Today I am doing a Here and Now reading — my carto-GPS — with my just-arrived Thelema Tarot by Renata Lechner. This is a dreamy looking and reasonably attractive deck, with a handful of standout cards at first glance. My main complaint is that it’s cut poorly, and the top left corner is almost sharp. In person, it looks like all of the cards are pointing to the top left.

ThelemaTarotTitlecard

This spread that I call “Here and Now” can be thought of as a GPS for taking a quick look at where I’m going and what I need to avoid. While I’ve showed daily readings with it so far, today I wanted to demonstrate it applied to a specific topic. Wanting something short, meaningful and that I could talk about freely, I chose this blog as the topic. What direction should* I take for this blog?

 

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Thelema Tarot reading; click for full size image

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Here is a reading using (yet) another deck I like but rarely use: the Tarot d’Eltynne. The Tarot d’Eltynne is an updated version of the cruder looking, but presumably competent, Oracle Belline. I learned about d’Eltynne a few years ago, from Chanah who ran The Freaky Fortuneteller.

There was not, and still isn’t, much information on the Belline in English but the deck seems popular among French speakers. There has been more interest in this deck with the popularity surge of the Petit Lenormand, since the Belline has indirect links between its creator and Mlle Lenormand. The cards can be read like Lenormand, but also hold a depth of individual meanings in their own right, and are associated with planets for added nuance.

This spread that I call “Here and Now” can be thought of as a carto-GPS for taking a quick look at where I’m going and what I need to avoid. This was a daily reading for last Wednesday. I wanted general advice, and had a challenging meeting at work that day. I was concerned because the host is challenging to work with. (Those of you not in the corporate world may not understand the dread that meetings can inspire, but trust me, they can be stressful!) I also drew a card from the Angel Prayers Oracle Deck for specific advice.

 

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Tarot d’Eltynne reading; click for full size image

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Here is a reading using a deck I like but never use: The Energy Oracle Cards by Sandra Taylor. (Who, incidentally, lives in a neighboring city to me.) If you aren’t familiar with the deck, it is based on tarot-inspired images that the author has stated are part of her clairvoyant vocabulary during her reading and coaching sessions.

This spread that I call “Here and Now” can be thought of as a GPS for taking a quick look at where I’m going and what I need to avoid. I’m using it as a daily reading here.

 

DailyGPS-Apr-12-2016Energy Oracle Cards reading; click for full size image

More of (top left):

This is what I need to do or bring more of, and the card here is Action. Apparently I need to take more action. This contrasts with…

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Another day, another deck; but perhaps not just any deck. This post is my test run of LXXXI (that’s 81 in Roman numerals), The Magician’s Deck. This 81-card oracle deck is geared towards the working magician (in what people might think of as a shamanic, service-oriented practice), particularly those doing the Quareia course. As such it fits nicely in the box with decks that are esoteric in nature, where “esoteric” is not synonymous with Golden Dawn or Qabalah. I was trying to think what decks to relate it to, and I could jokingly say that it’s the lovechild of the Dreampower Tarot and the Playing Card Oracles Alchemy Edition, with the Thoth as an estranged godparent.

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There is some truth to my jest, in that one of the artists is Stuart Littlejohn, who created the Dreampower Tarot back in the 90s. Credit must also go to the other artist, Cassandra Beanland, and the prime mover behind the deck, Josephine McCarthy — who is a tarot expert, even if you won’t see her at tarot forums or conferences.

The Deck

While designed to be a magician’s divination tool, I believe this deck is workable by anyone who feels drawn to it. The results will depend on how well the reader can translate concepts that may seem grand and abstract into everyday life. I think this is true of many decks, even the standard tarot. If you’ve ever interpreted the Magician as a business professional, the Chariot as a car or the Devil as sexual relations or organizational skills, then most likely you could make the jump to this deck.

The deck itself, as mentioned, has 81 cards. The sides look like they have a bit of saddle-stitching on them, with little bumps. Ms. McCarthy told me this is a side-effect of the printer creatively accommodating the printing of 81 cards, and in practice I find it unnoticeable. The cardstock is a bit slippery, at least in the deck’s brand new condition, but is pleasing to my hands and the deck has a nice heft. The artwork is, in my opinion, much more attractive in person than online. I had doubts about whether I’d find all of the art appealing in hand when I committed to the crowdfunding, but I found all of the illustrations quite attractive when I got the deck. Even the cards that had looked a little creepy to me online.

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I wanted to try out my recently acquired Magical Dimensions Oracle Cards.

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This deck is created and published by an artist who goes by the name of Lightstar online, and can be purchased from her website. The deck comes out of the New Age and ascension paradigms, and perhaps reflects some of the creator’s immersion in the Sedona community. I bought it because I like visionary art and “painting with light” style, which was very appealing when I saw it online. (Also: see this guy’s art.)

