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  1. Jewel


    Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Jewel The Bohemian Gothic Tarot, designed by Karen Mahony and illustrated by Alex Ukolov, is another baba studio Tarot masterpiece. Yes, I am a baba studios/Magic Realist Press (MRP) fangirl, but with very good reason. The quality and design of their decks puts them in a class of their own. The seed idea for this deck was found in dark stories, events, and images they came across while creating their first deck, Tarot of Prague (MRP 2004), then in macabre fairy tales when working on The Fairytale Tarot (MRP 2005), and became a major topic of conversation within the Aeclectic Tarot Community during their work on the Victorian Romantic (MRP 2006) as Karen shared information with us about some of the engravings and pictures they had run across that were too dark for the Victorian Romantic. We all started joking around about how after they finished the Victorian Romantic they needed to get to work on “The Dark Sister” of the Victorian Romantic. In 2007 baba studious/MRP gave us The Bohemian Gothic Tarot both as a Limited Silver Edition of 500, and a regular deck. To borrow a quote from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a deck that will “bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses.” This review will focus on the regular edition as it is the most common. Though inspiration for this deck began during their work on previous decks, The Bohemian Gothic evolved and asserted its own voice and personality through the creative process. Alex Ukolov brought that voice to life through modern digital composition and painting techniques, ensuring the cards retained a very strong period feel. As Karen shares with us in the companion book “The cards are based on late 19th century photographs taken from “cabinet” (photographic studio) portraits and from the lyrical, romantic photographic postcards that were fashionable in Germany at this time.” I am not a huge fan of digital art, but Alex’s expert touch always leaves me in awe and wondering if this is really digital art or if I am actually looking at hand painted paintings made specifically for this deck. Yes, he is that good and that effort is put into each and every card. A true feast for the eyes. The Bohemian Gothic does not follow any one Gothic story or novel, though you will see the influences of Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and others in the work. The genre is captured beautifully. The deck is dark, subtle, and has that eerie Gothic atmosphere permeating throughout. It was created with the intent to show the shadow side of life, and in readings it will reveal the shadows in your own or that of your querent. The deck has the traditional number of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana retain the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) titles, the difference lies in the Majors not being numbered so the reader can position Strength and Justice at positions 8 and 11 by personal preference. In the Minor Arcana the Suits follow the traditional names and elemental correspondences of Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Swords/Air, and Pentacles/Earth. The court cards are King, Queen, Knight, and Page. The cards do not rely on exact number of suit icons to tell you what card you are looking at, rather the picture itself tells the story and conveys the meaning of the card. The card number and suit are included at the bottom of the card. I love it when decks do it this way. The cards measure 5” X 3”, and are borderless. The card titles are included in the bottom ¼” of the card in a black band. The card stock is superb, something MRP is known for. These decks are easy to shuffle, durable, and just another sign of the quality that goes into them. The back of the cards are black with what look like silver Gothic architectural elements radiating from a skull. The backs are mirror image (top and bottom) and reversible. Due to its dark nature, the deck was not intended for the use of reversals, but the backs of the cards are reversible, and reversals can be used if the reader so desires. There is a 232-page companion book for this deck. Karen’s writing is as spectacular as Alex’s art. The Introduction tells you all about how the Bohemian Gothic Tarot was conceptualized and developed. It also includes a list of some typical Gothic elements many which you will see on the cards, and others you will sense while reading with this deck. This section is followed by a fascinating and educational section “A Short History of the Gothic” from its origins in the 18th century novel The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole to present day. The next section talks about the structure of the companion book, and gives some additional insights into the deck. Other sections of the book include: “A Short History of Tarot”; “Learning the Tarot” which includes some good information on court cards and numbers 1-10; “Reading Styles, Spread Styles” which talks about the different styles and approaches to reading tarot, introduces spreads, use of a significator, patterns and making a story, etc. The next section is “Sample Spreads” which includes the following spreads and sample readings: One-card Draw, Three-card Spreads (5 options), Five-card Spreads, The Prague “Threshold” Spread, and two spreads designed specifically for the Baroque Bohemian Gothic Tarot: The Secret Fears Spread and the Vampire Spread. So, as you can see, lots of spreads. The book moves onto a discussion of the Major Arcana, information on The Bohemian Gothic Majors and then into the cards themselves. Each card includes key words for lighter/conventional meanings and darker/shadow or hidden meanings, then a description of the card and more interpretive details, and finally some further ways to consider the card which includes questions and notes about shared imagery with other cards in the deck for you to look at and think about. Juicy stuff! Following the Majors we get into the Minor Arcana which has an introduction and then each suit has its section. The Minors get the same treatment as the Majors in the book. Lastly is the section on the Court Cards. The book also includes some additional genre based sections interspersed throughout: The Vampire, Evil from Foreign places and people, The Hauted House or Castle, Madness and delusion, and The Warewolf or Man-beast. Also of note is the “A Final Word” section of the book which features a piece written by Dan Pelletier titled “Working with a “dark” deck." This is not a deck for the faint at heart, those who do not want the cold hard truth, look at or admit to their own personal shadow, or those who like to sugarcoat things. There is no room for that with this deck and it can be emotionally demanding. This deck is a dark deck, and lives up to that billing plain and simple. It sets the mood, and activates the darker side of your psyche. Beautiful, check. Tempting, check. Mysterious, check. Unsettling, check. Haunting, check. To me one of the most beautiful and disturbing cards in the deck is The Devil card. It is sensual, seductive, and painful all in one. The horror of it. This is what this deck does so well. Like all other MRP decks I have experience working with, this one is extremely readable and ignites your intuition with its evocative imagery. Personally, I find this deck great for personal readings because well, in my personal experience, it will not allow me the luxury to delude myself or engage in the creation of false hope. The readings can be like ripping off band-aids, but the clarity allows you to face whatever is going on head on. If you do not want to really know, then do not pick up the deck until you are. You might want to warn your querents about the directness and light this deck will shine on their shadows when you read for them. If they have something to hide The Bohemian Gothic will be sure to shed a really bright light on it. Do not read with this deck if you are in a fragile state of mind. I recommend this deck to persons who enjoy the classic Gothic genre, like dark decks, want to rip away the shadows and expose the issues, those open to face the darker aspects of themselves, collectors, and MRP deck enthusiasts. The deck is sure to delight intuitive readers with an interest in the Gothic. The deck will likely appeal to persons interested in Gothic art, literature and classic horror films as it really captures the best of the genre. This deck includes a lot of Gothic symbolism, but not esoteric. I feel this deck could be read by readers of all levels because the art and book are just that good. You can definitely see the RWS influence and base, but it is not a RWS clone. I would not recommend this deck to persons suffering from depression or those that are mentally or emotionally fragile. There is no offensive nudity in the deck. This is a deck that might appeal to a lot of querents based on its esthetic, but I would recommend warning them that it will bring to light that which lies in the shadows, so to make sure they can handle the cold truths it might deliver. I would not offer up a reading with it to sweet little aunt “Fify”, but that is me. In Sum, this really is a stunning deck. It is very readable, eloquent and expressive. In my personal opinion it is a masterpiece like every other MRP deck I have ever had the pleasure to read with. Though I feel a responsibility to warn people of the impact it can have I am compelled to reiterate that it is a fabulous and perfectly executed dark deck. If you like dark decks, either for collecting or reading with, this is a must have deck.
  2. Jewel

