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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.

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.

Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards, by Izzy Ivy

Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards, by Izzy Ivy
Blue Angel Publishing, 1925538830, 56 cards, 148 pages, April 2020

Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards might be one of the most eye-catching decks I’ve ever played with. Creator Izzy Ivy’s masterful use of vibrant color highlighting fractal geometry, goddess-like entities, chakras, elementals and other powerful imagery is irresistible – even for those of us who might be still a bit skeptical about such fantastical places as Lemuria.

Ivy’s official bio claims that “The easel is her alter and she is passionate about making images that actively raise the vibration of the environment and observer.”1 And after playing with these cards for a week or so I would agree that Ivy’s devotion to her craft and her vision is apparent in this magical oracle deck.

The deck is composed of 56 cards that are divided into three categories: cards one through ten are the Chakra Cards, cards eleven through seventeen are the Elemental Cards, and the remainder of the deck is referred to as Seed Cards.

I have a habit of initiating a new deck by ceremoniously drawing a first card as a way of allowing the deck to communicate how it would like to be used by me. The first card I drew from this deck was a card called “Endless Opportunities” – which brought a smile to my face because this is indeed a deck that seems to be bursting at the seams with a wide variety of thoughtful messages. Ivy includes ten different ideas for three-card spreads, as well as some larger layouts with directions that are quite unique, even including using the deck in a meditative exercise.

My second draw from the deck came during a group reading. I was drawing single tarot cards for a group of a dozen or so people and decided to pull one card from this new deck for the group, as we were getting ready to conclude our time together. The card I pulled was titled “Surrender.”

The guidebook gives a message for each card and concludes with a divinatory meaning – the one for the card Surrender says in part, “Loosen your hold on the reins and know that the Universe will catch you.”2 More than a few people in the group voiced that they had been dealing with letting go of certain life situations and that this card spoke to them in a deep way.

Next, I read for two clients using three-card layouts from the guidebook. The first spread I used is titled “Bringing in love” and my querent was astounded with how much the reading aligned with current inner work she has been doing. Here are some of her words (shared with her permission) in response to receiving the reading:

What a beautiful set of cards that takes the imagination out of body and into the unknown amongst the stars! And how befitting that the first topic in the reading is that of expansion. Just yesterday I was doing an active meditation and had visions fitting each of these cards.

The first rhyme is that I was sensing into how far my energy was willing to go and feeling that I’ve been pretty constricted.

The second card both delves into the expansion topic deeper AND confronts childhood beliefs. I was raised to be seen and not heard in some environments. As I grew up that lesson morphed into not rocking boats and keeping myself small in ways that became more impactful. This reading is hitting the nail on the head!

The last card’s indication of detachment from beliefs about what abundance is ties into a recent decision to surrender (again) so that I can get into alignment with divine flow. It mirrors eclipse week energies pretty well, I’d say.

Thank you for a lovely reading which does a marvelous job of reflecting divine intuition!

The second three card reading I did was met with similar enthusiasm, especially for the artwork. Here are a few words from my client:

The cards were great at reminding me that I have the power to make things happen for myself. They pointed out some challenges I may run into, things that could hold me back. I liked the fact that questions were asked, which inspired some deep thinking around the topic. The cards themselves were absolutely gorgeous in their artwork and layout.

The only negative feedback I received was that the explanation for each card was a bit too lengthy. I would suggest for any reader that feels this way to just use the “Divinatory Meaning” for each card, which generally consists of one paragraph of key ideas.

All in all, the deck’s breathtaking artwork and deep spiritual explanations were well received by everyone that has encountered them through readings I’ve done.

The guidebook presents the artist’s personal journey of creating the deck and the ideas and philosophies that supported her creative style and messages. Then it proceeds with ideas for some small three-card layouts and several larger layouts, along with a two-page spread of keywords, explanations, empowering questions for the querent, and divinatory meanings for each card.

The deck and guidebook come packaged in a sturdy box, which is always a plus for a collector. The cards are very large, measuring 3 ¾” x 5 ½”. The large size highlights the lovely images while also making them quite difficult to shuffle, especially if one has small hands. The card-stock is good quality, with a matte finish that shows the vibrancy of the images well.

