I will admit I have a fascination with all collage decks, all digitally modified decks, and all decks that touch my inner painter by utilizing pre-existing art and incorporating new art, and The Distant Past Tarot, created by Jeri Totten, seems to check each of those boxes with aplomb! It is a beautifully rendered combination of images from a combination of existing and new art, using techniques that result in a flawless, soft deck that echos through time.
This deck is poker size (though more sizes may be available soon), and after serious frustration with large decks, I appreciate the break. The card stock is fairly standard, but shuffles beautifully, and the deck arrives shrink-wrapped, without a box. The pouch displayed is purchased separately, and well worth the investment. It's slightly padded interior hugs the deck perfectly and the zippered closure allows for ease of use. There is no accompanying book, but there are extra cards with very brief keywords listed, and standard spreads explained.
"Images from the Past to guide you into the Future."
- Jeri Totten
It's lack of nudity makes this deck especially appropriate for public events, and the soft artwork is great to put nervous clients at ease. The borderless imagery will also tickle the fancy of many readers who find borders limiting to their intuition. And, with it's small size, it makes the most of the card's surface as possible, creating artwork almost as large as those on bordered standard tarot decks, but without the added bulk.
I can honestly say I find everything about this deck perfect. Though the backs are not exactly reversible, it's close enough for those who care, and this little gem tucks beautifully in any purse or bag. And, most importantly, the customer service was amazing. Jeri was very pleasant to converse with, and seemed humbled by the praise I had for this amazing creation.
You will not be disappointed with the addition of this deck to your collection.
The Cosmos Tarot: Light Grey Labs
Isn't it strange (and rude) when decks tell us exactly what we'd rather not hear?
The Devil card, in any tarot incarnation, has a habit of pointing out to us our own misplaced obsessions and how deeply they transform our worlds, irrevocably even, if we aren't careful and observant enough to break free from their pull.
Today, this card reminds us to be mindful of habits, thoughts or actions that tie us to unhealthy situations. In this card, expressed by the story of Andromeda, we see she is pulling free from the chains, pushing herself from the rocks to which she was bound, and reaching out to the leaping fish, plunging freely in and out of the water. She is working towards releasing herself from her own captivity. Captivity enforced as a result of the prideful boasting of her mother. Pride is, after all, a hobby of the Devil.
And, though it breaks from traditional imagery and interpretation, this card is positive in that it encourages our forward momentum by the very assurance that we are capable of that momentum. That we are no more bound to the Devil than a wish is bound to reality. It is an unforgiving reminder to get off the hamster wheel of bad habits into the freedom this implies.
So how do we know when we are obsessed? I read a beautiful quote a while back (the originator escapes me) that was something along the lines of this: Don't think too much or you'll create new problems. And when you have an obsessive tendency, thoughts are often our own worst enemy. We think about the money we don't have, the money we do have, the money we'd like to have, the perfect lover, the perfect body. We think about all the things we want and how to get them. And not getting these things can have devastating effects on those whose thoughts are filled with them.
This devil is giving us permission to free ourselves from the meaningless habit of thinking ourselves into sadness, greed, need or self-pity. Free ourselves to move towards a better, healthier version of ourselves. Just, you know... don't think about that version too much!
This card felt particularly useful today, and resonated with my mood, which was rather deprecating and self-defeating. Its message came to in a moment of self-doubt and I thought I should share it with you.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
This card reminds us we are worthy of love, of our own love. That we have to love ourselves before we can expect others to love us. That it doesn't even matter if others love us, because their love neither defines us nor justifies our own confidence. This message is a gentle push towards a self-kindness and an understanding that we can love our own imperfections, not to spite them, but because of them and the person in us they help to manifest.
Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take a moment and appreciate your own worth.
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!
"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.
So, how does the person who has no relationship with the divine Masculine embrace the relationship? By jumping into it with both feet. I've placed this card on my altar and meditated on its message. The monarch is a beautiful animal, free of spirit, despite the painfully and sadly short cycle of its metamorphosis. It embraces its life in whatever capacity it can, by whatever means it can, and brings beauty to the world in the process. Can there be a brighter divine light inside any creature? I'm not so sure.
