Divination Querent Etiquette and Advice


After having an…interesting client for my mo dice divination service recently, I decided to make a list of things to keep in mind to be a good client when receiving divination. Some of these are etiquette and out of respect to the diviner, some of them are to make the reading more useful for you.

One Oracle


The image sums it up, if you go to someone to get a reading on something, that’s it, don’t shop around until you get an answer you want. If you believe in divination, and the skill of the diviner, it isn’t their fault something crappy is in the reading, and if you avoid it, go to others until you hear what you want, then you won’t get anything out of it. You see enough people and eventually someone will tell you the future you want, it’s useless to go that route. The only exception I would say to this, is if you’re planning a major life change, and you decide before getting your first reading that you’ll see three people (or whatever), because then you’re going in knowing it’s part of a bigger picture, if you decide during/after the divination session you want more opinions, it’s because you didn’t like what you heard. Sadly reality doesn’t care if you like it, so you’re better of dealing with it. I can, and have, declined clients who mention that they’ve already seen another diviner, unless they’ve given me a good reason on why they didn’t trust the other reading or why another is warranted.

Know your question

Vague and broad questions can be useful for a very loose overview. “Tell me about my love life” “How do my finances look?” But for the most part your ability to get a good answer out of divination is having a clear sense of your question. A lot of good diviners (and I’d like to put myself in that group, at least for this category) will spend time discussing your question, and help you figure out what it is that you’re actually looking for. Not all can or will, but even if they will, you’re better off having a clear sense of what you want to ask. Think of it like any other question, how do you feel when you meet someone at a party and they say “So, tell me about you.” What do you say, that’s way too broad. “What’s your favourite Disney movie?” There is a question you can answer and actually engage. “What is the Sun?” That’s a really big question, what do you want to know? “How does the Sun build complex elements?” Again, better. Unfortunately not all diviners will help you work out good questions, but even if they will you should have a sense of what you’re looking to find out.

Question, don’t counter

Every once and while a diviner will say something that doesn’t line up, either in reality or your perspective. It’s an interpretive art, so maybe something was translated wrong. If you want a useful reading question that interpretation to understand it, don’t counter it as being wrong. If I say something about stress with your mother, and you have a great non-stressful relationship, don’t attack that mistake, ask if it could be someone else? Could it be someone you mother, could it be a nurturing woman in your life. Instead of shutting down because something is wrong, see if there is a reason they’re off, could it just be an interpretive mistake? Within reason. Always be critical of what other people tell you, especially diviners you don’t know, but there is critical and then there is contradictory.

They’re the expert, for this moment

67277_783691371698814_6161527652290308364_n[1]You know your life, they know their tools and their reading. Nothing is more “dangerous” to a divination than having a client who somewhat understands the system. Each tarot card has dozens of ways it could be read in any circumstance, the thing is the diviner is the one tied into the reading. What you were taught a card meant, is often far less relevant than how the diviner is reading it at that moment. I know this could seem to contradict the point above, but this is about challenging them based on your understanding of the system. If they say the Four of Disks means something you’ve never heard before, go with it, they’re in the flow of the reading, it’s their deck, and their methods. If I might add my personal insult, the mo dice divination I use requires me to have received specific initiations, performed hundreds of thousands of mantras, and be practiced in a specific set of rituals. Yet occasionally when I do a reading someone who has read a book on the system will question my interpretation based on their text.

Listen, don’t reinterpret

We’ve all seen it I’m sure, the divination says one thing, and no matter what the reader says, the client twists it around. You can be as straightforward as possible, and yet they’ll reply as if you said something totally different. “Yeah, the cards say this relationship is a horrible idea and no good will come of it.” “So you’re saying we have to make sure we’re communicating our emotions?” “No, I’m saying the relationship is doomed.” “So it will take some work. Gotcha.” Do not get me wrong, as the one receiving the reading it is your job to make it apply to your life, but that is not the same as wildly reinterpreting it to say what you want. If you think it could mean something else, like I said above, you can question, politely and from a curious position, but that’s not jumping right from the Tower to “Happily ever after.”

