The Inner Compass Deck

I was intrigued when Watkins Publishing reached out to me about reviewing “The Inner Compass Deck” by Teal Swan. According to their press release “The Inner Compass Deck” is part of a “new, upcoming trend” of values decks. Decks like these are more about introspection than divination. However, even knowing this I was not mentally prepared for the deck, which is over 200 cards.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to shuffle this deck! Seriously, it’s the first thing people think and ask. What you do need to do, is set aside ample time to work with the deck. “The Inner Compass Deck”, at its heart, is about prioritization. To that end, most of the layouts center around the compass cards: North (The Very Most Important to Me), East (Important to Me), West (Somewhat Important to Me), and South (Not Important to Me). That big ol’ stack contains cards like charisma, fame, determination, gratitude, etc. that you can sort by personal values/priorities.

Most tarot/oracle decks talk about being used for introspection, however “The Inner Compass Deck” by Teal Swan is totally about introspection. If you’re ready to take a long look inside yourself, I HIGHLY recommend this deck.

You can learn more here.

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The Peaceful Protectors

I haven’t heard a lot about coloring books lately. Remember when the marketplace seemed to be flooded with them? Personally, I was sad to see the trend die down. Coloring is a wonderful creative outlet for people like me that love visual arts and are not good at creating them. Which is a polite way to say I can’t draw, okay?

It’s why I was delighted when a publicist reached out to me about “The Peaceful Protectors: Coloring Collection” by Real Weng. She is a freelance artist originally from Taiwan and she has created a beautiful coloring book based on Asian mythology. “The Peaceful Protectors” is 64 pages and features 15 mythical characters turned into 30 floral integrated unique coloring pages and an additional introduction page of the specific character with each image hand drawn by Real Weng.

The artwork is beautiful, and more importantly, done in a way conducive to an enjoyable coloring experience. Hopefully, you’ve never experienced the annoyance of a coloring book that doesn’t accommodate for a person trying to color in the picture. I have, it sucks.

There is no denying that this would be a fantastic holiday gift. You can learn more here.

Shop your local indie bookstore <---This is an affiliate link to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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The Most Valuable Fan Collectibles

Everybody collects something. You might not consider yourself a “collector” because perhaps the thing you collect has a practical use, or won’t increase in value, or you just don’t. Nobody gets to define you except you, right? I refer to myself and my husband as “eccentric collectors” because it sounds classier than pack rat or hoarder.

Knowing that everyone collects SOMETHING, I was intrigued by a press release sent to me about what fandom has the most valuable collectibles. Even though most of us don’t acquire and hold onto things with the intention of it appreciating in value (I take my Funkos out of the box!), it’s still interesting, right? You want to know, don’t you?

The list was put together by FandomSpot.com, a website devoted to, you guessed it, assorted fandoms. Sadly, FandomSpot didn’t include their methodology. The list was put together by, “pop culture memorabilia experts to compile this list, which includes general memorabilia, props, cards, and figures from a variety of fandoms including anime, fantasy, sci-fi, and superhero.” And I certainly cannot imagine encompassing EVERY fandom, and all sorts of other disclaimers, but with that said, here’s the list:

1. Pokémon – Pikachu Illustrator card – $233,000
2. One Piece – Solid Gold Monkey D Luffy – $200,000
3. Gundam – Solid Gold Gundam Converge – $200,000
4. Gundam – Solid Gold RX-78-2 Gundam – $200,000
5. Star Wars – Rocket Launcher Boba Fett – $150,000
6. Star Wars – Obi-Wan Kenobi With Double Telescoping Lightsaber (1977) – $76,700
7. Harry Potter – First edition book of Philosopher’s Stone – $51,680
8. Pokémon – First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard card – $50,000
9. Star Wars – Brazilian Glasslite Vlix Figure (1988) – $45,000
10. Game of Thrones – The Iron Throne Official TV Prop – $30,000
11. Pokemon – Magikarp Tamamushi University Promo Card – $27,000
12. Dr Who – 50th Anniversary 9ct Gold Doctor Who Ingot – $15,357
13. GOT – Game Of Thrones Pinball Machines – $9,000
14. Harry Potter – Wax sealed prop envelope – $6,500
15. Dr Who – Full Size Giant Robot figure – $3,841
16. Dr Who – Limited Edition Sevens Movie Dalek – $3,494
17. Game of Thrones – Full set of 1st edition books – $3,000
18. Marvel – 32 inch Sentinel figure – $2,800
19. Marvel – 1976 Marvelmania Ghost Rider figure – $2,595
20. Supernatural – Dual Wardrobe Card OM21 – $1,290

