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Miss W. Merrymoon (West Yorkshire, England)

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The Sacred Circle Tarot: A Celtic Pagan Journey
The Sacred Circle Tarot: A Celtic Pagan Journey
by Anna Franklin
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pagans In Paradise, 7 May 2012
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This fully-illustrated deck is extraordinarily beautiful. Franklin and Mason began this venture when they were fresh out of university, but then abandoned it as too big a project and it lay untouched for fifteen years. This deck is the result of a further two years collaboration and very hard work, bringing to us a stunning visual feast of the pagan path and way of life. The box for the cards is over-sized so there is room to wrap the cards up and still keep them inside it. The box is plain white apart from a border round the edge, thus giving the reader the opportunity to embellish it in any way that seems appropriate.

The book which accompanies the deck is also excellent, with plenty of information about each card, without being too overwhelming. Several spreads are described, including 'the Circle Spread', 'the Web Spread', and 'the Romany Spread'. There are also two chapters on using the Sacred Circle Tarot for meditation.

All the cards are on a black background. The titles of thirteen of the Major Arcana have been changed, e.g. 'the Fool' becomes 'the Green Man', 'the Hierophant' becomes 'the Druid', and 'Strength' becomes 'the Warrior'. The picture on the box is 'the Lady' ('the Empress') and is a good example of the standard of the artwork. Also, Franklin has altered the order slightly of some of the Major cards "to fit more closely with the theme of the deck". All of the cards show scenes of nature, including actual sacred places in England and Ireland, plus images of real people. The vibrant nature of the artwork is such that anyone who loves Mother Nature will have no trouble connecting with the cards.

The Minor Arcana cards are no less captivating. Each suit has it's own elemental border colour - Swords, yellow; Wands, red; Cups, lilac; Discs, green. At the top of each card is it's number and at the bottom a keyword. As with the Major Arcana, the Minor all have depictions of nature in her full glory.

I love this deck. You can feel the breeze caress your face, hear the rustle of leaves, smell the good earth, touch the flowers; and it makes me want to dance, to run, to play in the woods and dangle my feet in a stream.........it touches every bit of pagan in me.


Russell Grant's Astro-Tarot Pack
Russell Grant's Astro-Tarot Pack
by R Grant
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Access Granted, 7 May 2012
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Russell Grant has not disappointed his fans with this deck. It is highly individual, incorporating the Major Arcana, the four Aces from the Minor Arcana, Sun signs of the Western Zodiac, the signs of the Chinese Zodiac, and fourteen other cards all associated with the Western Zodiac, totalling sixty-four cards. The accompanying book is written in Russell Grant's unmistakable inimitable style, whilst being very clear, uncluttered and straightforward, and is also very user-friendly. The reason he gives for using only the Aces from the Minor Arcana is that he wanted the challenge of creating his own interpretations of the rest of them. He has certainly created a very bright and vibrant deck.

When I was looking through the deck, I noticed that card fifty-three, 'New Moon' actually shows a waning moon. If you're looking for something just that little bit different, you need look no further than this deck.


The Renaissance Tarot Deck (Book & Card Deck)
The Renaissance Tarot Deck (Book & Card Deck)
by Jane Lyle
Edition: Cards

3.0 out of 5 stars It Is What It Is, 7 May 2012
Lyle has chosen to present this deck in Renaissance style as that was the time period in which the Tarot first appeared and would therefore lend itself to an exploration of the philosophies that lie therein. The book which accompanies the cards is very clearly set out and easy to follow, and includes four traditional spreads with very helpful sample readings.The artwork is more sculpture than painting and is very pleasing to the eye.

The Major cards are paired, starting with 1 and XX, working forwards/backwards with X/XX1 'bringing up the rear' so to speak. 'The Fool' has not been paired as this is his/her journey. Many of the images/symbols are similar to the Rider-Waite ones, yet the style and composition are vastly different and exquisitely executed. For each card there are four sections - the symbolism; an exposition of the archetype's universal development throughout history; upright meanings; and reversed meanings, along with astrological correspondences. This 'formula' is one which works well, as demonstrated in Lyle's 'The Lover's Tarot' (see review).

