The Art of Being Worthy

Today’s blog will be a short one. I would like to introduce you to three blogs/sites that I feel have something unique to offer the Tarot world. They bring a smile to my face, and joy to my heart.

The first one up is Helen Howell and Zanna Starr’s blog “Tarot Notes – Major and Minor” – http:// I love the way this post is written – as if the cards were coming to the house for a visit. There is interaction, dialog, and a great deal of humor and fun to be had by all. There is also honor, and respect … and attitude! Any reader knows that their decks have attitude! How boring it would be if they did not! More deck interviews can be seen here – Thank you for such a lovely way to get to know our decks. Along with the “Gilded Tarot” (Thank you, Ciro!), Helen interviews such decks as “Tarot of the Hidden Folk”, the Swiss 1JJ (swooning here – my Swiss 1JJ came through a friend of my sister’s, and has quite the history!), and the “Christmas Tarot”.

Next up is Stephanie Arwen Lynch’s blog “Tarot By Arwen” – http:// Arwen offers readings, workshops and classes, coaching for writers (Arwen is a published writer as one-half of the Marilu Mann writing team), monthly Tarotscopes (http://, and character readings (readings done for characters from a wide variety of stories and novels) – http:// There is so much cool stuff here – laced with a lethal dose of Arwen-style humor!

Last (but not least!) is the incredible blog by Catherine Chapman (co-author of “Beyond the Celtic Cross) – http:// I have to offer a small disclaimer here, in a nod to transparency – I do contribute articles to Tarot Elements on a monthly basis. Onward and upward! I am just going to ramble for a bit, and let each of you see what you might be interested in. There are a series of guest posts by such diverse individuals as Craig Conley (see how he overlays punctuation onto the Tarot in a unique fashion), Barbara Moore, Valerie Sylvester, Mick Frankel and Douglas Gibb (totally irreverent and insanely genius!). Valerie Sylvester is also a monthly contributor in the field of astrology, offering timely and astute insights into astrology, and how it affects our life. (Mercury retrograde is a well known “offender”, but did you know that other planets go retrograde also. Think, for a minute, what Venus retrograde offers up!) Catherine also has some excellent, thought provoking articles of her own up (“Should You Learn the Tarot With the Rider-Waite-Smith only?”, “The Baggage Handler). There are sections on the Celtic Cross, Elemental Dignities, Tarot News, Tarot Spreads and Tips and Techniques. There is also an ongoing study blog on the cards, with site visitor participation encouraged. One never knows what to expect next from Catherine … and its all good!

© November 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot Learning Cards

Tarot Learning Cards ®
Self Study Flash Cards

Author: Jadzia DeForest, Jay GreenMan DeForest
Living Magick Publishing Company
ISBN #978-0-9828844-0-9

How many of wish that we had had some type of help when we were learning to read the Tarot? Now there are Internet sites devoted to the Tarot, Internet classes, local, in-person classes, and a ton of books. But where can one find basic information, in one place, readily accessible, at nominal cost, that will allow one to work at ones own pace? Jadzia and Jay DeForest have developed just such a program – learning the Tarot through the use of flash cards. Remember “way back when”, with your mother holding the multiplication flash cards in front of you? It worked then, and it works now!

The “Tarot Learning Cards” are a set of 78 cards that teach the basics of Tarot. On the front of each card is the card number (in Roman numerals) and name (for the Major Arcana); suit symbol, number and name (for the Minor Arcana Pips – numbered cards), and suit symbol, title and suit (for the Court Cards). On the back of each card

On the back of the card for the Major Arcana is the individual card theme, astrological association, Major Arcana theme, and upright and reversed keywords. For the Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards), the back side shows the individual card theme, keywords ofr the suit, keywords for the card number, and upright and reversed keywords. For the Court Cards, the back side shows the theme for the card title, the suit theme, the elemental association (and associated signs), along with upright and reversed keywords.

