Archive for the ‘April 2008’ category

Everything Old is New Again

September 27, 2008

I took down previous weeks of posts from this study blog back in June, because I got fed up with people making assumptions about me.

I like using cards for working through situations, doing up some artwork, or whatever happens that particular day. I like the chaos of a creative response and the tie-in with memory or future goals. People that write journals are reflective in all directions; thoughts can be reflections of the past, or new learning expeditions, or creative writing and poetry.

I saved six posts from April that I had a lot of fun with. The rest of the stuff I deleted was detritus. As I observe in all journals, the mundane gets mixed in with the crystalline treasure of the moment, but these gems survived on my hard drive, so I reload and reclassify them now into a category called “April 2008,” but they will show up as September posts as well.

Put That Stinger Away and Use Your Stock Resources
The Crenelated Italian Commanderie
Rain Strider
Skye Mirror Land
The Solid Sorrow of the Three of Swords
The Lion Dance of Fortitude


The Lion Dance of Fortitude

September 27, 2008

Daily Draw April 25th, 2008

Well, since the spouse and I had a fight today, I wasn’t looking forward to the daily draw.

I drew a card from the PoMo Tarot which I went to a lot of trouble to hunt up in a used bookstore online, and this is my first time using it. I very much like the simple line drawings and colouring.


This is a great card with wonderful composition that shows the classic Hercules and the lion story. They both look fearsome and many teeth are on display. Skill and force, vigilance, fortitude and stoicism with all that one can bring to it.

I thought about that, it seemed violent and unhappy in some way, so I browsed some lion pictures online and came up with the Chinese Lion Dance that is performed at New Year and sometimes at weddings, the cleansing of houses, and Buddhist religious ceremonies. Lions are good at exorcising demons as well as displaying joy and happiness, and they can consecrate buildings.

Our fight today was about this house and running it and taking care of it. It is a “fixer-upper” and although we’ve been here for 21 years it is not fixed up. We have a lot of pets which take a toll on the house and its furnishings and it all gets so discouraging.

Maybe the fortitude and strength of Hercules can bring joy and consecration to the home? Courage I suppose is in the small things. In the I Ching they call it The Taming Power of the Small. Store up small bits of energy and nourishment, take a break, then work together again, these small steps can tame the lion and get rid of demons.

In a similar vein, I decided to reclaim a journal I made by hand a year ago. The plan was to study a particular card deck with it and do my own response in art and words to each card. The author of the deck left a sour feeling in my mind about the cards. It’s a pleasant deck, but the author is an emotional basket case who browbeats people, so I took a break last summer from the cards.

I remade the title page of the journal today and I’m reclaiming this journal for myself. This lion dance picture is the first of a fresh group of random pictures I will do to involve this lovely little journal again in my life. I haven’t used it for eight months, time to exorcise the demons and consecrate it!

The Solid Sorrow of the Three of Swords

September 27, 2008

Daily Draw April 23rd, 2008

These are of course not strictly Platonic Solids but based on them. The one on the left is a stellated dodecahedron (a Kepler-Poinsot Polyhedra) with coloured pencil decoration, and the one on the right is an icosidodecahedron (an Archimedean Solid) that was decorated in Photoshop before printing.

That was my lesson for today, that and gluing the last pieces on a complicated three-dimensional shape. When I drew a card from the Grail Tarot today I felt like a bit of a geometric ramble using colours from the card. I didn’t know where it would go but it seemed a good idea.


This is quite a graphic depiction with lots of blood and one broken tree like they were taking whacks at each other with swords before one of them fell. It looks ghastly and painful. Sometimes you do what is right and still fail and fall, bloody and beaten.

You could roil around on the ground, whining about how your arm hurts, or you could spend ten hours making a couple of polyhedra. Focus and direction comes up again in one of these draws for me. It’s not so important that you do important things, but that you do go in some direction and learn. You can use seven different coloured pencils as well, which is a keen approach and pretty whammo, but you never know when something seemingly unimportant will be the experience that is exactly what you need.

Skye Mirror Land

September 27, 2008

Daily Draw April 22, 2008

Overcome by the power of the Mirror Witch, Gumby and Pokey start hanging around with the wrong people and enter the book A Brief History of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable.

Knowing they were in danger, the brass cat with the 1999 Canadian penny in its head strode into the alarming book to rescue them, drawing a card from the Karma Tarot as he did so. It was The Page of Coins, who was holding a book and is sister to the Mirror Witch but a much more friendly entity with nicer breasts, red hair and braids who zoomed around on a mirror throne with a huge laughing head on the back of it!! Oh wait, the laughing head is merely a reflection of what’s in the Earth. Things are not always as they seem!!

Zounds, the boys are in trouble!!

They had just read this when the cat arrived:

“In other words, infinity is just an illusion. Like the end of the rainbow, you can never actually get there, but it’s something to aim for.””

OH MY GOD, this author says you can’t get to the end of the rainbow!!! What kind of evil has taken over the trees and mountains of Mirrorland? We’ve got to the boys out of this living hell and back into the real world of rational thought.

