31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 16: That must-see card


Day 16: What Tarot card in the deck do you look out for the most when you get a new deck? If you don’t like that card does it ruin the deck for you?

It’s a tie between the Queen of Swords and the Nine of Pentacles. And yes, sometimes one or both are just not all that great to look at. But I like or dislike a deck based on the deck as a whole. My key factors are the art style, the theme, and the symbolism, all of which shape every card, not just those two.

Queen of Swords and Nine of Pentacles tarot cards

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019: Days 14-15

Combined posts: the secret to my having made it to the halfway point!

Day 14: Which tarot decks give you the most insight by way of the imagery and symbology of the cards rather than intuition or basic tarot knowledge – Elizabeth Harkin

I turn to the classics here: the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and the Thoth Tarot. I don’t necessarily “like” the symbolism in these decks. The RWS deck is far more Christian in its orientation than I am, and…well, a great deal of the time, I’m not sure where the Thoth deck is even going. But for me to read using the imagery and symbology of the cards, a deck needs to have them in the first place, and both these decks exult in them. I respect these decks for that. Now, I don’t know as I get more from the imagery and the symbols than via my intuition or my grasp of the basic card meanings. They’re all mixed together for me.

Day 15: What is in your Tarot ‘to-go’ bag? Your Tarot travel bag. – Nya Thryce

Ooh, the prompt makes me think of an emergency tarot bag, packed and waiting by the front door, to be grabbed as I run out the door to a crisis. Except my life is not quite that interesting, and I don’t keep a bag ready to go. But when I do take tarot somewhere, it’s basically a tarot deck or two (lately, that would be the Sun and Moon Tarot and maybe the Happy Tarot) and a Lenormand deck (probably the Dondorf Lenormand). If I’m really prepared, I’ll throw in a notebook and pen as well, but I may just rely on getting a photo if I need a record of any reading.

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019: Days 12-13

Day 12 is barely more than a tweet in its own right, so another combined post:

Day 12: Have you ever dealt with Impostor Syndrome in your Tarot practice? – Maria Alviz Hernando

No, as most of the time I read for myself. When I read for others, 99% of the time it’s for a friend, often one who reads tarot cards themselves and knows what’s involved.

Day 13: From the Major Arcana Cards, what card correlates to your sun, moon and rising sign? How has that resonated or played out in your life?? – Nya Thryce

Astrology is my first love: I began studying it years before I acquired a tarot deck. When I learned of the Golden Dawn astrological associations, I was thrilled for a while, because it looked like a way to combine two things I really liked. The problem was, I couldn’t get the two systems to mesh. To me, it feels as if the Golden Dawn forced astrology and tarot together because they were philosophically convinced that there had to be a near-perfect correlation, instead of respecting each system’s individual variations.

Devil and Chariot tarot cards

It’s the Devil twice over for my Capricorn Sun and Ascendant, and the Chariot for my Cancer Moon. I identify with many characteristics of Cancer and Capricorn. And I’ve gotten the Chariot and the Devil in a lot of readings over the years, usually pointing out issues in accordance with their standard meanings. I just haven’t seen those cards reflect the qualities of those astrological signs to any great degree, or vice versa.

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 11: Oracle decks that you want to work with more in 2019

Between saying yesterday that I wanted to work with four tarot decks, plus the deck I usually use, plus these three oracle decks, plus at least one Lenormand deck…when will I have time to do anything else? Like go to work. Or sleep. Or knit. (Priorities!)

Day 11: Oracle decks that you want to work with more in 2019

  • Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle. I’ve had good experiences working with this deck—what little I’ve done so far—and I want to learn more about it. Which is going to be the best way to learn about it. (I’m taking notes!)
  • Supra Oracle. This deck is too lovely to not find any use for it.
  • Fin de Siècle Kipper. Like the Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle, I’ve had some spot-on readings with this deck. It can feel like using a Lenormand deck, but it’s not a Lenormand, and I want more experience with it.

