Review: Smith-Waite Borderless Tarot

Review: Smith-Waite Borderless Tarot

Smith-Waite Tarot TemperanceBy now, everybody is familiar with the images in the Rider-Smith-Waite Tarot. After all, they’re the images that cemented the symbolism of tarot, and virtually every other deck since has used those cards as a basis for its own images. But no matter how well you know the Rider-Smith-Waite (RSW) Tarot, you’ll see them in a whole new light in the new Smith-Waite Borderless Tarot from US Games.

For this deck, US Games has sought to depict the images as accurately to Pamela Colman Smith’s original work as possible. It might seem hyperbolic to call the end result “transcendent”, but that’s really what we have here. The artwork here is pristine and clear, avoiding the overly-mimeographed quality that can sometimes come from the standard RSW. There is almost no color bleed here, the lines and text are cleaner, and the overall color palette is warmer and more muted. The images possess a timeless quality while also having a kind of charming antiquity. The cards could easily be used as a prop for a high-budget period film right out the box.

Smith-Waite Tarot BackOne of the nicest elements of the deck is the card backs. Instead of the harsh, crisscrossing lines of the standard RSW deck, the Smith-Waite has a rich green back with a white rose in the center. Astute observers will note that it’s the same white rose from the flag on the Death card. In the corners of the back are Smith’s signature, giving the deck a distinct ownership. Waite may have told Smith what to illustrate, but this deck is more hers than his.

But no matter how beautiful the cards are, what’s important is how it reads, and the Smith-Waite reads beautifully. Even for those of us who don’t necessarily connect with the RSW, this deck reads very easily, having an accessible and open kind of energy. The lack of borders also helps to bring the artwork front and center, emphasizing the composition and structure of the symbols on each card. The one drawback to reading with the deck is the cardstock. While sturdy and fine, the cards are rather thick and slick right out of the box. You may need to do some extra shuffling to loosen them up and read on a good, velvet mat to make sure the cards don’t slide around.

Smith-Waite Tarot DuetOne of the deck’s most interesting features is the addition of four cards depicting other artwork by Smith. Several of these were included as postcards in US Games’ previously-released Smith-Waite Commemorative box set. The Little White Book inside the deck does not assign a divinatory meaning to any of the cards, and they are not given a number or place in the deck itself. However, there’s no reason that they can’t be incorporated into the deck for readings. Each of the cards’ art was inspired by a corresponding piece of music or theatre from sources as diverse as Schumann, Stravinsky, and George William Russell. Like the rest of the cards in the deck, these four pieces have multiple layers of meaning that can be explored. The meaning of each card is therefore left up to the reader, giving an extra personal edge to any readings done with them.

Smith-Waite Tarot King of PentaclesThe Smith-Waite deck is, frankly, a gorgeous addition to any tarot enthusiast’s library. While it may initially seem to be just another variation on the most common and popular deck of all time, it is in reality its own thing. Softer, but somehow more resonant than the original, and equal parts nostalgia and reinvention, it’s a great deck for beginners and veterans alike.

Full Moon in Pisces: Cooling Down the Fires

Full Moon in Pisces: Cooling Down the Fires

The cosmos cools down into the earth element, as the last days of summer are relished with the sweet Pisces full moon opposing sun in precise Virgo on August 26. A grand earth trine forms a kite with the Pisces moon, yielding a rich time to tune into imaginative powers and plan to manifest long lost dreams. The Pisces moon is quite the contradiction to the tone earlier in the summer.

Mercury retrograded in Leo from July 26-August 19, coupled with a volcanic Uranus-Mars square and three eclipses. These ingredients represented a dichotomy of forces, holding still and running in place while imploding and exploding. This blast of fire and volatility set off by the eclipses July 27 and August 11 burned away the inessentials until a pure essence revealed itself, as in the alchemical process of calcination. It is, in essence, a purification with fire.

Jupiter nears the end of its dance in Scorpio, squaring off with Mercury in Leo and permeating the atmosphere with a golden decadence, though excessiveness could be a side effect. The tide turns poignantly August 28 when Mars goes direct in Capricorn, timing closely with the full moon August 26. The summer was flavored with complexity, and when both Mercury and Mars are direct, the messages harvested from this summer are ready for translation to yield practical, concrete solutions.

Burn a Ganesha Pillar candle to help mitigate the obstacles and blockages encountered over the summer, as Ganesha helps us to clear the road ahead. Seek nature-based guidance through the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson, which draw from Native animal medicine traditions. Consider carnelian with its warm grounding energies and amethyst with its cool, fresh insight as gemstones for the current sky’s vibration.

Cleansing With Kananga Water

Cleansing With Kananga Water

Kananga Water is a cologne used by spiritualists since the early 20th century. Made with Ylang Ylang, Kananga Water is used especially when working with ancestors or spirits of the dead. It has also been used by some for purification rituals, similar to how Florida Water is used. Large plantations of cananga trees were established all over the Caribbean by the British, from which the Ylang Ylang flower blooms. Their sweet scent was worn and used by rootworkers ever since. Common uses for Kananga Water include:

  • Place some Kananga Water in an offering bowl on your altar. This helps clear away negative energy and attracts ancestral blessings (But make sure to keep away from candles as Kananga Water is highly flammable)
  • Wash your hands in Kananga Water before conducting a tarot reading to gain an energetic boost to your session.
  • For spiritualists that work in cemeteries, washing gravestones with Kananga Water helps attract good energy to the honored dead that reside there.
  • Dab some Kananga Water on the back of your neck and wrist for ancestral protection and purification.

Kananga Water can be used in place of Florida water or alongside it in purification ceremonies. If you’re curious about trying Kananga Water for yourself, stop by the Eye of Horus today to pick some up (or find it in our online store)!