I would recommend Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards for anyone who loves ethereal artwork combined with spiritual messages, and perhaps especially for people who may be interested in (or at least comfortable with) theories of lost civilizations. However, regardless of philosophy and worldview, the artwork is vibrant, curious, and beautiful, and the messages are soothing, wise, and full of healing words.

Kali Journal, by Alana Fairchid

Kali Journal:  Sadhana for Sacred Introversion, by Alana Fairchild and ilustrated by Jimmy Manton
Blue Angel Publishing, 0648746751, 220 pages, 2021

On first glance at the Kali Journal: Sadhana for Sacred Introversion, my senses were overwhelmed with the beauty and majesty of the artwork.  Author Alana Fairchild and artist Jimmy Manton have taken the incredible art from her Kali Oracle Deck and interspersed the pages of this journal with the stunning images.  There are over 40 full page, full color renderings of the Goddess Kali, her ritualistic tools, and other sacred symbols.

In addition to presenting a journal that includes both lined pages and a few unlined pages for sketching or other uses, Fairchild adds general information about Kali, moon phase rituals, mantras and a prayer dance for healing.   Each of the two page spreads also includes an affirmation, blessing or message from Goddess Kali. The paper is a very nice quality and is a warm buff color that really sets off the artwork.

Alana Fairchild is a spiritual mentor based in Australia, who has published over 20 oracle decks, 30 albums of sacred music and meditations, and 13 books. Since I have a few of Fairchild’s oracle decks, this journal really interested me.  Jimmy Manton is the artist for the artwork.  He is an award-winning illustrator who is also based in Australia.  He has illustrated numerous tarot and oracle decks. 

When I initially opened the Kali Journal, I was really interested in learning more about the history of the goddess and how she represents the energy of the Divine Mother/Divine Feminine. According to Fairchild, Kali represents the “wild, gracious and transformational realm of the dark face of the Divine Mother.”1 I was intrigued and drawn in, anxious to know more about how the Goddess Kali might support me on my spiritual path. Kali is the Hindu Goddess of time, creation, destruction, power and liberation.  The very first quote was quite arresting:

Within, you have the power of the Divine Mother’s wisdom and blessing. 
Do not underestimate her. 
Do not underestimate yourself.2

Fairchild explains that “Sadhana” comes from the Sanskrit and means “to accomplish.” In this use, she is referring to spiritual practices that foster healing and support us as we move toward enlightenment. Introversion is a psychological term that means the tendency to be concerned with one’s own thoughts and feelings, rather than with external things. So, this journal is a tool to help one with accomplishing a review of one’s thoughts and feelings. 

One particular Kali yantra and mudra practice really supported me through a time when I was experiencing a struggle with my mother.  It is called “Kali Yantra and Mudra Practice to Banish Negative Interference.” With this practice, I learned that a YANTRA is a sacred geometric symbol that can act as a portal to the temple of a god or goddess. One gazes on the visual element, as you would a candle flame or other sacred symbol. The practice also included a special hand mudra and several mantas for recitation. By invoking the power of Kali and using the specific mudra, the yantra, and several mantras, I was able to realign, recalibrate, and heal myself. The next time I talked with my mother, I was aware of my own healing and an energetic shift that had taken place.

Fairchild has created a journal that can benefit anyone, from the novice spiritual seeker to a seasoned soul traveler.  You can go as deep with the rituals as you want to go or simply use the lined pages as a journal and benefit from the uplifting messages on each page. The book is an undated journal, which you can use for any purpose you want. Both covers are designed with a folded extension, so you can mark your place in your journal. I really love this feature and the cover is a nice card stock that makes this feature easy to use. 

The Kali artwork really brings alive the energy and history of Kali and inspires me every time I open the pages. Manton’s use of rich, jewel-tone colors makes each depiction of the Goddess Kali and her consorts come alive on the page.  Many of the images portray the goddess with blue skin, burgundy lips, and dark penetrating eyes.  Yet, these images are not scary or off-putting.  Rather, each one seems to jump off the page with an aliveness that is spontaneous, inspiring, and arresting. 

