Four for Introspection




Okanagan Oracle Colour Study 5: Wonder

I got a bit behind in posting this. Some days I feel like scanning, sometimes I don’t, so I have separate bundles of cards here and there waiting for the magic tour de force of image importing in Photoshop.

I thought when I pulled this “Oh no, not another brown card” with a sinking feeling. There ARE brown and gold shades, some green and reddish maple and wine barrels painted a red-violet turning to grey, and a vibrantly white skull, so plenty of scope outside earthy browns. Browns with panache, and a dash of fermenting wine and oak gold.

WONDER – Okanagan Oracle
TEN OF WANDS – TOURMALINE, RED/PINK (RUBELLITE) – Tarot of Gemstones and Crystals
STRENGTH – Graven Images Oracle
FOREBODING – Dreaming in Color Luman Deck
CROW – Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards
GOOSE: QUEST, TRAVEL – Spirit Animals Card Deck


The Wonder here is in all the colours of the earth, the process of fermentation, the chemical magic of nature. That looks like it might be a bear skull, but the spouse thought it might be an elk. Alas, no information is given on the subjects in these cards. I would appreciate a downloadable PDF file with citations for the location and contents of the photos; I always love things like that.

Skull and foreboding, the aged wine of death and Crow transforms like skull. The Goose travels from winter to spring, wine-ready for a new season of raising young and feeling the sun and wind, imagining summer. The masons rebuild, strength needed for the work, the transformation.

The rubellite colour of this tourmaline is very appealing. Another heart stone but also used for healing and blood circulation and blood vessels, a problem of mine. The suggestion is there of struggle, burden and responsibility with the Ten of Wands, but the wonder lies in doing it. Humans are amazing in what they can bear.

Wonder is an Old English, Dutch, German, Old Norse word. One of those earthy tricky things, it could be a noun, a verb, or an adjective. Do I wonder in amazement or do I wonder with feeling, why or what or how? Perhaps I wonder in amazement at this juxtaposition among the trees of bones and wine-dark rhythms of transformation?

“What a world of wonder” breathe goose and crow as they fly past marvelling at the scene.

Okanagan Oracle Colour Study 3: Spirit

This is one of my favourite cards from the Okanagan Oracle. I’ve often come across steps and logs like this in woods. Look at all the colours! Brown and taupe, gold, beige, green, sage green, black, black-greys, everywhere small details of colour.

I had a hard time stopping myself from picking cards for this.

SPIRIT – Okanagan Oracle
SUMMER TO FALL – FLYING WEST – Eartheart Wisdom Cards
COVER FOR SCRIBNER’S FICTION NUMBER AUGUST 1897 – Maxfield Parrish, Pomegranate Postcard
KNIGHT OF WANDS – IRON – Tarot of Gemstones and Crystals
RABBIT – Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards


Autumn leaves, and the end of summer, the quiet tones of earth and rock, the evening of day and seasons. Rabbit is out under the moon, the sacred hare of lunar cycles and seasons of life. Fiction under the trees, the heat of August and iron thrumming under the earth, steps to the Underworld of coming winter. Relieve the tension says Limpet, and what came easily requires hard work says the Xenophora pallidula.

Seasons mean power, you must look harder for it, the Spirit is there under your feet and waiting in the woods, reflected in the sky with the evening star, making way for the moon, the tension of the day becoming a different light.




Eagles Across Decks

I thought I had all my cards unboxed from our cross-country move but while searching for particular animal decks, I realized that some loose ones that I wrapped separately from their boxes were missing. Fortunately the spouse rounded them up for me. You would think with 394 decks I would forget but Judith never forgets a deck!

An overview with an attendant eagle figure, this one by Schleich.


And don’t forget those other four decks Jude. The eagle in the card with the yellow border has taken a fancy to my figure, he’s zooming toward him with some urgency. Figures inspire everyone I suppose.


The KING OF SWORDS  was the card I drew today from the Animal Totem Tarot that started the eagles flying. I had mentioned to someone recently how my deck collecting had gone down lately because I just want to buy art created by hand or at least created by hand in Adobe Illustrator. Upon taking these cards out my heart sang with the impact and beauty of the art and each artist’s expression and composition. It does not get better than this for me as a collector, this stuff makes me happy and inspires my own artwork.

The King, in his highly analytical way, enjoyed this comparison. In this card as you fly higher you strip away what isn’t important, your soaring height makes things clearer, shifts the focus, lets you drop nonessentials. Not a bad reflection of how I currently feel about card decks.


The Magical Menagerie was one deck I couldn’t find this morning so I knew I had another box somewhere. The Pathfinders deck holds up, it’s one of my favourites. Susan Seddon Boulet has been dead since 1997, but her Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards are still in print, and no wonder; what a legacy.


