About JJ

Eccentric erminois dweller.

Decks, Database, and Updates

I’m in the studio today sewing on some quilt blocks for a baby quilt. I got the area all cleaned and dusted and organized some other sewing projects. It’s warm enough that it’s nice to putter away in the studio, which is simply floor space behind the chesterfield and TV in the family room, but it’s a fancy studio to me at least.


I thought I’d better get my last deck loaded in my database, so I entered the Oracle of Mystical Moments and the program needed to be upgraded to the 64-bit version because Apple is not going to be supporting 32-bit programs much longer. So then I thought I’d better do a back-up and was shocked to see I hadn’t backed up the hard drive since November 2017. I did that and then remembered that I hadn’t entered the Deviant Moon Tarot in the database either, so I did that and updated my written lists of decks, and then found the tally didn’t jive with the database. I don’t think I’ve missed anything so I’m not sure. 

What I did know was that I didn’t want to be bogged down in finding out because I need to sew while I have daylight, so enough of all this!

Here are my two favourite cards from the Oracle of Mystical Moments.


Being an introvert, I have always considered myself an Observer, but the other card is so much like me, up in the sky daydreaming; I am a Stratos-dweller at heart.

And here are these beauties from my visual for the database.


I don’t often find I need new decks these days but the collaged artwork in this is stunning, a mix of modern surreal and Victorian or Renaissance style. My kind of thing.

The next deck I’m waiting for is one Bev from the By the Sycamore Tree blog notified me of: The John Bauer Tarot that is due in September 2018. I love these old-timey illustrators and he was Swedish working in the early 20th century, so that reminds me of Carl Larsson, another favourite artist of mine. 

And speaking of Bev, I did a nice digital jigsaw puzzle of her Elements of Recovery deck recently. I forgot to get a screen shot off my tablet, where I was doing it in the new app I got for that  called Jigsaw Puzzle Epic by Kristanix. I still prefer the Jigsaw Galore program on the desktop Mac but I still like to do the odd one on the tablet with card photos, so that’s my other card-related update.

I wrote to U.S. Games because after taking the cards and booklet out of the Deviant Moon Tarot tuckbox, I cannot fit the cards and booklet back. They just won’t all go in. This is crazy stuff, having to store the booklet outside the box. They either need to stop using tuckboxes or allow an extra 3/16th of an inch to get things back. Can you imagine after using and shuffling the deck for a time (whereupon it expands), how impossible storage in this crazy box will be? I am so ticked off after spending all that money, not to be able to get the bloody stuff back in the box.

Off to Studio Jude, computer be gone!





The Tarot Tracker

I decided to buy the Deviant Moon Tarot and the large book that Patrick published to go with it. I am very impressed with this book and also impressed that Patrick started thinking about some of these characters in his early teens and still has some of his drawings and paintings from that time. It’s all quite fascinating, and it has made the deck about fifty times more enjoyable for me. The book was expensive but since I’m going to study the whole deck it was worth it to me.


I also bought the Tarot Tracker by Angelo Nasios and it has proved invaluable. I haven’t felt much like blogging or talking so every day I have been pulling a daily morning and an evening reflection card and using this journal. I found that my Lamy Safari fountain pen and Waterman Serenity Blue ink work very well in this journal and there is no ghosting or bleed through, so the pages stay clean and readable. It’s always a bonus when you can use your fountain pens in journals.

Yesterday I had fun with the Knight of Badgers from the Badgers Forest Tarot, and I got a kick out of echoing the imagery in the card. This journal is another great buy and I recommend it. Throw in a few Schleich animal figures while you’re at it, they do augment a reading nicely.


So, while thinking about the Deviant Moon and wondering how I could work through the books and cards, I decided to resurrect a project from eleven years ago. On a forum a group of people were supposed to do a visual journal in response to a particular card deck. I got all enthused and created a set of five hardcover accordion books filled with Canson Mi-Teintes paper and proceeded to work through the cards, also using calligraphy with a dip pen and gold ink. I was having a great time but the other people didn’t really get going on it. I find that sometimes on groups, there is much talk of “Oh yeah, let’s do this, squee!” and everybody yaks away and nothing is done. I eventually left and carried on myself, and then stopped. I traded the deck as the author was having snits and going on the rampage generally and I wanted to distance myself from that.


After we moved, I placed this set of books on the bookshelf in my bedroom, so I see them frequently, and felt bad that the project never came to fruition. So I am going to use them for a Deviant Moon study. The first book for the Majors has 22 pages and the remaining four books for each suit have 14 pages each plus endpapers. I’ve bought some Golden High Flow iridescent gold paint to use in my old Speedball calligraphy pen, and I’ve bought 17 tubes of Holbein Acryla Gouache to use on this paper. I find it hard to use coloured pencil any more due to arm pain, so I thought the matte finish on this acrylic gouache would work well and still be flexible for opening and closing the small pages, plus it would be easier on my arm.


