Tarot, pronounced ˈterō....rhymes with Pharaoh and Sparrow. NOT Carrot or Parrot.
One of the things I like about tarot is its consistency. No matter how different the deck, the system outline is always there...seventy-eight cards, twenty-two major arcana, and four suits. I like that I can pick up any deck and have a general idea of its meanings. The other thing I like about it, and one of the things that makes it so very interesting, is how adaptable it is to individual perspective. I like how different decks offer different view points, further expanding the meanings of the cards. Whether or not a particular deck resonates with us, we can appreciate that we are holding in our hands an incredible book of art. This is how I feel about the Tattoo Tarot deck created by Lana Zellner. Not only does this deck resonate with me, but I rather like its plucky attitude and gritty urban flare.
With its bold colors, distinctive lines, and street-smart style, 78 Cards (Tattoo Tarot) is a tarot deck with an edge. Combining age-old symbolism with a deeply colorful tattoo style art, these cards have a personality all of their own. While this deck may borrow from the Waite/Smith system, it clearly thinks outside of the traditional tarot box.
To begin with, the cards come in the order in which the artist drew them, beginning with the Nine of Wands and ending with the Hanged Man. This allows us to see the progression of Lana's drawing project. I absolutely love that she did it this way! I also like that she lists the drawing number at the bottom of each card. For instance, you can see that The Star card was Drawing No 3 in her project and that the Two of Swords was Drawing No 11. How cool is that?!
Not wanting to miss out on the full experience and because I was seriously excited about this tarot deck, I also ordered 78 Cards: The Book of Meanings companion book. Overall this book is well done with glossy pages, large colorful images, and general divinatory meanings of the cards. However, I was surprised to find very little explanation regarding the illustrations and the use of symbolism specific to this deck. Still, it is a beautiful book, as well as a very cool collaborative effort featuring five different writers, each focusing on different parts of the tarot. Kelly-Ann Maddox addresses the Major Arcana, Christy Talbot addresses the suite of Wands, Sebastian Akesson addresses the suit of Cups, Ethony Dawn addresses the Swords, and its Lana Zellner, addressing the Pentacles.
My favorite part of the book, however, is Lana's story, which I found extremely inspiring. I appreciate her willingness to put it out there, sharing her artistic progression, as well as her career transition. I was fascinated by her creative process in general...especially in relation to tarot.
In her book Lana explains that 78 Cards started out as a drawing project, a chance to grow as an artist and push herself in new directions. While frequenting Blaque Owl Tattoo in Missoula, Montana, in the midst of a major career change, she decided to follow her heart and take up drawing again. This led to 'Operation Draw More' where she posted her drawings daily on Instagram. This inevitably led to the 78 Cards project. This is the short version, of course. The book version is a little more personal and much more interesting.
She makes a point to mention some of the notable cards in relations to her life and the project, such as drawing #1, the Nine of Wands, where she gathered her strength and determination to stay the course of the project. Drawing #7, the Eight of Coins is significant to her apprenticeship as a tattoo artist, and also inspired the name of her company, Eight Coins.
Drawing #21, the Page of Pentacles was her first painting. Before that everything was completed with color pencils and markers. Apparently this was a huge development for her as an artist. Again, I find all of this extremely interesting, as well as inspiring.
Attracted to tattoo art in general, I naturally gravitated toward the Tattoo Tarot. But what really captured my attention was the straight up, raw honesty of the cards. Far from pretentious or lofty, the cards read as real. The feeling of authenticity can be attributed to the artist's refusal to edit out the imperfections. As she mentions in her book, the accidents, style changes, and visible development are the story of 78 Cards. The goal wasn't perfection, but rather transition and progression. And this is what appeals to me about this deck.
As it is, the artwork for each card was created by hand with no digital enhancement changes. They were sketched, hard lined and colored. So you may notice that some of the cards include original sketch marks and color bleeds.
Also, in the spirit of artistic progression Lana leaves the first two drawings uncolored, the Nine of Wands and the Three of Cups. While I appreciate the artist's decision to follow her creative vision, if I'm honest, aesthetically I find the uncolored cards a little boring. Especially when the rest of the deck is so dynamic and color rich. At the same time, it really is part of what makes this deck so intriguing.
Standard size, measuring 2.75 x 4.75 inches with a 130 lb quality card stock, and a dull finish, the deck is easy to handle and shuffles remarkably well. So well, in fact, that I have to remind myself to stop shuffling them and layout the cards!
It may have been the bad lighting, or that I wasn't wear my glasses, but to begin with I only noticed the white geometrical design in the center of a soft black background on the back of the cards. However, upon further inspection I realized there is also a lovely and very subtle rose design on the backs as well. The affect is simply elegant.
Instead of a box, the deck came inside a simple black velvet, draw string bag, which I am currently using for something else entirely. And even though I decided to go with something different for my deck, you can never have too many draw string bags!
In any case, one of the fist things I do when I get a new tarot deck is group the cards together according to their numerical and court card type. In this way I am able to compare the differences and see what sets them apart. The goal is to easily recognize the cards without having to read the titles every time...especially if I plan on using a deck professionally. In doing this with the Tattoo Tarot deck I could see that the court cards do not adhere to any particular uniformed style. While some of the cards have a traditional feel to them, others do not. Such is the case with the Knight of Swords and the Knight of Pentacles, and the King of Swords and the King of Cups. Comparably the Pages are very dissimilar in style as well, as are the Queens. All this really means is that it might take a little longer to get acquainted with them.
