Alchemical Thoughts

Again, these answers are mostly short for me, so I am combining days. I also fell a little behind after Day 16, so I am catching up today. The prompts are as follows:

Day 17: Draw, paint, or sketch your favorite Tarot card (talk a little bit about this card while you are drawing).

Day 18: Share one of the new things you learned about the Tarot in the last year.

Day 19: Share which Tarot deck gives you the “heebie jeebies.”

Day 20: Share one Tarot myth you used to believe (and why you stopped believing it).


Initially, I was going to skip Day 17 since I have not really practiced drawing much of anything since high school days. Back then, I was

Sketch of Justice card image

This is a very quick and rough sketch for the Justice-XI card in Tarot. At least I managed to get the scales to balance.

pretty good as I even took drawing and painting classes, but I have not kept up with it. So what can I say? I feel a bit self-conscious about it. Yet I decided to do a quick sketch, and I mean a very quick sketch of a card that is a favorite: Justice. I find Justice, which for me is usually the 11th card (my decks tend to draw on Rider Waite Smith and similar traditions), to be reassuring and something I aspire to: justice, fairness. When I think of Justice, I also think of an old Bible verse that was ingrained in me when I was in a La Salle Catholic school as a youth. The verse is Daniel 12: 3: “But they that are learned shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that instruct many to justice, as stars for all eternity.” The part about leading or showing justice to others was the motto of the Christian Brothers who ran the school, and it is something that even now, as a heathen, still stays with me to this day. In some small way, I am an instruction librarian and teacher because I strive and aspire to teach many to justice. And who knows, maybe someday I may take up drawing again.

Day 18. New things I have learned about Tarot.

  • Well, I learned that there is a big Tarot community out there, and I also learned that like many large communities, not everyone gets along or agrees on things. Having differences is OK. People who get a little too dogmatic and are more “my way or the high way” I tend to avoid. I have found some groups in Facebook. Some not so useful, but recently I came across one that seems friendly, accessible, and most people in it are not full of themselves, so we will see how it goes. It does amaze me that some people in Tarot and divination get a little learning under their belts, and they get seriously full of themselves. Those are the folks I avoid.
  • I have also learned to experiment here and there where I can. My time tends to be limited, and I have learned to make peace with that and do Tarot and oracle when I can, even if it is in small ways. As I often say, do what you can with what little you may have.
  • I knew this, but it has been reinforced in the past year, and that is that I do not really like “pip-only” decks. I can appreciate the art on some of them, but for the most part, they are decks I do not and will not add to my personal collection. Only reason I have two Marseilles decks is that they were gifts from special people, so those naturally stay. Other two “pip-only decks I have are the Victorian Steampunk, which I admit I got for the steampunk theme to go with the other two steampunk themed decks I have, and the Oceanic Tarot, which is one of two decks I got without looking it up first because it looked nice on the outside. I will not be making that mistake ever again, and odds are good the Oceanic Tarot will not stay in my collection, but I have not decided yet. That deck just feels like it had potential, then the author just gave up after completing the Major Arcana. On a side note, the other deck I ever got without prior research is The Hobbit Tarot, which I hate (more on that below). That one is definitely going out of the house as soon as I get a moment to take care of that. What the hell U.S. Games was smoking when they made The Hobbit Tarot is beyond me as the images have nothing to do with Tarot at all. The Victorian Steampunk I like enough to keep, and I know I will likely work with it down the road. So I guess exceptions are possible. I will tell you this: Marchetti’s Tarot Decoratif, his take on Marseilles blended with RWS is one I definitely would add to my collection, but that is more because I am a fan of Marchetti’s work. As for traditional Marseilles, to me, you have seen one, you have seen them all. People have told me, “oh, but different colors, symbols, blah blah.” Slight new shading or brighter colors are not things that make a difference in seeing the same images over and over. Then again, traditional RWS does not do much for me either. Seeing ten different versions of the same RWS deck which means just they colored it brighter or lighter does not do it for me, but I am digressing here. And in the end, this is just personal preference. Bottom line let me cite the Rivera Tarot Corollary to Ranganathan: “Every deck its reader/collector, and every reader/collector their deck.”
  • Going a bit with the above, I did resolve to learn Marseilles style down the road. So I have acquired a book or two on the topic. For me, this would be going back to the beginning, as I started my Tarot journey with a Marseilles deck. I just learned early on it was not working, which is another lesson I have learned over time. Do what works for you the best you can.

Day 19. A deck that gave me the “heebie jeebies” first time I saw it was the Dark Grimoire Tarot. I still want to get it, but it did give me the creeps when I first saw it, especially once I saw its Hanged Man card, which is literally a man in the process of hanging himself. However, as some have suggested, the man could be reaching to undo that noose at the last minute. The card is dark, but it also offers many possibilities when you ponder it. This is a Lovecraftian deck, which is meant to be dark and even a bit horrifying, but it is still one that can draw you in, thus I hope to add it to my collection, and I also hope once I do to begin re-reading H.P. Lovecraft’s works, which I have not done in a while.

