Tarot Decks

Introducing The Melanated Classic Tarot!

I feel like I start every single tarot creator interview with the phrase, “I’m so excited…” It’s always true, but today it feels especially accurate, because I am completely chuffed, utterly thrilled, exceedingly delighted, so excited, that I got to pick the brain of a new tarot creator whose work has captured my heart.

Oubria is one half of the vision behind the newly released Melanated Classic Tarot. Produced in collaboration with artist Julia Goolsby of Blaque Penn Comix, the Melanated Classic Tarot reimagines the classic Waite Smith deck with all of its archetypes and characters depicted as people of colour. As the creators say, representation is vital, and especially in matters of powerful, archetypal magic, so I’m very happy to be able to share Oubria’s story below, and to have this awesome deck in my shop!

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Tell us about you! What’s your spiritual story, and what kind of work do you do?

Wow! That’s a big question. My spiritual story started at birth. I’ve always been super sensitive to people’s feelings and moods. I also grew up with a violent and angry father & and an emotionally repressed mom, so I think I learned to read feelings as a barometer at home. I had to know how people were feeling so I would know whether to talk to them or stay out of their way.

And of course getting older and being an outcast, and a black sheep, and the one who made wild choices that people whispered about. If you’re being taught to use your intuition and trust your inner voice, I’ve learned the universe will consistently put you in situations where the only person you can trust in yourself.

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The work I do now is just the work of being myself, and I’ve worked really hard to be able to say something so simple. I am a stay-at-home entrepreneur mom of five; this deck is my first really successful financial endeavor but it’s definitely the whole ten-years-to-become-an-overnight-success sort of thing. Growing up I always thought I would become a poet or fiction writer. My parents thought that was cool but steered me toward teaching so I would be sure to eat. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in creative writing; if you google me right now you’ll find hundreds of little information articles I’ve written for ehow. com and the like. I’ve taught English at the community college level, I’ve taught after school programs, I’ve worked retail, reception, production (my mom was a producer & my dad is a cameraman and my mama was big on nepotism). But the thing I’ve always been best at is listening intently to people, permeating their metaphysical space, reading their feelings and giving sharp but loving advice. It’s like a chiropractor in the spirit- I know what to adjust. I know how to make a soul pop, crack and release. I asked the universe over and over to show me a way to make money doing that one thing, without having to go back to school be a minister or therapist. Eighteen months ago I picked up my first pack of tarot cards, and the store where I bought my first deck hired me to be a reader a couple of months later. Things just took off from there.

How did you come to tarot, and what part does it have in your personal and professional practice?

I came to tarot slowly, with a side eye at first. I was raised black girl, south side of Chicago Christian, so tarot cards and fortune telling and psychics are all spirits from the devil, according to my family. I didn’t even get my first tarot card reading until 2014, when a woman I was in a fb group with put up a 3 card, $5 reading sale. My reading was so positive but scary. It said I would lose everything but that I shouldn’t worry about it because everything I lost would be restored, and it was necessary to shake me free of some toxic ties, and then I would be wealthy and perhaps go into publishing. Just typing that now - it's crazy to realize every word of that reading came true. Except for the “wealthy” part, but honestly I do feel richer than I’ve ever been, but it’s in my spirit, not my wallet. A month later I got another reading from her because I was pregnant with my 4th child unexpectedly, and even though I was grown, married, and working as a salaried teacher on a fellowship, I was scared to tell my mama. I was scared of what people would say. And that reader told me to grow the fuck up! Ha!

When I first started reading cards I started putting tarot-scopes on facebook (I’m a writer, I can’t help it) to practice reading better. I had advertised a bunch of free readings but people stopped taking me up on it so I was just looking for another way to practice. My aunt emailed me reminding me that tarot cards are from the devil and our family doesn’t do this. I told her it felt alright with God to me. God didn’t feel mad at me.

And the only reason I felt strong enough to say that was because I’d been through the hardest year of my life, including being pregnant and homeless in San Francisco with my husband and four children, and no one in either my or my husband’s family stepped in to save us, or offer us a place to live. We got through that all on our own, trusting ourselves and trusting God. So I knew that if I felt called to tarot cards after everything I’d been through, then that’s what the fuck I was supposed to do and I was grown and I didn’t care what anybody said. Tarot cards was a big step in using my own mind and thinking for myself in every way. I’ve read for myself nearly every day since getting my first deck. It’s actually connected a lot of dots for me, concerning what the bible teaches. The tarot is very practical and common sense wisdom, like the book of Proverbs. It also teaches that the most important element in life is a sense of inner value. I had really low self esteem, but the tarot has worked with me to recognize that if I am connected to the source of life, how can I possibly have low self esteem? And the more you realize you are inherently worthy, the more you will be financially worth. The tarot and bible are both practical tools to removing the issues blocking your abundance and pentacles.

How did you arrive at the decision to make your own deck?

My first three decks were Rider Waites - two Radiants and then a borderless. I love the Rider Waite deck because I felt it told a story. I didn’t know what the story was, but those pictures were so… alive. You know I’m a writer, lol. I know when there’s a story afoot. Except nothing I read told the story. They tell the individual meanings of the cards, but I needed the story. I don’t know how I came across this but there’s a website that talks about the astrological and cosmological designations of the cards- for example, two of cups as venus in cancer, five of wands as saturn in leo, etc.

So I put the cards in order according to the way the signs appear. I emptied out a closet in my house and turned into a tarot chamber, and I used pushpins to arrange the entire deck on the wall, as a grid, with the sun signs across the top (not in order but as they appear in the tarot), Aries (Emperor), Leo (Strength), Sagittarius, (Temperance), and then coming down in a row from the major arcana cards were the minor arcana cards, two of wands (Mars in Aries), etc. I was trying to see the story. And all these faces were staring back at me, telling the the story.

And I just felt like I would hear them better if they were black, like me. I just sort of casually mentioned it to my husband and he was like, yo, you should do that. He knew a couple of artists and and messaged them on fb to ask them what they would charge per picture, to just replicate it but make it black. The first dude flaked out but Julie didn’t. Julie is AMAZING. A-MA-ZING.

Melanated Classic Tarot Australia Suit Cards

What was that process like? And what was it like to collaborate with an artist to realize your vision – or was it a shared vision?

The process was shockingly easy. We first asked her to replicate a coloring book page and her drawing skills are just freaking phenomenal. There ain’t nothing Julie can’t draw. After that, I sent her a non-disclosure agreement. After she signed it, I explained the project and negotiated a work/ pay schedule. We started in June 2018 and she finished in January 2019. We worked in batches of ten cards roughly every three weeks. I would send her photos of the original deck and she would send back the melanated version. And we became friends in the process. It’s crazy because we’re both from Chicago and she still lives in Chicago, but I live in California. We have hella mutual friends but we’ve never met face to face. We’ve done this amazing thing and we’ve never met. Isn’t that crazy?!

And wait -- let me say it was easy on my end but not on Julie’s. She worked while going to school, taking care of her daughter and other relatives, deaths in the family, her computer breaking down… but she’s such a positive person and just always came through. She even gave me pep talks! She’s dope. I feel like I said that already but I want to say it again.

The deck shows so much love and homage to the Rider Waite Smith. How did your relationship with that classic deck inform the process of creation?

I feel like I sort of answered that already but, I already felt super drawn to the Rider Waite because other decks are sort of based on it. And then I don’t know what made me look it up but when I found out Pixie was biracial it felt meant to be! Also if you look at the High Priestess in the original Rider Waite, her features look black. That’s a black woman if you ask me. I think Pixie snuck her in.

I feel like more black people would read tarot cards (which is great for spiritual AND entrepreneurial growth) if there was more representation. I love the basics, the fundamentals- because you can build anything you want from a solid foundation. I just really, really, really, really wanted a solid foundation that looked like us.

Melanated Classic Tarot High Priestess Australia

We’re arguably in the beginnings of a very fertile moment in terms of representation of varied identities, bodies, and experiences in tarot, but of course there’s still so far to go before we can say that our decks and vocabularies and spiritualities are decolonized and inclusive. How do you feel your work sits in this moment? Any thoughts on what work still needs to be done, or where this might all go from here?

I feel that our work sits perfectly in this moment, and I think that’s one of the benefits of being psychic actually, is being mystically drawn to where things are most fertile. I think this deck is just the tip of the iceberg. I would love to see somebody draw an Asian Rider Waite, one that represents Latin and Southern Americans, etc. I think there is room for EVERYBODY. In fact someone emailed me and said they were glad to see this deck and there needed to be one for brown people. And I thought, you right, so do it lol. It’s not my responsibility to do that for you. I did this for mine, now you gotta do it for yours. That’s the point. The tarot teaches you to do shit for yourself. The tarot cuts co-dependecy away in the five of pentacles. From there on it’s about standing on your own and marvelling at your own strength. Like the bible says, when I was a child I thought as a child. Once I became an adult, I thought as an adult. I think this is the moment where other races begin to realize nothing is stopping them from doing this and this market is WIIIIIIDE OPEN.

How has working with your own deck (assuming you do!) informed or shifted your own practice, whether for yourself or for clients?

Not really. But it’s made me really happy and it feels like a dream come true. If anything, it makes my readings more clear, because Julie is so good at drawing facial expressions that the cards are more detailed. The emotions really come through, which translates to the reading.

Apart from your own creation, are there any decks you’d want to be stranded with on a desert island? What are your faves?

I love the Rider Waite borderless, and the Isis Oracle, and this weird little amazing deck I got in San Francisco called the Tarot of Personal Experience.

Finally, do you have any advice, guidance or insider tips for working with the Melanated Classic Tarot? Is there any way you would like to see it used or shared, now that it’s out in the world?

My deck has a lot to say. It likes to be asked questions, lots of them. If you see someone holding a cup, say, what’s in that cup? and pull another card. If someone’s holding a sword, say, what are they saying? and pull another card. With wands ask, what’s he/she doing? and pull another card. Ask what the pentacles represent. Ask what the Empress is creating. Ask the High Priestess her secret. Ask what the Emperor is warding off on his left and holding onto with his right. Ask what the Hierophant’s rules are. Ask what will come between the lovers. Ask what the Strength is holding herself back from. Ask, ask, ask.


What better imperative could a tarot reader hope to hear? Ask, ask, ask.

The Melanated Classic Tarot is in stock now right here in the shop!

You can also pick up a copy, find out more about Oubria, and book a reading at her website, or on Instagram, and see more of Julia Goolsby’s Blaque Penn Comix on Instagram.

5 Ways to Bond With Your New Tarot Deck

One of the most common question I get asked is, “How do I connect with my new tarot deck?”

I’m so familiar that feeling - you’re holding in your hands a brand new deck of cards, still pristine in its wrapping, and you can feel how full of promise and potential it is. You want to pour your heart out to it, uncover its secrets, fall in love with it.

You also know that tarot cards have a mythic status, and that there are a lot of stories and rumours around the right way to receive them and the right way to work with them. They have to be given to you. They have to be charged under a full moon.

Cards from the Sasuraibito Tarot

Personally, I don’t go in for a lot of those old tales. Or rather, I think old tales only serve a good purpose if they feel useful to you, here and now. The best way to bond with your tarot deck is the way that feels right to you. This is your tarot story, and you get to decide how it goes!

If you’re looking for some ideas to get you started, here’s a few ways that I’ve bonded with decks of cards over the years. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way, so take what feels good, and leave the rest. Happy reading!


More often than not, the first thing I do when I pick up a new deck of cards is set aside a little quiet time to take a good look at them. Give yourself a moment or five when you won’t be interrupted. Switch off your phone, maybe pick up a notebook and pen if you feel the need to make a note or two. Peel off that wrapper, open the box, and see what you find inside.

You may decide to look through the cards in order, one at a time. You might prefer to first locate your favourite card, or your birth card (check out #2 in this post for how to calculate your birth card). You might decide to dive straight into your favourite suit, or lay out all the Majors side by side.

Take a moment just to be curious about your deck. Which cards grab your attention? Which artwork do you immediately love? Which images do you find confusing, or confronting? Which images are immediately familiar, and which challenge your ideas about what a card might mean?

At this point, you might decide it’s a good time to read your deck’s book, if it comes with one. I love to take a look at a deck creator’s description of their work. Each tarot creator brings a unique sensibility to their creation, and when you’re first meeting a deck, exploring the creator’s writing on their work, if they’ve provided it, is such a great way to get a sense of how the deck might feel and work.

(With that said, don’t forget that you’re going to develop your own relationship with these cards you’ve chosen. The creator can state their intention and offer their ideas about the meanings of the cards, but as you get to know your deck, you’ll make your own associations and develop your own sense of the cards’ meanings. So, don’t feel like you need to take anything as gospel!)

2. Bless, Consecrate, or Charge Your Deck

There are a million and one ways to ritually prepare your deck for use, but here are just a few that I like. All of these methods will be enhanced by bringing a little intention to the process, so I recommend taking quiet time when you won’t be disturbed to cleanse and charge your deck. You may wish to meditate for a few minutes (or longer) before you start so that your mindset is clear and fresh.

Also, throughout the process, talk to your deck! What are you achieving by doing this ritual? What kind of relationship are you hoping to build with your cards? Where do you want your tarot journey to lead you? While you cleanse and charge up your new tarot deck, it’s a great idea to infuse it with these hopes and intentions by speaking them aloud, or simply focusing on them in your mind.

