Archive for the ‘Ashes Ashes We All Fall Down’ category

Schiffer Picks Up Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot

February 22, 2015

Finally someone has recognized that this deck needs wider distribution. Thank you Schiffer. Ash will be writing a book too, which I know will be fabulous. I updated my review of the deck to reflect this news but I was just too excited, and had to speak of it.

Ash Goh deserves it.



UPDATE: Never assume anything! I was surprised that a couple of tarot people and collectors who read my blog had not heard of this deck. So here are my links:

1) All the posts I have done using this deck, and there are many.

2) My review which took two years because I couldn’t seem to let go of this deck and finish during a long period of poor health.

It is unfortunate that black and white decks don’t sell as well (everybody go buy the Tarot of the Absurd by Jessica Shanahan too.) I also think Ash got somewhat ghettoized in the “dark deck” genre, which was unfortunate because I have never found it dark.

When you publish a deck, the art necessarily has a lot of you and your experience in it. Ash has had ups and downs in life as we all do, and it is reflected in this deck. But in no way is it dark, I found it just the opposite, very uplifting and full of the depth of the human condition. It reflects reality, which gives it more meaning.

Yup, this is something special. In fact, this morning I wrote about it in my Gratitude Journal, for it is a deck I am truly grateful for.

Tri-Sacred Blades of Delusion

October 12, 2014

My insomnia has become so bad and now I have all over nerve pain from head to ankles, layered over chronic muscle tension, pelvic and knee pain. Today I am fasting. I have had some fresh fruit juice, but I’m mostly drinking room temperature plain water or warm water with a bit of fresh lemon.

I always look to the Ironwing Tarot first with regard to health. For some reason it has that ability to look at what’s really going on. I know it’s food and perhaps additives, preservatives, weight gain but…

THREE OF BLADES (3 of Swords)


The shrikes and thorns (shrikes impale their prey on thorns) are like immediate stabbing pain. The trident carries with it double-bladed words of truth, it cuts through illusions that are obstacles. The trefoil window shows one pane missing, one cracked, and one broken.

I resonated with this thought from Lorena:

“Even the fear of ‘What if…?’ is exposed as a delusion.

I thought it would be interesting to explore the exact meanings of delusion and illusion. That’s the Blade of intellect and analysis kicking in. Rightly so.

Delusion = Latin deludere = de = from, away + ludere = to play; To mislead or deceive the mind.

Illusion = Latin illusio = mocking, deceit; comes from illudere = to make sport of; comes from in=toward, against + ludere = to play.

In the Tarot of the Absurd, with wings flying off, this angel seems to be all sinew and self-stabbing defeatism. The knives cause pain and cut his anchor.

In the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot, the woman in the 3 of Spades seems to be sacrificing herself at the altar of pain. She has dressed it up with candles and pretty clothes, but she is still sacrificing herself.

Delusions mislead, illusions make fun of you or you play against yourself perhaps. Not actually nice things to do to yourself, are they?

Maybe that’s the message here: that I can’t pretend or I mock myself. Either do it or don’t do it, heal or die, but don’t go around in this continual loop of delusion regarding health.



The Curious Tri, Tri Again

May 16, 2014

My poor cat Stitch has another health problem. He scratched and scratched and opened two wounds on his neck and head. We tried ointment alone but he kept opening them up and they got really bad so we had to go and get what our veterinarian calls “The Cone of Shame and Embarrassment” three days ago, and he is now on the mend but quite upset about having this thing on his head.

He has one eye, inflammatory bowel disease, oozing sores, and the cone of shame, but on he goes, seeking love and cuddles and giving back love and comfort to others no matter how he feels.


We have the three-day Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and it looks like the rain is going to stop although our temperatures are cool. The daffodils are up and I wrote a friend about this. Every year for about four years I tell her I’m going to draw or paint the daffs in the garden and I never do.

So today I thought I’d do a Tri-Sacred draw about this to see what was going on, and I pulled the Knight of Wands in various guises.

JACK OF CLUBS (Knight of Wands)


In the first card from the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot, Samiri becomes hideous as the fire eats him inside out. His skin looks like it is turning into salamander skin. Oh what damage the fire does if you don’t let it out.