Style changes are probably most noticeable in the Court Cards and Aces. For instance...the King of Cups and the Ace of Cup have a very similar look, and I think the Page of Pentacles could easily be mistaken for an Ace. Nevertheless, I had no problem using this deck at the local psychic fair last weekend.
One of the dilemmas a tarot collector faces is cost. Unless money is of no object, you can't always afford to purchase every deck that catches your eye in the moment. This probably won't be an issue if the deck has been mass produced by one of the larger publishing companies. Chances are it will still be there next pay check. But if you are like me, and find yourself drawn to the indie decks, you know very well that not only are self-published decks significantly more expensive, but there are fewer of them, which means time is of the essence, so you had better get it while it's hot! The Tattoo Tarot deck is a perfect example of this.
Another dilemma a tarot collector faces is not liking a deck once we've attained it. Not a huge deal if you've only paid between $18 and $25 for it. But when you've paid at least $50 (plus shipping) for something you don't really like, the disappointment has a bit of a sting. So it may be a bit of a gamble at times, but when a deck turns out to be everything you've hoped for it is so worth it. At least, for me it is. The experience of a new tarot deck priceless. It opens up a world of fresh ideas and new perspectives. Perhaps it doesn't happen every time, with every deck, but fortunately for me it did happen this time, with this deck. Needless to say, 78 Cards was definitely worth the risk.
Unfortunately 78 Cards is currently out of print. But according to her website the deck has been picked up by US Games Systems and should be available again in 2017. I am curious to see how the deck transitions from an indie to main stream publisher. Either way, I plan on picking up a second copy when the time comes. In the meantime, you can follow Eight Coins on instagram for updates regarding when and where the deck can be purchased in the future.
Lana Zellner is an artist and designer, living in Missoula, Montana. Pulling from her experience as an arechetect, Lana's artwork is heavily focused on line work, bold color, and detailed ornamentation. For more information about Lana and/or to purchase her wonderful artwork you can visit her website at www.eightco.in.
The Book of Meanings, companion book for Lana Zellner's 78 Cards Tarot Deck, is sold separately and currently available for purchase through Lulu.com.
As I mentioned earlier, I decided to go with something different than the draw string bag the deck came with. As it turned out local artist, Ashley Washam happened to have something that matched my deck perfectly. So if you are looking for a vehicle for your deck, you will find a variety of unique tarot pouches and other handmade items on Etsy at the Divine Vestage shop. So far I have three, which match three different decks.
Once upon a time there was a girl who just wasn't that into oracle decks...
While my first love and and preferred form of divination is tarot, I pretty much love card decks in all of their various formats, shapes, and sizes. Still...when it comes to oracle decks I often find myself disenchanted almost immediately upon opening the box, at which point the cards are shelved until I find someone who might appreciate them more than I do. Needless to say, this will not be case with A Curious Oracle deck. I can honestly say without a doubt, I am most definitely keeping this tiny little treasure for myself.
I initially had it in my head that I might occasionally use A Curious Oracle as a companion to my regular tarot readings, but so far I have very much enjoyed using them all on their own. So wonderfully detailed and packed with strong spiritual symbolism, I find the cards can be used as a system or not. Each individual card is extraordinary unto itself.
As well as using them singularly, I have also used them in both my tarot and rune readings, whereupon I immediately received additional guidance and intuitive insight. I see where they could easily be combined with pretty much any form of cartomancy or divination casting system. They especially compliment Holly DeFount's other deck, The Incidental Tarot, which I am also a big fan.
Measuring just 2.25 x 3.25 inches, A Curious Oracle 2nd edition has a wonderfully silky smooth matte finish. It comes in a simple and elegant kraft box, which includes a brief description of each card’s divinatory meaning.
As noted on her website, this original art oracle deck is self-published by a boutique printer in the U.S. in small, carefully crafted editions. And as mass produced decks are slowly but surely losing their charm for me, I find this extremely appealing. The first limited artist’s edition of 60 decks sold out in August, 2015 so I made a point not to miss out on the 2nd Edition.
The deck is comprised of 49 cards, which are divided into 7 sets of 7 steps. Okay, first of all, I happen to love the number seven! Second, I just really like the system that she has come up with here. As a divination tool it manages to work really well. Again, this is coming from a die hard tarot card reader who rarely strays from the tarot system. But I like the system she has created so well I have been using it on a regular basis for myself.
On her website, Holly offers several different layouts that you can use with her oracle deck. I have been using her State of the Soul layout, which utilizes the set structure of A Curious Oracle to give a full picture of what is going on energetically at the present moment. And of course, this particular 7 card spread works remarkably well with these cards.
I have no idea what medium she uses but Holly's brilliant use of color and texture is quite stunning. I'm not sure if she sells the artwork from this deck as individual prints but there are several I would like to have for my walls. At least half the deck!
Simple and expressive, with profound symbolic meaning, A Curious Oracle delivers deep spiritual messages directly to the soul of the reader.
You can purchase A Curious Oracle on Holly DeFount's Etsy Shop, Forge & Fountain. The last time I checked the second edition of 100 was still available...but probably not for long.
