review

Deck Review: Slow Holler

I got this deck around Christmas last year and I’ve put off this review long enough. It’s taken me this long because I haven’t been able to find the right words for what this deck does to me. It finally came to me the other day when I saw someone post it on Reddit: “I have such a very strange, unexplainable reaction to it. It feels like a diary that I don’t want anybody else to know I have.”

*edit* I forgot to mention! When I got my deck the last 7 cards of the cups suit were missing. I contact someone through their website and they got back to me quickly and got the cards in the mail right away. If you have any problems with missing cards, let them know!

Initial Impression

I was quite smitten when I flipped through this deck the first time. It’s got a unique vibe. It’s got presence, a personality. If it was an element it would be earth.

Packaging

It came wrapped with the book in a lovely handkerchief that matches the deck. There was a red piece of yarn tied around it which I’ve since misplaced. The material is kind of rough (to me). I’m sure it would soften up with a wash or two but I wouldn’t want the lovely print to wear off.

 

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nice easy way to contain the deck. really wrinkles the fabric though

 

Cardstock

It shuffles very well but it’s so thin it’s sad. It’s probably about as thin as the Tarot of the Vampyres, but it’s less springy/more bendy. I didn’t think it was possible to be shittier than the Vampyre deck but they somehow managed. Congratulations 😦

My deck took on a bit of a curve after just a week or two of use. I think the price for the deck is too high for the card quality. If the price was lower I’d pick up a backup deck.

Backs

 

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me gusta

 

Art

I love the art! None of it is really something I’d hang on my wall. It’s not that kind of art. But it’s very earthy, sometimes grungy. It says something. This is a collaboration deck involving queers and or southerners, which makes it extra special with different art styles. But the color palette is limited to red, white, black, and gold which ties it all together. It’s very cohesive.

LWB

It’s perfect bound with 191 pages of nice, smooth paper. The cover is a heavier cardstock and both front and back are a flap style so you can unfold them to use as a sort of bookmark.

The text is very “do whatever the fuck you want” friendly. Use reversals, or not. Use your instincts, or not. There’s a nice enough blurb for each card (no thumbnails provided), along with a line or two for reversed meaning.

I’m disappointed that there are no custom spreads that come with it. The back of the book lists contributors and who did what.

Notable

Several Mijors were renamed, as well as all the suits, and court cards which “break from the gender binary”. Cool. I won’t list them all here but they seem to work rather well. I’d prefer they weren’t renamed but hey. What can ya do.

The Nine of Knives is very anxious to me but it is striking and well done. The 10 of Knives looks cool. It works. The Chariot and 6 of Knives are my least favorite. The vehicles bring a modern element which is sort of jarring to me. There are other modern bits here and there in the deck but they’re not nearly as obvious.

 

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favorites on top, leave favorite on the bottom

 

Readability

So this is where it gets tricky. I have a bit of a hard time “getting” many of the images. I have to really stop and think about what I know from the RWS and translate it over. I haven’t been reading with it for a few weeks so I got rusty with it rather quickly. Would not recommend for a newbie.

Quickie Test Reading

I can’t remember the exact question I asked when I laid these cards the other day. I think it was “How do I grieve?”. I didn’t have any positions in mind. I just needed to toss some cards out.

 

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2 of Wands, The Tower, 8 of Cups

 

I’ll quote some bits from the book:
“Breathe new life into a project. Breathe fire. Let yourself be catalyzed, not inhibited, by the past, and you will flourish. Let go of what holds you back, and let the vibrant life inside you surge forward.”

“Embrace change and chaos. Light a match. Let it all burn down. Release attachment. Open to profound clarity. Align yourself with the energy of creative destruction, and welcome the winds of renewal.”

“Allow your mourning to be generative.Turn the ashes of what was into the fertile soil that welcomes what is to come. From your grief, new connections can grow – if you let them.”

I’ll just leave that there.

Final Impression

I really do love this deck. It will always be a top favorite despite the name changes and shitty cardstock. I don’t think it would appeal to most people though.

 

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I edged it. I like how it adds to the dirty earth vibe going on.

 

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Reader Review: Fables Den on Etsy

2017-02-23

I discovered Kimberly of Fables Den last year or so on YouTube and liked her immediately. Maybe it’s because we both like the Dreaming Way tarot. Maybe it’s how genuinely excitable and down-to-earth she is while still being spiritual, or that she has some unique things to say that make her stand out from all the other card slingers out there.

