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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week at a Glance Lenormand Style

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week.

For the week of October 27, 2013 I am doing something a little different, using the Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) The spread (available in the Little White Book that comes with the deck) is called The Fortune-Telling Day Spread by Tali Goodwin. Of course, in this case, it becomes The Fortune-Telling Week Spread.

The first step (after shuffling) is to lay out the top nine cards in a row facedown from left to right. Next, we lay out the next nine cards one at a time on top of each of the laid out cards, making nine piles of two cards. Starting from the left, I will read each pair together as a divination for the following aspects:

1. Someone I will meet, what comes out of that meeting.
2. Someone I care about, what they will do.
3. Someone who annoys me, what they will do.
4. Something that will happen to console me.
5. Something that awaits me.
6. Something that will help me.
7. Something that will happen, which is a surprise to me.
8. Something that I desire, whether it will happen or not.
9. Something nice.

Let's see what I get!

1. Someone I will meet, what comes out of that meeting.
Book (26) + Rider (1)
My first impression: news about a book or learning something new about news I have already received
Sylvie Steinbach*: "revelations, additional facts, new unexpected situations"
My interpretation: I am tempted to take the Book card literally, as I expect my first self-published book to be printed this week -- or at least to come very close. However, this could refer to any of my previously published books and someone I might meet related to one of them. I hope the "unexpected situation" is pleasant rather than unpleasant.

2. Someone I care about, what they will do.
Choice (22) + Flower (9)
My first impression: choosing which direction to take (which door to open), wishes for well being and happiness
Sylvie Steinbach: "multiple hobbies and interests, large network"
My interpretation: Someone I care about -- perhaps someone I know through my hobbies and interests -- is trying to make a decision or choice. I can offer my support and encouragement.

3. Someone who annoys me, what they will do.
Scythe (10) + Letter (27)
My first impression: cutting to the essence of a communication with precision, slicing a document open to reveal the core
Sylvie Steinbach: "request, notice of action, divorce papers"
My interpretation: Someone who annoys me may make a request or give me notice of something that cuts to the core to reveal the truth.

4. Something that will happen to console me.
Key (33) + Moon (32)
My first impression: finding an answer (the key) to something that has eluded or confused me
Sylvie Steinbach: "prophecies, predictions, psychic messages, apparitions"
My interpretation: Consolation may come through dreams, reflection, or intuition that leads me to an important discovery.

5. Something that awaits me.
Clover (2) + Dog (18)
My first impression: happiness and beauty related to a close friend or pet
Sylvie Steinbach: "good friendships, helpful people, positive influences"
My interpretation: Opportunities to experience happiness and pleasure with close friends or pets await me.

6. Something that will help me.
Bear (15) + Anchor (35)
My first impression: powerful protection, security, stability
Sylvie Steinbach: "financial stability, long-term financial goals, planning"
My interpretation: Being in a financially stable, secure position will help me.

7. Something that will happen, which is a surprise to me.
Man (28) + Tree (5)
My first impression: my partner or other important male figure in my life, putting down roots, growing, healing
Sylvie Steinbach: "religious or spiritual, health conscious individual"
My interpretation: Something surprising may happen related to a male friend or relative who is digging deep into his inner Self as well as reaching upward in search of spiritual freedom.

8. Something that I desire, whether it will happen or not.
Clouds (6) + Lilies (30)
My first impression: an unhappy, "stormy" time followed by healing and renewal
Sylvie Steinbach: "senior dependants, mental confusion, meditation"
My interpretation: An encouraging message concerning a desire to emerge from uncertainty or confusion (or to help someone else do so). Healing and renewal are possible.

9. Something nice.
Fox (14) + Child (13)
My first impression: trickery and innocence, a manipulative child
Sylvie Steinbach: "childcare provider, school employee, nanny"
My interpretation: Since this is supposed to refer to "something nice," perhaps my suspicions about someone being "tricky" or "deceptive will turn out to be wrong, and I'm being encouraged to believe the best and stop looking at things with a jaundiced eye. I also have plans to go to a restaurant called "The Fox" with my sister this week, where we will sing karaoke and presumably have a nice time.

* from The Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle by Sylvie Steinbach

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Journey Through My Decks: 2 of Pentacles

For this entry in my Journey through My Decks series I chose to use the _Psychic Tarot Oracle_ by John Holland (Hay House, Inc.)

