Thursday, February 24, 2011

And There's One With Mermaids, And One With A Unicorn, And.....

Spent some time today poking around online for tarot decks I haven't seen yet, and ran across today's entry.  It's a regular playing card deck, and it's so awesome that if I wasn't so dependent on visual cues I would totally use it for divination.

It's printed by a Japanese game company called Okuno Karuta.  The title of the deck was listed only as "1938 - 1939".  I am completely in love with the way the images are painted, with smudges of color, especially the shades of frosty white.  And the pictures are so interesting!  How often do you see hammerhead sharks on a playing card?  My other favorite is the four of hearts.  Bees!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Would You Like One Lump, Or Two?

My plan was to post something every day, but life has gotten a little in the way lately.  Anyway!  I'm back with another deck that's near the top of my tarot wish list:

The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot.  I believe it's made by the same people who made the Victorian Flower Oracle.

So whimsical.  So delicate.  So pretty.  It makes me want to do a reading session under a fairy tent surrounded by pink plastic tea sets and teddy bears wearing paper crowns.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Aren't They Dreamy?

Today's tarot session at the Manor went great!  The vibe was positive....I got to read for a lot of nice folks, and have a lot of good conversation, as well.  I hope everyone went away from it feeling like they had a good experience!

The next session is set for March 20th.  Same time, same place.


Today is a day for pretty pictures, so I'm once again revisiting the Piatnik Can-Can deck.  The knights are wonderful.  I'm a sucker for a man on a unicorn:

Friday, February 18, 2011

There's A Pokemon Tarot. No, Seriously, There Really Is.

See?  I told you!

I went looking for a link, but I don't think it's possible to buy this deck anymore.  And if it is possible, I think it's only available in Japan.  Sorry, Pokefans.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

....As I Gaze Into My Crystal Ball.....

This Sunday, February 20th, is the next Tarot Day ay Marjim Manor.  I'll be there from 12 - 6 pm with my cards, ready to roll.

I run things on a first-come-first-served basis.  There'll be a sign-up sheet, and I'll follow it strictly, so no worries about getting your turn.  One of the most frequent questions I get asked is about why I won't let people make appointments for readings.  We tried to do that in the beginning, but it totally didn't work.  I always tell people:  It's very much like being at the doctor's office.  You make an appointment for a certain time, but you end up waiting an hour and a half, anyway.  I'm not going to kick somebody out of the chair before their reading's over, just because the 3:45 appointment showed up.

So, I don't time readings.  But for anyone who's planning on coming, don't fret:  A three-card reading usually takes no more than a half-hour or so, so even if there are a bunch of people ahead of you, the wait shouldn't be too terribly long.  There's plenty to do at Marjim Manor while you're waiting.  There are lots of local arts and crafts to peruse, there's a snack table full of goodies, and of course, there are the wine tastings.  Try the Heart of Gold.  It's my favorite.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It Says My Boyfriend Secetly Hates Me!!

So, this one time I was looking around Amazon for cards, and ran across a deck called "Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Playing Cards (With Instructions)", and fell smack in love with it.  The images are very early-20th-century....they remind me of old-time Halloween....and the colors are eye-catchingly bright, so I snapped it up.  I was all set to use it for work, until I actually got it home and tried to do a reading.

Laying out a spread with this deck is some kind of craziness.  The process is ludicrously complicated and nearly impossible to interpret in any kind of cohesive way.  (I likes my divination to be organized, I do.)  If you take cartomancy seriously, the card meanings in this deck can give off a very negative vibe, sometimes even mean.  I hate trying to read with them, so I don't anymore.  But.  And this is a huge BUT.  If you're just looking for something hilarious and fun to do with your gal pals.....

Everything about these cards screams "PRE-TEEN GIRL PARTY!"  When I was trying to read with this deck, I kept picturing girls in pj's sitting in a circle giggling like crazy and shrieking excitedly at every card that mentions love. The whole "extra Joker" thing fits right into that know, like, when you're a kid and you secretly manipulate your MASH notes so that you get to marry the actor and live in a mansion every time you play? And these cards are definitely a lot more interactive than tarot cards, which is another thing that makes them perfect for gaggles of girls to woot and squee over. With tarot cards, you've got a reader and a....well, a read-ee. With the Gypsy Witch cards, it's more a thing where you and whoever you're with do it together.

So, for serious readers, I would recommend staying away from this deck.  I've even read reviews by readers who were made so uncomfortable by the cards, they've decided to burn them.  (Personally, I don't find these cards to be THAT horrible, but you know, whatever.)  BUT, if you're planning a nostalgic slumber party night with your girl friends, this deck gives off the same squee-related kind of vibe you'd get from a ouija board or a magic 8 ball.  Order a pizza, watch an Ashton Kutcher movie, play a little "Light-As-A Feather-Stiff-As-A-Board" and go to it.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Capricorn Is Basically Just A Fish-Goat

Fun playing cards for tonight.

This is called the "Hodges Astronomical" deck.  It's a vintage deck that was first printed in 1827 in London.  It features constellations, mostly.  The court cards depict gods and goddesses of ancient Rome.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

She's The Queen Of Beetles

Another deck on my wishlist:  The Victorian Flower Oracle.

