Archive for the ‘Francesco and Dame Fortune Meet Giovanni on Chingting Mountain’ category

Judith Contemplates the Fickle Spring

August 22, 2012

Daily Draw August 22nd, 2012



There she is with her tournament knight, brandishing her sword and contemplating cutting the head off Holofernes. I was just showing a friend of mine a card in The Heart Tarot that depicted Judith, and there is a famous painting by Botticelli showing her, which I also have in the Golden Tarot of Botticelli.

It is such a shame that the story of Judith was left out of the Protestant bible. She represents honesty, virtue, and maybe the idea of steeling yourself to do something unpleasant for the greater good.

To go with this I randomly picked a poem from my Poems of the Masters book.

Spring Clearing
by Wang Chia

Before the rain there were buds among the flowers
when it cleared even those below the leaves were gone
all the bees and butterflies flew across the wall
apparently spring has moved to the neighbour’s.

I laughed at that. It is lovely to see that Chinese men from the 9th century had a sense of humour.

The book explains that this poem can be read as a straight comment on his garden, but there are also subtle references to the fickleness of human sentiment, in that you can be the centre of attention one day, and without friends the next. Wang Chia was a prefect and also involved in the Ministry of Rites, so he knew what people and the game of government were like.

We smile when we observe fickle friends and workplace colleagues, switching affiliation like bees and butterflies in the wind. Judith has put the lid on the cup of her emotions; having done her duty for the greater good, she rests alone, wearing a jolly fine cloak and crown.

Way to be J, have a choco truffle darling.



Paul and Ash Find Friends For the Journey

November 20, 2011

Daily Draw November 20th, 2011

I have finally secured a suitable knight figure to go with Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot by Paul Huson. The one I bought before was from the same manufacturer but I ordered it online from Chapters and the one I received was missing a piece of the lance and the lance was bent. I asked for a replacement but they ignored me and refunded my money.

So when I went shopping yesterday, I went to a Chapters store and made sure the Schleich knight I purchased was okay. I couldn’t get the tournament knight in yellow and blue that I originally bought but I got this fellow, and I like the dragons on his outfit and the dragon on his helmet. All the Knights in this deck are on white horses, as is this figure, plus the dark red exactly matches the reds in the deck; it all worked out. What a jaunty striped lance he has.

You can check out my post about this card and the reference Huson used to paint it in this post.

Then I’ve also been looking for a Schleich figure from their fantasy line, to go with the Diary of a Broken Soul Tarot. They didn’t have the elf with wings that I had been considering, but they did have this dragon which as you can see goes perfectly with one of the cards in the deck. There is also a dragon behind the throne of The Emperor in this deck that I had an interesting study with one day, so I am quite pleased I found a dragon for the deck. My husband and I have been calling him The APD (All Purpose Dragon) because he can go with other decks I own that have dragons in them.


I have got to get the art finished that I started for the review of this deck. This dragon is going to feature in a tableau with an abstract painting and a structure I build with the slotted cards of the Diary.

Certain card decks need suitable props and figures in my mind. I often can’t afford such things but these two were early Christmas gifts from my husband.

My approach to tarot is always about loosening up, as I get very uptight about life, about creating art, about learning, so these small figures are a way to find joy amid the tension of the mundane world, as are my card decks generally.

That Lovely Way

November 30, 2010

I was so tired last night I went to bed at 8 p.m. Then I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and thought I’d do something useful and reorganize my web site.

Unfortunately, I think Bell Canada is messing with the way it funnels people around on the Internet and I could barely do anything on the site. After two hours I got fed up waiting and waiting for something to happen. I made some changes but was unable to publish them. Bell charges me extra for bandwidth between 4 p.m. and 2 a.m. so I thought I’d be safe working on my site outside those hours and I still couldn’t connect. They pile and pile the extra charges on and I can’t work; it’s very annoying.

From Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot:




I’ve had this chap before in this deck, and here is is again doing his balancing act on the balcony. Fire and Fortitude and Oaks, this represents sadness, anger, sourness and chagrin. I actually do feel a bit cranky today, my sleep patterns are disturbed and I am frustrated with my inability to get into my web site and change things.

