I ran across the Spirit Cats deck, illustrated and authored by Nicole Piar, while stumbling my way through Kickstarter campaigns, ferociously looking for inspiring decks to back. And, though the campaign was over for this deck, she was selling pre-orders on her website, at a ridiculously affordable price, for what amounts to 48 square prints of her ridiculously adorable art.
I gave up sugar ten months ago (we'll talk about that journey another time). Decks are now my sugar (but better for my soul) and this deck was like powdered sugar on sugared donuts on a sugar cake. I couldn't pass. Which makes eight (ahem) cat-themed decks in my collection now.
The deck did not arrive with a book, but was housed in a beautiful, sturdy hard cardboard box. A book would have been redundant because each card has corresponding text on the back, featuring the cat's name and its message. Featured above is Snugpuff, Stargazer and Chanti (left to right), with their own inspiring tidings to share. The card stock is matte and thick and easy to either riffle or overhand shuffle
I do, however, adore the cat names: Shrine, with its "cozy home" message; Sage who sits at a threshold; Silvio Silvermaw, sharing with us the road less traveled. Each cat reaches out to you with the loving, wild and unpredictable nature of our own house cats but without a litter box to clean.
You can almost hear them purr.
And as I slowly walked through this garden of cats, introduced myself to their personalities, and was greeted warmly by each, I realized how perfectly suited this deck is to a daily draw, meditative or journaling practice. And how healing some of my interactions with these cards have been.
Did you know science has discovered the purr of a cat has tangible health benefits for their owners? This deck is like 48 cats purring at once. Imagine how good you'll feel!
And... it's cat-approved! They each picked a card and tried to carry it off to their respective perches!
I have to admit, I didn't resonate with much of the description of this card in the Animal Kin Oracle Guidebook, when I pulled this card today. It's a stunning image in its simplicity, and the provided interpretation is uplifting. But, for me, it seemed to only graze the meat of the message.
Dragonflies are a beautiful, but predatory creature, feeding almost exclusively on mosquitoes, moths and other small dragonflies. They are delicate but agile, capable of spanning oceans and tolerating sudden changes to their environment. They are territorial but adaptable and can even camouflage their flights patterns to confuse an enemy. Resourceful would be an apt word to describe this amazing creature.
So how does this translate to our daily draw and the concept of imagination, manifesting and living our dreams? I believe it's a beautiful narration on the power of predatory wishful thinking, and on losing ourselves in a bubble of fantasy. Probably not at all what the artist had intended but I find myself, of late, focusing on the shadows of each card I pull.
life we have. The dragonfly warns us not to fall into the confusing flight of our dreams but to formulate real, tangible plans around which to build our own successes. This beautiful creature implores us to unravel the mystery of our own adaptable natures. To build lives, not wishes. To span oceans if we must, but to fight for our goals.
And though I may not agree entirely with the interpretation supplied by the Animal Kin Oracle, I will leave you with this:
"Combining our powerful mind's eye and emotional intelligence, we can dream up the wildest most mystical ideas and then dig deeper from the surface and find innovative ways to bring it into reality"
Animal Kin Oracle Guidebook
I don't wanna.
Not only do I refuse to define my spiritual practice, I believe entirely that it would be detrimental to my practice to do so.
Spirituality is, let's be honest, a subjective word with an elusive indeterminate meaning. We might be able to come to the same table and agree that, for the most part, spirituality is an understanding that we are connected to something larger than ourselves. How we define that "something", however, is where the differences abound. These differences are sometimes expressed with interest, acceptance and understanding or, if we're unfortunate, a dithering, angry mass of judgments and denials.
Let's just skip the reactions entirely and live our spiritual lives the way we chose without the need to validate it to others through the box of definition.
"The new spirituality is that it will produce an experience in human encounters in which we become a living demonstration of the basic spiritual teaching 'We are all one.' "
Neale Donald Walsch
I am monotheistic. Some days, I'm loosely agnostic. Others, I'm a non-theist all together. I don't prescribe to a pantheistic idea of deity, and I've never believed in or utilized the energies of fairies or dragons, not literally nor as an archetype. I love the pomp of ritual but rarely practice it. I do not recognize the standard Wheel of the Year (or recognize it when it suits me) and find terms like "pagan", "wiccan" or "witch" to be self-defeating and limiting. I believe magic happens by the power of personal will, and has nothing to do with what herbs or stones or moon phases our spells employ.