    The Fey Tarot

    The Fey Tarot By Jewel Those of you who know me know I have an affinity towards faerie themed decks. What you probably did not know (or care), is that this is the faerie deck that started my love of faerie themed decks. The Fey Tarot by Riccardo Minetti with artwork by Mara Aghem was published by LoScarabeo in 2002 as a deck and book set. I will confess upfront, that when I first saw images of the deck I thought it was kind of childish, but a friend on Aeclectic Tarot insisted I buy and try it, that I would really like it. She knew me well, so as I talked to her on the phone about it I pranced into Barnes & Noble and picked up my copy. I am so glad I listened to her, she was right. This became my new primary reading deck for the next 12-15 years. These are not your British or Victorian faeries of folklore, they are much more universal in nature. The art has an Anime feel to it, and the colors are bright and vivid. Think graphic Anime novels. Some of the images will appeal to your inner child, but the deck is mature and for all ages. What I love most about this deck is that it was the first deck I ever encountered that used the illustrations to provide the meanings to the cards without feeling like it had to include the number of corresponding suit symbols as part of the illustration itself. Instead of being distracted by 8 to 10 of the suit symbol object I was drawn into the world of the Fey. The illustrations themselves tell the story that is the card. For the time I think this was a novel concept that has since become much more common. The faces are expressive, and thoughts and emotions are felt through the combination of the facial expressions, use of body language, and background scenery weaving the story of your reading. The deck is your traditional LoScarabeo deck, measuring approximately 4.75” X 2.60” with the card titles in 5 languages. The card number and English language in the top border, and the Italian, French, German, and Spanish card titles in the bottom border. The backdrops of the card a lilac color with ¼” borders on the top and sides, and a ½” border at the bottom. The illustrations are framed with a thin colored line as follows: yellow for the Major Arcana, and blue for the Chalices, green for the Wands, purple for the Pentacles, and red for the Swords of the Minor Arcana. The card backs have a ¼” white border, with a dark purple frame with a symmetrical monochromatic purple and white mirror image of the Lover’s Card. The cards are reversible. The deck is Raider Wait Smith (RWS) based. The following changes have been made in the names of Major Arcana cards: The High Priestess is called The Seer, The Hierophant is called The Wisest, and The Star is called The Stars. Strength is in position VIII and Justice at IX. The court cards are Knave, Knight, Queen and King, with two of cards of each gender per suit. The Chalices and Pentacles have female Knaves and male Knights, and the Wands and Swords have male Knaves, and female Knights. I really like many of the court cards in this deck, as they are lively and have personality. Overall if you are familiar with the RWS system, you will not have a problem using this deck. The companion book, The Fey Tarot – Dreams, Joy and Magic, is 158 pages in length and includes preliminary sketches of cards throughout the first 35 pages of the book with commentary. I really enjoy Mr. Minetti’s warm and friendly writing style, reading the book was as if I was sitting in an Italian café having a beer with him listening to him to go on about Tarot, Faeries, and how this deck came to be. The book starts off with a section on how to use the book then moves into the introduction which speaks about the idea for the deck and the working method of the deck which details the depth of collaboration and synergy between Mr. Minetti and Ms. Aghem. Mr. Minetti follows this section with a section on the Introduction of Tarot which covers historical information, the masters of European Esotericism, and artistic perspective. The next section titled And Finally … Divination gets into the meat of this magical deck. It speaks to why the Fey were selected for this project, the structure of this deck which dispenses with astrological designs and cabalistic references but maintains all references to life ensuring that cards “provide a parallel between what is in a card and an emotion or recognizable sensation.” And this deck does this so well. The themes running behind each suit, as noted in the companion book, are: • CHALICES: “represent the emotional and spiritual world." • SWORDS: “represent the intellectual and conflicting world." • PENTACLES: “represent the physical world, the world objects and earthly securities." • WANDS: “represent the world of man, what he does, feels, asks …” Armed with 36 pages of information you are now ready to move into the cards themselves, first the Major Arcana, then the Minor Arcana, and last but not least the Court Cards. Both the sections on the Majors and Minors include black & white pictures of the cards. The Majors section gives you the following for each card: The Sentence, which speaks to the elements of significance of the Arcana. The Image, which is a description of the card. The Simple Meaning, which is a key phrase or phrases. The Advanced Meaning, which is a description that highlights elements of the cards and how they interrelate. And lastly The Chosen Symbols. The Minors sections include: The Image, Simple Meaning, Advanced Meaning, Symbols Used. The Court Card section includes: Personality, Image, Simple Meaning, and Advanced Meaning. On page 149 its time to dip your toes into Divinatory Spreads. In this last section of the book he explains what divinatory spreads are and talks about ritual. We then move into the Dream Joy Magic 3 card spread, the 2 card Fey Child spread which he recommends for reflecting on the cards or meditating. Then you get into larger spreads such as The Cross of the Four Kingdoms which starts with 4 cards and is expanded adding onto the reading as you go, and finally we have the Six Stars spread which is general in design. In my years of experience working with this deck I found it great for all kinds of readings, a very good general deck. Reading with it becomes telling a story to answer the question. I am not a huge fan of Anime art, and this deck is not Anime in its strictest sense, but the way it reads transcended any reservations that I had going in. Some cards convey deep emotions others make you laugh out loud. Together they are everything I could have ever hoped for and more. This is one of those decks that I will treasure forever and never retire. The Fey Tarot is great for Tarot enthusiasts of all levels. Intuitive readers or those expanding their intuitive reading abilities should give this deck a try. Beginners can enjoy the deck without getting bogged down with the esoteric symbolism, because the companion book will help you make the journey. If you can only get the deck, and not the book, then I recommend having a RWS deck handy so you can reference the books you are using in your learning process. Those interested in storytelling and writing will also like this deck. If you are particular about your court cards having an even male to female ratio this deck offers that. And of course, if you are like me and love faeries and Tarot then this deck is definitely one you want to add to your collection. In addition, it is a good deck to use with querents that are nervous about Tarot as whole. If you are looking for a deck steeped in esoteric symbolism this is probably not the deck you are looking for. As of this writing the deck/book set is out of print. But I have seen both the deck and book very reasonably priced on E-bay.
  3. Jewel

