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  1. Jewel

    Fantastical Creatures

    Fantastical Creatures Tarot By Jewel Published by U.S. Games in June of 2007, The Fantastical Creatures Tarot by D. J. Conway and Lisa Hunt, was the fourth Tarot collaboration between Ms. Conway and Ms. Hunt. The inspiration for this deck comes from ancient mythologies and folklore. Creatures that Ms. Conway notes as beings that fall somewhere between humans and Gods, “a kind of middleman of the astral realms.” I was very excited to purchase this deck because I am fascinated by magical creatures and am quite fond of the Shapeshifter and Celtic Dragon Tarot decks. Unlike previous decks by this team, this deck did not include a companion book. Being unfamiliar with many of the mythologies and creatures presented in this deck I was really at a loss and could have used one. Instead I was left to research these creatures and myths on the internet as needed and as a result ended up disagreeing with many of the cards based on what was written in the “little white book” (LWB). Ms. Hunt’s water color paintings are as beautiful and magical as ever. They draw me in and transport me inside the cards, which is great for intuitive reading and meditation. The colors are deep and vibrant. The card images are framed in intertwining branches that hint a Celtic feel to me. Outside these frames is an extra 1/8” cream colored background. Though beautiful, this results in the images being a little too small for my taste. I would have preferred these cards to be borderless all together. At the bottom of each card is a scroll containing the name or number and suit of the card in black lettering. Equal attention and detail is given to the Major and Minor Arcana so the deck is seamless artistically which is always a plus in my book. As with all D.J. Conway/Lisa Hunt decks I ran into Ms. Conway’s suit elemental correspondence preference of Wands/Air, Swords Fire, which throws me for a loop. I learned and prefer the Wands/Fire, Swords/Air correspondences. As noted in my review of The Celtic Dragon Tarot, the elemental correspondences of these suits is one of those long held Tarot debates. I want to address this debate in a very simplistic way for the sake those to whom this elemental debate is new, or are confused by it, that might read this review. There is a basis for either set of correspondences (Wands/Fire, Swords/Air or Wands/Air, Swords/Fire). If you think of it from a practical point of view swords are forged in fire, and tree limbs (often used to represent wands) do blow in the wind and if you think of magic wands well you swish them through the air, so I do get it. It is logical. The flip side, Wands/Fire Swords/Air comes from the passion expressed in the Suit of Wands which ties it to Fire, and the communication, intellect, and thought represented by the element of Air which is sharp like a sword. So, one set of correspondences is logical while the other is metaphorical. Granted, that is how I keep it all straight, but Ms. Conway gave a more sophisticated explanation based on magick in Chapter 1 of The Celtic Dragon Tarot Companion Book “This association has always made more sense to me than the reverse, since Wands are primarily a mental ritual tool and Swords are an energy of action tool.” Neither is right or wrong, and both have validity, it all boils down to personal preference. How do the Wands/Air – Swords/Fire correspondences throw me off? Well, I end up seeing a blending of both in both suits and it muddies them for me. I use elemental correspondences when reading and apparently, I am not mentally ambidextrous when it comes to this! With this particular deck I happened to just ignore the suit all together and rely on the element Ms. Conway assigned. The deck is comprised of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana. I found about less than half the cards to even remind of the RWS, so it was like looking at an art deck for me. I guess this can be attributed my lack of knowledge about many of these Fantastical Creatures, but even when I looked them up to learn more about them I was often left scratching my head. There were some cards I could immediately recognize from the RWS, but not enough to make this deck user friendly to me. So, let’s move on from my issues and discuss the structure of the deck. Two Major Arcana card names are changed: The Hierophant becomes The High Priest, and The Devil becomes Chains. Strength is at position 8 and Justice at position 11. The Minor Arcana (numbers 1-10) and somewhat follow RWS system but other times had a different meaning all together. The Court Cards follow the traditional RWS naming, Page, Knight, Queen, King. Aside from the gorgeous art, what I like the most about this deck is the two extra cards that come with it that have key words to help me understand what the intended meaning is. The cards are typical Llewellyn card stock of the day which is a little bit thicker than that of their decks today. I have no problem with the card stock then again, I am not overly fussy about this either. After years of riffle shuffling and such they have held up very well, they do not stick nor clump. The cards measure about 4.75” x 2.75”, a good size for most sized hands. The backs of the cards are cream colored with a circular golden-brown design with a mythical creature head repeated found times, a serpent of some sort. The card backs are reversible, and since no reversed meanings were provided in the LWB my guess is that like with the Celtic Dragon deck it was not designed to be used with reversals. I say, if you want to use reversals go for it! The deck comes with a 71-page LWB written by Ms. Conway, which to me fell right into the stereotype many Tarot readers have LWBs … they are gobbledygook and relatively unhelpful. With each card it does give you a paragraph on the Fantastical Creature, a Divinatory Meaning, and Magickal Uses. To really work with this deck I need more context in regards to the creature of myth or legend than what is provided. Maybe I am just picky, but that is my opinion of the LWB. The deck did come with a beautiful glossy spread sheet that includes some information on Reading the Tarot Cards and Suit/Element/Realm correspondences which is very helpful. It includes 5 spreads: The Expanded Celtic Cross (11-cards), Present Life Changes (5-cards), The Pyramid (6-cards), a Decision Layout (9-cards), and Changes Layout (5-cards). I am not saying this is not a Tarot deck, or that it would be better served as an Oracle deck, I am just saying I just didn’t get it. I did daily draws with this deck for over a month which I enjoyed, but I found myself often in disagreement with the author about the card meaning. It actually ended up frustrating me. I also did a few readings for friends. When I read for them I just read what I saw in the images, used some basic numerology or hierarchy combined with the element and image to guide me to an interpretation. When I tried corresponding the cards to the RWS I just got headaches so I stopped that. The readings were OK, but I felt so much was still left on the table. Had I really been able to draw on the lore behind these creatures I think the readings could have been much better. This is not and never will be one of my reading decks. That is not to say it does not have its uses for me however. I think this deck would be great for meditation and writing because the art is beautiful, and the creatures are fascinating. I would recommend this deck to people who like to meditate with Tarot and Oracle cards, fantasy writers, those with extensive knowledge of ancient mythology and folklore, and intuitive readers who just like to read images and do not rely ascribe to established Tarot systems (i.e. RWS, Thoth, Marseille) to get to their interpretations. If you look for traditional esoteric systems in Tarot this deck really does not have them, so I would pass if I were you. If you really depend on what you have learned or memorized from other Tarot systems your keywords will not always match, so not a deck I would recommend to beginners because there is no book that will help you understand what is going on. There is no nudity, mermaids wear bikini tops and the Naga a shirt. Aunt Fifi really likes the art and could look at the deck for hours, but she would rather we play a game making up stories with it than get a reading.
  2. Jewel

