Goat, I See You

Posted October 4, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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My latest ear worm is a song by Quebec band Dumas which can be heard underlying a new television commercial for Liberté Greek Yogurt. I had to look this up and found a snippet on YouTube with a link to an MP3 of the full song. It’s called Quand Je Te Vois  (When I See You.) I very much like the guitar in this.

I was trying to draw this week but it’s so cold in the basement I got the bright idea of making myself a pair of easy fingerless gloves. I’ve had them damp blocking for two days, so they should be ready to sew up today. I got two letters written and these gloves done but not much else.




Standing watch, no one gets in or out. I feel trapped in the house this week. We dropped the price of our house and had 4 viewings but then nothing. Clunk. The walls close in as Autumn cold seeps into my world.

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the day we met on a blind date, and we did little but sit in front of the television. I managed to get in a couple hours of respite alone reading a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay in the living room, and I wrote a 4-page letter, but other then that, I felt like screaming: trapped, crushed, stasis.

One of the reasons I don’t post here much right now is that I’m in quite a down period and don’t like to blather on about it.

This goat is a climber and very good at balance. I think he’s telling me about balance. A perennial reminder for me.

Quand Je Te Vois, lalalala……..





The Rock Pool of Moving Water and Balance

Posted September 23, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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I had the computer turned off yesterday as I was sewing borders on a baby quilt. With all the stuff going on with selling the house I got behind on this project, so have to focus on it now. I caught up with my weekly sketches finally and can take a few days for sewing.

We had a house viewing yesterday and did a couple of hours cleaning and I still managed to get my sewing done too. I think using my new printable weekly planner page is working. Today I hope to cut my backing and batting. I’ve already got my quilt frame out to use to baste the quilt. Not sure if I can get that done today. It hurts my back and hands but it’s a small quilt, and if I could press on (pun!) today it would be worth it to have it all basted.



While waiting for a scan to finish after turning my computer on again, I was looking at Sandra Thomson’s book Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary which is one of the few books I keep on tarot.

Apart from reminding me that the Thoth version of this card shows a gunky fountain like stagnant waters, which this card seems to emulate, she had something interesting about number eight cards in general. Because of the shape of the number “8”, it looks like an hourglass and can mean time or balance.

I always call this card the “moving on” card but tied in with balance it reminds me that despite having the house up for sale I have been getting some much-needed balance back in my life. Balance in cleaning and maintaining the house, plus balance in getting some time for projects.

This is a card of new successes but also being happy with what we have attained. The figure in the rock pool on the card has her figure pointing upward, and although in a salt pool, there are bowls of fresh water around the edge of the pool. There’s that balance again.

And you never know, maybe we’ll get an offer on the house today since this is about moving forward.




Iconic Becomes Supersedonic

Posted September 21, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

Tags: , ,

The estate agent is coming today so we can sign papers to drop the price of our house slightly. I had reconciled myself after six weeks to thinking it might not sell this year. I have learned that to give total focus to the house leaves the rest of my life and interests languishing, spinning me into a desert of mental fatigue with no way to refresh my mind. No more of that nonsense. Balance is key.

Today’s quote was picked at random from The Artist’s Mentor:

“To be naked is to be oneself.
    “To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself. A naked body has to be seen as an object to become a nude.” [John Berger]

John Berger is an art critic, and was a painter himself and taught drawing. I got an inter-library loan once of his book Bento’s Sketchbook which sounded interesting, combining sketches and philosophy but seemed a bit boring to me. According to Wikipedia, “…his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used as a university text.”

And a random card to go with this:

MULBERRY – Spring and Summer 2010 – Mulberry publicly unleashed the Alexa (later Alexa Chung) in January 2010 as the latest in a long line of iconic bags.


I’m not quite sure when huge, honking bags with enormous straps and buckles became fashionable but I don’t like my purse to look like I’m toting luggage around. Very often these purses look out of proportion and detract from a nice outfit.


It’s not too bad, I’ve seen designer bags that are three times the size, and it looks much like a school satchel. However, in looking at this advertisement it seems to overwhelm both the person and the clothes. Those straps brushing legs and arms would bug the H. out of me. Much emphasis was put on this bag at the time and obviously discussion still floats around it.