A Curious Oracle System
Sets of 7
SET 1: Body ~ This set encompasses the realm of physical incarnation. It speaks of matter, the body, the home, the environment, the planet. Questions of physicality, maturity, healing, inhabiting, and dying are governed by Set 1.
SET 2: Motion ~ This set encompasses the concept of motion and transit. It speaks of physical movement, movement through time, the ebb and flow of direction, and mechanisms of change. Questions of patience versus anxiety, growth and change, travel, and expansion are governed by this set.
SET 3: Intuition ~ This set encompasses the realm of awareness, insight, mystery, and the invisible connections that bind us with the fabric of the universe. It speaks of following the inner voice and delving into the unknown; it governs questions of that which can be perceived but not measured.
SET 4: Heart ~ This set encompasses the realm of Love, creativity, and connection. It speaks of romantic and familial love, the primal urge to connect, create and nurture. Questions of desire, trust, fidelity, and belonging are governed by this set.
SET 5: Intellect ~ This set encompasses the realm of the mind; perception, learning and communication. It speaks of thought, memory, analysis, and engineering. Questions of narrative, history, academia, philosophy, and problem solving are governed by this set.
SET 6: Blessings ~ This set encompasses instances of “gifts from the Universe.” Blessings may include fortuitous events, gifts, or waves of energy entering your sphere of existence. Often operating independently of questions asked, this set may shine an unexpected light in the darkness.
SET 7: Spirit ~ This set encompasses the realm of Spirit, or the unseen. It speaks of the soul, destiny, and Magic. Questions of the mystery, karma, life and death, and the nature of the Divine are governed by this set.
The 7 Steps
Step 1: Manifest ~ Represents the initial appearance of the quality encompassed by its Set. It corresponds to questions of birth, beginnings, or the emergence of a new energy or direction in the querent’s life.
Step 2: Relationship ~ Represents the energy of connection, duality, and relationship within the quality of its Set. It corresponds to questions of personal and environmental relationships, the flow of energy between opposites, and how the querent interacts with others.
Step 3: Growth ~ Represents the natural progression of the energetic quality inherent in its Set. It corresponds to questions of timing, movement on a projected path, and the expansion and evolution of the matter, both physical and conceptual.
Step 4: Structure ~ Represents a phase of stability, completion, and containment of the quality or energy encompassed by its Set. It corresponds to questions of order, planning, building, acquisition, and accomplishment.
Step 5: Lesson ~ Represents the quintessential challenge at hand, the energy or action at the root of the querent’s issue. It corresponds to questions of hesitation, fear, obstacles, problems or failure.
Step 6: Healing ~ Represents that which will help to illuminate difficult situations, heal old wounds, or solve a problem at hand. It corresponds to questions of unseen challenges, repetitive obstacles or patterns, and rising to the next level of experience.
Step 7: Epiphany ~ Represents a stage of reflection, completion, or realization within the energetic quality of its Set. It corresponds to moments of true lucidity when faced with a problem or profound question, and indicates a sense of revelation and relief.
Completely self-published by Katie Rose Pipkin, The Efflorescent Tarot reads like a dream. A wonderful combination of ink drawn images and watercolor, these cards take the reader on a delightfully intuitive journey through the subconscious to the conscious where it offers up incredible insight.
Produced over a period of 2 years, between 2009 and 2011, the artist offers both a colored and black and white version of this deck. While both versions are absolutely stunning, I decided that I'd probably enjoy working with the colored deck a little better.
For some reason I didn't make immediate use of the deck after first receiving it. Possibly I was enamored with another deck at the time, or maybe I just wasn't ready to rough up this artsy handmade deck. Whatever my initial reason or rational, after allowing this deck to sit on my bookshelf for quite some time, it finally came to pass that The Efflorescent Tarot would no longer be ignored. I suddenly had the impulse to carry the deck with me on the days I offered intuitive readings. Even then I didn't use right away. Mostly I'd just look at the cards, admiring the images. I did this for a while before I finally deciding to give them a really good shuffle once and for all. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't the ease in which I began shuffling the cards. Despite their size, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to manipulate the deck.
The deck comes packaged inside a simple white gift box with a random image adhered to the lid. I thought this a very nice touch. My box has the lovely Ten of Cups. I like that the lid lifts completely off.
Printed on heavy semi gloss paper stock the card backs are adorned with an elegant ink drawn floral design, intricately detailed in black in white.
Larger than the standard tarot deck size, the cards measure 3.5 x 5 inches. There is an inclination to trim the cards down to a smaller size but I haven't quite decided whether I will do this or not. I pretty much like them just the way they are.
The deck doesn't come with an information booklet but follows the Rider Waite Smith tradition for the most part. However, it is not a Rider Waite clone by any means, as Katie Rose Pipkin very much offers her own personal perspectives throughout the deck, which I find particularly wonderful.
The Major Arcana have titles but no numbers assigned to them, so for those who have an issue with the placement of Justice and the Strength card this will be an additional bonus.
Sensitively drawn, there is a certain honest vulnerability about The Efflorescent Tarot. It speaks directly from the heart...of love, heartbreak, tragedy, celebration, personal defeat, and triumph. The combination of ink drawn images and watercolor has an essence of raw emotion that draws one in and makes the heart ache. It is a wonderful deck for, but not limited to, delicate, emotional, and heartfelt matters.
