Tarot for Real Life

How does he do it? Seriously, how does Jack Chanek pull it off? You may remember how much I adored his previous book, “Qabalah for Wiccans”, which in all honesty should have been titled “Qabalah for Everyone” because it was the first book on Qabalah that really clicked for me, and would work for anyone, Wiccan or otherwise. Well, he back with “Tarot for Real Life: Use the Cards to Find Answers to Everyday Questions,” and yes, he did it again.

Now, when it comes to tarot, I know a thing or two. Not to toot my own horn, but I do some halfway decent monthly single card tarot forecasts on my Patreon. Yet, there is no denying that Chanek’s ability to breakdown complex systems and present them in an accessible order is perfect for tarot. Much like when reading “Qabalah for Wiccans,” I found myself giddy with excitement in achieving better understanding. And with the book’s emphasis on real life applications, “Tarot for Real Life” really IS tarot for real life!

“Tarot for Real Life” by Jack Chanek is an absolute must for anyone starting on the path of tarot reading, but I think even an experienced tarot reader can find something to take away from this book.

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.)

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The Watkins Tarot Handbook

There are plenty of book out there devoted to tarot. Some our devoted to using tarot to divine the future, and many more discuss using the tarot as a tool for self-reflection. When I was offered the opportunity to review “The Watkins Tarot Handbook: A Practical System of Self-Discovery” by Naomi Ozaniec, I was expecting a vaguely new age, self-help book that utilized tarot. What I got was a jaw dropping, initiatory experience.

Ozaniec’s reading of tarot is that, “The language of the Tarot is that of the symbol in many forms: numerical, mythical, elemental, zodiacal, alchemical and Hermetic,” and that it’s, “a visual representation of the Western Esoteric Tradition.” This certainly isn’t the first book about tarot that I’ve seen make these observations, however “The Watkins Tarot Handbook” exceeds expectations when it comes to proving its point. Sure, like many books about tarot, you’ll find images of classic tarot cards, but in this book, you’ll also see the Wheel of Correspondences (as produced by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki), Strephon Kaplan Williams model of The Seven Archetypes, a table of Hebrew letters, the Tree of Life, the Psychosynthesis Egg, and so much more. Ozaniec’s version of tarot is a full-on initiation in the Western magical traditions.

“The Watkins Tarot Handbook” by Naomi Ozaniec is an amazing resource for any interested in anything occult. This book teaches you tarot and just so much more.

You can learn more here.

Get your 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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Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle

Today we have a truly special oracle deck to discuss, the “Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle” by Lisa Estabrook. In the oracle’s accompanying guide book Estabrook says, “The ‘Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle’ is a very simple daily self-care, self-empowerment tool that will help support your own spiritual journey and reawaken or strengthen your connection to the earth that supports us all.” Pretty big ask from a “very simple” tool.

I’m happy to say that Estabrook’s oracle does an amazing job creating this tool. The “Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle” is a 44-card featuring Estabrook’s own, beautiful art. Each card has its own information on it. That said, it comes with a 173-page guidebook that explains the deck’s origin and quite poetically take you through some exercises and discussion of plant spirits. Estabrook suggests a single card draw a day as one of the best ways to use the deck and I absolutely agree. I’m quite the fan of the single card draw for most decks and readings.

With its ties to the earth, desire to prompt self-exploration, and of course, lovely art, Lisa Estabrook’s “Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle” is a must own for those looking pursue those interests.

You can learn more here.

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Divination

There are loads of different ways to practice divination. I should know, I profiled several for my Patrons on Patreon. (shameless plug for my Patreon) However, for evidence to this fact you need to look no further than “In Focus: Divination: Your Personal Guide” by Steven Bright. Bright is a full-time tarot reader that has created a tarot deck, oracle deck, and a kipper deck. He’s written a book about tarot and one about deck design. I’m not saying Bright is the only person who could write this type of book, but he’s certainly more than qualified.