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 10: Tarot decks that you want to work with more in 2019

Sorry—no clever intro sentence today.

Day 10: Tarot decks that you want to work with more in 2019

  • Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille. I’m currently absorbed in reading Minor Arcana (“pips,” usually, when speaking of a pre-RWS deck) where you don’t get a mood for the card from the illustration on it. Four cups, ten swords, nine coins, eight wands—they’re just patterns on Marseille-style cards. And it’s important which direction a person (on the Major Arcana—do I have to call them “trumps”?—or the court cards) is facing. Fascinating.
  • The Orbifold Tarot. As above, for only having number and suit to read with. Not even people, with this deck. But the deck creator used the colors and patterns he did with intention, and I want to learn more about that.
  • The Pagan Otherworlds Tarot. Because I really like it.
  • The New Era Elements Tarot. I bought it for some reason, even though it’s not the kind of deck I’m often attracted to. I’d like to find out why.

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 9: Tarot goals 2019

Having glanced back at 2018, a turn towards the year to come.

Day 9: Tarot goals 2019

I probably wouldn’t have thought of having tarot goals if I hadn’t seen this prompt, but I did, and here we are.

  • Write “The Moon through the Minor Arcana.” In 2016 and 2017, I wrote a series of posts examining the Minor Arcana in light of the Golden Dawn astrological associations. Each post looked at the cards that had a planet in common. I started with Saturn, the slowest of the classical planets, and worked my way through the solar system: Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, and Mercury. The last post in the series was to be “The Moon through the Minor Arcana.” I got a draft written but never posted. I got distracted? Life got in the way? Whatever. Anyway, I want to get that last post out in 2019.
  • A workable tarot journal. Why yes, I have a tarot journal. It’s at least my second, maybe third attempt at one. I have the most pleasant visions of the ideal tarot journal will work: it holds all my insights on various cards, it makes studying the cards so delightful that I’ll look forward to writing about each and every one of them, and it’s an easy-to-access repository of all the best spreads I’ve found or created. In reality, I need to weed the thing down to a manageable size, reorganize what’s left, and decide what to add in the future.
A purple discbound notebook lying on a table.
Less would be more.

I suppose I’ve committed to doing these things now. Well, not until February at the earliest. After all, I still have this challenge to finish!

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019: Days 5-8

My answers to the next few prompts are so brief that it seems best to combine them into a single post.

Day 5: The card that stalked you in 2018

The Four of Swords. I name it because it showed up in several of my readings, but so did other cards, like the Seven of Pentacles. But one day, a friend was telling some of us about a reading she’d done for herself, and I knew, a moment before she said it, that the Four of Swords was one of the cards in that reading.
4 Four of Swords tarot cards

Day 6: The deck you finally crossed off your wish list in 2018

Two of them, actually. First, the Arcanum Tarot, because I acquired it. Second, the Kawaii Tarot, because I saw more pictures of it and decided not to get it after all.

Day 7: Most worked with Tarot deck in 2018 and why

The Sun and Moon Tarot, because it’s my current go-to deck. Sure, I spent serious time this year with the Orbifold Tarot and the Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille, and I had a major reading with the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot…but if I’m rushing out the door and need to grab a tarot deck on the way out, it’ll be the Sun and Moon Tarot.

Day 8: Top 5 decks on your wish list now

  • Scrying Ink Lenormand (Siolo Thompson)
  • Millennium Thoth Tarot (Renata Lechner)
  • Thelema Lenormand (Renata Lechner)
  • Tarot Grand Luxe (Ciro Marchetti)
  • Tarot Decoratif (Ciro Marchetti)

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 4: Top tarot books of 2018

And now for the literary side of tarot.

Day 4: Top 5 Tarot Books of 2018 (ones you purchased and/or released in 2018)

Merely buying a book doesn’t give me much to say about it, and several of the tarot books I bought in 2018 I haven’t read yet. Meanwhile, one of the books I did read was bought in 2017. So I’m changing this to the tarot books I read in 2018.

