Osho Zen Tarot Deck Review

I was browsing a local metaphysical shop, looking for a new “friend” if one happened to speak to me, and the fella working there was SOOOOOO excited about how great the Osho Zen deck was, I ended up buying it. His joy at sharing something he obviously loved was infectious. I thought it was a beautiful deck, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to read with it. I actually bought it to ride his happy wave.

It is beautiful, though. I had to give him that. The artwork is colorful and striking. Many of the images Eastern-flavored, using highly saturated colors and some modern imagery. The pictures are engaging and expressive. It IS the kind of deck you may get just to admire, because the cards are just flat out engaging.

Osho ZenThe teachings espoused in the card interpretations are from Osho, a Zen master. Osho himself was quite a colorful character, controversial but interesting.  Nonetheless, I was annoyed discovering an extra Major Arcana card for “The Master,” representative of transcending the cycle of life and death and illustrated by a painting of (the deceased) Osho. This struck me as contrived and self-indulgent, considering the concepts within the deck and book should already be enough to introduce his perspective. Y’kno? But it’s easy enough to nix that card if you don’t want to participate.

The suits are Fire, Water, Clouds (Air), and Rainbows (Earth), represented by elemental icons.  For each card, the companion book has black and white card images, a selection from Osho relating to the card’s meaning, and a less poetic suggested interpretation.  Some of Osho’s selections may require extra consideration if you have little exposure to Zen philosophy. No particular attention is paid to astrological correspondences beyond that inherited by the semi-traditional card associations.

I actually had the deck for several years before I learned to read with it. I was concerned I’d have trouble interpreting it. Once I got to know the cards a little better, I found I could indeed get sharp and helpful readings. Card interpretations are often similar to the Rider/Waite, but sometimes focus on specific aspects or angles of the traditional meanings. Suits are represented by the colors in the diamond icon at card’s bottom, and court cards are designated by their corresponding elemental symbols to make identification easier.

I find this deck to be direct, very much on the blunt side. I don’t consider that a criticism, personally. I highly value directness. I also am a fan of Zen—I find freedom in detachment and see gifts in mindfulness. But not everybody feels the same, so bear in mind your own preferences when considering this deck.

Some of the imagery packs a punch, and there are a number of cards that some may consider bleak. A random sampling:

I would recommend this deck for people who like Zen-flavored perspective, prefer straight talk and are willing to put in the time needed to get to know these cards. In return, they’ll return vivid imagery, new perspective, and to-the-point advice.

Anyone work with this deck? Your thoughts?

p.s. Feel free to request this deck when booking a session with me.

Mystic Dreamer Tarot Deck Review

The Mystic Dreamer Tarot was one of those decks I saw lots of buzz about when I was in the market for a new deck, so I took a closer look. It was lovely! The images are digitally manipulated photos, somewhat more modern than Rider/Waite, but styled to retain a fantasy/medieval feeling. Even for the most modern images, the burnt paper design of borders and embellished typeface keep the overall Renaissance mood of the deck intact. It’s indeed an engaging and pretty deck.

While some imagery reflects Rider/Waite standards, some deviate. All imagery included, however, reflects traditional card interpretations, although sometimes with different symbolism. Still, it’s close enough it won’t confuse you. This is a deck you can sit down and read with immediately.

The cards in this deck all include the moon, intended as a sign of the intuitive process in reading, going deeper and not being fooled by initial illusion. Many/most also feature a Raven, suggested to represent the subconscious and the hidden mystery of Tarot. Unfortunately, that convention makes the additions less meaningful overall, since it’s not specific to certain cards. So while I appreciate the intent, I didn’t feel like the constant prodding to “look deeper” was really required. You wouldn’t have picked up a Tarot deck if you’re not looking deeper already.

The full-length companion book included, “The Dreamers Journal,” is superior to your standard Little White Book. Written by Tarot expert (and all-around cool chick) Barbara Moore, it provides an overview of each card, background and story, and finished up with a few questions intended to stimulate intuitive reading. This makes the book a good companion for someone new to reading, giving enough guidance to get them started with approachable explanations, but without an overly authoritarian tone that might discourage wandering beyond the given interpretation.

