Pagan Cats Prove Pervasive Cloning is Pretend Imagination

Daily Draw March 2nd, 2011

I’m going to do a brief examination of the Tarot of Pagan Cats. Admittedly I was disappointed in this deck, not because of the artwork, which is fabulous and just the kind of artwork I like, but because Lo Scarabeo has embraced Rider-Waite cloning instead of their usual fresh take on things. So, you can read this straight out of the box but it loses its charm without that Lo Scarabeo breeze of imagination. Sad to see, they were the last holdout in a sea of sameness, and now what?

Now I can go back to buying playing cards.

Here are the cards that struck me in this deck:

I love peacocks, we have some down the street and their haunting calls are so mysterious. I suppose this is a standard enough Chariot, but something about those peacocks takes it into the stars. Peacocks do often represent stars because of the scattered “eyes” on their feathers. I read that peacocks get restless before it rains, which reminds me of chariots and restless travel. Around the world there are so many peacock legends and emblems, it seems to fit well here for me. They are often shown in pairs to symbolize duality, which is very much like the standard in this card, where light and dark pairs of beasts are shown drawing the chariot.

I was rather taken with the Knights in this deck. Here are the four of them riding. The Wands Knight is on a fox that looks peculiarly like a carousel animal, as if the cat had sprung onto the wooden shape and animated it, charging off on an adventure. Having had a red fox lope across my front lawn recently, the black-footed fox with the glowing red coat has more meaning for me. They are quite a bit bigger than I imagined, their easy gait speaking of inner muscular power and assurance.

The Knight of Swords is on a baby eaglet, still with his shaggy white baby feathering. They are mad, mad, mad with energy, almost as if the Aurora was streaking the sky behind them. The Chalice Knight gleams white with purity on a tortoise, very alert and watchful in a beautiful landscape of river, rock, shrubs, grass and daisies. They are on a quest for the Grail, do you doubt it? And lastly comes my favourite Knight, Old Stodgy as I call him, looking extremely stodgy and solid atop his grazing goat. These two have to sit a while and ponder their next action, no dashing off on foxes or flying on eagles for this chap. He watches the fields growing for a bit, soaks up a bit of sunshine and then decides what to do. Grazing in the grass it’s a gas can you dig it? And it’s real, so real, so real so real…..

Another random pick of several favourites. I laughed out loud when I saw The Hanged Man. Who has owned a cat and not had this happen? They are very fond of getting tangled up in your new sheers, but I like the detail at the bottom with the playing cards falling about. Perhaps he was playing Solitaire and that mouse happened by, and now his card game is waiting for his return? The Knave of Pentacles embodies the idea of a Page or Knave, the adolescence, the playfulness of such archetypes. He is not quite a baby and not yet an adult, still prone to gossip and gamboling, and not thinking about what he says and does, still learning, not sure of how everything fits together.

I also laughed at the Strength card. That cat has Mr. Chow-Chow well in hand, there will be no doggy nonsense with this fellow. I like the items in the garden too, the contemplative garden where no one disturbs the harmony and peace of nature. One of my favourites in a quiet way was the 4 of Chalices, which generally depicts ennui, and this cat’s lassitude is so disturbing. He has gone tharn and stares, shut down emotionally, neither the turtle nor the apple blossoms interest him in a Spring when he should be chasing newly awakened insects and birds, and chasing darting minnows in the shallows.

I save the best for last as usual. This is Lo Scarabeo at their finest: doing their own thing. The 4 of Swords leads to the 10 of Swords. One minute you’re relaxing on your red velvet cushion with a steaming bowl of fresh meat, some water, a candle for light and cheer, the heavy drapes closed to keep out the cold, and some sparkling energy drifting out of the cornucopia on the statue of the Goddess, and the next you are gone, cobwebs on your empty dish, the candle burned down, your spirit and energy seeking the sunset sky through open drapery. Has the curl gone out of the statue’s hair? Shadows on the swords over the pillow, empty rooms, the light fleeting, the magic of the living creature gone.

Bring back your innate magic Lo Scarabeo. Alas, once gone it drifts off to somewhere else.


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