22 Feb

“Through observing the symbols and images from the alchemical perspective, we awaken our gifts, engage with the creative mystery of our everyday world, and unite the materials of the soul.”

I love visiting the worlds that Kim Krans creates and invites us into. She has such a unique and creative vision. What I love most about Kim’s style is that she is a vivid storyteller. Her guidebook reads partly as an autobiography and partly as a master teacher imparting wisdom they’ve gained from all their previous lifetimes. It feels like I’m reading her diary as she pulls back the curtains to reveal her innermost musings. And it all flows so seamlessly as if I’m just enjoying a cozy conversation with a dear friend over coffee. There’s a feeling that I’ve known her from some time before. Her soul’s ramblings on the page, written in her handwriting, speak to my soul in a way that never fails to awaken the part of me that’s yearning to come alive again as if the long slumber I’ve been in is finally waning. 

“Alchemy is the merging of the physical and the mystical.” ~ Kim Krans

I’ve been so deep in my writing process, that I hadn’t seen that Kim had put this deck out last year. Luckily, the universe nudges me toward a deck when it’s needed, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. I reached out to Chronicle Books, and they kindly sent over a copy for me to review, and it’s one of those decks that I was giddy to unbox. It was sorely needed at this time in my healing journey as I’m ending certain cycles and itching to embark on new ones. I needed a new area to dive deeply into as I finish my 4 book witchy series, The Divining Sisters. I know this deck arrived to infuse me with new inspiration as I start to outline the prequel to the series that’s meant to take me back in time to the witch trials in England. I’m going to need a special kind of healing to be able to dive into research for that book. I’m a firm believer in the deck choosing the reader, and this one came a knocking right when I needed it. 

“The Alchemist answers: Everything matters. Every ingredient, every little instance is an opportunity to witness divinity in the material.” ~ Kim Krans

There’s no deck by any other creator that reminds me of this Wild Unknown Alchemy deck. The closest is Kim Krans’ own Wild Unknown Archetypes deck. Her decks stand in a class of their own, and I’m so stoked that I now have a complete set of all 4 of her decks to work with – The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Animal Spirit Oracle, (both New York Times Bestsellers), along with The Wild Unknown Archetypes, and the final addition to the collection - The Wild Unknown Alchemy Deck. And boy do they pack a punch together!

To say Krans has helped to broaden the tarot’s appeal and introduced it to the younger generations in a bold new way is an understatement. When I first got into tarot in 2018, the Wild Unknown Tarot was the most represented deck on social media. It was everywhere! Everyone was obsessed with it, and I know scores of young readers that found their way to tarot through this unique take on the tarot.

This alchemy deck feels special as Kim introduces us to the first alchemist she encountered in her life, the art teacher who saw potential in her art from the get go and convinced the admissions board to admit Kim to the art program, no doubt helping to build the foundation that these 4 works of art stem from. What a gift that teacher gave the world that day by taking a chance on that promising young student buzzing with so much unharnessed potential.

“Without Ms. Parsons, it is unlikely there would be a book resting in your hands. She is the secret ingredient in this deck, in the shape and nuance of these words. She taught me to be teachable. The first and only requirement on the alchemical path.” ~ Kim Krans

Part reference guide, part life map, this guidebook leads us on a journey to our very core through the examination and exploration of the cosmos. 

“I do my best to let the materials speak their own kind of language. This deck is not my magnum opus. My magnum opus is the constant practice of not knowing and not having the answer, yet showing up in devotion to the search.” ~ Kim Krans

Created and illustrated by Kim Krans in her iconic art style of sketch art, watercolor painting, and collage, this colorful and evocative deck is perfect for immersing yourself in a study of the cards to explore the elements, planets, and metals at a deeper level. This deck which allows us to explore the magic of alchemy as it simultaneously transforms us, has 71 hexagon cards. It's the first I’ve seen of this kind, making them stand out all the more than the colors and artwork already do. Their unique shape lends themselves to interlocking formations unique to this deck. Kim says to take note of how the edges of the hexes come in contact with each other. “Is water touching fire? Is winter touching glass? Alchemy is about relationships and responses, and paying attention to the cards that touch will add deeper meaning to your readings.” 

Kim notes that it is up to readers if they want to consider card rotation as part of their readings, but she suggests that beginners familiarize themselves with the cards in the deck first. Once they have a good understanding of the deck, then she encourages readers to add this element of orientation/rotation of the cards as part of the message. Of course, this is something that needs to be set as an intention before shuffling. Always be clear about your intentions before beginning your readings for the clearest messages possible. 