The Minor cards are not quite full illustrations yet not just pips. The images are powerfully simple, a great deal being conveyed through body language and other symbols, again beautifully executed. The Court cards have retained their original titles except for 'Page' which becomes 'Princess-Page'. Lyle has also included a table of correspondences for the Minor Arcana, summing up a great deal of information in a few words. For each suit the correspondences are - 'Element', 'Elemental Spirit', 'Season', 'Time', 'Psychological Function', 'Zodiac Signs', 'Keyword', and 'Highest Power'. Whilst it isn't necessary to use the table, nevertheless a more in-depth reading can probably be achieved by including some of the correspondences.

I love Jane Lyle's style, as she is direct, doesn't try to blind us with science, and knows how to pick the right artist!


The Phoenix Cards: Reading and Interpreting Past-Life Influences with the Phoenix Deck
The Phoenix Cards: Reading and Interpreting Past-Life Influences with the Phoenix Deck
by Susan Sheppard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Past Present, 7 May 2012
This twenty-eight card deck is subtitled 'Reading and Interpreting Past-Life Influences with the Phoenix Deck', each card being the result of extensive research and investigations into various cultures. The deck is primarily intended as a tool for the individual to explore their past lives, but can also be used to help others understand how their past lives have shaped them.

The cards themselves are all very different, reflecting the culture which they portray. They are numbered from one to twenty-eight and whilst only the actual numbers appear on the cards, the book gives each card a title and a key phrase, e.g. ' card V - Egyptian Buto Goddess - Child of the Dark World'; 'card XI - Yugoslavian Earth Goddess - the Guise of the Goddess'; ' card XIX - Greek Painting - Love of Reason'.

Sheppard has gone to great lengths to give as much information as possible for each card, i.e. 'Symbol' is a representation of what is going on inside the individual now, which links you with civilisations from past lives; 'Place' where you have lived in previous lives; 'Time' in history; 'Groups' that you were a member of; 'Language Groups' which show links with various cultures throughout the world; 'Appearance' e.g. colour of skin, body type, hair; 'Traits', i.e. how you express yourself in this life as a result of your particular past lives; 'Conclusion' drawn from all the above, bringing insight and understanding about how you got to where and who you are now.

This undoubtedly seems an awful lot of information to draw from each card, but one of Sheppard's spreads, the 'Past Life Mandala', goes even further. She has taken seven astological influences, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, and interprets each of the twenty-eight cards in relation to each planet. It would probably have been quite helpful if she had given some examples of how the spread would work with a real person. Towards the back of the book there is a very useful table which sums up the main elements of each card. The illustrations are all very individual and although they are interesting, there doesn't really seem to be any sense of flow from one to the next.

This is a great deck for anyone who is seriously into reincarnation.


Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game of Zen (79 cards plus instruction book)
Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game of Zen (79 cards plus instruction book)
by Osho
Edition: Cards

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From A to Zen, 7 May 2012
The subtitle of this stunning deck is 'The Transcendental Game of Zen', by which Osho is referring to the practice of reading the cards. The deck follows the regular Tarot format plus a seventy-ninth card, 'the Master'. To quote Osho, "The Master card symbolizes the ultimate transcendence of journeying itself, a transcendence that becomes possible only through the dissolving of the separate, individual ego in enlightenment".

The book which accompanies the deck is in landscape rather than portrait layout, making it really easy to flick through the pages. Osho introduces a number of spreads, including 'the Paradox', 'the Key', and 'the Mirror', all of which are simply explained. In fact, the whole book is similarly written without any unnecessary adornment, making Tarot immediately accessible. For each of the seventy-eight cards there are two sections - an exposition of the name/memory prompt, which is short and to the point, plus a commentary on/interpretation of the images.

Only two of the Major cards have retained their original titles - 'the Fool' and 'the Lovers'. Some examples of the changes are - 'the High Priestess' becomes 'the Inner Voice'; 'Death' becomes 'Transformation'; and 'the Tower' becomes 'Thunderbolt'. The artwork throughout the whole deck is absolutely exquisite and has to be seen to be appreciated.

The suit names of the Minor Arcana are 'Clouds' (Swords), 'Fire' (Wands), 'Water' (Cups), and 'Rainbows' (Pentacles), whilst the Court cards have retained their original names. At the bottom of each card, is the simple single word/phrase that sums up its interpretation, with the numbers of the cards appearing within a coloured diamond shape appropriate to its suit - 'Clouds' are grey, 'Fire' is red, 'Water' is blue, and 'Rainbows' are rainbow -coloured.

