#5FaveSummerDecks2019 (non) VR to Sophquest Synergy

This tag was brought to my attention by Simon over at the Hermit’s Cave, but originated from Sophquest Synergy.

In my mind (and on my excel spreadsheet), I very much sort my decks (not all of them, but many of them) by seasons.  It’s not that I won’t use these decks outside of those seasons if it feels right for the situation, but I’m so strongly connected to the seasons that I suppose it’s not a surprise I would associate many of my decks with one season or another.

I’ve limited the decks in this post, though, to the decks that I actually used during this summer of 2019.  Out of the “summery” decks that I’ve used this summer, these are the five that have really stood out for me….

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Stolen Child Tarot – Okay, so this one quickly stole the show for me this summer.  Or, should I say this September.   The thing is, though, that it rapidly has climbed to my #2 spot for all time favorite decks, right beneath the Tarot of the Hidden Realm.  I love the combination of whimsy and seriousness, the expressive complexity of the cards.  I just really connected with this deck, and the cardstock is just amazing.  It feels great to shuffle.

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Hanson Roberts Tarot – This has been a long time favorite of mine.  Mary Hanson Roberts does lovely work and I really like her depictions in this deck.  Of all RWS clones out there, this one is at the top of the list for me.  Like all the decks on this list, my “summer feel” is about color correlations, and crispness in artistic depiction.

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Luna Sol Tarot – You know those super hot days where the world feels baked crispy and white washed by the sun’s rays?  That’s what this deck reminds me of.  In my opinion, it makes a great end-of-summer deck for this reason.

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Linestrider Tarot (with the Hedgewitch Oracle) – When it comes to these two decks, I just can’t seem to have one without the other.  In my mind, they go together as one.  I know that they both really pair lovely with other decks, but I just can’t seem to separate them in my mind.  When I read with the Linestrider Tarot, I often shuffle the Hedgewitch Oracle directly into the deck.  I do it so often that I might end up leaving them some way at some point.

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Luminous Void Tarot – For me, this deck is the epitome of sticky summer heat and the melty smudge of cosmetics on women roasting as they go about their days in the oppressive heat of summer.  It’s all about dripping sweat, cloying humidity, and the sweltering of the sun beating down upon the world at the peak of summer.

Like I mentioned earlier.  Seasonal decks, to me, are all about color and the texture within the artwork  (as opposed to the texture of the cardstock).  For me, all of the decks above very much speak summer, and I’ve tried to explain why in each one that I see them that way.

Decks that Intimidate Me – (non) VR to BoyDiviner

The BoyDiviner on YouTube did a video that, although it is not a hashtag, I really enjoyed a lot and decided to do a (non)VR to anyway.

This is about tarot decks that intimidate me in some way or another.  I don’t have many, but there are a few in my collection that fit the bill.  Here is an outline of what these decks are, and how I feel about them.

ST

Secret Tarot by Dominic Murphy

I absolutely love the artwork in this deck.  I love the concept, the originality, the expressiveness in the cards.  I love it.

But, at the same time?  I find it very intimidating.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that after the major arcana, the deck is an entirely different structure.  I’ve had more luck with the Lost Tarot by the same artist, as there seems to be a bit more structure in that one than this one.

Still, I keep it because I love the artwork.  And, at some point, I plan on doing a depth study of this deck to help me (hopefully) become more familiar and comfortable with it and its unusual system.

TH

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley

I used to think that it was just the Thoth system that intimidated me, but after working with the Gill Tarot and a few others, I think in this case it’s the artwork, not the system.

Something in the artwork for the original Thoth deck just makes me want to ‘shield and retreat’ in much the same way that I feel when I come across someone radiating abusive vibes.   I bought this deck to delve deeper into the Thoth system, but every time I pick it up, it turns me off.   Not just emotionally or aesthetically, but even my intuition turns away from this deck and will refuse to speak.

