Alchemical Thoughts

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Welcome to the 88th edition of “Items about books I want to read.” Let’s see what I am adding to my TBR list this time.

Items about books I want to read:

Tarot, cartomancy, and esoterica:

Items about books that fall under my politics and social issues reading moratorium:

Bibliographies and lists:

Bonus books: This is a new feature this month where I just list books I find on Twitter and say I want to add to my #TBR list. I will review my recent Twitter feed, see what I retweeted, usually from publishers and/or authors, and identified for my TBR list, and put them here so I can have the list. We’ll see how this works out. Book links as usual go to WorldCat (if available).

This tag post is based on this video by On the Cusp Tarpt on YouTube. The prompts are as follows:

1 What was the last deck you bought and why?

The last two decks I bought were the Wizards Tarot deck by Barbara Moore and Mieke Janssens (artist) and the Dark Grimoire Tarot deck published by Lo Scarabeo. I got them mainly because Llewellyn at the time had a really good sale going. The Wizards Tarot deck kit was about $10 off retail, and the other deck had a pretty good discount too. Too often I feel people need to have some esoteric reason, some calling or “feeling” that it’s time to get this or that deck. I get that feeling now and then, but I am being honest here. While the Dark Grimoire Tarot was a deck I’ve been wanting, I got it at this moment because the price was right, and the other one because the set had a good discount. Often the reason I buy a deck when I do is because it was on sale, so I can afford it on my librarian wages.

2 What’s your decision process when you buy a deck?

I try to research decks as much as possible before buying a new one. For me, if I get a deck, it is a deck to use and read. I do not get decks just for looks or display. Decks in my collection need to earn their keep. I do appreciate ornate decks for the art, but if they are not readable for me, they are not going in my collection.

Price is also a consideration, so if they are out of my budget, oh well, life goes on. Unlike some Tarotistas, FOMO (fear of missing out) is not an issue for me.

At this point in time I have a sizeable collection, so I am in no rush to add decks. So I take my time, research, ponder before I add a new deck to my collection. Also, the deck has to appeal to me, and I tend to like vivid imagery.

3 What are deal breakers in a deck that keep you from buying it?

Deal breakers for me include:

Pip decks. I am not really interested in pip-only decks. I can appreciate the art in some of them, but that is it. I am not opposed to pip decks, and would like to work with them down the road. I’ve gotten some books on Marseilles style decks for study. However, I already have some pip decks, a couple that were gifts, so I feel I have enough.

Major Arcana only decks. They seem incomplete to me. I want full decks.

Price. As much as I appreciate the craft of various independent decks, high (to me) price for a deck is where I bail out.

Other than the above, I have no big deal breakers as I have a good variety of decks in my collection.

4 Little white book or big guide book?

It depends. Some decks are fine with a little white book, but others should have a big guide book. I have a deck or two where I wish it came with a guide book. Having said that, guide book should come with a deck, i.e. I do not appreciate when they sell the book separately when it should come with the set.

5 Do you have new deck rituals? How do you break in a new deck?

I do not really have new deck rituals. If a deck comes with a book, I try to read the book first. I also, upon purchase, check and count cards to make sure the deck is complete. After that, I just grab the deck and get to work with it.

6 Have you ever been disappointed after getting a deck because it looked/felt different than expected? (Bonus question: have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a deck after getting it?)

Yes, I have been disappointed after getting a deck because it looked different than expected. One reason was a nice looking deck that turned out to be a pip deck. In another instance, the deck was an unreadable mess; this one deck is literary themed, and to be honest it does poorly by the literary source too. Those two were cases of impulse purchases where I did not research ahead of time. After those two instances, I do not buy without research. If no information or images are available on a deck, I wait until they are available to make a decision or ignore them and move on.

7 Do you interview new decks?

Yes, I do interview my decks. I usually do it after I’ve used a deck for some time. I do eventually post the interview spreads to the blog here. You can find these posts under the deck interview tag on the right side column.

8 Do you ever buy decks for a specific purpose (only using it for that one)?

I don’t really buy decks for a specific purpose. Now, I may discover later on looking over a deck and/or working with it that a deck is better suited for a specific purpose.

9 Do you differentiate between decks you buy for yourself and decks you would use for other people?

Yes, I have decks I feel comfortable using with other people and decks I would only use for myself.

10 What is one thing deck creators would do, do more of, or stop doing?

Just one? Well, I’d say include both Major and Minor Arcana, other than court cards, in any promotional materials. To me, if I do not see Minor Arcana samples that signals pip deck, and I tune out and move on at that point. I’ve seen this pattern often enough I can swear by it.

If a deck has a companion book then include it with the deck. You want to charge a bit more for a kit that is perfectly fine. Separating it for another cash grab is just not right and annoying (to me).

Oh, and if you ask for early honest feedback on a project (this is based on a small real incident I had in a Tarot forum with some snotty creator), and you do get said honest feedback, don’t go lashing out like an asshole if you dislike the feedback. Either be humble, say thank you (and ignore the feedback if you wish), or shut the fuck up and don’t ask questions you do not really want an answer to. If all you really want is ego stroking, say so. Alienating potential customers is not good form.

Photo from Flickr user Raider of Gin (fairerdingo). Image used under terms of Creative Commons 2.0 Generic Attribution License.

Welcome to my March 2021 round up of books reviewed and media watched over at The Itinerant Librarian. A small list this month, but I felt I got some very good books read and reviewed in March. I reviewed the following books:

And here is my media roundup of movies and television shows I watched in March.

Deck interview spread for the Enchanted Map Oracle deck (link to my review of the deck).


  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 and collaborate with you?
  6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Top card is first position, then read the spread clockwise.
  1. Listening-53. A good deck to get you to listen, specially listen to your inner voice. Help you calm the mind and focus so you can listen. A deck to use in quiet moments, or maybe with some soft music. Also a deck to remind you how to listen.

From companion book:

“Pay attention not only to what is being spoken, but also to what is not being said at the moment, for the deeper message is not always obvious” (150-151).

  1. Commitment- 36. This is a deck for the long haul. A deck to help you commit to the work for your greatest good. This deck is strong also for questions on commitments whether they be relationships or work and career. A deck to help with responsibilities. Possibly strong for questions about contracts and deals.
  1. Sad Embrace-45. Overly sad and emotional topics may be a limit for this deck. If you need that shoulder to cry on, this may not be the deck for that. This is not a deck if you want to play victim.

From companion book:

“You are not a victim, only a traveler on a hero’s journey. It’s okay to be disappointed for now, but know that someday you’ll look back and see great value in this experience” (128).

  1. Home- 27. Teach you about coming home as well as caring for your home front. Teach you to put your own house in order and keep it that way. A good deck to do personal inner work. In reading for others, help them see the way home.
  1. Follow the Leader- 40. Trust the process. Keep an open mind, be receptive to be messages from the deck. Also, use what you learn with the deck to lead others on a good path.

From companion book:

“By being fully authentic, you’ll lead others into the light” (112).

  1. Wishing Well- 48. Set intentions, make wishes, and deck can show you ways to manifest them. Put in the work and trust the process. Seeing possibilities.

From companion book:

“Form your intention, and take action by dropping the coin into the Wishing Well; then trust in Spirit” (136).

This is my deck interview spread for the Isis Oracle (link to my review of the deck).


  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 and collaborate with you?
  6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Deck Interview Spread for Isis Oracle. First position is top card, then read spread clockwise.
  1. Key of Life. Keywords: Spinning the Ankh, the Key of Life. This is a deck for all cycles and times in life. Where fortune goes, this can go along for answers and insights. Small or large questions this deck can handle. Want to spin the wheel, take a chance, this deck is good for that as well. A good deck to encourage and support creativity. From companion book:

“The Ankh says that life will prevail and your creation will come to pass. Do not give up on your creative destiny. Stay with it, you are flowing in the right direction and you have spiritual support from the unseen worlds” (84).

  1. Spirit of Isis. Keywords: Triumph of the Goddess! No doubt this is Isis’ deck, and with it comes her protection, aid, and nurturing. If you wish to work with her, this deck is a great tool for bringing her strength and attributes to your practice. Very strong in feminine energy, so a good deck to get in touch with that side (for me at least). In addition, a reminder to trust in love, do the work with love and trust in the goddess and the divine, and you’ll find nurturing and encouragement. Be receptive to what the goddess brings and offers. From companion book:

“Remember, beloved Initiate, that the forces of growth, love and divinity are in your corner. There is nothing more powerful than these. Allow them to have their way, and you will have yours. Your win is assured” (162).

  1. Mother of Life. Keywords. Nourishment of the Golden Grain Mother. Nurturing may go so far in the sense this deck will not “mother” you, nor do things all for you. I am sensing that very material issues may be a limit. Deck may be better for more spiritual issues. Deck may be limited by how receptive or not you are. If you put walls up, deck is less effective. Open your mind and heart so you can learn and grow. I sense the limit is more what you bring. Be open, do the work and growth can happen.
  2. Portal of Light. Keywords: She Glides on Wings through Time and Space. Teach a bit more about spiritual possibilities, trusting intuition and your visions. Teach walking a path of light. From companion book, which sums up my initial read:

“You are a being conscious on levels beyond the physical world. You are guided to work with your healing powers beyond the confines of time and space to allow your sense of Self to expand. It is safe for you to do this now” (121).

  1. Chariot of Ascension. Keywords: Spiritual Work of the Higher Initiate. Clear the mind, cleanse, and put in the spiritual work. Have faith in the divine, the goddess but also do the work. Find your sacred space, go into it, leave the material behind. From companion book:

“The Oracle of Ascension is also confirmation that you are growing spiritually and becoming ready for greater tasks and spiritual responsibilities. If you have been considering taking a step to engage in teaching or healing, in studying or practicing at a higher level whether spiritually or in your chosen field or profession, you are encouraged to follow your heart and your destiny, and be bold. Say ‘Yes!’ to yourself” (34-35).

  1. Enter the Chamber of Healing. Keywords: Healing in the Divine Chamber of the Lady Isis. Card confirms this deck is strong for spiritual matters and work. Working with this deck can help with healing for me as well as sharing healing with others as I learn and hone my skills. Take the steps, walk in, find healing, peace, a more spiritual way. Put in the work, and in time can share with others. On personal level, heal my relationship to the spiritual and divine. From companion book:

“Healing happens most powerfully when there is space, openness and allowing” (55).

Overall, for me this reading was a bit intense. This is a solid deck for spiritual and divine work. I can certainly feel the Goddess inspiring to a path of love, healing, and learning. Very strong feminine nurturing energy, and that is a good.

April 2021


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