One question/theme at a time

10690170_776730519061566_6145678097628078960_n[1]This goes back to know what you’re asking. It also depends on the type of reading you’re getting. I’ve had someone buy a dice divination session with me, which is quite clearly one question, and then proceeded to give me a list of fifteen different and vastly unrelated questions. They obviously didn’t know what they really wanted to know, and it took a lot of extra time on my behalf just to get to the point. (They’re lucky, in person my divination sessions are charged on an hourly rate) Also, for getting practical and useable results you’re better off focusing on a narrow set of things. So if you have 20 minutes with a tarot reader, don’t ask about love life, your job, your family, and your investments. Pick a theme, maybe two, and investigate them.

Talk with the reader

It might be interesting to really test a reader, see how psychic they are, just sit down in front of them and have them give it a go. Interesting, yes, but not the most useful. If I’m spending most of my time and energy trying to pick up details from the aethers, I can’t use that time and energy to help give you useful answers. Not only that, but you’re a complex person, your life is large, and sometimes there is stuff going on you’re not aware of. So you’re having trouble at work, and you ask me to be all psychic and tell you what’s wrong in your life, I tell you your mother is dying, you laugh cause she hasn’t mentioned anything wrong. So you don’t hear what you wanted to hear about, and might reject what I do tell you. If you tell me you have something wrong at work, then we can look at that. As my tarot teacher used to say to me “You don’t go to the doctor and say ‘I’m sick, guess what’s wrong with me.’ You tell them some symptoms.” If you want a useful reading, talk with the reader, give us feedback, let us know what you think is wrong, what you want to know about, and we can look at that. Otherwise we’re looking at your entire life, and trying to pull out relevant information to satiate your curiousity.

Use the information to make a plan

This is probably one of the most important pieces for someone receiving a reading, and if you ever get a live reading with me, it’s probably a big chunk of the session. Think for a moment, how many tarot readings and what not have you received? Now how many of them gave you relevant information? Now, how often did you actually make good use of that information? The thing is most of us, myself included, get the information and think “Oh that’s interesting” or “I expected that” or “Good to know” and leave it at that. Then events play out more or less the way they were going to anyways. Make a plan on how to use the information, and make it fast, or you’ll never use it. I usually get my clients to come up with one concrete action they can take within 24 hours. It doesn’t have to be major, but it has to be concrete, they can’t just say they’ll think about what to do with the information, no, they have to write it out. If it’s about something you can’t act on right away, then your action can be to make a to-do list for when you can act, set a calendar reminder on your phone, and start work when you can. Then along with the action in the next day I usually have them set out a concrete action for the next week, or month, depending on the scale of the reading. The important thing is to do something that sets into motion working with the reading, otherwise you just take the information and it is in one ear and out the other.

These are just a few of my thoughts on how to be a good querent and make the most of your readings. What other ideas do people have, both are readers, and those receiving the divination?


Better Choices, Highest Good, and Passing the Buck


“Do I take the new job, or stay where I am? What is the best option?”

Questions like this are really common, specifically the variation of that last point: What is best/better? Hell, I often think like that to myself, but frankly it’s a horribly ambiguous way to think, it’s also one that lacks power and responsibility.

It’s not something just from divination though, people use similar terms regarding the gods/guides. “Please put me on the better path” or “They know what is best.”

Maybe I’m in a nitpicky mood, but this always bothers me. These all presuppose that there is some singular ultimate universal best, and it’s just a matter of you getting there, and I don’t know if I believe that there is.

Take the job question above. “What is the best option [between these jobs]?” Well that could depend on what you mean. Job A might make you more money, but lead to a career so stressful it cuts ten years off your life. So what is better? A stressful shorter life with more money? Job B might make less but it could have better health and vacation benefits. So what is a better? More money, or having more freedom and time off? Maybe Job A is really emotionally fulfilling and Job B is brain numbing to you. Maybe Job B will suck for the next 5 years, but then you’ll get an awesome promotion. Maybe Job A is horrible, but you’ll meet the love of your life at it.

And so on and so on and so on. So when people ask me about the better options I do two things: I make them narrow it down (Do you mean financially, emotionally, physically, and what time frame? Etc.) and also look in terms of general knowledge. So rather than “what is better” my questions are “What does So-and-so need to know about A? B?” Often these answers are more revealing about their values, one way or another.

