The First Light Tarot


Dinah Roseberry      The First Light Tarot      Schifferbooks      $24.99

First Light Tarot: 22 Majors, 22 Insights, 22 Spread Cards

The First Light Tarot consists of 66 cards and a 96-page paperback guidebook. The cards are housed in a recessed well inside of a 6 x 9” hinged box with a magnetic closure that allows the box to be stored standing on its end as if it were a book. The First Light Tarot also includes a 6 x 18” fold-out laminated Reference Card that provides card names and major keywords, concepts, astrological correspondences and basic interpretations for quick and easy reference.

Entitled The First Light Tarot, this deck is more of an oracle deck. The First Light Tarot consists of a 22-card major arcana with the traditional card titles, along with an additional 22 Insight Cards for a total of 44 cards with interpretations. There are an additional 22 Spread Cards meant to be used by readers in order to create their own spreads. A single card position is noted on each of the Spread Cards that include two Wild Cards so readers can come up with their own names for a card position within a spread.

 

The 22 Insight Cards lend a more oracular feel to The First Light Tarot. The 22 Insight Cards and the 22 Major Arcana cards can be used in isolation for readings or combined. Only one spread is included, entitled the Universal Spread, which is a 10-card spread that is laid out just like the Celtic Cross, but card positions have different associations than in the traditional Celtic Cross tarot spread.

The artwork for the card images consists solely of gorgeous photographs of outer space taken by the Hubble Telescope that have been cropped to focus on a particular area within the larger original photos. The title of The First Light Tarot refers to the very first time light hits the mirrors contained within a telescope that enables the telescope to take its very first photograph. It is a moment of tremendous excitement for the telescope developers and the staff of NASA.

Dinah Roseberry’s goal for The First Light Tarot was to create a deck that could easily be used straight out of the box and not require any great study, thus being user friendly. The card interpretations for The First Light Tarot are traditional tarot major arcana interpretations for the 22 Major Arcana cards while interpretations for the 22 Insight Cards have a more oracular feel to them that are based upon Numerology. The two types of cards create two 22-card decks that can also be used in combination with one another. The First Light Tarot works well as a stand-alone 22-Majors only deck, a 22-card oracle deck, and in combination. The cards also work well with both traditional tarot spreads and spreads commonly found in guidebooks that accompany oracle decks, most of which are strongly based upon traditional tarot spreads. Card imagery of The First Light Tarot lacks the symbolism of tarot cards so readers do not feel bogged down with symbolic associations due to the simple imagery found in outer space photographs.

The 22 cards of the Major Arcana of The First Light Tarot have astrological associations that are factored into their card interpretations. The 22 Insight Cards have numerological associations as part of their interpretations giving The First Light Tarot a heavy dose of Numerology if one also takes into account the numerological associations typically associated to cards of the Tarot major arcana.

The card images of The First Light Tarot are beautiful, but unlike other Schiffer decks, the card stock is flimsy with a semi-gloss finish. The Major Arcana, Insight, and Spread cards all have different card backs so they can be easily sorted by looking at the reverse side of each card. The cards are very flexible and are therefore easy to shuffle despite their size. The First Light Tarot lend themselves well to both tarot and oracle spreads making this a well-rounded deck with numerous applications.

Blessings!

~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells, & Visionary Art

The Egyptian Lenormand: signed & activated copies

Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

Twitter: @NeferKhepri

Full Disclosure: I received a copy to consider for review by the publisher. I only review decks that I find useful to myself & that I feel my followers will also enjoy.

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At the Mercy of Mother Nature


April 2016 storm3

Skies are threatening today. The local aftermath of the April 18, 2016 tornado in NW Houston, Texas.

It is not often that I feel completely powerless. I am a person of great faith. I know that faith can move mountains. My faith in a simple yet desperate prayer to the Virgin Mary in Her basilica in Rome spoken in haste on June 27, 2012 not only healed my knee problem for the duration of that vacation. It healed my knee problem PERMANENTLY. I know all about faith. My faith has held me up during some rough times.

Sunday night was incredibly frightening for my family and myself. The evening began with some rather severe storms & we all went to bed hoping we would be able to sleep through the thunder & constant lightening flashes.

We live on the far north side of Houston, Texas. You may have heard of us on the news the past couple of days due to the weather.

At 12:43 AM my husband’s phone went off with a weather alert. I have lived in Texas since 1995 and this was the first tornado warning for me after having moved away from my home state of Illinois where I experienced a number of tornado warnings and one actual tornado.

When my husband yelled out, “TORNADO WARNING!” my very first thought was this:

“My family & our home are safe. We are safe. We are protected.”

I jumped out of bed & yelled for our daughter to wake up. We all headed downstairs.

We do not have a basement. Most new homes in Texas are no longer built with basements (which is really stupid if you ask me). Instructions are to go downstairs if you live in a 2-story (we do) and take “shelter” in an area away from any windows.

