Illustrated by Lisa Hunt
Written by Arwen Lynch
So, I was just checking out two new Lenormand decks from U.S Games….
The gorgeous Fairy Tale Lenormand by the amazing Lisa Hunt….and pulled four cards; 10- Scythe; 36- Cross; 12- Birds and 13-Child… Accident, death, gossip and a child.
From the equally beautiful Dreaming WayLenormand by Kwon Shina 9- Bouquet; 13-Child; 11- Whips and 24- Heart…a beautiful child, argument, love.
Not even five minutes later I get a breaking news blurb about the still unsolved Jon-Benèt Ramsey murder.
Seems that investigators think the brother Burke accidentally killed her in a fit of rage (as it was known about his volatile temperament) and the parents covered it up to protect the child that they had left.
Coincidence? Perhaps the cards were giving me a heads-up….*cue twilight zone theme*
John was only thirty five at the time of death and you are all probably wondering why I focus on this specific day…I do because John Willard was my sixth Great Uncle.
Even in this day and age, as we think ourselves educated; intelligent and thoroughly modern individuals, religious tolerance has become an oxymoron.
For individuals or groups that do not fit inside the little box of popular ideals, all nice and neat, there are many more hurdles to overcome…we can read about it or watch it on the daily news. It seems to surround us, despite our protests to the contrary.
I think a lot about August 19th, 1692 and the deadly mania that swept Salem back then, (since renamed “Danvers” in an attempt to distance itself from the horrible red stain in our history.)
You won’t find the true story of events that led up to this tragedy in the history books (1690’s law held that property and assets belonging to the convicted were forfeit to the leader of the community) and that’s a real shame because as George Santayana’s famous quote says: “Those who do not remember the past, are doomed to repeat it.”
An epithet that is still being sadly repeated three centuries after the conclusion of the trials.
So, today, I thought this would be a great time to grab my Thoth deck and see what Great Uncle John had to say about the lessons we need to always keep in our minds and hearts.
The question: “What lessons do we need to learn from this chapter of American history, called The Salem Witch Trials?”
Now, keep in mind that when I asked my question, I was addressing my Spirit Guide that assists me while working with my cards….
You may notice right away that the second and fourth cards seem to pop out at you….the Knight of Disks and the Hanged Man… This was letting me know that my Spirit Guide had stepped aside and Great Uncle John was delivering his message personally!
The Knight of Disks is an Earth element as many readers will know, but a little known fact about my Great Uncle was that his birthday fell on January 15,1657 …making him an Earth sign.
(Ironically, the Tarot card representing his birth sign is the Devil)
In history, Knights often went out on missions to bring order and secure boundaries for the local King or rulers, no different than a Knight, Great Uncle John was a Constable for his township and took his task seriously.
Not soon after the hysteria began, John Willard had gone to his superiors and protested the ever widening net of accusations and spoke for those that were being falsely accused.
He stepped down as Constable saying that he was in no way, shape or form supporting or being party to the madness.
The Hierophant (Rev. Samuel Parris, Uncle to Abagail Williams,one of the original accusers) the Five of Wands (the hysteria) and the Chariot (the speed of wild accusations and the voracity of fear and ignorance unchecked) all tell the rest of John’s story….
Towards the end of April, after Willard had abandoned his post as a constable and publicly doubted the girls accusations, he was himself, accused of being a witch.
Great Uncle John, (the epitome of Knighthood) continued to, from behind bars and even as he walked to the gallows that day, protest that he and all of the others accused, were indeed innocent and continued to plea for the return of sanity and order.
What is his message to those who have ears?
Intolerance founded on fear based dogmatic beliefs and willful ignorance will continue to race on….setting a raging fire to all in it’s path, leaving nothing but ash unless we, as the whole of humanity, step up to stop it.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
After reading Tarot with the popular Rider-Waite style decks and numerous clones of such, I had reached a point in my life in which I could not shake an ever present nagging thought that there simply had to be more to reading the cards.
