Review – Lenormand Cartomancy

Lenormand CartomancyLenormand Cartomancy

by Christopher Butler

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

Copyright 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7643-4562-3

Marie-Anne Lenormand was the greatest celebrity fortune teller of the Napoleonic Era. Among her famous consultants were Frances, Lady Shelley, Robespierre, and the Empress Josephine, with whom she formed a lifelong bond of friendship. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the enigmatic fortune telling deck contained in this box has been associated with her secret techniques of cartomancy and fortune telling. Discover for yourself this long revered tradition through the comprehensive guidebook and a traditional Lenormand deck, freshly re-illustrated for the modern age. You will be guided on a card-by-card journey, and, when you’ve finished, you’ll have the skills to perform readings both simple and complex. Take your cards and, in the words of the great lady herself, “coupez!” The spell cast by the “Sybil of the Salons” has never been stronger. Continue reading

Review – Simply Deep Tarot

What better way to review/interview a new deck, but to take it out for a spin?   One of the newest decks to hit the market, and one I have personally anxiously awaited, the Simply Deep Tarot by Chanel Bayless and James Battersby, has been released this month by Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

So, what is “Simply Deep Tarot“, you might ask.

“A Rider Waite-style, 78-card Tarot deck designed to help a reader immediately connect with traditional meanings of the cards.  Using a basic viewpoint, these vibrantly painted cards implore you to delve deeper on an emotional level, yet still supply interesting little nuances to everyday life.  The booklet includes exercises allowing you to bond with your personal story through each card and describes the benefits of achieving emotional detachment energetically.  Each card is defined in both upright and reversed meanings with keywords included.  Find out how simple it is to read the Tarot and explore you own personal story!”

Continue reading

Mandrake Academy – A Look Behind the Scenes

An Interview/Review…more or less.

Hi! It’s me again, K’Nita Skooter, reporting for the *Mandrakefields News Journal…   I recently had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing some of the wonderful folks at Mandrake Academy.  As I entered the grounds, I heard an eery voice whisper in my ear;  “Surrounded by rolling fields and emerald-green woods, with enchanted stone walls and mystical creatures roaming the grounds, the Mandrake campus welcomes you as its newest initiate….”   A bit spooky really, when you think about it.  ((shiver))

I was handed a brochure upon arriving with the following information:  Welcome to Mandrake Academy–where you are the student, and tarot is the teacher.  You will meet your professors in the Major Arcana cards, other students in the minor arcana.  Don’t be surprised when you meet the elemental beings (the court cards) that guard the school.  A word of caution, Do not antagonize these creatures, they can be unpredictable.

Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner

Illustrated by John J. Blumen

Published by Llewellyn Worldwide

ISBN 978-0-7387-1285-7

Greetings one and all and thank you for joining me today as I will be speaking with a few of the fine folk here at the renowned Mandrake Academy.   The Academy, as you may know, specializes in teaching young initiates in the art of Magic.  Studies are concentrated on four main schools of magic-fire, water, air, and earth.   I hope to be able to meet some of the professors as well as students during my visit.  My guide today will be Queen of the Witches, aka The World.  I do hope she isn’t running late, there is a LOT of ground to cover, after all.  Ahhh, here she comes now.

Queen of Witches

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.  I know you have a very busy schedule, and my readers really do appreciate your agreeing to this interview and tour.   Shall we begin?

I understand that you began your magical career here at the academy as a young initiate, and I can see that your accessories denote the achievements of your studies.  Can you tell me about them?

Queen of Witches: “I would be happy to.  My crown is a wreath of wisdom and resembles a victory wreath.   It is held together by ribbons in the shape of a lemniscate, a figure 8 which is sometimes called the symbol of infinity.  My gauzy scarf represents three milestones in the journey of life:  a swaddling cloth for a newborn, a veil for a bride, and a shroud for a corpse.”

Lovely, just lovely, thank you.   Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a young man creeping across the grounds carrying what looks to be swords.  Can you tell me what he is doing?  It looks very dangerous.  I can’t imagine what lesson he could be learning.

Queen of Witches “Yes I saw him too; (she grins) so obviously he has not yet mastered his lesson in stealth.  You never know when you may need the ability to blend into your surroundings.  He is learning how to use his environment as well as magic, for the desired effect.  He must learn to use other tools available, like his dark cloak and the fog that is swirling around him.”

Yes, I can see where that might come in handy.  I understand that you have some Royalty on the grounds.  I saw a very interesting looking Knight as I passed by the lake.  Would you care to discuss the Royals and their roles here?

