Saturday, October 29, 2022

Review: The Transparent Oracle 2nd Edition

The Transparent Oracle 2nd Edition
Author/Artist: Emily Carding 
Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing, 2022

Description: 77 card deck, 207-page guidebook, box with magnetic closure lid.

Card Size - 5 1/4 circular

"The devil is in the detail."  

The second edition of The Transparent Oracle is now a 77-card deck. Seven archetypes have been added to each direction. 

"...the addition of archetype cards will add extra clarity to readings about your relationship with people around you, as well as aspects of your personality."

The Transparent Oracle follows the Transparent Tarot in creating a new way of reading cards. The transparent quality of these decks allows the reader to stack the cards and create a fuller, deeper reading. The decks were so popular that the author came back with 2nd editions of each with added information and cards. The application of the decks separately, combined or even added as an overlay to another deck is amazing, thought-provoking, and a nice escape from the normal reading. 

The cards come in one of Schiffer's signature boxes with the magnetic closure lid. Inside you find the circular deck, a white reading cloth, the guidebook, and a large square insert of the Below Guide: Sidhe, creating a layered image of the guidebook's cover when in the box. 

Do not enter this deck lightly.  You will need to put in some work to get the full benefit of these cards. 

Let's take a look at some of the cards and the system.

The deck is structured into seven directions - North, South, East, West, Above, Below and Within. The four directions: north, south, east, and west include: one gateway, four animal guides, weather, a landscape, a time of day, an element, and an elemental. While the Above has ten gateways, one guide, seven planets, and a polarity. Below has a gateway, four guides, four grail hollows, and a polarity. Within includes a gateway and nine ways in which the self relates to the rest of the world. 

Above you see, 23 West - Element: Water - revealing the energy of emotions, healing, and intuition, 76 Below - Archetype: Nurturer - the healing of others, and 11 South - Gateway: Summer - revealing the abundance of joy.

My overview of these three cards would definitely be of a caregiver who loves his/her job. But that is very simplified. The guidebook goes into more detail and dives deeper into these cards. For instance, when 11 South - Gateway appears with cards from Below, it can possibly reveal the discovery of a family secret.

When you overlay the cards, you see Summer frames Water, creating a sense that the center of attention is the emotions which radiate from the caregiver. Again, the system is a little complicated and what you have here is a very simplified interpretation. It will take some time and study to get the most out of the deck and its message.  

Before we discuss the guidebook, I'd like to show you the amazing results of using a light box. The author makes the suggestion in the Care of the Cards section. Because I needed this tool for other projects, I decided to make the purchase.  

Below, you can see the details explode!

If you plan to go the distance and dig into the depth of the Transparent Oracle, or even the Transparent Tarot, I suggest you spend a little money and purchase a light box. You can find a wide range of prices on Amazon.

I went with a wireless version, because I wanted the mobility - Golspark Wireless Light Box @ less than $30. There are more expensive versions, but also cheaper, depending on your budget.

The guidebook begins with a Foreword to the Second Edition, which discusses the additional cards, the archetypes. A Foreword, by Sorita D'Este and David Rankine, follows with an outside look of Carding's creations. "This deck crackles with arcane emblems and themes and reminds us how art, like music, can be a form of magic as effective as any ritual."

After a short introduction from the Author, there's a short section which briefly explains the oracle's system and energies.

Section Two dives into the card meanings. Each Direction has a short overview, followed by the meanings of each card in that direction. The cards of directions, North, South, East, and West, include their direction, an image, the card name, keywords, meaning, and 'if combined with cards from other direction' meanings.  The cards of Above, Below, and Within include their direction, an image, the card name, keywords, and meaning.

The archetypes are separate from their suites. Each card includes an image, the card name, direction, keywords, and meaning. 

Section Three includes using the cards, shuffling and focus intent, suggests combinations of three and then gives sample readings for divination, storytelling/brainstorming, visualization and combining with Transparent Tarot. Section Four shares three spread suggestions by David Rankine. The guidebook closes with a bibliography and an about the author section.

I highly recommend this deck to anyone who took a special interest in the Transparent Tarot. The Transparent Oracle gives the reader a new way to read and goes deep into the ways of life with its many possibilities. The deck can be used with simple keyword interpretations. But I suggest taking the time to dig into the deck to receive the full messages available. 

For me, shuffling presented its own challenge. The size and flexibility of the plastic make this deck difficult to shuffle, but I suspect a technique will develop in time. The results of the readings are definitely worth the extra effort. 

59 Grail Hollows: The Stone, 13 Element: Fire, 55 Guide: Mermaid

Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

Monday, October 17, 2022

Review: Clarity Tarot

Clarity Tarot
Author: Debra Zachau
Artist: Kait Matthews
Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing, 2022

Description: 78 card deck, 176-page guidebook, lift-lid box

Card Size: 3 by 5

"Now the secrets of the Tarot are brought to light so that anyone can clearly hear the powerful messages that will resonate with one's soul through the Clarity Tarot."

