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The Sirens’ Song, by Carrie Paris and Toni Savory

The Sirens’ Song: Divining the Depths with Lenormand & Kipper Cards, by Carrie Paris and Toni Savory
Weiser Books, 9781578638062, 144 pages, 78 cards, August 2023

Being somewhat of a newbie with Lenormand cards, I jumped at the chance to work with The Sirens’ Song: Diving the Depths with Lenomand & Kipper Cards by Carrie Paris and Toni Savory with contribution from Tina Hardt. The Sirens’ Song is a combination divination kit that contains 40 Lenormand cards and 38 Kipper cards. (What I know about Kipper cards would fit in an earbud!)

Paris is one of my favorite diviners and deck creators and I had an opportunity to meet with her for coffee at a tarot event several years ago. She is a generous, incredibly creative and gifted teacher and mentor. I’ve also “met” Savory on Zoom via her World Divination events, and her knowledge and enthusiasm for various types of card divination is contagious! When I heard that the two of them collaborated on this kit, I was very excited to learn more.

Paris has created four other tarot and Lenormand decks, as well as numerous charm casting kits. Her The Relative Tarot and The Beloved Dead kits are two of my favorites for communicating with the ancestors for messages and guidance to live my life. Paris is a very talented artist, who blends art and graphic elements from across many eras to create her decks and frequent Facebook posts. She has a master’s degree in the Cultural Study of Cosmology and Divination from the University of Kent, UK. Learn more about Paris at her website.

Savory (aka The Card Geek) founded the World Divination Association and hosts virtual teaching events several times a year with a collection of teachers and mentors. She is also well-known for hosting free events with classes on tarot, Lenormand, Kipper and other types of cards. She has created five other decks and written five books on card divination. Savory has researched Kipper decks for more than ten years, including spending time with the families of readers going back several generations. See more at her website.

Contributor Hardt is an author, who has worked with Paris to create the guidebooks for The Relative Tarot, The Beloved Dead, and The Sirens’ Song. She considers herself a diviner and enjoys sitting in circles and communicating with departed souls.

Paris and Savory have beautifully created this kit with a compact box in hushed tones of gray-blue and aqua. The teal lettering and haunting image of the siren and some of her underwater friends grace the cover of the box. Printed inside the kit, this lovely invocation greets you:

“May the Sirens’ Song guide you away from rocky shores and lure you into the dazzling depths of your own truth and mystery.”1

Next, you notice the guidebook, which provides a brief history of both Lenormand and Kipper cards, as well as how this deck came to be. Paris created the original Sirens’ Song Lenormand deck in 2017. Savory asked her to create a Kipper Deck and then the two of them combined both decks “into a single treasure chest because, at their core, these two card decks are kindred divinatory tools.”2

“Both the Kipper and Lenormand cards long to tell the reader a detailed, no-barnacle- unturned story, in which the Querent is always the main character. The potential for discovery is enormous. . . . The Petite Lenormand can serve as a gateway to the Kipper.”3

The guidebook was expertly structured to introduce you to the Lenormand style of reading and descriptions of the card meanings before flowing into the Kipper cards and their unique card descriptions. The creators made it clear that the cards can be used alone or in tandem, and they showed how each deck has its own “ability to tell a story, to sing you the song that you need to hear.”4

Unlike tarot and oracle decks, which are read intuitively, Lenormand cards are read symbolically, and Kipper cards are read quite literally. Lenormand deals with the outer world while Kipper deals with the interpersonal. Read together, the story the Sirens tell reveals the hidden meaning to be found in both people’s everyday lives and in societal issues they face.

This kit is so much fun! I enjoy the graphics, with the beautiful artwork and symbolism. Each of the images has an underwater creature theme, from an octopus to fish and so on. The cards are marked on the back with either a K for Kipper or an L for Lenormand, so you can keep the decks straight.

The spreads in the back of the guidebook were so helpful! I especially loved how they showed a three-card Lenormand reading and featured the three cards in each of the three positions. Paris and Savory also share how to do the Grand Tableau style of reading, which involves using all the cards in either deck. The deck creators also shared how to combine the cards and read a Grand Tableau of 36 cards created out of both decks. However, I think I will master the four, five or nine-card spreads before I venture into the deep waters of the Grand Tableau!

Yet the coloring on the front is the same, so it is not easy to distinguish between the decks for someone like me who was relatively new to the two styles of cards. Yes, the Lenormand deck features the miniature card symbols from playing cards in the top right-hand corner. Yes, the Kipper deck has different card images. But it may take me lots of practice to be able to distinguish between the two decks.

The cardstock was a nice weight, and the cards had a matte finish. I loved the small size, which made the cards easy for my small hands to shuffle. The guidebook was also a great size to tuck into a bag or purse and was printed in four-color with thumbnails of all cards. The paper was glossy, and the font was whimsical, to complement the underwater theme.

Armed with this background information, I decided to give the Lenormand cards a spin. I created a question regarding the launch of a new program I wanted to present to my community. I decided to use Paris’s spread called “The Tell it Like it is Spread.”

  • What it’s all about. The situation. The issue.
  • What it isn’t.
  • What it is.
  • How it turns out.

And here are the cards I drew:

  • Book – Unknown, Secrets, Reveals
  • Mountain- Challenge, Struggle, Resistance
  • Stork –Change, Alteration, Shift, Movement, Progress
  • Heart – Well-being, Love, Goodness

Creating my own sentence from the key words and the placement of the cards as shown, I saw the following:

Sharing my knowledge is NOT going to be challenging, so I may move ahead to schedule the event and know that all will be well.

Great first reading!

For the Kipper Cards, I decided to do a simple three-card spread. I placed the Siren significator card to the right as I asked my question: How may I support my daughter at this phase of her life, after her recent break-up? I drew three cards and placed them alongside the Siren card. The cards lined up as:

  • Long Road
  • Hope
  • High Honors
  • Siren

From this, I saw that recognition, maybe a promotion was forthcoming, especially since it was next to the Siren card. Hope was the next card, meaning manifestation of love, fame and/or fortune. Finally, I saw Long Road, which could be indicative of a great distance or maybe a time of two years. The fact that the Hope card was next to it said that the time may pass quickly and the road may not be rocky. From these cards, I saw that my daughter’s job will be very rewarding, and there is hope for her future in both love and fortune, although it may take some time. Wonderful reading!

