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January 2014

Creating a Patchwork Tarot Deck

I'm thrilled to introduce you to New Zealander Davina Powell, who's the author of this guest post. Davina began dreaming about her "perfect" Tarot deck--and went on to create a patchwork deck, with the permission of various publishers and artists. Is this a cool idea or what? I've admired Davina for quite awhile, because she is a dedicated Tarotist. She studies the cards, writes profound insights about them (for her personal use) and supports many Tarot artists. Without further ado, here's Davina!

Davina Cropped

How many of us have struggled to find THE perfect tarot deck, regardless of how many years we have been searching for that elusive grail?

How many times have you found what was CLOSE to the perfect deck, but there were a still a few cards that were more than a little... blurgghh?

And how many of us have now amassed a bit of a collection, knowing we only use a small percentage of decks on a regular basis?

I am one of those.  (Do we need to start a support group or something?  :) )

Well, I came up with the thought of creating my own, one of a kind, personal reading deck using images from across my collection.  I know I have favourites which could be put together to create, in effect, a personal patchwork deck.  This surely would be the closest I could get to owning THE perfect deck, at least according to my tastes.  I have spoken to an established tarot author who has also thought of doing something similar.  He would call it the Salad Bar tarot..... and you can see why.  (I do wonder though which card would represent the coleslaw, and which would represent the tomato).  There was also an important aspect to consider - I had to already own them.  If I was to show any integrity, I wanted to have this as my first stepping stone.

Salad bar smaller

Then I came across a fantastic site that prints cards, mouse-mats, journals and a whole lot of other stuff that is likely to get you itching to create something personal.  Reviews were good, and I tested the water on a freely offered set of cards available for free download.  Wow.  Quality was excellent, price as good and I had the choice of finish - either plastic or linen.  I already own a linen tarot deck and the sensation in the hand when shuffling is to die for.  Honestly if it is akin to sipping red wine with a chunk of Belgian chocolate whilst listening to LinkinPark.  In other words, delightful.

Now, the linen finish for this deck was not quit the same, but I liked the texture.  That was promptly out done by the plastic finish also offered by the same printing company.  I liked how it stayed totally flat, was robust, didn't feel anything like plastic but is so durable.  The colour was vibrant, and quality overall was incredibly high. I even tested it by running a card under the tap and then drying it off.  It was still in mint condition.  Phew.  So, there you have my choice.  Plastic (safe to have around that red wine or a cup of coffee), in bridge size.  (So I can slip it into my handbag and have it with me everywhere I go).

Emails sentThen came the second test - I could not knowingly use this without getting permission from publishers or creators.  What followed was a flurry of emails to various people around the planet.  I have known many through FB and Aeclectic tarot which may have helped in some way.   Suffice to say I was so humbled by the response.  One publisher who has been burned in the past with out and out pirating gave permission.  I would have totally understood if they had declined, so I was more than pleased when I was given the go-ahead but with provisos.  Another of the creators went one step further, and actually emailed to me original jpg's so that I could have high quality material for uploading.

In all, I was touched by the generosity by those I contacted.  There was an instance where the deck concerned was out of print, had been for some time, and the original publishers were no longer in business.   This was a bit of a quandry, but I did my best by contacting a company who may have taken them over, outlining my intent.  After two emails, I received no response and decided to go ahead, based on the assumption I had made clear my intent and had given them opportunity to decline.  They probably had no idea what I was on about...LOL.   

I had also researched the copyright law for NZ.  This always seems to be an area of confusion, as it appears laws vary depending on where you reside.  The fact it was one copy at a time, for private use etc I was okay.  So, my conscience felt clear.  I had the green light for 'go'.

Then came the time consuming part.  I took out all my decks and went through them all, choosing cards that sang out to me.  I was hoping to find in particular cards that were meaty, pleasing to the eye, told a story, had a few layers/angles going on, and were somewhat different to the RWS but within the system (if that make sense).  I have often groaned at how poor most court cards are. I have had more than enough of seeing a few people sitting on thrones holding the suit indicator - and that is about it. Come on now.  If these characters have personalities how about showing that aspect?  Get them doing something in keeping with their character.  Oops, just realised I have quietly got my soap box out.  Best put it away again, but before I do so, can I use it to say the same applies to a few of the Major Arcana.  Give me a decent World card please.  Surely someone has imagination to show some of these bland cards in a better light?

SoapboxSoap box now tucked back under the bed.

So, I now have my cards.  I also have a few extra.  Because I am aware some cards can go in different directions. For example:  Hanged Man.  He can ask me to see things from a different perspective, or he may be indicating a sacrifice is needed.  Then again, he may be advising me that things are on hold for a while.  So who says, in my own personal deck I can't have all three depictions, but on different cards?  So if he turns up I am not scratching my head as to which way I should go.  My deck, my rules - right?

So I have my selection.  Now for the scanning phase.  Wow, does that take time. And patience.  Each card is scanned at a high resolution, and is trimmed to fit the ratio of the eventual upload.  That is easier said than done.  Do you lose a little bit of detail in order to keep the ratio?  Or is the pay off to have a slightly out of ratio card (width vs height) so that all the detail is kept?  Decisions, decisions... As long as they don't look like they have been stretched or shrunk I have at times had to tweak the ratio in order to keep an important detail on the card.