 

She did a little contest on her channel to give away some readings and I won! Of course I didn’t think I’d win so well… I was in love with how her readings looked and they were on sale so I bought the Wonderland reading. A day or two later I found out I won and she offered me a refund for the Wonderland reading, or I could keep the free one for later. I felt like I wanted to keep one for later so we went with that.

(I’ll cover the first reading here, and maybe I’ll do another post later about the 2nd reading. I’ll include some screenshots that might be a little awkward because I don’t want to share everything.) 

This was my first professional reading and what I’d consider my first “real” reading, so I can’t compare it to other paid readings. I’ve gotten a couple little freebies online before but they weren’t too special or memorable. The last one I got was not bad, actually. But you know… kind of a big deal, my first paid tarot reading. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t exactly know what to expect but much less nervous than I felt looking at other people’s shops. Her graphics and outline in each listing are rather informative and really sparked my curiosity!

I got 11 pages total, including a sort of cover page, and a final page with a quote. It was such a beautiful presentation! She also included this bit on the cover page, which was cool:

 

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I was only sad for a moment that she didn’t use the Dreaming Way 😉

 

I purchased the reading on October 29th, 2016 and she delivered the PDF on November 4th. We had exchanged a few messages over a couple days before she started the reading. She was super nice to talk to, understanding and patient with my paid-reading-newbness.

 

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just a little selection on the first card. Isn’t the presentation lovely?

 

The reading for each card is a nice length. Enough to sink your teeth into. Some cards had more to them. And did I mention presentation?

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This is for the 2nd card. As you can see, she goes all out. She goes into character while keeping it relevant to your reading. I don’t feel the word count was wasted using this method.

There is lots more to the PDF of course, and more than one character’s PoV.

This reading really rang true for me. It gave me something to think about (to be fair, EVERYTHING gets me thinking). It was warm, creative, fun to read, and actually helpful. Of course, it put the ball into my court and I think that’s what a good tarot reading should do.

Now… I very rarely get readings from others because I am quite happy to read for myself. I guess I was lured in by how novel her readings looked and I was curious how it would come out. Would I pay again for a reading like this? More importantly, would I pay full price? It’s hard to say. It really was a treat talking to her and getting this fun, unique bit of, I dare say, art? I do like to support indie artists. But, again… I am quite happy reading for myself.

If I ever do buy another reading from anyone, I would go to her first and be quite happy about it.

So… over 9000/10. Fables Den is wonderful and you should certainly check her out!

Deck Review – Quantum Tarot 2.0

This is a deck that I got shortly before moving so it ended up in storage for over a year. I didn’t think I was into it and figured I’d give it away, but I wanted to review it first. In the process of reviewing I kind of fell in love ❤

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yasss mommy likey

Initial Impression

It was so long ago but I remember kind of thinking “well the art is pretty but hard to read”. It wasn’t providing me any clues to go off of intuitively so I never ended up using it. I also loved how sciency and spacy it is.

Packaging

It’s my favorite kind of tarot packaging. A nice, super sturdy box with just enough room to hold the cards and the LWB.

Cardstock

Perfect for shuffling. Thin, as expected from a standard Lo Scarabeo deck, but not too thin.

Backs

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I wholeheartedly approve.

Art

It’s very pretty and soft? ethereal? Maybe a little too soft, in a way because there isn’t much weight to the imagery to anchor the scenes. Does that make sense?

And I’d like to quickly mention that I like the borders.

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upper row favorites: heh. I’m 12 and the ace of wands looks like a wang.
lower row: the Devil here doesn’t do much for me. The rest break the whole spacey vibe of the deck.

LWB

It’s great! I love it. It has a “basic course” which includes a science related alternate name for each card (e.g. 0 The Fool – The Big Bang), a mini traditional tarot description, and a question relevant to the card (e.g. for the Fool: What journey are you ready to embark upon?) and in the next section each card has a longer, science related description. It has English

The next section is called “advanced course” and has a good size paragraph about something sciency that they’ve tried in with the card and expand on the meaning of the card.

There is English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. However English is the only language that includes the “advanced course”.

One last thing worth mentioning is that there are 2 spreads included. They seem all right. They don’t show card positions but that’s all right. I show the results of one of the spreads below.

Notable

The cards are matte, but there is glossy embossing on every card. The frames are all embossed and then there’s always a little extra embossed.

