Category Archives: Tarot & Oracle

color the tarot, learn the tarot

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Category: Tarot & Oracle

As an adult that has never outgrown coloring, I was thrilled when the adult coloring craze first took the nation by storm. I loved to color as a kid and I love it even more as a grown woman. It was hard, though, for many years to find anything other than My Little Pony or Barbie Princesses coloring books until it became a popular pastime for grown-ups a couple of years back. Now you can find a wide variety of coloring books, calendars, and canvases to color and I couldn’t be happier about it. In addition to my addiction to coloring, I love tarot and oracle cards of any kind. So just imagine my excitement when I first discovered a deck of tarot cards to color myself!

A deck of 78 cards in need of some color may sound like a daunting task to some, but to me this challenge brings with it something more than some quiet time with my colored pencils. It gives me the opportunity to learn more about the tarot itself, an intense study of the symbolism and meaning behind the cards because I’m forced to spend time with each and every one as I color it.

I have been studying tarot for more than 20 years, but there is still much for me to learn about this mysterious form of divination. Coloring the cards has helped me to better connect with them, and it has also made it easier to understand and remember the significance of the pictures, symbols, and numbers on each card. There’s a lot to remember when it comes to tarot. When you spend time with the cards in this manner, it’s easier to familiarize yourself with them. You remember because you looked at the same image for a long time, in a meditation of sorts, and it imprints itself in your memory.

It’s also fun to choose the colors for your cards. When I select a card to work on, I like to look at that same card in several different decks to see what colors others have used. Is there significance behind the colors of the cards? Perhaps. But when you color your own cards, you can change that if you’d like. You can spice up a card by using fiery colors like red, orange, and yellow. If you want to invoke more peace or serenity in a particular card, you can do so by adding some calming colors like light blue or purple. It’s really all up to you, and that’s what’s so cool about it.

So if you’re up for a challenge, I highly recommend coloring your own tarot. It’s a relaxing way to learn more about the cards…and when you’re done you’ll have your own beautiful deck to work with!

creating your own oracle deck

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Category: Tarot & Oracle

I am a self-proclaimed oracle card junkie. I can spot a new deck in a heartbeat – and when we get something I’m unfamiliar with in the store, I can’t wait to check it out. I’ve collected many decks throughout the years, and I have many “favorites.” The thing I’ve discovered, though, is that I am never completely satisfied – I always want more. You could say that this is because I’m “addicted” to cards, or maybe just that I’m bored with what I already have. The truth is, though, that I’ve never resonated so much with a deck that I felt like it was “the one.” Perhaps I didn’t connect with all of the images in a particular deck. After all, there are always a couple of cards in each deck that I don’t particularly love. Or maybe the accompanying guidebook didn’t seem all that interesting. Whatever the reason was that kept me from truly connecting with each of my decks, it always felt like a let-down. This inspired me to start creating my own oracle cards, and this is something I’ve become very passionate about.

Why take the time to create your own oracle or tarot deck? I mean, it sounds kind of arduous if you really stop to think about it. Well first of all, when you make your own cards, you know that it is a one-of-a-kind deal. There is not another one like it out there, and that alone makes it pretty special. In addition, creating your own cards allows you to tailor it specifically to meet your own needs and desires. If you don’t like something you’ve created, you have the power to eliminate it! Another reason to make your own cards is because creativity can be very therapeutic. The process itself is often healing in some way, whether you realize it at the time or not. When you decide to create a personal deck, the possibilities are endless. Nothing is too weird, and if you can dream it – there’s always a way to bring it life in a deck! Last but certainly not least, creating oracle cards can lead to business opportunities. If you create something amazing, chances are someone else might want in on it as well. It’s something that can be marketed and sold if that’s something you choose to explore at some point.

As I mentioned before, I have a long history of collecting and working with many different oracle and tarot card decks. It wasn’t until I started drawing some whimsical drawings in in the pages of my journal that I realized an oracle deck was coming to life right before my very eyes. I am by no means a Picasso. Far from it actually. Much of my artwork is asymmetrical and goofy, but mine is that way by accident – not on purpose – and hey, I’m okay with that. Art is therapeutic for me. It’s an outlet in which my emotions inspire and fuel my creative side, and I enjoy it. My first oracle deck didn’t happen overnight. While working on my first set of cards, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and became quite ill very quickly. I put my deck aside during that time, and didn’t pick it up until years later. After my mom died, I honestly kind of forgot about my cards. I was very busy caring for my small children, and I was very depressed because I was so lonely for my mom. One day I found the journal of cards I had started, and I was instantly inspired to get back to work on them. I worked on them as often as I could because I was determined to get them done and start using them. I decided to call my first oracle deck The Watchful Eye Oracle.  I was so proud and excited when I finished it. I wrote a companion booklet to go with my cards, self-published my deck, and had them professionally printed with boxes and all.

Not long after completing The Watchful Eye Oracle, I got to work on my second set of oracle cards entitled Bright In-sight. This particular deck of hand-painted cards was quite different than my first deck. Not only was the style of artwork different, but the intended use was different as well. These cards were designed to be used more as a meditation tool or a pick-me-up. I created them especially for those that struggle with depression, mood disorders, or anyone experiencing negativity or hardships (so just about everyone on the planet). Again the process was very healing for me. I enjoyed working on the cards and couldn’t wait to get them out there for other people to work with, too.

I’m currently working on two more oracle decks: Mood Mani-acts and a Day of the Dead Angels deck. My artwork is vastly differently from deck to deck, and I feel this makes each one even more unique. I don’t want to be a one-trick pony, if you know what I mean.

Anyone can create their own oracle cards. Whatever your artistic skill level is it really doesn’t matter. You can do this if you want to. Need some suggestions to get you started? Here are some ideas:

  • Sketch your ideas on index cards and fill them in with some high-quality colored pencils (you’ll want to use some decent pencils if you go this route).
  • Paint your oracle using acrylic or watercolor paints. You can do this on any paper you like. If the images are painted on larger paper or in a journal, you can always scan them in later and print them out to get the size you’d prefer.
  • Use gel pens to “Zendoodle” or “Zentangle” card designs.
  • Make collaged cards using photographs and interesting papers.
  • Laminate your cards to make them more durable.
  • Purchase a blank set of cards that already have “backs” to them (we sell these at Mimosa).

