LISA FRANK TAROT



Saturday mornings were my favorite when I was a child. My Dad and I would hop in the car and go on an adventure. We’d run errands and he would have a beer on the way back. I’d have a Coca Cola in a glass bottle. Usually when we would go to the store, I would look over stationary. I loved Lisa Frank because of the bright colors and the style of illustration. In a sea of bland notebooks with Jean Book or Five Star brands, Lisa Frank boasted life in its products, and for a few dollars extra I felt like the coolest kid on the block with my rockin’ stationary.

When I learned about the creation of this majors only set of cards, I simply had to have it! The colorful and wild child inside of me needed a physical reminder of some of my fondest memories with illustration before I ever even had a clue about what I wanted to study in college.

The unicorns cuddling in the clouds, the purple and pink kitties hanging out in the sunflowers! The beautiful penguins hugging and the singing penguins are all staples of my childhood. How could you even forget the flower power hippie aliens? There are just too many endearing characters and stories present in the beautiful world of Lisa Frank. And now I’ve got a deck to hearken back to when I need some of that comfort!

The cards are buttery and shuffle really well. The backs are really cool and easily reversible which I need. I got so lucky with my seller, they had printed some really high quality cards out! This is a really lovely deck, I just wish that the full set of 78 would be made so that I could use this deck to read for my clients with. I’d love to have the tales of my life told to me by these familiar characters!





What is your most important characteristic?
Temperance. Compassion, sweetness and color to soothe you. Alleviate the stress with a soft voice that echoes nostalgia and joy weaving together to talk to you about important aspects of your life. Loosen up and tap into another side of your brain that is more open to exploration and sweetness. Dichotomy of tool and tone will delight you with useful messages.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Strength. That was a funny response! This deck is really comfortable with what it has to bring to the table. Parting from the idea that we need to be comfortable in our skin, even if others are put off by aspects of our personality. We don’t need validation just because we are a little different from other people. That’s okay, you do you and keep going! It will make you stronger.

What are your limits?
The Fool. You can get caught up with the noise in your head to really hear what is being said. Remove any veils or shades you are wearing to facilitate clear sight. Have an open mind and let the messages come to you. Really listen!



What are you here to teach me?
The Moon. Find color in your intuition, and let yourself be moved by the tenderness of this strange deck. It harkens back to happy memories that should inspire. Read when your mind is most tuned into the frequency, and follow your intuition. You will feel as if you are conversing secrets over with a friend.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
The Hanged Man. Learn patience, take it slow. Look for any perceptions not immediately in tune with yours to help you gain new insight. Sometimes we miss out on important messages because we are so much more focused on other details that won’t necessarily help our case. It takes foresight, but it also takes an open mind. Give it time and try not to rush yourself into knowing and understanding.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The High Priestess. Some things will make sense and inspire inner knowing. This should help you tune into a more quiet understanding that runs in the back burner and can be easy to miss if you are not paying full attention. When light is shed on your problem and you find everything falls into place, there can finally be peace.



Which card do you want to show off?
Wheel of Fortune. The fishbowl can be symbolic for our lives and the ecosystem we move in. It throws random obstacles at us to keep it all in motion, but there is also an element of surprise in the decisions that we make. Our decisions shape our future. Every time we take a step forward, we can be choosing to forfeit extra help from life for the sake of our own independence. Think deeply before making big moves, and understand that sometimes some things are outside our control.

How do you see me?
Justice. The fair one, the one who balances logic over the heart as a means of living. Sitting alone on your throne, but enjoying the music that jives in your life. You find peace in doing the right thing according to your own standards, even if your standards are too high for others to understand or meet.

How do you see yourself?
Death. As a bringer of change with grace. Sometimes all you need is a different perspective to be able to find a solution where you had not seen one before!



If you’re lucky, you might be able to find one of these for sale online. However, you can download the cards and have as many decks printed as you like. You could have ten decks if you really wanted to!
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KITTY KAHANE TAROT



When I first saw the Kitty Kahane Tarot, I scoffed. I thought it was so ugly, and I couldn’t believe the prices people were paying to own this deck. By then, it was already out of print. Who knows, it might have just recently gone out of print. I just didn’t agree with it, and I disregarded it. I also had this attitude with the Greenwood Tarot, and later came to love it madly. It now resides on my top drawer for cards.

The color scheme of this deck is pastel, and happens to have colors I love: teal, pink, purple. Yellow was my very first favorite color, so seeing splashes of that in the cards makes me happy too. The style is to me very 90’s, and is very expressive and weird. It took me a long time to take a liking to it, but now that I’ve also changed my mind about my preferred illustration style, my tastes in illustration have also changed. To be honest, I don’t dislike any of the cards in the deck, so I’m happy to use it. The cards I look to for make it or break it are always The Sun and The Moon. There are so many Sun cards I don’t like. It’s a problem!