Then the upload.  Now that is fun - not.  Once you have the size right it is quite a quick process.  But hang on - what about borders?  You see, they cannot guarantee cutting the card exactly centred.  They warn they may be out by a few pixels.  Which means I could lose some detail after all.  Arrghh... so back to the drawing board (well not for me obviously - I didn't draw the cards) whereby I re-enter the cards in the GIMP program and add a border.  That way if they do come down with a wonky blade, the border bites the dust, not the image.

Then everything is re-uploaded.  The online preview screen looks quite cool.  And it is a waiting game of approximately 10 days before I all but rugby tackle the postie to wrestle the box away from them.  The cards arrive shrink wrapped and well packaged.  And the end result?  I am happy.  The cut was actually very good.  No obvious off-centred borders.  It is a deck of 84 cards and is a little chunky compared to most decks but I have to say - I love it.

Davina Deck

Do I have any particular favourites?  Well, even though it is a definitive deck I have a soft spot for a few.  I did have an attempt at creating my own deck a few years ago, but sadly the artist who came on board as a partner (I paid for his boards and pencils to help him) just disappeared after a year with no warning and no further contact. I was left with 26 images and some of those have made their way into my patchwork deck.  So they for sure are favourites.  I do have others though:

Snowland Collage Davina smaller

Emperor (Snowland Deck). So square in his thinking (no grey areas with this guy).

Death (Snowland Deck).  I love how the snowman is smiling down on his changed form.

Hermit (Snowland Deck). I think the artist just did a great job on this card.  As an airbrusher myself I really appreciated how the Aurora Borealis was captured.

If I had my arm twisted and had to name a favourite deck, it is the Zombie Tarot; I have a couple in particular that make me smile.  Actually make that three. There are more but I was being strict with this précis. 

Zombie davina smaller

Queen of Swords.  Granny with an uzi is a granny with attitude.  Love it.

Knight of Pentacles.  Slow and steady, so a car accident results more in dented pride than dented bodywork.

10 of Cups. Shows the zombie with a swim cap.  Genius.  But still a traditional portrayal of the 10 of Cups.  The zombie adds a bit of ... something though.

6 of coins from the Deirdre of the Sorrows deck.  Showing a pregnant woman giving money to a vagrant really makes you think of who has the real need.  The scene is set outside a charity shop which again - adds a new aspect to give pause for thought.

10 of swords from the Tarot of the 78 Doors Pulling the plug. How many times have we had that option to alleviate stress and cannot pull ourselves away from the screen and the cause of upset?

7 of swords from the Granny Jones Tarot.  Now this is a great deck and I love the different takes available in one simple image. In fact this describes my favourite style of artwork:

Simple, hand created, tells a story, has loads going on and is modern.  I like using decks that anyone can look at and not feel intimidated due to it being a bit too esoteric, or too heavy on symbolism.


Then I have the 8 of Coins from the Bright Idea Deck.

One of those incredibly underrated decks.  Mark McElroy has the rights reverted back to him and I hope he can do well with any future release.  This makes you consider what is the best approach - taking time to create something as a one off that is special, or creating the same thing over and over in mass quantities.

So there you have it.  The why, the how, and a bit more.

Oh of course I didn't just have cards. Oh no.  The journals looked awesome too.  So permission was requested for use of some really beautiful images for the cover and rear.  Permission was granted and I am now a proud owner of a couple of personalised journals.  Just perfect for writing up thoughts regarding my readings, musings and other general tarot stuff.  

Davina Fave Deck 2


10 Questions for Tarotist Amythyst Raine

Amythyst

What’s your favorite breakfast food? My favorite breakfast, what I have almost every morning: A Rockstar energy drink and a Hershey's chocolate bar.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? The book I'd like to give every single woman I know, and the book I'd wish they'd read is the book I'm currently writing. The topic is spiritual feminism.

What makes you laugh? My husband, Joe. I've laughed more since I've been with him than I've ever laughed before.

Song that never gets old: "Hotel California"

Drink of choice: Chocolate Milk

Would you rather be hot or cold? Hot...cold hurts.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Forest...I could not live without trees.

Favorite color? Shades of Green

Best movie line:Since when is being a slut a crime in this family?” (Sally Owens, from Practical Magic)

Last thing you splurged on? An aquamarine ring at JCPenny; jewelry is my weak spot.

Bonus Q: Last time you yelled: Ummm...yesterday. Don't ask.

Amythyst Raine is a professional psychic and spiritual feminist. She has practiced her own brand of paganism for the past 30 years and is the high priestess of Bristolwicks Coven. Amythyst is also a practitioner of holistic healing through reiki, crystal therapy, and chakra balancing.

She is the author of Tarot for Grownups (2013 Dodona Books, John Hunt Publishing); The Gray Witch’s Grimoire (2012 Moon Books, John Hunt Publishing); Tarot: A Witch’s Journey (2010 Labyrinth House Publishing); and Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way, an online book available through her website, The Witch’s Corner


Victorian Fairy Tarot

“Victorian science would have left the world hard and clean and bare, like a landscape in the moon; but this science is in truth but a little light in the darkness, and outside that limited circle of definite knowledge we see the loom and shadow of gigantic and fantastic possibilities around us…” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Coming of the Fairies
 
Vic Fairy Cover 700
With its borderless imagery, unique title font and extraordinary watercolor art by Gary A. Lippincott, there’s a lot to love about the Victorian Fairy Tarot (companion book by Lunaea Weatherstone).