This deck is paired with a beautiful 224-page hand-lettered and fully illustrated guidebook. With this intriguing deck, Krans helps us demystify the esoteric world of alchemy to unlock our own inner transformation. 

“Alchemy weaves together the physical and mystical aspects of our lives. The planets, metals, colors, and seasons act as symbols for reflection and open the gateway to the imagination.” ~ Kim Krans

Here’s a few cards that stood out to me as wholly unique and intriguing: The Peacock’s Tail, Sorror Mystica (Mystical Sister), Raven’s Head, Succus Lunarie (Sap of the Moon Plant), Virgin’s Milk, Vinegar, Ash, Speculum (Glass), Melanosis (Darkening), and Isosis (Reddening). 

The guidebook offers some unique spreads like The Tria Prima Spread that reveals the creative and destructive qualities of a situation, The Less is More Spread to determine what you could use less of and what you could use more of in the situation you asked about, The Alchemical Union Spread that explores the dynamics of a relationship, The Doors of Wisdom Spread to learn about the doors opening up for you and how to release the resistance you have to this change, and more.

In the guidebook, each card has several keywords, a description of the card’s meaning and lessons, ideas to ponder, and suggestions to go deeper beyond the card such as poems to read, sculptures to look at, or lyrics of a song to read. Those suggestions always speak to me in ways that extend the message from my reading and seem personal. This is one way this deck stands out above the rest. The amount of thought, research, and study Kim had to put into just those additions to each of the 71 cards is astonishing. This is one reason why I think she stands out to me so profoundly. You can tell she poured her heart and soul into each of her decks and has pulled from every life experience she’s had to help in our search for wisdom on our personal healing journeys. The card descriptions are quite short and easily digestible in a minute or so but with these references provided, those of us who long for a deeper examination of the card’s message are invited to spend a little extra time exploring those concepts. I love that this offers layers to the experience of working with this deck, just as the archetypes deck did. 

These cards are divided into six suits: The Cosmic Forces, The Colors, The Seasons, The Materials, The Mysteries, and The Operations. 

It is vital to read the introduction to the guidebook to understand the nuances of each card. For example, the hand gestures/positions on the 11 cosmic forces cards reveal their associations with the planets as it’s understood in palmistry. The four color cards lead us through the cycle of life, death, and rebirth in the cards she calls the darkening, the lightening, the yellowing, and the reddening. The seasonal cards reveal where we are on “the cosmic, seasonal storyline, and they serve to reorient us to observe the alchemy of Mother Earth and to witness where she is in her story arc.” 

Through the 22 material cards, “we strengthen our relationship with the full range of substances in the alchemist’s studio. These cards awaken our senses as every material is a metaphor, a teacher, a sage. The magic is in the delicate nuances belonging to that substance and the responses conjured within us. The material cards bring atmosphere and tone to our reading since their qualities could be felt so tangibly, they cast a mood on all the cards present.” She tells us to think of the 22 mystery cards as “mystical teachings in and of themselves.” They could stir our imagination, serve as inspiration for a creative project, or become the focal point of a meditation session. 

And finally, the eight operations are the most powerful cards in the deck similar to the major arcana cards in the tarot. “They represent overriding principles that determine the greater archetypal story at hand. These operations are the very heart and soul of the alchemical work.” They are the goals whether conscious or unconscious of the work. These operations are universal truths, and they are everywhere begging for our attention. Our goal is to become aware and trust their higher wisdom. 

“Alchemy cannot be located, it must be experienced.” ~ Kim Krans

This deck is one I know I will work with for a long time. As someone who considers myself an alchemist as I blend psychology and tarot in ways to promote healing and a better understanding of self, this concept of alchemy has always appealed to me. It’s the reason I named the magical store in Salem, Massachusetts in my book series, The Divining Sisters, Alchemy. It’s a word that makes my soul sing and my ears perk up. There’s a special resonance with this simple but magical word unlike any other word I can think of. My skin tingles at the very mention of it as if the cells in my body are awakening and alerting me to the possibility of radical transformation just around the bend.

“Alchemy is happening continually, whether or not we are aware of it. Our work is the noticing.” ~ Kim Krans

This deck is perfect for personal reflection, self-growth, exploring new realms of spiritual depth, and exploring the idea of alchemy as well as working with the elements, planets, metals, etc. I’m sad that this is the final piece of this stunning collection, but my heart is full of gratitude for the invitation into this insightful, thrilling, and one of a kind world. Thank you Kim for this amazing contribution you’ve made to the world of divination. I for one am immensely grateful for all the healing your decks have sparked within me. 

