Monday 3 February 2020

In Praise of the Little White Book


In most card reading systems, many decks come with a Little White Book (LWB). This accessory is legendary amongst readers, tutors and creators of decks. The inclusion, or exclusion, or indeed merit of the LWB provokes discussion across forums, social media and anywhere else where cartomancers gather. I love a LWB! It's a personal thing, but then you're looking at the girl who read every lyric on a rock album; every individual credited with lead vocals to hand claps. Which studio was used, and the names of any dogs who accompanied said rock idol (I'm looking at you Eric Clapton). I'm that person who loves to know why something was created, where it was created, and why, and how .... and so on.

The above is a selection from my stash - some LWBs are nestled with their decks, others are boxed up and away with my collection, and others such as these squeeze onto a shelf while their accompanying deck is cosseted in a separate bag.

Of course, some LWBs are simply a generic set of basic instructions or information relating to its deck. Others though, contain exquisite nuggets of genius, easily missed if a reader chooses to discard this oft-regarded insignificant booklet. Many of the above contain the thoughts of the artist and/or creator, and the inspiration behind the cards and the messages therein. I find that even if concepts and ideas don't always gel with me, I always, always, learn something.

Of course not all LWBs are little or white ...

The wonderful Steven Bright produced a heavenly book to accompany his Spirit Within Tarot - full colour depictions of the cards with succinct and profound insights and meanings. I honour the skill involved in capturing so much in a few sentences.

The Zombie Tarot is an excellent case in what I view as the importance of the LWB. A 'themed' deck may or may not come over as a 'novelty' deck, and the Zombie is themed to such a high standard with huge thanks to the brilliance of the accompanying book (and I'm really not into Zombies, but this deck is superb). The premise is that when you're up against an apocalypse, you'll turn to the Tarot. Bam! There and then you have a solid reason to ask the cards for assistance.

There is a wonderful example of a meaning for The Hierophant - not always the easiest archetype to get across. Here we have a news anchorman, struggling through static, power outages and destruction, to stay on the air in order to provide the population with assurances, information and advice. His is the voice of trust and security. This is a fabulous example of finding a real gem of an interpretation that can be applied to hundreds of decks. I love it!

Another favourite Little White Book is the one which accompanies the Tarot of Pagan Cats (Lo Scarabeo - Magdelina Messina, Lola Airaghi). In only 14 pages of English (it's a multi lingual deck and book) each short sentence has to try and convey enough information for the reader to comprehend what's going on. The writers do this beautifully. Here's just one example to finish this post with: The Lovers - Making a decision that makes your heart glad. 

Til next time,


All content and images © Margo Benson

Monday 27 January 2020

Peeking at some Petit Lenormand


I love Lenormand. I became serious about reading with the system a few years ago, and often augment a tarot reading with a 3 or 5 card spread of Lenormand cards. I have collected a modest number of decks and want to show you a selection of those I read with. My latest acquisition is one of the most exquisite Lenormands I have ever seen. I am delighted to be working with it.

Let me present ... The Alexander Daniloff Lenormand!

I mentioned in a previous post featuring Alexander's beautiful tarot that he was bringing out a Lenormand - I knew it would be beautiful, theatrical art, but this deck had my jaw dropping to the floor in wonder. As soon as I began working with the cards, it became an instant favourite. The cards are the traditional small size (approx 9cm x 5.8cm) so there is ease when laying out a Grand Tableau (a spread using all 36 cards). Larger-sized Lenormands aren't a deal-breaker for me, I possess many poker-sized decks (approx 9cm x 6.3cm) but I find I reach for the smaller decks first. Alexander's placement of the playing card insert is stunning and original; the banners are truly a part of the image.
Here are some more!


I say the deck became an instant favourite, which takes some doing as a forever-favourite and well-used Lenormand is the wonderful Celtic Lenormand by Chloe McCracken with art by Will Worthington. Again sticking with the smaller size, I adore these.

