These past few days, I have been feeling sad and defeated. The culprit: a personal project that I have been working on since last year, which should be finalized over the weekend, faced yet another sizeable hurdle.
It felt like I was back to square one, and this time instead of being excited and hopeful like I was at the start of this project, I felt cornered and deflated.
“There goes hours and hours of time and energy spent on this project”, I thought, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to go through the whole process again.
I was just exhausted.
So, it was no surprise the Seven of Pentacles came up on my daily tarot draw this morning.
“How fitting, this is exactly how I feel right now”, I mumbled to myself before putting the card back to the deck. I wasn’t ready to dissect its’ message just yet.
But I am now…
Seven of Pentacles in the classic Rider Waite Smith is depicted by a guy standing in his tended garden looking a bit tired and disconnected. Similar to the guy on the classic Rider Waite Smith deck, I, too, feel like pausing and taking a break. But that’s not the point, is it? It invites me to see my efforts as the seeds that I will reap one day, even though it’s not now and that I ought to practice patience.
Meanwhile, Charlie, the creator of the Fifth Spirit Tarot (the deck that I am currently using), said when this card appears, it’s because we might feel tired and run down, doubting our hard-work and investment. That’s me! Then they go on with:
“It tells us to value our sweat, labor and screw up because we are learning, growing and adapting.”
Lastly, Beth of Little Red Tarot had this to say about the card:
“If things aren’t feeling great – don’t give up, not just yet. Think about how you might do things differently from now on…”
Together with my own understanding of the card, their words brought plenty for me to digest.
To know that these setbacks don’t actually mean I was back to square one. That, I am still in the game. The project is still progressing, maybe just not as close to the end as I wanted it to be. But with the right mindset, some tweaks and perseverance, I am going to tick this one off too ━ as I had for past goals that I have set for myself.
Keywords: Reassessment. Crossroad. Questioning. Slow down. Pausing.
There are only a handful of things in life that I am more obsessed with compared to tarot. One of it is culture (check out my other blog: KultureKween).
Eventually, researching the interconnection between traditions and tarot, which started as a curiosity, grew into an obsession and has now turned into a life goal.
I also must admit that I have spent an embarrassing amount of hours researching tarot decks with the two cultures that I associate the most with, Indonesian and Indian.
Though there are more than a few Indian culture themed tarot decks out there, I didn’t find any that I liked nor could relate to as of now.
As for the Indonesian themed tarot deck, first of all, I was surprised that it existed to begin with. It’s called Tarot of Nusantara but it didn’t call out to me either. Instead, I found some other culture themed decks that I absolutely adore. Here they are, sorted by my liking from top to bottom*.
1. Tarot of Divine – $22
With rich, vibrant art and a keen understanding of traditional tarot archetypes, illustrator Yoshi Yoshitani infuses Tarot of the Divine with worldly insight and an intriguing selection of fables and folktales from cultures across the globe. With fables from more than forty countries, this spiritual journey is a worldly experience like no other.
This is a dream deck for a culture-geek such as myself. That combined with the price and zero shipping fee made it too easy for me to click pre-order sometime last year. I am still waiting patiently for it to arrive at my doorstep.
2. Yokai Yochi Tarot – $53
There are plenty of Japanese culture themed tarot decks in the market. From the traditional art of Ukiye to the pop-culture Manga deck but none of it spoke to me as much as Yokai Yochi did. The deck portrays ghosts, folklore, and traditional Japanese artwork. This is the second time I have mentioned this deck on my tarot deck list. Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and order it.
3. The Gentle Tarot – $60
The Gentle Tarot is an indigenous-made, hand-drawn tarot deck filled with imagery influenced by life in remote Alaska. Mariza, the artist behind Mari in the Sky and The Gentle Tarot deck, is a nature-inspired illustrator, grew with ceremony and daily rituals that connect us with the elements, songs that ancestors sang with words and sounds that speak to this connection. She is inspired to share the love, honor, and respect that the planet is due.
Best part: 10% of all proceeds from the deck sale are donated to ocean and climate change research.
4. The Delta Enduring Tarot – $50
I mentioned above that I couldn’t relate much with the Indian tarot decks out there, but then I could relate so much to some of the cards from The Delta Enduring Tarot deck.
It’s an illustrated tarot deck centering on the natural beauty and struggles of life in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta Enduring Tarot pays tribute to these ebbs and flows, and to the lives of those that continue to make the deep south a more verdant, just, and enduring landscape–despite the storm of oppression always on the horizon. Egan, the artist, is an illustrator born and raised in the arms of the Mississippi Delta. They practice medicine and the esoteric arts of magic, with a predilection for the healing of communal ritual.
This deck has been sold-out, therefore very hard to find. I am not sure whether it will ever be reproduced but I surely hope so.
