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.

Uncommon Tarot, by Shaheen Miro

Uncommon Tarot, by Shaheen Miro
Weiser Books, 1578637147, 64 pages, 78 cards, October 2020

I absolutely love when artists put a new twist on the classical tarot, which is just what Shaheen Miro has done with the deck The Uncommon Tarot. This mixed-media deck is filled with surprises that gently push on the boundaries of the traditional tarot cards. The imagery gently invites the reader to reimagining the tarot, as this deck has infused it visually with the symbols of diverse cultures and spiritual traditions, inviting in new wisdom to the cards.

The box this deck comes in is a lovely design. I appreciate when a creator uses a different design than a standard box where the lid separates from the bottom. The Uncommon Tarot folds open and has a magnet to keep it secure. It is small, but sturdy, and the box fits neatly within my collection of decks and ensures the cards will not start to fade in time, as happens with decks without a good box. It also has a yellow ribbon to gently guide the cards out of the deck and prevent them from getting stuck. Absolutely marvelous packaging!

It’s no wonder the box is so well designed, as the cards themselves are truly masterpieces. The cards all have an ethereal feeling to them that transcend the bounds of time and space. Some seem to have themes of Renaissance art, while others bring to mind Surrealist imagery. Interspersed is Native American, Asian, Indian, and African people and, sometimes, animals to depict the energy of the card.

My favorite card in the deck is Strength. It has a classically painted woman looking over a relaxed, life-like looking lion. The lion is crowned with a green infinity symbol. In the background is a mixture of sunflowers and painted leaves. There is a serene energy to the card. I love how the sunflowers and yellow hues remind me of the card’s correspondence to the Sun, while the green infinity symbol reminds me of the connection to the heart. While my words may not do the imagery justice, it’s as though my unconscious mind picked up on all these subtle visual cues to feel the meaning of the card within my soul.

What strikes me the most is how even though re-envisioned, every card seems to still perfectly encapsulate the energy of the traditional tarot card description. It’s as though the cards have been enhanced and are now  more revelatory because of the added element of subtle fluency and dynamic expression. Here the energy of the tarot is no longer locked into the traditional deck, and the deck comes alive through its ability to truly express the energy it’s always wanted to.

You can look at cards and still see intuitively the meaning. The minor arcana still includes the image of wands, pentacles, swords, and cups for every card, and the major arcana images still capture the essence. There’s also the name of the card at the bottom. A few names have been changed, such as the “Fool” being renamed “Wander” and “Temperance” renamed “Alchemist.” Once again though these revisions seem to magnify the energy of the card, distilling the past bias and stripping away what is excess to merge with the liminal energy of the deck between the physical and spiritual world.

There’s more emphasis on the artwork speaking for itself to guide readers to discern the information coming forth than relying on the guidebook for information. The guidebook is only a short 64 pages. For every card there is a corresponding question, keywords, general theme, and reversal information. There’s no guidance on how to do a spread, just a suggestion about how to acquaint oneself with the deck and an invitation to be creative. There’s a brief explanation of elemental energy and the meaning of numbers. And that’s about all!

One could skim through the whole guide book in about fifteen minutes. But in no way do I feel like this diminishes the deck. In fact, I feel this would still be a wonderful deck for expert or novice tarot readers because it offers the ability to reconnect with one’s intuition. Rather than offering explicit meanings, these cards leave room for there to be understanding within without it need to be clearly stated. Seeing these cards is enough to prompt your intuition and send the answers you seek through your entire being. There’s no need to run back to the words to seek the validation of what you’ve uncovered, though if you want a bit of illuminate there’s enough in the guidebook to put your mind on the right track.

While the artistry wonderfully captures the energy of the standard 78 cards in the tarot, it also infuses new layers of meaning that have really assisted my readings. I have found this deck awakens the imagination, and the visual cues of the collage-like imagery draw forth intuitive information that I may not have otherwise picked up on. This happened just this morning actually in a reading with my querent when Six of Swords was drawn.

The traditional Six of Swords tarot card has an image of a hooded figure being rowed away from shore with the swords at the front of the boat. In The Uncommon Tarot, the imagery is of a yellow butterfly soaring over the top of six swords, highlighted by blue, green, and yellow background shading, looking absolutely radiant. The moment my querent saw it, she immediately intuited the meaning of this card to represent a transition from being her cocoon to emerging to be the butterfly.

