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Deck Interview: Book of Shadows as Above

December 13, 2012

by Barbara Moore

This is an interesting deck that I got in a trade for another deck.  It is very Pagan in nature, a little too Wicca-focused but easily enough ignored for the most part.  While it is set up like a typical Rider-Waite clone at first glance, by reading the book you soon realize that it is more stand alone than clone (Ha!  Unintended rhyme!).  This is actually part of a set.  The second deck (which appears to be more of the R-W clone than this one) is due out sometime in 2013 but you may be able to use any deck with this one.  I have not tried the two deck methodology with this one, as of yet.  The book is actually in color which is very unusual.

As Above expresses modern Pagan teachings, so this would be a good deck for a new Pagan but not someone looking to learn standard tarot.  The artwork is lovely though some of the cards are a bit too dark which makes me wonder if there was a printing issue.  As with a lot of modern Pagans, there is too much emphasis on the feminine instead of balancing it with the masculine which is my only major complaint.  The water suite corresponds to various goddesses while the fire suite revolves around astrology that just happens to correspond to male divinities.  The court cards are elemental, maiden, mother, crone yet it would have been very easy and appropriate to do two of the suites as youth, father, sage.  In the authors defense she does talk about the masculine divinities being like the sun which doesn’t have phases whereas the feminine divinities are more like the moon with their phases.

In the book, the majors section is not in numeric order and the Courts are separated from the minors.  The minors are set up as Fire/Salamander/Astrology/Energy, Air/Sylphs/Divination/Communication, Water/Undines/Goddesses/Relationships,  and Earth/Gnomes/Nature/the physical.  The book also contains details on the yet to be published 2nd deck and allows for reverse meanings.

(Really what do I have to do to get a modern Pagan deck that is either god-focused or equally balanced?!  Umm, sorry.  Back to the topic at hand!)

I did this reading several days ago but holiday planning has kept me from writing it up.  The who card makes the rest of the reading  make more sense.

  1. What is your most important characteristic?  VII/Transformation – change, movment, cycles, keeping things rolling
  2. What can you do? XIV/Ostara – (reminds me of Iris) bring messages, a bridge between realms
  3. What can’t you do? 8 of Earth/Air Creatures, reversed – (had issues with the reversed meaning didn’t make sense in this instance) push you? be obtuse? over analyze?
    1. Clarifier for 8ER:  10 of Air/Tarot – give beneficial direction
      1. I think this is trying to say that it won’t hinder me by being abstract
  4. What is your curriculum? 6 of Water/Wisdom and Culture – creatively assist you in connecting with others
  5. How should I use you? XVI/Omens – whenever troubled
  6. Final thoughts? 5 of Earth/Mountains and Waterfalls, Reversed – Helpful for when back sliding or overwhelmed too.
  7. Who wants to work through you? 8 of Water/Magic and Transformation – the first item on the image that jumped out at me is the cauldron with a face in the mist above it.  I immediately thought of the Well symbol I have on my altar which is a copper cauldron.  Ancestors?
    1. I drew a clarifier to be sure I was not mistaken:  4 of Water/Healing – the first thing my eyes focused upon in this card is the well at the Lady’s feet.  I am taking that as a yes.  Surprised as I had given up on finding a better deck to dedicate to the Ancestors.  While I love Circle of Life, I just do not read well with it.  Many of the cards I just do not connect with it.

So I then asked what I should do with the Circle of Life deck.  Air Elemental – don’t know/care; clarifier:  Book of Shadows – blank book.  So it it seems they agree that the deck is unhelpful for my divination needs as it is a blank book which tells no lies but no truths either.  Will probably add this one to the trade pile.

Guess what?  I remembered to take a picture.  Are you applauding?  You should be!

Interveiw Spread for The Book of Shadows -As Above Tarot

Interveiw Spread for The Book of Shadows -As Above Tarot

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Anne permalink
    December 13, 2012 6:30 PM

    I envy your ability with the Tarot… I hope I can change that soon – tarot decks have never spoken to me until recently (you know what I mean)… That deck certainly looks interesting, and I do appreciate the reviews. Nice to know, ya know?


    • December 13, 2012 8:13 PM

      Thanks. Divination is something that fascinates me. I’ve been studying divination with cards (tarot and oracles) for years, off and on. Sometimes I do well, other times not so much. 🙂


  2. ladyimbrium permalink
    December 13, 2012 8:01 PM

    I’ve only ever had any measurable success with the standard RW deck types. Might just be me. Your reviews are pretty amazing btw.


    • December 13, 2012 8:12 PM

      Depends on the deck. I tend to rely more up on what I see in the deck with only the author’s definitions as secondary.


  3. Tabathina permalink
    December 13, 2012 8:02 PM

    I’m wondering what the “As Below” deck is supposed to offer? Is it the minors and this deck is the majors? I’m unclear.

    I dunno – have to admit that I’m a little underwhelmed with the sudden outpouring of decks from Barbara Moore in such a short period of time. I feel that they’ve been rushed and not entirely fully thought out.

    The same with Doreen Virtue, although she doesn’t center on Tarot – more oracles. Still, at some point many of her cards – although from different decks – are the same. Same meanings. Similar illustrations… you catch my drift, I’m sure. At some point, these all become irrelevant – and isn’t the point of tarot to be relevant? To be useful?

    Anyway, I don’t mean to bag on Barbara Moore or your review. I’m a little tired, though, of some of the repetition in the world of Tarot by many of the same people! I suppose it doesn’t help, either, that many of these people/authors/illustrators are on social media – so I’ve seen their posts about churning this stuff out. Complaining about deadlines, etc, etc, and it does damper my excitement as I think “So this was a rushed deck and I’m supposed to plop down $30 dollars for it and hope it all makes sense?”


    • December 13, 2012 8:11 PM

      As Above is a complete deck: Majors, Minors including Court Cards. I don’t know that I’ve seen any of her other decks. As Below is also a complete deck.

      Different decks speak to different people. I’m a more image oriented person. If I do not like the deck, it won’t work for me. Half of the time, even the decks I like do not work. [Shrug]


    • December 13, 2012 8:24 PM

      Also I think the tarot publishing business is collector driven. If people wouldn’t collect everything that came down the pike, maybe the quality would go up…but I imagine the price would too.


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