    Tarot of the Sweet Twilight

    Tarot of the Sweet Twilight By Jewel The Tarot of the Sweet Twilight by Cristina Benintende was published by LoScarabeo in 2009. This deck transports you into the mysterious in-between time of twilight; to a surreal world somewhere between life and death, dreams and wakefulness, reality and imagination. It is populated by haunting characters in surreal landscapes. If you are willing to step in, you will find yourself in a place where you will experience the bitter-sweetness that lies within melancholy … and more. This is a deck that touches the heart, calls to the imagination, and sparks intuition. In describing the deck what first comes to my mind is that it looks like a cross between the Fey Tarot (also by LoScarabeo) and a Tim Burton film. The Tarot of the Sweet Twilight is based on personal symbolism to the artist, not esoteric symbolism. The vibrant and rich coloring does not lend itself to elemental correspondences, but the stunning use of color establishes the mood and intensity of the cards. The deck is very cohesive throughout, expertly establishing the Sweet Twilight theme like a bright star. The symbolism is relatively universal in nature so though the symbols (butterflies, masks, birds, etc) are personal they are also accessible to the reader. This deck is not only a gorgeous work of art, it is very original yet traditional all in one. Like its name states, it lives in the Sweet Twilight. The Major Arcana retain traditional titles, and the surrealistic art translates these images into this Twilight world while retaining traditional meanings. Justice is placed at VIII and Strength at XI. The Minor arcana are Chalices, Wands, Pentacles and Swords. Like the Majors the Minor Arcana do not follow the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery but do convey similar meaning through original art. The court cards are Knave, Knight, Queen and King. They are very interesting. Each court card is doing something that tells you something about their character, who they are and how they are. I found this very helpful in understanding their personality and the difference between each rank and suit. The deck is the standard LoScarabeo sized deck (approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ½ inches) and quality, and has the card title in 6 languages in the ¼ inch indigo border of each card. I have to say that after a few years it will show wear, but honestly with this deck it just adds to the feeling of this deck. The backs of the cards are mirror images of surrealistic art and are reversible. The deck comes with a 63-page Little White Book (LWB), and the information contained within is in 5 different languages, about 12 pages per language. It does not include divinatory meanings, but descriptions that give you points to jump off from. It is clear that this deck is meant to stir your imagination and intuition. I find that a plus. The LWB includes one six-card spread designed for the deck called Your Guiding Star. The spread takes you within yourself, to your own sweet twilight zone. In my opinion this deck is a dream for intuitive readers and empaths, and those using tarot for self-exploration and self-development. Fans of Tim Bourton and Surreal art will probably also really like this deck. It is ripe with emotion, and the eyes of the characters in the cards are truly the windows to their souls. There are strong psychological and emotional elements to the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight, but I would not pigeon whole the deck for that exclusive use as I have found it to be good in all types of readings. Is the deck appropriate for those new to Tarot? Yes and no. If the interest is to read intuitively then yes, however I think it is more suited for intermediate to advanced readers already familiar with traditional images, as it will add a whole new level of dimension to those meanings. If you cannot tell by now, this is one of my favorite decks of all time and I would recommend it to everyone. My hat is off to artist Cristina Benintende, she walked so many lines and levels creating this deck, any one of which could have just made it a cool surreal art deck, but instead she created a work with incredible depth and meaning as well as gorgeous art. The only complaint I have is that there is no full-size companion book to take me deeper into that world.
  4. Jewel

    Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen

    Osho Zen Tarot - The Transcendental Game of Zen By Jewel The Osho Zen Tarot – Transcendental Game of Zen, created by Ma Deva Padma, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1994. I am one of those people that goes all googly-eyed when I see bright jewel toned colored decks so of course I had to have it. I have to admit that after all these years I am still not sure how to classify this deck, as a Tarot or an Oracle. That is the million-dollar question I ask myself every time I pull out this deck. Honestly, I am not sure if I will ever fully answer that question for myself. It has less to do with it being a non-traditional deck and more to do with how it feels when I read with it. Hard to explain. This is a well-loved deck by many, but I know from reading some Aeclectic Tarot and TT&M forum posts, as well as some conversations with a few members from these forums that I am not the only one that is not sure how to classify it. The more I think about this deck, and I will confess it has taken me the better part of three months to write this review, I believe it has to do with blending Zen with Tarot. The goal of Zen is enlightenment and transcendence, the goal of the Tarot is to provide insight, answers and advice regarding the mundane, though it is also a tool for personal transformation and spiritual growth. If you elevate life to the Zen Master or Buddah level it is no longer life as we know and experience it and perhaps that is where I get all bogged down trying to use this deck as a Tarot deck. I am simply not as enlightened as I would like to think I am, most of us are not Zen Masters, much less Buddahs, and many of us know next to nothing about Zen. The art in the Osho Zen Tarot is simply gorgeous. It is evocative, draws you in, and really sparks the imagination. The colors are so vivid and the imagery is very thought provoking. This is a deck I could sit and look at for hours on end and never get bored. A variety of art styles have been used throughout the deck some are cartoony, some are gorgeous flowing water color paintings, and others are very geometric and contemporary, however they all work so well together that the deck remains cohesive. Equal attention was dedicated art-wise to the Major and Minor Arcana. The card stock is on par with Llewellyn and US Games decks, and flexible enough to riffle shuffle with ease. The cards seem quite durable as I have had my set for years, and riffle shuffled them without scuffs or other problems. I am not overly fussy about card stock, so I have no problem with it. The cards measure approximately 4.25” X 2.75" and have a 1/8” black border on the top and sides and ¾” at the bottom. The card images have a very thin white frame around them and at the bottom center of the card image, half on the image and half in the black ¾” bottom border, is a color-coded diamond with the number or court card symbol for the card. The card titles are on the bottom ¾” black border in white easy to read block letters. The backs of the cards are done with water color circles in oranges, ocre, yellow, olive green, pale blue bleeding together, with three black lines running the length of the card and more abstract black lines running through those three lines. Due to the design they are not reversible, but it is not as obvious as the backs of many decks out there with non-reversible backs. The Osho Zen Tarot is classified as a Tarot deck as it contains the requisite elements to be classified as such: it has Major Arcana, Minor Arcana Suits with Ace-10, and Court Cards corresponding to each suit. It is considered non-traditional in that said structure is modified by the addition of an unnumbered Major Arcana card, there are name changes to the Majors, the naming of the suits is changed, and there are significant changes to the Court Cards. The Major Arcana cards are denoted by a purple diamond and numbered with Roman numerals. One additional Major Arcana card has been added to this deck, The Master which is a picture of Osho himself. The purpose of this additional card according to the companion book: “In the traditional tarot deck this journey [through the Major Arcana] of self-discovery was perceived as a kind of spiral, with each Completion leading to a new level on the path, a new beginning with the re-entry of The Fool. In this deck, however, the Master card has been added. This card allows us to leave the spiral behind, to jump off the wheel of death and rebirth. The Master card symbolizes the ultimate transcendence that becomes possible only through the dissolving of separate, individual ego in enlightenment.” It is important to note there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding Osho and his followers and I have read that a some people just take The Master card out of the deck. I leave it in though I ascribe a way different meaning to it than intended in the deck. To me this is a card of outright deceit and/or hoodwinking, but again that is my personal perspective and one that would likely garner quite a bit a criticism from Osho followers. But I am neither into Zen or Osho and am one of those people that take into account some of the issues based on Osho follower actions in my country. There are quite a few name changes to the Major Arcana, in fact only two Major Arcana cards retain their traditional names (0 The Fool and VI The Lovers), but overall you will easily be able to make the correlation between the new name and the traditional with some exceptions, most notable IV The Rebel and V No-Thingness. Here is a list of the Major Arcana in the Osho-Zen, with the traditional Tarot name in parenthesis for your reference: 0 The Fool I Existence (Magician) II Inner Voice (High Priestess) III Creativity (Empress) IV The Rebel (Emperor) V No-Thingness (Hierophant) VI The Lovers VII Awareness (Chariot) VIII Courage (Strength) IX Aloneness (Hermit) X Change (Wheel of Fortune) XI Breakthrough (Justice) XII New Vision (Hanged Man) XIII Transformation (Death) XIV Integration (Temperance) XV Conditioning (Devil) XVI Thunderbolt (Tower) XVII Silence (Star) XVIII Past Lives (Moon) XIX Innocence (Sun) XX Beyond Illusion (Judgement) XXI Completion (World) The Master – this is the extra card with a picture of Osho The Minor Aracana are denoted by the appropriate color-coded diamond with an Arabic number or court card symbol per suit. It is in the Minor Arcana that I start to have my bigger issues with this deck. The companion book states: “These 56 cards are divided into four suits representing the four elements … The cards of the Water suit have a blue diamond, those of Fire red, Clouds have a grey diamond, and Rainbows, a rainbow-colored diamond.” Huh? Rainbows and Clouds are elements? This is news to me! I can see the correlation of Clouds and Air, but I do not get the Rainbows for Earth and never will. Believe me I have tried. This is where the deck starts losing me as Tarot reader and makes me think of this deck as more of an Oracle deck. These are my main issues with this deck: 1. The suit progression within the Minor Arcana feels different and at times at odds to me, and I am not a fan of keywords on my Tarot cards. 2. I have no problem with suit renaming, but I cannot wrap my head around the Rainbows=Pentacles=Earth, call me old fashioned or traditionalist if you will. If you are going to name the suits representing the four elements then call them Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. 