It was remarkable to see her so quickly discern the energy of the card from the artwork, and her vivid excitement about it let me know that it deeply resonated. I always appreciate when the imagery on the card speaks to my querent and infuses them with the energy of the reading beyond the words I may be saying; this is what makes for the readings people remember for a long time.

For those who are collectors, The Uncommon Tarot is definitely a deck to add to one’s collection. The title aptly describes it’s uniqueness with the magnificent artistry makes it stand out among other decks. This inclusive tarot deck successfully draws upon the ancient tradition of tarot and infuses it with a modern imagination. I highly recommend this deck to anyone looking to add a bit more fluidity to their reading, as it invites the energy to flow through the imagery and guide you to new levels of awareness.

Elemental Power Tarot, by Melinda Lee Holms

Elemental Power Tarot, by Melinda Lee Holms
CICO Books, 978-1782499220, 64 page, 2020


Elemental Power Tarot is a beautiful deck, which uses rustic, muted tones and hand-drawn images to create an earthy look. What is unique about this deck’s approach to the tarot is that none of the cards feature images of people — only inanimate objects and animals are featured in the images. The author and designer, Melinda Lee Holm, explains in the book accompanying the deck that it is her intention the querent superimposes themself in the images instead of see another person there. So, for example, The Fool card depicts a winding dirt pathway that meanders out off the side of a cliff, as if the querent themself were taking this risk instead of watching it be taken by somebody else.


Likewise, the High Priestess, Empress, and Emperor all depict empty, yet appropriately decorated thrones. Meanwhile, the Heirophant depicts a Buddhist meditation shrine on the side of a path. I quite like this approach as it challenges the querent to truly see themselves in the midst of the situation at hand and not simply as a passive observer. Some of the cards seem to present environmental messages as well — the Death card portraying a bee on a skull and crossbones, and Judgement shows pollution buried underground. Each Major Arcana features both an astrological symbol and a Hebrew glyph to invite the querent towards further insight into the meaning of the card.


However, the only thing I do not like about this deck is that the cards of the Minor Arcana only show the element (Swords, Wands, Cups or Disks) in the amount of the card’s number. There is no scenic image to help discern the meaning of the card. My good friend exclaimed as she picked up the deck that she would not be able to read the cards because she’s trained in the method of reading solely based in intuitively interpreting images. So from this light, this deck is not the best choice for someone who is on the newer side of reading tarot and doesn’t the meanings memorized. Still, the accompanying guidebook is thorough and easy to read, so really anyone willing to take the time can get an accurate reading using this deck.

The book accompanying this deck is actually quite exceptional. Holm starts off with instructions on how to perform a 5-element ritual to welcome the deck into your life and initiate its prophetic power. From there she includes suggestions on phrasing questions in “tarot speak” to get clearer results as well as an intuitive technique she calls “reading the room.” Holm offers her readers 3 different simple spreads to get started: classic 3-card, 5-card and 10-card spreads. The spreads are clear and easy to follow — the 10-card is based on the classic Celtic Cross spread for those who may be familiar.

The book also includes a chart of all the Hebrew glyphs and astrology symbols used on the Major Arcana cards in the deck. This quick-reference chart is something any tarot reader would greatly appreciate, as she side-steps all the esoteric rigamarole and gets right to the point with clear, one word meanings.

In terms of the individual card descriptions, the book offers each card in the deck a symbolic interpretation, a guidance, and a challenge (though it isn’t specified, a querent might favor the challenge if a card is reversed). What is remarkable about this deck is that in the book for each of the Major Arcana cards Holm includes a section called “Apothecary” where she pairs an herb with the card and offers instruction on how to use it. For example, The Magician: “Cinnamon activates personal magick. Sprinkle it on porridge, boil the sticks to make tea, or use it as a room freshener in potpourri.” (p. 15) This was a wonderful addition that helps to connect each reading to the realm of nature, while also learning about the uses of different herbs in energy work.

The Magical Nordic Tarot, by Jayne Wallace

The Magical Nordic Tarot: Be Inspired by Nordic Legends and Explore Your Past, Present, and Future, by Jayne Wallace and illustrated by Hannah Davies and Tracey Emin
CICO Books, 1782498865, 64 page, 2020

The Magical Nordic Tarot by Jayne Wallace is a serenely magical deck. In recent years I’ve found myself attracted to all things Nordic such as hygge, the Northern Lights (which is on my list of things to see), and a society that promote a healthy work/life balance. However, I am not at all familiar with Nordic myths and legends. I have been looking forward to using this deck because I was curious to see how this deck would incorporate Nordic myths, gods, and goddess with the card interpretations. I am happy to say it wonderfully connects the reader with the exceptional energy of Nordic mythology, infusing the reading with the wisdom of Scandinavian culture.

