Feb 28, 2011

Deck Review- Tarot in the Land of Mystereum

Tarot in the Land of Mystereum by Jordan Hoggard is the latest fantastic tarot deck to come from Schiffer Books. Billed as an "Imagination Primer," this deck asks you to embark upon a journey of creativity and imagination where you are the guide. Adapted and expanded from the Mysterium Tarot which bases it's imagery on the roots of architecture, Jordan  has created a wonderful deck in which your imagination and intuition are the keys.

The images in Tarot in the Land of Mystereum are colorful and unique, and the bold bright colors encourage your imagination to work with your memories, dreams and ideas. There are 78 cards in this deck, as most tarot decks, but the creator asks to to see the design on the back as a 79th card which has the appearance of a window that we are invited to use as a window to our imagination.  You are also encouraged to practice using your imagination regularly and often in order to strengthen your intuition when using this deck.

The cards are a little larger than the average tarot deck at 3 1/2"x5" and have an attractive glossy lamination. They handle and shuffle beautifully and made from sturdy card stock.

Each card has it's own personality and the 192 page accompanying book guides you through the cards in which we imagine ourselves at the Fool on a journey as he experiences each card along the way. The book is absolutely fantastic, describing his Major Arcana experiences and giving "Imagination Tools" that help us to fully understand how he is affected along his journey. 

The Imagination Tools give several examples of new ways to look at and interpret the cards such as from the Fool " Feel and remember natural new directions you create as you move and evolve your ideas with imagination and creativity" and from the Hermit "I present you with an inner lantern for clarity."

In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to the Fool who describes himself as naturally expressing himself along the way and how these experiences all give him enthusiasm as he discovers cool new ideas and things. His "fave" thing to do is to be aware of his feelings as he experiences what is offered. I love the language and modern style that the book is written in and the sometimes funny expressions that are used that make it very entertaining and educational all at the same time.

After the journey through the Major Arcana, we find our Fool exercising his "Grounding Imagination" with the suit of Pentacles, followed by the "Fulfilling Imagination" of the Cups, the "Energizing Imagination" of the Wands and finally the "Communicative Imagination" of the Swords. In each Minor Arcana card, we are greeted with an explanation of that particular card followed by "Imagination Tools" just as we saw with the Major Arcana. The Court cards are slightly different with an explanation of the card followed by an introduction to the Courts that describes each card if it were a real person with "I am..."  and "I feel... statements and are concluded with "Imagination Tools" as with all the other cards.

I was very impressed with this deck and the sturdy box that the cards and book come with, it's an upbeat and wonderful deck to work with and I enjoyed it immensely. It makes using the Tarot fun and exciting and really engages your imagination and intuition. I found myself discovering tons of new ideas and concepts and got really good readings with this deck as well.  I highly recommend getting this deck whether you are a beginner, intermediate or seasoned reader.

Publisher: Schiffer Books
Author: Jordan Hoggard
ISBN: 9780764336010

images used with permission from Schiffer Books

Feb 27, 2011

Serenity Sunday

I just love things that have a fantastic scent so I thought I would write down one of the recipes I use to make my own fragrances . I like to make my own perfumes using essential oils as opposed to store bought fragrances simply because they seem to last so much longer and are not nearly as expensive.

Floriental nights

2 tbsp. jojoba oil
3 drops bergamot oil
2 drops neroli oil
8 drops jasmine oil
12 drops geranium oil
8 drops ylang-ylang oil
4 drops patchouli oil

Pour the jojoba oil into a dark glass bottle with a glass rod applicator.
Add the essential oils drop by drop, and shake thoroughly. You can vary the proportions of the essential oils in accordance to personal preference, but note the geranium oil is what gives this blend its floral flavor. Be careful-too much patchouli oil will easily overwhelm the scent; too much bergamot oil will often irritate skin that's sensitive.

Caution: Bergamot essential oil should not be used by pregnant women or epileptics.

My List:

1.) My children

2.) My cat

3.) Good friends

4.) Potting soil

5.) Roses starting to bud

6.) Kind words

7.) Laughter

8.) Toast with cinnamon and sugar

9.) Perusing the local nursery

10.) Spring is coming

Feb 25, 2011

Book Review- The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide

Ghost hunting is quite a popular past time in recent years, with shows such as Sci-Fi's Ghost Hunters, A&E Television's Paranormal State and a myriad of other such themed shows that showcase the unseen and it's pursuit. What is it about these shows that has captured our attention? Each week we tune in faithfully to see the latest ghost hunting adventure, poised on the edge of our seats to see this evidence for ourselves but what of those hunting these unseen spirits? How does one exactly go about hunting the paranormal and what exactly happens when one encounters these shadowy figures? What do we do when we feel that our home is haunted or there is a spirit among us?