Two Physical
Movement, Choices, Decisions

The Psychic Tarot Oracle is not -- strictly speaking -- a "Tarot Deck." It consists of 22 Major Arcana cards (numbered 0 to 21) like a traditional Tarot deck. However, the Minor Arcana consists of 36 cards divided into four categories: physical, emotions, mental, and spirit. These are numbered 1-9. Finally, there are no Court cards. Instead, deck creator John Holland provides 7 Chakra cards.

John Holland writes that The Psychic Tarot Oracle deck "was created with a broad understanding of the teachings of the traditional tarot." From what I've seen so far, this is clear.

The suit of Physical in this deck represents "business, finances, money, prosperity, earthly possessions, material gain or loss, and security." As such, it corresponds nicely with the suit of Pentacles (Coins, Disks) in many decks.

The Two Physical card -- Movement, Choices, Decisions -- is at least compatible with the Two of Pentacles in Book T* -- "Harmonious Change." As Holland puts it, "Significant changes and choices must be made. . . The changes that are emerging aren't some random acts or coincidences -- they're all part of a positive and larger scheme."

The Psychic Tarot card depicts doorways which could be seen to represent the four elements: Earth (coins), Water (a heart and wedding rings), Fire (growth), and Air (sky). The figure standing before the doorways is faced with a choice. At the same time, it seems clear that a balance among these elements is needed. We may choose to emphasize one area of life more than another at any given time, but we cannot afford to completely neglect any area.

* Book T   The Tarot, Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered Theoricus Adeptus Minor Instruction. A Description of the Cards of the Tarot with their Attributions; Including a Method of Divination by Their Use. A public domain manuscript.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

REVIEW: Gilded Reverie Lenormand


Gilded Reverie Lenormand
by Ciro Marchetti
  U.S. Games Systems
ISBN-10: 1572817542 / ISBN-13: 978-1572817548
36 cards; 48-page guide booklet
 _About My Reviews_

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Taking into account my increased interest in the Lenormand system and my love for Ciro Marchetti's art (I own his Gilded Tarot and Legacy of the Divine Tarot - Llewellyn Publications), I was pretty sure I would find a lot to like about Marchetti's Gilded Reverie Lenormand. I was right.

Whenever I attempt to describe Ciro Marchetti's art, I immediately choose such adjectives as "exquisite," "dazzling," and "entrancing." I won't be changing my adjective choices for this deck. To add to my enjoyment, the quality of the box and cards is exceptional.

This is a treasure/jewel of a deck, and I am excited about reading with it. So stay tuned!


"Acclaimed artist Ciro Marchetti has transformed the traditional Lenormand cards with a rich, new aesthetic featuring gilded edges and accents. Gilded Reverie Lenormand remains true to the iconic 36-card oracle system made famous in the 19th century by Mlle Lenormand, the fortune-teller to Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte. Recently, there has been a groundswell of renewed interest in reading with Lenormand decks. Gilded Reverie’s elaborately detailed images in vivid, jewel-toned colors render the 36-card Lenormand system more appealing and accessible than ever. A 48-page booklet provides insightful interpretations and instructions. "


Ciro Marchetti is an award-winning artist who has designed five tarot and oracle decks including Tarot of Dreams and Oracle of Visions. Prints, puzzles and other items featuring his artwork are popular around the world. Originally, he self-published the Gilded Reverie Lenormand in limited quantity as a collector's edition. The set included lots of extra "goodies" and consisted of 40 cards. Each set was unique with different versions of the cards made.

The U.S. Games Systems mass market version is a 36-card standard Lenormand deck. Ciro originally decided to not include the extra cards in the USGS edition, but after hearing so many people say they want them, USGS decided to publish them as a separate mini 8-card pack. 

In the Little White Book (LWB), card meanings are provided by Rana George, with additional descriptions by Tali Goodwin. Ciro writes, "In the Reverie, we explain each card in its most generic manner, allowing some play of meaning for you as a reader, based on experience of a number of traditions and actual practice." He tells us that in some cases, he edited the text to "better reflect a personal take on the image."

The LWB features not only 2-4 paragraphs of interpretation and discussion for each card, but a special (sometimes rhyming) paragraph written in first person, as if the card itself is talking. For example: "Birds (12) - A phone call, a text, or a date; that is how I communicate. I am in meetings, or interviews, and I like to negotiate. I can be your sibling, lover, or mate. Couples is what I indicate." The LWB brings the Lenormand into the 20th Century by adding, "This too is the ever-growing world of Facebook, and Twitter communication. The card may mean literal 'Tweeting.'"

