Cassandra Snow

Magickal. Practical. Radical.

Cassandra Snow is a tarot card reader, writer, and theater artist professionally. This website is focused on her life in tarot, with substantial references to witchcraft, LGBTQ+ community, and chronic illness.

Filtering by Tag: independent oracle deck

Tangled Roots Oracle Gets AMAZING Update

Hello all! This post is so long overdue, and I'm happy to finally be sitting down and writing it. Some of you may remember back in April, I reviewed the first run of a friend's deck, and while I overall loved it (and it's the only Oracle deck I use regularly), I had some issues with one card--the Commitment card. To recap, the deck we're discussing is an incredible independent Oracle deck by Leora Effinger-Weintraub, called the Tangled Roots Oracle. The deck was created in the spirit of Leora's own spiritual tradition--the ecstatic tradition of the Upper Mississippi River Reclaiming community in Minnesota, USA., and while my own practice is incredibly eclectic, I responded very deeply to the deck's Earth based roots that still leave room for the very human experience of well, being human.

However, the original commitment card in the Tangled Oracle gave me cause for pause. While I myself am monogamous (mostly) and future-family minded, the rad queer in me had a lot of trouble accepting two wedding rings as a sign of commitment. I felt, and still feel, that that can be isolating for a lot of poly people, LGBTQ+ people, and even just Pagans who prefer handfasting or unique tradition to gold rings so often assumed to belong in heterosexual wedding scenarios, and in a deck so rooted in paganism and universality I felt it was particularly jarring.

Well, after hearing this feedback and taking some time to think about their own life and commitments, Leora updated their already spectacular Oracle deck, and this is the updated Commitment card:

When Leora's spouse handed me my copy of the updated card, something moved in me, very similar to the feeling most of the cards in this deck give me when I pull them, and I was thrilled when Leora had this to say about the update online: "The "Three Sisters" companion planting of corn, bean, and squash shows how multiple beings can grow together, supporting and nourishing each other. I honor all relationships: friendships, couples, open relationships, committed polyamory.... All the ways our commitment supports each other."

See, if you get readings from me, I am very likely to use gardening metaphors. Planting, harvesting, waiting, weeding, these are all crucial elements of most things in life, and this metaphor for all types of relationships struck the exact right chord. Furthermore, this card's very re-creation in this manner displays the themes at play in the card itself. In my critique, for example, I honored my commitment to honesty in relationships, and my commitment to my relationships as a result. In being so honest in my feedback, I displayed my commitment to better, more honest, more personal divination, as well as to Leora as a creator and friend who I knew could come up with something brilliant in lieu of the traditional wedding rings. In considering my feedback so heavily and creating such a card, Leora showed a commitment to their deck, our friendship, and their current art fans to keep pushing and creating things that represented the communities they're a part of. They showed a commitment to the Pagan community, the queer community, and the world at large to think outside the box.

With this update, this deck is a solid 10/10 for even skeptical Oracle deck users. The way the cards work together represent the Three Sisters plants growing in and of themself, and more than that, so many people are still living in the dark, terrified after last Tuesday. What better time to show your commitment to your friends, family, community--what better time to acknowledge that commitment isn't a one time gesture of generosity, but a lifetime of following that initial planting with maintenance and with cycles of death and rebirth and trust that no matter what happens, the things we've planted will grow again. This is a post I should've written a couple of months ago--but with everything that's happened recently, there is likely no better time to praise and honor the commitments my friends and I have made to each other. This card is breathtaking, and I hope everyone reading takes time to think about all the "Three Sisters" relationships in their life and how to use this card's lessons to honor and nurture them moving forward.

Again, you can check out Leora's deck here and grab your own. Thank you so much to the Effinger-Weintraub's and their commitment to our artsy, nerdy, Pagan friendship, and to Leora for creating such a beautiful deck.

Until next time, dear readers, Blessed be.

Embracing October

Oh wow, what a difference a month makes--as I knew it would be, September was VERY kind to me (in spite of some major health concerns over the past few weeks, but that's nothing I'm not used to). So many things leveled off and look normal now, which me at 22 would have run screaming from, but the me who's almost 32 could not be happier about. Managing chronic illness requires instituting a little more stability than my boho nature would nurture on it's own, and what a gift to be balancing what seems to be the best of both worlds finally. My magickal duty now is to nurture growth, integration, and protect what's already been gained. So much easier than so much of the "starting from scratch" the summer stuck me with, and now we're in my favorite month. October is when I met my queerplatonic partner. October is when I bonded with my current squad. October is Halloween/Samhain/my favorite temperatures/leaves falling/new shoes/the no-longer-useful dying off. October is when I breathe best, but before we fully embrace, and homage to this September, which was so gracious in it's own right.