Most of the big fandoms are represented. I’m surprised to not see DC Comics, Disney, or maybe Lord of the Rings in the top 20, but it’s hard to argue with what’s there.

FandomSpot seems like a fun site too. I also learned that they’re offering $4,000 to binge watch Studio Ghibli films. You can learn about that here.

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Animal Love Oracle Cards

Okay, here’s the deal. I had NO intention of reviewing “Animal Love Oracle Cards” by Nadine Gordon-Taylor. Apparently in this instance I have the brain of a 12-year-old boy and the name kept making me smirk and/or chuckle like Beavis and Butthead. I’m not proud of it, but at least I’m honest. However, I took my time putting the box away, and with time I noticed the adorable cow in the corner of the cover. Eventually the cute cow wore me down and I cracked open the deck.

With no further smirking, let’s take it from the top. We’re looking at “Animal Love Oracle Cards: Advice, Compassion & Wisdom from Our Animal Mentors” that was written AND illustrated by Nadine Gordon-Taylor. If you know me, you know I have a soft spot for decks that are illustrated and written/designed by the same person. Mainly I’m envious of their skill, but also, it’s nice to see the result of a fully integrated deck idea.

Gordon-Taylor has taken her research on animals in symbolism, religion, and global cultures and condensed it into wholesome, loving, positive messages from the animals to you. The animal selection is wonderful! You’ll find everyday critters, such as Chipmunk, Cat, and my friend Cow, less run of the mill creatures like Hippopotamus, Elephant, and Dolphin, and even the downright mythological! The deck is 52 full-color cards that like all oracle decks can be used in any way you want. Like I do with most oracle decks, I recommend and prefer the single card draw.

If you love animals, and want a different way to celebrate them, you should consider “Animal Love Oracle Cards” by Nadine Gordon-Taylor.

You can learn more here.

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Archangel Fire Oracle

Alexandra Wenman set out to blend the angelic with the alchemical. The result was “Archangel Fire Oracle.”

Wenman describes archangels as, “Angels of a high rank who assist humanity with our evolution by helping us to access the divine through our higher wisdom and knowledge. They differ to other angels, who solely help us with practical day-to-day things. The Archangels, along with the day-to-day, have more to with Ascension and the attainment of enlightenment.” She feels the interactive nature of an oracle deck is a great way to access them and their wisdom.

Obviously, like most oracle decks, “Archangel Fire Oracle” can be used any way you like. However, if you want to take full advantage of the deck’s potential you can take a journey one card at a time. In the accompanying guidebook each card has associated entry that included meditations and exercises. Using the deck this way the “Archangel Fire Oracle” is an initiatory experience. In many ways Wenman has created an instructional book AND an oracle deck, conveniently in 40 wonderfully illustrated cards.

Anyone interested in working with angels and/or angelic energies would be well-served in purchasing “Archangel Fire Oracle” by Alexandra Wenman.

You can learn more here.

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The Gift of Life Tarot

If you’ve followed me or The Magical Buffet on social media, you’ve probably seen me share “The Ghetto Tarot”. It’s one of my all-time favorite decks done by photographer Alice Smeets and a Haitian art collective known as Atis Rezistans. These artists and Smeets recreated the Rider Waite Tarot using local sourced, found materials. I never wrote a formal review because it was done as a Kickstarter and I didn’t realize you could purchase it after that. When Smeets started a new fundraising campaign for a second tarot deck, I didn’t hesitate. What I received was “The Gift of Life Tarot”.

