That In-Your-Face Glow

Posted September 8, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

I have been busy sewing all week. I got my new sewing machine up and working a week ago, and it only took me five months to get around to it. I have never had a computerized machine and it takes a while to get used to the beeping sounds and messages. I am doing well with an old project from May 2009, and have sewn borders on 30 blocks. Now I need to baste them individually for machine quilting.

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THE MOON

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This is one of the cards I found striking in this deck. The light is nothing short of exquisite in this card.

The flower on her staff is not specified in the book but it reminds me of daffodils, which reminds me of cancer and a relative who is waiting on results from an MRI. It could be a rose with a thorn spike in the centre.

She is grabbing her heart as if something wondrous and terrible was in her sight, the shadows of people (ancestors) behind her. Doubt, illusion but her staff anchors her and guides her as well, it provides support.

I don’t often pull The Moon and this one is a bit spooky, all I see is her staff today and that weird light and a subconscious feeling that things are not right.

Blah. [Seven hours later I found out that I was right, the cancer is growing and needs an operation as it’s pressing on the brain and nerves and causing problems for my relative. Rats.]

 

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I Had a Dream There Were Clouds in My Lenormand -logy

Posted September 1, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Lenormand Oracle

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I notice that Rana George has a new Lenormand deck (which I ordered) to go with the book she wrote on Lenormand decks (which I don’t have.)

I was tempted while browsing, but rather than buying another deck I decided to pull out all my Lenormand decks and pick a random card. Surprisingly, I already have nine Lenormand decks. How did that happen? My random pick was the Clouds card, number 6.

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Ooooh, they just go on and on in this image. I always think of Clouds as good/bad or dark/light or even good luck/bad luck, but there are some subtleties to the card that haven’t entered my consciousness. Chloe McCracken in the book for the Celtic Lenormand refers to the ambiguity and polarity of this card; it’s so clear but if you think about clouds visually they do tend to blend together where there isn’t a clear delineation between light and dark. We are back to Pema Chodron’s “fundamental ambiguity of being human”.

The other aspect of this card that I never considered is the idea that you or another person might be showing two sides or that there are two sides to a situation and such. The way people hide things or misrepresent themselves or simply that you need to consider both sides could be part of this depending on the surrounding cards. One book I have mentions abuse, like an abuser presenting one face to the world and in private being dark and dangerous.

Speaking of surrounding cards, I find it astounding that people actually do the Grand Tableau with all the cards laid out. That would take me forever, and in some way I feel it is bypassing chance or randomness to have everything on the table, which is why I prefer a one-card or maybe a three-card maximum draw with these decks. Historically I am wrong, but personally I like it that way, yet there is something to be said for interaction with this card in particular, so when feeling expansive use as many cards as you like.

Oh, and most often the dark clouds are on the left, but in my own deck, The Illustrative Lenormand, I put them on the right, as does Lo Scarabeo in the Lenormand Oracle Cards, and in some of the cards it’s less clear where the light and dark are, it looks…ambiguous!

The other thing with these cards is the number itself, with 6 signifying the sixth month of June or six days or six weeks and whatever else you can throw at the meaning of numbers. I’ve never been too keen on that approach but others use it with success. My problem with numbers is how malleable they are, how you can bludgeon them to mean everything and anything. Ask yourself: “Who came up with this system of numerology?” Then think about how it could have been done differently, it could have been done 20 or 100 different ways. You could make up your own system, there are no archetypes with numbers, no root meanings, just what people have foisted on them.

Are words like that too? Maybe. There is some of that with words but “ambiguity” for instance has a Latin root of ambigere which means “to wander about”. It can be variously interpreted, as you meander through association and meaning, but you are always left wandering, uncertain, that is the base of what it means.

The number six is the smallest positive integer which is neither a square number nor a prime number. Six is the second smallest composite number; its proper divisors are 1, 2, and 3 and when you add those together you get 6. On it goes into mathematics, music and chemistry, biology, astronomy.

Numerology seems to have several associations tacked onto this number, like that it is feminine or nurturing and connected to service, responsibility, and thus connected to motherhood and caring. It has been connected to the Lovers card in Tarot which is also number six, and there are positive and negative energies, but generally this is a happy number. Who says? Where did this come from? Some human made it up and tacked it on. It’s a system, and it works because people make it work, but where did Big Mom come into the number 6? Humans. Read as you wish but don’t expect me to embrace a system that describes the number 6 as “nurturing”; it’s a fabrication.

Thus say the Clouds of ambiguity.

