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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Reading with the Ghost Tarot

I was just visiting the _Inner Whispers blog_, where Chloë shared a 3-card reading using the positions NOW, DO, and DON’T. So right away, of course, I had to do one for myself.

The Ghost Tarot by Davide Corsi (Lo Scarabeo) whispered its desire to do the reading with me, and I saw no reason to deny it the opportunity. So…

Swords is the suit of ideas, thoughts, the intellect, rationality, and communication (including self-communication). I am feeling trapped, restricted, or restrained in this area, but rather than making an effort to free myself, I accept or tolerate my perceived condition. Why? Am I intimidated, afraid to even try to break free? Or am I simply apathetic or lazy?

You won’t see The Emperor standing still for any sort of limitations or restrictions. His is the energy of “Ram tough” Aries – Fire and Force. I need to employ his take-charge attitude, enthusiasm, optimism, will power, and authority.

Wands is the suit of Fire, and the King seems similar to The Emperor in terms of status or authority. It almost seems as if the cards are giving me the same advice for “Do” and “Don’t.” However, let’s look at the less desirable characteristics sometimes ascribed to the King of Wands. He can be impulsive, quarrelsome, aggressive, destructive and proud (the King of Wands is linked with the sign Leo, known for its pride).

Basically, I think I am being advised to employ the positive traits of the top echelon of the Fire element and avoid the negative traits in order to successfully deal with my feelings of being trapped and restricted.

Thanks for the idea, Chloë!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Old English Tarot: 10 of Swords

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
10 of Swords
by Helen Howell

The Old English 10 of Swords just like the Rider Waite card, leaves us in no doubt that something is coming to an end. Both cards show us an image that we cannot mistake the meaning of. However, the images do tell a slightly differing story. Let’s take a look at the more traditional Rider Waite card first.

Rider-Waite Tarot (US Games)
In this image we see a man that lies face down with ten swords sticking into his back - you could say he is pinned down by some sort of personal pain. But it is worth noting that the fingers on his visible hand appear to be held in the sign of forgiveness/blessing (benediction). This indicates, at least to me, that in order to move on from this situation, and allow this ending to take place, one has to realise that it is over, finished with, etc. Because this is a number 10 card (1+0 = 1), it represents for us endings and beginnings all in one number.

The key element, I think, of the Rider Waite image is that whatever has caused one the pain, the only way to begin again is to forgive and move on. Because when we forgive what we do is actually free ourselves. So the image of the man shows us that he’s already been stabbed in the back. What else could happen? The worst is probably over, and now is the time to recover from it.

The Old English however, doesn’t appear to show us any recovery. What we get is a stormy sea and a sinking ship. I see no life boats, do you? How do you recover from that? What this card suggests to me is that some disaster has taken place. What was or is, has now come to an end. I get the sense that unlike the Rider Waite image, which tends to give me a sense of personal pain, the Old English image speaks more of some material loss – unless, of course, we put ourselves on the actual ship. But there is nothing to depict this. We are left in no doubt that this could foretell for us some sort of trouble or loss.

But wait! If we look closer at the image, we will see in the background there is land, and if we place ourselves in the ship then perhaps that is an indication that we can swim to safety. One just has to acknowledge they are on a sinking ship to get off in time to save themselves. So hidden in this image is the suggestion of recovery, and an ending and a beginning.

It appears then that the Old English has more in common with its traditional brother the Rider Waite than I first thought.

I think the fundamental message that both these cards bring home to us is that the worst is over and that we need to make an effort to bring it to its conclusion before a new beginning can be embarked on. How does one do that? By recognising that whatever it is, is over. The choice is always our own.

LWB: Ruin, desolation, trouble, sorrow.
Reversed: Benefit, temporary gain, passing success.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day - 9 of Observation

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:

In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Observation (represented by an eye) is comparable to the suit of Swords. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Observation is from The Red-Headed League: “This is a time for observation, not for talk.”