The Knight of Sticks is my favourite card from the Tarot of the Absurd. The Knight and his horse look so gracefully coordinated, working in tandem with balletic movements. He takes aim and fires, purposeful and determined, his brush loaded with lemon yellow.

This Gatekeeper from the Ironwing Tarot represents independent study and self-direction. Her energy is channelled in a useful way, being both student and teacher. I like that her crown is made of sewing needles, which reminds me that I was once a beginner at sewing too but through practice can now just sit down and do it. I could wield a brush or pencil the same way with some self-directed knowledge and study.

The other thing is the spiders. They are black widow spiders but she has made them into helping spirits which turned them white as if all the venom had left them. They now help, rather than harm, so I could think of this as a way forward to eliminate fear and the worry lurking within.

I’ve got a lot of empty pages in my sketchbook and my daffodil studies might not be perfect but wouldn’t it be neat to do several studies in different media, and meander around the garden, out in the Spring air, doing a little independent study, like a spider spinning a web?

There is my answer. Forget about not doing them for four years and do them now as an intellectual exercise Just To See what happens finally.



The Universe Propels Me and My Crystalline Ear Forward

March 28, 2014

I have been having a time of it. Last week I developed benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, a torture from hell due to crystals or debris in the inner ear. It was so alarming I actually went to the doctor for the first time in nine years. Consultation, blood tests and 14 x-rays later it looks like my chronic pain is some sort of damage to the sacroiliac joint. I am waiting for x-ray results next week, but I could have some damage on my lower spine too.

Doing the x-rays with various positioning, and walking up and down the big hill at the hospital sent me into yet another crisis of pain and severe leg cramps. I had a couple nights of crying jags and attendant feelings of hopelessness and despair. I gave up the second night and took two Gravol and two acetaminophen pills to get some peace.

There’s a song off a Paul McCartney album I bought for the spouse called Appreciate that has lodged in my mind due to its rhythmic beat and words.

Lift up your head,
And remember what your life is
Don’t have to give it all away
When you’re left for dead
In the middle of a crisis
You must appreciate the day


I played that twice yesterday with tears streaming down my face. You do what you can.

Today for my Tri-Sacred draw I am using the Diary of a Broken Soul card for my lead.

2 of Spades (2 of Swords)
2 of Blades
Two of Blades


If you look closely at the two sceptres, they are like swords skewering the palms of her hands. Wind catches her hair and uplifts it. She stands with dark eyes of despair. I think of Air and thoughts and how you rule yourself, uplift yourself, oversee yourself. You wear the pleated gown you made for yourself. If you are crucified, turn your palms upward and ask for help. That’s why we have medical support. Bring yourself back to balance.

In the Tarot of the Absurd, arcing arms are like the arc in an electrical circuit. The balance of difference, the balance of people and atoms. Bare feet again, grounded. Dare you touch the Other, dare you say you need help? They look in-sync but one side is slightly different than the other.

The Two of Blades from the Ironwing reminds me of a silk screen art project I did in grade 8. It was a perfect seahorse except for one little glitch that blobbed up in the tail. So much for silk screening, it requires a great patience.

This card depicts 19th century Chinese fisherman’s knives. I like the idea of studying mechanisms with this as Lorena states in the book. The picture of the two blades in balance, like a pelvis, like sacroiliac joints. Don’t take risks with details.

I was just thinking that to myself: make the right choices in what you eat and how to move and forget worrying about details and a timeline. Swing freely, be flexible in mind and body. Two sides, mind and body, and two halves of the body, left and right. The point of these blades untie knots in fishing nets. This experience and current health crisis will untie the knots in the net I have made. I also think that untying knots requires time and patience. Some will be harder to pick out than others.

Go slowly and don’t damage the net. And whatever you do, don’t lie on your left side, the land of Vertigo.



