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Miss W. Merrymoon "Willow Merrymoon" (West Yorkshire, England)
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The "Lord of the Rings" Oracle
The "Lord of the Rings" Oracle
by Terry Donaldson
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Donaldson - Lord of the Tarot, 6 May 2012
This attractive set comprises a book, a map, a ring and and a forty-card deck, all of which come in a luxury book-style box which is held fast by a green ribbon. It is sub-titled 'A Mystical Pack with Middle-earth Cards, Map and Ring for Divination and Revelation'. The different components of this set can be used in conjunction with each other in various combinations and Donaldson's instructions on how to do so are in simple, straightforward language . The map is large and glossy, and shows the various realms in which 'the action' of the epic story takes place. The ring lets the set down somewhat as it appears to be made from plaster and is of inferior quality when compared with the rest of the set.

The hard-backed book, although only eighty pages long, delivers not only the usual instructions and explanations, but also some very good sample readings, some excellent suggestions for meditation, plus biographical information about Tolkien and a section 'About Terry Donaldson'.

The borderless cards themselves are beautifully illustrated and appear to be in no particular order, being un-numbered. They show 'characters, creatures, races, various beings and some locations', e.g., 'Forest of Mirkwood', 'Shelob's Lair', 'Old Man Willow', and 'the Ghost Army of Dunharrow'. The illustrations appear to have been done on textured paper using various media such as pencil, charcoal and water colours. For each card, Donaldson gives a description of the card, the esoteric meaning, personal indications and reversed meanings. His descriptions are powerful and immediate, as demonstrated by the following two examples:-

'Rose Gamgee and Belladonna Took - The Mothers : Before us stand two Hobbit women: Belladonna Took, the mother of Bilbo, and Rose Gamgee, the wife of Sam and mother of his thirteen children. Together they invite us into their domain, and offer us refreshments. The smell of baking fills our nostrils. We drink from an earthenware goblet. The taste is sweet and warm. We feel that we have been on a long journey. We take off our boots, allowing our feet to relax. The two women stoke up the fire, and we feel the increased warmth'.

And in stark contrast, 'Shelob's Lair: We look from a cave entrance into a huge, dark slimy web. By the light of the lamp we carry we can see various bodies encased within it. Their faces are frozen, seemingly in mid-scream. On entering the cave our nostrils are assaulted by the stench of evil. We stumble and our hands become caught up in the web before us. Something begins shuffling towards us; we are frozen with terror when we see two great clusters of eyes glowing through the darkness. The creature begins to emit a terrifying, bubbling, creaking sound'.

If it seems like I am being a bit long-winded giving those two extracts, they are a very good contrast and really gave a flavour of the whole thing. This set is very different from 'the Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck and Card Game', each set having it's own merits. They were both devised by Terry Donaldson and it's hats off to him, having produced two very different superb decks on the same theme.


Knapp-Hall Tarot Deck
Knapp-Hall Tarot Deck

2.0 out of 5 stars Of Minor Interest, 6 May 2012
This review is from: Knapp-Hall Tarot Deck (Cards)
This deck was originally created in 1929, and was then known as the Revised, New Art Tarot Cards. Fifty years later it was reprinted as the Knapp-Hall Tarot. The cards' designs and symbols are based on the Buddhist Mandala Method and the authors/artists claim that it is possible to achieve different levels of meditation by working with them. Two of the Major Arcana cards have slightly altered names, i.e. 'the Magician' has become the' Juggler', and 'The Fool', which is placed after 'The Universe' , has become 'The Foolish Man'. Each suit of the Minor Arcana has its own symbols whilst also retaining a 'pips' formation.

Personally, I find the Major Arcana quite uninspiring, whereas the Minor Arcana cards are quite intriguing and I can see why they would be good for meditation.


