One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to seek out a souvenir Tarot Decks. I am often delighted and surprised at what I find; even in small towns and small shops, there is almost always a deck I have not seen before. One such deck I recently acquired is a gorgeous creation from Yoshi Yoshitani which I am excited to share with you. Here’s my review of the Tarot of the Divine.
Recently, I visited my mother in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, and she suggested we check out a new metaphysical book store. The shop, Kuantum Life, sits right in downtown Cary. In the small shop, I found mostly oracle decks, and only a few true Tarot. (To find out more about the differences check out my post on Choosing a Tarot Deck). Still, one deck I had never seen called to me, the Tarot of the Divine by Yoshi Yoshitani. (Link goes to Yoshi’s site where you can order this deck and learn more about it!).
The Tarot of the Divine is a beautiful deck that comes in a nice quality hard case. The cards are printed on nice thick stock which felt a bit like linen and the guidebook is beautifully illustrated. Each card depicts a different legend, deity, or folk tale. The illustrations are absolutely stunning, they represent the style and culture of the legends depicted while maintaining cohesion throughout the 78 cards.
I took a magical journey by flipping through the deck and the guidebook together. There were familiar fables and figures as well as some that were foreign to me. I gave the deck to my mother and her sister, both also Tarot Readers, and they also loved reading the descriptions of the fables and looking at the cards.
As you can tell, I think this is a wonderful deck. Yoshitani must have spent a lot of time matching each of the Tarot archetypes to these incredible historical legends. After purchasing this deck, I want to learn more about all of the tales inside. I do have a couple of drawbacks for you, mainly that this is not a good deck for a beginning Tarot Reader. This is because there is not a lot of information provided about the Tarot archetypes. If you are not familiar with these archetypes, you may struggle to do a full reading with this deck.
If you are a beginner and you are intrigued by this deck, go ahead and buy it! Make sure you also own a more traditional deck or a book, like Rachel Pollack’s 78 Degrees of Wisdom, where you can learn about the archetypes of the Tarot separately. The layer of the historical myths and folk legends provided by the Tarot of the Divine will enrich your experience when you are ready for it. While you learn the cards, I think it’s better to keep the extra layer out of it unless you are a mythology expert like Yoshi Yoshitani!
I hope you found this review helpful! To get more reviews like this in your inbox make sure you subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of this page! Leave a comment below and tell me what you think of this deck!
My intention is to offer a tarot reading for each new moon. These readings are drawn for my community, if you find yourself on this page I hope it is of service to you. For a personalized reading check out my tarot page.
This month’s New Moon in Aries also falls on the Lunar New Year. According to my amazing Aunt who is an astrologer, this New Moon offers us all the chance to heal ourselves, and heal our collective wounds as a society. Through the distance we are choosing and in some cases being forced to keep from each other physically right now, there is still joy and community in many forms springing up. This time of quiet may be the balm that we all need at this crossroads and it is most certainly up to you how you will use this time.
For this New Moon Tarot forecast I used the Ostara Tarot which is one of my personal favorites for it’s incredible beauty. It was designed by four friends at the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver. Each woman brought a unique perspective to her cards and maintained a cohesive style which I find powerful and easy to read. The cards are thick and feel plastic with a silver edge. These cards come in a pretty box with a fully illustrated book. I find myself reaching for this deck often because it has such a painterly feel which I love.
This simple Three Card spread is one of my most widely used and classic for many readers. In this case, and what I’ve been doing lately, is forgoing the “past, present, future” triad and using the Three Cards to represent the current obstacle, the near future, and the outcome of the situation. For me at this time, looking back has not been as useful as looking forward.
There are opportunities abundant in front of you although it feels like you have lost all sense of luxury and pleasure, don’t let this blind you to all of the possibility in your life. Yes, life is a balancing act and you may need to be more aware at this time of how you manage it all: work, passion, family and relationships all need tending to but isn’t this time the perfect one to pour yourself into the things that matter in the ways that you are able? For those who continue to seek balance, you will be rewarded by unveiling creative potential that will nurture you and carry you forth into your next stage of becoming.