Well, our house has 21 windows so that’s kind of difficult! We have s designated spot, which is just inside the interior garage door next to the doors that lead to the laundry room, the downstairs powder room, my husband’s office, & the closet under the stairs.

We closed all those doors & simply huddled there with our dog. I prayed.

Suddenly I thought, my cat! Where’s my cat! I sent out a quick prayer to the goddess Bastet, who actually blessed me with the gift of this specific cat, & I asked her to please keep her safe & to bring her to me. Not five seconds later there was my cat seated at my feet where she remained until we received the all-clear and went back to bed!

That was a miracle in and of itself.

Unfortunately, at 3:45 AM we were awoken a second time, but instead of a cell phone alert we heard IT.

An actual tornado!

When they say it sounds like a freight train, they aren’t lying. I Have heard them three times in my life, twice as a child, so this was my first time hearing a tornado as an adult.

When I was a child my chief concern at the time was to get my 3 cats in the basement. I had an Australian Shepard named Desiree who was smarter than some humans I’ve known. All I said to her was, “Desi! Cats! Basement! NOW!” The dog took off as I was opening a window in each room to ease the pressure on the house. By the time she came for me my mom and all 3 of my cats were safely in the basement where we waited out what was to be my closest encounter with a tornado.

April 2016 storm2

Another downed fence due to the tornado of April 18, 2016 in NW Houston, Texas.

Sunday night we heard the telltale freight train sound. Neither one of us had been able to fall asleep due to all the thunder so we both jumped up immediately & again yelled for our daughter. Again, I said the same thing:

“My family & our home are safe. We are safe. We are protected.”

Once again, I didn’t see my cat so again I prayed to Bastet. My cat showed up immediately and again, miraculously remained safe at my feet for the duration.

We heard the trees outside being whipped by the wind. Our lawn furniture was flying around the yard & my husband was worried they’d break a window, but I told him, no, don’t worry. Our house is protected. We’ll be fine.

And so we were and are. Even my car, which was parked outside, was fine. No damage, yet through our subdivision there are uprooted trees and destroyed fences.

We could hear the tornado as it ripped on through our subdivision. I prayed for everyone’s safety and am happy to report it took the path of least resistant along 3 retention ponds. It did not hit any houses directly, though a few were side-swept & did unfortunately sustain damage.

Our 17 year old daughter attends high school. Unfortunately, the tornado made a beeline for her school. Portable buildings are tossed around and the second story of her school is flooded because the roof was in the process of being repaired. Today is her second day of no school with word that tomorrow the school will most likely also be closed.

April 2016 storm

More missing fences & yard damage.

 

I won’t say I wasn’t afraid of the storm because that would be a lie; however, I will say that I know my faith saw us through. My faith in the protective wards I have buried at the four corners of our property helped me tremendously. While my husband was visibly shaking I was relatively calm.

You never realize just how powerless you are until Mother Nature unleashes her fury, but with faith you have all the power necessary to overcome anything.

I took all these pictures today in our subdivision. Based upon the path of destruction the tornado cleared a path parallel to our home and was only SIX HOUSES away from us.

We are blessed, but many in Houston are without homes today due to the floods. Some have even lost their lives. Please keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. I am so thankful that we are all fine and our home seems to be fine as well.

Praise the gods for their protection. I had been smelling frankincense for the past two days and haven’t been burning any incense or scented candles so I knew something was up. I guess that was their way of telling me not to worry. All will be well.

And so it was.

Many Blessings,

Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

Award-winning Author & Artist, The Egyptian Lenormand

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells, & Visionary Art

 

 

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The Pagan Ways Tarot: Deck Review


Pagan Ways TarotThe Pagan Ways Tarot, created by Anna Franklin, is obviously a pagan-themed Tarot deck. If it strikes you as being somewhat familiar you may own a copy of The Sacred Circle Tarot (Llewellyn Publications), which she also created in collaboration with Paul Mason. The deck comes housed in a sturdy box nestled into two sections separated by a cardboard insert. The 6 x 9” guidebook rests on top of the desk in a hinged box with magnetic lid closure. This is a very nice feature of Schiffer decks that keeps the overall box measuring 6 X 9” and the magnetic lid allows for the box to be stored in a bookshelf on its end. The lid will not fall open.

The cards are covered in a shiny glossy laminate. They shuffle easily, but may be a bit difficult to shuffle for those of us with smaller hands. The card image is inset within a black border with the card title for the major arcana cards located in the lower border and number in the upper board. The minor arcana numeric and court card designations are located within the top border while the card titles are located within the bottom border. Titles of the minor arcana cards in numerous cases correspond to the Thoth titles. Court cards are designated Princess, Knight, Queen and King. The Princess and Queen cards correspond to the pagan sabbats or stations of the Wheel of the Year. Knights represent the action taken by their suit’s particular element while Kings represent the element itself.