    Celtic Dragon Tarot

    The Celtic Dragon Tarot By Jewel The Celtic Dragon Tarot, by D. J. Conway and Lisa Hunt, was published by Llewellyn in October 1999 as a deck/book set and is still in print today. This was the second of many successful Tarot collaborations that Ms. Conway and Ms. Hunt would share. Work on this deck began in 1997. It really is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since this deck was originally released! Having read Ms. Conway’s book Dancing with Dragons and being a fan of Dragons and all things Celtic in general I had to have this set. Not to mention I was simply mesmerized by Ms. Hunt’s illustrations. The idea for this deck came to Ms. Conway as she was writing Dancing With Dragons (published in 1994). Of all the D. J. Conway/Lisa Hunt decks this one is my favorite. Dispensing with what Ms. Conway calls New Age looks and designs” she and Ms. Hunt chose to focus on immersing us into the world of dragons and of the Celts and their rich symbolism. As Ms. Conway notes in the preface of the companion book “It seemed natural that medieval clothing and castles should be part of this Celtic, almost Otherworldly atmosphere.” And what a magical and wonderous world it is set within landscapes of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Ms. Hunt’s water color paintings of the cards are simply breathtaking. When I look at these cards I am transported to this world. The experience reminds me a lot of when I played World of Warcraft I felt like I was a part of that world, they put me in a sort of trance where I can easily become one of the characters or interact with them and dragons on the cards which really enriches my reading experience on an intuitive level. The colors are soft but rich and deep as the context. Though the deck is not entirely borderless, the painting fades into the neutral light gray and white marble border as the images are not framed otherwise. The card titles are in black print at the bottom of each card. The faces and positions of the people and dragons are expressive and emotive which assist the reader in understanding the meanings of the cards. Equal attention and detail is given to the Major and Minor Arcana so the deck is seamless artistically which is always a plus in my book. The one thing that threw me off a bit about using this deck, as it does with all D. J. Conway/Lisa Hunt decks, is the elemental correspondences of Wands/Air and Swords/Fire. The elemental correspondences of these suits is one of those long held Tarot debates, but when I see a decks is Rider-Wait-Smith based I do expect to see Swords/Air and Wands/Fire. If I am being honest, that is my preference when it comes to elemental correspondences because it is what I learned with and what I use. Before I go any further, I want to address this debate in a very simplistic way for the sake those to whom this elemental debate is new, or are confused by it, that might read this review. There is a basis for either set of correspondences (Wands/Fire, Swords/Air or Wands/Air, Swords/Fire). If you think of it from a practical point of view swords are forged in fire, and tree limbs (often used to represent wands) do blow in the wind, so I do get it. It is logical. The flip side, Wands/Fire Swords/Air comes from the passion expressed in the Suit of Wands which ties it to Fire, and the communication, intellect, and thought represented by the element of Air which is sharp like a sword. So, one set of correspondences is logical while the other is metaphorical. Granted, that is how I keep it all straight, but Ms. Conway has a more sophisticated explanation based on magick in Chapter 1 of the Companion Book “This association has always made more sense to me than the reverse, since Wands are primarily a mental ritual tool and Swords are an energy of action tool.” Neither is right or wrong, and both have validity, it all boils down to personal preference. How do the Wands/Air – Swords/Fire correspondences throw me off? Well, I end up seeing a blending of both in both suits and it muddies them for me. I use elemental correspondences when reading and apparently, I am not mentally ambidextrous when it comes to this! The deck is comprised of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana. The imagery of the Major Arcana is quite different from the RWS, yet they beautifully capture the meanings of the cards perfectly within the context of the theme of this deck. Two Major Arcana card names are changed: The Hierophant becomes The High Priest, and The Devil becomes Chains. Strength is at position 8 and Justice