Karma Tarot
Karma Tarot

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreamland, 6 May 2012
This review is from: Karma Tarot (Cards)
This extraordinary deck was created in the 1980's and is painted in unmistakable surrealist mode. It is based upon the Danish author's real life experience of living in a bohemian community in Copenhagen, known as Christiana. In many of the cards Erfurt has used real people and places as the basis for her artwork.

The names of some of the Major cards have been changed - 'the Magician' becomes 'the Juggler', 'the High Priestess' becomes 'the Wise Woman', 'the Empress' becomes 'Lilith', 'the High Priest' becomes 'Grand Master', and ''the Wheel of Fortune' becomes 'the Wheel'. The composition of each card sticks quite closely to the Rider-Waite cards, but the style is hugely different as you can see on the photograph.

The Minor Arcana bears little resemblance to the Rider-Waite cards, summed up perfectly by Stuart Kaplan in his Introductory words to the booklet - '.....Erfurt describes the world as she sees it, with all of its distortion and contradiction'. The emotions portrayed are shown in their most raw state and Erfurt's vivid descriptions in the instruction booklet bring the cards to life in a dramatic way.

I am captivated by the surreal nature of the whole deck and absolutely love it. It is a must for anyone who likes surrealism and I can't recommend it highly enough.


Kazanlar Tarot Deck
Kazanlar Tarot Deck
by Emil Kazanlar
Edition: Cards

5.0 out of 5 stars The Finest of Wines, 6 May 2012
This review is from: Kazanlar Tarot Deck (Cards)
This deck is approached from the point of view that 'the spiritual roots of tarot are to be found in the three great, monotheist religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam' (quote taken from back of box, by ?AGMULLER). In keeping with this, the whole deck is chocka-a-block with information about all three religions in the form of myths, legends and facts. The booklet that accompanies the deck is 143 pages long and addresses every card in detail. Kazanlar's style of writing is such that he creates a thirst for more; and not a single word is superfluous. His ability to pack so much in is reflected in the card designs, as they are intricate and busy, yet beautifully executed. Many of the cards, and in particular the Minor Arcana, are very brightly coloured, and set against a rich gold background. As such, they are reminiscent of the 'Egorov Tarot Gold Edition'.

The Major cards are based very much on the Kabbalah. Kazanlar gives an explanation of that for each card, backed up with very concrete, down-to-earth examples and/or stories that make the esoteric accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the Kabbalah. The titles of the cards are shown at the bottom, in English, French, German and Spanish, although the 'Death' card bears it's number but not it's name. 'The Fool' is assigned the number twenty-two. Two of the card titles have been changed, i.e. 'the High Priestess' becomes 'the Popess' and 'the Hierophant' becomes 'the Prophet'.

The Minor Arcana cards have extra information. The Ace through Ten of each suit have both 'angelic' and 'demonic' names as found in the Kabbalah, to denote their positive (upright) and negative (reversed) influences. These names are shown at the top and bottom of each card respectively, and the booklet gives information for each angel/demon according to it's basic traits and attributes. Astrological correspondences are shown on the left-hand side, although not addressed in the booklet. As well as giving the divinatory interpretation, Kazanlar has given some fascinating insights into the scenes depicted.

All-in-all, if I were to describe this deck in terms of alcohol, I would have to say that it is very much a full-bodied drink, most satisfying and possibly addictive, yet not an addiction I would want to be cured of. There is so much else I could write about the Kazanlar Tarot but I would never be able to do it justice. What I can say is.........open that bottle and savour the flavour!


The I Ching Tarot: A Game of Divination and Discovery
The I Ching Tarot: A Game of Divination and Discovery
by Kwan Lau
Edition: Cards

4.0 out of 5 stars Lau's Landscape, 6 May 2012
This deck comprises sixty-four cards, numbered straightforwardly from one to sixty-four. It is essentially 'oracle' rather than 'tarot' but Lau does state that his reason for calling it the I Ching Tarot is that these days "tarot has come to be more widely used to refer to a deck of cards for fortune-telling".

