The Tarot Restless Review

“It is by the first sword that each universe is brought into being, and all the numberless stars are scattered across the expanse in their shimmering spirals.” (Restless Meditations guidebook, by Winslow Dumaine)

The Tarot Restless, by Winslow Dumaine, is like walking into your first appointment with a new psychologist and finding that it’s Osiris. He already knows the things you’ve done, the things you’ve thought, and the things that have happened to you. He also knows roughly how much they weigh, but he didn’t bring his scale and anyway, he’s not here to judge you. Yet. He’s here to watch you to judge yourself.

This deck is the Judgement card shattered into 78 pieces, and The Tower card that refuses to be ignored for the possibility of The Star coming next.

The Tarot Restless spends its days trying to help humans sort through their suffering. Suffering needs to be learned from, not shoved in a closet and ignored.

As fantastic as the cards are, the guidebook is my very favorite part. You know I love stories, guys, and each card has its own little short story. But all of the short stories are linked by the curse of infertility and immortality laid upon the people of this alternate universe.

It pains me to classify this as a “not for everyone” deck, because everyone does need it, many people just don’t think they do.

The Tarot Restless defies the traditional Rider-Waite system, leaving the reader to treat it more as an oracle deck. Here are a few of the majors:

This is an emotionally heavy deck. I, personally, wouldn’t use it to read for someone besides myself. And that has nothing to do with the artwork and everything to do with the deeply personal nature of how this deck conducts its business.

Not to say that it doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Energetically, it seems to be a veey focused yet weirdly balanced deck. It doesn’t skew masculine or feminine, and there are numerous fantastical beasts throughout a people-populated deck.

You know I never really have shit to say about cardstock unless I’m bitching. The size is…regular? It’s got a glossy finish and the edges are silver. The box (pictured up there a ways with the severed finger) is nice and sturdy, although I do believe that the box’s art has been slightly changed from what I have.

This deck contains some of my favorite shit: offensive art, short stories, and shadow work.

As scary as this deck might seem, the scariest part is that it forces you to look inside yourself.

Do you need this deck?

Yes.

Get it right here: http://www.winslowdumaine.com/shop/

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Rota Tarot Review

I’m finally getting my review of the Rota Tarot up, mainly because it feels weirdly familiar like I’ve had it forever. I forget it’s not part of me or some shit. This is my travel deck and I take it most places with me which, shittily, makes it one of my most used and least photographed decks. For that I apologize.

The Rota Tarot, by Soror Tzadkiel, is a unique blend of several different approaches to the tarot. From Golden Dawn to the Qabalistic Tarot, there is a shit-ton of stuff to unpack from each card. This is a deck made by someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.

Even despite the expanse if its inspiration and teachings, this is a cheerful and approachable little deck. Well, I say “little” because I have the mini version.

There’s also a more standard-sized version, but I love this one’s size.

This is one of those decks that can be as easy or difficult to use as you choose to make it.

The illustrations are simple, but manage to convey an ass-load of symbolism.

(Also, The Magician is Ronan Lynch creating Cabeswater and nothing will ever convince me otherwise.)

I would recommend this deck to everyone. The titles at the base of each card make it beginner-friendly, but a more experienced reader could dig into these cards for years on end and still find new things.

Don’t let the pip-style minors scare you. Like I said: titles.

Do you need this deck?

Yes.

Grab The Rota Tarot on Etsy.

78 Tarot Astral Review

You know the deal with the 78 Tarot decks, right? Each card is made by a different artist, and they’re all put together into one amazing, slightly eclectic deck.

There are several different decks under the “78 Tarot” name, but the one that I have is Astral. The illustrations on the cards are loosely held together by the theme of “space shit.”

I also got the Luna Moth Case and Cloth, which is 100% worth getting because they are beautiful and you can get them in a nice little fucking set with the deck.

(Please excuse the hair on the case, my cats are assholes.)

Overall, the deck has a somewhat cluttered feeling. Like an old lady’s house crammed with tables filled with knick knacks. It’s a cozy feeling, though, rather than overwhelming, if that makes sense.

This deck’s strength, as well as its weakness, is the sheer number of makers. Each card can vary wildly from the next.

For me, personally, this has made me use it predominantly for one-card pulls. It’s like asking a single person for advice versus asking a whole room full of people shouting over each other.