Time after time, shuffling, cutting and laying the tarot cards out in myriads of positional spreads year after year, I began my search for deeper meaning.
The Tarot and the Magus by Paul Hughes-Barlow caught my eye and I felt the first rush of fresh new inspiration.
Little did I know that his way of using the Golden Dawn’s OOTK (Opening Of The Key) method, that my love of Tarot would truly begin to transform myself and my ability to read for others.
With his no nonsense, tell it like it is style, the reader is drawn into an amazing experience of everyday twists and turns of ones mundane adventures to the realization of ones Spirituality and of the nature of the HGA (Holy Guardian Angel).
At this point, I must add that down through the ages, both the Thoth Tarot and particularly Aleister Crowley himself, have been maligned much to the detriment of true spiritually minded individuals looking for honest answers, leaving a gaping hole of knowledge that could have been acquired if not for misinformation and the pure guesswork of it’s critics.
The Tarot and the Magus is eleven chapters dealing with a range of subjects, starting with an introduction that includes his journey as he began writing this book.
Chapter one begins with the Fool, the Universe and the Aces, which concludes with the crowning glory of The Golden Dawn’s signature OOTK (Opening Of The Key) spread. Paul explains the basics of how to begin this spread so that nearly anyone can easily understand in this beginning of a magical operation.
Subsequent chapters cover both Major and Minor Arcana as well as the Courts and all of their correspondences needed to understand important sequences of events and their probable outcomes almost to the letter.
I was totally amazed at how accurate and detailed the Crowley Thoth is when using the elements, counting and pairing methods. I had struggled for years trying to get as in depth as I did in just a few days and using the techniques Paul teaches in this awesome book! It’s well worth it’s weight in gold!
The Tarot and the Magus also introduces Kabbala, the Tree of Life as well as subjects that show the reader how Tarot can be used with everything from mundane questions to magical operations alike, making this book appealing to novice or seasoned readers.
I’ve seen reviews stating that one must have some prior knowledge in these areas but in my honest opinion, a simple knowledge of basic tarot concepts and meanings are all that is really needed because after reading a few pages of The Tarot and the Magus inspires one to go deeper and further, thereby gaining a wealth of information that can transform lives.
I heartily recommend this book to any person who requires a rich and full world view!
Author: Paul Hughes-Barlow
From the amazing creatrix Lisa Hunt, (Fantastical Creatures; Animals Divine; Shapeshifter, and Celtic Dragon Tarot), comes her latest tarot creation… Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, a breathtakingly beautiful deck that utilizes tales and legends of ghosts and spirits from around the globe.
This stunning 79 card deck kept me on the very edge of my seat as I sat and watched it emerge card by card, on the Ghosts and Spirits FaceBook page and with each drawing Lisa posted I was absolutely blown away and I easily consider one of her finest works.
Lisa, who makes her home in Boca Raton, Florida, is the creator/illustrator of numerous tarot decks, all of which are still in print and even been translated in many different languages. She has been a freelance artist for nearly twenty years and her intuitive connection with the spirit world shines quite brightly in her Ghosts and Spirits Tarot.
I was thoroughly thrilled when after receiving my deck, I found that there is a bonus card! I absolutely adore decks with extra cards such as the “Happy Squirrel” card found in Kat Black’s Touchstone Tarot and was even more blown away at the sheer depth of imagery found on this extra card which serves as a card for deeper reflections on the question asked.
The cards are beautifully bordered in a lovely parchment color with the title written in a gorgeous flowing script at the bottom of each card. The card stock is absolutely awesome, as usual with US Games decks, and it’s just the right size to be shuffled, even if you might have smaller hands. It has a wonderful glossy lamination and the design on the backs, which is pretty darned awesome in itself, features three swirling ghosts encircled by a ring of bones. The colors on the card backs are fantastically done and remind me of the beautiful patterns found on fine Batik fabric.