All in all, I like this deck. It’s similar enough to traditional decks to be easy to read, but different enough to stimulate creative interpretation and fresh insights. The images are engaging and rich, with both old and new symbolism that’s bound to tweak your imagination. I think it would make a nice starter deck for the new reader who found the Rider-Waite less than enchanting, or a new friend for the experience reader who is looking for a fresh voice.

Like this deck? Anybody have it?

Legacy of the Divine Deck Review

An especially stunning Empress!

I eyed the Gilded Tarot Deck for months, drawn in by the stunning digital art of Ciro Marchetti, but just never felt convinced to take the leap, although I was certainly tempted. Afterward, the same artist had done the self-published Tarot of Dreams, another gorgeous deck. When I saw his third deck, Legacy of the Divine, I stopped eying and started buying.  Ha!

Gateway to the Divine is the full-size book that comes with the deck. The first section is a fictional mythology explaining the origins of this deck, essentially the deck’s “birth story;” the second sections includes info on each card, both from the artist explaining his depiction and commentary from three Tarot experts on the cards’ symbolism and interpretation. Astrological Correspondences are included.

The card meanings are traditionally-based, so this is an easy deck to read; the imagery in some cases resembles RWS, and in others departs, but it’s all rich in symbolism and detail. The colors are rich, saturated, with plenty of eye candy to suck you in.  Many cards have their astrological symbols integrated in the art, making this an especially nice deck for astrology fans taking up Tarot.

The deck is standard size, printed on reasonable quality stock. Mine is starting to wear slightly, but I’m not surprised because I am using it plenty. It’s currently enjoying my go-to deck status, although I still see other decks. (I’m not deck-monogamous.) It consistently gives solid, insightful readings. The images photograph nicely for sharing with clients, and the cards are full of mood and detail to offer plenty of hooks for the intuition. You can sit down and read this deck without studying first, although studying the book and symbolism from the cards will give you even more depth to work with.

This is absolutely one of my favorite decks.  Here’s a random sampling:

Update: I wrote this some time ago and realize, I could use a new copy of this deck. Mine don’t look nearly as pretty with the wear and tear anymore. I’ve used it a lot! But still, a lovely treasure nonetheless.

[amazon_link id=”0738715654″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Legacy of the Divine Tarot[/amazon_link] Y’all like this one? Anybody else have a deck by Ciro Marchetti?

[amazon_link id=”0738715654″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Legacy of the Divine Tarot Deck and Companion Book[/amazon_link]

Karma Cards Oracle Deck Review

If you’re learning astrology, I found a great little tool to help you get some insight on the ways different placements interact. Or at least, that’s how I use these cards!

The Karma Cards were developed by astrologer Monte Farber. The cards are divided into Planet, Sign and Houses. Making a deck of 36 total. In addition to using it as a divination tool, it’s a pretty friendly way to learn more astrology.

The cards were designed to answer outcome and action type questions, as in “What will be the outcome of…” or “What should I do about…” So slight variations, like “what to keep in mind about…” will also work. The cards themselves are very attractively illustrated, and have appropriate artwork for each with small symbols in the corner of planet glyphs, house placements, and so on.

The book is more substantial than a standard Tarot little white book. The first part is dedicated to working with the cards: the idea behind them, how to use them, etc., and the second section is devoted to discussion the astrology of the planets, signs and houses. The summaries are well done and easy to follow.

To use the cards, you pull one from each category of planets, signs and houses. Red and blue sides of the cards each have three bits of text, labeled S (Spiritual), M (Mental) and P (Physical). You simply read the sentence formed by the three cards—the red side for action oriented questions, and the blue side for outcome oriented questions.

Here’s an example of what you’d see for Mars in Aries in the first house:

So the “action” answer for this grouping would be:

  • Spiritual: Energize your willpower immediately.
  • Mental: Confront what you think you know about the way you protect yourself.
  • Physical: Force yourself to do it your own way and do it on your own.