If you’re unable to find that perfect deck as I was, I strongly encourage you to try and make your own. Enjoy the process and be kind to yourself while you do it. You’ll find that many of the imperfections you initially struggle with were intended to be there all along. A handcrafted deck is very meaningful and that will make for some pretty insightful readings, if you ask me!

Some resources:
~ Kelly’s Bright In-sight deck on our website: Bright In-sight
~ Here’s the blank card deck we carry: Blank Cards
~ If you’re new to Zentangle, find out more here: Zentangle website
~ And here are some Zentangle books we carry at Mimosa: Zentangle books
(We don’t currently have the Watchful Eye deck up on the website, because it’s been out of stock for a while, but we just got more decks in the store. We’ll add it to the website sometime in the next few days.)

A Tarot Reader’s Favorite Oracle Decks

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Category: Divination, Tarot & Oracle
Written by Mimosa
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by Mari Powers

The Faerie’s Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth

The Heart of the Faery Oracle by Brian Froud and Wendy Froud

In most of my work with card reading I stick to Tarot Cards that have a set number of suits (5), the Major and Minor Arcana, traditional numerology, astrology and elemental correspondences. This allows the person for whom I am doing the reading to look up more meanings, whatever deck they choose, after the reading.

That does not mean I can’t read Oracle decks. There are several I really like, yet at the top of my list are two where the illustrator is Brian Froud. These have evolved from his Good Faeries and Bad Faeries book, and some echo some of the images  created in the Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth movies, where he was a primary creator of the graphic art. I am actually moving into my own style of reading with these, leading meditation and ritual using both decks together.

I do not use Oracle decks for regular readings unless explicitly asked to ahead of time. If the Oracle deck is very, very good, you need fewer cards to answer deeper questions. If they are not good, they (to me) seem to utter a general platitude, and to have less intense and more primarily Eurocentric  graphic images. I don’t mix Tarot cards and Oracle cards as a regular offering at Mimosa, because the layouts, depth of questions and answers might be quite different. I do use Oracle cards if requested, and like to use Oracle Cards in ritual as guides in a journey or as a one card give-aways for divination at different times of the year.

So back to Brian Froud Faerie Oracle decks; I read have used and own a few others that I like, and have looked at quite a few other Oracle Decks that I did not buy. These two, with illustrator Brian Froud, one engendered from another, are at the top of my list to others to buy and learn. I personally rarely do more than a three card reading in these decks, unless it will be a part of a six or seven card reading within the context of a ritual journey. For an individual reading, one or two cards is enough.

Other Oracle Decks I use may be for one spirit question, a totem animal for the situation, or an answer from an oracle deck that is multicultural or seasonal. I like there Froud Faery Oracle decks, for the long view, suggesting deep transformational work and for the lovely complex art. They can lead as various rituals guides, as well. I also like The Faerie’s Oracle and the Heart of the Faery Oracle cards for the art, the insight, the complexity, the honesty and the way the Fae are portrayed, first and foremost, as of a part of nature and the divine. They are guides, teachers and mirrors, and most like some glimpses of the Fae I have seen, in nature.

Of course, both Tarot and Oracle cards are pictorial books of knowledge and wisdom. Tarot is very old and Oracles decks much newer, yet stories and images of the Faery Realms are older than either. Brian, his family, friends and followers have enriched the world with images and insights that have inspired me.

Each deck comes with a lovely hardcover illustrated books, some personal notes, an interview in the second one with Brian and Wendy Froud and sample layouts and questions. The official website is www.worldoffroud.com. You can start your explorations there.

 


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Interview with Psychic Mari Powers

Mari Powers, Master Tarot and Oracle card reader, helps you find guidance from the invisible universe. She has been offering tarot classes since 1980 and has been performing readings for over 30 years. In addition, she is an ordained minister for Circle Sanctuary. Pet readings are also a specialty. Mari is also a Reiki II Initiate and a master in guided meditation. Mari is usually at Mimosa Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays from 11:30 to 7:00 pm. and Saturdays from 11:30 to 6:30.

Your path to becoming a tarot reader has been a long, winding one. What are some of its highlights? Learning from others and learning while teaching. I was honored to have a reading done Z. Budhapest. All the readers I have learned from, taught me something unique. My students and clients teach me daily. Learning to channel better by not knowing, or at least not usually. The exact nature of the question, concern, focus or situation I generally ask not to know, so I get out of my own way and try to form as few personal opinions as possible. Later I ask for feedback and confirmation.

Over the years, have you noticed an increase in interest in the tarot? Yes, and in all rising up of positive spiritual growth, combined with creativity, in general.

You’re also an accomplished astrologer. It seems that people nowadays are looking for something more detailed and personal than a simple daily horoscopes that were so popular in the 60s and 70s. Are you finding this as well? In a limited way. Astrology is slowly educating people, yet it is very detailed and complicated. Most are not inclined to learn that level of detail, or at least they have tried and mastered other self-knowledge techniques. However, most all have learned the limited information in the daily Sun Sign Report.

These days many people have trouble finding ways to relax and focus. Do you have any advice? Ground, Center and Shield, then, at the risk of being “too New Age”, you can find joyful and safe ways to really let go and relax. There are many techniques and if you search for these words online, you will find a lot of good information. If it fits, make it a regular practice.

Here’s a tarot geek question for you: Recently, a customer made a very good point about the Osho Zen Tarot, saying that its creators have made so many modifications to the standard tarot that she considers it more of an oracle deck, rather than a tarot deck. Many other decks also take creative liberties with the tarot to make it fit their theme. What is it that makes a tarot deck a tarot deck? Several things; the basics are 78 cards within a few, court cards, the four suits in our modern playing deck, numerology, a fifth suite of Trumps, (or Major Arcana). Numbered 0 to 21, and finally, the Trump suit relationship to the Tree of Life as preserved in Hebrew Cabbala. I agree that Osho Zen is more of an Oracle Deck.