Check in with yourself often, how do you feel? What do you need? At the same time that our lives have become more simple, there are myriad ways available at all times for you to care for yourself. Feed yourself well, engage in online classes, call people that you love and often, lean into the ways that you can participate. Create order around you and you’ll find the inspiration you need to keep growing.
Got a question? I would love to talk with you! Shoot me an email to ask a question, schedule a mentoring session or a personal reading of your own. During the Coronavirus pandemic my virtual sessions are being offered sliding scale.
My intention is to offer a tarot reading for each new moon and full moon. These readings are drawn for my community, if you find yourself on this page I hope it is of service to you. For a personalized reading check out my tarot page.
This month’s New Moon in Aquarius also falls on the Lunar New Year. As the first New Moon of 2020, it beckons for new beginnings. Transformation is a process, if you made resolutions this year, how are they playing out so far? A resolution or intention is not meant to last for a moment, it’s not a daydream but a commitment to materializing change in your life. This idea inspired my reading below.
For this New Moon Tarot forecast I used the Sacred Rose Tarot by Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman. Johanna was inspired by Kabbalah and the Tree of Life as well as Byzantine icons, it has been in print for over 30 years. I love this deck, I’ve been using it a little over six months, it did take me a little while to feel a connection and then the connection came through strong. The images are simplified in some ways, but maintain a powerful representation of the cards’ meanings. I also find the guidebook to be excellent. The meanings that are given are very short and very straightforward making it easy to use for newer readers. Overall, a very powerful deck in my experience.
This simple Three Card spread is one of my most widely used and classic for many readers. The first card represents the past, the second card the present, the third card is the future. I use this spread to get a general outlook and help me tap into what’s important in the present. This is a good spread to use if you want to gain insight into what phase of life’s cycles you may be experiencing and how to move through it gracefully.
You are finally coming to understand that the loss you’ve experienced was necessary for you to become what you are today. The disappointments that you may face this cycle are nothing compared to what you’ve been through. It’s important that you remember your own power and continue on your path when things don’t work out. If you feel stuck right now, zoom out and understand that you have the power to keep going. Don’t focus on what you’ve lost, focus on what you’ve gained and what’s possible for you now. Keep the hope that you’ve found alive and let it guide you to the stability that you long for. The greatest phase of your transformation is done, and you are still processing this change as you become who you were meant to be.
Practice, practice, practice. Whatever passions are inspiring you right now, lean into them. Meditate and be gentle with yourself, things might not feel easy but fixating on the disappointment doesn’t make it any easier to carry. Be strong and also strong enough to take some time off and give to yourself. Use the next couple of weeks to restore your energy and focus on yourself as well as your loved ones.
Got a question? I would love to talk with you! Shoot me an email to ask a question, schedule a mentoring session or a personal reading of your own!
If I had to choose one kind of asana to be my whole physical practice, I would choose Restorative Yoga without a doubt. I think when I say this to people there are a lot of preconceived judgements that I am not into an active, sweaty and physical class. Anyone who has taken a Vinyasa class with me recently can definitely share that this is not true. I love being physical, working hard and smart with my body, and getting very sweaty while jumping around using my energy in a joyful way. Also, I can think of a million ways to be active. I would miss Vinyasa Yoga very much but I think I could find a way to fill it’s role in my life. There is only one Restorative Yoga.
Okay, yes there are actually many different variations of what Restorative Yoga classes can look like. They all have a few things in common.
A general answer to the question “What is Restorative Yoga?”
Restorative Yoga postures are held for longer times, 5-30 minutesish
Restorative Yoga uses props. Blocks, blankets, bolsters, chairs, etc. to support you in a pose so that you don’t have to hold yourself up.