And the “outcome” answer would be:

  • Spiritual: The drive for energies to meet the challenges of who you are.
  • Mental: The confronting of your desires regarding your desires.
  • Physical: Action resulting from the honesty and strength of your actions.

Since we’re doing Mars, Aries and the first house together here, the answers feel a little repetitive. But still, not a bad representation of this combination. I like these cards a lot!

For beginners, you’ve got keywords and short phrases for various astrological placements. Those more experienced in astrology will find the keywords less useful, of course, but the references to various placements could nonetheless help trigger insights. And regardless of your knowledge level, you can use these like any divination deck to see what the universe has to say. Always a worthwhile goal, in my estimation.

What do you think of the Karma cards? Anybody have them?

[amazon_link id=”140274546X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Karma Cards[/amazon_link]

Universal Fantasy Tarot Deck Review

Being a die-hard deck fiend, I’ve been known to pick up decks after laborious and loving consideration, or on a split-second of whim of impulse. The Universal Fantasy Tarot falls into the latter category.

I wanted some new blood—er, I mean cards—and have my work to justify my habit. I love playing Dungeons and Dragons based games with my man, and thought this would be a cool extension of that interest. The box was pretty. So I grabbed it and went! I would have benefited from giving it more consideration.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing exactly wrong with this deck. I mean, it’s non-traditional. I have no issue with non-traditional. Plenty of the decks I buy (and review) are non-traditional. I love the Truth of the Tarot can be translated and accessed so many ways!

What I wasn’t exactly computing is that the imagery wasn’t just done in the style of a fantastical world, but has specific elements and allegory directly borrowed from the genre of fantasy fiction. In some cases, the scenes mirror more traditional decks, but in many others, they don’t.

Without familiarity with the creatures and stories populating the cards, I have little hope of reading with them. As in, I’d shuffle through, see a puzzling rendition, mentally conjure up the image of the card’s traditional counterpart and try to merge the two. Not exactly efficient for the flow of intuitive insight, huh?

Cards are lightly coated on a stock weight that’s nothing special, a little taller and narrower than most decks. Card labels include multiple languages, same as the Zodiac Tarot, also a Lo Scarabeo deck. I find the Little White Books largely useless, and this one is no exception. And of course, nothing special for the astrology people.

I also have found I have a strong preference for cards that are not overly busy—as gorgeous as I find the artwork on Shadowscapes, I hardly ever pick it up. All that tiny detail just distracts me and leaves me feeling a little old, wishing for better eyesight.

For me, it was definitely a deck mistake. Perhaps your experience is different.

Random sampling of the cards:

What’s your opinion on this deck? You like it, want it or have it?

[amazon_image id=”8883955471″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]UNIVERSAL FANTASY TAROT (cards)[/amazon_image]

Morgan Greer Tarot Deck Review

Morgan-Greer is a Rider-Waite-Smith clone from 1979. The artwork reminds me a lot of the Aquarian Tarot, if it were done with bold coloring instead of pastels. It’s indeed a lovely deck.

Those familiar with the RWS imagery should find no trouble working with these cards. The basic images and concepts are the same, although there is a little artistic license, particularly with image perspective as many are shown closer in than traditionally.

Nothing special for astrology fans with this deck, sorry to say. So just like the RWS, you’re on your own for coming up with astrological associations for the cards. But we’re mostly used to it by now, huh?

While there is plenty of detail, overall the artwork is especially fetching with bright, richly saturated color. I like the lack of borders coupled with this artwork, as it doesn’t break the flow. If you work with reversals, note the design on the back of the cards is NOT mirrored, so if you’re looking, you can tell if a card is inverted before turning it over.

I’d tell you about the Little White book, but to be honest, I didn’t really look at it. Unless I’ve got a non-traditional deck, I just don’t bother. The cards are good quality and have a very nice coating. I expect them to stand up to use well.

I’d think this to be a suitable deck for new readers, since it’s close enough to RWS that the images will be mostly recognizable for using your books and other learning resources. Or for those who like RWS but could use a little new twist in their readings, it would be an excellent choice.

Here’s a random sampling of cards from Morgan-Greer:

Anyone have this deck? You like it?