What are some of your favorite tarot and oracle decks? Are there any newer ones that stand out? So many, and yet I only keep decks that I use. The Tarot I have at Mimosa are all friends of mine, yet picking three at present, I would say, “Shadowscape”, “Sirius Starseed” and the Merryday Tarot (out of print, available online). Bear in mind, it is what the client wants that day, and I change favorites some days, too. My favorite Oracle decks are: “The Faery Oracle and The Heart of the Faery Oracle” by Brian Froud, “The Goddess Oracle” and “Madame Eudora’s Fortune Cards.”

You’ve had a lot of experience helping people access their past lives. Why is this a valuable question for people to pursue? Most of the world believes in reincarnation. Past lives inform this one. We bring gifts and challenges. Becoming aware past lives, we can inform our futures in the present life; the one that counts now.

What exactly is “soul retrieval”? How do you accomplish something like that? This is a difficult question. It is a ceremony that I rarely do. I advise people to read Sandra Ingermann’s, “Soul Retrieval,” before considering doing one. I had my first one with one of her direct students. I have had other teachers and guides. I do it in a person’s home, with others in supportive roles. If a person has read the book, and is interested, they can contact me directly.

When you practice channeling, do you find certain deities come through more easily, while it’s more difficult to communicate with others? Yes. And it varies per person, as well.

Have you had any interesting or funny experiences working at parties? Oh yes. Divination by cards dropping out a deck or onto the floor. Finding the card that was on top of the chosen deck as one of four or five cards in a layout, out of a deck of 78, or three or four Trumps in a five card spread. Also, a few people host periodic parties and it is always magical to see how previous and current readings are linked.

The Diversity of Tarot

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Category: Tarot & Oracle

a collaborative article by Mari Powers, Rowan MistWalker, Kelly Mahieu & Cathy Douglas

The number of Tarot decks available has expanded hugely in the last dozen years or so. In order to help others choose from the selection, four of us from Mimosa decided to get together and share some of our favorites. Mari and Rowan are two of our psychic readers who use Tarot in their practice, while Kelly and Cathy are Mimosa employees who use Tarot personally.

Introduction

The Tarot is the great great grandparent of our modern playing cards with an extra suit of trumps. Though there are hundreds of modern decks, the oldest go back to the 1400’s. The earliest Oracle deck I (Mari) know of goes back to the early 1970’s. The biggest difference however, is the structure. Oracle decks may have any number of cards arranged in little or no order. Tarot decks always have at least 78 cards: one suit each for the four elements of earth, fire, air and water; and a set of at least 22 trump cards (sometimes called the Major Arcana) representing life passages and messages embedded in the archetypal symbols about these key events.

Fire and Air are yang suits, while Water and Earth are yin suits. Numerology is critical and some of the trump cards have astrological correspondences. They are also linked to the 22 paths on the Hebrew Cabala, or Tree of Life. All decks have between twelve and sixteen court cards that personify an element and a role. Knowing the structure and basic correlations make learning to read various decks much easier than memorizing meanings by rote. I consider them to be akin to the first pictorial relational database with each card connected to others in significant ways.

rider

Two Decks That Have a Special Place in Tarot History

thoth

Before we talk about some of our personal favorites, we should mention two traditional decks that have had a big influence on others: the Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth decks. Both these decks were developed in the first half of the 20th Century by Golden Dawn initiates, and both are still in wide use today. The Waite-Smith was drawn by illustrator Pamela Colman Smith under the instruction of visionary A.E Waite. The symbolism of the deck, first published in 1910, breaks from the heavily Christian motif of prior decks, but still holds onto some of those elements. The illustrations are deceptively simple; when using the deck, one may find the images in the background playing an important part in the reading. Because of printing technology of that era, colors were limited, though newer versions of the deck are sometimes “colorized.” Its illustrations also became a jumping-off point for many decks that followed.

The Thoth deck was a collaboration between Aleister Crowley (who was, as the saying goes, a legend in his own mind) and artist Frieda Harris. They worked on the deck between 1938 and 1943, though it wasn’t published until 1969. While it’s definitely a Tarot deck, some of the cards have non-traditional names, and there’s a consciously broad use of symbols from various sources: Kabbalah and astrology, but also philosophy and science. Crowley originally conceived the deck as a companion to his Book of Thoth, but Harris encouraged him to broaden the work. The illustrations are vintage mid-20th-century modern, with a rich symbolism unlike that of any other deck. Many people value this deck as a counterpoint to the more standard Tarot symbolism, or are attracted to it as the “bad boy” among decks.

Mari’s Picks:

shadowscapes

Shadowscapes Tarot, by Barbara Moore & Stephanie Pui-mun Law

This is a very traditional deck that I immediately fell for and recommend often. The watercolor artwork is stunning and layered with minute detail. It’s  simply one of the most beautiful decks I have ever worked with. In addition, it is a good alternative deck for beginners who are not fond of the pop art style of the Waite-Smith deck. They kept all the original names of the cards and suits. Best of all, the hardcover book that comes with the box set is really well written and insightful. I am very picky about books on Tarot and think many of the little pamphlet books that come with decks are very poorly written, and even misleading.

This deck is also not just for “beginners.” The detail in the artwork of these cards will keep a student of the mystic engaged, and seeing new visions in the detail for deeper meanings in every reading for a long time. It is a deck that I remain enchanted with every time a client chooses it for their reading.

sirian

The Sirian Starseed Tarot, by Patricia Cori & Alyssa Bartha

This is a deck I ignored for months. The cards are larger and heavier than normal and I thought the title had too much of a woo-woo ring to it. Then one day a friend of mine was looking at the cards and I fell in love with the pictures. For a “traditionalist” like me, I could find a lot to criticize. They had changed the names of the four elemental suits and many of the trump cards. The pictures had been created with a Photoshop type program, and the authors even changed all the names of all the court cards. This, in addition to being large and hard to shuffle!