Day 20. I did not really have myths about Tarot before I came to Tarot. But the one thing I suppose that stuck with me before I unlearned it was that you had to be gifted, mystical, or psychic somehow to read cards. I did not necessarily think it was some gypsy woman stereotype, but I would imagine it did have to be more like some old granny who had a lot of old wisdom and could see things. It would be like the heathen or pagan version of the old Catholic ladies that were friends with my grandmother (and we are talking pre-Vatican II old Catholic ladies, i.e. seriously hardcore), who instead of rosaries and veils had Tarot cards (not even oracle cards. I did not know those existed pretty much until I got into Tarot). This Tarot lady would sort of have a pagan and “hippie” herbalist kind of look who read cards at her home which smelled of cigars and incense, and if she has a pet, it was likely a cat. In fact, the image in my mind is not far off from what I knew and know about some santeras (clerics of Santeria, not makers of saints and religious icons which in Spanish are also called santeros or santeras), like this one. And it would have to be a woman. I had no idea until I got into Tarot that guys would be into it let alone that there are some guys out there really good at it. Over time I have learned that with effort and practice, anyone can learn to read Tarot and oracle cards. I am not sure about the intuition thing yet, but I can tell you that I feel mine has woken up a bit since I took up Tarot.


You can find the original prompts by Ethony here.


These prompts are basically short answers for me, so I am combining days into a single post.

Day 14 prompt: Share your favorite divination tool aside from Tarot.

Day 15 prompt: Do you have a deck for personal use only? Why?/Why not?

Day 16 prompt: Do you read reversal? Why? Why not?


On divination tools, I use oracle cards in addition to Tarot cards, so those would be my favorite divination tool aside from Tarot. Other than that, not really. I have not looked into divination very much aside from cards, so at this moment, I do not have anything else.

Decks for personal use. I’d say most of my decks at the moment are for personal use only since I do not read publicly nor professionally. I have done some single card readings for acquaintances in an informal way. For that, I used decks I felt were accessible. I have used for that the Gaian Tarot (Colbert), the Gilded Tarot (Marchetti), and the Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell) plus The Halloween Oracle (De Marco).  I also wanted decks I felt people could relate to or respond more positively to. The Steampunk Tarot was often a popular choice when I had the decks out and let people choose which deck to draw from. I may some day expand to do small spreads for friends and acquaintances, but I am not quite there yet. Who knows? Maybe some day I will do small free readings online for feedback to get the practice.

Another thing about having personal decks comes with my daily card draws. In recent times, I have been sharing my daily draws on Twitter. I usually draw a daily card and then I look for the underneath (under the deck) card, so my daily draw is composed of those two cards. On Fridays, I tend to do a bonus oracle card draw where I draw an extra card as a bonus. I do not share my bonus oracle card publicly. I consider that to be something I do just for me. Down the road, I could always do a general oracle card draw for the public, but the one I do as bonus for me is to remain mine and private.

As for reversals, I do not read reversals. I think I mentioned this before: learning Tarot and oracle cards is already complicated enough for me without adding the element of reversals to it. Besides, I have found that depending on day and context, a more “reversed” meaning of a card can be applicable. So basically, I do not feel a need to formally read reversals. If such a meaning is relevant, it will likely reveal itself. Keep in mind that is what works for me at the moment.


You can find all the other prompts here.

Today’s prompt: What was your best/worst/memorable Tarot moment of 2018? For example, was there a message you were shocked to get or give or theme you kept getting? A deck that surprised you or a reading that stuck with you?


I am going to start by guessing that the prompt meant 2017, since we are not far into 2018, thus can I really have a memorable moment for the year yet?

In terms of decks, I will have to say I was very pleased with the Santa Muerte Tarot (link to Llewellyn). Moment it arrived in 2017, I have felt very drawn to it, and as of this post, it is my current daily use deck. As I have mentioned before, it has a quirky sense of humor that I have grown to like and enjoy.

The Hermit from the Santa Muerte Tarot

That day the Internet went down in the library? Yea, I felt pretty much like this guy in his coffin, ha ha!

In terms of memorable moments, I need to look back in my Tarot journals. Here is one: at one point in late November 2017, I drew The Hermit- IX as the daily card, and it found a way to manifest at work later in the day: the Internet and campus network went down all afternoon, so I was pretty much isolated in my office. Go figure. It was an annoyance at the time (an academic library, not to mention a college campus in our times, pretty much needs a working Internet to run), but in retrospect, this was some forced time to just be quiet for a bit and slow things down. I would not necessarily call this the most memorable moment, but this one exemplifies the small moments I get at times when a reading seems to manifest or comes to mind in my daily life.

Today’s prompt: What started you reading Tarot? Why did you continue to read?

A while back, I wrote about how I started my Tarot learning journey, so you can hit the link and read about it there. When I look at what I wrote, I find it amazing it will be almost two years of studying, learning, and reading Tarot, and now also oracle cards, for me. Here is to another year, and hopefully many more.