On the Nine of Observation, we see the body of the great Sherlock Holmes lying on the cobbles after being beaten almost to death by two “toughs” sent by the infamous Baron Gruner, a serial bigamist and murderer featured in The Illustrious Client. Watson is horrified to read in the newspaper that the detective is near death, but upon arriving at 221 Baker Street, he finds that Holmes has deliberately exaggerated his condition.

The Holmesian Wisdom for this card is “Now is the dramatic moment of fate” from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Keys for this card, upright, are “suffering, cruelty, despair, depression, grave doubts, guilt, premonitions that weaken your resolve, inability to take responsibility for your own path.” Reversed, the card can suggest “gossip, shame, disgrace, ill-favoured rumour, struggle.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Emperor Times Four

This is the fifth entry in a series in which I share four versions of a particular Major Arcana card, and write a poem that takes us through all four versions. To read all of the poems to date, search “Times Four” in the blog search field.

To simplify the process for myself, I am going to go in alphabetic order by deck. In this post, representing The Emperor, we have the Tarot of Color by Leisa ReFalo (The Tarot Connection), the Chrysalis Tarot written by Toney Brooks with paintings by Holly Sierra (U. S. Games, Inc.), the Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso (U.S. Games, Inc.), and Tarot Draconis by Davide Corsi (Lo Scarabeo).

The Emperor
by Zanna Starr

Son of the Morning,
Chief Among the Mighty,
He is bold and fiery Aries,
A blazing Light, a purifying Flame.

Green Man,
Patriarch and Father,
He is balanced structure, 
Energy devoted to sustaining life.

The Emperor,
Guardian and Authority,
He is the Ram and the Eagle, 
A mighty protector and leader.

Inner Warrior,
Guide and King,
He is L’Imperatore and El Emperador,
L’Empereur and Der Herscher.
He is O Imperador.

The Emperor.
Son of the Morning.
Chief Among the Mighty.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Old English Tarot: Ace of Coins

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
Ace of Coins
by Helen Howell

What a nice visual the Old English Ace of Coins makes. Very different again from the Rider Waite traditional card, although the message conveyed in both cards is much the same.

The Rider Waite has a hand that offers a large pentacle, again the hand a symbol of a gift, the gift is the tangible. The Pentacle or Coin, whichever you choose to call it, can very simply mean that the time is right for going ahead with a money making idea, or that prosperity is in the cards! In the Rider Waite card, the garden is shown as lush and green, green being a colour that can represent adaptability, growth, balance, expansion and creativity.

The Old English shows us a house with a tree each side and that stands facing a field of wheat that is ready to harvest. When I look at this image I get the message that it says the time is right now to harvest that crop if you want to make the best of it. What I do see in this image more than I see in the Rider Waite one is that it shows us how the process through the other three suits has brought us to this moment. In other words, how the thoughts (swords) and the emotions that drive us (cups) have resulted in the necessary action (wands) to now manifest that initial idea into something tangible (coins.) If we look at this image we know that the farmer who lives in the house had the idea (swords) to buy wheat seed and a good feeling (cups) about how successful it could be, and so went ahead and planted and tended it (wands) in order to manifest it into a viable crop.

If we know our traditional meanings then we know the Rider Waite card speaks of this, but the Old English doesn’t just speak of this, it clearly shows us the results of those previous three suits and how this has manifested into the material form.

So the message may be the same for both cards: Manifest those ideas into something tangible. Whenever you see an Ace in a reading it always heralds new beginnings unless of course you’re reading its negative form. The one thing to remember, though, whatever the goal is, it is dependent upon your action to set it in motion.

A nice thing to also remember with all Aces is that its corresponding Major Card is the Magician and I like to think of that card as saying “The magic lies in your hands!”