The cards have a white background, with each one having a narrow band of colour at the top and bottom, giving the original Chinese name and the book-page number respectively. The illustrations are contained within a square in the centre of the card and are simply but beautifully executed. Above each illustration is the number of the card and the appropriate hexagram, whilst underneath is the Western name and a few words pertaining to the meaning of the illustration.

The accompanying book has a 'landscape' rather than 'portrait' format which works very well. Lau has given a brief but informative introduction to the history and development of I Ching, followed by an easily understood section about the eight trigrams. He does also point out that his interpretations are not the definitive truth about the I Ching, and goes on to encourage readers to develop their own understanding through regular use of the oracle. Several interesting spreads are outlined in the book, with one of them being the attractively named the 'Plum Blossom' spread.

One of the things I really like about this deck is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, with it's simple illustrations, yet at the same time, it is possible to use the deck for even the most serious of questions. To quote Lau, "this is an ancient game of sacred play, and one must always leave space for fun".


Harmony Angel Cards: How to Lay Out and Interpret the Cards
Harmony Angel Cards: How to Lay Out and Interpret the Cards
by Angela McGerr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 8.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wings!, 6 May 2012
This forty-eight card deck is, loosely speaking, oracle, and is made up of four suits - 'The Rainbow Suit', 'The Star Fire Suit', 'The Quintessence Suit' and 'The Sacred Flame Suit', each suit having twelve cards. McGerr states that she devised these cards with guidance from the Angels in order that people may find healing and help on their journey through this life.

'The Rainbow Suit' is all about the major Angels which influence day-to-day life; 'The Star Fire Suit' shows the strengths and weaknesses that are inherent in all people; 'The Quintessence Suit' is the realm of the Angels and also of the universal life source; and 'The Sacred Flame Suit' is all about the timelessness and cyclic nature of life.

Each card has a title which is shown in the book but not on the cards themselves, and they are all unnumbered. Looking at the cards, it is not immediately obvious, on the whole, which suit a card might belong to as the identifying designs are, most unusually, on the backs of the cards. Rockwood has made extensive use of bright colours and has produced some very interesting images set in a gold border.

For anyone who hasn't worked with Angels, McGerr's book would undoubtedly be a good introduction as she gives some very helpful spreads and sample readings. The set is presented in book format, whereas the actual book is inside, and attached by it's back cover to the outer 'shell', with the cards sitting in a 'well', again attached to the 'shell'. Unfortunately, all this makes the book difficult to get to grips with in a literal sense.


The Green Man Tree Oracle: Ancient Wisdom from the Green Wood
The Green Man Tree Oracle: Ancient Wisdom from the Green Wood
by John Matthews
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wisdom Of Trees, 6 May 2012
This stunning twenty-five card oracle deck is a system of divination based on the Green Man. Each card depicts a different tree, and the name of each tree is in turn linked to a letter of the Ogham alphabet. Also, every card shows a Green Man image, some easily spotted, whilst others are more difficult to find, and all are viewed through a Gothic archway.

The cards are accompanied by a one-hundred-and-twenty-five page book, the quality of which matches the cards themselves. The edges of the pages bear a pencil-drawn image of the Green Man and the book gives information about the origins and importance of the Ogham alphabet and the sacredness of trees. The chapter on divination is titled 'Turning the Leaves, Receiving the Wisdom of the Woods', which is a very appropriate phrasing for this kind of deck.

Each card has a key phrase, e.g. ' Apple - vision lights the way ahead'; 'Aspen - where all are gathered, strength is strongest'; 'Spindle - destiny moves us to do great things'. The explanations of each card all give divinatory meanings and lore-of-the-tree, along with other sections as appropriate e.g. 'Faery Fruit', 'Goddesses of the Woods', 'Trees of resurrection' and 'The Many-Gifted God'.