 

 

 

Overview of the Ostara Tarot

Posted August 31, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Tarot - General

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I have had this on my wish list for some months, waiting for the mass market edition from Schiffer. The reviews mention the silver foil on the edges sticking together and missing cards or duplicates, so I was a bit worried about ordering it.

My copy is fine. You have to be careful pulling each card apart as the silver ink on the edges does stick. A few of my corners were slightly dinged but not too bad, and I have all the cards and no duplicates. Having overcome that hurdle successfully I wanted to discuss some of the cards.

There are so many, many cards in this deck that I like, but I edited it down to eight that seemed different. These two are from the Major Arcana.

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Isn’t that Chariot different? What better way than chess to show a rider moving and having control? Self-discipline, practice but also the idea of strategy in that you have to think about the moves your opponent might make. I liked the wheels behind the figure of the rider and his hood, as if he was hiding his reactions, like a Poker face.

The second one that struck me was the Temperance card. She is holding a box that releases both predator and prey–that balance of the world. “Where something is taken, it must be given. Light is necessary to cast a shadow.” Very interesting imagery on this, it gives you a depth of meaning for those of us used to the conventional imagery.

Here are a couple of interesting ones from the Minor Arcana.

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One of my bugaboos is the standard stabbed heart on the Three of Swords. Okay, it’s historical but it’s boring. Here we have that but we don’t. The tree and the ivy suggest growth from the archetypal heartbreak of this card. If you look closely you can see a frog in the ivy “relishing the rain” which again suggests nourishment and growth being available. That tree just stands there, is it misplaced stoicism or is it renewing itself and growing constantly? Terrific card, this is a favourite of mine.

The rabbit on the Four of Coins is priceless. The old miser has “…sucked every penny out of his family, his community…” He’s in his nice ship, getting cold and colder, have a nice trip you hero.

Here are two more that are quite different. I sometimes find it hard when there isn’t an obvious symbol, to tell which suit a card is from. These are both Wands and you can see little branches in the cards but they aren’t readily apparent so you have to get used to telling some of the cards apart. Well and good, it means using the cards and getting familiar with them, what could be better?

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The Five of Wands is very striking with its two-headed snake. I liked the idea here of pulling in different directions. It’s not necessarily a group conflict, it could also be an inner conflict or change. Good point and well illustrated.

The Seven of Wands is a card that often seems to lack a fuller meaning. In the Rider-Waite tradition and man is often standing defending himself atop a hill or fortification. In this card the girl is guarding her perch on the floating island with a bow and arrow, but the other levels of islands and people below really speak to competition and the idea of “climbing the corporate ladder” and the advancement and defence that entails. She has a raccoon lying beside her which suggests masks and how competition can mean masking your true self. Yuck, it brings me back to my working days and all the drama of gossip and office politics. It also reminds me of course of the game Snakes and Ladders and zooming past your opponent on a ladder. So, all kinds of symbolism here that’s a bit different.

My favourite suit in this deck is the Swords suit. There are so many beautiful animals and a simplicity to some of the cards that is striking. These two are my favourite cards in the deck.

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That whale on the Ten of Swords was the card that got me to put this on my wish list. Oh, such a lonely, beautiful, haunting card with the roiling sea and the whale under the stars, crying.

Having lived in Ontario for most of my life, I was used to the Blue Jay all around me, roistering and squawking in the garden and in cottage country, so I was surprised to see a Stellar’s Jay on the Two of Swords card. It was one of the first birds we saw in our garden in British Columbia, and I saw a Stellar’s Jay in the garden yesterday. The women who created this deck are from Vancouver, BC, so this was my first clue that they were Canadian, which was another reason I bought this deck.

The bird is blindfolded and that could mean not seeing or avoiding pain and difficult choices. I usually call this the “parlay card” because it is about that, or perhaps avoiding people as suggested by the loneliness of the path in this image. The other thing that struck me is the nest; you can’t fly out of the nest if you can’t see, so this could indicate someone who doesn’t want to grow up or is afraid to go out on their own, hemmed in by the Swords of fear.

The deck is all just a little bit different, which is what attracts me to decks these days. It has a freshness that I couldn’t pass up and I’m truly glad I purchased it and look forward to using it.

 

 

Cherry Blossoms Club Me

Posted August 31, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards

Tags: , , , , ,

5 OF CLUBS – WASHINGTON, D.C.
Capital of the United States
In spring, thousands of cherry trees bloom in the nation’s capital.

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Well isn’t that pretty? This is a lovely illustration and she’s done a true transformation with the suit symbols in their conventional places.