A Tarot deck is a personal tool to help guide you in your journey. Your choice of deck is also very personal. While I did not feel a connection with this deck or its design, you may fall in love with it. I hope this review will help you in your decision.

My main concern with this deck is the quality of the card stock. Although the thin stock allows for easy shuffling, it also allows for easy wear. The cards without use are already peeling and curling on the edges. I'm not sure how much damage will occur over time, or even if more damage will occur at all. I've never used a deck of this quality.

The guidebook begins with a short introduction and then shares the five unique components of the Clarity Tarot.

You not only know what spirit is trying to tell you but 'how to say it' in a way that is completely unbiased, centered, and supportive of someone who may be needing direction.

1. Keywords on Love and Money - the author suggests that the keywords will make it easier to know you are going by intuition over imagination. The most-asked questions are about love, while the second most popular are money and career. Although this statement may be true overall in the Tarot world, these are not my main focus, so I find the keywords distracting.

2. Easy Yes/No Answers - No one is satisfied with just a yes or no answer, so this deck answers not only yes or no but why the answer is yes and why the answer is no! Someone may find this component helpful, but I, personally, avoid such yes or no question altogether.

3. Timing Is Everything - This may have been a nice feature, but there must have been some confusion between author and artist. The focus is on the Major Arcana cards for this timing technique. That major card will have a number on it: a Roman number on the left and a modern number on the right. That number will be from 0-21. You will then use your intuition to decide if the time increments are days, weeks, or months.

As you can see on the Magician, there are no numbers on the card at all. With the mention of 0-21, I assume you are using the original number of the Major Arcana cards. But the fact that the author and artist didn't follow each other on this idea is a problem for me. Also, the technique of laying cards down until you find a Major Arcana Card for a timing question seems unreliable in my opinion.

4. Rich Cultural Images - Tarot is a very old form of divination, and traditional decks hold traditional Old-World biases, especially within the court cards. The idea that this deck is unique because it offers other cultures would have been true at some point in time, but most decks I see now are very diverse in their representation of people throughout the cards.

5. The Design - Kait Matthews has brought together an exquisite combination of colors, symbols and images in a collage that inspires and delights not only you the advisor but your clients as well. The images of the deck are unique and interesting, some more than others. Overall, I do like the images the artist created for the deck. Without the distractions, I believe this would be a nice working Tarot deck.

The author then shares a short section on how to use this deck, which briefly covers the Major and Minor Arcana, ways to cast a throw or spread, and reversals.

Part Two of the guidebook, What's in a Number, is definitely worth the read. This section covers the Minor Arcana, beginning with meanings of the numbers 1-10 and then covers the suits before diving into the individual cards.

The Minor Arcana card section is brief with no images. The short sections cover card title, Y or N, a short paragraph on meaning and gives the keywords that appear on the card.

The Court Cards are then covered with a short introduction into the royal court, and then presents each suit as a separate family in an imaginary neighborhood. Each family is presented as a whole and then as individuals. The individual text includes title, Y or N, a description of the individual and the keywords that appear on the card.

Part Three covers the Major Arcana with a brief overview and then the individual cards, including title, Y or N, meaning, and gives the keywords that appear on the card.

In my opinion, the card meanings are worth looking over in the guidebook, but it would have been nice to hear more about the actual images. The author mentioned the uniqueness of the decks' design, but never mentions in the card section anything about the exquisite combination of colors, symbols and images. If this is one of the components making the deck unique, shouldn't there be some mention of the description of the cards - the colors and symbols chosen to make them unique?

The last part of the guidebook is titled How to Give Awesome Readings. This section covers framing questions, using your intuition and three spreads (The Celtic Cross, Five-Card Yes/No, and a Timing Spread).

A cheat sheet is provided containing card title and keywords. Since these keywords are on the cards themselves, I'm not sure why you would need a cheat sheet.

The guidebook closes with Serving the World, where the author shares her experience of different jobs as a Tarot specialist. In the final words of the author, she mentions videos online to help you learn the tarot, but doesn't give any information about where you might find these.

Overall, I found the card images decent, and they closely follow the Rider-Waite theme. The guidebook was lacking in my opinion, although some sections are worth the read. I was extremely disappointed by the card stock quality, which isn't something you normally need to worry about with a Schiffer produced deck. 

However, if you can look past the card stock and the distracting keywords, you may wish to give this deck a try. A new reader may find the keywords useful. Since the deck follows the traditional themes in the card images, it may be a good starter deck. As a seasoned reader, I find the decks' components distracting and unnecessary.

I am considering trimming off the keywords and adding the deck to my shelf. I'm just not sure if it's worth the time and effort to do so.

Kait Matthews is offering complimentary decks on her website for reviews, if you'd like to go that route and give the deck a chance.

You can also purchase a deck from Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Review: The Poe Tarot

The Poe Tarot
Author/Artist: Trisha Leigh Shufelt
Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing, 2021

Description: 78 card deck, 192-page guidebook, box with magnetic closure lid. 

