English Magic Tarot

So I picked up this deck about a month ago. It was created by Rex Van Ryn, Steve Dooley, Andy Letcher, and published by Weiser Books in 2016. I think I paid about $7 for my copy from Amazon. Changing Hands wanted $30. NO.

That having been said, I do like the deck–on the whole. The images are clear and bright, and done in a comic book style. The art reminds me a LOT of the Whitewolf games from the mid 90’s. I like the coloured borders for each suit as well. It makes it easier for beginners to learn each suit and pick them apart in a reading. This is basically a RWS clone, and so anyone familiar with that deck should be able to pick this one up and read with it without too many issues.

The downside is the cards are HUGE. I have small hands, even for a woman, and these cards are unwieldy in the extreme. I was afraid I’d bend them shuffling, but fortunately, I didn’t. The cardstock has a nice matte finish that photographs well, but seems sort of thin. There’s also no bag for the cards. They are stored in two piles inside an insert in the box. I don’t really like this as the top cards can slide around inside the box and get damaged.

The LWB is hardly little. It’s fully illustrated with a whole page about each card. They do explain some of the hidden bits in the images, but it still doesn’t change the fact it’s a RWS clone. It’s nicely designed and fits neatly on top of the cards inside the box.

I’ll use this deck upon request, but I’m not taking it anywhere. The lack of a box to fix the cards inside the main storage box is a pain. Also, the raw size of the cards make them difficult to use. So this is going to be a deck more for my collection than actually using. I’m just glad I got it for a song new instead of coughing up the full MSRP.

The box and book:


The cards: English Magic




Blinding Dark

I haven’t updated in a while because $reasons. Anyway, I do more than just Tarot. Music is also my thing, esp. synthpop, Goth, and Industrial. Covenant has been one of my fave bands for close to 20 years now and this is their new album.

Soo…Blinding Dark…

Disclaimer: this album was NOT given to me for any compensation. Eskil Simonsson and Stefan Herwig (Head of Dependent Records) are old and dear friends of mine and I miss them both terribly. 😦 I got the hotshit box set as a birthday gift. Unfortunately, the top of the box has a bald patch where it got damaged in shipping. Eskil should just sign over the damage next time I see him. 😉

I’m only reviewing the main disc, not Psychonaut or the supplemental materials, as I don’t know what version people will be getting. Also, bear in mind I have the European box set. The US version has a different track order that frankly doesn’t work well. I’d also like to get my hands on the schmuck who classed its genre as metal? Wait…what?

Here goes nothing:

1) Fulwell: this would be a good stage intro track. As an album track, it’s a smidge long and can be easily skipped.

2) I Close My Eyes: a lovely 90 bpm meditation in B-flat major. This song has been floating around since about 2009 or so. I’m glad it found a home. This is probably my fave song on the album by a very narrow margin. I can listen to this one on repeat for hours.

3) Morning Star: Interesting song and a logical evolution from their Europa-era material. I like the hip-hop-ish beat used here. Definitely has a menacing feel to it, and in a good way. It could be mistaken for a track taken from Northern Lights, though. Not a bad thing.

4) Cold Reading: I actually *like* the vocal effects in this song. This song is classic Covenant. There’s no ambiguity and sounds like an upgraded version of something off Sequencer. I would very much like to see this become a new club anthem instead of ‘Tears In Rain.’ Hear that, local DJs? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS (un)HOLY NO MORE TEARS IN GODDAMNED RAIN. YOU PLAY IT TOO FUCKING MUCH. But this track works as a companion piece or sequel to ‘Liquid Sky,’ another of my fave songs by them.

5) Rider On A White Horse: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? This is a cover of a Lee Hazelwood song. Thematically, sure, it fits the rest of the album. But it just doesn’t work. It definitely drags down the pace of the album while thankfully not bringing it to a screeching halt like ‘I Walk Slow’ did on Leaving Babylon. But Erica Li’s voice is like a chainsaw outside my window at noon waking me up (fucking annoying) and this song is just No. Nope. No. Nope. SKIP. They should have put ‘In Theory’ from the Sound Mirrors single on here. It would have worked better.

6) Interlude I: meh, generic. Daniel Meyer gets a pat on the head here for effort. I’m not really a Haujobb fan and this sounds like a Haujobb teaser. Next!

7) Dies Irae: Latin for Day of Wrath, we get a real song again. Definitely in the vein of material off Skyshaper and LB, but with a bit of an edge to it. I forget who wrote this, but I know it was one of those existential authors a hundred years ago. Some guy shouted out to the universe ‘I exist!’ and the universe said, ‘So what?’ That was the gist of it anyway and it’s pretty much the theme of the song.

8) Sound Mirrors (Fulwell): This is the main single off the album, and it was a good choice. I could do without the 45-second intro, but other than that, the song works. It’s a catchy, upbeat number that once again hearkens back to Northern Lights. Cut out the intro and it’d probably pack the dance floor. The soaring chorus *will* get stuck in your head for days. Also a good song for driving at speed across open desert at 3 am.

9) Interlude II: I’d reach up and give Andreas Catjar a pat on the head here for effort except I’d probably have to stand on a stepladder to do it. The guy’s what? 6’7? While this is better than the first Interlude, it still strikes me as filler more than anything.