Kali Journal is for anyone wanting to release and heal life issues and seek the liberation that the Goddess Kali can bring into your life. I recommend this journal for anyone who wants to connect to the magic and healing power of Kali, the “goddess of fierce protection and wild grace.”3 I plan to use the journal for my weekly Saturday wrap-up and use the rituals to release the week and move on to new adventures.

11.11 Oracle, by Alana Fairchild

11.11 Oracle:  Answers to Uplift and Shift, by Alana Fairchild
Blue Angel Publishing, 0738767077, 302 pages, June 2020

Have you seen 11.11 recently?  Are other numbers repeating in your world, such as 1:11 or 2:22 or some other number that has relevance to you? Do you see the same three-number sequence on a clock, your phone, emails or receipts? Some would say that these repeating numbers may be a sign or message from the Universe.  Spiritual mentor Alana Fairchild says that the 11.11 number is not only a sign, but it also has a unique purpose to “awaken, uplift and inspire us.”1

In 11.11 Oracle: Answers to Uplift and Shift, Fairchild shares a lengthy explanation about the power of 11.11 and her belief that “every instance of 11.11 is the Universe reassuring us.”2  Fairchild even includes an invocation that you can use to tune into the 11.11 frequency. Instead of continuing to reinforce old thoughts and patterns based on the ego, Fairchild invites the reader to attune to the power of 11.11 and grow past fear, anger and other lower frequencies. Using the frequency of 11.11 can bring you into harmony with higher consciousness

Fairchild is a spiritual teacher based in Australia, who has published over 20 oracle decks, 30 albums of sacred music and meditations, and 13 books. Since I have a few of Fairchild’s oracle decks and recently misplaced my angel number guidebook, I was particularly interested in this book of number signs.

Fairchild packs quite a lot of information in this small book that is only 6.5 X 6.5.  Beginning with the explanation of 11.11 and the importance of this frequency, she shares ways to align with the positive energy that this number represents.  Her words are encouraging, supportive, and even funny at times. 

Then, Fairchild shares an invocation that you can use to tune into the vibration of 11.11 whenever you want to do so.  You may also use the invocation before looking up guidance from any number in this book.  She suggests two ways to use the book:

1. Randomly flip open a page and let the index finger of your non-dominant hand land upon a number.

2. Look up the number you continue to see in your daily existence.  

For example, I kept seeing 848 in several ways.  I saw 8:48 on my computer, on my phone and then I heard someone on TV say 848. So, I opened the book to number 848 and read the message:

“I focus on grounding, connecting to my body and the earth, so that the sacred partnership between heaven and earth may manifest itself in my life.” 3

This message was very pertinent to me, because I had experienced a few days of feeling like I was floating and flitting all over the place. It was a gentle reminder to go out in my backyard and ground myself. I was also reminded that I am a part of the Great All That Is. 

On another day, I was feeling a little lost and uninspired.  So, I followed Fairchild’s guidance and went into my heart, asked this question: “What do I need to know to move forward with inspiration and support?” Then, I closed my eyes and randomly opened the book.  My index finger on my non-dominant hand fell upon the number and message for #595:

“No problem, confusion or difficulty can withstand the liberating clarity and healing influence of spiritual grace, which brings sweet relief to my life now.” 4

Shortly after reading this encouraging message, I got the idea to call a trusted friend and talk through a situation I was encountering and she was a kind listener who also had a few words of guidance.

Fairchild has created a very complete number guide to healing and uplifting messages from the Universe.  The numbers range from 1 to 1111 and cover a myriad of topics for support on your spiritual journey.  This book is the perfect size for a desktop reference book.  I love the simplicity and the depth of this guidance offered.  The book is arranged in numerical order, with about 8 messages shown on each two-page spread.  She highlights some messages by giving the message a full page, and she uses shading on other pages to break up the information. I love that Fairchild included a burgundy ribbon that you may use as a placeholder for this oracle book.  Many times, I like to mark the place of a prior number I’ve reviewed and reread the info before looking for another number that I want to investigate. 