Card Size: 3 x 5

"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.” ~The Raven

The Poe Tarot is a very intriguing deck based on the Rider-Waite Tarot, but immersed in the world of Edgar Allan Poe. The images are presented in simple black and white and yet reveal so much. The quotes, deriving from Poe's immense library of poems, stories, letters and interviews, are thought-provoking and engaging.

The Fool - Poe joined by Pluto from The Black Cat - "There is no passion in nature so demonically impatient, as that of him who, shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a plunge." ~ "The Imp of the Perverse"

Shufelt stays with the traditional names of the Major Arcana, with one exception. The Hanged Man becomes The Hanged One.

The Minor Arcana cards suits have been changed to Wells (Cups), Quills (Swords), Candles (Wands), and Paws (Pentacles). 

Three of Candles - "I can conceive nothing more sublimating than the strange peril and novelty of an adventure such as this. May God grant that we succeed!" ~ "The Balloon Hoax"

As I began looking at the images and reading through the guidebook, I felt the need to start exploring the works behind the inspiration for the deck. But I had to pull myself back, and set such research for a later goal, in order to give you this review. 

This deck will send you into the depths of the work and creations of the famous Edgar Allan Poe. Don't be surprised if the Tarot aspect gets pushed aside. But whether you dive into this deck with divination in mind, or get sucked into the references of the quotes and referred text, this is a deck anyone intrigued by the man will definitely appreciate. 

The deck and guidebook, in my opinion, are a work of genius. Do not pick up this deck lightly. It is definitely heavy with history.

The Guidebook opens with a Foreword by Chris Semtner, curator of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. He begins your journey into this man's life with his shared information on Poe's tragic life and legendary career. 

The Welcome section by Trisha Leigh Shufelt sets you up to fall in love with the deck as she shares her love of her own creation. 

"The Poe Tarot reminds us that we are all fools on this journey through life." 

After a short introduction to the deck, Shufelt dives into the The Major Arcana. Each card is presented by the title, image, quote, insights, and keywords - upright/reversed.  

An introduction to the Minor Arcana covers the court, numbers and the suits. The Suits are divided into sections and given a short introduction which includes season, signs, timeframe, and denotes. Each card is presented by title, image, quote, insight and keywords - upright/reversed.

The guidebook closes with a Bibliography which gives reference to the authors quotes and insight sources.

There is a slight issue with the card stock. The red edging seems to be wearing away due to the tightness of the box. I altered the cardboard insert to avoid further damage. 

And, there seems to be some wear and slight curling on the corners of these cards. The cards are thick, so I'm hoping the damage will not increase with use. Only time will give the results to the quality of the cards. But even with that, I love this deck and it will remain in my collection.

Overall, I'd recommend this deck to anyone interested in learning more about Edgar Allan Poe. I would not suggest this deck to a new reader without additional sources. The guidebook focuses on Poe more than it does divination. 

The Poe Tarot could easily be used as an Oracle deck with its thought-provoking quotes. 

I intend to dig deeper into the world of Poe. Feel free to join me. 

Grab your copy at Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

Monday, October 3, 2022

Review: Tarot of the Enchanted Soul

Tarot of the Enchanted Soul 
Author: Yasmeen Westwood
Artist: Yasmeen Westwood
Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing, 2022

Description: 78 card deck, 144-page guide book, box with magnetic closure lid.

Card Size: 3 1/2 by 5 1/2

"There are those who believe in the magic of the Soul. Now there is a tool to access that magic and hear the whispers of your inner spirit." 

The Tarot of the Enchanted Soul is an interesting deck based on the Rider-Waite Tarot. The images are of a fantasy/steampunk themed style. 

A couple of cards have been renamed. The Hanged Man is Perspective, and The Hierophant is The Mentor.  

The 78 cards are edged with gold. The larger size allows for detailed scenes, although it does make them a little difficult to shuffle. 

The beautiful blue backing design gives this deck a cool vibration, while the light blue borders allow the main focus to be on the images which are exquisite. Each card contains keywords to enhance the learning curve of understanding the Tarot. 

The guidebook is designed to take you from beginner to reader and explores the cards on a deeper level of understanding the soul. 

Beginning with a short introduction to the Tarot, the book covers explanations of the Major Arcana, the Minor Arcana, and the Court Cards. You are also introduced to how to begin a reading, learning the Tarot, keeping a journal, and a walk through 7 Tarot spreads.

The bulk of the guide is devoted to card meanings. The Major Arcana section includes the image, title, quote, keywords, a short story reference, meaning, person, and thoughts for journaling. The Minor Arcana section, which is divided into suits and contains the court cards, includes the image, title, a quote, card description/meaning, and thoughts for journaling.

Tarot of the Enchanted Soul would make a great collector's deck, but is also suited for readers of all levels. This deck has found a place on my shelf. I simply love the images, and look forward to digging deeper into the guidebook, which is full of interesting insights.

King of Swords - The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die. ~ George R. R. Martin

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)