Nov 29, 2011

Deck Review- The Cat's Eye Tarot

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine 

Anyone who is, or ever has been owned by a cat, knows that cats work on their own agenda and despite their aloof nature we love them anyway. I first became aware of The Cat's Eye Tarot several years ago, when Debra Givin first began her creation of this deck and followed it's progress with each card. When US Games announced that they were going to be publishing it, I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement!

There are several cat themed decks out there but this one is truly special, not only does it follow the Rider-Waite style, each card tells a story from a very unique perspective...A cats! What better way to see the world than through the eyes of a beloved cat. Debra, a practicing vet for 22 years, exclusively in feline practice, she has absolutely captured the essence of cats in this deck and with each card there is no doubt as to what is going through these glorious kitties minds.

This deck is simply perfect in size and works great for those with smaller hands as it's not too wide to shuffle and handle properly and it has an amazing glossy lamination. I'm big on the art of the card backs and have been known to choose decks in part by the wonderful imagery on the backs and this deck does not disappoint. It features a brown long haired tabby with mesmerizing green eyes that nearly fills the whole card save one thin border of white.

The Major Arcana are graced with cats of white, calico, ginger and tabby, black and siamese all lovingly painted in scenes of blue and plum tones that make these little kitties pop right out of the cards. I always look for a select few cards when considering a deck and the Star is among one of them. I love the way that Debra has portrayed a little calico gently reaching out to the reflection of a star in chilly stream and it brings to mind the phrase "reach for the stars" what a great way to get the meaning of hope across!

The Minor Arcana are just as charming with the suit of Wands picturing fiery ginger cats, the suit of Cups showing wonderful jellicle kitties, the suit of Swords featuring the talkative siamese and the suit of Pentacles with it's tabby striped beauties. Also featured alongside these fabulous felines in the Minor Arcana are fish, reptiles, birds and mice.

I had the best time while working with this deck, I found that it reads very well and I had no problems getting clear and concise messages, just like ones I receive from any cat when he/she is letting me know how it is! I may not recommend it as a beginners deck, however, I think that a basic knowledge of the Rider-Waite symbolism would be helpful but this is truly a deck for anyone who loves and shares their life with cats.

Publisher: US Games
Artist: Debra Givin
ISBN: 978-1-57281-685-5

Images used with permission from US Games

Nov 12, 2011

Deck Review- Joie de Vivre Tarot

From the amazing creatrix  Paulina Cassidy, of the Paulina Tarot comes her latest addition to the Tarot community, The Joie de Vivre Tarot...what a truly charming and chatty deck that when translated, means Hearty or carefree enjoyment of life.  I had been eagerly awaiting this deck, watching it's progress and marveling over her unique artistic style and now that I have it in my hot little hands it is absolutely wonderful and quite child-like in it's energy.

The Joie de Vivre Tarot is a 78 card deck that is just the perfect size to work with and shuffle with ease. It comes with the standard LWB (little white book) of interpretations and each card and character is described in loving detail and absolutely inspires a truly joyful feel. I thought rather than to review this deck as I usually do, I would perhaps do an actual interview of it instead and I was not disappointed by it's lively and straight forward answers. Here are a few of the questions I asked and how the deck responded...