This book is a great book for those who are newly embarking on their spiritual journey, as well as those with more experience.  The guidance shared is very easy to understand and can also be applied on several levels. Fairchild has channeled the information shared within these pages. 

I plan to keep the book on my coffee table, as a resource for both my husband and myself.  After he saw it on my desk a few days ago, he asked me what it was.  After I gave him a brief explanation, he picked up the book and searched a number he had seen in a dream:  #424.

Your Guardian Angel brings the message that spiritual assistance is helping you heal and resolve whatever matter is now on your mind.” 5

“Thanks!” he said and then he got up to go meditate and ask for more guidance regarding the dream.

I love the idea of using this new resource for guidance, encouragement and a way to shift my perspective on my daily spiritual path. If you’ve been seeing the same number or number sequences over and over again, then 11.11 Oracle is also for you!

The Lantern Oracle, by Angelina Mirabito

The Lantern Oracle, by Angelina Mirabito, PhD and illustrated by Yuly Alego
Blue Angel Publishing, 1925538908, 44 cards, 144 pages, July 2020

In the rush of life, it can be common to overlook the importance of a strong spiritual foundation. The Lantern Oracle by Angelina Mirabito, PhD is a reminder of the sacredness in the everyday life of all women. In this touching deck, the beauty of connection among women across the span of time is woven together to create a spring of generational insight. This deck is a gateway to exploring woman’s wisdom through the archetypal forms of feminine consciousness: Maiden, Mother, Guardian, and Crone.

“Together, the young ladies and women of The Lantern Oracle nurture clarity, self-empowerment, and healing. They provide access to the eternal feminine energy, living love, and wisdom as medicine to work with, personalise, and integrate.”1

Mirabito introduces the concept of the deck in the guidebook, which explains how the 44-card deck has 11 cards in each of the four sections of feminine archetypal energy mentioned above. There is a description provided for all of these archetypes that demonstrates how one builds upon the former. For instance Mirabito writes, “Choices that are often naively and idealistically made during the Maiden stage can culminate in the birthing of a new reality or an illusion during the Mother stage.”2

Something I think is unique, which I really appreciate, is her addition of Guardian as an archetypal energy, which seems to add another layer of depth to the traditional triple goddess expression of energy (Maiden, Mother, Crone). I’ve always felt there was a phase in-between Mother and Crone, which Mirabito aptly expresses in the deck and guidebook explanations of the cards in this section.

The Guardian phase is the time of midlife, where one discovers their sense of self in an empowered way. These messages are about learning to stand in one’s own authority, having been renewed through the mistakes of young adulthood and now having learned to carry oneself with composure. Maturity, regeneration, and a sense of responsibility highlight this passageway.

The illustrations on The Lantern Oracle cards, done by Yuly Ageo, really create an encompassing sense of connection between all women, which once again adds to the feeling of this being a deck of universal wisdom. Though there is a mixture of fantasy, with some images having elf-like ears, most of the cards feature ordinary women of all ages. The commonality between these women is evident, who all on their journey towards wholeness and personal fulfillment must face the ups and downs of the wheel of life.

Within Ageo’s images on the cards, I can see the challenges, fears, hopes, and dreams of these women, which emotionally brings them to life for me. Even if the women on the cards don’t look like me physically (there are many cultures portrayed), as I shuffle through the deck I am able to identify the faces of my grandmothers, aunts, mother, and friends because there is a sense of solidarity on the path of feminine wisdom. These cards become a visual reminder of the shared experiences we go through as a collective on the path to learning how to nurture, empower, and tend to ourselves with care, no matter where we originate from or live.

My favorite part of the deck is Marabito’s choice of cards and the wisdom within each one. The different cards have a sense of authenticity, that give meaningful spiritual insight without glossing over reality, putting a positive spin, or becoming too ominous. It feels as though the wisest part of oneself is speaking through the cards, a higher self if you will. Due to the cross-generational messages of the cards, healing is accessible through connection to parts of yourself in former life stages, as well as future ones.

