Sunday, 9 October 2016

Celtic Wisdom Pack

Celtic Wisdom Box by Caitlin Matthews provides information about ancient Celtic spiritualitty, with ceremony and ritual for today's world with prayers and blessings, the Wheel of the Year, the moon cycles, the land, seasons, how to set up a shrine and how to use the cards. The box contains a black metal pendant, small animal cards in black and white ink and a book of Celtic lore. This is a great little book to help us to mark and celebrate the seasons. I was delighted to find this in a shop in central London for a reduced price. If you see one, make it yours! Review: Wendy Stokes

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Second Messiah Review

Circle Network Book Review: The Second Messiah - Templars, the Turin Shroud and the Great Secret of Freemasony by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, published by Fair Winds Press, paperback 260 pages $18.95

This book is well researched by the authors of The Hiram Key and ties up some gaps in time. From the early times following the death of Jesus, the Jewish members of the royal House of David, a hereditary priesthood, have largely been forgotten, or perhaps intentionally hidden by the early leaders of the emerging Christian sect. These would have been the real Popes in true apostolic succession. Was there a bloodline that was protected until the time of the creation of the Knights Templar Order, when 11 selected French knights under Hughes de Payen, went to search under the Jerusalem Temple for what might have been scrolls, valuables, relics or other valuables, hidden for safety and left to them by their ancestors when Jerusalem fell in AD 70? The enormous building programme of cathedrals throughout France and 

Friday, 30 September 2016

Hallowquest and Arthurian Tarot

'We must create once more a pure work' W B Yeats

Hallowquest Tarot Magic and the Arthurian Mysteries is the title of the companion book that accompanies The Arthurian Tarot Cards by Caitlin and John Matthews. This specialist deck and book style initiatory course in the Mysteries of Britain are based on the mediaeval stories from Britain and France of King Arthur, the Round Table and the search for the Holy Grail and feature the personalities, places and events that will be well known to students of these extraordinary tales. The authors are specialist tarot creators and this is one of their best! It presents a coherent deck which features the Greater Powers (Major Arcana) and Lesser Arcana (Court cards and Minor Arcana) correspond to the four seasons and the traditional cups, swords, pentacles and staves. Black and white scans are provided of the cards in the book. There are rituals, meditations, occult explorations and shamanic journeys and Hallowquest provides a year's meditation course as a series of doorways into the archetypes and symbolism in order to provide a structure for personal self development.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Mythic Tarot

Circle Network Book review: The Mythic Tarot Workbook by Juliet Sharman-Burke, a psychotherapist who co-authored the tarot card deck of the same name. This book is intended for use with the Mythic Tarot cards and is intended to replace a workshop for deepening and widening knowledge through guided fantasy exercises for all 78 cards, meditations, and methods to help interpret the cards. There is also a suggestion for journaling and space is provided for this. There are pen line sketches of the Major Arcana for colouring. Information is provided on how to read the cards for yourself or for others. There are suggested spreads titled: Horoscope, Ten Card, Horseshoe, Triange and Star. Mythology and psychology of the cards is given as it reflects our inner world and our self-awareness. The divinatory meanings can be used for any tarot deck but as Mythic Tarot cards are intended and small black and white scans of the Mythic Tarot deck are provided. I like this deck very much and the book I found very useful. Reviewer: Wendy Stokes

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Jung and Tarot

MBS Circle Network Book review: Jung and Tarot - An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols, published by Samuel Weiser with an introduction by Laurens van de Post.

"Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside wakes" Carl Jung

The book contains black and white images to illustrate ideas within the text. There is a full colour pul out at the back of the book with each of the card images. The Marseilles Tarot, one of the earliest surviving decks, is used throughout as the most suitable deck for the purposes of understanding the nature of projection and of making the process of the unconscious mind, conscious. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Mythic Oracle

Circle Network Card Deck Review: Mythic Oracle - Wisdom of the Ancient Greek Pantheon by Carisa Mellado with artwork by Michele-lee Phelan. Boxed 45 card and information booklet set.

