The Database in Etruria

Posted April 20, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Database Monday, Tarot - General

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Who doesn’t like Christian allegory? Who doesn’t like mythology and facsimile decks and virtues and elements? Not me.


Today I am looking at the Ancient Minchiate Etruria published by Lo Scarabeo. It is a reproduction of 41 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana from a Minchiate deck printed in Florence in 1725. There was an actual Minchiate game but it seems to have left the popularity charts just before World War II. Mythology that was once very familiar to people is not so familiar to us, nor is Christian allegory; two facts which might explain why people don’t play it much today.

It is a bit confusing to figure out the images. I bought Brian Williams’s excellent Minchiate Tarot deck and book, and even he gets it wrong sometimes. I caught him out on card XXIX when he described the pig as a possible pet. Actually I believe it refers to a labour of Hercules. I discovered this when studying this card in my Two Testaments of Terra Lucida study, where I use the Minchiate with the Bible. Nothing better to puzzle something out.

The game was created around 1530 and they dropped the Papesse from the tarot trumps and added 20 new trumps between the Tower and the Star. Virtues of Hope, Prudence, Faith, and Charity; the four elements of Fire, Water, Earth, and air; and the twelve signs of the zodiac in mixed order. In the matter of order, they use Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice as virtues too, and for Christian order they have Faith, Hope, and Charity (theological or heavenly virtues) higher than the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice.

We are taught today by the Church (particularly fundamentalist cults), that astrology is evil as are the signs of the zodiac, but back in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was their Science and quite acceptable even for Christians. In this deck the zodiacal cards are next to The Star which makes sense. I personally have no interest in astrology but the signs of the zodiac are steeped in mythology, and that I am interested in.

I didn’t realize this but if you look at the examples of cards below, instead of showing curved Swords as was usual in such decks as the Marseille Tarot, this uses a Portuguese standard with straight swords. The other thing about the pips in this deck is that they are readily discernible from each other, which I don’t find with Marseille decks where the batons and swords almost look the same to me unless I’m being careful.

For an example of the Coins suit I used the Ace which is gorgeous. When I put this deck in the database I only had time to put four cards in as placeholders, so I went back today and scanned sixteen cards so I have a full example. The fluidity of the database is compelling.

(Click to enlarge)


It’s a beautiful deck, with soft, antique-y colouring and the original paper-wrapped borders are reproduced too which makes it feel very special, very old. Imagine wrapping the paper backing onto the front of cards and gluing it? No wonder they were expensive and fragile.

A good deck to have, and paired with the Minchiate Tarot (Brian Williams) it is fantastic to explore and meander. Honestly, they are a bit involved which is why I don’t do it regularly, but I have really enjoyed studying these cards by picking random passages with my NIV Quest Study Bible and putting them together. The study bibles have all sorts of fascinating annotations in the margins, that really make history come alive.

I like to take disparate things and put them together and this deck is so close to the Bible in many respects because of the Christians who created the cards and wove the old allegories into them. All the quaint old stories come alive.

Wicked Absalom!

The Animalis Fountain Pen and Stationery

Posted April 19, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

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I made up a small montage last night with some online examples of the Animalis Os Fortuna Tarot.

So, the woman whose writing desk we are looking at obviously has good taste in both stationery and fountain pens. She likes Japanese woodcuts, Art Deco, European art, tarot cards, and flowers; she likes flowers and decoupaging old furniture with floral motifs.


She also likes the line art of good modern artists, natural history, and blue and lavender. Some of her favourite card deck artists are Lorena Moore, Ash Goh, Jessica Shanahan, and Megan Weber. Coincidentally, they all created wonderful black and white tarot decks. Today she spread out cards from Megan’s Animalis Os Fortuna deck on her writing desk so that she could see them while writing an essay on Gustave Doré and his illustrations for the Fables of La Fontaine.

She used a special raspberry-coloured ink in her fountain pen and likes the way the ink looks juxtaposed with the grey and cream of her custom stationery. She needs to improve the legibility of her cursive writing but I expect she simply needs to practice as she hasn’t written much in cursive since computers came along.

Of course, she enjoys doing jigsaws too. Click to enlarge.


And remember, you can change the background of the jigsaw to a custom colour to complement your jigsaw picture. Zounds. Yeah, this lady is all about custom stuff.

Happy Sunday!



Finchy Sounds in the iEther

Posted April 18, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards

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This is what happens when you don’t sleep all night: a Java Finch flies by and whispers, “Why don’t you spend seven hours using your iTunes gift cards and download hours of musical magic?” I agreed that this would be a good thing and found myself bouncing in the chair at 2:30 a.m. to Elvis Costello and the Metropole Orkest doing Watching the Detectives, and later, some chair dancing to Langhorne Slim & the Law doing The Way We Move.

Java Finch – (Padda oryzivora)


And move we did Java and I, bouncing along to Better Than Anything by Irene Kral and New Frontier by Donald Fagan. To get a gold star you have to look these up.

Then I finished this jigsaw of another of Megan Weber’s photographs of the Animalis Os Fortuna Tarot. This is all a good use of time for insomniacs driven mad by being awake the entire night. Hey, nothing wrong with my brain chemicals. Click to enlarge.


I managed to grab 30 minutes and then another 1.5 hours after 8 a.m. but I’m running on electric music. Speaking of which, I also nabbed part 1 of Steve Reich’s Different Trains with the Kronos Quartet that I’ve wanted for at least 15 years, and also from the same album Electric Counterpoint III with Pat Metheny which I auspiciously heard in the car yesterday on the way to the library. It was a sign to remain alert to possibilities in the a.m. I hear and obey, wired for sound.