Book covers: Tarot Compendium, Your Tarot Your Way, Untold Tarot, Tarot on Earth

Tarot Compendium. The concluding volume in a three-book set from Lo Scarabeo, this one covering more advanced topics. It was big (656 pages, a bit over 4 pounds (1.8 kg)), it was beautiful (fully illustrated), but it tried to cover a lot of territory and it couldn’t do justice to it all. It was like a sampler platter of advanced tarot techniques, and I value the introduction, but I will only pursue a few of the things I read about in it.

Your Tarot Your Way by Barbara Moore. I got this as a door prize at the North Star Tarot Conference last February. It was a perfectly decent beginners’ book on the tarot and I enjoyed it.

Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews. There’s this saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Well, this was more like When the reader is ready, the book will appear. The year I began working with the Orbifold Tarot and the Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille was the year this came out: a book about reading Marseille-style decks. I devoured it.

Tarot on Earth: A Practical Approach to the Cards by Tom Benjamin. Oh look, another book on tarot cards without illustrations on the pip cards! Benjamin alternates chapters on how to read the tarot with interludes on ethics, being wrong (and being right), spirituality and magic, intuition, and doubt.

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 3: Top oracle decks of 2018

More show and more tell.

Day 3: Top 5 Oracle Decks of 2018 (ones you purchased and/or released in 2018)

I only bought four oracle decks in 2018. (Five tarot decks, four oracle decks…okay, let’s stop there and not discuss how many books and how much yarn I bought last year!) Again, in order of acquisition:

Seventh Sphere Lenormand. Yep, by the same person who did the Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille. I was seduced by the color palette. Like the tarot deck, it’s plastic, although the smaller cards feel less flimsy. I realize that I’m going to end up saying the least about it of all these decks, and that may make it look like I care the least about it. Actually, I’ve used it more than any of these others. But with the exception of its names for the Man and Woman cards (Animus and Anima), it’s a standard Lenormand deck, and I just don’t have much to explain about it. Unless you want me to go on about how much I like the colors?

Seventh Sphere Lenormand: Mice, Book, Lily

Supra Oracle. A few years ago, I got the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot. That put me on the creators’ mailing list, so when they did a Kickstarter for a new oracle deck, I heard about it. (Note to self: STAY OFF KICKSTARTER.) I admire this deck. But I’m having trouble using it because I haven’t figured out what kinds of questions it would be good at answering. It doesn’t feel like a predictive deck, nor does it seem inclined to give advice. Insight, perhaps, or deeper spiritual meanings. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the guidebook to be of much help.

Supra Oracle: Unconscious, Everydayness, Reawaken

Lunar Nomad Oracle. I didn’t intend to get this deck. I’d seen it announced, but by the time it came out, I’d gotten how many tarot and oracle decks? It was striking, but not a priority purchase for me. And then it turned up at Half Price Books on a day I had a coupon for 20% off. If you haven’t guessed from the name, it’s a Lenormand deck, or maybe it’d be more accurate to call it a Lenormand+ deck. It has 43 cards: the standard 36 from the Lenormand, a second set of Man and Woman cards, and 5 cards of Shaheen Miro’s own invention. The cards are huge for Lenormand: to do the Grand Tableau, I’d have to lay the cards out on the floor, and I note that Miro doesn’t even mention this spread in the accompanying book. (How would you do the Grand Tableau with 43 cards, anyway?)