I love this beautiful deck and it is absolutely ideal for meditation.


The Oracle Tarot: Your Magical Guide to a Better Future (Large Card Decks)
The Oracle Tarot: Your Magical Guide to a Better Future (Large Card Decks)
by Lucy Cavendish
Edition: Cards

4.0 out of 5 stars A Box of Enchantment, 7 May 2012
This is a sixty-four card deck, due to the absence of any Court cards. The author's reason for this is that "as the Major Arcana always indicate powerful people in your life, these are the cards to look for when trying to discover exactly who is playing a vital role in your destiny". The Major cards are numbered from one to twenty-two, starting with the Fool, and three of them have different names, i.e. 'The Hierophant' becomes 'Tradition', 'Death' becomes 'Change', and 'The Devil' becomes 'Bondage'. None of the Major cards bears it own number, although the numbers are shown in the instruction booklet. Every card in the deck shows a few key words.

The Minor cards are at times sensual, sometimes childlike and always enchanting. All in all, it is a very feminine deck and the author's use of vivid colours is truly inspired.

I'm not sure I agree with Cavendish that the Major cards are a good replacement for Court cards, especially as these days, the Court cards aren't necessarily seen as just representing people. Nor do I particularly agree that the Major cards always indicate powerful people. It is too prescriptive for my taste, but no doubt will suit some. Nevertheless, it wouldn't stop me from using the deck as it really is beautiful - a bit like opening a box of chocolates and finding all your favourites and none of the ones you don't like so much!


Olympus - An Experience in Self Discovery
Olympus - An Experience in Self Discovery
by Murry Hope
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Greek, But No Tragedy, 7 May 2012
As it's name suggests, this deck is based on classical Greek archetypes. The set comprises a thirty-six card deck, fully-illustrated, and an excellent book. The subtitle is 'An Experience in Self-Discovery', as it has been primarily designed as a tool for personal growth. Two spreads are described -'Key', a six-card spread 'for a mini-analysis' or 'to gain insight into a pressing problem'; and 'the Maze', a thirteen-card spread for 'an in-depth analysis' or 'future trends'. Hope gives four sample readings, related in the third person, which demonstrates that this deck can be used just as easily to help others as well as one-self.

The cards are divided into four categories, as follows - 'Twelve Olympians', 'Three Tutors', 'Four Heroes', and 'Seventeen Indicators', each one providing a different element essential for personal growth. Each card is opulently illustrated according to the Greek figure it represents, along with the category at the top and the name of the figure at the bottom.

All-in-all, 'Olympus' provides a new slant on an ancient art, and if you are as steeped in the Tarot as I am, I recommend you take a look at it. It's a bit like learning a new dance after having danced in the old familiar way for a long time.


Necronomicon Tarot by Tyson, Donald
Necronomicon Tarot by Tyson, Donald

4.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome and Grim, 6 May 2012
This deck is truly extraordinary, very different, very dark, and not for the squeamish. Tyson was fascinated with and inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's 'Necronomicon' and was compelled to write his own version in order to understand more about the world of the 'Old Ones' as described by Lovecraft. Consequently, Tyson created a trilogy, 'the Necronomicon', 'Alhazred', with the Necronomicon Tarot completing it, and it is this deck that brings the books to life with it's graphic illustrations, or more correctly, artwork. The package consists of an excellent book in landscape rather than portrait layout, and a deck in an attractive black drawstring bag.

At first glance it might appear that this deck has much in common with the Wormweird Tarot (see review), but the difference is that Tyson has gone to great lengths to explain his intention with this deck, including information about the parallels with and the differences from the Rider-Waite/Golden Dawn-based decks. Tyson conveys a strong sense of boundaries between himself and his work, whereas Higham's deck could be seen as an act of gratuitous degradation.

The Major cards show not only the original titles, but also each one bears the name of the god/monster/creature that it portrays, e.g. 'the Hanged Man/Well of the Seraph'; 'Judgement/Guardian of Eden'.

The Minor cards are on the whole not quite so gruesome as the Major ones, and each suit follows a storyline from Ace through Ten, in keeping with the meaning of the suit.