at position 11. The Minor Arcana (numbers 1-10) closely follow (though there are some variations) the Raider-Wait-Smith (RWS) system. The Court Cards follow the traditional RWS naming, Page, Knight, Queen, King. Along with the Aces which all have hatching or just hatched baby dragons in their nests, the Court Cards are one of my favorite parts of this deck as I can discern personality in them making them easier to understand in readings. The cards are typical Llewellyn card stock of the day which is a little bit thicker than that of their decks today. I have no problem with the cardstock then again, I am not overly fussy about this either. After years of riffle shuffling and such they have held up very well, they do not stick nor clump. The cards measure about 46.5” x 2.80”, a great size for all sized hands. The backs of the cards are light gray and white marble look with a circular Celtic design that contains three dragons. Though the card backs are reversible, Ms. Conway notes in the Companion Book that the deck is not designed to be used with reversals. I say, if you want to use reversals go for it! The deck comes with a 218-page companion book written by Ms. Conway broken into the following sections: Preface Creation of the Celtic Dragon Tarot; Acknowledgements; Introduction The Magick of Dragons; Chapter 1 Using The Celtic Dragon; Chapter 2 Guide to the Cards; Chapter 3 Major Arcana; Chapter 4 Minor Arcana; Chapter 5 Tarot Layouts; Chapter 6 Dragon Tarot Candle Spells; Chapter 7 Meditations; Bibliography; Appendix A Candle Colors and Uses; Appendix B Stone Powers; and finally an Index. The Guide to the Cards, Chapter 2, is short and sweet, it provides key words for all cards sp great for jogging your memory if you get stuck. Chapters 3 and 4 provide the descriptions of the cards that include a large black and white image with the same keywords from Chapter under the image. Then you have a brief explanation of the card and the divinatory meaning, overall a little over half a page to page on each card. Chapter 5 has the spreads and includes the following: The Expanded Celtic Cross (13-cards), Influence of the Elements (5-cards) “used to clarify weak areas that may be contributing to problems”; Past Life, Present Influence (9-cards) for problems with which we wrestle in this life have their roots in other lives.”; and Path to a Goal (11-cards) This is a fun deck to read with. As I noted earlier it is easy to get swept into the world offered in this deck, so the readings have a storyteller and magical quality to them. At times it is like watching a movie or experiencing an epic. I do occasionally struggle with the Wands and Swords due to their elemental attributions because the imagery is very similar to the RWS Wands and Swords, yet the elements are reversed. That is why I get a blend and the suits become muddied for me. If you do not use elemental correspondences in your readings this should not be a problem for you. For those of us that do, we have to see the familiar image yet look at it from a different elemental perspective. But bottom line the deck is very readable, and it does follow the RWS, so if you are comfortable with the RWS or RWS based decks, you will be fine reading with this deck with the only challenge being the elemental perspective of the Wands and Swords suits. The deck dos not shy away from the darker or harsher messages and is good for all kinds of readings. The Companion book has some interesting added information on Dragons, Candle Magick and such, but overall from a Tarot perspective it is not as good as the companion books that come with many decks today. Aside from the brief sections on the cards there is not much else there tarot-wise. This deck is beautiful and readable. I would recommend this deck to fantasy and dragon fans, intuitive readers, and I think fantasy writers would also love this deck as it brings a rich world in which to create short stories or novels. If you like castles and the European Medieval period, from a fantasy perspective, then you will like this deck. The symbolism in the deck is Celtic and Dragon based but I would not call it esoteric, so those of you wanting an esoteric deck, this is not it. If you are looking for diversity, you will find Dragon diversity but not human diversity as the deck is set in a Medieval Celtic landscape. There is no nudity in this deck. Aunt Fifi really likes this deck as she likes readings where it all comes out as a story. I think she finds the readings to be like her own personal adventures into the world of these wonderous Dragons.
  3. Jewel

