The Imperative of Mantids and Pachyderms

Posted August 30, 2016 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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Well, we all knew this guy was going to show up somewhere.

Page 55 of The Book of Shadows is decoded with an explanation on page 101. Dance is sacred indeed, and no one knows that better than Dr. Green, who has a PhD. in Cosmology and is fond of moving his limbs to reverberations in the Universe from the Cosmic Elephant.


I find it strange that so many of my plastic figures have doctorates. As you will remember, Dr. Boar has a PhD in Sociology and Comparative Religion. He and Dr. Green lecture at the same institute and have both developed an interest in the pachyderm of the cosmos.



The mystery deepens, this fellow seems to be trying to kick his way out of an elephant ship, which of course explains why I called Dr. Evers Green in on consultation.

When I saw the two extra cards in this deck, I naturally thought of using them as male and female significators. This seems to be the male, charging off for some world building and architectural design. Gosh, it’s so darn hot maybe he should go for a swim, deepening his understanding of mindfulness meditation and icing his shoulder to heal the inflammation and impingement that is causing him so much trouble that any architectural drafting is out of the question.

Dr. Green has suggested a course of absurd movement to help. Dr. Boar concurs but adds that reading his treatise on the Lost Tribes of Zondor published by Mambo Jambo in 2011, will help forward movement and extrication from difficult situations.



A Slight Respite, Then More Swords

Posted August 29, 2016 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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I was taken by another quote in the book for The Chartreux spread on page 120. Handily, I had a suitable cat figurine to illustrate this.




There is a small space between the rows of swords, as if a tiny respite would be mine before another exhausting onslaught of swords. It didn’t last long before the Swords came back like prison bars.

I’m having one of those days where it’s painful even to get in the shower. The small flowers on vines here are dropping leaves having exhausted their energy for this cycle. But flower heads turn to seeds and they’ll drop on the ground and grow eventually, the light still gets through.

Cycles like this can be hard to weather. Cats know about time, and wheels turning as I saw yesterday, and what seems endless passes into a different time eventually.

Fortuna Has a Fixed Centre

Posted August 28, 2016 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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I am really enjoying this deck. I have to be quiet because I hurt myself so I spent some quiet minutes experimenting with my Lamy Safari fountain pen on the back page of my journal, using a quote on page 80 from The Book of Shadows about the Cosmic Elephant and animals floating through the heavens carrying stars.


I drew the symbols for The Divine, The Heavens, and Solitude and wrote my quotation and doodled around with a comet, stars and other symbols relevant to the book and cards. I was very pleased at how well my grey fountain pen ink matched the back of the cards, which you can see.



The symbols on the bottom left of this card mean Change of Destiny and All Things. I notice that the changing destiny symbol is also part of the solitude symbol which pleased me. Yes, all things are subject to the change of destiny, we have to roll with it.

The Wheel seems to turn by itself except for one creature that is touching it. A reminder that in some ways we can control our destiny and the ups and downs of life, despite the inevitability of change. I like the upper creature with wings that echoes the Sphinx usually found on this card. Other than that they look like big cats to me, the creatures who best bat things about, leaving you buffeted by life, forever chasing rolling balls.

I am a bundle of anxiety today, worrying about our home renovations and insects getting into the attic and desperately hoping nothing else goes wrong with the house. BUT the Wheel has a fixed centre, a comforting reminder of stability within the hurly-burly of wheeling around.


I Meet the Alchemist of The Lost Code

Posted August 28, 2016 by JJ
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I love the design of this kit. The matte black magnetic box with images in black gloss looks fabulous as does the typography and layout of the book. I like the cards and had no trouble identifying them, and they are nice cardstock and lamination.

I’m about halfway through reading the book and already images and snippets of writing are leaping out to me. I got the itch to doodle around with a journal, so I bought a midi-sized Paperblanks journal with blank white pages, that has a magnetic foldover and a cover based on an 18th century Persian watercolour that was found inside a book. It is on the upper right in this photograph.


I wanted to find a more Renaissance-inspired cover but this was what they had and it’s very pretty and has brown and gold accents that pick up colours in the cards and book of The Lost Code.


