Blogs from Janet Boyer - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols.html Mon, 22 May 2017 12:20:07 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Calling All Tarot Bloggers! - 2017 International Tarot Day Blog Hop http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/calling-all-tarot-bloggers-2017-international-tarot-day-blog-hop.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/calling-all-tarot-bloggers-2017-international-tarot-day-blog-hop.html

Calling all Tarot bloggers! Ferguson Bree is organizing a Tarot Blog Hop commemorating the FIRST International Tarot Day that will occur on July 8, 2017. You can find out more, including how to sign up, at this link.

We're aiming for 78 bloggers. Come join us and celebrate the symbols and archetypes of Tarot--in any way you see fit!

-- Janet


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Tue, 16 May 2017 19:05:00 -0700
Symbolism in the Hierophant Tarot Card http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/symbolism-in-the-hierophant-tarot-card.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/symbolism-in-the-hierophant-tarot-card.html

The Hierophant is usually deemed Trump 5 in the Tarot. Hierophant means revealer of sacred things. While The Emperor is earthly, secular and governmental authority, The Hierophant is religious, spiritual and sacred authority. This archetype embodies cultural traditions, moral dictates, religious teachings, orthodoxy and philosophical or ethical mandates.

Phrases and Keywords: Tradition; Exoteric Religion; Formal Education; Religious Authority; Right and Wrong Wrangling; Dogma; Ethical Standards; Social Mores; Morality; Philosophy; Doctrine; Canon; Spiritual Beliefs; Revered Teachings; “Shoulds”; Orthodoxy

Symbolism

In his book The Pictorial Key to Tarot, Arthur Edward Waite says that The Hierophant “is the ruling power of external religion…exoteric orthodox doctrine…the outer side of life which lead to the doctrine.” However, in The Tarot: a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Paul Foster Case disagrees with Waite, noting “On the contrary, he is the pontifex, the ‘bridge-maker’ who provides a connecting link between outer experience and interior illumination.”

Interestingly, Paul Huson points out that “As the Pontifex, the pope is the interpreter of the mysteries of the unseen, whether religious or what today we would call scientific. It may seem counterintuitive to some, but we should really include research scientists under this trump, as they are today’s interpreters of the mysteries of the microcosm and macrocosm.” (Mystical Origins of the Tarot).

Gray Pillars – Gray connects to the second Sephirah on the Tree of Life, Chokmah (Wisdom). Case further elaborates saying “gray is the tint resulting from equal mixture of any two complementary colors. Since color complements are also opposites, gray stands for the perfect balance of all pairs of opposites, and this is the practical aspect of Wisdom, the second Sephirah”.

Two Pillars – Unlike The High Priestess (Trump 2), there is no veil connecting the two pillars behind The Hierophant. While The High Priestess conceals feminine knowledge behind her pillars and within (esoteric), the empty space between The Hierophant’s pillars indicates open knowledge freely disseminated (exoteric).

Symbols on Pillars – There is disagreement about the symbols on the pillars. Case states that they are phallic in nature, representing union and duality. Some have speculated that the symbols are acorns or pinecones, which seems to be a stretch. Others believe it looks like a uterus, somehow connecting the symbol to the “feminine” secrets of The High Priestess.

Crown – The Secret Language of Tarot says The papal tiara is a triple diadem over a simple cap called a camelaucum from Byzantine court of the seventh and eighth centuries, where it was a sign of high social status. The diadems were added one at a time over several hundred years and probably are more ornamental than symbolic. Still, the papal tiara signifies both a spiritual and secular authority—rule over the Catholic Church and over the territory of the Vatican.” However, Case says that the gold represents radiant energy and wisdom and speaks at length about the numerological symbolism of 3, 7 and 5 (15), the number of trefoils on the tiers. Case connects the numerical values and products to the second Sephirah, Jah (the Hebrew Divine Name) and ADM (Adam).

Black “W” on Top of Crown – The Hebrew Letter Vav (“nail” or “hook”).

Black and White Checkers on the Floor – Black and white signifies duality—yin/yang, dark/light, feminine/masculine, severity/mercy, passive/aggressive, esoteric/exoteric, heart/mind, intuition/logic and so on. Toggling back and forth, they are “either/or”. (Interestingly, Case notes that the Hebrew letter Vav is the equivalent of the English conjunction “and”, which joins nouns and a sentence—much like a nail holds things together.)