The reason I’m stressing this though, is so often when this comes up, the person doesn’t know what would make one job better, they haven’t figured out their values. They want the cards to make all the choices for them, even their value judgments. So if you ask about better options, make sure you can say what better would consist of.

Now even if there is some ultimate universal best for these people there are issues with that. They might not be ready for that best right now. As a matter of fact I would say if there is this ultimate universal best for all of us, that easily 95% of the world wouldn’t be happy with what it entails from their current position. Sure, maybe years down the line after they realized all the things that didn’t make them happy (but did briefly), and they’ve undone conditioning, or are over emotional attachments to “toxic” people, scenarios, whatever. So maybe according to the Cosmos Option A is best for them, but the person takes it, and quickly realizes they hate it and abandon it. How helpful was the reading then? They might not believe you, reject and deny you (as we often do with good advice).

The same and moreso for people who frame it in terms of their gods and whatnot. “To my highest good” has that problem, cause you might not want that good. Also, that’s a lot of trust to put on another spirit, and that is something I’m a bit uncomfortable with. Now for perspective I sacrificed a chunk of my life to do the Abramelin as close to the text as was reasonable just to get an Asshole In My Head, and I don’t wholly and blindly trust them. I believe a certain Entity/God/Whatever literally made my Soul, and I wouldn’t wholly and blindly trust them. I have a Yidam, who is supposed to guide me practice, and I wouldn’t wholly and blindly trust them. Do they have my best interest at heart? Sure, but their understanding of it.

My HGA’s interpretation of my best interests might be to burn down my house and force me to wander the city performing chöd or something to push me to enlightenment. Maybe that is my ultimate and universal best, but I’m not ready for that yet. The common analogy is the perspective difference in sports. If you’re in the stands watching a sports game (I don’t care which, they’re all the same to me) or even on TV you have this really big perspective, and can see if someone should do something one way or another. The player on the other hand sees from a smaller perspective, with more things in the way, but they also see the details a lot clearer. So maybe from way up it looks like doing something a specific way, but down on the field the player sees something you don’t, and that means the method you think is best could actually be flawed.

What it boils down to is when people toss out these vague best/better statements it strikes me as indecisive and irresponsible. “What job is the better option?” Well, what are you looking for? What do you value in your work and life? Chances are if you hash that out you won’t need divination to know the job to take, but because you’re indecisive and unclear you’re lost. (Or at least it will redefine what you’re looking for in the questions) Also, and this can be totally judgmental, but some people think it’s totally devotional and spiritual to toss up their hands and say “Whatever my god wants,” but to me that’s just passing the buck. Your life sucks, blame your god, they want you there, your life is awesome, thank your god, they want you there. I don’t deny this can happen, but there is a reason you incarnated into a realm of freewill (okay, maybe not really, but a semblance of it most of the time) and your god didn’t (at least directly). That’s for you to live, to make choices. Or when you claim your god won’t let something happen because it’s against your “highest good” that puts the responsibility on them, not you. Didn’t get that job you applied to, I guess it wasn’t your highest good, not the fact that you’re woefully unqualified or wore your vintage Rolling Stones shirt to the interview. Oh, your spell didn’t work, must not have been your god’s will…not the fact that you might have lacked focus, will, energy, understanding or anything like that. Highest good, and best options, while I don’t deny these on a conceptual level, I feel they’re used more as an excuse to think/act certain ways.

If you’re a magickal person of some sort, I think you owe it to yourself to stop being indecisive, and call the shots in your life.

Divination Addiction: The Cards Won’t Tell You When You’ve Had Enough


As I previously linked, good-old Polyphanes wrote a post Divination-Related Disorders and I mentioned in my linkage that I rarely do multiple readings for people in a short period. I will generally refuse a reading more than once a month. One reason is a month is rarely enough time for people to make a meaningful change and thus the outcome won’t be too varied. Another reason is divination gives people a sense of power, they know (or think they know) what is coming, and this makes them feel better. Sure being confident is good, but it should stem from something other than fortune telling.