Restorative Yoga uses archetypal alignment to support the body in poses that encourage the most efficient function of your joints, vital organ, and nervous system.
A more specific answer, if you are taking my Restorative Yoga class or one like it: Restorative Yoga is a relaxation practice which uses supported positions, breathing and meditation techniques to de-escalate your nervous system. In my opinion there is nothing else like it and I love it very much. I also believe with all of my heart that every human needs a relaxation practice to be well and to realize their full potential.
It’s taken me years to come to the phrase “de-escalate your nervous system.” I wouldn’t be surprised if you have no idea what that means because I think I’ve made it up. Imagine that you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Everything feels painful, the world is crashing down around you. Your stress levels are at an all time high, a TEN OUT OF TEN. Stress is not an imaginary thing or all in your head, it’s a state of being in your nervous system.
The chances are that if you are the most stressed that you can be, a Restorative Yoga practice might not take you down to feeling great and at ease and a 0 out of 10 on the stress scale. That’s really a lot to ask and in a lot of circumstances, only time can do that. What practicing relaxation will do for you in this state is settle you down. Help you feel better. When I feel like my stress is a 10, I would be incredibly grateful to feel like I was at a 6 or 7. Your nervous system actually does work as more of a gradient rather than an on/off switch, as you probably experience. You are not either STRESSED or RELAXED, you are constantly mediating and navigating the entire spectrum of human feelings.
You can be stressed and at ease simultaneously in varying degrees. Restorative Yoga has helped me experience relaxation during stressful times of my life. I am still uncomfortable and unhappy in some parts of myself, and I am able to see a larger picture of myself where there exist other parts that feel calm and peaceful. There will always be circumstances I can not control that may make me feel uneasy, and there will always be a peaceful and stable energy inside of myself that I can connect to which helps me feel better.
You need rest. Real rest, which means time without sensory input and stimulation. Still, quiet, dark space where you can process. This is how you digest, your food, your experiences and your emotions. Netflix binging and drinking wine with your friends are a good time but they are not rest. Many of our “unwinding” activities are actually still stimulating, most humans go days or even weeks without any true quiet space. This isn’t healthy, it’s damaging and results in chronic stress and chronic fatigue. Restorative Yoga practice is an antidote for these symptoms and this lack of true rest. It can heal a frazzled nervous system. It has healed me over and over again.
I could continue to elaborate on reasons to practice Restorative Yoga. The physical benefits, psychological, that it’s linked with weight loss, honestly there are books full of benefits. Instead, I really just want to encourage you to practice Restorative Yoga. I currently teach four classes each week that are either 100% Restorative or 50% Restorative practice. If you live in NYC and can not afford one of my classes please reach out to me. If you can not make it to my Restorative classes, that’s okay! Practice wherever and whenever you can. Learn your favorite poses and practice them at home, one time once in a while is not enough to touch the true potential of the practice.
Do you love Restorative Yoga? Are you one of the many humans who struggle with stillness and rest? Let’s talk! Leave a comment or reach out via email to elizabeth [at] love-by-e.com and tell me what Restorative is like for you.
For a Tarot beginner, choosing a first deck is an incredible and impactful moment. The right deck will communicate clearly to you and become a powerful ally, while the wrong one will end up gathering dust somewhere in a corner. So what makes a deck right or wrong? There are as many answers as there are individuals. There is, in fact, no such thing as a wrong deck. A cousin of mine taught herself the Minor Arcana with playing cards. Others I know collect 5 or 6 decks as beginners and slowly become introduced to each.
One deck is more than enough to learn how to read Tarot. The most important criteria is that you feel connected to it, this connection will create the bond that allows you to communicate with your cards. I know it can be overwhelming to choose a deck from the myriad options available. I put together this comparison of TWELVE decks which I hope will help you get a feel for what you want in your Tarot cards and some inspiration in which ones you might like.