So why do I continue? For one, my daily draws give me a nice and simple ritual to start the day. A card a day is simple and easy exercise I can do to help me focus before the day starts. I also write on my journal for every daily card, so it helps me with journaling, and the journaling reinforces my learning, so it is all good. I do not do a huge amount of work with my cards, but when I do, it is a comforting and peaceful practice, and these “Hard Times,” I find that something that brings me a little peace and calm is a good thing. We will see where the journey leads.

You can find the daily prompts for the challenge here.


Today’s prompt: Oracle decks you want to work with more in 2018.

Much like yesterday’s prompt with Tarot decks, I do not plan this ahead much. I usually bring out a deck when the mood strikes me or for some special time. At this point in my learning, I use oracle cards to supplement my Tarot readings. One thing I have done consistently is do a bonus oracle card draw on Fridays to go along with the daily Tarot card draw. As with Tarot, I can’t really have two or more decks of one type in rotation at the same time; I just really have to focus on whatever deck I am using at the time.

So as I did with my Tarot decks yesterday, I am going to take a guess of oracle decks I may want to work with in 2018:

  • Wisdom of the Oracle divination cards (Baron-Reid). As of this post, this is the deck I am using. I hope to keep using them for a while longer. At the moment, it makes a nice choice for winter.
  • The Enchanted Map oracle cards (Baron-Reid). This was the oracle deck I used most in 2017, and I know at some point I will go back to it as I got to know it well, and I am comfortable with it. I think I mentioned this before: for me, they work really well with decks like the Gilded Tarot (Marchetti) and the Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell).
  • Oracle of Visions (Marchetti). I just got this one, and I am excited about it, so I am hoping to work with it in 2018.

I have other oracle decks, so this very partial and tentative list could change, but these three were the ones that came to mind right away when I was writing out the prompt.

As always, you can find all the daily prompts here.

Today’s prompt: Tarot decks you want to work with more in 2018.

I am not sure about this because I rarely plan that far ahead. I usually just pull or bring into use a deck when I feel the mood for it, or it may be special time, like bringing out one of the vampire decks for Halloween, that kind of thing. Also, unlike many Tarotistas out there, I am not really good about using more than one deck type at the same time. I can have a Tarot deck and an oracle deck in current rotation, but two Tarots or more, I am not quite ready for. I tend to feel I need to focus on the deck I have in front of me. As a result, I may add new decks to my collection, but it may take me a while to get to using them. As I learn more and gain more confidence, I may start using more than one type at a time.

So in the meantime I am going to take a guess of some possibilities with a little commentary.

  • The Santa Muerte Tarot (Listrani; link to Llewellyn). As of this post, this is the deck I am using for my daily draws, and if I decide to do some small spread, I will likely use this one as well. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy the quirky humor this deck shows me at times. I will note that I am not Mexican, but I am Latino, so I also appreciate the Latino flavor of this deck. Right now, this is the one I am using, and that will likely be the case for a while.
  • The Legacy of the Divine Tarot (Marchetti; link to Aeclectic). I have worked with and enjoyed his Gilded Tarot, so I would like to try this one soon. This one came with a companion book, so I will be reading the book before I get to work with it.
  • The Gaian Tarot (Powell Colbert; link to my review at The Itinerant Librarian). I have used this one, and I would like to go back to it sometime this year. It may be one for spring or summer. Not sure at this point.

There are some others I would like to get to, but I am not sure when I will. For instance, I have The Sherlock Holmes Tarot (link to Aeclectic), but in addition to reading the companion book, I want to re-read the Conan Doyle original tales, so getting to that deck may take me a while. Usually, if a deck has a companion book, I tend to like reading that book first before really jumping into the deck (it’s the reader and librarian in me). If I ever get the Necronomicon Tarot, I am going to want to re-read my H.P. Lovecraft tales. Overall, I am confident I will get to work with all the decks in my collection, just not sure when. Like good books, I know the decks will wait. For me then, there will always be a new horizon to discover, or rediscover if I revisit a deck I have used already. The learning always continues, and that is something I find appealing and good about my Tarot and oracle learning journey.

Paz y amor.

As always, you can find the original daily prompts here.

Today’s prompt: Tarot goals for 2018.

My Tarot and oracle card study goals for 2018 are not fancy nor complicated. I just want to continue studying and learning. As part of that, I would like to try doing more card spreads, at least 3-cards spreads. Also, I have gotten some books on Tarot and divination I’d like to read such as Arthur Waite’s book, which for me can be like going back to basics, where it all began so to speak, and Rachel Pollack’s 78 Degrees that every other Tarotista seems to mention. I’d also like to share some of my experiences here in this commonplace blog and on Tumblr, but that is a stage of small steps for now.

Naturally, I will continue doing my daily Tarot card draws every morning during the work week (Monday through Friday). For now, you can find those if you follow me on Twitter. I may or not add them on Tumblr. Still thinking it over as of this post.

You can find all the original prompts for the challenge here.

March 2018
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