The Mystic Shadows Illuminated Tarot is a large format variation based on the Dark Crystal Rose Tarot deck. It has been altered significantly, with full glitter and iridescent paint. It is a one-of-a-kind deck that cannot be replicated, it was done through feeling and exploration. As I tilt the cards to the sides to survey them closely, I see many little details layered over one another in paint and glitter. Carol Herzer painted this over a period of many months from 20132014. She signed me the title card.

The deck of all decks. The one ring to rule them all. Perhaps my most unique treasure, or one of them. Certainly the one that has dented my wallet the most by far.

Each card has been painted and over-painted with much attention to detail, building up a magical and mysterious sense of space, light, and color. The layering of color creates unnamed colors, and the effect of the iridescent adds to the magic, as it will appear differently as it changes with the light and angle at which it is viewed. the pictures here just barely give a suggestion of the glitter, it simply does not like to be photographed, it needs living light to be seen.

The deck is larger than standard and feels really good when you hold it all together with both hands. Shuffling it is difficult given I am not used to handling larger than standard cards, and the lamination is delicate. I will opt to just fan the cards out and pick, or to deal them into random piles of 6-8 and put them back together. If anybody has any recommendations on another way to shuffle, please let me know.

The backs of the cards have stars and snowflakes, and have been painted with fine glitter and iridescent paint. The blue shimmers like jewels; it’s a pretty spectacular sight when the cards are fanned out. It has a purple tone to it. I honestly can’t tell if the backs are blue purple or not, that’s just how they look. They kind of change colors when I tilt them this way or that.

The pouch that the cards come in have a platinum mint sheen to them and they are in fine Tibetan brocade. There is a hyper bejeweled Star card on the front of it, and it folds over itself to close. It is lined on the inside with a fabric of the same platinum mint color. It’s as stunning as the deck itself.

What else? These cards are a dream. I love getting lost in their intense landscapes and skies. It’s like real colors have shifted, and instead I get to view life through the lens of an alternate assortment of colors. Beautiful!

What is your most important characteristic?
The World. I have a bit of everything, and I boast great skill. This tarot deck is unapologetic for its use of color and how the glitter plays with light. I will open your eyes to new realities that amaze. Everything is big, in full color and with much to dazzle. You will be challenged with a new way to see the same old things.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Queen of Wands. I am ablaze with energy, and I am meant to inspire you to reach worlds beyond what you could have imagined you could reach. Use me as a tool to leave lasting impressions. I am out there, I am brash and I make no apologies for what I say. Chances are, what I have to say is what needs to be heard.

What are your limits?
Page of Cups. Dreams can only take you so far. You need an open mind and an open heart to receive all the healing energy that is to be sent your way. Let compassion be your guiding sense, and give all those who cross your path a reason to feel loved.

What are you here to teach me?
Five of Coins. I am here to teach you that you don’t need a blinged up treasure to tell fortunes. However, I am also going to remind you that those things that are beautiful are also delicate. Handle me with care if you want to protect me and your investment.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Temperance. Be patient, meditate on the cards and let the messages come through your heart. Instead of paying so much mind to intuition as you always do, let these messages come from your heart instead. They come on swift wings and from pacific waters.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The Emperor. You are already boxed into a tradition and a routine that you follow. It will not be changed. However, that is not to say you can’t enjoy the wealth of what you have worked for. With great responsibilities also comes great reward.

Which card do you want to show off?
Four of Wands. I am built upon a foundation formula that has worked for many years. With my new decorations and my wonderful colors, I deviate from all else that is out there. I am a truly unique rendition of a deck you have grown to understand over the years, but now I bring my own solid wisdom with it.

How do you see me?
The Sun. The radiant child with the contagious love for divination. You run with your passions, parading them like a flag and passing the fever to whoever is willing to catch it. Keep spreading the love!

How do you see yourself?
Knight of Coins. Steady, reliable. There are parts of me that are shrouded in mystery, but I promise the same reliable readings you get from any other of my colorful incarnations. In time, our bond will strengthen and you will find me worn in from use. That’s okay.

I wish I could share the sparkles with you. The cards don’t photograph well enough to show the effect of coming alive. The way the light hits them makes them jump out of their borders, wrapping around my world and turning it into jewel magentas and blues.

