In Focus - Runes - A Review

 Today I am reviewing - "In Focus - Runes" by Jan Budkowski.

  • Book Link
  • Author Link - I was unable to locate any link directly to this author's page. If you find something, feel free to message me and I'll update the page.
  • Release Date - November 30, 2021

I'll start with a physical review of the book. The book is a great backpack sized hardcover book with a vibrantly colored and well illustrated cover.  It has a standard index and glossary in the back of the book but does offer a reference wall chart for the reader. I'll go back to my last review from Quarto Knows to say that again the font on the title page is very small.  The color of the page, combined with the font size makes this page very difficult to read.

This ten chapter book is not short on information. The author begins our journey into the magical world of runes by giving us a history lesson. Pages eight through twenty give us the history of runes and their origins. Including a simple (and short) explanation of the Aesir Gods and the Vanir Gods and how they relate to one another. Included in this is a table that outlines a few of the gods and their associated rune.

From there, our author takes us on a look at some of the Nordic Mythology. We are guided through the tales of Odin, Aesir & Vanir, The Norn and the nine worlds of Yggdrasil.  Each broken down with basic information on location, residents and descriptions. Finally this chapter ends with three of the legends including the story of Ragnarok. Condensed, but an well written explanation of the tale. 

Next we're taken into the main object of this book.  Runes!  The author breaks down the runes into Freya's aett, Hagal's Aett and Tyr's Aett and provides meanings, key ideas and images for each. The rest of the book is focused on our runes and how we interact with them. From cleansings to readings the book takes you through a step by step processing on the creation and care of runes. From a single draw to large spreads the author shows how we can conduct our own rune castings and run magic.  

Overall this is a great book for the novice and learned practitioner a like. Even with my experience with runes, there was new information in this book that I found interesting. I feel the section on the Nordic Mythology as well as how the rune sets are broken down was extremely interesting. While a high level look at the history of runes, I believe it does provide a solid look at the tool and is worth the read. And the 18X24 wall chart isn't bad either!


In Focus - Divination - A Review

 Today I'm reviewing - "In Focus: Divination" by Steven Bright.

  • Book Link
  • Author Link
  • Release Date - November 30, 2021

I'll begin with the physical book.  I have reviewed other books in the In Focus series from Quarto Knows and they are all well made.  This hardcover edition comes with a lovely cover design as well as a 18X24 inch wall chart. It is full of illustrations and charts that provide a great deal of information, however I felt the font could be just a little larger on the title page. This book offers an well organized index, giving readers the ability to find information based on divination method or by object.

I have read several books based on divination.  Each had the typical methods that we all know. Mirror scrying, palmistry or firemancy to name a few.  This book delves off the beaten path by offering some methods that I had not heard of.  While including such topics as Tea Leaf Reading, Elder Futhark Runes, Reading colors and the I Ching; the author also includes some interesting chapters that I'll go into below.

Witches Runes - Based on incomplete text from the middle east, witches runes are said to be thirteen images that held power for the people of those times. According to the book, these runes are easier to read than some other types of runes based on their basic shapes and their limited number. The sun for example is a simple line drawing of the sun.  The same is the case for the star, the moon and the crossroads. The author provides a table with the runes and corresponding interpretations when the runes appear in pairs.  A pull of the man rune and the moon rune is said to indicate a secretive male.

Reading Shells - (Conhomancy) This type of divination is used around the world and according to this book they are central in practices originating in West Africa and is used in Santeria, Umbanda and Candomble religions. The author instructs the reader on how to choose a shell, the shapes and styles of shells and then breaks down each.  An Abalone for example is associated with peace, love and compassion. The way the shell falls can indicate its meaning, the dull side up would be a lack of these qualities, while shiny side up would be an abundance. 

Reading Flowers - (Floromancy) This type of divination is typically a handed down tradition kept within families with hand drawn images and meanings that are then interpreted by the reader with their own experiences added.  Some flowers have a widely accepted meaning that goes outside the magical community such as the red rose as being a symbol of love while the yellow a symbol for friendship.  The divination beings with the practitioner placing a group of flowers in a vase or on a table and the client picks one using their own intuition.  The reading is delivered based on the meaning of the flower chosen. Though typically meanings are kept within the practitioners lineage, the author has provided a simple chart with a list of flowers and their meanings for the reader. Gardenia equates to secret love, yellow carnation to rejection and the daisy to innocence or hope.  The author goes on to outline the parts of the flower and their meaning and give a detailed overview of flower scrying.  Over all one of the most interesting chapters for me in this book.

This book comes with so much more information. With over fourteen chapters, the author takes us on a journey of divination from around the world. PLUS a huge wall chart included!  I found it to be informative and entertaining. I believe this would be a great book for even the most experienced diviner as it offers a look into some not so common methods.  I highly recommend taking the time to check out this book.



Real Talk Tarot - A Review

 Today I'm reviewing Real Talk Tarot illustrated by Juanita Londono Gaviria.

