Alchemical Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘cartomancy

Doing this as my exercise/ritual for Spring equinox 2020. The spread goes from left to right, three cards. I am using the Vivid Journey Tarot deck by Jessica Alaire, published by Llewellyn. Spread was done over at (apparently the blog is no longer active there at last check).

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Spring Garden Tarot Spread. Read cards from left to right. Using the Vivid Journey Tarot deck.

Prompts and reading:

Pull the Weeds. What needs to be removed from your life to make way for new growth?

Seven of Swords (Minor Arcana. Suit of Swords). Dishonesty. Treachery. Deceit. Be as honest as possible with yourself and others. In these times of isolation (this reading was done during the 2020 coronavirus situation), remove those negative influences from your life. Stay away from those who are deceitful, selfish, and thieving. This is a good time to weed out and cut them out of your life. You keep working to maintain your integrity. Weed out those without integrity. Weed that out so honesty, truth, and trust can grow.

Plant the Seeds. What do you need to bring into your life?

Four of Pentacles (Minor Arcana. Suit of Pentacles). Self care and time for yourself. This does not mean getting stingy. It does mean saving some coin for yourself as well as saving some resources such as your time and effort. You cannot be there for others if you do not care for yourself. Bring time and intention to keep something for yourself, to care for yourself, do a little something for yourself. Again, self care. Another keyword here would be economize.

Prune the Leaves. How can you nurture and grow your seeds strong and healthy moving forward?

Three of Pentacles (Minor Arcana. Suit of Pentacles). With careful work and diligence. Do planning to maintain your intentions. Seek out advice as needed but also surround yourself with folks who understand and are supportive. You weeded out bad influences. Seek out good influences. Treat your self care like any other project for it is as important.

Doing this deck interview for practice as well as to show a bit how the deck works. You can find my review of this deck over at The Itinerant Librarian (link to the review). Using the same common spread I have been using so far. Top card is the initial spread position, then follow the other cards in a clockwise motion.

Deck Interview Spread Revealed Santa Muerte Tarot_031519 small

Deck Interview Spread for Santa Muerte Tarot done by me. Top position is first position, then read the spread clockwise.

A side note: As I was shuffling the deck to do the spread, Justice- XI card jumped out. At

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Justice-XI card from the Santa Muerte Tarot. This card could not wait and jumped out as I was shuffling the deck in preparation to do and read the interview spread. Over time this has become one of my favorite depictions of the Justice card.

the time I was doing this, the concept and idea of Justice has been on my mind for a few days. I’ve even found myself doing light research on Themis, the ancient goddess of justice and order. The card jumped out right away. Perhaps this is also why the deck is so appealing to me. Santa Muerte, Death, is truly impartial; she will come for all; she does not discriminate. In a world filled with corruption, cheating, lack of fairness, Santa Muerte and Justice are constant. It may take time, but they will arrive. I’ve been feeling a longing for balance, fairness, and well, justice. I am not fearful; in fact, I find the Justice-XI (or VIII if you use a Marseilles style deck) very comforting, as if telling me it will work out in the end, you just keep to your good and honest path. I am reminded also of a Bible verse of all things that often guides me as an educator and librarian: “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” (Daniel 12:3, Douay-Rheims Bible).

Let’s get on with the spread.

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

The Star- XVII (Major Arcana). Start on a positive, hopeful sign. This is a deck to give hope and comfort, something to look up to. When you feel down, this is a deck to rediscover inspiration and hope. This is an “aim high” deck. This depiction of The Star is very watery, so a deck that is good for emotional matters, reminder to go with the flow, find your beacon, and follow it.

What are your strengths as a deck?

Page of Swords (Minor Arcana- Suit of Swords). This deck will give you the news, whether good or bad. It will encourage you to try new things as you search for truth and knowledge. This is also a deck that encourages study and reflection, while keeping a sense of wonder. Put in the time, work, and reflection, and you’ll learn and gain knowledge and insight. A good deck to carefully evaluate things.

What are your limits as a deck?

The World -XXI (Major Arcana). I found this interesting. Limit may be in “big picture” issues or aspects. If you are looking for a deck to reinforce broad dreams and big schemes, which may or not be good or half baked, this deck is not it. The World often indicates endings; this is not a deck of endings. This is not a “go wild” deck. Still, the Advice of the Dead for this card is reassuring: “Do not give up and do not be afraid. The road you have taken is the right one and whatever difficulty you find will be brief and you will achieve the results you desire” (23).

