30 March 2022

My Deep-divers (and maybe a couple of Double-dippers)

A deep diver seems to be different things to different people. Some people see it as a deck that contains a lot of symbolism and requires a great deal of study. Others see it as a deck that assists in uncovering layers of complexity in the psyche, or decks that are used for spiritual or emotional development. I'm firmly in the "all of the above" category. 

Deep-Divers

Hierophant
First up has just got to be my Spirit Keeper's Tarot by Benebell Wen, and I apologize for listing a deck that is currently unavailable. This deck has so, so many uses for me. It is a support deck for my mystical practices, a deck I use for evocation and invocation, a tool for communication with ancestors, spirit guides, angels and the divine, as well as a divination oracle. I don't allow others to touch it, and it is mostly used for myself, though I do make exceptions. I've been known to use it when reading for one of my Plutonic partners. 

I do have 2 editions, the original, which I have actually altered a bit to make it my own (I can hear the gasps now), and the Revelations edition. I did have the Vitruvian but sadly I had to sell it, due to some dire financial circumstances after my surgery. 

10 of Disks

Second on this list is the Tarot of the Holy Light by Christine L Payne-Towler and Michael R Dowers. I think I have the 1st Ed, but I really haven't paid much attention to release dates since I first acquired my copy, which was ages ago. This one took a while for me to warm up to, because it utilizes the continental system, which never fails to throw me off. But I have found if I focus on the symbolism contained within the images (and just not look at the astrological correspondences), I go much further with this deck. 

I'm glad I've stuck with it. I'm a Gnostic and there aren't many decks with a strong Gnostic theme, designed by a Gnostic, so I really appreciate this deck. I use it primarily for spiritual guidance and for pathworking and contemplation. 

Hermit

The Mary El Tarot  by Marie White is another of my Deep Divers, mainly due to the learning curve. It's a gorgeous deck full of lush and often dark imagery, and the overall sense of the deck can only be described as "otherworldly". All that said, it has taken me a minute to find my footing with this deck. It doesn't, as far as I can tell, follow the Thoth or the RWS systems. I have heard some readers call it a Marseilles deck but I strive to find that reflected in the deck's imagery. I do find it to be a great deck to read intuitively, focusing solely on the images, but I also feel a lot can be gained from more intense work with the deck. 

I have both the 1st and 2nd editions. The card stock of the 1st was very troublesome for me, and since I don't trust myself with trimming, I didn't use it so much. I know some of the illustrations were changed for the 2nd edition, but I just never got familiar enough with the first edition to be bothered by the changes. I'm very pleased with my 2nd edition.

Double-Dippers


ace of cups

My first Double-dipper has got to be the Tabula Mundi by MM Meleen. From the moment I laid eyes on this deck I knew it was for me. Bold colors, plenty of symbolism and correspondences, beautifully detailed artwork. And it is a deep-diver for me. I use it a lot for spiritual work and occult guidance, but I can just as easily pick it up and give myself a nice, clear and concise reading. 

It's a Thoth-based deck and I learned tarot using the Thoth system, and so reading with the Tabula Mundi deck was a breeze, right out of the box. I can't say enough good things about this deck, it's truly magnificent. 


Hierophant

Well, it had to happen. You all knew the Alchemical Tarot by Robert M Place would be on this list somewhere. It is genuinely my hardest-working deck. If I want to go deep, I have lots of alchemical symbolism to work with, but the images are so expressive and insightful, that it offers a great deal of clarity. This deck is never very far from me. I can use it for client readings just as easily as I can for spiritual guidance for myself. 

I have the second edition and I've often considered getting one of the later editions but I just adore the rose on the backs. And I'm not sure if the card stock will have changed in later editions (I just love the size and flexibility of the 2nd edition). This is my deck. 

10 March 2022

My Sharp-shooters

     

I'm a little late with this one, but I do like the prompt. I think it was Mags Black who started this particular tag. I plan to do a future post on Deep-Divers, and I think I'll do a third post on decks that can fill both those rolls. I guess I'll call those Double Dippers. 

Sharp-Shooters

The Wheel

I take sharp-shooter to mean a deck that is always to the point and on the money, and my first deck in that category can only be The Journey of the Sacred Bee Tarot. I kind of expected it to be more of a deep-diver but when I began using it, the messages were clear and concise - not to mention brutally honest. It is frequently the kick in the pants I need. However when I use it in conjunction with it's companion oracle, the Wisdom of the Sacred Bee, it tends to take me a lot deeper with the layers of meaning. 

And speaking of sacred bees, just as a side note I'll mention that Kelly of Sacred Soul productions is working on a 3rd Sacred Bee tarot. This one seems to be RWS-based, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it. 

8 of Swords

Second sharp-shooter is the Crow Tarot, by MJ Cullinane. This one was a gift from a friend, and it is gorgeous. I love crows, and you wouldn't think that a tarot deck featuring a single animal would be so expressive, but it is. Overall the images reflect the RWS system, and readings tend to be very clear and on-point. I mean, seriously, just look at that 8 of swords. 

Crow Tarot was one of the first decks I edged - I was really driven to kind of make it my own. I edged it in a deep brown to match the backs and love it. I do hope one day, when my budget allows, to grab the companion deck, the Urban Crow Oracle (and the expansion pack). 

Emperor

I reckon I'll have to add the Light Seer's Tarot by Chris-Anne to this list. I will admit, I didn't think I would like the Light Seer's tarot. I know it is extremely popular with the cool kids over at YouTube, but it felt a little too modern for an old fogey like me. Then I saw it on sale and thought it would be an inexpensive way to scratch my itch for a new deck. Turns out I like it a lot. It's more timeless than modern, and the images are really engaging. It's a really concise reader that packs a punch. I frequently reach for it for morning reads, and I would feel very comfortable using it for client readings as well. I'm glad I gave it a chance. 

Next up, you had to know this one would be on here. It's the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot. This deck is just so comfortable, so pretty, and so evocative that it reads like
Strength

a dream. I know a lot of people don't like how they've switch the elements on the swords and wands, and to be honest, that elemental attribution doesn't appeal to me either, but in this deck it's not really noticable except on the Aces. Everything else in the deck more or less follows the RWS system, and the meanings are so evident from the pictures. It's also very inclusive with regards to race and sexual orientation. The 2 of Cups is two fellas, the 4 of Wands is two women celebrating a hand-fasting, and the Lovers card features two people so heavily robed and cowled you can project any gender you like onto it. The cards are flexible, they shuffle beautifully and fit my hands perfectly. I just enjoy using this deck, and it's a frequent flyer when I do client readings.

I actually need a new Modern Spellcasters Tarot. Something sticky got on the death card and it's missing some ink, so I'm putting it back on my wishlist. 

3 of cups

This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning a RWS deck. Now I came pretty late to the RWS system. I learned how to read tarot with the Thoth system, and it was decades before I began learning the RWS system. I don't think I even ever owned an RWS deck until I broke down and got the Borderless Centennial Edition. And it is definitely a sharp-shooter for me. Took me a long time before I even picked it up and started working with it, but it has superb clarity and is super easy to read. I know a lot of people have some nitpicks with the Borderless Edition, but I really love it. 

And two runners up for this list are my Pixie's Lenormand and the Trionfi Della Luna.   The former is, of course, a Lenormand deck, and the latter is a Marseille-style deck. I've only recently begun learning both those systems, but I do find both these decks to be very on-point and easy to read. 

Recommended