Full Moon Charge

Full moons are potent times of the lunar cycle for taking advantage of peak energy, and many readers also find the moon’s bright light during this phase to have cleansing and clearing vibes. So, you get two for the price of one - your deck is wiped clean of any lingering dull energy, and powered up by the moon’s most intense light.

Check the date and time of the full moon in your location (I use timeanddate.com or the app Full Moon). Before I put my deck out for a moon bath, I like to make sure all of the cards are in order - Majors 0-21, and Minors Ace-King in the order of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles (if your deck is brand new, it might already be in order). Once you’re happy your deck is arranged as you’d like, place it somewhere, like a windowsill, where it will get to bask in the moon’s bright and powerful light.

Bonus tip: You can also use the sun to clear and charge up your deck! On a bright afternoon, let your deck catch some rays with the intention of freshening it up. Be careful, though, not to leave it out for too long - your deck’s print may fade if it is exposed to the sun for long periods.

Dani Costello Unsplash

Image Credit

Clear and Charge with Crystals

Many folks like to use crystals to clear and absorb energy, and also to charge up their tarot cards with a particular intention. Crystals like clear quartz, selenite, and obsidian are great for soaking up old vibes and wiping the energetic slate clean, while some readers like to enhance the intuitive power of their new decks by charging them with intuitive stones like amethyst or labradorite.

Once you’ve selected the stones you’d like to use, arrange them on or around your deck, and let them sit a while. I like to place them on my altar, or to add crystals into a full moon charging ritual. Some readers like to keep a clear quartz or other cleansing stone with their deck when it is stored, too.

Clean and clean with smoke

One of my favourite methods of clearing a tarot deck is to immerse it in sacred smoke. Personally, I like to use incense (I like this one for clearing, and this one for charging with intuitive intention), but some readers prefer sage, palo santo, or other herb or wood bundles (as it turns out, many of these products are over-harvested, to the detriment of their habitats, so do your research and source ethical herb bundles where possible - or even better, grow and dry your own!).

Light your incense (or your chosen smokeable thing), and let its aroma seep into your space. When you’re ready, hold your cards in the smoke as it rises, and envisage it carrying away any stuck or stale energy. Visualise the smoke resetting your cards, and ripening them for receiving your intuitions.


Getting a new tarot deck is a bit like making a new friend. They all have their own qualities and quirks, and part of bonding with your deck is starting to get to know its unique personality. One of the ways I like to say, “Nice to meet you!” to a new tarot deck is an interview spread. I have to thank Beth of Little Red Tarot for bringing this particular interview spread into my life - it’s a good one!

The card positions for this spread are:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

  2. What are your strengths as a deck?

  3. What are your limits as a deck?

  4. What are you here to teach me?

  5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?

  6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?


An interview spread is a great way to break the ice, but one of the best ways to build on that first meeting with your new tarot deck is to do a daily draw. Learning tarot - whether that’s from scratch, or just getting to know a new deck - can be really overwhelming, and a daily draw lets us do just a little each day to slowly build our competence and familiarity.

Personally, I like to pull a card each morning with a view to seeing what I might focus on or be aware of for the day. You might prefer to pull a card over lunch, or before you go to bed - whenever suits you is good! You might like to ask, “What do I need to know about today?” or “What approach or qualities might I try to cultivate today?” or even “What tarot card do you want me to study today?”

You might like to record your daily draws in your tarot journal, your calendar, or on social (you can find my daily tarot Weather Reports on Instagram), and you may like to revisit your notes form time to time to see how your connection with and understanding of your new deck has evolved over time.


So, you’ve looked through your deck, cleansed it, interviewed it, and done a few daily draws. Now what?

Working closely with a deck over months (or even years) can yield such deep relationship and understanding between reader and cards. It’s a beautiful thing! When we’re just starting out, though, that work can seem a little amorphous - like, what are we even meant to do with this tarot deck, now that we have it?

If, like me, you need a little structure for your studies, you might like to knuckle down and do a course of study with your deck. This might be an actual course, delivered online or in person, or it could be a tarot book that you work through by yourself or a with some tarot pals over a period of time.

Here’s my mega list of tarot reading and study suggestions. Happy learning!


Whether you’re into cleansing with crystals, or committing to a class, I hope these suggestions have given you some inspiration for bonding with your new tarot deck. Pretty soon you’ll be the best of friends!

Want more tips for going deep on your tarot journey? Sign up to my newsletter to get more tarot spreads and lessons, as well as the latest on new decks, right in your inbox!

Nature or Nurture? An Interview with Marcella Kroll

Today, we're talking about one of the newest additions to the Two Sides Tarot stable, the beautiful and powerful Nature Nurture oracle deck. 

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If you've been around here for more than a few minutes, you probably know that I'm a big fan of artist and intuitive, Marcella Kroll. "Big fan" probably doesn't quite cover it; maybe over-excited fangirl gets a little closer!

A few years back, Marcella created the iconic Sacred Symbols oracle deck (I talked to her about that deck here), and since then she's been reading cards, changing lives, and working her ass off to raise funds and awareness for several vital environmental and social justice concerns. Marcella is the kind of spiritual leader who walks her talk, always ready to speak up in service of love and justice, and this shines through as much in her divination work as it does in her work as an activist.

Yes, ok, I am fangirling. But look at this beautiful, radiant angel! 

Earlier this year, Marcella created a new oracle deck, Nature Nurture, a sort-of follow up to Sacred Symbols, but very much its own beast. Of course, I wanted to hear all about it, and so Marcella kindly offered her time to tell us the story of how Nature Nurture came to be.

Brace yourself, there are psychic crystal skulls!

Congrats on the publication of your new deck! Could you tell us a little about what the Nature Nurture oracle is and how it works?

The Nature Nurture Oracle is a divination deck featuring animals, nature, and archetypes that might soon be extinct if humanity continues consuming and abusing our resources, as well as forgetting where we come from.

So the cards have a dual purpose. While one might get a personal reading and benefit from the messages, the subjects painted in the cards will also be given some recognition and healing as well.

I've heard that you had an unusual champion for the creation of this deck! Could you tell us a little about how the Nature Nurture oracle deck came to be, and what the process of creation was like?

In the spring of 2016 I received a psychic hit (aka message) informing me that I would create another deck. I had no idea at the time how it would happen. So I just let go of the idea since it wasn't something I had been planning. Also since I was having some health challenges that needed to be addressed, it hadn't become a priority.

That summer I was psychically pulled to a metaphysical shop in Los Angeles (where I live). It felt like I was energetically summoned to go to this place, even though I had no intention of going there that day. When I arrived I was greeted by an ancient crystal skull 💀 named Einstein. He was there giving readings with his guardian Carolyn.

In the reading they informed that I was to not give up on my creation because it would help contribute to the Earth's healing. It was powerful to say, but it took me another 6 months to get to work. After a gruelling few months of getting my health on track, getting sober, and becoming heavily involved in organising raising funds for a couple of key political movements I crashed.

Over the course of January and February 2017 I hand drew all of the cards, wrote the booklet meanings, and taught myself photoshop to graphically lay them out and design them. To get them printed I applied for a loan through Kiva.org which is a fantastic non-profit that allows others to support small business and creators all over the world. Through that generosity I have been able to print the first edition and get them out into the world. A magical and humbling experience.

Nature Nurture Oracle Australia

Your previous deck, Sacred Symbols, is very much a favourite here at Two Sides Tarot! How would you say your art and your ideas have evolved between Sacred Symbols and this new deck?

Well for one, I'm not homeless. Sacred Symbols happened without intention really. I was homeless and bouncing around trying to figure out my purpose. I never imagined it would be something that would completely change my world. Part of creating that deck was to get these symbols that I would see repeatedly in my psychic readings out of my brain and onto paper.

I knew it was some kind of language that needed to be translated but wasn't sure how or why. Also because with the growing revival of the mystical and the current fashion trends of all things witchy, I felt it was important to offer some kind of educational aspect to the symbols and those connecting to them. The booklet is very simple, but I wanted to include a source of imagery. So folks knew what they were connecting to on a more conscious level.

Has working with Nature Nurture influenced or changed your personal spiritual practice, or your work with clients? If so, what has it brought to the table?

I have found that the Nature Nurture deck has become a staple in my readings with clients and my daily practice. It commands me to give it my full attention. Not in a bossy way, but just in a "please respect this energy message" way.

It allows me to connect in a way with clients and they connect with the cards in a more relaxed way. Most folks can recognize the imagery and have an instant sense of how to work with the energy. Allowing them to stay present moment and get the information they really need for their growth and evolution.

How would you recommend that readers work with the Nature Nurture oracle? Any pro tips?

Take your time, court it, or dive right in. I would say connect however the hell you want. Honestly I'm not a big traditionalist when it comes to divination or anything for that matter. I mean I'm self taught and don't play by rules. So do what works for you. Yes by all means read the booklet but find your own connection, and meanings if that resonates more. After all you are the interpreter.

The only other advice I would offer would be: Respect the cards, Respect your practice, Respect the space that comes with offering insight, and Respect yourself.


Now that is some good advice!

You can find out more about Marcella at her website, or follow her on Instagram

Purchase the beautiful Nature Nurture oracle from Marcella (US only), or from right here at Two Sides Tarot (worldwide shipping available). 

Making Friends with the Light Grey Cosmos Tarot

A new deck in town is always an exciting thing, and maybe I’m crazy, but the Light Grey Cosmos Tarot & Oracle Deck had me extra excited. If you’ve had a glimpse of this deck online, you’ll know that the production is lux and the art show-stopping. Not only that, but in addition to the standard 78-card tarot deck, it also includes a bonus 22-card oracle deck. Effectively, it’s two decks in one. A hard proposition to resist for those of us who like our cards a little… extra!

Shop the Light Grey Cosmos Tarot & Oracle Deck here!


Cosmos is the second collaborative tarot project from the masterminds at Light Grey Art Lab (you can find the first Light Grey Tarot here). Like the first deck, each card in Cosmos is the work of a different artist, bringing together 100 artists from around the world to riff on tarot and astrology in this unique and beautiful deck.

I don’t know how they managed it, but like the original Light Grey Tarot, Cosmos is simultaneously diverse and cohesive, aesthetically speaking. It’s an amazing feat of fortune and coordination to have one hundred artists – not necessarily versed in tarot – create one hundred individual artworks that come together to make a singular working deck. Honestly, it’s kind of remarkable!

Oracle Cards from the Light Grey Cosmos Tarot & Oracle

The other feat of unification that the Light Grey Cosmos deck achieves is its parallel exploration of tarot, mythology and astrology. Each card has a celestial attribution, bringing together traditional tarot meanings and the symbolic and mythological significance of constellations, planets, and other astral phenomena. Although, to say the tarot associations are traditional is not strictly correct; some of the cards read like their Rider Waite Smith equivalents, but many have been taken in unique directions. Cosmos is definitely kind of deck that rewards study, so get those tarot journals out!

When I look at a new deck, I like to check out how it deals with sexuality and gender, usually by looking at the Ten of Cups, the Two of Cups, and the Ten of Pentacles, and The Lovers. Interestingly, each of these cards depicts a woman either alone or with an animal (The Lovers, which is associated in this deck with the sign of Cancer, shows a woman with an abstract, crab-like creature).

When it comes to racial diversity, there are cards that depict people of colour (to name a few, The Sun, The Star, and the Five of Earth). The art definitely errs on the side of fantastical, so there are also a lot of magical blue people, for example. Cosmos’ depiction of people of colour is not overly realistic, but then, there isn’t much realism at all in this strange, celestial deck.

Interestingly, a goodly proportion of the cards depict non-human figures, landscapes, or symbolic objects. For that reason, Cosmos will definitely appeal to readers who prefer their decks to place less emphasis on mundane human images, or who like their art well steeped in fantasy.

Since this deck very much marches to the beat of its own drum, it’s fortunate that it comes with a pretty detailed book. There are also keywords printed on each card, along with the card name and associated constellation, which you can utilize or ignore at will.

So, I’ve been taking my time getting to know this deck (a lot of which has been spent just oohing and ahhing over the lush gold foiled edges and the gorgeous imagery). After a while, though, it’s time to stop looking and start reading! For the purposes of this deck interview, I’ve excluded the oracle cards. I’ll give them their own review and interview at a later date.


Keywords: Consequences of Arrogance. Vanity and Pride.

The Queen of Fire tells the story of Cassiopeia, and her daughter, Andromeda, women punished for their pride by the sea god, Poseidon. While the story of Cassiopeia warns of the potential pitfalls of pride (or perhaps of cranky gods who’d rather keep women in their places), the accompanying booklet says that really, this card is about Andromeda rising above her trials and breaking free.

Freedom is something the Light Grey Cosmos Tarot has in spades! Traditional tarot structures and elemental associations are all up for grabs here, and this deck makes no apologies for it. This deck captures all that dark stuff – pride, revenge, subjugation – but also brings a liberated spirit to the reading table.


Keywords: Subconscious. Indecision. Critique. Sensitivity.

I’m not surprised to see The Moon come up, because this deck can be pretty weird! From the imagery to the keywords to the astral phenomena, Cosmos follows its own lead and resists any assumptions you might want to impose upon it (there’s that free thinking again!). Obviously, this uniqueness and weirdness is a great strength!

When it comes to working with The Moon, we know the best tools we have are intuition and creativity. It’s fair to assume that Cosmos is in its element when the reader approaches with these tools in hand.

3. WHAT ARE YOUR LIMITS AS A DECK? 10 of Water (Corona Borealis)

Keywords: Triumph After Sacrifice. New Beginnings.