In Michelle Belanger's book The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide, she addresses those that embark upon this pursuit and how working with the paranormal comes with it's own set of concerns and questions of exactly what can be done when encountering a spirit or energy. The paranormal and it's pursuit is relatively new and therefore still developing and each group has it's own investigative methods and procedures from the time they go into an investigation to the final wrap up  but what about safety precautions when working with the unseen, can they really harm us or is it all the stuff of Hollywood?

In her book, Michelle discusses several methods of self protection from grounding and centering, shielding and views on psychic self defense that can better arm us for forays into the spirit world. Grounding and centering is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves when we work with spirit energies and gives us a firm foundation when encountering these situations and helps us remain calm and centered during our quest.  

One technique that Michell discusses is to begin by taking three deep, cleansing breaths, imagining in your mind that as you inhale you are taking in pure white energy and expelling unwanted or stressful energy as you exhale. See, in your minds eye, roots extending from your feet deep into the earth and feel it's energy flowing into you, next feel your energy extending far up into the sky as you connect with the heavens and feel it flowing down into you.

Feeling that a part of you is connected deep within the earth and far into the heavens, imagine this energy is collecting within you, just below your ribcage...allow this energy to build and expand until it surrounds you in a loving, healing bubble all the way around, above and below...this part is called shielding and is an important part when conducting any paranormal investigation or simple trying to make contact with spiritual energy.

It is important to note that these teqniques can also be adapted to suit our beliefs and tailored to our own personal use. I have found this an exciting, helpful and downright useful book since I use my tarot cards to connect with the other side and being informed and spiritually armed is always useful information when contacting spiritual energy in this manner. You don't have to be a ghost hunter to benefit from it's wealth of information and practical examples to pick this book up and read it, it applies to anyone that comes in contact with or plans to come in contact with the spirit world, whether it be a Ouija board, seance or the Tarot, like myself.

In later chapters Michelle discusses different types of spirit energy from human spirits to that of non human energy and what do do when attempting to contact, cleanse of otherwise work with this energy. Included among Michelle's narration are segments titled "Beyond Belief" and "Skeptic's Corner" that discuss different religious beliefs as well as how a skeptic might view the information presented. This book goes through many ways to cleanse and protect your personal space as well as that of your home and property. 

This is an excellent book and covers all types of situations and spiritual beliefs whether you are Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Pagan or even don"t consider yourself as very religious at all. The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide is an essential book for anyone considering working with the paranormal or just dealing with spirits in general, there is so much information that I've only just touched upon a small part of it. I highly recommend this book.

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Author: Michelle Belanger
Language: English
ISBN-10: 073871870X

Feb 22, 2011

Book Review- The Unicorn Whisperer

I recently had the privilege of reading a wonderful little book called The Unicorn Whisperer by Jerri Lincoln, author of  Therapeutic Riding and Bathroom Yoga  both nonfiction, this is her first fictional book based on the Seven Spiritual Principles of Success by Deepak Chopra. Jerri has been a writer and storyteller since she was a child and The Unicorn Whisperer is a wonderful story that weaves Deepak's Seven Spiritual Principles into a great tale of a princess and her magical unicorn.

The beginning of the story introduces us to the main character, Ipona, a princess who finds herself betrothed by her father, the King, to a man she neither knows nor loves, which is a very important aspect in Ipona's eyes. The King wants his daughter to marry and argues with her but at the same time  both admires and respects her rebellious nature and remembers how much in love and happy he was with Ipona's mother.

Ipona, greatly distressed at her father's wishes, turns to her Aunt for help and is advised that she must go on a "healer's journey" in which she must accomplish three tasks...to give a gift, to receive a gift and heal someone or something. Ipona gladly agrees on this journey since she would do anything to avoid marrying a man that she does not love.

Along the way she meets several people and situations that emphasize the message by Deepak Chopra and gives thoroughly enjoyable and understandable situations in which these principals are demonstrated. In this hustle and bustle world it is so easy to overlook common situations in life where we may learn or apply such teqniques and this charming little book teaches us through the art of storytelling how we might be more aware of times we can be grateful, give and receive good gifts and how they affect our lives and psyche.

This is a well written and thoughtful book that speaks to us on a conscious level about how we live our day to day lives and how we can enrich ourselves as well as the lives of those around us. I read this book to my children and they absolutely loved the story and it's characters and walked away feeling a little better about themselves and the world around them. This is a wonderful teaching tool for children and young adults.