Hand Gesture – The manifest and concealed part of a doctrine (Waite).

Roses and Lilies on Monk Tunics – Fusion of human passion (desire) and incorruptible psychic integrity (thought).

Yellow Palliums on Monk Tunics – Yoke of Mercury, symbolizing intellectual perception and outer self-expression.

Crossed Keys – The most obvious meaning would be the keys of St. Peter, or the Keys of the Kingdom. However, in Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary, Sandra A. Thomson notes that the crossed keys “link The Hierophant to Hades, holder of the keys to heaven (higher consciousness) and hell (unconscious or instinctual life).

Papal Triple Cross Scepter – According to the book The Secret Language of Tarot, the papal triple cross symbolizes “the three realms of the spirit over which the Catholic Church presides. The first realm, which is symbolized by the lowest bar of the cross, is called the Church Militant. It converts, organizes, and leads the masses. It moves people into the fold and keeps them moving in the right direction. The second bar is for the Church Penitent, the world of angels and souls waiting for birth or judgment. Here, the church teaches and forms the mind and spirit to make it worthy of its destiny. The third bar is for the Church Triumphant, realm of the archangels, heave, and the reward of the virtuous.”

Red/Orange Robe – Connects to the element Earth and the sign of Taurus, which relates to the physical, material and outer realm, as well as latent powers and energies in reserve.

White Accents on Papal Attire – Purity of thought, “inner voice” and action. The unequaled armed crosses symbolize the bridge between Divine Knowledge and humanity.

Blue Under Papal Robe – Apart from oceans and the sky, blue is the rarest color in nature. Interestingly, Tarot scholar and artist Robert Place once said to me that the pigment ultramarine was used liberally in commissioned medieval art because it was derived from costly stone lapis lazuli. In this light, the blue robe suggests “concealing that which is precious” or even preciousness itself. Mother Mary is often enrobed in blue, suggesting spiritual beauty, purity and transcendence. Note that blue was rarely used in primitive art or among illiterate peoples, but is often connected with the elite (blue ribbon, blue blood, blue-chip stocks). (Taschen, 650) Blue is a calming, meditative color.

Number 5 – A number of adaptability and instability (although The Hierophant appears to be the most “stable” of the Tarot 5s), but often associated with Hermes/Mercury. Four limbs + the head connect to humanity, just like the pentagram. In alchemy, 5 is the 

The above was excerpted from the eBook The Hierophant: Tarot Explorations Card-by-Card, which includes additional information like:

  •  People and Archetypes Hiero Exp 200
  • Characters, TV, Movies, Art and Songs
  • Quote
  • Symbols, Objects and Actions
  • Esoteric Correspondences
  • Investigation with the 7 Clue Method
  • Five Affirmations
  • Seven Journaling Questions
  • Original Spread Unique to The Hierophant eBook
  • A Special Pinterest Board of 30+ Hierophant Images

Find out more at this link.

Bibliography for Symbolism

Amberstone, Ruth Ann and Wald. The Secret Language of Tarot. San Francisco, California: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2008.

Case, Paul Foster. The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages. New York, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006.

Huson, Paul. Mystical Origins of the Tarot. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 2004.

Ronnberg, Ami and Kathleen Martin, eds. The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images. Cologne, Germany: Taschen, 2010.

Thomson, Sandra A. Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003

Waite, Arthur Edward. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. (Public Domain)

Wilkinson, Kathryn, ed. Signs & Symbols. London, England: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2008.

Illustrations from the Universal Waite Tarot Deck® reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT06902USA. Copyright ©1990 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Universal Waite Tarot Deck® is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:02:44 -0700
The Brady Tarot: Natural History Meets The Esoteric http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/the-brady-tarot-natural-history-meets-the-esoteric.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/the-brady-tarot-natural-history-meets-the-esoteric.html

There are no humans in my deck. Animals just make more sense. -- Emi Brady, creator of The Brady Tarot

Hello symbol lovers!

Just came across (and backed) a lush, 78-card Tarot illustrated with hand-colored linocuts, featuring birds, flora and fauna of North America called The Brady Tarot.

You can watch a video of Emi Brady's process here, as well as hear her vision for this deck.