Fortunately we can always turn to Clifford Pickover to rescue Gumby and Pokey from the clutches of madmen. What say you Cliff? Cliff has decided a quote by David Weeks and Kate Ward would be timely:

“In an era when human beings seem typecast by their culture or genes, eccentrics are a refreshing reminder of everyone’s intrinsic uniqueness. By heedlessly flouting norms of behavior that most of us never question, they remind us how much of our liberty we forfeit without thought, and how great our ability is, in fact, to forge our own identities and shape our own lives.”

Whew, it’s a good thing that brass cat with the 1999 Canadian penny in its head is our friend, I’d hate to have an eccentric like that on the side of the Mirror Witch. Reflecting her wicked face, the cat distracted the Mirror Witch long enough for the boys to escape from the infinite darkness of the book, and then followed them, leaving a brass whisker for the witch to trip on as she lunged at him.

Gumby said to Pokey after they escaped from non-existent infinity: “Gee Pokey, I never knew books could be so dangerous, but the Page of Coins and Cliff Pickover have made me realize that one should choose books wisely, be dedicated to learning, and show respect for knowledge. That means not walking into books indiscriminately.”

Pokey winked at the Page of Coins, pawed the ground, and licked the copper penny in his brass friend’s head, thus ensuring that he received essential minerals to nourish his body.

The End

Rain Strider

September 27, 2008

Daily Draw April 21st, 2008

Using The Grail Tarot again.


This shows a barefoot pilgrim with cloak and staff practically wading through a rain storm. The staff almost looks like a lightning rod, and hidden in the rain is a lance. He is blinded by his hood and striding along without looking around.

I suppose in the 2 of Wands there is often an aspect of surveying the kingdom, of appreciating what you have, but in this card it is a hard road where fear and failure can keep you from seeing the sacred lance, and self-doubt, melancholy, or a sense of loss upset the balance of your thoughts. They are temporary doldrums that you can stride through with some focus and concentration, even though that is hard to do.

So, a card of forging on and leaving the past behind as you move toward self-realization.

This is one of my favourite cards in the deck. The simplicity of the figure against the wild sky and lashing rain conjures up all kinds of ideas. I think my viewing the staff as a lightning rod gives rise to the idea of a storm containing valuable energy that you can harness.

I still remember riding my bike through a terrible thunderstorm and being soaked through but feeling clean and exhilarated. Rain is like that in reality, giving you that chilled, braced feeling like you can tackle the world.

The Crenelated Italianate Commanderie

September 27, 2008

I wasn’t late with my draw for today, I just spent six hours painting and inking it. I drew a card from The Grail Tarot and started thinking about architecture and walls yesterday and out this came.

Daily Draw April 20, 2008


This is usually called the Strength card (at least in Rider-Waite system of order), and this card depicts a fortress that the Templars built to live in and keep watch in the Holy Land of in Europe. Strength in walls and safety, strength in protection for others, in community, in worship.

So this is my response done with a Faber Castell Pitt pen in a sepia colour and watercolour pencils with a place for the Grail card. The colours I used are based on the card. I’m sure it means something terribly deep that I chose to spend six hours fiddling with this, but sometimes cards are like that. I’m not sure that it means anything but a connection to enjoyment engendered by a random draw of a card.

And for Strength, it is simply me having the strength to be myself, no matter what others think of my artwork. This piece is definitely me all the way. It measures 5.5 x 12 inches.

Put That Stinger Away and Use Your Stock Resources

September 27, 2008

Daily Draw for April 11th, 2008

Still using the Circle of Life Tarot, along with some word tickets. Word tickets are fashioned from a roll of “Admit One” theatre tickets. You cut and paste words from magazines on each ticket, separate the roll, then stick them in a box (I have a lovely floral one), and when you’re doing creative writing, pull some word tickets and go with the flow. The idea comes from author Susan Wooldridge in her book Poemcrazy.

I’m using a specific poetic form called a “pantoum,” and the word tickets I drew today are: turning, papyrus, derby (pronounced the British way “darby”), stock resources, and lagoon.


I bet she could really zing you with the old stinger, but instead she’s doing some skilled acrobatics with swords in her hands and feet, warning, maneuvering, showing her combative skills, but not actually doing battle.

Wicked Green
© Judith A. Johnston

Grim and green you are winged swordster,
Your papyrus wings of see-through light,
Distract from the movement of your stinger,
Those menacing knives in plain sight.

Your papyrus wings of see-through light;
Air flutters with their every turning,
Those menacing knives in plain sight,
Opponents dart toward battle with yearning,

Air flutters with their every turning,
Like the excitement of running the derby,
Opponents dart toward battle with yearning,
Your segmented body as ripe kohlrabi.

Like the excitement of running the derby,
Tease the enemy with stock resources,
Your segmented body as ripe kohlrabi,
Prancing in a field of scoreboard horses.

Tease the enemy with stock resources,
While lagoon miasma surrounds the sun,
Prancing in a field of scoreboard horses,
When they tire you’re almost done.

While lagoon miasma surrounds the sun,
Distract them from the movement of your stinger,
When they tire you’re almost done,
Grim and green you are wicked swordster.