Tell me about yourself, what is your most important characteristic? King of Swords- "The King Sagacity possesses the wisdom and courage to obtain all his desires. His dove companion, Justice, helps him work against dishonesty."  What a terrific card to pop up when describing this decks most important characteristic! The King of Swords encourages the use of logic and intellect to navigate the path ahead and will definately get to the heart of the matter so buckle your seat belt, this deck will take you on a journey to see through all the clutter and fog to show you what the issues really are!
What are your strengths? The Moon- "Illuminating hidden truths, the Moon's energy brings clarity to the surface." Here we can see Phantasm and his three owl companions Daze, Haze and Maze sitting on a branch, illuminated by a huge full moon in the background. The Moon calls attention to the shadow in all of us and leads us to becoming consciously aware of any fears and anxieties that may be projected onto your external surroundings. The Joie de Vivre tarot tells me that it will turn these fears around and into more positive and constructive energy, illuminating a path through the unknown.
How can I best learn from and work with you? Knight of Cups- "Intrigue, the passionate and poetic Knight of Cups is the messenger of ideas and opportunities." This Knight is in touch with his intuition and emotions, and The Joie de Vivre will teach me to blend my imagination and logic to make dreams come true. this deck will bring inspiration and encourage me to undertake the journey of imagination and creativity to which the unconscious will guide my path. What a beautiful statement this Knight makes, I'm filled with an expectant anticipation of this journey with The Joie de Vivre Tarot and can hardly wait to get started!
This is truly an amazing and energetic deck full of excitement and wonder, it would make a fantastic deck for beginners and seasoned readers alike. I love Paulina's imagery and the whimsical yet charming characters that flow through this deck and I had a terrific time reading with it. I heartily encourage you to check out the Joie de Vivre Tarot and see where your imagination and intuition take you!

Publisher: US Games
Artist: Paulina Cassidy
ISBN: 978-1-57281-662-6

Images used with permission from US Games Systems

Oct 21, 2011

Deck Review- Tokens Of Light

Although the Tokens of Light are not a deck of cards per se, these little gems by Orna Ben-Shoshan still have the unique ability to shed light on our day to day affairs and give us valuable insights into life using  66 "paths" that enable us to navigate life's sometimes turbulent waters.

According to the Kabbalah, the 22  letters of the Hebrew alphabet are considered as channels through which the Divine Abundance flows through the universe. Each  circular Token has it's very own unique spiritual and energetic attributes and represent the process of creation from beginning to end, and therefore correspond to events and flow of our every day lives. 

When these Tokens were being created, three different aspects were chosen to compose a system of 66 definitions, giving the reader insightful guidance to help understand the forces that affect different situations in their lives. Each Token has whimsical but yet beautiful imagery on one side and on the other, a number and Hebrew letter with what that letter stands for in Hebrew and translated into English as well so that it serves as both keyword and an "understanding." 

There is a fantastic 86 page interpretation booklet that comes with the Tokens of Light as well as a gorgeous silver leaf designed bag in which to hold your Tokens and it can be used as a means of shuffling them  too. Now, you may be thinking just how accurate are the Tokens of Light and after working with them for a few weeks now, I have found that they are surprisingly relevant to the questions or situations I have inquired of them. 

As an added bonus, this system also includes two amulet coins that are not to be included in readings, but are to carry with you. One represents a blessing for protection and fulfillment and the other that brings balance and success to all areas of an individual's life, what a fantastic, uplifting affirmation is that?

In the interpretation booklet, several "spreads" or ways to use these Tokens are presented but I've found that simply pulling them out of the bag and laying down three or four tokens is quite enlightening and informative. The artwork is stunning and The Tokens of Light were a real joy to work with. I highly recommend  them to anyone wanting a more unique form of insight or divination... Anyone would truly benefit from this amazing set of cards. 

Publisher:Kabbalah Insights
Artist: Orna Ben-Shoshan

Oct 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street- My Three Card Draw

For the past four weeks it's been pretty difficult not to notice what has been happening in our country, it's been in the television news,  on the internet and in newspapers about the Occupy Wall Street protests. It now has spread to as many as 84 countries around the world... people are tired and I don't blame them.  I sat watching reports on MSNBC this morning and I wondered,  what does Tarot have to say to us about the situation that we find ourselves in? So I layed down three cards... SituationObstacle and Outcome.

For the Situation,  I drew the King of Coins reversed, now the King of Coins normally indicates abundance and success but when he appears reversed he often signifies  a disproportionate interest in material things and a tendency to indulge in excess. Materialism and excess has been a defining factor of the American way of life for a very long time.  It is an attitude that paints the American picture... It has  given a perception of wealth and prosperity, however it is more often than not, a shallow example  of reality. The possession of things does not equate to financially stability and as we are all finding out that materialism, excess, big business, lack of jobs and other countless issues has led to the unrest we see today.