For instance, Trusting Tricksters, is card number six in the Maiden section. I certainly know that as a Maiden I trust quite a few tricksters, who lead me astray and caused confusion in my life. Drawing this card in the present reminds me of that time in life, makes me recall the lessons I learned, and then allows me to consciously put that wisdom into action.

I especially find the cards for Motherhood empowering too right now, as these are the words I wish I had someone telling me as I make my way through early adulthood. Cards such as Melting Mask (16), Radical Honesty (18), and Enough (20) all remind me of the necessity of feeling like I am worthy, moving away from roles that suffocate my spirit, and aligning with who I truly feel myself to be. While these are the lessons we should be teaching all women, it is this wisdom that is often more difficult to hear in a world that drowns out the voice of our soul all too often.

Working with these cards on a daily basis has improved my confidence, made me feel more attuned to my soul, and also reminded me of the inevitable turning of the great wheel of life. I am more relaxed accepting where I am currently, facing what comes my way with a sense of calmness and ease, acknowledging there is always going to be room for growth, new experiences, and transformation. With this deck, I have a trusted resource to guide me in love, compassion, and strength through life’s ups and downs.

I recommend The Lantern Oracle for those looking to bring feminine wisdom into their life on a daily basis for guidance, encouragement, and attunement. Mirabito’s words are so genuine, and just what I need to hear on a daily basis to remember my innate wisdom and soul’s path. Alejo’s artwork is absolutely beautiful, reminding me of my connection to all women, despite our external differences. The inclusive nature of feminine energy shines through this deck and holds space for integrating the lessons of the four phases of consciousness we all pass through on our spiritual journey. This deck is a true spiritual treasure whose timeless quality makes it perfect for working with long term.

Advanced Tarot, by Paul Fenton-Smith

Advanced Tarot: An In-depth Guide to Practical & Intuitive Tarot Reading, by Paul Fenton-Smith
Blue Angel Publishing, 0648746829, 556 pages, May 2021

The next time someone asks me for a book recommendation about reading tarot, I am hands-down suggesting Advanced Tarot: An In-depth Guide to Practical & Intuitive Tarot Reading by Paul Fenton-Smith. I keep wanting to refer to this roughly 3.5 pound book (yes, I weighed it on my scale because I was curious) as a “tarot bible” because it is one of the most all-inclusive guides I’ve ever read on reading tarot cards. Even as a professional tarot reader for nearly a decade, I am gleaning pieces of wisdom from this book, rejuvenating my skill set, and incorporating new perspectives into my readings.

Within this book, Fenton-Smith has crafted a handy and resourceful guide to the entire tarot deck for beginning or deepening one’s practice. While this may seem like his magnum opus, he is already quite the renowned author and teacher who has been sharing his practical insights for over forty years. In 1985 he created the Academy of Psychic Sciences and has been teaching for decades on topics such as palmistry, astrology, clairvoyance, and hypnotherapy in addition to his work with tarot. Needless to say, Fenton-Smith has a large repertoire in a variety of metaphysical topics, and it clearly shines through in Advanced Tarot.

What immediately stood out for me with this book is the way all the information is organized and presented. Pages four through twenty-one feature the striking imagery of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, sorted into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana suits. I absolutely loved looking through all the images: though I know them by heart, it’s always pretty to see them all lined up next to each other. I liked the way it was arranged by suit so one can see the storyline within the Major Arcana and get a visual of all the cards in a suit together. As I gazed at the images, I thought how helpful this would be to a beginner just familiarizing themselves with the cards to have this for references.