See, the bag gets all the attention: much like nudity, people will not recognize you for yourself.

My take on iconic fashion today.

Spell check does not agree that “supersedonic” is a word. I disagree, I’ve just created an iconic expression.

Kawakubo Contemplates Poussin

Posted September 19, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

Tags: , , , ,

I got these cards last week on sale for $3.82: they are the Fashion Face-Off Trump Card Game, which has a silly-ish game attached to it but I love the illustrations by Erin Petson and the idea of iconic moments in fashion shown on 30 cards.

To start off I chose a random passage from the book The Artist’s Mentor: Inspiration from the World’s Most Creative Minds, edited by Ian Jackman.

This is a quote by Nicholas Poussin (1594-1665) who believed that painters should confine themselves to spectacular, ennobling subjects like battles or the divine or heroic. Not just a bowl of fruit for Poussin!

“The painter is required to exercise not only art in giving form to his matter, but judgment in appraising it, and he must choose a subject that will naturally admit of every ornament and perfection. Those who elect mean subjects take refuge in them because of the weakness of their talents.”

To pair with this I chose a random card:

COMME DES GARÇONS – Spring Summer 1997 – This dress explored creative director Rei Kawakubo’s notion that ‘where the body and dress meet they become one’.


Might I extrapolate and say the human body naturally admits every ornament and perfection when thus showcased? Mmmm, maybe not in this collection.

Rei and her husband own Comme des Garçons, which means “Like Boys” in French, and their Spring Summer 1997 collection seems to have had a rather unfortunate propensity for placing lumps and rolls of batting in the clothes, making people look hunched or like they were growing gigantic tumours.

I’ve always found outré unwearables to be pointless. If you’re showing a collection, make them wearable. I am tempted to say these are mean subjects, that she took refuge in them because of the weakness of her talent, but in fashion this doesn’t hold true. Many fine designers do these god-awful runway shows with weird statement pieces and goofy sculptural designs that no one would wear. Why? I don’t know, it is hardly ennobling design to provide this sort of spectacle, but I imagine it’s fun to believe you are breaking trends and being artsy.

For me, it’s attracting attention for the wrong reason. When does “groundbreaking” become goofy? Right here. The Costume Museum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of the dresses from this collection. Some people refer to this as the “bump” collection.

This is a photo of this dress on the runway. It has a roll over the hip and down the leg on the left as you look at it, and a strangulated wrap over the bodice area between the shoulders. Some of her inspiration for the rolls might have come from the classic Japanese obi, I don’t know. This dress is one of the more pleasing examples from this collection, other designs had more exaggerated rolls and bumps.

I love the way the sketch on the card captures this fabric without outlining every check.


Here we are talking about it eighteen years later; maybe that’s what it was all about, being memorable? Reminding me of Poussin and his Adoration of the Golden Calf. “Compare and contrast” as we say in history, with Rei Kawakubo and her bump collection.

Here is a bit more on Rei Kawakubo from Wikipedia.




Fly Off, Get it Done

Posted September 10, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

Tags: , , ,

I’ve been quite methodical this week and after today will be caught up with most of my weekly sketches and the monthly update.

I haven’t been able to concentrate much; I used to get up early and do my card of the day, but with the house up for sale I first have to tidy and make my bed, keep up with laundry etc., so by the time that happens I don’t have the quiet, reflective time I like for my cards. Anyway, having showered, stripped and washed the bed, and laundered my comforters, I have a window of quiet time.

SKY TOM (Knight of Swords)


Oh, he’s in a whirl of activity today. I call this card Mr. Harum-Scarum, and considering how often it comes up for me I probably should consider it a personal card but I don’t. This is the energy I like but not the control or reasoning I like. I’m a plodder, I like to think things out.

Perhaps today, he is reminding me that planning is all very well, but you must act; action is what makes things happen.

