A Collective Gathering Place for Readers, Writers, and Seekers

The Relative Tarot, by Carrie Paris

The Relative Tarot: Your Ancestral Blueprint for Self-Discovery, by Carrie Paris
Weiser Books, 1578637627, 96 pages, 82 cards, November 2021

Ancestry has been a prominent theme for me this November. I’ve taken an ancestral astrology class, while also curating book club questions on Hiero for Badass Ancestors. The Relative Tarot: Your Ancestral Blueprint for Self-Discovery by Carrie Paris came along in perfect harmony with these other happenings. So far, it’s one of the most unique tarot decks that I’ve ever worked with. I’m just loving the bridge it opens between past, present, and future.

And this is exactly what Carrie Paris does best, as her work often allows for divination across the barriers of time and space. She holds a Masters in the Cultural Study of Cosmology and Divination from the University of Kent, UK. Paris also has recently published Generations Oracle with Lisa Bonnice, which uses casting pieces, such as charms and coins based on the Lenormand Oracle, and a pendulum to connect with ancestors.

One of my favorite divination systems created by Paris is the Magpie Oracle, which uses small charms to cast divinations. I’ve always found her approach to divination very out of the box. It’s refreshing to have new ways to connect with spirit, and it’s clear Paris puts a lot of thoughtfulness into her creations.

The methodology for The Relative Tarot is just as unique. Paris asked her readers to send her photographs of their ancestors, and thus this deck was born of their images and stories. Initially, she planned for it to only be Majors and Court cards, but she received so many portraits and requests to be included that she decided to also include the Minor cards as well.

A sturdy box holds the cards. It has a side-flap for easy opening. Right when flipping it open, a mysterious woman with a mask and wings catches the eye, piquing intrigue and igniting curiosity in the reader. The potency of the deck can be felt as a glittering shimmer of magic that is decades old, now recreated to continue to flow through the veins of time.

The cards are absolutely stunning with their golden edges and beautifully crafted imagery. Old photographs are laid over colorful starry backgrounds with traditional tarot symbolism intermixed too. They feel of a different time, and this out of the ordinary sensation heightens the connection to the slip-space in the cracks of time, where intuition shines.

As I look through the cards, I wonder who these people were and what their story was. It’s like discovering a treasure chest of photographs in the attic, enchanted with memories, hopes, and wishes. You can see the personality of all the ancestral relatives on these cards shining through the looks in their eyes.

I am someone who enjoys historical non-fiction books because I enjoy the sensation of putting myself in someone else’s shoes and seeing what their life was like to live. I listen to their story and then integrate it into my own life, filled with the wisdom of those I have taken the time to learn more about. I feel like this deck gives me the ability to do this, only now these relatives are guiding me in regard to my spiritual path and potential future outcomes.

However, The Relative Tarot is not like a usual tarot deck, and as soon as you look at the guidebook you will see this. This deck is intended to help the reader “to create a divine Tarot Blueprint that will illuminate who you are, and what you’re here to do.”1 Paris writes this deck was created to experience your soul’s truth through an ancestral filter, helping one to see how ancestral influence is affecting one’s personal evolution and ancestral line.

Paris uses three types of cards for this ancestral and self-discovery method: Birth Cards, Annual Cards, and Significator Cards. Birth Cards are Major Arcana cards that represent one’s soul expression, including their personality, core ideals, challenges, unconscious urges, and ancestral agenda.2 Annual cards are also Major Arcana cards, but these change each year, offering a glimpse of the energies of the upcoming year, including opportunities for growth and key lessons. Then Significator Cards are Court Cards that connect the reader to their ancestral imprint, showing what might be impacting our choices and behavior.

To make it easy to navigate these calculations, Paris provides detailed instruction on how to find your cards through numerology. Then the Major and Court Cards in the deck are labeled with numbers to make pairing the cards together easier. The bottom left show the Birth Card numerological patterns and the bottom right indicates the corresponding Minor Arcana Cards with that Birth Card pattern.

For example, my Birth Card pattern is Universe, Hanged Man, and Empress. This pattern pairs with all the 3s in the Minor Arcana. However, it goes even deeper than this because within the Birth Card pattern, there can be shadow cards, whose energy is often unconscious or not tapped into.

To be honest, at first I found the entire system a bit confusing. I had to really concentrate and do the calculations and read the guidebook thoroughly for about an hour to start understanding this system. But Paris does a fairly good job of making this complex system approachable for readers. There’s even a Blueprint Review on pages 50-51 of the guidebook that is a fill-in-the-blank page for all the calculations.

In the end, I did get a lot of meaning out of using this process to learn more about my soul’s path and ancestral influences in my life. I think it would be especially helpful if readers also used this deck in combination with Mary K. Greer’s Archetypal Tarot, which focuses in-depth on birth cards. It’s also worth noting, this system is very different from simply doing tarot spreads to learn more about your ancestors, such as the process described in Ancestral Tarot by Nancy Hendrickson.

While this deck is phenomenal in what it offers, readers should be aware that it doesn’t give any descriptions of the tarot cards in the guidebook. For this reason, I recommend it to more experienced readers that are already comfortable with the traditional meanings of each tarot card, in case they want to use the deck to do spreads or read for others.

But it’s for this same reason that I DO recommend it to advanced readers because it’s a deck tailored to a different system of reading that can yield rich insight. Even though it takes a bit of time to learn it, I think once the general meaning of the Birth Card, Annual Card, and Significator Card is understood, this becomes a potent way to connect more deeply to one’s soul purpose, current lessons, and their ancestral line.

One last thing that really impressed me about the deck was how Paris designed it to have 82 cards, and this isn’t because she added new cards. Rather, Paris offers a much-needed option for tarot decks: the choice of three Lovers cards (one male/female, one female/female, and one  male/male). I thought this customization was just lovely to make the deck more inclusive to all relationships. Then Paris also allows readers to decide if they want Strength and Justice in the Major Arcana to be 8 and 11 or 11 and 8, depending on the system of reading they use.

