Category Archives: just kicking it

The Illuminated Tarot: Review

Illuminated Tarot: Box, backs of cards, and guidebook.

The Illuminated Tarot (2017; by Caitlin Keegan) is a beautiful 53-card deck “for divination and gameplay,” as the guidebook says. Strictly speaking, it is not a Tarot deck but rather an Oracle deck. However, the card meanings assigned to the Illuminated Tarot includes many of the same interpretations as in the traditional Tarot.

The artwork is fun and fanciful. I could actually see these images being in an adult coloring book, which I hope doesn’t sound like an insult, because it’s not intended to be. These images make me happy and that is why I was drawn to this deck.

The Joker

Getting to the more technical aspects, the suits follow those of a regular deck of playing cards with spades, diamonds, hearts, and clubs. These correspond, in order, to the swords, pentacles, cups, and wands of the Tarot. Like in a regular deck of playing cards, the suits are numbered from 1 to 10 and there is a jack, queen, and king. The 53rd card in the Illuminated Tarot deck is the Joker, also known as the Fool. It is given the number 0.

The interpretations of the Illuminated Tarot only loosely follow the Rider -Waite, with less of an emphasis on astrology and numerology. It might help for a reader to know something about the traditional Tarot to get the most from this deck, but a beginner who trusts their intuition could start reading the Illuminated Tarot right away. Keep in mind that using this deck won’t necessarily help a new reader learn traditional Tarot meanings.

Ten of Swords versus 10 of Spades

For instance, the focus of the Ten of Swords in the Rider-Waite is on endings. The image on the card is of someone lying on the ground who has been stabbed, and in the distant background the sunrise is coming up to represent the dawn of a new day.

But in the Illuminated Tarot, the corresponding 10 of Spades features a beautiful picture of a rooster. The focus is more on the new beginnings than on the endings and the meaning of the card is “waking up.” This 10 of Spades card also corresponds to the Rider-Waite Judgment card.

Ace of Diamonds (The World)

And that is one of the most interesting aspects of this deck—that the Major Arcana is incorporated into the meaning of select cards within the suits. You may have noticed that I always use the World card as the mascot for this website. In the Illuminated Tarot, the Ace of Diamonds is the card that corresponds to the World card, with the meaning of peace, travel, and open mindedness. The guidebook doesn’t mention the idea of new beginnings, money, and practical matters like the traditional Ace of Pentacles Tarot interpretation. But for those who know the Rider-Waite, you can see how the traditional meaning can be applied and expanded here if you wanted to.

The guidebook

The guidebook is quite colorful but minimalist. The opening pages briefly explain the origins of tarot and cartomancy, and provide a few spreads that you can try. As for the card meanings, each card is given three or four keywords listed in brightly-colored block letters. For some people, that may not  be enough, but for my tastes, I love that there is not too much symbolism to distract from my own impressions and intuition.

Like in a regular playing deck, some of the cards in the Illuminated Tarot look the same whether the card is upright or reversed, like in the example of the Joker above. But some cards  look different when reversed. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I wonder why there wasn’t consistency—either all different or all the same.

10 of Diamonds

One example of differences is the 10 of Diamonds that uses a bright yellow color on the top half and a darker blue-green on the bottom half. In some cards, the difference is extremely subtle, like in the Ace of Diamonds shown above (Saturn on top but not on the bottom). And with some, like the 10 of Spades above, there is only one possible choice as to which way is upright. The guidebook doesn’t address reversals and perhaps in cases where there is a difference between top and bottom, a reader using this deck may want to take that into consideration if they want to include a reversal or shadow interpretation.

What I love about the different decks that are available to us all these days is the diversity of ideas they provide. While some stick to tradition, each brings a new perspective in terms of artwork and variations in meaning.

Me and the Ace of Diamonds

Lately, I have become interested in cartomancy and I am in the process of developing interpretations for my own deck. Although I will draw on my knowledge of Tarot and astrology, I want the meanings to be a product of my unique world view. I’m taking my time with that project, so I don’t know when I will be ready to show it to the world. But in the meantime, I have a wealth of riches with the various decks out there to enjoy and use. The Illuminated Tarot is one of those decks and I highly recommend it.


Lend Your Support

Hi, everyone! Did you know that for $1 a month you can greatly help grow this site? If you enjoy my daily Tarot readings and weekly Tarot horoscope, consider  joining me on Patreon as well.

With a pledge of only $1 a month, you get access to both the Saturday and Sunday Tarot readings. These are extended blog posts that only patrons have access to. I talk about the collective energy and give advice on how to ride the wave.