This is an oracle deck, which is different from a tarot deck.  The tarot follows a strict system.  There's wiggle room when it comes to what you name the suits, or how you interpret the majors, but you're always going to find 78 cards in a tarot deck, and it's likely going to be separated into the same types of sections no matter what deck you're looking at.  Oracle cards are pretty much anything-goes.  The number of cards, the meanings behind them, the way they're meant to be laid can be completely different from deck to deck.  I've never used oracle cards for professional reading, because a lot of my confidence in reading for strangers comes out of the comfort I derive from the strict routine of the tarot.  If I can follow a set pattern that becomes second nature, I can slap down the cards in a flash and focus solely on interpretation.

Anyway, I do like oracle decks, just more for collecting than actually reading with.  And the Victorian Flower Oracle is beautiful. 


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tell Me About The Ents Again, Phillip!

I'd forgotten about this one until I was at work today with a friend who loves The Lord Of The Rings.  I mean, he's read the whole shebang, including The Silmarillion.  I really enjoy talking to him about Tolkien, because he's like an encyclopedia, and it's much more fun to hear him describe everything LotR than to try and wade through the books.  (Which I AM going to do someday....maybe....but I have to admit, I'd rather find a well-done unabridged audiobook version.)

Anyway!  There's a Lord Of The Rings tarot.  Well, I've actually run across a few of them, but this one seems to follow a less-flash, more-substance kind of path, rather than just having photo stills of Liv Tyler all over the cards:

I think pop-culture-based decks can be useful when doing professional readings, because customers can latch on to images they already recognize, but it can be really hard to find a pop culture deck with an actual connection between the images and the meanings of the cards.  For instance, I was recently delighted to find out that a Sailor Moon tarot exists, but I likely won't buy it, because the cards are covered in random images that would make it extremely hard to do readings with.  This particular Lord of the Rings deck, though, I think is impressive.  It looks like an effort has been made to use meaningful scenes from the story.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Come On Over And See For Yourself

My monthly public reading sessions are hosted at The Winery at Marjim Manor, which is located in Appleton, NY.  The Manor has been featured on both Ghost Hunters on SyFy and Most Terrifying Places in America on the Travel Channel.  It's a gorgeous, atmospheric place to do tarot readings, and there's the added bonus of having a wine tasting while you wait for your turn.

Some extra info:

The page regarding the Manor's ghosts on the official website

Video of the results of the Ghost Hunters investigation

Video of the Manor's appearance on Most Terrifying Places In America


That Centaur Must Have Really Pissed Him Off

There are a few "art nouveau" tarot decks out there, but there's one, in particular, that seems to capture the style best.  It's just called "Tarot Art Nouveau",  and it's as beautiful as can be.  Unfortunately, it runs into a common problem of highly artful decks:  the minors are pretty much useless for actual reading.  The major arcana are fantastic.  They stick fairly closely to Waite-Smith themes, so visual cues are abundant.  The Strength card is especially cool, and one of the most powerful I've ever seen.  No lady forcing open a lion's mouth in this one.  No, here, we've got a dude fighting a CENTAUR.  And he's kicking that centaur's ass.  He's got it bent over his knee in a nearly physically impossible position, and he's about to beat it to death with a knobby club.  I mean, seriously....yikes.

Anyway, the minor arcana in this deck are just as amazing as the major, but the symbolism pretty much completely disappears, and it becomes just a deck full of beautiful images:

This is another one of those decks that's great to have as a collector's item, but not so good for doing actual readings with. 


And just another reminder, because it's fast approaching:  My next tarot session at Marjim Manor will be on Sunday, Febraury 20th, from 12-6 pm.  Have some wine and hear the famous ghost story while you wait for your reading!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pleasantly Contented Moon At Night: Sailor's Delight

The Anna Maria D'Onofrio deck is one that's definitely on my short list of decks I'd like to own.  It looks like it was drawn with oil sticks....maybe?  My artistic medium has always been squarely set in cut paper, so I'm not very good at identifying things like that.  The art on these cards actually looks most like chalk to me, but anyway....

Here's the Moon card, because it's super cool.


And The Facebook Page, Too

New address there, as well:


This Place Has A New Address

The address for this page is now:

Because "harglefargle" just doesn't seem to fit now that this is a tarot blog, you know?

And please feel free to leave comments or questions!


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Do You Think He'd Wear His Seaweed Skirt For The Wedding?

This is a tarock deck called "Allemand A Deux Tetes"  which, according to Babel Fish, translates to "German Has Two Heads".  Hmmm...

The trump cards in this deck all follow the same pattern:  On one side, you find perfectly normal scenes of Asian life, but on the other side, you've got merpeople and sea monsters and crazyass fantastical creatures  that look like they came from the island of Dr. Moreau.  The 16 card is my favorite.  He's fighting a serpent with a bird head!  He may be marriage material.