A month or two back Jackie and I talked about divination on Occult Spectrum, and we chatted about the issue of divination addiction, and very briefly about what it’s okay to read on. Specifically I’ve had people try to use me as a private detective about their partner, if he is cheating, and more than once. We also touched on how divinations tend to verge on counselling sessions, and not everyone can handle what comes up in them. There I’m lucky, I used to be in social work, so I have some training and experience when that stuff comes up. That being said, the Cosmos listens, and likes to test. Though posting this now, the events in question came up the week after the show.

I considered changing details of this story to protect the innocent, but frankly if I did that it wouldn’t have the same impact, and people don’t know my client list, so I’m comfortable talking about this knowing the pieces can’t be put together.

I’ve had a repeat client for about ten months. She’s gotten close to my once a month limit, but never broken it. We’ve looked into and talked about her pregnancy, her now newborn baby, job and finance prospects for her husband, marriage troubles, moving concerns, and such. She’s been a good client, she asks important and thought out questions, and she follows the advice I lay out for her, with a critical and questioning take. Then she requested a divination last week, and I declined.

It read something to the effect of “My husband hit me, and I’m not sure where our relationship stands.” I ended up writing her a letter on why I couldn’t do the reading for her. First off, divination gives you a sense of power, and security, but this isn’t always a good thing. People sometimes get caught up in divinations and knowing, and not in acting which is what they need to do, this is one of those situations. I know there are probably few times in someone’s life where that security of divination would be more desired, but also few times when it could be more damaging. Divination should guide action, not paralyze choice.

Second, this wasn’t a matter of divination and knowledge; it was a matter of safety. I explained to her that I used to be in social work (so I didn’t seem to be a fortune teller overstepping my area of knowledge) and frankly that it was a safety issue more than anything. I’ll save the bore of stats (and me searching for notes) but it is exceedingly rare for a partner to only be physically abusive once. After that first step is taken they almost never turn back. So I told her that I didn’t feel her priority was divination, her priority was safety, and that meant taking her child and finding somewhere safe to go. Friends, family, a woman’s shelter, but before she contemplates her relationship with her husband she had to get herself out of his reach.

It was surprisingly difficult to write, I wanted to help, I wanted to look at her path and see what I could suggest, but I knew deep down that all of that was sidetracking for the importance of her safety. As readers of the flows of fate we have to accept where our understanding and limits are, we have to know what we can and shouldn’t talk on, and understand there are times when divination and knowledge (and the reliance on them) is more harmful than the answers they would give.

When it comes to physical harm, I think we’ve reached that limit. If someone attacks you it’s more important to get to safety than divine why or what to do or if it will all work out. If someone threatens you it’s more important to contact the authorities than divine if they will or how to avoid it. If your health gets really bad it’s more important to see a doctor than divine the underlying causes. Divination can come after, but get out of dodge first.

I’m not saying divination as a process can’t see these things, or is useless here, but the consequences are too important to just rely on divination, and that compulsion to rely on divination –especially during such a crisis– will only be strengthened. He hits you, and you wonder if it will work out, if you get a reading that says stay then the next time he hits you you might not ask, or you wait longer, or you get to the point where you don’t know if you should run without checking in with some form of divination. It can paralyze.

Divination lets us glimpse the flux and flow of fate, but as readers and recipients it is coloured, and like anything it is neither good nor bad, but a reliance upon something in the wrong situation is dangerous. I wrote this discussing in terms of reading for others, but it applies just as much to when we read for ourselves.

Know thyself, and know when you should act not divine.

Wednesday Webshare: Bad Mages, Divination, and Lack of Angel on Man Action


Mercury Web

Cultural appropriation is rampant in a lot of occult circles, and generally irks me. So have an article on cultural appropriation of Lukumi. What I find interesting is the difference between “innocent” cultural appropriation, and people who blatantly steal and make shit up, I always wonder about the second group.

Non-invisible bank robber caught because his sorcerer for hire didn’t come through. Always investigate people you’re buying your magick from before important service purchases.

Speaking of which, an alleged psychic steals thousands from a client.

I grew up believing that early Christians were a horribly persecuted group, and that their strength of faith sustained them. Hell I was also told how tough it was for modern Christians. Both are bullshit though. The myth of early Christian persecution covers just that.