The deck has a nice card stock and the card size is manageable (about 4” x 6”). The illustration on the outside of the cards reminds me of a love child between Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the Northern Lights. A bright yellow star is and smaller illuminated stars are placed on a background of colors of muted purples, pinks, and greens.

Hannah Davies’s illustrations of the Major Arcana cards are pure beauty. The depiction of light, landscape, and images reminds me of the dancing Northern Lights. Most of the images on the Major Arcana cards are set in a Nordic landscape and each card has a unique keyword at the bottom. In the accompanying book Jayne provides a description of the scene, key words, a message, and a meaning. Also included is a description of the card’s connection to Nordic myths, folklore, gods, goddesses, or legends that provides a deeper explanation of the card’s imagery. 

I pulled a few Major Arcana cards as I familiarized myself with the deck.

The Lovers shows a man and woman each standing on what appears to be a mini iceberg. Two white swans swim towards them. Pastel colors of purple, pink, and turquoise are used in the illustration. “Passion” appears at the card’s bottom, supporting the message “I am entwined with passion.” 1 As the Nordic connection to the card, Jayne writes that “The goddess of spring and eternal youth, Idun, was thought to have magical apples that would help the gods and goddesses stay young and beautiful forever.” 2

The Magician is cloaked in a fur-trimmed jacket with the beams of the Northern Lights behind him. In the foreground is a compass, representing the directional points in which one can move. Mastery is the keyword of the card, representing that ultimately, we are all masters of our own fate.

In the Empress card, a woman sits on the ground, surrounded by blooming flowers and three rabbits (fertility). She lovingly caresses her belly that is pregnant with new life. In the background, mountains are set against the Northern Lights. Jayne describes that “in Nordic folklore it was said that seeing the Northern Lights could ease the pain of childbirth.” 3 Nurture is the keyword for this card, a reminder that we need to nurture the new. 

The Hermit depicts a young man sitting in contemplation against the background of a waterfall. In the far distance, the Northern Lights shine like beacons. A rabbit and deer stand near but do not disturb the man. Jayne details that “the Nordic tree of life was thought to have three wells under it, all of which would water its roots and keep it alive.” 4  Wisdom is the keyword, the wisdom that comes from inner knowing that bubbles up when we are silent.

Interestingly, Jayne included an extra card titled Clarity to the Major Arcana. Clarity is depicted as a blue cat, “one of the most sacred animals in Nordic mythology.” 5 Unlike the other cards in the deck, this card was illustrated by Tracey Emin and so has a different style, more of a loose Japanese water color with no Nordic references.  It is described as a card of compassion and self-care. The blue cat is “synonymous with the goddess of love and beauty, Freya, who’s thought to have traveled in a chariot pulled by cats, felines were highly prized by ancient Nordic people, who believed the cats had been given to Freya as a gift from Thor.” 6 I did not pull this card in any of my readings, though, but remain intrigued by its placement in the deck. I’m curious to see in which reading it will emerge.

The Minor Arcana cards contain depictions of each of the four suits. In the book, Jayne explains each of the four suits, their respective elements, and associations (for example, finances for Pentacles). The accompanying book also provides a description of the meaning of each card and a keyword. There are no Nordic legends or myths written about for the Minor Arcana cards. 

The numbered cards of the Minor Arcana show the respective number and suit image with a different colored background for each suit. For example, One of Swords has one sword on the card against a purplish background. While the numbered cards lack illustrations that might help one in determining a message, each card has keyword at the bottom. Going back to the One of Swords, the clarifying word is Clarity. However, the court cards of the Minor Arcana are illustrated in the same Nordic style of the Major Arcana card. Most are set against a background of mountains and Northern Lights. They also include a keyword. I feel that a beginner can easily become familiar with the meanings of the Minor Arcana with a keyword which compensates for the lack of an illustration. The austere background of the numbered cards in no way diminishes one’s ability to read the cards. 

The accompanying guide book is divided into four sections: Introduction, the Spreads, Major Arcana, and Minor Arcana. 