This is a very powerful deck and I’ve pulled out the High Priestess to use in spellwork several times. (There’s a photo of her up there with The Chariot.) Each card is rich with symbolism.

The guidebook is amazing. Not only does it contain a story about each card by the artist, but then it also has a suggested reading for the card.

The cardstock is pretty thick, making me feel like it’s durable enough to lug around with me places. The cards are also pretty large, but not too large to work with.

It also has three extra cards, Barrier, Meditation, and Event Horizon.

Do you need this deck?

Yes.

This shit is a fucking gift.

Arcana of Astrology Review (by BlackandtheMoon)

You really don’t need to know shit about astrology to use this deck, trust me. I don’t even know the dates for the zodiac signs and I glean clear, consice information from it. 

I almost don’t even know where to start when trying to convey my love for this deck. This is the Thneed of decks. It’s genuinely a “fine-thing-that-all-people need.”

First off, it’s an oracle deck with 42 amazingly illustrated cards in a gorgeous box. Don’t know what the fuck Hygeia means when you draw it in a reading? Never fear, there are three additional keyword cards. 

For anyone interested in learning astrology, these cards are a great jumping off point.

(This, by the way, is the second, expanded edition of the deck. If you have the original first edition, your deck will not have all the cards seen here.) 

This deck is made up of different groups of cards. Firstly: Zodiac signs and their constellations.

Isn’t that shit just to die for? I wish I could decorate my walls with it. Oh wait, you can. 

Next up: planet cards.

If you know your Roman mythology, you probably already have a pretty good grasp on these cards’ meanings, but again, if not: keyword cards.

There are the nine planets of the Solar System (yes, Pluto is a goddamn planet), the Sun, and the Moon. And speaking of the Moon…

There are eight different moon phase cards. I nearly always have at least one of the moon phase cards sitting on my altar (which is a fantastic use for any of the cards in this deck). It could be the current moon phase, a moon phase’s energy I’m trying to harness, or a reminder that I have some shit planned for a specific moon phase coming up. 

As I mentioned earlier, the second edition of the Arcana of Astrology has more cards than the first (as well as many of them reimagined), and these are the “new” cards: the asteroids and eclipses.

Also, have I mentioned that these cards are the exact same size as BlackandtheMoon’s other decks? Yep, these are perfect to shuffle into your Antique Anatomy Tarot or Oracle of Oddities for a little extra oomph in a reading. 

If you give a fuck, these cards also photograph beautifully. 

In conclusion, do you need this deck? Yes. Get it here.

The Fountain Tarot Review

This deck feels like a breezy, blue-skied day with freezing temperatures. It’s cold in that pure, clean way. Do you know what I mean?

I’ve been working with this deck for a while and the best word I have for its energy is “spacious.” Not like big echoing hallways, but like light years between planets. Fucking expansive.

I love this deck.

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The first thing I’d like to talk about is this deck’s extra card: The Fountain.

Unnumbered but for an infinity symbol, it’s the 22nd card in its Major Arcana.

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I’ll admit I was offended at first. I mean, who the fuck just adds a major? Who do these people think they are?

But then I read its description in the guidebook. It’s under and behind everything, that breath between The World and The Fool, the escape from the cycle, and now I wish all decks had it.

The artwork has a great style, combining organic human forms with hard geometrical shapes. It has a nice balance between light colored and dark colored cards.

There are too many decks out there populated by skinny blonde hipster humans, and thankfully, this is not one of them.

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Here are some of my favorite majors:

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While the images on the cards are very emotive, I would never use this deck for a relationship or “love” reading. Why? It doesn’t really give a fuck. It’s just so big and ancient that it’s not even that it doesn’t have time for your little bullshit, it’s that it doesn’t even notice it. This shit is a direct line to the Source, and you had better have one hell of an important question of you’re going to interrupt its work. It’s not pompous, it’s just busy.

Here are some of my favorite minors:

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The cardstock is good. Not too flimsy, not too hard, and the size is…normal. I don’t really know what to say about cardstock unless I have something to bitch about. The silver edges on the deck are a great touch.

So…do you need this deck? Yep.

Where can you get it? Right here.

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But your question had better be fucking important.