Katie Rose Pipkin is an amazing artist, who works with various types of mediums. For more information about The Efflorescent Tarot and her amazing artwork you can visit her website at www.katierosepipkin.com. You can purchase either the black and white or colored version of her deck thru Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/katierosepipkin.
Traditionally the Tarot is made of Seventy-eight cards, divided into two main parts, the Major Arcana (twenty-two cards) and the Minor Arcana (fifty-six cards). Arcana means secrets and so the Major Arcana are the big secrets. In practical terms these are the cards that represent important milestones, major changes, events beyond our control, and spiritual growth. The Minor Arcana, “lesser secrets”, generally depicting events, situations, or people related to everyday life. An important thing to keep in mind about the Minor Arcana is that we have the ability to change the way they look – that is, they represent aspects of your life over which we have some control. We have free will and how we choose to handle certain things in our life will inevitably alter the course of our future. So while we may have bigger spiritual lessons to learn, depicted by the Major Arcana, we also have the opportunity to change how that looks on an everyday, mundane level, depicted by the Minor Arcana. Nothing is engraved in stone.
The Minor Arcana of the tarot is associated with the four elements, numerology, and astrology. This helps define the suit’s relation to our daily lives and in which area of our life it fits…emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.
The Major Arcana, numbered zero through twenty-one have an elemental association with earth, air, fire, and water. As with the Minor Arcana, the Major Arcana is numerically, astrologically, and qabalistically aligned. The twenty-two Major Arcana cards depict a journey through life, a journey of self-development and spiritual growth. And although our individual journeys are different, we are all born Fools. Learning the Fool’s journey helps introduce us to the Major Arcana. Cards one through seven shows the steps we go through in our basic development from birth to young adult as we learn how to live in society. Cards eight through fourteen illustrates the universal laws or rules of society that we must confront, question, and come to terms with, as we discover who we are. Cards fifteen through twenty-one are our spiritual development. After we learn who we are we strive to figure out how this will lead us to our true purpose.
Rich in color and symbolic imagery, the Tarot by Alexander Daniloff is quite possibly the most beautiful deck I have ever seen. Intricately illustrated, each card is meticulously detailed, and thoroughly developed. Ever drawn to traditional and antiquated decks, this deck, with its medieval style and quirky personality is perfectly perfect for a tarot geek like me.
Admittedly, I chased after this deck for quite a while. Years, in fact. The first edition, which included just the 22 Major Arcana, was printed in 2010. By the time I discovered the deck it was already out of print. A second limited edition of 450 signed copies, consisting of all 78 cards, was published in 2012. There again, I missed my window of opportunity of acquiring for this copy as well. Fortunately for me the deck was released again in 2014. This one is not numbered or signed, which for me is somewhat of a relief, as I have every intention of using this deck until it falls apart in my hands.
Dressed in various shades blue, gold, and cream symbolism, the card backs are nothing less than stunning. In comparison, I have only seen online images of the 2012 edition, but I'm thinking I might like the colors and the simplicity of the tarot backs of the 2014 edition a little better.
Made with quality paper stock, the cards are delicately thin, with a smooth matte finish. Not only do they feel wonderful but the slide nicely in my hands. They are noticeably longer than your average tarot deck, making them a little challenging to handle at first, but not for long.
For aesthetic and practical reasons I did take the liberty of rounding the straight edged corners. Aesthetically, rounded corners are just a personal preference. This and rounded corners make for an easier and more comfortable shuffling experience. I thought it the best way to avoid dinged up corners.
For those who have a preference regarding the placement of Strength and Justice, Alexander Daniloff thoughtfully offers two number variations from which to choose. While this wouldn't have been a deal breaker for me I do appreciate being able to choose my elected numerical positions for the cards.
The deck also comes with an extra "carte blanche" card. I rarely include the extra card in my tarot readings and have omitted the wild card in this deck as well. For me, it just didn't fit.
Created in Italy, the titles of the Major Arcana are in Italian. This, of course, only lends to the authenticity and overall charm of the deck.
The Minor Arcana is completely without titles. This isn't much of a dilemma with the numbered cards, but I did find the Court cards somewhat baffling to begin with. However, after a little study it wasn't difficult to identify the differences. For instance, each station is assigned a particular type of symbolism, for which the artist does not deviate. All of the Pages present flags, the Knights present shields, the Queens have crowns overhead, and the Kings have castles behind them. Upon further exploration you will notice additional differences as well.
Layered with astrological and elemental symbolism, the Daniloff Tarot more than keeps with the essential tarot meanings, it accentuates them. The deck strongly follows the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, making it fairly easy to read. However, because there are some subtle differences (such as no titles on the Minor cards) you may wish to familiarize yourself with the deck before using them for divination.
While scholars and academics will most definitely appreciate the deck's deeper, more profound occult meanings, I would also recommend this deck for tarot readers of any level.
As for me, the Tarot by Alexander Daniloff is everything I desire in a deck, aesthetically and academically. The images are powerful as well as charming. They remind me of tales sung by minstrels in the olden times of Ladies and lords, Kings and Queens, castles and court jesters, and Knights on dangerous quests.
Alexander Daniloff is an amazingly talented artist, and has created here, a true masterpiece. For more information about his tarot deck and his extraordinary artwork, you can visit his website at www.daniloff-art.it.
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Thanks so much!
