Oracle Deck Review: Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand

IMG_2835 Here is one of my favorite tasty little treats of a deck, Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand. Created by artist Edmund Zebrowski by layering together already existing images created by famous Tarot Illustrator, Pamela (Pixie) Colman Smith. He is also the creator of the previously reviewed, Day of the Dead Lenormand!

Edmund seamlessly pulled together images hidden within Pixie’s illustrations to give us a vibrant, working deck of traditional Lenormand symbols. These cards have a presence about them, like the Rider-Waite Tarot, that demand a certain respect. Here we have the same sense of foreboding wisdom, but spoken in the simple vernacular intrinsic in Lenormand cards.

The deck is composed of 36 cards, plus a nice little pamphlet with keywords for each card. I would hazard to guess that the cards are bridge size making them ideal for casting the Grand Tableau. The card stock is average and they shuffle nicely. The real juice is in the images, and the color quality is stellar!

I find using this deck really enjoyable, and the readings are right on! This is one instance when I am fond of the borders around the cards. Pixie’s bold illustration style is perfect for reading with because the messages are clear and to the point. There is no nonsense here!

IMG_2843My one complaint is that a few of the images, the Stork in particular, are a bit contrived. You can tell they were collaged, which isn’t consistent with the art-style of the deck as a whole. Other than that, the deck is delightful! I would recommend it to readers, beginner or seasoned.

I have to admit that I am a bit envious because Pixie’s Astounding Lenormand 1st Edition came with alternate cards that appeared to be beautiful! Maybe Edmund will do another run of that series in the near future.

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© Shaheen Miro 2013

Tarot Foundations: Part 1-Getting Started

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the introduction to the Tarot Foundations journey! Get ready because there’s a lot of learning and fun in store.

The first chapter of Tarot Foundations is filled with practical information that offers a solid foundation for any beginning student. I think it’s important for anyone new to Tarot to begin with a positive and structured start because it is easy to get lost in the sea of information!

Brigit takes a refreshing pragmatic approach to Tarot that I admire.  She begins with helpful suggestions of places to purchase your deck, books to buy, decks that are good for beginners, as well as advice on cleansing and caring for your deck. She also spends time talking about what the Tarot is, how it works, and why we use it.

The 78 Tarot cards represent life lessons and practical advice that can be applied to our lives. The cards are like symbolic keys that serve to open up the psyche to new ideas, concepts and spiritual possibilities…Tarot readings use these 78 cards to form an understanding of the present energies that will in turn influence the client’s future. 

-Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence by Brigit Esselmont 

I found that each chapter is filled with sections that offer information and activities per day(s). Many questions were posed and followed with clear answers. I was prompted by the sections and activities to share some of my own thoughts:

Brigit asked, “What is your personal Tarot philosophy?”

The core of my Tarot philosophy springs from the personal truth that Tarot cards act as windows affording us peeps into different realms. The cards are nothing more than piece of cardstock with images on them, the magic lives inside of the person using them. The images layout as a story, which creates a catalyst that activates our innate intuitive abilities.

Once you invite the Tarot into your life you will never stop learning because as you grow, the cards grow. There will always be a sense of wonder and mystery within the cards. They exude an aura of awe and power because they are reflecting your own divinity. If you befriend them they will help you to develop a language with the Universe, giving you the ability to string together symbols.

Selecting a Tarot Deck:

Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence, does an excellent job of helping you select the perfect deck. You will find resources and suggestions, as well as sound advice on what to pick. My personal view on picking a deck follows closely with that presented in the book.

Pick a deck that speaks to you, pick a deck that gives you lots of visual cues, and pick a deck that is practical enough for you to learn (leave the esoteric decks for later on when you have a foundation).

Personal Cleansing Rituals:

My mother taught me to cleanse my deck by simply putting the cards back in order. Place the cards into numeric order by beginning with the Major Arcana, and moving to the Minor Arcana. This clears the deck giving it fresh energy.

I also knock on my decks before each reading. When you knock on a deck it clears the lingering energies left behind from previous readings or handlers. It’s a simple and fast way to cleanse the deck when doing a lot of readings.

My favorite method, which should be down periodically, is to do a cleansing ritual. I put the cards in numeric order. Then pass the deck through sage smoke to lift out any stagnant energy. I finish by visualizing the deck filled with beautiful white light from the Universe. You can say a prayer as well!