LWB says:
Perfection, material and spiritual prosperity, bliss, attainment, treasure.
Reversed: Prosperity without happiness, wasted money.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: The Inner Wizard - Message Cards from Your Higher Self


The Inner Wizard – Message Cards From Your Higher Self
Author: Jacob Roth & Libby Ram
Artist/Designer: Orma Ben-Shoshan
Independently Published
2003 (Hebrew), 2013 (English)
Available through _Kabbalah Insights_

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

More than simple “affirmations,” the Inner Wizard cards offer notes from various entities or “characters” including God, Venus, Your suffering body, Your past, Your future self, Your higher self, The spirit of magical nonsense, and The director. How we react or respond to the   identity of the “sender” of the note is perhaps as important as how we react or respond to the contents of the note itself. Equally important are how we respond to the zodiac sign associated with the card, as well as the choice proclamation on the other side. All of these things together create an interactive experience that gives us a more-than-generous helping of food for thought.

And if *thinking* is not what you really need to do right now, simply let the wise, uplifting messages of the Inner Wizards fill your spirit with hope and harmony. I like the idea of combining these cards with Tarot or other oracle cards as well.


“Each card is a short notelet that sends you a message from some aspect of your inner self or subconscious. The wise cards represent the higher self that communicate with us through a channel of intuition. They are unique healing angels that bring awareness to your inner world. They will empower you again and again, and reassure that you are an active participant in the game of life, and, in fact - whatever happens to you - is for your highest good.”

“The Inner Wizard cards expose typical stories of everyday life that relate to all of us. Each story is also related to a particular astrological sign that gives you, the reader, extra dimension to your understanding of the messages, as well as your own self.”


The cards are a nice size, even for small hands (approximately 3 1/8 inches by 3 1/8 inches), and they can be shuffled without much trouble. They are printed on sturdy, glossy card stock. One side (the side of  choice proclamations) is red. The other side is a soft pastel color based on astrological sign. For example, cards associated with Leo, a Fire sign, are dark golden orange in color on the side where the note appears. Cards associated with Gemini, an Air sign, are blue. Cards associated with Taurus, an Earth sign, are green.

The deck is packaged in a sturdy box with a lid. The box also contains a leaflet with information about the cards and the astrological and elemental attributes.


The Inner Wizard is recommended for people who would like to integrate an unusual tool into their divinatory work, and for individuals who would like to get in touch with hidden aspects of their life. The cards were created by the collaborative team Jacob Roth and Libby Ram. They were first published in Israel in 1999 and became best-sellers. The cards have been translated into English, redesigned and produced by Orna Ben-Shoshan, the creator of multiple Kabbalah Insights products like The 72 Names of God, King Solomon Oracle Cards, and Tokens of Light.

The deck contains 84 insight cards that make three sets in one package:

  • 84 personal notes to support you daily – These notes are “signed” as if coming from entities, beings, or aspects of yourself. Examples are God, Venus, Me, Your suffering body, Your past, Your future self, Your higher self.
  • 84 renewed choice proclamations, each beginning with “I consciously choose…”
  • astrological aspects that relate to your situation – A zodiac sign symbol is placed in the four corners of the side of the card containing the note. These astrological associations are intended to “deepen the significance of the card in your process.” 

The leaflet included with the deck provides “strengthening and weakening attributes of the astrological archetypes.” For example:

The creators of the deck recommend that “when you have a question or seek advice for the coming day, shuffle the cards and draw one out. Read the message on the front of the card, and you will gain a new insight. The reverse side of each card gives you a ‘renewed choice proclamation’ that will help you change your consciousness regarding the issue that came up, and support the closure of a certain cycle.” Other options include drawing a card in the morning and another in the evening to see what progress has been made, or drawing three cards and reading them from left to right, past-present-future, “as if you read an unfolding story.”

Monday, March 16, 2015

Listen to the Animals: Raven

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card from an animal-themed deck to represent an important message from that animal.

If you are interested in finding out who your Animal Guides are, you can get an Animal Guides Reading through my _Etsy shop_ or my _Web Site_.

Today I am using the Animal Dreaming Oracle Cards by Scott Alexander King, illustrated by Karen Branchflower (Blue Angel Publishing). To read more about my experiences with this deck, click HERE.