WW

Wild Wood Tarot by Mark Ryan, John Matthews, and Will Worthington

I genuinely adore this deck and its earthiness, although I find the energy of this deck just a but too heavy.   I love the artwork especially.  But, for some reason I have a hard time reading this deck intuitively, and many of the cards do not follow the RWS system, so I then struggle with reading it logically as well.

I did a depth study on this deck for an entire year, but I still find myself unable to read with it confidently, even after a year of serious study.

DG

Dreams of Gaia Tarot by Ravynne Phelan

It’s the faces.   I mean, yes, it’s an entirely different system from any other deck out there, but I think I would be more inclined to learn that system IF it wasn’t for the FACES.  They just bug me for some reason.  I don’t like them.

That said, I do use this deck, but I use it as an intuitive oracle instead. Usually when harsh truths are required.

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Spirit Keeper’s Tarot by Benebell Wen

This one is purely all about information overload.  I’m kind of wondering if this deck isn’t more suited to the logic-style of readers rather than the intuitive style?  I’m not entirely sure.   I just find there is SO MUCH information in each card that I feel overwhelmed by them when I try to read with them.

I think they’re amazing, and I think Benebell Wen (who drew each of these cards by hand) is brilliant.  I have the study books that go along with this deck and intend on doing a depth study with it at some point.  But, at the moment, I find it a bit too much and the cards make me feel like the crossed wires between my logic and intuition are about to blow a fuse.

 

 

Make It Fun

Today’s meditation was ten minutes and ten seconds long, and focused on techniques for releasing thoughts so that they do not clutter up your mind during meditation.   This is something that a lot of people have difficulties with in meditation, myself included, and is one of the main lessons meditation in mindfulness is there to teach you.

It also had encouragement for those (also like myself) that become frustrated when thoughts continue to keep bouncing back in again and again, even once acknowledged and set aside.

Today’s draw was a triple.  That is to say it was the main card with two jumpers that came out together.  It was an odd experience, to be honest, but I decided to go with it rather than try for a single card answer.  It is also the third time in the past 24 hours I’ve been given 3 cards when seeking a single card answer.

The main card in today’s draw is one that’s visited quite often over the past couple of weeks.  That is the eleventh card in the Major Arcana, the Justice card (with the chimpanzees).

The two jumper cards in today’s draw are the Eight of Pentacles (the Beaver) and the Page of Cups (the Platypus).  Once again today, I will go into traditional meanings afterward, as I feel the need to pull my intuitive reading out of the cards first before delving into my more “book learned” information.

What these cards are telling me (in the order they are received) is that I need to focus on creating more balance in my working life.  It doesn’t all have to be serious or studious.  Yes, hard work is important, but so is having fun with it.  And it is absolutely possible to do both.

I sometimes lose touch of this aspect of “fun” when I become too focused upon the work that needs to be done.

The two guidance cards attached to the Justice card are also both depicted in water, which points to my creativity and emotions.  I think this is an important distinction, especially within my business, as my business is a creative process at the heart of it all.  And although the success of my business is created with hard work, it is also an expressive venue of my creativity that requires a bit of fun, and even whimsy to not just succeed but be enjoyable to me.

And on to the traditional meanings…

The Justice card is in the Major Arcana, which deals with “big picture” topics and issues, rather than specific aspects of the human condition.  This card is a representation of cause and effect, balance, karma, accountability, fairness, and truth.  In the guidebook for this deck, the chimpanzee is associated with the keywords adaption, objectiveness, awareness, compassion, and honor.

The Eight of Pentacles is a representation of the manifestation, mastering of skills, accomplishment through hard work, determination, and purpose in the areas of the physical world, manifesting reality from ideas, resources, and finances.  The Beaver’s keywords are dedication, drive, guidance, success, integrity, and community.

The Page of cups is a representation of a receptive omega type of energy, personality, or person in the area of emotions, creativity, intuition, and relationships. This card’s energy is one of curiosity and learning, creative opportunities, tapping into one’s intuition for guidance, and possibilities.  The Platypus’ keywords are curiosity, peace, intuition, opportunity, individuality, and fluidity.