    Everyday Witch Tarot

    EVERYDAY WITCH TAROT by Jewel The Everyday Witch by Deborah Blake was published by Llewellyn in 2017 as a deck and book set. My first impressions on seeing images online were that it was just another teen witch deck. I was wrong. Yes, it will appeal to that audience, but there is much more to it than that, and it has something to offer more mature readers as well. The art is by Elisabeth Alba, and done in vivid watercolor. The art is very inviting and captivating. The facial expressions and body language of the characters tell a thousand words all on their own. Though clearly inspired by the Rider-Waite-Smith the artwork is original, and in many cases a very fresh take on the meanings of the cards, especially in the Major Arcana. One example of this is the Hierophant card, that instead of having a Priestly type figure has a Yoga instructor teaching her students. Or how about a motorcycle as the Chariot?. There is something very refreshing about the imagery that also makes the Tarot very accessible and like the art, inviting. The art is as superb and detailed in the Minor Arcana as it is in the Majors. I love it when decks give both the same attention to detail! One of the things I really enjoy about this deck is that blend of modern and medieval fantasy. It creates a world, sort of reminds me of how I feel when I read the Harry Potter books or watch the movies. Not J.K. Rowling's wizarding world at all, but just that feel of being transported to a magical world that these witches inhabit. You have pointy hats, stripped stockings and robes, cat familiars in every card, and can go from being in an old castle or a modern contemporary room. Yet it all works together seamlessly. Unlike many Pagan themed decks, this one does not delve deep into Pagan lore and mythology. What it does express through its many outdoor scenes is a sense of reverence for nature and importance with connecting with the natural world and the unconscious mind that brings the theme home. There is humor, magic, spunkiness, as well as seriousness as these witches live their everyday lives. The Everyday Witch has an optimistic approach that highlights the responsibility we have for our own lives and our use of free will. It does not shy away from tough messages, or consequences, but it delivers them in a manner that empowers and motivates the querent to act upon, instead of dwell, on a less than favorable outcome. The deck is about making the most of ones’ everyday life and finding the magic each day brings recognizing that not all in life is a bed of roses. It is about us having the power to influence our own lives. It is fun, upbeat, yet serious all in one. The deck has the traditional number of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. The deck is the standard Llewellyn sized deck (approximately 2 3/4" by 4 1/2" inches). The cards are borderless, with a ½ inch cream colored scroll at the bottom containing the name of the card. Being a huge fan of borderless decks, I was very pleased with this. The card stock is your traditional Llewellyn card stock, easy to riffle shuffle but of good quality. The card backs are dark blue with gold stars, a besom (broom), witches hat, and black cat. The card backs are non-reversible, and the deck is intended to be read without reversals, though if you do not mind reversed backs you can incorporate them. The Major Arcana follow the Rider-Waite Smith traditional naming and numbering with Strength placed at position 8 and Justice at position 11. The Suits retain the traditional names and elemental correspondences of Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Pentacles/Earth, and Swords/Air. The court cards are King, Queen, Knight, and Page. The court cards in this deck are very expressive, and I would highly recommend them for people struggling with understanding the court cards. The cards numbered 1-10 of each suit are fully illustrated, and have the representative number of suit icon symbols on each card within the image. The deck comes with a 254 page companion book titled “Guide to the Everyday Witch Tarot,” authored by Ms. Deborah Blake, award winning author of The Goddess is in the Details, Everyday Witchcraft, and other titles published by Llewellyn. This book is eye catching, and eye candy. It is made of glossy paper, and is full color something I really appreciated for a change in a companion book. The book opens with an introduction as to how Ms. Blake came to take on the project that became the Everyday Witch Tarot. Chapter One is about the deck and how to use it. It speaks to the changes in traditional imagery as well as some basic Tarot information. It contains some really good advice on how to learn the cards, and how to do a reading including some very basic information on the symbolism of the numbers 1-10 and the four elements. Chapter Two covers Common Questions and Answers about the use of signifiers, clarifier cards, use of reversals (which this deck does not use), bad news and scary cards, reading conditions, what if one does not have a question, cards showing up over and over, and the question on whether one needs to be psychic to read the cards (the answer is no). The chapter goes on to talk about “Some Tarot Extras” that include a deck consecration spell, a cleansing spell, and a spell for a good reading. Chapter 3 is about the cards. One of the things I really like about this section is that aside from the description of the imagery and the meaning of the card it has a section titled “Things to Consider” which includes questions that can prompt memories, intuition, and help the new reader go beyond the basic meaning of the card. As the deck was not designed with the use of reversals in mind it does not include meanings for reversed cards. However, the “Things to Consider” section includes questions that will lead you to think about those reversed meanings without having to use reversals. Very clever, as learning to think that way you might choose to never use reversals with any deck. Chapter Four includes some basic spreads: one card, three card, and Celtic Cross spreads. I will admit I was a bit disappointed by this, I wish they would have included some original spreads for the deck. In my personal experience with the deck I found the readings to be clear, concise, and optimistic. The imagery sparks the imagination and intuition. I would not classify this deck as a “positive” deck in that it does not give messages through rose colored glasses. What it does is deliver messages in way that empower you to change what you do not like through the use of your personal power and free will. It motivates you into wanting to change or fix whatever it is that does not work for you, and to believe in yourself enough to do it. I also found the imagery on the cards to make me stop and think and contemplate. To think through my question as I read the cards. So in sum, I found depth within the imagery that allowed me to open myself up to realistic possibilities, and potential consequences of my actions before taking action. Hence, I found the deck motivating and optimistic in nature because there was always something to act on in the advice that could help me, and that was within my power. This is why I say that this deck is not for beginners alone. It is deeper than you would think at first glance of some internet images. I would not hesitate to recommend this deck to beginners, intuitive readers, and those who are trying to flex their intuitive muscle to add more intuition into their readings. If you are looking for something a bit edgy with a magical feel this deck fits the bill, and I think many Wiccans would find it quite appealing as well. If you are looking for esoteric symbolism, deep historical spiritual pagan teachings and the like this is not the deck you are looking for. The book is more geared towards the beginner but there are some golden nuggets in the “Things to be Considered” sections of the card interpretations for intermediate and advanced readers as well. For those looking for gender inclusivity the art depicts females, males, and some androgynous characters. This deck is also a deck that can be used with the squeamish or fearful of Tarot querent. Overall, I am happy that I purchased the Everyday Witch Tarot, and it is a deck I will surely continue to use.
  4. Jewel