Yet I love them. I have come to deeply appreciate the new naming themes. The art is beautiful, and best of all, they have retained all the traditional deep and complex meanings of the suits, the court cards and the individual trump cards. In fact, they have further illuminated the layers of meaning in every card. They kept to the numerological and archetypal structure in spite of all the changes. So I have learned that new and different does not mean a loss of structure, integrity and meaning

gendron

The Gendron Tarot, by Melanie Gendron

This deck is both traditional and more modern, a paradox accomplished by retaining nearly all of the traditional trump names and all the most common suit and court card names. The artwork is eclectic enough that you might think a different artist designed some of the cards.

It is more modern in that the author, in her own words, wanted to create a deck that was more multicultural and less patriarchal than those designed earlier in this century. So here we find Asian, Native American, African, medieval and modern lighter skinned people in the cards. Some cards even have some non-human looking beings in them. Trump 0, The Fool is a native American standing not on a cliff, but on the nose of a large dog head. Sounds strange, yet is a beautiful card. The next trump, number 1, is normally called the Magician and is almost always a man. In this deck, it is called The Magus and is a beautiful woman surrounded by all her tools. The book that comes with this deck is also a good one. So if you want a fine deck with the best of traditional and modern elements, this is one that needs to be on the top of your list.

Rowan’s Picks:

illuminati

Tarot Illuminati, by Erik C. Dunne and Kim Huggens

 The Tarot Illuminati is not named after the secret society, historical or modern, nor a Dan Brown novel. Rather, “Illuminati” is the illumination of wisdom, realization and truth created dynamically by the imagery and symbolism used throughout this beautiful deck. The imagery is sharp, full of brilliant colors and images that plainly depict what each card represents. The cards are made of excellent stock and are gilded along the edges.

Along with its 78 cards, the set comes with a full color 153 page book that details each card and its meaning, as well as offers suggestions for different spreads. One of the unique things about this deck is that each of the four suits is represented by different cultures. The suit of Pentacles is represented by Oriental-inspired culture while the suit of Wands is based upon a Persian-inspired culture. Swords, on the other hand, have been interpreted into image based upon the Elizabethan era (circa late 1500’s), and finally the suit of Cups is drawn from a fantasy-based theme. All imagery follows a traditional Rider-Waite-Smith feel, but speak so plainly on their own, it leads me to believe it would be an excellent starter deck for the beginner as well as a deck of interest to those who have been reading for a goodly while.

mystic cats

Mystical Cats Tarot, by Lunaea Weatherstone and Mickie Mueller

The Mystical Cats Tarot is a brilliant deck that calls to any cat lover — and even to unabashed dog lovers such as myself who have a cat (or three) in their life! The imagery on these cards speaks to anyone who has ever loved or been entertained by a cat within their lifetime. This deck is unique in that it does not attempt to personify the cats, but rather bases the card images around the day-to-day movement and life of cats. What’s so incredible about this deck is that, while journeying through the cat’s world, you come to know our own human process and experience even more deeply.

The deck comes with a companion book that includes ideas for spreads, and is rounded out with an appendix containing sketches of several of the cards as they were in process of creation. Due to the “catification” of the structure of this marvelous deck, the Major Arcana has some modified card names to better match the cats shown. However, the cards remain faithful to the attributes of the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, and so on.  Similarly, suit names have been adapted so that you are working with each of four “cat clans” outlined in the introduction that take you on your journey through the Minor Arcana. The “Fire Clan” of cats works with the suit of Wands. Similarly, Cups works with the “Sea Clan” of cats, Pentacles works with the “Earth Clan,” and Swords works with the “Sky Clan.” While the cards loosely follow the Waite-Smith interpretations, and while the cards artwork makes the deck “ready to use” immediately, each of these cat clans is described within the companion book that accompanies the deck. I would recommend this deck for any animal lover, and for intermediate to advanced Tarot readers.

celtic fairy

Tarot of the Celtic Fairies, by Mark McElroy & Eldar Minibaev

The Tarot of the Celtic Fairies is a beautiful deck that speaks easily to those who are aligned with Fairies as well as anyone who is attuned with the energies of the British Isles. The cards are made of great stock and the colors used on the cards are strikingly in tune with whatever the image is portraying. This deck comes with a full-color book that outlines and highlights the important symbols found on each card. It also includes a section on spreads as well as ideas to help you form a deep connection with the deck itself. The suits of the Minor Arcana are based upon four sacred objects that are held in particularly high regard by the fairy folk. They are Spears (for the suit of Wands), Cauldrons (for Cups), Swords (for the suit by the same name) and Stones (for the suit of Pentacles.) This was developed by the creator of the deck based off of the Faeries love for the Spear of Lugh, a fiery sun god, the Cauldron of the Dagda which never goes dry, the Sword of the Faery king Nuada which was considered infallible, and the Stone of Destiny which would sing when touched by a man who was truly a king. This particular deck holds a great abundance of meaning in its symbology and very loosely follow the ideals set out in the Rider-Waite-Smith system of Tarot. As such, I recommend it for Tarot readers who are interested in Faeries, Celtic mythology, or those who have spent some time with the Tarot.

Kelly’s Picks:

 

anna k

The Anna.K Tarot, by Anna.K

This deck is not necessarily one that might jump out at you from the shelf, because its packaging is quite simple. But don’t be fooled by its simple facade. Inside you will find a wonderful treasure indeed!

Anna.K began creating this deck when she was only 14 years old because like many people, she had a hard time finding that “perfect deck.” You know, the kind of deck with artwork that looks like it was created just for you and symbolism that even a beginner can sort of understand? After many years her deck was finally published and her hard work paid off. It’s a gem. While using traditional symbolism in her cards, Anna.K incorporated more emotion into her cards by focusing on the faces of the people that were pictured. She wanted readers to be able to better interpret the meanings behind each card simply by focusing on the emotions that were depicted there. This deck comes in a set with a book, and the book is laid out in a simple easy-to-read format. It gives a brief history of the Tarot, a little bit about Anna.K’s Tarot journey, instructions on how to use and care for your cards, and interpretations of the cards themselves. I love it.