To find out more and support this project, visit the Kickstarter page here


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:12:35 -0800
Forget Resolutions. Use Intentions! – New Beginnings with the Major Arcana of Tarot http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/forget-resolutions-use-intentions-new-beginnings-with-the-major-arcana-of-tarot.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/forget-resolutions-use-intentions-new-beginnings-with-the-major-arcana-of-tarot.html

Card images used in this article are from the exciting new Midcenturian Tarot by Madam Clara. Visit her Etsy shop here to snag your very own copy.

Tarot can be used for so much more than just divination. In fact, my favorite use of the cards is for focused intention and manifestation. Want to expand a particular energy in your life? Enhance an area? Invite more? Then consciously choose the card/s that represent whatever it is you want to attract; don’t rely on randomness or blind “Card of the Day” pulls to guess what it is you really want. (That’s a bit like wanting to make a specific recipe, going into a grocery store blindfolded and then pulling things off the shelves for your order!).

As we start a New Year, many of us are thinking of what has passed away—and what is to come. If you’d like to jumpstart a new beginning, here are twenty-two Tarot cards to help initiate your journey. Grab your favorite deck and pull out the Major Arcana cards (0-22). You can place the card/s on your altar, stick on your fridge with a magnet, keep it in your wallet, create a desktop wallpaper or screensaver with it—whatever helps with your specific focus and intentions. Selected cards can also be used for spellwork and rituals.

Mid Fool 400The Fool – This is the New Beginnings card of the Tarot. You can use The Fool (or your deck’s equivalent) as a type of Significator (or focus card) in addition to any extra cards you select from a deck. Use For: Enhancing Spontaneity; Taking a Risk; Enjoying Silliness; Promoting Lightheartedness; Seizing the Day; Claiming a Blank Slate; Starting Over

Mid Mag 400The MagicianUse For: Bringing a Project to Life; Catalyzing; Unleashing Creativity; Mesmerizing; Enhancing Communication; Applying All Your Gifts and Skills; Channeling Power; Using All Tools Available to You

Mid HP 400The High PriestessUse For: Keeping Secrets; Hearing Internal Guidance; Understanding Esoteric Texts and Teachings; Knowing Yourself; Prophecy and Divination; Accessing Hidden Knowledge; Silencing

Mid Empress 400The EmpressUse For: Attracting Abundance; Nurturing Creative Projects; Promoting Fertility; Enhancing Beauty; Facilitating Pregnancy; Help with Motherhood; Planting and Cultivating; Honoring the Goddess; Celebrating Ostara

Mid Emperor 400The EmperorUse For: Creating Boundaries; Governing Your Own Life; Help with Authority Figures; Navigating Bureaucracy and Red Tape; Enforcing Limits; Organizing; Facilitating Order; Promoting Leadership; Honoring the God

Mid Hiero 400The HierophantUse For: Honoring Timeless Wisdom; Creating New Traditions; Celebrating Heritage; Affirming a Culture; Commemorating Customs; Enrolling in a New School or Coursework; Navigating Religion; Ordinations

Mid Lovers 400The LoversUse For: Encouraging Commitment; Fulfilling Promises and Contracts; Consummation; Completing Resolutions; Making Proposals; Commemorating Marriage; Increasing Devotion; Celebrating Beltane

Mid Chariot 400The Chariot Use For: Focusing Your Will; Busting Through Obstacles; Forward Movement; Help with Vehicles; Staying on Track; Gaining Momentum; Boosting Propulsion; Aid in Transportation

Mid Strength 400StrengthUse For: Grace Under Pressure; Quiet Courage; Mastering Base Instincts; Overcoming Ego; Enhancing Finesse; Promoting Confidence; Increasing Awareness of Surroundings; Using Restraint; Celebrating Litha

Hermit Mid 400The HermitUse For: Solitary Practices and Living; Independent Study; Following Your Own Path; Self-Reliance; Researching; Maintaining Individualism; Enhancing Asceticism; Contemplation; Celebrating Yule

Mid Wheel 400Wheel of FortuneUse For: Dealing with Life’s Ups and Downs; Increasing Luck; Enhancing Wins from Gambling; Coping with Vertigo; Handling the Unexpected; Trusting Fate; Allowing for Randomness; Celebrating Lammas

Mid Justice 400JusticeUse For: Court Cases; Legal Matters; Encouraging Fairness; Promoting Social Justice; Help with Weighing Matters Objectively; Balancing the Letter of the Law with the Spirit of the Law