    The Mermaid Tarot

    Mermaid Tarot By Jewel The Mermaid Tarot by Leeza Robertson was published by Llewellyn in March of 2019 as a deck and book set. In Ms. Robertson’s Introductory Note in the companion book she notes that the deck “started with a single irritating idea … an idea that just would not go away and die somewhere quietly.” Many of us have seen plenty of themed decks go wrong, and themes such as mermaids who live in water can be especially difficult to execute into a quality Tarot deck. Add to that mermaids were never Ms. Robertson’ thing, but the Siren kept singing and well ... she is a mermaid person now, and I for one am glad that Siren would not leave her alone. I have waited for a well-done mermaid Tarot deck for ages and finally have one! The illustrations by Ms. Julie Dillon are wonderful. They are done with well executed graphic art, the colors are brilliant and vivid, there is great ethnic diversity, gender representation, and the mermaids and mermen are all very expressive. I typically have hang ups about mermaids wearing clothes (tops to be specific), but the fact that these mermaids wear tops does not even bother me. I have to admit, that really surprised me! One of the other things I really like about this deck, is that not only can you identify the suits by the ethnic composition, but by the style of the mermaid tails which gives the deck such cohesion. I am sure you are ready for me to get on with the specifics of the deck, so lets’ talk about the Mermaid Tarot. The cards measure 2 ¾” by a little over 4 ½”, usual Lewellyn size. The card stock is your usual Llewllyn fare, easy to riffle shuffle. The backs have a beautiful seaweed inspired design with a golden orb at the center on a gradient blue to white background and are reversible. The cards are borderless, and the numbers and titles are spelled out in a small aqua colored banner at the bottom of each card. The deck consists of 78 cards – 22 Major Arcana, 56 Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana retain all the traditional names though the art is original and there are some different takes or perspectives on some of the Majors. Strength is in position VIII and Justice at position XI. The Court Cards are Page, Knight, Queen, and King and show a progression of maturity. The suits are Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles. The deck is intended to be read with reversals. Your traditional Rider-Wait-Smith inspired structure. What is special to me about this deck is how Ms. Robertson turned a watery world into an expressive world that captures the essence of the four suits and elements. Granted, the seasonal correspondences end up varying from many are used to using, but it works well with the suits and the theme of the deck. How did she accomplish this? By setting each suit into a different type of watery kingdom with a domain over a particular environment where the essence of the suit would stand out through their activities of daily living within those environments. Here are the descriptions from the book with some commentary from me on the imagery of the cards: · “The kingdom of wands is represented by the guardians of the volcanoes.” – this suit has a real Polynesian feel to it through the ethnic characteristics of the mermaids and mermen as well as the traditional tribal tatoos, not to mention the volcanic environment. · “The kingdom of pentacles is represented … by the guardians of lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. These mer-folk look after all land-based waterways.” – this suit includes various ethnicities, some merfolk look as though they might could even be inspired by the American Indians. · “The kingdom of cups is represented by the guardians of the deep ocean. They reside in the never-ending vast spaces of the sea and control the wild currents, manage weather, and patrol the deepest darkest caverns.” – here again we see a variety of ethnicities including African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic. · “The kingdom of swords is filled with the guardians of the polar ice caps. Harsh terrain, isolation, and wilderness are their domain.” If you are into Game of Thrones I would tell you these mermaids look like they could be related to the Targeryans’, they all have white hair and pale skin. The court cards in this deck are some of my favorites. As noted in Chapter 1 of the companion book “The kings and queens of the Mermaid Tarot are gods and goddesses in their own right – they have power, prestige, and thousands of years of knowledge to share with you ... The knights of the Mermaid Tarot share lessons in honor, respect, and duty. They remind us of all the things that can and should be done for the betterment of our lives and the community we live in … The pages connect us to the energy of wonder of the inner child, back to the time when we were just learning about who we are and discovering who we might like to be when we grow up.” So much like in the Major Arcana, the Court Cards utilize some universal archetypes. I find this to be a real plus for those of us that have or do struggle with interpreting the Court Cards. The referenced Gods and Goddesses for the Kings and Queens by suit are as follows: · Queen of Cups: Nammu, the Summerian Sea Goddess who according to Wikipedia: “gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.” · King of Cups: Triton, son of the Greek Gods Poseidon and Amphitriate, and a God in his own right. In Greek Methology he is the messenger of the sea. We also know him as Ariel’s dad in The Little Mermaid. · Queen of Wands: The Hawaiian Goddess Pele, “goddess of volcanoes and fire and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands.” (Wikipedia). In this deck she is described as the goddess of creation and destruction. This is probably my favorite Queen in this deck, she is the perfect embodiment of the Queen of Wands. · King of Wands: Kamohoalii, a shark god from Hawaiian mythology who according the companion book is a