Deck Review: The Moonchild Tarot + Planning a Trip Using the Cards

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It’s been ages since I did a deck review… mainly because I got rid of a ton of decks and didn’t buy a whole lot of new ones either. Since creating my own deck, I haven’t really felt the need to consume as much as I used to (great for my wallet!). However—isn’t there always a caveat?—there are some creators like the Starchild Tarot’s Danielle Noel who I fully, wholeheartedly support and whose art I’m just amazed by that I can’t not.

PART 1 : DECK REVIEW

When the lovely Marianne of Two Sides Tarot (an indie deck shop based in Australia) announced that she was taking in pre-orders for the Moonchild Tarot and only had a few orders left, I hopped on the bandwagon many months ago. I would have to wait a couple of months for the deck, which was fine by me since I’d grown out of my card-consumerism by then. In fact, I had to wait a little longer because there was reportedly a misprint in the guidebooks involving the Queen of Wands (if I remember right). Those who pre-ordered had the option of getting their decks earlier with the misprint, or could wait a little longer to get the right one. I am all for delayed gratification so I said I’d wait.

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The Moonchild is a partner deck to the Starchild Tarot, one of the earliest indie decks I ever bought (I’m only realizing now that I actually never reviewed it! What!). I was always attracted to the Starchild and it was actually the very first tarot deck I used for my very first PM online reading! But when creator Danielle Noel announced the Moonchild later on, I had a feeling I would vibe with it more. The images seemed to be more modern and a little more colorful compared to the Starchild’s super ethereal, pink-purple hued aesthetic.

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First things first, the Moonchild Tarot wins the award for most luxurious box in the history of all indie decks. It’s got a trompe l’oeil pattern all around it paired with a very art deco logo—so chic and stylish, it deserves a spot on a Daisy Buchanan’s vanity. It’s too bad we can’t do touch-o-vision via the Internet because holding this box in your hand is like holding a bunch of delicate rose petals just plucked from the stem. It’s soft and smooth—I literally have to stroke this box every time I hold it. ASMR for your fingers.

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Second thing, no detail was spared in the creation of this illustrious tarot deck. I mean, look at the inside of the box and its matching book. Egypt has always been on my list of places to travel to since I was a kid, although I always expected I’d travel to the pyramids when I was in my 50s or 60s (I don’t know why). While I wait a couple of decades more before I hit my Egypt-travel-appropriate age, I can instead open this time capsule and be transported immediately to the land of pharaohs. The graphics on this deck are unbelievable.

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The Moonchild is visual poetry, evident in its pretty callout as well as the gold and white art deco card backs with matching matte gold card edges. If you’ve ever stopped yourself from buying an indie deck because of its price (this was $58 on Two Sides Tarot), I will tell you now that you’ll figure out why you’re paying so much the moment you unbox the Moonchild. You don’t even have to flip through the cards or use them to see how the costs are justified. Packaging alone will have you convinced!

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Another lovely detail you’ll appreciate are the three extra cards that come with the regular 78. Divine Wisdom, Moonchild, and Shadow Work are added to the mix, giving your pulls a pleasant little twist. Who doesn’t want extra cards, amirite?

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For sticklers to guidebooks, this one comes with a hefty (and colored!) book that fits nicely into the box. The Starchild Tarot I got had a thick LWB but it wasn’t colored and the descriptions were a little too generic for my taste… which doesn’t actually matter because I hardly ever read the guidebook when I turn to the cards. What I do with this guidebook is interpret the cards I read for myself on my own, and then flip over to the guidebook just to see if there’s anything I can add to my own meaning. After all, someone else’s perspective can be helpful at times… especially when you’re drawing blanks or feel like you’re too in-your-head.

The book is well-written and beautifully laid out. What can I say, I am so easily sold on packaging and aesthetic and design. :P

My travel spread involves one card for every city I’m visiting!

My travel spread involves one card for every city I’m visiting!

Cut to how I actually use the cards… So I got my deck right before Christmas and waited a couple of weeks before actually opening it because the holidays always get me super busy. I had a lot of DMs on Instagram from people asking me to talk about the Moonchild and I had to explain to everyone that I was waiting for the right time, lol (am I the only one who does this?). I didn’t want to tear into the cards because I knew they were extra special. I wanted to give myself the perfect moment!

PART 2: PLANNING A TRIP USING THE CARDS

I did some generic pulls (my fave Celtic Cross) and a New Moon and Full Moon reading as well, but a couple of days ago, I was in the mood to get really serious with card-reading and decided to turn to this deck. I’m going to get a little personal here and talk about stuff that’s on my mind that necessitated a deep and dirty reading with my new set of cards.

Every year, I set aside time for travel and 2019 was the year I earmarked to see a lot of places that have been on my To Visit list for a while now. One of my best friends and I wanted to go to the US to visit our other pal who’d just had a baby, I wanted to attend a conference for creatives I’ve been stalking online for the last couple of years, and I also wanted to go to Edinburgh just because. I have a cousin who also lives in just outside Brussels who I’ve managed to meet in Milan and Paris before, but who I’d never actually visited in Belgium.