The Deck

This is a lovely deck to my eyes. I’m surprised it doesn’t get more attention on the larger online communities that generally gravitate to shiny and detailed styles of oracle cards. There’s a vibrancy and luminescence to the artwork, with colors that pop and feel very harmonious. It’s primarily a fantasy style.

Besides the style of the art, I like the fact that although it has a female’s touch, it is not an exclusively feminine deck. So many oracle decks are designed by, and for, women. That can mean lots of cuddly and delicate creatures, pastel colors, young girls or girl-like beings, gossamer, wispy pink clouds and nary a male in sight. I feel that this deck is more even in nature. Although it features a lot of females it feels balanced between the masculine and feminine aspects with its overall image compositions, which I think is approachable to the guys as well as the gals.

It also includes chakra cards, called portals in this deck for reasons the author explains in the included mini-book. I can only think of one deck I own that includes chakra-based cards, and it’s one I never seem to use. But I like the idea of chakra cards. I know I could map them to almost any deck, particularly the tarot, but it’s nice when they are available on their own.

The Reading

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The Chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, the publishing company who brings to the U.S. many tarot and oracle decks including those from Lo Scarabeo, has died.

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From the Llewellyn blog:

It is with profound sadness we share the news of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke’s passing. He passed peacefully on Saturday, November 7 surrounded by family. He was 85.

Carl Llewellyn Weschcke was Chairman and the driving force behind Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., the oldest and largest publishers of New Age, Metaphysical, Self-Help, and Spirituality books in the world.

The full article can be read here.

While not everybody likes Llewellyn for being a business that caters to the “101’s,” the fact is that they are a business who has done well under Weschcke’s guidance.

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I’ve been pondering the subject of oracle decks produced by Doreen Virtue for some time now, but haven’t felt motivated to write what amounts to a defense for their existence and usage. Among the self-proclaimed tarot cognoscenti, Doreen’s decks are anathema to their hard-won, occult (meaning hidden) knowledge. My opinion is that those endless criticisms of her work tend to be less from firsthand experience, and more from the group-think that pervades the online tarot community.

Image by Steve A. Roberts that became Empress; click to visit artist's gallery page

Priestess of the Woods, used as The Empress. (c) Steve A. Roberts. Click image for artist’s gallery store page.

Having been a tarot snob myself in the past, I know exactly where most of those criticisms are coming from. I also think most of them are from people who haven’t touched a Virtue oracle deck, let alone given one a chance. I would like to share some opinions on working with a couple of these decks. Can they be hard-hitting, or are they the fluffy marshmallows that the tarot community claims?

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Earlier this week, I made my regular pilgrimage to the used bookstore, where I always hope to find some new and perhaps obscure deck of cards. Yeah, I can’t help it, I’m wired that way. I found a new deck; not necessarily obscure, but certainly outside of my “zone:” The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards: Spiritual Teachings of the Sioux, by Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer with artist Helene Sarkis.

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I’m not normally drawn to Native American themed decks or spiritual trappings. Aside from the every-present risk of made-up New Age teachings and an awareness of inappropriate cultural appropriation, that is just not something that’s ever called to me. However, when I saw this box on the shelf, the cover caught me and after looking through the cards in the store, I found them appealing enough to purchase. I liked the bold art style, the predominance of earthy tones, and that the deck depicted a lot of animals and nature without relying on people.

I have no idea if the source of these cards is legit, in terms of presenting authentic teachings. They seem earnest and respectful; and I haven’t seen anything negative online yet. Only one review at amazon.com was negative, seemingly on general principle, which was encouraging. In any case, my interest was the possibility of reading these as an oracle deck on my own terms, with any education they may provide as a bonus.

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This past weekend, our winery group had our first outing of the season. The weather was refreshingly cool. In fact, a little too cool, as we quickly migrated from a picnic table outdoors to an inside table. Others must have felt the same because before long, the inside was packed.

My readings have become a popular part of the winery events. So, what decks (or other reading tools) to take, and what format to use?

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Isn’t it funny how our tastes can change over time? We start our card reading explorations drawn to certain types of decks. We may start with a Waite-Smith tarot, and find comfort in decks following that same pattern, or which are also illustrated such as the Robin Wood or Hanson-Roberts. After some time we may wake up and decide we prefer more realistic artwork. 

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Waite-Smith 8 of Pentacles

 Or we find the Marseilles pattern to be “dullsville,” and some years later enjoy sinking our teeth into this classic pip pattern and it’s suddenly “coolsville.” Our interest in occult tarot decks like the Golden Dawn and Thoth may wax; our interest in making associations to kabbalah, astrology or i-ching may wane.

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Thoth Tarot

The tarot audience was psychologically focused in the mainstream for some years, I think, coming out of the classic books in the 1970s. Now tastes have changed and predictive models and styles of reading cards are becoming acceptable again.

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