protector and ruler. · Queen of Pentacles: The Lady of the Lake from Arthurian Legends. The companion book shares this tidbit with us: “…known as the creator of leaders, warriors, and kings.” The book also notes she in not someone we want to mess with. I love the power this deck gives this queen, it expresses her as both nurturing and fierce. · King of Pentacles: The companion book calls this King Conduits, the God of Rivers. I did a little research on this God but came up empty. Here is what the companion book says about him: “In order to understand the material world, one must first learn about flow …. the King of Pentacles means being grounded yet flowing much like Conduits, god of rivers.” · Queen of Swords: Though her name is not given, she is referenced as Goddess of Winter. In the companion book she is described as “the keeper of reason, order, and harsh realities.” · King of Swords: Boreas, Greek God of the cold north wind. I do wish Ms. Robertson had provided more detailed information on the Gods and Goddesses used, but the fact that she did not is not a make or break deal for me. Just personal curiosity. Between the descriptions in the companion and the art by Ms. Dillon I had no problem with these Courts and found them quite easy to read by just looking at them. As I noted earlier, they are some of my favorite Tarot Court cards. When I think of the companion book for this deck the first word that comes to mind is luscious. A Guide to The Mermaid Tarot is a glossy and a full colored visual delight. It is not just the full page sized colored images of the cards, the entire book is in color. It is beautiful. A Guide to The Mermaid Tarot opens with an introductory note from Leeza Robertson speaking about how she came to create the deck. It is funny and honest, and made me feel like she was sitting across the table talking to me about it. Chapter 1, The Flow of the Deck, sets the tone of the deck explaining to the reader “Each tarot deck interprets the concepts and ideas of the seventy-eight cards in a unique way. Here in the Mermaid Tarot, you will notice the story, ideas, and concepts of the cards have been told through the lens of mermaid mythology. Each part of this deck adds to the many stories already written about those who live under the water, deep beneath the surface.” Chapter 1 then goes into the Majors, asking the reader to see the merfolk in this part of the deck as their teachers and guides. The Majors section is followed by the Minor Aracana and Court Cards section from which I have already shared some information with you in previous sections of this review. There is a small section called The Numbers at a Quick Glance which provides some key words for numbers 1-10. Chapter 2 is titled Taking the Cards for a Swim and opens with several pages giving the reader a step-by-step approach to doing a reading which will be very helpful to beginners. Following the step-by-step process is a section titled A Note on Reversals and Ms. Robertson encourages the reader to try using the reversals and puts a plug in for her book Tarot Reversals for Beginners. Chapter 3 is where the cards start with The Major Arcana. For each card you have a full colored/full sized glossy picture of the card being discussed, a description of the image and information about that archetype and then you have a section on the upright and then on the reversed meaning of the card. Chapter 4 is about The Minor Arcana and to my delight it was formatted the same manner as the Majors. The last chapter is Chapter 5 Mermaid Magic and Spreads and includes the following spells: A Spell for Healing, A Spell for Love, A Spell for Money. It also includes the following spreads: Daily Journal Prompt Spread (single card), Two Heads are Better Than One Spread (two cards), What, Where, How Three-Card Spread, The Four Elements Spread (five cards). The book then closes with a Final Note from the author. Overall, I really enjoyed reading and working with the companion book and found it helpful in understanding the deck and individual cards. I used this deck for 30 days straight in readings, and it quickly became one of my favorites. I will admit I am Pisces and love everything relating to water, and I am a mermaid lover; but I am also a Tarot enthusiast and reader. The Mermaid Tarot did not only appeal to all of these things in me, it exceeded my expectations. The readings were deep, meaningful, and enlightening. This deck is really well thought out and executed and is a deck I will read with for years to come. I applaud both Ms. Robertson and Ms. Dillon for being able to capture the real essence of the suits and elements within the concept and illustration of the Mermaid Tarot. The merfolk that inhabit the deck are not doing human things under water, they are going through their everyday lives, challenges and joy within their kingdoms. In a way the execution of theme reminds me of the masterful way The Victorian Fairy Tarot captured the lives of faeries during the different seasons of the year, but I digress. The Mermaid Tarot is well suited to all types of readings. I recommend this deck to those of you that: have been waiting for a quality mermaid themed deck, love Faerie and fantasy themed decks, intuitive readers, and readers of all levels. If you enjoy incorporating elemental and/or seasonal correspondences to your readings you will also enjoy this deck. I would have no problem recommending the Mermaid Tarot to a beginner, with the caveat to also pick up a Raider Waite Smith deck (RWS) for comparisons and following text from most beginner books to make sense of cards where the meaning of the card has been expanded or viewed from a different perspective. The symbolism in the Mermaid Tarot is not esoteric in nature, so it would not appeal to readers looking for astrological, Qabalah, and other esoteric symbolism. As for Aunt Fifi, she would absolutely love this deck. Nothing offensive here, everyone is dressed, and the deck is a beauty to look at.
  5. Jewel