For example:

The Fool (Upright)

Theme: Beginning
Astrology: Uranus
Major Arcana: Spiritual Journey
Keywords: Beginning a Journey, Spirit, Innocence, Leap of Faith, Unity, Crossroads, Choice, Folly, Foolishness, Naivete

The Fool (Rx)

Theme: Resistance
Major Arcana: Spiritual Journey
Keywords: Resisting Change, Stuck, Indecision, Making Mistakes, Fear, Carleness, Sudden Change, Reevaluation

Ace of Cups (Upright)

Theme: Inspiration
Cups: Love, Happiness, Spirituality
Aces: Beginning, Ideas, Potential
Keywords: New Relationship, Fertility, New Home, Renewal, Rekindling a Relationsip, Spiritual Insight

Ace of Cups (Rx)

Theme: Selfishness
Cups: Love, Happiness, Spirituality
Keywords: Emptiness, Depression, Self Absorbed, Unbalanced, Blocke Spiritual Growth, Infertility

King of Wands (Upright)

King: Active, Mature Masculine
Wands: Business, Family, Ambition
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Keywords: Business Man, Powerful, Courageous, Determined, Creative, Energetic, Impulsive, Willful

King of Wands (Rx)

King: Active, Mature Masculine
Wands: Business, Family, Ambition
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Keywords: Prideful, Overbearing, Arrogant, Self Centered, Harsh, Power Abuser

There are five cards that accompany this deck, and help the student to use it. The first card talks about how to sue the deck, the second card addresses the numerological associations on one side, with suit and elemental associations on the other side. The third card is a recommended reading list, while the fourth card discusses the Court Cards. The fifth card discusses reversals on one side, and Tarot terminology on the other.

The cards are approximately 3 ¾” by 5 ¼”, and are made of good quality, sturdy card stock. Both sides show a ¼” outer white border, followed by a ¼” dark brown inner border. The middle portion of each card is tan, wit the text in dark brown. The box that the cards come in is heavy duty card board (which I much appreciate!), with a lift off top. The cards are intended for use with beginners, but could be used by someone at the intermediate or advanced level as part of a teaching curriculum.

I advise purchasing the Tarot Quick Reference Sheet, and the Tarot Reversals Quick Reference Sheet to go with the cards. The cards themselves are the learning tools, while the study sheets function well as quick references for interpreting readings.

More information can be found on the site:, as well as information on flash cards for Astrology and the Runes.

© October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

I would like to introduce you all to a fascinating site – This very special site publishes educational tools for sacred living. Knowing about tools for self-empowerment – such as the Tarot, Astrology and the Runes is one thing, being able to use them effectively is another.

That is the impetus behind this site – providing materials that act as a quick reference for working within systems such as the Tarot, Astrology and the Runes. Products offered include:

Literal “Quick Reference Sheets” for Tarot, Tarot Reversals, Astrology and the Runes. The sheets are 8.5” by 5.5”, printed on card stock and laminated. Information includes themes, keywords, symbols and glyphs.

“Tarot Flash Cards” – a set of traditional 78 cards, double sided, with a symbol and the name of the card on one side, and a description of the card on the other side (including theme, suit, number correspondences, upright and reversed keywords.

“Astrological Flash Cards” – these cards introduce you to what makes up an astrology chart, including astrological signs, planets, houses and aspects. Putting them together, you will be able to build your own charts!

“Rune Flash Cards” – a set of fifty flash cards, with half of the cards featuring the Rune symbol on the front and keywords on the back, and the other half featuring the Rune name of the front, with the symbol on the back.

I am impressed with the work being done here, and think that you will be too!

 © October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet


Here it is – 10/10/10 – October 10th, 2010. I love looking at those numbers – triple numbers, new beginnings in all areas.(The number ten adds up to the number one (one + zero = one), which is about new beginnings.) It is about going into a new cycle, ending old business and having hope that things are going to get better. Esotericaly, the number ten is considered the number of perfection (Pythagoras saw the number ten as representing the universe as a whole.)

The sense of hope connected with the number ten can be referenced to its reduction – the number One, which is associated with the planet of the Sun. We also see matter (represented by the number four) and harmony (the number six) in the number ten. It can be viewed as the Creator (represented by the number three) and creation (represented by the number seven). Ten is the number associated with the Hebrew letter Iod (Ego), representing the active principle.