It may not seem like a lot to you, but $1 a month from everybody who visits this blog can help me expand my offerings, upgrade operations, and cover my current expenses running this website and such.

There are 8 different tiers on my Patreon. Most include monthly personal Tarot/Oracle  readings as a benefit for you. But if you just want to pledge $1 for access to the weekend card readings and other exclusive updates, I would so much appreciate it. One dollar a month can go a long way.

Deviant Moon Tarot Review

The Deviant Moon Tarot is highly recognizable deck with quirky, dark, and unique images. It was published in 2013 and the illustrations were done by Patrick Valenza.

In the guidebook, artist Valenza talks about some of the methods he used to design the cards. He says that the clothing worn by the characters on the cards are actually photos of tombstones bent and twisted through the use of computer technology. The buildings seen in the background of many of the cards were created from photos of an abandoned mental hospital using the same techniques. All I can say is wow!

For me, the most striking motif is that the faces of the characters on the cards are distinctly dualistic. This is not discussed in the guidebook, but on most cards, one half of a face is bright and the other side is dark. These two sides represent our actual moon, a celestial body where one side always faces the earth and appears bright when illuminated by the sun, and the other “dark” side always faces away from the earth. My interpretation is that the bright side of the face represents conscious thought and the darker side represents unconscious thought. In addition, as you look at the images, the eye on the bright side of the face is usually wide open and the dark side is closed or half closed as if it is asleep or not fully conscious or aware.

Some cards, however, are exceptions to this rule. One of my favorites is the Seven of Cups, which can be interpreted to represent being overwhelmed by emotion or having a heightened imagination. On this card, the dark side seem so be in full control while the conscious side seems to be dormant.

With that being said, the basic interpretations of the cards line up with the traditional meaning of the Rider-Wait deck, but even in the best of circumstances the images lean more heavily to the shadow side of human experience. One need only to look at the Two of Cups for a perfect example. According the guidebook, the interpretation of the card is love, partnership, and a harmonious union, similar to the traditional Rider-Waite interpretation. However, Valenza names the feminine character Midnight and the masculine figure Death

I do have a couple of criticisms about the deck. One is that the card stock is a little thin for my tastes. I tend to have a heavy hand, but when I shuffle these cards, I’m gentler because I get the impression that they will damage easily.

Also, for such an iconic artistic style as far as the images go, the guidebook seems to be lacking. It’s not perfectly bound but more like a pamphlet, and not in color. The descriptions are the bare minimum—but maybe that’s a good thing. I certainly am able to get a lot out of the images just by looking at them. But if you need a little more direction, you won’t find it here.

Despite these minor complaints, this deck really speaks to me. It helps stretch my consciousness and adds to the depth of my readings. However, I have heard some people raise concerns that this deck is somehow evil or demonic. To that I say, to each his or her own and I can see how this the Deviant Moon Tarot may be too intense for some. But if you are like me and consider working with different Tarot decks  as opportunities to learn more about Source and collective consciousness, then I heartily recommend you give this deck a try.

The Fountain Tarot Review

The Fountain Tarot is a lovely 79-card deck published by Roost Books in 2017. The artist is Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl is the writer, and Andi Todaro is the designer.

The cards fit nicely in my hands, just a little larger than a standard deck of playing cards. The edges of the cards are gilded and the cards shuffle nicely, which is also a plus for me.

The deck is based on the Rider-Waite system, with the Fountain card being the extra one. The Fountain is not numbered but instead has an infinity symbol, which places it in a realm of its own in relationship to the other cards in the deck. According to the guidebook, the Fountain card brings a modern concept to the deck, representing the unlimited knowledge we gain from technology and at the same time a deeper awareness that we are all connected to the same spiritual Source. I think this card is a brilliant addition that attempts to tie the traditional concept of the Tarot to today’s evolved consciousness.

The guidebook is small (half the size of the cards) and just a little more than 100 pages. The explanations of the cards are brief but thorough. I think the guidebook gives just enough information to help someone interpret the images but not so much that a reader is bogged down. There is enough breathing room to add your own intuition and imagination.

The artwork is great. Overall the pictures have a dreamlike quality. There is a lot of light, with some of the images, like on the Justice card, almost looking washed out and vague because of the brightness. One outstanding exception is the Death card, which is dark and at first you don’t really know what you are looking at before you make out the image of a ghostly-looking horse…

All in all, this is a  pleasant deck to work with. These cards remind me of air and light. I feel a sense of openness and freedom as I use them to connect with Spirit.