    Shadowscapes Tarot Deck

    Shadowscapes Tarot By Jewel This is a deck I was chomping at the bit to get from watching images of it surface while it was in progress. Published in 2010 by Llewellyn, Shadowscapes is one of the prettiest decks I have seen. Stephanie began painting the deck in 2004, in her own words “Like the Fool, I stood on the precipice of this project, teetering on the edge of a vast unknown – … Each one [cards] bears the mark of my meditations as I wondered through a changing landscape of existence.” The meditative work she did is reflected in the infinite details contained in the images. A true to gift to the tarot world. Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s watercolor art is simply breathtaking. There is a dreaminess and other worldliness to it that just draws me in and transports me to its magical landscape that flows like poetry. Call it faerie or fantasy it is like walking in a dream. Both Major and Minor Aracana are treated the same artistically. There is so much there to absorb, and always new things to discover. Her love of storytelling, be it her own or timeless stories told by others is beautifully captured and comes through in this deck of cards. The deck is your traditional Llewellyn deck and card stock, measuring approximately 4.60” X 2.60”. I am not overly fussy about card stock so I have no problem with it. The cards have a thin metallic lilac border ¼” on three sides and ½” at the bottom where the titles of the cards are contained. The Major Arcana are numbered with Roman Numerals and the Minor Aracana has the name of the Arabic number spelled out along with the suit. The backs of the cards are purple with a circular design with a white aura surrounding it. The circular design includes an outer circle that reflects creatures that populate the suits though they make me think of an elaborate Celtic version of them. At the center of the design is a white sun. The cards are reversible, though Stephanie did not design the deck to be read with reversals. As a result, the book does not contain reversed meanings. The deck follows the Rider-Waite Smith system but is by no means a “clone.” Stephanie’s approach is one of following and being true to the Rider-Waite system yet representing various aspects of the meanings. There are no changes to the naming of the Major Arcana. Strength is in position VIII and Justice at IX. The court cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King. The traditional suit names and elemental correspondences are used: Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Swords/Air and Pentacles/Earth. The corresponding number of suit icons are present within the illustration. I have to admit, I prefer decks where the illustrations capture the meanings of the cards without showing the actual suit icons, but in the case of Shadowscapes they are so flawlessly incorporated that they do not detract or take over the illustration, but become a natural part of the scene depicted. As a reader who loves elemental correspondences, I find this deck excellent for incorporating them in my readings. Each suit is populated by different denizens of this dream or fantasy world. In the Wands suit you will find lots of foxes and felines. The cards are colored in amber and orange tones reflecting the fire element. In the cups you will find mermaids and mermen, as well as fish and host of other marine life. The thematic color of this suit is tones of blue reflecting the element of water. The suit of swords includes a lot of birds, especially swans and crows. The swords thematic color is purple which I do not associate with air but the birds populating the cards do. Finally, the Pentacles are populated with chameleons, lizards, and dragons. The thematic color is green. The 253 page companion book is written by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, and between Barbara’s tarot knowledge and ability to concisely provide some great basics in tarot and Stephanie’s poetic description of the cards and their meanings it is an informative, useful, and substantial companion. Barbara’s robust 15 page introduction section includes not only an introduction but information on: Tarot Basics, Making Meanings, Deck Structure (including key words associated with numbers and court cards), Traditional Meanings and The Artist’s Vision (which opens the reader to Stephanie’s changes in imagery), The Question, Position in the Spread, A Word on Reversals (which were not intended in this deck but can be used), Readings, Basic Reading Steps, and Beyond the Basics which includes information on: rituals, shuffling/cutting/dealing, scanning the reading, cleansing, and keeping a journal. In the second section of the book, Stephanie provides a poetic description of each card and the card meaning. The final section of the book includes the following spreads: One-Card Spreads, Three Card Spreads, The Celtic Cross, Is Love in the Stars?, Will it Last?, Balancing Act, A Journey, Message from the Universe, and Dream Come True. I have said a lot of good things about this deck, and I meant each and every one of them, but just as I admitted I was chomping at the bit to get the deck and love the way the suit icons have been incorporated, I was also disappointed when I opened it to a point where I did not use it for years. To be honest, the only reason I actually ended up giving this deck a try was because my partner in a reading circle here on TT&M requested a reading with that deck, and later I began mentoring a TT&M member that is using this deck. Why did I not want to use it you ask? Because Llewellyn did a disservice to this deck by making the illustrations look so small (despite cards being normal sized) and then adding borders to it. The borders are not detracting, it is just simply with the card size it would have been nicer to have a little bit larger images vs. the borders, or even though I would hate to loose some of the stunning backdrops maybe cropping the images a little would have helped. The small imagery is a big deal to me because it is the imagery that sparks my intuition and these cards are full of details. To really see all the details – which really adds to readings – I have to find images online and enlarge them. The book does include large images of each card but they are in black and white which just don’t do it for me personally. This is my only complaint. Llewellyn, if you are listening I am not the only one that feels this way, and we would be grateful if you could publish a large edition of this deck. There is a larger sized Czech version of this deck titled Tarot Skrytych Svetu, which I would love to get my hands on some day. Overall I found the deck to be very deep and poetic. It is not “fluffy.” I really enjoy using it for personal and spiritual development readings, though it makes a good general reading deck as well. I have no problem recommending this deck with the caveat regarding the difficulty in seeing the details in the imagery. If you have perfect vision, or don’t mind looking up cards on the internet and enlarging them, or using a magnifying glass then you will most likely not have any complaints, just a wish that Llewellyn hears us as I do. The Shadowscapes Tarot is great for Tarot enthusiasts of all levels. The book facilitates the use of this deck by those new to Tarot thanks to Barbara’s comprehensive introduction section. Intuitive readers or those expanding their intuitive reading abilities should give this deck a try. Though not a Faerie deck per se, I do believe people who like faerie and fantasy themed decks will enjoy this deck. Those interested in storytelling and writing will also like this deck. If you are looking for a deck steeped in esoteric symbolism this is not the deck you are looking for. I did however notice that animal and flower symbolism is present in this deck as well as elemental and color associations. In addition, it is a good deck to use with querents that are nervous about Tarot as whole, so I would have no problem reading for Aunt Fifi with it.
  6. Saturn Celeste

