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.

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Battle of the Dragon Oracle Decks

If you follow The Magical Buffet on social media, you’ve watched the evolution of this review idea. What started as an overall preference for me to review the dragon themed oracle deck I received, quickly morphed into a “battle of the dragon oracles” when I received a SECOND dragon themed oracle. Here we are, two decks enter and well, two deck will leave because destroying perfectly good oracle decks would be stupid.


“Dragon Wisdom” is a 43-card oracle deck and book by Christine Arana Fader with illustrations by Anja Kostka. It is beautifully illustrated drawing on the four elements and figures from mythology, as well as dragons. Duh! Its suggested retail price is $19.99.


“Dragon Path Oracle Cards” is a 33-card oracle deck and book by Caroline Mitchell with illustrations by Tiras Verey. This deck features gorgeous art of dragons from four clans: Earth Walk Dragons, Galactic Dragons, Grand Master Dragons, and Guardian Dragons. Its suggested retail price is $22.95.

Being oracle decks, both are versatile in how they can be used, and both books feature several ideas as to how to use them. Both Fader and Mitchell are passionate about dragons, and both Kostka and Verey are gifted artists. In all honesty, these two decks have a lot in common. I’m unable to declare one truly superior to the other, or a personal preference. I mean, for me, what’s better than dragons? MORE DRAGONS! Particularly when they’re so beautifully rendered in decks so intuitive in their use.

Try to decide for yourself with the links below!

Want to learn more about “Dragon Wisdom”? Click here.

Want to learn more about “Dragon Path Oracle Cards”? Click 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

Krampus is Here!

“I can’t go back to sharing Christmas with that soul-singing goat. Always nibbling on my list,” Santa, “American Dad” episode “Minstrel Krampus”

Like all great folklore figures, the origins of Krampus are murky at best. In European history Krampus is portrayed as a half demon, half goat figure that worked in tandem with Saint Nicholas. These days Santa rewards good children with gifts and leaves coal for naughty children. However, back in the day, Saint Nicholas would reward good children and Krampus would punish naughty children by frightening them with rattling chains and swatting them with birch branches.

In the “American Dad” television episode “Minstrel Krampus” they make a compelling argument that in this modern era Krampus is a good guy, and that Santa is a bad guy. Santa spoils children by doing nothing but giving gifts, whereas Krampus loves children enough to punish them when they are bad. Obviously, it is not a perfect argument, but it always stuck with me that perhaps people are a bit too quick to judge Krampus.

Which leads us to this:


I fell in love with this vintage image of Krampus and Saint Nicholas. They look like perfect frenemies. And I decided to do a limited-edition line of merchandise featuring this picture! What kind of things can you buy?


How about buttons, greeting cards, mugs, and more? Prices range from $2.50 for a button up to $41.99 for a hoodie. You can find them all, along with our core merchandise at https://www.cafepress.com/themagicalbuffet.


Shop now, because come December 31, 2020 all this great Krampus merchandise will be gone forever!

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

Santa Muerte Tarot

Many of you who follow The Magical Buffet on social media, particularly Twitter, probably saw that I was excited about Llewellyn’s recent tarot deck sale. Sadly, money is tight so I could not take full advantage of the awesomeness, but I did pick up a deck or two. Despite all the decks I purchased being older, lots of people were interested in my thoughts on the “Santa Muerte Tarot” by Fabio Listrani, so here we are.

You might remember that in 2018 I reviewed the “Santa Muerte Oracle”, also by Fabio Listrani. I found the deck to be thoughtfully constructed with wonderful art. That said, I absolutely adore this original tarot version. The oracle deck told a story and provided a Ouija board however, the tarot deck has iconic tarot imagery, and that cannot be undersold. In our western esoteric culture, the archetypal images of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck are ingrained into our subconscious. Seeing Listrani’s artwork blending with it is at a minimum pretty, and at peak, breathtaking.


