Archive for the Tarot Category

#OCCULTOBER: My thoughts on Winterseer Animal Oracle by Siolo Thompson (@LlewellynBooks)

Posted in Book Review, Tarot on October 19, 2021 by Occult Detective

Gain the Wisdom of Long-Revered Creatures
from the Northern Climes

Experience Celtic and Norse lore in a brand-new way with this exquisite oracle deck. Winterseer Animal Oracle shows you how to deepen your divination practice through the wisdom of fifty-six marvelous creatures native to northern climates, from salmon and magpie to badger and bear. Featuring Siolo Thompson’s impressive watercolor illustrations, these cards bolster your readings with their stunning details, and the accompanying guidebook uses the mythology of bygone days to inspire your modern life.

I am simply in love with Siolo Thompson’s art and in Winterseer you get what I feel is some of her best work. Each of the 56 cards are lovingly crafted, with a wide variety of Northern European animal life that are emblazoned with an appropriate keyword. Within moments, without reading a single word from the nearly 200 page accompanying guidebook, I could easily intuit how this deck would work as an oracle tool. The cards, in and of themselves, are just a brilliant example of the fusion of art and magic.

As a complete package, I must commend Llewellyn. It’s a wonderfully constructed product, with a beautiful magnetic box that holds the guide and cards. This thing is a marvel. The printing is exquisite, with the rich, deep watercolors dripping off of card and page. The manual is gloriously glossy and easy to read…

Siolo’s writing is as soothing and inspiring as her art. The introduction is lilting and the direction concise and flawless. The focus is more on a gentle nudge toward divination, allowing for one’s own interpretation and sense of storytelling. I love this. The card descriptions are thorough and poetic and just simply lovely.

As a Heathen, this deck immediately spoke to me. Without question, I will visit it often, especially in the winter months. Having spent several days with it, I fell into Winterseer‘s charms quite easily. In no time, I developed a rhythm and narratives began to flow as I practiced one and three card spreads. I am experimenting with a nine card spread, embracing that number sacred to heathenry, and I think this is the path I will take with them.

That’s the wondrous thing about the versatility of the deck. The keywords are profound, the artwork compelling and thought-provoking… It allows the reader to develop their own chronicle with Winterseer as a guide and tool.

Beyond its value as an oracle, I can also see a veritable treasure trove of other uses, in writing fiction and interactive storytelling.

At less than $30 US, Winterseer Animal Oracle by Siolo Thompson is the deal of a lifetime. If you have not yet purchased it, make haste. You want this deck. You need this deck. Trust me, I believe you’ll fall in love with it every bit as much as I have. Recommended? Oh, without hesitation. Available at your favorite bookstores and online outlets. Here’s an Amazon link for good measure.

#OCCULTOBER: The Magic of Tarot by Sasha Graham (@SashaGraham / @LlewellynBooks)

Posted in Book Review, Occultober, Tarot on October 12, 2021 by Occult Detective

I have read a lot of books on Tarot and I own dozens of decks. I’ve been studying and reading Tarot for more than forty years now. When a book like Sasha Graham’s The Magic of Tarot comes along, I am beyond thankful. To deliver something fresh and exciting in the sphere of Tarot is no easy feat. Graham has more than succeeded in this task. What a terrific journey she took me on… I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough.

The author begins by addressing something that I have held near and dear to my heart, something that is at the very core of my being. Allow me to quote from the Introduction —

“Tarot is storytelling. It’s what we do when we read the cards. Telling stories imbues us with supernatural power — the power to change your story.”

This. All of this. Nothing could be more true, especially if not confined to Tarot. Magic, with or without the ‘K’, is about storytelling. Plain and simple. I have been preaching this for years.

