The King of Swords and Two Ladies

The King of Swords, that virile fellow, has been dating two women and is indicating a preference for the younger Page of Coins from the Ancient Minchiate Etruria rather than the Japanese lady on the 7 of Hearts from the Ukiyo-e Playing Cards.


Given his penchant for intellectual world-building and vision, I’m not sure this earthy Coins Page is a suitable match, but he has been mesmerized by her practical ability with finances. Unfortunately after he becomes used to her hair streaming in the wind while she delicately skips about in her fine sandals, he will begin to notice her lingering stubbornness when he wants to hire an architect to build a new palace. She will say to him “Look at this Coin, do you really need a new palace, isn’t it enough to disport through the kingdom in a handsome bear cloak with me by your side as Queen in new dresses woven with gold?”

“Well no”, he will remark after indicating the new style of architecture from Milan, and even her youthful bosom will not sway him from his will to build, to throw his mental power into a new project. At that point he will dream about his more demur and compliant mistress with the dark hair and imagine her letting her hair down and brushing it over his forearm while he shows her the new architectural plans and sketches for statuary, including the Venus he wants her to pose for.

He will call for her to come to him in rustling silks and gold, and she will sing songs of world-building ventures as he closes his eyes and smells jasmine.

You can’t be too careful in choosing the right partner if you are a King. Differing enthusiasms about world-building can strangle you like a long, draped scarf.





Charles, Resplendent in Rubidium

Daily Draw September 9th, 2010

Things are all askew here as several bookshelves have been moved to get furniture through the doorway. I am hoping next week I will have something to sit on besides a lawn chair.

I’m pulling a card today from the Royal Heritage of England Playing Cards that my friend sent me for my birthday. I’m drawing it the night before as I seem too tired in the mornings these days, and pairing it with an Elemental Hexagons card. I love that deck but the box is too tight and they are tricky to get in and out of the box.

Oh yeah, royalty and the periodic table all in one go; it doesn’t get any better than that.

Charles II 1660 – 1685

Dear Charles, whom I remember principally for digging up Oliver Cromwell and sticking his head on a pole on the Mall. Revenge is sweet. Cromwell was responsible for the beheading of Charles I, Charles II’s pater, so naturally when the crown came to him when the monarchy was restored, he dug up that Cromwell bastard and let the elements rot his head for twenty years.

The 7 of Hearts means genuine friendship and pure platonic love. True friends are hard to come by, which I agree with. This card is also a rare thing, so tomorrow a true friend shall show up. That sounds good.

Charles had many lady friends in the form of mistresses, the most famous being Nell Gwynn, who was an actress. After a childhood filled with terror, indigence, disguise, and being shuffled around Europe for years, I can see where he might have been attached to the comforts of life at court. He never really trusted people though, he never trusted religion although he went to Church, because he’d seen betrayal and murder and knew someone could be your friend one day and the next day a Judas.

His mother was a Bourbon, and his maternal grandmother was a Medici no less, and he married a Portuguese Infanta. Portugal held Bombay and Tangier and trading rights to China and the Indies, so the taste in decoration started to reflect all the wonderful Chinese things available in England then. His wife was childless but he refused to divorce her, no doubt remembering how awful betrayal is.

He liked to dabble in science which was becoming so popular, and did chemistry experiments. He was humorous in a subtle way, given to irony, quite bright and also not one to push people into conforming to rules. Again, one sees a reaction to his dreadful childhood of fear and the imposition of the wants of others.

He died a rather horrible death. Doctoring in those times was rather barbaric: bloodletting being a popular remedy, as was the more vigorous method of “cupping” where the body was sliced open in spots and cups placed on the wounds and then heated to expel the air and suck out blood. Vomiting was induced with emetics that were not only poisonous but caustic. When that didn’t do the trick, they gave Charles an enema, and they alternated between purgatives and enemas when he became unconscious. For some reason applying red hot irons on the head of Charles II was deemed necessary as was more application and ingestion of caustic substances.

Then he got bled again, then purged and enemas came again, in between forcing herbal remedies into him and quinine, which can cure malaria but doesn’t do much for renal failure except increase the toxins in the body. More bleeding, and on and on until he went into a coma and finally died. It is thought that he died of kidney failure, but as he lingered on for four days being “doctored” by his 14 physicians, he was a real mess by the time he mercifully died.

He could have used a true friend as well as electrolytes.

#37 – RUBIDIUM – Live in the Moment
Name of Pharaoh – Life

Now where the heck is my book……Nature’s Building Blocks : An A-Z Guide to the Elements…over on THAT bookcase of course.

Rubidium is one of those elements we have in the body but no one knows exactly what it does, although it’s a bit like potassium. Charles II yells from his death bed: “My kingdom for a smidge of rubidium” but alas they purged him again instead.

Soy beans and apples have lots of rubidium, well 220 and 50 parts per million, which is a trace amount but greater than the 3 parts per million in corn. While rubidium is used for research it’s expensive and for commercial purposes, sodium can do the same thing and is 5,000 times cheaper. When heated, rubidium loses an electron and generates a bit of electricity. It also doesn’t like water and is very reactive with it. Rubidium is a soft, white metal but is used as compounds or salts of various configurations in fireworks and glass and ceramics for its red colour. Rubidium is most often gathered as a by product of lithium production. No one hears of it because you can’t make a lot of money off it basically.

The ruby-throated hummingbird on the card not only has a ruby throat which is the same colour as the red lines in rubidium, but he also lives in the moment, hovering inexhaustibly to feed. The clock in the picture refers to rubidium being used in a certain type of atomic clock, that also lives in moments of time.

It’s interesting that Charles II should be with this card as he most certainly suffered from wild fluctuations in salts and bodily compounds while he took four days to die. Although not a huge abundance of this element is apparent, it is essential to life, hence the designation on the card in the author’s rather odd category called “Name of Pharaoh” which is a bit obscure to me, but the glyph for life (among others) was always written after the name of Pharaoh.

Funny, after all that, the message I get is one of balancing salts and elements in the body. Eat small meals frequently, like the hummingbird, keep the sugars up in the body. That means eating properly and drinking water and living in the moment, enjoying life with a platonic love that happens by, darting in for the moment, perhaps with a quip about actresses in lovely silks or talk of the Great Fire.

No one’s going to come after you with a red hot poker and an enema bag either. Stay healthy.