Polyphanes tackles divination related disorders. Worth considering for those of us who give, or receive divinatory services. Personally I don’t let people get multiple readings from me in a short period unless I know they actually followed through with the advice. If it’s been less than a month, and you haven’t done anything, nothing much has changed, I’m not supporting your need for an illusion of control through knowledge.

Shifting gears on divination. Psyche gives a run down of the top five foundational books on tarot. Those I’ve read I would say are good to work through even if you’re very familiar with the tarot.

Om Mani iPadme Hum. Buddhists and technology. During my chöd training I remember going to a cemetery with my lama and another student. I pull out my pecha, he pulls out an iPad with a stand, with the text as a pdf. The only i is the Pad.

A reader responded to my review of Yoga Body with a small talk countering the text, suggesting there was a posture tradition before the modern error. I didn’t find it as convincing, but that may be just due to the difference in length, but it was worth a read. So give it a once over if your curious about yoga, and the relationship/nonrelationship to posture.

Lastly, because I love me some angels…and I mean love (wink)… Why didn’t female angels have sex with men? Just a short look at that wonderful scene in Genesis, the language, and the physical (so to speak) sex of angels, and their sexuality.

Mala Divination


I was trying to find a website explaining Tenmo (mala divination or ‘phrengbamo for Wylie fans) for a friend of mine to save me having to write up this entry. While I found many pages talking about it, they all seem to have been copying from the same errant source. I don’t mean it’s a different system and thus can’t work in a spiritual sense, I mean the source they’re copying doesn’t physically work. What does this mean? It means I’m writing this entry when I was trying not to.

So I’ve talked about malas once or twice before but I didn’t talk much on the divination side of it. I don’t use it much, I’d rather stick with my dice or my tarot, but on the other hand I always have my malas on, so if I really need an answer quickly when I’m out and about I can turn to my mala, and for that purpose knowing how to do this is a great help.

To begin the divination say the mantra of the figure you want to ask the question to for a complete japamala (108 times, a complete count on the mala). Traditionally that’s Manjushri being the Buddha of Wisdom, though any figure you work with who may be more relevant may be used. Personally I perform the permutations of the Divine Name (IAOAOIOIAAIOIOAOAI) and say a quick prayer to my Holy Guardian Angel.

Once this is done ask your question, when you see how the responses are formulated later you’ll get a sense on how to phrase the questions, but it is largely yes/no. Then hold the mala between your hands and grab two beads at random, and stretch the section without the guru or triple gem bead(s) out. There are two methods from here (and this is where other sources have messed up), you count the beads toward the centre by groups of three until you are left with one, two, or three beads. The left hand represents wisdom, so in some traditions you only count the beads by three with the left hand. Others have you alternate left, then right, repeat until you have three or less beads left. I use the left hand only method, the point is to count off three beads toward the centre until you can’t do so anymore.

One bead is called ‘The Falcon,’ two beads is ‘The Raven,’ and three is ‘The Snowlion.’ From here the answers are quite simple. When you receive the Falcon it means that the God/Protector/Spirit you called on approves of the action and give it their blessing. It also symbolizes good luck and favourable circumstances. The Raven means they don’t approve, will not help, and there will be obstructions. Raven can also be a sign of sickness and weakness. The Snowlion means you have some support, but it is more passive/neutral, results will be slower coming. To oversimplify Falcon is Yes, Raven is No, and Snowlion is Maybe…but.

You can adapt this with other number systems. For instance I use this for elemental divination. I use the same process, but instead I count by fours, leaving me with a result 1-4 and each number relates to element and that gives me the theme of my answer. This can be made more complex by combining multiple elemental readings or mixing elements and qualities, or elements and planets.

So as mentioned it’s a simple system, but it’s handy because if you wear or keep a mala with you, you can get an answer anywhere on the go. Though as mentioned it’s also something you can customize with other number/symbol systems if you want to use the idea but the Falcon/Raven/Snowlion symbolism doesn’t appeal to you.

