Deck Review

The Tabula Mundi Deck – Review 

I think I have found one of my top 5 favorite decks of all time.

If your into the Qabalah this deck will sing to the very heart of your soul. The deck itself is based of the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley so it follows the same attributions (example justice is called adjustment and so forth). Its dripping with Golden Dawn imagery and reference. This is like the Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot on crack.  By no means is this a beginners deck. It is hefty and deep. I splurged on the deck and book set. I’m so glad I did because it has personally helped me so much in getting to know this deck to read through some of the interpretations and symbolism. I’ve been able to cross reference this with a lot of my current studies and it has really helped me get a good grasp on the meanings of the cards.

Let me start off by saying this is a deck where no attention to detail has gone to the wayside. The box is gorgeous and sturdy, its down right sexy. Can a Tarot decks packaging be sexy? Its looks good on the altar. The little white book inside is one of the best I’ve come across. I love the attention to detail with the little red ribbon on the binding. Mine came signed and numbered. Even the companion book came with a bookmark. This is well worth the price tag. I paid $70.00 for the book and deck set without the extra cards (there is an option to purchase extra cards with these). I’m so impressed by the presentation. This is the kind of thing you could set out on an entry way table or coffee table as a conversation starter. It just begs for attention.

The cardstock is good and sturdy. Its smooth and shuffles easily. I had no issues with it immediately out of the box. These are larger than a standard playing card size. I would say they are about the same size and the Pagan Otherworld or Mary-El.

The imagery is deep like I said before, this deck is not for beginners. If your familiar with certain Qabalistic concepts and Golden Dawn imagery some of the symbolism will click right away. Since I’ve been doing lesson through the Builders of the Adytum I didn’t have a lot of trouble diving into the deck. The companion book really helped me decode and got some things to “click”. Even the backs of the cards have deep symbolism relating to the tree of life.  The holographic design is stunning. Though some might find it a bit busy. Its a lot for the eyes to take in. There is not a piece of this deck that isn’t without some deep meaning or focus.

The artwork is gorgeous. Your going to want to take time to get to know this deck. These cards demand to be studied. To me the artwork seems almost retro. Its in the same vein as the Thoth deck. I’ve found myself going through each card several times and seeing little details I didn’t see before. This deck lends itself to so many uses. I haven’t seen a deck more perfect for the magicians use. For the ceremonial magician this deck is a gold mine. It could be used for focused meditations, vision work, all manner of ritual and magic. It is begging to be used for magical purposes. I’ve started using it has a starting point in focused meditations and I’ve had a lot of success so far. You can really see yourself within the images of these cards. This deck may be intimidating for some not ready to take the leap beyond the Rider-Waite deck. It definitely isn’t for everyone’s taste. You will not find traditional Rider-Waite imagery here. This is going to force you to look outside of the box of conventional meanings and dig deeper.

Overall I can’t pick out a single negative with this deck. I’m super pumped to have this one in my wheelhouse and I can see this being a permanent fixture on my altar.

In other news the house renovation is coming along. So far we have the front and side yard done. Its on to the back yard and then to the inside. I would say at this point were about 95% sure we are moving to Oregon after the sale of the house. I miss being close to nature. Dallas is so busy. It is a fantastic metropolitan area but there is a disconnect from nature. I need to get back somewhere where I can put my feet in the dirt and listen to nature and meditate.  I’m ready for the next chapter and that might include a very long distance move. Life is short and I’m ready for a bit of adventure.

 

 

 

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Deck Review

The English Magic Tarot – a Review

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I really wanted to like this deck.

I usually do reviews on decks that I absolutely adore. I was initially excited reading about this deck before it came out. It sounded right up my alley. This deck is centered around its title English Magic – primary the occult revival of the nineteenth century and the Golden Dawn.  It has a lot of potential and I see what the creators were trying to achieve, but I think they fell short.