Sasha Graham gets this and it shows throughout The Magic of Tarot. Before I dive deeper, let’s see what the publisher had to say about the book:

Bring Enchantment and Luminous Energy into Your Readings

Tarot is more than a card trick. It’s a chance to empower your intuition, dive into your dreams, and get to the heart of the matter. The Magic of Tarot is a fantastic guide to creating your own marvelous and magical practice. With her irresistible charm and straightforward guidance, Sasha Graham shows you how to craft a divine, sparkling destiny using spreads, exercises, spells, and prompts.

The Magic of Tarot opens your eyes to a richer, more enlightened style of divination. Sasha encourages you to flex your intuitive muscles, confidently use tarot magic and rituals, and perform readings for other people. She also walks you through every card meaning, introduces you to dream and shadow work, helps you interpret colors, numbers, and patterns, and so much more. This book lets you fearlessly jump in and enjoy magical experiences that you’ll never forget.

This is an ideal book for beginning Tarot students. Graham delves into the heart of the practice over the course of its 360 pages, and she delivers wondrous insights as she takes the reader on a complete and intimate tour of all facets of Tarot methodology.

Not only is a detailed description of each card presented, but Graham covers rituals and spells, dream and shadow work, and a wealth of various interpretations all enhanced by a focus on developing your intuitive and storytelling powers.

For those of you who, like me, have been at this for a number of years, you’ll feel comfortable with the author’s expressiveness and forthright narrative. Graham offers fresh new ways at looking at things, particularly in regard to spell and shadow work. There are some intriguing ideas that I am eager to experiment with.

One of the more enchanting things about the book was the author’s bio, written as a Tarot card description. Clever.

As for the book design, it’s more than adequate. It utilizes Pixie’s Waite Tarot illustrations throughout. Further artwork is spartan, but the diagrams of card layouts are easy to follow for the novice. While there is no flash in the design, this was probably on purpose. The prose itself is flashy enough.

I love the cover art by Abigail Larson and wish she could have contributed to the interior as well to add more symmetry. I adore her work.

The Magic of Tarot: Your Guide to Intuitive Readings, Rituals, and Spells by Sasha Graham is a tremendous value at less than $20. Available wherever books are sold, I highly recommend you purchase directly from the publisher, Llewellyn, or from your local booksellers. We need healthy publishers and bookstores. Where we spend our money matters.

#OCCULTOBER: My Thoughts on the Jack-O’Lantern Tarot by Giuliano Costa (@loscarabeotarot @LlewellynBooks)

Posted in Occultober, Tarot on October 5, 2021 by Occult Detective

Sleuths, I have something important to share. I have a new tarot deck that has become my Hallowe’en favorite…and it is scrumptious. Before I dive in, here’s what the publisher has to say about the Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot.

Gorgeous rich colors and perfectly rendered compositions are sure to make this one of the most popular Halloween decks available. As the Wheel of the Year turns to autumn, this lovely tarot reflects how the distance between our world and the spirit plane thins and fades. With fabulous art by Giuliano Costa, this laughing and grinning macabre new deck of eternal wisdom and perilous delight carries the Halloween spirit fully into Tarot.

Boxed deck (2¾ x 4¾) includes a 78-card deck and instructional booklet

Okay, for starters, every word above is true. The colors are unbelievable. Each and every card pops. The art is thematically pleasing and rendered so beautifully. They put a smile on my face. Really, they are a delight, capturing the whimsy of the holiday while maintaining an air of respect and authenticity.

The deck is composed in a traditional fashion, giving a Hallowe’en twist to Pixie’s Waite deck. They are not too slick to the hand and of sturdy stock.

I spent a fair amount of time with them over the past five days and I found the readings, for myself and close friends, to be insightful and intuitive. It is a solid deck, as worthy as any in my collection in that regard. I really love the feel of the cards and they show no signs of wear after several dozen readings. All of the querents were enchanted by the deck’s artwork, giving the art high praise. By adhering to the classic “Rider-Waite” deck, there was no need to become comfortable with the deck. It is immediately accessible to beginners and seasoned readers alike.