What are you here to teach me?

Five of Swords (Minor Arcana- Suit of Swords). Truth, whether it hurts or not. You cannot escape truth no matter how you try to run away from it or evade it. Also to remind you at times if being right is worth alienating others. Deck can remind you there are times you will need to confront. In confronting, you might not be able to avoid, but a different angle may help you get through obstacles.

How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

Ten of Cups (Minor Arcana- Suit of Cups). Go with the flow and keep the faith. Keep an open mind and be ready for transformations. Also with practice. Set your intention to learn, trust and develop your intuition, and get to practicing. Again, go with the flow, follow your vision and bliss.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

The Moon- XVII (Major Arcana). Right away I get intuition. Working with this deck, I can better develop my intuition. Also ability to look deep within to see truth, to see what may lie under the surface or hidden. Things may not be as they seem, but this deck can help lift the veil, point out where the illusions may be, and even what those illusions are. Look within, see your true self.


On an additional notes, I drew Three Major Arcana cards, which indicates power of this deck and working with it. Also the first and last cards in the spread were Major Arcana and in sequence. It gave this spread when reading it a sense of closing the circle. This spread reflects the strong connection I am getting with this deck, depth comes to mind. A deck that will tell it like it is but also allow me to study, reflect, learn, and in the end, find bliss and good.


I did this spread a bit after I wrote the review for the Witches Tarot (link to my review). It is the same spread I used when I did the deck interview for the Gilded Tarot deck (link to that deck interview). I will probably keep using this spread, which is fairly common, until I find a different one to try out.

For the layout, the top card is number one, and then the order goes clockwise.

Deck Interview Witches Tarot cards revealed_031219 small

Deck interview spread revealed. Top card is position one, then follow spread clockwise.

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

Ten of Cups (Suit of Cups- Minor Arcana). Good deck for questions dealing in relationships, family, emotional issues. A positive deck. One good for positive uplifting messages. A deck you can use with friends and family. Also easy going deck good for my learning. A quote from the deck’s companion book: “Naturally, work and care are required to maintain these good relationships, but a positive and happy outcome will be achieved” (111). This tells me this is a good deck to exercise imagination and intuition, but you do have to put in work and practice. If you do, it will pay off well.

What are your strengths as a deck?

Knight of Wands (Suit of Wands- Minor Arcana). This is a deck of action. A deck of good positive energy. It can encourage you to follow your passions, set your intentions, and act. If you are hesitating, this deck tells you to go for it. Encouragement. However, be cautious, do not be overly impulsive. It will encourage you to move, accept changes that may come. Not a deck for staying still or passive.

What are your limits as a deck?

Queen of Pentacles (Suit of Pentacles- Minor Arcana). Some limitations regarding material things and issues. Possibly not as good for ground, in part due to the fiery Knight of Wands encouraging movement. Yet the deck can still be reliable and dependable. Still, this deck may nurture a bit, but it is not going to mother you.

What are you here to teach me?

Two of Cups (Suit of Cups- Minor Arcana). A second card from the suit of cups. The lesson is to learn to rely more on intuition and imagination. This card tells you that you can have a good, positive relationship with the deck, Tarot, and cartomancy, but you do have to commit to help make it happen. It can also teach you how to bond with the deck so you are comfortable and confident in readings for yourself and others.

How can I best learn and collaborate with you?

King of Cups (Suit of Cups- Minor Arcana). Third card from the suit of cups. Message of emotions and intuition coming forth pretty clear. Learn by keeping emotions in control. Sure, express emotion but do not overdo it. Rely more on intuition, letting the deck guide you as you learn more. Good discipline will pay off. Do not be afraid of that intuition and imagination. Keep an open mind and take charge. Commit, and you’ll get good solid advice. Quote from the companion book: “The lesson from the King of Cups is that wisdom comes from looking within. Temper your counsel of others with compassion and affection” (124). Be willing and ready to look within, to reflect. And do not be too hard on yourself.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Ace of Cups (Suit of Cups- Minor Arcana). Four cards total out of six from the suit of cups in this spread. A lot of water, which can indicate cleansing and fluidity. With this card, a lot of potential and opportunity. As noted previously, keep an open mind. Working with this deck means opportunity to reflect, to look within to find lessons to improve. Study with this deck can be a purifying element, one to bring calm and self reflection, and opportunities to help others find their own truths as well.