Let’s see if Petrarch can cheer me up as I open to a random snippet as I often do with this deck.

For everything I’ve suffered, all for love,
and will still suffer till she heals
my heart, that one who wounded him, a rebel
to all mercy, who still can make him yearn,
there shall be vengeance; that’s if pride and anger
don’t act to lock humility from showing
that lovely way that leads to her.

Imagine being called “a rebel to all mercy”? Yet still he feels he is the one who should be humble in order to find the way that leads to her. It is quite true that sometimes all our pushing and emotion can’t make things work, can’t make things happen.

Perhaps a change of course, like the river in the card? A meander with something else could improve my mood, dispel the gloom and suffering. It’s much like creative ideas and flow where you go about the mundane and all the while your brain is working on other things, until a thought leaps out to solve a problem.

The boredom of being slumped on the balcony could lead to that lovely way. It takes a while for oaks to grow from acorns, and humility to grow from sourness.

A Knight There Was and That a Worthy Man

June 9, 2010

Daily Draw June 9th, 2010

I seem to have lost a day. Back to Dame Fortune’s Wheel. I was all set, I ordered my Schleich knight for this from Chapters. I got one that was missing a piece and sent it back for replacement. They gave me a refund and no replacement. I have taken it as a sign not to buy toys for my card decks. Rats.

I was put off for a couple of weeks while I came to grips with this major disappointment in relation to this deck, but I have bounced back, ready for a smidge of Petrarch.


Boy, these cards are handsome: linework to die for and a lovely rose pattern on his coat. Perhaps he is that knight from the Canterbury Tales, the one with the embroidered sleeves that all the ladies fancied? And who wouldn’t fancy this man of the noble brow, the Grail cup held reverently, and obviously a good dancer if I take his muscular toe-pointing as an indication of prowess.

Swoon. Nobility, ethics, chivalry, single-minded purpose, physical strength and beauty, lofty ideals, the perfect man. Plus he’s got long hair, always my ideal in masculinity. I love the way his head shines against that deep blue background. People complained about the colours in this deck. Probably the same ones who complained about the gorgeous colours in the Rumi Tarot.

Now, our chap on this card is always aware of the colour in life, forging onward, never looking back. Nah, he’s waiting for the Tyldwick Tarot. He’ll have to wait a long, long time, but the Twelfth of Never does occasionally come around. The author didn’t answer his last e-mail enquiring about the deck, and the Facebook page hasn’t been updated since January 2010, so I think disappointment looms.

No matter, he’s got Petrarch.

“As soon as bowstring’s loosed and arrow flies,
an expert marksman knows at some great distance
which shot is wasted, which shot has a chance
to find the target he intends to strike;”

Perhaps Knight of Cups, we are not as expert as we thought, having been left on pre-order status forever and a day? Hearts are on his cup and his eye moves forward, ever looking at his intended target, ever hopeful that the manor at Tyldwick will come into view so he can watch the puppet theatre set up in its marbled niche over cool, chequered floors, the gloss of burlwood glinting as the figures move in the light.

Cups are associated with incubation and receptivity. Paul Huson did not assign a historical character to this knight, but he means arrival or a friend with an offer to help.

That would be nice.

A KNIGHT there was and that a worthy man

That from the time that he first began

To riden out, he loved chivalry,

Truth and honour, freedom and courtesy.

Full worthy was he in his lorde’s war,

And thereto had he ridden–no man farre

As well in Christendom as Heatheness

And ever honoured for his worthiness.

[Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales]

Solon Meets Petrarch at the Dame’s House for Tea

April 30, 2010

Daily Draw April 30th, 2010

I often try to explain to people why I use books with cards, and have relished using attendant books with tarot for nine years. This is an absolutely perfect example of why I do it.

From Petrarch’s Triumph of Fame, Part III

“Yet Solon there I spied, for laws renown’d,
Salubrious plants in clean and cultured ground;
But noxious, if malignant hands infuse
In their transmuted stems a baneful juice”

I find Petrarch’s language so beautiful and full of so many ideas and references that I only take a few lines at a time.