I think the Animal Messages deck is out of print now but I’m so glad I bought one when it was readily available, it’s a treasure, and Sue Lion’s Spirit Animals always looks so fresh and comes in a tin with a window so you can put your card of the day in view. The Animalis deck is also a fresh vision with lots of bones and unusual compositions.


More decks that hold up for me: the Tarot of Reincarnation is one you have to hunt for the species and some of the names have changed. I have a fuller discussion and small review of it here. It has nothing to do with reincarnation, unless you figure the original illustrations (long out of copyright) have been reincarnated.


I absolutely love both these bird decks, they are definitely treasures both for the art and the variety of images. I rarely use the Medicine Cards but they are neat in their own way. At the time they were published I don’t think there were many animal decks in existence, so it was important.

Ah, the satisfaction of a card comparison after a long break from my cards. It’s like coming out of a desert to drink a glass of ice water. Cool baby.

Happy Sunday!







All the Little Foxes and Their Friends

Daily Draw June 7th, 2012

Today I am doing a comparison of foxes in my various decks due to the card and comments in this post. The obvious comparison is the foxes in the Lenormand decks but I found quite a few in other decks, both tarot and oracle.

Before I start on cards I wanted to mention one of my favourite graphic novels from The Sandman series, The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman with artwork by Yoshitaka Amano, I’ve mentioned it before on the blog but it illustrates a classic Asian myth about the fox lady. This comes up on some of my cards too, but the art in this book is so dreamy and evocative, perfect for the story. I recommend you buy it if you love foxes. The cover of my edition is reflective gold so hard to scan accurately.

The Shadowscapes Tarot had the most foxes, a whole suit of them plus a few extras.

I found a few on I Ching cards.

Several stories with foxes in the Fables of La Fontaine are illustrated in these playing cards.

And here are the wonderful Lenormand decks and their attractive foxes.

An assortment of foxes on various decks:

Lisa Hunt has painted foxes in several decks.

More foxes, looking bushy-tailed:

This Card Reminds Me of That Wildwood Tarot

Daily Draw July 3rd, 2011

I received the Wildwood Tarot last week and was amazed at the number of cards I loved, so I am going to do my usual visual comparison of a new deck. Some people do deck “interviews” but this is what I do. One of the great things about any deck with illustrations by Will Worthington, is his attention to detail on animals and birds. I have a great many decks I could have pulled cards from for comparison of this, but I decided to keep it to the ones that popped into my memory.

The first decorative object my husband and I bought after getting married 35 years ago was a framed picture of a Kingfisher. It has some foxing on the paper and the frame is falling apart but it is still hanging in my living room.

Naturally, the Kingfisher on the King of Arrows in the Wildwood is one of my favourites, and it reminded me of Susan Boulet’s beautiful painting of a kingfisher.

There is a paper model you can make of a kingfisher on this page. You need to download the patterns to cut out plus the instructions in separate PDF files, but the links are on this page. I often make paper models or paper dolls to go with my cards.

Herons have always meant a lot to me. I am awaiting the publication of the Gaian Tarot in its mass market edition, because the heron in the Death card from that deck just hit me right away months ago and I wanted it, wanted to work with it. I was so pleased to see a heron on the King of Vessels from the Wildwood, they are the most peaceful birds to watch; immediately calming in their majesty and slow, graceful mystery.

A while ago some cards depicting weaving came up in one of my daily draws and here it is again on the Wildwood Wheel card. I taught myself how to do basic weaving and bought myself a rigid heddle loom last fall, and I love to see weaving references pop up on cards. This is an Iron Age loom, reminding me of the rich history of weaving in the world and a book I bought called Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times.

In the accompanying book to this tarot it states: “The loom waits for the skilful hand of the unseen weaver to complete the pattern of possibilities and potential that constitutes fate and chance.” I like that idea of completing the pattern with this card. I also think anyone who creates will understand the cycles of creativity, which are like a wheel turning, even when we don’t want it to turn.

This one is self-explanatory. I’m sorry Will, I couldn’t help myself, it was the hair.

And speaking of hares, I found this card interesting as it depicts female hares. I often generalize and feel that male animals are the ones who have rituals like this; it reminds me of springboks or deer fighting, and cats will rear up and box each other like this if they are really angry with each other. It also reminded me very much of a card from the Tarot of the Animal Lords.

Yet another beautiful bird card that instantly reminded me of a well-known quilt artist and a wallhanging she made many years ago. I had a copy of it in a calendar once, and it was burned in my memory. White cranes often do a little dance, they are known for it in the way herons are known for the stillness of their fishing stance.

I like the contrast and clarity of the illustrations in the deck, the light, the colours, saturated but somewhat subdued on some cards. The snow and wolf on this card reminded me of the intense Fenris Wolf and its legend from the Fantastical Creatures Tarot. That wolf was the card that caused me to buy that deck, and similarly, the Wildwood has lots of mythology in it, which is always appealing to me in decks.