Favorite Books On Tarot:

As mentioned by Brigit, The book, Seventy-Eight Degree’s of Wisdom is a Tarot classic and a must have for anyone who seriously wants to learn the cards. However, I would not suggest this as a beginner’s book. I think you should have a good, basic understanding of the cards before moving on to such a heavy piece of work.

I have found, Tarot for a New Generation to be an extremely helpful book for Tarot beginners. The author has laid out detailed meanings of each card ranging from the general to meanings based on the type of question. Don’t shy away because its for the “New” generation, this book has information for everyone!

Many good Tarot decks have accompanying books that offer interesting information about the each card’s meaning and illustration. I find that reading a description of a cards illustration offers tons of insight, so whenever a book offers a description I am sure to read and take notes.

Please share your own tips, suggestions or questions about Tarot. Participate in this Tarot learning journey. Remember, if you participate with a valid comment offering your point of view or asking a question that pertains to the post, you will be entered to win a free copy of Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence!

 

© Shaheen Miro 2013

Tarot Foundations: A Personal Tarot Learning Journey

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Brigit’s 3rd e-book on Tarot!

In October I participated as a guest-blogger on the highly successful, and informative blog, Biddy Tarot. Brigit Esselmont, the creator of Biddy Tarot has shared so many wonderful bits of insight and information regarding learning Tarot, as well as creating an online space for readers to connect with clients and colleagues! Now her book, Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence, presents another in-depth resource for Tarot learning enthusiast.

Written in easy and direct language, and filled with a wealth of information for the beginning and seasoned reader, Tarot Foundations is a must have book! And you read it correctly… you can learn Tarot in 31 days!  No matter how difficult you may believe it is to learn Tarot, this book will help!

I…believe that anyone can read the Tarot. You don’t have to be ‘fifth generation psychic’ or see auras around people. You can be ‘just anyone’ so long as you are open to connecting with your intuition and the energy around you. In my opinion, Tarot can be learned. It doesn’t have to be a ‘gift’.

-Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence by Brigit Esselmont 

Join me as I embark on an exciting Tarot learning journey! I will be posting my experiences with different exercises and activities presented in Tarot Foundations! I urge you to participate in the learning experience by leaving comments chronicling your own Tarot learning experiences… sharing questions, tips and ideas about different subjects being presented.

Those of you who participate will be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of the e-book, Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence by Brigit Esselmont! Don’t miss out!!

The idea is simple. Over the next 31 days, you will learn the basics of how to read the Tarot cards. By the end of this program, you’ll not only have knowledge of how the Tarot cards work, but you’ll also have the tools and techniques that will help you to put that knowledge into practice.

-Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence by Brigit Esselmont

Here is the calendar you will follow in, Tarot Foundations! Lots of exciting stuff to learn, easily laid out for you.

Here is the calendar you will follow in, Tarot Foundations! Lots of exciting stuff to learn, easily laid out for you.

Brigit | Professional Tarot Reader, Author and Coach.

Visit, Biddy Tarot for more info.

© Shaheen Miro 2013

Oracle Deck Review: Day of the Dead Lenormand

I have always been intrigued with cards… any kind of cards! I began telling stories with my Tarot cards at the age of 6. The images are addicting to me, the stories are always elaborate and interesting. The way a deck feels in my hands, the life and energy that are held in every image evokes a wonderful feeling to me.

Many kinds of oracles exists and divinatory decks are just one category; within that category are many types of decks, including playing cards, Tarot cards, self-made oracles, and Lenormand.  Many of these decks have been around for hundreds of years, giving them their own stories, mythologies, traditions and methods.

Lately I have been exploring a divinatory system of cards called Lenormand. The Lenormand oracle consists of 36 illustrated cards believed to be used by Marie Anne Lenormand in the 1800s (she was a famous psychic who read for people such as Napoleon and Josephine). Unlike the Tarot, Lenormand cards consist of 36 individual symbols that are read in combinations, making for a unique and to the point type of reading.

Embarking on this journey into the world of Lenormand has given me the excuse to treat myself to some new decks! In my search through traditional and non-traditional decks I came across one that really caught my eye, The Day of the Dead Lenormand! I thought it would be perfect since everyday is Halloween in my life!

Artist Edmund Zebrowski created this fun and refreshing deck! He captured the traditional symbols of Lenormand, but added a little extra pizzazz by incorporating the colors and themes of the Day of the Dead. The theme makes the deck dark and playful. There are many traditional symbols that correlate to the Dia De Los Muertos of Mexico, such as skulls, marigolds, and folk art style illustrations and colors. Laying out the cards is like dancing in a circus celebration of skulls and colors!

