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: indie artist

3 Mini Tarot Deck Reviews for Fellow Water Babes

Hello, yes, my name is Cassandra Snow and I’m a Pisces with a Pisces Moon and a Cancer Rising. Astrologically speaking, that’s a little “YIKES”, I know. I am in fact a big bundle of emotions all the time and I just want everyone to love themselves as much as I love them and when they can’t or don’t I break down a little. That’s neither here nor there though! Being such a water baby also means I feel a deep, intense, spiritual connection with all things water. That ESPECIALLY means I have a connection to oceans, lakes and rivers. I get overwhelmingly sad leaving the beach for the day even if I’m coming right back tomorrow. I spend countless evenings meandering down by the Mississippi just breathing in all of that beautiful magickal air. I can’t get enough.

Until this year, I never really found any tarot decks that reflected this depth and this connection though. I was interested in a couple of Mermaid themed decks but never really connected with any of them. 2019 really has something in the, ahem, water though as decks I never considered and new water-based decks I love flew out of the woodwork to help further boost my love and connection of tarot. I’ve reviewed three of my FAVORITE aquatic decks below. Enjoy, and if one sounds good to you, nab it as soon as you can!

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The Mermaid Tarot

I am not someone who buys many mainstream, mass produced tarot decks. From the second I saw the Mermaid Tarot by Leeza Robertson I knew I had to have this one though. First of all, it is BEAUTIFUL. The depth of color and imagery is intense. It actually doesn’t photograph super well because there are so many rich layers of color and...well, layer. This deck is fairly inclusive and showcases suits with water lore from all over which makes it really special. While I think most decks COULD be queerer, this one does not stand out to me as being inaccessible from a queer perspective. I also read beautifully with this one. Of the three, this is the one that I think speaks the most deeply to healing journeys and the fluidity of our needs and desires over time. I would define this deck as a “Must Have” for water fanatics and it’s rare for me to declare something a “Must Have” or “Must See” because everybody is different. You can snag a copy literally anywhere that you buy tarot cards since it is Llewellyn produced.

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The Dark Days Tarot

Wren McMurdo was a fellow Little Red Tarot writer and I was always deeply interested in her writing work at the site. I never seriously considered her deck and I don’t actually remember why. A close friend gifted it to me for my birthday this year though and WOW. If you don’t know, this deck is POWERFUL and while not every card features mermaids and oceans, enough do that I wanted to include it here. This deck captures the spirit of the grassroots tarot and witchcraft movement happening all over right now, and the cards that include aquatic imagery are every bit as refreshing as their oceanic inspiration. One really unique thing for those of you who read with reverals: McMurdo’s guidebook (which is exceptional regardless) includes instructions for reading the square cards not only in reverse, but from right to left or right to left since the shape is unique as well. I connected with this deck in a BIG way and use it almost every day. It’s been a widely used deck for a lot of Indie Tarot fans for a long time but I’m officially hopping on the bandwagon. Grab your copy here.





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The Visionary Tarot

I saved the best, in my opinion, and least known for last. I stumbled upon images from this black and white beauty on the Indie Deck Review instagram (which you should also follow but only if you like living in constant decklust). I was drawn to how simple and cartoon-y yet not AT ALL childish this deck was. I also loved the Nautical theme. I hadn’t fallen so hard so fast for a deck in a long time so my queerplatonic partner grabbed it for me for Christmas this past year. I always get a little bit nervous because so many decks I have panted over have felt or meant nothing once they got in my hands. This one was practically made for me though, and is one of my top five favorite decks of all time. The simple pictures still leave a LOT of room for BIG interpretations and healing. Every picture is beautiful, and all of them provide the nurturing, healing energy you’d expect from a water themed deck. This stack of tarot cards is no softie though; the Nautical theme (as opposed to a strictly aquatic one) is not afraid to provide some tough love and remind you to get your act together when that’s what you need to hear.

If I had one complaint about the Visionary Tarot, it would be that the card stock is a little flimsy. I haven’t had a problem with it yet and it makes for great shuffling, but I am concerned about the deck’s longevity since I’m not always one to rebuy cards. Even if I was, a lot of indie decks end up not being purchasable over time so it is a concern. The first edition did NOT come with a guidebook but that may be changing.

Artwork by Addie who created this unique beauty is running a Kickstarter that drops on May 1st and includes a golden version (!!!) so head to Insta to follow Artwork by Addie and be In The Know so you can grab yours.

Blessed be y’all!

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.

Election Anxiety and Beyond-A Reading for Hope and Healing

I've had nightmares about this upcoming Tuesday all week and my chest tightens at the mention of election anything. Living with PTSD is never a cakewalk but this election cycle is another monster entirely. For so many of us living with anxiety, trauma, and mental illness it seems like there's a new trigger at every turn, a new reason to be fearful every time we check into Facebook, a new person in our lives we learn we can not trust because of the levity with which they treat these triggers.