The Sirens’ Song would be great for anyone who wants to learn or practice Lenormand or Kipper. I was a relative newbie to both styles of reading, and I enjoyed learning them very much. I could see myself keeping this deck by my desk to refer to when I had a quick question. For now, I’ll be off to check out one of Savory’s videos on Kipper cards on YouTube!

The Dragon Riders Oracle, by Arana Fader

The Dragon Riders Oracle, by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Elena Dudina
Earthdancer Books, 1644119994, 112 pages, 43 cards, February 2024

Dragons are absolutely majestic, and quite frankly, they can also be intimidating! Though I’ve desired to connect more with dragon energy, I was struggling to find a book or deck that made the grandiosity feel accessible. The Dragon Riders Oracle by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Elena Dudina was the “in” that I needed to discover my own dragon and better understand their true nature.

It was the way Fader provides a creation story for the origins of dragons and how they came to be companions to other energetic beings. According to what her own dragon has shared, Fader explains dragons were “the first entities in our universe”1, who were entrusted by Source to be universal protectors. I now see dragons as guardians of the galaxy, an energy that vibrates with high love for the multitude of energetic beings in the universe.

Those energetic beings are the dragon riders–gods, goddesses, elves, angels, and ascended masters–who are coupled with their dragon on the cards in this deck. The dragon riders Fader has depicted come from a range of spiritual traditions (Christianity, Celtic, Greek and Roman Pantheon, Buddhism, Confucianism, and more) giving a wide range of insights. Many of the dragon riders will be familiar names, though there were some energetic beings I was happy to discover and learn more about, while the dragons’ names will most likely be new to readers.

Fader teaches how the true name of each dragon cannot be uttered by humans, as it is a matrix of “pure power and comprises numbers, letters, sounds, symbols, and colors.”2 Reading that sentence, I conjure a mental image of what a potential matrix might appear as, but as Fader notes, it’s hardly translatable to paper! For this reason, she has chosen names that still resonate with the dragon’s energy and have meaning in regard to “the element of the dragon’s being.”3

Another thing Fader notes in the introduction, which I really appreciated, was how the energetic beings portrayed do not actually have human forms; the way they are depicted by Dudina is intended to help readers form a relationship with their energy by giving them a relatable appearance. Fader writes, “All the beings portrayed in the cards have a body, a face, eyes, and distinct colors, but it is important to remember they are not the “truth”, they are only representations to help you make contact.”4 I value this reminder, as it helped me to attune myself to the spiritual dimensions of the cards, while also providing a form I could visualize connecting with while meditating.

The cards themselves are very sturdy with a sleek feel that makes them easy to shuffle. Dudina has done an absolutely incredible job illustrating the multitude of dragon riders and dragons. There are so many types of dragons in all the colors of the rainbow, yet for each one, Dudina has captured their loving spirit in the way she’s drawn the eyes. I feel the regal presence of the dragons shining through, portraying a relationship of mutual love, trust, and devotion with the companion dragon rider. As for the dragon riders, they all look immaculately handsome and beautiful.

Each card is numbered and has the name of the dragon rider and companion dragon along with a short message at the bottom. The number makes it easy to look up the corresponding entry in the guidebook for further insight. In the guidebook entry, Fader provides background on the dragon rider and then a message from both the dragon rider and the dragon. The messages are in direct quotes, indicating it was spoken directly to Fader by the energetic being to be shared with readers.

Here’s an example of the messages from the card Kuan Yin & Susuri. The first quote is a snippet of the message from Kuan Yin, while the second is part of the message from Kuan Yin’s female dragon companion Susuri.

“Follow my teachings and learn to love without expecting anything in return. In doing so, you will discover unimaginable inner riches.”5

“Let me penetrate the very depths of your being; let me expand you from within and break your inner chains. To do this, hold the card over your heart and feel how with my resonance I am at work within you.”6

The insights are not divinatory–they are more like advice directly from these higher spiritual beings for us. In the introduction, Fader even encourages readers to not ask a question when shuffling and pulling a card, rather she instructs to connect to one’s heart and breath, concentrating on being in the moment without overthinking. This is the way to establish the connection with dragons, and the message that is meant for you will come through. There is a specific energetic being that wants to guide you, one whose teachings are most relevant to you at the time of drawing your card.

One fun and unexpected aspect of this deck is the addition of two Joker cards (number 7 and 13) with cats on them. These cards represent “a leap in consciousness”7 and that new opportunities for spiritual growth are on their way. In order to ensure readers are prepared for this new energy headed their direction, the Joker cards offer rituals to perform to find one’s center, becoming the bridge between the spiritual and material world. If readers don’t feel called to work with the Joker cards, they can of course just not include them in their deck.

Overall, The Dragon Riders Oracle is a wonderful way to gain the spiritual wisdom of high vibrational energetic beings of love. From gods and goddesses to angels and ascended masters, this deck opens the door to protection, guidance, and support from the realms above. Most especially, the genuine and powerful essence of the dragons shines through to ensure readers are aligned with their spiritual path. The primal, mystical powers of the dragons is sure to create a fulfilling change in readers’ lives.

Starlight Frequencies Oracle, by Leah Shoman

Starlight Frequencies Oracle: The Knowledge You Seek is Seeking You, by Leah Shoman
Sacred Scribe Publishing, 0646846094, 44 cards, 60 pages, February 2024

Are you feeling the shift in your life? As many begin to awaken to new frequencies and dimensions, it can be immensely helpful to lean into cosmic assistance. Starlight Frequencies Oracle: The Knowledge You Seek is Seeking You by Leah Shoman is a deck designed to bridge the current reality with the New World being formed, leading the way towards 5D consciousness with love rather than fear.