The Obstacle card is the Page of Wands. Now the Page of Wands reversed as an obstacle card indicates to me that the protesters and their cause must walk a very fine line, they must not appear to be  using their strength of numbers and fiery motivation to bully or intimidate the powers that be... steer clear of petty arguments and minor scuffles.  So far protests against Wall Street and big business, with the exception of a handful of folks, has been peaceful and non violent.  If they want their message to be heard loud and clear, they  should avoid indecision and the instability which accompanies it by  declaring a firm objective and  clear mission statements.  Become a united front,  speak with united voices,  they may need to repeat the message  many times but they should remain firm in what is being said.

Now, as far as a possible Outcome,  I drew the Two of Wands. This is a wonderful card to have in the outcome position,  the Two of Wands takes the spark of inspiration from the Ace  and matures it into an actual path forward,  it's about stepping out of your comfort zone and exhibiting great courage. As we have seen, thousands have joined the Occupy Wall Street movement and it seems to me that the longer these protests go on, the better chance we as a nation have,  to realize this opportunity to make our country and even the world a much better place.  We should all begin to consider our longer-term goals and aspirations and plan ahead for what we will all need to do to achieve such goals as job creation, gay rights, the various forms of oppression,  equal status of ALL people... not just a select few and we must  demonstrate our patience and focus of  intent. Let us all work towards these goals no matter who we are or where we come from.

Deck Review- Tea Leaf Fortune Cards

The art of Tea Leaf Reading is referred to as Tasseomancy. Tea has been around for some 5,000 years so it may be that people were reading tea leaves as far back as that. The reader picks up the cup and reads the patterns formed by the tea leaves. Usually the best tea leaf reading will come from readers who also have natural artistic skills but since most of us are not trained as such, there is a wonderful new deck that takes the guess work out of  tea leaf reading.

I'd like to introduce The Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn and published By US Games. Rae Hepburn has studied tea leaf reading for more than thirty years and with these fabulous cards we can reap the benefits of readings without all the hassle of learning volumes of information.

The Tea Leaf Fortune Cards are 200 lovely round cards  (12 Month of the year cards, 6 Astral House cards and 186 Tea Leaf cards) with amazingly appealing artwork that makes reading with them loads of fun, I love the round shape and I've found that shuffling them is actually quite easy. There are a couple different ways that they can be shuffled, by placing them all on a flat surface and mixing them up with your hands or, as I have found, stacking the wonderful little spheres in several small stacks and shuffling as you might do with a regular card deck, making sure to shuffle all the stacks evenly.

This deck and book set also comes with a gorgeous golden bag that you can use to store your cards in and even shake them as a method of shuffling as well. The accompanying 94 page instruction book is a wonderful resource with the history of Tasseomancy, the development of the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards, traditional reading methods, several spreads that you can use with these cards and an alphabetical listing of all 200 cards with an interpretation of each.

I had a really great time shuffling and reading with these cards and I'm simply amazed at just how accurately they read! This is a great deck for anyone who wishes to dip their toes into tea leaf reading and this form of geomancy. This is one deck that would be a wonderful addition to anyone's collection!

Sep 28, 2011

Lizzie's Moon Spread

The Moon has always held a place of particular fascination in our lives, provoking the imagination to escape its limits and, as we look outwards, moving us towards an understanding of our inner selves. Monuments and shrines have been built to her; calendars follow her motion; ancient Gods and Goddesses mimic the Moon's gentle and unending pull on the forces of life and, as Carl Jung has described, brings us back in touch with subconscious selves. 