3. The court cards don’t feel or act as court cards in my opinion, more on this later. Lets’ talk about the Suits starting with my least favorite. The suit of Clouds, though the emphasis is on the mental plane (like Swords), carries a lot of negativity and mental baggage making it, at least to me, a dreaded suit to see in most cases. Here is the progression through the suit of Clouds: Ace-Consciousness, 2-Schizophrenia, 3-Ice-Olation, 4-Postponement, 5-Comparison, 6-The Burden, 7-Politics, 8-Guilt, 9-Sorrow, and 10-Rebirth, which does not jive with your traditional 10 of Swords on any level. I have already expressed my problems with the name of the Suit of Rainbows, but it goes it beyond that for me. The Ace is called Maturity, things do not start Mature so this is why I have trouble with this card representing an Ace, it brings the potential but not Maturity itself. Some cards in this suit are easily translatable to traditional Tarot such as the 4-The Miser, 5-The Outsider and 10-We Are The World. But other cards such as Maturity (Ace), 6-Compromise, 8-Ordinatireness just don’t work for me. I have some issues with the Suits of Water and Fire as well, but they are minor in comparison to my issues with the Clouds and Rainbows. Honestly, the more I think about this as I write this review I find the minors better suited as Oracle Cards instead of Tarot Cards. Onto the Court Cards. In the introduction of the book they explain that the Court Cards have been “stripped of their feudal titles and given names to simply represent different opportunities for mastery over the four elements that they occupy.” but they still call them by their traditional names (King, Queen, Knight, Page) in the book which just added to my confusion and to my brain continually trying to tie the two together. Here is a list of the Court Cards by rank with their given names: Kings: Fire/The Creator, Water/Healing, Clouds/Control, Rainbows/Abundance. Queens: Fire/Sharing, Water/Receptivity, Clouds/Morality, Rainbows/Flowering. Knights: Fire/Intensity, Water/Trust, Clouds/Fighting, Rainbows/Slowing Down. Pages: Fire/Playfulness, Water/Understanding, Clouds/Mind, Rainbows/Adventure In this deck I find the Court Cards extremely confusing to identify without keeping out a cheat sheet to remind me that the up-arrow=Kings, down arrow=Queens, arrow to the left=Knights, and arrow to the right=Pages. That is compounded by the cards having a key word describing an opportunity for elemental mastery versus telling me that it is the King, Queen, Knight or Page, and in several cases I do not even associate said elemental opportunity for mastery with the given court card (i.e. Knight of Water=Trust, King of Water=Healing, Queen of Clouds=Morality, Queen of Fire=Sharing, Knight of Rainbows=Slowing Down, Page of Rainbows=Adventure or Page of Water=Understanding). The Court Cards in this deck, as a whole set, just do not work for me as court cards. So yeah, overall, I am probably making this more complicated than it needs to be, but they frustrate me. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but again since when are Rainbows or Clouds elements that can be occupied? Yes, I am rolling my eyes at this and by now you are probably rolling yours at me which I can understand. The Companion book is one of my least favorite companion books of all time. I would have liked to learn more in the introduction about how they are relating Zen to the Tarot, why they chose Rainbows and Clouds as elements (sorry cannot let this go!), and frankly Oshos teachings are just not my cup of tea. What I do love about it is the artist descriptions of the images. I got a lot from those. Towards the back of the companion book there are several spreads: The Diamond (5 cards) for clarity on a specific issue; The Flying Bird (7 cards) which delves into the balance of our feminine/masculine energies; The Key (8 cards) is to gain insight into hidden and unconscious aspects of a particular issue; The Mirror (12 cards) to gain insight when relating to someone else; The Celtic Cross (10 cards); Relating-A Quickie (4 cards) another spread about relating to someone else; The Super Quickie (1 card) for insight into your day or meditation; and the Paradox in which you split the deck in three and work with your chosen third – this spread is about looking at here and now, your past life influences, and a card you select from the rest of your pile which provides insight into the paradox. The spreads are interesting. My favorite part of the book is the glossary of symbolism at the very back and it tells you the symbolism of birds, chains, and everything else you might find in an image. This section is useful when looking at any deck as a reference. In 2003 a second book was written for this deck titled “Tarot in the Spirit of Zen – The Game of Life” by Osho. Of course, I purchased it in hopes that it was better than the companion, but no, it was just more in-depth Osho teachings. My favorite parts of this book were the Tables of Correspondences starting on page 200-202 which show the Correspondences of the Osho Zen Tarot Cards to the Raider-Waite-Smith and the Thoth decks, and at the very back of the book are some beautiful small glossy Major Arcana cards from the Osho Zen you can punch out. By now you are most likely questioning why in the beginning of this review I said I liked the deck, yet proceeded to tear it down. I have said a lot of harsh things about this deck, and they are reflective of my own personal frustrations in trying to use it as Tarot deck. I do like it just not as a Tarot deck. The Majors work for me OK as Tarot Majors, but the Minors don’t. The Minors for the most part seem more suited for an Oracle deck. This deck is truly hybrid, which is another reason I have struggled so much with it. When I pick up a Tarot deck I want Tarot. When I pick up an Oracle deck I want an Oracle. Apparently, when I pick up a hybrid I get frustrated. As a Tarot reader I was tying myself in knots trying to read this as I read most of my Tarot decks – especially when Court Cards were involved or cards from the suit of Clouds popped up – until I finally just gave into the imagery and began to read intuitively and without paying much attention to suits, the rank of the courts or names of the aces. I used the key words as spring boards and let the imagery do the rest. When reading in this fashion I really enjoyed reading with this deck. The imagery is so rich, thought provoking, and evocative, and when I stopped thinking about suits and ranks I could take the cards in as a whole, so negative Clouds did not matter to me, and the Rainbows were fine, and the Ace of Water “Going with the Flow” and the ace of Rainbows being Mature were no longer issues for me. As Tarot they just weren’t for me, as an Oracle they were masterful and have incredible depth. The deck is suitable for all types of readings, it is not a deck that should be pigeonholed into one specific type of reading. I think it is particularly well suited for meditation. I would recommend this deck to persons who primarily enjoy Oracles and want to delve more into Tarot, or persons who primarily prefer Tarot and want to work with an Oracle that has more structure to it than your typical oracles and want an Oracle with some “teeth.” I also recommend this deck for intuitive readers as the imagery is spectacular. Those persons that like to use cards for meditation would also enjoy this deck. I would not recommend this deck to a beginner because there is no instruction what so ever on how to start working with or reading the cards, and it will not match up to any other literature you will find in books or online Tarot learning resources. If you have strong traditional historical Tarot foundations and have expectations of what you will find in each suit stay away from this deck, it will frustrate you. I do not even consider myself all that into historical tradition and traditional meanings and it frustrated me. The court cards will absolutely drive you bonkers. Would I read with this deck for Aunt Fifi? She would really love the art, nothing offensive here, though some imagery especially in the suit of Clouds might frighten her and if the image did not the key word might, but if she wanted me to I would read for her with it.
  5. Jewel