The LWB (little white book) accompanying the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot gives the story behind each ghost and where it originates as well as the definition of the card, although Lisa doesn’t give reversed meanings in the LWB, these cards can be read both upright and reversed.
The imagery on the cards themselves are intricate and quite detailed and upon closer inspection, you can see faces and spirits reflected in the surrounding colors and patterns, such as the Fool, which details the Leshy (wood spirits that inhabit the dark forests of the Baltic’s) and all around this adventurer can be seen small sprites, stone creatures and faces peeking from the rocks and shrubbery. Such an awesome deck!
I usually look for my favorite cards when perusing a prospective deck but with The Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, there are just SO many wonderful cards I might as well admit that there is absolutely not one card that I do not connect with! The Ten of Cups pictures three figures from the festive Day of the Dead celebration that honors dead ancestors with feasts dancing and merriment. They are clothed in customary attire with blues, reds and yellows, surrounded by cups and faces reflected in Lisa’s surrounding artwork.
The Moon features the legend of Aeneus’ Journey to the Underworld and the imagery shows two figures, one of which Aeneus, who has come to search for his father in the mysterious and frightening underground passage that is symbolic of the unconscious and home to our greatest dreams and biggest fears. This card shows both the rich imagery of the rewarded as well as the torment and suffering of the punished, it too is among my favorite cards in the Ghost and Spirits Tarot.
This deck is simply too amazing and powerful that just descriptions alone do not come close to the wonder of holding this treasure in your hands and letting the Ghosts and Spirits speak to you in there own unique voice. I absolutely recommend this deck for both beginners and seasoned readers alike, it is truly a deck that one must have in their collection!
Publisher: US Games
Artist: Lisa Hunt
images used with permission from US Games
Sometimes when learning to read the tarot, some cards can be a little difficult to fully grasp what their essence is, leaving us feeling a bit foggy as to how to interpret what it may be trying to tell us. Here is a little trick I learned that not only brings clarification but also a deeper insight into how to truly connect and develop valuable insights that any given card is trying to express.
For several years, I’ve been attracted to the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot but always felt hesitant because I felt that it was a bit too advanced for me after years of study and reading with the Rider Waite Tarot.
I finally bought this wonderful deck a few weeks ago and am totally smitten with it. It isn’t nearly as complicated as I worked myself up to believe plus it’s an amazing deck for anyone who loves to delve deeply into spiritual and intellectual insights.
As I’ve been studying this deck, I began to notice that some cards seemed to be a tad hazy as to just how they fit into what questions or concepts I was asking about.
The Six of Swords happened to be one of those cards that somehow seemed to elude me as to what exactly it was trying to impart. So, I decided to try this little trick in order to gain a clearer understanding of it’s message.
The Six of Swords, labeled “Science” by Crowley gives us the following information… “The search for truth; holistic thinking and the urge to communicate with others so that they too can share in this knowledge.”
Wow, on the surface that sounds pretty straightforward, but what does all that really mean? Deep down, how do I connect with the Six of Swords so that I can gain a deeper perspective of its message?
Okay, here’s that little trick I told you about….shuffle your deck while keeping in mind the question of how to fully understand the card you’re trying to connect with. Then draw three cards and place them below the card needing clarification, here’s what I pulled:
I pulled… the Prince of Cups; the Seven of Wands and the Magus.
Now Princes, ( Knights in the Rider-Waite deck) I usually always see as acts of “doing,” meaning riding off in to the sunset in search of something, whether it be active or passive they all appear to be involved in some type of movement.
This Prince (Knight) is involved in the act of feeling, signified by his suit of Cups, which are the element of Water and deal with the realm of emotions and feelings. His message is one of connecting with our deepest emotions, the drive to reach out and experience our higher selves.
The Seven of Wands speaks about challenges and dedication. This card is about the element of Fire, that which drives us, in this case, we see that it is telling us there is a need to rise above intellectual obstacles and roadblocks such as limited thinking and restrictive ideas that must be overcome by thinking “outside the box.”