In the universal language of the mind, the Moon represents awareness in the subconscious mind. It tells that there is something in a person's life which isn't as clear-cut as they might think. Since most of our feelings and behavior is controlled by the subconscious, it makes sense that, in order to make positive changes in our lives, we have to work on this subconscious aspect of ourselves 

Although powerful, intelligent and vast, our subconscious is the feminine aspect of our mind. It is submissive to the command of our conscious, logical mind. Our conscious mind or logical mind, is the decision maker. But too often we go around in life confused because we are influenced by the limitations reported to us by our conscious or logical mind. We become reliant on facts. The subconscious mind has a wealth of information but the problem is how to get at that information. 

I pondered and pondered both the conscious and subconscious mind for quite some time and then it came to me...How about a  Tarot spread that incorporates information on both aspects of myself, how can I get these vastly different parts of my mind to work together and what messages may be gleaned from doing so...and I came up with what I'm calling Lizzie's Moon Spread using the Moon as a significator.


card 2   card 3
                                    card 1                   card 4

1.) How are my subconscious mind and logical mind communicating right now? 

2.) What is my subconscious mind trying to tell me?

3.) What is logical mind trying to tell me? 

4.) How do I better integrate my logical mind and my subconscious mind?

First, go through your deck and pull out the Moon card and place it at the top, then shuffle the rest of your deck, cut and lay out four cards as shown above.

Imagine the Moon, shining down upon the four cards...How does the subconscious  mind influence the cards that you've drawn? Are there drastic differences in how your logical mind and subconscious mind work? How might you integrate these two parts of yourself? Why not give it a go and see what you can discover. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions!

The Moon card pictured above is from the beautiful Golden Tarot by Kat Black

Sep 21, 2011

Deck Review- The Gaian Tarot

From seeds first planted in the nineteen eighties, The Gaian Tarot has developed from a Limited Edition deck into the mass market edition, printed and released recently by Llewellyn Worldwide. Created by Joanna Powell Colbert, The Gaian Tarot combines her love of symbolic art and the natural world, and was nine years in the making.  

This deck lovingly reflects Joanna's special relationship with nature, her neighborhood and her spiritual community and is an absolutely gorgeous earth centered deck that depicts local Pacific Northwest landscapes, incorporates naturalist history and the very best part...all of these wonderful, everyday people are real! This is a fantastic, multicultural deck that pictures people and animals that are all familiar with Joanna, in her everyday life, her nature journals and photo's taken by her. 

Joanna's artistry is simply amazing, her creative process starts out with several thumbnail sketches, a photo shoot, a digital collage, line drawing and finally, a medium of waxed based colored pencils... the imagery is so real that the Gaian Tarot nearly seems as though they are actual photographs. 

I was immediately drawn to The Gaian Tarot mainly because of it's earth based theme and was doubly delighted to discover just how truly special this deck is. I do a lot of reviews but this deck definately stood out among the rest the second I held it in my hands and began to slowly look through each card. This is not just a RWS clone, although Joanna has faithfully kept the traditional Tarot structure, the images are fresh and contemporary, making it very appealing and quite relevant to our modern daily life.

The cards are so realistic, making it possible to actually envision yourself as part of the scenery and meaning of each card. The accompanying 288 page companion book is a beautifully written and the card descriptions very nurturing and uplifting. I'm a huge fan of affirmations and each card has really wonderful and reassuring affirmation that you can't help but feel great about yourself after reading them.

There are some differences in The Gaian Tarot that you will instantly notice. In the Major Arcana some of the cards have been given updated and more relevant names such as The Seeker instead of The Fool, The Gardener from The Empress and The Builder instead of the Emperor but this just makes this deck so special because when you think of the traditional Tarot titles and their keywords, isn't the Gardener a more fitting title as she represents fertility and abundance as well as creativity and nurturing, all ideas that befit a gardener or someone who works closely with Mama Gaia.