In the Tarot, the cards that I associate with the number ten (aside from the number Ten in each of the four suits) are the Wheel of Fortune (X), the Sun (XIX), and, through reduction, the Magician (I). The energy of 10/10/10 contains the energy of all of these cards.

The Wheel of Fortune references time, and our individual actions. It is about being willing to be assertive, and take leaps of faith. It is about bringing balance between individual will and the will of Spirit, and coming to accept that which cannot be changed.

The Sun references hope, health, abundance and harmony. Here we move past our shadows and fears, allowing ourselves to bring things of a more positive nature into our lives.

The Magician has available to him all Elemental powers. He is the channel between the Spiritual and the Physical worlds (As Above, So Below). With him all things are possible.

What are you going to do on this day? Are you going to take a leap of faith? Are you going to bring balance into your life? Are you going to accept your mastery of the Elemental powers surrounding you? Are you going to accept the responsibility to be the Master of your own destiny?

© October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Fool’s Journey – The History, Art & Symbolism of the Tarot

The Fool’s Journey –

The History, Art & Symbolism of the Tarot

The Fool's Journey

Author: Robert M. Place

Talarius Publications


ISBN #978-0-557-53350-3

Illustration Credits: Illustrations from the Aquarian Tarot, c. 1970, Deviant Moon Tarot, c. 2008, Fenestra Tarot, c. 2008, Paulina Tarot, c. 2008, and Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi Deck, c. 1975, reproduced  with permission by U.S. Games Systems, IN., Stamford, CT. Copyright by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from the Jean Noblet Tarot, c. 2007 and the Jean Dodal Tarot, c. 2009 reproduced with permission by Jean Claude Flornoy, Cartier-Enliumineur, Au Lion d’Or, 53700m Saint Mars du Desert, France. Copyright by Jean Claude Flornoy. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from the Facsimile Tarocchi of Ferrara, c. 2009, The Alchemical Tarot, c. 1995, and The Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, c. 2008 copyright Robert M. Place. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from The Alphabet Tarot, c. 1997 Thalia Took, reproduced with permission. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, c. 2008 by Ciro Marchetti reproduced with permission. Further reproduction prohibited.

Photos on pp 4 and 127 by, 2010, provided courtesy of CAFAM.

I am truly experiencing a “Slap myself on the forehead!” moment here! Why, one might ask. From January 24th to May 10th Robert M. Place curated an extraordinary exhibition of Tarot art, originated at The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles ( For heavens sake – it was there for months, on “my” coast, curated by someone that I highly respect, and I didn’t take the time to go? Lesson learned – this will not happen again!

We are very graced that Robert Place put together an absolutely amazing book that shares, through text and photo’s, the story that was (and is) this extraordinary exhibition. The book is available in digital format and in print. I am reviewing the digital version, but have the print book on my “short, short” list! Early (very early!) Christmas present to self, perhaps. J

I would like to start out talking about something that everyone basically ignores – and that is the name of the publishing company. Place is independently publishing this work through his publishing company, Talarius Publications. Being curious (much better than being nosey!), I asked him where that name came from. The logo that he uses is that of Hermes winged sandal. (Hermes being the psychopomp who leads the soul to the otherworld, and also acts as the guide for poets and mystics.)  Talarius is the name given to this sandal.

There is no one better than Robert Place, in my opinion, to curate this exhibition. He has an artists eye, combined with a scholar’s wisdom, and brings to the Tarot world the best of the best. In his forward Place notes that this exhibition was designed to focus on modern occult and divinatory Tarot as it is popularly known in American culture. He then goes on to discuss Tarot’s background, and its beginnings as a trick-taking game.

He paints a picture of the 21 Trumps as expressing the mystical allegory of the Tarot – the “Fool’s Journey”, as it were. The Fool’s Journey of the Tarot is a spiritual progression. The story of this exhibition is that of the “Fool’s Journey” of bringing appreciation of the Tarot and its mystical tradition to a wide audience. It also carries the purpose of replacing false notions about Tarot with real history and insight.

