30 Days of Tarot – Day 7

7. What is your favorite card (both in terms of the deck’s artwork and divinatory meaning)?

Favorite in the Minor Arcana:

3 of Wands

The three of wands is all about seeing what is there. It’s about the big picture. For some reason I love it. I appreciate the symbolism in the Smith-Style illustrated minors. I love the way it appears in many “pip” decks (decks with non-illustrated minors such as the Tarot De Marseilles in the lower right of the above image).

Favorite in the Major Arcana.

The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man from my personal study deck

As far as favorite card visually, I have always been drawn to the Hanged Man.

Hanged Man.jpg
The Hanged Man from The Wild Unknown Tarot

The Hanged Man means different things to me depending on how the card is placed and what intuition tells me, here are a few thoughts:

  • Ultimate surrender. Winning by conceding to the course you know needs to be taken.
  • Sacrifice. Giving up for the good of others your wants. Seeing wants as less important than needs
  • Deciding to take the action that is unpopular, but moral.
  • Tests and trials
  • Initiation
  • Submission
  • Suspension, waiting, holding off in making a decision
  • Taking time to think, but working while you do so
  • Martyrdom


30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

The Wild Unknown Tarot has a website here, other decks pictured above can be found in the 30 Days of Tarot – Day 3.

30 Days of Tarot – Day 6

6. What was the first spread you learned?Celtic_Cross

After thinking long and hard I believe that the 3 card past-present-future was the first spread I “learned”. I know their whitebook that came with my first deck also had the Celtic Cross.

I found the Celtic Cross nearly impossible to use. It didn’t flow in a way that made sense to me. I think I may have used it as a spread twice.

Instead of looking up other tarot spreads at that point I mostly started making my own. This was awesome because it’s also the point where I started writing down information about reading tarot. When reading for my friends in High School I used one of two spreads I made, and which we’ll touch on in future posts.

I did eventually loop back to the celtic cross and learn how to better use it. I think the main reason it does not appeal to me is it is not visually balanced. I tend to spreads that are both visually balanced and have a lot of duality in their cards.

A  brief overview of the Celtic Cross Spread:

  1. celticThe Self
  2. Challenges (What crosses you)
  3. Where to focus
  4. The Past of the situation
  5. Strengths (Powers from on high)
  6. Near Future
  7. Suggested Approach
  8. What you need to know
  9. Hopes and Fears
  10. Your Potential Future

Apologies for this being late – I fell asleep while writing it.

30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

Recommended Reading: 

Beyond the Celtic Cross: Secret Techniques for Taking Tarot to an Exciting New Level
by Catherine Chapman & Paul Hughes-Barlow (Affiliate link)

The Celtic Cross (Via Learntarot.com)

How to Read the Celtic Cross Tarot Spread (Via BiddyTarot.com)

How to Read the Celtic Cross Like a Pro (leafing to a 5 part series on the spread) (Via TarotElements.com)

30 Days of Tarot – Day 5

5. When and where did you give your first reading?

I do not believe I kept the large pile of journals from my teen years, I finally discarded them a move or two ago. I do however recall reading about my first reading for myself in them.

My hands shook and I diligently shuffled carefully. My then boyfriend watched as I paused to smoothe out the silk that I had laid out. I took a lot of deep breaths and made a lot of dramatic faces. Once I was done shuffling I cut the deck and laid out a card for myself.

The Hanged Man

I knew nearly nothing from first hand experience. I pulled the little white book out and read feeling crestfallen. The Hanged Man was nothing like the personal revelation I expected. I didn’t want to admit that self harm and disordered eating were ruling a lot of my young life.

This confusion/anger response drove me to learn, and to follow my mother’s advice.

It also led young Rowan on a journey that led to a lot of healing and self-peace.

30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

30 Days of Tarot – Day 4

4. How long have you been reading the Tarot?

Rowan circa 1998
Rowan Circa 1999

As I mentioned in Day 1, I got my first tarot deck in High School back around 1999. I remember fiddling with my mother’s deck as a child.

I was going to talk more about reading for friends as a teen but I peeked at tomorrow’s question and I think I’ll wait.

30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

30 Days of Tarot – Day 3

3. Do you have more than one deck that you use, and, if so, do you have a favorite? If not, why do you like the deck you have chosen?