I thought we had a cherry tree out in the front yard, but it turned out to be a full apple tree. We have three apples on it this year.

Maybe this card is about seeing things that may not be there, or missing things that are? How many people bustle about and forget to notice the cherry trees in bloom?

 

 

Greeks, Illusion, and the 2 of Clubs

Posted August 29, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Playing Cards

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Today I am using a playing card deck published by Y & B Associates in New York in 1997. This one is Illusions in Art: Deck 1 – Classics. I went to a lot of trouble to obtain various illusions decks from this publisher back in the day when Internet ordering was not as easy, and I always pick up some new idea or tidbit of knowledge from them.

2 OF CLUBS – GREEK PARTHENON, ATHENS, ca 1438 B.C.

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The columns on the Parthenon look nice and straight and evenly spaced, except they are not. Because of the way the human eye sees things and the attendant optical distortions, the columns are slightly thicker in the middle, and the middle columns are spaced wider apart so that when viewed from a distance, it all looks symmetrical and correct.

Vitruvius, who was a Roman architect and civil engineer from the first century A.D., came up with the theory that the Greeks, knowing of these optical illusions, factored in these slightly altered dimensions when building the Parthenon. The elements on the facade tilt outward a bit and the columns tilt inward by about 2 inches, which again supposedly relates to in-built counter-perspective. I’m not sure about that one, maybe the building is just old and has moved? But it is certain the columns were built with bulges and odd spacing and the Greeks had been doing such things for a hundred years or more before the Parthenon was built, and they skewed dimensions inside the building as well for the same reason.

And I learned this from a playing card, having missed the special about the Parthenon on the PBS NOVA series which explained some of this. Vitruvius I know from Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man which was based on notes on human dimensions by Vitruvius.

So, that came together into a good little study.

 

 

Today’s Experiment with Subtle Cybele

Posted August 29, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

Tags: , ,

I am having a day where I have not gotten washed or dressed. Oh well, I did discover how to tile a background in Pixelmator, and I also discovered a web site called Subtle Patterns where they have PNG format tiles that you can download for free.

CYBELE – FERTILITY

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Yeah, we don’t need no showers, we can soar through the sky with Cybele fertilizing ideas and colours by using that Memphis Colorful tile from Subtle Patterns for her background. The controls in Pixelmator using the Affine tiling thingy aren’t bad. I just did a regular old tile on the page at about 90% size.

However, it’s not Gliftex. Alas, Gliftex does not come in a Mac version, so I make do. I can of course fire up the ancient Compaq laptop and use Gliftex there, but it keeps wanting to eat me, like an antediluvian creature from the swamp.

Cybele heralds a period of growth and renewal. Powerful forces are released after a period of withdrawal and hibernation. Okay, so tomorrow should be a cracker of a day, right Big C?

She waves her sceptre and jets off.

 

 

It’s Art, It’s Cards, It’s Creativity, It’s Fabulous

Posted August 27, 2017 by JJ
Categories: Miscellaneous Cards

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Not that I was browsing or anything, but I like to keep my eye on new playing card decks or similar quirky card decks. Many of these are only available from Kickstarter or private sites that I don’t like to buy from. These caught my eye because the cards feature three of my favourite things, illustrations/caricatures of real people, art history, and quotes. It is available at Book Depository and Amazon in the States as well as the publisher’s site, Laurence King Publishing. Well done Mr. King for instigating a wonderful project and making it available to us. I ordered it immediately.

Art Oracles: Creative & Life Inspiration from Great Artists is written by Katya Tylevich and illustrated by Mikkel Sommer and the 50-card deck was just published in August 2017. This is supposed to be a tarot-inspired game, and I’m not sure how that works but even single cards can be inspiring. Here is an example of a card featuring Piet Mondrian with a few choice words.

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I spot Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover, I’ll have to haul out my copy of Gray’s Anatomy and show him I bought his favourite book. Then I can show him that patella and poem inspired by a tiny illustration in the book. Inspiration lies everywhere!

What I also liked is that the author chose people who were unique artists and did work that was fresh and different. That’s a good quality for igniting and firing up the creativity of others. I often speak of creativity here and on my other blogs because it lives in my mind constantly, and I like a good card deck that fuels creativity and causes me to learn and look things up.

Thank you Katya and Mikkel for stimulating us all with your work; I look forward to exploring your deck. This is an understatement given my joy in discovering this deck.

Oh, they’ve got Charles and Ray Eames too and William Blake naked in his garden…! You guys!!!!