I appreciate the opaque colors  and the pen and ink style of illustration. It’s quite beautiful to me now. It just goes to show, never say never!




The reading style of these cards is narrative. They are dynamic, and some of them move from one card to another. Some of the characters are repeated throughout the cards with specific features, skin color and clothes. They have a limited color palette, so the skin tones can be universal and can adapt to whatever story is being told. This impressed me. Something else that impressed me is that they are detached from Earth, and because of that can interact in any environment as is needed for a reading. I draw the conclusion that these cards are versatile and work well with any scenario.

The backs look very similar to the ones I designed when I was first drawing out my tarot deck. I can appreciate the symmetry save for the center element, which makes it easy for me to tell if they are reversed or not without really distracting myself too much. To me, a winning quality in a deck!

I wish this deck didn’t have white borders. They cards will eventually get very grubby and beg to be replaced. The A.G. Müller copyright on the card backs is also noticeable enough to distract me. But well… I can’t win them all. The deck reads eerily well, and at the end of the day that’s what I prioritize with my work tools.






What is your most important characteristic?
Six of Wands. Willingness to serve and to celebrate service. There is a good-natured vibe coming through that shows we do our best when we devote ourselves to the aid of others. There is pride in knowing out work touches the life of others in a positive way. As seers we strive to empower others and to help them find the pace they are most comfortable going at.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Ten of Coins. Mainly reliability and stability. When you have a strong bond, it is unshakeable. The cards are there for you and bring good news as well as warnings, but all is intended to be for your own personal progress. You can bask in the satisfaction of knowing that reading with this deck is as comfortable as reading with any other Rider-Waite Smith clone.

What are your limits?
King of Coins. If you get caught in the comfort zone, then you settle down and sprout roots. This may make you less flexible at a time when you may want to implement changes. Try not to get too absorbed in having everything and yet waiting for something better to come along. Instead consider venturing out to try new things with your methods every now and then to find new rewards.



What are you here to teach me?
Eight of Coins. I am here to teach you that it is important for you to keep working on improving your work. Your craft is a sacred practice that only gets better with the build up of experience. Keep experimenting and mixing methods to find new experiences to enrich your life.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Two of Swords. Take it slow. Don't rush yourself or your interpretations if you can avoid it. Some things take time for your psyche to digest. Sometimes it is better to contemplate your options, not minding all of the others on the outside who have opinions they might want to enforce. Lessons take time to settle in the mind.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Queen of Wands. You will feel inspired by some of the more artistic card renders. The colors play well with your eyes and your psyche, and the cards are more than willing to offer you solid advice in new ways than the ones you are used to.



Which card do you want to show off?
Three of Wands. Some of the best works take the longest to complete. As we wait, we can pay attention to the thoughts running in the back burner of our minds. The thoughts that run as background processes make connections for us when we become conscious of them. We can come to fresh conclusions that help us realize things about our lives and ourselves. In doing so, we have come to mature.

How do you see me?
The Hermit. Finding my own path and place in the world. Letting go of absolutely everything and everyone while in search of my new identity. That shady bird on the shoulder can be a spirit guide to accompany me, a monkey on my back (problem) or a dear friend that won't ever leave.

How do you see yourself?
Ace of Coins. Young at spirit, willing to be used for your benefit as a tool for self empowerment. Using this deck can attract people to your practice who find the artwork interesting.



I've had this deck for a while now and it really sings to my soul. Whenever I use it, the readings make me think about my situation from another point of view. I don't tend to do this with other decks, seeing as I have a really on target mind. But when I step outside myself to see new points of view, I feel as if I've grown and come steps forward.
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TAROT CORRUPT




The Tarot Corrupt by Marcel Ruitjers is amazing. It features tasteful use of colors, and not so tasteful imagery that will make you and your querent both double take. Every now and then you come across a deck that shakes your morals. A deck that may make you feel as if you’ve gone down the left hand path. This one shakes me up, perhaps more than decks that scare other people (Savage Tarot, Sinister Tarot, Wormweird Tarot) because it

Something that really threw me off course and into a wild path was the fact that the majors have been rearranged and the numbers are very different. There is also - and + card that feel like energy charges and reminders. Because of that, it became clear to me that the illustrator means for the deck to be its own thing. The card stock is buttery and slippery, shuffles easily for me. It is stiff and sturdy with very little yield in the bend.