The Introduction offered advice to both novice and experienced readers. I liked that Jayne Wallace walks new readers through various ways to connecting with the deck. Before diving into different spreads and the card meanings, Jayne suggests ways to get the most of a reading, advice that I have found is often skipped in tarot books. I think it’s really important to build a relationship with one’s cards and liked that this information was included. Jayne recommended various ways to connect with your deck including touching every card and also sleeping with the deck under your pillow. She also offers ways to care for your cards, which I think is another aspect of working with a deck that is also often neglected. 

The Introduction also suggested various ways to begin the reading, set the mood, and participate in a closing ritual. I feel that these different components covered in this section reinforce the idea of respecting the cards, opening a “dialogue” with them, honoring the process of a reading, and concluding the reading with a ritual. I admit that I haven’t done a closing ritual in all my years of working with my cards but now plan on including last step in my ritual, which is generally centering one’s self and thanking the cards. Beautiful!

The second section of the book was on various Spreads. The Spreads range from one and three cards spreads to a spread that used 36 cards. The smaller Spreads are geared to both the Beginner and also a more experienced reader who wants a quick bit of guidance or clarification. I was not familiar with some of the spreads that Jayne included such as the four card Nordic Compass, the six card Horseshoe, the seven card Light Within, and that large 36 card spread, Clock. 

I did a few quick reads which were amazingly spot on. But of course, I had to try the Clock spread which intrigued me. In this spread you pull 12 cards and set them out like the numbers on a clock and continue the process of laying out the cards until you have three cards for each of the 12 number spots, each of which corresponds to a topic such as Money, New Beginnings, Obstacles, and Past. As Jayne writes, the spread is meant to give insight into life at the present, offering help and guidance to any obstacles or challenges. As I sat with each of the 12 piles I came to see that the three cards in each spot began to reveal a story and I was able to get a deeper understanding of the message coming forth in each of the 12 positions; much more clarification came through by pulling the three cards rather than just one as many spreads often suggest.

All in all, The Magical Nordic Tarot is a beautiful deck. I enjoyed embracing the Nordic myths and legends while engaging with the deck. The deck seemed “quiet” to me, quite like the world seems after a snowfall. The messages come through, but in a muted way that gently seeps into one’s being versus a loud pronouncement. This feeling invited me to sit with the cards, enabling them to open themselves to me. I highly recommend this deck for those who seek an unassuming read filled with the beauty of Nordic landscapes, myths, and spirituality.

Women of Science Tarot, by Massive Science

Women of Science Tarot, by Massive Science
MIT Press, 0262539934, 94 pages, September 2020

Did you know the first African American woman to get a PhD in chemistry was Marie Maynard Daly? I didn’t until recently! This is one of the many things I’ve learned from Massive Science’s Women of Science Tarot deck. Though it is promoted as a game deck, it has all the features of a standard tarot deck. Designed to explore the tarot through the lens of science, all the minor arcana features pioneering women who made their mark in scientific fields. The blending of tarot, science, and inspirational women makes this one radically unique and empowering way to seek guidance.

Before diving into the Women of Science Tarot, let’s start with the organization, Massive Science, who published this deck in coordination with MIT Press. Massive Science is a content and media company that has a consortium of scientists publishing articles for the masses. They deliver cutting-edge scientific research to their subscribers, all authored by current scientists in the field. As of now, scientists from over 50 countries have joined Massive Science’s mission of “giving science a voice in cultural conversation.” 1 You can learn more about this innovative organization here.

The community-centered approach of Massive Science is wonderfully applied to the Women of Science Tarot, which features 56 women scientists that have contributed to advancing their respective fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). These scientists all worked to overcome obstacles in their personal life and careers to leave a lasting legacy. Honestly, I am not familiar with most of the women on the cards. It has been exciting to learn more about the biographical information of these women and the paths they forged.

The box of Women of Science Tarot is well-designed and looks very couth. Upon close inspection, the box dons what appears to be a Venus of Willendorf symbol, along with mer-women holding science tools like beakers and telescopes. My favorite part was the number of players ranging from 1- ∞, once again promoting a sense of inclusivity.

Opening the box reveals a glossy, sleek guidebook and bright pink cards. The guidebook is color-coded by section. The Introduction is brief, but does include an informative suggestion to “Use the meaning of each card to narrate the plot points of a story you tell yourself or a friend.” 2 This is very helpful advice on how to use this deck for guidance, as the meanings aren’t as explicitly stated for each card and require a bit of ingenious thinking to make the connections — a very fitting method for a science-themed deck!