Publisher: Ralston Store Publishing 
Author: Jerri Lincoln
ISBN-10: 0982258593

Feb 21, 2011

Book Review- Tarot Spreads and Layouts

There's a terrific new book out called Tarot Spreads and Layouts by Jeanne Fiorini that is an excellent manual for beginners and intermediate tarot readers. She covers a wide range of subjects from the importance of framing a question, no-no's, how to use your intuition, significators to reversals as well as multiple layouts that can be used, using the skills learned in the beginning of the book.
The concept for this book first started at the 2009 readers studio hosted by Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone and is a wonderful introduction into the dynamics of tarot spreads. She explains in her introduction that it is important to remember that there is no big mystery, magical arcane formula to a spread or layout but it is the fact that it is a statement of intention that establishes the context in which the cards are read.

The ground rules section of Tarot Spreads and layouts is an important part of this book as it speaks of the need to formulate a clear, concise question and is an essential part of any spread or layout. A correctly framed question serves to bring the cards and their positions into focus and helps us to understand the context in which they relate in a tarot spread. Another important topic is our beliefs behind the question and how this may affect our interpretations.

Ingrained perceptions and beliefs may influence and affect not only your query but how your interpretations are influenced by these perceptions. There are no right or wrong interpretations but working with your beliefs such as destiny or free will, does God exist, to what extent does spirit intervene in your life and why are we on this earth can all affect how we see our world and experiences in it.

Another great section is the No-No's, now I know I have been guilty of these little errors when I first started reading but Joanne really brings these issues to light. One of the big no-no's in tarot is the urge to peek in other people's windows. She discusses the fact that asking questions about things like people or issues that don't directly involve us is a matter of etiquette and not to be done. She says that a good rule of thumb is never to ask questions that you wouldn't bring up at the neighborhood barbecue.

In template introduction, Jeanne illustrates templates for particular lines of questions, starting with the one card draw, the three card draw and from there branches out into helper hindrance spreads and general overview layouts as well as questions of timing and spreads using a significator. With each layout and spread she gives helpful hints as well as ways in which to expand the spread or layout by asking key questions and providing insightful thoughts to ponder.

This is an excellent book for beginners and covers so much material that one needs to know in order to begin reading the tarot whether for yourself or for others and I've only just touched upon a few of the important information contained within this book.  There is so much useful information, that I found myself wishing it had been around when I first started reading. Covering many topics and concerns, Tarot Spreads and Layouts is a valuable asset in any library.

Publisher: Schiffer Books
Author Jeanne Fiorini
ISBN: 9780764336294

Feb 20, 2011

Serenity Sunday

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart
To handle yourself, use your head;
To handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger.
If someone betrays once, it is his fault;
If he betrays you twice, it is your fault
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

He who loses money, loses much;
He who loses a friend, loses much more;
He who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,
But beautiful old people are works of art.
Learn from the mistakes of others
You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.

Friends, you and me.......You brought another friend....
and we started our group....our circle of friends.....
and like a circle.....there is no beginning or end......
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery.

My List:

1.) My kids

2.) Good friends

3.) Uplifting music

4.) Sunshine peeking from behind the clouds

5.) Kind words

6.) Fresh starts

7.) Snow on the hills, not in my yard

8.) Blackberry pie

9.) Scented candles

10.) Funny movies

Feb 18, 2011

A Good Tarot Deck

Any good Tarot practitioner will tell you that finding the right deck is one of the most important things you can accomplish. It is very important that you find an authentic, strong deck before you begin working with Tarot...but just what is it that makes a good Tarot deck? Is it the card  stock, the images, the size of the deck...or is it something entirely different? 

Every Tarot reader has their own preference of what makes a good deck. While there are literally hundreds of Tarot decks on the market, from the Rider Waite deck and it's clones, Celtic mythology themed decks, decks geared towards feminist spirituality, to the striking Thoth tarot deck,  the components that make a good tarot deck can seem somewhat confusing at best. Let's look at a few of the things that go into a good deck.

Imagery is the most important aspect of any good deck. When looking for a good deck the images and colors should "speak" to you. It should stimulate the intuitive senses and evoke a strong connection to the cards and their message. What do the images and colors say to you, how do they make you feel? Good imagery will draw you in and spark your creative imagination, making it easier to work with and bring their story to life.

Another aspect of a good deck is the card stock from which it is printed. The deck should be of sturdy card stock and shuffle well but not to be too thick that it cannot be shuffled easily. Likewise if the card stock is to thin, the cards may bend and become damaged making them a poor deck to efficiently read with. Lamination also plays a part in making a good tarot deck as does the size of the deck.