Mid Hanged 400Hanged ManUse For: Patience; Waiting for Something; Handling Standstills; Dealing with Suspensions; Enhancing Unusual Perspectives; Promoting New Ways of Seeing and Being; When Needing to Make a Sacrifice

Mid Death 400DeathUse For: Dealing with Changing; Saying Goodbye; Passings; Transformations; Transitions; Allowing Something to Die; Endings; Burying; Funerals; Hospice Work; Celebrating Samhain

Mid Temp 400TemperanceUse For: Encouraging Moderation; Starting and Maintaining Sobriety; Walking a Middle Path; Avoiding Extremes; Alchemy; Being the Change You Want to See; Advocating Tolerance; Celebrating Mabon

Mid Devil 400The DevilUse For: Dealing with Imprisonment; Escaping Bondage; Overcoming Habits and Addictions; Avoiding Co-Dependence; Confronting Your Shadow; Facing Your Demons; Handling Misplaced Values and Trust

Mid Tower 400The TowerUse For: Navigating Upheaval; Coping with Catastrophe; Managing Unpleasant Surprises; Deconstruction; Getting Rid of Beliefs that No Longer Serve You; Dealing with Accidents; Assessing Faulty Foundations

Mid Star 400The StarUse For: Making Wishes; Hoping for the Best; Promoting Optimism; Encouraging Wonderment; Enhancing Positivity; Contacting Extraterrestrials; Navigating the Future; Enchantment; Transcendence

Mid Moon 400The MoonUse For: Enhancing Lucid Dreaming; Promoting Mystery; Handling Hormonal Changes; Navigating Mood Swings; Understanding What’s Hidden; Communication with Water Spirits; Supporting Ocean Life; Decoding Symbols

Mid Sun 400The SunUse For: Strutting Your Stuff; Exuding Charisma; Encouraging Children; Dealing with Idolatry (Light Projection); Claiming Your Awesomeness; Increasing Your Energy; Help with SAD; Publicity; Celebrating Imbolc

Mid Judge 400JudgementUse For: Discovering, Hearing and Heeding Your Soul’s Calling; Tapping into Your Higher Purpose; Issues of Sowing and Reaping; Dealing with Karma; Working with Angels; Help with Walking Your Talk; Wake up Calls

Mid World 400The WorldUse For: Embracing Wholeness; Celebrating Completion; Finishing Things; Promoting Unity and Brotherhood; Integrating Lessons Learned; Self-Actualization; Final Attainment; Fulfillment; A Global Perspective

What cards hold the strongest pull for you this New Year? Which ones have you used in the past for intention and manifestation? Please share your choices and experiences in the comment section below...and Happy New Year! -- Janet

Another great tool for focusing on what you want to attract and enhance? Affirmations! See my post Affirmations with the Tarot: Using the Power of Imagery and Symbols to Create the Life You Want to find out how.

Wonder which Tarot cards deal with Beginnings? Check out my blog post here


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Sun, 01 Jan 2017 15:48:56 -0800
Our Tarot - A Feminist Tarot Deck by Sarah Shipman http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/our-tarot-a-feminist-tarot-deck-by-sarah-shipman.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/our-tarot-a-feminist-tarot-deck-by-sarah-shipman.html

"Some decks may be stacked against us...but this deck is ours. Our Tarot."

Just came across this fabulous feminist Tarot deck on Kickstarter, highlighting 78 powerful women from history. 

Emily Dickinson as The Hermit, Hildegard of Bingen as The High Priestess, Josephine Baker as the Queen of Wands, Joan of Arc as The Fool, Harriet Tubman as The Chariot, Abigail Williams (one of the primary initial accusers at the Salem Witch Trials) as The Devil--doesn't Our Tarot sound delicious?

I'm so glad I caught the crowdfunding campaign in time, as there's only 7 days left. You, too, can support this deck and find out more about the artist and the cards at the Our Tarot Kickstarter page.

-- Janet


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Mon, 19 Dec 2016 21:10:55 -0800
Censorship at Aeclectic Tarot http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/censorship-at-aeclectic-tarot.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/censorship-at-aeclectic-tarot.html

Tarot--the highly-symbolic set of cards that serves divination, meditation, pathworking, inspiration, creativity and illumination--is a "fringe" practice that, to some extent, is becoming more mainstream...just like Paganism in all it's diverse, vibrant expressions.

