The Xenomorph Lifecycle Tarot Transformation Spread

Happy Alien Day 2020!

In honor of this most holy day, and as a tribute to Saint Giger, I present to you this little idea. Please bear in mind that this is just a thought experiment. Ironically it’s not fully developed, but I wanted to post it none the less, as an exercise in creativity. Which might be what this spread is best suited (pun intended) for. Feeling blocked? Maybe consulting The Alien will help you unlock something. Or perhaps you are feeling stuck in some aspects of your life… the maybe, just maybe, some lateral thinking will change up the cycle.

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Pose your question. Shuffle. Cut the deck. Deal four cards, pulled in sequence, representing the following stages:

Stage I: Ovomorph. The egg. Can remain in stasis for years until nearby movement is detected. Once a potential host approaches it opens up, unfolding, and a parasitic facehugger springs out, attaching itself to the newfound target. An egg has obvious symbolism, representing your hope, new potential etc.

Stage II: The Facehugger/Host-body. Eight fingers to hold you… hold on tightly. Hold on to that hope… those dreams…. don’t let go. Implant. Let the embryo grow. Once it’s secure, you can let go, and detach. Don’t lust for result. Let it die. You will soon be reborn.

Stage III: The Chestburster. This is the key. The (biomechanical) weapon. This is what will help you break out and break free. It will cut a path. Old habits will die, and you will discard what no longer serves a purpose. Be carful though, at this stage you are still vulnerable… so find safe space to hide so you can molt into adulthood.

Stage IV: Xenomorph*. The Alien. Your final form. Larger, faster, stronger, tougher than before. Your full potential. Enter the dragon. The Star Beast 666. 

* Stalker, Scout or Drone, according to some sources, but for the sake of convenience we are just going to treat it as one general form of xenomorph. One size, fits all.

For Further Research and Development

Depending on the lore**, there are stages beyond this which might be worth exploring, however, now we’re getting dangerously deep into deep, dark, geek territory. In any case, I’ll include them below for the sake of completeness, for those (including future me) that want to explore matters further: 

Stage V: Soldier, Worker, Sentry.

Stage VI: Praetorian, Crusher, Queen. 

Stage VII: Beyond the Queen… Queen Empress and Queen Mother. It has been suggested that the Queen will continue to grow as the hive grows, reaching proportions as big as a T-Rex! There’s even reports of Praetorians melting into something called Palatines, and then theres even whispered rumours about an Alien King…

**Source Alien the RPG

art credit: http://www.wallacebridgesjr.com/project/alien-covenant

Ten Practical Tips for Maintaining Your Tarot Practice

Stuck at home, in quarantine, self imposed or otherwise, for your own safety and other peoples safety? Here’s ten practical things you could do to sharpen your skills and up your tarot game:

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I. WASH YOUR HANDS

No, really, not only is it a powerful symbolic gesture, but it’s also a nice habit to have especially these days, but also for when you handle your decks. To make sure you have “clean” energy and clean cards that will last a lifetime.

Another method which you could use to get into the mood and mindset of a read is to rub some Florida Water on your hands before you start your read or even touch your cards. Just the smell alone is enough to shift my focus and to STAY in focus. after having made this part of my routine. By the way, you can also get Florida Water soap.

So, not of the traditional kind? Well, hand sanitizers are all the rage these days! And they works just as well, and might arguably be better in many ways, and will certainly help you get into the spirit of things. Let’s make our new traditions!

II. COUNT YOUR CARDS

Every now and then you should make sure that they’re all there. Trust me. I just recently found out that one of my most used decks had been missing The Chariot card for something like half a year!

This also goes for those that are splitting their decks, using only the Major Arcana. Especially check this before you are do read for a client. You’d be surprised how often a card is either missing or misplaced, and you don’t want to look like a fool do you?

This is even more important if you are using multiple decks, as it’s all too easy forget in what state left them in last time they got used. Case in point: I was doing a spread where the actual number of of cards needed to be exact, and I had to redo the read from start when I realized that I had added the four aces to it for some reason last time it was in service. What the hell? I don’t even recall for what reason.

III. WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Shake your box! If you you keep your decks in their boxes that is. I estimate that about two thirds of mine are in their original box, and after use and when it’s time to put it back into its box, a lot of the time I’ll notice that one card was left behind. Make it a part of your practice. It’s kind of sort of like checking the barrel of a gun for obstructions before you fire.

Or just do the opposite, and never ever look in the box until after you’re done reading. Maybe not playing with a full deck is your jam!

IV. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

Literally. Change the container of the cards. Wether it is a box or a drawstring bag or whatever. Put them in another box or make your own pouch.

Don’t know how to sew and you kind of like to keep ’em in their box you say? Why not decorate it with stickers? Pimp it out! Add some unique mojo to it.

