Review – Joy and Sorrow Oracle Deck

Joy and Sorrow Oracle Deck

Author: Roxi Sim Hermsen
Artist: Roxi Sim Hermsen
Game Crafter



The “Joy and Sorrow Oracle Deck” is a 33 card deck presenting Joy and Sorrow meditations. Offering “a moment’s peace, a moment’s distraction, and a moment’s grace. The original art was created to help those dealing with the pain and trauma of loss. They were part of the process of healing for Roxi after the loss of her nine year old son, her mother’s passing, and the decline of her own health – all happening within a very short time of each other. Art therapy at its finest!

The divine feminine has a strong focus in this deck, as do the brilliant colors, and the literal language of the flowers.

This deck comes in two sizes – poker size, and jumbo. I am reviewing the poker size, which is a nice size for smaller hands. The cards are 2 ½” by 3 ½”, with linen card stock used (which I absolutely adore!). The card faces show brightly colored positive images, while the card back presents a guided meditation based on the card, as well as suggestions to the reader on encouraging their progress on their journey of healing.

The card box shows an image of the card Joy and Sorrow, with the back of the box presents information on the cards, and how to use them. It is suggested that they can be drawn randomly, spread out and chosen by color or name, or place them face up and choose the image that appeals to the reader. It is suggested that the reader first spend some time with the meditation, and then turn the card over immerse/lose themselves in the imagery and message. I would like to add that these cards can easily be used with ritual work, and as an “add on” to any type of oracular reading.

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The Story Teller

Featured in this card is an elaborately dressed Goddess. Her headdress connects her to the heavens, while her shoes connect her to the earth. She is telling us that change is coming, change that will require balance, dedication, strength, and focus. She has come to tell her story, while at the same time she encourages the reader to tell their story.

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Here we see a garden of roses, and a lovely back yard tent. An artist sits before an easel, painting a small canvas. The reader is being advised to create, create, create – to create their own story, to create what they need to see.

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Here the Sleeping Goddess rests, the moon seen through the window behind her. She has been forgotten over time, and will only awaken when enough of us remember, and take the time to honor her. The Sleeping Goddess offers encouragement, and permission to take the time to rest and recuperate.

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The Fountain

Here we see a secret garden, within whose walls stands the Fountain of the Goddess. The spirals on her body indicate the possibilities for growth. Healing waters overflow from the vessel she holds over her head. The Goddess knows and understands that she must nurture herself first so that she can provide for others. She knows that her garden will flourish when she does.

The concept behind the deck is that joy shared is doubled, and sorrow shared is halved. The deck is dedicated to Roxi’s lifetime friend Heather Sneddon, who is featured in the card friendship.

I love the fact that the cards are borderless, allowing the reader to enter them with ease. We all face joy in our life, and at times we will all face sorrow. The “Joy and Sorrow Oracle Deck” acts as a tool of empowerment to get us through the worst of times.

© August 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibitd without written consent from the author.

The Cartomancer Magazine Summer 2016

Excellent commentary on the summer issue of the Cartomancer!

Tarot Heritage

The August 2016 edition of The Cartomancer contains two weighty, serialized articles, as well as the usual gorgeous artwork and an intriguing range of topics. The article that anchors this edition for me is Marseille Tarot: A Phylosophical Enquiry by three Brazilian tarotists. In this article, the first of two, the authors describe various philosophical approaches to tarot study. Quite frankly, I had a hard time sorting it out; but here’s how I disentangled the threads into four main approaches to tarot:

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The Visconti Sforza Tarocchi by U. S. Games

For those that love the ancient Tarots – this blog is for you!

Tarot Heritage

U.S. Games Systems has just reissued their facsimile of the Pierpont Morgan Bergamo Visconti Sforza Tarocchi, originally produced in 1975 and still in print. They’ve added bonus cards with portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Milan, probably by Bonifacio Bembo, who most likely created the original deck in the 1450s. Both editions are the same size as the original cards: 3.5 x 7.0 inches. Let’s compare the two decks.

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Review – Magical Oils By Moonlight

Magical Oils By Moonlight


Author: Maya Heath
New Page Books
ISBN #978-1564147332

Magical Oils cover

I have done personal ritual work for many years now, combining work with essential oils, candles, gem stones, oracle cards, intention, affirmations, and more. When my friend Pamela Steele recommended “Magical Oils By Moonlight”, I had to take a look. I knew just enough about oils to do some basic work, and I wanted to know more.