The final card, the Magus, being a Major Arcana card indicates a higher lesson to be learned. A lesson that the Universe is trying to tell us is important to understand.
The Magus (Magician, in Rider Waite) imparts several concepts that can be applied in context to the Six of Swords…
When we look at the Magus, the first thing we notice is that he holds all the symbols of the four elements, Wand (Fire); Cup (Water); Sword (Air) and Disk (Earth). Together, you might say he has a holistic view of his abilities and talents, he sees the whole picture because he has all the components that make up that picture.
Together, he has the tools needed to blaze the trail to self realization. In essence, in order to get an idea of the total concept, you must have the tools to see all sides. An elevated view of any given situation, in this case, it let’s us know that we are able to grasp the entire concept as well as the ability to explain it to others as well.
So now we can see the three cards that I drew, when applied to the need of a deeper understanding of the Six of Swords, gives us a richer, more rewarding connection.
The drive to connect emotionally to our higher selves, thinking outside the box and taking in the whole picture are all facets of the true meaning of the card called “Science.”
“Come one, come all… Step right up…Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages! You are about to witness a daring Tarot deck of adventure and wonder…of excitement, guaranteed to delight! A deck that you will remember throughout your lifetime! Never before has anything so dashing been seen! I am privileged to introduce to you the star of the show…..(drum roll please)…..The LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot!”
Created and illustrated by Joe Lee, a former professional clown with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, this gorgeous 78 card Tarot deck with it’s bright colors and vintage circus styled posters is guaranteed to please almost every circus aficionado and tarot reader alike. After leaving the circus life, Joe moved to New York City where he studied and later taught art classes, now living in Indiana, he works as an illustrator.
The cards measure nearly 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and are accentuated by a red line frame, with a colorful mirror image clown on the back that allows the reader to use reversals if so chosen. I had no problems shuffling and I have always loved U.S. Games Systems card stock because I am always able to mix the cards well without damage to edges or card stock itself.
Following the familiar Tarot Archetypes found in most traditional style decks, Joe Lee has quite successfully captured the unique flavor of circus sights and sounds without sacrificing the essence of conventional interpretations. The Major Arcana reflect the popular parade of archetypal characters with the exception of The Popess, replacing the accustomed High Priestess and the Pope filling in for the more commonly named Heirophant. Strength is enumerated 8 and Justice sports the familiar numeral 11.
Here you will find personalities such as quintessential fat lady (the Empress) the enigmatic Ring Master (the Emperor), a fearsome tiger as he leaps dramatically through a burning ring of flames (the Sun) and the ever popular tramp clown (as the lonely Hermit)
The Minor Arcana, a depiction of day to day life, reflects the quirky and unparalleled circus lifestyle with it’s high wire performers, juggling acts and cast of characters unique to this big top venue.
Each suit corresponds to an aspect of this colorful lifestyle. Wands, conjuring the backbreaking work of man and animal to raise the tent, Cups,the world of performance engaging it’s onlookers, Coins depicting the business of the show with its managers keeping the troupe on the road and the “butcher” hawking his “floss” and popcorn in the stands and the Swords, embedded deep in the bizarre and sometimes frightening heart of the sideshow like the sword swallower and knife thrower garnering wondrous gasps from their riveted audience.
The 60 page LWB (little white book) is comprised of both upright and reversed interpretations for each of it’s 78 cards, and includes a paragraph or two, explaining to it’s readers, the circus life and it’s characters. As an added bonus, the LWB provides a captivating spread named after this decks title, developed by Jody Boginski and my favorite lady, Lynn Araujo…kudos ladies for a truly awesome spread!
This is an absolutely delightful Tarot deck, one that even the newest readers can pick up and read straight away. I just can’t express how impressed I was as soon as I opened the box and began working with such a colorful cast of characters! I would urge readers both young and old, experienced or not, to add this to their collections!
Author/Illustrator: Joe Lee
Publisher: U.S. Games Systems
images used with permission from U.S. Games