The list of thanks to people involved with this book read like a who’s who of the Tarot world. Some of these people I have been graced to have either met or worked with – or both. The world of Tarot is an amazing world, filled with incredible people who are willing to share their wisdom unconditionally with others. Kudos to all of you!

There is a well written section on the history of the Tarot, and some of the misconceptions that have come down through time. One point comes out right in the beginning – Tarot is connected to ancient mystical, Neoplatonic and Hermitic beliefs about the nature of the soul. Place discusses early Tarot decks, who they were created for (in general, moneyed, or royal families), the area they originated from and the artist/illustrator. He also talks about existing examples of these decks, and where they are currently being housed.

Imagery in the Tarot is very important. Throughout this text Place has included full color graphic charts, beginning with a chart showing the traditional suit symbols for four-suit decks in Western European countries. I have a personal interest in the different ordering of the Trumps, so I appreciated the chart comparing the Bologna/Order A, Ferrara/Order B and Milan/Order C series.

In discussing Tarot imagery, Place notes that it is important to understand the ancient view of the cosmos, and its mystical significance for the individual. The seven planets were thought to be the soul centers of the cosmos, with corresponding centers (chakras) located along the human spine. Place notes that this is the probable source for the seven virtues and the seven vices. (There is an eye-catching graphic of the Seven Ancient Planets as the Seven Soul Centers – food for though all on its own!)Plato’s three-fold concept of the soul – the Soul of Appetite/Desire, the soul of Will/Spirit and the Soul of Reason is also presented.

The decks included in this exhibition are printed decks that were in popular use from the 15th century to the 21st century, focusing on the Fool and the 21 trumps. The decks included were chosen because they represent pivotal points in the history of the Tarot, and because they allow us to view the evolution of Tarot symbolism throughout the centuries. These decks are:  the Monde Primitif, the Etteilla a Jeu de la Princesse, the Waite-Smith Tarot, the Aquarian Tarot, the Alchemical Tarot, the Alphabet Tarot, the Twilight Tarot, the Fenestra Tarot, the Paulina Tarot, the Deviant Moon Tarot , the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, the Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery,   the Tarot of Ferrara and the Tarot of Marseilles. (Note: the Tarot of Marseilles refers to a style of Tarot, rather than to a specific Tarot deck.)

Place presents each of the Major Arcana Trumps (The Fool and the 21 Trumps), through text and imagery. He has included images from modern decks, as well as reproductions from older decks, such as the Monde Primitif and the Etteilla a Jeu de la Princesse. This is an absolutely incredible opportunity to not only see a discussion of each of the Major Arcana Trumps, but to see an in-depth range of comparisons between decks. This is a quality of work normally only seen between historians or researchers, presented in a manner in which all levels of Tarot students will be able to enjoy it, and learn from it.

The sheer amount of cards presented in comparison in this book is overwhelming, to say the least. The quality of the reproductions is clear, full color, and just … amazing! I do so wish that I would have taken the time to see this incredible exhibit! I would have wanted the book anyway – it is research quality, and beyond “nice to have” as a Tarot reference.

One thing that I neglected to mention – each card section opens with a full page, full color representation of the card (from the Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery). There are notes right on the card naming the symbols within the card. For example, for the Magician the notes are: lemniscate, wand, crystal ball, dagger, secret fire, magic circle, coins, 3 X 7 = 21, and the annotation that the sum of opposite sides of a die is always seven. Around the edge of the card we see written: (left hand side) There are twenty one possible combinations of two dice and twenty one trumps. (top) The Magicians wand, held above, is creative and active. (right hand side) The Magician’s crystal ball held below is passive and divinatory. (bottom) The Magician gestures “As above do below”.

I just finished reading “The Fool’s Journey”, and am sitting here absolutely transfixed. This is an incredibly powerful work, and will touch its readers on many different levels. This was a project (the exhibition and the book) whose time had come, and which was executed with the greatest of poise, grace and mastery of subject. Many thanks to Robert Place, and to all of the artists involved in this project. What you were willing to share has made a difference, and will continue to do so.