I am in the process of crafting a special spread to be used in readings with this deck. I’ll share it soon! — Been a while since there has been any new spread here...


I like to use the Illuminated Tarot original in medium during the day. When night comes, I pull this one out to enjoy its sparkle effect to the max. This deck tends to come alive when the lights are on, and so I figure that is the best time to use it: at night, when the glitter comes alive. This deck has an emphasis on magenta and blue colors. There is also some emphasis in green and mint. I love everything about this deck. The size, the gorgeous golden back with iridescence. Some cards even have the micro glitter on them.

During the day, I tend to keep this deck pressed under heavy books. It has a very unyielding slight warp that I can’t seem to iron out. With patience, this deck will likely be worn in and lose its curve. If not, that’s perfectly fine. I can use it this way, anyway.

Reading with this deck is making a huge difference for me at work. Having such an intense color change makes me pay attention to all the little details. I naturally resonate with magentas and blues, so this deck feels like it was custom made for me to work. I find myself studying cards that are usually so familiar, but currently have new life breathed into them. The original RWS really dulls in comparison to any Illuminated Tarot version, even the one with no glitter or iridescent paint added.

I’ve put my go-to reading decks down to enjoy these new decks. They sing to me, and I am really resonating with them. On top of that, they’re really beautiful and custom made.

What is your most important characteristic?
Four of Wands. I am built up to perfection with care. It takes time to establish something that will make lasting impressions, and we all start out somewhere.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Queen of Cups. I’m delicate; but I’m a tool for introspection. Find beauty in all that you already knew, but possibly lied in your subconscious. Bring it all to light.

What are your limits?
Page of Coins. Some situations need time to grow. Like seeds, you can plant an idea, but it takes the natural course of things to see things through the end. Maturity comes through experience first and foremost, and that is something you earn yourself. There are no shortcuts.

What are you here to teach me?
Six of Cups. I am here to teach you to appreciate your roots and where you come from, both in the tools you started reading with and with your ancestry.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
The Star. Let yourself be inspired by what you draw from your intuition. Let the divine intervene in and grace your life.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The Devil. Enjoy that which you have found yourself continuously coming back to. Sometimes you feel like you’ll never be able to let go of your fixations. Sometimes its okay to give into them and enjoy them thoroughly for what they add to your life. So long as you find control of yourself again in the future.

Which card do you want to show off?
Nine of Coins. You can bask in the beauty and the glow that comes from this custom made set. It has a delicate glow to it, but the

How do you see me?
Queen of Swords. As the one with the sharp tongue and mind. You mean well, and often your passion for writing is what matters to you the most. Through your mind you envision and create, and the dreams that flourish from there decorate your very throne.

How do you see yourself?
Three of Coins. I see myself as just another piece in a large collection of works that come from an artisan. I am an artisan’s deck. While your intentions may not be to use me as such, I belong framed in a gallery space.

I’m really enjoying getting to know my new team of decks from Carol Herzer. Visit her site if you’d like to get yourself a copy too. But I warn you, once you get one you want them all.


My friend Tina Constantine aka Lady Nocturne is a Graphic Designer living in Puerto Rico. On her spare time she dreamed up a Zodiac editorial series which I want to share with you. I love how sexy some of these can be while still being classy. Great work! I have some amazingly talented friends!

Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer   Leo  Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius


I have decided to complete one year of horoscopes devoted to each zodiac sign. There will be an Annual Review reading offered, which is one year projections in a month by month format. It is a very popular reading on this blog and in my work life, and now I am offering all 12 signs of the zodiac their own loose horoscope calendar to refer to.

July. Ten of Wands. Unburden yourself. Let go of all of your responsibilities that add nothing but weight to your life. Sometimes we are guilty of carrying other peoples responsibilities or problems with us because of kindness or other situations. Let go of the notion that you need to answer for anybody’s problems other than your own.

August. Nine of Coins. Comfort and luxury to treat yourself. Feeling good about the place you’re at, and enjoying the gifts of the work you have done before in that context. Take the time to give yourself space, away from others if necessary, and just relax. Pamper yourself a little bit.