I chose the Star and the Two of Cups to photograph, not for any particular reason other than that they are both happy cards to me that can display some range. One Major and one Minor Arcana, although of course looking at two of seventy-eight cards does not give a full picture of the deck it does give some feel for the cards. I invite you to spend some time comparing the images below. What’s different and what’s the same? Do you get a feel for the archetype the cards are all referencing? This is a wonderful way to learn the cards.
These four decks are classics in their own right. None of them are the first but each has made large contributions to Tarot readers and taromancy as a practice. The Rider-Waite deck, illustrated by Pamela Coleman, is probably the most well known and widely used Tarot in the world. They were first published in 1909 and many modern Tarot are modeled after these. I recommend learning with this deck or one inspired by it to beginners who ask me. This isn’t the only option for a new reader but it certainly does make the road to learning a bit easier, especially as many books on how to read are also written in reference to these cards.
The Claude Burdel, 1751 deck next to it is much older as the name implies. The Major Arcana have many similarities, the Rider Waite expanded on these images in many cases. The Two of Cups makes a major difference known, before the Rider-Waite, all Minor Arcana contained very little imagery and mostly the suite symbol displayed in arrangement. The Two of Cups actually has quite a bit more symbolism on it than some of the other cards in this deck as it contains the lion’s head and intertwining serpents. These cards are wonderful but in my opinion harder to read from as they give you fewer symbols to interpret and require more memorization.
The Thoth deck was designed by the controversial Aleister Crowley in 1944. Crowley made many changes to the Rider-Waite cards along with Lady Frieda Harris, who painted the original images. It is not exactly the same in numbering and interpretation of some cards including a few Major Arcana. Learning with the Thoth deck can also prepare you to read many others as it is similar enough to most decks, and there are many decks which take influence from the Thoth directly as well. This was my first Tarot deck and I have always found it to be very powerful.
In 1984 the Voyager Tarot was released making it more modern than the others. It’s incredibly different than the classical Tarot and uses collage as well as different suites and some differing Major Arcana as well. I’ve included it here as I feel this deck really opened the door for Tarot to have a vast interpretation and there are many modern Tarot, particularly made by independent artists, that explore the boundaries of the Tarot with their own suites and symbols. I’ve seen many decks using collage in more recent years, these decks usually deviate quite a bit in imagery and sometimes meaning, they are just as powerful as the classics if you are drawn to them.
In the Ethereal Visions Tarot, designed by Matt Hughes, the style is quite minimal but some of the same symbolism appears in these cards, giving you more of an essence of the meaning and a bit less to work with. There’s a lot of beauty in this deck and it has a wonderful thick stock with gorgeous gold foiling; however, it’s more minimal style may be harder for new readers and this is something to consider in choosing your deck.
The Tarot Mucha (created by Lunaea Weatherstone) have a classical feel and beautiful painting modeled after the work of Czech artist Alfonse Mucha (1860-1939). It is relevant to note that while the feel is very classical, this deck reimagines many of the classical Tarot symbolism in order to stay true to the aesthetic and inspiration. The images are parallel to Rider-Waite but there are distinct differences. This is true of many of the decks here if you look closely. What difference does it make for the figure in the Star to be gazing into the water, into the sky, or off into the distance? There’s actually quite a different feeling and these gazes can be interpreted in their own ways as well; one being reflective, one aspirational, and one avoidant. Again, there is no right or wrong, as I’ve collected more decks I’ve come to get to know each one and I honor each deck’s energy as well as what I know about each archetype (each card).
The Fenestra Tarot by Chatriya follows the Rider-Waite imagery like a lot of the decks we see here. It’s very romantic with rich symbolism. I love this deck for readings related to matters of the heart and love. At the same time, there is something quite orderly and pleasing about these cards, they feel extremely well thought out to me and, being more classic, a wonderful deck for a beginning reader.
