Marshmallow Marseille – deck interview and first impressions

Before I left for the UK I decided I couldn’t part with Le Tarot Noir and wanted to start learning Marseille style reading in earnest, and of course, as I was searching around the net for info and good resources I stumbled upon this beautiful little deck, the Marshmallow Marseille, and decided I had to have it. My excuses for this purchase are that, unlike the humongous Tarot Noir, this deck is poker sized – exactly the same size as my Dreaming Way Lenormand – and very easy to handle and lay out to explore suit progressions…mostly though it is because it’s pretty and has a warm, inviting feel I don’t get from the aesthetic of ‘true’ Marseille decks.

marshmallow 1

The colours, are, as the name would suggest, a palette of marshmallowee pastels and absolutely beautiful. The card stock is good, not too thick, not too thin, it is easy to riffle shuffle, a bit slippery but nothing ridiculous (looking at you Llewellyn). And it is just so damn cute, without being cutesy, if that makes sense?

marshmallow swords Continue reading “Marshmallow Marseille – deck interview and first impressions”

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First Impressions & Deck Interview: The Isis Oracle by Alana Fairchild and Jimmy Manton – the bones made me do it!

It’s taken me a long time to jump on the Alana Fairchild bandwagon and had you asked me a year ago if I would ever own one of her decks my answer would have probably been a pretty snarky ‘no’. I’ve always loved the artists she is teamed up with, particularly for the Kuan Yin and Sacred Rebel oracles, but whenever I read any samples of her guidebook my eyes would roll…hard.

isis box setYou see, I don’t believe in a Divine Plan, or that the universe loves me unconditionally. I find the universe pretty ambivalent and see chaos everywhere. This idea that “everything happens for a reason” takes me beyond eye rolling into ragey territory because it seems like the sheltered worldview of someone who has benefitted from a number of geographic, ethnic, racial and class privileges. With the people of this world being attacked with chemical weapons, bombed, starved, oppressed, abused and trafficked, it is hard for me to see some grand scheme and work, and if it is, it’s a shitty one I don’t particularly wish to “surrender” to.

So, why the hell am I now sitting here with a brand spanking new Alana Fairchild deck? Well the weirdest yet most honest answer is this: the bones made me do it. I’ve been working on incorporating the skull I found into my meditation and divination practices, both as a memento mori to help me deal with my phobia of death, and as a tangible link to nature and animal spirits. After meditating a few times with the skull I asked it which deck it would like to work with. The Wild Unknown tarot and Animal Spirit Oracle seem like the most obvious fit for the divination aspect, and they have worked well together so far, but I felt I needed something more, a bit deeper and focused specifically on personal spiritual development.

Continue reading “First Impressions & Deck Interview: The Isis Oracle by Alana Fairchild and Jimmy Manton – the bones made me do it!”

Mary El Tarot Interview

This deck. THIS deck, people! It is just amazing. Prepare for some serious gushing because I love the Mary El so much. I’ve had it for about six months now and wouldn’t part with it for love nor money, it is my zombie apocalypse deck. If the shit hit the fan and I could only take one deck with me, this would be it, the imagery is just so evocative and visceral. You will probably tire of reading this word, and I will try not to repeat it too much, but the best way I can find to describe it is raw; it is a burning torch thrust into your sub-conscious and unconscious mind, it slices through every façade you’ve built up and leaves you bare, warts and all. Throw your keywords and tarot books away because this deck is primal, it doesn’t speak in words, it hits you right in the gut with raw emotion.

On that note, I must add that while I connected instantly with the imagery of this deck, I can have a hard time connecting with it as a tarot deck. It isn’t RWS, Thoth or Marseille, you will often find that the guidebook meanings do not have any relation to the established systems and you will rarely see imagery that is familiar; it is in a class of its own. Tacking established meanings onto the cards will, in many instances, leave a huge disconnect with the imagery (this is more true for the Minor Arcana than the Majors), so it can be pretty daunting at first, and you do have to put the work in. For this reason, I find it easier to read with if I just put aside tarot traditions and think of it as a kind of oracle deck. Take a few keywords or concepts from the guidebook then stare into those cards and let your intuition do the rest.

Speaking of the guidebook, I do find it a bit bananas in places, there’s quite a bit of repetition (seriously, if I have to read Magnum Opus one more time) and it feels a bit rushed and hap hazard. There is much mention of Western Esoteric Kabbalah, which I am not really familiar with, so perhaps her deck is intended to be closer to the various meanings of the Sephiroth and their paths in the Tree of Life than any specific tarot system (?). I don’t know if Marie White channelled these messages or was just a bit frenzied with excitement when she wrote them, but an editor would not have gone amiss. This is a very minor quibble though and is of no detriment at all to the deck.

I’ve seen a lot of pictures on the internet where people have removed all the borders and titles from the cards so the images can stand alone, and I can certainly see why; on a number of occasions I’ve felt that the titles just get in the way because I know what I think the card should mean, but I am not looking at a visual representation that supports it, I’m looking at something else entirely. I’m not quite ready to put the cards to the guillotine and corner cutters yet, but I could see myself doing so in future.

As you will see, I got a bit carried away with the interview, these babies are addictive, so I added a few more questions to my regular interview just so I could keep talking to these cards!mary el Continue reading “Mary El Tarot Interview”

Paulina Tarot Interview

I began my tarot journey with the now out of print Mythic Tarot, which was my only deck for several years. Then I bought a Thoth deck, which, at the time as a casual reader, was incredibly intriguing but also very intimidating with its layer upon layer of symbolism. My next deck was the Wild Unknown, and what a game-changer that was! Its imagery was so bold, yet simple, unlike anything I had seen before, the moment I laid eyes on it I knew I had to have it. After a couple more years I discovered the Paulina Tarot by Paulina Cassidy. I consider this one my ‘gateway deck’, after a decade of pretty minimal deck ownership, there was something about buying this one that gave me the collector’s bug, and now I seem to have a wish list my wallet just cannot keep up with.

Receiving a load of decks from a Christmas shopping spree was exiting and overwhelming, where do I start and how do I get to know all of these unfamiliar decks? How do I give them equal time and a fair chance to see if we connect? After googling around a bit, I discovered the idea of deck interview spreads from Little Red Tarot, and since then it has become an integral part of my getting to know new decks. So, without further ado, introducing the Paulina Tarot:

paulina interview Continue reading “Paulina Tarot Interview”