Cosmos associates the Ten of Water with the story of Ariadne, who, after being abandoned by her lover, Theseus, finds redemption and a new beginning when she is wooed by Dionysus (it’s worth noting that while the artwork on this card depicts a woman with two leopard-like cats so is not overly heteronormative, the myth that the card is associated with obviously is, so your mileage in that regard may vary!).

So, what do we make of this as a limitation? It would seem Cosmos is not overly concerned with tidy endings, or clean-cut tales of redemption. Don’t expect any coddling here! This deck is complex, and maybe even a little cool, so until you’ve learned to speak its language, reading with it is not going to be a soothing experience. Who doesn’t love a challenge, though?

4. WHAT ARE YOU HERE TO TEACH ME? Three of Air (Hercules)

Keywords: Great Effort. Trial.

Personally, I love this take on the Three of Air. Unlike the traditional meaning of this card (pain, heartbreak), Cosmos makes the Three of Air about proving yourself through strength and endurance. The scene on the card depicts Hercules’ eleventh labour, and demonstrates that we often have to weather many storms in order to get to where we want to go.

Cosmos is obviously here to toughen us up! Or to remind us of how resilient we actually are. I’m already finding that the mixture of tarot, astrology, and mythology in this deck is forcing me to flex my reading muscles, and that’s evidently part of Cosmos’ design. This deck is here to push us as readers, which can only be a good thing!


Keywords: Seeing the Big Picture. Gaining Perspective.

The King of Water is associated with Camelopardalis, the giraffe constellation, and is associated with the Qilin, giraffe-like creatures from Chinese mythology. This King is all about taking an aerial view of things, stepping back and seeing the big picture.

That definitely feels like a good strategy for reading with a deck that’s so ambitious in scope! The best way to work with Cosmos is to step away from narrow assumptions about traditional card meanings, and instead to allow elemental, mythological, and astrological associations to coalesce into something bigger and more complex.


Keywords: Incubation. Pregnancy.

The Two of Fire tells the story of the Roman goddess of the hearth, Fornax, who was honoured with the festival of Fornicalia to ensure that the year’s grain would be properly baked. Buns in the oven, anyone? I hope we’re all using birth control!

It seems Cosmos is so slick it might even get you laid, but it’s probably more likely that working with this deck will lead to some cool creative breakthroughs. There’s so much richness to delve into here that fruitful inspirations are bound to bloom. Personally, I’m excited to delve into this deck’s depths and get those fiery, creative ideas incubating!


Phew! It's been a long one today, but there's just so much in this rich and beautiful deck. Cosmos is definitely a deck that rewards close study, so I'm looking forward to spending more time with it and discovering all of its quirks and secrets!

The Light Grey Cosmos Tarot & Oracle deck is, of course, in the shop now and ready to ship! You can pick up your own copy right here.

Introducing the Minimalist Oracle: An Interview with Rachel Lieberman

You might have noticed things have been a little quiet over here on the blog - and by a little quiet, I mean, yikes, I haven't posted since November. What's up with that? Well, I'd always rather save a post until I have something truly epic to share, and while that might not have been the case for the past couple of months, I definitely have something epic for you today! 

I'm always on the lookout for new, independently published tarot and oracle decks that exemplify beautiful design and interesting, original ideas, so naturally when I came upon the Minimalist Oracle, I knew I had to have it! As is usually the way when I find a gorgeous new indie deck, I get a copy for myself, and a truckload for the shop, too. 

What better way to get to know a new oracle deck than to chat to its creator? Today, we're joined by mystical creative person, Rachel Lieberman (clearly "mystical creative person" is the best descriptor of any artist I've interviewed so far!), who's here to tell us a bit about marrying up minimalist design and divination for deep soul work!

Welcome, Rachel! Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and oracle/tarot reader and human person.

Hi! Thank you so much for having me, Marianne, and for supporting what I have created. Let’s see – I live in Portland, Oregon, where I was born and grew up, though I’ve traveled and lived in lots of different parts of the USA and world. I have a very “normal” non-creative corporate day job as a Project Manager at a large translation company. 

I live a sort of double life as a corporate employee and a mystical creative person, which I love. I am really inspired by aesthetically beautiful objects that also hold wisdom and meaning, so it would make sense that I would be drawn to tarot and oracle decks.

I actually knew absolutely nothing about tarot or divination or the mystical world until about two years ago when some unexpected life events introduced me to some unseen things I didn’t know existed. I wanted to make sense of what I was experiencing, so I turned to tools like tarot to help me process. This journey for me has turned out to be about self empowerment, self love, and some very painful but rewarding deep soul work, and the tarot was a very important guide for me.

Tell us a little about your creation, the Minimalist Oracle. Where did the inspiration for this deck first come from? What was the process of creating the deck like?

I knew I wanted to create this about a year and a half ago, but I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how I would possibly translate the vision inside into something physical. By January of last year, the inner whisper to do it had turned into a scream, and I knew I needed to drop everything and make it happen, so I pretty much did literally that. Last minute I took a week off from my job, and spent the whole week shut in my apartment formulating what this might look like. I’ve always been attracted to minimalist art. I also loved tarot and oracle decks but wasn’t seeing something that I felt really reflected my aesthetic. So, I figured I would create it. That week I only accomplished a fraction of what would be the final deck, but at that point I knew I couldn’t stop. The art I put in the deck is a combination intuition and precise calculation. I would typically sit down and let myself go wild with the color, shape, etc. Then I would carefully edit it until I felt that the emotion I wanted to convey was distilled to the most simple and powerful form possible.

It took almost exactly a year to finish creating it, printing it, and launching it, and a lot of edits and changes took place along the way, but I made it happen! It’s exciting to do something completely new.

Backtracking a little bit, could you tell us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your deck? What does your art practice look like, day-to-day?

To be honest, when I set out to create this, I really didn’t consider myself an artist. I’ve always felt the desire to create, but as an adult I didn’t make it a priority. In a way I think I had a fear and judgment of that impulse in myself, which actually has made this process even more powerful, so I’m thankful for it. Two years ago, I randomly found myself at a point in my life where I had a lot of solitude and space from the rest of the world. I started asking myself the big questions – what do I NEED to do with my life? The answer was – create something visual. So, I started painting, drawing, making paper cut outs, everything I could, just for the sheer joy of it. I had no direction or idea what I was doing, but I came home every night and worked a little bit. Eventually I found that I was getting better at taking what was in my head and finding some way to make it real.

Even now, I don’t create art everyday. Sometimes I don’t create anything for months at a time, though I think that is changing. I make sure to leave the space in my life for it, and when I feel the visceral need, I go for it. However, everyday I consume images through tumblr, instagram, blogs, pinterest. There is something inside of me that feels hungry for it, so I take a little time everyday to “feed” myself. This inspiration helps refine, expand, and stimulate my aesthetic sensibilities.

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what role (if any) does reading cards have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art - both making the deck and reading with it - in this setting influenced and shaped your personal journey?

This deck is, in many ways, based on my own personal journey. The cards I chose to create were themes or feelings I experienced in my own life as I decided to start overcoming fear, limited beliefs, and old patterns. Creating the deck actually helped me define and gain perspective on how I saw both myself and the world, which was really beneficial. In a way, tarot and oracle decks are an organization system for the most chaotic thing in the world – the human growth journey, in all its messy glory. To see my journey in a more objective way was helpful.

Holding my own physical deck for the first time when I printed a test copy was such a magical feeling. Then, I worked with the deck everyday on my own for months before finalizing it and printing it to be released to others. I wanted to make sure that every card’s message was clear and expressed exactly what I wanted to say. Creating this deck was a huge victory for me – it made me feel powerful, free, and confident. It has changed the way I view myself and the way I operate in the world. I’m so glad I get to share it with others but my own desire to make it and use it was really my motivation.

Because we at Two Sides Tarot can never resist a good deck recommendation, what are the tarot or oracle decks that you love to read with? Are there any decks that have been a big influence on the Minimalist Oracle?

The Osho Zen Tarot was my first deck and I would say it was my biggest inspiration for the Minimalist Oracle. It’s a quirky, playful deck with a lot of personality, and I love that about it, though I rarely use it anymore. All of the independently published decks are my favorite now – I met fellow Portlander and tarot deck creator Coleman Stevenson of The Dark Exact during this process, and I love her everything she creates, including her deck The Dark Exact Tarot. Right now I am loving Rachel Howe’s Small Spells Tarot, Spirit Speak’s Iris oracle deck, and the After Tarot.

Finally, how would you like to see the Minimalist Oracle used? Any pro tips for working with it?

I really wanted this deck to have a friendly, loving, but direct personality. It will tell you the truth, but in a thoughtful way. So, I hope that the owners of this deck develop a relationship with it as a companion. It’s a deck that can be used everyday, since it helps connect with emotions, and those are constantly changing. It’s also a great addition to tarot spreads, partially because the clean lines go nicely with almost any aesthetic, which was my intention.

I designed the packaging specifically so that it could withstand being thrown in my bag everyday and come along – it travels well. I bring mine with me everyday to work and draw a card or two for inspiration that day, or use it as a journaling aid. For me, personal growth is at its best when its practices are integrated into our day to day lives – not as something that is limited to any one time or place. Use this deck to turn anywhere into a sacred space for you to connect with yourself!


You can find out more about Rachel at her website, and I'm so happy to say that the Minimalist Oracle is in stock now at Two Sides Tarot

Thoughts? Questions for Rachel? Reflections on these beautiful cards? Leave us a note in the comments or come and say hi on Twitter!

Introducing The Holly Simple Tarot: An Interview with Holly Simple

Today on the blog, I'm super excited to roll out the red carpet for artist, animator, and tarot creator, Holly Simple.

The Holly Simple Tarot has just landed in the Two Sides Tarot shop, and I can't even tell you how stoked I am to have it in stock! This deck blends freakiness and simplicity and a gorgeous pastel palette in the best possible way, and Holly's take on traditional tarot ideas and symbolism has challenged and delighted me at every turn. Read on to learn more about Holly's art and spiritual practice, and about the creation of this unique deck - and to see one of her beyond cool animations! 

Welcome, Holly! Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and tarot reader and human person.

Hi Marianne - Thank you so much for asking me to join you in your wonderful world! My art is an extension of me. My creativity started at a young age as form of escape into fantasy. I have always been creative in nature, therefore ALWAYS producing work. I am a Brooklyn, NY based cartoonist, illustrator, animator and maker. My daily sketchbooks over the years are of utmost inspiration and help me to adapt my pieces to my current mood.

After self publishing several indie comics and zines, I took that form of expression and combined it with my personal spiritual and emotional condition - this resulted in my "emo digital sketch blog" itshollysimple.tumblr.com - here I was able to turn my sketchbook images into animations which helped emote the truest emotions I was experiencing during any given time in my life.

Congrats on the publication of your new deck, the Holly Simple Tarot! Where did the inspiration for this deck first come from? What was the process of creating the deck like?

THANK YOU! I am living in elation right now... This deck has been a yearlong project and finally having the deck physically in hand feels like I have birthed a child! I am SUPER connected to this deck and very proud of the final result :)

The inspiration for this deck happened instantly after my VERY FIRST TAROT READING about a year and half ago to the day... I was struck with awe at how the cards spoke to me and brought clarity to my innermost fears, dreams, etc. The deck used was The Wild Unknown, and the artwork on the cards was just stunning. As a fellow illustrator I dove into this project. It was certainly an "AHA" moment. Like, "DUH I HAVE TO DO THIS!"

I hit the ground running researching each card's meaning and history and kept a live diary and sketchbook. This helped me create my cards' imagery in a very personal way. I turned these pages into a guidebook and something to share with others. I believe it allows others to understand my creative process. Each page is dedicated to a card so it truly acts as a guide for those learning tarot.

Backtracking a little bit, could you tell us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your deck? What does your art practice look like, day-to-day?

Art and creation have been a part of my life since birth! I was always creating weirdness. My art is NOT conventional. I am inspired by my truth - and so far it has been a roller coaster of beautiful growing HIGHS and deep, dark, painful LOWS. It is the dark that really motivates me and inspires me. I like to combine the feeling of pain and hurt with colorful joyous color and poppy visuals. For example, a bloody hand spewing out the colors of the rainbow. I can always tap into that place, because I have been there. Now in the light, I see it as an opportunity to show others that beauty can come from these places if you put in the work and BELIEVE you are taken care of by the universe :)

My art studio is in my apartment - my boyfriend can attest that it is an ever-growing space lol. I tend to let my work take over sometimes but because I am a visual person it is alllllll part of the process. Living amongst my studio allows me to dapple with it each day. I am always working on something. Be it penciling or inking comics or illustrations, coloring with acrylics or watercolor, coloring digitally, or using clay to mold wearable jewelry pieces.

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what role (if any) does tarot have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art - both making the deck and reading with it - in this setting influenced and shaped your personal journey?

I do have a daily personal spiritual practice. Tarot allows me to enhance this practice by shedding more awareness on my most subconscious thoughts. I like to use an oracle deck to pull a daily card of reflection, and use tarot when I am in a place of uncertainty. I prefer doing readings for others, because I like the idea of being helpful to others and of service to the universe.

Using my own deck is BEYOND a spiritual experience. I am so connected to it and feel very confident in its energy. It is a beautiful thing to be able to share it with others through readings and now through its availability to the public! I am a super novice reader, but have always been connected to something, so look forward to growing and learning with the practice.

