Benebell Wen‘s Spirit Keeper’s Tarot was an instant ‘must have’ deck for me when I learned about the fascinating process of creating this deck. Benebell shares her story about evoking the spirits of A.E. Waite and Aleister Crowley in this post. Even before I read about this evocation work, I had been drawn to the artwork, which is quite unusual since I tend to go for brightly coloured decks and this is currently the only black and white deck I own.
There is a lot going on in the artwork, without it getting too busy or feeling messy in any way. All the important symbols and details are clear and I also find the artwork very charming, in the sense that had I come across this type of art as a child, I would have wanted to read the story that came with it.
In the picture above, I have laid out all the little bits and bobs Benebell managed to fit into the box with her cards. The box itself is sturdy and the two halves fit well together. You don’t have to strain a spleen to open the box or anything. As an extra bonus, there is even artwork inside the box.
Then there is the gilt edges, a really nice touch… We all love a bit of bling, right? And I, for one, is not one of those crafty so-and-sos who are constantly edging their decks. I know exactly what would happen if I tried: a big mess. So thank you, Benebell, for not even making that an option!
There is some serious study of metaphysics and the occult that has gone into the making of this deck but Benebell promises in the Little White Book that you do not need to read up on it all (or any of it) in order to be able to read with this deck. In fact, Benebell even states:
The Spirit Keeper’s Tarot can accommodate those who are improvisational Tarot readers, a method often referred to as intuitive reading.
Did I just hear some of you draw a sigh of relief?
However, those of you who want to max out on the esoteric symbolism and intended meanings might want to check out some of the works listed by Benebell in the LWB:
- Corpus Hermeticum
- The Book of the Cave of Treasures
- The Cloud of Unknowing
- The Symbolism of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey
- The Avestan Texts (Zoroastrianism)
- The Gathas (Songs of Zarathustra)
- The Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster
- The Oracles of Nostradamus
- The Teachings of Zoroaster by Kapadia
In addition to the works above she also mentions ‘Egyptian, Persian, Gnostic and Hermetic texts on magic and medieval grimoires from both Europe and the Middle East (…).’
Like I said, some serious study has gone into the making of this deck and I’m very much looking forward to the video course for the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot that is coming out in December, as well as receiving the companion Book of Maps which I have ordered over on Lulu.
Another interesting thing about this deck is that it has not one ‘Fool’ but three and they each have specific tasks to do, so depending on where you your journey you are, you will choose the right 0. for the operation at hand.
Spirit Keeper’s Tarot Deck Interview (1st edition, 2018)
1. Show yourself – The Dark Horse (7 of Wands/Scepters): Wow! I think it is true both on a personal and on a more universal level that this deck is a ‘dark horse.’ This deck feels to me like a modern classic already and it may have started small but I have a feeling that this first edition of 1,000 decks, which sold out very quickly, is only the beginning. On a personal level,the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is turning into a dark horse based on my expectation to not be able to fall in love with a black and white deck… an assumption this deck is already turning on its head.
2. What is your mission in the world? – The Politic (3 of Wands/Scepters): My mission is to bring clarity by being entirely focused on the virtue of speaking the Truth.
3. What is your most deeply held dream? Archangel of Mysteries (King of Pentacles/Orbs): To be a truly useful tool in the process of establishing Heaven on Earth.
4. How can we work together? – The Angel (Temperance): I can help you stay connected with your Guardian Angel. We share the same goal to heal the disconnect that results in the illusion of separation from the Divine.
5. What do you need from me? – The Bread of Life (Ace of Pentacles/Orbs): I need you to seek to embody the wisdom of Spirit fully. You will need to descend into the depths of Earth… You will need to be broken… but you will emerge whole and bearing fruit that can feed many.
6. How do you inspire hope? – The Burdened One (10 of Wands/Scepters): I remind you that you do not have to carry the yoke by yourself.
7. What is your magick? – The Reaper (Death): I’m an all or nothing kind of deck when it comes to soul alchemy. It takes a bit of courage, sure… but you get more magick mileage out of a deck like me, once you dedicate yourself to the process. You will be changed by working with me. My magick is that I can act as a guide to anyone who is seriously interested in the Truth and in completing the Great Work.