And because both expressions are "fringe" (meaning we tend to be objects of ridicule, exclusion and/or marginalization), we need to support one another.

Which is why it's so bizarre to me that Solandia (Kate Hill) refused to list our Snowland Deck, Coffee Tarot or any of my Tarot books on her website, Aeclectic Tarot. 

She'll list digital decks, Majors-only decks, OOP print decks--even oracle decks. 

But she not only refuses to list our decks and my books--but her aggressive Moderators will delete any mention of our work most times, especially links to our website. I'm even banned from the Forum for unknown reasons. 

This happened well over five years ago, an polite inquires to Kate have went ignored. 

There are theories. One, is that after I reviewed Nigel Jackson's Rumi Tarot deck (I didn't like it and shared why at length), he attacked me on the AT Forums. I stood by my review and it angered Nigel fans. My theory is that Solandia banned me from AT, and refused to list our decks, because I used to review for her, for free, on her site. When I realized that she only wanted to post glowing reviews on AT (presumably, to generate more kickbacks from affiliate sales--because negative reviews may equate to a "no sale"), I asked her to remove ALL my reviews from her site...including the cards I meticulously scanned for her.

So why write about this now?

Well, we recently sold a Snowland Deck to someone and, as usual, I asked her where she found out about us (I'm always fascinated at how people discover our work). She remarked that she seen a mention on AT about seasonal decks. I tried to look for it, and did see a mention--with a Moderator saying that "many" had a negative opinion of me in the Tarot world (!). And the moderator, of course, removed the link to our site so others could investigate on their own. (I'm surprised he left the mention on there!).

The buyer JUST emailed me, saying:

"I received the deck today! It's just perfect. Our family celebrates the winter solstice each year and I always do a reading for anyone that wants one. The deck fits our holiday theme like no other deck in my collection. A winter deck is almost impossible to find, so I am very appreciative of your creation. My sincere congratulations for a deck well done!"

So, here we are--a husband and wife team who have self-published decks, doing everything ourselves...having our work prohibited from discussions. And not listed in the biggest Tarot directory and forum online.

It's one thing if one or more people don't like me, my objective reviews or personality. A ban from the Forum seems bizarre and partisan, but it's happened before. Just ask James Battersby, artist for the Simply Deep, King's Journey, Chinese Cultural Revolution Tarot AND the Twisted Tarot Tales deck and book. You can read about his experience on his post Aeclectic A$$hol** and Dodgy Lamas here, as well as comments about the Moderators' questionable behavior. I really don't care about that, since they don't seem like the people I'd like to spend time with, anyway.

But to refuse to even LIST a body of work in the database? And to refuse to reply to polite requests asking why the blackballing? And to delete any discussion ABOUT the deck?

Shameful, in my opinion. (Fortunately for James and his creative partner, Christine, AT actually listed their new Twisted Tarot Tales deck! You can see all his decks here).

Now that the Winter Solstice, Yule, Hannukah and Christmas is almost here, I can't help but think: how many MORE people would discover our deck and find it a joyful addition to their collection...if Aeclectic Tarot would at least list our deck and allow people to discuss it (good or bad)?

When you put your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into a creative project (hubby Ron Boyer painted evenings and weekends for TWO solid years, and I provided the creative/scholarly guidance for the images...as well as wrote the companion book, formatted our deck and all social media posts)...it stings when a supposedly "objective" database won't even LIST a work (even if it's controversial, as James and Christine's self-published China deck is to some people). 

If you're as disheartened as I am--or perhaps even angered at this gross censorship--you can contact Solandia/Kate Hill directly at http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/contact.shtml

Thanks for reading,

Janet


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Mon, 19 Dec 2016 17:44:23 -0800
5 Overlooked Tarot Decks (That Deserve Closer Attention) http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/5-overlooked-tarot-decks-that-deserve-closer-attention.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/5-overlooked-tarot-decks-that-deserve-closer-attention.html

With on-demand publishing leveling the playing field for deck creators, we are now in a Golden Age of Tarot. No longer must authors, artists and visionaries submit their work to Tarot’s Old Guard, hoping and praying that their unusual deck will past muster and snag them a publishing contract. (If it’s any consolation, many decks don’t get an advance—and sole creators earn about $1-$2 per deck…less, if split with collaborators).

