Madenié Meets Mother Goose

Originally posted on Tarot Heritage:

The Pierre Madenié deck (1709) and The Tales of Mother Goose (1696) emerged from the same cultural milieu at nearly the same time. A small archive of letters has recently come to light showing that Cinderella, Bluebeard and their friends frequented a fortuneteller who read cards with the Madenié deck. Here’s the transcript of a reading that was delivered by post to a rather cautious prince.

The Question: While on a hunting trip, I discovered an ancient, crumbling castle in a forest at the edge of my father’s kingdom. It was so overgrown with brambles and brush I couldn’t get near it. Some villagers said the castle is haunted by ghosts. Others told me that witches hold coven meetings in the grand ballroom on the full moon. Then there were stories about ogres who drag children into the castle to eat them.

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The Marseille Sophistiqué

Bonnie Cehovet:

I have this one bookmarked for purchase!

Originally posted on Tarot Heritage:

These lovely cards are from the most antique-looking new deck in my collection.

The graphic novel artists who created the Marseille Sophistiqué followed the Conver Tarot de Marseille pattern very closely. They’ve taken great pains to make it look like an antique woodblock deck from the 1700s, giving us a standard TdM with just enough personality to make it unique, without destroying its charming, old-world character.

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Review – The Ears That Have Eyes

The Ears That Have Eyes

Author: C.L. Charlesworth
Page Publishing, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-63417-705-4

The Ears That Have Eyes cover

“I learned from my mother, who was once one of the highest paid fashion models, that great beauty opened doors. She never left home without impeccable attire, full makeup, and photo-ready hair. She said a woman’s sexuality was better than an American Express card, and if used right, the rewards were much better. Mother said her money was for pleasure and not for rent, food, or life’s other necessities. She had men-lots of men-whose generous wallets and bank accounts gladly emptied into her hands.” Excerpt from Chapter One

This, in a nutshell, describes Stephanie Moore, the main character in C.L. Charlesworth’s “The Ears That Have Eyes”. Abandoned by her mother at the age of ten, abused in a foster home, then adopted by a couple bent on replacing their deceased daughter, Stephanie was on her own (by choice) from the age of eighteen. Her mother had tutored her well – she was a mini-me who knew how to use men to her advantage.

Stephanie and her friends Rachael (partner in a law firm), Tara (a high powered real estate broker), and Jennifer (with her doctorate in English Literature ) meet monthly to share food, drinks, and stories. They live in LA, and all share a luxury lifestyle – the right cloths, the right addresses, the right parties, the right men. Each is running from her own shadows, each is walking her own path to finding herself, and creating her own life.

This is a work of literary fiction, worthy of Peyton Place status. Is a fake life worth it? Do material things make a life? Are any of these ladies going to survive their own perception of themselves and life? Is there hope, or is there only fate?

Each character has a story that is individual, and well developed. The storyline as a whole flows well, and accurately reflects the lives of its fictional characters. Perhaps readers will see bits and pieces of themselves here, and begin to ponder their own story.

This is the first book that I have read from this author … I certainly intend to keep her in my radar!

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written consent of the author.

The Cartomancer: A Quarterly Tarot Journal

Originally posted on Tarot Heritage:

Something very exciting hit my mailbox today: A gorgeously illustrated, 60-page magazine devoted to Tarot, Lenormand, and oracle cards. The magazine is such a pleasure to look at and hold. I couldn’t stop flipping through it; and simply didn’t want to put it down.

The Cartomancer is packed with color illustrations (often eight or ten cards on a two-page spread) printed on sturdy, glossy paper. The colors are very crisp, and a pleasure to view. Seeing so much gorgeous art all in one place was an intense experience, and a celebration of the immense creativity bubbling through the tarot community.

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Review – Entering Your Own Heart

Entering Your Own Heart –
A Guide to Developing Self Love, Inner Peace and Happiness

Author: Carole J. (Meisner) Morton
Balboa Press
ISBN #978-1-4525-1721-6

Entering Your Own Heart cover

“Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our
deepest treasures.”
Chapter 3, Maria Raine Rilke

“Entering Your Own Heart” is a literal journey to the center of our heart, where all love resides. The guide for this journey is Carole J. (Meisner) Morton – a licensed integrative psychotherapist with over thirty years experience in  guiding individuals to healing both physical and emotional challenges by developing self-trust, self-confidence, and self-love.

The voice that this book projects is gentle, yet strong, leading the reader into what for them may be unknown territory – accepting and loving themselves unconditionally. This is the first, very important step in becoming whole. We cannot manifest our strengths into the world if we do not accept and love ourselves. We have to do this on our own – no one can do it for us. We have to take responsibility for ourselves, and for the quality of our lives.

The message here is that we need to show unconditional love and compassion for ourselves before we can truly show it to others. Morton speaks from her own personal experience, as well as that of her clients. She writes with compassion and humor, never trying to force a way of looking at something on anyone.

The journey here is three-fold: (1) become aware of that small voice that resides within your heart, (2) actively listen to and check in with that voice, and (3) come to a state of total identification with this voice, recognizing that it is your true self, and completely dropping all identification with your personality or ego self.

