Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: Body Cards

Body Cards
Author: Courtney Putnam
Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Description: 35 cards and a 95-page guidebook in a sturdy cardboard box, with magnetic closure.

Card size: 4 x 6 inches

"Your body is your map your muse and your medicine."

"We hold deep wisdom in our bodies-in every muscle, bone, blood vessels, nerve fiber, and cell."

The guidebook begins with an introduction on the body, chakras, and the art. There's a section on how to use the body cards, which includes relating to the cards, selecting the cards, four spreads, and interpreting the cards. The bulk of the book covers the cards and closes with a bibliography and list of the cards by associated chakra.

Body Cards offer you a tool to check in with your body. Some believe, when your body aches, it is trying to reveal something to you. The migraine, the aching shoulder, the upset stomach - these may all be more than physical conditions. They may also be messages regarding your emotional state, stress levels, and overall well-being. Start listening to your body. Use Body Cards as a guide to reveal more about what it is saying to you.

The first card in the deck is the Amygdala. You may be wondering what this is, but the guidebook supplies you with this information, giving you location, function, and a unique fact about the body part. The area of the body the card is exploring is often marked by a pattern. In this case, you see a heart at the area above the center of the eyes.

"Location: The amygdala is a group of nuclei located deep in the brain in the temporal lobe. Function: As part of the limbic system, the amygdala is involved in emotions and decision-making and is linked to our pleasure and fight-or-flight responses. Unique Fact: When the amygdala is not functioning well, we may experience depression, PTSD, anxiety, phobias, and aggressive behaviors."

The guidebook also covers: the artwork title, an art meditation, the associated Chakra, and what the card means in a reading.

"If the amygdala has arrived in your reading, pay close attention to your relationship with inner peace." "The message of the amygdala card is this: when you cultivated peace within yourself, you radiate that message of peace to the rest of the world."

To heal or improve the function of the body part, activities are provided: working with color, essential oils, and creative projects.

"Create a collage in which you explore the nature of bother inner and outer peace..."

"The lesson of the pituitary card is all about taking a burden off your shoulders by asking others for help."

"If the stirrup bone is appearing to you, this may be a sign to take your fingers out of your ears."

Body Cards will help you listen to your body, but will also set you upon a journey of creativity with its activity suggestions.

Body Cards is a great deck to do a quick body check after a full tarot reading.

Grab your deck at Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Review: Gaian Tarot

Gaian Tarot
Author: Joanna Powell Colbert
Schiffer Publishing, 2016

Description: 78 cards and a 184 page guide book in a sturdy cardboard box, with magnetic closure.

Card Size: 4X5¾ inches

"Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves"

This is not a new deck to the Tarot world. When it first came out, I itched to order, but never got around to it. So many decks!

The Gaian Tarot first appeared in 2010 as a self-published deck. Its popularity drew Llewellyn into the scene, but then the deck disappeared. Schiffer Publishing has brought it back. I'm not sure if there are any differences between the published versions. Excited to see this deck arrive in the mail, I'm pleased with the product. Not only are the card images intriguing, but the guidebook puts a slightly different light on the Tarot, as the author looks through the perspective of Gaian.

The deck is a traditional 78-card Tarot deck, with a few changes of card names, image perspectives, and a different shade on the interpretations.

In the Major Arcana, the name changes include: the Fool is the Seeker, the High Priestess is the Priestess, the Empress is the Gardener, the Emperor is the Builder, the Hierophant is the Teacher, the Chariot is the Canoe, the Wheel of Fortune is the Wheel, the Hanged Man is the Tree, the Devil is Bindweed, the Tower is Lightening, Judgment is Awakening, and the World is Gaia the World.

In the Court, the Pages become Children, the Knights become Explorers, the Queens become Guardians, and the Kings become Elders. "Instead of reflecting the class-based society of Renaissance Europe, these cards correspond to the stages of life: childhood, early adulthood, mid-life, and old age."

In the Minor Arcana, the suits correspond to their elements and are represented by alternative images. The changes include: Air (Swords) are represented by feathers, clouds, birds, butterflies, flutes, pens, and books; Fire (Wands) are torches, candles, bonfires, and hearths; Water (Cups) are rivers, fish, rain, beaches, shells, boats, and wells; and Earth (Pentacles) are gardens, forests, mammals, crafts, and drums.

"When used for divination, the Tarot can be viewed as a spiritual weather vane. It can tell you which way the wind is blowing in your life at a given moment. But only you can set your sail and choose your course."