Because we at Two Sides Tarot can never resist a good deck recommendation, what are the tarot or oracle decks that you love to read with? Are there any decks that have been a big influence on the Holly Simple Tarot?

The classic Rider Waite deck was the only deck I allowed myself to handle during my creative process. I wanted no outside influences artistically. However, through social media, I stumbled upon some STUNNING decks and amazing artists. My top two are Circo Tarot's use of soft color and Tarot Del Fuego's bold traditional tattoo-like images (OMG obsessed).

Finally, how would you like to see the Holly Simple Tarot used? Any pro tips for working with it?

There are no particular spreads, ways, or suggestions for tarot that I feel work best for using my deck. I believe it is intuitive and that this gift is within all of us. Personally I like to throw a quick 3 card PAST PRESENT FUTURE reading but as a novice I am the one looking for suggestions and pro tips on how to further my study :) Lately I have been working with the Celtic cross spread - My deck's artwork and visual story telling really help me when doing readings, it is very clear what the card is saying. I believe beginners will find my deck helpful in that way :)

I look forward to hearing about your and other readers' experiences with my deck! YAY!


You can find the Holly Simple Tarot and Guidebook right here at Two Sides Tarot! Find out more about Holly's work at her website or tumblr, and catch her on Instagram or Twitter.

Tarot Goes Galactic! An Interview with Tarot in Space! Creator Laura Douglass

Today on the blog, we've got a visitor from outer space! Animator and artist Laura Douglass comes to us from another dimension via Savannah, GA, to talk about her forthcoming tarot deck, Tarot in Space. You can support the creation of this geeky awesome deck by sharing and backing Laura's Indiegogo campain. Now, from the interstellar traveller herself!

UPDATE: I'm so happy to say that Laura's crowdfunding campaign was a success, and Tarot in Space is now out in the world. Happily, it's also in stock here at Two Sides Tarot! You can pick up your copy in the shop

Hi Laura! Tell us a bit about yourself - as an artist, a tarot reader and creator, a human person, etc.

Hello! I’m a student of animation with an interest in spirituality and teaching. My primary goal is to empower and inspire people, to raise them to their highest vibrational level. I hope to accomplish this through accessible and fun art, animation, and writing. Humor and story telling are my favorite tools to use, people may remember stories well but they remember funny stories even better! I hope to attract people to meditation, deep thought, and raised awareness through characters and stories.

Creating a tarot deck from scratch is no mean undertaking - how did you find yourself inspired to create the Tarot in Space deck? What has the process of making the art and creating the deck been like so far?

My good friend and mentor Dame Darcy created her own Mermaid Tarot Deck in just 3 weeks so I thought, hey, can’t be that hard? Well here I am one year later eating those bitter, bitter words. Darcy is a maniac in the best of ways, because, holy hierophants! I can’t even imagine having done this in 3 weeks. It might have been easier if I didn’t have to take three 3 month long breaks over the year in order to focus on classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). As for process, well I basically replaced my blood with caffeine on my off days and chained myself to a table in my favorite local cafe, Foxy Loxy for hours at a time. It’s all kind of a blur.

Looking at the deck itself, what can we expect to see from the Tarot in Space deck? 

Alright here we go. This is Rider-Waite-Smith meets Futurama meets the Jetsons meets She-Ra meets Hitchhiker’s Guide meets Steven Universe with a heavy sprinkling of my own brand of stardust. The main difference is that you’ll see recurring characters with names throughout this deck. Characters that you’ll get to know in depth and explore in different ways the more you use the deck. They bring a whole other level of story and meaning to the cards, when you’re connected to the character in the card you feel the emotion of the card and the subtleties more. This is why I’m writing up a pretty extensive booklet that goes along with the deck. So many stories to tell!

What kind of experience do you hope readers might have when working with the Tarot in Space deck? Any pro tips or advice to offer to users of this deck?

This deck wants to show you things, to help you look at your life through a different lens. Every card is eager to speak with you and has something to share. Though there is a good helping of mystery in the deck it really is an open door, simply open up to it and allow tradition to go out the window for a moment and you can explore so many new things! Pro tip (I do this with every new deck I get, honestly) look through the deck and find the card that really hits you hard. That one card that speaks to you. This is going to be your card. Whenever you are representing yourself in a reading find this card, it’s your compass. It’s you and what you have learned and what you will learn. It’s your soul card! And don’t worry, soul cards can always change over time as you change.

How can we help Tarot in Space come to life?

Ah yes, the call to action! Alright, so, as you now know I am a poor college student with two part time jobs and still no money (there’s this weird adult thing called rent and bills and I’m not sure I’m okay with it). Printing and shipping these puppies is going to get expensive. Like, thousands of packs of Ramen expensive. So I’m running the campaign in order to give everyone a chance to get a deck at base cost. No profit, no nothing. I’m literally just covering the cost of the deck and shipping it out to everyone who pre-orders! Any left over money (from people who donate but don’t get a full deck) will be spent on a small stock of decks that I will sell after the campaign ends for $42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything). I never drew this to make money, I just really want everyone to enjoy it. I would give it away if I could afford to haha! Maybe someday I will :)

If you can’t buy a deck please do share the campaign with everyone you can. The more people who see it the more I can afford to purchase! I would so appreciate Facebook shares, twitter, Tumblr, whatever you can do to get the word out would mean a world of good for the deck <3


Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura! You can find out more about Laura's work at her website, YoutubeInstagram, and Tumblr.

Good news! Tarot is Space made it into print and is now available right here at Two Sides Tarot. Grab your copy here

Making Friends with the Golden Thread Tarot

Major warm fuzzies is probably the only way to describe how pleased I was to pick up a copy of Tina Gong's Golden Thread Tarot earlier this week. I've been playing with the accompanying app for a while now, and the physical deck has been on my personal and professional wish list for what feels like eons. What can I say, I'm a sucker for gold foiling!

After so much anticipation, I'm happy to say that this gorgeous shiny thing more than lives up to my great expectations. The design is beautiful, and I love that it brings such a clean, modern, golden vibe to the traditional Rider Waite Smith deck. I love the stylised figures, the strong lines, and the goldness. Did I mention the goldness? The card stock could be a little thicker for my taste, but the foiling really makes up the lushness quotient and this lighter stock does shuffle like a dream. Sigh. People, it's love! 

A new deck means introductions are required, which means, of course, a deck interview! Let's see what the Golden Thread Tarot has to say for itself, shall we? This deck interview spread is, as ever, from Little Red Tarot

Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? VIII Strength

To put it simply, the Golden Thread Tarot has abundant chill! This deck is poised, powerful, and not one to lose its cool, no matter the seriousness of the question. When I see the Strength card, I think of safe containers, calm places where rages and confusions can exhaust themselves without doing any damage, a steady hand to guide a stumbling seeker through the dark. It seems this deck is ready to hold safe and sacred space for any and all manner of inquiries.

What are your strengths as a deck? Ace of Pentacles

More than anything, the Ace of Pentacles says this deck's strengths lie in how grounded it is. Maybe it's all the gold, but the Golden Thread Tarot is great for earthing elusive and vague inquiries, taking the wispy and ephemeral and turning it into something comprehensible and concrete. 

I also associate the suit of Pentacles with the practical, making-ish aspects of creative work, and y'all know creativity is one of my favourite topics to read on. With the Ace of this productive suit landing here as a strength, it seems this deck will also be good for tapping into creative potential and supporting the process of getting projects off the ground. Excellent news!

What are your limits as a deck? Five of Cups

This deck really loves to focus on the powerful, transformative stuff, perhaps to the point of being a little over-serious! This is the right place to come for healing and shadow work, as well as those big creative projects, but it's probably not the right deck to ask pithy, playful questions. Ask it where your lost car keys are and it'll probably tell you that you always lose things because of your dysfunctional childhood. Be ready for it to go straight to the heavy stuff!

What are you here to teach me? Five of Swords

Speaking of heavy stuff, this deck is super keen to confront and explore shadows, to get to the root of wounds and disappointments, to help us overcome limiting blocks and habits. I often see the Five of Swords as being related to ego, to a need to assert or receive validation of the superficial self at the expense of true growth. When it comes to that sort of behaviour (and we're all guilty, from time to time!), the Golden Thread Tarot is going to call us all out. It may not always feel comfortable, but grappling with these challenging aspects of the self will prove to be invaluable. 

How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? Eight of Wands

Dive in, don't wait! We've already seen that this deck isn't one to beat around the bush, and the Eight of Wands confirms that the best way to work with it is to plunge right in. Get straight to the tricky questions! Embrace spiritual and creative dilemmas. Ask the true question, the one that rises up before your conscious mind can edit it for politeness and safety. Get to it!

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Nine of Cups

Oooh! Who doesn't love to see the wish fulfilment card appear as the potential outcome? All that confronting Five of Swords work promises to pay off, if we're diligent with it. When the Nine of Cups appears, all we need to do is set an intention. What result do you want from this working relationship? It seems the Golden Thread Tarot is ready and willing to help you get there!

Ethereal Visions: Explorations in Tarot and Art Nouveau with Matt Hughes

If there's one thing I like as much as discovering new and interesting tarot decks, it's having tarot artists come and visit me on the blog and talk about their work, so today, I'm pretty stoked!

Artist Matt Hughes is undertaking to create the lush, Art Nouveau inspired Ethereal Visions Tarot, which looks - if I do say so myself - delicious

This deck is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and with just a week of the campaign to go, Matt is stopping by to share a little about his art practice, Art Nouveau, and how the tarot deck came about.

Hi Matt! Before we talk tarot, could you tell us a little bit about your artistic background and your work?

I hold a BFA but am a self-taught fine artist. For the past few decades I have been exploring various mediums and techniques focusing mainly on the work of artists from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Their methods for conveying the human form and emotion are fascinating and I feel this time period has showcased some of the most provocative exploration of the subject to date. I first began researching this time period using mixed mediums such as watercolor with colored pencil. My first art book from 2001 showcased this technique of mixed media. Then I began to explore traditional Oil painting techniques and focused on the works of artists such as John Singer Sargent, Herbert Draper and John William Waterhouse. This period of my research culminated into my second art book that came out in 2014. For the past few years I have been focused on refining my technique and have returned to mixed mediums in an effort to practice the methods used during the Art Nouveau movement of Europe. I feel every step that I have taken in the past has led me to this style and I am enjoying the pursuit!

Tell us about Art Nouveau - what is it about this unique style and philosophy that has captured your imagination?

The Art Nouveau movement was spawned from a need to express beauty to all walks of life in a way that moved art from the gallery into the home. Their approach of “art is beauty and beauty is art” is an important message for today’s world. From a personal artistic endeavor, I see their work ethic, craftsmanship, and approach to the limitations of the printing medium of that area to be an inspiration. In today’s digital world it has become far too easy for an artist to take the quick approach to art (especially those practicing Art Nouveau). The majority of Art Nouveau work that I see today is approached as novelty or a “disposable” form of art. Some artists do produce their work by hand but then bring the line work into the computer to colorize it.

If one were to look at the original works of the Art Nouveau artists of the past one would see mistakes, mistakes that make that piece of art personal and real. We have lost that to a degree. The approach to Art Nouveau today has become a sort of puzzle game in which commonly recognized elements of that movement (circles, arch ways, flowers, macaroni hair) are incorporated into standard poses in an effort to create Art Nouveau. I feel it is important for artists to recognize, much like the Symbolism movement or the Pre-Raphaelite movement, that these elements were used with purpose for the piece. For example – the archway behind most of Alphonse Mucha’s figures represents the Female or the Divine. The wings or feathers so common in Mucha’s work represented enlightenment or spiritual connection. Then add to this the basic elements of design used in Art Nouveau (mainly the 3 to 5 ratio and the desire to convey nature’s balanced perfection in all aspects) and you can quickly see that Art Nouveau is far more than a simple seated figure covered in cloth sitting in front of an archway. It can be that if done correctly but it also has so much more potential that I am still in the process of learning. This is why I am so devoted to studying Art Nouveau.

How did you happen upon the notion to bring together tarot and Art Nouveau, and how have these two art forms informed and fed off each other during this creative process?

The catalyst for this project was my wife, Hope. For years she has been asking me to produce a tarot deck for her that was more artistic and original than what she was finding currently available. I listened but felt I was not ready to approach such a task as a full 78 card deck until I was more comfortable with a chosen technique. Then last year I began working more with inks and found a technique that I wanted to explore further. I tried a few tarot cards in this style and received a great response so I decided to explore it further with this Kickstarter campaign. The symbolism in the tarot cards lends itself perfectly to Art Nouveau. This is a journey for myself as well since I was unfamiliar with tarot cards prior to this campaign. Every card that I approach has to be researched and developed so that I stay as true as possible to the cards as the community understands them. The meanings of each are very helpful when developing the concepts. Thankfully my wife is helping with this exploration and is teaching me the meanings as we go.

Looking at the deck itself, what can we expect to see from the Ethereal Visions Tarot?

The ETHEREAL VISIONS TAROT DECK will be a full 78 card deck based off of the Rider-Waite deck and style. With my experience in the publishing industry I knew I wanted to do something more unique than a “print on demand” approach with the deck. Therefore, the cards will be high quality in every way – upgraded card stock with premium “snap” when shuffling, easy size for handling, larger text for readability, and finally gold foil stamping as opposed to gold ink or prism-paper. To be honest, finding a printer capable of handling this deck was a challenge in itself. Many printers wouldn’t even quote the job! But it was essential to me to produce a deck that I can be proud of years from now – not just in regards to the art but also the quality of the product.

