Welcome to Magickal-Musings!

Greetings All ~

I thank you for stopping by. I hope you'll make yourself comfortable & stay a while. I have a great many things to share that I believe are interesting & I hope that you will find them interesting as well. Please friend me also on Facebook. I'm there under "Nefer Khepri" & I hope you will also visit my site, Magickal-Musings.com. I wish you all many blessings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

DECK REVIEW: The 72 Names Cards

The 72 Names Cards (Oracular)
Orna Ben-Shoshan
Kabbalah Insights, 2011
Available directly from:

This oracular deck is based upon the 72 Names of God, according to the Kabbalah.  A name is provided at the top of the image of each card in Hebrew.  You do not have to be familiar with Kabbalah or know anything about it or the 72 Names of God in order to use this deck.  This deck is easily used by anyone and comes with a very helpful guidebook.

The cards measure 2 5/8 X 4 ¼” so they are easy to shuffle even by us readers with small hands.  They have a sturdy laminate that will withstand years of shuffling and use.  Colors are soft pastels for the most part, with bright colors interspersed throughout.  The images were all channeled as complete images and then transferred to canvas by the artist, Orna Ben-Shoshan.  Imagery is whimsical and fantastical with flying people, couches on springs that seem to be bounding upward, trumpets extending through holes in the sky, and figures with only red outlines for heads.  Card backs are dark orange with the logo for the 72 Names in the center.  This deck does not use reversals.  All images are meant to be read upright.

The guidebook is only slightly larger than that cards.  It has a simple fold-over stapled binding and is 71 pages long.  The cards are listed by their number, which appears in the lower left-hand corner of each card.  Both the cards and the guidebook are housed within a recessed well inside a laminated cardboard box.  The box closure consists of a hinged lid with a flap that fits into a slit along the front side of the box.

Although I’m not Jewish, nor do I know anything about Kabbalah, I was able to use these cards immediately right out of the box.  This proved to me that anyone would be able to use this deck.  The author suggests that these cards be approached with respect and that you should not ask the same question repeatedly in hopes of obtaining a more positive answer. This is good advice for any deck a person consults. 

The letter combinations present on each card in the Hebrew alphabet help to connect us to the divine energies that emanate from that particular Name of God.  The author states, “[u]tilizing these sacred letter combinations in everyday life opens the door to spiritual transformation and gives us the tools need to participate in the fulfillment of the cosmic plan.”

The 72 Names is a very simple system of divination. It does not require memorization of all 72 cards (unless you would really like to, of course), and there aren’t any long, complicated spreads.  Only one card is drawn for each question.  Should the meaning of the card as it pertains to your question or issue still remain unclear to you, then you may draw a second card for clarification.  That’s all it takes to do a reading with The 72 Names.

Each card’s interpretation consists of three parts: 
  • Perspective:  the current situation and the factors that contributed to its development,
  • Direction: spiritual guidance and advice, and
  • Bottom Line: the best course of action or what’s really going on with the situation in question.
 This is a beautiful deck.  The images on most cards do not easily lend themselves to intuitive interpretation, but then again, that’s why most decks come with a guidebook.  The card interpretations provided in the guidebook are straightforward and offer insightful advice and suggestions as to how one can change one’s behavior in order to improve the situation. I found that to be quite refreshing as opposed to the predictive nature of many oracular decks on the market today. 

I would recommend this deck to anyone who has a sincere interest in getting to the root of the issues in their life and who also enjoy a bit of whimsy in their readings.  The images are surreal and very dreamlike with flying figures, checkered floors in the sky, and so on.  The artwork makes this deck highly appealing and I shall continue to enjoy using it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

DECK REVIEW: Sol Invictus: The God Tarot

The Sol Invictus:   
God Tarot                     
Kim Huggens & Nic Phillips
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2007
ISBN #: 978-0-7643-2761-2
Dimensions of Cards:  4 7/8” X 3 7/8”
Dimensions of Box:  11 ½” X 6” x 1 ½”

Every once in a while I run across a deck that truly knocks my socks off.  It’s usually due to one or more of the following reasons:  the artwork is beautiful and the images really lend themselves to the meaning of the cards, the cards really speak to me in readings, the spreads created for the deck and the guide book are outstandingly well written and organized, or the packaging is very nice and perhaps even a bit unique.  It has been a very long time that a deck has impressed me in every single category noted above, but the Sol Invictus has accomplished just that.

Created by Kim Huggens and Nic Phillips, The Sol Invictus: God Tarot focuses on the male aspect of Deity, and they also include males from throughout myth and history whose lives exemplified or personified male deity archetypes (for example, St. Francis of Assisi personifying altruism).  

When I first see a deck that has a narrow theme my first reaction is uh-oh, this deck probably won’t apply to me.  However, I had seen some of Nic Phillips’ card images online and his artwork intrigued me.  What can I say?  I’m a total sucker for bright colors.

I began using the deck right out of the box after I performed a quick cleansing on it.  I was shocked not only at how insightful and incredibly thorough the card interpretations are in the guide book provided, but I was highly impressed with how the images themselves tend to play with one another in a spread. If you take the time to just focus on the images and how they are relating to one another you can discern a great deal of what your reading means before you even crack the guide book open.  