And here’s another one that spoke to me! I was given a lovely figurine of a lynx about 30 years ago for Christmas and it is displayed with my cat figurine collection. It came to see its new card friend and have a chat. Then they went out and ripped a rabbit apart and gnawed on its bones and sucked out the marrow. Such is the reality of life. I like the realism in this deck, the nod to the often cruel or frightening aspects of nature.

These two were very similar, and the contrast of the birches in the Wildwood card is so vivid and exciting. I can almost smell the snow in this one. We have woods behind our house and I have often taken photographs of the birches in winter while walking my dogs.

I knew this card reminded me of some of Mindy Sommers’ work in the Luman Deck, but I had to browse a bit to find the right card I held in my mind’s eye. There is something about the light and the colours in these two cards that match in my mind. I am so tired of Moon cards and spooky women and menstruation references, so this is greatly refreshing. In the book Mark Ryan refers to “…the nutrient-rich swamp full of potential energy and creative power.” There is also a heron on this card and some crows. Crows are spooky and otherworldly and I can hear their calls when looking at this card, and the swamp goes so well with the other card, both are gorgeously evocative images. Creative power IS a journey, the birth of something incubating just under the surface.

What ramble would be complete without a reference to Dante? My beloved Dante weaves himself into everything meaningful it seems. When I saw the Ten of Bows card it took me right to William Blake’s image of Dante and Virgil ascending the mountain to get to Purgatory. Ascension is often accompanied by burden and responsibility, but there is light on the horizon, burning through cloud.

I usually wrap these things up with a scan of my favourite card from a deck. This is the one that immediately hits me visually, without any second-guessing about archetype or meaning. I can hear the water splashing and continually moving, oxygenating, rebirthing itself, as we must. I never owned the Greenwood Tarot that was the precursor to this one. Frankly, I am baffled at all the comparative nonsense and complaining that goes on when people discuss the two decks. This is today, this is the deck today, we are back to realism and the world as it is. I have great respect for Mark Ryan in realizing this—look where he’s flowing, onward, over and through.

This visual study only touches the surface. I have read most of the book and I like the meditative approach to these cards. It is not surprising since John Matthews was involved in some of the writing with the Wildwood. His Hallowquest deck also takes a meditative approach and the original deck with the black archway borders, pulls you into the card. I had a most unusual study of the Seeker in that deck, and felt like I was in a movie I was pulled so far into the scene during a meditation. The clarity of it has stayed with me, the magic of that canyon below me is there forever.

This deck is going to be like that too.


This Card Reminds Me of That Goddess

It’s time for new deck comparison with the Mythical Goddess Tarot. A bit of a tour today but that’s what you get when something neat comes in through the door.

Before I get going here’s one that seemed familiar but I cannot find the comparison card. I’m sure I’ve got one with a person on puppet strings. If anyone knows of one tell me in an e-mail through my web site, I’d appreciate it.

I found one last night from The Love Pack, but it isn’t the one I was thinking of. Somewhere out there is another puppet on a string.

Still searching, I found four more and now I’ve seen so many cards I can’t remember if any of these is the one I remember. Oh well, as you can see, it’s a popular archetype.

There is an old song called Puppet on a String by Sandie Shaw. It’s from the sixties, but it stayed in my mind.

A couple of these cards struck me right away. There are probably several examples that are similar to this, but these are the two comparators that I immediately thought of.

This imagery of a face with a mask or a face morphing into another person or animal is very archetypal. There might be more examples in card decks but these were the ones I had in my collection.

I was amazed at how many comparators I thought of in the Rohrig Tarot, which is one of my all-time favorite decks.

I love these trees, and again there are probably several more examples that I didn’t think of. The Prudence card in the Rohrig is one of my favourite cards in any deck. It reminds me of jazz pianist Brad Mehldau’s version of the Beatles song Dear Prudence, which is one of the better things I’ve heard in the last few years.

This was another good one, I’d forgotten about the one in the Songs for the Journey Home deck until I opened it looking for something else.

Welcome to the flowing world of love and Waterfallia.

Some quickies that simply struck me as I went along. I like realistic crows on cards. I probably have more in decks but this was enough for me. It reminds me of Diana Krall’s version of a Joni Mitchell song called Black Crow.

The face of Fear made me laugh and I showed it to my husband and he laughed because this is the face I make when something happens in our lives to make me anxious. I go up to him with this face and do a silent scream, just like this picture. How delightful that this is an archetype and not just me!

I love the strong impasto techniques in the bottom two. The Tarots Suzan M. is an oracle deck that I trimmed.

Blue mermaids and the white buffalo.

This has been a real pleasure to work with. I’m not into the whole Sacred Feminine thing, but the art in this deck is so good and refreshing, as are the ideas, that I’m glad I found it.

Make sure you play Dear Prudence at least five times.

I feel like that black crow flying, in a blue sky. . . .