Bookviews Book Reviews
I have had much fun with this product over the past
week. Not just because it is another
tarot deck, but because this is a beautiful tarot deck that comes with a most
wonderful and beautifully put together tool.
Ciro Marchetti is the artist who brought us the “Gilded
Tarot” last year. He told me, at that
time, that he was working on another deck.
If you have been to his website at http://www.ciromarchetti.com
have seen his Gilded Tarot deck illustrations and his promotion for this deck,
“Tarot of Dreams”.
Well, the deck is finally complete. And it was worth the wait! I don’t know if I can do justice to his deck
with words, but I will give it a try.
The deck that was sent to me contains 80 cards, in a large
3.5 X 5.5 format. They are gloss
finished and sturdy cards. Probably the
only thing I was concerned about was the size of the cards. I prefer cards a bit smaller, but the artwork
in the designs made the larger cards more desirable in this case, and I
bypassed my preference in favor of the graphics.
The deck comes with a spare card that is numbered and signed
by the artist. The box gives us a lovely
presentation, all glossy and covered in graphics. It houses the deck, a nice gauzy bag to hold
your deck and a CD that I will cover further down.
The deck is very traditional in feel, looks and design and
has a very Qabalahistic flavor, with the reference card in the deck being the
Qabalah Tree of Life. The deck has 21
Major Archana cards, and four suits: Swords for Air, Wands for Fire, Coins for
Earth and Cups for water. The
Swords/Wands reversal is present here for fire and air. Also, coins have been chosen to represent
earth, rather than pentacles.
Each card is labeled clearly as to the name of the card, the
number and the suit, as well as the Sphere of Influence, which is noted on the
Major Archana along with the astrological association. The Minor Archana notes two astrological
associations on each card.
The imagery and designs are stunning, the symbolism is for
the most part traditional, interesting and easy to follow. Much is traditional, but developed to seem
timely, current and all of this has a very “dreamy” feel to it, hence the name
of the deck.
Looking at the cards, we see the journey of the Fool
followed in the Major Archana, with the designs helping the reader to follow
this journey. I love the images, the
Fool with no face but having a jesters hat and mask; the very motherly Empress;
the Hierophant replaced with a card called “Faith”, excellently chosen; the Wheel of Life simply the Wheel, so
mechanical yet so mystical in appearance; Death is haunting yet not horrible,
the Devil is menacing yet gives a feeling that we have created our own trap
there. The cards draw the reader into
them, and allows the reader to hear them speak quietly and yet strongly.
The Minor Archana is done just as well. The deck keeps to the traditional meanings
and provides some new insights. There is
the feeling of Divine in many of them, more so than the materialistic feeling
some other decks have. They appear more
inspired than threatening. The Court
Cards are the traditional Page, Knight, Queen and King cards, with very
The colors are rich, deep hues. The Minor Archana cards all keep to the same
color family so it makes it easy to tell where you are by looking at the borders surrounding the
designs. I am accustomed to swords being
fire, and wands being air. With this
deck, the wands are done with rich red tones in the borders and the designs are
predominately red, making fire obvious in this suit. The same with the swords, with sky blue being
the dominate color, making the association, again, very obvious. Earth is a rich emerald green and water is a
Instead of having a small booklet or book, this deck has a
CD. This is expertly produced and
contains some surprises as well as what you usually expect to find in a book
accompanying a tarot deck. It is a
There is an opening introduction of music and graphics,
which is lovely to watch. Do give this a
look all the way through. It is the
artists message about his deck, and is very simply expressed with his artwork.
The menu is a rendition of the reverse pattern on the deck,
a sun/starburst with the elemental symbols.
The menu contains a bit more in the way of adding direction to the
various parts of the CD. You can choose
to explore the Major Archana, the various suits or some extras the artist has
included, such as production, credits, symbols & spreads and some
links. The extras include a screen
saver, wallpaper, a copy of the Orphalese Tarot Reading software for
installation on your computer, and other such goodies.
As you choose the areas of the cards to browse, the card is
presented with some associations and suggested meanings. This is the handbook part of the deck, and is
nicely done. It is recommended that you
load this onto older machines, as it will run faster and more smoothly. I ran it from the disk, but I also have a new
and much faster machine, but it still took time for the graphics to load.
The “goodies” also includes animated Major Archana
cards. The cards are presented as they
appear in the deck, and then are animated, or put into motion, to present some
additional aspects of the card that may aid the reader. The animations are gorgeous, insightful and a
lovely addition. I played with this CD
for a few days, exploring all the information contained in it, and found it
most useful, wonderful eye candy, and fun to play with.