The cards are matte, but there is glossy embossing on every card. The frames are all embossed and then there’s always a little extra embossed. Usually, it’s there to enhance something that’s already there. It sort of acts as the anchoring I spoke of as above. It’s a fairly unique feature as the only other deck I can think of that does this is the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn.

Also notable is there are 2 extra cards. I don’t use extra cards but it’s cool they were included.

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the extra cards: The Phoenix and The Universe. Here I tried to capture the glossy embossing. Lovely, yes?

Readability

So I did one reading with them and feel like I need to play with them a lot to get used to the different sort of imagery. The reading I did I had to lean heavily on the book but it was a great reading.

Quickie Test Reading

I tried out the Relativity Spread. The cards are Space – where are you at the moment? Time – what will change in the near future? Gravity – what is attracting me?, and I left out the last card but it’s Relativity – key to integration.

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Final Impression

I’m glad I decided to review this deck. I think I may end up using it. I do feel like I’ll be using the book as a crutch but I’ll see what happens!

I wouldn’t recommend this for a beginner but if you love science or even just the art, it could be worth grabbing at some point.

mini review – my first deck: the Goddess tarot

I often reminisce on my very first tarot deck. I have a crummy memory so I was never quite sure on which deck was my first, but I’m fairly sure it was this one: the Goddess tarot, art by Kris Walderr published by US Games in 1997.

 

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3 of my “favorite” cards.

 

Fair warning: I do not have a favorable opinion of this deck!

I believe I bought this deck in 1999 at a Target. I was so curious and desperate to get started for tarot and pretty much bought the deck without getting to preview it first. I did not connect with the deck at all. It was quickly set aside and my next deck was given to me around a couple years later.

My main beef with this deck:  while the actual art is nicely executed, the color palette is just not my thing. My secondary beef is the multiple borders. There’s technically four. I think if the art took up the whole card I would be able to stomach the palette a little bit better.

Things I like about this deck: I guess the cardstock. I’ve always liked US Games’ cardstock. Oh, and the backs are pleasant enough.

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An interesting thing to note is that the majors are named after goddesses. This doesn’t do much for me but it is mildly interesting. Something else to note is that the cards are wider than a standard deck.

This deck has spent 99% of its existence in storage and I haven’t missed it at all. The last few years I’ve thought about it and wondered if maybe it would grow on me. I got it back from storage last summer. lolnope! I still don’t like it. I’m ready to give it away and luckily I have someone in mind.

I’m curious about if you’ve had a deck for years and years and years, hoping that you’ll end up liking it…. what happened? Did it grow on you, or did you still not like it?

deck review – Starchild tarot (Akashic)

I’ve really been putting off reviewing this because I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what I want to say, and how, without offending anyone. Benebel Wen just posted a review and  I guess that’s the kick in the pants I needed.

starchild

look at me, trying to be all instagrammy

Cards:

78 non cards with non-traditional art but with traditional tarot structure.

Artist/Author:

Danielle Noel

First Impressions:

“Did I just waste a shit ton of money?!”

Favorite Cards

love

As far as art goes, I have a lot of favorite cards, many more than pictured here (as for meanings, I have maybe only 1 favorite). Just look at these! The artist is fucking brilliant. Her colors and composition are on point. I’d love to have some large prints to keep at my tarot altar. Her art is just so… magical.

Super Favorite Ultimate Awesome OMG Card

LOVE4wands

Be still my heart! There is something about this card that just…. ugh. Lookit. LOOOOK. So gorgeous. So perfect. So striking. Such pretty. Too bad it means jack and shit to me. “Celebration” my ass. I just don’t see it. Do you? Please help!

Least Favorite Cards

nolike

least favorite Sun card ever. Two of crystals: I keep thinking it’s THREE of crystals.

The first card looks like it wasn’t finished. But my main complaint is the box and deck has bits and pieces of art that reeks of a South Western (???) design and it’s just… ugh. It sticks out like a sore thumb in this deck. It doesn’t belong. And I hate south Western Designs. I have hated the aesthetic ever since I was a teeny tiny child and I had a coloring book about Barbie in Santa Fe, I think, and that look was everywhere.

I forgot to photograph the Lovers card. It’s an eyesore compared to the rest of the deck (pretty on it’s own, with no context). It’s almost silly. Slightly almost weird. It feels quite unfinished, like it could have been something.