This card encourages us to dance in the light of the sun. To walk outside, hold our arms wide to the heavens and feel the heat of it on our face. Because time is fleeting. Energy comes and goes. Our own creativity, ideas and enthusiasm experiences its own ebb and flow to which we are eternally tied. We have to embrace this energy at its height and let it fall away when required and this card reminds us that Litha is a perfect opportunity to understand and accept this cycle, and to boldly take life by the horns. While we can. Always while we can.
Moving forward, the strength of the sun will wane. And the gods will rely on us to carry the light onward. Carry the spark of it in your heart. Call on it when life is its darkest and let it fill you up.
Cosmos Oracle Deck: 13 Binary System
"Inside a binary system exists two stars locked
in a perpetual, dependent relationship"
-Light Grey Art Lab
Dependency is both a beautiful and dangerous foundation upon which relationships are sometimes built. On one hand, it is a stunning opening up, where relationships are born and grow and prosper. It is the yin and yang, the passing of elemental energies from one being to another, it is the fundamental sharing of passion, security and hardship. Perhaps especially hardship. And it is with an understanding of this relationship that two parties can move forward together in harmony, both benefiting and protecting the other.
It is also, I think, about a relationship with self. It is time for self-love, to express kindness towards self, to treat the body to which we are (sometimes inconveniently) attached with a little reverence. If we are imbalanced internally, working towards the balance in our external relationships becomes exponentially more difficult. This card suggests a need to look on our relationship with self, with Spirit, with those closest to us externally, in serious consideration of their balance. It is time to assess these relationships and identify areas of imbalance, in which one party is benefiting at the expense of another.
When dependency becomes a cycle of negativity, a lack of reciprocity, it becomes a toxic leech. This card can indicate a need to free ourselves from the leeches in life and regain our own balance, on our own terms. This card can remind us to drag ourselves from beneath the weight of unhealthy relationships, and discover balance within ourselves, or to re-discover the balance in healthier relationships. To find the center of gravity, and allow ourselves to orbit it... with or without a partner. Sometimes our greatest relationships are the ones within.
This card can also remind us to appreciate the pillars of support in our life, upon which we depend, to whom we gravitate for understanding and love or compassion. To show our loved ones that their place in our lives are not arbitrary, and their affect on our own center of gravity has propelled us into a positive forward momentum.
Recognize imbalance, and remove yourself from the negative pull of others, or appreciate the symmetrical movement of healthy relationships. Either way, this card is a wonderful reminder to take time this weekend to be honest with ourselves about the nature of our relationships and take steps towards restoring balance.
Shax: 37 Danger of Loss (Fallen Angel Oracle)
This is the gem I pulled today while contemplating my tarot and oracle deck wish list. I have 45 decks sitting in my Amazon wish list, and 25 more in my Etsy shopping cart. It may seem a small thing, the desire for material possession, but almost clicking "Buy Now" on those 45 decks was a frightening moment of clarity for me and this card was a wonderful stumble towards the eternal hovering shadow of desire, the shadow of wants at the expense of needs, even, or the shadow of materialism for the sake of it.
"That feeling of freedom, open highways of possibilities, has kind of been lost to materialism and marketing."
Now, this isn't to pass judgment on those who have money, who choose to spend that money on decks or art or anything at all, really. It's more an introspection into my own experience with desire and materialism and how that relates to my spiritual journey.
I should even say I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. I believe materialism can live harmoniously, or as harmonious as anything else, with a spiritual or religious life. But there is such a thing, despite all the differences of opinions we might have on the matter, as dangerous consumerism. Though at what point, exactly, it becomes dangerous is likely a matter of personal experience and circumstance.
When materialism or consumerism replaces our needs, when it becomes a risk to purchase, a risk to our livelihood and general well-being, we have entered the domain of Shax, the dark angel of theft. He hoards treasures, can remove the understanding of others and blind you to the light of truth. He can, however, also reveal things that are hidden. I think this is his real purpose in the draw: to reveal the motivation behind the materialism, to allow us the freedom to look into ourselves and assess the nature of our desires. To look into our shadow and see the light of some truth, even if that truth is an uncomfortable realization about our consumerist nature.
And this discovery does not have to be a judgment on our lives, on our self-worth, or our ability to find fulfillment. It can be a portal towards fulfillment, if we allow it. If we push past the fear of discovery and walk into the shadow of self.