This deck was created by Rex Van Ryn, Steve Dooley and Andy Letcher published by Weiser. It comes in a box with a 149 page guidebook. The box itself looks good on my book shelf. It is sturdy and of good quality. I also like the guide book. It actually has some good card interpretations which can be used outside of this deck. I enjoyed flipping through and reading their take on each card. You can tell that they did put a lot of thought into this deck.

What I do not like are the cards themselves.

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I hate the backs of these cards. I just think they are ugly. They are not totally reversible due to the colors of the cards under the hands. I was really hoping this deck would have something more abstract that went in line with the theme. I think the image is a very odd choice and off putting. The card stock is flimsy, they easily bend. If your a heavy shuffler these will definitely wear over time. It doesn’t feel very high quality. The cards are just very thin.

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Each suite is color coded with a very large border. I think the borders are too intrusive. I also favor borderless decks though. The large borders take away the details of the wonderful artwork. I do like the style of artwork in this deck. Its very whimsical and has a cartoonish feel. Interestingly, the Major Arcana does not have borders. For me this is my favorite part of the deck. I really love the Majors. I just really wish the entire deck looked like they do. I think I’ll end up taking out the Majors and using them on their own. There are interesting little phrases and words written on each card in different magical alphabets consisting of Runic, Enochian, Hebrew. I am not familiar enough with the runic alphabet to be able to read these messages without looking at some reference material. I have enjoyed deciphering the hidden images and phrases. They add a nice little depth of meaning to each card. Due to the color coding of the minors and the adherence to the Rider-Waite tradition this could be a good deck for a beginner. The meanings are easily accessible to those of a less advanced degree.

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Overall I don’t see this as a deck I’ll be reaching a lot for. I haven’t done very many readings with it because I just can’t get into the energy of the deck. I have it on my shelf as mostly a collectors item. I would love to hear if you have a differing opinion. There are some great things about this deck, I just feel like some of the artistic choices really hinder it from all that it could be.

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Deck Review

The Dark Exact Tarot – a Review

I love black and white decks. There is something so mystical and mysterious about them to me. One of my top 5 decks is the Hermetic Tarot, it is just so striking and filled with symbolism. I’m glad that we are starting to see more black and white decks produced. I feel that this has been an area sorely lacking for some time. The Dark Extract Tarot is produced by Coleman Stevenson in Portland Oregon (I’ll be going there in June for vacation woo-hoo!) . Her Etsy can be found at the end of this review and I urge you to go support her in this endeavor. This is another that I have been keeping my eye on. It is currently in its second edition, which is what I am reviewing here.

Lets start off with the packaging. You have three options when ordering. You can receive it in the standard cardboard flap box or upgrade to a pouch or felt case. I originally ordered this deck with the felt case. I usually keep my tarot cards outside of the boxes in little pouches so the boxes and the cards don’t get so worn. I love to keep the boxes on display on my bookshelf. After I ordered this I quickly messaged her and requested to also receive the box and she was kind enough to oblige. I love the little felt pouch made by Omnicollective, I definitely think it is worth the upgrade. The cards fit so snugly. It just looks nice on my altar. It is sturdy and very well made. This could be great for traveling.

This is a very striking minimalist deck. It relies on your intuition. I can see those who rely heavily on the Rider Waite tradition will have difficulty, which can be a good thing as that this deck will force you to look at the cards in a different way. Tarot is so much more than the Rider Waite tradition and I love seeing decks that challenge that. Every card features very minimal symbolism in both the major and minor arcana. This deck has an almost art deco quality to me, which adds to its uniqueness. Each card has just enough symbolism to allow your mind to come to its own interpretations. It relies heavily on sharp lines, geometric symbols and unspoken symmetry to tell its story. I’ve been using this deck for my daily card pulls and have really been enjoying exploring and reflecting on the images.