The Minor Arcana are grouped in an elemental manner, with Swords represented by Air, Wands as Fire, Cups as Water and Pentacles as Earth which in my opinion works very well when reading elemental dignities in a spread. Joanna also updated the familiar Court Cards and more accessible  titles such as Child for Pages, Explorers for Knights, Guardians instead of Queens and Elders for Kings. Each Court Card group also has a glorious mix of two male figures and two female figures which makes reading the Courts so much more appealing as they represent actual people and roles that we encounter in our daily life.

This is truly an amazing deck and it would make a fantastic deck to use if you are a beginner! I love it's coloring, modern imagery and earth based theme, I highly encourage you to go give it a look because I can honestly say that The Gaian Tarot is definately one for your collection!

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
Artist: Joanna Powell Colbert
ISBN-13: 978-0738718910

Images used with permission from Llewellyn Worldwide

Sep 20, 2011

Book Review- Tarot, Birth Cards and You

There is a fantastic new book out by Bonnie Cehovet, "Tarot, Birth Cards and You..Keys To Empowering Yourself" and I had the honor of being able to review this amazing book. The title says, Empowering but what does empowering really mean? Well, empowerment comes from within yourself. It results in self-reliance which embodies assuming responsibility, making your own decisions, desiring to be informed/understand and knowing where you are heading. 

It's the coming to a realization that something must change and in Bonnie's book, all the information that you need are right at your fingertips, using the archetypes of the 22 Major Arcana to guide you in understanding the path that you walk in this lifetime and to reach your full potential.

The way in which you figure out your Birth Cards is quite simple, using a system developed by The Tarot School, all you need to start with is the month, date and year that you were born. To illustrate this I will use my birth date in order to give you an idea of just how this is done. February 1st, 1966 which is then written like this:

8+8= 16

The number is then used to figure out which Major Arcana cards are your birth cards, in this case mine are The Tower (16) and Chariot (6+1=7). All together, there are eleven Birth Card pairs and a one Birth Card trio, that each come with their own challenges as well as gifts. 

This is where Bonnie's brilliance begins to shine, each pair is described in a way that is not only easy to understand but enlightening as well as quite useful to better understand not only ourselves but those around us and can even be used to bring clarification for clients we may work with during a tarot reading.

As I have mentioned, my Birth Card pair of the Tower and Chariot (as with all described in this book) start with astrological information, keywords, theme, how such a combination empowers an individual and is followed by questions for that given card, absolutely transformative affirmations, journeying exercises and summary. At the end of each pair is a terrific segment about working with gifts, abilities and challenges that really defines areas that our Birth Cards can help us in our daily life and long term goal planning.

The true power of Tarot archetypes and the use of Birth Cards rests in their ability to intuitively see deeply into our lives and find new meaning. They can shed new light on many of the issues that challenge us including some things that we may not even be consciously aware of. Once these issues are brought to our attention and are properly understood, we can then seek ways to address them.

Did you know that using affirmations for a twenty two day period ( the length of time it takes to become part of our lives) can begin to heal us on all levels? They do this by opening us up to new ways of thinking and new possibilities. What an absolutely beautiful thought, that life as I know it can become richer, fuller and all those negative things I have a tendency to tell myself can be overcome...I can take all that Chariot and Tower energy and use it to guide my life, to direct how I approach and handle situations!

I could absolutely go on for days about how this information can truly transform how we see ourselves and our roles in the world! There is just so much information in this book, it is an excellent addition to one's "tarot toolkit" for personal enrichment, understanding and goal setting to reach one's full potential. This really is a "must have" book in your tarot book collection!

Publisher: Schiffer Books 
Author: Bonnie Cehovet 
ISBN: 9780764339028

Sep 16, 2011

Tarot Reading

If you are changing jobs, in transition, starting or ending a relationship, or just want some guidance, a tarot reading is the perfect experience for you

The true power of tarot reading though rests in its ability to intuitively see deeply into our lives and find new meaning. It can shed new light on many of the issues that challenge us including some things that we may not even be consciously aware of. Once these issues are brought to our attention and are properly understood, we can then seek ways to address them. To this end, a tarot reading can also recommend positive steps we can take in our lives to resolve most types of problems.