Although they feature pointy ears and wings, the fairies in this deck display all-too human situations, tools, garb and backdrops, making this an accessible set of cards for all users.
 
Vic Fairy BonusSave for the Six of Winter depicting a fleeing family gliding downriver on a swan and the Nine of Winter showing a worried fairy sitting up in bed, the Victorian Fairy Tarot is (blessedly) without Rider-Waite-Smith iconography. Yet, the cards skillfully depict what the cards usually mean—with some additional thought-provoking touches (many highlighted by Weatherstone’s engaging commentary). 
 
For example, stocked with fragrant perfumes, glittering jewels, fine fabrics, enticing elixirs and luscious fruits, The Goblin Market (The Devil) portrays the trap of materialism. Yet Weatherstone elaborates that not only are the Goblin’s wares mere temptations, but also illusive, damaging and addictive. Once bought, used or consumed, the gems turn into rough pebbles, the garments burn the skin and the fruits create more hunger. “You should have looked before you bought!” croons the Goblin.
 
Speaking of The Goblin Market serving as The Devil card, here are the other re-named cards in the Victorian Fairy Tarot:
 
• The Conjurer (The Magician)
• The Seeress (The High Priestess)
• The Vicar (The Hierophant)
• The Fairy Bride (The Lovers)
• Fortitude (Strength)
• The Wheel of Time (The Wheel of Fortune)
• The Magistrate (Justice)
• The Burning Oak (The Tower)
• The Stars (The Star)
• Awakening (Judgement)
• The Worlds (The World)
 
Vic Fairy Bonus 3The Minor Arcana suits are divided according to the four seasons:
 
Wands – Spring Court
Cups – Summer Court
Pentacles – Autumn Court
Swords – Winter Court
 
I was pleased to see this particular demarcation since these are the personal seasonal associations I ascribe to the four suits. Even though the suits are assigned to a season, it doesn’t mean that the cards are set outdoors with obvious accoutrements (i.e. snow for winter, flower-filled fields for summer, etc.)
 
In fact, one of the most brilliant cards in the Victorian Fairy Tarot is the Three of Winter (aka the 3 of Swords). At a fairy theater, a couple performs a dramatic scene on the distant stage. In the foreground, three women (of course) whisper behind unfurled fans, not even looking at the production. 
 
We could deduce “gossip” as an obvious meaning for the card, but Weatherstone gives us much more to think about:
 
“Some elegant fairy ladies are finding the intrigue in the audience as riveting as the scene onstage. With little to occupy them during the long winter months, gossip is a favorite pastime, and their opinions are not always kind. Small offenses are magnified, little lapses of judgment are thrown into high relief, and everyone minds everyone else’s business far better than they mind their own. There are real tragedies, to be sure, but exaggerated melodrama serves as well for petty minds and chilly hearts…Workplace intrigue is particularly insidious, as it can cause real damage to livelihood and reputation.”
 
What a fantastic re-casting of the traditional 3 of Swords card! (Personally, I’d ascribe this type of interpretation to the 3 of Cups reversed, but it works very well as the 3 of Swords—or the 3 of Winter—especially since both Death and the 5 of Summer demonstrate grief, disappointment, sadness and loss in this deck). 
 
The Court Cards follow a Herald, Knight, Queen and King designation, reflecting the highly hierarchal preferences of English Victorian society (and influenced by royal aristocracy). 
 
Vic Fairy Bonus 2The 253-page companion book serves as a lovely tour guide of the Victorian Fairy Tarot, describing each scene, providing divination guidance, offering “in a nutshell” keywords and detailing three spreads (six, if you count the seasonal differentiations of The Herald’s Welcome spread).
 
I found the 8-card Dance of Happiness Spread especially revealing, making me wish that Weatherstone created even more spreads for the book!
 
The Victorian’s obsession with the “secret language of flowers” is renowned, so the artist’s use of 46 different flowers and plants (decoded in the Appendix by Weatherstone) add another interpretative, and visually appealing, layer to these cards.
 
In my estimation, the Victorian Fairy Tarot is one of the best decks to hit the market. Artist Gary A. Lippincott renders some of the most stunning watercolor art (Tarot or otherwise) I’ve ever seen (my artist husband concurs—and he’s hard to impress). With its gorgeous play of shadow and light, the sumptuous attention to detail in this deck is much more than just pretty pictures; rather, Lippincott packs a comprehensive sense of story into almost every card—giving readers and creative writers plenty of grist for the intuitive mill. 
 
To see 18 more card images from this deck, click here.

 
 

10 Questions for Tarotist Tiffany Crosara

Tiff smaller

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lime, Lemon, Ginger and Spinach Juice.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? So tempted to say mine! But otherwise Journey of Souls by Michael Newton

What makes you laugh? My husband doing his weird wacky stuff at home—just being him. I keep teasing him I'm aiming for a show like the Osbournes!

Song that never gets old: Oh so many… But “Nights in White Satin” comes to mind...

Drink of choice: Errr…see breakfast! Mad, I know.

Would you rather be hot or cold? Oh hot—definitely hot. You are speaking to a fire snake Leo who has just dyed her mane bright red to keep me feeling warm this winter!