The process for producing each card was originally a challenge but has now become second nature. Each card begins with a concept sketch that I then send to a small private group I have put together – an advisory board if you will. This group of tarot card enthusiasts give me pointers and catch any elements that are off or missing. Then I enlarge the sketch and begin work on the refined line drawing. Next I transfer the line drawing to the illustration board via carbon paper. Next comes the application of color with soft pastels and ink. Once that stage is complete I apply the 18 karat gold leafing to the design. Finally, I scan in the original, color correct it, clean up any issues and hand select out the gold leafing areas (this will be needed by the printer). Then I share with the community with my figures crossed!

I have been asked if this project will continue regardless of the success of the Kickstarter. Unfortunately, if the Kickstarter is unsuccessful I will have to move on to other projects. The time involved in such a project would not be possible if unfunded.


On that note, if Art Nouveau is up your alley, please do consider backing this project before Monday, 1st August, and helping to bring this beautiful deck into the world!

You can also find out more about Matt and his work at his website.

A Visit from the Moon Angels: Getting to Know the Malakh Halevanah Cards

Every now and then, as I’m racing around this giant web of deliciousness that we call the internet, I stumble upon someone makes my brain go all, “WOAH. Hold up!” Interesting voices, interesting projects, diverse creators, badass babes… these are all things that grab my attention, and it’s safe to say that Rebekah Erev and her work are all of the above!

I came across Rebekah via a seriously awesome interview in Beth’s column over at Autostraddle (seriously, go read it!). Not only is Rebekah forging a path for inclusive spirituality as a Hebrew priestess and working her ass off as an artist and business owner, she has also created a beautiful and original tool for spiritual work, the Moon Angels/Malakh Halevanah card deck. Be still, my beating heart!

I’m so happy to say that Rebekah’s Moon Angels deck is now available in the Two Sides Tarot shop. As a thoughtful, beautiful, original, and practical tool for reflection and divination, it’s just the kind of thing I most love to champion and to share with my people – i.e., you!

Today on the blog, Rebekah is stopping by to tell us a little about her work and to share some ideas for working with the Moon Angels/Malakh Halevanah cards.

Before we start, Rebekah, tell us a little about yourself!

I’m a queer, Jewish, Hebrew Priestess and feminist artist. I work in a variety of materials and world including: object-making, ritual, performance and the written word. After giving a stab at teaching in the public schools I turned my life around and decided to pursue my calling as an artist and priestess. I currently make my home in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’m enrolled in a DIY MFA program that meets in libraries. (Tag line: I applied and I accepted myself.) I feel really lucky to live such a creative life.

In January 2015 I self-published the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck and book, a modern day spiritual tool, born of my interest in providing creative resources to shift cultural healing towards the expression of liberation in all its complexities. In 2013, I was ordained through the Kohenet Institute as a Hebrew Priestess. Under this title I officiate life cycle events including marrying people, doing ceremony for new born babies and mikvah (Jewish ritual immersion in water). I offer spiritual counselling including readings with my deck and public ritual.

What was your motivation for creating the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah cards?

My purpose in creating this deck was to make an accessible tool for creative inspiration and spiritual access. I think a lot of us in the modern world have looked to art as a divine inspiration where religion has failed us. For me, I need an easy, simple access into spirituality but it also needs to be substantial and speak genuinely to me. That’s what I hope this deck will be for people. I’ve drawn on the wisdom of my cultural background as a Jew and Hebrew priestess. Growing up my family was very assimilated. Art and writing have always been my personal, private access into the mysterious creative energies in the world. As an adult, integrating all of this has been an essential part of my life’s work. The deck was my first attempt at sharing that integration.

How do you suggest readers might work with the Moon Angels cards?

I always suggest people use the deck intuitively in ways that feel right for them. I’ve had people buy the deck and frame it and hang it on the wall. That’s lovely! I’ve also heard some gorgeous interpretations of the numbers and images that I could have never imagined. That’s how the deck becomes really personalized and takes on a life of its own.

One of my favourite ways to use the deck is to ask it a question if I’m undecided. So I’ll ask: What will be the outcome if I choose option #1? And then, What will be the outcome if I choose option #2? I’ll pick a card for each of the options and then reflect. Sometimes the answers can be quite revealing. Sometimes I get the message that either option is great. Like Oprah says, “There are no mistakes.” Phew!

Another great way to use the deck is to pull one in the morning to reference throughout your day. I always start off my day picking a card, meditating on it and placing it on my altar. I love seeing how it shows up or gives me lessons throughout the day. On my website I also give suggestions for how to use the cards with the moon’s turning. I find in general, the cards have been a reminder to look at the moon more frequently. With a greater awareness of the moon’s cycle, I get more aligned with my own emotional states.

It’s been this life-changing lesson of embracing all of my feelings. The cards are inspired by a teaching in Judaism that when you have a feeling, it’s an angel visiting. I’m forever coming back to this non-patriarchal embrace of feelings. I see the recognition and embrace of feelings as vulnerable. I truly believe this vulnerability is a source of strength and something we can lean back in. That’s the feminist agenda I want to get behind.

Rebekah also offers suggestions for working with the cards in sync with the cycles of the moon -

"On the new moon: Reflect on the past moon cycle. What are things you would like to let go of? Pick a card to elucidate what needs release. Sit with that. Take a moment to reflect on what you would like to bring in and focus on in the coming moon cycle, as the moon becomes bigger. What do you want to grow bigger in your life? What do you want to get started on? Pick a card for that intention. On the full moon: What big dreams do you have? What would you like to manifest? What needs to be closed in order for something else to begin? Pick a card to guide that intention. Make a wish! Put the card under your pillow. This is a turning point, a chance to move things in a new direction. However you use the cards, they were made to open up the sweetness of the moon’s turning. Their sometimes-audacious learning isn’t meant to obscure the mystery of life but instead enliven its complexity in your heart, and move you closer to its most authentic desires.

On the full moon: What big dreams do you have? What would you like to manifest? What needs to be closed in order for something else to begin? Pick a card to guide that intention. Make a wish! Put the card under your pillow. This is a turning point, a chance to move things in a new direction.

However you use the cards, they were made to open up the sweetness of the moon’s turning. Their sometimes-audacious learning isn’t meant to obscure the mystery of life but instead enliven its complexity in your heart, and move you closer to its most authentic desires."

Thanks so much for stopping by, Rebekah, and sharing a little about the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck!


You can find more of Rebekah's work at her website, where readers in the US can also pick up a copy of the Moon Angel / Malakh Halevanah deck, and on Instagram and TwitterThe deck is also, happily, available from yours truly, here. I ship everywhere, and shipping within Australia is free! 

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My Five Desert Island Tarot Decks

If you spend a little time in the tarot community on youtube, you may already be familiar with the gauntlet that Kelly Bear recently threw down before those of us with healthy (i.e., large and ever-growing) tarot collections. Kelly challenged her viewers to name the five decks they would use if they could only work with five decks for one year.

Although I don't have youtube channel, I just couldn't resist answering the question. You may notice, though, that although I said "recently" above, the date on that video is actually March 24th. This lil' post has been languishing in my drafts for that long because this question is TOUGH, y'all! The struggle is real. 

I'm no stranger to tarot deck overwhelm. I have a big collection, and even though my working decks only form a small proportion of that collection, I often feel like my attention is spread too thinly. This is particularly true now that I have decks in my shop, as I try to give a little airtime to all the tarot and oracle decks I carry in the store. Of course, having the means to build a large collection of tarot decks is hardly something to complain about, and I am gratefully that I'm able to pursue my passion in this way. Sometimes, though, all these deck options can feel like a double-edged sword.

Periodically, I think about using a single deck for all my work for one month... and then I break out in a cold sweat and try to pretend I never had the thought. Different decks serve different purposes, and each deck brings its own unique sensibility to a reading. Not to mention, at different phases of one's life - even different seasons - some decks feel more resonant than others. Decks that I thought essential to my tarot practice two years ago now don't speak to me at all. Decks that I thought would never ring my bell (like the Sakki Sakki Tarot) are now at the top of my reading rotation. 

Having said all of that,  it's a hypothetical question, so calm the heck down! But it does seem valuable to ask the question - what is essential to me in a tarot deck? Even if it's just at this moment that the answer resonates. What do I need out of a deck? And out of a group of decks, what sensibilities and styles would I want to capture? 

Ok, quit stalling. If I were going into tropical exile for a while, which decks would I choose to take with me?


1. The Spirit Speak by Mary Elizabeth Evans

Regular readers won't be surprised to see the Spirit Speak tarot at the top of my list. It's one of my favourites - deeply intuitive, deceptively simple, supportive, clever, clear to read with, and its images have a kind of bendable quality that really encourages personal interpretations. Something about the stark, symbolic style of the deck allows me, as a reader, to be more receptive. I like having those blanks to intuitively fill in!

(By the by, the pictured second edition of the Spirit Speak Tarot is on the way out, but Beth over at Little Red Tarot still has some copies in stock!)

2. Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot

It wouldn't be a desert island exile without the mermaids! Once again, if you're a regular around these parts, you'll know how I feel about Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot. It sticks quite closely to the symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith, but with sailors and mermaids and hot, seaside babes of indeterminate genders. It reminds me of the riot grrrl zines I loved as a teenager, so fresh and raw and beautiful. If any of that makes it sound like it's not a practical deck to work with, don't be fooled - these mermaids read well! And hey, if anyone is going to help me get back to civilisation (and the rest of my tarot collection), it'll be these seasoned sailors.

3. The Sakki Sakki Tarot by Monica Clio Sakki

I mentioned above that the Sakki Sakki Tarot was a slow grower for me. When I first became aware of it a few years back I was immediately certain it wasn't for me, but when our paths crossed more recently, something about it just clicked. Perhaps it's the emphasis on creative practice (this deck includes an additional trump, The Artist), which is increasingly what I use tarot for in my own life, or perhaps my taste has just lightened up, but I love this playful, colourful, and sometimes-abstract tarot deck. It has a kind and slightly silly vibe, and always gives supportive and practical readings. Definitely essential for lightening the mood when one's desert island exile is getting one down!

4. The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans

At this point, The Wild Unknown Tarot doesn't require much of an introduction. It's one of my workhorse decks, ready to take on any and all types of queries, treading a perfect balance between the practical and the esoteric. I use it for clients and for myself, and thus far haven't read for anyone who didn't respond to its nature-inspired images. Somehow, The Wild Unknown never seems to run out of juice! Handy if we're spending a year together, trapped on an island.

5. The Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi and Kwon Shina

The Dreaming Way Tarot is an old favourite of mine. In fact, it was one of the first decks I bought back when I started getting serious about tarot, and unlike some of the decks I've worked with over the years, the shine has never worn off. Like The Wild Unknown, it's a workhorse deck that reads well under practically all circumstances. Perhaps there won't be wifi on my desert island so I may not be doing many client readings, but this is one of the decks I use most frequently when reading professionally because it's very accessible, even to the casual user. And don't get me started on the outfits! With this as my inspiration, I'll be carving out a fine silhouette in my Ariel-style sail canvas island attire.

I ummed and ahhed over this list for weeks, knowing that whatever five decks I decided upon would be subject to change at a moment's notice! Who knows what five decks I'd deem essential in a week, a month, year?

For now, though, these are my picks. What are your five desert island tarot decks? I'd love to know! As ever, leave me a comment below or come and give me the lowdown on Twitter.

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Exploring Sacred Symbols: An Interview with Marcella Kroll

Marcella Kroll's Sacred Symbols oracle deck only recently popped onto my radar, but as soon as I saw it, it was as though a lightning bolt had struck some deep, dark part of my brain. The cards are deceptively simple, and the symbols they depict are so resonant, it's evident from only a glance how powerful they are! Diving in to the cards is for another day, though - a full review to come. Today, we're going back to the beginning and chatting to their creator, Marcella Kroll, about her work with the deck and beyond! 

Marcella Kroll Sacred Symbols

Photo by Diana Zalucky, for the Modern Mystics Project.

Hi Marcella, thanks so much for stopping by! By now, I think we know that you’re here because I’ve fallen head over heels in love with your Sacred Symbols oracle deck, but before we talk about that, could you tell us a little about yourself, your background, and what sort of work you do?

Hey! Thank you so much, I’m so happy you dig them. My full-time profession is my Spiritual Healing Practice. I’m a professional Empathic Medium, Metaphysical teacher, host of the podcast Saved by the Spell, and Artist. 

 I’d love to know, what’s the story of the Sacred Symbols deck – where did the inspiration come from, what is your intention for it, and what was your process of bringing it into being? 

Over the years, I have kept sketch pads, and journals of random symbols that I have encountered during sessions I have had personally, and have given. Several years back I attempted to create a tarot deck. It was so much work and kept running into blocks when trying to draw or paint. It never flowed. After a series of gypsy caravan style, moving all of my belongings across Southern California, the Southwest, and Northern California I found myself back in Los Angeles. When I finally stood still long enough I just started painting these symbols in my notebooks.

The process of bringing it into being was certainly a channeled one. Once I started drawing and painting I didn’t stop. I should also mention I didn’t have a computer or tablet at the time, just my iPhone 3. So I did all my editing in apps. Yes apps. HA! From start to finish of writing the booklet, it took a total of 40 days to complete. Then with the help of a generous backer and graphic design friend the first pressing was created.

Once the cards were printed it was important to me to really give them a personal touch. So with each pressing I create a grid with crystals, sacred objects, and other tools with the cards in the center. On the coinciding New or Full Moon I charge the cards within this sacred space, reiki charge, anoint, and smudge each deck with the highest intention of their purpose. 