The cards are printed in bright, vibrant colors on a very heavy duty thick cardstock.  Colored pencils and blendable watercolor pencils appear to be the main artistic mediums used.  For those of us with smaller hands this deck can be a bit difficult to shuffle as the cards have barely any “give” to them at all.  They are coated with a very fine laminate that will withstand years of use.  The card images are rectangular with a white border.  The title appears at the bottom of each card within the white border.  For those of us who are very much into trimming cards, this deck may be a bit of a chore for that job simply due to the thickness of the cardstock, but the images would lend themselves well to trimming as each is contained within a definite rectangular field. Card backs are white with a red sun and are completely reversible for those of us into reading reversed meanings.

Right out of the box the deck had a good “feel” to it and I enjoyed examining each image before I ever shuffled the deck.  Suits are Swords, Wands, Cups & Coins.  Majors deviate from the traditional titles with the following cards: 
  • The High Priestess is Inner Wisdom
  • The Empress is The Creative
  • The Chariot is The Quest
  • The Hanged Man is The Mystic
  • Temperance is Alchemy
  • The Devil is The Underworld
  • Judgement is The New Aeon
  • The World is The Universe
For the court cards gender references have been removed.  The Page is Awakening, The Knight is the Quester, the Queen is the Nurturer, and the King is the Master.

Due to the authors’ academic research they were both carrying out while creating the deck, the guidebook is thoroughly researched, well written, and the bibliography itself stands out as one of the finest that I have ever seen.  The bibliography goes on for 7 pages and contains sources by such noted luminaries in their respective fields as Joseph Campbell,  E. A. Wallis Budge, Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, Janet & Stewart Farrar, Carl Jung, John Matthews, Rachel Pollack,  Alan Richardson, and A. E. Waite.   

I hold a doctorate in Latin American Studies and my specialty is the Classic Maya civilization so I was thrilled that the authors cited works by scholars with whom I am very familiar, including John Bierhorst, Diego Duran, N. G. L. Hammonds, E. O. James, Miguel Leon-Portilla, Mary Miller, Roy Rappaport, and Karl Taube,  Others with whom many are familiar are also included:  Homer, Ovid, Sir Thomas Mallory, Kant, Keats, Plato, Plutarch, Sophocles, and even J. M. Barrie (the author of Peter Pan).  In short, the bibliography is the type one would find as part of a scholar’s dissertation.  It is quite impressive and is an excellent starting point for anyone who wishes to delve further into the topic of male deities and archetypes.    

From a scholarly standpoint alone the guide book stands on its own as an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to research the God Archetype as every card is a portrayal of either a male aspect of Deity or someone who exemplified traits of Deity, such as the mortal Greek philosopher Socrates as the Nurturer of Swords and Alexander the Great as the 2 of Wands.  The guide book alone stands as an outstanding contribution to the study of myth and the cultural variation and commonality all humans have seen in or ascribed to the God Archetype throughout history.  

The amount of information available for each card is extensive.  The card descriptions begin with a discussion of the card’s imagery followed by a thorough discussion of the god depicted and his major myth.  Each god is also placed into historical and cultural context.  I highly recommend you take the time to read the guidebook because you will learn a great deal about male gods, heroes, and saints that will put each card into its proper context.  Such a large amount of information can be overwhelming, so the authors were nice and also concluded the discussion of each card with keywords that serve as a brief interpretation.  The guide book concludes with ten spreads.

The packaging is very nice with a sturdy laminated cardboard box with a hinged magnetized lid containing two recessed wells, one for the cards and one for the book.  The lid is further attached to the box with white silken ribbon.  It makes for a very fine and attractive presentation.

I’m enjoying using this deck and I plan to provide you with a sample reading soon so you can see more of the card images.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Four Word Self Help

Four Word Self Help: Simple Wisdom for  
Complex Lives
Patti Digh
Skirt!  Morris Publishing Group, LLC.
An imprint of Globe Pequot Press
Guilford, CT.
ISBN #: 978-1-59921-980-6

A small hardcover book that packs a punch.  Patti Digh is known for her award-winning blog, 37days.com and for her previous and much beloved book, Life is a Verb, a finalist for a Books for a Better Life award.  Her work centers around releasing what we hold back (worries, fears, anxieties) and focusing upon and accentuating the positive in our lives. 

Her latest offering narrows her focus down just a bit, in fact, quite a bit now that I think about it.  Her focus is now narrowed down to just four words.  Patti Digh believes that most things can be taken down to their very basic components that would consist of no more than four words.  She gives the example of having written a diet book, something she tweeted on Twitter a while ago in response to someone who tweeted they had just written a diet book.  Patti Digh tweeted back something to the effect of, “so have I:  eat less, move more.”  End of tweet and the end of Patti Digh’s book on dieting.  She said that for most of us, that’s what a diet really boils down to so why not take dieting down to its more bare and basic components and leave it at that?  I thought as I read this book, “yeah, why not?”