The next section is Major Arcana. The major arcana cards all have science images on them, intended to represent the traditional meaning of the card but through a scientific lens. The description in the guidebook reflects this scientific paradigm and ties in bits of history, knowledge, and insight for reflection. For instance, the description of the Death card discusses the extinction of the dinosaurs with a reminder that sometimes old systems of beliefs need to die off for new ones to emerge. 3

One of my favorite cards in the major arcana of this deck is Justice, which features what appears to be a swirling galaxy surrounded by the ouroboros. This card perfectly captures the merge of esoteric, mystical knowledge with science. The guidebook description discusses the conservation of energy in physics and how new stars and galaxies are constantly being formed from the remnants of old stars. 4 This is beautiful to me and really hits my soul, knowing this process is always in motion. This scientific knowledge seems to bring gnostic wisdom to life by allowing one to see how these principles are embodied in the Universe, nature, and life.

The final section is Minor Arcana, which is divided into colors to distinguish the four suits. This deck labels them nano (cups), micro (wands), macro (pentacles), and astro (swords). Nano represents sciences in the invisible field, such as math and physics; micro is the suit of molecular fields, such as chemistry and microbiology; macro is the systematic fields, such as ecology and geology; astro is the cosmic fields like astronomy. 5

The minor arcana cards have the name of the woman in the top center, with the rank to the left and the suit symbol to the right. Underneath the woman’s name is the type of scientist she was. Then there is an image of her on the card, depicting each woman in her element. All the cards have a color palette of pink, maroon, grey, and black, which makes for visually appealing color contrast on the cards. The women on the cards span centuries, come from different economic backgrounds, and represent a range of cultures, nationalities, and races, which is something I always appreciate! Yet another example of inclusivity in this deck.

To be honest, at first the symbols on the cards were a bit confusing to me. But once I found the explanations of suits in the guidebook the cards made a lot more sense. I would recommend looking at it on page 32, along with the brief description of each type of minor card on page 33, before doing your first reading. Once I understood the correspondences, the cards became much more intuitive. I was then able to translate my readings better because I could draw from the energy of the traditional tarot card and mix it with the message of the Women of Science description of the scientist featured on the cards drawn.

However, even with the informative cards, I still rely heavily on the guidebook for the purpose of familiarizing myself with each scientist. While some are well-established heroes of mine, such as Hypatia (Ace of Astro) and Ursula K. LeGuin (Page of Astro), the majority of women I have yet to learn about. For me, this is a fun endeavour because I find out more about each woman’s inspirational story, while also buffing up on my scientific knowledge.

It’s an interesting combination to be in the midst of an intuitive reading, when suddenly I find myself researching more about mRNA to better understand the message Elisa Izaurraide (Two of Micro) has for my life. Since she’s appeared in my readings three times so far, I feel there’s a deeper connection here I need to make with her, and to do this requires me to delve into her research and more deeply ponder how it may be relevant to my own life.

I’ve always loved reading biographies of women because their life stories are often filled with nuggets of wisdom and motivation. In the highlight reel society of our time, featuring on the most memorable Instagram posts to paint a picture of perfection, biographies have always reminded me of the highs and lows of life that no one can hide from. They feed me stories of how women before me have overcome their challenges, conquered their insecurities, and pushed forward on their path, regardless of the obstacles that stand in their way — and not without the occasional fall from grace or grief-striking moments in life that seem to rip it apart at the seams, humbling me to my own perceived slights from the Universe.

Women of Science Tarot is the perfect mixture of stories about these scientists’ lives and guidance for our own lives, distilled from their accomplishments, struggles, and research. Using this deck may be a new style for more intuitive readers, but the descriptions in the guidebook make it easily accessible to even the left-brained, more creative thinkers to find meaning from the lives of these scientists. It’s a different type of reading that prompts us to celebrate the pioneering path of women scientists, while also promoting creativity in how we invite their stories into our lives to bring us to new heights and revelation. I highly recommend it to everyone, for we can all use a bit of scientific wisdom and women empowerment in our lives.

Angel Tarot, by Travis McHenry

Angel Tarot, by Travis McHenry
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924206, 72 cards, 122 pages, April 2020

Many angel oracle or tarot decks feature sweeping images of light, splendor, and magnificence, along with a comforting affirmation of the angels’ eternal love and devotion. While Angel Tarot by Travis McHenry does facilitate this sacred connection to the power of the angels, the deck is unique because it also offers sigils, seals, and ancient grimoire knowledge to invite the angels into your life. Working with the Angel Tarot allows you to do more than just your standard tarot reading; the energy of the angels is yours to evoke, meditate with, and conjure for magical purposes.