Without question I highly recommend its purchase. The Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot is a deck that begs to be a part of any collector’s cartomancy treasure trove, or for the Hallowe’en aficionado, how could this not be included in one’s phantasmagoria?

The Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot is available wherever books are sold, but why not order from Llewellyn direct? It better serves the writers, artists, publishers, and distributors involved.

Tarot Tuesday: The English Magic Tarot, published by @WeiserBooks

Posted in Tarot on July 27, 2021 by Occult Detective

For today’s Tarot Tuesday I thought I would re-share my review of one of my favorite decks. Enjoy.

The English Magic Tarot is a sublime work of art, beautifully drawn by comic artist and magician Rex Van Ryn (not to be confused, I imagine, with Duc de Richleau’s compatriot from Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out) and coloured by Stephen Dooley.

The English Magical Tradition is on display here, and marvelously so. Here you’ll find Newton and Dee as well as the spirits of Crowley, Fortune, Spare and others most present. The English Magic Tarot is decidedly eccentric and charming and filled with devilish wit and whimsy.

It is, in a word, enchanting.

Van Ryn and Dooly paint wondrous pictures and the accompanying book writ by Andy Letcher, author of the simply brilliant Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, weaves a delightful tale.

On the surface, the deck’s illustrations seem rooted in the tradition of comic book art which gives the work a more contemporary feel, yet upon deeper reflection, there is an almost timeless quality to them. The inks and colours combine to form an alchemical reaction that is at once both modern and ancient, while the card descriptions from Letcher are wholly vibrant and extant, neither of then nor now, but of what is possible.

From the moment the cards touched my hands, I have felt inspired. I cannot recommend this deck highly enough, whether you would seek to use them for esoteric purposes or if you just want to admire the scintillating artwork.

The English Magic Tarot by  Van Ryn, Dooley, and Letcher is available wherever books are sold, be it brick & mortar or online via Amazon or, better yet, the publisher.

Tarot Tuesday: Break the Wheel

Posted in Tarot on July 20, 2021 by Occult Detective

Sometimes you must go against the wheel’s turn.
Ursula K. Le Guin


The cards were giving me fits this morning.

I had a specific query in mind, but when I drew the Seven of Pentacles Reversed I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy. In that position, the card represents a sort of chaos, that you’re being pulled in different directions and that you’re probably not focusing on the right task.

Story of my life, really.

So, I drew again, reaffirming my question.

I get the Wheel of Fortune.

What did Dio say? “Between the velvet lies there’s a truth that’s hard as steel. The vision never dies — Life’s a never ending wheel.”

Constant state of change is the hallmark of the Wheel of Fortune, and plays into the Seven of Pentacles…

So, I drew again, same question.

Six of Wands Reversed.

There’s a dark side to the interpretation of the card in this position, one that leans toward arrogance and self-importance.

One more draw, to circumvent the trinity, and perhaps codify the message I was receiving.

The Six of Cups Reversed.

Mother —!

Ah, the “you’re living in the past” card.

I debated on whether I should reveal today’s query and have decided to leave it nebulous. The real lesson here is that the cards are truth-tellers, especially when we don’t want them to be.

I knew I should have tossed the runes this morning.

All Things Must Pass

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Tarot, Writing on June 29, 2021 by Occult Detective

Soon, the Cainwood Manor series (Shadows Over Somerset / Keepers of the Dead) and the Liber Monstrorum series (First Born / Descendant) will be reissued in trade paperback and hardcover editions. Their covers will be adorned with selections from the limited edition Landon Connors: Occult Detective Tarot. These releases will be followed by Born Again, a collection that will bring both series to conclusion.

The Moon — Shadows Over Somerset
Deception. Illusion. Imagination. Things around you are not what they appear to be.

High Priestess — Keepers of the Dead
Mystery. Reflection. A time for retreat. Things around you are not what they appear to be.