While I am typically more attracted to Renaissance or Medieval type decks, my curiosity was very much pequed by The Fountain Tarot. Initially, this may have been owed to the beautiful and well put together packaging. Admittedly I'm a sucker for clever little boxes. But The Fountain Tarot is more than a pretty shiny deck, wrapped in handsome packaging. It is filled with subtle and compelling symbolism, which beckons to be explored.
First of all, the box that comes with the deck is damn sexy! Glossy with a sort of grunge look to it. This and the title and logo shimmer with rainbow colors in the light. And I do love pretty shiny things. It also opens and gently snaps shut magnetically. Neat!
The booklet that fits inside the box is more than your average, generic tarot booklet. This one, for its size, is full of insight and a fresh perspective. Jason Gruhl did a wonderful job with this companion booklet. It is thoughtful, well written, and definitely worth reading.
The tarot back design is conventional in style. The colors and shapes are symmetrical and well balanced, complimenting the rest of the deck perfectly. This isn't always the case with a lot of decks out there. In fact, I have a couple decks I find myself not wanting to use, simply because I have an aversion to the back of the cards. Sounds silly, but it's true. It seems Andi Todaro made a point of designing something that captured the essence of the deck.
The deck size is pretty much standard, with beautiful silver gilded edges, and a lovely matte finish. The card stock is more sturdy than flexible. It almost begs to be shuffled, played with and broken in, which I have every intention of doing. As it is, I have only shuffled the cards a couple times and already the silver gilt is starting to come off.
There is nothing convoluted about The Fountain Tarot. Its style is modern, minimalistic, and seemingly simple. Seemingly, because the more you look at the cards, the more you see. Filled with layers of complexity and echos of occult teachings, I had no problem recognizing the traditional tarot meanings in this deck. And while this deck has its own way of expressing itself, the creators were not self-indulgent in their depictions. Unlike so many (too many) decks on the market today, this deck was very much thought out. They did an amazing job combining different perspectives from various tarot systems.
The Fountain Tarot comes with an additional card called The Fountain. Instead of a number it has the lemniscate symbol, known as the infinity sign. With one or two exceptions I typically omit the the extra card entirely, however in this instance I see the wisdom of it, it makes sense to me, and it will be included in my readings.
The Fountain card goes beyond the mundane but offers insight regarding everyday situations and challenges. It speaks of clarity, possibilities, and the wisdom that comes from being quiet and listening to the self. I like is that its meaning is open to personal interpretation. I would very much like to know what my fellow readers have to say about it.
I've only done a couple personal readings so far, but found the deck extremely straight forward and easy to understand. The imagery is fluid and easy on the eyes. Jonathan Saiz leaves a lot of room for personal and intuitive interpretation. I will have no problem reading with this deck professionally. And I very much look forward to sharing the deck with my students, as I feel this deck would be a good choice for beginners.
Getting acquainted with a new tarot deck is very much like going on a personal journey, one I have only just embarked on with The Fountain Tarot, but very much look forward to exploring further in the future. And while it isn't a favorite just yet, I certainly do like it...quite a lot.
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For more information about the The Fountain Tarot and its creators please visit their website at www.fountaintarot.com.
The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot showed up in the mail as an early birthday gift, one that I may never have thought to look into on my own. I'm not typically into mermaid or nautical type themed decks, but I realized quickly, this deck is a lot more than that. Upon first exploration of the deck I was immediately taken back to my time in the Florida Keys. I was also reminded of my days as a navy brat, living on Treasure Island Naval Station, just a boat ride away from San Francisco. Anyway, I have no idea where her inspiration came from, but Dame Darcy managed to capture the spirit of the unpredictable, multifaceted ocean that I love so well. From the warm, tranquil tropical waters of the Caribbean, to the cool and moody blue-gray waters of the Pacific, Dame Darcy pulls from various time periods and mythology, leaving room for personal exploration and the possibilities of individual imagination.
My deck came with a sheer white drawstring pouch, which doesn't quite fit, but struck me as a sweet and thoughtful gesture nevertheless. I will absolutely make use of it. It came with two extra cards, The Wheel of Fortune and the Ace of Cups. I decided these belonged on my La Siren altar. It also came with a small black and white print, which I think might be from her comic book, Meat Cake, but I am not completely sure. I did find a used copy of Meat Cake on Amazon for just five dollars and of course, I couldn't pass it up. The deck doesn't come with an instruction booklet but there is a little note from Dame Darcy with instructions on how to find the Guide to Using the Tarot located on her website.
Even though I immediately fell in love with the images, I wasn't sure about using the deck for my professional readings . I'm so glad I decided to give it a try. Not only does this deck read incredibly well, but my clients seemed to be drawn in by its unique and somewhat quirky comic book style. Like me, they've never seen anything like it.
There is something about the characters and imagery of the Dame Darcy Tarot that you almost recognize but can't quite put your finger on. It whispers of things elusively familiar, things we've experienced before, if only in books or in childhood movies. For me it feels a lot like nostalgia, conjuring up memories of my life on the ocean.
Enchanted with sexy mermaids...yes, I am. Enamored with vintage style sailors....absolutely! Being a navy man himself, my father did his best to warn me off sailors. And while I may have listened his advice, I secretly carried a torch for them in my heart. There was always something romantic about them in my eyes. A girlish notion I realize, but this explains my infatuation with the beautiful King of Wands, and my attraction to the Hanged Man, depicted as a shirtless sailor with starched dungarees and a hat that manages to defy gravity.