My card is RAVEN / Magick.

Yes, it’s that “Nevermore” dude that Edgar Allen Poe was so fond of. And I’m fond of Raven, too.

In this deck, Raven is considered to be a Water card. This is obviously not because ravens live in water. It’s more about the symbolic meaning of Water, which I understand to include emotion, imagination, sensitivity, spirituality, dreams, the subconscious, intuition, and inner experiences.

Scott Alexander King writes: “Magick is the ability to communicate our needs and to channel our purpose by sitting within the silence, ceasing the inner chatter and reconnecting with the Universe.” In his Guidebook to the Animal Dreaming Oracle Cards, King states that the Raven card encourages us to strengthen our line of communication with Spirit through prayer, at the same time strengthening our self-perception.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Old English Tarot: 5 of Swords

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
5 of Swords
by Helen Howell

The image on the Old English card is totally different to that which we see on the traditional Rider Waite. The Rider Waite shows us two men walking away defeated while another stands victor holding three of the five swords, while two lay at his feet. This card with its symbolism often makes me think that it’s urging one to work within their limitations, not to take on something they really cannot achieve. But the man who holds three of the swords and has two at his feet also seems to be saying you’ve won, but have you really? After all, the other two are walking away from him. Was it worth it to be alone?

Now the Old English image shows us an image of defeat but not one where the defeated are walking away. We see soldiers with their swords pointing at a group of peasants; one soldier even has his sword raised ready to strike them. This card speaks of aggression to me. Again one asks themselves: Did the peasants mean to confront the soldiers, or did they stumble upon them by accident? Who we identify with in this image alters the way we may choose to interpret the card.

 If we identify with the group of peasants, then the card speaks of defeat and talks about evaluating a situation and acknowledging the limitations of it before making a decision about whether to go ahead or not. Remember, this is the Swords suit and the energy comes from the Air element which is expressed through thoughts, mental activity and communication. It’s all about how we think and how we act on those thoughts.

If we identify with the soldiers, then the card speaks of winning, of an aggressive approach to achieve what you want. But remember: If the soldiers kill the peasants, the question that then begs answering is, at what cost was winning and was it worth it?

I think the one thing the Old English shows us, that is more subtle in the Rider Waite card, is that it could just simply represent facing one’s competitors. What both cards do ask of you, if it comes up in a reading, from what I can see, is that it is how you use your thoughts and what strategies you put in place that can, if not well thought out, isolate you from  others. In short, what both cards’ message is fundamentally about appears to be facing up to  your situation in a realistic way.

LWB says:
Conquest, defeat, degradation, facing adversaries.
Reversed: Uncertain outcome, weakness, possible misfortune.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day - 7 of Wands

The Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day is:


In The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos), the suit of Evidence (represented by a shoe print) is comparable to the suit of Wands. The quotation chosen to represent the entire suit of Evidence is from The Copper Beeches: “Data! Data! Data! I can make no bricks without clay!”

On the Seven of Evidence, we see Watson heading down a dark alley with Toby, a hound who has served Holmes and Watson well on various occasions. Holmes once remarked to Watson that he would “rather have Toby’s help than that of the whole detective force of London.’ This is a reminder to us that sometimes we do need to accept help. Also, like Toby, we need to be tenacious and persistent, using all tools at our disposal to gather the ever-important “Data!”

Keys for this card, upright, are “courageous ability, success despite opposition, tenacity, persistence upheld by strong intuition, defence of strongly held beliefs.” Reversed, the card can suggest “embarrassment, victimization, loss, surplus, excess.”

Monday, March 9, 2015

Interview with The Playing Card Oracles, Alchemy Edition

Today’s deck interview takes place in a large, open loft space – an artist’s studio – with flickering candles along the walls. The cards come forward to answer my questions by taking shape on large easels spaced around the room. I sit quietly in the center of the room, surrounded by the easels, waiting for the appearance of the card selected by the others to respond to my first question.