Greek gods and goddesses reflect our own human lives and the cards are designed to guide us through life cycles. They reflect the archetypal hero, Odysseus and his epic journey, from departure to initiation and eventual return home. We use this to assist us in our journey through life. We begin with an awakening, experience challenges, overcome difficulties. We must go down into our deepest level to doscover new perspectives, our illusions need to be broken, our convictions clarified. We will integrate this new self into the world of the future, mastering both, our inner life and our outer world.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Victorian Steampunk Tarot

The Victorian Steampunk Tarot – Unravel the Mysteries of the Past, Present and Future, by Liz Dean and illustrated by Bev Speight. Published by Cico Books. The magnetised flip lip box includes a full deck of 78 tarot cards and a full colour explanatory booklet of each card.
The deck is very loosely based on the Rider-Waite deck but each card carries an individual computer graphic artwork to express the spirit of Victorian steampunk, the age of steam with modern counter culture anything is possible, plasma screens, hot air balloons, the era of Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Edgar with, for instance, clockwork hearts and butterflies, deconstructed burlesque and brass spyglasses. The cards can be interpreted either upright or upturned thought the backs are intended for exclusively upright use.
Each major arcana card is provided with a basic message with the astrological sign and keywords and a longer explanation of the card’s meaning both upright and upturned. Each minor arcana card is given an upright and upturned explanation. This is a creative tarot deck which centres on the Victorian’s love of botanical collections and the natural world. The Cups are depicted as dragonflies, the wands as moths, the swords as bees and the pentacles as beetles. The booklet provides information on how to prepare for a reading by creating space and attuning to the cards, protecting and cleansing them. There is also guidance for readers on what to do if you are unable to make sense of a reading. There are spreads, such as a 3 card reading for past, present and future, a 2 card spirit message, how to get a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer by laying the cards three times, 7 cards to answer a question, the week or year ahead with 7 or 13 cards and the 10 card cross. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Key to the Tarot

Circle Network Book Review: The Key to the Tarot - What Tarot is - and how to consult it by A E Waite.

Arthur Edward Waite was born in 1857 in New York and was brought up in Jamaica and died in 1942 in Britain. This classic book was first published in 1910 to accompany a deck of tarot cards which developed as a result of the author's research at the British Library. Waite was a leading member of the Order of the Golden Dawn (along with W B Yeats and J M Barrie and other intellectuals of the time). This was where he met Pamela Colman Smith, the illustrator of this famous deck. He was interested in magic, theosophy, alchemy, the Grail, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry and Kabbalah amongst other esoteric and metaphysical subjects. He was an occultist and exponent of higher mystery schools and considered the tarot could have been used by the Albigensians. His writing is ornate, academic and self conscious and is peppered with latin phrases and name dropping, but this allows us to enter his world of Edwardian England, with its feather quills and gas lamps and comfortable men's clubs and the moneyed and educated class of the time. 

Jungian Tarot Psychology by Robert Wang

MBS Circle Network Book Review: Tarot Psychology - A Practical Guide to the Jungian Tarot by Robert Wang, published by Urania. Book has b/w scans of the cards, the title of the card, a subtitle of the archetype and a write-up of approx 600 words on each Major and approx 400 on the other cards. 

This is the book specifically designed to accompany the Jungian Tarot card deck. The book includes all the information you need to work with the 78 Jungian Tarot cards. These cards have been specially designed to provide a doorway into our inner world as per the psychology of the psychoanalysist, Carl Jung. Jung's  'individuation' process examines, through active imagination, the light and shadow self and leads to the true nature of life and death. Jung's archetypes connect us to the world's understanding, such as the positive and negative aspects of the mother. The intention of the work is to integrate these opposing energies through meditation and inner dialogue. The cards can be used for personal use or as a standard tarot deck for dvination for others. 
The cards have no titles or numbers but there is an appendix where numerology and astrology attributions are given. Meditations on the images within the cards is suggested and a conversation created to reveal emotions and memories which will become available for healing. For instance, our feelings towards authority figures, experiences of hardship, unhappiness and upset will be revealed alongside joy, hope, love, peace and laughter. 
The book explains a 24 week course in self study.
The 32 Major Arcana cards reflect the human condition and the book contains a 22 week course of meditations. The 16 Court cards are personalities for us to interact with within our mind's eye and to work towards a resolution of any conflicts that might rise within the mind. The 40 Minor Arcana are situations or events, decisions or behaviours which will also provide insights. 
I like this way of gaining self understanding but it helps a lot to have someone guiding me. If it was possible to place the meditations on youtube, I would use them daily. Reviewer: Wendy Stokes

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Symbolon Cards

Circle Network Review of Symbolon card deck by Peter Orban, Ingrid Zinnel and Thea Weller, published by US Games Inc. 80 cards in the pack with an instruction leaflet that explains the use the cards and provides information on each card. There are no suits or court cards but some cards bear a resemblance to tarot images. The artwork is representational and loosely based on fairy tales, myths and archetypes and is designed to make what is unconscious more conscious, to assist with personal insight. The deck is for reflection, to summon the past, not the future. They are not intended for use for fortune telling or prediction. There are no 'yes' or 'no', only why, how, who, what and when! Each card provides 'the problem', 'the way through' and 'the solution'. I have enjoyed working with this deck in a new and creative way which is more about understanding the self than attempting to predict the future. Review by Wendy Stokes

Thursday, 1 September 2016

LeGrande Circle & Sideshow Tarot

Circle Network Card Deck Review: LeGrande Circus and Sideshow Tarot by Joe Lee, published by US Games Systems, Inc., card size: 3.5" x 4.5" 78 cards plus information booklet in a strong, lift-off lid box. 