“This time is powerful. The veil between fear and the truth is thin and you are being called to be the seeker. You are the being called to cut through this veil and illuminate your light upon the shadows.”1

Creator Leah Shoman is a spiritual writer and tarot and oracle deck creator. Other works of hers include Wild Lands Tarot, Crystal Rituals by the Moon, and Divine Codes Oracle. She also recently launched Sacred Scribe Publishing which publishes items that open doors of consciousness, leading the collective to new levels of spiritual exploration and visionary prowess.

This deck is unique because readers are intended to “interpret and decipher the transmissions for yourself.”2 Shoman describes how these cards were downloaded directly from Source, containing multi-layered light codes within each one that will make themselves known when the timing is right. All the aspects of the card, from title to color to number have specific intentions embedded within, and each reader’s experience will be different, based upon what it is their soul is meant to receive at the time of the reading.

I will admit, this threw me for a loop at first. Not to say I’m a huge guidebook person–I like to follow my own intuitive guidance when it comes to readings–but the limited framework of each card made them a bit of a mystery to me at first. While there is a sentence or two written on each card, which is exactly what it says in the guidebook too, there’s no fast and easy answers with this deck. You really need to spend some time connecting with the card, taking in the imagery and reflecting on the brief message being revealed.

What stands out the most is the visual aesthetics, making it a more meditative deck for me, where one must open up to receive the messages from a higher channel. The box is nice and sturdy with a magnetic latch that keeps the cards nice and secure. The words on the box are written a glistening, silver foil that gives the deck a lot of shimmer and shine. Opening the deck, readers are greeted with the message “Now child, crack open & awaken” on the box’s inside cover, while the bottom of the box is an image of a gorgeous swirling galaxy, filled with hues of pinks, purples, and blues.

The cards are likewise edged with silver foil, as well as the foil creating shining stars on the back of the cards, giving the deck itself an iridescent feel. The imagery on the cards is an eclectic mix of collage. The imagery woven into the cards ranges from Egyptian pyramids to rose buds and doves. It’s a mixture of spiritual symbolism and nature imagery (crystals, shells, flowers, etc.), though these too have their own meanings to convey, which make each card filled with messages to decode. 

There’s a real mystical feel to the deck, combining the cosmic world with the natural world. Rainbows flow through mountains while the cosmos glistens in the background; a white rose blossoms in the mind of a star-filled silhouetted figure with rings around their head, similar to an atom or halo – it’s up to decode what you see and find meaning for it yourself!

My two favorite cards are Expansive Growth (08) and Illumination (24). Expansive Growth features snakes slithering around a ceramic vessel filled with flowers with an infinity symbol on it. The background reminds me of the natural rock arches in Utah, though the scene on the card looks very other-worldly. The message “You are experiencing an infinite loop of expansion.”3 makes me think about how we are always evolving, yet there’s a cyclical nature to our growth.

The card Illumination features a huge orange slice in the sky above a glistening body of water. The orange slice has yellow flowers surrounding it, giving the appearance of a radiant sun. The pop of bright color gives me a wave of hopefulness and inspiration; I can imagine the refreshing tangy taste of the orange on the card, awakening my senses as I gaze at it. The message on the cared, “Shine your light upon those who cannot see.”4 feels empowering, invoking overflowing positive feelings.

These are just my interpretations, of course! Readers will find their own secret message within the imagery on the cards. Shoman’s artistic eye for details makes this deck an on-going exploration for seekers, as there’s always a new dimension to be discovered. The ethereal nature of this deck breaks through stagnant patterns, serving as a channel for Source to come through and make necessary alignments.

Overall, I recommend Starlight Frequencies Oracle for those who are looking to expand their intuitive connection and attune themselves to new realms of consciousness. Creativity naturally awakens from working with deck, opening doors of perception to new realms. Shoman’s work is a perfect mixture of guiding readers in seeking higher knowledge for growth while holding space for them to go deeper and see the beauty hidden within.

Divine Codes Oracle, by Leah Shoman

Divine Codes Oracle, by Leah Shoman
Sacred Scribe Publishing, 9798218092085,46 cards, 80 pages, February 2024

From the shining, metallic type on the deck box to the rich colors of the floral and pop culture collage graphics, Divine Codes Oracle by Leah Shoman is truly a work of art. Within the deck, Shoman combines photos of roses with pianos and Buddhist monks with clouds. Landscapes pair with sky divers and children from the 1960’s play in the stratosphere. Her goal is simple with this deck: share love in all forms and with all people. She tells the reader on the inner lining of the deck’s box:

“I Love you, Sweet One. Pass this love on to all those you encounter, for you are the connection point. You are the point which tips the scales of balance between love and hate.”

Shoman is a crystal energy healer, author, and deck creator, who brings guidance from Spirit to her clients and readers. She has published numerous decks and books. She also has an online crystal shop where she offers crystals sourced from around the world. Learn more about her offerings on her Instagram.

For my first visit with the Divine Codes Oracle, I chose card #33 Sacred Realm. The card features a surfer and orca whales against the backdrop of a Buddhist temple and an eclipse in the sky. Unusual graphics for a message about the importance of tuning into your heart, but Shoman reminds us that we do not need a temple or church, just solitude and a connection to our inner self. In the guidebook, she marries the graphics and lines on the card with a suggestion to “feel the interconnectedness of it all.”1

I took the deck to my Friday Coffee & Cards group and asked each friend to pull a card. Everyone loved the deck! They complimented the colors and rich graphics. However, most of all, they appreciated the messages from Spirit that Shoman reveals.

My friend Paula drew a card that talks about self-acceptance. It highlights a heart that breaks open and then a Divine love that is “finding its way to fill crevices with pure golden light. Repairing, resolving, renewing.”2 Paula said, “I think I can feel that happening in my life right now!”

Another friend drew a card that suggested she start moving her body. It features two dancers and several butterflies. “Step out of your mind and into your heart. Move your body to shift your vibration and release any stagnant energy currently present,”3 the message says. She said that the message really hit home for her.