This approach sure does simplify things, and that’s the entire theme of Four Word Self Help.  Make things as simple as possible and then they may just stick with people. 

The book is illustrated throughout with the artwork of visitors to Patti Digh’s blog.  Each image is accompanied by a four-word phrase that sums up an attitude or approach to life that is intended to help the reader to simplify things in his or her life and to come up with a more positive approach and attitude towards the complexities of life.  Section titles are:  Community, Love, Stress, Travel, Soul, Wellness, Success, Green Activism, Children, Generosity, and Endings.  Each section has an introduction by the author and the remainder of the chapter consist of the artwork of blog visitors accompanied by a four-word phrase that sums up an approach, attitude, or belief regarding that area of life. 

I really enjoyed reading this little book, which only took me a couple of hours.  The use of only four words on most pages will cause a book to go by pretty fast.  The illustrations by her blog visitors are delightful and whimsical.  This book may not be for everyone, but if you ever find you’re in need of a jump-start regarding your positive attitude toward life, then this book would definitely make a very nice and lovely go-to reference and it’s small enough at 4 7/8” x 6 ½” x ¾” to be carried in a purse.  Who could ask for more?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living in the NOW

For the past few days I have been focusing on the NOW.  I make it a point to now look around me & inwardly (or outwardly, as the case may be) express appreciation & gratitude for something.  I’m working on doing this on a regular basis.

My guides have always told me to “think in the NOW.”  Focus on the present moment, enjoy what’s going on around me, and forget about the past.  I have suffered from bad knees since the age of 9 when I fell on the ice and injured my left knee.  My guides have told me all pain is based in emotion and that pain in the knees (they included hips, ankles & feet, as well) was caused by dwelling on past hurts or fearing movement forward in life.  They have told me that by focusing on the NOW that I can leave my knee pain in the past where it belongs.

Well, a lot of you know how this is.   Your guides tell you something, but your ego-mind gets in the way and right away you start thinking, “yeah, right!  I’ve been to 9 specialists over the years, none of them could help me so why in the world would something that sounds so simple work?”

That’s how I felt so I basically ignored the message they’ve been sending me for years now.  Then the other day in an email from a Facebook friend, she told me the same thing.

My brain is very print/image oriented.  I’m an artist and a writer so for me images and words carry tremendous importance and can have a huge impact on me.  Celeste told me that all pain has an emotional basis and if I could identify the emotion or past trauma and release it, that would help my knees.
I sat there and just stared at her email thinking, “wow, that’s just what my guides have been telling me all these years!”  Seeing what they have been telling me in print and sent from another person really drove the point home with me.

Photo Credit:  Ruth Ibbotson, 2011
So, now everyday when I get up I start the date with a thought about NOW and what I am grateful for.  Today it was being grateful for our nice, comfy king-size bed.  Yesterday I started the day being grateful for indoor plumbing – something I had until now always taken for granted.  I figured why not express gratitude for something you use several times a day and have done so your entire life since being out of diapers, right?

Throughout the day I now make an effort to look around and express gratitude for something.  When you do this it helps to anchor you in the NOW.  If you’re busy looking around yourself expressing gratitude for various people, situations, events, and things you are not dwelling on the past in that moment.  Make it a habit and that leaves less time to dwell.

Right now I cast my gaze to the left here and am thinking, “I’m grateful to Gloria Jean for having created such a gorgeous tarot deck, The Infinite Visions.” 

It’s that easy, and the more you do it the easier and more frequent it gets.  Also, when we express gratitude for the nice things we have in our lives we attract more good things to us.  So it’s really a win-win situation.

I think this method is working because since starting this my knees feel really good.  The other day did I get a twinge of pain & it was in the left knee, which hasn't bothered me in years. I had just gotten back from the grocery store & I thought, "man, I hate grocery shopping!"  Then *** TWINGE! ***  So then I changed the thought to, "I appreciate having a grocery store so close to my house so that I don't have to hunt or gather our food!"  Then the twinge stopped!  

Is that awesome, or what???

Focus on the NOW.  Be grateful for what you have, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to you, and in time you will make this a regular habit and things from your past will move further and further away from you in time and also in thought.  This is what I’ll be doing and I’ll keep you all updated on how I’m doing.

I’ve begun a NOW journal.  In it I endeavor to list at least 3 things a day for which I am grateful.  Today, being the 4 of July my list reads:

  • I’m grateful for being born in America & I’m grateful to all of our courageous servicemen/woman who have fought (and are still fighting) bravely for our country. (OK, that's 2 things for which I'm grateful)
  • I’m grateful for my daughter’s laughter, which always makes my heart sing.
  • I’m grateful for my Subaru Forester, which I really love because it’s so comfy and dependable.
I'm grateful for my cat, Dickens who loves Lisa Hunt's Celtic Dragon Tarot as much as I do!
It’s not hard to come up with a daily list of three things for which you’re grateful.  I ask that you all join me in this and as I keep you all updated I hope you’ll share your comments about your own experiences below in the comments section.

Until next time I wish you & yours many blessings while living in the NOW,

Nefer Khepri