(1) How would you describe your essence or essential energy?

Slowly the canvas on the easel fills with shades of crimson and scarlet, blood red, wine red. A heart held in a hand. A golden falcon, a bird of prey, perches atop the heart. The heart opens one eye. The ACE OF HEARTS has arrived.

ACE OF HEARTS: “I would describe my essence or essential energy as Passion -- passion arising from memories that live within the deep subconscious of your feeling Self. My falcon, like your innermost feelings, is constantly on the hunt, seeking nourishment and sustenance. My open eye is your conscious existence; my closed eye is your unconscious existence. Within me lies all potential of love and devotion, passion, and compassion – but also obsession, fear, and compulsion. Draw from my well – the well of Agana, your inner Water source.”

(2) Which card do you feel reflects my essence or essential energy?

To the left of the Ace of Hearts, a dark shape takes form on the easel. Pale skin and auburn hair come forth to complete the image. It is Morgana, the QUEEN OF SPADES.

QUEEN OF SPADES / Morgana: “You were an Old Soul from the beginning, so I don’t worry about ‘insulting’ you when I say your essence or essential energy is that of advanced age. I also happen to know that you are fascinated by Morgana in Arthurian legend, that you have a strong Earth presence in your birth chart and often identify with the Queen of Pentacles in Tarot -- so there are many reasons for this choice. In you I see strength, independence, practicality, and attention to detail. There is also a secret sadness beneath your exterior and leanings toward the darker side of the craft. A part of you seeks to control, manipulate, or dominate people or circumstances – not because you are an egomaniac, but because you feel more secure if you can succeed in those efforts. Failure to do so generates anxiety and uncertainty, which is difficult if not impossible for you to tolerate.”

(3) What story do you hope to tell me?

On the easel beside Morgana’s, as if forming a clone of the Queen, another woman clothed in black appears. She is Terrene, the Lady (10) of Spades.

LADY (TEN) OF SPADES / Terrene: “I hope to tell you the story of my birth to Morgana and Mardoc, of how Morgana snatched me and took me back to the Spade abode, slung within her dark cloak. She left my twin brother in the wilderness, where we were born. In me, she recognized something of herself, and she imagined she could make me into a servant. I am a child of service. A common sense, sturdy girl, I am hardworking, yet my will is not yet my own. I hope to tell you the story of yourself, and how that story continues to evolve from the positive and negative aspects of who you are consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously.”

(4) What should I not expect from you?

On a fourth easel, bright, flaming colors leap to life, swarming over the canvas like flames – and indeed they are flames, engulfing a woman tied to a stake, clearly in torment. Of all the cards, based on my early pases through the deck, this is one of the most disturbing to me. It is the EIGHT OF SPADES (The Curse). How interesting that it appears as what I should NOT expect from this deck.

EIGHT OF SPADES – The Curse: “Historically, I was considered a very unlucky card, indicating guilt, suppression, or persecution. However, you should NOT expect me to dwell on or emphasize these things in my relationship with you. That is not my purpose. I see no reason to remind you of failures, poor choices, or shortcomings in your life. When these things rise to the surface, as they inevitably do, my goal will be to help you to liberate yourself by facing your deepest fears, to take your arm as you ‘walk through the fire’ and emerge from it strengthened and renewed.”

(5) Which card most closely represents us as a team?

I already noticed that the suit of the card representing the deck’s energy (Hearts / Water) and the suit representing my energy (Spades / Earth) are compatible with each other. That seems to bode well, but I admit I am a bit nervous as I watch the fifth and final image come to life on the remaining empty canvas. A strange form takes shape… It is the ACE OF CLUBS, Dream Moth.

ACE OF CLUBS / Dream Moth: “As a team, we have great potential to connect and communicate – to speak or write about that which is unseen, unmanifest. We can tell of premonitions and prophecies, emergized by dreams, ideas, and creative impulses. We have the ability to detach and see a higher perspective and the ability to put ourselves in another’s shoes. Our challenges as a team are to avoid being impersonal, talking too much, and allowing our energies to be scattered.”