I was journalling today about my sketchbook. I was so far behind that I was considering not doing a sketchbook in 2016, but I have had an imaginary trip to Chile planned for years and it’s something I want to do. Getting bogged down in planning and itinerary stops me on the project, so I need to take the leap. Start somewhere, get going.

Dave usually likes to contribute to Mystical Cats posts, but he and his friends have been packed away while we have our house up for sale. Cerberus is getting a bit antsy cooped up in that plastic box too.


Him and Her Kazanlar Style

Posted September 4, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

Tags: , ,

Rather than a random draw, I wanted to show the two extra cards that come with the Kazanlar Tarot, the male and female significators like those found in European fortune telling decks. I love that idea, but he really makes them special in this deck.



He looks like a very bejewelled Persian prince, and she looks like European royalty, in this case Hungarian in a nod to Emil Kazanlar’s Hungarian Mother. The way these are opposites reminds me of his Kabbalistic system of White Sephiroth/Black Sephiroth or positive and negative aspects.

Oddly, he doesn’t actually mention the significator cards in the booklet or specify to use them in spreads. I suppose he assumes in the European tradition, that most people will know what they are or know how to use them.  I often use the significators in with the regular cards so you could do that, or simply lay it at the top of your spread depending on the gender of the person you are reading for. Two of his spreads denote an Enquirer’s Card which is drawn separately from the pack, but you could substitute one of these significators for that card.

Some of his spreads in the booklet are rather convoluted and involve shuffling and dealing certain numbers of cards or splitting the Majors and Minors up, and he uses several ideas in the Spanish tradition of someone called Alfonso el Sabio or Alfonse the Wise.

He also states that certain sentences be spoken by either the enquirer or the reader and I can see myself laughing while intoning some of these things. However, it’s also charmingly old-world and might give a reading some extra dignity and ritual.

He has one spread based on the Twelve Labours of Hercules, where much discussion and storytelling ensues about the Labours, and then groups of Majors and Minors are laid out and on and on it goes. It seems so nineteenth century because many people today have no knowledge of Hercules or his labours.

Anyway, the booklet has these challenging, yet exciting spreads, watched over by Him and Her in their dressed hair, jewels, silk, and ermine.

Database Walk Through Ecumenism

Posted September 3, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Database Monday

Tags: , , , , ,

Let’s tiptoe through Database Monday on Thursday. I seem to be having an allergic reaction to something with the mad itchies coupled with insomnia at 2 a.m.

This is the Kazanlar Tarot by Emil Kazanlar published in 1996 by A.G. Müller, a deck I traded for and almost never use. This is just my kind of deck with mythology, history, folk tales, religion and bits of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. This delicious mix appeals to me. I wonder if there is too great an ecumenical bent to absorb it adequately to use? No matter, I generally do single cards anyway.


I like a certain amount of exploring, of looking things up, of understanding and comparing, but this seems a bit like stodgily working through James Joyce and trying to figure out the references. Still, I like a good workout. Dang, I only gave it a 4 out of 10 rating in the database.

I think I need another look at this, so I’ll find it and use it for a bit. No wonder I liked it so much that I traded for it, look at these interesting cards. Kazanlar wrote and illustrated the deck, and I always feel that denotes extra passion and commitment to the ideas, to getting the art to reflect accurate ideas.

Click to enlarge.


Here is the blurb from my database on it:

The ecumenical attitude allows that different religions lead equally to God, so Kazanlar refers to this deck as The Ecumenical Tarot.

The Kabbalah references lead to the both the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible. For reversed meanings, the Kabbalistic Sephiroth changes.

Kazanlar was born in Iran from a father of mixed Persian and Turkish origin and his mother was Hungarian, so he grew up with two different religions. He also has some reference to the Islamic Koran in the deck and Hindu mythology.

The pictures range from the Indian dynasty of Moguls in the Wands (Clubs) suit; to the history and legends of Hungary in the Cups (Hearts) suit; to Persian history and fables like The Thousand and One Nights and imitation of Persian miniatures in the Discs (Diamonds) suit;  to Egyptian hieroglyphs and the history, customs and mythology of ancient Egypt in the Swords (Spades) suit.





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