All in all, The Relative Tarot is a really neat deck to add to one’s collection, especially for advanced readers or those interested in learning more about their ancestral line through the cards. The imagery is stunning and the process of reading with these cards is rich and potent with soulful wisdom. Paris has made a timeless deck that moves us into the liminal realm where our ancestors can speak to us and our intuition can be heard; past, present, and future weave together to open a portal for spiritual discovery and integration.

Astral Realms Crystal Oracle, by Dark Moon Crystals

Astral Realms Crystal Oracle: A 33-Card Deck and Guidebook, by Dark Moon Crystals and Prism + Fleur Design Studio
Rockpool Publishing, 1925946282, 33 cards, 128 pages, September 2021

Gorgeous pink oracle cards covered with dazzling crystals? Yes, please! I have been adoring the way Astral Realms Crystal Oracle by Dark Moon Crystals and Prism + Fleur Design Studio looks on my altar recently. Plus, the accompanying guidebook has really inspired me to step-up my crystal game and made me more dedicated to my spiritual practice.

I was initially drawn to this deck for its aesthetics. Pink is my favorite color and it is the background of all the cards, which have tinted pink edges as well. The vibe of the deck reminded me of Work Your Light Oracle Deck and The Starseed Oracle created by Rebecca Campbell with artwork by Danielle Noel. The design on these cards, by Prism + Fleur Design Studio, is more ethereal and simplistic, but each one is absolutely beautiful.

I have gotten the most out of the deck by spending time meditating with the cards and looking at the beautiful images. There’s a soft feminine feel to the deck, which opens intuitive portals to connect with the crystals. I really like the layer done, where some cards have faded images in the background with other images bold and center. Glyphs, seashells, columns, mushrooms, and flowers fill the cards, bringing them to life with potent spiritual symbolism.

The deck has a really unique approach, which extends the meaning of the cards beyond just the crystal energy. By combining astrology and chakra energies, divination occurs trifold. The guidebook states:

“Seeking insight from the astrological transits of celestial bodies, turning within to enhance and unblock flow through your energetic (chakral) field and utilising the healing and empowering frequencies of crystals is what we call the ‘trifecta’, a divinely guided approach to raising your frequency and deepening your connection to the astral realm.”1

These different energies are perfectly integrated with the cards’ design. At the bottom of each card is an energetic signature, or word which encapsulates the trifold meaning of the card. On the left side of the card is the crystal messenger, or the name of the crystal shown on the card that can be worked with to further enhance the energetic connection. Then on the right-side of the card is the supporting element, which is either a celestial body, chakra, or earth element. At the top of the card is a number to make it easy to find the card’s message in the guidebook.

I especially love the incorporation of the supporting element because as an astrologer and Reiki master, it really expands my understanding of both the crystal and its message. For instance, Card 18 has Clarity as the energetic signature, citrine as the crystal messenger, and Sun as the supporting element. Through understanding the astrological energy of the Sun, I feel a more solid connection to citrine. When I close my eyes, in my mind’s eye, it’s like I’m blending all the energies together and feeling the essence of Clarity emerge. While I am drawing upon my astrological knowledge to learn more about crystals, others who know more about crystals can do the opposite with the cards to learn more about astrology or chakras. 

The guidebook is also really helpful for learning more about crystals. For every card, there are additional keywords, along with a description of the trifecta, activation guidance for the energy, and an affirmation to recite. The trifecta description delves into the energy of earth element, chakra, celestial body, and crystal to assist the reader in understanding how they all come together within the card.

Then the activation guidance is an activity the reader can do to further connect with the card. Some examples of activation guidance are journal prompts, taking a ritual bath, breathing exercises, visualization, and meditation. Most of them are easy to do right away, but some are more involved, such as buying a plant or doing a yoga pose. There’s one instance where it even calls to look up your South Node in astrology, which I think is definitely useful for everyone to know!

Using this deck makes me feel calm and inspired. While the astral realm might feel spacey or out-of-reach, these cards ground the energy for me. I like how I can hold the gorgeous cards, which tangibly link me to the energy. Looking at the images stimulates my mind’s eye, and the colors soften my energy to be receptive to my intuition and the guidance of these different energies. I also have found it helpful to pull out a card if I am feeling called to work with that energy. For instance, meditating on the Moonstone card to activate my Crown Chakra. There’s a ton of ways to work with Astral Realms Crystal Oracle; it’s versatility makes it both unique and useful to have nearby.

All in all, Astral Realms Crystal Oracle is a wonderful deck for all spiritual seekers. It combines so much wisdom! The mixture of astrology, chakras, and crystals is potent. Combining different energy systems and drawing upon one to bolster another is extremely beneficial. Dark Moon Crystals has done a wonderful job of both weaving these trifecta energies together, as well as making it a great access point for all levels of experience. I highly recommend this deck for those hoping to practice the art of integrating energy and those who simply appreciate art because it’s so well designed! This deck will definitely be on my altar for quite some time.

Through the Eyes of the Soul, by Cheryl Yambrach Rose

Through the Eyes of the Soul: 52 Prophecy Cards & Guidebook, by Cheryl Yambrach Rose
Blue Angel Publishing, 9780648746799, 52 cards, 68 pages, May 2021

We, as humans, are collectively engaged and catalyzed by imagery. The development of keen visualization skills is one of the most important trainings required in spiritual/magickal disciplines. We find our voices through imagery. We sense the emotions and intellect of intention through imagery. We see physically and with our subtle senses. We are continually processing and organizing information through imagery. So, when we are seeking answers to our most personal and profound questions, the imagery provided by whatever oracular tool we use is paramount in being able to completely pull us into that moment of intention and query.

Through the Eyes of the Soul: 52 Prophecy Cards & Guidebook by Cheryl Yambrach Rose checks off all of the boxes of what an oracle deck should accomplish. The imagery is beautiful and has a depth that speaks to Rose’s artistic talents and clearly demonstrates her knowledge of spiritual practice and deep teachings.