5. The Hoodoo Tarot – $33
Celebrating the complex American Rootwork tradition, The Hoodoo Tarot integrates esoteric and botanical knowledge from Hoodoo with the divination system of the tarot. The cards features full-color paintings by magical-realist artist Katelan Foisy and elegantly interprets the classical tarot imagery through depictions of legendary rootworkers past and present as well as important Hoodoo symbolism. In the accompanying guidebook, Tayannah Lee McQuillar provides a history of Hoodoo and its complex heritage, including its roots in multiple African and Indigenous American ethnic groups as well as its European influences.
Read the interview with the artist here.
6. The Magical Nordic Tarot – $20
I almost got this deck a few times. I am into Nordic culture and lifestyle and it’s pretty affordable (it’s the cheapest deck on this list), but knowing the majority of the deck (all the minor arcana cards) is not illustrated left a lot to be desired.
*Prices are in USD, excluding shipping.
I pulled Nine of Cups this morning and braced myself. I thought, I know what it is about:
Being productive. Planning. Getting my cups, I mean, ducks in a row.
I had a long to-do list and I was in a better mental state today compared to the last few days. If I played my cards right and do most of the things on my to-do list, I would feel accomplished at the end of yet another workweek.
It’s now 16 minutes to midnight. I didn’t manage to finish a work task that I started at 10 AM and continued working on until 9 PM. I didn’t have time to run any errands today, nor to exercise and read. I haven’t written anything except of course for this.
But do I feel semi-accomplished? Tbh, kinda.
I filed my taxes, led a meeting and created an extensive excel spreadsheet. I studied 20 pages from my CPA textbook, which might seem nothing, but at least I started. Also, since I read a book to study, maybe I could claim that I also read. I checked on my cousin, spoke to my parents and told an annoying person off. Granted, I did it all with the help of three cups of coffee. But still, not too bad, eh?
It made me realize that Nine of Cups ━ feeling accomplished, can be seen as a glass half empty or half full. Especially for a Virgo like myself. Today, I chose to see it as the latter.
Admittedly, I “huh?“-ed when I pulled the Justice card as a part of my self-love tarot spread last week. My question was:
“What is the one kind thing I can do as an act of love for myself?”
Alas, I let them take the lead and braced myself to explore together.
The Justice in the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck is drawn as a bad ass person. I love everything about them from the expression, attitude, the down to the outfit. Did they appear to remind me of my own bad-ass-ness? To bring it out more often as an act of self-love?
I also noticed that on the scale, unlike on other Justice tarot cards I have seen ━ including the classic Rider Waite Smith, the heart weighed more than the feather. (I can’t wait for the guidebook to arrive to read the artist, Maria’s, reasoning behind this).
Are they trying to convey that heart matters more than the mind? Is it asking me to listen more to my heart instead of my mind when it comes to self-love? Or is it reminding me to balance it out since I tend to operate the other way around?
Wille of A Little Spark of Joy tarot blog said this about the Justice card in relation to love:
“(it) represents decision and choices. Do you know your worth? settling for far less than you deserve, whether single or committed, is never an option.”
Back to the card I pulled, my attention kept going to the tattoos covering their upper body. Maybe my self-love act can be of getting the evil-eye tattoo on the same part of my body. And that my friends, is what I call wishful thinking.
During a recent tarot reading, the Seven of Swords kept appearing. And every time it did, I sucked my breath grudgingly. As you might have noticed, I had never written about it before because, well, I am kind anxious around it.
Especially the young me.
As a teenager living under a strict roof of my traditional Indian parents, I have called upon and emulated the Seven of Swords energy plenty of time. Tricking, not telling the whole truth or just plain lying to manipulating ━ I have done it all ━ just to have a chance of a normal teenager life; like eating pizza with friends, not coming straight home after school or going to a friend’s house over the weekend.
Learning the Seven of Swords as a tarot-loving adult unwillingly brought back all those childhood memories ━ or traumas, depends on how I feel like framing it. Either way, it wasn’t fun; hence I avoid hanging-out with the Seven of Swords.
Back to the reading, I was expecting advice along the “beware of trickers and manipulations” line, but the reader kept saying “strategize” whenever the Seven of Swords popped up.
At the end of the session, I asked why, and she said:
“Because it asks you to strategize. You might have the tools, but you need to know how to use it for your advantage to achieve what you want — kind of like The Magician.”
Seven of Swords is the strategy card
Before then, I had never seen the Seven of Swords in a positive light. Strategize doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Maybe I can work with it to slowly rewrite my childhood stories.
“We are looking for the Four of Wands“, Glenys the tarot reader told me as she laid out the black cloth with numbered boxes painted on it. She went on saying that:
“The Four of Wands is the card that indicates anything house related”.
Back home, after the unfavorable reading, I flipped through the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck on my nightstand to find the Four of Wands card.