In her preface, Heath speaks of her lifelong interest in mythology, ancient civilizations, and the power of art in communicating with the Divine. Her influences include studying with Sybil Leek and with the Theosophical Society, amongst others. She notes that this book is a product of those studies, and of her lifetime of experience with the wisdom they brought to her. She speaks of the power of the moon, of moon cycles, and the seasons of the year.

In her introduction, Heath speaks of our dual awareness, as humans, of both the physical and the spiritual world. She speaks of magic as an act of will, helping us to reach our goals. When we can bridge the physical and spiritual worlds, we can then manifest our desires. Heath notes that the seasons, the cycles of the moon, and the physical elements are the tools that we have at our disposal. In working towards manifesting a goal, Heath recommends defining the purpose of the goal, noting what stands in the way of our achieving it, as well as noting our “freedoms” – the skills, abilities, and resources that we have to work with.

Heath discusses the properties of essential oils, using scent in magical work, how to choose the best oil for your purpose, as well as how to blend oils, and how to store them. She discusses something that I find to be of extreme importance – and that is the cycle of the moon, and when is the best time to plant the seeds of our goals. She speaks of herbs, and of cleansing our personal energy and aura. We learn how to purge our space, and how to blend appropriate oils. She speaks of transformation as an inner journey, and describes the process for preparing for a ritual. Recipes are given for oil blends for tasks such as grounding, severance oils, personal empowerment, luck, short term abundance, love, house blessings, past lives, soul retrieval and more.

I truly enjoyed the section on the planets and their associations (task, metal, color, element and chakra), as well as the herbs associated with them. I am a big chart person, and there is an easy to read chart correlating the planets and color, metal, stone, chakra, angel, scent, and day of the week. This is followed by a section on the zodiac, with associations for element, ruler, color, and stone. At the end of this section are two charts on planetary hours: the hours after sunrise, and the hours after sunset.

In later sections, the energy of color and light are discussed, as well as preparing and charging candles.

I am impressed by many things in this 223 page book. First and foremost, it is written in conversational style, speaking with and to the reader, and not down to them. Care is taken to explain the “why” of things. Between chapters, and with each chapter heading, we see gentle, awesome art work. Appendix A shows a list of oils by property, Appendix B is a master list of oil properties. At the end of the book is an index for easy reference. While this is basically a book for beginners, the charts and appendices act as a source of reference for all levels of practitioners. If you want to work with oils, if you want to work on yourself – take a good look at this book

© August 2016 Bonnie Cehovet

Mutus Liber: The Bookstore of the Museo dei Tarocchi

I adore Museo dei Tarocchi, and am very happy to see that they have an online store!Thank you for sharing!

Tarot Heritage

The Museo dei Tarocchi’s new online bookstore makes it very easy to order their books and decks using Paypal. I celebrated their grand re-opening a few months ago with my usual lack of self-restraint and ordered a pile of books and one very interesting deck. Ordering was a breeze, and it took less than three weeks for my loot to make its way from Italy to California.

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Expanding Perspectives

Interesting take on the Thoth Tarot!

Sometimes when learning to read the tarot, some cards can be a little difficult to fully grasp what their essence is, leaving us feeling a bit foggy as to how to interpret what it may be trying to tell us. Here is a little trick I learned that not only brings clarification but also a deeper insight into how to truly connect and develop valuable insights that any given card is trying to express.

For several years, I’ve been attracted to the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot but always felt hesitant because I felt that it was a bit too advanced for me after years of study and reading with the Rider Waite Tarot.

I finally bought this wonderful deck a few weeks ago and am totally smitten with it. It isn’t nearly as complicated as I worked myself up to believe plus it’s an amazing deck for anyone who loves to…

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Review: Fin de Siecle – Kipper Fortune Telling Deck

Fin de Siecle – Kipper
Fortune Telling Deck

Author: Ciro Marchetti
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
Contributors: Fortune Buchholtz, Stella Waldvogel, Susanne Zitzi
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-57281-845-3

Fin de Siecles Kipper cover

The Fin de Siecle is a 39 card deck (3 additional cards have been added to the traditional 36 cards – Poverty, Toil & Trouble, and Community) and 83 page companion book based on the traditional German Kipper system. While maintaining the basic concept and numbering, the visual setting (originally from the Biedermeier period in Bavaria) has been adapted to the Victorian period in London. The deck also incorporates an animated video version of each card, which can be accessed by downloading a specific app and signing up (which is free). Full instructions are included in a downloadable, full color pdf document.