Woman, Heart, Book - I also love that the images are so clear it isn't necessary to name the cards. I'm easy on that count as long as the name doesn't interfere with the artwork, but I know several readers who abhor seeing card names. Still, we can't all be the same, eh!

The deck I learned with was this one - Blau Eule, or Blue Owl (Urania publishing). It's an extremely popular Lenormand containing very traditional images.

I have a few Lenormand decks created by Paris Debono ( and this one, The Yellow Wave, is wicked!

It's stark and contemporary, I love the inserts.

The system of Petit Lenormand came out of 'The Game of Hope' a game a little like Snakes and Ladders, where all the cards are laid out from 1 to 36. Old sets of these cards can be found in the British Museum but facsimiles are available to buy from many book and card sellers.

Aren't they lovely? You can see that the inserts include Bells, Hearts, Leaves and Acorns, which were forerunners of Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and Clubs in German-style imagery.

I'll leave you with another picture from the Alexander Daniloff - many creators include extra Man and Woman/Lord and Lady cards to cover diversity and same-sex relationships. Here are Alexander's - I particularly love the Woman with a ginger and white cat in her arms as that'll be me!

'Til next time,


Monday 16 December 2019



I love Winter! I love rain and dark skies - I love the low sun and frost. I'm late Autumn born and always feel more energised away from high summer. I know it sounds bonkers and, don't get me wrong, I love a sunny day, I just feel more at one with the colder months.

The photo above was taken in a local country park, where we walk regularly and watch the seasons and the bird-life change throughout the year. I feel the picture encapsulates this time of year as one to reflect on things as well as accessing deep emotions and relationships with all life. I love a visual metaphor! Here in the UK we are entering curious and uncertain times, and pausing to reflect and dig deep is on many minds right now.

I drew these cards for my working week. I often turn up as the Queen of Clubs or Hearts - Clubs for practical work, Hearts more for my therapy side, so here I am in tune with the line. I'm ready to apply myself to tasks, the Ace bringing a sense of single-mindedness and (hopefully) focus in the lead up to Yule. I love seeing the Six of Hearts end the line as this is pathway to happiness; where the heart is.

Wishing you a bridge to bliss too.

'Til next time,


(Pagan Playing Cards by Uusi)

Friday 29 November 2019

Card of the Day - Nine of Cups


Life takes over sometimes, but I have missed blogging - so here I am with a new post and a beautiful card to ease my way back.

This is the exquisite Nine of Cups from the Daniloff Tarot (2nd Edition). Often referred to as the 'wish card', here we have a scene of plenty, pleasure and fulfilment. A Nine in the Tarot signifies a great deal of *something* and can denote a stage of personal completion. By the look on the grand gentleman's face, he is basking in easy joy. His table is set with food and drink; there are jars of goods, plus a cornucopia adding to the metaphors of abundance. A jester/minstrel serenades a woman, adding to the sense of having enough to share.

In my system of reading, Cups are associated with the element of Water, so a Nine of Cups doesn't necessarily equate to a physical banquet heaped with sensual gifts. Water flows and connects and encourages us to feel. Within this element are heart-centred emotions, mindfulness, empathy and love. The scene above shows an outward display of fulfilment, but we're also encouraged to think how inner growth and inspiration has shaped the success experienced at this bounteous table.

The Daniloff Tarot is a deck I regularly read with - I am a huge fan of the art of Alexander Daniloff. He will soon be releasing a Lenormand deck, so watch this space for a review.

'Til next time,


Friday 29 May 2015

Lighten Up!

Just look at that face! How can you not smile right back at him?

After the more sombre tone of my previous post, I had a reading from my dear friend S, and the messages told me to stop taking life so seriously and lighten up. Then I drew this fellow and well... how could I go against The Fae when they send this Faery guide!

This is Mikle à Muckle from The Faerie's Oracle by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth, and he's here to remind me to play. He asks me to stop looking for hidden agendas or complications but to let him lead me to magical places and to live in the moment.

And so I am :-)

That's not to say I'm not still trying to do many things at once, but I'm remembering my sense of humour along the way.