Tarot will probably not save the world--but as a spiritual person I serve liberation and empowerment, and with most things in life that starts in our homes and in our hearts. So while I did a not-quite-cheerful reading about the election with the intention to share it with you all, I ultimately decided against it.

Because we KNOW Tuesday is going to be a living nightmare of anxiety and we KNOW that many will take their anxiety out on others, creating a dreamscape Stephen King himself couldn't have dreamt of, and we KNOW that equity and compassion might lose. Big time. And ONE function if tarot is to warn us of what's to come or give us the truth about where we are right now--but it's not it's only function.

Because like the bulk of my spiritual work, tarot is also about healing and empowerment. It's about learning how to move on even when we don't want to or don't think we can. It's not about the Death card, it's about how we learn to live again after the fact. So here's a simple spread, and a simple reading for all of us to hold on to until Tuesday about how to cope and rebuild.

This is a three card spread--an overarching energy to show what we're actually dealing with.

A card for how to cope and find balance in the meantime

and a card for healing and rebuilding. Even if the worst doesn't happen, this is taking a lot out of us. The initial high of defeating our worst fears will give way to exhaustion and allowing ourselves to feel and live in our spent-ness. And of course, the worst could happen. So this card is how to grow from there.

As for our universal reading (which I did with the Cosmos Tarot and Oracle), we show that we're not wrong--there is definitely an aggressive energy permeating through everything in American society (and those societies closely linked to and affected by it) right now. And Mars is a card of war which is why even those of us who live in magick and whimsy are so prone to pick up pitchforks and begin yet another speech with "OKAY, first of all..." right now. But Mars is also a card of action and vitality--there is good life left in our fight yet. Applied correctly, we could still turn this mess around with Mars looming so closely.

Our "immediate coping mechanism" shows us digging deep down for those last reserves of strength. For better or worse, it's only 2.5 more days. Repeat that to yourself ad nauseum. For better or worse, it's only 2.5 more days. Don't stop fighting for what you believe in for this election because even when it doesn't seem like it, some hearts will still open and some people will still "get it" last minute. But also remember that Hercules has a weakness, as we all do, which forces us to rest and retreat from time to time. Do everything you would normally do for self-care in times of duress. Sleep more. Do less. Love just as hard as you do in good times and hold them all tightly. Remind yourself that you are not how you reacted to this election season. And as a side note, sometimes the cards make a more surface level metaphor. For those physically able to do so, pouring our emotions into exercise and physical activity may be your saving grace right now. Get outside. Eat lots of protein. Put your remaining energy reserves into the things you've been working hard for all month/year/life-long. They will still be here tomorrow and you need the outlet now.

Finally we see the Page of Air. We don't know what things are going to look like from Wednesday on, but we do know we'll have new insight and ideas into how to rebuild. It is important to have a plan for healing and regrowth in your mind, but leave room for freshness and flexibility. Again, lean to those you love and as for help when you need it. Plan a day trip with one or two you hold dear to blow off steam. Remember, there's no shame in hiding until the fury dies down if your life allows you to do so. And hilariously, this card does allow for what we've all be threatening--moving out of the country if we just really can not.

As a final note, while Fire oversees us, the other cards were Swords/Air. So use logic--you know there is an end to this and a next step. Try to get some clarity--meditate, vent to a friend, exercise your brute strength with some rad kickboxing classes--whatever you need to do to just clear your mind and escape the inundation of poll reports and internet fights. Wednesday will come. And there will be one the week after that. And the week after that. Hold on to the GOOD that you know is real--not just the bad that we are swimming in.

Hope this was helpful, lovelies. Blessed be.

 

 

Heart and Hands Tarot--Support Now!

Good Afternoon all! I once again feel myself compelled to apologize for a lack of posts but I'm excited to be back, and SO excited to be writing a tarot deck in the works. Liz Blackbird contacted me about her upcoming Heart and Hands Tarot and the IndieGoGo making it all possible. I'm always happy to support queer creators, and I was additionally intrigued by the black and white art. As I watched the video on the campaign's page, I was moved by the unspoken but strong healing energy that went into the deck. I responded and told Liz I was eager to learn more. Here's our Q&A and some info about how you can support this great deck:

Tell us about yourself, first!
My name is Liz Blackbird (she/her/hers). I’m a visual artist, fiction writer, and poet currently based in Brooklyn, but I’m about to move to Ohio to pursue an MFA in creative writing. I’m originally from Michigan, so this will be a bit of a homecoming!