Mountain, beach, desert or forest?Forest. Love love, love the forest.

Favorite color? Taupe.

Best movie line: Oh dear I am so not good at questions like that. Is that a movie line?

Last thing you splurged on? My hair.

Bonus Q: Favorite moment of last year: It's a toss up between being presented with an award for by book at an evening ceremony, and the first of my regular appearances on TV.

Tiffany Crosara was four years of age when she remembers the beginning of her psychic journey, three things happened to her ...

1) She painted a picture that her mum had painted - that she had never seen. 2) She laid eyes on the Tarot for the first time ever. 3) She had an experience with physical mediumship.

Growing up in the country as an only child in a single parent household, childhood was a solitary experience filled with only 'super-natural" experiences for company. She comes from a background of spiritual healers, trance mediums and general psychics. The information was around her from the age of four - although in a way that was also covered up. This meant Tiffany learnt a lot the hard way, through her own confusions, "mistakes" and experiences. This culminated when she was nineteen and pregnant, she saw in the Tarot that she was to lose the child. She turned her back on the Tarot, believing that if she ignored it, it wouldn't happen.

Tiffany experienced loss from an early age, but from the age of twenty Tiffany began to experience loss on a whole new level. By the time she was twenty two she experienced the loss of her four month old daughter, her father figure and experienced her first divorce. Although these experiences marked the beginning of her spiritual quest, she also became housebound with illness from the amount of stress she had been through. Today she remains grateful that she found Reiki, or that Reiki found her, which was the beginning of a deeply profound healing journey for her.

People began asking her to read for them, at first she resisted. But as the requests continued, she began to wonder if part of her path was to help people learn how to work with the rhythms in their lives, ride the waves, rather than fear them, and she began years of spiritual and psychic study. At the ege of twenty -five Tiffany opened her very own holistic centre and started professionally practicing readings, healings and she began teaching the psychic arts.

At the age of twenty-eight Tiffany went through more spiritual initiations, losing more loved ones and spontaniously remembering past lives. Recognising the people within them. This was a deeply traumatic catalyst, which culminated in her closing her centre, her long term relationship, and making herself homeless all in the space of a week! Tiffany had sat on the fence when it came to the philosophy of past lives, but not after that experience. In fact that was the experience which led her to train in Past Life Regression Therapy.

Four months later Tiffany met her husband, and a life where she felt truly, deeply loved began. Their first date was the first day she began working as a psychic at Mysteries in Covent Garden. Seven years on and Tiffany is still happily married and working at Mysteries, even though she had a repeat cycle of the above paragraph in 2012 (seven year cycles). Another deep catalytic journey, full yet again of spontaneous past life remembrances, and two losses in one month.

Transformative truth smallerAt the same time Tiffany was propelled into the public eye, appearing alongside the likes of Rachel Pollack, Emily Carding, Sasha Fenton, Diana Cooper, Sonia Choquette, Judy Hall and Stewart Pearce. Her first book The Transformational Truth of Tarot was published by Dodona Books, and won an award for best spiritual book of 2012. She began appearing at Tarot conferences, writing for magazines and doing readings live on TV. Tiffany is also a co-author of the book Tarot Masters published by Hay House in November 2013. Tiffany has currently been nominated as a finalist in the Psychic Awards 2013.

Tiffany lives, breathes and embodies her path knowing that we are all on it, and all doing our best. None of us are perfect, or we wouldn't be here. She believes that being real and open is the only way she can help ohers with self acceptance. She understands the importance of honouring the rhythms of life, and validating the imagination. The amount of synchronicity she experiences is phenomenal, and most people that work with her begin to see an increase of these magical qualities in their own lives. Visit Tiffany online at TiffanyCrosara.com.


How Do You Do Email Tarot Readings?

When people find out I peform 99% of my Tarot readings via email, most tend to be floored.

How can you read the person's "energy"?

How can you read without seeing a picture or knowing a birth date?

How can you read accurately with so little sensory data?

Well, I'm one of those Tarot readers who happen to be psychic (most don't claim to be, if you can believe it). But I also feel that if you ask detailed questions, you get detailed answers. That's why I'm not a fan of pre-formed Tarot spreads like the Celtic Cross (I feel they're too general, and provide too much useless information).

Also, I'm a firm believer in the 3-card spread. So many think "bigger is better" when it comes to spreads, but I feel that the opposite is usually true.

I thought I'd share two readings from my case files (used by permission) to give you an idea of how I read via email, and to show you  the value of 3-card readings.

Should I Buy a Bigger Bike?

Context:   I’m 41 yrs old and recently purchased a small Yamaha Zuma scooter.  I’m having a blast but now want to also purchase a larger Honda 1100cc motorcycle that reminds me of one I had in my younger days (I’m calling it my mid-life crisis mobile).  This is something I really enjoyed in the past and would like to start riding again.   I’m concerned primarily with my safety.   I have a 5 yr old son and don’t want to get killed on it.   My wife always stresses about money no matter how much we have, but this is something I can easily afford in addition to saving for college and other stuff.  

Question:  Are there any issues that I need to be aware of before making my decision to purchase a new motorcycle, or will I be happily enjoying my purchase well into my old age?

My reply:

Here’s your 3-card reading about whether or not to buy the bigger bike:

3 card reading 1

Pros: Knight of Coins – You’re a careful and conscientious driver. You don’t, and won’t, take risks.