Or take it even one step further and go no box at all! Naked tarot! The ultimate punk witch move is to just use whatever random rubber band you find laying around. Even a hair tie will do in a pinch.

Although, all that being said, I very much like to treat my decks as samurai swords, only pulling them out of their sheath (box or pouch) when absolutely necessary and then put them straight back in again as soon as they’ve seen action.

V. RECHARGE & REENERGIZSE

I confess, I’m not always too fussed about the so called “cleansing” of my decks, or even charging them. That’s of course not to say that I don’t do it from time to time, because I do, and if you don’t already, so should you! Here’s my simple methods:

Sing, hum or talk to your decks. You do it for plants, don’t you? Same thing. Can’t carry a tune? Whistle, use a singing bowl or play your favourite song for the cards. Don’t forget to breathe some life into your cards. Blow the dust off, like you would on an old book. Knock three times on the stack. Run it through some incense. Or just let your cat rub up against them for some special cat magic blessing. Works like a charm.

VI. RESET & RESTART

Are the cards behaving suspiciously, or does something feel off? Has the deck suddenly “stopped working” properly? Perhaps it’s time for a good old fashioned restart. How do you reset a deck you say? Well, that’s super simple. Just put the cards back in their “original” order. Major Arcana from 0-22 (although you could put The Fool at the end) and the suits traditionally (or qabalistically) are ordered Wands (fire), Swords (air), Cups (water) and Pentacles (earth). Easy peasy.

Although this varies a lot from deck to deck, so consult the guidebook or just use your intuition (or the internet). Oh, and are you just using digital deck, like an app on your phone? Delete it and download it again and reinstall it. Browser based tarot? Just reload/refresh the page.   

VII. GROUND YOUR DECK

Aren’t any of the above tips doing the trick? Try grounding it. And by grounding I don’t mean send it to its room, although that’s not such a bad idea, but most decks I know doesn’t have their own rooms… I mean quite literally put it into the ground. Dig a hole in the dirt and bury your cards. Leave them there for three days, or however long you want.

VIII. TRANSMOGRIFY 

Give a little used deck a new life by modifying it. By either edging or trimming. Edging being the easier option, and it just means colouring the edges with for instance a permanent marker of some kind. Lots of videos on YouTube for guides on this if you need inspiration.

Trimming is a little more tricky, and it doesn’t really suit every deck, but as long as you have a nice pair of sharp scissors, it’s not as hard as you’d think. You might want to get one of those “round corner cutter things” (technical term) though.

IX. DECKSPERIMENTATION 

Experiment with your decks. Deconstruct and remix. Try using multiple decks at the same time! Break the rules. Bend the cards. Cut them in half. Has anyone done a cut-up deck, or exquisite corpse, yet by doing this and randomly reattaching the pieces?

Use the Major Arcana from one pack of cards and the Minor Arcana from another. You could do an improvised spread where you pull a card from the Major Arcana which relates to the “major issue” and then pull a card from the Minor Arcana stack to focus on the “minor issue” at hand.

Do you own 78 decks or more? Why not make a funky Frankenstein super group tarot by combining all your favourite cards from each deck into one whacky one? Probably works better with just the Major Arcana, as you just need 22.

X. MAKE YOUR OWN PERSONAL TAROT

This doesn’t even have to be a physical one, and could just be a theoretical thought experiment. Map out all the Major Arcana to fit the story and/or characters of a movie, book, video game or TV series you love.

Or why not make a Tarot playlist with each song representing a card? That would be a nice way to practice some modern shufflemancy for you cyberpunk witches. Collect pictures online, print them out and clue them on cardboard to make a scratch-built deck.

Why not see if you can put together a whole deck in just one day, only using the material you have in your house or apartment? The notebook blue bic pen doodle tarot deck just screams to come alive!

Go do!

Stay cool and stay safe. And consider supporting your fellow cardslingers and/or tarot makers by paying them to do a read for you or buying their wares.

Take care ❤

A Small Update

This is just a small update to say that one of my original spreads, The Slot Machine Spread, is featured in the book:

A SMALL COLLECTION of SPECIALIZED SPREADS

by A Group of Fine Card Readers From Around The World

Volume One

Edited by Coleman Stevenson 

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Which not only was a huge surprise, but a huge honor as well! This truly does live up to its title, and it’s humbling to be amongst such a fine group of cartomancers.

And as my only involvement with this book was limited to just providing the above mentioned spread of mine, I feel like I can say that this an inspiring book. And that I recommend it to all my fellow card readers, new and old. There’s something here for everyone. And I will also add that I feel like there’s an extra benefit of getting something well thought out and put together like this, as opposed to just grabbing whatever you can find online for instance. In this particular case, you have the curation of a seasoned tarot creator and reader as Coleman is, so you know this is quality content, hand picked, from a practical, and user-friendly, standpoint.