During 2020 lockdown Smeets was coming to terms with having to put her projects and travel plans on hold. Once accepting the situation for what it was, she looked for a new way to express her creativity. From “The Gift of Life Tarot” Guidebook:

The next day I started going through all of my archives from 13 years of photography. I looked through 1000’s of photos to find the ones that matched each tarot card the best. It was an amazing, fun and inspiring process and gave me a chance to reconnect to all of those memories from all around the world from the past. This deck is not just a deck, it is at the same time a retrospective of my work as a photographer since 2007. All of the photos I have chosen for this deck were taken during my travels to different continents, each single one of them is dear to my heart. The people portrayed in the photos are people I either encountered along the way and just met briefly, some I spent several days with and others are my friends.

Smeets feels the real-life scenes depicted on the cards make it easy to relate the cards to ourselves and our lives. “The Gift of Life Tarot” has the traditional 22 cards of the major arcana. The minor arcana is divided into four 14 card suits: fire, water, air, and earth. The traditional court cards of the minor arcana are replaced with daughter, son, mother, and father.

The guidebook features a few tarot spreads. Each card has its own entry that includes the gifts of the card and the challenges it can represent. There is description and also a life purpose reading for the card. A thoughtful extra is that each card entry includes Smeets talking about the photographs real-life moment. This really makes “The Gift of Life Tarot” a photo retrospective and obviously, a tarot deck.

“The Gift of Life Tarot” by Alice Smeets is a true reflection of universality of the human experience. Personally, I can’t wait to see what Smeets creates next!

You can learn more about both “The Gift of Tarot” and “The Ghetto Tarot” here.

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The Archeo

I’m fortunate that many publishers and publicists offer to send me free books or products to consider for review. I frequently get to request certain items, but other times, I get things sent to me without requesting them. And let me tell you, left to my own devices, I NEVER would have requested “The Archeo.” Thankfully, Jake at Llewellyn didn’t ask me, he knew I needed to see this.

Even when “The Archeo: Understanding & Developing Archetypes” by Nick Bantock arrived, I had no intention of reviewing it. However, I was like, I should at least open and thumb through the deck. As soon as I started shuffling through the cards, I stopped dead in my tracks. These cards seriously resonated with me and considering that “The Archeo” is about universal archetypes, I thought that meant this deck was pretty damn special.

Nearly every deck is marketed as a tool of self-discovery, but “The Archeo” is a tool ONLY for self-discovery. The 40-card deck and its accompanying 204 page, full-color companion guide help you create your personal mythology. Bantock expands on Jung and Campbell’s idea of archetypes, crafting the 40 presented in “The Archeo” that include alchemist, demon, midwife, wolf, greenman, falcon, and more. There are even two blank cards provided in case you discover a new archetype you want to work with. Each card has artwork created by Bantock, and you know how I’m a sucker for deck authors being able to illustrate their own deck. (I not so secretly wish I could create visual art…..or write effectively for that matter!)

The ways you can use “The Archeo” are limited only by your imagination, but Bantock provides some ideas for layouts and spreads. Also, he wrote a story focusing on each card, to help you understand them better.

If you’re ready to take a journey within, “The Archeo” is for you!

You can learn more here.

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Nature Spirit Tarot

Can you ever have too many tarot decks? The answer is yes. Will that stop me from continuing to collect and review them? Apparently not. Which brings us to today’s review of “Nature Spirit Tarot” by Jean Marie Herzel.

“Nature Spirit Tarot” is based on the traditional 78 card tarot deck. What differentiates Herzel’s deck is the addition of plants, flowers, insects, animals, minerals, and other elements of the natural world. She pulls on the language of flowers, Native American folklore, Eastern and Western philosophies, and Celtic legend to choose the natural elements to include in each card. This gives each card additional meaning and makes for some beautiful artwork. Which by the way, Herzel not only wrote/designed the deck, but she also did all the illustrating as well. I’m always impressed when the deck is written and illustrated by one person. Doing either one of those seems like it would be difficult enough.