I have this work in a Word file and the introduction is almost 200 pages (and I MUST get it read one of these days), and the Triumphs are quite long themselves, so while scanning for good words I came across the phrase “salubrious plants” which seemed very enticing, and then couldn’t find it again, so had to do a Google search to find the relevant Triumph and then sort it out from there.

And to top that off, my toy knight came to use with Dame Fortune’s Wheel but it was missing part of its lance so I’ve had to send it back. Hopefully I will get a proper one next week.


Which reminds me of how my mind makes a problem of niggly things, leaving me trapped in bad feelings. This looks like King Lear disinheriting his youngest daughter. Let’s see who it is. . . thankfully Paul Huson has an extra Word file you can download with more explanations on the cards. . . he describes him as a “careworn monarch” delivering an admonishment. Still reminds me of King Lear.

Interesting how this ties in so well with Petrarch’s words. Even the nicest, most salubrious thing can be infused with poison from malignant hands. Like King Lear’s “nice” daughter Cordelia who only tried to help him and was maligned for it.

I didn’t grok the “Solon” reference, so I looked it up. Solon was a Greek from Athens circa 638-558 BC who desperately tried to introduce reforms and laws to combat political and moral or ideological decline. There were a lot of tyrants and rivalries about and you know how nasty that can get as the scramble for money and power corrupts. Solon failed, yet started the path to Athenian democracy and the ideals of government and society that we value today. He tried to do good at the time, but his work was transmuted into baneful poison by the malignant hands of others.

And yet, the path lingered on, like the path often depicted on this card, whereby a woman fettered and blindfolded stumbles hopefully to freedom. Solon was also a poet, a fact appreciated by Petrarch, I’m sure. Here is a snippet of a translation of Solon’s words:

“Some wicked men are rich, some good are poor;
We will not change our virtue for their store:
Virtue’s a thing that none can take away,
But money changes owners all the day.”

Have a care about what you perceive manifesting itself in malignant thought and action. Freedom from such things is there if you perceive it as well.

In Which Knights Are Sought by Joycey and the Boys

April 2, 2010

Daily Draw April 3rd, 2010

While browsing through Dame Fortune’s Wheel again yesterday, I realized how many great looking heraldic/knight cards there are. Back when I bought the Grail Tarot I had wanted to buy a painted pewter Templar knight on horseback, but they are very costly, at least $50 and up. However, I did do up a little poem with them.

Editions Dusserre has a fabulous deck of playing cards called Jeu des Armures that I bought some years ago. More knights and costumes, but alas I still didn’t have the money for a figurine.

The boys are growing a bit restless about that as you see. Jumping Jack Joyce was called to arms by Patton and his dog Willie, who then called Jack Skellington, the White Rabbit, and Skeletor out of hiding on the tarot shelf to discuss saving up some money for a knight. Boromir in his guise as a paper doll would have joined the fray but his body went missing some time after the last card I studied in the Lord of the Rings Tarot was done.

Geoffrey de Monmouth would want me to have a pewter knight, as would this trio of cards:


Oh yes, there is a serious study in here. There always is, as this is a mighty serious place. Huson adapted this image from a Medieval illumination of a jousting champion receiving a wreath for winning from a group of noblewomen. No riff-raff on the tournament field please.

The actual reference is from the Codex Maness as I found in an online search. It’s a very charming picture done in a book around 1304-1340 in Zurich for the Maness family. Very nicely adapted Paul Huson.

Upon checking my book Masterpieces of Illumination, which spells this as Codex Manesse, it was a book of courtly poetry and song lyrics written in Middle High German, and the two members of the Manesse family usually associated with this, died before the book was completed, since it took at least two decades to finish. It’s funny how I’ve looked at that description of this codex before, but it was Paul Huson’s work that really brought it to my attention. That’s one of the reasons I like cards, they tend to provide a window on something, much like a viewfinder in artwork where you are trying to sort out what to paint or how to compose a painting. So instead of a nameless codex, this is now firmly in my mind as the Codex Manesse and tied to the Nine of Cups in a card deck. I’ll never forget it now.