Purists would argue that anybody with crayons, paper and a scanner could conceivable publish a Tarot deck—and that the glut of decks now available dilutes the sacred tradition of the Holy 78.

Which most of us would cry “Hooey!”, as we go back to surfing the internet, drooling over the latest Tarot deck images to grace social media outlets.

But this article isn’t in defense of modern Tarot but, instead, is a survey through five highly symbolic Tarot decks that I own, admire and believe are worth a closer look. One of the drawbacks of the current deluge is that some decks get lost in the flood—especially decks lacking charismatic creators or rabid marketers (i.e. those unwilling to whore their cards on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr).

In my opinion, it takes a lot of courage to independently publish a Tarot deck, especially since they tend to escape the notice of most reviewers and consumers—doubly so, if the deck’s not available on Amazon.com for purchase. And, decks published outside the U.S. or with smaller houses often get less attention, as well (perhaps because they can’t afford to lavish reviewers with freebies like the larger publishers can—or, as rumor has it, even cross reviewers’ palms with silver in exchange for a 5-Star Review…)

Without further ado, here are five of my favorite decks—and why I believe you should check them out ASAP to see if you’d like to add them to your collection.

The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot – Created by Lorelei Douglas in 2013 using Corel Painter 12, The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot escaped the notice of most cartomancers, possibly due to lack of a dedicated website, publicity or reviews. In fact, had I not stumbled on this colorful, ingenious deck at TheGameCrafter.com, I probably wouldn’t be here telling you about it! Pairings like The King and I’s Yul Brynner as The Patriarch, Charlton Heston’s Ben Hur as The Chariot, Ray Bolger’s Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz as The Hanged Man, Death of a Salesman as the 10 of Wands, Gone with the Wind as the 8 of Cups, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? as the 9 of Swords—result in truly brilliant cinematic associations.

Marrying an existing system or set of themes with Tarot (in this case, movies and all the characters, motifs and even songs) expands on both, offering additional insights into the human condition and correlations that can be drawn upon during intuitive readings or meditation. Seven of the Major Arcana cards are renamed, as are the Aces (now titled “Birth”) and the Court Cards (Page, Knight, Queen and King morph into Magic, Focus, Glory and Power). Four optional Veto card round out the 82 cards (they’re sort of like “Yield” or “Stop” signs from the Universe), and a printable .pdf companion guide provides keywords and the inspiration for each card. Movie lovers (especially for films made between 1920 and 1960), pop culture enthusiasts and Tarotists yearning for a fresh, smart take on the cards will likely appreciate and enjoy The Golden Age of Hollywood Tarot (which you can purchase here).

The Sherlock Holmes Tarot – Speaking of smart, husband-and-wife team John and Caitlin Matthews make the most intelligent Tarot decks on the market. The Grail TarotThe Lost Tarot of NostradamusThe Steampunk Tarot (best iteration of this genre)—the scholasticism underscoring their decks, as well as the adept pairing of theme and Tarot structure, tend to fly under the radar of most reviewers. After all, you need to be able to understand the topic, and the Matthews’ prose, to adequately address their oracular offerings. The Sherlock Holmes Tarot (Sterling Ethos, 2014), written by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (who also illustrated) is no exception. Each card features a frozen-in-time snapshot lifted directly from the pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, with a summary of what is taking place in the depiction. Upright meanings are “The Game”, while reversals are “The Fog”, and every Major Arcana card has been re-titled. For example, The High Priestess turns into Irene Adler, The Hierophant becomes The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The Chariot careens into The Hansom Cab, The Devil transforms into Professor Moriarty, The Tower flows into Reichenbach Falls and The World broadcasts all that’s fit to print in The London Times.

The Court Cards are renamed Baker Street Irregular (Page), Peeler (Knight), Lady (Queen) and Inspector (King)—and the suits get a facelift, too: the Swords suit becomes Observation, Wands becomes Evidence, Cups becomes Analysis and Pentacles becomes Deduction. Sound complicated? It is! Gloriously intellectual, dastardly complex, infused with Holmesian wisdom—not to mention the inclusion of three confounding, illuminating spreads included in the back of the book (with sample readings)—The Sherlock Holmes Tarot isn’t for the faint of heart (and certainly not “elementary”, my dear Tarotists). And it’s probably not the best deck for delicate emotional matters or romance readings—or as a beginner deck for those new to Tarot. But if you’re a seasoned cartomancer wanting to delve into the nitty gritty of a situation using cold, hard logic with a dash of playful whimsy (Caitlin Matthews portrays Mrs. Hudson, for crying out loud!), this would be right fitting deck for you. (Available on Amazon.com here or wherever books are sold. ISBN 13: 9781454910220).