Now here is where we get into the heart of the book, which at 556 pages you can imagine there’s a lot to absorb. The first 176 pages of the book are dedicated to the art of reading. Fenton-Smith addresses many topics that I feel other tarot books gloss over or neglect to include, such as answering yes/no questions, giving distance readings, what to do when more clarity is needed, and how to read well under pressure. I think what I enjoyed reading about the most is Fenton-Smith’s acknowledgement of the limitation of tarot:

“It is important for a tarot reader to resist the temptation to override the free will of a client. Professional readers predict the future, detail the past and illuminate the underlying causes of events but they don’t dictate what a person should do. Everyone has free will in choosing a preferred destiny.”1

In this beginning section, Fenton-Smith also includes a variety of different layouts. For each one, he gives immense clarity about the position and meaning of each card. It was very easy to follow along with the spreads, and many were ones that I had not tried before. My favorite was the horoscope spread, which is a 13-card spread to give insight into different areas of life and the year ahead based on the house placements in astrology. I loved how he was able to translate the house system into an information tarot spread, perfectly blending astrology and tarot. Additionally, there is information on how to create one’s own layout, which is beneficial for those who are ready to try this out.

What I liked most about this introduction section is all the examples Fenton-Smith supplies. I always enjoy hearing about others’ experiences as a reader, such as what clients ask and how the reader handles the different questions of the client, which he has provided in spades. Reading how he interpreted the cards in his layouts, or handled the self-denial or conflicting feelings emanating from his client, really helped me to think about how I can handle situations more skillfully.

This method of teaching through example also really resonated with me because it built a sense of relationship between Fenton-Smith and me, the reader. It was as though his wisdom was streaming through in all these stories of the experiences he’s had, and I for one very much appreciated being on the receiving end of this storytelling, intently seeing it in my mind’s eye and learning vicariously through him. It’s something used through the entire book that remains useful as we enter the next section of delving into card meanings.

Now, keep in mind we’re only about a fifth of the way through the book at this point – and so much has already been shared! The heart of the book is what comes next: the Minor Arcana, Court Cards, and the Major Arcana. For each and every card, Fenton-Smith provides a predictive meaning for a general reading, career layout, relationship question, and health query. I cannot even begin to express how helpful it is for a specific message to be provided for all these domains, especially health which has been the focus of my questions recently, and had me searching for guidance in other books.

Not only is Fenton-Smith’s interpretation provided for upright cards, he provides just as much information of every card reversed as well. This is yet another humongous bonus to this book, which greatly sets it apart from (and above, in my opinion) other tarot books. And let me tell you, he does not skimp on his interpretation. Each card’s description is detailed, clear, and immensely accurate from the readings I’ve done so far.

In the tailend of the book, Fenton-Smith offers guidance on becoming a tarot reader. Then there are handy reference charts for the meaning of cards in combination, the Minor Arcana upright, and the Minor Arcana reversed. 

One thing I like a lot about the way the cards’ meanings are presented is the organization of the Minor Arcana. Rather than going by suit, Fenton-Smith categorizes the cards by number. Beginning each section of the cards, such as The Nines, he provides an overview of what the cards represent. For instance, “The nines in the tarot represent a period of reflection before a final commitment in a goal or purpose.”2 From there, he explains how the message shows up in each of the suits, which provides an interesting compare and contrast between the suits of each number.

For a seasoned tarot reader, it may seem a book like this may not be useful, but I don’t think that assumption could be further from the truth. There’s something reassuring about reading someone else’s viewpoint, particularly when doing a reading for oneself, in order to maintain objectivity and openness to the cards. I also enjoy reading Fenton-Smith’s definitions because they make for good journal quotes and prompts as I log my readings.

Another way I’ve benefited from the book is through doing readings with my husband, who only knows a little bit about the card meanings, and reading the descriptions to each other for discussion after we pull a spread for an inquiry. The book seems to be a leveling ground for us to communicate about the reading, rather than me having to interpret the cards for him, which has been very useful in making some recent decisions. It facilitated a sense of teamwork between us, as well as a stronger connection to the messages coming through the cards.

Overall, Advanced Tarot is a worthy investment for readers, both novice and expert, that is sure to be of great use. Fenton-Smith has packed so much wisdom into these pages that it in many ways reminds me of a tome. However, his direct, relatable, and practical writing style make the information accessible and able to be integrated into one’s reading with ease. As I’ve already said, I highly recommend this book to all tarot readers. I certainly plan on directing everyone to it with the praise that it is a wonderful, foundational book on tarot for those looking to take their readings to the next level.