Deck Used: The Animism Tarot

 

A Moment of Realization with the Tarot

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I’m pretty well seated in how I both see and use the tarot, and comfortable in that.   But, just recently I came to a new realization about how I see the tarot and its suits.

Up until just the last few days, I had always thought that I saw the suits as “cups, pentacles, wands, and swords”, regardless of the fact that those names don’t always just “roll off the tongue” for me (so to speak).

Then, I got the Numinous Tarot in the mail and it showed me that this isn’t how I view the suits at all, which is a little odd since I’ve had other decks that rename the suits, but it really stuck out to me with this one.

In the Numinous Tarot, the suits are renamed as vials, tomes, candles, and bells.  And, when trying to sort this out?   My mind never even -went- to the whole “cups, pentacles, wands, and swords” thing, but instead went immediately to the elements.

Yes, all along I’ve known and been intimately aware with the correlations between the suits and the elements.  Cups = Water, Pentacles = Earth, Wands = Fire, Swords = Air…. and yet, never before has it stuck out to me how -much- I see the suits not as their names at all, but the elements themselves and the qualities those elements represent.

I’d guess that I’ve been pairing the suit names to the elements so long that, for the most part, they became synonymous with each other.  And yet, clearly, they are not as when push comes to shove?  It’s not to the suit names I relate, but the elements they (for me) represent.

 

Caring for a Tarot Deck

There are a variety of ways to take care of a tarot deck, and a plethora of old wives tales (some of them practical, others not so much). I think what is important, though, isn’t the old wives tales and superstitions, but gratitude.   You work with these cards, you trust these cards.  They speak to your intuition, and they are used as guides, as self care tools, as expressions, and as many other things.    They deserve to be treated well.

What I’ve found, though, is that everyone cares for their deck(s) differently.  I personally can’t speak for other’s methods and reasons for those methods, but here’s how I care for mine…

Step 1) Saying Hello – When a deck first comes into my possession, I look through the cards and familiarize myself with the artwork, the card stock, the feel of the cards in my hands, and the feel of the shuffle. I spend some time with the deck, just looking at each card and repeatedly shuffling the deck. I might, at this time, also do a couple of deck exercises, just to become more familiar with the structure of the deck. These most commonly include…

A) Laying out the cards of each suit, one at a time, and paying attention to how the element of the suit is expressed in each card, as well as take time to notice the similarities in the qualities of the cards within each suit, and the differences expressed through their progression from the Ace to King.

B) Looking at each number, from each suite together (all aces, all twos, etc) including the corresponding Major Arcana Cards. At this time, I seek the “theme” of the number within each of the five cards, and the differences of the elements they represent as well.

Step 2) Modifications – At this point, I will often do my modifications if I’m interested in doing any kind of alterations to the cards.  I like to do the modifications before cleansing the cards, as I want them to be their “finished selves” before I get to that part of things.

I’ve just started modifying my decks (beyond the occasional edging) recently, so along with starting a new cycle of cleansing and interviews with all of the decks in my collection (mentioned below), as I go through my decks to prepare them for this process, I am also picking out and setting aside those that I have definite feelings about wanting to modify in some way in the future.

3) Cleansing – I almost always will do this before I ever use the cards for any type of reading or communication.   In my case, cleansing is done by setting up outside (see the picture to the right) with a candle, appropriate crystals to lend their energy to the process, my abalone shell (on its stand) to catch ash, and a small smudge stick (usually that I’ve made myself) of white sage, sweet grass, and a very slender toothpick-sized sliver of palo santo wood. (I have a number of decent sized sticks that I purchased years and years ago, but it’s currently on the endangered watch list so I use what I have very sparingly, as I will not purchase more until it is off the endangered species list).   I then run each card through the smoke of the smudge stick, one at a time, paying mind to the individual card before me as I do so.