Travis McHenry is a seasoned occultist that has had a varied career. He has an academic background in anthropology and has studied a variety of religions; he was even ordained as a deacon in the Baptist church at one time. McHenry also served in the United States Navy as an intelligence specialist. Afterwards he became a recruiter for the largest telephone psychic company in the world.1 Previously to publishing this deck, McHenry created The Occult Tarot, which is a 78-card deck featuring daemons of the 17th century with guidance on demon conjuration according to Solomonic principles.

It is McHenry’s incorporation of high magic that makes Angel Tarot very different from the usual New Age angel oracle cards or tarot decks. Every card features the tarot correspondence, the angel’s divine name, angelic number, few word description of the meaning of the name, astrological meaning of the card and angel, the angel’s abilities, summoning sigil, and magical seal. I realize this may not make sense to someone who doesn’t have much experience with high magic, but McHenry offers enough guidance that even a novice would be able to effectively use the cards to summon angels.

The guidebook introduction describes Cornelia Agrippa’s doctrine about every human being born with three guardian angels. McHerny describes the difference between each guardian angel, but leaves it up to the deck user to figure out which angels are their guardians. Then there is a brief overview of the hierarchy of angels. I have written a series about the different angels, so if you’re interested you can read a general overview here.

From here, McHenry provides succinct and straightforward directions to conjure angelic spirits. He even includes an image of the Grand Pentacle of Solomon to keep practitioners safe while using the deck. For those who wish to evoke an angel using one of the cards, there is a script for before and after the evocation. McHenry’s directions make it very easy to choose an angel from the deck to petition, connect with the angel, state your request, and then formally end the ritual. I absolutely love the ability to use the cards as a focal point while summoning angels. Angel magic has been what I plan on devoting my studies to this year, and the Angel Tarot is the perfect accompaniment for this undertaking in a safe, contained manner.

Other ways to use the cards suggested by McHenry are meditation and divination. Meditation can attune someone to the angel of your choice’s energy if they do not feel up for doing the full evocation ritual, and is what I would recommend from someone just getting used to the system of this method of working with angels. Then for those doing divination, McHenry writes, “When reading with this deck your answers may come from the tarot connection, the angel’s astrological connection or the angel’s ability.”2 This gives a lot of versatility with this deck, along with plenty of room to explore the different angel correspondences for study and oracular purposes. So far I’ve enjoyed working with the cards more for meditation than divination.

The rest guidebook is the description of meaning for each card. Fair warning, it is not in the style of a usual guidebook that will explicitly state what the card means. Each description has a biblical verse, photograph of the card, and information about when the angel is the soul, mortal, or physical guardian (excluding the six archangels, which have almost the exact same description on their card). This information is how one can find out who their three guardian angels are if they are interested in fostering a relationship with them in particular. The guidebook also shares the intonation for each angel’s name, which is important for ritual evocation, and rank in the angel hierarchy. I learned my moral and soul guardian are the same angel!

There are no specifics given about how the cards relate to the tarot other than this card is this tarot correspondence and guidance on how to do some common tarot spreads. Therefore you should already be familiar with the energy of tarot, otherwise you will not be able to make the associations as easily. Even without knowing the tarot correspondence though, there’s still value in this deck as a method to work with angels. I say this to ensure that someone who sees the title Angel Tarot knows that the main focus is on the 78 angels.

The cards in the deck are gorgeous. They are all coated in gold trim and have The Grand Pentacle of Solomon on the back and in the background of the front of the cards as all. The color scheme of gold, grey, and white hues give the deck a sleek, classical feeling. The images on the front of the cards look like Renaissance sketches. There’s a complexity to the simplicity to the cards, for they all look clean-cut but are filled with sigils, seals, imagery, and words that all seem to attract the eye at once. Red and black emphasize the imagery on some cards, making them more pronounced and striking as one looks through the deck.

I highly recommend Angel Tarot to anyone looking to establish a practice of summoning angels, enhancing their high magic practice, or learn more about the kabbalah hierarchy of angels. While it seems more suited for an experienced occultist, this deck is absolutely user-friendly for people to work with at a beginner level. As I delve into my year of dedicated study of the angels, I am very grateful to have this deck as an enhancement to work I plan on doing. McHenry has done a wonderful job of synthesizing arcane grimoires, occult knowledge, and magical practice to create an outstanding deck.