I study the five images, noting that the interview begins and ends with an Ace, which seems fitting. Even though the element Fire (Diamonds) is not represented as a suit, fire is seen in abundance on the Eight of Spades representing what I should NOT expect from this deck. I am not quite sure how to interpret this. Fire has many fine attributes, but it also can represent egoism, insensitivity or lack of awareness to others, greed, over-ambition, impatience, or temper. Unfortunately, those tendencies come quite naturally to me as a Sagittarius. My relationship with this deck may well be more productive without them, even if we also experience limitation of Fire’s better qualities.

To read my review of The Playing Cards Oracle, Alchemy Edition, click HERE.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: The Playing Card Oracles, Alchemy Edition


The Playing Card Oracles
by _Ana Cortez_ and C.J. Freeman
Two Sisters Press
54 cards (including 2 Jokers)
Sizes: 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches and 3-1/2 by 5-3/4 inches

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

As a fan of the _Playing Card Oracles Divination Deck_ by Ana Cortez and C.J. Freeman (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.), I was delighted and intrigued when I learned Ana was publishing a new deck based on her father’s artwork.

Freeman’s art is dramatic and distinctive, evocative and expressive. My reaction to so many of the images is “Oh my,” followed by a closer study of every element in the image. Many of the images seem to come alive, infused with an intense spirit that cannot be suppressed. My fascination deepens when I explore the relationships between the images and the suits and numbers of a traditional deck of playing cards, then incorporate the title or name applied to each card.

It should be obvious to anyone who looks at this deck of cards that there is profound meaning to be found, and no doubt a few surprises as well. I can't wait to find out what Freeman's friends have in store for me...


“Playing cards offer a profound language for the pursuit of self knowledge and personal
reflection. Yes, playing cards. This is something few are aware of. Used primarily either
for games or parlour style fortune telling, playing cards have been overlooked by more
‘serious’ practitioners of divination for many a century. This is changing. The deck you
now hold in your hands and your own exploration of it are part of a new dawn. A bright
era of self awareness and empowerment approaches as the world awakens to playing
cards in a new light. . . The Playing Card Oracles: Alchemy Edition Deck reveals the power in that little paper dynamo so long hidden in humble black and red. The strength of the illustrations but mimics the strength inherent in the ordinary cards themselves. When used according to
the principles laid out in this PDF and in The Playing Card Oracles, A Source Book for
Divination, their voice comes through loud and strong, like a roar.”


This deck features 54 pieces of oracle art, including 52 cards of traditional playing card suit and number plus 2 jokers, designed for divination. The 52 cards correspond to the 52 weeks of the natural year. The four suits (Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs, and Spades) correspond to the four seasons. The thirteen cards in each suit correspond to the 13 weeks of each season as well as the 13 lunar cycles of the year (each of 4 weeks).

The Court cards symbolize 16 basic archetypes for the human personality. The suits determine which element and which category of personality are expressed. Diamonds represent Fire; Clubs represent Air; Hearts represent Water; and Spades represent Earth. Unlike a deck of regular playing cards, which has three Court cards for each suit, this deck has four: the Lady (numbered 10), Jack, Queen, and King.

Pips number Ace through Nine. Cortez advises us to view these as experiences or “part of a script in a play or movie,” whereas the Court cards are the characters in that play or movie. Interpreting the Pips is based on a combination of numerology and element/suit designation.

A PDF guide is available for the deck. I printed mine in booklet form and stapled the left side, after which (as you can see) I proceeded to do a lot of highlighting. The guide offers sections titled Essential Information, The Courts, The Pips, Essential Suit Meanings, The Oracles, and sections for each pip number.

Readers are also encouraged to use the book _The Playing Card Oracles: A Source Book for Divination_ by Cortez (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) The book was originally written to accompany the Playing Card Oracles Divination Deck, but the material contained therein applies equally well to the Alchemy Edition.