“The goal is the work itself.” ~ Kim Krans

This deck is published by Chronicle Prism, which is an imprint of Chronicle Books. Thanks to Chronicle Books for sending this deck over for review and for completing my collection of Kim Krans’ decks. 

Purchase the Wild Unknown Alchemy Deck here using my Amazon affiliate link - it helps me a little bit when you use my links thank you. And purchase the rest of the collection – The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Animal Spirit Oracle, (both New York Times Bestsellers), along with The Wild Unknown Archetypes. I recommend them all.

About the Creator

Kim Krans is a visionary artist, author, and creator of The New York Times bestseller The Wild Unknown Tarot. She received her BFA in drawing at Cooper Union in NYC, MFA in mixed media at Hunter College, and an MA in Jungian depth psychology and creativity at Pacifica Graduate Institute in California. Her seeker's heart has brought her to study in-depth practices of Classical Hatha, Kundalini Yoga, and classical shamanism in India, Africa, Europe, and the UK. Kim teaches events and workshops that activate the forces of creativity and radical transformation through art, meditation, mysticism, and movement. Though revered for her drawings and publications, Krans is also a multi-media artist, filmmaker, and musician. A prolific creative influenced by a range of mystical traditions, Kim’s published works include several oracle decks and children’s books, The Wild Unknown Journal, and memoir, Blossoms and Bones. kimkrans.com  

FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the Wild Unknown Alchemy Deck from Chronicle Prism of Chronicle Books for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of this deck.


And if you're interested in divination, check out my podcast, Healing Thru Tarot, where I teach how to use the tarot and other divinatory systems for healing, self-growth, and navigating stress and anxiety in a busy, modern world. New episodes of Healing Thru Tarot drop 3/4/24.

My Novels

Check out The Divining Sisters Series here.

If you're looking for a good witchy book, my fictional divination book series, The Divining Sisters, is perfect! Start with book 1 in the series, The Call of the Cards, and then catch up to book 2, We Divine Three and book 3, The Threads of Fate, which released in Sept. 2023. Book 4 drops Summer of 2024. They're available as ebooks $4.99 and paperbacks $14.99 on Amazon. And the eBooks are also on Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, Scribd, Smash words, and more.

Find out more details on my novels on my author website author.heatherhardison.com - where I post updates on book releases, video book trailers, book blurbs and quotes, as well as fun things like my Spotify playlists for each book. I carefully curate those to express the energy of each book. 

This series follows a group of women (witches, healers, diviners) who reincarnate lifetime after lifetime and reunite with their coven so they can fulfill a mission of keeping their craft of divination, healing, and magic alive for future generations. 

Book Blurb for Book 1: The Call of the Cards 

Alexandra Steele, a clinical psychologist, stumbles upon a mystical store in downtown, Memphis, TN, where she encounters tarot cards for the first time. She doesn't realize it at the time, but this simple encounter will leave her life forever changed as she uncovers a world of past life connections to the cards and the craft of divination. This sparks an awakening that opens door after door of a long line of mystic and witch incarnations that run throughout her history. As she reconnects to these deep mystical ties, she begins to learn about her destiny, which is revealed as she starts to encounter coven sisters and foes from previous incarnations. Will her tendency to hide in the shadows and play small continue to hold her back or will the call of the cards lure her onto her destined path of a life full of magic and sisterhood?

Readers are raving about the series like these 5 star amazon reviews of The Call of the Cards and We Divine Three:

"Absolutely Unique! Resonated so much!" 

"Life-changing. I felt seen. I don't think I've had this experience with any other book."

“The metaphysical series I've been waiting for! I was hooked from the beginning and even found myself slowing down because I want it to last. The characters are so relatable and genuine, and the explanations of tarot readings and past life stories is spot on! I'm eagerly awaiting the next ones. Please please, Heather, keep writing.” 

Readers call it "Harry Potter for adults."

If you get a copy, please leave a book review on whatever platform you buy it on if you enjoy it. That really helps me out and can help get my book in front of more readers. And if you love it please also review it on goodreads.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see updates on the book releases there. I have 2 instagram accounts My tarot and podcast account - healingthrutarot My author account heatherhardisonauthor 

Watch the book trailer for The Divining Sisters Series

2024 Writual Tarot Planner

Have you ordered your 2024 Writual planner yet? Remember you can use my Writual discount code at checkout. Use my Writual ambassador link here along with my discount code HEALING (all caps), which gets you 15% off your Writual purchases when you use that affiliate link and code. Writual has tarot stamps and stickers, dated and undated tarot journals and planners, including one for kids, tarot decks and tarot-themed mugs, candles, and jewelry so check them out using my link!

Healing Thru Tarot's Spread Ebook Line

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