I really enjoyed working with this deck. I sent card messages to a few friends via text and each one really resonated with the message and the graphics. It seems to me that these cards are truly sourced from Divine wisdom and Shoman has a real way with words that focus on encouragement and healing. My favorite card in the deck is # 30 Bigger Picture:

“Zoom out. A shift in perspective is needed in this moment to gain clarity around a current situation you feel stuck in. You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts.”4

Shoman includes a table of contents, brief introduction, how to use the cards, and three different kinds of spreads. For the three-card spread, she presents five different ways to do a three-card spread. Her five-card spread presented a bit of a twist on what I’ve worked with in the past: “current overall energy; current concerns and complications; hidden factors; new ideas, people or things that can help you grow further; what you need to be more aware of within yourself.”5

This deck is a standard size for oracle decks and the card stock is a good weight. The cards are numbered and shuffle nicely, and I can tell they’ll hold up to frequent use. Along with the metallic imprint on the flip box that holds the set, the cards have a lavender metallic edge. The guidebook messages are clear and concise, in that Shoman keeps the guidance for most cards to a one-page limit. There are a few instances where she features a poem or other channeled guidance on the facing page.

I really like that the guidebook is printed in full color. The pages feature either a full-color thumbnail of the card and guidance or graphics that she has pulled from the cards. For the pages that feature her poems or prose, she prints on top of muted graphics. The paper stock for the guidebook is a nice weight and has a satin finish.

Divine Codes Oracle would be great for any level of oracle or tarot card reader. The guidance is simple to read and understand and you can even use the cards as a stand-alone message–the heart of the message is printed on each card. I plan to add this deck to my collection to use after an intuitive reading or natal chart reading for clients. It will make a nice way to close the session.
Shoman has created a beautiful deck that focuses on love and radiates the importance of self-love and self-acceptance. She sums it up in the introduction:

“Divine Codes Oracle is a deck about LOVE. You are called to hold the frequency of love. You are called to be the embodiment of love and anchor it into the Earth Plane. This deck is bringing forth pure love consciousness, for we as a collective need it now more than ever. It will attune to your energy when you hold it and it will tell you exactly what you need to hear in that moment”6

Wyrd Sisters, by Casey Zabala

Wyrd Sisters: A Deck of Spells and Rituals, by Casey Zabala
Weiser Books, 1578638291, 60 cards, 80 pages, April 2024

Ah, destiny! For those who enjoy contemplating fate, or the inevitable outcome of events, perhaps even tempting it here and there, Wyrd Sisters: A Deck of Spells and Rituals by Casey Zabala is a true delight. The concept of “wyrd”, originating from Old English and Norse mythology related to the predetermined outcome of events, has been explored as a way to understand the interconnectedness of all things and the idea that individuals are part of a larger cosmic pattern. While wyrd implies a sense of inevitability, it also carries the idea that individuals have some agency in shaping their own destinies through their choices and actions. Calling upon the duality of fate and free will, this deck helps readers to explore the mysteries of existence and the human experience.

Zabala is a devotee of the Wyrd Sisters, describing how they “are the ancient Deities who dwelt at the roots of the world tree and set the order of the cosmos through their spinning, weaving, and cutting the cords of fate. Their threefold process affirms the cyclical nature of our being.”1 Just as they weave fate, we too are weaving our own lives:

“We weave specific patterns and shapes for protection and success, with the awareness that our spells and wishes are delivered through the web of wyrd.”2

Believing that spellwork is deeply personal, Zabala has created a very creative and open-ended deck for readers to ascribe their own meanings to the imagery and messages and then use their own magical repertoire to integrate the energy. While there is some guidance provided through the guidebook, this deck really shines as a work of art that assists readers with strengthening their own intuition, crafting their own rituals, and creating magic that feel uniquely meaningful and relevant to them.

“Magic is the fifth element–also known as spirit, ether, or quintessence. It is the ethereal nature that keeps all beings connected and psychically tethered to each other.”3

There are five types of cards in this deck: spell cards, candle magic cards, sigil cards, magical tool cards, and Wyrd Sister cards. The guidebook entry differs depending on the type of card, as the type of magic coming through is aligned to the energy of your draw.

For the spell cards, there is an intuitive message along with a list of spell ingredients that one can use for inspiration. There’s something about being given three to five things and then being told, “Now go figure out what you can do with this” that makes my creativity soar. For instance, the spell ingredients for the card Spell for Surrender are “physical inversions, amethyst, strong winds, sharing secrets with strangers, salt”6. You can absolutely use none, one, some, or all of the spell ingredients, and I feel like the process of coming up with one that feels do-able and relevant for you is magic in itself.

For the candle magic cards, Zabala offers suggestions for the color candle and what to do during your candle magic ceremony. The Candle for Vitality card reads “Call all of your energy back to yourself.. Light a yellow candle and imagine a sunlight shield protecting your auric field from outside disturbance.”7

The guidance for the sigil card includes what to use the sigil, where to place it, and the ruling planet. As an example, the Sigil for Unbinding can be used to “untangle webs of entrapment or psychic manipulation”[/efn_note]page 55[/efn_note]. Zabala notes it should be placed in a ring of salt and the ruling planet is Pluto.

With the magical tool cards, Zabala reminds us, “Each tool represents the essence of our intentions, our spiritual connections, and the art of our will.”8 The guidebook describes the tool and then offers a suggestion of how one can best use their magical energy at this time. There is suggested magic for each one, ranging from speaking one’s truth to establish a boundary (athame) to gathering with friends to celebrate transformation through “ritual, feasting, and revelry”9 (bonfire).

Last but most important are the Wyrd Sister cards. I have yet to pull one myself! I honestly didn’t even want to read the guidebook description because I feel like it’s an initiation to pull one. However, from a quick glance at Zabala’s introduction, I can see they’re related to past, present, and future.

While you can pull a card for quick insight from this deck, as you can tell from reading the various descriptions, some of the cards require some more magical effort. Whether it’s planning out your spellwork, gathering the right color candle, or making preparations to perform the suggested magic related to a tool, it can take days, perhaps even weeks, to put the energy out into the world. It seems as though only the sigil cards can be used for immediate action. But I personally enjoy how the deck calls for you to savor its message and take the time to align with one’s intention and then put forth their magical working. You can always simply see what card comes through and then reflect on it before making any energetic investments.