And you know what? That is all okay. If you believe I am wrong, or you practice a different way.... that's okay too. None of those things define me nor my practice, nor what spirituality means to me. They are not each independent of one another and each adds a page to a story in which my journey continues. None of these things validate nor invalidate my practice. They do not, by themselves, illustrate anything about me but my undeniable curiosity.
If your practice is specific and defined and that works for you, then I applaud you and your spiritual life. I appreciate your journey, your courage in taking it... whatever the specifics may be. We should all strive for what fills our hearts and souls with purpose, with what meaningfully and beautifully moves us forward on our paths and hope that, occasionally, we may bump into one another during the journey and smile in our knowing and understanding that there is beauty in our uniqueness.
Be unique. Be you, unapologetically. And be bright and bold and ignore the use of alliteration. I'm a slave to cliche and all forms of literary devices.
"When we commit to any number of self-love and self-care practices they become threads, woven together, to create a net of support for our strength and well-being."
The Moon Deck Guidebook
I ran across this gem of a deck while continuously clicking whatever recommended video YouTube sent my way (as one does after falling down that rabbit hole) and what a pleasure the discovery has been! The Moon Deck, created by author Aarona Ganesan, artist Andrea Keh and strategist Ashley Bruni, embodies an empowering message wrapped in holistic ritual and healing meditation. If you are looking for a deck that offers insights to help transform a wounded soul, to learn the healing art of ritual or to embrace positive daily affirmations, then this is the deck for you.
Let's get the basics out of the way, shall we? The deck arrives in a sturdy wooden box with a wood-burned triple moon design across its lid. The box is valuable for storage but not so great for convenient carry. I recommend a nice pouch (which the box can accommodate). The guidebook is the same size as the cards, so will also travel easily in a pouch, and stores nicely in the box. The 44 oracle cards are slightly larger than standard tarot size, but still quite comfortable in small hands while large enough for requisite eye candy during readings for oneself or others. The card stock is on the thicker side, while allowing the inner riffle-shuffler a pleasant handling experience. The card backs are not exactly reversible, but I admit I've never seen the point of that emphasis anyway, and the artwork is lovely regardless. The guidebook is, for its size, quite meaty, with beautiful interpretations and meditative or ritual practices to incorporate during daily draws.
truly insightful when we allow ourselves the freedom and gift of committing to the message and involving ourselves in our own spiritual progression. I urge you not to seek out images of the cards as I'd hate to deprive you of the experience and joy so immediately accessible when opening and viewing this deck for the first time. There is a love that radiates from these messages and, dare I say, recognizes your spirit immediately as something kindred.
I sometimes tend to find key words and phrases a distraction, but the imagery is inviting enough and the messages kind enough that together they form a very cohesive whole. But, it's not all light and goodness. There is a depth to the messages in this deck that encourages the reader to tackle the shadow, to dive into the darkness then open up and let the light in.
And while I haven't had the opportunity to try it for myself, the Moon Circle details provided in the guidebook are beautiful and such a wonderful addition to the already fulfilling experience this deck provides. I definitely suggest you give the guidebook its due diligence. And, most importantly, "open new channels for meaningful creation" (The Moon Deck Guidebook).
"May we reclaim our power, beauty and magic
one moon phase at a time. Let's howl together."
- Marissa Massie & Rachael Caringella
I admit it... I'm always intrigued by round decks. I've had a brief affair with the Motherpeace Tarot and The Gorgon's Tarot fascinates me still. But there, it seems, my interaction with round decks have become a non-issue, as artists and creators focused their energies and immense talents on standard tarot sizes and shapes or, as I've discovered, decks so large they dwarf my child-sized digits with all the flare and pizazz I've come to expect from amazing artists.
So imagine the depth of my complete joy when I stumbled across the visionary Spirit de la Lune, by Marissa Massie and Rachael Caringella, during (yet another) midnight Google deck spree.