Living in Manila and carrying a Philippine passport isn’t the most convenient thing for people who want to travel all over. Visas can be a pain to apply for! I’m lucky my US Visa is still going so that’s one down, but I do have the UK and Schengen visas to contend with. All through January, I’d been compiling all the paperwork and sending them over to my travel agent friend. There’s a lot of waiting and planning involved in this trip (I’m slated to leave in March) and you can imagine the anxiety that comes with all this down time. Hence, the cards.

I decided to pull one card for each of my destinations and supplement my card pulls with a “How to Prep” card and a “Be Open To” card too. It was a fun way to sample the Moonchild Tarot and was also a win win exercise because it helped calm me down.

So for anyone who’s a little anxious about planning their own trips (I decided to do this blog post because a majority of my friends are all traveling to different parts of the world same time as me—hi guys, I hope you find this useful), here’s something you can do to take the edge off.

Disclaimer, this is also a highly personal exercise for me…details might bore you if you read through it all, so if you’re short on time and don’t need to hear all the back stories behind my travels, feel free to check the prompts and go ahead and get shuffling :)

My trip gets a fitting start with the Ace of Pentacles. My interpretation is, we get to plant our feet firmly (on California soil), anchor ourselves first before going off to our must-sees: DTLA, Mexican food!, Farmer’s Market, the Broad, The Last Bookstore, LACMA, Griffith Park, California Adventure (I have never been on Soarin’ Over California and OMG I am going to do it finally), and Universal Studios (because HARRY POTTER). The Queen of Cups reminds me not to be so rigid with our plans while the 6 of Pentacles is a good indication we get some help from friends / family who live in LA.

My trip gets a fitting start with the Ace of Pentacles. My interpretation is, we get to plant our feet firmly (on California soil), anchor ourselves first before going off to our must-sees: DTLA, Mexican food!, Farmer’s Market, the Broad, The Last Bookstore, LACMA, Griffith Park, California Adventure (I have never been on Soarin’ Over California and OMG I am going to do it finally), and Universal Studios (because HARRY POTTER). The Queen of Cups reminds me not to be so rigid with our plans while the 6 of Pentacles is a good indication we get some help from friends / family who live in LA.

My entire trip is actually centered around  Alt Summit , a conference I’m attending in Palm Springs. It’s just a bonus that I’ve always wanted to go on a tour of the desert + all the mid-century modern architecture that’s there. I’m spending a week here and the 4 of Wands is telling me to enjoy the conference / retreat and just relax, have fun, and celebrate the fact that I actually was able to ship myself there. To prep, I need to make sure I’m ready to network via the 3 of Cups… and I need to be careful about overexertion and overspending with the 5 of Pentacles.

My entire trip is actually centered around Alt Summit, a conference I’m attending in Palm Springs. It’s just a bonus that I’ve always wanted to go on a tour of the desert + all the mid-century modern architecture that’s there. I’m spending a week here and the 4 of Wands is telling me to enjoy the conference / retreat and just relax, have fun, and celebrate the fact that I actually was able to ship myself there. To prep, I need to make sure I’m ready to network via the 3 of Cups… and I need to be careful about overexertion and overspending with the 5 of Pentacles.

After Alt, I go back to LA and stay with family friends. I feel like my Alt experience will help me sharpen my next steps when it comes to Practical Magic (hence the Ace of Swords). This is also the pause before the next leg of my trip, which involves a long haul flight (8 of Wands). I’ve always loved the chill vibe of LA. My brother used to live there so it was one of my most frequently visited places and it has a special La La Land place in my heart. I hope I’m able to reacquaint myself with ME here. The Lovers is always a good sign!

After Alt, I go back to LA and stay with family friends. I feel like my Alt experience will help me sharpen my next steps when it comes to Practical Magic (hence the Ace of Swords). This is also the pause before the next leg of my trip, which involves a long haul flight (8 of Wands). I’ve always loved the chill vibe of LA. My brother used to live there so it was one of my most frequently visited places and it has a special La La Land place in my heart. I hope I’m able to reacquaint myself with ME here. The Lovers is always a good sign!

And thus begins the hypothetical part of my trip planning… which can only be confirmed once I get all the visa work done (keep your fingers crossed for me!). I thoroughly enjoyed London my last time there, so I wanted to make it a point to stay a couple of days again. The 7 of Swords has me on high alert right now—what does this even mean?!? The King of Cups + 2 of Cups are fun romance teasers (lol) but I think I have to be on my toes on this leg.

And thus begins the hypothetical part of my trip planning… which can only be confirmed once I get all the visa work done (keep your fingers crossed for me!). I thoroughly enjoyed London my last time there, so I wanted to make it a point to stay a couple of days again. The 7 of Swords has me on high alert right now—what does this even mean?!? The King of Cups + 2 of Cups are fun romance teasers (lol) but I think I have to be on my toes on this leg.