Last week was filled with lots of Halloween readings, and I brought these little babies along for the ride! The colors popped against my spider web lace tablecloth and the images seemed to float off the table and dance in the dim light. The information was always insightful and very accurate and added another layer if information to my intuitive hits!

I especially like this deck because it is borderless which gives the illustrations room to breathe and grow. The cards are nicely sized, they seem to be a little smaller than a regular deck of playing cards so they fit nicely in your hands (always a plus when doing serial readings for people at parties).

My only complaint about the deck is the layout and cropping of some of the images. Some seem to be awkwardly cut off or placed on the card and at times the top floral motif with the number seems to be a little dominant. The Bear especially distracted me because her foot was cut off a bit.

All in all, The Day of the Dead Lenormand is spectacular!! Mr. Zebrowski is a great artist, I love his work. I own another deck of his called Pixie Lenormand based off of the Rider-Waite Tarot (we’ll talk about that later).

To check out his work visit Delphi’s Chamber! I highly recommend his work, and I anticipate his future projects!

All the best!

Shaheen

© Shaheen Miro 11/3/2012

Next Week I Will Be In Los Angeles!

So if you haven’t heard the Gypsies will be in L.A. Suzy and I arrive next tuesday and we are so excited to see everything! I’ve never been to California before and I’ve always wanted to go. Not to mention I have so many people there that I’ve wanted to meet face to face for what feels like forever!

So here are a few posters of things that I will be doing. If you are able to attend and want to set up a time please contact me at shaheen@shaheenmiroinsights.com. Also, I would be more than happy to read for you, to do a party with you and your friends or even conduct a class/workshop! Feel free to contact me for more details.

I do Tea Leaf Reading, Tarot, Reiki, and workshops on a number of different subjects.

I would love to hear from you! Don’t hesitate to leave me a few tips and suggestions, either ;-)

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Book Review: The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

“The Tarot embodies symbolical presentations of universal ideas, behind which lie all the implicits of the human mind, and it is in this sense that they contain secret doctrine, which is the realization by the Few of truths embedded in the consciousness of all.”

-Arthur Edward Waite

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, isn’t a new book, but it’s an interesting book and one that any Tarot enthusiast should read. If not for the content, this book should be read for the nostalgia and history. This book represents a pivotal point in Tarot history, when Arthur Edward Waite, reinvented Tarot into what most of us recognize today.

The edition that I have is a reprint from Barnes and Nobles. This version has retained, what seems to be its original type face, spelling and format, along with very interesting and slightly simplified, illustration plates of each card from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck.

To be honest the addition of the black and white prints of each card, was the original appeal for me. I thought there was something very beautiful about the negative and positive space activated on the page, from the card illustrations and text (That’s just my design brain working). But I also felt that there was simplicity to the book at first glance.

Sectioned into three distinct parts. The book begins with, The Veil and its Symbols, which is an essay on the origin of the Tarot, the perspective of many authors in the History of the Tarot, A brief touch on the history of cards, and an explanation of the Major Arcana in Antiquity (Pre-Waite Symbolism).

This was probably the hardest part to follow in the book, simply because he speaks about Authors and books that are not as common today. His arguments for what he sees as “true” compared to other Authors, is very interesting. However, at times you get the impression that he may have been a little bi-polar because he jumps from one view to the other.

You also discovery that Art, not just Tarot, is a historical account of the time it is created in. Though Waite tries to paint the true Tarot as being above historical influence, he can’t deny that the cards have been shaped by history.

In this section, Waite also articulates for us the essence of the Tarot by saying, “The true Tarot is symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs. Given the inward meanings of its emblems, they do become a kind of alphabet which is capable of indefinite combinations and makes true sense in all.”

Part two, The Doctrine Behind the Veil, is a compilation of basic information about each individual Major Arcana card. An image of each card is shown, with an accompanying explanation. His explanations are brief, but though provoking.

I found this section insightful mostly because he described the pictures, and in his description he pointed out things that I never seen before. However, there was a disconnect between some of the things shown in the picture and their actual purpose. I felt like Waite wanted to stress that everything had meaning, but he didn’t live up to that expectation by giving us a reason in each of his illustrations.

In this section He was sure to express that the Major Arcana was never intended for divination, but that the Minor Arcana was, and that at one time they were probably separate decks. According to him the Major Arcana is devoid of any divinatory meaning (until later when he breaks down and gives just a few meanings).