Images for the Pagan Ways Tarot are created via photographic collage and computer manipulation in a very realistic manner that gives one the impression that you are looking through a window at a very real living scene. Anna Franklin states in her introduction to the 190-page paperback guidebook that she depicts gods and goddesses on every card. She chose to depict them in everyday clothing rather than in the garb of their time period and culture in order to create a cohesive look for the deck. A card such as the 3 of Swords does not depict a god, but Anna Franklin includes a brief dialogue between The Fool and the deity represented by this card. In the case of the 3 of Swords no deity is depicted, but the focus is on the stormy background and the deity speaking to The Fool is the Egyptian god, Set, who is the god of chaos, storms, and the desert.

Anna Franklin depicts The Fool’s journey as occurring through the entire tarot deck. His journey is not strictly limited to the major arcana, which is the case for the majority of decks. As a result, The Fool is the main character of the Pagan Ways Tarot and he dialogues with the god or goddess depicted on every single card. The dialogue develops The Fool’s character as he learns the lesson of every card.

The Fool introduces the Pagan Ways Tarot, but at that point the organization of the guidebook departs from tradition. Instead of seeing The Magician as the next card we see the Ace of Swords. The Fool then travels through the cards of the Swords (the element of Air and Intent) suit, followed by Wands (the element of Fire and Will), Cups (the element of Water and Love), and the Pentacles (the element of Earth and Manifestation). Once the dialogue between The Fool and the gods and goddesses of the minor arcana concludes then we meet the archetypical cards of the major arcana.

The major arcana of the Pagan Ways Tarot  represents The Fool’s journey along the path of initiation. Card titles are a mix of traditional and pagan with such titles as The Lady and Lord for the Empress and Emperor, respectively. Additional changes include: The Elder for the Hierophant, Wyrd for the Wheel of Fortune, the Underworld for the Devil, Rebirth for Judgment, and Universe for the World. As with the minor arcana, The Fool engages in conversation with the character depicted on each card of the major arcana. The dialogue lends a vitality to the guidebook you do not often see and it makes for an enjoyable read.

The guidebook for the Pagan Ways Tarot is printed on high quality paper and what I like the most about it is that the cards are depicted in actual size and also in full color. This is not common among guidebooks, but Schiffer has done this with a few earlier decks. This feature makes the guidebook a wonderful study aid. You can take it with you to study easily enough and leave the actual cards at home.

The guidebook for the Pagan Ways Tarot concludes with three appendices. The first is a glossary of symbols depicted on the cards and a brief interpretation of each. This is very useful when a particular symbol catches your eye as you’re doing a reading. The second appendix is entitled “Using the Cards for Divination” and includes four spreads: the Zodiac Spread, a 7-card Planetary Spread, the 21-card Romany Spread, and the traditional 10-card Celtic Cross. Card positions are explained, but the guidebook does not contain any sample readings. The final appendix entitled “Using the Cards for Meditation and Spiritual Development” includes suggestions for meditating upon a single card, connecting with the Elements, and focusing on the Wheel of the Year.

The Pagan Ways Tarot is a well thought-out deck that will appeal to pagans and non-pagans alike. The imagery is vibrant, imaginative, and a pleasure for the eyes. I highly recommend it.

Blessings!

~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells, & Visionary Art

The Egyptian Lenormand: signed & activated copies

Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

Full Disclosure: I received a copy to consider for review by the publisher. I only review decks that I find useful to myself & that I feel my followers will also enjoy.

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Deck Review: Mudras for Awakening the Energy Body


Mudras coverMudras for Awakening The Energy Body Deck + Book Set is an interesting little gem published by US Games Systems, Inc. The artwork is by Sabina Espinet & the guidebook is written by Alison DeNicola. The cards measure 4 1/4″ x 5″ so they are almost perfectly square. The guidebook is the same size and contains 112 pages of high quality semi-gloss paper with all cards depicted as a full color page. The set is housed in a high quality sturdy cardboard box that measures 4 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ x 1″. The fitted lid easily lifts off due to the box having a matte finish as opposed to glossy that some other publishers use.

mudras book coverThe cards include 7 chakra cards and 33 mudra cards for a total of 40 cards. Each chakra has its own card with its Sanskirt symbol depicted on it in the corresponding chakra color. The mudras all correspond best to particular chakras so they match their particular chakra in overall color scheme. The artwork is very soft without looking overly feminine so men would enjoy this deck as well. The mudras are illustrated very well so the viewer can see how to pose their hand in order to create that particular mudra. The corresponding text within the book explains how each mudra is to be duplicated. Each card on its reverse also has the instructions repeated, as well as the name of the mudra, the issues with which it is the most helpful, that particular mudra’s benefits, and the focus. All of the information contained on the back of each card is also included in the guidebook. In addition, the guidebook includes another section entitled “Practice” that instructs the reader as to what they should be visualizing or focusing upon as they use that particular mudra. Each card is done monochromatically so that mudras associated with the Root Chakra have their image consisting of shades of red. The Naval or Second Chakra mudra cards are depicted in shades of orange. Mudras associated with the Solar Plexus are designed in shades of yellow. Shades of green are used on the mudras associated with the Heart Chakra. Soft pastel shades of blue adorn the mudra cards associated with the Throat Chakra. Vibrant shades of purple (my favorite color) bring the mudras associated with the Crown Chakra to life.

mudras brilliance front   mudras brilliance back

As a reader, I primarily use card decks for divination. I rarely meditate, but when I do there are certain decks I prefer to use for meditative purposes over others. I admit to knowing nothing about mudras. I have never used them myself, but in working with this deck the past few weeks I have begun to use the mudras depicted, and I must say I have felt a difference.