On a walk along the river practically right beside my new place.

On a walk along the river practically right beside my new place.

  • My Tarot Practice finally has a studio of it's own! I adore having an in-home studio. I know a lot of readers don't love or trust working this way, but for me it really does make my life make so much more sense. I also got to read at Pagan Pride at Minnehaha Falls, which was wonderful. I'm also head over heels in love with coaching tarot newbies. I am soon rolling out a package for in person coaching sessions, but the tl;dr version will have two offerings: one that is a total coaching package, 3.5 month commitment. The other is one of sessions for those who just need to meet up once or twice to ask my opinion on a few things they're confused about, get some guided practice, or learn some new viewpoints. Both will be $50 a session and you can email me to get started now!
  • Things I Wrote: Still in love with my turn at Little Red Tarot, and over at TheColu.mn I'm still rocking that arts beat. No new gigs but that should be changing before the end of the year.
  • Theatre Life: Uh, I guess I open a show next weekend? It's REAL good and I'm so proud to have produced it. Also if you're Twin Cities located and looking for a spot for a poetry slam, workshop, rehearsal, or seminar, check out Gadfly's rental packages! AND I had a blast being the point person on our latest Drunk Queer History event. This series has been so wonderful for all involved so far. Gadfly also featured at OutSpoken, which was a lovely way to fully embrace the Fox Egg being ours.
Rehearsal shots from the upcoming   She Kills Monsters .

Rehearsal shots from the upcoming She Kills Monsters.

  • Other Things I Loved: The queerplatonic partner turned 30 which meant Nepalese food, drinks at Lush, dessert at the Lowry, and drag queen brunch (also at Lush). I got to squeeze in a LOT of other random fun, magick, and art this month too. Highlights include:
    • Asali pulled some oracle cards for me, and it was beautiful and perfect.
    • Going to Sassafras Healing Arts for regular herbal treatments is the best self-care I've introduced myself to in awhile.
    • The play The Children which is running at Pillsbury through the 16th was creepy and captivating.
    • I SAW TEGAN AND SARA LIVE FINALLY! I've been a huge fan forever, and was always broke or out of town whenever they were here. I'm still beside myself at the memories of being there.
    • I adventured to the Renaissance Fair (even if it was a final hurrah with one of my fave adventure buddies who is leaving for Atlanta) down in Shakopee.
    • AND I finally made it to the 318 Club, owned by a good friend. It was adorable and the food was delicious.
    • I know I usually stick some book recommendations here too, but my reading was either dissatisfying or warranted a bigger review. I will say that if "creepy but romantic" is your jam, Alice Hoffman's Museum of Extraordinary Things is not mind-blowing but it does hit the spot for that niche.
An oracle pull from Asali Earthwork.

An oracle pull from Asali Earthwork.

That was pretty much it! September was a lot of fun side adventures in the overall theatre/tarot/wordsmith adventure that is my life--but October sees me producing a mainstage show and tends to require I buckle down in my tarot business so it was good to get roaming when I had time to. I'm so excited to watch Eye of Horus have a birthday this month, as well as see what else the universe has in store for me.

In the meantime, Blessed Be.

Tangled Roots Oracle Review

A little while ago a wonderful witch friend gifted me an Oracle deck she wrote and made the art for. It's a first run of a locally made deck, with the added bonus of Leora gifting it to me out of love, and so I was inclined to like it anyway--but as soon as the deck hit my hand I was surprised by how right it felt that I owned this deck. I rarely connect with oracle decks that aren't slightly creepy or fairy-laden (and even those I'm picky about), so I was really excited to see what transpired as I went through it.

This gift, the Tangled Roots Oracle, was created by local artist Leora Effinger-Weintraub, and her website as well as more about the deck is here. I wasn't officially asked to do a review, which makes me feel even warmer and fuzzier about the gift, but decided to do one anyone because I truly love this deck.

