In the Moth & Candle studio is a shelf dedicated to decks without a home. These decks are up for adoption!“Take a deck, leave a deck.” Adopt a deck from The Moth & Candle Deck Orphanage by exchanging it for a deck of yours or leaving a $5 donation. All decks in “good and complete” condition are welcome: Tarot, oracle, playing cards, Lenormand, etc.
I believe instruction for contemplative practices and tools should be as accessible as possible to anyone who wishes to use them. I also believe basic civil liberties should be accessible to all… all monetary contributions to the Deck Orphanage are donated to the ACLU.
Check the “Deck Orphanage” highlights section of the Moth & Candle Instagram page for current decks available for adoption.
I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of The Key to the Kingdom deck and book set at a used bookstore last month. The Key to the Kingdom is a transformation deck* designed and illustrated by Tony Meeuwissen and was first published in 1992. So I was pretty excited to find the complete set and unopened!
There was even a little brochure for a contest by the publisher! Solve the riddle found in 14 of the cards and mail in your answer. Sadly for me, the contest ended in 1994. But I’m still enjoying working through the riddle! I’m chipping away at it here and there in the studio… some of the references are somewhat obscure so it’s a work in progress.
Meeuwissen was comissioned by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to design a set of court cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) based on traditional nursery rhymes. Meeuwissen went above and beyond and completed 53 designs (a standard 52-card deck plus a joker) over three years. Each card is paired with a rhyme.
The Ace of Hearts starts off the individual card listings in the book. “I’m a little butterfly / Born in a bower, / Christened in a teapot, / Died in half an hour.” A lovely red butterfly sits heart-shaped with folded wings. The Ace of Hearts is often associated with love and romance in traditional cartomancy, so the fleeting and fragile nature of the butterfly’s life can reflect either a jaded philosophy on romance or more of a seize the moment sort of attitude.
The Ace of Spades features a beautifully spotted black spider hanging from its silk. “If you want to live and thrive / Let a spider run alive.” The book claims that this rhyme “reminds us that a London card-maker was actually sentenced to be hanged for forgery at a time when this card doubled as England’s duty stamp.” (The individual they are referring to was Richard Harding d. 1805) The duty stamp** they are referring to was from the 17th century in England. King Charles I introduced the idea, but in 1711 Queen Anne (featured on the Queen of Spades in this deck…) extended the law and it lasted until 1960. The Ace of Spades is traditionally known as “the death card.” Here the Spade is formed by the spider’s body which is decorated with markings resembling a cross and perhaps two doves flying above it.
The Ace of Hearts meets the Ace of Spades in the Joker card. Here the butterfly has been trapped in the spider’s web and the spider is in the act of grabbing hold of the butterfly. The colors have been reversed (fitting for the topsy-turvy nature of the Joker), the spider is now red and the butterfly is a somber black. Perhaps implying that Death triumphs all in the end.
From what I can tell the Ace of Spades spider makes one more appearance in the deck: The Queen of Spades. “I am Queen Anne, of who ’tis said, I’m chiefly famed for being dead.” The Queen of Spades shows what appears to be a tombstone with a dodo bird carved into it. The tombstone is decorated with a golden crown and the Ace-of-Spades spider has spread its web artfully around collecting various symbolic dinners. The date barely visible is 1714. Queen Anne Stuart of England did die in August of 1714 and the dodo bird is estimated to have gone extinct sometime between 1688 and 1715. The spider hangs down to become an earring on the dodo bird; the spider’s web trails back making the dodo-queen’s long hair (or possibly a train); the butterfly caught in the web is a hair bow. There are two other insects caught in another section of the spider’s web, but I am having difficulty making out what they are.
Meeuwissen is clearly passionate about rhymes, riddles, and enigmas; The Key to the Kingdom deck and book are packed with esoteric references, nods to art history, visual and literary puns, and card-making history. Unpacking even a portion of the references in this deck will take a good deal of study time with these cards.