Finally, the Sun and Moon Tarot, inspired by Thoth and designed by Vanessa Decort, is quite modern in it’s beautifully illustrated and deceptively simple artwork. I say deceptively simple because this deck is very rich in symbols and gives you a lot to work with as a reader. Looking at the Two of Cups from this deck as well as the Thoth referenced above, you may see the different meaning given for this card “Love” as opposed to “Equilibrium” or “Balance” from others. Maybe you see how these interpretations stem from the same concept of balance in your emotional body. I point out this distinction only to remind you of the importance in getting to know each deck that you purchase. Do your homework and research the meanings of the cards, read books etc. to give yourself a fuller understanding of each card and how to interpret them for yourself in collaboration with the artist’s intention.
The Spiritsong Tarot, from Paulina Cassidy, offers a combination of traditions, introducing animal guide symbolism with classical Tarot meanings. In my opinion this deck is really well done. While not traditional, it does contain rich symbolism through the animal chosen for each card, including the Minor Arcana. The meanings of the cards remain pretty true to Rider-Waite; learning these meanings will help you get to know Tarot more generally, the symbolism will be different and change things a bit. The guide book on this one is very good as well and gives wonderful rich meanings for each card. Overall this is a strong deck which could be great for a beginner, especially an animal lover.
The Ostara Tarot was a collaborative effort between four artists and friends in British Columbia. It also comes with a gorgeous and really well done guide book that offers really good information. This deck is again inspired by the Rider-Waite, however it has been reimagined quite a bit. The essence of the cards feels the same to me and some cards bear more resemblance to the classics than others. The Ostara comes on a very nice, more plastic card stock. The cards stick together at first but with some handling the deck has become easy to use and I imagine it will hold up very well in time. The feel and stock of the cards can play a huge role in your connection to a deck, and unfortunately is pretty difficult to know unless you feel the cards in your hand. This is not always possible so researching and reading reviews is the best way to get an idea of what a deck will actually feel like in your hands.
Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman is an artist and psychic who designed the Sacred Rose Tarot. This deck does stick to a lot of the classic imagery but has been heavily stylized into a Gothic vibe. This is a good example of a deck having a kind of “vibe,” to me it’s moody and feels more serious than a lot of the others displayed here. This has a strength in some situations and I wouldn’t say this deck is negative. I do think decks with this much of their own flavor are very individual. A certain feeling can be great for readings of that nature, or for a client that exudes a certain energy.
The Zillich Tarot is another that’s based on the Thoth, designed by Christine Zillich, it comes in a smaller size in a wonderful tin you can easily carry. The cards are a nice stock and easy to use. I’ve used this deck a ton since I received it this year. These cards, like others in this row, reimagine the Tarot using the meanings of the classical decks and exploring new imagery. This deck gives you a lot to work with, there’s color symbolism in addition to image and shape. When it comes to shuffling, size does matter. Thinking about the size of the cards you want to use can be helpful! If your hands are smaller or larger, you may want to consider how well a certain deck may sit in your hands. Many classic decks are even available in more than one size if you find you have a preference.
If there is one lesson I can really push (and maybe am pushing?) it’s that each deck is going to have it’s own experience. As a reader, getting to know each deck you use is most of the work! It’s also incredibly joyful work to examine the cards and explore what you see in each one as well as what you receive from the author in the guidebooks provided. If you do have more than one deck to look at, compare a few of the cards for yourself and notice what is the same and what’s different. This practice gives you an idea of the quintessential meaning of each card as well as your own particular tastes as a reader. Spending time with your cards is the best way to learn Tarot and create a powerful connection with your deck as a tool and friend.
I love talking about Tarot and sharing with you. I offer one on one guidance for readers in addition to readings, and I’m always happy to answer a quick question via email. I hope you’ve enjoyed this comparison and that you have fun picking out your next Tarot deck! Let me know which is your favorite in the comments section!
***please note the Ethereal Visions, Sun and Moon, Spiritsong, Sacred Rose and Zillich Tarot were gifted to me in exchange for use and review by US Games.