Cortez notes that some of the imagery from the U.S. Games “Playing Cards Oracle Deck” resembles imagery in the “Alchemy” edition, while some is quite different.

For example, compare and contrast:

(To read my review of the book Playing Card Oracles: A Source Book for Divination, click HERE. To see a reading I did with the Playing Card Oracles, click HERE .)


The Alchemy Edition is available in two sizes: 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches and 3-1/2 by 5-3/4 inches. Both sizes arrive shrink wrapped and tucked in a natural muslin keepsake bag, with a custom, hand stamped design.

Card fronts have a gray background. They incorporate a large central image with a card number and suit marker in the upper left and lower right corners. When cards are named, the name often appears just under the suit marker in the upper left corner, but can also be found centered above or below the image, or elsewhere on the card.

Card backs are what I would call eggplant purple with a cream-colored design that stretches from side to side and incorporates various shapes and symbols.

Ana tells me, “As far as symbols on the backs of the cards, I think they are each wonderful for meditation, many being symbolic representations of the number 4, which is so key in the playing deck. I like that they are a little unusual, maybe people will see in an unusual way. Don't know where my dad got these from. They were cut and pasted on top of a vintage Japanese wallpaper design (the swirls) he found in a book. He had so many obscure books...”

The card stock is medium, typical Tarot card weight. The smaller size is, of course, easier to shuffle, but the impact of the images is stronger with the larger format.


Ana Cortez says: “What you will find in this new deck is 52 cards of traditional suit and number (plus 2 jokers) with very untraditional imagery. My dad used to point out how very generic playing card figures had become over the centuries. He wanted to revitalize them and return them to something exciting and alive.”

My verdict: Success on all fronts!

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.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Old English Tarot: Ace of Batons

In today's blog entry, Helen Howell continues her exploration of cards from the Old English Tarot by Maggie Kneen (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Old English Tarot
Ace of Batons
by Helen Howell

I really like the Old English rendition of the Ace of Batons (Wands in the Rider Waite deck). It tends to show you all in one visual: the beginning, the breakthrough and the opportunity. Its more traditional brother, the Rider Waite, does show you the potential that exists in the form of the leaves sprouting and the goal in the form of the castle. The hand represents it as a gift, the gift of taking that creative force that exists and doing something with it. But I feel the Old English shows us that old adage – “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” -- of course, meaning from little ideas bigger things can come.

Let’s look at the symbolism within this card.

 I love that it has a blue background, a colour that, for me, has come to represent reflection, intuition and the flow of ideas. As a sky it can also suggest the higher self. We have a tree, and in the bottom of the picture we can see its roots spreading out beneath the earth and the grass growing on top. The roots can represent for us those ideas that we have now set in motion. The brown earth can suggest a groundedness while the green grass represents the potential, balance and adaptation of those early ideas. The trunk shows us how those ideas or plans can grow into something strong, something stable and lasting. The green leaves and branches, to me, suggest the branching out of those ideas. On top we have a bird. The tree has provided the bird with the opportunity to rest. The bird is a creature of the sky and therefore can represent the higher self. While resting on the tree branch, it appears to me to be a symbol of allowing that higher self, that intuition one has, to connect to that initial idea and help it grow.

Aces as we know are the raw energy of their suit. They are embryos waiting to be born. We can look at them as the potential of what they could be and this Old English Ace, from my perspective, shows us quite clearly that if we allow our higher self/intuition to guide us and connect with our ideas, we can grow them into something worthwhile.

Now, this is just my view of this card. As always, you may see something totally different in its symbolism. However, remembering that Batons/Wands come from the Fire Element and are expressed through creative energy/action and intuition, this card -- just like the Rider Waite card when it appears in a reading -- can tell you that the time is just right to grab that idea and set it in motion. It says: Time to face the challenge for it could take you in a whole new direction.

LWB says:
Creation, new beginning, invention, fortune, birth, at the threshold of an exciting experience.
Reversed: False start, cloudy outlook, emptiness.