This is not a deck meant to be used for divination. It is best suited for meditative purposes as well as focusing inward, and healing. I have used Mudras for Awakening the Energy Body for each of these purposes and this is what I have experienced. Bear in mind that everyone’s experience will most likely vary.

I was suffering from a sinus infection and I had gone through the 10 days of antibiotic, but was still badly congested with a totally stuffed up and very painful head. I thought, why not try to use mudras to move this energy out of my system? I looked through the deck and decided upon Card Number 30, Bhramara Mudra, aptly entitled, “Breathe,” which I badly needed to do without so much struggling!

The Focus on this card reads: “I sense and open to perfect balance and breath.” The benefits of this mudra are: “[r]elieves nasal & nasal congestion. Assists immune system. Opens & directs breath to head & sinuses.” The Bhramara Mudra is associated with the Throat Chakra, which I personally found very interesting because all sinus infections for me always begin with a sore throat.

I formed the mudra with both my hands. I am left-handed so I had a much easier time forming the mudra with my left hand, than with my right, so I was hoping with the right hand that intention would count. As I focused on the brief meditative visualization provided in the guidebook under the “Practice” section I wondered, “am I crazy or does my nose suddenly feel a little better?”

I maintained the meditation for about 2 minutes when I suddenly got the urge to start stretching my neck. As I did so I began to feel my nasal cavity slowly open up. In about another 2 minutes I was breathing easier. I was stunned, to say the least!

I kept this card with me & carefully carried it from room to room. When I had a free moment I would form the mudra again and concentrate on my sinuses opening up. It was a Friday, my GP had gone out of town for spring break & wouldn’t be back for over a week, so had no way to get my antibiotic refilled without going to the ER. Fortunately, by bedtime that night I felt so much better! I slept better because I could finally BREATHE & in the morning I woke up feeling the best I had in about 15 days. I practiced the Bhramara Mudra for 2 more days off and on. I still felt fairly miserable at times, but I could tell the congestion was clearing up. By the end of the week I felt fine and that was without additional antibiotics.

Now, I am NOT recommending you use this deck in lieu of consulting with your doctor. Do not EVER do that. I share my experience to demonstrate that a total newbie to mudras benefited from the practice, which to me proves that the practice of mudras has a true validity. Little did I ever know.

Another example pertains to my 17-year-old daughter. She suffers from anxiety and recently was hired by Walgreens all on her own without any pushing from my husband or I. We are super proud of her, but I was worried about what the added stress of working may do to her. I taught her how to do the Abhaya Mudra, entitled “Fearlessness,” which is very simple to do. The focus of this mudra is, “[m]y courage and self-assurance is unwavering.” I have her form and focus on the mudra for 2 minutes twice before she goes in to work and then I have her form the mudra and focus for two more sets of 2 minutes each before she goes to bed. So far she’s been fine and she reports that she is even sleeping better so now she forms the mudra every night before going to bed.

This deck is proving to me that mudras are very beneficial and I intend to look more into mudras reassurancethem in the future. Meanwhile, I highly recommend Mudras for Awakening the Energy Body to anyone who is interested in meditation, yoga, as well as Eastern spirituality and philosophies. You may not be able to do divinatory readings with this deck in the conventional sense, but its uses go far beyond divination.

Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

Tarot & Lenormand Readings, Spells, Visionary Art

The Egyptian Lenormand

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Art ~ Returning to My First Love.


Flower arrangement

Tarot Reflections 2015 Lenormand Deck of the Year, International Tarot Foundation Carta Award winner of Lenormand Deck of the Year   ~   and   ~    Best First-Work by an Illustrator: The Egyptian Lenormand, by Nefer Khepri. Copyright Schiffer Books & Nefer Khepri 2014.

The theme of this post is to never give up on your dreams, no matter the opposition or lack of faith.

As an artist my entire life (since the age of 2 when my “Potato People” graced my parents’ dining room wall never to be painted over until they sold the house 35 years later), I have always been plagued with doubt. I look at what I create & wonder to myself, “does it look right? Would anyone but my parents & I ever like it?” I wanted to be a professional artist, but had no formal training. The only teacher to ever encourage me was my high school Freshman year Art teacher, Mrs. Yanta. She told me I had “real talent” & that I should work to develop it. She was the only one who taught me that Art is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Mrs. Yanta told me I had a “good eye” and “a bright imagination” & to never allow anyone to tell me different. But I did.