Apart from that I have been chipping away on weight loss and the vegan eating plan. I was getting tired of bean chili and bean curry so I’ve been trying new recipes and buying cookbooks. I ordered a spiralizer in an effort to cut down on pasta and use vegetables as noodles, and I’ve set up and tried my new Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and it is interesting, I made a delicious stew in it with brown basmati rice and lentils that lasted four days. Yesterday I made a vegan cream “cheese” and pimento hummus that it quite good for sandwiches or as a spread for raw veggies.

I weigh in weekly but it’s slow, I am hampered by pain issues so I just try to move as much as I can and eat properly. So far I’ve lost 12 pounds and I think because of the proper nourishment I am getting with vegan eating, I don’t get hungry and I don’t get cravings. I get discouraged by pain, that’s mainly what gets a grip on my mind, but eating a bag of chips is not going to help that, right?


Elements of Recovery by Beverly King

I was very grateful to be given this deck recently and I’ve read through the book and I’ve just done the scans to get it into my database. Notice the attractive honeycomb backs.

I have never been attracted to alcohol or drugs but food is another thing. My reliance on food to assuage every little emotion or stress in life is literally killing me. Time to change, and this deck addresses the thinking for recovering from that.


Some of you might remember that Bev and I did a year-long weekly sketching project in 2015. After all that art practice Bev went on to create this deck with her own artwork and I just love it, love the compositions, and she’s put some terrific ideas together here. This scan features my favourite cards, although I found it hard to just pick seven favourites.

Having owned and used Bev’s equally wonderful Lojong for the Layperson cards which have her beautiful photography and very thoughtful juxtapositions of objects and plants, I knew I’d enjoy her write-ups for this deck; they are insightful, and the depictions on the cards really augment what she’s saying.

For beauty, I think I like that maple leaf best in the top row, but for meaning I really like the one of the tomato with the marigolds in the lower right. Anyone who has ever done companion planting will nod at this one. We always put marigolds around our vegetables in the garden!

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but our refrigerator died and we had to scramble to get a new one and then clean the old one in 30 minutes. Initially they were supposed to deliver it in four days, but he called the same day and they delivered it. It must have been leaking for a while because the floor underneath was a mess, but thankfully my husband was able to clean it. These cards often discuss letting things go or accepting what happens, and I found that very helpful when the fridge drama started.

I have been three weeks following a vegan eating plan and am finally starting to notice some health improvement. The pain is still here but I’m chipping away at it. I bought an mini Instant Pot and five Kindle version cookbooks of Instant Pot recipes to help me stretch and make new meals. My husband eats meat but he’s eating less of it.

I am so grateful for this deck!!



Earthbound Oracle Favourites

I’ve been having fun scanning cards and entering them in my database. These two are my favourites at the moment:



It’s one of those things that occurs, every card you see relates to what’s going on. I am referring to this as “my healing year” and have started my Green Man Healing Journal, and I’m wanting this to be THE year, the one where I change and recover my health.

The wounded bird reminds me of injury and pain, but it also reminds me of how it can be difficult to heal, to change. And Permanence is just IT, the permanent change, the permanent change in patterns.

The background for this is a piece of fabric I will be using for the Arthur Rackham Oracle. I am still waiting for a reference book on crazy patchwork as I want to try some different things and after three weeks it hasn’t arrived.

Permanent healing, a healing of permanence. Whatever way I turn it, that’s the message.



Determination and Dots in a Journal



The card is from my trimmed Tarot of Fire, which I am loving since I trimmed it! These men from India are walking on hot coals, and the booklet talks about faith and courage reinforcing the psyche.

It became apparent to me this week that I was going to have to change or I’d end up with a heart attack, stroke, chronic pancreatitis or in a bed with my legs amputated, or worse. In thinking about this, I realized that the last time I lost a significant amount of weight seven or eight years ago, I had used a food diary. It was a digital program and kept track of nutritional information, calories, and weight. I liked it, but when I went to get a similar program I found that everything had changed, mostly there are online records or apps, and I really don’t want to be chained to a computer entering meals and tracking what amount of water I drink etc.