“Cheryl Yambrach Rose (Glastonbury, UK) is a visionary artist, portrait painter, and author. Her spiritual portraits are published and shown worldwide, appearing in the Nelson Rockefeller Collection, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts, and more.”1

The deck includes 52 cards and a guidebook of interpretations for the meanings of each. Upon opening the box, I noted the image selected for the back of the cards. This image is not simply decorative; rather, it powerfully sets the tone for what is contained on its other side and emanates a subtle energy of deep contemplative quiet. I was immediately drawn into this reflective state and readied for whatever wisdom I was to glean from this palpable visual stimulation.

Each of the cards evokes an emotional response, as any finely crafted piece of art should. The images easily resonate as human to human, rather than fantastical images that are more of deep imaginings. However, upon closer inspection the seeker will be able to sense that although human in representation, those beings depicted on the cards have stepped more fully into their Higher Self and Divine nature. I found this very encouraging of remembering my own Higher Self and what is possible when that transformative awareness comes out of the pictures.

I chose to test out the oracle cards with a simple three-card query: What has brought me to where I am now? Where do I stand in the present? What is my work in moving forward? The three cards selected were on point with my (and, yes I know, very open ended) questions. The gift in the answers was not so much about whether these were magickal cards that could somehow predict, but in the very succinct, yet deeply catalyzing interpretations I read in the accompanying booklet.

As the reader moves through the guidebook of Through the Eyes of the Soul, it becomes apparent that each of the cards contained within the deck hold special relevance to a particular God/dess, enlightened being or evolved individual from a variety of spiritual paths. The cards of my three-card draw reflected the trials a boy endured as he “climbs the ladder of enlightenment” to become a Shaman of his tribe in Suriname. The second card spoke to the wisdom of the Celtic Shaman and the “Dawning of the Green Man” and the third card introduced me to Libuse, the Prophetess of Prague, a Druid princess in the eighth century and the origins and greater meaning of the naming of Prague.

“This oracle deck is a vehicle for providing intuitive guidance from the mythic beings and divine entities who inhabit sacred sites and spaces. Deep insights and profound answers are hidden within the paintings. Meditating on a card image connects you to the energy of the location where the painting was conceived. You become the weaver of your fate by tuning into the higher self and allowing that spontaneous connection to answer questions or suggest advice.”2

One of my favorite cards from Through the Eyes of the Soul is Card 36, “Retreat into Nature. Solitude.”:

“Take time for yourself. Leave the daily routine and return refreshed and renewed…Inside the Redwood tree the (non-cultural) Shamanka/Shaman can retreat in silence and enter into the deeper realm of consciousness while feeling totally protected by animal allies.”3

This message, in particular, rang very true for me and I am quite sure it holds true for so many of us. We seek the paths of the old ways, and yet are continually pulled and battered about societal expectations, deadlines, and more. Just simply placing your awareness and intention in the painting of this card, immediately transports the user to otherworldly places, the redwood forests and a space of respite.

I have many oracle decks and have come to hold a good dose of skepticism for how deep they will take the reader and the overall appearance that many have. That is not to say that they do not have an audience that will resonate and gain much from them, but, having a daughter who is a fine artists and has produced some deeply profound and beautiful spiritual paintings has, I admit somewhat heightened my levels of preferring imagery that is magickal simply in its every line, nuance and shading. These are the paintings and images that at first glance “transport” you along a journey of wisdom as each of your senses is awakened in resonance with what you have “seen”.

Rose has succeeded precisely in the expectation that I hold. Through the Eyes of the Soul is a gift to your spiritual and mundane Self/self that will awaken within you doorways to unimagined beauty and wisdom. I’ll be enjoying this deck for quite some time.

Seasons of the Witch: Yule Oracle, by Juliet Diaz and Lorraine Anderson

Seasons of the Witch: Yule Oracle, by Juliet Diaz and Lorraine Anderson
Rockpool Publishing, 1925946223, 44 cards, 144 pages, September 2021

Even though we are quickly approaching one of my favorite sabbats, Samhain, my mind recently has been wondering towards Yuletide already. This is because I’ve been doing daily pulls from Seasons of the Witch: Yule Oracle by Lorraine Anderson and Juliet Diaz. While I know the first deck in this series, Season of the Witch: Samhain Oracle, might be more appropriate for the current season, I haven’t made the switch just yet. The insight I’ve been receiving from Seasons of the Witch: Yule Oracle is just too good to await the winter to use!

I want to start off by saying the deck is absolutely beautiful. With gilded green edges, it feels like I’m holding a shiny present in my hand. Images of candles, Fir trees, and furry animals make the deck come to life. There’s a gentle warmth that radiates from the deck, which reminds me of the sense of community and hope that we naturally call on to make it through the dark days of Winter. Simultaneously, cards such as Solitude and Crone remind us of the inevitable necessity of going inward and facing one’s own depths during this season too.

As I look through the deck and do my daily pull, I find the oracle cards perfectly capture all the cozy, snowy, magical feelings of the Yuletide season. I am genuinely impressed with Anderson and Diaz’s choices for card names, such as Chills and Ringing of the Bells, which instantly tap me into the sensation of Winter. I enjoy how the deck includes Reindeer Medicine and Bear Medicine, along with Poinsettia, Mother Mary, and Father Christmas.  The cards are a soulful reminder of all the special parts of the Yuletide season for one’s craft. As the authors write:

“Christmas is a Christian tradition but its roots are based in pagan ways. Familiar symbols such as Christmas trees, stars, lights, giving gifts, and even Santa Claus are threaded through pagan cultures and predate the Chrsitian celebration.”1

My favorite cards feature traditional Yuletide snowy scenes with silhouettes of a witch on her broom riding in the sky. The folklore of La Befana, the Italian Christmas witch, is near and dear to my heart, so I truly enjoy seeing a witch in action outside of the usual Halloween imagery. I like imagining there’s a Christmas witch that watches over us all, delivering presents of the heart to us as we are hunkered down inside for the cold Winter months.

Each oracle card features a beautiful image, the name and number of the card, and a short one-sentence oracle message. The guidebook then elaborates quite eloquently on each card, offering keywords and heartfelt messages that have been spot-on every time I’ve pulled a card so far. Along with advice for working with this deck, including spreads and magic tips for some cards, the guidebook is also filled with Yuletide imagery. It’s a pleasure to look through it, as images of mistletoe and holly line the pages. It’s worth noting this guidebook does not provide reverse oracle meanings as the guidebook for the Samhain Oracle does, but this didn’t bother me at all because I hardly use reverse cards in oracle readings.