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Speaking of small books, I have an announcement to make: I’ve been working on a short Sigil Magick handbook, which I hope will become available sometime later this year. Most likely in digital format, but I’m looking into print on demand options as well. More information to come. A lot depends on the interest, which is why I’m casually mentioning it here.

Back on topic, if you want to buy A Small Collection of Specialized Spreads, you can get it from the Dark Exact Etsy store.

The Smart Limitation Tarot Pt.2

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As an experiment and a preparation for a future tarot project I have (to be announced), I decided to further modify this deck. Over the years I have had many ideas for various decks, and I’ve made a heap of notes, many sketches, and even a handful of prototype cards, however, In a weird way, this is sort of “my” first completed tarot. Not one I ever expected to make, but it’s strangely fulfilling nonetheless.

In part one of this tarot adventure I mentioned that this deck had taken on a life on its own, and that really is the only way to describe this transformation. It has come to life in a real Frankenstein way, and I definitely feel like a mad scientist experimenting with forbidden technology, combining things that maybe should not be mixed together…  creating a monster!

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I’ve been taking Gordon White’s Tarot course, which I highly recommend by the way, so this experimental phase is very coloured by what I’ve been learning there. Below is some work in progress photos of the pip cards

The four suits colours are easy enough, and has the traditional associations, with Swords/Air/Yellow and Wands/Fire/Red swapped to Swords/Fire/Red and Wands/Air/Yellow respectively, because that’s how I roll these days.

It gets a little more complicated with further colour combinations, but it does follow its own internal logic, which I very much like. This is based on some historical context, but it’s mostly speculative, and experimental (and that’s the spirit of this deck).

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Here the Major Arcana has been given colours according to their association with the cardinal virtues (Justice, Fortitude, Temperance and Prudence) and their correspondence to Swords, Wands, Cups and Coins. It’s worth noting that in this case The World is linked to Prudence, which seemed to make a whole lot more sense to me, than The Hermit that is perhaps more common.

I won’t go into much detail on how and why the colours are what they are, as that’s probably a topic for another post but a quick rundown is like this:

  • Coins: Prudence (The World). The Moon, The Sun, Judgment and Princesses.
  • Swords: Justice. The Hanged One, Death, The Devil, The Tower and Princes.
  • Cups: Temperance. Lovers, The Chariot, The Hermit, The Wheel and Queens.
  • Wands: Fortitude (Strength). The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant and Kings.

It’s also worth noting that I put The Hierophant in the Wands/Fortitude category, because all the other ones had five Trumps in them, and sequentially and symbolically it seemed to fit there. And lastly The Fool gets no colour or cardinal virtue association, while The Magician is also standalone but with all 4 suit colours.

The full deck in all its glory:

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I’m really pleased with the whimsical nature of this deck. It has its own unique look, and it has inspired me to explore the hyper-dimensional world of the Tarot on a deeper more intuitive level.

Next I’ll get a completely blank deck and see if I can take this experiment even further.

PS The basis of this deck is the out of print first edition of The Minimalist Tarot, however you can get the second edition here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/616021759/minimalist-tarot-deck-2019-edition (and from what I can tell it looks like it has addressed and improved upon some of the issues I had with the first edition).

The Vitriolic Tarot – expansion pack

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This is a follow up to my previous review of the original 1st edition The Vitriolic Tarot deck, which you can read here. I might consolidate these separate reviews somehow somewhere further down the line… but as of right now they exists as two separate blog posts.

The expansion pack is for the 1st Edition Vitriolic Tarot and it includes seven new cards: Mercury, Sulphur, Salt, Wands, Swords, Cups and Coins,(more on these later). the It also comes with a set of instructions for how you can implement the new cards in your original Vitriolic deck, as well as alchemical correspondences, descriptions of the iconography and divinatory interpretations. The cards are identical in size and finish as the originals, and they of course have the same exact card back too. This means that there’s no issues with adding them to your old deck. Plug and play, as the kids say. And it brings the deck to a nice round total of 30 cards (the Major Arcana has two Fool cards (An Alpha and an Omega). 

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The first three of these seven cards, Sulphur, Mercury and Salt represents the Alchemical trinity, also known as the thrice-great Hermetic mystery.

Sulphur is soul,  Mercury is mind (spirit-intellect) and Salt is body. They can also be divided into a multitude of other things, like for instance:

  • Hot – Wet – Cold
  • Fire – Smoke – Ash
  • Active – Neutral – Passive
  • Sun – Mercury – Moon
  • Odin – Vile – Ve
  • Art – Magick – Science 

I could go on and on, but I encourage you to go find your own connections, and while its suggested in the little white book that you’d use these three cards as clarifiers, and qualifiers in your reads, I offer another alternative, which is to utilise them as modular three-card read templates. Deal them out at random, on decide before hand the order you lay them out in.