September. The Star. Look to find inspiration, seek to fill yourself with hope. Count your dreams, list wishes for the future. You are a divine entity that flourishes in love. Accept your past and your mistakes, and leave room for forgiveness. Once you move past it, you will notice yourself starting to grow. Spend some time away from that which harms you.

October. The World. Opening the door to new possibilities, and accepting whichever new task comes your way. You’ve learned from the past, you’ve embraced your vulnerability and owned up to the fact you are human. Now you are free, and working your way into a new reality shaped entirely by you.

November. King of Cups. Seek love and support from those that are close to you. Look for acceptance of those who will be a positive influence in your life. Cast out those that may have led you astray. Trust your heart and your logic over that of others.

December. Six of Coins. Balance comes when you find those that will help you on your way. Do you need a sense of direction? Ask. Seek to find your tribe, those who support you and respect you.

January. Nine of Swords. You may be facing some anxiety. Take it easy, breathe it out and imagine whatever thoughts are bothering you are leaving. You don’t need to harbor worries and negativity when you are trying to build yourself up and improve. Keep on going.

February. Three of Swords. Ouch. Well, things don’t always go according to plan. Just keep on going. Don’t allow yourself to be defeated. Learn from your mistakes, and just keep going.

March. The Tower. Double ouch. February and March are both going to be times of trials. You’ve been warned, so you can expect it before it gets to that point. These are rough times or times that shake you up. After the difficult time has passed, then you will also find you’ve made room for something new.

April. Three of Coins. Working out what you’ve got, clearing the area of the things you gave up. This work is easier to do in teams if you have any. Otherwise, just as good of an exercise by yourself. Keep going, and definitely keep pushing yourself.

May. Queen of Coins. Embrace your comfort, your gain and your hard work. You did it! The difficulties are overcome and you can relax in the comfort of your own success. Rest easy and enjoy.

June. The Hanged Man. Things remain still and in peace for a while, so long as you leave it so. Don’t look to turn back once you’ve learned your lessons. Don’t look back.

Clarifier: Ace of Swords. You’ve learned the power of self-expression. You have also learned the weight your words have on others. Do not let the need to stand up for yourself for previous wrongs bring you back to a place you don’t want to be. You are above it, now start to act like it. Move on.

I noticed little nuances in the reading. For example, small groupings of card in the same suit denote and extension of the events happening within that area of Leo’s life.

House of Zodiac photos compliment of Tina. You can find her on Deviantart and Tumblr. Please don't use her photos without her permission.


The Illuminated Tarot is Carol Herzer’s labor of love. She made this deck during a turning point in her life, and channeled it through psychic energy. She feels it is a deck meant to be used for healing. She has an extensive body of work, and the most impressive part of the story to me is that she has hand painted custom decks by the 100s. She has been doing it for over 30 years. WOW! That is a LOT of work.

The cards themselves bring life into your readings. I have found them most enjoyable to work with, and I also find that the people I use them to read for really like them too. They have received compliments on social media, but what matters to me is that they are cards I can connect with and work with. They sing!

The deck we are reviewing today is the large Illuminated Tarot original with double iridescent and double glitter paint on it. It was made for Photokat originally, and then I inherited it from her. I’m still recovering from the gash this purchase left in my wallet. Ouch, that hurt! But now I’ve got it, and it’s so beautiful that I don’t care!

This deck is unlike any other deck I’ve seen before. Not only is it much larger than a standard deck, but it has multiple layers of iridescent paint and glitter applied over a copy of the original paintings. That’s a cool concept! I wish I had the patience to do that to my go-to reading decks. It would certainly make them come alive for me.

It’s hard to photograph these cards because the iridescent paint and the glitter doesn’t sparkle. This is the kind of deck that you have to see in the right light, in the moment. What gives it its magic is the light, it really makes this deck spring to life. I do, however, have one without any custom paint on it and I like it just as well. It allows me to use the deck without worry about ruin, shuffling as I like.

When I first held this deck in it, it felt like a whole new Rider-Waite Smith. It’s so big that you can see details. The skies come alive with all of the suggested fractals that Carol painted on them.