Triumph, victory and achievement, all those things come with this Cups card. This is the Wish Card after all. The high-mindedness of chivalry meets knights in regalia, looking very smartly turned out in blue and red stripes. We must go on a quest for an affordable pewter avatar of such things.

Joyce is the tallest, he shall carry us, while Patton and Willie work on the strategy needed for this lengthy operation. The White Rabbit will time it to perfection, and Jack Skellington has a sack on his back for bringing the prize back to base. Skeletor, who insisted on using the name even though he’s a flimsy plastic sort of guy, will do a secondary reconnaissance for an antique copy of the Odyssey for Joycey, who insisted on getting an antiquity in payment for his help. The bloody cheek of the man, thinking that we have money for his fripperies.

It’s been a while since I went for a look-see of what was available in chivalric pewter. Oh wait, there seems to be some painted ones available in resin too. I’d really like one on horseback, and the resin ones don’t look too bad although they are pretty big at 10 inches or more. I was thinking more like 3 to 6 inches to sit on my card shelf. Now the trick is to get them in Canada or find someone who ships to Canada. And then of course I have to wait 5 months until I have money saved up.

This one is attractive in the resin:

A company named Schleich seems to have some nice resin ones that aren’t too big. They come out with different models every year. I had originally thought to get a Templar knight but some of these jousting knights are very handsome, so the Nine of Cups gave me a nudge.

And now, because this is my regular study of Dame Fortune’s Wheel, we must have a nice Chinese poem to go with this, randomly picked from one of my poetry books.

This was written by a poet called Shen Chou, who was also a painter, and he inscribed this on a landscape painting. The poem is untitled.

White clouds like a scarf enfold the mountain’s waist;
stone steps hang in space–a long, narrow path.
Alone, leaning on my cane, I gaze intently at the scene,
and feel like answering the murmuring brook
with the music of my flute.

“White clouds like a scarf” reminds me of jousting gear, the horses decked out in rich cloth, fluttering like scarves. Of such a landscape is today’s card, murmuring with horse’s hooves and the music of the crowds, and ladies hanging in space, over crenellations like steps, ready to lean out and reward the winner.

Ogier in the Spring Chambers

March 13, 2010

Daily Draw March 14th, 2010

Today I am back to Dame Fortune’s Wheel and the Vacchetta.

Petrarch is being cranky, moaning on and on about Laura and death, so I’m switching back to Chinese poetry.

The Knave of Swords, that old gossipy chap, is visiting. Here he is Ogier the Dane, a paladin or knight of Charlemagne who slew a giant and was the patron of hunting. There’s a bit of a spillover with Arthurian legend in that Ogier is said to be living in Avalon with Morgan Le Fay, waiting for the time he is summoned to defend France against enemies.

There could be a warning of sorrow or conspiracy and deception with this card. I like the image on the Vacchetta, Ogier seems to be pledging allegiance to Charlemagne as his liege-lord with one of his famous swords; like Arthur’s Excalibur, Ogier had special swords that were part of his legend. That certainly makes the card in this deck more memorable. One of these days I must read the translation of The Song of Roland about Charlemagne and his knights. The battle of Roncevaux or Roncesvalles figures in the history of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and the Crusades and pilgrimage, although apparently not exactly as romanticized.

I have never heard of Ogier (or Hogier in the French spelling.) here is some extra information on him from Wikipedia:

Thomas Bullfinch also included legends of Charlemagne in his famous Bullfinch’s Mythology, and he mentions Ogier in several chapters there, starting with Chapter 24. Ah, noble youth destined for great things, that I could gaze on your beauty for a moment in my middle age! I love these romances of chivalry and great deeds, having grown up reading King Arthur books repeatedly when I was young. I just finished a biography of T.E. Lawrence, and he loved them too, and wrote his university thesis on the castles and architecture of the Crusades.

Go ahead, lose yourself in the mists. Charlemagne had a sword called Joyeuse, you can’t beat that.

Song of Chiang-nun
by Tsung Ch’en (1525-60)

On the spring river, you depart;
in the spring chambers, I grieve:
my heart is like the river water,
day and night, touching your boat.

Morgana the fairy, pined for Ogier until such time as she snatched him back to Avalon.

I feel a Grail moment overcoming me.