Celestial Stick People Tarot – Imagine that you’re in the world of modern Tron, where the background color hums a consistent shade of indigo blue. Now, visualize stick figures and objects glowing with lavender, silver, gold, green and pink highlights (just like the clothes and vehicles from the 2010 movie)—each depicting recognizable but understandably stripped-down portrayals of everyday life. Welcome to the trippy, minimalist Celestial Stick People Tarot by Brian Crick, self-published in 2012 (CelestialStickPeople.com). These calming, understated cards provide a welcome respite from Tarot decks cluttered with iconography and gaudy embellishment. Crick renames the suits Diamonds, Hearts, Quills and Brushes, while the Court Cards become Dreamer, Zealot, Paragon and Mentor. And the card backing? “Inspired by the diagrams you get from smashing things together in particle acceleration”, he says in the full-color guide sheets accompanying the deck. One might think that such a modern approach would birth an inaccessible, static deck but, instead, the spare lines scintillate with meaning and provide an expansive space for intuition to play and perceptions to coalesce. (You can purchase the Celestial Stick Figure Tarot here).

The Shadow of Oz Tarot – Toto, Uncle Henry, Aunt Em, Glinda, The Cyclone, The Scarecrow—all the familiar denizens of Oz—join dozens of lesser-known characters spanning L. Frank Baum’s fourteen Oz books to form a highly unusual deck in The Shadow of Oz Tarot. Although not the first Tarot deck dedicated to Oz, this particular iteration (published in 2014) is forged with the spirit of creative anarchy using images from eighteen different artists. This collaborative and crowdfunded deck—helmed by Mark Anthony Masterson (writer of the “Dorothy” comic book series) and publisher Anna Warren Cebrian (IllogicalAssociates.com)—provides a deeper look at the beloved Baum tales. With notations pinpointing when each character appeared in what book (e.g. The Page of Cups, Betsy Bobbin, first appears in 1914’s Tik-Tok of Oz), the 76-page companion booklet offers a veritable feast for the Oz-curious, while still giving keywords and explanations to satisfy traditional Tarot readers. The Shadow of Oz Tarot comes in a sturdy, lidded box and, for an additional fee, a large, sumptuous, emerald green velour bag will house your special deck. While there’s no place like home, this deck takes us over the rainbow, down The Yellow Brick Road, into dark forests, throughout Emerald City and beyond for an imaginative foray into archetypes both familiar yet profound. (You can buy The Shadow of Oz Tarot deck at the creators' website here).

Mythical Goddess Tarot – One of the most vibrant, goddess-centric, earth-friendly decks ever produced, the Mythical Goddess Tarot (2008) delivers incisive, illuminating and accurate readings—yet, has flown under the radar of most cartomancers. Independently published by Star Chalice Sisters—the team of author Sage Halloway (who, sadly, passed away in 2015) and artist Katherine Skaggs—the Mythical Goddesss Tarot features bold brush strokes of spring greens, icy blues, explosive reds, glowing yellows, saturated oranges and ethereal purples grace each of the thick, large cards. The suits are renamed Seas, Fire, Earth and Wind, while the Court Cards become Child, Maiden, Mother and Crone—a structure in service to the restoration of the Sacred Feminine. In my opinion, the Mythical Goddess Tarot deserves a spot on the shelf of every (right-hand-path) witch and pagan. (You can purchase this deck on Amazon.com here, at the creators' website here, or at your favorite bookstore.ISBN-13: 978-0982103302). 

What about you, Tarot enthusiasts? What deck/s do you feel are overlooked--and worthy of deeper scrutiny? Share your picks and reasons in the comments section below!

Did you know Tarot cards make a perfect vehicle for daily affirmations? Check out  my brand new eBook Affirmations with the Tarot, which includes 20 affirmations for each card (1,560 total). Click here to get your very own copy for Kindle--or here to get an instant download from Etsy.


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Fri, 02 Dec 2016 23:43:16 -0800