For further information, and to purchase the book, go to http:// I do want to mention that the book is available in digital format, as well as hard copy. Secret – once you see the digital copy, you will lust after the hard copy!

 © September 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot Today

Tarot Today – Blog Talk Radio

How We Can Use The Tarot – Show Notes:


1. Coming from a reading.
2. Connected with specific issues.
3. As a daily practice.
4. Connected with a specific card, or set of cards.
5. Connected with ritual/ceremony.


1. Writing about specific cards, to get to know them.
2. Writing about the process of doing readings.
3. Creating spreads.
4. Making notes on readings.


1. Using the Tarot to define the theme of a book/story.
2. Using the Tarot to define the characters in a book/story.
3. Using the Tarot to create conflict within a book/story.
4. Using the Tarot to move past writing blocks.
5. Writing to help resolve personal, inner conflict.


1. To get to know a card.
2. To obtain advice from a card.
3. To ask for help in resolving an inner issue.
4. Journeying to a specific place as part of ritual/ceremony.

As Part Of Ritual:

1. Connecting with or calling in specific Elemental energy.
2. Connecting with or calling in specific Archetypal energy.
3. Honoring a specific energy.
4. Requesting help from a specific Elemental or Archetypal energy.

Working With Archetypes:

1. Asking them to come into a reading.
2. Asking advice.
3. Working with Birth Cards.
4. Taking Archetypes into meditation.
5. Working with the Archetypes for healing purposes.

© August 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

The Tarot of Vampyres

The Tarot of the Vampyres

 Author: Ian Daniels

Illustrator: Ian Daniels

Llewellyn Worldwide


ISBN #978-0-7387-1191-1

I don’t have a clue why, but things that have come to me lately in differing areas of my life all seem to be connected, in some way, to the UK. So it is with the “Tarot of the Vampyres” – author/illustrator Ian Daniels hails from the UK. Happy to say that all of the UK connections in my life seem to be working out extremely well, and this deck set is no exception!

Daniels set out to create a deck based on the Vampyre mythos, emphasizing the possession, exchange, and drawing in of different kinds of energy. He works within the traditional structure of the Rider-Waite Tarot, framing it against a Gothic background. His companion book, “Phantasmagoria”, is absolutely outstanding! I rate this deck set right up there with Robert M. Place’s “Vampire Tarot”, in quality of illustration, as well as research and presentation.

In his introduction, Daniels talks about the derivation of the title “Phantasmgoria”, coming from stage magician Etienne-Gaspard Robert’s “phantasmagoria”. Robert’s work had to do with a type of magic lantern show with silhouetted puppets acting out macabre drama. (Sends chills up your spine before you even get to the deck!) Shadows and apparitions would appear out of nowhere to scare the audience “literally out of their seats”!

Daniels goes on to talk about fear, and the Jungian concept of shadow. He feels that acknowledging our fears, and facing them, helps us to understand and overcome them.  Often these fears reside in the shadow, or dark side of human psychological nature. Daniels notes that shadow issues are not always negative in nature, that positive traits can also be repressed if they are unacceptable within a family or social milieu.

While the Vampyre myth is a tale of gothic horror and romance, Daniels feels that it also illustrates “an encounter with the higher self on a personal level, with the eternal promise of self-realization and the eventual curse turned joy”. He goes on to talk about the need for times of hibernation and stillness, so that we can regenerate and realign ourselves with the essence of Spirit that pervades all nature.

The Major Arcana follows traditional titles, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The four suits are Scepters. Grails, Knives and Skulls. The Court Cards are Lords, Queens, Princes and Daughters.

Daniels relates the Major Arcana to the Tree of Life, and the pathways between the ten Sephiroth. In this manner, the cards act as the secret laws of creation, forces and cycles that express the natural development of life. They are the “binding and reflective laws of the energies they connect.”