Cons4 of Coins – This is the “miser” card. We know who this refers to. LOL! Seems like the only drawback is just your wife’s financial protests.

Final Advice: Ace of Cups – In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this image shows a hand coming out of the sky, offering a huge, delicious milkshake. It’s a card of joy and an emotional upsurge of positive feelings.

I think it’s pretty clear that the cards advise you to “Go for it!”...and enjoy your mid-life crisis mobile.

Here’s another actual client reading (used by permission):

Should I Pursue Personal Training Certification?

my situation is, should i add to my life a personal training certification. (for more credentials)

I already am certified to teach group fitness yoga, pilates boot camp, and a massage therapist and also doing facials.

I am graduating with a degree in health and wellness next week.

somehow i feel i need personal training cert although do not want to be necessarily a personal trainer in a gym environment, hence the hesitation.

Im more a piscean mystic and healer.

so im torn of the pro and con, I'm leaning toward con but theres a reason, however, what is it that im supposed to focus on at this point to further my life that will bring me financial benefits. 

your guidance is treasured!

and thanks again.

(Yes, some client readings come in this jumbled!)

My reply:

Here’s your 3-Card Reading for pursuing personal training certification right now:

3 card reading 2

ProQuester Mental (aka Knight of Swords) – This Knight is often impetuous, wanting to go full speed ahead without much forethought. It’s a card of mental stamina, aiming for a goal, and hitting the mark. You’d have no trouble getting the certification, and you could certainly add it to your aesthetic/healing work. The certification would be swift and easy for you.

Con: Inversion (Hanged Man) – In this position, this card tells me that a major drawback would be lack of integration of what you’ve already learned this year, as well as the spiritual growth that comes from such absorption. Metaphorically, the Knight of Swords “gobbles things up” based on mental machinations, while the Hanged Man absorbs what he’s learned—taking time to digest, see things in a new light, then integrate and “upgrade” his spiritual operating system. If you pursue getting the certification now, you’ll be glossing over the process and lose many of its nourishing benefits that will aid you in the future. Knight of Swords is short term benefits, but the Hanged Man—being a Major Arcana card—signifies long-term benefits directly related to your life purpose.

Final Advice: Director Emoting (aka King of Cups) - As an approach card, this card advises governing your emotions and directing your creative urges in spiritually beneficial ways. Although pursuing certification at this time may have some material benefits, it won’t be adding to your deep identification as a Piscean Mystic/Healer. So, your choices in the near future should reflect the values treasured by the Mystic/Healer archetype (rather than, say, the Entrepreneur, Athlete or Aesthetician). In our Snowland Deck, which I used for your reading, this card is Father Christmas; for your clients, focus on offering services that make them feel blessed, pampered, joyful and excited about their lives—many of the feelings and sentiments we associate with Christmas and the receiving of gifts. 

You may notice that I color-code the actual card title, or the text. This is because color is powerful and symbolic and, in larger readings, can show the client (and myself) which elements/suits are most represented in reading. What doesn’t show up in a reading often tells us as much as what does.

I'm happy to say that both clients reported that these readings were helpful, insightful and accurate. (Whew!)

So how would you have interpreted these cards, dear reader? How have 3-card readings worked for you in the past? Do you prefer them...or larger spreads? I'd love to hear of your experience!

-- Janet


10 Questions for Tarotist Ron Boyer

Ron Cropped

What’s your favorite breakfast food? Eggs, easy over.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton.

What makes you laugh? Comedies, especially ones starring Jim Carrey or mockumentaries by Christopher Guest.

Song that never gets old: Any Police song (especially “Bring on the Night” and “King of Pain”).

Drink of choice: Iced Distilled Water

Would you rather be hot or cold? Hot.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Forest.

Favorite color? Sky blue.

Best movie line: “Back away, Paddock.” (from A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey).

Last thing you splurged on? A bass amp.

Bonus Q: Favorite smell: Coconut.

Ron Boyer is the artist for the Snowland Deck that he co-created with his wife, Janet. He's currently working on the Cosmic Flux Tarot--a Majors-only deck.


Tarot "Be" Attitudes

Be Attitudes smaller

The word beatitude means "a state of utmost bliss" (Merriam-Webster). Some of you with Christian backgrounds may recognize the word as describing the Sermon on the Mount teachings by Jesus (Blessed are the...)

I got to thinking: what if every card in the Tarot--yes, all 78--contained a "Be" attitude? A short, empowering directive that can help us "find our bliss" (or, better yet, live our bliss)?

Next time one of these cards comes up in a reading--or you choose one consciously for contemplation or affirmation--consider you may be getting some empowering marching orders from the Divine.  

Major Arcana

 The Fool – Be playful.

The Magician – Be focused.

High Priestess – Be silent.

The Empress – Be creative.

The Emperor – Be organized.

The Hierophant – Be teachable.

The Lovers – Be committed.

The Chariot – Be driven.

Strength – Be brave.

The Hermit – Be alone.

The Wheel of Fortune – Be capricious.

Justice – Be fair.

Hanged Man – Be still.

Death – Be transformed.

Temperance – Be balanced.

The Devil – Be hedonistic.

The Tower – Be subversive.

The Star – Be hopeful.

The Moon – Be mysterious.

The Sun – Be authentic.

