys 0-5 in the Psychic Tarot for the Heart Oracle Deck
Keys 0-5 in the Psychic Tarot for the Heart Oracle Deck

Continue reading “Review of the Psychic Tarot for the Heart Oracle Deck”

Holistic Tarot Free Study Guides: Advanced

Holistic Tarot Study Guides Advanced 4

Okay, people, I get it. I’ve heard it. Holistic Tarot is a big book. How does one even wade through that thing? Fear not! I’ve got study guides! To demonstrate how the book can be used as a textbook for the independent study of tarot, I’ve created study guides that will help you navigate the book at a beginner level, intermediate, and advanced. Here are the first two study guides:

Don’t forget the supplements! Those are very helpful (or so I claim). Be sure to check out all Holistic Tarot study guides and supplemental downloads here.

Now I bring you the Study Guide for the Advanced Tarot Student, and also for the tarot practitioner who is seeking to go professional. If your objective is to go professional, however, this study guide alone (and the Holistic Tarot text) is not going to suffice. That’s why I have several great book recommendations in the study guide that I know will be indispensable to the aspiring professional.

Who might find the Advanced study guide helpful?

The Advanced study guide may be right for you if…

  • you have been reading Holistic Tarot by following along through the Beginner and Intermediate study guides and now see there are still chapters that the guides didn’t cover and you want to cover those chapters, or
  • you’ve been studying tarot for some time under the Rider-Waite-Smith system, are proficient at the Intermediate level, and now you want more, or
  • you’re thinking about going professional with tarot and offering your reading services to the public.

If that sounds like you and you want to continue your studies with Holistic Tarot, then download this study guide and the recommended supplements.

Holistic Tarot Study Guides Advanced 3

STUDY GUIDE FOR THE ADVANCED TAROT STUDENT

Click on the radio button below to download the PDF.

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The Study Guide for the Advanced Tarot Student presumes that you have completed the Study Guide for the Intermediate Tarot Student, are proficient with the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, and have a copy of the Holistic Tarot book. For Session 4 in the Advanced Study Guide, it is also recommended that you have a Tarot de Marseille deck and a Thoth deck to work with. Click on the above button to download the PDF. Also be sure to download and save the below supplements. Note: In traditional esoteric tarot teaching approaches, astrology and the Qabalah basics would be taught at the beginner’s level concomitant with the tarot basics. The approach here is to integrate these areas of knowledge after a strong foundation in tarot has been built.

Supplemental Downloads

Sample Code of Ethical Conduct for Tarot Professionals

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PDF

Glyph Correspondences for the Opening of the Key

PDF

Interpreting Tarot through Astrology

PDF

Sample Written Reading Templates

DOCX

PDF

Log of Professional Readings, Events, and Parties

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PDF

Detailed Summary of Professional Readings Log

DOCX

PDF

Sample Privacy Terms for Tarot Reading Websites

DOCX

PDF

Sample Schedule of Fees and Terms of Service

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PDF

Sample Services Agreement (for Parties and Events)

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PDF

You can order your copy of the book on Amazon, through the publisher’s website at North Atlantic Books, or through the distributor, Random House.

All Holistic Tarot study guides and supplements are available for free download here on this website at HOLISTIC TAROT STUDY GUIDES. I hope these study guides are helpful in your learning and if you do use the Advanced Guide, please let me know about your experience with it!