Deck Link

Illustrator Link

Release Date: October 5, 2021

I'll start with a physical review of the deck and accompanying book.  The set comes boxed and is of average size. It could easily be tossed in a tote bag or backpack.  The book is a small soft cover book with some pretty small fonts.  Even with my reading glasses on, it was a struggle to read the thin, tiny font. The book has no index but it does offer a short introduction in the front as well as a few spreads for those beginning their reading adventures.  

It also offers a quick reference guide. This is a list of all the cards in the deck (which are the traditional Rider/Waite deck) with a couple of keywords for each. For example, the Fool has the words risk and beginnings.  The magician has the words action, manifestation and ambition. The 10 of cups has family and happiness. I found this to be extremely useful addition to a tarot book. Not many think about this aspect and I believe it can help guide a beginner on how to work with the Tarot.  The card description section has the traditional upright and reversed meanings just as a typical deck with the addition of a short phrase before each section. On the chariot card the words are "you're going places, baby" and the emperor card has "father knows best".  Again I thought this was a cute way to update the deck and provide a fresh look at a familiar topic.

The main changes here in this deck are the illustrations. This is a completely modern take on the Tarot and our illustrator has taken the liberty of changing what we would expect in a traditional deck and flipped it on its head. For example, our death card (one of the most popular in the Rider/Waite deck) is riding a bus about town! Some of my favorite cards were the Justice card which feature a woman of color blindfolded with the scales of justice just to her left and right. The chariot card which again features a woman of color, this time with earbuds and a road running from top to bottom with cards, a bicycle and an airplane around her. 

Over all a cute whimsical deck that brings a bit of creativity and modernization to our traditional tarot. This is a great set for the novice and advanced reader alike. It offers a fresh look and a fun way to explore the mysteries of divination. 

I hope you have enjoyed this look at the Real Talk Tarot. If you use this deck or have any feedback feel free to contact the page.  Leave a comment or reachout over chat/email.



Conscious Creativity - A Review

 Today's review is Conscious Creativity - Cards for thinking outside the box, by Philippa Stanton.

This was an interesting review. I've been asked to review many media types. From short stories, to novels to oracle and tarot cards to now this. I' don't really know how to categorize it. As you sit down with this deck, don't expect it to be like any other deck you've ever had. At least I have not found it to be like any other. The box is colorful and the small book included seem to be much the same as any other boxed set of cards.  However that's where the similarity ends.

Under the first few pages, the author tells us that there isn't a definitive way to use the cards. The author recommends taking cards at random from the deck and connecting with the image or the words. The interesting thing about this deck, is that the imagery doesn't appear to have any real connection to the message on the back or the other cards in the deck.  When we think about the Angels and Ancestors Oracle deck, for example, these cards are all related to the ancestors of human kind and the assorted angelic beings from the heavens. In the case of this deck, the images are more random.

In the booklet the author tells use that the suits are - Circles, Squares, Triangles, Lines, Textures, Nature, Reflections and Shadows. Each suit then contains thirteen colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Purple, Pink, Aqua, Brown, Black, White and Metallic. 

In the final pages of the book,  each of the suits are listed with pictures. There are 104 cards in this deck with 2 jokers. To me, it's a pretty big deck. Without the connection of what they are all based on I felt it to be a bit cumbersome to work with.

I spent some time reviewing the card images and working with the messages on the back and that too was a bit disconnected. I can see why this author told us that this was a way to think outside of the box. These cards are not on the same table as the box.  (laughs)

Overall a great new take on working with the randomness that is our life in general. I personally, found these cards a bit of a challenge to work with. If this is something that you have experience with or if you have other feedback feel free to leave your message and I'd love to have some engaging dialog on this.



Astrology Embroidery - A Review

 This is a review of Astrology Embroidery by Maya Hanisch. 

Very different from my standard reviews, today I have a book on a craft. This book has been created to teach the magic of embroidery using the signs of the zodiac as inspiration. First I'll review the physical book.  The books is a large soft cover book with easy to read fonts and great graphics. I wouldn't expect anything different with the author being an illustrator. There is no index but this book really doesn't need one.

The artist/author takes the time to help the reader learning the individual stitches that are used in the book. The layout of the book begins with the teaching section with each stitch outlined and then goes into showing how they are used with a set of pages for each sign.

The book doesn't stop there! There is a section for smaller creations that I simply adored!  The cat and the knowing hands were my absolute favorites!  I plan on putting these on one of my jean jackets!

The back of the book even has templates that can be used with tracing paper or a photocopier to make the job easier!  


Over all, simple book with brilliant designs and a great introduction for witchy folks into the journey of embroidery. I could see using the knowing hands on a gris gris bag and chanting your incantations with each stitch!

If you try this out, let me know! I'd love to see your creations!



Ethereal Grind - Resin Tumblers

 Eli has been hard at work creating some amazing resin tumblers. These are one of a kind art pieces that are also functional hot and cold beverage containers. I wanted to take a moment to share some of his fantastic work.  You can find these and many more on our website.

Here are a couple of videos we created of his work.