This is a beautiful deck. The bold eye-catching images make it a difficult choice for game play when quick identification of a card is an advantage. I think it would be a really interesting deck to work with for cartomancy and contemplative practice. However, reading with the deck will require spending some time with it, getting to know it’s language a bit more. And it definitely has some quirks to work around. The card backs are not a mirrored image and therefor you won’t be able to read randomized reversals (cards that appear upside down in a reading without conscious selection). Reading with this deck could be really rich and layered, I think… but it definitely requires that you spend some time really getting to know these cards. Overall this is a fascinating deck and I’m looking forward to gradually unlocking some of its mysteries.
*Transformation decks are playing cards that artistically incorporate the icons on the pips into an illustration of some kind. The first known transformation deck was published in 1803.
**There is a whole fascinating history to card rankings and politics related to the Ace of Spades, but essentially the stamp duty was a tax imposed on cardmakers by the government. When the tax had been paid the highest ranking card in the deck was stamped with the government seal showing it to be a legal deck of cards.
Join us Saturday May, 18th for a Flower Moon Tea Party! Location: The Stuart Hall bldg. (clubroom) 2121 Central St. KCMO 64108
A special full moon celebration featuring individual tea-leaf reading sessions! The ancient art of Tasseomancy (divination via the study of tea leaves) is a beautiful way to gain insight and confidence along your path.
A collective game of cards will kick off the afternoon as we eat delectable treats and sip our tea before individual readings commence! You may record your session on your personal device.
Readings provided upon individual assignment by your hostesses: Laura Pensar of @mothandcandle, Madison Joy of @truthamplifiedpalmistry, and Sandy Jorgensen of @sandyjorgensen
Spring brings fresh starts and new beginnings and is a great time to get a Tarot reading! This month I am offering a limited number of private sessions for a Spring check-in. Join me in the cozy Moth & Candle studio for tea, cookies, and all of the Tarot insight we can pack into 45 minutes!
Join Laura in the Moth & Candle studio this April for a creative Tarot Journal workshop! Learn the basic concepts of Tarot while creating your own Tarot study journal (all materials included) in this unique hands-on workshop! Laura will give you tips and tricks for using your new journal to further your Tarot practice on your own at home. Reserve your tickets through Eventbrite.
Little Lulu is an updated Lenormand deck that reflects the needs of contemporary readers and seekers. Sweet as pie and honest as a mirror!
A straightforward no-nonsense deck for practical advice you can put to work right away! Lenormand is a 200 year-old card divination system similar to Tarot. A card reading is like having a personal conversation with the deck: Little Lulu is sassy but caring. Little Lulu has your back.
Help fund the printing of the first edition of Little Lulu’s Lucky Lenormand by pre-ordering your deck through the Indiegogo campaign or just follow along and cheer Little Lulu on!
Join Laura for Valentine’s Day at Oracle for some relationship tarot readings! We’re celebrating the partnerships in our life that we value most; whether they be friendships, siblings, romantic partnerships, partners in crime even.
Drop by Oracle at 130 West 18th Street in Kansas City’s Crossroads district for tea, a Tarot reading, and some quick spell supplies. Special discount on Tarot readings when you and your friend get readings together!
Noon to 6 O’clock pm.
Drop-in Tarot Readings: Small Reading: $15 Full Reading: $25 *If you and a friend each purchase a reading you’ll both get a 20% discount on your readings! Cause we love people who support each other regardless of their relationship status!
What are Lenormand cards? Where did they come from, how do they work, and what can they do for you?
Instructors: Laura Pensar & Madison Joy
Join Laura and Madison in the Moth & Candle studio for an evening dedicated to this charming and simple (but powerful) card system! The divination card deck developed in the 1800’s known as Lenormand is Tarot’s simpler and more practical cousin. Lenormand cards are beginner-friendly and a great way to connect with your intuition.