Many decks can have glossy lamination that can make the cards too slick and results in dozens of escapees while shuffling and lamination that is to sticky can ruin one's ability to shuffle them at all. Good decks will fit comfortably in your hands and not be too large as to be cumbersome or too small that detail in the imagery is lost. The most beautiful images in the world will mean little if the deck is too large to handle comfortably or so small that it takes a magnifying glass to see the images clearly. 

There are many things that go into what makes a good tarot deck, as we have seen, and there is not just one easy answer. A good deck is comprised of stirring imagery, good card stock, just the right lamination and a comfortable fit in your hands, it can make all the difference when reading and is a powerful tool for the reader whether reading for one's self or for others or even as a meditation tool. 

Feb 16, 2011

What Makes Up A Good Tarot Deck?

Any good Tarot practitioner will tell you that finding the right deck is one of the most important things you can accomplish. It is very important that you find an authentic, strong deck before you begin working with Tarot...but just what is it that makes a good Tarot deck? Is it the card  stock, the images, the size of the deck...or is it something entirely different? This is a question I'd like to pose to you, my readers...tell me just what makes a good tarot deck, email me with your answers,  I'm going to be writing an article of this very subject and I'd love to hear from you!

Feb 15, 2011

Tarot Tuesday

In the Three of Cups we can see three maidens, one dark haired wearing a blue dress, one fair haired wearing a mauve dress (in some decks her dress is red) and one red haired wearing a green dress, each holding a golden cup and appearing very jovial and festive. In the foreground there are baskets filled with ripe fruits of all kinds and gives the impression of mid to late summer.

This card is all about harmony, fullfillment and possibly a festive get together. Good times, good friends and scarcely a care in the world and on occasion, good luck. You may be feeling filled with gratitude for life's gifts and want to celebrate with those you care about around you. This is a time when enjoying yourself is as important as working hard.

While the three maidens salute the three graces, they are different colors..white representing the source of all things and unity, since white light contains all colors, blue is the color of the element water, and the subconscious mind, green is the color of the element earth, and represents life, nature, abundance, and all growth.

The Three of Cups is a very positive card and indicates happy times to come but on occasion, it can indicate that maybe you are working so hard that it is a great time to cut yourself some slack and enjoy the goodness and fun times life has to offer.

* This card is from The Robin Wood Tarot*

Feb 14, 2011

Deck Review- The Otherworld Tarot

The Otherworld Tarot is the collaborative work of Alison Williams, a trained teacher and avid tarot reader and Sarah Nowell, who's artwork has been inspired by Brian and Wendy Froud, such films as The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal and the fairy art of Arthur Rackam. This deck began when Alison  found herself  wondering what it took to make her own tarot deck... remembering Sarah's artwork, some of which she had purchased for her business, she realized that it would make a wonderful tarot deck as a result we now have a unique and lively, fantasy style deck.

The deck is a bit larger than average deck at  5 1/4"x 3 3/4" and was little challenging to shuffle at first but with a little ingenuity and shuffling them from their sides made it just as easy as shuffling the cards lengthwise. The card stock is a nice thickness to work with and the glossy lamination brings out Sarah's original drawings and rich colors. The images are bold and creative and I found myself totally connecting with this deck.

The cards have large borders and are a change from the borderless cards I'm used to using but given the artwork, it seems to enhance them nicely. The Major Arcana are bordered grey and have a Roman numeral at the top, and a keyword at the bottom which can make this an easy deck for beginners. The Minor Arcana also have a wide border with Swords colored slate blue, Wands an olive green, Cups a bluish sage and Pentacles colored a rich reddish brown. The suit and number are at the top of the card and like the Major Arcana, there is a keyword at the bottom of the card.

The backs are a wonderful shade of burgundy with a swirl resembling a lemniscate and two opposing unicorns which make the cards able to be read upright or reversed. This deck comes with a beautifully written 96 page LWB (little white book) that explains the keywords and the meanings of each card and includes two spreads, the three card  Past, Present and Future spread and the popular Celtic Cross spread. In the LWB, there information on the history of Tarot, how to use the cards, how to effectively set a tarot reading scene and how to deal with those difficulties one may encounter during a reading.

The first thing that drew my attention to the Otherworld Tarot was it's color and artwork, absolutely love the little waif like figures and it's strong earth tone coloring which sets it apart from typical decks and I think this would be an excellent deck for a beginner or expert alike.