Some people do not cleanse their cards, as they worry it will alter the card’s personality (I’m sure there are other reasons, as well).  And, I guess I can understand that.  But for me, it’s important.

I see this process as similar to taking a bath.  When you take a bath, you wash yourself but you don’t lose your appearance or personality in the washing.  I feel that the “bath” is an important step, as it washes away any stray energy that might be lingering in the cards (for example, the energy of a suicidal employee that handled the cards at the printing company, or a resentful worker at the storage warehouse, etc).  I think it is important to wash away those energies so they don’t “muddle” the communication that comes from the cards.

After the initial cleansing that happens with the cards when they come into my collection, the only other time I ever cleanse them is 1) they are not communicating as clearly as they once did, 2) I’m re-doing a deck interview and feel a cleansing could help in “clearing the air” and opening up communication, or 3) I have allowed someone other than myself or my sister to touch them.  The last isn’t really something that happens all that much anymore.  Once upon a time, I used to do face to face readings and would have the querent shuffle the cards, split the deck, draw cards, etc.  Since the event that changed my appearance and the ways I communicate, though, I no longer do face to face readings so it is rare anyone aside from myself and my sister ever handle my cards.

4) Deck Interview – After the cards have been cleansed, I will go through the process of my deck interview.   This involves first putting the cards in order.  I’ve already shuffled this deck multiple times when first getting familiar with it and possibly during the modification process.   So I now take the time to put the cards back in order, which I feel helps “pause and reset” the deck, opening things up for them to speak clearly.  Sort of like organizing the deck’s thoughts before the interview begins.

I then do six riffle shuffles, before then shifting to overhand seesaw shuffling while I  wait for a card to stick out (or jump out) for each question in the interview.   Once I’ve gone through all of the questions,  I photograph the finished interview spread, and then I thank the cards as I riffle shuffle them three more times, then put them away.

5) Journaling – After the interview spread, I then print out the photo of the interview and add it to my deck interview journal, and write my journal entry about this deck, which includes why I bought the deck (or how it entered my collection), what my first impressions of the deck were, and then an outline of my interpretations of each answer the deck replied to during the interview.

6) Storage – With as many decks as I have, I am very conscientious about how I store my decks.  This depends on a variety of factors.

If the deck came with a “fitted” tuck box, I will usually keep the deck stored in this box.  The same can be said for small hard boxes that are made to specifically fit the size of the deck.

The BIG boxes that a lot of decks come with these days?  I remove the deck from the box, and will then take time to peel the artwork from the box to save and use later in the deck interview journal or in an in-depth study journal of that specific deck.    The deck is then wrapped in cotton cloth in a “swaddle” of sorts.   I am aware of the old wives tale that says you should wrap your decks in silk, but it just doesn’t feel good to me.  Silk is not as breathable or as comfortable as cotton.  I want them to be comfortable in their swaddle, and enjoy their resting time with the other decks in my collection.  It doesn’t seem enjoyable (in my opinion) to be wrapped up in suffocating silk when you can be in something far more comfortable.

My decks are then placed in one of four places.   I have two trunks (and a basket), which I store the majority of my decks in.  One trunk is for boxed Tarot decks only, the other is for all other boxed decks (such as Lenormand decks, Oracle decks, playing card decks, etc). The basket currently houses my swaddled decks. This system will possibly change a bit over time, and with the possible addition of a third trunk.

I have a shelf in my nightstand where a  handful of decks that are my “go to” decks sit along side whatever decks are next in my monthly deck studies.

I also have a small basket dedicated to decks that are waiting to be modified in some way. A lot of these are decks that require more extensive modifications such as trimming or backing, as I often do edgings right away when I have decided a deck needs it.

Aside from those spots, I have reference decks (and decks in tins) on a shelf in the living room beneath my computer monitor.  There is also between one to three decks at our altar in the bedroom, two decks on the night stand for ease of access and decoration, and my sister and I now (as of last week) have a plastic bin beside the bathtub that has a trio of waterproof decks in it.