10) If I Give My Soul: Tied with ‘I Close My Eyes’ for my fave on the album. Starting out very much like ‘The Men’ off Skyshaper, this goes into a very Tangerine Dreamish main song that reminds me a lot of ‘Crystal Voice’ off the Firestarter soundtrack. This is a good thing. Eskil: insecure much? I think everyone’s asked these questions of pretty much everyone else, whether they realize it or not.
– Call you? Absolutely, but the whole 8-9 hour time difference thing…email and Messenger are easier.
– Spit on you? Nope. Just don’t backwash if we wind up sharing drinks like usual, K?
– Die on you? I’ll try not to, but it wouldn’t be voluntary if I did. I’m too damned stubborn to go down without a hell of a fight.
– Leave you? Not unless you do or did something egregiously stupid or you lie to me, disrespect me, or take me for granted. But for being yourself? Nope–I’ll stick around for a while. You did summon me after all… 😉
– Die FOR you? HAHAHA buddy I love you but not that much. I’ll more than likely outlive you anyway. *sigh*

11) Summon Your Spirit: A good idea that essentially peters out and goes nowhere. It’s way too long for what it does. It works as a closer, but should have only been a couple minutes long, not 5:19. This probably should have been edited to make it much shorter or scrapped entirely.

So on the whole, I do like this album. They’ve achieved full redemption after the slickly overproduced and soulless shell that was Modern Ruin. Leaving Babylon was the halfway mark. Their most accessible album remains Skyshaper, but this is tied for 2nd with United States of Mind. It could flow better, but it’s not the disjointed mess that the US track order is. I would have split it into three even sections with the interludes marking each one. Regardless, this is one that will grow on the listener with time.

**** or 4/5. It’s not perfect. Don’t miss it.


Hey folks,

I’m just poking my head in the door to let you all know I’m alive, okay, and ready to read your cards. I know I haven’t updated in six months. Life got in the way.

Basically it boils down to:

  1. I didn’t have all that much to say recently regarding Tarot. If there’s nothing new to say, why rehash the same old crap?
  2. Allergies. As some of you know, I’m asthmatic with a nasty permanent case of hay fever. Phoenix is the worst in the country for airborne allergens in the spring, so *everyone* suffers. In any case, my life basically shuts down from around Christmas to the beginning of May for this reason. Prednisone may be a fun ride but one of its side effects is incoherency. No thanks.
  3. I’m currently restoring all my data from a complete hard drive crash. Lesson learned: BACK MY SHIT UP. I’ve been restoring things for the last three weeks and I’m *almost* done. Mainly I lost a few pdf files and mp3s, but I know where to scare those up. Still. Once again, lesson learned. BACK MY SHIT UP. *downs triple vodka gimlet and cries*

So I’m still on my cartomancy adventure and if you feel like joining me for the ride, great! This is where I’ve been. Where I’m going, I’m not so sure of that yet.

To Charge Or Not

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

There’s always the question of whether or not to charge for readings. Some say it’s a gift from on High, others say it’s a skill. There’s eternal debate on this issue and frankly it drives me nuts.

My answer? Do what feels right for YOU, the reader!! I charge for readings, but I’ve also been doing this virtually my entire life. I’ve spent countless hours reading books on Tarot, and indeed the occult in general, as well as reading cards. I’ve gotten some decks for gifts but I’ve bought most of them on my own time with my own money. I’ve also spent vast amounts of time just reading cards for test readings. This doesn’t count ancillary skills, like listening well and counseling, that are critical to being a good card reader. Sure, the reader can interpret the symbols, but if they don’t LISTEN to their sitter, they’re going to suck. Then it’s time to drop the mike and go home.

That having been said, my fee schedule is a lot more flexible than people realize. I’ve got quite a few people on my barter list and they pay me via things like sushi dinners, drinks at the clubs, etc. I’ve also known most of them since we were all kids. People I haven’t known a long time are only as good as their money is, and I *will* tack on what I feel is an asshole surcharge. In other words, a client argues about my fees, and they go UP, NOT down. Begging for free readings gets a Grumpy Cat and nothing more.


Failing to respect that tells me far more about the client than it does about me as a reader. If they continue, they get another Grumpy Cat image:


I also have no problem firing clients if I have to.

So anyway, the moral of the story is that you, the reader, need to decide if you want to charge for readings. If you do, great! The best course of action there is to find out what others in your area are charging, if there are any other readers in your area, and then set a median price. You don’t want to go too low starting out, but you don’t want to overcharge, either. You’ll find a happy medium in time. And if you don’t want to charge for readings, that’s fine too! It’s up to you. Decide what you want and then stick to it. Respect your time and your boundaries and you’ll find others will as well.

Hello world!

Hi Everyone!

I’m Cat, and I’m a cartomancer. This means I tell fortunes with cards, basically. Tarot is the best known form of this, but playing cards are a close second. Lenormand is a European system that’s only now catching on in the States, but has been known across the pond for a couple hundred years now. I also am learning the Zigeuner Gypsy cards.

I’m also handy with runes, though that doesn’t fall under cartomancy because it’s not with cards. It falls under sortilege, or the casting of lots. I’ve found them to be unnervingly accurate over the years.

So poke around, take your time, and if you like what you see, subscribe!

Let’s learn together.