How does your own oracle deck fit into the broader context of the work you do? Do you integrate the deck into any of the services you offer, whether readings, or your work with ceremony, shamanism, healing circles, teaching, your podcast, and so on? 

I use this oracle deck more than I ever imagined, and not just because I created it. In combination with Tarot, in workshops, healing circles, personal ritual, and daily reflection. I feel like they continue to shift and change how I use them weekly. 

Backtracking a little, could you share with us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your deck?

I am a high school drop out. I was fortunate to grow up in a city (Providence, RI) where the arts were encouraged and supported. Immediately ushering me into a professional (i.e.: getting paid) artistic career. My early twenties I was professionally represented and selling illustrations, and silkscreened posters by commission. I did some painting but my style was heavy on the illustrative side. I’ve never played by the rules of how you are supposed to create or go about having a career. I guess that’s how the cards came to being too. By just following my gut and going for it when my psychic channel opened me up to do it. 

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what roles do tarot and oracles have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art – both making the deck and reading with it – influenced and shaped your personal spiritual and creative journeys? 

For the first 27 years of my life, these two worlds (the psychic and the creative) were completely separate. I never imagined my spiritual work becoming ya know, my work. So marrying the two has been a feat in and of itself. They were different aspects of myself. Often the creative representing my Shadow, and the Spiritual repping my Light. To bring the two together in this way has shifted the idea of separatism on my path, and continuing to challenge my former beliefs that they couldn’t coexist. It’s often challenging but at the same time I thoroughly enjoy. I feel that it’s another aspect that I’m learning about to help others have the same kind of understanding of all their sides, to help find fulfilment in this lifetime.

Apart from your own inspired creation, are there any other decks you love to work with? Have they been an influence on your own deck creation process?

I currently love working with the Golden Dawn Tarot. Other cards I find influential and fascinating are the Medicine Cards, Thoth deck, Sacred Rebels, Tarot Nefetari, the Greenwood Tarot, and on and on and on…I could keep going really. 

 Finally, do you have any advice, guidance, or insider tips for working with the Sacred Symbols oracle? 

Treat the cards well and they will treat you well too. It’s really an energetic tool and relationship that can grow alongside of you. Also don’t be afraid to go outside the meaning of the booklet inside. The book of meanings is brief for this reason. So you can develop your own personal system. Also, allow yourself to have fun with them. 


As well as being the mastermind behind the Sacred Symbols deck, Marcella is an artist and spiritual healer, with an impressive resume that ranges from mediumship to shamanism, reiki to curanderismo. You can find out more about Marcella at her website, or follow her on instagram

Making Friends with The Fountain Tarot

If you follow me on social media, you'll know that over the past couple of weeks I've been kinda losing my shizz over The Fountain Tarot. Yes, I know, I'm really very late to this party. Many of you good people have been singing the praise of this beautiful deck since it came out a couple of years ago. Although I've often looked longingly at images of it online, it's only recently that I decided to pick up a copy for myself. 

Just look at it! So lush and gorgeous. Every card feels like a refreshing spring rain, inviting you to step inside and dip yourself in its secrets. From the shiny, metallic box, to the beautiful, geometric card backs, to each thoughtfully rendered painting, The Fountain Tarot has seduced me hook, line, and sinker. Seduce is the right word for it, because this deck seems to insist, "Play with me! Touch me! Ask me a question!" 

Although it might have been keen to get started, for some reason I was over-awed by its gorgeousness and, as I write this, haven't even shuffled it yet! I've thumbed through, card by card, picking out favourites and meeting new faces, but now I think it's time to get serious. It's time to shuffle and draw, as is tradition, for a deck interview. Thanks go, as ever, to Beth for putting me onto this spread. Shall we?

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? XV The Devil

Clearly, this deck pulls no punches. Its most important characteristic is that it can bring the seeker face to face with the darkest and most challenging corners of their psyche. It isn't here for small talk! Instead, we're getting straight into the nitty-gritty, into exploring the shadow, casting off old identities, exorcising - or maybe even entertaining - demons. Alright, Fountain Tarot, you're on.

2. What are your strengths as a deck? Ace of Coins

Fortunately, although this deck talks a big, scary game, it is also strongly grounded. Its strengths lie in taking on our shadows, traumas, and repressions, and answering them with solid, practical advice and approaches. When we work with it, we're stepping out from the darkness into the sunlight, where rich and abundant life flourishes. Although these cards might push us out of our comfort zones, coming straight out of the gate with The Devil, they ultimately want to support us on our journeys, to help us lay solid foundations so we can blossom. 

3. What are your limits as a deck? VI The Lovers

I rarely interpret The Lovers as being about actual love, but I think that rings true in this instance. The Fountain Tarot - at least in my hands - has zero interest in reading about romantic relationships, except as they might relate to the intense, Devil-inspired shadow work we're apparently doing. Is your ex going to get back together with you? Don't ask the Fountain Tarot, it has bigger fish to fry! Ask instead, "Why am I fixated on getting attention from someone who doesn't want to be with me?" That's more The Fountain's pace!

4. What are you here to teach me? Seven of Cups

Oooh I love this card, and this beautiful, dreamy lady floating in space! The Fountain Tarot is here to help us throw off the veil of illusion, to get past distraction and self-deception, and see the truth. Again, The Devil feels like the pulse beneath every card in this reading! Appearances have no cache here. These cards are going deep!

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? Seven of Swords

In recent times, the Seven of Swords has become one of my favourite cards in the deck. The reason for that warrants an entire blog post of its own (which is totally in the post, by the way), but for now, I'll just say that for me, this card represents the Trickster, and in my tarot practice, there is no more important archetype. In fact, the Trickster informs so many of the ways I positively relate to my own psyche.

The abridged version: in my view, the Trickster embodies the function of the tarot reader. That is, the authority of the reader acts as a kind of foil for the seeker's uncertainty, which enables the seeker to access knowledge and awareness from within themselves that was previously not conscious or accepted, and thus, reclaim their own power. This is the play of smoke and mirrors that makes up my life as a tarot reader, and I'm so happy to see that The Fountain Tarot is on board with it! When working with this deck, we're all encouraged to get to know our inner Tricksters, to be playful with ourselves and those we read for. That lightness and tricksiness in fact brings us closer to serious revelation!

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Nine of Coins 

Another one of my favourite cards in the deck, and so beautifully depicted in this particular deck. Again, we follow dark and challenging concepts with grounding, warmth, and practicality. The Fountain Tarot says that working together might require feats of trickery and deep diving into the psyche, but ultimately, it leads to greater stability, confidence, grace, and self-sufficiency.  After all that confronting work, we can hold our heads high! 


If it is possible, I'm even more in love with the Fountain Tarot after doing my first reading with it! Could it get any better? Now that they've been shuffled up and properly introduced, you can expect to see more of this beautiful deck in my daily Weather reports, and here on the blog.

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Making Friends with the Vessel Oracle Deck

I am a huge fan of Mary Elizabeth Evans' Spirit Speak Tarot, so it comes as no surprise that her new oracle deck, Vessel, was very highly anticipated around here! After seeing sneaky peeks of it on instagram for weeks before its release, I am so pleased to have this baby in my hot little hands. Now that I've had a little time to get to know it, I thought I'd share a bit of a tour around this deck, so you can see it for yourself.

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago I spoke to Mary about this new creation and she gave such in-depth and thoughtful insights into her work - a must read

I've said before that I'm not crazy about oracle decks (tarot structure nerd, hello!) but honestly, that is beginning to shift. There used to be a few exceptions to the rule, but now, I'm using a whole variety of oracle decks more and more. When reading for myself, I use them almost exclusively these days - what's that about, I wonder? I think I have to credit the amazing creators working in this space for that shift - there really is an oracle deck out there now for every approach and aesthetic taste! Vessel is definitely a deck after my own heart. 


The first thing that bears a mention is the sturdy and sweet packaging. This box seems tough enough to survive all manner of handbag misadventures! The cards come in a very structurally sound gatefold box with a magnetic closure - a very nice touch! Nice touches are really the name of the game with this deck, as we find inside, the box is lined with Mary's heart illustrations, a detail that makes the whole package so delicious and pleasing to the eye.

The deck itself is comprised of thirty-five cards, and comes with a little white book on glossy paper with short meanings for each card. Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I really like that the cards are not numbered. Maybe it's my tarot structure nerd busting in and trying to take meaning from everything, but I often find the numbers on oracle cards distracting if they aren't meaningful! Here, there are no numbers to get in the way, just a word or phrase, and Mary's evocative and strange illustrations. Fear not, the book is arranged alphabetically, so even without numbers it's easy to look up the card in front of you. 


Getting into the deck itself, it's interesting to see the contrast between this deck and its predecessor. The Spirit Speak Tarot can be quite stark (which is one of the things I like about it), but Vessel is all warm pinks and love hearts. For my 80s and 90s babes, you could say the whole thing has a bit of a Weetzie Bat feel to it! It also brings to mind that other 90s cultural icon, the heart-shaped box, because this deck encourages us to think about the range of emotions that our hearts can hold and work through. As the creator herself says,

The idea is that our hearts are like vessels that contain our emotions and feelings. Looking at it that way makes me feel less consumed by one feeling because there is space for them all. Some feelings or emotions just need to be acknowledged or worked through and call for our energy.

Vessel reminds us that our emotional bodies are the stage for this rich aspect of life. By working with this deck, we can come to know our hearts more deeply, to heal their wounds, and open ourselves up to the variety of experiences available to us. It's a sweet and comforting idea, but one that runs deep. This is some serious healing business!

In terms of the subject matter of the cards, there are some straight-up warm and fuzzies, like Support, Love, and It Gets Better, while other cards run the gamut from what I would think of as more neutral concepts, like Choice, Make, and Freedom. Others take us into more challenging territory, with Fear, Anxiety, Defeat.

It's interesting to me, though, that the cards I consider to be positive, neutral, or challenging, might be rather different for someone else. What makes this deck so powerful is that while the emotions it describes are universal, our individual experience of them will be utterly unique. As a good card deck should, these simple concepts can be read in myriad ways, and each card offers many layers of potential interpretation, ready to be informed and coloured by the reader's intuition and personal experience. A simple idea like Rest or Movement can be made rich with complex and individual associations.

When I first sat down with Vessel, I did what I usually do after flipping through all the cards and oohing and ahhing over the packaging. I asked it what it wanted me to know - about its nature, and how it would like to be used. This was my first draw - 


POWER - LOVE - HEALING - BEGIN. You don't need to tell me twice! Vessel is clearly ready to get to work, to unleash connection, meaning, and heart healing. I'm looking forward to using it in my own readings, and also throwing a card or two into client tarot readings, too!

Vessel, as well as its sister deck, The Spirit Speak Tarot, is available from Two Sides Tarot now! As ever, shipping is free within Australia. If you're in the UK or Europe, you can find both these wonderful decks at Little Red Tarot, or directly from the creator in the United States.

What are your thoughts about Vessel? If it's part of your collection, how have you found working with it? I'd love to know, so do leave me a note in the comments!

Hearts Like Vessels: An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Evans

People, I am super jazzed today - like, spirit fingers level jazzed - for two reasons. Firstly, the Spirit Speak Tarot and the Vessel oracle deck are now live and ready to ship in my little shop! Huzzah! I love both of these wonderful decks and I'm so happy to be able to share them with you through Two Sides Tarot.

The second reason for my spirit fingers is even more exciting, if you can believe it possible! Today on the blog, we are visited by the creator of Vessel and Spirit Speak, Mary Elizabeth Evans. The woman herself! Mary very kindly took the time to share the story of her new oracle deck, the ins and outs of her creative practice, her favourite deck recommendations, and some tips for working with Vessel - not to mention, some unmissable insights about creativity, judgement, and artistic freedom. Pull up a pew, make yourself a cup of tea, and dive in to the world of Mary Elizabeth Evans!

First of all, congratulations on the publication of Vessel, your new oracle deck! I know I'm not the only one who has been eagerly following its development and waiting for publication! Could you tell us a bit about where the idea for Vessel first came from?

Thank you so much Marianne! It’s interesting, after all of the work to make and self publish Vessel, it came out and felt like a dream. Almost like I didn’t make Vessel, it used me to make it. Haha.

At the time when I decided to start working on an oracle deck, I had been very influenced by Doreen Virtue’s “Magical Unicorns Oracle Cards”. I really look up to Doreen Virtue and her oracle decks had become a big part of my practice in teaching and with my clients. Spirit Speak had been the soul focus of my artistic practice and I was applying all of my creative energy into it for around five months. And then after, I was learning how to self publish for the first time. Once the dust settled, I knew I wanted to start working on a new project.

My creative work is truly the most important thing to me. I need my work to process my life experiences, to calm down my anxiety, to ground myself, and to reflect. So, little time goes by before I am itching to start on something new.

I knew soon after making Spirit Speak that I wanted to make a second tarot deck. However, I wasn’t quite ready to jump into that undertaking right away. With a tarot deck, everything is somewhat laid out for you. It has a specific traditional form that it upholds. With oracle decks, they can be wild cards, a free for all. When I decided to start working on an oracle deck, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I did know I wanted them to be easy to understand so people could feel their meaning and intention quickly upon pulling cards.

I feel like Vessel reflects emotions and experiences that I had been going through or mediating on during that time of my life. Looking through my drawings after I was finished, I was a little concerned that they didn’t reflect enough about the human experience being incredibly vast. But, they reflect my own experience, and as that grows, I can continue to make works that show that.  