Queen of Witches“Ahh yes, the Royal Guardian Courts.  The members of the specific courts are dedicated to their elemental guardianships, and they take their roles very seriously.  As you mentioned earlier, there are four main schools of magic study that is taught here.  The Knight you mentioned is an undine and as you can guess, he is only concerned with Water Magic and the emotional side of things.

The fiery, lizard-like salamanders are the elemental guardians of Fire Magic.  The realm of Air Magic is ruled by fairy-like creatures called sylphs, and the Earth Magic is governed by a race of troll-like gnomes.


And for Merlin’s sake, please don’t make the mistake of confusing any particular elemental court with another, they are quite sensitive about this.”

Thanks for the tip, I will certainly keep that in mind.  Now, I would like to bring up a potentially touchy subject that in recent months, there has been an increase of partying going on involving some Mandrake students.  Would you care to comment?

Queen of Witches: “No actually I would not, but since you have tactlessly brought up these ugly rumors, I guess I had better try and set the record straight.  Someone from the nearby village, who doesn’t appreciate the art of magic, and who shall remain nameless, started this rumor after witnessing a group of young ladies working together on a water magic assignment.  The liquid in question was simply some pumpkin juice they were toasting to their continued success in their studies.  And that is all I have to say on that subject.”

I had hoped to meet and speak with some of the professors, but I guess they are all just too busy.

Queen of Witches: “Yes I’m afraid so.  We are always in a  bit of a dither welcoming new students and promoting the existing students to their next level of study.  But, I will give you a copy of our student handbook which includes portraits of  all  the professors and their titles, as well as a section on the Royalty, and students demonstrating their chosen disciplines.  Also included in the handbook, you will find practical applications for each lesson, numerous exercises, (spreads) and lots of other useful information on magic charms and key symbols.  In addition to the elemental dignities of the four disciplines, there are also tables throughout on astrological associations and time calculations.

Now, if you will excuse me, I really must return to my duties, I’m afraid they never end.  Just when I think I’ve completed a task, it seems I’m just beginning all over again.  Ta’Ta.”

Then, in the blink of an eye and a smell of acrid smoke up my nose, she was gone.  Please join me in thanking the Queen of Witches for taking time out of her busy schedule to have this little chat.  Lets take a moment now to look through the handbook and take a peek at some of the staff, shall we?

  • The Magician – Professor of Basic Magic
  • The Empress – Professor of Herbal Magic
  • The Chariot – Professor of Astral Travel
  • The High Priestess – Professor of Divination
  • The Moon – Professor of Lunar Magic
  • Strength – Professor of Familiar Creatures
  • Judgement – Proctor of Final Exams
  • The Hierophant – Professor of Mythology

Thank you for joining me on this interesting and informative journey into the lives of those at Mandrake Academy  This is K’Nita Scooter, reporting for Mandrakefields News Journal,  and I hope you have been enlightened.    Ta’Ta!  ((wink))

*Mandrakefields News Journal is obviously a made-up newspaper and (a shameless use of the name of the esteemed academy) the only one that would hire K’Nita Scooter as a budding journalists.  Any resemblance to an actual journalist is purely coincidental.  No students, professors, or magical creatures were harmed in the writing of this article.*

Come, Meet the Sidhe

Interview/Review – Tarot of the Sidhe

Illustrator/Author – Emily Carding

Publisher – Schiffer Publishing, LTD.

Copyright 2010 – Emily Carding

ISBN :  978-0-7643-3599-0

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with several members of the Tarot of the Sidhe.  Please join me now as we discuss their role in this delightful and sometimes mischievous oracle.

I am so happy to finally make your acquaintance and that you, Maker Queen, were chosen to represent the collective Sidhe of this deck.   You are famously known for your organizational skills and practicality – virtues that I admire and aspire to.  So, let’s get down to the business at hand, shall we?

Maker QueenCertainly, and just to be clear, Sidhe is pronounced Shee. Please do say it correctly.

You look like a deck that has many secrets.  Do you think this is true and are you willing to share your secrets?

Maker Queen (Gift of Healing) – Yes, we do have many secrets, but we are always willing to share them.  The seeker only need ask the right questions.  Our secrets are not to be kept, we want to share them.  A seeker needs only to believe and be sincere in their questing.  They also need to be prepared for the answers they receive and be willing to accept them as they are given.