At night, I take this deck out and it comes alive under the lights. It brings out details from the Rider-Waite Smith that I didn’t focus on before. The color combinations are very thoughtfully added, and while I can’t read all of the expressions on the characters, I know them well enough to know what they represent already. The glitter work is really stunning, she used ultra fine glitters in the appropriate colors depending on the color she was applying.

These cards are delicate; the lamination is thin and this deck in particular has a slight bend to it. It is due to spend a couple of weeks resting under some heavy books to flatten it out. When I asked Carol about the best way to shuffle it, she recommended just fanning them out. It’s a new process for me because I am a ruthless riffle shuffler, but I want to preserve this work of art, so fan them out I will. I found that I can deal the cards into three piles, then re-stack the piles and do this over about three times to get a thorough mix before fanning them out. I can also deal them off the top.

The backs are peach colored, and the pouch has The World card on it. It is in a gold fabric, with magenta lining on the inside. Carol makes custom pouches for her creations! Can you believe how personalized and custom each deck is?

I am truly very happy this deck came into my collection. It’s a jewel, and a deck that every serious collector should have.

What is your most important characteristic?
The Chariot. I bring together the depth in light and shadow for a straightforward and detailed answer. There is no time for rodeos or runarounds. Just get to the point, and get on with it! Brief, terse and to the point.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Seven of Swords. I’m delicate; I won’t hold up to the same use as your others decks. My lamination could wear off or curl, and you won’t want to do that. Proceed with caution, but admire as you like.

What are your limits?
Temperance. As an advocate of alchemical moderation, I’ll give you just enough for you to work with what you have to. The rest will be up to you, in manifesting and in actions.

What are you here to teach me?
Four of Coins. You can do enough with less, but it will take time for you to get used to working with a tool so expensive. If you are too careful, you won’t get enough out of it. If you use it without care, you might wear it out into ruin. Take your chances.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
King of Swords. Just pick one and use it as a mental exercise. You will learn to read just the same with less. You will learn to express these concepts more clearly, and with briefer words.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Queen of Swords. Sharpen your intellect and learn to express yourself clearly. Some things are precious, and meant to be kept for personal use. This deck may be one such tool to keep to yourself.

Which card do you want to show off?
The World. I am a perfection of what has been, flushed out and breathed life into. A sight of behold, and proud to be. When you flush a creation out to its maximum exponent, it’s a sight to behold.

How do you see me?
The Lovers. As one connected to all the worlds contained on the outside and within; the world as we know it, spirit, emotions and compassion, intellect, creativity, and the body.

How do you see yourself?
Queen of Wands. I neither say nor demand, I act. I am a flashy tool that will call attention for my looks, but you will come to find there is more to this deck than looks. With me, you’re in for a great adventure.

I own a few of Carol’s decks now, so stay tuned for reviews on Dark Crystal Rose, Mystic Shadows, Original, and likely a Spirit Speaks deck in the future.

WHY did it take me this long to get a deck I already knew I would resonate so much with?

Please visit Carol Herzer to find out about available decks. She is no longer doing custom painted decks, but she does have a section in her site for special glittered decks still available.


The Fountain Tarot was made by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl and Andi Todaro. It is a compilation of beautiful artwork that is also functional. What’s more, is that there is an underlying tone of psychology and principles of metaphysics/quantum physics throughout. The use of color and shape is conductive to moods and thought processes, which I thoroughly enjoy. Who doesn’t want a tarot deck that inspires the mind?

I feel as I’ve been submerged in the sea of the subconscious, whatever that is and however that feels. It’s more like taking a dip in those waters, and coming out to a quiet place. Something like what I’ve envisioned our memory banks to be. There is an abstracting quality to this deck that reminds me of Professor Eddy Robert’s motion graphic piece, Axis & Allies. I tried to link the video here, but it doesn't show up properly on his site anymore.

Something that I noticed about this deck right away is that they thought about what the bigger picture looks like when you lay it all out in terms of color. A cohesive system! The hues are not all alike, but they are still within the same tones, and they blend the cards together in a reading for you. My eye enjoys going from negative space to white space, and following along the motion that the more dynamic lines trace. The negative versus white balance is pretty incredibly dynamic, and I love that! It’s part of what makes this deck have such an impact, I think.