Lunar Nomad Oracle: Dog, Book, Man

Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle. I’d admired the art in Siolo Thompson’s Linestrider Tarot, but hadn’t been able to read with it. I’ve seen her Scrying Ink Lenormand deck, but haven’t made the commitment to buy it. And then she came out with this deck, and, well, flowers! (And other plants. And a mushroom.) I figured that either I’d be able to read with this deck or I wouldn’t, but it would be lovely to look at in any case. Plus, unlike tarot and Lenormand decks, I wouldn’t be comparing it to other decks. I’m sure there are other botanical oracles out there, but I don’t have them and I’m not going to have to unlearn a different system to use this deck. So far, I’ve gotten some spot-on readings with this deck, which is the best encouragement to keep using it. I admit, I’m a bit frustrated with the guidebook. There isn’t much information on how to use these cards for divination, and because this deck is unique, I can’t rely on other books as I could with tarot and Lenormand. On the positive side, it has the card illustrations in full color and larger than the cards, as well as additional illustrations, and it has interesting information about the plants themselves.

Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle: Ephemeral, Invigorate, Clarity

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough

31 Days of Tarot 2019 – Day 2: Top 5 tarot decks of 2018

Show and tell time!

Day 2: Top 5 Tarot Decks of 2018 (ones you purchased and/or released in 2018)

Well, this will be easy to list as I only bought five decks last year. (“Only.” Sheesh.)

In order of acquisition:

Arcanum Tarot. I bought this at the North Star Tarot Conference last February, but I’d been planning the purchase for months. I have Renata Lechner’s Thelema Tarot as well, and I was looking forward to seeing more of her art. While I like Lechner’s art, I haven’t used either deck much for readings. I’ve admired individual cards, and I can get good readings from the decks, but I have more emotional connection to other decks in my collection. But have I mentioned the art?

Arcanum Tarot: The Star, Ace of Swords, King of Pentacles

Orbifold Tarot. Unlike the Arcanum Tarot, I’d never heard of the Orbifold Tarot before I saw it at the North Star Tarot Conference. Every now and then, a deck insists on coming home with me, even when I can’t come up with a single rational reason for it to do so. As you can see, the Orbifold’s illustrations are brightly colored arrangements of circles. It makes a Marseille deck look heavily illustrated by comparison. How on earth was I going to read the darn thing? And then I ended up using it for readings and writing blog posts about it.

Orbifold Tarot: Temperance, Four of Air, Queen of Earth

Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille. For whatever reason, many artists take the symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and create decks in completely different styles. Most don’t feel obliged to imitate Pamela Colman Smith’s art too closely. But so many Marseille tarots look nearly identical to my untrained eye, and all of them in the style of old woodcuts—a look I just don’t care for. Make a Marseille deck in a different style, and I’m willing to consider it. (I also own the Marseille Cat Tarot.) The Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille is definitely modern, while keeping many of the characteristics of the old decks, like an unnamed thirteenth trump and a giant cup at the top of the Ten of Cups. Unlike most tarot decks, the cards are thin plastic. The deck comes with two new trumps, the Return and the Tree of Life, but I haven’t used them.

Seventh Sphere Tarot de Marseille: The Fool, Nine of Coins, Queen of Wands

New Era Elements Tarot. I like color. I also like not-modern imagery in my tarot decks. So I have no easy explanation of why I decided to buy this deck soon after seeing a photo that a friend posted of it. Sepia. Modern, 21st century imagery. Nice illustrations, yes, but not my kind of deck at all. Did you catch the bit back at the Orbifold Tarot where I said sometimes decks come home with me for no rational reason?

New Era Elements Tarot: Judgment, Six of Fire, Daughter of Earth

The Simple Tarot. Because I needed more decks with modern imagery? I learned about this deck on Kickstarter, and dutifully tried to resist—after all, I’d already bought four tarot decks this year!—but in the end, I committed to it. I chose the Classic Deck, but there’s also a Beginners Deck version with keywords for the main symbols printed on the cards. Sometimes simple is good.

Simple Tarot: The Emperor, Eight of Cups, Knight of Wands

Prompts: Ethony’s 31 Days of Tarot YouTube Community Challenge and 31 Days of Tarot 2019 * Prompt Walkthrough