The name “Vessel” came after the cards were all complete, just like with Spirit Speak. The idea is that our hearts are like vessels that contain our emotions and feelings. Looking at it that way makes me feel less consumed by one feeling because there is space for them all. Some feelings or emotions just need to be acknowledged or worked through and call for our energy.

As my readers are probably aware (because I'm constantly going on about how great it is!), you are also the creator of the Spirit Speak Tarot. How was the process of developing Vessel different - or not! - to your tarot deck?

The process was a little different in ways. Spirit Speak was truly such a gift to me as an artist. It was a way for me to accept my work for what it is. To use my art to make a tool, to connect with others. During that process, I tried my best not to fuss over my drawings, not to re-draw, but just to feel the meaning of the card and let it come out as it may. Looking at my drawings then was like hearing the sound of your own voice. My naive line work, lopsided drawings, the wiggly odd-ness of my forms, honestly made me cringe sometimes. But with making Spirit Speak, I tried to let go of that, to focus on it being a tool, not a “fine art” piece that was going to be under strong critique. That made all the difference because I forced myself to accept the way that I draw. It’s a little sad writing about this now. My art gives me so much, and it’s disappointing that I was so mean and unloving to it for so long.

Anyways, I was going through some deep work with myself as an artist with Spirit Speak. When it was time to make Vessel, I felt much freer from that heavy self judgement. I think you can feel that in Vessel’s attitude too.

As far as my actually physical process went, it was fairly similar. Even though I feel like a free-spirit and my work is wiggly and wild, my process as an artist is very organized and timely. I work best when I make a timeline for my work and a schedule. I like to decide how many drawings I want to make total, how many a week, how much paper will I need?, What kind of pens?. Maybe this is in result of my art-brain being this crazy thing that I am trying to communicate through the tangible world, implicating order keeps balance.

I know you've also been using both decks in your own tarot work with others - how have you found they differ when put to use in readings?

Oh yes! That is the most fun part of a project like this. It is a little indescribable how it feels to read with your own deck. It is such an amazing feeling. How it communicates with you, how it communicates with others. It’s something that is so deeply from you, but also becomes it own little creature at the same time. To me, when I use my own decks, I feel like I am connecting with something very deep within me, and not only seeing a reflection of myself, but having that resonate in my spirit and body. Using them in readings gives them life and I think they appreciate that so much :)

I am having a lot of fun using Spirit Speak and Vessel together. I realize, that each one is like a spiritual portrait of me at the time. I like to see how they are both different but still cut from the same cloth and that they communicate with each other in a really lovely way. 

Backtracking a little bit, could you tell us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your decks? Are there any other disciplines or practices you enjoy that you see as related to your work with tarot and oracle decks? What does your art practice look like, day-to-day?

I have been drawing since I can remember. I drew on my baby dolls, on myself, on my parent’s walls and furniture (which was not always appreciated, haha). My parents kind of let me do my own thing, they gave me art lessons, bought me art supplies, and even gave me dedicated areas to paint on their furniture and house. Making marks is something I have loved since the very beginning. I continued to focus on art through high school and college. Although, I did try to do other things that I felt like might be a more responsible career choices. But, I was never able to convince myself to continue any of those educational avenues and was miserable when I wasn’t making art.

I grew up being a rather unpopular weirdo in a very conservative and religious town. I think a lot of my work comes from this pull. Being in an area that is so highly spiritual has a particular feeling. I went to church growing up, but never felt acceptance or love from the church. I think its grand stories of miracles and its rituals influenced me regardless. What I think now as I revisit these ideas, is that deep down I probably wanted to participate in something spiritual, and it was frustrating that I felt pushed out by my difference in opinion or the fact that I believe in feminism. I don’t feel like the church itself is directly responsible for this, but perhaps the communities it created at the time. Exploring my own spirituality through art has been a positive way for me to heal my past.

I love to explore other mediums. I majored in printmaking and it is one of my artistic passions. I also like to paint and sew. Painting was something I put a lot of energy into during my high school years. Currently I have been focused on metal smithing. Working with gems and metal to create wearable art has been such a joy. In the past year I have been working with the majorly talented and multifaceted artist, Lise Silva. Amongst her many creations, she makes lux and elegant fiber jewelry. We combined her Sacred Knots collection with the brass pendants I had been making at the time to create bold and intricately made art-to-wear necklaces. Each piece had a particular meaning inspired by our mutual love for mysteries of ancient rituals, and for films like The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.

This year I will be acquiring my bench jewelers certification, learning how to properly work with gold, platinum, and, fine gems. I can’t wait to further explore how my work translates through these mediums & can’t wait to share what I come up with!

My day-to-day art practice changes with what I am working on and what my schedule looks like. But I have little artistic rituals that I do everyday. Costuming and adornment are ways that I honor my creativity every morning. Currently, I have started a new project with a new schedule and have been trying to make 1-2 drawings everyday. It a loose schedule though, it doesn’t align with a certain time of day. Sometimes after I make my tea, answer emails, and send out orders, I will continue to draw. Other days, I will work in the morning and in the evening when I wind down I will start working on my drawings. It makes me the happiest when I have completed at least one drawing for the day. Sometimes I will do a short meditation before I start drawing, other times I will just close my eyes and ask for an image to appear. Other days it’s not so spiritual and I am eating pizza and watching bad TV dramas while I doodle. I mean, who ever said that eating pizza wasn’t a spiritual experience? (Can I get an "Amen", people?)         

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what role does tarot have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art - both making the decks and reading with them - in this setting influenced and shaped your personal journey?

Tarot is a huge part of my spiritual practice. Being a visual artist, working with images through tarot and oracle decks has been so helpful for my own self discovery, healing, and reflection. Working with my own art and decks has brought me to a place of power within my spirituality, to have authority on what it means for me. Before I made the Spirit Speak deck, I kind of felt like the meanings of tarot cards were like a special club. That you needed to study, and be taught, and learn for years before you could practice. And also I felt like I wasn’t able to hold that knowledge for myself, I needed permission or confirmation that I was correct in my understanding of the cards. When I made Spirit Speak, it opened up the idea that my own understanding of spirituality and tarot is just as valid as anyone else’s. And that I could honor other’s opinions and also include mine as well. Not only that, but that all of our understandings could work together to create a rounded view of these cards that illustrate the story of life.

Reading cards for clients as well has very much shaped my spirituality and my personality. Being able to deeply connect with someone you might have just met, to take time out of daily life however crazy or peaceful, to hold space for someone, to listen and to talk. It has given me a wider view on people in general,a less judgmental, more compassionate, and peaceful way of looking at the people around me. Not just the people I love and often interact with, but strangers too. I understand that everyone is here trying to navigate what it means to be them, what it means to walk this earth. It’s not always easy, so I try to give grace to people as much as I can. I think I was a lot more angsty and impatient before I started using cards.

Apart from your own wonderful creations, are there any other decks that you love to work with? Have they been an influence on your own tarot and oracle art? We always love a good deck recommendation around here!

Yes!!! I have a large collection of cards and I love using other decks in my practice. In fact I feel like getting to know other decks has been completely instrumental in my learning of tarot in general. I have a few decks that I am really fond of at the moment and have been using frequently. I have a lot of love in my heart for The Starchild Tarot Deck, by Danielle Noel. Not only is Danielle a huge sweetheart herself, but her cards give a very soft and dreamy interpretation of the tarot. They are able to show you the deep truths and ancient themes of the tarot in a way that feels serene and calm. The artwork itself is also super beautiful. It means a lot that Danielle and I have been able to show each other support as deck makers. Supporting and feeling support from other woman owned, created, and self published works means the world to me. Danielle is coming out with a new deck soon called The Moonchild Tarot and it’s intention is to be the shadow side of the Starchild, I can’t wait to play with that deck as well!

 Two very special Bay Area makers also recently came out with oracle decks. Both are beautiful and unique and I have enjoyed getting to know and play with them recently. The Moon Angels Oracle Deck by Rebekah Erev and Visions: A Crystal Oracle Deck by Jessika Fancy. The community of readers and makers in the Bay Area is so strong and wonderful and I was really happy to meet both of these angels while I was there and acquire their decks. The Moon Angels is unlike any deck I have seen before. Rebekah’s artwork seems very intuitive and her interpretations of the cards are poetic, the deck leaves a lot of room for me to develop my own spiritual understanding of the cards. The Visions deck consist of stunning water colors picturing crystals from Jessika’s own collection. Her voice in the descriptions of the cards feels so warm and encouraging while also confronting the hard stuff. I just feel really lucky to know the makers of these decks and also be able to apply them in my own practice.           

One of my all time favorite decks is The Secret Dakini Oracle by Penny Slinger. I have turned a few friends onto using this deck as well. It was actually the deck that the first person to ever professionally read my cards, Dreamy Eves, the owner of Psychic Sister in Olympia Washington, used in my first ever reading! My mind pretty much exploded that day, and the artwork really affected me. In my experience with the deck I have found that it works from a more cosmic point of view, eliminating the material and humanness, and working from a karmic and deeply spiritual place of reference.

Finally, do you have any advice, guidance or insider tips for working with Vessel?

Vessel has changed the way that I use oracle decks. Before, I would just pull one or two cards, either after a tarot reading or by itself. I still do that, but with Vessel, I started doing 5-10 card readings with them. I think I am always being shown, to play, to experiment, and have fun!            

I think my best advice, and what I am always telling my students, is that you know best what the cards mean to you. Look at the images, what do they make you feel? Are you hearing any words come to mind? Is there something about that image that brings up an event or emotion? Before you grab the booklet, ask yourself first.

There are things that someone who just picked up the Vessel Oracle could say in their understanding of the card that could blow me away and be so accurate and I’m the maker! But that is because their understanding of the card means just as much as mine. Hearing their experience with the card can educate me on what that card wants to say.

The Vessel Oracle wants to help, love, and heal, and you are the one guiding it <3


Mary, thank you so much, to the power of a zillion, for sharing all of this with us! I really hope, dear reader, that you've enjoyed finding out a bit more about Mary's art practice and the behind-the-scenes adventures of The Spirit Speak Tarot and Vessel. I think you can see why these decks pack such an energetic punch, coming from the mind and pen of such an intuitive and thoughtful creator!

Both Spirit Speak and Vessel are available from Two Sides Tarot now, and shipping is free within Australia! If you're in the UK or Europe, you can now purchase The Spirit Speak Tarot and Vessel from Little Red Tarot. Readers in the US can find both of these wonderful decks at Mary's website. Mary also has one of my favourite instagram accounts - if you're looking for some beautiful photographs and more images of these decks in action, I recommend following her

Shop all Spirit Speak decks here!

Tarot Decks Have Landed!

The day is finally here! We're under the Aquarius New Moon, the perfect time for declaring dreams and visions, and I'm so excited to announce that some of the best independently published tarot decks in the known universe are now available to peruse and purchase at Two Sides Tarot!

I'm so pleased and proud to say that my humble store is now home to such unique creations as The Wild Unknown Tarot and Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot. I feel I am in illustrious company!

I've been hinting at this new direction, and outright counting down for it for a while now. In truth, the notion has been months - maybe even a year - in the making. In the last year or two, it's been glaringly obvious that the most interesting and innovative work in the tarot world has been coming from enterprising artists, self-publishing and crowd funding. Without wishing to impugn to the wonderful works and illustrious histories of the big esoteric publishing houses, in my opinion, it's been many moons since a new deck from a traditional publisher has really pushed the artistic or philosophical envelope. Instead, we've been blessed with the outsider works of Kim Krans, A. L. Swartz, Dame Darcy, Mary Elizabeth Evans, Danielle Noel, to name but a few, and what blessings they have been! 

Some months ago, I had the thought, "Wouldn't it be great to collect up all these wonderful decks so they could be browsed all together? Wouldn't be good to make a little hub for great tarot art down here in Australia? We don't have anything like that! Don't as many people as possible deserve to have access to all of this amazing work? Shouldn't readers from all over the world be able to find the creme of modern tarot all in one spot? Shouldn't Australian tarot readers be able to enjoy local, or even free shipping for once in their damn lives?!" Of course, I immediately dismissed the idea as crazy, and got on with my life. 

Obviously, that niggling inspiration never went away, and my desire to do what I could to spread the word about all this unique tarot art only grew. After months of constantly recommending obscure or indie decks to my bookshop customers (that I then couldn't supply), to my friends and fellow readers, strangers on instagram, I thought, enough! Let's do this! 

So, here we are. I can't tell you how happy I am to see Dame Darcy, Kim Krans, and Mary Elizabeth Evans sitting side by side, in my little shop! I said a few weeks back that my vision for Two Sides Tarot is for it to be a conduit for goodness. I've been offering readings here to many happy clients for over two years now, and I'm so glad that the Two Sides Tarot goodness portal is now a channel for you to access some of the truly groundbreaking and beautiful tarot decks that I love to use in my practice. 

Head over this-a way to find The Wild Unknown deck and guidebook, and this-a way to find Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot. I'm excited to say, too, that my beloved Spirit Speak Tarot is coming soon, along with Mary Elizabeth Evans' intriguing new oracle deck, Vessel! Yay! So much yay. 

The Two Sides Tarot goodness portal ships to anywhere and everywhere - even the astral plane! Just kidding, although I'll do my best to transmit your purchase to you energetically. My fellow Australians, domestic shipping is free! Head over to the shop, have a stroll, take a look around, make yourself a cup of tea. You might find something you like!