Their extra card, The Fountain, is really beautiful. It’s like a Torus, or Toroidal flow. But it’s organic and if you look into it enough, you can see the colors in motion. I can’t wait to receive my booklet in the mail and to read the definition they gave it. For some reason, my deck arrived without a booklet. lol.

Something that I really liked about the official Fountain Tarot release, though, is how much of themselves they poured into the project without it becoming all about them. Their work took life and now sustains itself. Real magic!

I think that they meant to give this deck such a strong mental or psychic charge. That’s really the most I am getting from it. The usage of plain surfaces with interactive darkness and the usage of geometric shapes really makes me see this deck as a tool for the field of psychology. I honestly haven’t heard enough about the origins of the deck or its wonderful trinity of creatives. I didn’t pledge for the Kickstarter, I just got it when it came out. But it’s really stunning!

The card stock is really nice. It isn’t very slippery, though. I have found myself not wanting to riffle shuffle the deck so as to allow the silver gilded edges to remain intact. Fanning them out divides the deck into smaller chunks that I re-stack, then deal the cards out from the top. Some fanning powder might help them become more slippery, but I think they’re just new and need to be broken into. Once the silver edges wear down, — and that could be years with this high quality stock! — you’ll likely get a move even fan.

As far as culture and race goes, I feel like the net is cast pretty wide. The figures within the cards feel otherworldly; I see them like clay figures that will transform and take life according to the situation they are applied to. They can be any age and any race, even the court cards. To me, these versatile figures will show their true faces once they come out in a reading. The results will likely be tailored to whoever is asking the question.

What is your most important characteristic?
The Moon. Dealing with the subconscious mind. Whatever springs out will not be overthought. It will just be, and through your intuition you will pick it up and harness it. At times, it may overwhelm. Sometimes it will be quiet like a flat sea. I love that!

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Eight of Cups. Help in walking away from preconceived notions or bias. Look instead for new meanings and answers to your questions. As your journey goes, you will find that you can keep going; you can keep on stretching your muscles until you arrive someplace completely new. There is a reward for all of those who venture the journey.

What are your limits?
The Tower. There may be some ideas you hang onto that tip you out of balance. Fortunately, this tool is going to knock out the extra weight. Once you’re not carrying it anymore, you will open your eyes to reality and find that balance is restored. Sometimes, all it takes is an end to something to put you in the mindset to seek new beginnings.

What are you here to teach me?
Page of Swords. You can learn a creative exercise through which to stretch your mind. Seek to use your intellect like a tool, and you will notice yourself sharpening it up. Nothing will get past you then.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Nine of Cups. Enjoy the gift that has been given, and share it with others so that the joy might multiply.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The World. That’s funny!

Success in conquering a new system. Opening your heart and your mind to something new will help you grow, and help all those that you talk to grow as well. It’s a cycle that breeds positivity and self-empowerment.

Which card do you want to show off?
Three of Swords. Whaaat? That looks like a glass heart! It also looks like some sort of plasma. I can’t tell if it’s water or solid, but I love that!

Accept pain with grace. Most importantly, learn from pain and from your mistake so you won’t have to go through those things again. If you do, perhaps you will be more equipped to handle the trouble next time.

How do you see me?
The Fountain. You are a source that pulls from the infinite and channels that energy into manifestation. Through you, through your clients and your friends you make possible a web of manifestation that connects us all together. It is not just one person as an individual making a difference, but rather the collective consciousness we all form when we focus our ideas and our intentions to work together for something.

How do you see yourself?
The Hanged Man. I neither am or not. Things just are.

Whoa, the personality of this deck is really coming through and I love it. I feel as if I’m being schooled by a most experienced mentor, and I love that quality about this deck. I am really looking forward to working with it. It seems to be a new favorite, and a back up copy will no doubt be on its way to me in the foreseeable future.

if you want to purchase your own copy, you can do so through The Fountain Tarot’s official web site.

I would really love it if they considered making a dark sister deck to this one. Kind of like the yin and yang.

Each time I tell myself “no more tarot decks,” something shiny and new comes along. It’s usually something that adds variety to my collection and breaks out of everyday things you see out there in the tarot world. I had to have this! I can’t recommend it enough if you want something new to your collection that will give you more than just the usual. Thoroughly recommend it!!!