This is me - staying on top, balancing, juggling. I have my earrings in (all 7) and my golden wings can take me anywhere I need to go. I'm focused but there's a hint of a smile there, no?

The Hezicos Tarot here has fast become a favourite. An enchanting deck.

Two more things to share today ...

Once again I'm over on the TABI blog reviewing a fabulous book which will be available from August 1st. 
I can highly recommend this to absolutely anyone and everyone interested in tarot. It does what the title says and shows the relationships, positions and appearances of the cards, before you get into the actual meanings. It even has a section on experimentation and play :-) 

Finally, here's a little work in progress. 
I don't often take my socks off but we're enjoying some lovely warm sunshine, and this is an ankle adornment for when I do. It's sterling silver European 4-in-1 fashioned into fancy shapes. I think I'll add a couple of the teeny Thai silver beads to each unit. I'll post another photo when it's finished and all polished and sparkly.

'Til next time


Wednesday 20 May 2015

Towards Something Better

 I've been pondering the Six of Swords.

I like it when this card comes up in a reading, it shows a transition towards calmer times, a movement from choppy waters to gentle, stillness.

I've just returned from a holiday, where I feel I have undergone stages of transition. Some deep thinking and decision making has taken place. Grown up decisions; thoughts and feelings about getting older, acceptance.....or not.

A Six is a number of harmony and balance. A pause where I can see how far I've come and perhaps celebrate what I've achieved or overcome to get there. Swords are associated with the realm of the mind so I am being asked to think about the journey and maybe communicate those thoughts with myself or share them with others. Even ask for help. This is where different depictions of a card can help me feel the nuances of the messages and what they are showing me.

Even though we're dealing with the element of Air, many depictions involve a journey over water, perhaps showing how closely connected our thoughts and emotions are.

 I love this example from the Hezicos Tarot. The boat is perched on the crest of a wave between the turbulent and the still sea while the solitary figure calmly gazes away from the wild side. The Swords are displayed on the sail, reminding me of the Air element and the challenges in my head. I love that the boat is pulled along by a Sea Dragon. To me, having a mythical creature assisting and guiding could be saying that help may come in some form of my beliefs, or my inner Dragon, not necessarily from outside. The sky is full of energy so strength is all around me and the lamp swinging from the mast shows me I'm not in the dark.

Here in the AnnaK Tarot the picture is along the more traditional lines of the Rider Waite Smith, of a ferryman taking one or more people across the water. The view of the retreating figures really encompasses the feeling of leaving something behind. Here, the destination isn't in full colour, showing that the idea of wherever I'm going hasn't been fully formed yet. I often wonder about mutual beneficiaries when a ferryman appears in an image. He (or she) is being paid for a service, and the passenger is taken where they need to go. Win-win. In this particular picture the ferryman carries four of the six swords, so is taking a lot of the burden or troubled thoughts himself. Perhaps he isn't a paid ferryman at all - he may be the companion of the seated passenger, again showing some kind of assistance is there for me. Also, the fact that it's a raft and not a more robust boat, tells me that this isn't a long journey.

We have the opposite view in the DruidCraft Tarot where a couple are being punted towards the reader. I love their active expressions anticipating the destination with interest. The Swords are splayed around them and the man is gripping one by the hilt. This may be showing me that one thought is paramount or uppermost at the moment. The arrival feels closer in this card and the golden sky is enveloping me in welcoming warmth.

Finally for this little grouping, this image is from the Japaridze Tarot and shows a bat-winged angel (the bat being a feature of Nino Japaridze's work) soaring over two landscapes. Instead of the contrasting water, we have a dark, desolate outcrop and a verdant sunny land. There is a smooth river dividing the two showing me that I have the choice of where to go. The angel depicts my thoughts as an overview of the situation I may be leaving behind, giving me 'the big picture' and not letting my thoughts weigh me down during this transition.

'Til next time,



Thursday 7 May 2015

Greetings! Once again I'm over on the TABI Blog reviewing a wonderful book Crystal Resonance

I promise to be back blogging with some wonderful cards very soon!

Bright Blessings all xx