Soothing Seafoam and Water

March 14, 2014

My new book on emotional eating has some real revelations about looking after yourself, soothing yourself. “Self” being key because no one else is going to come along and rescue you, as much as you might wish for it. She also has some thoughts on boundaries I found interesting. I was always a person who lost myself in other people, I took on the mannerisms and vocal patterns of my friends. This is apparently a classic pattern for some, that needs to be balanced out with self-awareness, finding your own voice.

Which I did eventually through my card decks. Working with cards, and probably the emphasis on intuition and listening to your own voice, allowed me to be myself. I still have a problem trusting people and tend to withdraw and isolate myself, which is another way of avoiding emotion. Blah, blah, blah, I am working on it.

Today I thought I’d ask a question, something I rarely do, and thought a general “Tell me about soothing” would be good. For this draw I took my cue from the Ironwing Tarot and chose a card from there first.

Madrone of Coils – Water of Water (Queen of Cups)
Queen of Cups
Queen of Hearts


Another instance of getting the card you need. In the Ironwing, the Coils generally soothe and magnify emotions. Lorena used that exact word, “soothe” in her book. I started to cry. Imagine getting the exact word? Cards always know.

I’ve never really connected with the Queen of Cups, but here she is helpful, a pathfinder or guardian, someone who represents practical power. I love sea turtles, they are such beautiful creatures and this is a leatherback sea turtle. The crab by her head is an Ocellated Crab (Portunus sebae), named for the false eyes on its shell, representing the Madrone’s mirror-like qualities.

“She is difficult to know or see clearly because she reflects the subconscious of anyone she meets. Because of this, she may find others hard to reach. But she knows when to move closer, when to dive and let go, and when to float with the current”

And there I am, just when I didn’t expect myself. Give me shelter, yet I am the shelter.

In the Tarot of the Absurd, I notice her hair first, like tentacles, feeling, feeling others, reaching out, and the cup raised in a toast; she has a half-smile as if smiling at someone out of our visual site. My poor husband, after a hellish two-hour commute after a snowstorm, went to a meeting in a building across the city, had a dry sandwich for lunch and got a $250 parking ticket along with 20 other people, and spent 2.5 hours struggling to get home. Queenie says “Here’s to life, do your best.” To soothe herself she has put on comfortable clothes and is sitting in her favourite chair. Her feet are bare so she can sense and feel, the magnetic Earth energizing her feet, grounded despite the wildness of her hair.

The Queen of Hearts from the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot has her third eye wide open. She is quite soothed by the water of emotion. Swimming calmly, letting it touch her, encircle her, mirror her. There is nothing to fear in the dark water, it is velvet comfort, deep with sea turtles swimming past your body. She gets to the bottom of things, this one, such keen eyesight. But always herself, calm and assured.

One thing about soothing: I can reach for food but I can also hug myself, stroke my head and shoulders, have a hot bath. I find hot liquids like soup or tea soothing. Water might be the best though, hot water and lemon, cool water in a tall glass, distorting and magnifying glass, the mirror of your body’s ratio of water, the mirror of the Self.

I am Water of Water.

I never knew that.


The Entrance of The Sacred Three

March 7, 2014

I came across something while browsing on the Internet called Post-Meningitis Syndrome. There is some evidence that people suffer from this. You can cure the meningitis, but a switch goes off somewhere in the long term and can cause pain like myalgia and fibromyalgia, depression, sometimes symptoms of multiple sclerosis and loss of balance, all sorts of small things.

This makes sense to me since people who have had chicken pox often get shingles when older. I know someone who had mononucleosis when young and doctors think it might be responsible for his lymphoma in later years. I had viral meningitis when I was 18, which is not as dreadful as bacterial meningitis, but perhaps it is the source of my chronic pain, myalgia, nerve pain, insomnia? The fact that it might not be all in my mind was crucial for me, I have great respect for physiology and our finite knowledge of the brain. You never know, this might be the switch that went off and started causing problems in my body.

In addition to that I bought a book on mind-body-spirit interaction with regard to emotional eating called The Emotional Eater’s Repair Manual. I already know that certain foods cause me horrible inflammation and pain, so I thought I’d help my body by getting some awareness of why I continue these patterns.