The only Major Arcana card to pop up in my trip planning spread comes in my most anticipated city, Edinburgh! I think the Wheel of Fortune means I should let whatever happens, happen here. I’m meeting up with a good friend who’s traveling from Singapore to Scotland (Hi Patty!) and hmm, maybe the King of Pentacles will bode well for both of us. I love that the 7 of Cups comes up in what we can be open to—anything and everything. I can’t wait to let this city surprise us. :)

The only Major Arcana card to pop up in my trip planning spread comes in my most anticipated city, Edinburgh! I think the Wheel of Fortune means I should let whatever happens, happen here. I’m meeting up with a good friend who’s traveling from Singapore to Scotland (Hi Patty!) and hmm, maybe the King of Pentacles will bode well for both of us. I love that the 7 of Cups comes up in what we can be open to—anything and everything. I can’t wait to let this city surprise us. :)

When  (not if) my Schengen comes through, my first order of business in Europe is to visit my cousin in Brussels. This was kind of a slap dash decision on my part (Knight of Wands), but I mean, why not? It’ll be fun to see Bruges and Gent and to eat all. the. waffles. The 4 of Swords reminds me to chill out, I will get my papers eventually. And the 3 of Cups is a nice sign that I’ll be able to decompress and spend time with family in this new-to-me city.

When (not if) my Schengen comes through, my first order of business in Europe is to visit my cousin in Brussels. This was kind of a slap dash decision on my part (Knight of Wands), but I mean, why not? It’ll be fun to see Bruges and Gent and to eat all. the. waffles. The 4 of Swords reminds me to chill out, I will get my papers eventually. And the 3 of Cups is a nice sign that I’ll be able to decompress and spend time with family in this new-to-me city.

I’m actually  super  excited for this leg of my trip because at first, I thought I’d be going to Paris and then I changed my mind and thought Amsterdam (both cities I’d already been to before)… and while on WhatsApp with my friend from Switzerland who I’m traveling with, I just had this sudden burst of 10 of Cups inspiration. Copenhagen! I’d never been to Denmark before and I loved the recommendations shared by my fave British vlogger,  Anna Newton . Copenhagen has a lot of design museums that I feel will give me the 8 of Pentacles oomph I need before heading back home and the 6 of Cups is hinting at how this could potentially be a a city I’ll look back on very fondly.

I’m actually super excited for this leg of my trip because at first, I thought I’d be going to Paris and then I changed my mind and thought Amsterdam (both cities I’d already been to before)… and while on WhatsApp with my friend from Switzerland who I’m traveling with, I just had this sudden burst of 10 of Cups inspiration. Copenhagen! I’d never been to Denmark before and I loved the recommendations shared by my fave British vlogger, Anna Newton. Copenhagen has a lot of design museums that I feel will give me the 8 of Pentacles oomph I need before heading back home and the 6 of Cups is hinting at how this could potentially be a a city I’ll look back on very fondly.

I end my trip meeting up again with my best friend, and the two of us along with her kid, staying over our other best friend’s house in New York. It’s going to be a reunion of sorts as another pal comes over from Vermont! The Queen of Swords vibe underscores the fact that after a month of travel, I’ll probably be over it (haha)… but the Page of Swords is telling me to keep my mind open. I love that the Death card pops up, it’s an invitation to allow this travel experience to transform me as I head back.

I end my trip meeting up again with my best friend, and the two of us along with her kid, staying over our other best friend’s house in New York. It’s going to be a reunion of sorts as another pal comes over from Vermont! The Queen of Swords vibe underscores the fact that after a month of travel, I’ll probably be over it (haha)… but the Page of Swords is telling me to keep my mind open. I love that the Death card pops up, it’s an invitation to allow this travel experience to transform me as I head back.

To help ease my mind as I wait for the visa processes to be over, I pulled these three cards. Notice how ominous the colors are compared to the rest of my trip! LOL, a valid reflection of how anxious I am at the moment. The Hanged Man is affirmation that I need to go through this very uncomfortable process before I come out on the other side. I need to stop anticipating the worst, as per The Tower. And I ought to continue the process of introspection, however conflicting it makes me feel (2 of Swords).

To help ease my mind as I wait for the visa processes to be over, I pulled these three cards. Notice how ominous the colors are compared to the rest of my trip! LOL, a valid reflection of how anxious I am at the moment. The Hanged Man is affirmation that I need to go through this very uncomfortable process before I come out on the other side. I need to stop anticipating the worst, as per The Tower. And I ought to continue the process of introspection, however conflicting it makes me feel (2 of Swords).

I hope this gave you a glimpse into using tarot for travel planning… and offers some insight on how I actually use the cards to read for myself.

If like many of my friends, you yourself are concerned about a trip you’re about to take, you can reach out to me in the comments below and book a reading that we can tailor to your own travel needs. :)