The cards come in a standard size and will tempt come collectors to trim the edges. Trimming the edges will also trim out the artist copyright in the back. I don’t think Marcel Ruijters will appreciate that.



When I look through the deck, it gives me a sort of left hand path way to look at the archetypes. Many of the cards are reversed in meaning from what they usually are. The cards demand your concentration and pull you into what seems to be a medieval influenced alternate history depicted in engravings. I feel as if I fell down a portal to Beetlejuice’s Neitherworld. How does anyone prepare for such a voyage? It is reminiscent of Through the Looking Glass; the rules that govern our lives work in reverse in this world. And that is exactly its charm!

I am endeared by the humor and drawn in by the darkness of the cards. Body language and direction of eyesight is important. I see some characters looking towards each other, some looking at one while they look elsewhere. It’s amusing to see how some characters shy away from others, and how some confront others head on.

The cards are expressive. Each one stands as a different scene in a different world, so the deck does not progress in a story told by each suit. This feeds the randomness of the deck.You are in for an adventure that is maddening and humorous!

There is not much difference in how the Major Arcana cards are depicted and how the Minor Arcana cards are depicted. They all have more or less the same amount of detail. Throughout the cards you will find skeletons, animals, mythical creatures, monsters and nuns.Yes, nuns. You read me right!




What is your most important characteristic?
King of Cups. This card shows the desire to climb through all of the possible difficulties to get to one’s goal. The King of Cups is depicted alone in a boat, with his goblet raised and his hand on the engine. There’s a good chance he’s drunk as he rushes forward, with a storm brewing over him. He doesn’t care how tough the going gets, he’s willing to overcome his difficulties to get to shore and join his family.

This is almost a metaphor for navigating through life with assurance even if the circumstances don’t look so promising.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
The Hermit. Through one’s own inner battles there can be a beautiful moment of enlightenment. Things that are otherwise unknown to you come to show themselves when you least expect it, and in tones you wouldn’t expect. You have the tools to work yourself out of any situation that you find in that causes you stress, so long as you have faith and you invest effort in helping yourself out. Even if you are on a solitary journey, there is always a remedy and an option you can use.

What are your limits?
The Fool. The nun has a cross in her mouth as she goes, too preoccupied with her thoughts to respond to the flying spaghetti monster in the background. The bridge she just crossed is on fire, and she is too simple minded to mind.

I like the bite in this tarot deck.



What are you here to teach me?
Nine of Pentacles. If you wait patiently, the answers will come to you. It may feel like a knock to the head, or like a golden sun dawning upon you, stretching out its rays of light and wisdom. However gracefully you accept the message will be how prepared you are for it. Be patient and wait for it to happen to you.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Three of Wands. Patience is the main ingredient in this equation. Allow yourself to be swayed by the motions of the facts, rhythmically moved by the spontaneity and the momentum. Pay attention at the nearby signs, and try to fit them in where they might be relevant. Until then, just sit contently and allow yourself to be moved by the cards.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The Chariot. Whenever you find yourself in tough situations, hang on and have faith. Allow yourself to be pulled along with the aid of your cards, and you'll find your way through. The only way out is through, even if you have the misfortune of having the one leading you lose their head. When you're on a rocky road, things can get dangerous and exits can get smaller, but you need to allow your heart to be your compass. Keep your thoughts sharp and you should be able to evade any impending tragedy.



Which card do you want to show off?
The Empress. Even when you find yourself in a predicament, you have a friend with plans to break you out of it. You're not stuck in whatever position you find yourself in, but you need to be cooperative if you really want to get out. So long as you understand the circumstances of your condition, you should also know the weak points of the trap keeping you captive so that you can plan a getaway.

How do you see me?
Queen of Swords. You use your inner truths to purify yourself and with your sword you cut away the impurities that plague you. You don't have time for trolls or ideas without formation. What you care about is the practical: Sustenance, truth and personal development. You are transparent to the world around you but often misunderstood. Even though it doesn't affect you much because you don't let it, it still disconnects you from the rest.

How do you see yourself?
Truth. You tell the truth even when it gets ugly. Honest to a fault, even when plagued by misfortunes. It can't be helped; sometimes life just deals you a bad card and you have to maneuver around it to sustain yourself.



I think this deck will pair well with the Kitty Kahane for readings. More on that later!
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MEET THE BATDABS




When I first lay eyes on the Batdabs, I think hearts came out of my eyes. It was an instant connection, I knew they had to come home with me by the numbers. They’re going to end up sprinkled throughout apartment decore and on my altar as makeshift poppets. I can’t wait to start breathing life into them through my line of work.