Disappointing Card

 

9swords

This card depresses me (ha!). Of all the cards to “mess up” as far as meaning/symbology… this one really kind of upsets me. This card is a big deal to me. I always look forward to seeing a new deck’s 9 of Swords. I am disappoint. It was so close to going in the right direction and then… nothing. At least you have a night time setting going on. I’d love to have this as a large print in my bedroom though.

Readability: fuck no/5

If you want to just go completely intuitively… I might give a 1/5 for myself and (as I’ve been going through the deck today I’m actually getting nice sparks of intuition). But if you want to go traditionally, with the book. NO. I have to use the book as a crutch (because I only have like half of the traditional meanings memorized) and it’s a dead fish as far as intuition goes.

I have done many readings with this deck and I plan on using it more in the future, especially if I can kick my intuition back into gear. The readings I’ve done have come out rather nicely despite all my misgivings I have about it. It’s a fair, balanced deck. I always want to use it.

Beginner Friendly: fuuuuuuck no!/5

Read above. And I’ll expand: It’s laughable, really. Look at -any- card and then look at the meaning. The Major Arcana are easier to see meaning in them but even then… ugh. Just UGH. Unless you’re some kind of unearthly intuitive being, do not start with this deck.

Cardstock: sexy yet shitty/5

This deck begs to be held and flipped through. The cardstock is an absolute treat to handle. I love just picking it up, looking at the art, man handling the cards just to feel them.

I have longish fingers, I guess? I can stretch a full octave on the piano without problems. But this deck is huge and beefy, weighty, and just plain hard to riffle shuffle (I refuse to do overhand shuffle with my draw style).

The deck is starting to warp a bit because I can’t flex the cards well at all when I shuffle.

The edges have a matt gold gilding which I don’t think I’ve seen before:

gilded

It’s a really fantastic touch for this deck. I don’t think shiny would have worked. I’d love to see more matt edged decks!

Unfortunately I don’t think the cards will hold up to a lot of use. Almost immediately my 10 of Crystals peeled at the corner. The cardstock is soft, for lack of a better word. It’s almost like it’s a luxury item, sometimes you sit on a shelf and use as a decorative item and occasionally look at.

They don’t clump together, which is nice, and they aren’t very slidy which is super nice.

Art: AMAZING/5

This deck is fucking gorgeous overall. It’s super photogenic (sure to make you popular on Instagram) and it’s just a treat to look at. Many cards can be stared at again and again because they’re so pretty, and have a lot of layers and stuff you won’t notice right away. It took me quite awhile to realize the subtle images in the 5 of Crystals.

Meanings/Symbology: HAHAHAHAHAHA/5

I’ve already complained about this (sorry for the messy review) but… OK so the 2 of Swords does all right with what it’s supposed to mean.

Backs: meh/5

backs

Reversible and pretty but meh. There’s nothing special about them. They’re not bad, just not special.

Book: ewwlol/5

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TONS of information! Majors have mini images.

*puts on bitchy Science/logic hat* I don’t think I’ve seen so much woo and fluffy nonsense crammed into such a small space. Akashic, chakras, Starseeds… really? really?! Actually I said the same thing about the Lumina tarot, but I really mean it with this one.

There are some cool spreads in the book that I’ve been trying to de-woo because I see the potential in them.

*takes off hat* If that kind of stuff is your bag, you’re going to love the book. I may sound like I’m hating above but seriously: the deck specific spreads are fantastic and very worth using, especially with this deck. The information is going to be useful for you.

Box: 110%/5

Y’all know I like my nice, thick, compact boxes. This one holds the deck and book perfectly. Very easy to tip to get the cards out. It could possibly be slightly more compact but I don’t have complaints.

 

Final Thoughts

I’m going to sound like a hater again: I cringed when I saw Sagan’s famous “starstuff” quote in the box and the book. I’m no Sagan expert but the thought of a scientist and agnostic being related to something so unscientific and fluffy gives me the heebie-geebies.

I also feel slightly embarrassed that I own this deck. And I feel like I really shouldn’t have it. It’s almost like… if I was seeking wisdom from the Bible or some other religious text (except that’s like an insult to the Starchild tarot, which is nothing like the Bible). It feels like I’m culturally appropriating. I have never got that feeling from a tarot deck before and I don’t like it.

I’m also turned off by indie artists who come out with a “2nd edition” of a deck. I feel like it’s a money-grab situation. Maybe it really isn’t. But it just looks like it, you know?

Not hating section: I am so incredibly drawn to this deck. The combo of the art and the sexy cardstock takes me somewhere. It still feels like a dead fish but I feel like I can take a journey with it, give it life, make it my own. I desperately want to crawl into this deck and use it as an extension of my, uh… “higher self” or whatever.

