Archive for the Tarot Category

Today I’m taking a look at three #tarot / oracle decks from @LlewellynBooks and @loscarabeotarot

Posted in Book Review, Tarot on January 18, 2022 by Occult Detective

As you know, I collect Tarot and Oracle Cards. I love getting my hands on a new deck, wrapping my head around the art and test driving them through a couple of weeks of divinatory practices. I’ve been at this a long time. Over thirty years ago, it’s how I made my money for deviant extracurricular activities. I still read for small gatherings, parties, and the like, and I have done daily readings for myself for nearly forty years.

I have three decks I’ve been meaning to comment on, all I received before COVID came to visit for the holidays. While I’m still not 100%, it seems like the right time to share these with you.

Goetia – Tarot in Darkness

This deck is a masterpiece of deep art inspired by the esoteric lore of the Lesser Key of Salomon. Teeming with demons and spirits and rendered in a subdued palette of greys and blacks, this stark imagery pierces through to the innermost spirit of the reader. Designed to show that darkness is nothing if not a path to the light, the Goetia―Tarot in Darkness also reveals that the unconscious is nothing if not a mirror of your true conscious self.

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

♠♠♠ — The artwork in this deck is simply amazing. Easily the most impressive, and as a student of Goetia, I marvel at the amount of work that went into bringing this to life. There are some minor quibbles, however. The print in the booklet is abysmally small. I ended up reading most of it with a magnifying glass. Also, some of the cards are a little too dark. But all in all, a delight to own. This is not a deck I would use lightly. It is definitely a deck for “special occasions”.

Goetia – Tarot in Darkness is priced at just $26.95 though I see that it is currently out of stock at Llewellyn and Amazon, so you may need to track it down through secondary markets, or patiently await its restocking.

Manara Erotic Oracle

An oracle for those choosing to believe in sex, not as a myth, but rather as an experience. Following the long-standing success of the Manara Erotic Tarot, these oracle cards combine the enticing art of the famed Milo Manara with astrology and chakra to create surprising and insightful readings, especially on very complex subjects.

Boxed deck (4 x 5¼) includes a 35-card deck and instructional booklet

♠♠♠♠ — Milo Manara is a talented artist of erotica and I believe that if you are a fan Milo’s art, or of sensual art in general, you will not be disappointed here. These are fantastically illustrated and I found as an oracle, surprisingly insightful. Very intuitive. Personally, these cards would not find their way into any sort of public rotation, but this is a deck that will certainly serve me at home. I recommend these highly.

The Manara Erotic Oracle is priced at 19.95, a real bargain, and readily available through Llewellyn or Amazon.

Folk Cards of Destiny: Antica Cartomanzia

Harkening back to an era when divination was conducted with playing cards, the Folk Cards of Destiny is sure to occupy a unique and privileged position in any collection. Reflecting the whimsical, everyday scenes and motifs found on some of these early divination cards, this deck provides a fascinating reading experience. Based on an eighteenth-century deck by renowned printer Dondorf, the artwork brings a deep sense of imagination and nostalgia for a style of divinatory reflection that may just open a new chapter in your own contemporary spiritual quest.

Boxed deck (2¾ x 4¾) includes a 36-card deck and instructional booklet

♠♠♠♠½ — I’ve saved my favorite for last. I can’t quite explain it, but I really connected with these so-called Folk Cards of Destiny. I love the artwork. Every reading was a treat, with a true sense of wonder, discovery, and insight found. I’ve always had a fondness for traditional cartomancy decks, and this fits the bill. Of the three decks I’m sharing today, this is the deck that will be revisited often.

Best yet, the Folk Cards of Destiny are priced at a mere $18.95. Available at Llewellyn or Amazon, you definitely want this deck in your collection.

Girls and Boys Come Out to Play

Posted in Archive, Horror, Tarot on January 17, 2022 by Occult Detective

Girls and boys, come out to play,
The moon doth shine as bright as day;
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
And come with your playfellows into the street.
Come with a whoop, come with a call,
Come with a good will or not at all.
Up the ladder and down the wall,
A halfpenny roll will serve us all.
You find milk, and I’ll find flour,
And we’ll have a pudding in half an hour.

Still feeling the weight of my recent bout with COVID and some other unfortunate events over the past 40 days, give or take. I will, if the gods are willing and the creek don’t rise, see to publishing some reviews on Tuesday.

I leave you with this shot of the lovely Michaela Tippett modeling Amber Petty’s Tarot Tea House merch featuring “The High Priestess” from a Tarot Deck I designed what feels like a lifetime ago.

#Norsevember: My Thoughts on The Runic Tarot

Posted in Norsevember, Runes, Tarot on November 30, 2021 by Occult Detective

And so Norsevember comes to a close. What better way to end the month long celebration than with a review of the Runic Tarot Kit from Llewellyn Books/Lo Scarabeo?

Norse mythology meets tarot; this is the deck that the Pagan community has been eagerly awaiting. Based on the gods and mythology of the Norse, the Runic Tarot is the ultimate divination deck for connecting with Valhalla, the realm of the gods. The powerful art is imbued with a fierce, ancient aura as it weaves together the wisdom of the runes, the poetry of the Skalds, the valor of the Einherjars, and the evergreen bounty of life and nature. This reading deck pays tribute to the divine spark within humanity, calling out to everyone who feels the pull of the ancient Norse ways.

Boxed kit (5½ x 8¼) includes a 78-card deck and guidebook

What a description! Yes, that is the deck I have been waiting for. Let’s see if it delivers…

At first glance, my goodness, what an impressive product. The publisher really goes all out, with the magnetic box containing a beautifully rendered deck and tarot booklet. I mean, this is a really sharp design, just beautifully put together.

The art is spectacular, and from that standpoint alone, I find it well worth the price… but, I do have issues. From a divination standpoint, obviously, any heathen would turn to the runes over this deck. As a lifelong tarot enthusiast, however, I longed for a tarot style heathen deck. Does this fulfill that desire? Unfortunately, it falls short.

There are just some odd choices. The most dramatic for me, that leapt out as soon as I flipped through the cards, was not having Odin represented on The Hanged Man. A central tenet of his character, to not find him there is…curious.

This lead me to being more mindful of the imagery and runic connections, and in this, I found other curious omissions and misrepresentations.

The Runic Tarot is filled with missed opportunities.

While it’s obvious the publisher spared no expense — they produced a beautiful and artful product — the creators, talented, without question, failed to do their proper homework. Someone well versed in heathenry should have been involved with this.

I am torn. I really want to recommend this deck. There are some many things to love about it, but it is misleading and just not representative of the faith I call my own.

I’m afraid we’re still waiting on a proper heathen tarot.

Perhaps I’ll try my hand at it in the coming months.

Maybe you’d like to try the deck out yourself? Here’s the amazon link. Maybe I’m too close to the heart of it?

#OCCULTOBER: All Hallows (Tarot) Read

Posted in Occultober, Tarot on October 31, 2021 by Occult Detective

Neil Gaiman’s All Hallows Read holds a special place in my heart. The idea of giving books as a Hallowe’en tradition is something every author and reader should get behind.

I got to thinking this evening that we occultists might take it a bit further. Next year I propose that in addition to (or instead of) treating the printed word that we might offer up tarot readings to people during the holiday season..

So, there you go. Next year. All Hallows Read. Free Tarot Readings.

See you then.

#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.

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