This deck is absolutely beautiful, sumptuous even. In my opinion it is a misnomer to say the pictures are 'illustrations', rather, they are works of art. I can't recommend this deck highly enough. Work with it and you will soon be finding green men everywhere you go!


Golden Dawn TTarot Deck
Golden Dawn TTarot Deck
by Israel Regardie
Edition: Cards
Price: 14.51

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wishy-Washy, 6 May 2012
This review is from: Golden Dawn TTarot Deck (Cards)
The author of this deck, Robert Wang, states in his instruction booklet that the Golden Dawn Tarot is "the only truly esoteric deck ever to be published", i.e. the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn claim to have published much of their secret teachings through this deck. All the Major cards retain their original titles, whilst the Court cards of the Minor Arcana are shown as 'Princess', 'Prince', 'Queen', and 'King' whilst the Ace to Ten are 'pip' cards. The pip formations are based on the Kabbala Tree of Life.

I was given this deck by a neighbour who had retrieved it from a waste bin on a shopping precinct! It's not a deck I feel inspired by as I find some of the images a bit flat and the colours of some of the cards a bit washed out.


The Glastonbury Tarot: Timeless Wisdom from the Isle of Avalon with Cards
The Glastonbury Tarot: Timeless Wisdom from the Isle of Avalon with Cards
by Caitlin Matthews
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars No Thorns Here, 6 May 2012
This fully-illustrated deck and accompanying book paint an enchanting and enlightening picture of 'the Tarot according to Glastonbury' (my words), and the strong colours along with glossy finish bring the cards to life in a very direct way. Tenzin-Dolma's connection with Glastonbury comes through clearly in both the book and deck, and she has devised some interesting spreads, including 'the Bird Spread' and 'the Glastonbury Tree Spread', both of which make a refreshing change from the more well-known ones. She has used real people and places along with symbolic images to illustrate the cards.

Although the titles of the Major Arcana are the traditional ones, each card also bears a name/phrase reflecting either the mythical figures or landscape on which each image is based, e.g. 'the Fool/Percival', 'the Wheel of Fortune/the Glastonbury Zodiac', and 'the Devil/St. Dunstan'.

The Minor Arcana suit names are 'Swords', 'Staffs', 'Chalices' and 'Vesicas', and the only change to the Court cards is that 'Page' becomes 'Maid'. Each of the Ace through Ten cards bears a single word prompt at the bottom of the card, e.g. 'Six of Swords/Perception', 'Nine of Staffs/Strength', 'Four of Chalices/Emotion', and 'Eight of Vesicas/Patience'. The illustrations have been powerfully executed and are a feast for the senses.

What a vibrant deck this is! I have a strong sense of the author's emotional/intuitive relationship with the essence of Glastonbury in contrast to e.g. 'the Merlin Tarot', which seems to me to stem from a rather more intellectual stance. If you're a fan of Glastonbury, I think you'll love this deck, and if not, look anyway - you never know, you too may be captivated.


Gareth Knight Tarot
Gareth Knight Tarot

4.0 out of 5 stars Charismatic Collaboration, 6 May 2012
This review is from: Gareth Knight Tarot (Cards)
This deck is the result of many years of collaboration between the author and the artist, and is reputed to be a deck of great artistic and eosteric value. The Major Arcana cards stick quite closely in composition to the original Rider-Waite deck, but with a very distinctive style and extensive use of bright colours.

Two of the Court card names of the Minor Arcana cards have changed - 'Page' becomes 'Princess', and 'Knight' becomes 'Prince'. All the Court cards are beautifully illustrated and bear little resemblance to the Rider-Waite deck. The ace through ten are 'pip' cards, drawn in formation, although all the aces pack quite a punch.

I bought this deck from Gareth Knight in the 1980s when I went to a weekend Tarot workshop with him at Hawkstone College in the Cotswolds, England. I found him to be a dignified and charismatic man, very generous in sharing his knowledge. Highly recommended.


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