It was important to Anna.K that anyone be able to use her cards whether they were new to the cards or a seasoned reader, so this is definitely a deck worth checking out no matter where you are on your Tarot path.

handson roberts

Hanson-Roberts Tarot, by Mary Hanson-Roberts

Named after its illustrator, this Tarot deck is a very traditional one. I love this deck and was first introduced to it by a psychic who was reading the cards for me. While the images and symbolism are traditional, the style of the cards has a childlike or fairytale-ish feel to it. This doesn’t, however, take away from the complexity or serious nature of the cards. One thing that really appeals to me about the Hanson-Roberts cards is that like the Anna.K deck, they are filled with emotion. In my opinion, many traditional decks lack emotion and therefore don’t appeal to me. I was drawn to this deck immediately because it had feeling AND it was traditional, a rare combination. Compared to other decks, this one is a bit smaller – similar to the size of playing cards. It’s much easier to use if you have small hands like I do.

If you’re interested in a traditional deck with a hint of youthful whimsy and filled to the brim with feeling, this might be the right one for you.

inner child

Inner Child Cards (A Fairytale Tarot), by Isha Lerner, Mark Lerner & Christopher Guilfoil

Perhaps one of my favorite decks of all, the Inner Child Cards is a colorful deck full of enchantment, wonder, and all things magical.

The Major Arcana are represented by some of our most treasured fairytale friends! Little Red Cap (Little Red Riding Hood) plays the Fool, while Rapunzel oh-so-fittingly represents the Tower. How clever is that? Those aren’t the only non-traditional twists you’ll find in this fairytale deck, though. First of all, the suits of the Minor Arcana differ from the ones that we’re used to. Instead of Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles you’ll find Wands, Swords, Hearts, and Crystals. And replacing the common Page, Knight, Queen, and King are none other than the Child, Seeker, Guide, and Guardian.

What’s especially unique about this deck is that it’s suitable for children! Many Tarot decks depict nudity, a substantial amount of dark imagery, and other things that may not be suitable for younger Tarot fans. The Inner Child Cards can be enjoyed by all ages and were especially created with children in mind. The accompanying book is in-depth and informative. It features some really fun spreads such as the “wishing well spread,” the “rainbow spread,” the “spiral staircase spread,” and more. This deck is perhaps more suitable for someone who understands the basic structure of Tarot as the cards don’t always display traditional symbolism and imagery.

Cathy’s Picks:

robin wood

Robin Wood Tarot, by Robin Wood

This was the first deck I owned, so maybe that’s why I find myself so attached to it. Still, if I could have only one deck, this would be the one. Many of the scenes and symbols are similar to those in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, but the poses are more natural and the people look more real. The cards look like they all came from the same timeless world, where ordinary people live yet fantastic things happen. The Minor Arcana are as carefully composed as the Major Arcana. I like this deck for more complex spreads, because the cards go together so well that they always seem to form themselves into a story for me. Some cards feature pagan symbols, like the horn-wearing Magician, but I don’t find this to be an exclusively pagan deck. It’s one anyone can use, and makes an excellent beginner deck. Robin Wood is an American artist and illustrator who developed this deck over the course of ten years. It’s been out for more than twenty years now, and has become something of a classic. The deck comes with a small booklet giving the basic meaning of the cards, but a full book about this deck is available separately.

wildwood

Wildwood Tarot, by Mark Ryan, John Matthews & Will Worthington

This deck is new to me, and so far I’ve only used it for quick card-of-the-day readings as I get to know the cards better. The Wildwood is a remake of the Greenwood Tarot, much improved in my opinion by Will Worthington’s beautiful artwork. If you’re looking for a standard beginner deck, this really isn’t it; it actually forms a whole new mythology with some interesting but non-standard Tarot symbolism, especially the use of animals for the court cards. The suits have been altered to Bows, Arrows, Stones and Vessels, each further corresponding to one of the four seasons. The Major Arcana all have new names, related to the traditional ones but different — for example, Death has become the Journey, and the Emperor has become the Green Man. The overall organization of the deck is based on the Wheel of the Year. One thing that could be either helpful or limiting is that every non-court Minor Arcana card has a one-word meaning at the bottom, for example, “Six of Stones: Exploitation.” This makes it quicker to read the cards if your background with Tarot is limited, but could also be a little overbearing if you prefer to use your intuition to guide your reading. This deck should appeal most to people with strong pagan leanings who have some prior experience reading Tarot.

pagan tarot

Pagan Tarot, by Gina M. Pace

The Pagan Tarot isn’t for everybody. While some decks use timeless, fantastical or mythological images, this illustrations on this deck mix scenes from daily life with pagan ritual and experience. This deck has a “main character,” a woman whose experiences we follow from card to card. On the Moon card, for example, she sits in a white robe before a full moon with an athame and crystal; in the Hierophant, she’s in modern clothes, looking disturbed as she walks past a group of people burning books. Many cards have side symbols as well — pentacles stashed in odd places, or strange animals wandering through the scene. And while the identity of the cards follows a tradition similar to Rider-Waite-Smith, the content of the illustrations is different. To me, this makes it a good “second deck,” especially for looking at questions about everyday life and spiritual practices. In addition, the presence of the main character in most of the cards gives a story-like cohesion to readings. Some people, I’ve noticed, find the illustrations either more modern or more pagan-oriented than they want. It’s an individual thing. One problem: The backs of the card are a monocolor version of the World card, making reversals visible before you turn the card over.


So there you have it — twelve fascinating Tarot decks! But there are many others out there, with more being published all the time. For in-depth reviews of Tarot decks new and old, we highly recommend this website: Aeclectic.net

Four Tarot Cards Discussed

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Written by Mimosa
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by Mari Powers

I had questions about two Tarot Cards that were very interesting and led me to think about a couple other cards, as well.  I was asked about the Major Arcana, (Life Passage cards), #13 Death and #16 The Tower. These cards made me think of the 9 and 10 of Swords.  This is the text of the question that got me to thinking.

the tower

The Tower, from the Paulina Tarot

QUESTION:  I’ve been drawing cards daily (From the Paulina deck) and I drew The Tower yesterday. It set my day in motion putting me in a tail spin. It was a tough day. A friend also did a layout and in the position of Relationships and drew the Tower card. She is interpreting that as having to do with our relationship and maybe it’s time to let go.  Any thoughts? Another question I have is when cards come up such as the Death card or The Tower card how can I interpret these cards without feeling a sense of doom?

