New Tarot Deck: Tabula Mundi

Some of you may remember the Thoth-inspired deck I posted about once upon a time ago, the Rosetta Tarot. Well, the same artist, M.M. Meleen, is working on her second deck. It’s called Tabula Mundi Nox et Lux edition (black and white/line drawings). Right now it’s Major Arcana/ black and white only, although eventually she plans to release a fully colored, full deck version.

This is another Thoth-y flavored deck in terms of inspiration and symbolism. And if you’re interested in getting a grasp on the esoteric symbolism, I would highly recommend getting the book to go along with the deck. I have the Rosetta book and it’s BEYOND obvious the woman knows her stuff, with a very in-depth treatment of the symbolism behind each card. It’s so rare to find decks where the creator is both a gifted artist and a gifted Taroist. But I’m confident that’s what you can expect from this one.

Here’s a little peek into the deck’s birth, with an time lapse video showing the creation of several cards.

How cool is that?!

What do you think?

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?

Glitter Tarot Deck Craft Project

Ever since I trimmed my Radiant Rider Waite deck, it hasn’t been entirely happy with me.

Yes, I anthropomorphize my decks. Deal with it.

Not because I think it’s blasphemy. I think it’s just because I was so…haphazard in my technique. I lopped off the borders with wild abandon. I have a streak of perfectionism a mile wide (Hello, Virgo!) and sometimes to compensate, I push myself to jump in with both feet instead. Chopping up a Tarot deck is kind of scary, so I went with the “both feet” method.

It wasn’t done with proper care and respect, this is what I decided. I apologized to the deck a number of times and promised my continuing love and respect, but I still got a slightly cold shoulder. So I decided to make it up to my friend by showering this deck with some love. I opted for glitter. I have a Lenormand deck I’ve glittered up with highlights and we get on fabulously.

I’ll admit, I did spend some time lusting after artist Carol Herzer’s Illuminated Tarot. While it’s certainly a reasonable price for meticulously hand-painted cards, it’s beyond what I wanted to invest in a Tarot deck. I’ve also seen Donnaleigh do it and thought it was a fabulous idea.

At any rate, this is my cut-rate, glittered up version of wonderful and I cannot wait to start working with it again…I love it, flaws and all.

What I’d do differently next time:

  • More carefully plan my inventory of glitter polish. I had to get more mid-project. Two or three bottles of each main color should do it, at least one bottle of the lesser used colors, and four or five of the irresdecent glitter I slathered over each card should do it.
  • Do one color at a time on cards and let it dry before adding new colors. Or maybe not; I’m impatient. But it would have fewer color smears.
  • Allow all the colors to dry before vamping it up with the iridescent glitter. Again, my impatience got in the way.
  • Keep a tissue handy while painting, for wiping off mistakes in the glitter painting. My fingers are far too pudgy to be fully effective.
  • Keep a pair of reading glasses next to the project at all times. Because sometimes, I’m just lazy.
  • Buy cheapo, fine-tip brushes and use with a paper plate as a palate. But that would be going all artsy-fartsy.
  • Use a screwdriver instead of scissors to pry the lid off the sealer. (Shhh! Don’t tell Captain Virgo!)
  • Use two trash bags to spread out cards when coating with sealer. Reusing the same bag was sticky. Also, do this on a warmer day.

What I would not change:

  • Use this activity as a way to wind down and relax. It was great, very soothing!
  • Pulled the cards to paint from a shuffled deck, asking questions along the way. It was both informative as a mini-reading and also made a nice connection with each card as I was working on it.
  • Glittered up ALL the cards, even the “bad” ones. Because the Three of Swords needs love, too.
  • Not taking myself or the project too seriously. I wanted to infuse some fun and love into this deck again to make it a strong working deck, and I believe I succeeded. It may not be perfect, but as long as I’m happy with it, it works.

Be aware if you give this a try, it makes your deck a lot thicker. I am not concerned about shuffling off the glitter because I used the sealer and since I didn’t spend a fortune, it won’t be a tragedy when the deck is worn out. I’ll just give it a respectful goodbye and make another if I’m so moved.

Would you every glitter up a Tarot deck, or does the thought make you shudder?