Publisher: Schiffer Books
Written by: Alison Williams 
Artist: Sarah Newell
ISBN: 9780764333941

Images used with permission of Schiffer Books

Feb 13, 2011

Serenity Sunday

Every time you see a tree
or dream a cloud,
there is that in you of the tree
there is that in you of the cloud.
The saguaro dreams in drought
and endures. The cloud dreams
our woe --sneezes, cries.
The rain falls

Elaine Maria Upton

My List:

1.) My kids

2.) Good friends

3.) Uplifting music

4.) Sunshine peeking from behind the clouds

5.) Kind words

6.) Fresh starts

7.) Snow on the hills, not in my yard

8.) Blackberry pie

9.) Scented candles

10.) Funny movies

Feb 10, 2011

Hopping Into Spring

Things are hopping here in my little world as Spring approaches, so in order to save myself a little stress, I'm going to cut my blog postings down to three or four a week. I will still be writing, just not as much...I hope that everyone understands and Bright Blessings to you dear readers!

Feb 9, 2011

Love Oil

Recipe for Love Oil

Use : To anoint your candle in love or romance spells.

Simply rub the oil around the candles to increase their potency
and include in love rituals.


~A base oil.... sunflower, almond, olive etc.
~7 drops Rose oil
~3 Drops Jasmine oil
~3 Drops Patchouli oil
~7 Drops Dragon's Blood resin oil
~3 Red rose petals or rose buds (can be shades of pink)

Wait for the New Moon, then prepare oil to add heightened power
Use a small darkened bottle and add about 1/4 base oil
Add flowers and oils, let them infuse

Feb 8, 2011

Book Review- Afterlives of the Rich and Famous

Who hasn't been curious about what happens and where we go after we die? What is it like, who will be waiting for us on the other side and what really happens many ask themselves. Sylvia Browne attempts to answer these questions in her latest book "Afterlives of the Rich and Famous" in which she speaks about famous movie stars like Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe and even Princess Diana.
The book starts out with an introduction, a chapter titled "Death... and then What?" followed by a glossary of terms that will be used in the following pages that uniquely describes the afterlife and various concepts such as "The Left Door," "The Hall of Wisdom," "Ghosts" and "Astral Travel." It is an interesting and wonder filled explanation of just what lies on the other side and how she understands it with the help of her spirit guide Francine.

After the introduction and the glossary we are treated to her list of celebrities starting with Paul Newman and ending with Lady Diana Spencer, more fondly known as Princess Diana. Each celebrity's story starts out with a fantastic biography of their lives and gives highlights and outstanding moments from each of their lives and then after, proceeds to explain in detail what each star is doing now that they have passed on.

As explained by Sylvia, Paul Newman's father was waiting for him on the other side even before he reached "home" and was greeted by his son, Scott, whom had passed away years before from an accidental overdose. The scanning machine was both difficult and healing for him and he is deeply grateful for all of his blessings. You can find him now, pursuing humanitarian affairs and animals in need charities that he was so fond of in this world. He is a popular lecturer and focuses on giving rather than receiving.

Although my personal beliefs differ about what happens after we die and just what we do in the afterlife, there are several wonderful biography's that pay tribute to the rich and famous and it is an original written account of just what Sylvia's spirit guide narrates to her.

Feb 7, 2011

Deck Review- Nature's Wisdom Oracle

The Nature's Wisdom Oracle was created by Mindy Lighthipe, an avid nature enthusiast and artist who lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog and eight cats. She has received  a Silver Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society in London for her artwork depicting insects and nature and you can find her charming deck at Schiffer Books.

This amazing deck is comprised of 48 beautifully painted images that showcases different facets found in nature and are a little bigger than average sized at 2.78x 4.79 with a glossy lamination that brings nature's beauty to life. There is a fantastic 96 page LWB (little white book) that accompany's this deck and each card is listed in the front of the book in the table of contents and a sturdy hard shelled box to keep your cards in.

Nature's Wisdom Oracle is meant to help the individual find their way by learning more about nature and will help you get to your "roots" by following the path of the natural world. Each image is stunningly drawn and explained in detail in the LWB. This deck can be used as a daily meditation with one card or in a spread of two or three cards such as a past present and future reading.

The companion booklet advises a daily meditation and journaling your experiences in order to expand your ability to connect with nature. The cards themselves show an exquisitely drawn plant or animal with it's title at the top and keyword at the bottom. The cards are bordered with colors and images reflecting the main picture and the backs have a leaf and border motif.

These are absolutely beautiful cards and a wonderful way to incorporate meditation into your day. I love the images and the sheer beauty contained within. This is a great deck for anyone's collection!

Schiffer Books
Artist: Mindy Lighthipe
IBSN: 9780764335730: 

Images used with permission from Schiffer Books