(Note: this post contains affiliate links)

I feel like if I had a lot more moving capital I’d buy every deck that struck my fancy.

As it stands I have 6 working decks and 2 retired decks. I find I favor them for different things. One of the retired decks I spoke about previously in this challenge The Spiral Tarot.

I don’t think I have a favorite, I reach for different decks for different things.

The Wild Unknown Tarot 

I have the second more colorful edition of this deck. I love that are no people in the deck, well; no human people. This my favorite deck for shadow work, introspection, and journaling. The divergence from traditional imagery makes me reconsider the cards and help me think about the relations between cards.

Shadowwork - Day 1

Universal Waite Tarot Deck

This is a riff on the “traditional” Smith-Waite deck. I have mostly retired this deck. It was the deck I bought to replace The Spiral Tarot circa 2005.


Mucha Tarot

I use this deck to read for others. I was a bit disappointed that it does not have more body diversity.

Daily Draw - 01-01-16

The Smith-Raider-Waite Tarot

I use this deck as well to read for others. Generally if I get this deck out I’m reading for strangers.


Shadowscapes Tarot

Oh my is this deck GORGEOUS. I love the flowy water colors, I love the purpley color palette. This is my travel deck. It lives in the bag I carry around. If I give a random reading or pull a card on the train this is the deck I’m reaching for.

Shadowwork - Day 4

The Wildwood Tarot

As you can see below this deck uses non-“standard” suits for it’s minors. It also renames several of the majors.  I have had this deck for sometime; however, I am still getting to know it.

knight of bows

Tarot de Marseille 1736 (French Edition)

One of the oldest compleate Tarot decks this deck comes in many varieties. Below is Le Bateleur, “The Mountebank”, the first trump in the Tarot de Marseille. (image links to the wikipedia article it comes from, I could not find an image I like, new computer problems). I got this deck when the spouse and I were talking about Tarot history. I don’t use it regularly. I do use it when teaching.


Motherpeace Round Tarot (Mini)

I wanted a round deck really bad and when I saw this at the local witchy shop I had to get it. The mini deck fits well in my hands, which is important because it’s not easy to shuffle. I don’t use this deck often for reading, but I do reach for it when I want to  meditate on one card quietly. I feel like the circles sort of encapsulate the ideas and helps me circle back to it.


30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

(Affiliate link – Get your own Spiral Tarot here)

30 Days of Tarot – Day 2

2. What was your first deck and why/how did you get it?

Knight of Pentacles from The Spiral Tarot

(Note: Post contains affiliate links)

My first tarot deck was the Spiral Tarot.

It was given to me by my boyfriend for my birthday.

It was a good deck. Around when I graduated high school, just before I left for college I left it in a friend’s car.

Nearly 5 years later when  I next spoke to her she returned it to me. I know it was seeking me, but it is hard to disentangle it from the less-than-positive-partner that gifted it to me.

This deck has a very colorful art. It is rich and depicts a variety of ages, of generally binary-appearing, white, european people. Like many Smith-Waite style decks it has illustrated minors.

A few more details from Aeclectic Tarot:

Name: Spiral Tarot
Creators: Kay Steventon
Publisher: US Games 1998
Deck Type: Tarot Deck
Cards: 78
Major Arcana: 22
Minor Arcana: 56
Suits: Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards: King, Queen, Knight, Princess
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11

Card Size: 2.75 x 4.13 in. = 6.99cm x 10.48cm
Card Language: English

30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

(Affiliate link – Get your own Spiral Tarot here)

30 Days of Tarot – Day 1

The Empress by Pamela Coleman Smith

1. What introduced you to/got you involved in Tarot?

My mother had a Smith-Waite-Rider deck when I was a child. I remember her reading cards for her friends around the dining room table when I was very little.

She fell away from the art but I remember her telling me that to learn tarot you simply must put the deck under your pillow and draw one card every day. Meditate on what it means, read the white book, write about it in your journal.

When I was 16 my boyfriend bought me a deck. And remembering her advice I put the deck under my pillow, got a fresh composition notebook at set to it.

30 days of Tarot challenge – by The Tarot Sybarite (Full list here).

(Affiliate link – Get your own The Smith-Raider-Waite Tarot here)