As for the artwork, this deck is bright, abstract, and filled with symbolism. It definitely speaks to the non-verbal part of the psyche, activating inner knowledge through images, colors, and dimension. One thing I have been doing with this deck is noticing where my eyes go first, as there’s often many places to look, for insight into what is most relevant for me. For those who enjoy divination through creative decks, you could absolutely toss the guidebook aside and find plenty of messages and meaning within the cards themselves.

My favorite card that I’ve pulled so far is Spell for Grounding. Suitably, I pulled this on a night when my lower back was completely out of whack, indicating to me that I was ungrounded and needed to focus on my root chakra, as I rested with a heating pad. The image on the card was so fascinating to look at, and I spent a good five minutes letting my eyes explore. It shows a person with their arms in the air and an infinity symbol witch hat on their head, but the torso of their body is a tree trunk. It is growing from a patch of grass, and one can see the roots below the ground, pushing downward into spirals of energy below.

The guidebook calls for connecting with the earth, listening to plants, being barefoot, and speaking the name of the native land I live on, giving thanks. All of which my body and soul gave a resounding “yes, yes, yes, yes” as I read the entry and continued to meditate on the card. In this case, I didn’t feel a whole spell was needed; simply going outside and laying on the ground seemed to be enough, which I guess could be considered a simple spell in itself, but as Zabala intended, to each their own with this deck!

All in all, Zabala has created a really cool deck for those who love to explore their own magic and discover new possibilities. Wyrd Sisters is the perfect blend of intuitive guidance and freedom to roam with one’s own interpretation. Within the liminal magical space, we have the opportunity to discover our destiny, while also actively changing our fate. It all comes down to the willingness to ride the waves of mystery and magic, learning when to surrender and when to pursue. The Wyrd Sisters may be the universal weavers, but we are the active co-creators shaping the web too. As Zabala encourages:

“May your connection with the Wyrd ones inspire you to embrace the mystery and weave your own magical webs of belonging.”10

The Shining Tribe Tarot, by Rachel Pollack

The Shining Tribe Tarot, by Rachel Pollack
Weiser Books, 9781578638178, 83 cards, 247 pages, April 2024

As a tarot enthusiast and reader for twenty years, I was excited to learn about the publication of Rachel Pollack’s revised deck The Shining Tribe Tarot. Initially published in 1992 by Aquarian Press, the deck was called The Shining Woman Tarot. In 2001 she changed some of the art on some of the cards and the deck was published by Llewellyn. The title was also changed to The Shining Tribe, which she felt better reflected the community of people drawn to tarot for divination and personal growth:

“The name was a kind of invocation, a hope that the deck would shine for others, especially in reading, and light the way for travelers on their own sacred journeys.”1

For this 2024 edition, Pollack created five new cards: one for each of the minor arcana suits and one to represent the major arcana. Although the deck was published after Pollack’s death in 2023, she was able to complete the revisions and supervise the creation of the deck before her death. It is also important to point out that Pollack created the artwork herself for all of the cards.

Rachel Pollack (1945-2023) was a giant mentor in the field of tarot. In addition to writing the bestselling book Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, she wrote the guidebooks for several tarot decks, as well as many fiction and nonfiction books. She taught at The Omega Institute for over thirty years and was a frequent panelist at tarot workshops around the world. I was blessed to meet her at a tarot workshop in Los Angeles in 2007.  She was brilliant, generous, and very friendly. A group of us went to lunch during the workshop where I visited with her and Mary K. Greer! 

In addition to her interest in tarot, Pollack also created the first transgender superhero in several issues of the comic book Doom Patrol. She was also known as a trailblazer within the transgender community. 

“Welcome to the definitive edition of the Shining Tribe Tarot. It’s the equivalent of a director’s cut of a film. It’s the creator’s cut, Rachel Pollock’s cut. Published for the first time with all 83 color corrected cards, it also includes a full colored guidebook in which Rachel discusses the evolution of the deck, offering insights into each card and how to read them. More than merely an accompanying book, this guidebook stands as another of Rachel’s landmark Tarot guides.”2 – Judika Illes, Editor

With this Introduction, the editor opens a door into the special world of Pollack. In the next few pages, Pollack gives us a history of this deck, including the inspiration for the tribal images and artwork that she created. She talks a great deal about symbols and colors and the different cultures on which her images are based. She makes it a point to say that she wants to honor and respect the “history and living power”3 of the symbols.

The structure for this set of cards is fairly traditional, although she has adopted her own names for the suits of the minor arcana: Trees (Fire/Wands), Rivers (Water/Cups), Birds (Air/Swords), and Stones (Earth/Pentacles). She has also renamed the court cards as “Vision” cards: Place (Page), Knowers (Knight), Gifts (Queen), Speakers (King).

Pollack also shares this:

“One difference is that the Vision cards in general do not signify actual people the way the Court cards sometimes do in traditional tarot. Nor do they represent character types in quite the same way. Instead, they take us into an experience of ourselves. They give us a chance to discover and use the power of the elements.”4

The cards are a nice size, a little larger than playing cards. The card stock is a nice weight, and the matte finish is great for the ancient symbols and bright colors of the deck. Each card has a white border, and the name of the card is shown at the bottom in black type. The set comes in a beautiful box with a cut-out portion and ribbon for the cards, as well as ample room for the hefty guidebook.

These cards are easy to shuffle, and I enjoyed using them for my week of daily readings.  For the first day, I drew one card: Three of Trees, which is the Three of Wands in a traditional deck. This card is always a celebration for me and I was interested to see what Pollack shares:

“This card is a celebration, filled with the laughter of the Grandfather. He welcomes and protects us with his open arms.”5

She also includes the story of the artwork, which features “a spirit image formed from a tree by the Ojibwe people of Canada.”6 The image is based on a photograph of this type of tree, which has been carved to represent a person. 

The next day, I did a three-card spread and drew these cards: Knower of Birds, Six of Trees, and The Sun. With Pollack’s guidebook and my own intuition, I created this affirmation, based on the three cards:

“I collect signs and symbols and share my knowledge with confidence and wisdom, as I emerge into the light of divine consciousness.”