Along with its witty and playful nature, The Dame Darcy Tarot has a somewhat Gothic feel to it. It is laced with humor, romance, and intrigue . Reading with the deck feels a lot like going on a whimsical ocean adventure where anything is possible.
As an afterthought, let me just mention some inconsistencies with the symbolism in the suit cards. With the Wands you'll notice that she sometimes uses boat ores in place of the wands, but not always. I did wonder why she didn't just stick with boat ores all the way through the suit but decided it really didn't matter. She does this with the suit of Cups as well. Sometimes she uses conch shells and other times chalices. With the suit of Swords it's either tridents or swords. The Pentacles pretty much stay the same. As far as I can tell there is no rhyme or reason for this, just Dame Darcy taking creative license. My feeling on this is...you can't put the ocean in a box. Don't even try. Just enjoy the deck for the wild and wondrous creature that it is.
The colors are bright and cheerful, with just the right amount of darkness. So far it's been the perfect summer deck for me. Not to mention, the cards have a wonderful feel to them. I can honestly say that the card stock is everything it ought to be. I sort of wish other tarot creators would find out her secret and follow suit, as it is the perfect combination of durable flexibility, with a silky smooth finish, lending to an overall velvet like shuffling experience.
As a side note, I'd like to mention that several weeks after receiving my tarot deck, I realized I already had something of Dame Darcy's artwork...a copy of Jane Eyre, purchased several years ago. I had more than one copy of the novel already, but felt compelled to buy another due to its sultry pen drawn illustrations.
The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot is not like any tarot deck I have ever seen. It is spontaneous, uncultivated, romantic and daring, with a playful and mischievous nature. It is, in fact, my favorite bedtime story at the moment...because who doesn't want to dream of beautiful mermaids, handsome sailors, and ocean adventures? I really can't imagine.
Dame Darcy is known as a sequential artist, (cartoonist/ illustrator/ writer) fine artist, musician, and animator/filmmaker.
For more information about Dame Darcy and her wonderful art please visit her website at www.damedarcy.com
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I received two wonderful tarot decks in the mail this month. The first to arrive was the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot, followed by the Delos Tarot a week a week later. While they are very different in style, I can honestly say that I like both decks quite a lot. However, it is the Delos Tarot I've been using consistently with my clients since its arrival. I was slightly concerned that the deck might be too childish for professional use and that my clients might not take it seriously, however this hasn't been the case at all. I've been reading with Delos Tarot for the past couple of weeks and so far my clients have responded really well to its simple and uplifting imagery.
Typically I'm drawn to decks with deep, intense imagery, usually with a Renaissance or Pre-Raphaelite feel to them, such as The Victorian Romantic Tarot and The Golden Tarot. While both of these decks are extremely beautiful and I really do love them, they were beginning to feel a little heavy to me. Moreover, I had noticed that my readings were feeling a little weighty as well. I don’t blame the decks for this, of course. I think I just needed a perspective shift, something lighter, with a more playful nature, something that didn’t take itself so seriously. The Delos Tarot just happened to be exactly what I was looking for. It practically screams out, “Life is short! Get in touch with your inner child!”
The deck has a whimsical storybook feel to it. And while the deck does have a child like quality, it is not without dept. It would be mistake to dismiss it as a novelty deck or too juvenile to read with. Because while it is extremely lighthearted and perhaps a little childish, it is not without the relevant and/or traditional symbolism.
The deck has a strong Rider/Waite/Smith influence, but it is also its own thing, with its own unique qualities and inclusions. Small subtle differences, which lend to its overall, individual charm. I find the bright and cheerful colors most appealing.
The more I explore the deck the more I notice little things that might otherwise be missed at first glance. For instance, beginning with the Fool, rather than the traditional little white dog, you'll notice there is a little while cat as The Fool's companion. Upon further study, I noticed that this little white cat shows up periodically throughout the deck. You'll see her stretched across the lap of The Empress, across The Emperor's treasure chest, in The Strength card, representing the lion, and so on. After discovering the subtle presents of the little white cat, I was on a personal mission to find them all. In doing this I found other things as well, things I had initially missed, such as mermaids, cherubs, whales, faeries, and more. This was all good fun, and get in touch with my inner child I did!
The cards stock is a little more delicate than I prefer, as I am a kind of hard on my decks. However, the card stock does not feel cheap or flimsy to me. In fact, I actually like how easy they are to handle, and they shuffle just beautifully. Most likely I will have to order another for back up, but better to wear a deck out from over use than have it collect dust due to lack of interest or love.
As I mentioned in my YouTube video, the little instruction booklet that comes with the deck is pretty much useless unless you have an understanding of the Korean language. Again, this really isn’t an issue for me. I rarely pay attention to these little instructions books anyway. This deck is really easy to read, especially if you have a basic knowledge of the Rider Waite Smith system.
In conclusion, while this deck is extremely cute and a little childish, it truly is more than that. It is a treasure box of thoughtfulness and insight. A welcome addition to my tarot collection.
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The World card is associated with the planet Saturn, which rules over Saturday, also known as Saturn's Day.