I found reading this deck was actually almost distracting at
first, going over all the graphics and designs, but as the newness wore off, I
found readings went much smoother, and the ease of reading this deck was a big
plus. It is surrealistic in feel but
traditional in design. It is a wonderful
interpretation of well known material, and will not hinder the experienced
reader in the slightest. The new reader
will also find this deck easy to work with.
It can be used by anyone and is not path specific.
Note that for now the deck is only available from the
artist’s website. It is, for all intents
and purposes, a piece of art, and this is reflected in the price. However, if you feel as I do that the deck
and the art are inseparable, and quality decks are preferable, then the price
for this deck is very reasonable. I have
seen artistic decks go for much, much more.
The quality is here in this deck, and the artwork is far above average.
For the deck collector, the serious tarot reader and the lover of art, this is a winning deck. It will grace the hands of any competent reader and compliment any reading done with them. It will dazzle your clients. And it will open yet another window for the reader to explore with their client, one colored and styled by the dreams of a very talented artist. boudica
While being a deck of cards, this is not a tarot deck, and
there was a learning curve that took me a couple of days to work out. However, this is a very imaginative and
interesting look at the use of dream interpretation, and I was pleased with my
First of all, the deck.
This is like most Lo Scarabeo decks, being 2.5 by 4.75 inches, which is
hand size, so they deal and shuffle easily.
The cardboard is standard stock, and it comes in a box for storage. There is the usual little tiny booklet in
five languages with just enough information to use the deck.
However, this deck is not really all that hard to work
with. The introduction of the booklet
suggests that these images, which display common oneiric themes, can be used to
interpret dreams. The last page in
English suggests some spreads, which are illustrated on the inside front
cover. There is a very brief meaning of
the cards in the upright and reversed positions. You draw the cards, and look at suggested
meanings. While this may be good for the
beginner, and I have to admit I did it for a few hands, I found the images to
be more telling than the booklet, and resorted to bypassing the booklet
meanings and looking directly at the cards.
The cards are uncanny, to say the least. I would say they are very surrealistic, in a
modern sort of way. The artwork is quite
good, a mixture of cartoon and realism, almost Dali meets Peter Max in some
respects. The images bounce between colorful, happy cards and shades of gray and
ominous, depending on the mood the card is trying to create for the topic
There are 78 cards, plus two cover cards. There is no correspondence to any tarot deck,
so you need to start from scratch here.
But it’s quite simple, really.
Shuffle the deck, draw some cards, or fan them out and let your client
draw some cards. Then look at the topic,
maybe reference the booklet, but more than likely you allow the card to suggest
the topic and issues and see the connections between the cards drawn.
There are 78 different topics. The images suggest the use of the
topic. To give some examples:
The first card is Adolescents. It shows two young figures, male and female,
I assume. The male figure is very androgynous,
and could, for the sake of argument, be considered either. They stand on a pastel multicolored path,
which extends into the wall. There
appears to be a large gate comprised of a 3 dimensional artwork, slightly open
to the outside world, which shows very gray and stormy. According to the booklet, it is read as
“thrilling encounters. Good
friendships. Encouragement.” Reversed “Monotony, Vacuity. Tiredness.”
Yes, I got friendship from the image. I also got how youth looks at their world,
within vs. the outside world. Anyone
with an adolescent at home knows it can sometimes come down to “us and them”
types of issues. Their world is what is
important, while the outside world intrudes on their reality. Well, so much for my own observations. Next card…
Number two is Tree.
OK, this is very stylized, the tree is also a tower, is also the face of
a man, is very stone in appearance, rather than wooden, with just a hint of
organic in the form of a plant and maybe a root shoot. There are some other flowers which also
appear stone. It has a “Tower”
appearance, like the broken tower in the tarot deck. Other parts have an M C Eicher quality to
them; stairs and passages that lead up, down and backwards. The male face appears to have an ominous look about it. It is in shades of gray, with a muddy green
background. There is a hint of color in
the organic plant, but for the most part, it appears to be blue gray in tones.
The booklet reads “Promising future, new home,
industriousness. Reverse is Disputes,
Existential reflection, family troubles.”
Well, I didn’t get that, really.
I was looking for a more spiritual meaning here, a bit darker, and
nothing to do with a home. Learning
curve, or personal interpretation, you can go either way with this one.