Vegans, Animals, Unity Consciousness: What Do You Value?

Ranging from vegetarianism, our value systems,  and how inconsistent we can be, somehow I manage to boil it down to a discussion of unity consciousness.  I pull a Tarot card at the end, so please watch it all the way through. Also, like, share, subscribe, and comment.

Are You A People Pleaser?

People pleasing is something many of us do—often because we think we can change how others view us. But can we really change their minds about us? And if so, is that really what we want? Watch my video for my thoughts on the topic and I would also love to hear what you have to say about it.

The Crown Chakra

Book a Chakra Tarot Reading

The crown chakra is an energy center located at the top of the head. The crown chakra resonates with the colors violet and white. The body parts associated with the crown chakra include the head and the brain.

The crown chakra relates to enlightenment, cosmic consciousness, and our connection to Source, God, the Divine, and/or any word that you use to identify Unity Consciousness. Crown chakra qualities include intuitive knowing, faith, your value system, humanitarianism, meditation, spiritual development, selflessness, and universal higher consciousness.

With the other six chakras other than the crown chakra, sometimes there can be imbalances or they can be blocked altogether. However, the crown chakra can only be open or it can be closed.

When the crown chakra is open, you can tap into your inner wisdom and you feel connected with others, your Higher Self, and all that is.

Spiritual and emotional signs that the crown chakra is closed include lack of purpose, close mindedness, bigotry, apathy, and depression.

Physical signs that the crown chakra is closed include diseases of the muscular system, skeletal system, and the skin; chronic exhaustion; sensitivity to light and sound; bone cancer; and multiple sclerosis.

There can be many reasons for having a closed crown chakra. Having a blockage in any of the other chakras is a major reason because of the lack of energy flow. In particular, the heart chakra is possibly the most vital area that must be cleared in order to open the crown chakra. The heart chakra is bridge between the lower three chakras, which are related to our existence on Earth as humans and the top three chakras, which connect us to the spiritual world. It is the heart chakra that allow us to understand the concept of Universal love, and without that understanding, it is nearly impossible to tap into Universal Consciousness. Without this understanding, we see ourselves as isolated individuals who must compete for resources instead of seeing ourselves as abundant, connected beings who are different expressions of the same Source.

There are relatively easy ways to begin to begin to open your crown chakra. But first, understand that you must be aware of your emotional and physical reactions when you feel them in order for these methods to be effective. Be mindful and intentional about your chakra work. Also, make it a point to consistently practice these chakra opening exercises until you feel a change. Even though you will have to reconcile some core issues, once you start doing these simple practices, the deeper meaning of your crown chakra blockage will be revealed to you in a way that will make resolving these issues easier. Remember: Chakra balancing is a work in progress.

Unlike the other chakras, the crown chakra does not have any healing food specific to it. On the contrary, fasting is a way to open the crown chakra. Consult a health care professional and find safe ways to fast that are appropriate for you and in consideration of any health conditions you may have.

Another great way to open the crown chakra is to declutter your home. You’ll be surprised by how clearing your physical space also helps to clear you mind and spirit to allow newness to take its place. Think about the clothing, furniture, kitchen items, and other things that you own but haven’t even looked at or actually touched with your hands for years, maybe decades. Do you really need those things? Keep what you need and donate or discard the things you don’t really use.

With that being said, meditation is probably the most effective way to open the crown chakra. There are so many ways to meditate. Some include focusing on a single word or image. But I find that the main idea would be to declutter the mind and think of nothing, if that is possible. Another way to approach it to be absolutely silent and if thoughts come into your head, notice them, then let them slip away.

Another meditation option is to sit quietly for a few minutes and simply visualize the color violet. Or, you can imagine that a white light from above is coming in at the top of your head and slowly filling your entire body. Meditating while holding crystals, carrying crystals in your pocket or purse as you go about your daily activities, and wearing crystal jewelry are also great ways to balance your chakras. The crown chakra resonates with violet or white crystals such as Selenite, Clear Quartz, Amethyst, and it also resonates with other high vibration crystals such as apophyllite quartz and spirit quartz.

In addition, each chakra vibrates to a specific frequency and resonates with different sounds. Therefore, one way to tap into the sound vibration of the crown chakra is to listen to binaural beats made specifically for that chakra.

Last but not least, incorporate the color violet into your day-to-day life. Wear violet items of clothing, or add violet items to your home décor such as a furniture or curtains.