ANSWER:  Let’s take one card at a time.  The first is, #16, the Tower.  It has various names in different decks, and yet the similarities are greater than the differences.  I like to let people know that it was poet  W. B. Yeats’ favorite card.  It is a difficult transition card, yet it is lightening quick.  The repercussions are tremendous, yet we can move through the changes it brings very quickly and learn a lot in these types of life passages.

The most progressive of the decks I use adds the words “Self Awakening” to this card.  Yeats and I both think of this card as sudden illumination and destruction ordained by the “Gods.”  I often describe it as the “no shame, no blame card.”  This is where a force beyond human control strikes at the walls we have built up around ourselves and brings them tumbling down.  These walls are of our own construct, and what once may have kept us safe now has become a prison.  An outside powerful force strikes and our only choice is to take a leap of faith seeking our safety and freedom. It is like abandoning a sinking ship before it goes down.  We ought to seek freedom from the crumbling stones of our own making.  Most important of all, it is followed by the 17th Life Passage Card, the Star.  This is the card of hope and faith, of embracing magical thinking, of wishing upon a star and believing it will come true.  (It is that, and so much more.)

 

When you get the Tower in a reading, you should first look at placement in the layout.  If it is your card for the day, it is only for that day, perhaps just for that moment or part of a day.  Ask yourself, what barriers are coming or need to come down?  From what do I set myself free?  And above all, no shame, no blame.  Ask what has been a survival mechanism, a safe haven that is not useful any longer, and the “Gods” have seen fit to strike and tear it down for us.  We are suddenly ready to let go and move on.  It is how we meet this challenge that is important.  The faster we move, the quicker the process is over.

death

Death, from the Paulina Tarot

Now, I would like to share my thoughts on the life passage card #13, the Death card.  I have seen this portrayed as Transition, Metamorphous, the Phoenix, the Journey, Banshee Crone, Rebirth and Les Mortes (Death and Transformation).  The Death card is all of these.  I have never gotten the Death card in a reading that related to an actual physical death, unless it was about a relative or friend who had passed.  The endings and new beginnings card has most often been about a relationship, a job, a move, a change of mind or point of view. It could also be about a shamanic journey or to alert a person of messages from the Mighty Dead.  It may be a longer process than with the Tower, yet is an end and a new beginning always. It is informative to think of the card’s placement after and before in the Fool’s Journey, our lives.  The Death card is thus cradled between “The Hanged One” and “Temperance” which represent a greatly expanded perception and the spiritual alchemist.  The “Hanged One” is the perceptual flip card, and is a major visionary change.  Temperance is the patience to transform Self, represented by Lead, into Gold.

The “Death” card, between the two, is the closing of one door to open another.  In the simplest of terms, it is cleaning out your closet before you can buy new clothes!  In a more complex tone, it is the transformation of the tadpole into the frog, the caterpillar into the butterfly, and the shedding of a snake’s skin in order to grow.

nine of swords

Nine of Swords, Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

In addressing these questions, I also thought of the 9 and 10 of Swords as difficult or challenging cards.  Swords are generally the most challenging of all four Tarot suits.  Of course, the meaning of these cards in a reading depends on the layout and placement.  If they are in the past, that is a good thing. Swords are usually representative of the element of Air.  Air relates to the mind, thinking, perception and communication.  Whatever tool you choose to associate with Air is in the place of the East, of new beginnings.  I always say, if you have not changed your mind lately you may not have one.  It is the mind that most often confuses us and can lead us astray.  There are also some wonderful exceptions to this norm. I think of the 9 of Swords as the “get out now card,” or stop thinking like that, or your will face a very difficult closure.

Ten of Swords, Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Ten of Swords, Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The 10 of Swords, is that difficult closure.  I often call this the “game over card.”  A person has followed the wrong train of thought and has lost the battle.  10’s are always a closure.  And though they all signal a new beginning, some closures are more difficult than others.  This is a tough one, and yet there is a relief. The “going around the wheel” hamster brain is finally done.  We must accept the fact that thinking the same way over and over and finding no answers or peace is one definition of insanity.  Now we are free.  It is time to feel the relief associated with new freedom, to let go and change our minds.

I owe much appreciation to the person who posed these initial questions to me.  It got me thinking, and writing!  I look forward to sharing other insights with you.

© Mari Powers, November 2012

How are tarot and oracle cards the same, and how are they different?

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Category: Tarot & Oracle
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by Cathy Douglas (with special thanks to Mari Powers for technical input)

Many times customers ask us, “What’s the difference between tarot cards and oracle cards?” We can start out by listing some similarities: Both types of deck can be used for divination and personal growth, both may feature stunning artwork, and both usually come with some sort of explanatory booklet. You can read them for yourself or others, using anything from a simple one-card reading to a complex spread. And both often come with a theme, which may be something as ancient as the four elements or as recent as Steampunk.

But there are differences as well, starting with the way the cards are organized. The tarot is a very old system; the earliest decks we know of are in museums, and date to the 1400s. Tarot decks have four regular suits similar to a regular deck of playing cards, plus twenty-two special cards called the Major Arcana. When people think of the Tarot, images from the Major Arcana are what usually come to mind–the Fool stepping off the cliff, or the Hanged Man dangling by his ankle from a tree. But it’s the other cards, called the Minor Arcana or pips, that make up the majority of the deck. When choosing a deck, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to the pips. Sometimes in newer decks, original artwork is focused on the Major Arcana, while the pips are far less interesting, and may even look somewhat alike.

