Cultivating Grace

I am fortunate that I get offered the opportunity to review lots of books and decks. If you’re part of my Patreon, you’ve seen my reasoning behind some of the items I’ve chosen to review. When I was offered a copy of the deck “Cultivating Grace: Access Inner Peace, Clarity, and Joy on Your Spiritual Path” by Miranda Macpherson I accepted, and I could not tell you why. It didn’t look awful, but it also didn’t seem like something I would enjoy, and yet, I wanted to review it. I’m glad I did.

“Cultivating Grace” is a remarkably well-thought-out deck for self-reflection and discovery. The 64-card deck is divided into 4 categories of cards: Grounding in Grace, Receiving Blessings of Grace, Transforming Power of Grace, and Embodying Grace. Macpherson considers grace a nondenominational direct experience of the Divine, a felt experience of the Sacred, that is the practical key to gaining traction on your spiritual path and finding true fulfillment.

Each card features beautiful art by Anna Kuptsova and ideas to reflect on and practice. Macpherson’s appreciation of classic spiritual thought is obvious when reading the accompanying guidebook, and unlike some decks I highly recommend reading the guidebook as it offers much more than just card descriptions. Also, I just need to mention, you get the beautiful 64-card deck, which comes in a lovely fabric bag and a full-color 176-page guidebook, all in a compact, sturdy box for the suggested retail price of $18.99. That’s just shockingly reasonable.

“Cultivating Grace” by Miranda Macpherson is scheduled to come out in September, but you can preorder it now.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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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Soul Helper Oracle

The oracle deck we’re looking at today is wonderful, but also prompted some design questions on my part. Let’s look at the “Soul Helper Oracle” by Christine Arana Fader and illustrated by Elena Dudina. If Fader’s name sounds familiar it’s because you’ve seen it before on The Magical Buffet when I held “The Battle of the Dragon Oracle Decks.” She was behind the “Dragon Wisdom” deck that was featured in that article. It was why I wanted to take a peek at Fader’s latest work with a different artist.

The illustrations for the “Soul Helper Oracle” are enchanting. I was unfamiliar with artist Elena Dudina but her rendering of environments is magical. Normally, I’m more drawn to art where a person is the centerpiece. It’s rare that my favorite cards in a deck are ones where the people are just a small part of the whole.

The deck itself is 43 cards and the guidebook offers a 21-day cycle of working with the theme of a card to explore yourself. Each card has four companions to support your work with the message of each card: a crystal, a spirit animal, a number, and a plant essence. I love how the deck is geared towards self-discovery and that Fader offers ideas to support your work. The only question I have, is with such clear ideas in mind, and a capable illustrator rendering the cards, couldn’t the crystal, spirit animal, number, and plant be incorporated into the art of each card? (Each card has a number, some have the animal, some have crystal, and some have the plant.) As it is, you need to always refer to the guidebook to see those.

Aside from that, the “Soul Helper Oracle” is a great deck for anyone looking for an oracle with beautiful artwork and is geared for exploration of the self.

You can learn more here.

Interested in getting your own copy of the “Soul Helper Oracle?” Well, I have great news for you! Inner Traditions accidentally sent me two copies of the deck, so I’m giving one away! As per usual, I’ll be using Rafflecopter for the giveaway. Residents of the United States that are 18 years of age or older can enter. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on 04/29/2022.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Soul Cats Tarot

I had to say yes when offered the opportunity to review “Soul Cats Tarot” by Leeza Robertson with art by Adam Oehlers. I’m good friends with Deborah Blake, an author well known for her affection for cats. If she found out I had the opportunity to review a cat-based tarot deck and passed, well, she wouldn’t be angry, just disappointed. And here we are….

“Soul Cats Tarot” is a traditional tarot told through the whimsical and sometimes treacherous world of cats. The major arcana features mixed breed cats, whereas the minor arcana are specific breeds: Cups are Bengal, Wands are Bombay, Swords are Siamese, and Pentacles are Maine Coon. And I would be remiss if at this point I didn’t mention the fabulous artwork done by Adam Oehlers. I wasn’t familiar with his work before, but I’ll be on the lookout for it in the future.

Leeza Robertson’s cat inspiration and Adam Oehlers artwork have created an evocative deck that should resonate with many tarot fans.

You can learn more here.

Get your own copy here. (This is an affiliate link to my Bookshop, 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.)

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

Winterseer Animal Oracle

Why are animals such a popular subject for tarot and oracle decks? The most obvious reason is that animals are adorable, however Siolo Thompson, author and artist of “Winterseer Animal Oracle”, points out that animals have always been used as archetypes and personifications of the gods. Siolo Thompson took inspiration from Celtic, druid, and Norse belief systems to create the 54 card “Winter Seer Animal Oracle.” Thompson is a wonderful artist and illustrated all the cards herself. The “Winterseer Animal Companion” book is beautifully written and full of personal reflections and observations as well as folklore and legends.

According to Thompson, “The primary job of the oracle is to offer insights and focal points to meditate on or to consider, rather than predict the future or reveal your ‘destiny.’” She suggests a three-card spread, or using the deck in addition to a traditional tarot reading. The options are really only limited by your imagination.

The “Winterseer Animal Oracle” is a useful addition to anyone’s collection.

You can learn more here.

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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.

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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.

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