Questions? Comments? Seen a great deck you think I should stock? Drop me a line, or leave a note in the comments below!

Journey of Love: Deck Interview and a New Offering

If you've been following the workings of Two Sides Tarot for a while, you'll know that, with very few exceptions, I'm not usually one for oracle cards. What can I say? I'm a Capricorn, and I love structure, cohesion, and tradition, which tarot has in spades. I find most mainstream oracle decks way too loose and airy-fairy, too filled with bad fantasy art, lacking in the shades of grey that makes tarot so useful. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and I wouldn't even bring the matter up if there weren't more to say on it! Here I find myself, completely seduced by Alana Fairchild's Journey of Love oracle

With mostly abstract (and beautiful) artwork, and intriguing and evocative card names like, "The Light Field", "Heart of God", and "Sacred Convergence", how could I not be drawn in? This is clearly some high vibe shizz right here! These cards are very focused on self-love, heart-openness, spiritual connections, and receptivity to the divine. Seriously potent tools!

I've loved working with this deck so much in my own practice, it has inspired a new offering in my store because this goodness needs sharing! More on that in a moment. Let's get to know each other first - and what better way to do it than the classic Little Red Tarot deck interview spread?

1. Tell me about yourself. What's your most important characteristic? 52. The Ancient Ones

What a beautiful way to begin! The Ancient Ones says that the Journey of Love oracle is here to bear witness to our spiritual journeys, to encourage us, and remind us that, even if the material world doesn't always reflect it, the little bursts of light and goodness that we're sending out into the universe are being felt. This deck is here to remind us that everything is connected, and to support us on our paths. In some ways, this card reminds me a little of The Hierophant - it says we are part of an ancient tradition, and we have a place in this spiritual and energetic lineage. 

2. What are your strengths as a deck? 24. The Spaces Between the Words

I think the card name says it all! This deck's strengths lies in its ability to go beyond language, to transmit visions, images, ideas that defy material explanation. It's also wonderful for helping us live in the gap between observation and reaction, that gap between the world and our habitual experience of it. This oracle is great for giving us a moment of a sacred pause!

3. What are your limits? 19. Shakti

Oof! All this fiery Kundalini energy can certainly be disruptive. It's hard to imagine that such powerful stuff could be seen as a limitation, but I suspect what's happening here is that this deck tends to pull out all the stops, even when we're not quite ready for it! From my experience of working with it, it is way more interested in spiritual and esoteric questions than it is in the practical goings-on of day to day life. If you ask it what you need to know about applying for that job, it's probably going to turn around and say, "Forget about the job! What about the nature of your soul?!" It has a tendency to light fires, so make sure to play to its strengths when using it!

4. What are you here to teach me? 5. The Communal Dance

The guidebook describes this card as an invitation "to join the cosmic conga line!" I love it! The Journey of Love oracle is all about bringing people together, about helping us support each other, about opening us up to love and compassion and acceptance, and helping us recognise that we have a place to belong. And conga lines, apparently! Shake your cosmic booties, people! That's what this deck is here for!

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? 42. The Blood Dance

The Blood Dance (great name, by the way!) is an invitation to flow in cycle with this deck. This is not a deck for everyday, but our intuition will guide us towards it when we need it. A big part of this card is accepting your natural rhythms - sometimes you feel like awakening Shakti and shaking things up in your spiritual space, and other times you just feel guided to hang out on the physical plane, patting neighbourhood dogs and eating sandwiches, with nary a thought for your numinous nature. Being accepting and attentive to these rhythms is the best way to collaborate with this deck. Allow it into your life when the time is right! 

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? 26. Guardian of the Soul Family

Nothing short of healing our relationships to each other and the world. Didn't I say this thing is a powerful tool?! Working with this deck nurtures love and compassion, for the self, others, and the world at large. It's a safe space for healing and connection. What more do you need, really?


I hope you can see now why I'm in love love love with this deck - so much so that it has inspired a new offering here at Two Sides Tarot, the Heart-Centered Oracle Reading! This puppy is tailored specifically to seekers of the love vibration, spiritual journeyers looking for guidance, and anyone who needs a little encouragement to show themselves some lovin' kindness. Don't we all, from time to time? If this seems like it's up what you need right now, please do go over and take a look. I've been loving delivering this deck's encouraging and affirming messages to the clients who have taken up this reading, and if you feel called to, it would be an honour for me to send them your way, too!

What do you make of the Journey of Love oracle cards? And what's your vibe on oracle decks in general? Any favourites to recommend? I'd love to know in the comments!

TST Update: Happy New Year!

Yes, it's the 16th of January, so probably a little late for new year greetings. I find, though, that this time of year takes me a while to grow into, things don't always feel like they're truly underway until like, March. So, with that in mind, I'm practically early! I hope 2016 is blessing your cotton socks so far! 

New adventures are coming to Two Sides Tarot this year! Can you guess what they might involve? It's silly of me to even mention it, really, because I'm trying to keep it a secret for just a little bit longer, until certain things are ready (and Mercury is no longer retrograde, obvi). Clearly, though, I'm having trouble containing my excitement! Suffice it to say, Two Sides Tarot is growing, plugging into the network. Community is such an important part of my tarot practice - all of you beautiful people have shown me that! - and what comes next will be all about making the sweet stuff more available to more people. I want this humble website to be a conduit for goodness! Ok, shh! Enough of that. I better not let the cat out of the bag just yet!

In lieu of me telling all my secrets, here's a list of good stuff, both tarot related and not, that's been warming my heart. I hope it warms yours, too!

At the Reading Table - 

A couple of new decks have made their way into my life in recent weeks, and I haven't yet made intimate acquaintance with them all. Santa, by way of a very dear friend, gifted me with the classic Motherpeace Tarot, and the possibly now out of print Da Vinci Enigma Tarot, both of which will be making their way into my reading rotation soon. I also managed to acquire a German-language edition of The Kitty Kahane Tarot, which, evidenced by its takeover of my instagram, is rocking my world!

In the shop, New Year Readings are available for a little while longer. Also, in case you missed it, I am now offering Heart-Centered Oracle Readings, using the very gentle and supportive Journey of Love oracle deck. If you need a little encouragement to be kind to yourself, this sweet little offering is just the thing!

On the Bookshelf - 

The Radiance Sutras - I've been flirting with this book for a few weeks now, and I think one could string that out into a lifetime. Flirting is, I think, the right word, because these tantric verses are seductive. Lorin Roche's modern translation has been adding colour to my admittedly inconsistent meditation practice! If anyone else has read this, I'd love to know what you thought of it!

Felicity, by Mary Oliver - a new collection from the poet laureate of my heart is always cause for celebration (fortunately, she's extremely prolific so there is frequent toasting around these parts)! She has said that at this late stage in her life she is increasingly influenced by Rumi, and it is evident in this collection. If you need some extra M. O. in your life, don't miss her On Being interview

Indoor Green by Mr Kitly's Bree Claffey - because who doesn't love houseplants, and looking at interiors slightly tidier and better put together than their own? Also, who doesn't need a reminder to water all of their own indoor plants? Not me, no way. I never forget!

Around the Traps -

I have to thank Paige of Tarot and Tea for sharing this isolated vocal track of David Bowie's Starman in her most excellent newsletter (go to her site and sign up, it's always full of good stuff!). If you follow me on instagram, you'll know I've had Bowie on the brain all week. I know I'm not the only one to be shaped by his influence in my formative years, nor was I the only one to feel that he must have been immortal, so this week's news comes as a shock to the system. Hearing his voice reverberating in the silence is like a psychic kick to the proverbials. Get your tissues ready! 

Why pretend I've managed to read about anything else online this week? Here are David Bowie's Top 100 books, and some musings thereon

Well, that's me for now. What are you reading, shuffling, listening to, and thinking about? You know I love a recommendation! Please do share in the comments!

Working with The Wooden Tarot: Nine of Stones

Just a quick one today, to document what came up when I used the Wooden Tarot for the Weather Report one day. I was a little apprehensive about pulling a card for my daily reading from this deck, since I still feel very much in student mode with it, but I decided it was better to be challenged than not! Here's what I posted on instagram:

WEATHER REPORT - NINE OF STONES. The Nine of Stones reminds us that it is often when our spiritual work feels most frustrating and limited that we're closest to a breakthrough. All that learning and ritual and meditation and yearning and inner work can be painful and draining, and often its reward is so intangible. It can be tempting to give it all up, but if you're feeling that way today, this card says, hang on. You're on the path and you're getting closer. Growing and expanding in this way can be painful and challenging, but it will be worth it. Stick with it today, no matter how much you might not want to. Trust the path!

The most striking thing about this image is the red crystals, seeming to burst out of the antlers like growths, so when I first looked at this card I became very preoccupied with the idea of organic growth, expansion, and growing pains. Traditionally, the Nine of Wands is about shouldering a heavy burden in the late stages of a journey, so in this context, I see the Nine of Stones as being about the pain and frustration and struggle of continually expanding the self on one's spiritual path.

I've often described my discovery of tarot as being like growing an extra limb, the sudden discovery of a new kind of mobility and dexterity that I didn't previously have, so seeing these crystals growing felt personally resonant to me. My discovery and growth as a tarot reader has been more of an easeful and joyful than riddled with frustration, but as in any spiritual practice, there are times when it is hard to see the road ahead. This card acknowledges how startling it can be to have that extra limb burst through the skin, and how challenging it can be to learn how to use it. It also encourages us all, no matter where we are on the road, to keep on travelling. 

What do you make of this Nine of Stones? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

Before I sign off, I wanted to let you know that The Agony Augury is taking questions! If you have a tricky problem or juicy dilemma that you'd like some insight into, please do write to me, and your question may be chosen for The Agony Augury column!

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Deck Interview: Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot

The very luxe Gold Edition of Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot is now in stock! Find it here.

If you follow me on social media at all, you may have read about my full blown high school crush on the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot. Mermaid-themed tarot and oracle decks have never been my jam, so imagine my surprise when I first beheld this deck and just knew that I had to have it! Something about Dame Darcy's artwork takes me right back to cutting and pasting zines in my teenage bedroom, singing alone to Babes in Toyland, wishing I was Courtney Love and feeling really, really cool. Even at the age of thirty, who could say no to recapturing that feeling?! If you were a 90s right grrrl (and even if you weren't!), I think you're going to love this one!

Now that this salty sea lass has been in my possession for a month or so, I thought it was time to do a formal interview. Let's see what she has to say for herself (I've never gendered a tarot deck before, but I feel quite strongly that this one is a lady - just go with me on this)! Credit for this wonderful deck interview spread, as ever, goes to Little Red Tarot.

Finally, a use for that dried up old crab claw I've been hoarding.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? Queen of Wands

Don't you just love this Queen of Wands?! She's a party monster, there's no doubt about it, and she says this deck's best characteristic is its passion for a good time! This deck is playful, silly, sexy, and unabashedly owns its quirkiness. Also, don't be fooled by the fact this deck takes its theme from a watery, seaside setting. There's plenty of fire here, too!

2. What are your strengths as a deck? XVII The Star

The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot really knows her own mind, and isn't afraid to speak it. Don't worry though, The Star says this frankness will always be in service of the querent's highest good, and will be presented in a kind, nurturing, and soul-affirming package. This deck wants to go right to the heart of the matter, no disguises or double talk. 

3. What are your limits as a deck? VII The Chariot

I feel like this deck is an eager little imp, tugging on my sleeve and saying, "Come on, come on, come on!" and The Chariot certainly seems to affirm that! This deck is sometimes limited by its impatience, and eagerness to snap up an idea or issue and run with it. That passion is a wonderful tool to bring to a tarot reading, but I'll have to be mindful it doesn't knock me off my feet! As the reader, I'll have to learn to intuit when these plucky pink dolphins are leading me in a helpful direction, as in The Star, and when they might be dragging me off track out of sheer exuberance!

4. What are you here to teach me? Seven of Pentacles

This card suggests that, fun though it may look, this deck isn't to be taken lightly, and I will get the most out of it if I work with it attentively and consistently. Putting in the time to get to know it will yield rich results. I think this card is also saying that this deck will teach me to take even greater pleasure and pride in my work. Let's be honest, reading tarot is never a drag, but it can only be a good thing to look down at the spoils of your labour and see a reading peppered with mermaids, sailors, and pink seahorses! Sweetness and whimsy coupled with this deck's oceanic psychic depths suggest that with time and study, I'll be able to use it to give readings that I can really be proud of. Sounds good to me!

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? Four of Cups

Don't overthink it! Just enjoy the beautiful imagery, the playful characters, and the sand between your toes. 

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? XVI The Tower

Phew! Big revelations could be the result of working with this deck. The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot is promising total shifts in perspective, rapid changes of direction, and psychic upheavals! It might be fun and playful, but that doesn't mean it can't help instigate real change. I would be a little apprehensive about seeing The Tower here, but coupled with The Star as this deck's strengths, I think any cataclysms that result from reading with this deck will only be for my benefit!

I'm really excited by this reading, especially that Seven of Pentacles. I'm going to be going on a trip in September, and after umming and ahhing about what deck to take with me (as a chronic over-packer, I am determined to pick only tarot deck to travel with!), I decided that this one would be the perfect companion for a couple of weeks in sunny California! I think she's looking forward to spending some quality time together, too. 

What are your thoughts on the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot? Has it turned you into a mermaid obsessive, too?! Let me know in the comments.