The four suits of pips–pentacles, chalices, wands and swords–correspond to the four traditional elements–earth, water, fire and air. When reading the cards, these suits have meaning. The number on the card also has meaning, which is related to numerology; for example, the number four has a connotation of stability. The court cards–king, queen, etc.–always correspond to human traits. A reader can memorize this information, but there are further levels to reading the cards as well. Each deck has a wealth of symbolic information in its images, and experienced readers can draw even more out through intuition, history, etc.

In comparison, oracle decks are much more free-form, and a much more recent innovation. The oldest example we’ve been able to find are the 1988 Jamie Sams Medicine Cards, still loved and used by many people. Each oracle deck is a system unto itself, although since quite a few of the decks are designed by the same authors, there are natural consistencies between them. The prolific Doreen Virtue has created more than enough oracle decks to fill a shelf all by herself, while others such as Toni Carmine Salerno, Sonia Choquette, and Steven Farmer (to name just a few) regularly produce new and interesting decks.

Oracle decks can be anything, but there’s always a theme that draws the deck together and makes it useful. Sometimes this theme has to do with the purpose of the deck. For example, Soul Mate Cards and the Life Purpose Oracle are valuable for people who want to find insight into a specific kind of question. The theme of other decks has to do with whatever inspired its message–for example angels, fairies or animals. Other decks may simply provide a daily thought, perhaps to get you grounded in the morning or encourage you when you’re down.

There are many titles in both tarot and oracle cards, which have stood the test of time and continue to provide guidance for many people. For example, the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot has been around for more than a century; people continue to use it happily, and many later decks are based on Pamela Colman Smith’s memorable illustrations. No oracle deck is anywhere near that old, but decks like Kathy Taylor’s Original Angel Cards have remained popular years after their publication.

New tarot and oracle decks come out regularly, so that it can be hard to pick out the most exciting new ones from everything our suppliers have to offer. If you want to know more about a specific deck, we’ll be happy to open show you the cards in the store. Aeclectic Tarot is a great resource for card reviews and descriptions.

“How to Read Cards–Any Kind of Cards” by Mari Powers

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Reading Tarot or Oracle Cards is an art and a science. Both work with archetypal pictures, words and structures. Different layouts, and even decks work better with different kind of questions, concerns or situations. For both tarot and oracle cards, intention is critical, and placement in a layout is as important as any individual card. simple

The invisible universe speaks to us, and readers need to be able to channel those messages in an unbiased way, as free from ego-based “advice giving” as possible. Readers need to let the cards and the layout “speak” through them. In order to do so, we still need a good foundation on understanding the archetypes we are using.

A reader’s intention is to get the most information from a reading as possible in order to answer a question, help solve a problem, show possible solutions and probable outcomes based on the client’s situation.

A client’s intention is to really want honest answers, a “heads up” on their concerns. There needs to be a belief that they have access to information not acquired by rational or logical means. And finally, they need to be willing to use the answers they receive in the most positive way they can. The client has to want healing and positive change, and be willing to do what needs to be done in the face of adversity. He or she needs to accept the gifts and good news given to them in a reading in order to make the most of that information. Many times, a reading will confirm what is already known, and just give a bit more information on how best to address a situation or concern.

All readings are transitory. The client changes the present and future simply by getting a reading. What is less understood is that people can change the past as well, simply by changing perspective.

It is important to set a “shelf life” on a reading; the more a client takes a reading to heart and acts on information given, the more the past, present and future can change, sometimes at an accelerated rate. Some readings point the way to a change in perception, others prescribe specific actions in the material world. Some point out gifts to be nurtured, emotional healing needed, or a passion to be cultivated or renewed. The cards in their layouts point out how to make suggested changes as well. Sometimes it is as simple as turning a reversed card around to see the remedy or course of action. Other times the whole layout is a map for body, mind, heart and soul.

Generally, it’s better to use a smaller number of cards in Oracle deck readings. Tarot card readings seem work as well with a small or larger number of cards. An exception to this might be a spiritual path reading or a chakra layout reading. The more complex the cards, the more layers of meaning they contain. So the deck you choose for a reading is always a consideration. When I read in a public setting, I limit myself to 7 or 8 layouts and six to ten decks of about equal complexity.

For friends, students, myself or group readings, I can use more complex cards, and larger numbers of them. These kind of readings lend themselves well to a ceremonial ritual reading, where the “shelf life” of the reading can be longer than 60 to 90 days.

Responsible reading includes having the client write down the cards, placements and the key parts of the reading. It also includes time for questions and immediate follow-up clarification and feedback. People may say they will remember, yet is unlikely they will remember as completely as when they take notes and/or take a photo of the spread.

All readings need time and the energy of the client to be of maximum benefit. When you, or someone else, keeps asking the same question(s) over and over in a short period of time when nothing significant has changed, the universe may refuse to give comprehensible answers after the first couple of times. Also, the universe does have a sense of humor, and may start answering the questions you have not asked. I have even seen this happen the first time if in a reading someone asks a question that is not the primary concern they really want or need to address.

Learning the meanings of each card in a deck is important. With most tarot decks there is a built in system for doing this, as the numerology, structure of the four suits and the traditional meanings of the trump, or Major Arcana cards are similar between decks.

Oracle decks can be quite simple, including words and universally accepted symbols that are fairly obvious. They can also be extremely complex, with many layers of meanings, depending on the artist. One of the most complex Oracle decks I have used is Brian Froud’s Faery Oracle. When you then take into consideration several cards in relationship to one another, the meaning can be even more difficult to divine unless you are really open. Or, sometimes the Fae are immediately helpful, and the answer you seek literally jumps right out in front of you, simple and unmistakable.

In all spreads, the relationship of the cards to one another is important. As a reader, you also need to look at the big picture. How many fire cards, and where? Are there any element cards missing? Does the present contain more water and the future more earth? How many trump cards are there in relationship to the total number of cards and where are they? Are there multiple cards with the same number from different suits in a reading? Is there an abundance of court cards? If so, who do you think they represent–the client, or someone else in their life? Are there multiple people on a majority of cards, or do all of the cards have just one person on them?