A core teaching here is that our emotions and behavior are the result of our beliefs. Within us we have what Morton refers to as a personality self and a spiritual self. The personality self represents our beliefs and emotions – when it is out of sync with the vibration of our spirit self we experience pain. When the vibrations are harmonious we experience peace.

Throughout the book are appropriate quotes, as well as small side-bars that reiterate important sentences. Morton also references well-known names from today that readers can relate to. She notes that we are all made up of energy – that as individuals we are energy experiences.  We diminish our vital energy by using it to suppress our emotional energy.

We gain compassionate understanding by releasing judgment. How many times do I think that I am not judging, only to look back and see that I am. And I am the person that is being judged. It is very hard not to do that.

When we learn compassion for ourselves, the past no longer rules us. We have no need to place blame, we simply accept what was, and what is, and live in and from our place of inner peace.

While I do not agree with everything that Morton presents, I do feel that she has something important to say, and that she says it in a way that the reader can apply to their own life.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review: Oracle Alchemy – The Art of Transformation in Life and Card Reading

Oracle Alchemy –
The Art of Transformation in Life and Card Reading

Author: Ana Cortez
Illustrations: C.J. Freeman
Two Sisters Press
ISBN #9780-6923-3869-8

Oracle of Alchemy cover

“The path of the “truth seeker”, the “oracle alchemist”, is a solitary
path, indeed.  The journey must be personal, or it has no value.
And the road is not clear. It is hazy. We are way makers. And we
find “glimmering nuggets” where we will, seekers of something
the main stream never quite understand.”
~ from the introduction

The work of Ana Cortez is inexorably intertwined with that of her father, C.J. Freeman – a writer and artist who illustrated playing decks for divination, and who wrote several volumes focused on card reading with playing cards. In “Oracle Alchemy”, we essentially have a two part volume – Part One referencing the author’s personal journey to becoming an oracle, Part Two referencing unique techniques that can be applied to any method of card reading, using any type of cards.

Part One is titled “Fractured Fairy Tales”, centered around her eccentric, metaphysically oriented father, and her very practical double Virgo mother. Tea parties, invisible friends, and “Howard”, a character that Cortez’ father would play. Being my father’s daughter, I can imagine how magical and important this part of life was!

Stories of learning to play chess at a young age, and soaping windows on Halloween, alternate with family pictures. For me, stories grow feet through pictures. We also get an inside look at how the divorce of her parents when she was seven affected Cortez. “Normal took on a whole new meaning, including eating disorders and entry into the written world of  Carlos Castenada! A large part of Cortez’ life at this time was dealing with her inner demons.

I love the drawings from C.J. Freeman that are interspersed throughout the book. The images come with an explanation of their “source”, and what they represent. I really love the “Carnival of Lost Souls”, which corresponds to the 9 of Spades. How better could Cortez integrate the cards that her father illustrated into the reality of life!

The “way out” of her shadows was to work on both her physical and mental life. She began meditating, and doing breathing work, working with affirmations, and journaling. She found her way back to herself.

Part Two is entitled “Transformational Card Reading”. Here Cortez gets into the power of the cards, spirituality and science melded into one. She discusses preparing for a reading, talking about her own personal readings only being limited by her ability to access something beyond herself, as well as her own personal goals/expectations. In this way boundaries are created within which to work. She also warns against giving too much power to the physical trappings of a reading (candles, flowers, crystals, etc.).

Cortez notes that questions flow from the preparation for a reading. She notes that words have vibration, history, and intention. She advises the reader to ask questions that matter, and to ask them in a simple form. Interesting to me is that Cortez addresses going within yourself as you shuffle, focusing on your breath, and putting your breath into your cards.

The layout, number of cards used, etc. is something that Cortez sees as personal preference. The reader needs to understand the format they are using, so that they tell the story the cards bring out in an intelligible manner. She also advises treating the cards like a book – rather than flipping cards head over tail, take them off the deck from side to side, as turning the pages in a book.

Also addressed are being stuck in a reading, seeing clients as unique human beings, that the red and black coloring in suits reflect yin and yang, that the Nine’s represent doors, and act as opposites within the same color.

I found the information in this book to be easy to access, and easy to work with. It opens up what the tool of reading with playing cards can really be.

Cortez asserts that card reading is a “perfect metaphor” for life, and that “We can have the life of our dreams using card reading techniques.” I see the cards acting as the gateway to the life that we envision. My advice – be open to the wealth of wisdom residing in this little (129 page) book!

© May 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Was Etteilla Influenced by Piedmont Tarot?

Bonnie Cehovet:

Food for thought!

Originally posted on Tarot Heritage:

Etteilla, tarot super-star of mid-1700s Paris, claimed he studied tarot from 1757 to 1765 at the urging of “an aged Piedmontese”. In his memoirs, a Parisian actor who was Etteilla’s contemporary, describes visiting Italian fortune tellers in Paris. It’s not a stretch to imagine Etteilla learning card reading from one of them.

If this elderly Piemontese teacher was in his 60s in 1757, then he was born a little before 1700. He may have learned to read tarot in his youth in the 1720s from a teacher who could have learned the cards around 1680. This would make Etteilla the bridge to a very old Italian card reading tradition.

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