The World Card signifies "Administrative Intelligence." Meditating on this key is good for: Karmic completion, becoming conscious of your limitations, and freeing yourself to maximize your own potential, manifesting spirit on earth, infinite potential, uniting the four elements within you. It is an antidote for delayed promotion or success, lacking the whole picture and mild frustration.
Affirmation: "The Universe generously provides for all my needs, materially and spiritually"
There are other cards you can use for meditation and magical purposes, but the card I use most often on Wednesday is The Magician. Mainly because both The Magician and Wednesday are associated with Mercury, the planet of mental activities, communication, and intellectual energy. So it stands to reason that if "smart" is the new "sexy," The Magician is the sexiest card in the entire deck. This being the case, I just love the way he thinks.
The Magician reminds me to think outside the box, and to put my creative aspirations into motion. He very clearly expresses that if you want something, you should get off your duff and do something about it. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and take a step in the direction you wish to go. Not to mention, you'll get there even quicker if you focus on what you want, rather than what you don't want.
Arthur Waite's depiction of the Magician is probably my most favorite. You'll see that in the Magician's right hand is a wand raised towards heaven, while the left hand is pointing to the earth. This dual sign is known as tapping into the limitless substance which is always available to us, "as above, so below." In essence, it's about clarity of mind and communication. In other words, putting the energy out there. The items on the Magician's table, representing the four elements, indicate that you have all the tools right now to manifest your desires. There is nothing you need outside of yourself once you know what you want.
Meditate with this card for motivation, to realize the talents which reside within you. The Magician is about communication and putting things into motion. "As I do WILL, so mote it be."
The Empress comes up for me a lot lately, and as always I am more than happy to see her. I think this time I sort of saw her as a reward for everything I've had to overcome over the last few months, an indication of positive things to come, and hopefully a reflection of a more healthy and vibrant me. Not to mention, it would be an opportunity for me to write about the Empress and how amazing she is. Because while I love and/or appreciate every tarot card in the deck, the Empress is probably more real to me than any of the others. She encompasses so much for me and I relate to her on so many levels, how could I not write about her? Of course, I should write about her. I love her. So there I was, beyond excited to take on the task of expressing how she currently applied to my life when all of a sudden, writer’s block. Nooo! How was this even possible? One of the most creative tarot cards in the deck and I have writer’s block! But this was more than just writer’s block, this was a mental block about the Empress herself and my perception of her. Again, how is this possible? But there it was. I knew what the problem was; I just didn’t know how to get past it. It even occurred to me that I was too emotionally flawed to write about her. How could I write about the Empress, who signifies love, passion, creativity and self-expression, while I was still recovering from a broken heart? I felt completely unworthy. Finally, days later, I realize that I am missing the point entirely. I mean, one of the reasons that I love the Empress so much is her ability to feel and express all of her emotions openly and honestly without shame, blame or guilt. Not only was I expecting too much from myself, but much too little from the Empress. I found myself inspired once again by the Empress to embrace every aspect of myself, especially the part that loved so deeply and had the capacity to experience emotions on so many levels. The Empress wouldn't cage her emotions no matter how unpleasant. Neither would I. Whatever emotional challenges I was going through there was no denying the other, more positive, aspects of my life in relation to the Empress energy. So many new opportunities and realizations. I was able to see that when one thing dies, something else is born, when one door closes, another door opens, when one relationship ends, another begins, and so on. The possibilities are endless really. The Empress laughs and she cries but she doesn't fear life and she most certainly doesn't fear love. Neither will I.
I see her everywhere, in all things. She is birth and she is death but more importantly, she is the life in between. And because she is every Goddess I revere, it’s a rare thing not to find her on my altar. I see her and I am reminded of the power of three, which symbolizes creation; mind, body and spirit, past, present, and future, mother, maiden, crone, and so on. She is thy universal mother, thy sister and above all she is thyself. Honor her and you honor yourself. Honor yourself and you honor the Empress who is none other than the Goddess.
She is, at once, all four Queens of the tarot deck; the Queen of Wands with her fiery, creative and captivating spirit, the Queen of Cups with her capacity to love, nurture and heal, the Queen of Swords with her shrewd ability to discern the truth and communicate her thoughts clearly, and the Queen of Pentacles with her steadfastness, stability and remarkable ability to manifest things on a physical level.
But no matter which aspect of the Empress I relate to at any given moment, she is the creative force that inspires me to manifest my desires. She is that place inside me that wishes to express myself openly and freely at all times. She reminds me that if I do what inspires me most I can manifest my dreams on a physical level in a creative way. I am also reminded of my own capacity to love while allowing myself to be loved in return. Because while the Empress loves openly and with great passion, she expects nothing less for herself. And yet, while she is capable of great love, she can, in anger withhold it. She has a most generous and loving spirit but her nature can grow equally as dark when offended. Trespass lightly where she is concerned, as she is love but she is also scorn. She can go from lavishing affection one moment to lashing out spitefully the next when hurt. She is impulsive, reactive, and feels things deeply. It’s no easy task to match her passion, but come close and you will be rewarded in ways you can't even imagine. People are drawn to her and intimidated by her all at the same time. This too, is part of her charm. To be loved by her will most likely be a transforming experience and well worth the adventure. After all, she is magically delicious.
There’s something sad and yet optimistic about the Eight of Cups. While there may be a sense of sadness as we close one chapter in our lives to begin another, the future unknown is full of possibilities.