Although this deck is dark, in my view Tyson has done everything he can to ensure that anyone using it for divination bears in mind that a reading is likely to be negative due to the nature of the deck. In other words, he has conducted himself with a great sense of responsibility. There is so much else I could write about the Necronomicon Tarot, but Tyson has given so much fascinating information in his book that I can only say - read it!


Mini Motherpeace Tarot Deck (Cards)
Mini Motherpeace Tarot Deck (Cards)
by Vicki Noble
Edition: Misc. Supplies
Price: £18.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Round the World, 6 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Motherpeace Tarot was originally created out of a need for a Tarot which would see the world through women's eyes, rather than the traditional male viewpoint, and the circular nature of these cards is a reflection of that. The booklet that accompanies the deck gives some interesting information about how many matriarchal societies were gradually taken over by patriarchy, and how in the present-day, there is a new awakening of Goddess-consciousness. It also describes a spread called 'the Motherpeace Layout', and a few words about the use of numerology with Tarot. The cards themselves depict images from many cultures all over the world, and included in the deck is a card relating the 'Charge of the Star Goddess' by Starhawk.

The names of two of the Major cards have changed - 'the Hermit' becomes 'the Crone' and 'the Hanged Man' becomes 'the Hanged One'. The composition and style of the Major cards are very different from traditional Tarot imagery. Some of the cards appear quite childlike, whilst Vogel and Noble have managed to convey both the strength and the gentleness of women everywhere.

The Minor cards are fully illustrated, again with very interesting depictions which are truly unique. The Court card titles are 'Daughter, Son, Priestess and Shaman'.

This deck interests me because it is so different from many other decks. Having said that, I didn't really connect with it. Given the small size of a lot of the images on this mini deck, it would probably be easier to read with the full-size version. It is surprisingly difficult to shuffle circular cards and I always feel I am in danger of ending up with seventy-eight cards spread all over the floor.


The Merlin Tarot: Images, Insight and Wisdom from the Age of Merlin
The Merlin Tarot: Images, Insight and Wisdom from the Age of Merlin
by R. J. Stewart
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual Overload, 6 May 2012
This attractive deck and book is a highly complex exploration of the Merlin myths and legends. As such, it will be of particular interest to both Merlin devotees and to those who want to learn something about Merlin. Although the book goes into a lot of detail, Stewart states that "For a full study of the Merlin Tarot and the history of how the deck was designed, you should read the 'the Complete Merlin Tarot', a separate substantial book which deals in depth with every card of the deck".

The Major Arcana is structured quite differently from traditional decks. It is numbered from one to twenty-two, and whilst most cards retain their original titles or very close to, two of them have changed completely, i.e. 'the Devil' becomes 'the Guardian, and 'the Hierophant' becomes 'the Innocent'. The order of the Major cards is radically different, e.g. 'the Moon' is I, 'the Fool' is Vll, and 'the Empress' is XIX. Most of the card designs are immediately recognisable, although 'the Guardian' ('the Devil'), is a beautifully created picture of the naked Herne, complete with antlers and in a nature setting. Stewart says that "the numbering of the Merlin Tarot is purely for reference and is not connected to the so-called traditional numbering or ordering of Tarot trumps that appears in publication from the nineteenth century onwards". Gray's artwork is beautiful and her chosen colours are very easy on the eye. In the book, Stewart gives a number of correspondences for each card, i.e. World, Wheel, Beings, Consciousness, Partner Trumps, Spheres and Planets, Attributes, God and Goddess Forms, Key Phrases, Merlin Texts, Divinatory Meanings, and Related Number Cards.

The Minor cards are more of a mixed bag. All the Aces are exquisite, each one depicting the suit symbol - 'Birds' (Swords), 'Serpents' (Wands), 'Fishes' (Cups) and 'Beasts' (Pentacles). The Court cards are equally beautiful and although the titles are not on the cards, they are in the book, and only the 'Knight' has been changed from the original title to 'Warrior'. The ace through ten are pips and are plain line drawings against colour-appropriate backgrounds, and as such, are a little disappointing. At the bottom of each card is a single-word prompt.

Personally, I would be happy to work with this deck intuitively, but I think I would be on intellectual overload if I were to try to use much of the information provided.


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