Her imagery is so beautiful, and the artwork invites deep contemplation and a connection to the heart. My favorite card in the deck is one of the five “extra” cards:  Portrait of Albert-Bright Through Nobility, which relates to the major arcana and Spirit. Pollack explains that this card is based on the name of her animal guardian, a red fox. “The name Albert means ‘bright through nobility.’ Getting this card means a sense of protection and the ability to ask for and receive help.”7

The guidebook is very easy to navigate, from the Table of Contents to the Glossary.  She includes a large section on Readings and includes lots of ideas for spreads for various situations.  She also includes an Appendix which explains the name changes for all cards, how to work with reversals and how to start your own Shining Tribe. She even has notes for groups, including ways to start conversations and create activities for developing your tarot skills. The last section is a Glossary that includes references to some of the cultures, religions, and symbology used in the deck. 

I really enjoy working with The Shining Tribe Tarot. I can feel the decades of tarot history, as well as the flavors of the various indigenous cultures in the cards. I can’t wait to introduce it at my next Coffee & Cards Zoom with my friends.

Galactic Guides Oracle, by Victoria Maxwell

Galactic Guides Oracle: Be Guided by the Love, Light, and Magic of the Galaxy!, by Victoria Maxwell and illustrated by Ellie Grant
Rockpool Publishing, 1922785415, 144 pages, 36 cards, March 2024

Calling all my cosmos lovers, it’s time to tune into celestial frequencies with Galactic Guides Oracle: Be Guided by the Love, Light, and Magic of the Galaxy! by Victoria Maxwell. This deck is out of this world – literally!

“We often look to the stars, thinking they are so far away and wondering what they have to do with us. They have everything to do with us; we are made of stardust.”1

Maxwell has a talent for attuning oracle card readers to new dimensions. Her previously published decks, Angels Among Us and Goddesses Among Us, are my go-tos when I am in need of some insight. Now with this deck, Maxwell transports readers into the galaxy to connect with the energies of planets, zodiac signs, and star systems for interstellar guidance.

I love what Maxwell shares in her introduction. She describes: “When I stopped focusing on what the planets, constellations and star systems meant according to traditional definitions and simply tuned into their energy, I found I could connect with them on a deeply personal level and invite them to guide me through astrological seasons and moon cycles and help me with what’s happening here on the ground.”2 This appeals to me because as an astrologer I’m always in relationship with the cosmos, yearning to go beyond what I know about each planet from books to create my own energetic connection. This deck is perfect for this purpose.

In the “How to use the cards” section of the guidebook, Maxwell offers different card spreads and describes the difference between the planetary cards, zodiac sign cards, and star system cards. The planetary cards tend to draw attention to something happening here and now that needs your attention; the zodiac sign cards ask you to look at the bigger picture and take a broader perspective; the star system cards have to do with destiny and insight from high-level guides. Additionally, she explains how each card also has an associated element, chakra, crystal, flower, and planet ally that expands the meaning even further. This information adds another layer to readings, though one can certainly glean plenty of insight just from reading the description of each card in the guidebook.

There is just so much guidance for each card! In addition to the aforementioned correspondences, each guidebook entry has an overall message of guidance, questions to ask yourself, description of the card, insight for the five common realms people seek guidance about (love, money, purpose, service, and spirituality), and a message from a lightwork perspective and shadow work perspective. So much insight for each card!

I had an insanely cool synchronicity happen with this deck. I happened upon a list of 100 baby names related to space. My son had a “D” name, so I was looking at other “D” names on the list and came across Draco. I thought it sounded cool, and I was envisioning myself calling my child that, but then told myself to refocus back to working with my deck. I shuffled and then pulled out the card.. Draco! Can you believe it?! The guidebook describes, “Draco, which is Latin for ‘dragon’, is one of hte largest constellations in the sky.”3 To add to the timing, it was also on the Chinese New Year, ushering in the year of the dragon!

I was mostly interested in the the card related to my love life, so I focused on that message in the guidebook, which reads:

“Relationships are the ultimate opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. The people who challenge you may have the most to teach you.”4

This felt extremely resonant, as I was working through some “growing pains” in my current relationship. This card helped me to reframe my perspective and remember that challenges do not mean the relationship isn’t success, rather they present a chance to grow stronger by doing my own inner work and focusing on spiritual growth.

The imagery on the cards, illustrated by Ellie Grant, all feature a person embodying the energy of the planet, zodiac sign, or constellation. They are very accurate, and at times can seem embellished, but I enjoy this because I can study the imagery and see all the attributes and characteristics of each energy personified. The general color theme is what you’d envision for deep space–blues, blacks, purples, greens–along with bursts of colors to make the characters on the cards pop and stand out.

My favorite image in the deck is Saturn, which features a gorgeous elder with striking gray hair. I always get a crone feeling from Saturn, the wise grandmother figure, so I enjoyed seeing Grant portray the energy this way too. Other cards that I got a kick out of include Aquarius, featuring a man who looks like he’s at Burning Man, covered in tattoos, necklaces, a scarf, and reflective sunglasses that flip up to remind us of the third eye. I also love the image of a woman holding her big pregnant belly, wearing a beautiful flower crown, for the Full Moon card. It’s also worth noting this is a very inclusive deck that personifies the energies of a diverse range of people.

My final thoughts about this deck are that it can feel a little ungrounding to work with. For those looking to attune to higher frequencies, it’s perfect! But if you’re not used to working with these energies, you might want to ensure you take the time to ground back in nature after working with the deck. I personally love how the deck gives me an out of body feeling while working with it, but for some this might feel disconcerting. So make sure to take the time to create the right space for working with this deck and balancing yourself afterwards.

Overall, Galactic Guides Oracle is a really amazing way to connect with the celestial energies. Whether you’re looking for inspirational guidance, cool synchronicities, or a fun way to meditate with the energies, this deck has you covered. The imagery on the card does a wonderful job of bringing these energies into a form we can visually identify with, while the guidebook is filled with interesting facts about the stars as well as soulful messages that can help reorient you towards your higher calling. I highly recommend this deck for those who are interested in the myseries of space, the beauty of the stars, and interstellar travel consciousness.