He explained, “The two classes of significance which are attached to the Tarot in the superior and inferior worlds, and in the facet that no occult or other writer has attempted to assign anything but a divinatory meaning to the Minor Arcana, justify in yet another manner the hypothesis that the two series do not belong to one another.”

Part three, The Outer Method of the Oracle, Waite gives us a picture of each Minor card and a few lines of description about the images, the divinatory meaning and the reversed meaning. This was the most disappointing part of the book in my eyes, because I felt that the author was a little skewed in his views about the cards.

For some reason, over half the information presented by Waite, about the Minor cards, felt wrong to me. It was trite and irrelevant most of the time, and didn’t really follow the images that were presented; this made the images themselves seem arbitrary. An explanation of what is depicted in the image should have sufficed as a “divinatory” meaning for each card, but it fell short of that.

Regardless of whether I felt his divinatory meanings were spot on, Waite did seem to capture in a few lines, exactly how the cards should be read, “The cards must be interpreted relatively to the subject, which means that all official and conventional meanings of the cards may and should be adapted to harmonize with the conditions of this particular case in question.” So he never advocated simply memorizing a list of key terms, rather he thought it was important to understand combinations of symbols as they appear before you.

As Waite touched on the Divinatory meanings of the cards, I did feel that he was stepping into uncomfortable territory. Most of his explanations, especially in his last section titled, Some Additional Meanings of the Lesser Arcana, felt hokey, like stereotypical, soothsayer, mumbo-jumbo.

In Waite’s conclusion of the book he even said, “I have concerned myself with the subject, even at the risk of writing about divination by cards.” If he felt that the use of Tarot for divination was a bit diluted, then why wasn’t he able to explain them more in-depth or give a reason for their existence, beyond the simple theories about their Mystical nature? He never actually tells us what secret doctrine they are trying to illustrate!

I found his love-hate relationship with the idea of “Fortune-telling” and divination with the cards, intriguing. If he felt so strongly about the deeply symbolic and occult nature of the Major Arcana, then why didn’t he stick to exploring their meaning and find a way of separating the two, either in Antiquity or in use? Instead he ate his own words and explored them, even at the risk of writing about “divination by cards”.

I will say that I agree, Tarot is much more than a deck for divination, I think it is a collection of Universal symbols that speak to our psyche, prompts to open our souls, and windows to gain glimpses into the inner workings of the Universe (within around us).

The book gave me an odd impression of Arthur Edward Waite because I felt that he was a little bit conflicted. At times there seemed to be an argument happening with himself, as if he wasn’t exactly sure what he believed. Part of me felt that if Waite wasn’t confused by his own thoughts, then he was deliberately being ambiguous and trying to cause confusion to those exploring the art.

Even more fascinating was when he referred to another book and Author (Grand Orient), basically saying that his perspective of Tarot didn’t follow the perspective of his Colleague… and upon searching more you find out that they were one and the same. So he was essentially trying to discredit himself, either to create a buzz or to confuse others.

No matter what my impressions of this book, Arthur Edward Waite, was a force in the world and history of the Tarot. If it weren’t for Waite, Tarot wouldn’t be what we know it as today. This book is a great historically reference, as well as eye opening to the symbolism of the Tarot

© Shaheen Miro June 28, 2012

Summer Workshops at Potato Hill Farm

So excited to present Summer Workshops!!

They will be held at the amazing Potato Hill Farm… here is a list below.

I hope to see you there!!

For questions and more information contact me: shaheen@shaheenmiroinsights.com

The Book of Knowing

Co-creator and Author of the Playing Card Oracles, Ana Cortez, has recently collected old, magnificent, paintings created by her father C.J. Freeman and she is now working to create another fantastic deck called, the Book of Knowing. If you aren’t familiar with the Playing Card Oracles, they are an amazingly insightful deck of playing cards, illustrated with images that speak to the symbolic nature of divination with playing cards. The deck is one of my all time favorites and I have done many post here at ShaheenMiroInsights.com with the deck.

This new deck, The Book of Knowing, is going to be even more stellar! The deck is again, a set of illustrated playing cards. Originally done as huge paintings, by C.J. Freeman in the 70’s, this deck is going to be a wonderful contribution to the world of art and divination. PLEASE HELP Ana bring this deck into the light of day, by contributing to her Kickstarter compain, click here The Book of Knowing.

Summer Workshops

So excited to present Summer Workshops!!

They will be held at the amazing Potato Hill Farm… here is a list below.

I hope to see you there!!

For questions and more information contact me: shaheen@shaheenmiroinsights.com