The third card I got right away. It is called “Flirting” and shows two people
entwined, a more clearly defined male and female, in a very Peter Max meets
Dali type of design. Very colorful, in a
soft way, and very lovely. Booklet says
“Engagement. Celebrations, Prosperity. Reverse: Superficiality, Fleeting pleasures,
Escape.” From the design, yes, I can see
that, and the card reversed would be the opposite of the design.
As I pondered the use of the cards, I wondered about the
connection between dreams and using these cards to interpret them. I found that it was more logical to say that
by using dream symbolisms, and drawing the cards, we may find clarification to
some of our own issues or queries, and that some dream issues may surface. If someone came to me and said, I had a dream
and saw this particular scenario and I want to know what it means, these cards
could be drawn covering the image described by the client and we could look for
a connection. I found for my own
personal readings, I cam up with some good connections and some different
insights, based on these dream interpretations.
This is an interesting deck.
It has some lovely artwork, and the use as suggested by the authors is
unique in its approach. I would say if
you are into dream interpretation and want to experiment with a different
approach to interpretation that may delight your clients as well as offer some
new insights, you may want to pick up this deck and work with it a bit. I am going to give it a try with some of my
clients and see if it works as well as it did for my own personal readings.
The artwork makes this a unique deck to work with and if you are into surrealistic and oneiric symbolisms, you will find this deck to be intriguing as well as insightful. boudica
Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom from the Elders~ edited by Kristin Madden
This book is a collection of articles, essays, and general
musings by some of the better known authors in our community. Contributions by such well known names as
Starhawk, Dorothy Morrison, Kerr Cuhulain, M. Macha Nightmare and more demands
your attention and entices you to take this book home to read. The book itself is divided into three topics
focusing on information for beginners and seekers.
The first is “Explore”, and the works collected in this
section encourage the reader to look at the path they are walking and find the
beginnings of where they would like to go.
Articles are contributed by Freya Aswynn, Raven Grimassi and Dorothy Morrison to name a few. Subjects covered include an overview of
Paganism, connecting with Deity, connecting with nature, and the basics of
The second topic covers “Learn”. These contributions are explorations of
working within the Craft. Contributions
are by such noted authors as Kristin Madden and M. Macha Nightmare, again, to
name a few. Subjects covered are working
solitary, ritual and ritual tools, and working with children.
The third topic covers “Live”. We have contributions by Kerr Cuhulain, Gus
DiZerega, Starhawk and others. Subjects
covered are how pagans live, coming out of the broom closet, responsibilities,
organizing groups and more.
The book also has Appendices. “How to speak Pagan” is basically a
glossary. “Pagan Groups and
Traditions" is a list of organizations, and “Top 10” covers various lists
of top 10 books by topics and a list of
events. There is a resource listing and
The material varies.
Some of it is very well written and well presented. There is a very diverse group covered with
the authorship of these articles, and the material presented comes at you from
many different angles. You will find yourself
agreeing with some, while other material may leave you cold. This is the pagan community. Ask 100 pagans a question and get 150
I did find a few exceptional articles that contained
interesting material. Dorothy Morrison’s
article on “The Basics of Magic” is a wonderful first steps into the practices
of the Craft. Very basic, very well
written, very easy to understand, and so very "Dorothy Morrison".
“The Solitary Pagan” is a delightful overview of what it
means to be solitary, pagan and what you can do to progress your path. Written by Kristin Madden “& Friends” it
is again, a very well written and positive article.
Kristin’s article on “Involving Children” also is a very
good, one that many parents will find helpful.
It provides basics for getting children into what the pagan beliefs and
practices are, how to present them in a very easy and fun way that children
will like, and how to progress with them into areas, such as magic and ritual,
that many parents may be unsure of or just don’t know how to present to kids.
Kerr Cuhulain offers a lovely discussion on “Coming Out”
which is not to be missed. He
comfortably takes you through some thought processes on what it means to come
out of the broom closet, what you could expect, what you could encounter, and
how some folks may react to you. He
also covers some of your religious rights, some arguments you may find others
using against your path, and some practical advice from our favorite law
The book lists are interesting and the pagan organizations
that are represented in the appendices are well established, working
organizations that have withstood the test of time.