My parents loved my artwork because I was their only child. They thought everything I did was brilliant, naturally, but they both told me there’s no money in Art unless you die first. Go to college & study something PRACTICAL.

Northwestern

University Hall, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

So what did I do? I worked hard & was accepted by my first choice, Northwestern University where I studied … what?

Did I go Pre-Law? Pre-Med? History, perhaps (which is my second love)? No! I chose Archaeology. Yes! Talk about being PRACTICAL! And we all know how filthy rich archaeologists become, do we not? In reality, unless you become a high-paid professor there’s NO money in it.

My parents were besides themselves, but allowed me my course of study & my father took Indiana Jonesan extra job while my mother went back to work after being retired to raise me for 18 years so that I did not have to get a job while in college, though I did hold a rather demanding work/study job I was fortunate enough to get in the university’s only archaeology lab. Meanwhile, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was released & my mother began to fret – a LOT thinking I’d be hanging for dear life to my whip under a moving truck or outrunning boulders inside of booby-trapped tombs. Just in case you’re wondering, archeaology is boring. REALLY boring.

I remained in college for 12 years obtaining my Doctorate in 1995 from the University of Texas at Austin where I also met my husband. During all that time, with the exception of two art courses I took under Professor William Stipe at Northwestern University, I had turned my back on Art. My studies took up all my time so I no longer had free time to create anything, nor was I motivated due to the demands of academia. Professor Stipe had told me the same thing Mrs. Yanta had ~ I had a good eye and a great imagination, and that practice makes not perfect, but much improved. He told me to stick with Art. I realize now with 20/20 hindsight I should have listened to him, but at the time I was too concerned with being somewhat practical & studying Archaeology.

I am happy to report that nothing ever came of my degree. I do use what I learned in my current work because spirituality always interested me so I studied the spirituality and religions of ancient civilizations, mainly the Maya, but also the Egyptian, Sumerian, Greek, Roman, Celtic, West African, and Native American. I never could get a job in my chosen field. Nothing ever worked out. I was never so much as called for a SINGLE interview. I gave up, got lost one day in Corpus Christi, Texas after we had just moved there from Austin & ended up in a new age shop as the manager was screaming at the owner & quitting on the spot. This left the owner in tears and me holding the bag as I attempted to comfort a woman who was a complete stranger to me.

I was hired on the spot & worked there for 2 years, after which I branched out and began

site index image

Isis Rising, (C) Nefer Khepri 1997

running my own tiny business out of my home. That was in 1997. 1998 saw the birth of http://magickal-musings.com where I have been in business ever since doing what I know I was meant to do.

1997 was a pivotal year for me. I became a Reiki master-teacher, in a vision I was chosen by the goddess Isis to be a priestess of Hers, in March of that year I rediscovered Art & happily returned to my first love, & in December conceived my daughter, but didn’t know the sneaky rascal was in there until the following March, so you can well imagine our shock & amazement! Ariel was born in September, 1998. I was selling prints and greeting cards based on my art at that time. I still have the first dollar I ever made from my art. I keep it on my personal altar.

Fast forward to 2009 when I discovered a blog by Andy Boroveshengra through which he taught others about how to read Lenormand cards. Recognizing the cards my aunt had read since she had been a child & taught by my grandmother, I obtained a deck and began learning the system. During 2011 I began my Lenormand collection that grew by leaps and bounds as more & more artists were self-publishing decks.

33 Key PUBOne day in early September of 2012 I was doodling and am image of a key with the head of an ankh just seemed to appear on my paper. I thought, “hmm. Cool image. I think I’ll do something with it.” I redrew it on nice card stock and proceeded to add color. A few days later I saw in my mind’s eye an image of the Egyptian god Thoth standing with a large full moon behind 32 Moon PUBhim. I thought to myself, “hmm. Cool image. I think I’ll draw that.” And so I did. A few days after that I had a vision of another image that consisted of a close up of a clover plant with an obviously Egyptian background behind it. That’s when it hit me. An Egyptian-style Lenormand was being given to me.

Once I realized I was channeling the images I opened myself up and the rest of the deck presented itself to me. Every image is 13 Child PUBchanneled with the sole exception of The Child card. That should have been a child in the courtyard of the Temple of Isis at Philae, to match the Pharaoh and Priestess cards. Unfortunately, all the children I drew ended up looking like the possessed murderous doll “Chucky” from those horror movies, but my daughter suggested I research ancient Egyptian toys and draw those, which is what I ended up doing for The Child card. My mother, who had died in 2008, on her deathbed had a vision in which she saw me surrounded by brightly colored images all with an Egyptian theme. I now know what she saw was The Egyptian Lenormand.