Trimming a Tarot Deck

Captain Virgo comes in to give me hospital warnings about using the paper cutter as I’m jamming on the Hermit card.

He doesn’t quite understand why I’m laughing.

“It’s the Virgo card. It’s appropriate!”

“Well, if that means something to you, leave that card out and watching you while you’re doing this. No losing fingers! No hospital runs!”

I have been seeing other Tarot folks cut the borders off their cards. Such blasphemy! Such cheekiness! Such fun!

But more, such freedom! I’ve been itching to try it. Now I can buy a deck with ugly borders, or one that’s too big, or give new life to an old deck. So I gave it a go on my Radiant Rider Waite. After all, I don’t need the card names and numbers on such a traditional deck. I thought it would be cool to have smaller cards that were all images.

20130308_114241 (600x450)Hints: I got an inexpensive corner rounder and already had a cheap paper cutter. These did NOT feel finished without the rounded corners and I would have regretted doing it otherwise. Crafting perfectionists may need fancier equipment (or better yet, just take ’em to Kinko’s and pay a few bucks to do the modifications by machine).

As you can see by my photos, I wasn’t overly anal-retentive about my methods. Does that surprise anybody?

I do think the deck was mildly traumatized. The first card I pulled for the operation was the Tower. The first cut was indeed scary, but once that initial slice was out of the way and I relaxed, the rest was easy. The whole process of cutting and trimming probably took less than an hour. I didn’t time it.

I was very pleased with the results, coming in about the size of a mini deck that’s full-color goodness! It’s much easier to get lost in the images without the distraction of the words and numbers. The sizes are not exactly uniform, but close enough to work and shuffle just fine.

I reassured the cards I’d love them even more now, and the last card that came up for the operation was the Hierophant. So I’m declaring it a success.

Next time, I’ll be chopping the frayed edges of my Legacy of the Divine deck to see if I can’t give it some more mileage. Woot!

Would you consider altering a Tarot deck?


Tarot Nova Mini Deck Review


I was in the market for a mini deck to carry in my purse, hoping to feed my inner-deck fiend at the same time I went portable. While I considered a small Universal Waite, I have the Radiant Rider Waite already. Thoth comes in miniature and I’ve wanted to learn it, but wasn’t looking to learn on tiny cards. The imagery didn’t have to be traditionally based, but I wanted the meanings to be so I’d be comfortable reading with it right way. Enter Tarot Nova.

The images are minimalist and folksy, sort of like Dutch folk art. While I usually don’t like overly minimalist decks, this one still managed to retain the character of the card even with the simple images. I like the images and playful feel. This is a fun little deck.

The cards are a little more square than I’d expected, but not too large to pop in my purse. The stock is good quality and coated, so I think they’ll stand up well. The first time you pull it out, that coating does stick cards to each other, so be sure you’ve got all the cards separated. But once you’ve got them apart, you’re set.

There was also a page included meant to illustrate a simple spread, with instructions on reading basics. The reading basics are extremely basic and while reasonable enough, certainly not much that would be of interest to someone who’s ever read Tarot. I considered it scratch paper.

No astrology correspondences are included.  And while the images are consistent with the concepts for sure, it’s not a deck that focuses on esoteric symbolism in the least. More a whimsical approach than anything else. Consider this a practical work deck, not a tool-for-learning deck.

The set comes with a small booklet with interpretations.  The suggested meanings often emphasized a particular angle on the traditional interpretation, although they did not abandon tradition completely. The booklet was fine as far as “Little White Books” go and may be an interesting compare-and-contrast tool, but I would recommend something more substantial to get the nuance if you’re not already a reader. If you are, though, you may want to check the booklet anyway to see if it gives you a new spin.

I’ve done readings with this deck, and find it charming to use in its simplicity without losing the essence of the cards’ energy. The only major drawback I’ve found for me is that the glossy black cards are very hard to photograph. But for most people, that’s not  much of an issue. If you’re looking for a small deck that carries a good punch for the visual detail, reads well and will hold up to use, Tarot Nova is a good choice.

Here’s a sample of the cards.

Anybody have this deck? You like it?

Tarot: The Complete Kit (Running Press Mega Mini Kits)