If you are interested in a tarot reading with me, just hop on over to my Tarot Readings page found in the right hand sidebar and book your reading today!

Sep 2, 2011

Deck Review- The Golden Tarot

When I asked to review The Golden Tarot by Kat Black, I had no idea of what was in store for me, I love reviewing decks and sharing what I think with others and generally I always give positive reviews of a deck because I feel that each deck is a true treasure for someone to cherish and develop a strong bond with. The Golden Tarot absolutely blew my mind with it's hard shelled, keepsake box and breathtakingly beautiful gilt edges and fabulous imagery! It instantly became one of my favorites.

The Golden Tarot was first introduced on the web and despite it's start involving piracy and then finally a campaign by online fans which ultimately led to it's publication by US Games Systems, we now have a gorgeous deck that brings a Medieval/Renaissance flavor that adds elegance and surprising depth to this deck. I love the stand up, slip off top box that holds the cards and the 198 page instruction booklet safe and sound between use, it's not only quite attractive but sturdy and durable. The edging on the box is done in a brown and gold-ish design that adds just the right touch to make it stand out.

This deck was created to showcase the highly under rated, phenomenal artwork from the 1200-1500's (in which we see artwork just before the very beginnings of the Renaissance period) which began to show reality rather than a stylized representation of the earlier art seen in the medieval period.  Much of the Golden Tarot's style is from a period called International Gothic that eventually evolved into the Renaissance style. Kat Black chose not to use artwork that was familiar (like works from Botticelli, daVinci and Michelangelo)  in order to bring recognition to the brilliant but lesser known paintings that needed to be shared and discovered by everyone who has the privilege of working with this gorgeous deck.

The 22 Major Arcana as well as the 56 Minor Arcana cards are all digitally collaged and I was quite surprised to discover this because the images are so seamless I would have never known had I not read about her teqniques and artistic style. I discussed the cards with a few friends of mine and after looking at the imagery, they were surprised as well since the cards are so perfectly presented.

The Major Arcana are absolutely magnificent, I love the earthy colors and and gilded edging on the cards that simply take my breath away, I remember remarking to folks how beautiful The Golden Tarot is with it's gilt edging and gorgeous light brown marbled borders with card titles across the bottom written in very elegant font. The deck is reminiscent of The Rider Waite and the meanings are easily recognizable with little added images that really lend a depth to readings that I haven't found in other decks, like the Temperance card in which we can see a winged nun standing in a small stream pouring water from one stylish cup to another. 

Above Temperance is a small saint bestowing a blessing upon her that I absolutely love. I'm not sure why this small saint impresses me so much but it so totally fits in with this rendering of Temperance and it is one of my favorite cards from The Golden Tarot.

The Minor Arcana are also absolutely gorgeous and are also bordered with the same light brown marbled borders and titles of each card at the bottom. The suits are Wands, Coins, Swords and Cups with Court Cards named Page, Knight, Queen and King. I just adore the way Kat chose to present the Court Cards with the youthful Pages, each standing holding the symbol of their suit, the Queens each show a beautiful bust of each Queen also holding the symbol of their suit, the gallant Knights each riding an elegantly decorated steed and the King of Wands and Swords seated at a gorgeously adorned throne and the Kings of Cups and Coins standing with symbols of their suit surrounding them.

This is absolutely among one of my favorite decks and shuffles fantastically making it a joy to work with. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my interpretations of cards pulled from The Golden tarot the last two weeks as I worked with it and got ready to write my review, I even noticed fresh ways of looking at interpretations that I may not have thought of simply because the artwork and imagery is so beautiful. I would absolutely recommend this deck for both beginners and experts alike and I truly think this would make an excellent addition to anyone's Tarot collection.

Publisher: US Games Systems
ISBN: 1-57281-434-9 
Size: 2 7/8" x 4 3/4" 
Artist: Kat Black

Images used with permission of US Games