One spread I really like is The Evergreen Wreath, which assists the reader in figuring out where they are now and where they want to go. Another one I thought is creative is The Christmas Cross Tarot Spread, based on the traditional Celtic Cross, but framed in the perspective of Yuletide (ex. Card 2 is Winter Storm, while Card 5 is Ghost of the Past), once again heightening the connection to the season. I’m also looking forward to The New Year Ahead spread once it gets closer to the start of 2022.

I’ve come to trust this deck, which doesn’t always happen instantly for me, and not just because my first pull was the card Squirrel Medicine, when squirrels are my favorite animal ever. It’s something more; Yule Oracle feels imbued with good vibes and an openness, which I believe stems from the author’s intention when crafting this deck. There is a really heartfelt section in the guidebook about reclaiming the witch, in which the authors write: 

“The way we view magic needs to change. It’s time to reclaim this world for yourself. To reclaim magic means to honor yourself through the magic you create. If your magic is pink and purple with glitter and that feels good to you, then it’s your right to express that magic in this way. If you love beautiful things and aesthetically pleasing design but are also a witch, know that your magic is no less valuable because you also value art. If your magic is about rolling in the dirt under a full moon to connect with the earth, then so it is. Your magic is beautiful in its dirty rawness.”2

This meaningful passage really made me appreciate the mindset of the authors. It also reaffirmed that my magic, which I will say leans towards the pink and glittery kind, is valuable, even if it’s not the traditional imagery of gothic witchcraft. I feel like there’s this greater reclaiming of our inherent magic, and within this shifting of the imagery, there is limitless potential of how everyone’s unique magic will be expressed. I have a lot of respect for Anderson and Diaz for acknowledging this as part of this introduction to this deck, especially since they also acknowledge the lack of diversity in Samhain Oracle.

All in all, I can say I’m in love with the Seasons of the Witch: Yule Oracle. There’s just something about the traditions and sentiments of this season that always brings up the good tidings. The range of oracles in this deck provide inspiration and divination from all sorts of guides: animals, sacred symbols, Yuletide folklore, and the simplicity of winter life. I think this deck will be the perfect present for Witch Switch gift swaps or to give as a meaningful gift to your inner coven of loved ones.

And, just to get you excited, I found out via Google that there will be a Seasons of the Witch: Beltane Oracle coming in March 2022! Woohoo! 🙂 I’m a very seasonal person, so it’s a thrill to have decks to embrace the energy of the season. Speaking of which, it’s probably time to pull out my Seasons of the Witch: Samhain Oracle!

Body Healing Cards, by Ewald Kliegel

Body Healing Cards, by Ewald Kliegel with illustrations by Anne Heng
Findhorn Press, 9781644112557, 56 cards and 127 pages, June 2021

In this beautiful set of cards and the accompanying guidebook, Body Healing Cards, author Ewald Kliegel & illustrator Anne Heng provide a wonderful way to talk with your body’s organs.  By focusing on an organ and then either choosing or intuitively drawing cards, one can learn more about disease, illness, or upset in the body and discover ways to heal.  Using his 40+ years of experience as a massage therapist, naturopath, and reflexologist, Kliegel really knows the human body. 

He invites you to use this set of cards to communicate with your body and “intuitively investigate the essence of your individual organs and discover their physical, soul and spiritual layers.”1 I was intrigued by the concept of these cards due to my work as a Reiki master, hypnotist, and tarot card reader. 

After briefly perusing the first few pages of the guidebook, I decided to do a card reading regarding my shoulders.  I have an old injury on one shoulder and some arthritis in both shoulders.  Sometimes I have pain in one or both shoulders during the night, as I am a side sleeper. 

I chose the Health Generator Spread2 and chose the Shoulders card for the center of the reading. The design on the Shoulder card featured a human form balancing itself on a spire, with arms outstretched and an apothecary scale behind it. It reminds me of a tightrope walker, and I considered how my shoulders help me balance myself and my life.

With Shoulders lying face up, I proceeded to shuffle the cards and then drew three cards and placed them face down on the right of the center card. Next, I drew two cards and placed those face down on the left of the center card. Now that I had all of my cards, I focused on the Shoulders card and followed Kliegel’s six questions to ask both the card and my shoulders for clues about my pain. 

1. What do I see in this image?
2. Which sensations, feelings, emotions, perceptions or memories come to mind?
3. What do I like most about the image?
4. What do I not like at all in the image?
5. If I were to step inside the image, what could I see, hear or recognize as the person in it?
6. How does all this fit together with the organ and my topic?3  

As I went through the questions, I felt into the beautiful design of blues and purples. The idea of balance came up with this thought:  “As long as I am balanced, I am also safe.” Lastly, I turned to the page in the guidebook where Kliegel shares more information about the Shoulders and suggests Hypersthene and Fluorite as two crystals that may support shoulder health.4

The first three cards revealed even more about this situation.  The first card was Thymus. It featured all of the chakra colors and a human being with arms raised over its head, reaching skyward.  This visual led me to think about the interconnectedness of all of the parts of my body and how when I am stressed, I may tense or hold my shoulders in a tight or constricted way.  

The questions led me to realize that my thymus can help transform my stress.  The crystals Kliegel recommended were Bloodstone and Aquamarine.  I realized that I had some of these beads on hand and decided to make a bracelet with these stones and others I may learn about during this adventure. 

In the second card, I saw Throat and the human being was singing out, free and easy.  She seemed so powerful, asking for help or support, to lighten her burdens.  Again, I caught the tie-in to my shoulders. 

For the third card in this series, Ears appeared, and I felt the sensation of the sound of the ocean when you hold a shell to your ear.  I also heard a soft echo and classical music. I loved the spiral shape of the background artwork and the pleasing rainbow of colors. One suggestion I heard while reviewing this card: “How may I listen to my shoulders for healing clues?” 