He further divides the Major Arcana into three main types:

  1. Elemental Trumps – The Fool, The Hanged Man, Judgment These three cards are associated with the three mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Planetary Trumps – The Magician, The Priestess, The Empress, Fortune, The Tower, The Sun, The World These seven cards represent the double letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
  3. Zodiacal Trumps – The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Justice, The Hermit, Strength, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Star, The Moon These twelve cards are connected to the simple letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The four suits are set up to represent a four-stage process:

The Seed – Fire – Scepters – Lords

The Womb – Water – Grails – Queens

Conception – Air – Knives – Princes

Birth – Earth – Skulls – Daughters

 The cards are presented as text only, the Major Arcana and Pips (numbered cards)  listing Alchemy, Kindred Spirits, Essence, Message, Analysis and Symbolism, and Shadow, with the Court Cards listing Alchemy, Kindred Spirits, Essence, Message and Quality, and Shadow.

In his section on card spreads and exercises, Daniels discusses the Shadow and Light aspects of the cards, along with the following spreads: Soothsayer, Dark Mirror, Blood Trail, Book of Shadows, Elemental Cross, Trespass, Forbidden Fruit, The Prophecy, and The Labyrinth. Exercises include The Manuscript (journaling), The Dreaming (taking the Tarot into dreamtime for inspiration), The Vision (working with the key card in a spread), The Shroud (working with a single card in meditation), and Darkspell (creating verses or poems for each card in a reading).

The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 5/8”, of good quality, glossy card stock. The card back (reversible) shows a blood red rose, set against a black background and briar stems. Daniels associates the red rose with fertility, regeneration, energy and passion. The thorns represent suffering and sacrifice. In esoteric circles, the rose is also a sign of silence and secrecy. The red rose on a cross is a symbol connected with various Rosicrucian groups.

The card face is outlined with a ¼” black border. At the bottom of the card is listed the card title (for the Major Arcana), the number and suit (for the Pips), and the title and suit (for the Court Cards). The illustrations are dark and Gothic in nature, with recurring images of candles, skulls, crosses, red roses, snakes and the moon.

Note: My one issue with the imagery is that the figures in the deck all seem to be thirty-somethings. (The Hierophant and the Hermit are seen in shadow, and the Lords are seen on horseback, so one cannot tell their age.)

It is very hard to choose which cards to talk about with this deck – they are all intriguing! The Fool is shown emerging from a tomb, with arms thrown wide open. He holds a white rose in his right hand, the Holy Grail in his left hand. The Priestess is seated, wearing an all white dress. The full moon is behind her, an open book suspended in mid air over her lap. This is the Book of Tarot, upon which is to be written the Will of the Magician. A serpent bracelet encircles her upper right arm.

The Lovers shows a male and a female figure against a background of white roses (indicating pure devotion). The female wears a red heart necklace, representing the interchanging that the Emperor and Empress exchange. The male figure wears an inverted green heart necklace, representing the Empress. The red rose over the shoulder of the female figure represents passion, and the unification of fire and water.

Fortune shows a wheel with five roses over it, and five roses under it, their colors corresponding to the four elements, Spirit and Earth. Daniels reminds us to take note that the center of the wheel is static, while the three Vampyre creatures on the outside of the wheel are what keeps it in motion.

The Hanged Man is bound to a cross by the roots of the tree that have grown up around him, representing old beliefs and emotions. Another cross is visible in the background. Temperance shows a female figure in a dark dress, dancing as she works a ritual. She merges fire with water, creating a vapor that becomes a new power.

I found this to be a compelling deck, drawing you in by image and story. The companion book covers the esoteric side of the deck without frightening people away, and has a great deal to offer in the way of spreads and exercises. Being someone who appreciates charts, I tip my hat to Daniels for his concise presentation.

This deck would appeal to anyone with an interest in Vampyre mythos, Gothic art, or the esoteric side of the Tarot. With the use of the companion book, any level of Tarot student would be able to read with this deck. One word of caution – there is (albeit limited) nudity in this deck, which might limit its appeal, depending on the client’s acceptance of such.

© August 2010 Bonnie Cehovet