Lots of plans and words ahead. If the blank paper is like the lined paper in Paperblanks journals, it will take my fountain pens, and I’m going to use my bulletproof Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink for this.

I made two bookmarks from the band around the box, and it gives me a chance to pull out my two big books on alchemy and art and history. I hope to randomly tie things in as I like to do and just have fun puttering around with this deck.



In My Seasonal Camouflage

Posted August 23, 2016 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards

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According to Deborah Leigh’s system of reading playing cards, the 10 of diamonds is about money, but a neutral card, neither good nor bad.

I took one look at this Ptarmigan photograph and thought “That’s me, hiding in the foliage.” Our exterior home renovation is taking much longer than planned, and when we took the concrete steps out we found a glitch, so I’ve gone from feeling fairly positive about repairs and such to feeling overwhelmed, worried, and hiding. As well, the spouse pushed me into hours and hours (when I only wanted to do two hours at a time so I wouldn’t hurt myself) of painting wood trim with a brush and it’s set off my carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and pain and fatigue. He could care less and is simply ignoring me.

So, I’m hiding in plain site, camouflaged in a chair reading several mysteries. I can’t hold a pen and my typing is limited to a few minutes at a time. I can’t do anything but rest. Instead of carefully balancing what I can do to avoid nerve damage and pain, I’m knocked out of living altogether. Blah.

Of course, I know nothing about ptarmigans. This is the Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus), and is a female in her summer plumage. They are the only birds to turn white in the winter to blend in with the snow, and brown in the spring and summer to blend with foliage. They are a subfamily of the grouse family.

Hide from the unpaid bills little bird, read the book Smoke by Dan Vyleta when you finish the current book.

Incidentally, I could never remember how to spell the word “camouflage” until studying a card one day a few years ago, I needed to spell it quite a bit in my write-up and it cemented itself in my spelling mind.

So there you go, cards at the fore of education and intellectual growth again!


Unreadable Decks, Maybe

Posted August 21, 2016 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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It’s strange about decks that are “unreadable”, I consider it a challenge to find a way to use them.

In looking at online comments about the The Lost Code of the Tarot, I am hearing a lot of stuff about cards not being identifiable and the book being a bit of a put-on, a story with no meanings for cards, and then there’s the controversy about the Kickstarter campaign for this deck and how Llewellyn released the mass market version before, which may or may not be exactly the same as the funded one.

I choose not to fund decks at Kickstarter, although I have bought decks elsewhere from artists that were originally funded on Gamecrafter or Kickstarter et al. It’s a bit like buying a house from a developer before anything has been built, which is not something I would do either.

I used to trade people for the “stinker” decks, the ones that weren’t readable. It’s fun to pull something out of chaos. Does everything have to be systematically readable to be enjoyable?

I have a good collection of cards, all listed in a visual database, so I rambled through the tarot entries and pulled a few out that I’ve had a great time with, although many are considered baffling or unreadable. It’s a random pick, subjective, and doesn’t include all the stinker oracles and weird oddities that I delight in keeping regardless of their readability.

I always feel that I should challenge myself more, find something quirky and delightful and completely unfathomable and find a way to use and delight in it. For me, the term “unreadable” conjures up a vision of a mind that can’t be bothered learning new things.


Oh my, the Giotto, Bosch, and Bruegel, the holy trinity of unreadability!! Does it get any better?

Not for me.


Let’s Go To Marseille and Have Some Plonk

Posted August 17, 2016 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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I received some money and decided to buy myself a treat other than a book on the history of toile fabric. This book is a gorgeous thing but it’s not a card deck.


Intrigued by Andrea Aste’s The Lost Code of the Tarot because of the fantastically fresh artwork, stories and all the alchemy and history, I ordered it. The only Marseille deck I own is a little-fancied deck by Il Meneghello called Classico Tarocco di Marsiglia, whose Hermit inspired my interest some years ago.


Along with the deck kit I ordered two books on Marseille reading traditions.


Milestone birthdays need to be celebrated with art and story and the whole panoply of history.

Plus you can have a bowl of ice cream and maybe some rhubarb crumble with strawberries and apples.




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