I dedicated The Egyptian Lenormand to my mother’s memory and completed it on time for Valentine’s Day, 2013, which would have been my mother’s birthday. Originally, my intention was to create the deck only for myself and use a card printing company to print perhaps ten copies for my own use, but once I began to show the images to my friends it seemed that nearly everyone wanted a copy and were willing to pay for it. That is the reason I decided to self-publish a run of 100 copies. Meanwhile, I submitted a deck proposal to Schiffer Books who took only two weeks to inform me they had accepted my deck for publication. They published the mass market Schiffer edition in March, 2015.

As I worked well into the night creating The Egyptian Lenormand my husband would ask me, “what sort of money do you think you’ll make from this?” A former banker, for him it all revolved around money. I would tell him I wasn’t expecting to make anything. All I wanted to do was to create a deck that I would enjoy using. Once my friends became interested in it my husband became excited thinking I had a potential bestseller on my hands, but I had to inform him, “no dear, there is no money in deck creating.” Despite knowing that, he knew how much I loved Art and how I had turned my back on it to pursue my academic studies. He did not actually encourage me, but every night that I didn’t have dinner made or even had any idea of what we’d eat because I was “in the zone” working on another card image, he would just say, “Okay, take-out it is!” without a word of complaint. Somehow the laundry got done, dishes were washed, and we never starved because my husband and daughter took up the slack as I became completely immersed in my creation.

Tower pub I have made very little money off my deck (so little that I can actually laugh about it) & my husband has been out of work since October, but I have never felt richer in my life. My Art is now front and center in my life’s pursuits, just as it was always House PUBmeant to be. I self-published The Turtle Lenormand in late 2014 and am currently working on completing a book for Schiffer and several other deck projects are in the works. I also focus on creating Soul Portraits, Manifestation Mandalas, and my newest service, Spirit Guide Portraits, the former two of which are available for order via my website.

It never occurred to me that The Egyptian Lenormand may be considered worthy enough to win any awards. It was rewarding enough to me personally to have had Schiffer Books consider my work worthy enough for publication. From my point of view I had already won.

I am very pleased that after getting side-tracked for 12 years I am now an award-winning artist and author. The Egyptian Lenormand has been awarded the following honors:

  • American Tarot Association & Tarot Reflections Lenormand Deck of the Year
  • International Tarot Foundation Carta Award for Lenormand Deck of the Year
  • International Tarot Foundation Carta Award for Best First-Work by an Illustrator

I humbly express my gratitude to the readers of Tarot Reflections and the voting committee of the Carta Awards. I am honored to have been considered, especially among such prestigious company. This year’s nominees are all truly outstanding and they are colleagues whom I respect and admire.

Today’s post comes about due to a memory that is forever etched in my mind. It is 1977 and I am 14 years old hunched over my desk in Mrs. Yanta’s art class struggling with an assignment on two-point perspective. As I’m sitting there literally sweating over the assignment Mrs. Yanta is making the rounds looking over every student’s shoulder. She walks up to me, looks down at what I’m attempting to draw, and asks, “Oh? Is that a settlement on Tatooine? Are you drawing the farm of Luke’s uncle Owen?”

That was EXACTLY what I was attempting to draw, but to my hyper self-critical eye it looked nothing like it. When I told her, “yes” she smiled broadly and said, “keep up the good work,” then she walked off still smiling to herself as though she knew a secret, but wasn’t about to share it with anyone else because it was too precious. Mrs. Yanta would often look at me with that look on her face throughout the remainder of my freshman year. Until today I thought she merely counted me among her favorite students and nothing more.

She was the first to truly encourage me with Art and I googled her today in an attempt to track her down. I wasn’t having any luck so I thought I had her first name incorrect. I have kept my old high school yearbooks so I dug out my Freshman yearbook and glanced through the blank pages in the back where students and teachers had signed.

I smiled as I read the cute messages and remembered faces. I then found where Mrs. Yanta had signed. She had written:

“To one of my favorite art students. It was so nice to see you improve all year! Best of luck in school & beyond. M. Yanta. P. S. There’ll never be a 4th period like that again – whew!”

Many of my art classmates were very disruptive and poor Mrs. Yanta had to deal with a lot of mischief and even some fights. I’ll never forget the fight I had in that class. I was seated at a table next to this girl who kept glancing over at my watercolor painting. I was nearly finished while she had really been struggling with hers. Suddenly she dumped her entire water can onto my painting. That completely ruined my work. I jumped up and without a second thought I punched her in the chest, then we were on the floor rolling around! Mrs. Yanta broke us up and sent that girl to the principal’s office as I sat and cried over my ruined painting. I have a phobia about watercolors to this day!

Mrs. Yanta’s signature wasn’t too clear so I looked up her teacher photo using the index. I never did look inside the yearbook for any teacher signatures because they had all signed the blank sheets in the back of the book, including Mrs. Yanta, but she has signed a SECOND time under her picture. I never saw this message until today. What I read caused me to cry for a good 30 minutes. Mrs. Yanta wrote,

“You’ve got a great career ahead of you in Art. Best of luck always, Mimi Yanta.”