Ok, that sounds fair.  (Moving on)  The very first thing that jumped out at me is the card backs.  The glyph I believe you called it?  What can you tell me and our readers about this mysterious looking symbol?

Maker QueenThe Great Glyph of the Sidhe?  Well dear, it is a visual representation of a gateway, a focal point.  The Glyph enhances the ability of the card to act as a gateway, which runs both ways.  It will help you to connect with the otherworld and we will find it easier to contact you in return.  You will also find it, sometimes hidden, in the face of the cards as well.  Be sure to look for it as you visit with us.

Thank you, I certainly will.  Now, who do you think might best describe for us the true nature, the important characteristic(s) of this collective?

MQOh, no question about it, that would be the Dreamer Princess.  She has the Gift of Telling.

Dreamer PrincessIt’s true, I do have a gift for telling stories.  My natural wit is only a small part of my charm.  Some don’t appreciate my candor, and telling everyone, everything I know, (shrug) go figure.  On one hand, I am a very good communicator, but, I may encourage you to manipulate the facts just teensy bit to make things a little more interesting.  I am quite willing to tell you anything you want to know and lots of things you don’t want to know as well.

Hmmm, quite a mischievous group, aren’t you?  Thank you for stopping by, Princess.  MQ, you don’t mind if I call you MQ do you?  Who will be explaining the biggest advantage of working with the Sidhe?

MQAhhh here they are now.  May I introduce Strength, The Rider of the Dragon.

(Conspiratorially she whispers to me) “She takes that dragon everywhere she goes.”

StrengthThere are numerous advantages to working with us, but I feel the most important ones would be learning the art and ability of facing your fears and the self-confidence you gain from overcoming them.  There is nothing quite as liberating as standing up to something that is terrifying.  Once you make up your mind and muster the courage, we will help you harness your dragons.  Then maybe you can ride the solar wind as I do!  Become the mistress or master of your demons!   I am the……..

Excuse me dear!  I’m sorry to interrupt, but we do need to continue with the interview.  Thank you so much for stopping by, you have been quite helpful.   By the way….. nice dragon.

I see that Strength is XI, I wonder if we will have a chance to chat with VIII Justice?

What would you say is the best way to approach the Sidhe?  How can we best learn from and collaborate together?

MQ – I think the Magician may be able to shed some light on this question.

The Magician – First you must trust us.  Trust is a two way street though, you need to gain our trust as well.  Come to us honestly and humbly and you will have earned that trust.  We honor the opportunity to share our world and knowledge to help you realize you have the power to change your world by changing yourself.   We are the potential of your inner power.  Both individually and collectively, we can help you discover You.

Very good, very good.  Thank you Magician, for that wise piece of advice and for taking the time to share with us today.

Are there any final words?  I believe I saw someone lurking just beyond the door.  Ahhh, another Princess.  Please come in and introduce yourself.

Maker PrincessHello.  I just wanted to share with everyone the Gift of Creativity.  That IS my specialty after all.   We, the Sidhe, are presented quite creatively in this Tarot kit.  Our portraits are displayed on 78 separate canvas of quality card stock (3 ½ x 5 in.) with a gloss coating for ease of use and protection.  Our container is a very sturdy box that will stand up to a lot of use and includes a 96 page beautifully bound booklet with an introduction to the Sidhe, a little history, three spreads, keywords, poetry, and artist’s notes, completes our package.

Emily Carding, our illustrator and voice for this project, has captured the essence of our noble race to share with all who would seek our ancient wisdom.  You may notice that a few of us have adapted our names to better suit our purposes, such as The Elder, sometimes known as the Hierophant,  and Pan, who is commonly referred to as The Devil.  Our courts are made up of Princess, Prince, Queen and King and the four suits are renamed as well.  The suits are:  Dreamer – Air, Dancer – Water, Warrior – Fire, and Maker- Earth.  You can easily see how they relate to more traditional suits.

Come along and discover our world, as we will endeavor to help you understand yours.

“Deep as the sea we sing,

As high as the moon we sing!

Dreaming of golden skies,

We try to forget your lies…

As old as the hills,

As young as the rain,

We sing through the joy

And dance through the pain”

(excerpt from, “Song of the Sidhe” by Emily Carding)

I would like to express my gratitude to the Sidhe, and especially Maker Queen,  for joining us today and for sharing a peek into their realm.  Please note the colored borders were added here for affect.  In their original form the borders are black but, I did not feel the green background of this media did them justice.  See more images below.