Pendulums and Finding Focus in Magick


So before I get into this entry proper, I’d like to thank everyone for their support of my new esty store, both in their purchases and sharing the word. The first set of orders have already begun arriving at their destinations and I’m enjoying some of the immediate feedback. As mentioned in the the post announcing the store two of each pendant I consecrate have to be given away, one to someone who I think needs it, and one to someone random. The Medicine Buddha Pendant was given to one of my best friends who had a depressive/suicidal episode just as I finished making them. The recipient of the random one is Robert, husband-to-be of a twitter follower of mine, whom I had received prayer requests for while doing my initial Medicine Buddha training. The Chöd / Machik Labrön Pendant was given to a family friend who has had ridiculously bad luck with getting things moving in their life. The winner of the raffle I announced last time is L. D. Taylor, one of the small army of reviewers writing for Spiral Nature. So again, thank you all for your support.

A while back The Unlikely Mage posted about finding your direction in magick. I see two problems with many occultists: too focused and/or not enough work, or too unfocused and/or trying to do too much. I tend to be the latter, even though I’m limited to two systems, they are both huge traditions, so between study and daily practice I can often be doing too much. Something needs to give, the trouble is what.

I’ve posted before about dropping non-beneficial practices or “Don’t use what doesn’t work” but it’s hard sometimes. This is where The Unlikely Mage’s technique comes in handy, read his entry if you want, I recommend, but I’ll explain what I did cause I had to tweak it.

I’m no good with pendulums, or I might be, I don’t know, I don’t trust them. They are far too easy to manipulate, and this was my problem with TUM’s technique. The mode of a pendulum is perfect for it, but it’s too easy for my mind, conscious or otherwise to influence the pendulum to say what I wanted it to say. So I took multiple slips of paper, identical in size and shape, and on each one wrote a magickal practice that I was doing, or considering. Chöd, Enochian Skrying, Mahakala sadhanas, Deharan magick, Genius Loci work, and so on were listed. Then they were folded so I couldn’t see what said what and shuffled around. As long as I can’t see them, I can largely trust myself not to influence the pendulum. (Yes, it could be argued that I’m psychically perceiving what slip says what and nudging it how I want anyways, but the chance of that is less compared to me seeing and nudging.)

Then tapping on each slip one at a time I asked “Is this something I shouldn’t do? Is this neutral? Is this something I should postpone? Is this something I should do? Is this something I should do right now?” Whenever the pendulum gave me an answer I’d put it on the back (I numbered the options to make it quicker to note) and move onto the next one. In the end I had three things I was told “Do right now!” and three that I was told to do. The rest I’ve dropped until maybe the next time I look at what I need to do.

For those curious the three things I must do right now, it is my chöd practice, the Strategic Sorcery course, and the “Other” option I put in the mix, which has come to represent a return to my own Path, rather than the systems I’ve assimilated for structure and validity. In my Nike (Do It) category I have my work with Vajrayogini, White Mahakala, and Genius Loci work.

I did this about a month ago, and I’ve enjoyed it, but already I’ve felt a need to clarify even more. So rather than larger areas of study I put down very specific daily practices, some that I do, some that I’m considering doing, same format as before. This time though it was just Do or Do Not (there is no try category). What impressed me again, was that stuff I considering more central and important I’ve been told to do, such as my daily evocation of the planetary Angel and my ongoing prayers to Cosmos, while stuff that was less important I was told not to do, like my daily Refuge Tree, Vajrasattva practice, and mandala offering which I only began doing daily in order to learn the Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Pali by heart for use in Temple and larger rituals. Unfortunately (in a snarky way) what I’ve been told to perform are my longer practices, no matter how I try to cull my spiritual practice down to a more manageable time frame, it seems to resist it.

We will see how it goes, it feels good so far, being more focused. Over the next few months I’ll learn other things that will become parts of my daily practice for better or worse, but maybe I should make a habit of every three or six months just checking in what I should be doing.

With this focus I hope to perhaps start revealing and discussing more of my practice that is less on the beaten path, and more personal. Onwards and upwards we shall see where the Starry Path leads.

Review: Watcher Angel Tarot and Guidebook – Michelle Belanger and Jackie Williams


Watcher Angel Tarot Guidebook: Myth, Meaning, and Creation – Michelle Belanger and Jackie Williams
Emerald Tablet Press. 2011. 312pp. 9780983816911.