Mrs Yanta

The Art Department of Waukegan East High School: Mr. Aarnos, Mrs. Yanta, & Mr. Misunas.

I remember Mrs. Yanta’s little secret smile every time she looked my way. I would smile back and was glad my Art teacher liked me so much because she was my favorite teacher that year. I think of her often since returning to my first love. Now that I’ve read her second hidden message to me I know what her smile was about.

Mrs. Yanta saw in me someone with potential and she did all she could to encourage me. I now find myself wondering how different my life would have been had I seen her second message to me when I was 14 years old and had taken it to heart, but then I most likely would never have met my husband or give birth to our daughter.

I read Mrs. Yanta’s words 38 years later and realize how her wish basically became a prophecy, but one of which I was completely unaware until just this morning. I cried over this picture for nearly 30 minutes when I found it. Looking at it now as I type this blog post I am crying again.

It’s funny how I now am what I was meant to be and that life has come full circle for me, isn’t it? If you have a dream and people tell you that you’ll never make any money at it or you will never amount to anything ~ if it’s your DREAM and it is dear to YOUR heart, I encourage you. Do not give up. Pursue your dreams. You may never win awards for your work, but you will be HAPPY and that is what really matters.

Wishing you all many blessings,

Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.

Spells/Enchantments, Readings & Visionary Art

Egyptian Lenormand signed & activated copies

Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

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Deck Review: Tarot of Dreams (USG Edition)


Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti is one of my all-time favorite decks. Previously available only as a self-published edition by the artist, Tarot of Dreams is at long last available for the mass market. I am very happy to see this deck receiving the exposure it so richly deserves.

Published by US Games, Inc., Tarot of Dreams is housed in a very sturdy lidded box measuring 5 ½” x 6 ¾” x 1 ½”. The box has a smooth matte finish and depicts isolated elements of five card images along the edges, five full card images on the back of the box, four partial card images, and a photo of the cover of the guidebook that showcases the Knight of Wands. The cover of the box is graced with the gorgeous image from the Ace of Swords card.

Within the box the guidebook rests on top of the cards that are divided into two stacks that fit smugly (but not tight) within the box. The two stacks of cards rest against each other. There is no divider to keep them separate. I recommend storing the deck in a horizontal position in order to prevent the cards from sliding into one another and shifting within the box. My copy did arrive with both The Fool and Magician cards slightly dinged, which probably occurred due to shifting during shipping. The cards have a matte look to them, but the finish is a semi-gloss. They are not exactly slippery as are many other decks, but my copy has been shifting on me so I now make sure to store it horizontally so card shift does not occur. For those of you who are like myself and are a stickler for keeping your decks as pristine as possible, you will most likely wish to do the same.

The Tarot of Dreams guidebook is written by Lee Burnsten who has written companion books for The Gay Tarot, Universal Marseilles Tarot Companion, and The Zodiac Tarot. The guidebook measures 5 ¼” x 6 ¼” and contains 112 pages, including two pages for notes. The guidebook is organized into eight sections:

  • Introduction
  • Esoteric Symbol Systems in the Tarot of Dreams
  • Introduction to the Major Arcana
  • The Major Arcana
  • Introduction to the Minor Arcana
  • The Minor Arcana
  • Reading the Cards
  • The Story Spread

The Story Spread is the only card spread described within the guidebook. It consists of nine cards and for those of you familiar with the Lenormand Square of 9 spread, the Story Spread is arranged in a similar manner.

Symbolic inclusion from the Kabbalah and Astrology is located in the upper corners of each card. These attributions of symbols to the cards follow the standard established by the Order of the Golden Dawn with the exception of the addition of the three planets discovered in modern times: Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. Symbolic representation of these three plants is also included in lieu of the Golden Dawn’s use of elemental symbols.

For the minor arcana the Decan system of the Golden Dawn is retained. Pages are assigned the three zodiac signs that correspond to their particular suit. The knights, queens, and kings are assigned zodiac signs following the Golden Dawn’s associations, meaning that each card is designated as representing two-thirds of one sign and one-third of another. The astrological association for each card is described in the guidebook.

Although references to the Kaballah are sprinkled liberally throughout the text of the guidebook and symbolic representation of the seriphoth appear along card borders no mention of the Tree of Life card is made. There is no meaning or interpretation ascribed to it. I realize it was included in order to provide a visual aid in order to illustrate the correspondences between the Tree of Life & cards of the major arcana. It also serves as an excellent aid in meditation if one decided to use it in that manner, but due to its lack of an interpretation I recommend removing the Tree of Life card from the deck prior to a reading.

The major arcana is discussed as the Fool’s Journey. Card interpretations consist of keywords and brief phrases followed by a lengthy discussion of the imagery and symbolism contained on each card. The card interpretations conclude with a mention of the corresponding Hebrew letter and its meaning in brief, plus the planetary association of the card. The minor arcana are fully illustrated throughout with imagery that lends itself well to first-time Tarot readers. There is an extra set of court cards entitled “Palace.” The Palace cards provide an environment for the court cards as well as for the characteristics of their particular suit.