    The Wildwood Tarot

    From the album: Pagan Decks

    The Wildwood Tarot: Wherein Wisdom Resides by Mark Ryan (Author), John Matthews (Author), Will Worthington (Illustrator) Card Book: 160 pages Publisher: Sterling Ethos; Kit edition (June 7, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 1402781067 ISBN-13: 978-1402781063 Purchase at: Sterling Ethos I Amazon
  7. Saturn Celeste

    Mibramig Magical Tarot

    From the album: Animal Decks

    Mibramig Magical Tarot Deck Cards by Mibramig (Author) Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; Tcr Crds edition (May 8, 2013) Language: English ISBN-10: 0738737410 ISBN-13: 978-0738737416 Purchase at: Llewellyn I Amazon
  8. Venus Rising

    Thelema Tarot

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    Thelema Tarot Author: Renata Lechner Artist: Renata Lechner Format: Deluxe hard tuck box - Cards with LWB Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 12.5 cm Card size: 7 x 12 cm Publication date: Sept. 25 2015 Publisher: Lo Scarabeo (distributed by Llewellyn in North America) Language: English (LWB multilingual) ISBN-10: 8865273763 ISBN-13: 9788865273760 ISBN-10: 073874753X (Llewellyn) ISBN-13: 978-0738747538 (Llewellyn) Purchase at: Amazon.ca Amazon.com Book Depository
  9. Jewel

    Fantastical Creatures

    From the album: Pagan Decks

    SKU: FC78 ISBN: 978-1-57281-637-4 Author: D. J. Conway Artist: Lisa Hunt Card Size: 2.75" x 4.75" LWB Pages: 71
  10. bookshop

    Trionfi della Luna

    From the album: Dark Decks

    Trionfi Della Luna (2nd ed.) Creator: Patrick Valenza Year/Publisher: 2019 / self Availability: Deviant Moon website

    © 2019

  11. HOLMES

    The Mermaid Tarot

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    About the Author Leeza Robertson (Las Vegas, NV) is the author of Tarot Court Cards for Beginners and Tarot Reversals for Beginners, and she’s the creator of two tarot decks, the Mermaid Tarot and Animal Totem Tarot. When she doesn't have her nose inside a book or her fingers dancing across a deck of cards, she runs her online class called the Moonbeamers, which focuses on tarot and the moon's cycles. Julie Dillon (Los Angeles, CA) is a freelance artist whose clients include Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Tor, and Wizards of the Coast. She is the winner of several Hugo, Chesley, and Locus awards for best artist. Product details Cards: 288 pages Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (February 8, 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 073875109X ISBN-13: 978-0738751092 Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 2 x 8.2 inches Buy on Amazon.
  12. bookshop

    Enchanted Tarot

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    The Enchanted Tarot Creator: Amy Zerner (artist), Monte Farber (writer) Year/Publisher: 1992 / St. Martin's Press Availability: original edition is OOP but available at Amazon; 25th anniversary edition also available at Amazon. This deck has been revised and remixed into the Zerner-Farber Tarot by the creators.

    © 1992

  13. bookshop

    Celtic Dragon Tarot

    From the album: Celtic Decks

    The CelticDragon Tarot Creators: Lisa Hunt (artist), D. J. Conway (writer) Year/Publisher: 1999 / Llewellyn Availability: Amazon / Llewellyn

    © 1999

  14. Jewel

    BG

    From the album: Dark Decks

    ISBN: 9781905572076 Publisher & Year: Magic Realist Press, 2008 Authors: Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov Card Size: 5" x 3" Purchase at: Out of Print
  15. Jewel

    The Fey Tarot

    From the album: Faerie Decks

    ISBN: 978-0738702803 Publisher & Year: Lo Scarabeo, September 2002 Author: Riccardo Minetti Artist: Mara Aghem Pages: 158 Purchase at: Out of Print Card Size: 4.75” x 2.60”
  16. Jewel

    The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

    From the album: Animal Decks

    SKU: FantasticMKIT ISBN: 978-0954500771 Publisher & Year: Magic Realist Press, March 2006 Authors: Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov Card Size: 5" x 3" Pages: 240 pages Purchase at: Out of Print
  17. Jewel

    The Fairytale Tarot

    From the album: Rare, OOP Decks

    ISBN: 9780954500757 Publisher & Year: Magic Realist Press, February 2005 Authors: Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov Artist: Irina Triskova Card Size: 3" x 5" Pages: 232 pages Purchase at: Out of Print
  18. Jewel

    Alice

    From the album: Artistic Decks

    SKU: AliceTarot_1stEdition_deck Publisher & Year: Magic Realist Press, 2014 Authors: Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov Card Size: 3" x 5" Purchase at: Out of Print
  19. bookshop

    Arthur Rackham Oracle

    From the album: Oracle Decks

    Arthur Rackham Oracle (First edition) Creator: Duck Soup Productions Publisher: ^ Year published: 2018 Available: From the Duck Soup website: first edition, second edition

    © 2018

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