Joe Lee has worked in circuses as a clown and fire-eater. He is also an art teacher so he knows the ropes and has produced this themed deck which reflect the energy, atmosphere, sights and sounds of the circus and all the fun of the fair. The cards are very squarish in shape and have a vintage style poster look (1930s - 1950s). Wild animals, many endangered, were still used in circuses - and in some countries without animal rights laws - still are, so their contribution is included in this deck. Lion, tiger, elephant and horses were the mainstay of the circus and they are featured on the cards. You will also find every daring do imaginable here from Ringmaster, highwire, trapeze, strong-man, knife thrower, clowns of all kinds, people from all countries, to those at the front of house who are not forgotten along with the massively hard work involved in putting up the big top and taking it down again and getting the show on the road to the next location. The stress and strain, with the help of the elephants is the price to pay for the magic, sensation, amazement and joy that the acts are designed to provide. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Lo Scarabeo Tarot

Circle Network Card Deck Review: Lo Scarabeo Tarot - The art of divining begins a new chapter by Mark MeElroy with artwork by Anna Lazzarini and published by Lo Scarabeo £17.99 

Nice slim-line cards 4.70" x 2.60". If someone has only one deck, this is the one to have! It is a combination of three premier tarot decks: The Waite-Smith, the Thoth, and the Tarot de Marseilles, and has been introduced by Lo Scarabeo as a flagship deck. It can be used for reflection and study or as a divination deck and the traditional meanings apply. It offers a flexible approach to divination suggesting the use of intuition though a good tarot book will be necessary for beginnners as contained in the pack with the 78 cards is a little white instruction leaflet that gives just the card titles and two keywords, one for upright readings and one for reversed readings. A sample reading of the suggested 9 card 'Lo Scarabeo' spread is provided.

Living With the Tarot

Circle Network book review: Living the Tarot by Amber Jayanti - Applying Ancient Wisdom to the Challenges of Modern Living. Introduction by Mary Greer. Practical ways to use the cards on an everyday basis, the book provides Qabalah, mythology, astrology, numerology, magick, Buddhist, Hindu and psychological perspectives, and how the tarot can be used for personal growth and self understanding. Only the 22 Major Arcana cards are profiled. 

A key allows something which is closed to be opened. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

The Victorian Steampunk Tarot

Circle Network Card Deck Review: the Victorian Steampunk Tarot - Unravel the Mysteries of the Past, Present and Future by Liz Dean, published by Cico Books in a flip lid magnetised box. Includes a full deck of 78 tarot cards with an illustrated booklet. Computer graphic designs by Bev Speight. The deck captures the spirit of the steampunk. Based on Rider-Waite deck but each card carries an individual artwork, with clockwork hearts and butterflies, deconstructed burlesque, brass spy glasses and other Victoriana. The cards can be interpreted upright or reversed though the backs give this away. Steampunk unites the age of steam with modern counter-culture. Anything is possible, plasma screens, hot air baloons, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe! For those who love the magic of retro!

The Tarot Masters

Circle Network Review: The Tarot Masters - Insights from the World's Leading Tarot Experts, Edited by Kim Arnold, Published by Hay House, paperback, 156 pages £9.99 ISBN: 9 781781803042

38 influential authors, artists and teachers have contributed to this book. Questions they were asked: How did your Tarot journey begin and what inspired you? What is your interpretation of a Major Arcana card and what is it about the card that you either love or loathe? Kim Arnold has attributed a card to an expert in the first section, herself as The Fool, others are: Ina Custers-van-Bergen; Mary K Greer; Caitlin Matthews; John Matthews; Mark Ryan; Jane Lyle; Richard Abbot; Geraldine Beskin; Alfred Douglas; Rachel POllack; Alison Cross; Linda Hare; Lyn Howarth-Olds; Juliet Sharman Burke; Carrie Paris; Corinne Kenner; Cilla Conway; Sasha Fenton; Mark McElroy; and Riccardo Minetti. Comment are provided on the major arcana card chosen for them by Kim Arnold and this is followed by information about the Tarot deck. In the latter part equally informed and masterful tarot experts, Ciro Marchetti; Adele Nozedar; Naomi Ozaniec; Lisa Tenzin-Dolma; Adam Fronteras; Tiffany Crosara; Philip Carr-Gomm; Liz Dean; Laurent Langlais; Trudy Ashplant; Diane Beck; Paul Highes-Barlow; Chloe McCracken; Suzanne Corbie; Jane Struthers; Major Tom Schick; Melanie Young; contribute to their understanding of a card, A directory of contributors curriculum vitae follows at the end. This is a 'chatty' book with charcoal sketches of each major arcana card. Suitable for beginners or for those who follow celebrities. 
The editor is a tarot reader and founder of the UK Tarot Conference. has won the Kindred Spirit Entrepreneur Award and many other prestigious awards. Review; Wendy Stokes

Mystical Kipper

The Mystical Kipper is a very elegant deck of 36 fortune telling cards, created by Regula Elizabeth Fiechter and the artist, Urban Trosch and published by the card deck specialist, AGM Urania.