Witching Hour Oracle, by Lorraine Anderson

Witching Hour Oracle: Awaken Your Inner Magic, by Lorraine Anderson and illustrated by Olivia Bürki
Rockpool Publishing, 1922785008, 112 pages, 44 cards, October 2023

Spiritual transformation, especially through witchcraft, involves the shedding of old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve the individual and the embracing of new perspectives and ways of being. Lorraine Anderson perfectly encapsulated the steps in the process of metamorphosis in the Witching Hour Oracle: Awaken Your Inner Magic. Channeling the highs and lows of her own spiritual journey, this deck guides readers in tapping into their innate power and shifting from the inside out.

“Each card in this deck represents a step on the journey back to your truest self (Deep Being).”1

Anderson explains in the guidebook how this deck came to her “in a time of extreme transformation.”2 In the midst of things falling apart, her priorities were skewed, valuing material gain over spiritual practice and neglecting self-care. Finding herself at a low point, Anderson decided to dismantle what was no longer working and face her shadow head-on. From her journey of being spiritual led through both  lows and highs, she gleaned insight to share with others on their own path, finding joy and magic along the way.

This deck consists of forty-four cards that are filled with glistening and luminous energy brought to life through the illustrations of Olivia Bürki. Nearly every card features the twinkling shine of magic, highlighting the invisible undercurrent constantly flowing around us. There’s a darker tone to the cards, yet there’s still plenty of vibrant colors that awaken the spirit within the imagery, prompting revelation for the readers as they gaze at the messages coming through. Bürki’s illustrations are truly magical, offering visual portals through the imagery of this deck.

While these cards can absolutely be intuitively read using the card’s name, imagery, and the word or sentence at the bottom, the guidebook adds interesting depth. Anderson provides guidance on how to read with companion cards. She describes how a card’s meaning changes depending on the other cards it’s pulled alongside. Using this concept, she has provided companion card descriptions for every card in the deck, which the reader can use to find further meaning in the cards they pulled.

What I like most about the companion card system is how Anderson pairs a companion tarot card for each card in the deck. I normally wouldn’t think to pull both an oracle and tarot card together. Yet I enjoyed this method and felt that working with two decks in tandem added a new flavor to my readings. Also reading the tarot companion card for each card in the deck helped me understand its energy more too.

The entry for each card in the guidebook features keywords, the tarot companion, description of the card’s meaning, and further description of significant companion cards within the deck that may have appeared in the reader together.

As an example, the card I pulled today was Invocation. The keywords are “power of words; kindness matters; criticism”3 and the tarot companion is the Page of Swords. The card’s description talks about how our words have power and so critical thoughts can be harmful both to ourselves and others. This one hit home for me since my husband just pointed out how critical I had been recently, often aiming my sharp words at him to the detriment of the quality of our relationship. Ever since he mentioned this to me I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the way I share my thoughts, and Anderson’s words “with practice you’ll learn to choose love-filled communication and your entire vibration and and situation will shift”4 was quite reassuring.

While I read this card singularly, the companion cards are High Priestess and Salt. Looking for further guidance on how I might better communicate with my husband, I went on to read each one of these cards in the guidebook too. And for those like myself who need some ideas when it comes to doing spreads, Anderson provides a ton to choose from! She provides spreads for getting to know the deck, a weekly self-care check in, discovering resources available to you, seeing the bigger picture, and more! I appreciate how these spreads are ones I can do regularly to stay attuned to my inner knowing.

Overall, Witching Hour Oracle is a wonderful deck for the witch interested in spiritual transformation, self-care, and deepening their connection to their intuition. Anderson has done a wonderful job of illuminating aspects of the spiritual path of the witch, including initiation and all the change that usually accompanies major leaps in spiritual and personal growth. I recommend this deck for everyone who walks the path of the witch, as we all need a little guidance sometimes, and the wisdom of this deck is one that has the power to usher in lasting manifestations and potent change.

Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen Tarot, by Travis McHenry

Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen Tarot, by Travis McHenry and illustrated by Cristin Gottberg
Rockpool Publishing, 1922785849, 128 pages, 80 cards, October 2023

Travis McHenry has created an awesome tarot deck for those who love dark history. Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen Tarot opens the portal for modern readers to reach into the depths of the past and gain wisdom from the life journey of those who have dared to push the bounds of reality, ultimately becoming enlightened or losing themselves in the process. As someone who thoroughly enjoys delving into the biography of my magical role models to glean insight into the circumstances that shaped their body of work, this deck is a treasure trove of interesting characters to learn from!

McHenry is a detail-oriented creator who brings new life to arcane occult knowledge, and for this I immensely appreciate his work. His previous decks Angel Tarot, Vlad Dracula Tarot, and Occult Tarot have a palpable energy to them, and this deck is no different. Once again, Henry has ventured afar and gathered what he’s learned for others in a dually gruesome and glorious deck.

Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen Tarot casts a wide net in regard to the people included. While some might be considered unsavory, McHenry reassures readers “even the most terrible person in the deck had one or two redeeming qualities.”1 In his desire to bring these stories to life again, he sticks to the facts, though it becomes clear some of these characters’ realities are stranger than fiction. 

This being said, the first entry in the guidebook, The Fool, features James Douglas, who “was discovered roasting the cook’s body parts over an open fire and eating pieces of the meat.”2 Instant stomach turn, right? But if you’re like me and also feel utterly fascinated by the story, then it’s worth continuing on in your work with this deck!

McHenry is true to his word about finding the redeeming qualities, writing in the description of the card “As the first card in this deck James Douglas represents brash behavior, jumping without thinking and the folly of committing acts of violence. However, it also shows a person who knows themselves, knows what they want in life and just goes for it. . . James Douglas knew from the start he wanted to be a cannibal killer. He didn’t wait until he was old enough to pursue his dream and he didn’t wait for somebody to give him permission![/efn_note]page 12[/efn_note]

“Hopefully when you read the short biographies of these historical figures you’ll discover that it doesn’t take noble birth or divine favor to transform yourself into a magic, martyr, or madman!”3

For every entry in the guidebook, there is a short biography of the person or people featured, highlighting their ultimate acts of magic or madness, and then a few lines tying in the traditional meaning of the tarot card with the story of the characters’ lives. And overall, McHenry does a REALLY great job matching the person of the card with the card’s meaning, conveying the message of the card in a way that brings a trio of scary shivers, enlightened new perspective, and dash of humor. Nothing elicits a laugh like the true utter depravity and darkness of humanity, nor prompts self-reflection as a magical practitioner like reading about the escapades of both con artists and true mystics, who often end up vilified regardless.