Overall, this book has something to offer most readers. It is a lovely exploration of the Pagan Path, giving very broad brush strokes to the painting of the pagan paths. There will be material for some to contemplate, there will be some words spoken here that may touch some people. There will be other material here that some folks may not find interesting at all. It is, very simply put, up to the reader to decide what applies and what does not. The pagan path, after all, is a very broad path, and we do not all walk in the same places or cover the same grounds. But for many, this book will entertain and possibly enlighten. I found it enjoyable overall. boudica
Guises of the Morrigan
There is a lot of material about the Morrigan. Myths, legends, attributes and
influences. It is wonderful to have it
all collected in one place for those who follow either the Morrigan or one of
her aspects. This complex Celtic Goddess
has plenty of material about her, and I am happy David Rankine and Sorita
D’Este put it all together for us in this well researched book.
The book traces the path of the Morrigan and the best way is
to start at the beginning with the Celtic Mythologies about her. From the “War with the Fir Bolgs” from the
ancient Irish myths to the stories of Cu Chulainn, all the myths are covered
and the stories examined. David and
Sorita do an excellent job of looking at the stories and seeing how the
Morrigan influenced the story or the situations. While not the actual stories, we are given
enough of the story to see how the Morrigan had a hand in it.
I would like to have had the actual stories here. While the words which the Morrigan said are
given in quotes, to allow the reader to see how She describes Herself or the
situation encountered, the original stores are very lovely to read. You should augment this book with copies of
the actual works and appreciate them for yourself.
There are some lovely pen and ink drawings to accompany the
stories, though the topic of the piece is not always “lovely”. “Cu Chulainn’s Demise” is a graphic
depiction of the hero’s not so pretty ending, but the tales are graphic. The artist Brian Andrews adds interest with
the addition of his works in this book.
The best known guises of the Morrigan are then examined in
the section about Nemain, Badb and Macha.
Again, the stories, the attributes and the nature of each of these
Goddesses in one are examined. David and
Sorita do a very good job at retelling the stories as it applies to these
The section called “Wise Crone: Tales of the Calleach” gives
some interesting stories on the Cailleach.
What would have been good here is a pronunciation key. I’ve heard at least two pronunciations of
this word “Calleach”, but none is offered here.
What is offered is a very extensive footnoting of the
stories, references and locations of the stories. The bibliography in the back of the book is also
quite extensive and speaks highly of the research that went into this
book. What is also noteworthy is the
quality of the writings, this book tells the stories, examines the stories and
explains the Morrigans place and purpose in each of them. It is easy to read, does not speak above the
intended readership and relates the ideas that the authors have very clearly.
The same is true for “The Queen of Battle” which examines
the Warrior aspect of the Morrigan. Well
told stories, footnoted, and explained with Her own words. As “The Earth Goddess” we see a side that we
do not usually consider with the Morrigan.
David and Sorita add to our understanding of this Goddess with a look at
Her more “earthy “ side. We also see the
Morrigan in her aspect as “Calleach Beara” as a creation Goddess, again going
back to Her more earthy side.
There is a chapter on locations which are associated with
the Morrigan. The sites are located in
While the Dagda had His cauldron, there is a short piece on
the Morrigan’s “Cooking Spit”, an interesting bit of information. There is a larger chapter on her aspect as
“The Faery Queen”, her aspect as the Scottish blood-drinking faery, a section
on the “Faery Birds” “Faery Ravens” and other faery aspects. There are included stories, reference and
small discussion on their meanings.
Again, some pronunciation keys would have been helpful here to the
As “Queen Mab” we see the Morrigan in literature, and David
and Sorita explore more modern literature that discusses the Morrigan. Thomas the Rhymer and Shakespeare are
We see the Morrigan as transformer, Lady of the Beasts,
bestower of Sovereignty, the Lover, the witch, shapeshifter, and giant. We see Her as prophetess and magician, we see
the number references to her aspects. We
see some aspects such as Goddess of Fate as the washer at the ford in various
traditions, how she survives in folk lore as the Banshee or the Scottish
Weeper. We see Her being brought forward
in the Arthurian myths. Finally, we are
given even more of Her aspects in an alphabetical list of associations and
brief descriptions of each, including Her familiar, the Raven.
This is a lovely book of overviews of stories. It is an excellent reference if you are looking for a particular aspect of the Morrigan, or are not sure and want to look it up. It will provide you with a resource to help you find a particular story about the Morrigan. The bibliography contains much material that you can sort through and read on your own to augment your knowledge of the Morrigan. The book is well indexed for easy reference. This would be a great addition to your library for anyone into Celtic lore, the Morrigan or any of Her aspects. boudica