The “Santa Muerte Tarot” interprets the tarot through the Mexican traditions of Calavera Catrina, Santa Muerte, and Dias de los Muertos. From the accompanying book, “The motif is that Death as it appears to us, due to erroneous mental constructs, is not the opposite of life but rather an integral part of it.”

The “Santa Muerte Tarot” is a wonderful addition to my tarot collection and could be for your too.

You can learn more here.

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Gemstone Guardians Cards & Your Soul Purpose

In case you did not know, I’m a sucker for crystals. I am sure you’re shocked. I suspect you won’t find it shocking then, that I wanted to review “Gemstone Guardians Cards & Your Soul Purpose” by Margaret Ann Lembo.

For starters, it is 44 full-color cards featuring crystals! Pretty, pretty, crystals. However, there is more to this deck of cards than just full-color crystal porn. Lembo outlines that there are 11 Soul Purpose archetypes: Art, Building, Communication, Education, Entertainment, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healing, Investigation, Justice, and Protection. Within those archetypes are 44 life paths. This deck is designed to help you understand yourself and your goals. Each card has a Soul Purpose, a life path, and a crystal, and affirmation to help support you.

You might think that a deck like this is only good for single card draws, but you would be mistaken. The sizeable, 128-page, booklet includes a 3-card spread for past, present, and future, and a nice 7 card spread based on the chakras.

“Gemstone Guardians Cards & Your Soul Purpose” by Margaret Ann Lembo is an intriguing idea for a deck that was well executed, and at $19.99 suggested retail, it is priced right to try out.

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 Shadowlands Tarot

As time goes on, more and more people view, and use, the tarot as tool for self-discovery as opposed to telling the future. With this progression, we’re seeing more decks that are designed to facilitate with that process. Monica Bodirsky has created just that sort of deck with “The Shadowland Tarot”.

Bodirsky’s “Shadowland Tarot” can operate as a more traditional tarot deck, stemming from its roots in the Rider Waite deck. However, with her focus on the shadow aspects of our psyches, you have the potential to discover things about yourself that perhaps you weren’t ready to acknowledge. Then, you can continue to acclimate and integrate those discoveries.

In another creator’s hands, “The Shadowland Tarot” could be an alarming, or frightening experience. Fortunately, Bodirsky’s (who also illustrated the deck) shadows are playful, charming, and nothing to be feared. Her “Shadowlands” are populated by a colorful cast of characters that you’ll want to get to know better.

If you’re looking for a tarot deck with wonderful art and penchant to encourage introspection, “The Shadowland Tarot” by Monica Bodirsky is for you!

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

Wizards Tarot

If you’re a regular reader of The Magical Buffet, odds are, you like wizards. You may even identify as one! What I’m getting at is, no one into magic would ever NOT be interested in a wizard themed tarot deck. Which brings us to today’s review of “Wizards Tarot” by Barbara Moore and illustrated by Mieke Janssens.

Moore’s affection for wizards, spellcasters, and magic users is on full display with this deck. As you thumb through the deck you may find some of the cards remind you of characters or scenarios from your favorite magical books, movies, or television series. In reading the “Wizards Tarot Companion” for the deck, it is as much a lover letter to wizards, as it is a guide to how to use the deck. It is, in fact, one of the better tarot companion books that I’ve read. Offering new insights into learning the cards, along side suggested spreads and detailed card meanings. Any ideas on the inspiration for this card?

“The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again. If you ever do run across it, you will now be prepared. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. Now, why don’t you put that admirable cloak back on and get off to bed.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The choice of Mieke Janssens for the illustrations was an excellent one because her style feels like a modernized version of classic fantasy art. The art for the back of the cards screams “classic wizard”! It reminds me of old Dungeons and Dragons and air brushed t-shirts in the best way possible.


It is hard for me to imagine someone not wanting “Wizards Tarot” by Barbara Moore. Honestly, the only reasons I could see someone passing is a shortage of funds or a shortage of storage space for more decks.

You 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