Next, I turned to the two cards to the left of the Shoulder card.  Here I found the card for Bronchi, which are the tubes that connect your trachea to your lungs. By following the trail of the 5 questions (which are slightly different for these two cards in this spread), I was reminded of the power of the breath to bring calm.  Once again, when I am calm, the shoulders relax and I can center myself.  I saw myself in a calming oasis and realized that I may be holding my breath and tensing up during my day.  Kliegel suggests that you “Follow your breath without trying to change it.”5  

The last card in this spread was Connective Tissue.  The visual was a boy holding an egg, filled with a tree, a dragonfly, water and plants.  One of the questions led me to realize that I live inside nature and that I can find my calm place in nature. This helped me to see the interconnectedness of everything again and how nature responds to me and my feelings.

Kliegel really encourages you to look at all of the cards and “See how these organs relate to my question, issue or situation?”6 This works as a type of summation of the time you have spent with the cards regarding your health issue.  Another helpful question is “How may I use what I have learned to make a change in my health situation?”7

In the section called “Portraits of the Organs”, Kliegel goes through each of 52 organs and gives basic information and two crystals for healing benefits.  You can refer to this information to learn more about the organs and create affirmations.  Kliegel recommends that you create two affirmations for each card and consider utilizing the crystal recommendations, as well.

I used the Health Generator Spread again for my husband and a friend.  My husband was interested in learning more about his fatty liver.  He learned about the importance of deep breathing and formulated some affirmations to help better nourish himself and be more conscious of his fears.

For my friend, we investigated her diverticulitis, which is based in her large intestine.  From her spread, she learned to “Concentrate on what’s important, and let go of trivial matters.”8 Surprisingly, she also got a message from her stomach and learned this:

“The druid of the stomach cauldron watches over our food as well as how we think and feel about our life force and nourishing our soul.” 9

She shared that this visual will help her make better choices for her own nutrition. 

The guidebook has several spreads, some of which are very complex. One even makes use of all of the cards. I tried Spread 5, Healing Connections, and found it very complicated, as it used ten cards and multiple questions.  If one had a very complex health situation, perhaps the more complicated spreads could be helpful. However, I found the spread with five cards that accented the one central card to be very targeted and helpful. 

At the back of the guidebook, Kliegel offers a chart of all of the organs, arranged in alphabetical order and adds two affirmations and two crystal recommendations. For example, for my husband’s reading, we found a great affirmation for his liver: “I draw on abundance and imagination.” efn_note]page 117[/efn_note] Kliegel also recommends Malachite and Chrome Diopside for supportive crystals. 

The cards are printed on a very nice card-stock, are a good size, and are not too large for easy shuffling.  The colors of the artwork are very pleasing to the eye and also add to the healing quality of the entire card system.  The back of the cards is a beautiful mix of cooling blues and sea-foam green.  I found the cards visually appealing and calming. I loved the box, with its magnetic flap and cutout to hold the cards, with just enough room for the guidebook to fit easily inside.

This card set is probably best for someone who has some experience working with tarot or oracle cards and is comfortable working with different spreads.  I really love all of the questions that Kliegel utilizes in each of the spreads.  He also has a few simple meditations that one can use to get into a good space for doing work with this deck.  Here is one example:

To go back and create space for the whole, close your eyes for a moment and get into the flow with the practice of the four breaths:
– Root yourself in the earth with magma splashing.
– Open your imaginary sunroof for the universal light beam 
– Feel the bubble bath of light around your roots in the magma
– Let the flames blaze high10

I really enjoyed working with the Body Healing Cards and look forward to more adventures.  You can always use it for a quick reading (a three-card spread would also work very well) and refer to the guidebook as needed. This card set would be great for a massage therapist or any type of body worker to accent client sessions. I am also inspired to reflect more on the interconnectedness of my body and its many organs, which work in concert for my good health.

Crystal Oversoul Cards, by Michael Eastwood

Crystal Oversoul Cards: Attunements for Lightworkers, by Michael Eastwood
Findhorn Press, 1644111764, 66 cards, 224 pages, November 2020

I was drawn to the Crystal Oversoul Cards: Attunements for Lightworkers by Michael Eastwood because of the intricate geometric crystal designs on the cards. I thought this deck might help me connect with the sacred geometry within different crystals, hence changing my state of consciousness in meditation. While these cards have shown to be useful for attuning to different perceptions, overall they are quite different than I expected in both positive and negative ways.

First of all, the cards are very big and bulky in my hand. Unfortunately the large size of the cards seems to have detracted from the crystal images on the card. They don’t appear to have enough pixels for the amount of space they take up on the card, similar to if you’ve ever tried to make a photograph bigger and all it does is lose the quality and look stretched out. The only redeeming quality is that the box is nicely designed; it has a magnetic strip along the side, allowing for easy opening and closing, that keeps the box securely shut when being stored.

I also think I underestimated just how New Age these cards would be as an oracle deck. I’m a big fan of working with crystal energy, and I can be receptive to ideas about Lemuria and Atlantis. However, my first impression was that this deck pushed it a bit too far and was very untethered in its approach to attuning to these crystals energies. The whole deck requires knowledge of working with additional chakras beyond the traditional seven: the eighth chakra, the ninth chakra, and the Earth Star chakra. I wasn’t familiar with this, nor could I find much information on them. Leery of channeled information, I will admit I approached this deck with a bit of skepticism.

Eastwood has previously published two card and book sets, Crystal Oversoul Attunements and Crystal Oversoul New Earth Attunements, which he combined to make this deck. An Oversoul is described as “the collective soul or matter all individual crystals in their field will identify and communicate with.”1 I take this to be almost like a common soul of the crystal, which people can communicate with. According to Eastwood, in the past humanity had a closer connection to the Crystal Oversouls, but they still can play a role in our evolution to new levels of consciousness and spiritual awareness. He compares the Crystal Oversouls to mandalas or templates, writing:

“Their visual manifestation as mandalas serves as a clear purpose and the intricate, never ending and overlapping patterns within each temple mirror the differences and uniqueness. Every fine detail stimulates our consciousness to remember specific aspects of our vastness; to reconnect with the awareness of our being part of a greater unfolding, of our divine self.”2

After sharing his own experience of working with crystals and describing how co-creating with them can be a spiritual path, Eastwood moves into teaching the deck user about attunements. I finally became more comfortable with his concept of an Oversoul because he also discusses how the crystal is overseen by a Deva, which I have read much more about and am already familiar with. This made the leap into understanding the Oversoul not quite as far as I had felt it was before. He writes, “When we direct our healing or intent through a crystal, it is amplifying back the consciousness of an Oversoul and Deva directly into our aura.”3 This provided me with a more grounded understanding as proceeded with my first attunement.