Judgement – Be awake.

The World – Be whole.

Wands Suit

 Ace of Wands – Be inspired.

2 of Wands – Be challenged.

3 of Wands – Be expectant.

4 of Wands – Be connected. 

5 of Wands – Be confrontational.

6 of Wands – Be successful.

7 of Wands – Be defiant.

8 of Wands – Be quick.

9 of Wands – Be resigned.

10 of Wands – Be released.

Page of Wands – Be inquisitive.

Knight of Wands – Be aggressive.

Queen of Wands – Be resourceful.

King of Wands – Be influential.

 Swords Suit

 Ace of Swords – Be original.

2 of Swords – Be decisive.

3 of Swords – Be healed.

4 of Swords – Be mindful.

5 of Swords – Be compatible.

6 of Swords – Be adaptable.

7 of Swords – Be strategic.

8 of Swords – Be free.

9 of Swords – Be peaceful.

10 of Swords – Be forgiving.

Page of Swords – Be disciplined.

Knight of Swords – Be blunt.

Queen of Swords – Be exacting.

King of Swords – Be competent.

Coins Suit

Ace of Coins – Be comfortable.

2 of Coins – Be flexible.

3 of Coins – Be cooperative.

4 of Coins – Be frugal.

5 of Coins – Be charitable.

6 of Coins – Be generous.

7 of Coins – Be discerning.

8 of Coins – Be consistent.

9 of Coins – Be extravagant.

10 of Coins – Be content.

Page of Coins – Be diligent.

Knight of Coins – Be careful.

Queen of Coins – Be protective.

King of Coins – Be productive. 

Cups Suit

Ace of Cups – Be compassionate.

2 of Cups – Be intimate.

3 of Cups – Be sociable.

4 of Cups – Be invested.

5 of Cups – Be grateful.

6 of Cups – Be retrospective.

7 of Cups – Be choosy.

8 of Cups – Be progressive.

9 of Cups – Be satisfied.

10 of Cups – Be harmonious.

Page of Cups – Be surprised.

Knight of Cups – Be romantic.

Queen of Cups – Be dramatic.

King of Cups – Be supportive.

What about you, dear reader? What "Be" Attitude would you assign for one or more of the 78 Tarot cards? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

-- Janet


10 Questions for the Tarot of the Apocalypse Trio

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Magdalena: Let me speak for our trio please:

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

What we eat is basically cottage cheese with brown bread and coffee. But on weekends absolutely biscuits “Jacob’s 7 angels jam dodgers” and “Turbo twirls” baked in a clay furnance as described in our book... ha ha ha.

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)?

The number one for us is the novel Master and Margharita by Mikhail Bulhakow.

What makes you laugh?

We laugh about our own old jokes which can be understood by us only; otherwise, when people think our deck is Christian and we are a very religious people.

Song that never gets old:

The song “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Drink of choice:

In Winter cold Vodka; in Summer red wine.

Would you rather be hot or cold?

Światosław is always hot, Magdalena cold. Robert somehow in the middle.

Mountain, beach, desert or forest?

No desert please. We love mountain climbing when not too high, ha ha ha.

Favorite color?

Światosław is gold. Magdalena is blue and Robert is black (he always draws in black).

Best movie line:

From the movie “Amadeus” by Milos Forman: 

Emanuel Schikaneder: Look, I asked you if we could start rehearsals next week and you said yes.

Mozart: Well, we can.

Emanuel Schikaneder : So let me see it. Where is it?

Mozart: Here. It's all right here in my noodle. The rest is just scribbling. Scribbling and bibbling, bibbling and scribbling.

[Salieri is wheelchaired through the insane asylum]

Salieri: Mediocrities everywhere... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you... I absolve you all.

Last thing you splurged on?

On getting our deck printed, which the publisher feared as the devil in need of holy water!

Tarot Apoca

Światosław Nowicki (nickname “Master”) is a Polish philosopher, astrologer and translator, expert on the German philosopher G.F. Hegel. He translated into Polish seven thick volumes of Hegel (almost 1,7 million words). He has also published several translations of philosophical literature from Latin, French and German articles about Hegel in Polish scientific journals. He translated 2013 the Six Theosophic Points by Jacob Boehme into Polish. Co-author of the astrology book  "The Zodiac Cycles”. He knows so much about so many things - he knows music theory and the music of the spheres, astrology, astronomy, philosophy, the esoteric. He personally thought of and sketched 78 drawings for the 78 cards of the blasphemous tarot The Tarot of the Apocalypse, self-published in Poland in 2013 (www.swiatoslawnowicki.com). Co-author with Magdalena Walulik of the book “The Tarot of the Apocalypse. Magical love story of Master and Magdalene to the glory of the angel” (http://www.swiatoslawnowicki.com/en/?en_the-book,33). He lives in Warsaw, Poland with Magdalena.

Magdalena Walulik

His wife. German translator and painter (www.tarotapokalipsy.com). Co-author of the book “The Tarot of the Apocalypse. Magical love story of Master and Magdalene to the glory of the angel”. She has promised the Master that she will do everything for his deck to become the most famous tarot in the world and then she made sure that he designed the cards just as she wanted them to be. She has been dreaming since 2002 unique dreams (about 500), which she describes on her blog (http://www.tarotapokalipsy.com/en/warsaw-dreambook).