It took me a while as the card didn’t resemble the classic Rider Waite Smith. In the RWS the Four of Wands potrayed fancy gown wearing people, garlands, grapes, flowers and a castle in the background.
There was none of it on the Four of Wands card that I was holding. There were no wands. Oil lamps have replaced the wands, surrounding a vintage cooker. Burning fire. A boiling kettle and a sizzling pan on top of it.
Could it be… breakfast food?
The image reminded me of the mornings in the Echuca farmhouse, where I was greeted by a very similar scene in the kitchen — of Fafa making us coffee and breakfast.
This card carries so much more home-ey vibe for me than the classic RWS. After all, I don’t envision a castle when I dream of my nest, but more of being greeted by a warm home-cooked meal.
I put the card on my altar for the day, to attract the new home energy that I wish for.
Here are some tarot decks I am lusting over — and willing to part with my a portion of my pay-check in exchange for, in 2021 (I updated the list hence the repost).
Sorted by my level of obsession from top to bottom. Prices are in USD, excluding shipping.
1. Fifth Spirit Tarot – $55
Update: I bought it! It’s here, I have been practicing with it and absolutely enjoying the artwork and the card quality. Highly recommend it.
2. Yokai Yochi Tarot – $53
This deck portrays ghosts, folklore, and traditional Japanese artwork. All things that I am drawn to. I hesitated a bit to when I saw the cards, because it’s grey and well.. creepy, but I can’t think of a better deck to accompany me on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage I have been planning for.
You can pre-order now to be shipped in July 2021.
3. Mother Tarot – $69
A colourful, beautifully drawn, square-shaped deck, by the same creator who created The Dark Days Tarot, Wren McMurdo Brignac.
You can pre-order now until July to be shipped latest by September 2021.
4. Tarot Visions of Life – $60
This deck uses humour to illuminate different life situation and with a keyword written on the bottom of the image, it has a bit of oracle vibes. But the illustrations are colourful, light and funny. Feels like a deck we all could use to navigate during this period of uncertainty. Also free shipping to Australia. Yes pls!
5. The Ink Witch Tarot – $40
I am surprised this deck hasn’t got a cult following. The beautifully hand-illustrated cards have subtle shades of grey, making it the third grey-dominated deck on this list. It might just be the the theme of my deck choice for this year.
6. CoronaTarot – $40
Finally, the deck that fits our current life collectively. If you tend to lean against dark humour to navigate through life’s woes, as do I at times, maybe this is the best deck to get this year.
7. The Future Ancestors Tarot – $65
Created by Filipina-American artist and tarot reader, Alexa Villanueva. Read her inspiring story in full here.
8. Cosmic Cycles Tarot – $40
Created by Martina Razo and illustrated by Miriam E.G. This deck has been on my list for more than a year. I almost bought it last year but it was cancelled at the last minute by the seller due to international shipment issue no-thanks to Covid.
It’s currently sold-out.
If none of the above is your deck-of-tea, here are others that I also like: The Not So Mystical Tarot Deck $47, The Shuffle Tarot, Tarot Mood by Natalie Meraki – $40, Kaleidadope Tarot: A Dope Deck – $55, Hungry Demon Tarot – $48, The Quirky Creatives Tarot – $39, Third Eye Tarot – $48.
I pulled Ace of Swords from the Fifth Spirit Tarot deck today. Ace of Swords is about clarity, and my mind is anything but that.
My un-caffeinated brain (Fafa was out so no bed coffee for me this morning) is riddled with period haze, pending work-tasks, impending lockdown announcement, the messy desk, the even messier cupboards, and the ever-growing to-do list seems out of control, the floating-in-the-air goals and sans travel plans in the horizon.
So yeah, I feel anything but clear right now, but maybe that’s precisely why the Ace of Swords made an appearance. As in I am invited to bring clarity into my mind, my list and my life.
My hand is being offered the knife (Sword). Therefore, it’s my choice to grab it — or not. And if I do, what to do with it. Maybe it’s for me to use it to sort through things mentally first, before tending to the rest.
After one heck of a work-week, I decided to have a quiet Friday night. The blind is closed, and the socks are on. The TV is playing Ritual on the background, and I am here on my laptop, accompanied by a glass of chilled red wine, browsing cat-themed tarot decks. Exactly, my kind of self-care.
Here are some of my favourite in order based on my liking:
1. Considerate Cat Tarot $80
A tarot deck inspired by rescue cats, how lovely! It’s beautiful and gentle.
2. Cat Tarot $10
It’s witchy and affordable.
4. The Weird Cat Tarot Deck $50
Created by Gabrielle Kash, a cat-loving NY based illustrator. The illustrations are pretty cute, all drawn with a black background.
5. Mini Cat Tarot $60
Super cute square-shaped tarot cards.