Another surprising thing I discovered, which made me more confident in getting started with this deck, is that Eastwood recorded meditations for cards 45-66 because they are especially important energies for the awakening of humanity. There is a link to download them through Inner Traditions website. Hearing Eastwood’s voice was soothing, and it helped me to feel more connected to the cards than when I read the description in the guidebook. I honestly wish he had done the meditation for all the cards and not just these final ones in the deck.

At last, I decided to do a supportive attunement, intending to learn from the image and information. I chose the card Petalite. This card spoke to experiences I was having at the time, including desiring to integrate both intellect and intuition, as well as cleanse my energetic field to release outdated patterns and limiting beliefs. It felt particularly apt for the timing of the pull too because it was during a waning moon phase, which is the time frame this card corresponds with. I spent time holding the card to my chest, envisioning the energy of Petalite merging with my own. This was when I started to feel a sense of reciprocity with the Crystal Oversouls. As I opened myself to their energy, I did indeed start to feel new levels of relaxation, awareness, and wisdom emerge from within.

I realized I had misjudged this deck. My first hasty pull upon receiving it has been hoping for an immediate answer, which the guidebook does not provide. Eastwood offers an attunement for the deck user to open up to the crystal’s energy in their own life. The essence of this deck is engaging in one’s own energy work to facilitate this relationship with the Crystal Oversouls. One will get out of this deck the energy that they put into it.

While this might not be a deck I pull from every day, I feel reassured knowing I can call on the Crystal Oversouls in my spiritual journey as allies. It is interesting to connect with the crystals energetically, merging my auric field with their Oversoul, rather than just touching my crystals or meditating with them physically. There is a subtle dimension of consciousness at work here, and the cards do a wonderful job of facilitating this relationship even without the crystals themselves being in my physical presence.

Therefore, I highly recommend Crystal Oversoul Cards for energy workers who are looking to enhance their connection with the crystal realm. Whether or not one wishes to make the connections to the distant past, such as the time of Lemuria or Atlantis, there is still a great benefit for the future in reuniting with the wisdom of the Crystal Oversouls. Yes, to use this deck requires tapping in beyond the ordinary senses and opening up to new perceptions and ideas, such as the additional chakras, but energetically it will be impactful

Mother Mary Oracle Journal and Book of Sacred Practices, by Alana Fairchild

Mother Mary Oracle Journal and Book of Sacred Practices, by Alana Fairchild
Blue Angel Publishing, 9780648746775, 220 pages, March 2021

Alana Fairchild is a prolific creator. Since being first published in 2011, Alana has created over 20 oracle decks, 13 books, and 27 albums of music and meditation with her work translated into 11 languages. Along with Shiloh Sophia McCloud (painter, poet, and teacher), she has created The Mother Mary Oracle Journal and Book of Sacred Practices, one of the most beautiful journals I’ve had the pleasure of using. This journal is meant to be an accompaniment to the Mother Mary Oracle, also created by Fairchild and McCloud, but this gorgeous work stands alone. I do not own the oracle deck and I thoroughly enjoyed this journal.

Opening the colorful and luxurious soft cover of the journal reveals several gorgeous paintings even before the first page, which has a space for the journal owner to record their name. This page is followed by a tender introduction by the author, lovingly describing her life-long relationship with Mother Mary and some of the ways in which this relationship has touched her life and benefitted her.

The journal is illustrated in glorious color with dozens of soulful paintings that seem to be infused with love and depth of meaning. As I worked my way through the journal, I was inspired over and over again by these magical works of art.

The lined pages are adorned with many poignant quotes and there are four different “Sacred Practices” described including “Silent Sound Healing” and “Love’s Alchemy for Karmic Clearing” (my favorite among them!). These sacred practices are explained simply guiding the reader into meditative processes that help with releasing grief, asking for spiritual help, and transmuting karma. These exercises are simple and effective, even for someone who does not have an established meditation practice.

I appreciated the author’s constant reminding that suffering is part of our soul’s journey. The journal is full of quotes that comfort the suffering, and include the reality of both dark and light, such as this one:

Becoming a divinely awakened human being is a raw, wild, and beautiful path that often involves great suffering. Our Madonna feels great compassion for, and understanding of, what it is to be human. So, she empowers us, through her wisdom, to take the journey with fearless faith in her Divine protection and guidance.1

I also enjoyed that many of the quotes are written in the first person, as if Mother Mary is speaking powerful words directly to the reader, such as this quote that calls the reader to recognize that their suffering, along with Mary’s support and guidance, will unfold a higher purpose:

I have many names and faces, but behind those names and faces, I am your loving mother, always. I come to you in light and darkness, through joy and even, my beloved, through loss and tragedy. I am seeking you, reaching for you, calling you to me. If you can do this, then great peace and spiritual power will be yours, and together we shall Infuse the world with love.2

The Mother Mary Oracle Journal and Book of Sacred Practices is an exquisite work of art that I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys journaling, appreciates inspirational quotes and meditative practices, and desires to create or deepen a relationship with Mother Mary.

Ancestor Spirit Oracle Cards, by Jade-Sky

Ancestor Spirit Oracle Cards, by Jade-Sky and illustrated by Belinda Morris
Blue Angel Publishing, 0648746805, 43 cards, 104 pages, May 2021

Opening a new oracle deck is always an exciting experience, as you never know exactly what you’re going to find inside. I’ve used shamanically-themed decks in the past, so I thought I had a rough idea about what I would find inside the Ancestor Spirit Oracle Cards by Jade-Sky and illustrated by Belinda Morris. I was expecting cards themed with different types of elemental energy, sacred sites, and spirit animals, but what I found instead blew me away.