Visionary Path Tarot, by Lucy Delics

Visionary Path Tarot: A 78-Card Deck, by Lucy Delics
Park Street Press, 1644110601, 32 pages, 78 cards, 2020

Lucy Delics (aka Emma Lucy Shaw) has created a stunning black and white deck that captures tarot archetypes woven with spiritual symbols, plant medicines, and Peruvian images in Visionary Path Tarot. Delics worked for over three years on the creation of this deck, utilizing the plant medicines ayahuasca and huachuma and connecting with her guides, high up in the Andes mountains of Peru. The Visionary Path Tarot contains all of the 78 cards of the Major and Minor Arcana of a traditional tarot deck. (Note:  Delic does not number the Major Arcana cards, yet the guidebook lists them in their traditional order for your reference.)

In the guidebook, Delic describes her journey from the UK to Peru and how ancient plant medicines and Peruvian Spirit doctors helped her heal her heart after her mother’s death.1 She goes on to describe experiences with shapeshifting, psychedelic journeys, and seeing the visuals that became many of the images for these beautiful cards. The guidebook provides direct and reversed interpretations for each card, as well as a few spreads for utilizing the cards for divination. 

On Delic’s website, she says that the deck, “Features intricate black-and-white archetypal and fractal images that act as binary codes of consciousness, allowing you to feel the inner guidance flowing from the cards and make intuitive interpretations.”2  She also shared briefly about her studies of several different traditions, including Norse, Celtic, Navajo, and Egyptian.  

These cards are so beautiful and are both intricate and simple in design. For example, the Two of Pentacles features a scale and an eagle.  Only two elements, yet the background design is also an intricate series of curvy lines that can take you on your own journey. If you meditate on the card, you can allow the energy to be your vehicle for transformation or healing. When you connect in with the card’s imagery, you can also feel a message bubbling up and the guidance enters your aura and lands on your heart and soul.

I really enjoyed the back design of the cards as well.  It features the drawing of a hand, also created with intricate, black and white art, with the index finger touching a four-pointed star.  It is like the healing hand of some great Medicine Doctor or Peruvian Shaman. It makes a great meditation aide, as well as the flip side, where you find each card design.

It was hard to select a favorite card, so I picked two:  Death and Strength.  Strength is typically the card I look to when I am appraising a deck for my own personal use.  If I can connect with the Strength card, then the deck is going to be a good fit for me. In this case, Delics uses the traditional symbolism of the maiden and the lion. Yet, the girl is not the demure archetype in other decks.  She is strong, confident, and commanding.  I also get a “yellow brick road” vibe from this card, as if she is on her way to fulfilling her dreams. The lion is there to remind her of her innate courage and strength.

The Death card features a coyote or some type of fox.  He is cunning, kind, and benevolent, according to the feelings that I get when I meditate on this card.  There is also a beating heart, which is connected to both the Spirit Animal and the designs on the card. Some of the valves are attached to arteries and one is attached to a leaf, perhaps plant medicine? She also features a snake skin for rejuvenation, a figure eight for simplicity and balance, and a face that looks like an Egyptian Pharaoh.  All in all, this Death card represents transformation, regeneration, and rebirth.  I could meditate on it for hours and learn more and more about myself and my journey.

I used the deck for a reading for myself, using one of the spreads that Delics includes. The Horseshoe Spread3 is a good one for an overall reading.  With the 7 cards that I drew, I learned that I might benefit from:

Being aware of too many irons in the fire, as well as being ready to take a risk on a new beginning.  I was also reminded that I have all of the resources I need and a suggestion to use my healing gifts for myself and my family.  

Such a strong message from these cards!  I really enjoyed this reading and the simple, yet profound messages that came through. I’m looking forward to using the cards more for personal reflection and healing work.

The Visionary Path Tarot might be best for a seasoned tarot reader or student.  Because the designs are simple, yet intricate and more than a few vary greatly from traditional tarot symbolism, a reader might want to have some experience and knowledge in the tarot to benefit from using these cards. The guidebook has very basic meanings for each card, almost like key words.  For this reason, I also recommend this deck for a more experienced reader. 

Delics has created a truly magical deck, rich in symbolism and imbued with hidden messages and codes for personal healing. She currently lives in the Peruvian Andes with her family.