The deck and companion book come packaged in a beautiful cardboard box that opens the long way, and has a magnetic closure. (As often as my cats knock my decks down, I truly appreciate these magnetic closures!)

In his introduction, Marchetti talks about the background of this deck – about his meeting with Johannes Fiebig, from the publishing house AGM-Urani/Konigsfurt/Urania, where they discussed various aspects of cartomancy publishing. One of the gifts that Marchetti was given was a copy of the original version of the Kipper. He was then asked if he would like to produce an updated version of this deck. Initially, Marchetti declined, due to the commitment that such a project would require in both time and effort. However, when he started working with the cards he had been gifted with, he began to see what could be done. In the end, he moved the location from Bavaria to Victorian Britain.

Each card is presented with a small black and white scan, the card name and number, and a short write-up by each of the three contributors (Fortune Buchholtz, Stella Waldvogel, and Susanne Zitzi).

The spreads that are presented are the Triple Pyramid Spread (by Stella Waldvogel) and the SOS Spread (by Susanne Zitzi).

The end of the book carries information on accessing the interactive application for this deck.


The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 1/8”, and are of good quality card stock. I love the silver edging – such grace and quality! The card backs have a black border surrounding gold imagery with the image of the face of a Court Jester in the center. The cards are not reversible.

The card faces show the same black border, with the number centered on the top, in gold. The card title is centered on the bottom, in gold lettering. A gold border surrounds the card imagery. The cards maintain a sense of continuity in that elements from one card are also found in other cards (i.e. the paintings seen in the study of the Main Male reference other cards in the deck).

Note: I have chosen to give the explanation from one of the three contributors (all three have contributed an explanation got each card). The need for the contributors has an interesting background – there simply is very little information about the Kipper system in English, so there was a need for knowledge from individuals that were familiar with this system.


1 – Main Male

(Fortune Buccholtz) “The male significator and co-protagonist of our novel. In keeping with the time, he’s a fine gentleman, a so-called Man of Qualities, and we meet him in his study. Note the paintings in the study refer to other cards. For an opposite-sex reading, he’s the partner of the Main Female, Card 2. In a same-sex reading, he’s the partner of the Wealthy Man, Card 13.”


7 – Message

(Stella Waldvogel) “Informal communications such as letters, texts, notes, memos, phone calls, voice messages and e-mails. (Card 27 is the card for formal paperwork requiring a signature.)”


8 – False Person

(Susanne Zitzi) “Don’t trust everybody or everything you see. Even salt looks like sugar. This card warns you against dishonesty and deception. Hold your cards close. Check your motivation and targets too.


21 – Family Room

(Fortune Buchholtz) “Midmorning coffee is served in a bourgeois drawing room, true to Victorian style. The drawing room in better houses was off the formal parlor, and was a place to withdraw to for entertaining close friends and family. Society visits would have been kept in the formal parlor, so we know we’re now in a welcoming and supportive space where secrets and personal matters may be shared. Literally, it’s a room and stands for all private and enclosed spaces such as living rooms, hotel rooms, offices with doors, apartments. More abstractly, it represents privacy and intimacy. This sense of closeness can also refer to the time and place, as in soon, near, right next to you, or shortly, no more than a month.


36 – Distant Horizons

(Stella Waldvogel) “This is a card of dreams and fantasies. The card that follows this one can be a dream (or fear) coming to pass. But is a card is followed by this one, it will remain just a dream for the time covered by the reading. Hopes will come to pass if Card 26 is next to this card. It can also stand for a message from overseas. The timing is usually summer.”

I love the information that Marchetti includes on the background of this deck, and on why the move from Bavaria to Victorian Britain for background. This deck is very good at showing the day to day of life, as it existed in Victorian times. The deck is very easy to use, and a pleasure to read with!

© July 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.