    The Cosmic Tribe Tarot

    The Cosmic Tribe By Jewel I wrote this review for Aeclectic many years ago. My love for the deck remains after all of these years so I thought I would post this review here as well. My first impression when looking through the cards of this deck was WOW! The images on the computer screen just did not do justice to the real thing. What I purchased originally as a novelty quickly became my favorite deck to work with. The Cosmic Tribe is photographic collage enhanced with computer graphic elements creating a lively and vibrant deck reflecting the new century. The three dimensional effects add both depth and movement to the cards. The colors used are bright and deliberately selected adding to the meaning of the cards. There is a playfulness in this deck that I have not seen any other of its high caliber. The deck synthesizes elements of various cultural traditions including paganaism, indigenous shamanism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The deck uses nudity as one of its primary elements and as a key part of its design. It is NOT an erotic deck. The nudity is artistic, tasteful and within the context of the cards. All genders and body types are portrayed. This deck is definitely not suited for those that are offended by graphic nudity. From my experience at the Aeclectic Tarot Forums, people either love or hate this deck, there seems to be no in-between. Arabic numbers are used on the Major Arcana, with Balance as card 8 and Strength as 11. Justice has been renamed Balance 8, and Judgment has been renamed Emergence 20. There are three Lovers cards from which to choose: male/female, female/female, and male/male. Card suits and elemental correspondence is: swords/air, wands/fire, cups/water and disks/earth. The Cosmic Tribe is largely based on Crowley's Thoth deck. Court cards are Queen, Knight, Princess and Prince. The Minor Arcana are pips with graphic design elements, but are not fully illustrated as in the Raider Waite type decks, they are what I call "moody minors." However, it is important to note that the use of color and the graphic designs are extremely evocative. Cards are a little oversized, measuring 5" X 3". The backs of the cards are non-reversible with 4 mini-cards representing the elements on each fourth of the card and a large cosmic eye in the center. Each of the elemental mini-cards also includes a cosmic eye, which is a theme that runs through this deck. The border on the back of the cards is black, this the edges begin to show a little wear quickly due to the quality of the card stock. If there was one thing I would change about this deck it would be for it to be printed on higher quality card-stock. The faces of the cards have a thin white border, which nicely off-sets the vibrant colors. The book that accompanies the deck is excellent guiding the reader to understand the cards and their power, not simply giving cookie-mold definitions of the meanings of the cards. Poetry related to each card is included, and although most of the book is dedicated to the actual cards, there is also a section on working with the cards that includes spreads, meditation and information on deck storage. Overall I think this is an excellent deck and book set! I have found The Cosmic Tribe to be extremely clear in readings and very easy use. It is also good for meditative work. I would recommend this deck to Tarot enthusiasts of all experience levels, and is a must for deck collectors for being the first to include three versions of the Lovers card to choose from. It is refreshing to see such a wonderful creation. Thank you Stevee Postman!
  6. bookshop