Due to recent ruminations on cards and not feeling connected to them I thought I’d create a new study pattern as well. You know what this means, a bright, shiny new category in the blog menu! I am calling it Tri-Sacred Sampling and I’m using what I refer to as The Sacred Three, the three decks I feel the most connection to, and ones I feel have a great depth of meaning, thought, creativity, and artistic skill. They are all black and white decks strangely enough. In order of appearance in my collection:

The Ironwing Tarot by Lorena Babcock Moore
The Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot by Ash Goh (a.k.a. Ash Abdullah)
Tarot of the Absurd by Jessica Rose Shanahan

The Big Three, the Sacred. For a bit of Tri-Sacred Sampling today I drew a card from the Tarot of the Absurd and then pulled out the corresponding cards from the other two decks.

4 of Cups
4 of Hearts (4 of Cups)
4 of Coils (4 of Cups)


Too tired, too tired to have fun. Not another glass of champagne, I already had one. Ennui and fatigue. It’s good to rest a bit, to let it go to let yourself drift in boredom. This definitely reminds me of the way I’ve been feeling about cards.

The 4 of Hearts in the Diary deck certainly reminds me of two minds, two wills or perhaps the mind and body snarling at each other. Caught in the middle, he wraps his arm with protective swaddling and tries to sort it out. It looks tiring.

Lorena says “Stability; finding or creating sacred space.” with regard to the number symbolism, and Water which is the element connected to the Coils suit is about rest in the fours. I read this after I started thinking about sacredness and decks, and which decks I consider sacred. Synchronicity, I must be on the right track with this study.

This card depicts a hornpod entwined with an iron replica of a hornpod. I saw an artist sculpting wonderful dragons from the pods of hornpod. Hornpods seem to have worlds within worlds. Again the aspects of ennui, fatigue, death, dryness, cycles, balance. You need the cycle of death and dryness, the withdrawal and waiting is necessary. This also reminds me of the horns of the uterus in women, a place where seeds also go through a cycle.

Sacred rest, rest in sacredness. As you find it, it will mirror you inside and outside.


A Trio in Gardens by the Bay

October 24, 2013

I felt like using the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot today, and since I’m on this digital jigsaw kick to keep myself sane, I went looking for a backdrop of Singapore to use, since that’s where Ash, the creator of the deck, lives.

I stumbled across the very interesting Gardens by the Bay, which was built on 101 hectares of reclaimed land and has three waterfront gardens, a conservatory complex, and this awe-inspiring Supertrees Grove, in which the tree structures are actually vertical gardens. The grove reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s columns in the building he designed and built for the Johnson Wax Company.

I got the card deck out and decided to wing it and just browse and pick three cards.

2 OF HEARTS ( 2 of Cups)
JACK OF SPADES (Knight of Swords)
6 OF SPADES (6 of Swords)


I almost put the Jack of Spades back, in fact I did twice put him back because he has always frightened me. Then I said to myself “Perhaps you should confront the one you fear” and bravely pulled him out again.

He is Ash’s familiar Lytta, as she calls him, and he is her guide. I remember her talking about him years ago so went and hunted that up (or one post anyway) and she describes his tears of painted ink: he hides the sorrow he feels for us with this act of painting his skin to make himself look hideous.

So maybe Lytta is on my side after all? And here I was thinking him to be the embodiment of odious evil. Maybe this is a nod to looking deeper into people before you say they are good or bad. I often pull the Knight of Swords, so maybe Lytta really is trying to get me to see him?

The 2 of Hearts is often about relationships, marriage, good friendships. Sharing and being open. That’s a good thought for today.

The 6 of Spades is one I usually call the Journey Card. Sometimes we are forced on the journey. Are those swords on the ground or crosses? I think I am being forced on a journey, having spent the last few days ill, and having to pull right back to eating fruit and raw vegetables. The brick wall at my back leaves me no choice, but there do seem to be stepping stones or swords available if I go forward.

Of course, I couldn’t close without a shot of the jigsaw puzzle being solved. Lytta is hiding on me, he likes a bit of a game you see, especially with people who assume he is a bad fellow.


That would be me.