The cardstock is very smooth and glossy. Initially I had trouble shuffling these cards. They were sticking together out of the box. They have become more easy to shuffle over time. They are a good standard size and fit well in the hands. My only complaint is that the cards are so glossy fingerprints can easily be seen on them. But the black glossiness is so gorgeous that it is easy for me to get over. One suggestions I would make is after purchasing this deck is to go through one by one and separate each card to get rid of the stickiness also if your like me you want to go through and look at each card one by one and soak each one in.

Overall I think this is a unique deck that could be great to add a special flare to your readings. If your looking for a minimalist non-traditional deck this is it. Some people will be drawn right off the bat to this deck and others will automatically be turned away. It reminds me of the Orbi-Fold tarot which has the same effect on people either way. Personally I am so glad to have this one in my collection and  really look forward to seeing what Coleman comes out with next.

The Dark Exact Tarot Etsy Shop

One a side one I have started an Etsy shop of my own. It is focused on Tarot readings and my jewelry pieces. Besides Tarot, jewelry making is a creative outlet for me and helps keep my occupied while my husband is working. I just started making enough pieces that I feel ready to part with some of my collection.

The Tarot Esoterica Etsy Shop

 

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Deck Review

StarchildTarot Akashic Edition- Review

I received this little gem in the mail last week. Honestly I’ve been on the fence about the Starchild Tarot. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pay $70.00 for it and I wasn’t sure if it was a deck that I would really connect with. I’m not a huge fan of digital images being used on Tarot cards. Ive seen it done really poorly on decks (has anyone seen the Voyager Tarot?). I’m pretty picky with this form of art. In the end I’m so glad I bought this deck because it is stunning. I’m not sure how much I will actually use it for readings though. I see this as becoming more of a jumping off point for visualizations during meditations. In looking at these cards I can just visualize going into the purple and blue landscape on some sort of spiritual journey or using them as a focal point to achieve a certain goal.

I love the box. I’m so glad we are seeing more and more of artists taking the time to make fantastic packaging for their decks. I believe I mentioned this before but I can’t gush over the packaging enough. The box is gorgeous. It has mixture of art deco and Egyptian artwork going on. It is very sturdy. Very similar to the Wild Unknown Tarot packaging.

The deck itself is a standard playing card size. The card stock is sturdy. It may pose a challenge to shuffle at first. It reminds me of the card stock the Wild Unknown Tarot is made of, though not as rough it still has a matte feel to it. I find these decks that are made of a real matte card stock can be a challenge to shuffle. This is why the wild Unknown has been siting on my bookshelf untouched. I find it impossible to work with.  Every bit of it is eye candy. From the golden glided edges to the dreamy artwork. I didn’t even realize it was going to have gilded edges until I received it! Such an awesome bonus. This deck is almost to pretty and high quality to use. I do wonder how to edges will hold up over time though if your giving this deck a lot of use.

I do want to point out that this deck is not a Rider-Waite deck. This deck is totally open to interpretation. Some might even call it more new age. I think this deck for me will take some time to work with to get a good feel with. I could see how to some people it could be hard to interpret the images on the cards as this is a very intuitive deck. The only thing that I’m not really a big fan of is the court cards. Some of them blend together. I have been having trouble connecting them to their correspondences. The graphics themselves are gorgeous. I love the color scheme used throughout. This rich landscape pulls you in. There is scattered sacred geometry throughout the deck, esoteric sorts will love this. You can tell each card was intricately thought through.

Overall I do think this deck is worth the price tag. I don’t have the first addition so I can’t make any comparison. I’m really looking forward to what  comes next with this deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deck Review

Mythical Creatures Tarot – Review

I got on the bandwagon and pre-ordered this one very early. I was really disappointed that it keep getting delayed but I can tell you that it was well worth the wait. I love everything about this deck. The packaging is divine. I feel that more artists are coming up with beautiful ways to package their decks and there is a movement away from the flip box. Those always seem so flimsy to me. I don’t store mine in their original boxes. I immediately take the deck and store it in a velvet pouch I find this prevents wear. I keep the boxes up on my bookshelf for display purposes. BUT, if you have a lovely box like the one that this deck came in you would want to keep it in it. Not only does it have a lovely box but it comes in a very sturdy and equally beautiful gold pouch.