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” Genesis 6:1-2

Such a little innocuous line, often overlooked and forgotten, yet containing the seeds of a beautifully deep myth expounded upon in the Book of Enoch. Watcher Angels, the sons of God(s), fell to the Earth and took up human mates, and taught the secrets of heaven. That is the theme of this deck. I’ve talked about this deck before but it is time for a proper review.

In the introduction Michelle says “I didn’t want simply to design another Tarot built on the bones of the Rider-Waite-Smith. I wanted to revision the Tarot entirely, allowing the symbols to speak through me and to find expression in some vital and personal myth.” (12) And that is what you find with this deck. It isn’t a Rider-Waite-Smith clone with angel wings drawn on it, it isn’t a clone with some of the images and settings shifted around, it is a fairly different beast altogether.

The deck was designed from the ground up. Looking at the overarching traits of the Major Arcana a parallel from the Enochic myth was chosen, for the most part one of the Watcher Angels themselves represents the Majors, each assigned according to what they did, and what they taught. For instance you have Kasdeya who taught “all the wicked smitings of spirits and demons, and the smitings of the embryo in the womb” as Death, and Shemyaza the leader of the Angels in the Fall as The Fool.

Seven of Pentacles. RWS: A man leaning on his hoe. Watcher Angel: A man leaning on his...

The Minor Arcana form an entire story of their own; from Ace to Ten, Pentacles, to Cups, to Wands, to Swords, they lay out the entire tale. Pentacles are just after the Fall, the struggle to learn and build a world. In Cups they have established themselves and enjoy the world. With Wands they show their children the mysteries of heaven and magick. Finally with Swords their children turn upon each other. Since each suit contains its own story arch it is a remarkably easy deck to learn, though initially I was wary of the differences, because even if you have a moment of uncertainty when you place the card in the story it becomes clear what it represents. The meanings, the keywords of the cards are standard, but they way they play out in the Enochic myth is quite different.My only complaint with this system is it falls into an earlier interpretation of the Tarot, since the Swords are about the war among the children, the majority of the Swords are negative and challenging cards. Something many decks do but I dislike.

The artwork in this deck is phenomenal. The images are deep and complex, without being cluttered, in a lifelike and detailed painting style you’re not likely to see in a Tarot deck. Colours are rich and vibrant, and thematically carry between the suits. Jackie has a wonderful talent and her skill really brings the images to life. For me it is the settings, wings, and faces that really get me. The backgrounds are evocative, be they a shifting patch of colour or an elegant city vista. The wings just look better than most angel depictions –it’s a personal gripe of mine. Lastly the faces are very engaging, haunting, and real. The entire deck is viewable here on Jackie’s site and will show far better than I can describe.

The companion book was refreshingly honest. “I won’t lie and say that this deck was merely the product of detached academic research. There is a great deal of vision and inspiration, myth, dream, and magick woven into this work.” (19) Or as Jackie says it is “a deck designed by two psychics with input from the universe.” (29) All things considered it’s something I’ve found odd that so many deck creators shy away from discussing. In fact the companion book is remarkably complete, perhaps too much for some cases, but as it says you can skip the sections that don’t interest you. The book contains Jackie and Michelle’s stories for making the Tarot, the years of planning and research for Michelle, the years of painting and living the cards for Jackie. Michelle leads you into the research and struggles, Jackie even gives interesting advice on paper and paint types. Their stories are followed by the myth of the Watchers, how it relates to Campbell’s Monomyth as well as to the Book of Enoch and related texts. It moves into tarot history, where it came from, how it became part of the Western Mystery Tradition, beliefs about the tarot, and then finally the interpretations of the cards. If you’ve never dealt with the tarot before this book covers pretty much all the basics you’ll need, and if you’re familiar with the tarot and don’t care about personal stories you can skip to the back where you can learn about the cards and understand why Michelle and Jackie made the choices they did in illustrating the deck.

I will fully own up to a triple bias with this deck, Michelle and Jackie are friends, and personally I love the Enochic mythology. That being said, I don’t believe it is my bias speaking when I say this has quickly become one of my favourite decks; the beautiful art, the compelling myth, it just makes this a wonderful and unique deck.

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