The Labyrinth Tarot Review

I fucking love the Labyrinth Tarot by Luis Royo. Although there are strange and jarring aspects to it (which is normally a good thing, but not necessarily with this one) I have a very strong bond with it.

That’s right. I have a strong bond with a deck of cards.

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WARNING: Pips.

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Fuck.

 

Okay, so pips aren’t that bad, right?

So wands are medeval club-things, and they’re green.

Pentacles are gold.

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Swords are blue.

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Which I kind of thought was strange because I might have made Cups blue…

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Wait a minute. What the hell am I looking at right now? Why are the cups cards red and have fire in them?

I don’t fucking know. This shit is a mystery.

But sometimes, mysteries are good. Look at these mysterious ass knights. This deck has some of my very favorite knights.

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The major arcana are sepia-toned and just amazing. They’re kind of scary, which I like.

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I really like this representation of The Fool. The Fool is usually depicted as a young kid happily skipping off on a new adventure, but this Fool is an older man with facial hair. He thinks he’s ready. He’s researched. He’s studied. He thinks he’s badass so he’s wearing some horns. Little does he know…he’s about to learn some shit.

The court cards are fully and richly illustrated. And if you like titties in your tarot cards, you’ve come to the right place.

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In fact, the Jack of Cups pictured there is the ONLY female in the deck with her breasts covered. Meanwhile, the King of Wands up there is only one of two men who are bare-chested. Do I have an issue with boobs? Nope. But it gives me pause because it just seems a little bit…

Anyway, the card stock is pretty standard. No complaints there.

They’re actually pretty small cards, which fit perfectly in my small hands. No complaints there.

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COMPLAINT: the borders. I am not a person who freaks out over borders. But with amazingly detailed artwork on already small cards, why the fuck is an inch of the card taken up by a damn border?

There you have my only two complaints about this deck: the color of the Cups cards and the size of the pictures vs the cards.

I think my very favorite thing about this deck is the people’s expressions. (When you can see them.)

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The Empress might be your mama, but she’s not in the mood for your bullshit today.

If this deck were a person, it would be a quiet man who, when he does speak, likes to say shocking and disturbing things just to see how you’ll react. But regardless of how you respond to him, you’ll think about what he said later.

 

A NOTE ABOUT PIPS

Don’t be afraid of pips.

Seriously.

Unless you’re a novice tarot reader, try this shit. It won’t kill you to look one up if you have to.

Who the Hell is Ethel Jean? An Antique Anatomy Tarot Review

So who IS Ethel Jean?

Ethel Jean is my Antique Anatomy Tarot deck, by Claire Goodchilde of Black and the Moon.

To make a long story short, this is my second review of this deck. The first one only covered the Major Arcana (which was released separately first) and you can read it here. It contains Ethel’s origin story. Then, once the deck expanded into a full 78 card deck, her name expanded too, so now she’s Ethel Jean and she needs another review.

I’m just going to dive right in without repeating myself, so if you haven’t read my first review of majors only, go read that shit.

NOW THE MINORS.

The suits are Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Here are the Aces for your viewing pleasure:

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I love these Aces. A single, skeletal arm reaching up, ready to pluck their respective element symbols right out of the air and start some shit. I like to imagine they’re poking up out of the dirt to grab your ankles.

There’s no shortage of unsettling shit. We’re at Ethel Jean’s house, after all, and one can never tell if she would like you to have a cup of tea or if she’d like to murder you and bury you in the overgrown flower bed.

 

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Just like in the majors, there’s a great use of animal bones as well as human. Ethel Jean doesn’t give a fuck what or who is in her Sunday stew, thanks.

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Ethel Jean may listen much more than she speaks, but that’s only because she doesn’t have to fucking talk forever to get her point across. She says what you need to hear and that’s that. Have a stale sandwich cookie from the clear plastic tub and get the hell out of here.

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Who would have thought a toothless skeleton could be so goddamn cute?

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

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My very, very favorite thing about this deck is the way the pictures are so descriptive without having to be busy.

I use this deck every single day at least twice. Once at the ass crack of dawn when I have to get up to get kids ready for school, and once before bed. It’s always good to check in with Ethel Jean.

WHERE CAN YOU GET THIS DECK?

Get it here. Trust me, you won’t fucking regret it.