I am seeking a medium glitter and iridescent Illuminated Tarot original from Carol Herzer. Large is okay too.

She has so many really beautiful works. I'm kicking myself for having passed up the opportunity to get it a few months back, when one of my FB friends was having a sale. Actually, a few years back when I contemplated getting one custom painted. I passed it up then.

I know it's a long shot, but manifesting interest anyway. You never know. Willing to trade decks or purchase using Paypal/Ebay. If you know of one available, please get in touch with me!

Photo from Dusk Till Dawn.


This tarot deck surprised me. The first incarnation that I got of it was the third edition, which i didn’t really click with even though the images were so large and detailed. The card stock is high quality as well, but it just didn’t vibe with it. I got two copies of it, but I ended up never using it. I thought that I was getting the version that had baroque borders on it, and what I got was plain white borders. It makes such a difference when I look through the cards.

Fast forward a few years, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a first edition copy. They were selling on Ebay for years and years before I finally took note of them. I managed to find a copy that was still sealed! (Just like the Fantastic Menagerie and the Bohemian Gothic Silver Edition so many years later. Lucky me!)

When it arrived, I found everything about it to be very beautiful. It comes packaged in a large box that matches the Bohemian Gothic Silver edition. Inside, there is a companion book and the cards themselves. Magic!

The experience with these was very different. They spoke to me. I bonded with them!

These kitties are delightful. I lay out a spread of three to five cards and they sing to me amicably. They present me with a world of luxurious beauty as well as whimsy, and he tone of the deck is good-natured. There is a humor about it that makes me smile. I like that even with such an endearing presentation, the readings I have had with this tarot deck have been very serious and detailed. There is a lot that can be drawn out from the deck.

Apparently, cats in costumes have been around for a very long time and were once very popular. I think that it is magic-realism, and while it isn’t for everybody, those that get it really benefit from it. I like that you need to employ a vivid imagination to connect with the deck.

What is your most important characteristic?
Page of Cups. I don’t lose my sweetness when I present people with things, but I’m unapologetic about the way I feel. I haven’t been conditioned as others have, to censor their feelings and say what they don’t mean. With me, you get what I mean all the time.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Hermes. I inspire others to take flight and follow their dreams. Even as an inanimate object, a symbol with no life, my qualities mimic those of the living. I am relevant and I facilitate self-expression, so why not use me?

What are your limits?
High Priestess. Your intuition will have to be open and receptive in order for you to get all the messages that you need from me. Embrace the good and the bad in balance, stand between the two and allow yourself to be an open channel for whatever needs to come through.

What are you here to teach me?
Two of Cups. Love yourself, love others. Share and connect with people through feelings. It’s a powerful bond that allows you to see yourself reflected back through somebody else’s eyes. That’s a blessing.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Seven of Cups. Hold, breathe, and let your options make themselves manifest before you pick any. Carefully consider the different pictures before you. Let your answers come to you.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
King of Swords. You’re going to learn to cut the strings of bonds that people have and don’t see; some of them might even be your own. You won’t be intimidated by anything because you will know exactly how to deal with it. In fact, that might make you quite intimidating.

Which card do you want to show off?
Two of Coins. The work we accomplish will be through collaborative efforts. It is all an exchange. You get as much are you are given. That is the natural order of things.

How do you see me?
Knight of Swords. You believe in yourself and you charge with what you get. It doesn’t matter if it is what people want to hear or not. If it’s what you get, it’s what you put out. No sooner are you done, than you have already moved on.

How do you see yourself?
The Devil. I break the chains people are in because I want them to be free and live their lives. I intimidate people because of my elaborate appearance and the fact a bunch of cats have been thematically dressed up, but there is more to me than my looks, as you have come to see.

This deck is wonderful to read with. It makes delivering the message very easy because of the way the illustrations can be read. Magic!

Seeing as this is an Out of Print version, it has long been out of circulation and is very costly to get. If you are lucky, though, you can find any of the 4 printed editions on Ebay. There is a Gold Limited Edition I am reviewing next week, and it’s AMAZING!