Review: The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot

Title: The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot

Author: Skye Alexander

Pub date: May 9, 2017

Reviewer: Sage

Verdict: Pass

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot is the latest in the Modern Witchcraft series by Skye Alexander and the first Tarot book we’re reviewing here at Oak & Sage. In reviews we use the phrases Buy, Borrow, or Pass rather than a starred system to indicate our final opinion.

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Scorpio and the Tarot

Shifting out of Libra and into Scorpio, the Sun moves from a very sociable and appeasing sign to one best known for its emotional intensity and privacy bordering on isolation. Scorpio gets perhaps the worst rap of the Zodiac signs, known for being moody, dramatic, and obsessive – and as someone whose Moon is in Scorpio, I don’t think these accusations are completely unfounded! However, Scorpian energy teaches us the value of ourselves: what we want, what we don’t want, and what we are willing to do to enforce our boundaries. Scorpio is the sign that says I desire, and it’s by delving into these desires with sometimes painful, but always necessary, honesty and deliberation that we confront our strengths and weaknesses to tackle anything in life with open eyes and an open heart.

Scorpio is a fixed water sign ruled by Pluto, but used to be ruled by Mars before we knew Pluto was a thing. This means that Scorpio is introverted and stubborn, emotional and intuitive, and ruled by times and spaces defined by liminality and transformation. Death/rebirth and sex are perhaps the most well-known of these situations,  but in a modern context I also see Scorpian energy associated with coming out, gender transitions, living beyond traditional categories, and even social justice work as a whole. All this means that the Sun in Scorpio values truth and integrity (because how can you embrace transformation if you don’t know what it is being transformed?), trusting instinct and gut feelings above all. On the fail-state side of things, Scorpio can also encourage overly suspicious, volatile, and moody qualities no matter which planet she visits.

How can you incorporate Scorpian energy into your Tarot practice? You can:

  • Explore introspective spreads that encourage self-examination.
  • Meditate on cards such as the Moon, Death, and 8 of Cups.
  • Anticipate Scorpio’s urge to mistake intense emotions for hard truth when reading cards. If you get a reading that feels too bad to be true, consider if you’re truly taking the time to interpret the images before you or merely knee-jerk reacting.
  • Mindfully choose to share or not share details of your Tarot practice; if you usually share everything, consider taking a short hiatus from social media to reflect on what the cards have told you. Only share with others when you feel you’ve spent enough time sifting through meanings on your own.
  • Start a Tarot journal for your eyes only. Make special note of your emotions when reading the cards.

Vacation!

Cheers to us!(1)While we celebrate our wedding, we won’t be taking clients from Oct. 23rd to Nov. 6th while we traverse the wilds of Michigan in celebration of our wedding party. Be well, friends! If you still wish to book, email us at oakandsagetarot@gmail.com and we’ll book your reading when we get home. – <3 Etienne

Samhain Zine

Samhain Tarot Spreads

Etienne and Sage got hitched last year, but our wedding bells are ringing for a Samhain wedding. We’re off to Michigan for the ceremony and some well deserved rest in a lakeside cozy cottage. While we’re gone, check out our Samhain Zine! We’ve included the Samhain Spiral Spread, a Trick or Treat! spread, and three unpublished spreads.

  • Message from Beyond:
  • Crone at the Crossroads:
  • Pumpkin Patch:

Purchase the zine on Gumroad for $2!

Samhain Spiral Spread

9For those that follow the four Celtic Fire Festivals, Samhain (lit: “Summer’s end”) marks the end of the light half of the year and the beginning of the dark half. Samhain also marked the beginning of winter to the pre-Christian Celts; while not all of us live in similar climes as these cultures and none of us live in their age, Samhain is still a good opportunity to assess where we are as we head into darker and colder days.

This spread is arranged in a spiral of eight cards forming four pairs. Each pair asks opposing questions regarding the flow of energies unique to this sabbat. Spirals represent an inner knowing and experience that defies the logic and order of our waking minds. Traveling a spiral, or its more complex sister the labyrinth, takes time and energy to emerge only a short distance from our starting point. It is walking a spiral, taking its twists and turns, allowing ourselves to become dizzy with questions, that we arrive at meaning. And no matter how long or short our journey was, we are always different for having made it.

Blessed Samhain to you and yours.

  1. What ends in your life? — What energies are leaving you at this moment? Which roles have you transitioned out of? What do you miss?
  2. What is being reborn? — What energies manifest in your life right now? Which roles are you stepping into? What do you look forward to?
  3. What do you fear? — What is your greatest fear at this moment? Do you know it or is it a surprise? How does it shape you?
  4. How can you be still? — In the face of fear, how can you calm your fight or flight response? Where can you breathe deep and lean into being afraid?
  5. Where do you cling? — What attachments keep you from moving forward? What things, attitudes, people, and perceptions of yourself no longer serve you?
  6. Where can you release? — Where are you ready to let go and make room for new growth? What needs to be allowed to pass?
  7. Who do you grieve? — Samhain especially is marked by the absence of those who are no longer with us. Whose presence lingers around you?
  8. How can you remember them? — How can you honor those whom you grieve? What can you do that would have made them proud?Samhain Spread

Lust-worthy Tarot Decks

With so many indie decks and alternative approaches to Tarot art to choose from, it’s an exciting time to be a Tarot reader. Here are five Tarot decks Etienne and I have at the top of our wishlist.

FiveLust worthy

The Numinous Tarot
We backed the Kickstarter for the Numinous Tarot by Noel Arthur Heimpel and we are so excited for its arrival next year. The art is an intense riot of colors and symbolism, dipping into astrology, sacred geometry, modern imagery, callbacks to more traditional Tarot systems, and of course the creator’s own interpretations. The real crowning point of the Numinous Tarot though is that it is unapologetically, intensely queer, feminist, and intersectional. The people featured throughout the deck are black, brown, fat, old, disabled, queer, polyamorous, and/or gendered in many, many ways.

The Sasuraibito Tarot
This lush watercolor deck is infused with Japanese-American spiritual themes as influenced by the West, something that takes direct inspiration from creator Stasia Burrington’s life experiences. Burrington weaves Buddhist, Shinto, and humanist imagery with her own symbolism and artistic eye. There’s a fantastic interview with her over at Little Red Tarot; definitely check it out if you want some insight into designing a Tarot deck.

The Wooden Tarot
AL Swartz’s art for this deck is honestly right up our alley with its blend of realistic nature illustration with a touch of the surreal. The wood grain background makes the images on each card pop and we can definitely see these cards spread out on our tarot cloth. I’m also excited that this deck doesn’t seem to be a Rider-Waite-Smith clone and is rather heavy on interpreting through symbolism and intuition. Benebell Wen has a thorough review of the deck here.

Prisma Visions Tarot
Artist James R. Eads really hit it out of the park with this incredible deck. This art is influenced by surrealism and impressionism and especially reminds me of Van Gogh’s work, if Van Gogh instead of using oil paints used one of those scratch art kits. The Major Arcana cards are bordered, but the crowning beauty of this deck is the one continuous image that makes up each suite. I’ve never quite seen anything like Prisma Visions.

The Starry Cauldron Tarot
This gorgeous deck was just released this past August and we cannot wait to get our hands on it! Creator Carrie Louise consciously included no guidebook to this lavishly illustrated deck with bold watercolors and cosmic themes. The Starry Cauldron Tarot leaves behind traditional RWS imagery and instead invites the reader to fully rely on intuition. This deck is on Etsy for sale.