Bat dabs are the creation of Magweno, a very talented toymaker from North Scotland. The skill with which she breathes life into her creations is staggering and humbling all at the same time. It’s such a pleasure knowing these lovelies were crafted with love in a foreign land and made their way all across the world to my home in California. I smile to myself just thinking about their brief adventures back and forth, since I had to send them back for a touch up.

Batdabs are actually only available during Abdab Season, which runs from September to November. There are other darling corvids and rudas, which are rams. All of the cool!





They fit in the palm of my hand and their fur is very soft. Their noses look like gothic hearts to me, as do noses on skulls usually. I personally treat them with lots of care, but the toys themselves are sturdy enough and will stand through time if they aren't tampered with. I believe they aren't to risk handling too much too often, getting dents and imperfections on them is not going to suit them.

I’ve had a lot of fun rotating them around the apartment and posing them with my vintage tea cups. They look like they could almost spring to life! And as I sit here with my crystals, spirits and Batdabs, I do feel I am in excellent company.

I keep one of them at my work desk to accompany me throughout all of my work loads, but I intend to use them as makeshift magic poppets or as vessels for my spirit guides.






Materials: acrylic paint, resin, steel shot weighting, polyester stuffing, fake fur.

Since I've had them, I've noticed the importance of having lively elements in the environment. I feel more inspired, and I definitely feel like they help pull my living space together. They personalize my apartment, spreading some of my personality and interests throughout what is actually a very minimalistic place. Guests love them, too. Not a single person that visits me fails to spot the Batdabs and marvel over them.

These toys bring me joy. I hope they at least brought a smile to your face!




My Batdabs came with personalized name cards. Mine are:Yangara, Vahe and Munch.

If you'd like to check out Magweno's online presence, you can find her shop on Etsy. Tumblr. Instagram. Drop by and pay her a compliment on her beautiful work!


RELEASE THE PAIN WITH GRACE




Let’s talk about a difficult subject: Loss. Particularly, loss of friends.

This has been the bane of my existence ever since I was in elementary school. Back then, the lost connections were quickly mended because you could almost immediately replace a friend to play with for another one. As I got older, though, so grew my attachments to people and the notion that the more I invested in them, the more I would strengthen our bond. I was wrong.

Loss is a natural event, and it is one that brings pain along if we resist it. I have found that in order to show myself compassion, I can perhaps allow myself to cry over it for a period of time. Once that time is up, I owe it to myself to nurture my broken spirit and to keep going. It builds strength, but in the face of loss, there is no strength that can control or prevent. Once the loss is effective, what is gone is gone. And that’s that.

I’ve always been extremely tender of heart, but equally sharp with my tongue. It is perhaps the make up for the Queen of Swords, the lonely widow who is disconnected from others and protective of herself, but still human. She still feels, she’s just been through enough to harden her heart and make her cool with logic. Logic protects the heart in this case.

I’ve shed a large number of tears in the past year because of my connections to others being severed. My emotional attachments don’t allow me to go down without really feeling it first. And it’s getting more acute the closer I get to my Saturn Return coming. I know what my biggest lessons are going to be because they’ve already been manifesting in my life. Saturn Return is going to be a real hoot!



The cosmos are not to be blamed for every misfortune in our lives, but I have noticed that these events have been happening during the retrogrades, the most recent of which is the retrograde of Mars in my sign, Libra. My Moon is in Aries and so is my Mars house, so its been affecting me in various aspects.

Today, I’ve set a single card on the table to honor these feelings, with the intention of letting go of this sense of loss. The ultimate shedding.

In this reflection I want to state that I accept the cards I’ve been dealt. I accept that as humans we are not perfect and we make mistakes. But firstly I want to recognize that I make mistakes and that I am not exempt from learning. Each experience will guide me with the honesty of what life has to offer, and I accept the tough lessons with grace.

If I’ve been abrasive to others, may they forgive me someday. I always act with what I think is the best course of action at the time, but I do make mistakes.



Now I understand why they say new beginnings come with the Death card. It’s because when you shed old connections and clean out the remnants of burnt bridges, you become lighter. With those connections no longer slowing down your progress, you are free to continue exploring what lies on the other end of loss. Even though your spirit is broken from the notion of having let go, a sense of hope creeps up on you when you start taking the first few steps forward. A measure of progress will be according to whether or not you try looking back at what there was before the loss. Once you are accepting, you’ve found liberation from your pain. Once it’s over, you become tender again and reborn to a new life of possibilities.



After writing this post, I feel so much better. I don't get to talk about my musings often, simply because they can be abstract and hard to place in words. The best epiphanies come in quiet contemplation with the self.

Death illustration compliments of visionary artist Dave McKean. Ouija board compliments of Parker Brothers.
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