I did March’s tarot forecast for my Patrons using this deck and I have to say, the nature elements enrich the reading. The nearly 200-page guidebook has full color images and offers several ways to use the cards.

It’s true that you could already have too many tarot decks, but if you love tarot decks and nature you may want to consider adding this one to your collection.

You can learn more here.

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Dark Goddess Tarot

In a spiritual practice that at best could be described as “hodge podge”, one of the only cohesive aspects is my adoration of the divine feminine. I’m particularly drawn to goddesses that are misunderstood or viewed as negative. Enter “Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, a deck that feels custom made for me.

From the introduction, “Dark goddesses are disturbing, fearsome, and beautiful. They can be shunned or overlooked, as they represent aspects of life that people find uncomfortable – sometimes only when those powers are in female hands. Powers of age and death, sex and sovereignty, ferocity and judgement. Of magic, mystery, and transformation. Of suffering and shadow.”

Lorenzi-Prince takes a female forward approach to the traditional 78 card tarot deck. A goddess or mythical female figure is featured on every card, including the minor arcana. Although the suits are changed to fire, water, air, and earth, with the court cards changing from page, knight, queen, and king into amazon, siren, witch, and hag respectively.

“Dark Goddess Tarot” first released in 2013, several years before inclusivity had become not just an idea, but a necessity in the spiritual space. Considering that, Lorenzi-Prince has done an excellent job representing multiple cultures in a respectful fashion. I’ll resist the urge to share every female from the deck, but there’s Kali, Isis, Ishtar, Baba Yaga, Santa Muerte, Tlazolieotl, Spider Woman, Tsonokwa, Baubo, and so many more. The artwork for the deck is noteworthy too, with Lorenzi-Prince not only creating the deck, but creating all the art for it too!

“Dark Goddess Tarot” by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince is an excellent exploration of the divine feminine. A noteworthy addition to any tarot collection.

You can learn more here.

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The Tarot of Light and Shadow

It is not unheard of for a tarot deck to have an additional card or two added for an added effect. You may remember when I reviewed the Santa Muerte Oracle, the creator discussed how it could be used in conjunction with his Santa Muerte Tarot Deck. (Both decks are wonderful, by the way.) However, I was particularly intrigued when I learned about “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” by John Matthews and Andrea Aste, which has two decks packaged together.

What is so compelling about the “Tarot of Light and Shadow” is the decks and their accompanying guide are built from the ground up on the idea of using both decks for a single reading. Examining a shadow side is not as misunderstood as it used to be. It is not as simple as Light = good and Shadow = bad. From the accompanying guide:

“It is important to understand that when you choose to work with the double deck that it shows us truths from two angles, mirroring each other in a strange and wonderful way. The two sides should never be seen as somehow positive and negative, with the light deck good and the shadow deck bad. Put such thoughts from your mind. We are a naturally dualistic species, and it can be hard not to see things in this way – but the “Tarot of Light and Shadow” is not like this. It sets out to show you not only two aspects of card, but to show you h ow they relate – how the inclusion of cards from one aspect or the other changes what you see.”

The artwork by Andrea Aste is wonderful, full stop. However, genuine applause is due for the effort put into creating paired artwork. The cards mirror each other but are not just reflections. Subtle changes are made between Light and Shadow to highlight deeper and different meanings between them. For instance, let’s looks at one of my favorites from the deck, Death. Note the different flags, how the Light version has heads on the ground, where the shadow shows plants blooming. Each card deserves careful study, which only makes you appreciate the work of Matthews and Aste more.

Obviously, if you choose, you can use each deck by itself. Although Matthews outlines several thoughtful ways you can use the decks together.

On social media I called out Watkins for putting on the back of the deck box, “The most subtle and insightful tarot ever created.” Now I am not claiming to have seen every deck ever made, or even being a tarot expert, but in my opinion “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” by John Matthews and Andre Aste may very well be the most subtle and insightful tarot ever created. A truly impressive feat.

You can learn more here.

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet