Alchemical Thoughts

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Welcome to another edition of my ever growing TBR list. A reminder that as always links to book titles go to Worldcat so you can find them in a library near you, unless otherwise noted. The articles of course are the places where I learn about the books.

Items about books I want to read:

Some decks I am interested in possibly acquiring:

  • Two via Angelorum:
  • Via Pagan Pages, a review of Angela Hartfield (text) and Ekaterina Golovanova (art) oracle deck Whispers of the Ocean (link to publisher). I have been looking for an ocean/sea themed divination deck. After the fiasco that was the Oceanic Tarot (one I have to review, but I can tell you already don’t bother with this pipped deck), this looks like it could be a good option even if it is an oracle.

“Quarantined” books (books that fall under my self-imposed moratorium on politics, activism, etc.). A new category in this series. I am currently under a moratorium on reading anything political, activist, social justice, and such, and I am hoping that moratorium will end some day. . .maybe. . . once the Hard Times end. In the meantime, these are books I would usually read, but I am not in order to keep the sanity, but I am still listing them because I hope a day will come I will feel I can read them again.


List and bibliographies:



I had a bit of a busy weekend, but I still managed to get my summer solstice Tarot reading for 2020. As I did back in 2018, last time I posted a summer solstice reading here, I am using Evvie Marin’s Summer Solstice Tarot Spread. I like the spread because it is a short and fairly basic spread. Card instructions and questions by Marin. The card readings are mine.

Summer Solstice Tarot spread by Evvie Martin

Summer Solstice Tarot spread by Evvie Martin

This year I am using the Santa Muerte Tarot deck by Fabio Listrani, published by Lo Scarabeo (link to my review of the deck at The Itinerant Librarian; link to a deck interview spread using this deck). In this pandemic time, it felt like the deck to use, plus its quirky humor can help.

Summer Solstice Tarot Spread 2020_062120 small

Summer Solstice Spread 2020, using Santa Muerte Tarot deck


Card positions and reading. As noted, The Sun-XIX, is in the center position.

I. Recover and Renew. What do I need to pull from this season? What do I need to soak up from the sun?

Six of Swords. I see we are starting serious. You need to leave behind what you cannot control, what does not serve you. Chart your own path for this solstice and the rest of the year. Pull any lessons you can get, then get moving on your new path. Soak up energy so you can commit and get going. Take what is yours, leave behind the rest. Seek out new paths for your greatest good. This may be a good time to expand your learning.

II. Rest and Relax. Where in my life do I most need to rest and relax? What stressors can I step away from for a spell? What can afford to sit in the back-burner while I take a minute?

Eight of Cups. On the emotional front, rest and relax. Work on not overthinking so much, on worrying less. Don’t feel like you need to take every burden; some worries are not that big a deal, or they do not affect you closely (if at all). So take a good deep breath, cleanse yourself, let that stuff go. When you feel overwhelmed emotionally, seek some distraction, disconnect, tune out. Get your rest, relax, follow the old rule that at the end of the day you go home and rest. This is still about moving away, but in a more emotional way. If you can’t control it, work on not losing sleep over it. Get your rest. Calm the mind.

III. Rumpus and Romp. Where in life can I celebrate and play? What’s a good theme for a summer adventure?

King of Cups. Just have a drink or two, man. Do so at home where it is safe. Celebrate the good at home as much as you can. Share that good with family or those close to you. Try out a new cocktail recipe. Cook a meal or two at home and share with family. Isolation does not mean you stop the celebration. It just means your guest list may be a lot smaller. Eat, drink, be merry, and share that mirth as you can. That good bottle of wine or liquor (or some non-alcoholic option) you’ve been saving, it’s a good time to open it now. Celebrate the good things you have. Benevolence.

IV. Release and Re-Block. Where do I need to watch for burnout? How can I protect myself to get the best out of the season with minimal scrapes and burns?

Page of Cups. This is where tuning out and disconnecting come in. Limit exposure to news and current events media, and this does include social media. Beware that need to be informed; it can easily lead to burnout. So work on minimizing that need, ration it to a minimum. Again, a good time to try new things, new learning, new hobbies, new (or old) entertainments. Find new things to keep your attention in learning and/or entertainment.

The Advice of the Dead for this card from the companion booklet seemed spot on, so here goes:

“Continue to study and to dedicate yourself to what you are doing and good results will not take long to arrive, but do not let yourself be distracted by facile illusions” (28).

An overall theme this year of isolating more, go into yourself, go inside. Leave stuff that does not serve you, and work for yourself now. Protect your emotional well-being. Plus a bit of escapism and distraction can be healthy, and that you can certainly afford to do. Work on that.


This is the deck interview spread I did for the Vivid Journey Tarot (Alaire) deck. If interested, you can read my review of the deck over at The Itinerant Librarian.

To read the spread, the top position is the first position, then read clockwise.

Deck Interview Vivid Journey Tarot_051220 small

Cards draw in spread from top, then clockwise: Page of Swords, The Moon- XVIII, Eight of Pentacles, The Hanged Man-XII, Nine of Pentacles, and Five of Cups. Deck used Vivid Journey Tarot.

Prompts for the spread:

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

Page of Swords. A good deck for learning. Good deck for exploring and trying out new ideas. Do not be fooled; this is a Page of Swords, so it can reveal cutting truths as well if need be. If you need a deck to help you start thinking and pondering, this is a good one. It may not offer as much depth, but it will get you started in thinking, planning, and reflecting. And often, that is what you need: something to get the ball rolling.


What are your strengths as a deck?

The Moon- XVIII. A deck to get intuition going. Once rational, cold logic stops, your intuition can take over. This deck may help you see illusions, help you see into the shadows more. In darkness, this deck can bring some light. Also, consider the deck as having strong feminine energy, so it can help that intuition be more receptive.

Some additional insight from the companion book:

“Perhaps you would benefit from some internal work or meditation to discover what is holding you back at a subconscious level and how you can best face those fears and insecurities” (59).

This deck may appear simple but it can make you go deep when you need to do so. Once you see the shadows and illusions, you can dispel them to see clearly. Strength in intuition.


What are your limits as a deck?

Eight of Pentacles. Very focused, very detail oriented, repetitive kind of questions. Very mundane kind of things may be a limit here. Simple work matters, or rather attention to details over and over may be a limit. Work, career, material questions could be a limit. More concrete things can be a limit.


What are you here to teach me?

The Hanged Man- XII. Patience. To take time to pause, to be still, to stop a while. To look at things from a different angle or perspective. To put in work, effort, sacrifice even to see things in ways you may not have before. If you think you can rush through something, this deck will not let you. It will force you to stop, flip you around, and make you wait until you see what you need to see. Calm the mind. Stop that constantly thinking brain for a few moments, change your perspective so you can see. Calm and patience. Enlightenment will come, but you need to be still.


How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

Nine of Pentacles. Through discipline and work, that is how you get the rewards and the learning. Put the work in, and you’ll find it rewarding to work with this deck. Give it your best, and you’ll get results. Independent thinking and action.


What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Five of Cups. You just might learn that not all is lost. You may get to see what you still have, to look at your resources in a more positive light. What is gone is gone, what is done is done. Grieve it if needed, but then turn around, see what you still have, what is inside you, what has been there all along. You’ll see you are not out yet; you still have plenty, so let’s work.


As part of doing the “31 Days of Tarot Challenge” back in January, the Day 4 prompt was to list your 5 most used decks between 2010 to 2019. I started my Tarot journey in 2016. As I mentioned in the Day 4 prompt, I did a tally of the decks I used between 2016 and 2019 in order to figure out the top 5 for that time period. Since I did do the tally, I figured I may as well share it and post it to the blog so I will have another record of it, and in case anyone out there is interested. So here are the decks I used from 2016 to 2019, with a bit of commentary here and there:


  • Tarot de Marseilles. This is the deck that I started learning on.
  • The Gilded Tarot (link to my review). I switched from the Marseilles deck to this, and my Tarot learning really took off. This deck remains a favorite of mine to this day, and it is one I take with me often when I do readings for others.
  • Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night (link to my review). This has become a favorite deck of mine, and it is one I tend to bring out in the fall season and for Halloween/Samhain. I was a bit sad when I saw it went out of print, but I am glad to have it, and I was fortunate I was able to get a second back up copy (and it was on sale, so I managed to avoid the obscene secondary prices you may be seeing now).
  • Halloween Oracle (link to my review). This is another favorite of mine. While it is one to use year round, I tend to bring it out for fall season and Samhain/Halloween. I tend to use oracle cards at this point in my journey either to supplement the Tarot or as a weekly oracle card pull.



  • Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell edition. Link to my review). Another favorite of mine. When I read for others, people often respond well to this deck, especially if they like steampunk, science fiction, and fantasy. I find that it reads very well.
  • Gaian Tarot. (link to my review). A beautiful deck with contemporary images. It is one I find is very user friendly and works well.
  • Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night.
  • Santa Muerte Tarot (link to my review). I got this one because it was created by the same artist who did the Night Sun Tarot, Fabio Listrani. The Santa Muerte Tarot has become a favorite of mine. I enjoy that, for me at least, it has a quirky sense of humor at times. In fact, I liked this deck so much that I went ahead and bought the Santa Muerte Oracle, also by Listrani. I have not worked with the oracle yet, but as soon as I do I hope to write a review of it as well as post an interview spread for it.
  • Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot (link to my review).  A deck with beautiful art that also has some diversity in representation (for folks who look for that). This deck does switch elemental correspondences between swords (usually air, fire on this deck) and wands (usually fire, air on this deck). It is not something that works for me, but I just read keeping the standard/usual correspondence. Doing that, the deck works fine for me. One lesson I got along the way when I first used the deck is some people do take their Tarot a bit too seriously. I casually commented on some Tarot forum about this deck and how I just read it in the standard way, and two or three gurus got all uppity saying I had a “bad attitude” even though they were asking about this issue with the deck and claimed to want honest answers. I should know better by now that “honest answers” on social media usually mean “as long as it is the answer someone wants to hear.” So I tend to not comment much anymore on Tarot forums and such. Meanwhile, I just keep to my path. Overall, this is a favorite deck with good art, very rich in symbolism, so it lends itself to some deep study too.
  • Enchanted Map Oracle (link to my review). Another favorite of mine. On an interesting note, I find that it often works well together with the Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell).
  • Isis Oracle (link to my review).
  • Wisdom of the Oracle (link to my review). This deck is also by Baron-Reid, who is author of the Enchanted Map Oracle.



  • Santa Muerte Tarot (Listrani).
  • Legacy of the Divine Tarot (Marchetti). This is one of the most beautiful decks in my collection. I need to write a review for it sooner rather than later.
  • Gaian Tarot.
  • Witches Tarot (link to my review).
  • Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night.
  • Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell).
  • Wisdom of the Oracle.



  • Witches Tarot (Dugan and Evans).
  • Everyday Witch Tarot (link to my review).
  • Panda Tarot (link to my review).
  • Vivid Journey Tarot (link to my review).
  • Ghost Tarot (link to my review). I used this one instead of the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night for the fall and Halloween/Samhain season in 2019.
  • Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell).
  • Divination of the Ancients Oracle. Actually, I just had this one on rotation in 2019, but I never got around to using it in 2019.
  • Halloween Oracle.




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

This is my monthly wrap up of books I reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian for the month of May 2020.


I reviewed the following Tarot deck in May:


Here is my Media Roundup for May 2020 listing what movies and media I watched. Highlight for me this month was that Tubi TV got the full run of the British Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. It’s what I have been binge watching during the later part of May and into June.


July 2020


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