Monday, February 07, 2011


Not tarot related, but fun.  I do my reading sessions at a haunted winery, and its ghostly history is a big part of the draw.   So stuff like this catches my eye more often now than it used to:

The Ghost Stories Deck by S.E. Schlosser.  A nifty deck of large cards that each bear a spooky ghost story.  I ran across a copy at my local bookstore, and grabbed it right up.  It's a cool little conversation piece, and good for kids to have on campouts or at slumber parties.


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Three Arms For The Price Of Two

The Kazanlar Tarot is another deck I go back to a lot.  Brightly colored, fascinating images...  It's similar to the Haindl Tarot in that it covers numerous different spiritual symbols and world religions, all rolled together in one.

This is the Strength card from the Kazanlar deck, and it's got the traditional Waite-Smith imagery with a twist.  She's not satisfied with merely wrestling a lion.  She's wrestling a lion AND holding up a falling pillar with her powerful THIRD ARM.  I wouldn't want to run across this chick in a dark alley.  Seriously.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Vintage Playing Cards - The Camera Phones of the 1800's

Today's entry featuring another peek at The World's Greatest Tarock Deck made me want to revisit the Piatnik Can-Can deck as well, because it's an unsurpassed goldmine of fabulousness.

More revelry at a Paris nightclub.  She looks like she's reacting to a violently sudden gas attack, and he appears to be having a temper tantrum.  Ah, the olden days, when dignity was paramount....


She's Got A Skull Growing Out Of Her Wrist!

How could I not re-visit the best tarock deck ever?  I'm sorry I can't cite the actual name of this deck.  I found it online, and there was no name.

This lady appears to live in a crazy upside-down world of snow that only falls outside the boundries of her perfectly manicured lawn.  I have two theories about what's going on in this scene:  Either she lives inside some kind of bio-dome with invisible glass, or there's a futuristic force field holding back that snow, because it looks to be piled high as a dinosaur's eye.

I should learn how to play euchre or bridge, just so I can have a reason to use this deck for something.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

That Fountain Would Be Perfect For My Front Yard

Here's a website that lets you create and/or download homemade tarot decks:

Orphalese Tarot Zone

One of the decks hosted there is called the Vaudeville Tarot.  Awesome imagery. 

The Space-Age Lenormand is another deck hosted there that's also really cool, but I couldn't tell you much about it since my knowledge of Lenormand decks ranks at about exactly zero.  Might be time to do a little studying.....


The Fact That She's Petting A Fox Doesn't Hurt, Either

 I love the queens of the minor arcana, but of the four, my least favorite has always been the Queen of Swords.  Image-wise, anyway.  She's oftentimes depicted as stern, skinny, and a spinster schoolmarm.  But leave it to the Tarot of Durer to turn me around on the subject.  Here she's depicted as voluptuous, (as are all the females in the Durer deck) with exotic features and awesome cozy-looking layers of clothing.  I've been wondering about her broken sword, and I think it may be broken because of the idea that the Queen of Swords is all about logic trumping emotion, so maybe she believes the pen is mightier than the sword.

Anyway, you'll be seeing more of the Durer deck here in the future.  It's one of my go-to's.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

She Has Freaky Leaf Legs

I bumped into the Renaissance Tarot by chance while looking up decks online, and fell in love with it immediately.  I'm fairly sure it's out of print, because I had to get my copy through the Amazon Marketplace from a tiny occult shop in New York City, but there are definitely other copies to be had, and for perfectly decent prices.  The art in this deck is spectacular.  Even the pips, which are as simply illustrated as possible, have just enough of the Waite-Smith visual cues in them to be effective.  The physical stuff isn't great:  to be blunt, this deck is flimsy.  It doesn't shuffle as well as some of my other decks, but it's one of my special ones, not just because it's beautiful, but because I used to use it for work and it gave some really good readings for people.

The art for the Renaissance Tarot is done by Helen Jones, but if you'd like to learn more about this deck (because there's more than one "Renaissance Tarot") I'd search under Jane Lyle, who wrote the companion book.  The results seem to be better that way.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Possibly the coolest frigglydigglin' tarot deck I have ever seen.  I want this so bad.

The Dreamythology Tarot


Halloween All Year Round

I was sure I would like the Halloween Tarot when I ordered it, but I ended up totally loving it.  This deck is completely awesome.  It follows the Waite-Smith pattern very closely, so the visual cues I'm used to are all right there in an obvious way.  The colors are vibrant, but the nighttime vibe is still front and center.  Some of the cards are a little more cartoony than others, but the majority of the deck stays firmly on the side of "whimsical but not insipid".

The Halloween Tarot has two cards that are my favorite versions:  The Knight of Pentacles and the Death card.  The Knight of Pentacles is my best friend's card, so I've seen lots of different versions of it.  Somehow, the Halloween one just resonates the most with me.  He's sporting some rockin' armor, and gets to ride a brown unicorn wearing a rad imp-covered hood.  What could be better than that?  Now, when it comes to the Death card, I know this one is not exactly representative of the dark vibe you usually see.  But there's just something.... the scene, the colors, the weird purple sunflowers, the death's head moth in the lower corner....  Nothing not to like about it.

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