The first thing I saw was the card-backs: a beautiful image of a living bonfire flame dancing on a black background. Very cool. With simply the flames in the midst of darkness, it makes me think that this twisting fire could come from anywhere (or any when) and gives me a sense of connection with anyone who’s ever sat or danced around such a blaze.

When I turned the deck over and started thumbing through the cards, I was surprised to see that each card was designed with people or artifacts from cultures all over the world! Each card depicts a unique group, distinguished by their varieties of clothing, jewelry, architecture, and personal features: from Amazonian tribal groups, to Tibetan monks, to medieval Scotts.

From the get-go, it was clear that Jade-Sky and Morris must have done a ton of research about the vast array of cultures and ethnicities, whether contemporary or historical, that are depicted throughout the deck. The images are packed with detail and, I surmise, meticulously curated to be faithful to the astounding breadth of humanity found within the deck. Of course, I could not always immediately tell what group or culture was on display in the card, but that’s just one of the many incentives to open the guidebook!

In addition to the wonderfully-painted images, each card has a short phrase indicating its meaning (and the name which you’ll use to look up the card in the guidebook), as well as three keywords in a smaller font below. For instance, the card “BEGIN WRITING NOW” has the keywords “Create – Express – Inspire,” while the card “HONOUR THE DEITIES AROUND YOU” has the keywords “Prayers – Offerings – Help.”

There are a couple things that this style of card text does which sets it apart from many other decks you might encounter. First, I love how the card names aren’t just a single word. The short phrases are much more evocative and provide a little more direction for what you can focus on, and do this in a very grounded way. Second, the name and keywords do not dominate the card, allowing for all the beautiful details of the image to speak for themselves. I found this overall card design a delightful mix of aesthetics and guidance.

Opening the guidebook, the Contents section is very straight-forward, with no clutter on the pages and a clear alphabetical list of the 43 card meanings. No need to fuss with a numbering system here! The short introduction provides insight into Jade Sky’s design philosophy, and I particularly like the idea that “Every culture of the world is grounded in its own wisdom, knowledge and tradition.”1 Again, this indicates the depth of research and understanding that went into the design of each card, as the card’s meaning is intimately tied to the wisdom of the depicted culture. 

After the brief guidance about how to use these cards and three sample card layouts (consisting of one, three, and seven cards), the guidebook dives right into the card meanings. The entry for each card spans about two pages. A small, black-and-white photo of the card appears at the start of each entry, so you could make your way through the guidebook on its own to get a whole sense of the deck if you wish (though you’d be missing out on all the colorful detail of the actual cards!).

Each card entry also has three sections. First, a description of the culture depicted in the card and why that culture was chosen to be paired with the meaning of the card. This historical and cultural information doesn’t seek to overwhelm you, and gives you a great jumping-off point if you want to proceed to do more in-depth research for yourself.

Yet, these informative sections are still packed with cool tidbits: for instance, “GO WITH THE FLOW” shows Kai Viti (natives of the Fiji islands) sharing Yaqona (kava). The Fijians often share this drink during “island time,” where they just relax, tell stories, and otherwise enjoy one-another’s company. I felt the energy of the card perfectly matched the sense of ease and camaraderie I could see being shared among the people in the scene.

The next section of the card entry, Ancestor’s Speak, is a more direct message about the meaning of your card. What I especially found helpful here was that these ancestors aren’t merely speaking at me – they’re asking questions to provoke me to stop, think, and meditate upon the meaning of the card.

Divinatory Meaning, the final section, encourages you to engage your senses and feelings related to the meaning of the card. Jade-Sky invites you to participate in an activity or pay attention to your environment in a particular way so that you can observe how you are responding in the present moment, or find ways of deepening your connection to the aspects of the world indicated by the card.

What I liked most about the interplay between the two sections (Ancestor’s Speak and Divinatory Meaning) is how one encourages you to listen and learn from the wisdom of the ancestors while the other is focused on spurring you to action – a harmonized blend of receptivity and activity.

Overall, this is an oracle deck I would wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. While some decks can be a little more niche or thematic such that they may not resonate with everyone, Ancestor Spirit Oracle Cards is truly universal because it speaks to the common element of anyone who might pick it up – our humanity. No matter where you live or your cultural heritage, this deck can help you connect to all people from across time and space. The more I use and contemplate the cards, and the deck as a whole, the more I see how wonderfully holistic it is, with every element of the deck playing a role in its unity.

Pure Magic Oracle, by Andres Engracia

Pure Magic Oracle: Cards for Strength, Courage and Clarity, by Andres Engracia
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924661, 36 cards, 144 pages, May 2021

Pure Magic Oracle: Cards for Strength, Courage, and Clarity by Andres Engracia is a wonderful deck filled with spells and messages of empowerment. This deck is inspired by The Big Book of Practical Spells by Judika Illes, which is a great addition to one’s collection for anyone interested in spellwork, along with her book Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells. The spiritual insight gained from Pure Magic Oracle has proven to be quite handy for me since I’ve started using the deck, and I’ve very much enjoyed the simple spells, some almost more like exercises, to enhance my spiritual connection.

I’ll admit what first drew me to this deck was the aesthetics. Illustrator Olivia Burke has done a wonderful job of making the deck visually appealing with symbolism that awakens the reader’s imagination and delights the eye with elegant drawings. The imagery is open for interpretation, though it stimulates the subconscious mind when gazing at the card. She has done a wonderful job of using color combinations to elicit feelings related to the cards. I especially love the back of the cards with ravens perched on a delicately designed circle with floral images with leaves around the borders, plus a half moon on both sides.

This 36-card deck has 9 cards for each element (earth, water, fire, air). There are color correspondences for every element. After using the deck for a bit, I’ve been able to instantly feel a connection to the element based on the color of the card I draw before even looking at the name of the card, message, or guidebook oracle message. I enjoy this because the color primes me to be open to the element and receive its message with attunement. Burke has done a wonderful job with color contrast to really make the images pop from the card’s color background.