    Celestial Stick People Tarot

    I love this gorgeous, luminous little deck, it's one of my favorites. It's one of the most charming, whimsical tarot decks I’ve ever seen, and I think the colors and the design are absolutely fantastic. This is a hard deck to photograph; the cards are small and the camera doesn't easily convey how vivid the colors are, or how effective the contrast is between the dark blues and blue-grey (the artist's favorite color) and the glints of bright colors throughout. I've never tested it, but it seems like a deck that might actually glow in the dark. The theme is generally artistic inspiration and idealism — the suits are presented as brushes (wands), hearts (cups), quills (swords), and diamonds (pentacles). The court cards are dreamers (pages), the vehicle-driving zeealots (knights), paragons (queens), and mentors (kings). It's a gentle deck, full of subtle insight; I love reading with it and my friends love getting readings from it. Its relative low price among tarot decks makes it something of a wonder for me. Note that the tuck box it comes in isn't very sturdy and fell apart very rapidly, so you'll want to find a small tarot bag or box as unique as the deck is.
  7. KaiNO

    Mystic Mondays Tarot

    From the album: Minimalist Decks

    Cards: 78 Dimensions: 83 x 133 x 53.34mm | 362.87g Publication date: 23 Oct 2018 Publisher: CHRONICLE BOOKS Publication City/Country: San Francisco, United States Language: English Illustrations note: Full-colour illustrations ISBN10: 1452176388 ISBN13: 9781452176383 Buy where: bookdepository.com, Amazon, ++ This vibrant tarot deck, featuring bright artwork, holographic card edges, and foil exterior, offers fresh interpretations of each of the major and minor arcana in a standard tarot deck. With a full-color guidebook that describes the symbolism of each card, Mystic Mondays is full of positive vibes that invite you to start fresh any day of the week.
  8. bookshop

    Illuminated Tarot: Dark Crystal Rose edition

    From the album: RWS Clone Decks

    Illuminated Tarot: Dark Crystal Rose variant Creator: Carol Hertzer Publisher: self-published Year: The Illuminated tarot variants were created between 1989 and 2009-ish; my copy was custom-printed in 2018. The Illuminated Tarot are brilliantly hand-colored RWS clones by Hertzer, with many variants in different color schemes. Available from: The Dark Crystal Rose variant is available by special request from the artist. You can email her at the email listed on her website.

    © 2009

  9. From the album: Pagan Decks

    Swietlistej Drogi (Radiant Light Tarot) Creator: Alla Alicja Chrzanowska Publisher: Studio Astropsychologii; reprinted by Ars Scripti-2 Year: 2001; reprinted in 2013 ISBN: 978-83-60472-77-4 This is a beautiful Polish deck in which the vivid contrasts have been achieved by layering the colors and etching the black away to reveal the gold beneath it. The original edition is very hard to find; the 2013 edition shown recreates the deck and the original marbled backing. Note: The 2013 edition has a white border which has been trimmed from this deck. Available from: the 2013 edition is available from the Ars Scripti-2 website (in Polish), and frequently on Ebay. The 2001 edition is rare and hard to find.

    © 2001 / 2013

  10. bookshop

    Tarot ng Daigdig sa Balintataw

    From the album: Major Only Decks

    Tarot ng Daigdig sa Balintataw ("World Inside the Eye" tarot) Creator: Lynyrd-Jim Narcisco Year/Publisher: 2009 / self Availability: Only 100 copies of this Major Arcana deck were printed. A handful still remain for sale on Adam McLean's website. Cards are laminated, backs are plain white.