I made it to the end of the month and the end of the “31 Days of Tarot” for 2020. For me, this is a good way to start the year and reflect a bit along the way in my Tarot and cartomancy journey. I would like to take a moment to thank folks who stopped by to check things out. Hope you will come back now and then. Now let’s wrap this up.

Prompt for Day 31: What are your Tarot goals for 2020?

Things I would like to continue. These are things I do now that I would like to continue doing in 2020:

  • Doing the daily Tarot card pull on work days, including sharing it on social media in the evening.
  • Continue reading books and studying Tarot and cartomancy in general.
  • I started creating a notebook of spreads, cartomancy notes, tools, and other items for reference. Basically, this is for information I want to keep handy. Not quite a grimoire, but similar idea.
  • I fell a bit behind reviewing decks I’ve worked with, so I hope to catch up a bit in 2020.
  • Reading cards for others where I can.

New things I would like to try in 2020:

  • A weekly oracle card draw. I will likely do this for myself, not shared in social media. This is for me to add another element to my small rituals, plus it is a way to work a bit more with oracle cards.
  • Try out and share a card spread at least once a month. This will likely be trying out a spread that others have shared. I’d try it out, with proper credit to a spread’s creator, and share how the spread worked out for me.

Longer term goals I may or not get to in 2020:

  • Start studying a new cartomancy system like Marseille or Thoth. Lenormand is another option.
  • Try doing small, free initially for practice, readings online. I need to figure out how to set that up, some boundaries, but it is an idea on the horizon. Down the road maybe charge some small fee for more complex readings. Kind of start developing a bit of a side hustle, very modest.

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You can find the original prompts by Ethony Dawn here.


Prompt for Day 30: What Tarot card do you feel represents you (art, meaning, vibe) and why?

For me, The Hermit- IX is the card that represents me. Being a highly functional introvert, I identify strongly with this card. Solitude and taking time to think and reflect are things that I value and treasure.

Below are three depictions from favorite decks of mine:

The Hermit- IX Steampunk Tarot_111418 small

The Hermit-IX, from Steampunk Tarot deck by Moore and Fell.

The Hermit- IX Vampires Tarot of Eternal Night_20171116 small

The Hermit-IX, from Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night by Davide Corsi.

The Hermit- IX Panda Tarot_052219 small

The Hermit- IX, from the Panda Tarot by Severino Baraldi.


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You can find the original prompts by Ethony Dawn here.

Prompt for Day 27: What is the strangest place you read in 2010-2019 and tell us about the reading?

Prompt for Day 28: Ever turn someone from a Tarot non-believer to a Tarot enthusiast?

Prompt for Day 29: Your top 5 underrated Tarot decks.

I am skipping the prompts for days 27 and 28.

For day 27, I have not read in any particularly strange place between 2010 and 2019.

For day 28, no, I have not turned someone from a Tarot non-believer to a Tarot enthusiast. If anything, I may have gotten some non-believers to be curious about Tarot, at least enough to take a chance on it.

Now that we got those out of the way, we can look at day 29. As for underrated decks, even after rewatching Ethony’s video where she explains the prompts (it is on the link below), I was not totally sure. The prompt seems to be about decks that probably deserve to get more attention than they do. Before I go into my list, let me make a small digression and commentary.

I do know that I often see the same decks over and over again in Tarotlandia (yes, I just made that up, but you get the idea. I may have to trademark that, food for thought). For the record, these are just some observations I have seen in my Tarot and cartomancy journey as I travel in Tarotlandia. I am not judging nor questioning choices, you do you (and let me do me in peace by the way). Anyhow, some things I see again and again:

  • The Wild Unknown Tarot deck. Once this came out, it really took Tarotlandia by storm. Those who love it, rave about it. Those who don’t love it as much express it as well. If you do not see an RWS deck, odds may be good you may see a WU deck. I do have a copy of this, though I have not gotten time to work with it. On the other hand, it is our daughter’s deck of choice; she also uses the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle deck.
  • Any Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck, and I mean basic RWS, not clones. This I get given the deck’s popularity and abundance and influence. There may be some variants, like the Universal Waite and the Radiant Rider Waite, but aside from some coloring variation for aesthetic reasons they are the same deck. RWS is like that bottle of bourbon whiskey that is always available, usually affordable, and it makes a good starter if you’ve never had it before.
  • A small range of independent decks. There are a lot of independent decks out there (as well as a lot in the mass produced market, but the mass market is something we can consider later). However, I often see a few of the same independent decks in Tarotlandia’s social media and YouTube. If this was bourbon, these would be like the Pappy Van Winkles: extremely hard to get, expensive (at times at obscene prices), and in some cases highly overrated (there are affordable options that taste as good or better). But many Tarotistas do like to chase those and have the budget to do so. Again, as I say, you do you. On the upside in Tarotlandia, I have never seen Tarotistas set up tents in front of an esoteric shop for days before some new high end independent deck is about to be released in order to buy tickets to a raffle that would give them the chance to buy said deck if their number comes up. Yes, that is what high end bourbon people often do when some high end fancy bourbon is getting released.