These questions help us see the forest instead of just the individual trees. We get an overall map with embedded direction and strength of energy in a reading by noting the patterns. Even Oracle cards form patterns. If you have a Goddess Oracle, did you pull all water Goddesses, or all Maidens or Crones? If you have an Animal Card Oracle, do you have all predator or prey animals? Or perhaps the animals are all nocturnal or transformational animals. Though many oracle cards, if numbered, seem to be numbered randomly, still a run of numbers in a reading may be useful information. So take a deep breath, and at the beginning and end of a reading, look for the patterns.

Above all, learn to trust the feelings you have–the visual cues that jump out at you or pop into your head not related to any images on the cards. I have learned to listen to the voices in my head, and often repeat them word for word for a client to write down, even when I don’t know what I am talking about at the time. Never underestimate the powers in the invisible universe to get you the messages you need to help yourself or others in doing divination work.

Click Here to Visit Mari Powers’ Website.

Some background about the Tarot

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Category: Tarot & Oracle
Written by Mimosa
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by Mari Powers

The word Tarot came from an Italian card game called “Tarocco”. The word Tarot is a French adaptation of the Italian word, which is why the final “t” is silent. Tarot first became popular among aristocrats in Italy and France during the fourteenth century, however, many believe the origin of some or all of the early decks to be older, originating in Egypt or India, from clay tablets. Many people believe there is a correspondence with the 22 Major Arcana cards and the Judaic Tree of Life, referred to as the Cabbala.

Arcana means “secret”, and traditional Tarot decks are divided into 22 Major Arcana cards, 40 Minor Arcana cards, and 16 “Pip”, or Court Cards in 4 suits. The Major Arcana, have also been called Trump, Triumph, and Greater Arcana cards. In today’s common divinatory language, they are often called “Destiny” or “Spirit” cards, indicating a greater strength or meaning in a divination spread.

Our modern 52 card playing deck is descended from the Minor Arcana and their four suits, plus three of the original court cards.

They break down in this way, numbered 1 through 10:

Tarot Suit Cartomancy Suit Element Realm
 Swords or Epees  Spades  Air  Mind
 Batons, Scepters, or Wands  Clubs  Fire  Energy
 Cups or Coupes  Hearts  Water  Emotion
 Coins, Deniers, or Pentacles  Diamonds  Earth  Physical

King, Queen, Cavalier and Page became King, Queen, Knight and Page, and then the Knight and Page merged, and became the Jacks, making the 52 regular cards used in play today. These court cards are also divided by their elemental suits. The Joker is the only remnant of the Major Arcana, and was once the 0 numbered Fool card. The Major Arcana has only survived in Tarot decks, and originally and traditionally contains 22 cards, numbered 0-21.

There are many books today which outline history, possible history and legends associated with the Tarot Deck, however, at the root, the origins are shrouded in mystery. At this point we only know what we know from the 14th century on, and can only guess at true origins.

With the rise of the Golden Dawn and other ceremonial and “occult” groups, interest in the Tarot became more pronounced. The Arthur Waite deck painted by Pamela Smith was widely published. That was many people’s first deck. Aleister Crowley had Frieda Harris paint full sized portraits of the beautiful and controversial deck they created, adding astrological symbols, and they were printed when printing presses could handle all the colors in this custom deck. The Aquarian deck followed the Waite deck fairly closely and was widely printed as well. W. B. Yeats and other members of the Gold Dawn created their own decks, though many were never published and are only recoded in books. Waite, Crowley and Yeats were all members of the Golden Dawn. The Waite deck (1910) shows mystical Christian influence, Yeats deck was more “Pagan”, and combined Eastern and Western mysticism, and Crowley’s deck was boldly “Pagan”, drawing influences from Egyptian, East Indian and astrological symbols. Another member of the Golden Dawn named John Q. Dequier, created a Major Arcana only deck that used an Egyptian motif.

Today we have thousands of decks printed, including some of the oldest ones, like the Marseille deck from the end of the 15th century, and a deck created by Antoine Court de Gebelin who used also Egyptian symbols on his cards. He was a French archeologist from the late 1700’s who believed the cards originated from there. For further historical reading, see your local library.
My belief about the Tarot, is that the major arcana depicts a person’s spiritual journey through life, and many lessons repeat themselves throughout our life. The minor arcana cards depict sign posts and tell a pictorial story of life incidents ruled by the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. The court cards generally represent people, or archetypes (personas) in a reading.

For me, Tarot reading is not a game, but a combination of art and science, with a healthy dose of the channeling information from the invisible universe triggered by imagery, numerology, astrology, traditional, and sometimes not so traditional meanings of the cards. I got the Waite deck when I was 15, and it is long gone, though I now read between 9 and 12 decks on a regular basis. I don’t keep cards I don’t use, so from time to time I will pass on a deck to someone else.

Each deck has its own flavor for each card, and some do not conform strictly with the 72 card system. Names of cards have changed, art forms have evolved, artists have channeled additional and unique meanings for the cars in some decks. It seems that the suits, some of the most basic symbols, and numerology are the only elements that my cards share. However, additional cards and new names for traditional cards just adds spice to my readings, and allows for more messages and choices for those for whom I read. When a deck uses astrological symbols or runes, it is a bonus for those of us who know astrology or runes.

Much of how I read is based on a lifetime of study, however, I only got really good at reading when I learned to “channel”. In my case, this means listening to my inner voices and dropping my ego in order to “hear”, “sense”, and “see” what the cards mean in specific placements. Sometimes a particular symbol will jump out in importance. Also, looking at the “big picture” is critical, i.e., the number of Trump cards, or an abundance of a certain element or a repeated number in a spread.

I have also learned to never have a person tell me the question they have until after the reading, so I am not biased in what I see or say. I allow the person I am reading for select the layout best suited to their question or concern, and the deck that most calls to them. Therefore, my Tarot reading is an art, a science, and a mystery revealed for both of us. I have reflected this philosophy in the name of my Tarot reading business, which is “Messages from the Invisible Universe”.

Click Here to Visit Mari Powers’ Website.

Mari offers classes, too, including a series about the tarot. Find out more here.