Such care was taken in creating this deck. Every aspect has been wonderfully thought out. I believe it took the creators a long time – I think back to 2005 to develop this deck. I’m actually not very familiar with the Marseille style, certainly not enough to use it for readings. Even so the artistic value alone was enough for me to invest $100.00 into it. For me this will be more of a collectors item. Its currently standing proudly on display on my bookshelf with some other one of a kind decks that I never really remove from their boxes.

The cardstock is very sturdy, which I find to be a good thing. I could see with the size of this deck in combination with the sturdy cardstock it may pose a challenge to shuffle. It is larger than your average cards. Think around the size of the Mary-El tarot.

Many of the creatures in the major arcana I was unfamiliar with, luckily the deck comes with a little white book describing each creature and the meaning of each card. The artists care definitely extended to choosing which creature to feature on each card. I love the bronze detail of these cards. The artwork is so delicate and vintage looking.
If you can find this deck (I’m not sure if Baba Studios has any of these left in stock) I would encourage you to purchase it if you can afford the price tag. Only 500 copies were made. I hear there are plans to make a colored version of this deck within the next few years. The monochrome deck will never be available again. The deck did come with a colored Fool card. If it is an indication of what the colored version will look like then I’m sure you won’t be disappointed (it is currently sitting on my desk at work as a reminder of the message of the Fool).

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Deck Review

Navigators Tarot of the Mystic Sea – Review

 

 

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I can’t talk enough about how much I love this deck.

It’s weird, mystical, trippy as fuck, unexpected, and very symbolic. What’s not to love?

I haven’t seen a lot on the internet about this deck. I stumbled upon it cruising through Amazon one day (you know where you end up down a rabbit hole based on what other people are viewing and Amazon’s suggestions?). There is actually a companion book that goes along with this deck but I haven’t been able to find it for a reasonable price. The deck itself is very easy to come by. I believe I only paid about ten dollars for my copy. The book on the other hand has been out of print for awhile and from what I have seen it has been selling for the upwards of one hundred dollars.

This deck is heavily inspired by the Qabalah (just look at the back of the cards!), which for me is fantastic since much of my magical workings and meditations revolve around the Qabalah. This deck is partially based upon Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Deck. Some of the majors such as the Temperance card are renamed the same name as you would find in the Thoth Deck.

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  • Ive turned up the contrast on this picture so you can really get a feeling for the colors used in this deck

 

The artwork on this deck is phenomenal. It is very psychedelic. The images in this deck make me want to step inside this weird and crazy world. These cards can be a bit overloading. The symbolism is rich. When you get this deck your going to need to sit down and slowly examine each card. This is not a novelty deck by any means. This is one that takes itself very seriously. The keywords on the cards are a huge plus. I have heard of other people actually cutting the corners and removing these. I think these add a special touch. Sometimes I will use this deck as my daily card pull and just reflect on the keyword associated with that card. I’m still getting to know this deck, it continues to surprise me. I The card stock can be a little sticky at first and this deck isn’t in a conventional size.It is a little bit shorter and wider than a standard deck.  After a bit of using it starts to shuffle like a dream. Nothing about this deck follows and norms you would associate with tarot. I also wouldn’t describe this deck as following strictly the Rider-Waite tradition. If you someone that relies heavily on the Rider-Waite imagery to read or if your someone who just prefers that traditional imagery then your going to have a hard time with this one. At the same time I think it can be a valuable tool to a beginner for the keywords. They really allow you to explore and form your own feelings and interpretations about each card.

I really wish there was more on the internet about this deck. I feel that it is really under rated – which is why I decided to do a review and give it the credit it deserves!

This deck was designed by Julia Turk. I can’t find much information about her other than she seems to be a very interesting and a bit eccentric artist. I wish she would produce more decks. I’m sure her brain is a treasure trove of information.

Go out and get this deck people!

 

 

 

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