The LWB also includes three introductory Card Spreads: a Simple Nine-Card Spread, The Fortune-Telling Day Spread (both by Goodwin), and The Chocolate Bar Spread by Rana George. Sample Readings are provided for all three spreads.


The box for the USGS edition of this deck measures 3.125” x 4.125”. It is a compact, very sturdy, high-quality hinged box that folds over and closes with a magnetic strip. The front features the image from Card 12. Lettering, borders, and various details on the box are etched in gold foil.

The cards measure: 2.75” x 4.125”. The images are printed on glossy stock with feathered edges that melt softly into black borders. Card numbers are printed in red and placed in a gold circle framed by gold scrollwork in the upper left corner of each card. In the bottom right corner the corresponding traditional playing card number and suit appears in gold, in a rectangle outlined in gold, accented by an etched gold design. The cards are gilt-edged.

Card backs have a black and red checkerboard pattern with gold scrollwork in each corner. In the center is a solid gold ball (it reminds me of a gazing ball) in which cloudy images seem to be trying to form. The ball is framed by scrollwork "corners".


Rich, vibrant colors (along with the glossy stock) make the images pop. Details add meaning without overwhelming the central image.

Ciro adds his own special touches to many of the cards. For example, in traditional Lenormand decks the Rider (1) is a man on horseback, whereas the Gilded Reverie depicts a woman on a merry-go-round horse. The Gilded Reverie Heart (24) incorporates two white swans facing each other, their necks forming a heart that frames a red and gold heart. Instead of a key alone, the Gilded Reverie Key (33) shows an ornate, bejeweled key superimposed across a bird cage containing a red rose. Letter (27) features actual correspondence written (in French of course) by Mlle. Lenormand.

If you're not already familiar with Ciro's art, this deck is a perfect opportunity to experience it.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week at a Glance: 10 of Cups

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week.

For the week of October 20, 2013 I am using the Hanson-Roberts Tarot illustrated by Mary Hanson-Roberts (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.). My card is the TEN OF CUPS.

Hanson-Roberts Tarot
This is such a sweet deck. I really should use it more often. On the 10 of Cups, two precious children cavort as their (presumably happy) parents gaze at a castle over which spreads a rainbow of ten golden chalices.

Although it is tempting to assume this card augurs a "happy family" scenario for the week, I know from experience that it can simply point to the importance of family relationships and perhaps the need to think about where we have been as a family and where we would like to go from this point forward.

The number TEN (which reduces to ONE in numerology) often represents a turning point or entrance into a new stage or phase of things. In this case, I could be looking at a new stage or phase related to a relationship within my family.

I also see this card as representing the importance of focusing on and appreciating achievement and success to date, especially within the family.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Black Cats Tarot Reading

(My review of the Black Cats Tarot can be found HERE.)

I decided to take the 6-card spread from the Black Cats* Little White Book (LWB) for a spin today! The layout looks like this:

(1) my own desires
(2) my dark side
(3) the reality surrounding me
(4) my own convictions in continuing along the current path
(5) the reactions of others to my actions
(6) the result, providing I follow and analyze the messages of the other cards

Naturally I am using the Black Cats Tarot. Let's see what I get...

(1) my own desires:

Interesting. I don't think I *desire* to be hit by an earth-shattering, life-jolting event. However, I am thinking perhaps this card represents turbulence, agitation, or conflict within myself as to what I actually desire. It could be that what I desire is about to change dramatically, that I am on the verge of questioning and rejecting my own assumptions or "status quo" about what I desire. I may be about to realize that my long-accepted desires are unstable and teetering on the brink of collapse.

(2) my dark side: 

How amusing that "Stability" (Black Cats LWB) is my "dark side." The LWB also makes an interesting assessment of this card: "What does stability represent? A starting point on which we can build our dreams or an old scheme that stunts our growth?" Based on The Tower in position 1, I am inclined to go with the latter interpretation. I seem to have reached a point where I might be expected to "rest on my laurels." Perhaps my dark side wants more than what I have. Or perhaps my dark side wants everything to remain as it is, even if that is not in my best interests?

(3) the reality surrounding me: 

The reality is that life is pretty darn good for me these days. Any sane person would frolic about with great joy and self-confidence. Yet The Tower suggests I am not doing that, and the 10 of Pentacles as my "dark side" reinforces a sense of dissatisfaction with the current reality. Oh dear.