Prior to printing this deck, what was your relationship to tarot?
I’ve been interested in tarot since I was a teenager. I grew up in the suburbs of Flint in the 90s and generally felt a little unsatisfied with the environment around me, like it was kind of a bad fit, like there had to be something better out there. So I think I was predisposed to be attracted to all things magical. I was not raised religious, but my mother’s family was Catholic and evangelical Christianity was a strong (and often oppressive) force many of my friends’ lives, so I’ve also always been resistant to organized religion. A lot of my friends at that time felt similarly and were exploring wicca, neopaganism, and other more open-ended spiritual practices, and I initially learned about tarot through them. Many of us would ultimately come out as queer, and I think that had a lot to do with those initial feelings of discomfort with the status quo and the “bad fit” it seemed to be for us that led us to seek alternative spiritual paths in the first place.

The tarot attracted me as an artist, because I love the way its meanings are conveyed visually through mysterious and evocative images. It also nested nicely with my general agnosticism – whether or not I believe that I am being guided by supernatural forces, I can still trust that what I “read” in the tarot represents my truth on some level, even if it’s just tapping into something I already know about a situation but have been afraid to admit to myself, or giving me a framework to think about a situation in a different way. I generally only read for myself or close friends, so I’m usually pretty intimately acquainted with the lives of people I read for.

What stands out about the Heart and Hands deck? Why did you want to create this deck specifically?
The genesis of this deck was different than most, because it initially began not as a commercial endeavor, but as a personal project that I undertook to help me develop a new artistic direction at a time when I was feeling a little blocked. I had decided not to focus on studio art in college, and was regretting that decision a little bit. I had a really inspiring art professor at the time, Jyung Mee Park at the Maryland Institute College of Art, who essentially told me not to force it, that your art should stem from something you do naturally. In my sketchbooks, I had been doing a lot of casual black-and-white free-associative drawing, so I decided to try to take on a project in that style to see where I could go with it. I was already interested in tarot but didn’t feel that my knowledge of the cards’ meanings was very strong, so I decided to try designing my own deck to both stimulate my creativity and get to know the cards better. This, of course, turned out to be a much bigger project than I expected! It took me ten years to complete the illustrations. Though I had initially expected the project to remain private, as the years went by, so many of my friends saw my drawings and asked about how to get a copy of the deck that I decided I had to print it. I named it the Heart & Hands Tarot as a reminder of the power of our hearts to dream new possibilities and our hands to put those dreams into practice.

Ultimately, I think the black-and-white illustration style I developed is very unique and makes the deck stand out. I also think that my intention to enact a kind of creative “rebirth” through creating these cards really permeates the deck and comes through in the lushness and exuberance of the drawings. I also tried to create images that communicate the meanings of the cards in a direct and relatable way without requiring prior knowledge of other fields, like astrology and Kabbalah. But in general, I think my slow and meditative composition process—the fact that I didn’t force it—is what makes this deck special.

How does your deck speak to marginalized and queer audiences?
Because I identify as queer, and because queerness was so bound up in the way I first became interested in tarot, I tried to design this deck in a way that that avoided presuming heterosexuality or a male perspective, and that included people of color. Many of my figures, especially my Lovers, are very androgynous, and my number cards are all zoomed in to depict only the figures’ hands to avoid ascribing them a fixed identity. For my court cards, I chose to use a Prince and Princess rather than a Knight and Page to have gender equity within the court. There are also two major arcana cards that depict genderqueer figures – Justice and the World. In general, I wanted to create space in the designs for readers to be able to ascribe their own gender and sexuality interpretations to the cards.

Another big element of my work is in helping people heal so they can get to the part where they can be inspired and empowered. How does your deck speak to the healing process?
I think that in a lot of ways, creating this deck was a form of shadow work. Being a visual artist was a strong part of my identity as a teen, but because I did not focus on studio art in college, I found it harder and harder to maintain a creative practice in my 20s. Working on this deck was a big part of what kept me connected to that creative part of myself even as I was trying to make a living in other fields. Also, because the tarot is, among other things, a compendium of archetypal personalities, situations, concepts, and developmental states that we might experience throughout the life cycle, I found that working on parts of the deck that corresponded to issues I was dealing with in my life at the time was a great way to think through those issues in a broader, more distanced, more insightful way. 

Thank you so much for taking time to tell me more about this wonderful new addition to the tarot canon. How can we find out more or support you?
I’m currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to print the deck, so please visit my campaign page to support the project and to check out the "perks" (including copies of the deck) available for donating. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/heart-hands-tarot-deck/x/14290775#/ The campaign will be live until August 14th! I'm also launching an Etsy shop, ThirteenWaysToLook, so that I can make the deck available there after the campaign ends. It should be active by the winter of this year.

Thanks so much to all of you, especially Liz. Now, go support indie decks!

Blessed Be.