I recommend this deck to both beginning and advanced Tarot readers. The imagery is lovely throughout and due to the presence of black border on all the cards the colors have an additional vibrancy.

If you are a fan of Ciro Marchetti you will know that The Tarot of Dreams has been self-published by the artist several times. The self-published editions are prized and are strictly for my own personal use. I have all previous versions of the deck and am happy to now have a mass-produced and less expensive edition that I can use with clients. My clients really enjoy the imagery and find it easy to comprehend even if they have no experience reading tarot. The Tarot of Dreams is very user-friendly.

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Review: Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen


There are quite a few comprehensive books about Tarot, but Tarot Holistics tops them all. If you buy ONE book about Tarot that book should be Tarot Holistics.

At 874 pages, Tarot Holistics now holds the record for the longest book I’ve read since my years in graduate school. Despite its length, author Benebell Wen breaks the book down into manageable chapters that can be slowly enjoyed over time like a fine wine. I really took my time reading Tarot Holistics because, as with all truly great books, I did not want to see this one come to an end.

Consisting of 33 chapters with one chapter containing 39 chapter sections, nine appendices, thirty pages of annotated endnotes, and a 25 page index, the only thing lacking that I would have appreciated is a bibliography. Sources are mentioned throughout the endnotes thus making Tarot Holistics an indispensable addition to any Tarot library.

Chapter headings are as follows:

  • Tarot Analytics: A Holistic Approach
  • A Concise History Lesson
  • Allaying Fears and Offering Theories
  • Choosing Your Deck
  • Anatomy of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot
  • The Personal Journal
  • Beginner Rote Learning
  • Keywords
  • Cyclopedia of Card Meanings
  • Signifier Cards
  • The First Operation
  • Interpreting Court Cards
  • On Shuffling, Cutting and Drawing
  • The Fundamentals of Reading Spreads
  • Consideration of the Spread Landscape
  • Devising Tarot Spreads
  • Tarot Readings: A Step-by-Step Analytical Process
  • The Five Components of Circumstance
  • Assuaging Seekers When a Reading Seems Negative
  • Reading Tarot for Yourself
  • The Setting of a Tarot Reading and Energetic Supplements
  • Intermediate Ruminations and Practicum
  • The Value of Meditation to Tarot Practice
  • Inappropriate Questions
  • Ethical Considerations of the Tarot
  • Tarot and Love
  • Tarot and Professional Development
  • Using Tarot to Build Resilience
  • Depth Diagnostics
  • The Opening of the Key
  • Tarot de Marseille and the Thoth
  • The Professional Practice of the Tarot
  • A Personal Essay: How I Started
  • Appendix A: Tarot Spreads Quick Reference
  • Appendix B: Astrological Symbols and Elemental Associations
  • Appendix C: Ruminations on the Major Arcana
  • Appendix D: Profile Tables and Ruminations on the Minor Arcana
  • Appendix E: Profile Tables for Interpreting Court Cards
  • Appendix F: Numerological Associations
  • Appendix G: Pythagorean Numerology
  • Appendix H: Sample Logs and Templates
  • Appendix I: The Marseille Major Arcana

The most valuable types of information Tarot Holistics provides to new & seasoned readers alike in my opinion are:

  • discussion of court cards & the correspondences among them, which makes it simple to compare the different personality types
  • the analysis of the Rider-Waite-Smith that runs for 176 pages
  • the inclusion of 38 spreads that takes up 141 pages (see also Appendix A that discusses tarot spreads for an additional 46 pages)
  • card imagery and how it relates one card to the other in the landscape of a spread
  • Appendix G: Pythagorean Numerology

Personally, what I appreciate the most about Tarot Holistics is the writing stay of Benebell Wen. As an author myself I know that for a book of this length and type a conversational author’s voice is very important. How many long books have you picked up that had such a dry and boring tone that they put you to sleep? Tarot Holistics is not one of those books.

If you’re put off by the length do not allow that to stop you from adding this book to your collection. The writing style is quite personable. Throughout Tarot Holistics I felt as though Benebell Wen was speaking with me about Tarot over a cup of coffee in a nice little sidewalk cafe. The conversational tone of Tarot Holistics makes what may be an otherwise burdensome tome to digest a fun yet highly informative read.

I give Tarot Holistics the highest recommendation of any Tarot book I have ever read. If you’re new to Tarot, have limited space in your home in which to store books, or are on a tight budget so you require a book that covers Tarot completely & efficiently, I recommend Tarot Holistics to you.

You will not be disappointed.

As with most titles I review, I did receive this as a free review copy from the publisher. Receipt of an item does not guarantee I shall review it. I review only those titles I enjoy and think my readership will also enjoy and/or find useful.

Blessings,

~ Nefer

Spells/Enchantments, Readings & Visionary Art

Egyptian Lenormand signed & activated copies

Email: IsisRaAnpu@gmail.com

 

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