(4) my own convictions in continuing along the current path: 

The traditional 10 of Wands is usually about bearing a burden (or the need to stop doing so) or trudging along towards the conclusion of a project or the culmination of a responsibility. In the Black Cats deck, however, this card is titled "Enlightenment". The text in the LWB reads: "Comprehension of a problem often arrives totally unexpectedly." Apparently, deep down, I believe that this path will end in revelation and illumination. All will become clear when I least expect it -- but it will happen.

(5) the reactions of others to my actions: 

In the Black Cats deck, this card is titled "Break-up." It refers to obstacles arriving in unexpected forms, but also a courageous response following initial disorientation. So perhaps I need to be aware that others may behave like a Knight of Swords in response to my actions. It's difficult to tell whether this reaction is "good" or "bad" from my perspective. To me, the Knight of Swords has a very assertive, even aggressive nature. If he is charging ahead on my behalf, so much the better. But if he is charging "at" me, sword waving, I might get hurt.

(6) the result, providing I follow and analyze the messages of the other cards: 

The keyword for this card in this deck is "Solidity." It is seen as a card of inner strength, generosity, and fairness. Interesting, since this is the card I drew for my Week at a Glance a couple days ago, albeit from a different deck. I think I will be pleased if the result of this Tower and Knight of Swords energy leads to the inner strength and self-confidence expressed by the Queen of Swords. In order for that to happen, I need to understand fully what the other cards are telling me and implement their advice.

This spread is loaded with Air and Fire -- both active, "masculine" elements. The 10 of Pentacles (my dark side) is the only one sitting around twiddling his thumbs. The presence of two Major Arcana cards suggests energy or developments of great significance.

From a numerological standpoint, we have three Tens (The Sun, Trump 19, reduces to 10 -- 1+9). Ten can be reduced to One. Either way, an ending/beginning situation is indicated, and that idea is reinforced by my interpretation of The Tower.

As Buffalo Springfield once sang, "There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." Time will tell.

*Black Cats Tarot by Maria Kurara (Lo Scarabeo)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

REVIEW: Black Cats Tarot


Black Cats Tarot
by Maria Kuara
Lo Scarabeo / Llewellyn Publications
ISBN-10: 0738738786 / ISBN-13: 978-0738738789
Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.7 x 1.2 inches

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

As a lover of black cats in general and my cat Karma in particular, I eagerly looked forward to having an entire Tarot deck featuring black cats. I have collected many cat-themed decks over the years, and I enjoy seeing the distinctive styles of different artists as they render my feline friends in the context of Tarot.

One thing that I am not fond of in this deck is the way many of the cards depict black cats against a very dark background. I understand that the cats need to be black, and that a deck called "Black Cats Tarot" should have a mysterious look to it (which calls for dark colors). However, many of the cards are so dark that my eyes struggle to see the details. I don't know if this is due to the original art or the printing process -- or even if it varies from copy to copy of the deck. Examples include Strength, Death, The Devil, The Tower, the 8 of Cups, 5 of Pentacles, 2 of Wands, and 8 of Swords. On the 5 of Pentacles, I actually have to hold the card up to the light and put my nose up to the picture to see what is there.

The good news is that on most of the cards, the art can be seen clearly and the details explored. The artist adds some nice touches to individual cards. For example, the Queen of Swords is depicted in an autumn setting, a reference to the common association of the element Air (Swords) with the season of autumn. However, this elemental association is not reflected in the other Swords Court Cards.

I like the whimsical style of this deck and I look forward to doing some trial readings with it.


"This Rider-Waite-based tarot celebrates and honors the beautiful and magical black cats. Cleverly incorporating feline characteristics and legend into traditional tarot archetypes, this fanciful deck captures these creatures moving between worlds of reality and fantasy, the mundane and mystical. Disarmingly cute yet unmistakably wise, the black cats encourage you to explore your own animal nature."

From the Little White Book (LWB): "The nature of the cat. . . belongs to two worlds: the real world and a fantasy world depicted in this Tarot, but above all a material world and a spiritual one."


According to the publisher, The Black Cats Tarot "is based on" the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition -- yet the cards are not what I would call "clones" of that model in any strict sense. For example, the 3 of Swords depicts not a heart pierced by swords but two cats sitting in the rain with their backs to each other, a sword stuck in the ground next to each cat, and a third sword lying nearby. The 4 of Swords does not picture a knight's tomb but a cat sitting on a bench with its leg bandaged.

Some of the cards bear little if any resemblance to the RWS model. For example, On the 10 of Wands, instead of a figure carrying a bundle of wands we have a cat in a cave holding one cat-headed wand while looking at 8 others. A 9th wand leans against a wall in the background. The LWB description gives the keyword "Accomplishment" and the description, "When we are about the [sic] attain what we have always desired, we are often overwhelmed by fear. This is the dark side of desire. Will we cross the threshold or remain outside?"