Let's discuss the basics: the packaging is superb. A sturdy round metal tin houses the magical 56-card deck. The lid is secure but easy to open, and the tin is large enough to accommodate a bag if you are as obsessed with organza as I am and must marry it to every deck you own. I am even able to sneak in a small amethyst that rather called to this deck upon arrival. The card stock seems standard. Thin and easy to shuffle, but sufficiently durable, and their size is comfortable for small hands. There is a satin finish to the card stock that lends to the ease of shuffling but does also allow the cards to slip and slide if you bump your reading table. And the card titles are painfully light, small and difficult to read, but I believe once you've familiarized yourself with the deck well enough, that will be mostly inconsequential.
"It is a remembrance. The Moon's currents run through our DNA connecting us back to the wisdom our foremother's knew when the Moon was the guiding force in the night sky."
Spirit de la Lune Guide Book For Lunar Guidance
The guide book is very comprehensive, including spreads for each moon cycle, gemstone associations and reversed meanings. I also like to take note of which direction the cards may be rotated in a spread, if a card is turned more towards one neighboring card than another (not exactly upright nor reversed), and see how that manifests in the meanings. The round shape is not only reminiscent of the moon for which these cards are created, but also lends itself to a multitude of meanings in a reading.
I admit that I do not connect with the mandala artwork. Though beautiful, it doesn't seem to lend itself to intuitive interpretations for me. And, so far, without the card names and keywords, I might be a little less able to grasp their meanings in a spread. So, right now, with my need to reference the guide book frequently, I feel this deck is best used for personal guidance and growth. The moon cycle spreads are each quite unique and allows the reader to enjoy a small ritual with which to connect oneself to lunar energies and has proven to be a unique and fulfilling experience. And you certainly aren't limited to monthly lunar cycle readings. These cards can definitely be enjoyed daily as a ritual or meditative tool.
In all, this is a really lovingly provocative deck. The creators gave a great deal of thought to the intentions and meanings they wished to convey and, if I may be so vaguely esoteric, understand the magic of the Moon. Though it may require, for me, more work and patience than many oracle decks, it is its own system worthy of research and dedication.
Wooden Tarot www.skullgarden.net
Of all the cards in all the decks in all the world, I had to draw the one card that would trigger my Trypophobia. Don't know what that is? I didn't either until I once spied a similar image, looked it up and realized I
And I don't want it. It's horrible.
But I will say this... the Wooden Tarot, created by Andrew Liam Swartz is truly an amazing, beautiful and evocative deck and, despite the shivers of revulsion I get from this card in particular, its message (and even my fear of its imagery) is also incredibly relevant for me right now.
Technically, it's not a recognized fear, and the definition of this fear (that of holes) is not actually what causes the sense of revulsion in those who experience it... it's the idea of disease and the danger associated with disease. All those little holes filled with unmentionables (yes, I totally just used the word "unmentionables" and it's totally appropriate) can carry with it a sense of unease, dread, even real, tangible fear and anxiety.
Anyway, how does this relate to the daily draw? Because the fear of what fills those holes fits perfectly with the theme of the card, which happens to be a re-imagined representation of the Seven of Cups in a standard Raider-Waite system.
The Seven of Cups is all about choices, about the real danger and perceived danger of choices, and that sometimes there is only one perfect choice for us and the rest are all manifestations of our own selfishness, our own desire to protect ourselves from an inevitable future. Some may see this as a card of promise. And in some scenarios, that may be an apt interpretation. But even the perfect choice may not be a pleasant one. Sometimes the less appealing option is the one our souls need for progression or growth.
So what, exactly, is the message of this card? It's one of acceptance. And I don't mean the resigned acceptance of those who have given up, but the acceptance of self... that we are capable of making the difficult choices, that we can push back against the temptation to protect ourselves to spite our own spiritual progress, that we chose to embrace a life of meaning, even if not an easy life to live.
And yes, this is also a card of hope and strength. It's a card that shows us that fulfillment is not always about what we want, but what we need, and to trust in a process we sometimes might not understand. This card warns us that options and desires might work against our progress, might be the pebble in our shoe, and we have only to kick off our shoes before we continue the walk. Sometimes, it's about letting go of the pipe dream, the bigger picture that pulls you away from the reality of the now.
It's messages are plentiful. And it's purpose is clear. Do not be afraid of the difficult choice. Do not be blinded by the promise of every desire distracting you from the worthy now. Do what is good and right for you, even if that road seems less bright. And please, for the love of light, recognize the peril of the intoxicating fantasy of perfection.
And as always, be kind to yourselves. Be bold and bright and move forward with confidence and clarity.