By the way, the only reason I used bourbon whiskey as a comparison is that I am recently working to learn about bourbon and whiskey in general and appreciate it more. Some of the behaviors of high end bourbon and whiskey aficionados and high end Tarotistas are fairly similar. I think it could be fun to write a blog post on those similarities sometime, but that is a thought for later.

Anyhow, since I am just a Tarot and cartomancy student, I can only say what is underrated, or perhaps underused, for me. On that basis, here is my list of some decks I see as underrated with some commentary; the decks are featured in the photo below. These are decks that I do have:

  • Llewellyn Classic Tarot. While I do like and use the Rider Waite System, I am not a fan of Smith’s art. So I have a few “clone” style decks in my collection. This deck is a good choice as it is good RWS style with good basic colorful art. If you like graphic novels and comics style art, this may be a good choice too. It also tends to be affordable. I got my copy of this deck on the Tarot Made Easy kit published by Llewellyn.
  • The Steampunk Tarot: Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine. When it comes to steampunk and Tarot, you usually see the Moore and Fell Steampunk Tarot deck. The Moore and Fell deck is very good, and it is a favorite of mine that I keep on regular rotation. Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine could use a bit more publicity. It is a deck with a story (see the companion book), and it has good art. If you like works like The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, films like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (or better yet the graphic novel), and/or the Bioshock video game this Tarot deck may be a good option for you. I am not sure if it is still in print, but you can still (as of this post) find it online at affordable prices.
  • Tarot of the Cat People. Another deck with a story to it (again, see its companion book). It is within the RWS system.
  • Black Cats Tarot. If you like cat themed decks within the RWS system, this is a cute and playful option. It can still deliver some solid and serious readings too.
  • Night Sun Tarot. These days people love and rave about the Santa Muerte Tarot by Fabio Listrani and with good reason. It is a solid Tarot deck with great art and a good tribute to Santa Muerte. Though not totally RWS, Listrani does some unique things, it is close enough for RWS users who also use intuition. It is one of my favorites, and I keep it on regular rotation. However, not many speak of his previous deck, the Night Sun Tarot, which is rich in symbols and also has great art. If you like Listrani’s art and style, this is a deck worth checking out.
Top 5 underrated decks 31 Days of Tarot 2020_011720 small

Left to right, clockwise: Tarot Made Easy kit (contains the Llewellyn Classic Tarot deck), Steampunk Tarot: Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine, Black Cats Tarot, Tarot of the Cat People, and Night Sun Tarot.

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You can find the original prompts by Ethony Dawn here.

Prompt for Day 26: Show us your Tarot journal if you have one.

I’ve kept writing and journaling for my practice since I started in 2016. I’ve filled up a few notebooks by now. I mainly record my daily draws. Now and then I do spreads which I record, and I jot down spreads to try out later. I also jot down other commonplace notes.

I use nice but inexpensive notebooks and journal books. Usually when some place that sells stationery has a sale or puts some notebooks on clearance, I go stock up.

Below are some photos of my Tarot journals.

Current Tarot journal_01142020 small

This is the journal I am currently using for my Tarot and cartomancy journaling.


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This is the blessing I write by hand into every notebook I use as Tarot journal.


Sample Tarot journal page with spread_01142020 small

This is a sample Tarot journal page. This is for last year’s (2019) Samhain spread that I did. Though I did the spread on October 31, I did not get around to writing it up in the journal until November 1. When I can, for spreads I did not create I try to jot down source if I can find it.



Selection of Tarot journal notebooks filled_01142020 small

Selection of previous Tarot journals. I can say I was using the Steampunk themed notebook around time I was using the Steampunk Tarot (Moore and Fell). I like variety in my journals as much as possible.

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You can find the original prompts by Ethony Dawn here.

April 2020


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