The LWB that comes with this deck offers the usual Lo Scarabeo divinatory meanings in English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese. No reversed meanings are given. For the Majors, the number and title of the card is followed by a few lines of interpretation. The pips have a keyword followed by two or three lines. Each Court Card is given a "role" or "trait" with its interpretation. For example, the Knave of Pentacles is "Juggler," the Knight is "Far-sightedness," the Queen is "Sound administration," and the King is "Strategy." A 6-card spread called "The cat's tail" is also provided in the LWB.

Interestingly, two of the cats in this deck are white. For The Fool, the LWB tells us "The White Cat represents freedom and purity. . ." On The World, a white cat appears to step out of a black "shell", symbolizing a new cycle and being "purged of our own psychic baggage."


The cards measure 4.9 x 2.7 x 1.2 inches. Card stock is lightweight. The box is a standard flip-top card box.

Card backs are reversible and feature the head of a golden-eyed black cat wearing a gold tiara. Design elements on the backs are repeated at the top and bottom of the card faces.

I would describe the finish as "semi-glossy" rather than glossy or matte. The cards faces have black borders. Majors have the number at the top and the bottom. Pips have the number at the top and the suit symbol at the bottom. Courts have the suit symbol at the bottom and a helmet-like shape at the top for the Knave, a horse head at the top for the Knight, a crown for the Queen, and a patriarchal cross on globe for the King.


Maria Kuara's cats have humanoid bodies with cat heads. Because of that, they have a somewhat "cartoon" feeling. They are, for the most part, not clothed. It is sometimes possible to tell from the pose or posture that a cat is intended to be male or female, but there are no obvious sexual distinctions.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week at a Glance: Queen of Swords

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week.

For the week of October 13, 2013 I am using the Elemental Tarot with artwork by Marco Turini (Lo Scarabeo). My card is the QUEEN OF SWORDS.

Elemental Tarot

First of all, I absolutely love this card, which shows a woman in a confident stance, one arm upraised and the other on her hip. Several open books are in the air around her, pages fluttering, and a large sword is placed point down in front of her. My first impression was that she is commanding the books to rise up and fly around. Awesome.

Her pose reminds me of the term "multi-tasking" or the expression "keeping a lot of balls (or books!) in the air." I may need this Queen's energy to keep up with everything coming at me this week, including a visit from my husband's relatives and various ongoing obligations.

From an element standpoint, this lady balances Water (Queens) and Air (Swords). Book T tells us the Queen of Swords rules from 20 degrees Virgo (Earth) to 20 degrees Libra (Air) -- so perhaps there is a tri-element influence going on here. I can certainly see Virgo (ruled by Mercury, planet of the mind and communication) in this card as well as Libra (ruled by Venus, planet of affection and beauty).

Focusing on Swords -- communication, understanding, truth (LWB) -- I feel that this week I will benefit from keen observation and sharp perceptions stemming from underlying knowledge.

Taking a quick peek at Kate Warwick-Smith's book The Tarot Court Cards (Destiny Books), I see the importance of being an Exactor (modeling clear communication skills, setting boundaries) and using Discrimination (weeding things out, retaining mental clarity) while I avoid dispensing criticism or judgment (of self or others) without compassion.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week at a Glance: The Fool

The purpose of drawing a "Week at a Glance" card is to get a sense of the sort of energy, circumstances, or personal qualities I might need to be aware of during the upcoming week.

For the week of October 6, 2013 I am using Tarot of the Masters by James Ricklef. My card is THE FOOL.

In my experience, The Fool can advise us to take a chance or "leap of faith" OR to exercise caution, to "look before you leap." For this card, James has chosen a painting called "Le Trapeziste Et La Clown" by Charles Giron. The Clown, presumably with both feet on the ground, appears to be mocking the trapeze artist, who is getting ready to let go of one trapeze in order to fly through the air to another trapeze. Although this activity seems dangerous to me, I know that the trapeze artist is trained. He has practiced his craft and, risky as it may be, he is not unprepared.

I am thinking that a situation or opportunity may arise this week that requires me to decide whether to jump in with both feet or take a more careful approach. Because this is a Major Arcana card, this situation/decision could be significant in my life or have long-range implications, perhaps at a high spiritual level.

Will I be the Clown or the Trapeze Artist?