Robert Sobota

The author of the drawings designed by Światosław Nowicki. The youngest of the three, a draughtsman and visionary who lives in grotty Lublin in Eastern Poland. Currently, Robert is working on his own project: illustrations to the poems of Sylvia Plath.  

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Tarot Classroom Special (Extended!)

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Is learning Tarot one of your goals for 2014?

Or maybe you're familiar with Tarot, but need some new tips, tricks and inisghts to get more out of your deck. 

What about direct access to a Tarot author, expert, reader and deck creator--who will create special bonus lessons and videos for students upon request (yep, that would be me!)...and answer student questions directly, on a password-protected blog?

Great news! I've decided to extend my $50 off sale until Friday, January 11, 2014 at 11 PM EST (it was set to expire in a few hours). Click here to see the complete eleven lesson syllabus and register your seat. 

Hope to see you in my Tarot Classroom!

-- Janet


Did Lady Gaga Rip Off the Psychic Twins?

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Terry and Linda Jamison, best known as The Psychic Twins, recently posted a slew of compelling modelling photos featuring their own unique designs (most, circa 80s). The thing is, they look a whole lot like Lady Gaga's couture--that she claims to have designed herself.

Check out the photos on The Twins blog at this link--and let me know what you think.

-- Janet


Expecting Poop

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George Takei always posts the coolest things on Facebook. Today, he happened to post this image--a familiar type of image to FB denizens.

My words were Love, Power and Intelligence. Hmm.

The interesting thing, though, is what happened when I shared this on my timeline. Others posted their three words, and we had some laughs. 

One gal said she saw "Pop". I quipped "Better than poop!"

"Well", she said, "I'm sure I get to look forward to that, too! LOL"

I encouraged her not to be pessimistic--but she maintained she's just a realist.

Turns out, her youngest child is still in diapers. Ha! Yes, she has some poopies to look forward to in 2014...

But you know--babies in diapers aside--I firmly believe that your chances of experiencing poop increases exponentially when you expect it...and actively look for it.

What do you think, dear readers? Does "shit happen" because we often expect it to? And, what are the three words you see in this image? What do you wish you would see?

-- Janet


10 Questions for Tarotist Monte Farber

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What’s your favorite breakfast food? I am an omelette specialist and our most recent favorite is my "Cowgirl Omelette," which uses organic Cowgirl cheese from Petaluma, CA, and Calamatta olives and a bit of feta cheese. It's heavenly!

Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? My QUANTUM AFFIRMATIONS. If everyone stranded on a desert island had a copy they would learn how to move into the probable quantum future where their rescue or happy life on that island was their reality. I wrote it because I wanted to find out how I had succeeded at the game of life and, to my surprise, there was a method to my madness and QUANTUM AFFIRMATIONS is that method!

What makes you laugh? Amy and Zane make me laugh more than anything; laughter is a big part of "delightful" and "love."

Song that never gets old: So many; I used to make my living as a performing singer/songwriter. Today, when I asked for just one by someone else I heard "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks; she's amazing and the song is a powerhouse. I've written books where I just listen to one album over and over as I write, "Mystere" by Cirque Du Soleil being one of them. My favorite song written by me is "That's My High," written about Amy.

Drink of choice: Emergen-C tangerine for joint health; love it!

Would you rather be hot or cold? Cold

Mountain, beach, desert or forest? Based on where I've lived for the past several decades, forest with a beach nearby.

Favorite color? Aquarian electric cobalt blue.

Best movie line: "You make me want to be a better man" from "As Good as it Gets." Close second, Tom Hanks, who I know from our time working together on "The Money Pit": "You're my girl, Ginny," from "Forest Gump." Third is "You can't handle the truth!" another Jack Nicholson line, from "A Few Good Men."

Last thing you splurged on? I don't think of making me, Amy, Zane or anyone happy as "splurging." I do believe if you have to ask how much something costs you cannot afford it. Latest purchase was a huge rolling workbench with drawers, I'm organizing my many tool chests and our basement, a Herculian task if there ever was one. I'm handy & like to fix things so I have carpentry, electrical, plumbing, telephone and other cases that are bursting at the seems!

Bonus Q: Your best quality: My sense of humor. 

About Monte Farber: Monte Farber was born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied comparative religion and became interested in astrology in 1974 when he met his future wife and artistic collaborator, Amy Zerner. "Amy was studying astrology and I was studying Amy, so I learned astrology! It became our language of love." Farber's desire to make astrology understood and accessible to a broad audience led him to devise "Karma Cards: A Guide to Your Future through Astrology," having sold over 200,000 copies in twelve languages. Farber and Zerner went on to create books, book/card sets, and unique kits that also made other esoteric systems accessible, such as the tarot, alchemy, The Goddess, talking boards, meditation, shamanism, psychic development, and relationships. Farber is now the world's foremost creator of interactive personal guidance systems.

Monte has over two million copies of his 40 books, divination systems, and Meditation DVDs and CDs published around the world in fourteen languages by Sterling, St. Martin's Press, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books, Chronicle Books, HarperCollins, Tuttle Publishing, U.S. Games, and other prominent publishers. In 2006 Monte inked a deal with Sterling Publishing to publish exclusive titles that are distributed by Barnes and Noble nationwide, leading to his own shelves in every Barnes & Noble store. His best selling evergreen titles include Astrology Gems, The Tarot Discovery Kit, Chakra Meditation Kit, Karma Cards, The Enchanted Tarot, The Psychic Circle, Goddess Guide Me!, The Truth Fairy Pendulum Kit, The Soulmate Path, The Healing Deck, and The Instant Tarot Reader.

