Back in May 2021 is was in Cascais, Portugal and I really needed a new deck of tarot cards. I spend hours searching for new decks and never really finding one to inspire me until I stumbled upon Yoshi Yoshitori’s Divine Tarot of global folk stories. I discovered it through the wonderful Two of Cups that depicts the love between Gilgamesh and Enkido. I knew I could enjoy this deck and it cam with a separate book. I went to Yoshi’s own store and ordered them directly. Somehow I paid twice for the global delivery service so I emailed White Squirrel to ask if they could put them in the same parcel and refund me half the postal cost as it was $250 with DHL. They said yes and was was happy. Then… nothing.
Then… the items were in customs in Portugal. They wanted €80 import charges for two items. this was three time the cost of the goods! They explained that I was being charged for the cost of the postage. I told them I wasn’t importing DHL but they didn’t care. I refused the package and they never delivered it. I also never got my second postage cost refunded by White Squirrel. Had I used Amazon like anyone else I would have had the decks without the extortionate customs charges BUT I wouldn’t have been inspired to make my own decks.
So I set off with my desire to create an All-In-One tarot, rune and oracle deck with a Norse Mythology theme but soon found myself side tracked by my research into the runes and the huge expansion I made into the symbols that were lost to time as we were all just using the Elder Futhark and there was so much more to the runes as the spread across the northern European cultures. I enlisted the assistance of fellow Norse geek, Rob Odinson and the super channelling talents of Miss Reemie Healings. They joined me in making videos to help channel and understand the frequencies of all the lost rune symbols we dug up. It soon became clear that this was a deck in itself and we set about engaging Olga Lamas as the artist to design and paint the artistic magic for the cards. Creating 78 pieces of art is not a quick task by any means, especially when you are creating paints from coloured clays dug up from the landscapes of Portugal.
Impatient as ever I then started thinking about how I’ve always wanted a decent astrology deck. Most either don’t have enough cards to crack the surface or they contain themes that are too rigid. Oracle deck cards need to be able to sing together side by side and very often readers are only able to pull a single card and accompany them with tarot. I wanted to create something where cards would fall side by side and create their own alchemy. Bingo! The Alchemy of Astrology.
The first 78 cards and symbols cascaded from me within a couple of days. I wasn’t at all sure how or if they would work but I drew them onto index cards and decided to just try them out on my channel and see what messages came out.
Here’s that first try of the deck on my channel.
I knew the 78 was incomplete so I decided to add a further thirteen. I like the mysticism of multiples of thirteen, the tarot be six times thirteen. this deck was now seven multiples of thirteen and felt quite magical already. Then they need to be explored and played with. I had the only deck though I started to refine it a little. Rob and Reem both created their own versions of the rune deck using far better quality card than I had so I thought it was time I found a printer’s here in Mexico who could do a test print for me so I could shuffle them properly. I redrew the runes and fell so in love with them all over again.
that I intended to do the same with the Alchemy of Astrology deck but somehow it just started to dictate its own artistic pathway. At first it was simple, faded vellum and a sepia quill and ink font.
It also became clear that the artwork for the card, like the runes needed to begin very paired back. Rob mentioned that all of us were learning to read the energies contain within the rune symbols and that this need to be the main feature of these cards too. Symbols and words rather than one title word and artwork. A new approach to deck design and creation was birthing itself. The original font was causing problems with reading the meanings. While it looked fine and historically flourishingly authentic it just didn’t work. So the font search began in earnest. There are so many fonts!!
While digging into the alchemy I stubbled upon a 16th Century series of twenty-two alchemical artworks created in Germany. The Splendor Solaris.
First I was struck by their beauty and their deeply hidden esoteric meanings. Then the fact that there were twenty-two of them like there are twenty-two major arcana cards in the tarot stuck a chord that pulled me deeper into their mysteries. Seven of them represented the seven classical planets and their hidden alchemy. Then I knew the frames on these beautiful artworks being in the public domain were the exact artwork needed for this deck. I just needed eight frames. There were twenty-two so that’s easy I thought. Wrong. This required me learning how to be a graphic artist to create these frames. Also sourcing high resolution versions that weren’t too bright or too dark and grubby looking.
Then as we began digging deeper into the meanings projected by the cards Reem suggested the need for shadow messages for all the cards to give a pathway for the alchemy and after Rob wrote the words and names on the back of his rune deck it was clear to us all that the cards needed their explanations included on the reverse. We were all very certain too that we wanted to offer six shadow aspects and six light aspects for each of the ninety-one cards. Thats a lot of research.
What’s forming is such a gorgeous deck that I just want it all finished and printed and in my hands right now. So while I’m resting to heal after my dental procedure I’m using the time complete a version of both decks so that Reem. Rob and me, The R Souls can all have the same decks to work from as we test them out to refine them one more time before they will be ready to sell to all of you.
Mary the Jewess was the first alchemist ever. Not the first woman alchemist but the greatest ever alchemist. We dedicate this deck to her greatness.