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The last 4 cards are Wands, Swords, Cups and Coins. For those already familiar with tarot, the meaning of these are very obvious. They are the four suits of the Minor Arcana, which represents the four common elements, Fire, Air, Water and Earth respectively.

There’s lots of ways to utilise The Vitriolic Tarot. You can look at it from a purely alchemical view point. i.e. as a learning tool or an interactive study guide, in which these additional cards will no doubt prove to be very helpful. It’s great as a meditative focus by pulling one card at a time, but it works extremely well in a traditional divinatory way too. Either with or without the seven new cards shuffled in, and I have experimented with both, even though at the time of writing I prefer to have the new cards separate, and using them to expand (see what I did there?) on my reads instead. 

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It also works great in conjunction with other decks, and before this expansion pack was released I made joint reads with the Vitriolic Major Arcana and the adopted Minor Arcana from the Aetheric version of the Dark Exact Tarot. I’ve been experimenting with making Frankenstein decks like this a lot recently, and in this case I really wanted to see how it might possibly work together with a fuller deck, and I have to say that the results were really interesting. It resulted in a couple of experimental spreads that I hope to share with you in the future.

If you already own the first edition without these 7 extra cards, and you love it, then it really is a no brainer: Get this Expansion pack now! However, if you don’t have this deck yet, but are looking for something a little different and more unique than what you usually see on the market these days, then the second edition might just be for you. Especially if you are into the more esoteric aspect of the Tarot, and if you have more than a little passing interest in alchemy.

This truly is one of my all-time favourite decks, and one that I use all the time, particularly for my own personal reads, and with the seven additional cards thrown in the mix, it definitely adds an extra dimension or two, or three.

The Vitriolic 2nd edition is out now and it contains the extra expansion pack cards as well as an expanded booklet with the new content mentioned above.

You can buy the Expansion Pack here and please make sure to visit Dark Exact digitally using one of these links: https://linktr.ee/darkexact

The Smart Limitation Tarot Pt.1

A Minimalistic Tarot Mod.

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This idea came about after I had gotten the Minimalist Tarot and when I discovered that it was eerily similar to another minimalistic tarot I have, namely the Dreslyn Tarot. At first this was a real bummer, but then I thought about the possibilities as to how I could reverse engineer this… That’s when it hit:

Tarot remixing!

Of course, it was so simple and so obvious! All I had to do was go all punk rock DIY witchcraft on this thing, and problem solved!

I’ve done plenty of tarot deck modifications before, but never anything beyond edging and trimming really, so this was a little scary. But I decided to be brave and just grab a black permanent marker and go to town.

Now, I don’t have any before pictures, but here are some after:

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This is still very much a work in progress, but it’s turned into a really fun little project, and it has definitely taken on a life on its own. I’ve even started writing its own special guidebook. It’s also been given a new name, The Smart Limitation, which I’m sure you can figure out what it’s an anagram of. I’ll keep you updated about the progress.

Anyway, the reason I’m sharing this is because I think other people might want to start remixing their own decks. It’s a really rewarding experience, and it’s a great way of learning more about the tarot, but also to break some of its limitations.

Here’s some minimalistic decks to choose from:

The Minimalist Tarot. This is the one I’ve used. First edition is sold out, but there’s an preorder for an upcoming second edition. It’s supposed to have some revisions, but I don’t know what they are.

The Dreslyn Tarot. This one is cool, but it’s rather expensive, so maybe not the best economical choice.

The Tarot. Is that its name? I think so… I just found it after quick search, but it looks like it could work very well. It claims to be the most minimalistic tarot. Trust me, it’s not. It’s intriguing though.

However, if you just want go ahead and make your own, you can buy blank decks from various places. I have one from https://www.makeplayingcards.com/design/design-your-own-tarot-cards.html Which I might turn into the second edition of my Smart Limitation deck. We’ll see.

Blood And Rockets: Movement I, Saga Of Jack Parsons – Movement II, Too The Moon

The Claypool Lennon Delirium, consisting of none other than Sean Lennon and Les Claypool, recently put out a wonderfully trippy and psychedelic video for this catchy tune:

It definitely harkens back to Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python animations and it’s indeed very beatlesque, and most certainly reminds me a lot of Sgt. Pepper’ for the Benefit of Mr. Kite, and even She’s So Heavy at the tail end there, but that’s not the point of interest here.

The subject of this song, Jack Parsons, is infamously interesting character and occultist. He’s someone that will pop up in popular culture from time to time, most recently in the TV Series Strange Angel, which I sadly have yet to seen.

Anyway, enjoy this rare treat of progressive musical weirdness. Love is the law, love under will.

Maybe I’ll do some more magical music recommendations soon. Sorry about the lack of posts, but don’t fret, there’s more to come.