This book, “Divination: Your Personal Guide,” offers an amazing variety of information about styles of divination: Lenormand cards, Kipper cards, playing cards, Elder Futhark Runes, Witches’ Runes, casting charms, diving with crystals, reading colors, reading buttons, reading tea leaves, reading flowers, reading shells, the I Ching, and dice divination. Several of these I hadn’t even considered as divination methods! And Bright does an excellent job of providing enough information that you can start experimenting with the types of divinations outlined in the book immediately. “Divination” is helpfully illustrated and includes an instructional poster.

“Divination: Your Personal Guide” by Steven Bright is a wellspring of inspiration for anyone interested in divination.

You can learn more here.

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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 Intuitive Night Goddess Tarot

I need another favorite tarot deck like I need a whole in the head. I wanted to pick a few decks to work with repeatedly in an attempt to improve my overall tarot/oracle reading skills and after AGONIZING over deciding ultimately could only narrow it down to six. SIX IS STILL A LOT! Then comes along the female forward, goddess oriented “Intuitive Night Goddess Tarot” by Linzi Silverman and the count may come up to seven! In case you weren’t aware, seven is EVEN MORE THAN SIX! Sigh…..

Let’s start with the art. I love the vintage collage style art of this deck. This certainly isn’t the first deck to use this art style, “The Enchanted Love Tarot” by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber immediately springs to mind, but it doesn’t make it any less striking in “The Intuitive Night Goddess Tarot.” Beautiful.

It is the design that makes this deck truly stand out! No one card is particularly linked to a specific deity, it deals more in archetypes. The Fool become Potential, The Magician becomes The Witch, The Emperor becomes The Monarch, The Hierophant becomes The Mystic, and more! The Minor Arcana suites are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, however Page, Knight, Queen, and King are replaced with Nymph, Warrior, Queen, and Spirit.

“The Intuitive Night Goddess Tarot” by Linzi Silverman really resonates with me. The art and design truly feel intuitive, just like the name implied it would! This is a fantastic deck for any empowered female identifying person and maybe anyone looking to get in touch with their feminine aspect.

You can learn more here.

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Iconic Tarot Decks

Today we have an AMAZING book to discuss. It’s both #bookporn and #tarotporn. It is a sexy hunk of book titled, “Iconic Tarot Decks: The History, Symbolism and Design of over 50 Decks” by Sarah Bartlett.

One of the amazing, impressive, and sexy things about “Iconic Tarot Decks” is the sheer volume of full color images of tarot cards. Contrary to what you may think from the way things are on the internet, images of tarot cards, including “Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot”, are copyrighted images and not to be used on resale items without permission. I don’t know if it’s the publisher, Bartlett or both who deserve a hearty pat on the back for securing the rights to such a variety of decks, from so many different companies. But from those of us who know, thank you, it is greatly appreciated.

Although not a book about learning to use tarot cards, “Iconic Tarot Decks” opens with a basic overview of how to use tarot decks. It’s a nice, tidy guide that includes a few all-purpose spreads. Bartlett follows with a broad strokes history of tarot cards and decks, exploring the most academically accepted origins of the cards. However, “Iconic Tarot Decks” isn’t about generalized tarot history, but about specific decks.

Bartlett discusses 50 different tarot decks. How did she settle on these 50? I wouldn’t even know how to decide which decks to profile! Is it just me, or would you like to know too? She divides the decks into five categories: influential decks, beginner’s divination decks, art and collector’s decks, esoteric and occult decks, and contemporary decks. Each deck features its unique history as well as where it fits in with regards to the history of tarot. You learn about the art, design, inspiration, and more. And of course, plenty of full-color examples of the cards!

“Iconic Tarot Decks” by Sarah Bartlett is a beautiful artbook meets tarot history. An interesting resource for those who love tarot, and just as wonderful as a coffee table artbook. I sincerely hope to see more books like this!

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.

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