Illustrator Cristin Gottberg has done an exquisite job in the design of these cards. The cards themselves are a deep blue with a red sigil on the back and golden tinted edges. Her original paintings in this deck are primarily darker colors – reds, oranges, browns, and blacks – and there’s a slightly blurred quality to each image, leaving room for the imagination to creep in and fill in the gaps. Gottberg has infused the images with a sensual and fluid feeling, perfectly capturing the essence of the person on the card.

And it’s worth noting there are plenty of women featured in the deck too, despite the title of the deck which seems to focus primarily on men. The reason Henry chose the title is because it was the name of the book consulted by the Ghostbusters in Ghostbusters II as they hunted fictional Vigo Carpathian. Disappointed the book did not exist, Henry “vowed to someday bring it into reality.”4Some of the women Henry includes are Catalina de los Rios, Agnes Bernauer, Catharina de Chasseur and Eva Courier and Juliette Bisson.

Speaking of the last two, another neat feature of the deck is the inclusion of three Lovers cards: a female/female card, a male/male card, and a female/male card. This allows for customization of one’s deck based on personal preference; it also gives us more interesting stories to read!

Overall, Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen Tarot is absolutely a worthwhile collector’s deck for those with an interest in dark history. There’s so much murder, mayhem, and mysticism to revel in while working with this deck. This deck will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the unique flavor of the deck absolutely has its time and place and is a macabre delight for the resonant audience. Sometimes we all need to teeter on the edge of wrong and right in our magical practice, and finding out more about the path of others can certainly help to clarify your own boundaries.

 If you’re seeking more of McHenry’s work, you can also check out Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen: A Compendium. He wrote this book using primary sources, often the words of the person themselves or sources from the time period they were alive. The biographies in this deck are condensed versions of longer entries featured in the book.

Apothecary Flashcards, by Nicola McIntosh

Apothecary Flashcards: A Pocket Reference Explaining Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses, by Nicola McIntosh
Rockpool Publishing, 1922785776, 42 pages, December 2023

I love learning about herbs, but I am the first to admit I struggle to keep track of all their medicinal properties! Apothecary Flashcards: A Pocket Reference Explaining Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses by Nicole McIntosh is absolutely perfect for staying organized, studying herbs, and looking up quick information. Even better, these cards have images that aid with identifying plants in the natural world.

These cards are 2.5 inches squares that fit easily inside your palm. They come with a ring that you can link through them to make it a flip deck. The rounded corners make it comfortable to hold – no sharp edges here! They are a great size for carrying on-the-go. And the font is a good reading size, whether you hold the cards near or far away from yourself.

McIntosh is an artist, herbalist, and Celtic Shamanism practitioner. She focuses on establishing a deep connection with nature in her work with the aim of spreading peace and love. For those who are interested in learning more about preparing botanicals at home, her book Plant Spirit Medicine is a great resource. Other decks she has published include Mushroom Spirit Oracle, Celtic Spirit Oracle, and Crystal Grid Oracle.

In introduction Apothecary Flashcards, McIntosh writes:

“The world of herbal medicine awaits you, and there you will find a whole apothecary at your fingertips.”1

There are forty herbs in this deck. The front of each card is an image of the herb, while the back of the card has all the pertinent information about it. McIntosh shares the botanical name, part of the herb used for the remedy (root, leaves, stem, etc.), actions of the herb, medicinal uses, and methods it can be prepared for a home remedy. The last piece of information is a caution, sharing advisement about when the herb should not be used.

The action section contains words that might be unfamiliar to some, such as “adaptogen” or “renal tonic”, but luckily, McIntosh had the foresight to include four deck slides, Points to know, defining what the actions do. For instance, adaptogens “help the body deal with stress”, while renal tonic “builds and tones the kidneys.”2 The list of actions is a great way to become familiar with the terms as one studies the impact of herbs on the body.

There is also one card following the Points to know, which is Terms used. These range from aerial parts, “the parts of the plant that grow above the ground”, to UTI, “urinary tract infection”.3 With all of these clarifications, it becomes exceedingly apparent that McIntosh cares about details and want to ensure the information she is convey is accurately understood.

The way the deck is on a ring makes it easy to flip back and forth between the herb card and the action card to look it up. Everything is organized alphabetically: Points to Know, Terms used, and the herbs in the deck.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book about the Melissae, the bee priestesses who oversaw the Eleusinian Mysteries. The author of the book was inspired to learn more about them after becoming curious about the botanical name of Lemon Balm, Melissa officialis, and researching to discover these long-forgotten yet high-ranking priestesses of Ancient Greece. This made me curious to see what McIntosh wrote about medicinal properties of Lemon Balm, so it was the first cared I flipped to in the deck.

From McIntosh, I learned Lemon Balm is antiviral, sedative, diaphoretic, and carminative (you bet your bottom dollar that I was flipping to Points to know for those last two words!). The medicinal uses of Lemon Balm including treating herpes (topically), depression, and IBS (another term defined on the Terms used card). For a home remedies, McIntosh writes it can be infused to make a tea or tincture to take internally or used in a poultice to put direct on skin.

Lemon Balm is surprisingly one of the only herbs that does not have a caution. And for me personally, the cautions are the most important part since herbal remedies can be a hurtful as they are healing if not used properly. For instance, Sage is toxic in large amounts, while Schisandra and quite a few other herbs in the deck are not to be used during pregnancy. Once again, McIntosh is specific, writing “should not be used during the acute phase of an infection/cold”4 for the herb Astragalus.

Overall, Apothecary Flashcards is a wonderful reference when making herbal remedies. The organization and detail make them true time-savers, and their nice size makes them easy to keep on hand or nicely stored in one’s own apothecary. Whether you use them for brushing up on your own knowledge or to identify herbs outside, this deck is a wonderful resource for guidance.