Laura and Madison have developed this three-part Lenormand course to take you from complete beginner all the way to reading the full 36-card Grand Tableau! Take one, two, or all three classes…
Lenormand I, Introduction to the Cards: (beginner) learn the basics of the Lenormand system, create your own study deck, and be doing simple 3-card readings for yourself by the end of class.
Lenormand II, Reading for Others: (beginner/intermediate) learn multiple ways to read a 9-card spread and practice giving “cold readings” with your fellow students.
Lenormand III, The Grand Tableau: (intermediate/advanced) the ultimate Lenormand spread uses all 36 cards and can be read in a multitude of ways, learn to incorporate this powerful reading technique into your practice. We recommend that you have previous experience with Lenormand or have taken the Lenormand II course prior to signing up for The Grand Tableau class.
Join Laura and Madison for the popular first part of their collaborative Lenormand class series this May at the Moth & Candle studio! Madison will help guide you to tap into your intuition and show you how to immediately start working with Lenormand. Laura will show you her signature method of studying Lenormand by modifying playing cards and provide you with the materials to create your own study deck.
Lenormand II, Reading for Others
TBA at The Moth & Candle studio, 3130 Bell Street, KCMO $30 in advance, $35 at the door
Class size is limited to 12.
Join Laura and Madison for the second part of their collaborative Lenormand class series this March at the Moth & Candle studio! Madison will help guide you to tap into your intuition and show you how to apply what you know about Lenormand and start reading for others. Laura will show you various ways to approach the same reading to gain the most perspective from the cards.
Lenormand III, The Grand Tableau
TBA at The Moth & Candle studio, 3130 Bell Street, KCMO $30 in advance, $35 at the door
Class size is limited to 12.
Join Laura and Madison for the final part of their collaborative Lenormand class series this April at the Moth & Candle studio! Laura will explain the houses of the Grand Tableau and how to apply the cards to them. Madison will help guide you to tap into your intuition and show you how to use the Grand Tableau to dive deep and gain valuable insight.
Learn about the insights, perspective, and incisive wisdom to be gained through card reading. Join us for this charming evening of Lenormand.
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate partnerships. February 15th – 17th you can book a special Tarot session for two people! Treat someone you love (whether romantic partner or best friend / sibling) to an in-depth session for the two of you together! Join Tarot reader Laura Pensar in the Moth & Candle Studio for an in-depth Tarot reading for both of you. This private session includes hot tea and cookies, full reading with all the Tarot insight we can talk about in 45 minutes, and a Valentine printed with your personalized Tarot Soul Card* interpretations for each of you to take home!
$80 for a 45 minute session for two people. Reservations required. Reserve your space by emailing Laura directly with the time you prefer and she will invoice you to hold your spot!
Please email Laura to reserve your time from the list below:
Friday 2/15: 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
Saturday 2/16: 1pm, 2pm, 3pm
Sunday 2/17: 11am, 12pm, 1pm
*Your Tarot Soul Card is calculated using your birth date (month, day, year). Prior to your appointment I will determine the TSC for both of you and write a brief interpretation of your cards individually and together. You will receive this TSC reading printed on a card for each of you. We will use the TSC reading as a starting point for your full in-person reading at the studio. The TSC is based on the method developed by renowned Tarot expert Mary K. Greer.
Laura Pensar brings over 25 years of Tarot study and experience to her coaching sessions. LP is passionate about demystifying the cards and believes understanding the history and origins of cartomancy (the art of reading cards) will help you get the most from your own cartomancy practice.
Coaching available in any/all of the following:
Tarot Basics: how to quickly get started working with the cards personally
Tarot Spreads: understanding how spreads function, different spreads for different topics/needs, and how to develop your own spreads
Cartomancy: lessons in various forms of card reading including Lenormand, playing cards, and oracle decks.
Directed Studies in Tarot: in-depth study and practice in a focus area of your choice (specific cards, spread development, reading tips and advice, working with specific decks, etc)
One-on-one coaching sessions are $50 for half an hour. Contact Laura to begin your studies.