Smaller than traditional card size but true to the size of the original cards, these Kipper cards depict scenes from a by-gone era. The origin of the cards is lost in the midst of time, perhaps the cards were named after Berliner, Mrs Susanne Kipper, who lived at least one hundred years ago or perhaps they were used by the Wipper travellers. Whatever their origin, a period of wealth and beauty around the turn of the 19th/20th century is reflected in the artwork and in military, legal and agricultural matters. The cards are mainly figurative and

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Gospel of Aradia

Circle Network card deck review: The Gospel of Aradia by Stacey Demarco, artwork by Jimmy Manton. Boxed set with 36 cards and a 112 page guidebook. Published by Blue Angel Publishing £15.99

"The angels of one religion are the devils of another!"

Cards carry a title in Latin, an affirmation, a poem and a message. 

The story of Aradia is the story of the 'strega' the weaver of magic, mystery and enchantment, empowerment and creativity that can assist the self or others. 

Aradia was lost and wandering through the countryside, hungry and cold. An old woman finds her and invites her to share her meagre meal. The woman has an injured leg and Aradia prepares a poultice and shows the old lady how to make it and use it and she sings a song of healing. In the morning, Aradia is gone, but the woman finds her leg has healed. As she touches her shawl, three gold coins fall to the floor. She looks out the window and her old cow is young again and her old horse is strong again. Vegetables, herbs and berries have been planted in her garden.   

Friday, 26 August 2016

Tarot of Ascension

Circle Network card deck review: 2012 Tarot of Ascension by Pierluca Zizzi with artwork by Michele Penco and published by Lo Scarabeo at £17.99 - The end of the world as we know it is a gateway to profound transformation. As each soul reawakens, all humanity Ascends. This is a pack of 78 tarot cards (size: 7 x 12.5cm) and an instruction leaflet in 5 European languages which gives information on each card. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Divine Circus Oracle

Circle Network Card Deck Review: Divine Circus Oracle by Alana Fairchild and published by Blue Angel Publishing £15.99, a boxed set of 44 cards and guidebook with artwork by Maxine Gadd, Gracjana Zielinska, Melanie Delon, Nell Fallcard, Anna Marine, Lunar Sparks, Yeuchui Tang, Monique Tulp, Babette Van Den Berg. 

Cirque de Soleil style fashion and visage, these are 44 personalities of the circus ring who help you unleash your inner creative! The persona is a mask we wear and these masks inspire and entertain and allow you to step outside the everyday world into one of imagination and wonder. This is the place of dreams and the entrance to the Otherworld - the magic of the circus tent. The idea is that love triumps over fear and sadness, that we can all make someone 's day a happy one. There are no rules in this game! You work with intuition and a few guidelines from the book. Ask a question and choose a card. A ritual is provided to maximise the potential magic of the cards. Dedicate the cards, use words provided at each reading or make up your own. All cards are to be read upright.

Horik Svensson

Circle Network review: The Runes - The Future Revealed with teh Ancient Norse System of Divination by Horik Svensson, published by Carlton Books. Box set contains 25 ceramic stones bearing a runic letter, a hessian bag, an explanatory instruction book. 
The word 'rune' means 'whispered secret'

The stones are terracotta colour and suitable for throwing and are to be kept in the hessian bag when not in use. The book contains history, myths and philosophy, poetry and artwork of the Viking era, the tribal peoples of Northern Europe. There is information on how to meditate, how to consecrate, how to use a cloth for a reading and how to prepare and read the runes. Each letter of the runic alphabet was venerated in ancient times and has a meaning which is described in the book. The runes can be read both upright and reversed. The reading is not about predicting a specific outcome, but points out the dynamics and the option which lead to possible outcomes. More about how to make a conscious decision about a particular matter. We have free will always. It might be limited but it is always present. What God are you relating to? What archetype are you acting out? Talismans, cursing, numerology and symbolism are included as well as information about ethics which is of value to readers.

Spreads: One rune reading; 3 rune reading; Simple Cross; Heimdales; Four Quarters; Astrological. Review: Wendy Stokes