The 3 of Diamonds is apparently about domestic conflicts according to Deborah Leigh. Now, now we can’t be having fights over whether to download Wade Hemsworth’s Black Fly Song or the haunting new version of You Go to My Head by Cassandra Wilson.

Don’t be a jerk, let the spouse download Steve Goodman’s The Dutchman and you can get Serafina by Jane Bunnett and Kellylee Evans.

Now, didn’t that work out? Listen to that Java Finch sing. He’s hankering to dance to…whisper it…Beautiful Stranger by Madonna.

Eclectic musical interests win the day again!



The Standardized Lack of Everything

Posted April 17, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards, Tarot - General

Tags: , , , ,

8 OF CLUBS – Protection from Standardized Education


Oh boy, you just have to wonder about coincidence and cards.

The 8 of Clubs is a card about frustration and blockage. Nothing you does works, you can’t seem to get on and you get impatient. Then you wrap Corina’s label on the card into that and how apt it becomes. I did not do well in school, partly because I had a bad teacher who hated me when young and I was always ill, and partly because I never fit in. I am not a group fit kind of person. I was always up in the clouds reading my own books, exploring by myself.

I used to see things on TV and then write short essays on them, but never show them to my teacher. Still today I like to write essays with cards, but standardized education would have been horrified and I would have been bullied endlessly for doing this had other children known. At the age of seven I saw Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees on television and wrote an essay on her. I remember delighting in it but not wanting to show anyone at school. Good call. It was just for me, just for my own joy and interest.

The Five of Wands is about strife. You either hide from those beating you or you join the gang and beat other people, whether physically or mentally. These kids look like they’ve learned about cooperation and kindliness from standardized education. Along with useful things like reading, writing, and math, you learn to compete and join cliques, to be self-conscious and tamp every inch of independent personality you might have way down. Never question, never answer, write only what is expected, keep whining, learn to hate everything. Boring.

This is a day where I think about cooperation, putting conflicts behind me, and leave behind standardized thought. Isn’t it fortunate that after standardized education, you can explore and learn yourself?




May the Mojo Hand Protect You

Posted April 16, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards, Tarot - General

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This looks quite auspicious. I managed to go back to sleep this morning after waking early. I might credit working a digital jigsaw of the Animalis Os Fortuna deck and Megan’s other deck the Azúcar Bone Oracle from a picture on her Etsy site. I always like to work jigsaws of decks while I wait for them. I wanted both decks but could only afford one, therefore I puzzle it.

Besides, who does not like a photograph of a deck with props and/or attendant figures? My thing, everybody sing. And I had to pull out a tray in the program to get all the coloured bits sorted and in place. Now I just have the joy of connecting those black and white patterns. Such a lovely deck of pattern and line. I had to stop because even with a tendon cuff this hurts my hand after a while but I did a bit which was joyous.

(Click to enlarge)


ACE OF SPADES – Protection from the mojo hand


The Six of Wands means victory to me, my favourite being the one that cemented this archetype in my mind, dear old Bertie on the Six of Wands in the Victoria Regina deck. Honours and perhaps successful team effort too.

The mojo hand is a hoodoo symbol. It’s like a charm you carry, the fire forming a ring of protection I expect from bad ju-ju. A friend of mine in South Africa is living where they are having riots and what they term “xenophobic” violence these past days. It’s pretty frightening as it seems to have gotten out of hand and people are being killed.

I offer up the mojo hand for her along with thoughts of victory over violence. My city isn’t burning, imagine how it would feel if yours was?



A Graffiti Moment of Celebration

Posted April 15, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards, Tarot - General

Tags: , , , ,

KING OF SPADES – The walls are the publishers of the poor. [Eduardo Galeano]

(I swear I did not pick Eduardo specifically after his death on the 13th, he just popped out.)


We received our tax rebate in the mail yesterday (earlier than expected) and my husband surprised me by saying I could order the Animalis Os Fortuna Tarot. So I did, and most definitely feel like a Three of Cups moment today.

It’s warming up, we went to the library for a fresh infusion of books yesterday and had the windows open. Today is supposed to be nice too. I’ve been getting my head around moving again. Yesterday while out, I saw a former co-worker which got me down, but then I thought “No, we are moving and starting a new life.”

The King of Spades in the system I use for playing cards, often symbolizes an older man, so I think he’s probably my husband, and he provides insight and direction. Thinking of walls and graffiti, as the King does, it might be a good day for journalling and drawing.

I’ll take that!




Viking Teeth in the World Eduardo

Posted April 13, 2015 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards, Tarot - General

Tags: , , ,

Daily Draw April 14, 2015

8 OF SPADES – protection from being led astray


I am taking the reversed meaning of The World today: dissatisfaction, regret, and isolation.

The 8 of Spades is about tears, so perhaps I need a good cry to get it out of my system and get on? I’m feeling overwhelmed by material burdens and waste and I do think the idea of completion and beginning a new stage with The World is true but I can’t seem to shake the rest of it.

The Viking ship on the 8 of Spades reminds me of being led astray to crush and destroy and acquire. Do we need so much? Not at all, it all seems to end up in landfill sites. There is simply too much, too much.

We tried to give away some good new books to a used book store and they only took a handful, overwhelmed with junk. All those trees and knowledge, discarded and unwanted. Regret, regret.

Well, perhaps he needs to recoup and rest before his emotions lead him astray?

Eduardo Galeano died on April 13th, and it reminded me that the Portable Fortitude deck was the one that gave me knowledge of him and his writing. All those books and knowledge, gone. That balance in the world, that thoughtful voice against waste and acquisition, gone.




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