I like to journal and use my fountain pens so I thought a food diary where I could do little pictures and quotes and poems would suit me. I had heard of a bullet journal three years ago but thought since I’m retired “What would I ever use that for?” but in looking at it again I think it might be ideal for my purpose in regaining my health. I couldn’t get hold of a Leuchtturm 1917 right now, so I ordered a Rhodia Webnotebook with a dot grid and it just came today. The paper is a creamy colour, so I’ll have to test pens and markers to see what shows up best.

When I pulled this card I thought of walking through hot coals and nothing being easy, but courage and determination go a long way toward moving you in the direction you want to go. I like the way he is holding a banner, as if to say “This is who we are and this is what we’re going to do.”



New Decks, and an Old One, Refreshed

I find myself with six decks that I haven’t entered in the database yet. I entered Steve’s Spirit Within Tarot and then got bogged down with Christmas. The spouse gave me the Earth Magic Oracle for Christmas, and a wonderful friend sent me the Sol Invictus Tarot which I’ve wanted since it was published. One of my favourites, Socrates, is on the Queen of Swords in this deck, therein called the Nurturer of Swords. What a great title and that is my personal card so really delighted me. I am still reading through the writing in the Minors but when I’m done I’ll be using it. The other three I’ve talked about or used but I need to focus and get some scans done and the decks entered in the database.


I also ordered the Earthbound Oracle which I’ve had on my wish list, so when it comes I’ll be entering that too in the database.

I bought myself a chrysocolla sphere for Christmas. I wanted one in a shop about 16 years ago and didn’t have the money so I saw one in December and took a chance. I’ve been doing a small painting of it in my sketch book. I just need to add some calligraphy and drop shadows to it, and I did another layer on it after this picture was taken. I spent two weeks painting up colour mixing charts for my 24-palette Winsor & Newton colours and my 17-palette Daniel Smith watercolours, so that’s another reason I was away from the blog, I really needed these charts done up so I can use them when I’m painting.


I was given the Tarot of Fire deck several years ago and used it here on the blog, but it had really distracting orange borders. Recently, I took the plunge and trimmed them off and then ordered a new corner cutter. I think it is computer-generated art, but there are some very beautiful images and it is packed with world mythology and so interesting. Before I cut the borders off I typed up a trimmed sheet to fold in the box that contained descriptions of each card so that even without the numbers and titles I would be able to tell which card was what. I think it looks gorgeous trimmed.



Since I got my iPad, I’ve been able to watch videos again, and I’ve been enjoying some of the many tarot-related videos at YouTube. I so rarely get a chance to talk about my decks as I like to do, so seeing other people talk about decks is the next best thing!

My arm is a bit sore because I’ve been drawing and sewing. Unfortunately I can’t do everything so have to pick and choose what to devote my energy to. Still, I’m finding a good balance between disciplines and projects. I want to use that Tarot of Fire on the blog since it’s all trimmed up and ready to go, so I’ll do that for a bit in the coming days.



Jet Black Quilt

I am having more fun with the Electric Quilt 8 program. This is another card from Crystal Portraits number two.



Years ago an Internet friend sent me a hardcover copy of A.S. Byatt’s novel Possession which I greatly enjoyed. In the story a brooch made of jet is featured and this card immediately reminded me of that. Jet is properly called lignite according to the card notes.

Jet was often used for mourning jewellery so can seem a bit spooky, apart from its dark colour. The association with bereavement is mentioned, but I liked that she talked about the “extreme powerlessness” that can accompany grief; it shakes you, shakes your confidence. There are other ideas in the write-up for this that I like. It’s supposed to be good for people who lack boundaries. A naturopath I went to told me I lacked boundaries so I was intrigued by this.

They use a sentence as a reminder in these decks that I like. This one says “there is a certain safety in darkness” which also holds true for me.

Today I received five little 5 mL tubes of Daniel Smith watercolours that I had special ordered. They cost on average $14 each plus $15 shipping. These were tiny, so I felt the price was pretty mean-spirited. I’m all for making a buck but this was robbery as the package measured about 2.5 inches square and was 5/8 of an inch deep. They are here and I am unlikely to beef up the 17 colours of Daniel Smith paints that I have since no one in Canada sells the small tubes online.

My big disappointment was that the Arthur Rackham Oracle that I ordered arrived, but he made a mistake and sent me the small deck instead of the jumbo/giant one I had purchased. He immediately rectified the mistake after I sent him photographs of the deck with a ruler showing the measurement. I can’t describe how this threw me for a loop, probably because I am planning to sew a quilted bag with crazy patchwork and charms and lace for the flap. My disappointment was absolutely soul-crushing, all out of proportion to the error.

I sat around in my nightie all day, trying to think why this upset me so. I don’t know, maybe the defeat of my anticipation?

It’s just a feeling. Hopefully tomorrow I will be recharged.