On each card, there is the number, an image, the name of the card, and then four keywords. The card names are quite interesting, ranging from Telekinesis (an air card) to Belladonna visions (a water card). I was quite amused reading the card names and intrigued by Engracia’s unique choice of card names related to elemental energies. They add both depth and levity simultaneously, allowing for powerful messages to come through in a relaxed manner.

The guidebook starts with a foreword by Illes since her book was the inspiration for the deck, which is followed by an introduction by Engracia. There is a short and sweet poem to the elements provided to consecrate the deck and then two spreads for a reading provided: The powers that be spread and Elemental body spread. I did The powers that be spread, but I’ll write more on that in a second.

For every card in the guidebook, there is the image of the card with the keywords below and then information about the image on the card, such as its historical background or importance in magic. It’s almost like a little magical lesson! Then there is a Pure Wisdom section that provides an oracle message. Finally, there is a Pure Magic Spell provided.

However, I will note that it is not necessarily a spell every time. For instance, the Pure Magic Spell for the card Voudon Roots (24) reads:

“Study the arts of indigenous magic, stories, and folklore; learn the wisdom of native cultures and immerse yourself compassionately in the mind and heart of an elder.”1

I love this wisdom and do feel doing this would enhance one’s spiritual practice, but I also wouldn’t think of this exercise as a spell.

For me personally, this didn’t detract from the value of the deck, but it did make me a bit reliant on the guidebook at times  and more focused on connecting with the cards intuitively through symbolic imagery. As I mentioned, I did The powers that be spread and when I turned to the guidebook, the message still felt a bit elusive. I was better informed about the general meaning of the cards, but the message still felt a bit ethereal.

Therefore, I found it best to be creative in my approach of working with these cards. The imagery coupled with the insight of the guidebook has called me to journal, draw, and write poetry about the readings. There’s something about this deck that invites the reader to be an active participant in the divination, rather than a passive receiver of information.

This element of the deck is what makes it really stand out for me. I find myself called to read with it not so much when I want a direct answer, but more when I want spiritual prompting about how I can tune into my connection to nature, spirit, and the elements to facilitate healing and personal revelation.

All in all, Pure Magic Oracle is a one of a kind deck with very intuitive, symbolic imagery that invites the reader to creatively enhance their magical practice with spellwork and spiritual exercises. I recommend it to those looking for divinely inspiring deck that are open to musing a bit on the answers. By engaging with the cards through the spells and exercise, one can use this deck to enhance their awareness and channel their energy in constructive ways to spiritually develop their magical abilities. It is also a useful tool for connecting with the elemental energies on a daily basis to bring their healing wisdom into one’s life.

Forest Fae Messages, by Nadia Turner

Forest Fae Messages: Curious Messages of Enchantment, by Nadia Turner
Rockpool Publishing, 1925946193, 40 cards, April 2021

According to the artist’s online biography, Nadia Turner creates wayward wonders out of a little studio up in the magical Dandenong Ranges just outside of Melbourne, Australia. She is heavily influenced by ancient myth, fairy tales, witchcraft, and the worlds of the Fae and uses a variety of mediums to convey her inner worlds. 

I had a lovely synchronicity involving Forest Fae Messages in that I spied one of the cards in an Instagram post, fell in love with the illustration, added the deck to my “deck wish list” and then found out it was available for review the following week!

I would describe the illustrations as enchanting and the deck’s little messages as encouraging and fun to read. The images on the cards are of various Fae and Fae-like creatures often sporting horns, antlers, or wings, carrying walking sticks or wearing crowns and beads, and often accompanied by birds, bunnies, or other “pet-like” friends.

One of my favorite cards in this deck came up for me when I asked about a meeting I was to attend later that afternoon. The card is titled Strange Journeys, and its message says, “Take control of your quest; choose your companions wisely.”

This card shows a delightful illustration of a small group of characters including a very large furry creature with a human-like face who is wearing beaded necklaces and has horns decorated with hanging beads, a feminine looking person with long hair and branches with leaves that seem to be growing out of her head while she holds a bird, an owl who sits atop the large furry creature and a blue cat wearing a bell at its neck. 

Another favorite, titled Away We Fly, shows an elf-like character with pointy ears and branches coming from their head while riding a bird shaped chariot amongst white fluffy clouds and a crescent moon. The card’s message instructs one to “Take the cloud roads; delight in your imagination.”

The card titled The Gatekeeper encourages us to “Let go. All things are possible on the borderlands,” while it features a furry creature with tall, pointed wolf-like ears, wearing a feathered cape and holding a walking stick adorned with a crescent moon and three hanging feathers.

The deck is composed of 40 small (4” x 2”) rectangular cards tucked into a beautiful little hinged box. The small size makes the deck easy to shuffle. The cards are good quality card-stock with a glossy finish, and card backs decorated with an image of a crescent moon surrounded by mushrooms in earthy tones of greens and browns.

There is no book with meanings or spreads accompanying the cards, just a short message of instruction printed inside the hinged box lid saying:

“Sit quietly and breathe deeply. Shuffle the deck while thinking of a question, or just ask the Fae for guidance. Choose a card at random and discover what messages the forest fae have for you. Perhaps the answers will be clear or maybe they will ask more questions before they answer. Such is the way of the fae.”1

As I finished up this review, I asked the Fae for a message that would exemplify the deck and what it has to offer the readers of this review. I shuffled and drew a card called The North Wood Fae. The card shows an image of a fae wearing a warm coat and a hat with tasseled earflaps, standing alongside a furry dog-like pet and holding a walking stick with four leafy branches. Her message: “Take time for hibernation and healing.” 

Unlike many decks that have thick books full of deep and esoteric meanings to ponder, this deck has short simple messages and would be the perfect deck for cheerful entertainment and inspiration. Its small size and sturdy case make it the perfect little deck to throw into a purse or tote bag and its cheerful characters would make wonderful traveling companions. I also think it would be a great deck to use alongside other decks for additional perspectives.

I would recommend the Forest Fae Messages to anyone who enjoys whimsical creatures, encouraging messages, and enchanting illustrations.