The majority of the guidebook covers the cards, divided into two sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana begins with a brief overview and then dives into the cards. Each card is presented by its title, which is followed by the traditional name if the title has been changed. Then, you have the soul lesson or the theme of the card. A brief description of the card is given, along with what the card means in a reading and its shadow side (or reversal meaning). Headlined as Deepen Your Understand, the author covers themes, symbol meanings, journal questions, and an affirmation.

The Minor Arcana begins with a brief overview, which includes Elements, Numbers, and People. The number or court groups are also given brief overviews. Each card is presented by title, a card description, the card in a reading, the shadow side (or reversal meaning), and an affirmation.

The guide closes with a section on Working with the Cards, which includes short sections on reading the cards intuitively, a card a day, the art of asking questions, reading the shadow side of the cards, variations on the three-card reading, and ten unique spreads.

The guidebook alone is worth the purchase of this deck in my opinion.

I loved the sections on symbols, which cover the majority of the items appearing in each card. In the Gaia the World card, a halo surrounds Gaia's head. "Halo: In religious iconography of many cultures, a sacred or holy figure is indicated by a radiant or bright circle around the head and shoulders. Some say it is a depiction of the aura, or energy field that emanates from the being."

The journal questions are also a wonderful part of the Major Arcana section. The Gaia the World includes: How am I blessed?, What cycle is reaching completion in my life?, and more. But, these could also be used as questions for tarot readings, a springboard in the creation of your own spreads, and/or even the beginnings of freewriting or mind mapping activities.

I found the short section on Numbers in the Minor Arcana intriguing. "The Gaian Tarot's number system was inspired by Teresa Michelsen's work. She views the minors as containing three sets of three-card mini dramas, with the 10 as a card of transition." The author goes on to explain these sets and how they correspond with the Seeker's journey as he grows and matures.

As with most guidebooks, this one touches upon many areas, but doesn't necessarily dig deep enough, but there's only so much room in these guidebooks. I would love to see this author put out a book of more in-depth on her views of the Tarot, but there's plenty here to spark your interest and get you going with the Tarot.

The cards in this deck are gorgeous and amazingly detailed. "Many of the scenes in the deck are based on sketches from my nature journals and photos I've taken of local landscapes."

While the cards are almost too large for my hands, I believe smaller would have taken away from the images. If it becomes a huge issue, trimming could be done. As you can see the blue boarder could be taken away to rectify issues of size. But so far, I'm able to manage the cards while shuffling.  And, the energy emitted from the deck is amazing. I'm extremely happy with my overall experience with this deck.

9 The Hermit: He sits at a stone table, journaling by the light of a lantern, while sage burns by his side. He gazes up at the wise owl, while experiencing a vision, which he collects in his journal. The vision almost seems to be produced by his connection with the owl. The image is a wonderful scene of reflection. The author gives this card the Soul Lesson of Sacred Solitude.

Card description: "The Hermit retreats from the company of others to replenish his soul in solitude as he communes with the natural world. He listens to the calls of the birds as he writes and sketches ..."

In a reading: "Your spirit is crying out for a time of sacred solitude. You need to withdraw..."

Shadow side: "Some people are afraid of being alone, fearing what they might do or not do if left to themselves. ..."

Themes include: Solitude, Withdrawal, Silence, Guiding light, etc.

Symbols include: Lantern: Light of wisdom and knowledge; Journal and pen: Reflection, introspection, knowledge, learning, wisdom; Owl: Strength in silence (noiseless flight), night vision, guidance, wisdom; and more.

Journal Questions include: How do I feel about the aging process? What are the elements of a great retreat? What kind of healing does the Hermit offer me? and more.

Affirmation: "I retreat from the world in order to refresh my spirit."

In the Ten of Fire, "a forest fire is raging, the smoke and ashes released into the air. To our "civilized" minds, a fire is terrifying.... But forest fires are a natural part of the cycle of life..."

The ten themes are transitions, transformation, endings and beginnings.

In a reading: "Does it feel like your dreams have gone up in smoke? Are you overwhelmed or burdened by loss? Remember that new seedlings grow and flourish in the ashes of a spent fire. You must release your passions and your energies, whether; or not you want to, worthier or not you think you're ready. It's time."

Shadow side: "You can only focus on the devastation and loss, and see no hope for the future...."

Affirmation: "I release what is finished, and clear the way for rebirth."

The Gaian Tarot is a wonderful deck for any tarot enthusiast, from master to beginner.

Grab your copy at Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)