Before his career as an astrologer, author, psychic, and spiritual businessman, Monte worked as a Location Manager in the film business developing his first interactive creations and trying them out on actors such as Tom Hanks, Michael J. Fox, Shelly Long, and Lord Richard Attenborough.

An essential characteristic of Monte's creative approach to living is his childlike sense of wonder, playful fun, and adventure. He is uniquely qualified to teach the creative approach not only to those interested in the creative arts, but to all who want to access and use their innate creativity to enjoy their life more and do their job better. To Monte, spirituality and creativity are, essentially the same thing. Understanding either of them requires the knowledge that unseen forces and ideas both within us and without us create, to a large extent, our experience of reality.

Visit Monte Farber & Amy Zerner's website: www.TheEnchantedWorld.com


A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional for the Queen of Heaven

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I have an essay in a new anthology called A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional for the Queen of Heaven, and Ron's paintings of Lucia and Hulda are in there, too. It's published by Neos Alexandria/Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and edited by Jen McConnel. You can get it on Amazon at this link. (I just ordered four, and will be giving one away on my blog sometime in January.) Here's a summary:

Peel back the layers that comprise the Queen of Heaven. She is Mother Mary weeping at the cross, and Hathor dancing in the sky. She is Freyja with her wild eyes, and Frigg with her open arms. She is Yemaya, keeper of the sea; compassionate Kuan Yin; and she is winged Isis. Her starry body stretches across the sky in the guise of Nut, and she is Saraswati’s gentle song. She is Juno, and Hera, and Tanit, and a thousand forgotten names, and she is Inanna, descending to the underworld to be reborn.

The voices in this anthology are as diverse as the different goddesses who have claimed the title Queen of Heaven, but each sparkles like the stars in Our Lady’s mantle.

My essay is called "Queen of Swords, Queen of Heaven".

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Below is an excerpt:

When it comes to the Tarot, authors spill the most ink on the 22 Major Arcana cards. The 40 Minor Arcana cards—Aces through Tens—are lucky to get a handful of keywords ascribed to them. Getting the shortest shrift of all are the 16 Court Cards, often relegated to assignations of mere age, gender, eye color, hair hue and elemental Zodiac group.

Many authors explain such emphasis on the Majors for archetypal reasons. They maintain only the Fool through the World reflects the universal “big” picture themes within Tarot. In fact, according to some, the Majors should be more heavily “weighted” in a reading—overshadowing the messages of the number cards (Minors) and face cards (Courts). Minor Arcana cards signify “just” daily minutia, while the Courts represent individuals weaving in and out of our lives.

Allow me to disagree with my colleagues by saying that every card in the Tarot—all 78 images—reflect archetypal motifs found in myth, folklore, religion, literature and song, spanning every era and culture.

Viewed through this expanded cosmic lens, the Minor Arcana and Court Cards shine magnificent, begging for closer examination, deeper exploration and—more importantly—broader application to our earthly journey and nagging questions.

This brings me to the theme of this anthology: the Queen of Heaven.

Of all the cards in the Tarot, the one that best embodies this theme (in my estimation) is a Court Card—the Queen of Swords.

Can't wait to read what the other contributors have written for the A Mantle of Stars: A Devotional for the Queen of Heaven!

-- Janet


Experiencing Laziness Directly

I love the teachings and books of Pema Chodron. I just received a quote about laziness in my inbox, excerpted from her book The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times.

Places that scare you

This is so timely for me, because I made the crazy statement on Facebook that one of my goals for 2014 (in addition to finishing two Tarot books before summer)--is to blog every day of the year.

WTF was I thinking? I mean, really.

I know that one of my mottos is "Go big or go home", but that was just ridiculous. (Timothy Martin got inspired by my cray cray and said he's going to blog daily for 2014. Go, Timothy!)

I never compete with other people, only myself (hell, I'm too busy to even pay attention what anyone else is doing). So I tend to reach for bigger, longer and better with my creative projects...when, in fact, 2014 is about going deeper and slower.

D'oh! Old habits are hard to break...

So here's the incredibly wise Pema Chodron on the topic of laziness...something I think I should try. Because for me, being brave isn't accomplishing crazy goals (I can do that in my sleep)--but ratcheting down my output in a more focused way. And, daring to be, feel and (gasp!) appear lazy.

Laziness is not particularly terrible or wonderful. Rather it has a basic living quality that deserves to be experienced just as it is. Perhaps we’ll find an irritating, pulsating quality in laziness. We might feel it as dull and heavy or as vulnerable and raw. Whatever we discover, as we explore it further, we find nothing to hold on to, nothing solid, only groundless, wakeful energy.

This process of experiencing laziness directly and nonverbally is transformative. It unlocks a tremendous energy that is usually blocked by our habit of running away. This is because when we stop resisting laziness, our identity as the one who is lazy begins to fall apart completely. Without the blinders of ego, we connect with a fresh outlook, a greater vision. This is how laziness—or any other demon—introduces us to the compassionate life. 

-- Janet