    © 2009

  11. Saturn Celeste

    Revelations Tarot Cards

    From the album: Specialty Decks

    Revelations Tarot Cards by Zach Wong (Author) Cards: 216 pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1st edition (May 8, 2005) Language: English ISBN-10: 9780738706078 ISBN-13: 978-0738706078 ASIN: 0738706078 Purchase at: Llewellyn I Amazon
  12. Saturn Celeste

    Tarot Illuminati

    From the album: RWS Clone Decks

    Tarot Illuminati Kit Cards by Kim Huggens (Author), Erik C. Dunne (Author) Cards: 160 pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; Tcr Crds edition (May 8, 2013) Language: English ISBN-10: 0738737909 ISBN-13: 978-0738737904 Purchase at: Llewellyn I Amazon
  13. Saturn Celeste

    Native American Tarot

    From the album: Tribal Decks

    Native American Tarot Deck (Religion and Spirituality) Cards by Magda Weck Gonzalez (Author) Series: Religion and Spirituality Cards: 78 pages Publisher: United States Games Systems; Gmc Crds edition (October 1, 1988) Language: English ISBN-10: 0880790091 ISBN-13: 978-0880790093 Purchase at: US Games I Amazon
  14. KaiNO

    The Numinous Tarot

    From the album: Diverse Decks

    Creater/artist: Noel Arthur Heimpel Purchase where: noelheimpel.com Size of cards: 2.75"x4.75" (7x12 cm) Materials: 350gsm glossy cardstock with gilded edges Guidebook: 6"x9" and 126 pages, with black & white interiors The Numinous Tarot is a radical deck that strives to bring a variety of experiences to the wonderfully complex symbolism of the Tarot. Rendered in beautiful and luminous watercolor and inks, the Numinous Tarot shows the beauty of diversity in the world, from body type, ability, race, to gender identity and expression. These things are not used as symbols in and of themselves; rather, they are there to show the infinite ways that all people can experience magic and mystery, especially those who are often excluded from it. The deck is accompanied by a full-sized guidebook written for readers of all levels, including beginners. Both the guidebook and card titles use all gender-neutral language. The Numinous Tarot is a 79-card Tarot deck with fully illustrated pips and one extra card called The Numinous. The suits, court cards, and some of the Major Arcana have been renamed to fit the mystical theme of the deck and/or remove gendered titles and hierarchies. The suits of this deck are: Bells (Swords), Candles (Wands), Tomes (Pentacles), and Vials (Cups). The court cards are: Mystics (Kings), Creators (Queens), Explorers (Knights), and Dreamers (Pages) Current deck in the 2nd printing of another successful kickstarter campaign in 2019. First kickstarter campaign was in 2016.
  15. mrpants

    Tarot of the Holy Light

    From the album: Esoteric Decks

    Tarot of the Holy light, by Payne-Towler/Dowers, 2011. 8 x 12.5 cm. First edition pictured. Newer editions available from Noreah/Brownfield, and CollecTarot. Also available as a mobile app from Fool's Dog.
  16. Czenzi

    Vivid Journey Tarot

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    By Jessica Alaire, Llewellyn Buy from Amazon
  17. Saturn Celeste

    Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path

    From the album: Oracle Decks

    Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path by Francene Hart (Author) Paperback: 160 pages Publisher: Bear & Company; Tcr Pap/Cr edition (September 12, 2008) Language: English ISBN-10: 9781591430926 ISBN-13: 978-1591430926 ASIN: 1591430925 Purchase at: Amazon
  18. bookshop

    The Brady Tarot

    From the album: Animal Decks

    The Brady Tarot Creators: Emi Brady (creator, illustrator), Rachel Pollock (writer) Year/Publisher: 2018 / tiny brown bird studio Availability: Deck website, Little Red Tarot

    © 2018

  19. bookshop

    Badgers Forest tarot

    From the album: Animal Decks

    The Badgers Forest Tarot Creator: Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven Year/Publisher: 2013 / self Availability: Gamecrafter, Little Red Tarot The card backing is the tree illustration shown upper right. Some Kickstarter editions of the deck also come with an additional set of hand-drawn, hand-colored cards on regular paper — one of which is shown on the lower right.
  20. bookshop

    Celestial Stick People Tarot

    From the album: Cosmic Decks

    The Celestial Stick People Tarot Creator: Brian Crick Year/Publisher: 2012 / self Availability: Gamecrafter

    © 2012

  21. bookshop

    Instant Archetypes tarot

    From the album: Major Only Decks

    Instant Archetypes: A tarot for the new normal Creator: Superflux, Amelie Barnathan (artist) Year/Publisher: 2018 / Somerset House Availability: Publisher's website This is a Majors-only deck.
  22. Saturn Celeste

    Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen

    From the album: Specialty Decks

    April 15, 1995 by Osho (Author), Ma Deva Padma (Illustrator) Product details Paperback: 176 pages Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 7th ed. edition (April 15, 1995) Language: English ISBN-10: 0312117337 ISBN-13: 978-0312117337 Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.1 x 7.7 inches Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds Buy on Amazon
  23. Jewel

    Tarot of the Sidhe

    From the album: Pagan Decks

    ISBN: 978-0764335990 Publisher and Year: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., January 2011 Author: Emily Carding Pages: 96 pages Language: English Purchase at: Amazon.com, Schifferbooks.com
  24. bookshop

    Sakki-Sakki Tarot

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    The Sakki-Sakki Tarot Creator: Monicka Clio Sakki Publisher: Self-published Year published: 2015 Colorful, vibrant, surreal deck designed for artists and creativity. It incorporates the structure and meanings of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, together with Astrology, Kabbalah and personal symbolism. Contains an extra "Artist" card. Available: From the artist's website
  25. Jewel

    Tarot in Wonderland

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    * ISBN: 978-0738746807 * Publisher and Year: Llewellyn Publications, April 2018 * Author: Barbara Moore * Artist: Eugene Smith * Card Size: 2.76 x 5.00 in. = 7.00cm x 12.70cm * Companion Book # of Pages: 350, glossy full color
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