The Magician — First Born
Skill. Creativity. Desire. Manifestation. The need to take deliberate action is called for.

Justice — Descendant
Truth. Fairness. Law and order. A time for hard decisions to be made.

Judgement — Born Again
Awakening. Transition. Renewal. It is the bitter end, but also a dynamic new beginning.

A quick reading for Tarot Tuesday

Posted in Tarot on June 8, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today’s reading is simple. The Star is my past, the card of inspiration. My present is the Three of Swords. representing disappointment. The future is revealed by Partners, the card of trials overcome.

Such are often the readings of creators. It’s a clear path, either to success or failure. Here, the spark of creativity gives way to frustration, but through perseverance, success lies waiting.

If you care for a reading sometime, drop me a line.

*The deck is the Skra Tarot, the first deck I drew several years back.

Tarot Tuesday: A Personal Connection

Posted in Tarot on May 11, 2021 by Occult Detective

I was talking with a friend this past weekend, and the Tarot came up, as it is wont to do. We were discussing them in the context of works of art and the elements of design that goes into particular decks and how that design effects other aspects of the cards when employed for both divination and as vehicles for projection.

I can assure you, all of these have been taken into account whenever I have designed a deck. I have created three complete decks, the most advanced and in depth being the Landon Connors: Occult Detective Deck pictured above.

It’s a deck I’m very proud as I feel it strikes the right balance between the rigors of those three aspects.

They are aesthetically pleasing, at least to my eye.

They have an emotional resonance when used as a divinatory catalyst.

And, as an adjuvant for astral projection, for me, they are most powerful. After all, they are based on my fictional stories after all, which, in many cases, reflect real world events I have been blessed (and sometimes cursed) to have experienced.

Obviously, I’m very proud of the deck and I try to use them for special occasions, not just random daily readings. They’ve got spark, for me, and that’s where it counts. And it’s why I encourage people to design personal decks for themselves, to make them have a connection above and beyond.

Not an artist? How about mixing and matching a deck from various sources? How about cut and paste? They are any number of ways to make a deck your own that doesn’t require you to be the second coming of Pamela Coleman Smith or Lady Frieda Harris. All you need is Will and a bit of magick…

Tarot Tuesday: This Is Not A Love Song

Posted in Media, Tarot on May 4, 2021 by Occult Detective

I’ve known Amber Petty for a few years now. She reached out after becoming enamored by my High Priestess tarot design, which she licensed for her Tarot Tea House business in Australia. Subsequently she wrote a memoir and we collaborated on the cover art over the course of many months. Below is the finished artwork for her debut —This Is Not A Love Song: A Memoir About Mental Health and Love which is available wherever books are sold.

And for kicks, here are a few of the other ideas we knocked around, all Tarot related, of course.

Tarot Tuesday: Robin Wood

Posted in Tarot on April 27, 2021 by Occult Detective

I just wanted to say a few words about Robin Wood, whom we lost to cancer (and after a terrible bout with COVID) on April 19th. She was 67 years old. I think it’s telling of the respect I had for her as an artist as her Tarot was the second deck I showcased on Tarot Tuesday after its relaunch. It is her deck that is in my messenger bag right now. It’s the deck I have carried with me on countless paranormal investigations. Her art was clear, concise, and had that enigmatic ‘pop’ so many artists lack.

I think it was her spirit that made her art so special. She was ‘one of us’, a nature-loving spell-casting witch who illustrated a number of beautiful book covers for Llewellyn, particularly the books of Scott Cunningham. I loved Scott’s work, but let’s be honest here, I picked them up because of those covers.

She also illustrated the works of Anne McCaffery and a whole host of fantasy art for TSR. Her work was ever-present in my life and I appreciated her and her talent beyond measure.

She had health problems for years. While I am sorry she is gone, I take comfort in that she is beyond all pain and suffering, and that she left behind a legacy that will be cherished for years to come.

Godspeed, Sweet Robin. Enjoy your wings…

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