Overall inspiration and connection I've already touched on this quite a bit. Originally I sat down with Leora and asked a million questions about the how and why of the deck, and it originally started as just a way for her to have a deck she truly connected to. Her spirituality comes from a certain line, and she's a woman who's soul runs very deep, and so it was hard for her to find THE one. I think it's fascinating, and confirms the adage I hear about art and story-telling, that the more personal something is, the more universal it is. Leora may have created this for herself and those like her, but something about this deck runs really deep and digs right into your own soul.

The Artwork on the Tangled Roots Oracle is so simple and beautiful. That's very true to the artist's style--she does a lot of work with lettering and simple things that make a big statement. I'd seen some of the early illustrations and knew they gave a lot of ideas in a very concise manner, with the reader's knowledge and ability to suss out symbols being pretty key. The finals in the deck added a lot of color for what seems like interest but is incredibly mood-focused. Her use of symbols is great, and since this is a deck meant to be incredibly personal, I love that the picture is of just, say, a raccoon, for example. If a raccoon means something drastically different to you than it does to Leora, it doesn't matter--there's not anything to contrast your vision on the card, so it gets to speak to you as it needs to without being confused. Simple decks are one of my greatest joys in life, don't let my Prisma Visions and Tarot of the Silicon Dawn addictions confuse you, and this is one of the best I've seen in this vein.

Card Quality: If you've been keeping up with my blog or even just hear me talk about tarot a lot, you know this can be a touchy subject for me. I don't let poor card quality ruin a deck for me, but I do find it incredibly disappointing on otherwise flawless decks. So I am very happy to report that these simple but powerful images are seated comfortably on durable but flexible cards. One of the first things I said out loud about the deck was "Oooh, good cards!" by which I meant the quality.

Overall Inclusivity is a non-issue with this deck. Leora designed this with herself and immediate inner circle in mind, but she is a proud social justice warrior like myself (I know that term is supposed to be derogatory. I just don't find it to be.) This deck relies so heavily on suggestion, symbols, and shrouded figures that I don't think anyone would feel left out by this deck, and if anything, I think the way she uses her artwork does include and pull pretty much everyone into the fold.

The Queerness Quotient then is also stellar. Leora is a queer woman, so much like the Fountain Tarot, while not an explicitly queer deck, that piece of her identity runs through it in a way that those of us looking for a deck with queerness will be satisfied. That being said, the ambiguity of this deck makes it even more welcoming of those marginalized even within our community. While the deck was designed through a certain lens, she does a really lovely job of making sure that's not the only lens it can be seen through.
 

Guide Book and Ease of Learning also hit a home run in this case. Because this is a low cost self-published deck (a rare thing in and of itself), the guide book is a simple folded pamphlet with brief interpretations of the cards. It's very straightforward, and makes it doubly clear that this deck is very Pagan and very personal. The book offers very short interpretations which further allows for the reader to build from the building block she's laid out for us. My one sort of complaint or criticism is actually that I wanted more of Leora's voice in the book. Not necessarily in the interpretations of the cards, but she had such beautiful things to say about the deck's conception and creation that I thought a thicker pamphlet with more info about the deck would've been so valuable, esp to those who might just pick it up at an event or online. This Oracle deck is very easy to learn in comparison with others. I know tarot so well that I sometimes struggle with oracle decks, but the Tangled Roots Oracle goes in a logical order, and allows for free-thinking in a way that makes it easy for anyone to at least read for themselves with.

Leora Effinger-Weintraub's Tangled Roots Oracle sounds like a vague concept, but the information if gives can be as ethereal or concise if you need it to be. I've used it for everything from a "Mind, body, spirit" check-in to a question about a practical business issue I was facing and it gave me the information I needed in all cases. There's one or two cards that did take me aback--I expressed my concern about the deck's use of wedding bands to stand-in for commitment in a day and age where that particular symbol is often still seen as one of super traditional nuclear family lifestyles as opposed to how I, and many, queer people feel about romantic and other commitment. I have the deck's first run, and the artist is taking my feedback as well as that of a few other people into account. Ultimately though, even if nothing changes on the second run, Leora has created a really sweet, beautiful deck that is deeply rooted in Pagan beliefs but still offers incredibly valuable insight regardless of your identity and faith. I can't wait to get fully "off book," and this may be one of the first oracle decks I ever use for clients. It's that good.

Again, the website is here, and I am sure those that follow it will be among the first to know when sales go live again.

Blessed be, and thank you so much to Leora, her wife Eli, and all of the amazing queer Pagans doing amazing things in their communities.