The Eight of Cups is the card of conscious separation, a choice being made. It illustrates perfectly someone leaving something behind, as they embark on uncharted territory. The Waite deck shows a gap in the arrangement of the top row of cups, so perhaps this person has left to look for what is missing in their life. Unlike the Five of Cups, none of the cups are knocked over, indicating that the person probably knows it’s just time to move on. Where the fives are about chaotic change, the eights are more about conscious change. As the eights indicate movement and the suit of cups symbolize water, the element of emotion, the Eight of Cups at its most basic is movement derived from emotion. The movement in this card is the shedding of old relationships, old loves, situations and those things which are familiar to us. So while this movement or change may seem inevitable it will also take emotional strength and courage to leave what we have, which is where the Strength card connection comes in. Being the eighth card of the Major Arcana, the Strength card is directly related to all of the eights in the deck. Strength is the card of courage, transformation and will power, while the eights are about movement and taking action. The Eight of of cups is the strength we need to take action, to follow through, no matter how emotionally challenging.
While you may be reluctant to walk away, you can only hit your head against a brick wall so many times before it starts to pound with the acute realization that the wall will not yield. You can’t move it, you can’t reason with it, you can’t change it, you can’t climb it, you can’t go through it, and there is no going around it. Finally, all you can do is walk away from it. I mean, how much more time and energy are you willing to put into something that just isn’t working? I look at this as the “I love you but I have to go” card. When it comes up, we're probably not walking away out of anger or regret, but rather, we're walking away because we're mentally exhausted and emotionally depleted from continuous disappointment. Inevitably we're walking away because we want more and deserve better. And because most likely...it's just time.
People have always been fascinated by divination, prophecy and the future. And why not, it is fascinating. And so while we may fear it a little, we still want to know.
We may seek the aid of a gifted Intuitive, AKA "Psychic", with the ability to see into our lives and future but what can we really learn from them?
Most people assume that what a seer tells them is the future apparent, but while a diviner will report the possibilities given the current situation, each of us holds the power to change that future. And for those of us who believe that we chose our path and spiritual goals before coming into this life, also realize our chosen destination remains in check and balance with our own free will. Our life choices are ours and ours alone. And because we always have the capacity to change and create our reality, nothing is engraved in stone.
So always keep in mind, while a psychic may offer insight and enlightenment they cannot firmly decide our future. Only we have the ability to make the necessary changes needed to manifest our desires.
Looking for that perfect deck is an amazing journey and extremely personal. There is no right or wrong deck. You can have one deck or you can have many. Similar to how one might choose a lover, I recommend that your first deck be something that pleases and inspires you. The deck you choose should draw you in, warm your heart, while tempting you to touch them all the time.
Admittedly, I have several decks but only a couple that I read with on a regular basis. I have one personal deck that I use just for myself. This deck pretty much goes everywhere I go. However, depending on my mood or my question I may choose one of my other themed or artistic decks. I also have a deck that I use when I read for clients. For my personal deck I use the medium Illuminated Tarot. The deck I use for professional readings is the large Illuminated Tarot. Both of these decks were handmade by Carol Herzer; recolored versions of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. I paid the extra money for the iridescent paint which was well worth the money. Carol's amazing use of color is magical, expressive, and captivating. Years later they are still my favorite.
Depending on how far you wish to take your tarot study, you may eventually choose to purchase a more traditional deck. Perhaps something based on the Golden Dawn or Thelemic system would help you get a better grasp of Tarot. Or if you're into psychology, something with a Jungian flavor might help you along your tarot path. For meditation and study purposes I use the B.O.T.A. Tarot deck (which I colored myself), the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, and the Golden Dawn Tarot.
The deck I used for the first eight years of my tarot study was the Thoth Tarot, painted by Lady Frieda Harris, under the direction of Aleister Crowley. People seem to love this deck or hate it. Either way, the Thoth deck manages to standout, separating itself from the rest of the decks. As for me, I immediately found its imagery vibrant, hypnotic, and seemingly without end. One can easily get lost in them. Professionally speaking, before moving onto the Rider-Waite, I found reading clients with my Thoth deck energetically draining. Ultimately it is the Golden Dawn system that I prefer now and the Rider-Waite tarot deck that I use for instruction.
Supporting local metaphysical shops and bookstores in your area is always fun and offers instant gratification. In my area, its shops such as Eclectic By Nature in Greensboro and Gaea Gifts in Asheville, North Carolina that I tend to frequent most. But if I can't find what I'm looking for locally I will inevitably find my way to online shopping sites such as Amazon or eBay. It's almost too convenient.
There are so many wonderful aspects to Tarot, all you really have to do is pick one and see where it leads. Some people are drawn to numerology, for some it's astrology, for others it's the four elements, and the list goes on. Where you decide to start or how far you decide to take your relationship with Tarot is personal and entirely up to you. Whatever your interest in the cards, you will never run out of resources and you will never learn everything there is to learn about Tarot. There really is no end to it.
I can easily lose myself on Aeclectic Tarot, which is probably one of my favorite sites for perusing various tarot and oracle decks. I also find sites such as B.O.T.A. and American Tarot Association, which I am also a member, most helpful.
Wherever or however you decide to purchase your cards, your first deck should be something that you are drawn to, something that beckons you to take a closer look.