I’ve been somewhat following the study group over at the tarot forums, and even posted a couple times. I want to participate more and hopefully learn how to read the deck with little to no symbolic help.

Overall: I’m glad I got this deck. It was not a waste of money. I keep this deck near me at home at all times. I am never letting it go.

The artist is making a Moonchild tarot and if she finishes it I’ll be pre-ordered the fuck out of it.

oracle review: Fallen Angel

It’s no secret that I’m not really into oracle decks. I want to be but there’s just something lacking, y’know? I think that thing may be structure. I like that Tarot has structure.

1

Cards

72 cards

Artist/Author

Nigel Suckling

First Impressions

Ohhh so pretty and gothy! And yet so empty and uninspiring.

Favorite Cards

4

Picking favorite cards is a bit tough. Most of them are rather wonderful to look at. Flauros is cool because of the bird person who looks awesome. Vuall amuses me because it makes me think a Weeping Angel is riding a camel. Valefor amuses me because at first glance I always think it looks like a sex scene. I like Aym because that shadow looks like a cat or dog person. I like Furcas because that old dude reminds me of the Hermit and why not take advice from him?

Least Favorite Cards

OK I can’t really pick any.

Readability: -3/5

Nah bro. The images may be pretty but I get nothing useful out of them. I tried doing the rather neat Solomon’s Seal spread but it just… ugh. It felt so wrong. I think I even had a chuckle about how ridiculous the attempt was. I will attempt a 3 card spread soon and post it.

Beginner Friendly: yes?/5

I mean sure, if you think oracles are for you I think this would be a great first deck. The book is pretty great, I don’t think you can go wrong. My hesitation is mainly because the art rarely reflects what the card is about, and that might be rough for a newb.

Cardstock: 3/5

Rather thin, plasticy but thankfully not shiny, but right amount of bendy/sturdiness and slipperiness. This deck is a delight to shuffle! The riffle poker shuffle, from the sides, the corners… they all work well. Of course I prefer the poker shuffle. I think if you did it by the sides or corners the deck would quickly warp.

Major complaint is the edges started to show damage pretty fast. There’s even a white patch of paper on the back of one of the cards where the print peeled up and off somehow. And a different card has 2 patches on the front of the card. There’s probably more damage I haven’t seen yet and you can tell it’s beat up by looking at the sides of the deck. Not cool, bro.

Art: 4.5/5

The art is awesome. If you’re a regular ’round these parts you know I love me some collagy type stuff. And it appeals to my goff nature. Again, the art doesn’t give me any clue whatsoever to what the card is supposed to be about. That bums me out. It makes me think that Mr Suckling just dug up some old art, fiddled with it, and turned it into a deck instead of actually thinking about symbols, connections, meanings. And that’s fine, I wouldn’t mind doing that myself. But still. Eh.

Backs: 3/5

 

2

The back as art is lovely but as a back? I don’t even care too much that it’s not reversible. I’m just not a huge fan of a proper art image, something that can stand on it’s own, being on the back. That’s just me though.

Book: 5/5

3

The book was rather nice to read! There’s stuff about angels and history of this and that. Very interesting. The layout, look, and feel are all very nice. It’s 64 pages, not a lot but doesn’t leave much me wanting more. As you can see the book is in color. There are some spreads but the only one that interested me is the Solomon’s Knot which I plan on using with Tarot.

Box: 5/5

5

I had to take the stuffing out because it kept trying to eat the cards. They would get knocked around like this if you’re running around with the box in your bag so you may just want to get a pouch for them. Or if you have another deck (in it’s own bag) or a reading cloth you have room for it right in there.

And of course I always prefer boxes like what the Golden tarot and Lumina tarot come in but this one is still nice. Very thick and sturdy, a nice display piece although I’ve been using mine to prop up my laptop for airflow.

Final Thoughts

 

I have been having fun using this deck for occasional daily draws (posted on my IG, as seen to the right). I prop the card up on my keyboard and get to enjoy the art throughout the day. It’s a helluva lot easier and cheaper to do than buy giant prints and hang them all over.

Luckily this deck was cheap,  around $15 on Amazon. I don’t think I would have bought it if it was much more than that.

I don’t regret the purchase and I’m going to try to actually use it for readings because I really want to.

What do you think about this deck? Do you have it? Do you have as many problems with oracles as I do?