The Insanity of the Visual Imperative

Crazy Card Lady Story #59

I was reading before bed last night and when my eyes got tired I pulled out the Wisdom for Healing Cards which I haven’t seen for a while to browse through. “Oh, this card reminds me of another card” said I in card comparison mode. This often happens to me, and I can generally put my hand to the card I’m thinking of, but last night memory was a bit swirly-misty.

Three hours later and about 18 decks (which isn’t bad actually) I had sort of remembered a girl with red hair and a white dress in a doorway. Knowing the style of the painting I pulled out Kay Steventon’s Celestial Tarot which didn’t have the card but I knew it was in her other deck, one of the first decks I bought, and then I couldn’t remember the name. By this time it was 2 a.m. and I had to go down to the computer and look it up. Back upstairs I was puzzling over where I had put the Spiral Tarot, when I remembered vaguely sticking it in one of my handmade tarot bags. I had swapped out the Zerner Farber deck in the first bag I made myself and put the Spiral in there. By this time it was 3 a.m. and I thought I’d better go to bed and scan and discuss the two cards in the morning.

I needed a fresh, alert mind for this vital discussion.



Am I ever going to change? Is the imperative to find cards in the dark while everyone else is sleeping going to change? Not a bit. One has skills you see, visual skills and memory that need honing now and then.

Girls in dresses at doorways to the sky and garden; they exist, my brain wants to find them. Change and moving on, these cards go well together. The change is that I now consider this perfectly normal to hunt for cards for three hours at night, a joyous, peaceful kind of thing, swathed in the mystery of night and stars, cozy in my eyrie, sifting through numerous card decks and thinking “Wow, the art on this is so good!”

It sure is.


The Great Mantid Imperative

While discussing The Hermit card in the Animal Totem Tarot on May 13th, I was moaning that I wasn’t able to find a suitable mantis figure. Someone heard my plea, and an amazing occurrence happened yesterday when I received a large plastic mantis figure all the way from Hawaii in the mail. Obviously someone recognized the absolute NEED for something like this.


Yes, he’s heading for the dining room to check out those cat figurines in the new cabinet.

Today, Mr. Mantis and I decided to explore card decks in my collection that feature mantids. Rare is the artist who recognizes the need to feature one of these insects in a deck, but there are artists hip to the vibe, fortunately for our examination. UPDATE: I discovered that Paulina Cassidy is working on her new deck the Spiritsong Tarot, and it will have a mantis as The Hanged Man as well as other animals on each card.


Wow, six of them turned up for the party. The little green guy in the Osho Zen is sitting on the man’s hand, but if you look closely you can see his triangular head turning sideways as they discuss the outrageous prices of Meissen porcelain. Yeah, that would get anyone talking.


So ends our exploration for today.

There seems to be an essential need for a piece of artwork featuring a mantis with a cat figurine, have you noticed this?



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!







This Card Reminds of That Enchanted Map

I was struck by a few cards in the Enchanted Map Oracle Cards when I received the deck so thought to have a little ramble as I like to do.

I looked and looked for the card that tweaked my visual memory for this one. I still can’t find it, either I don’t own the deck and I saw it online, or I simply can’t place it in my collection right now. If anyone knows of another deck with a similar visual let me know.

In the meantime, while in a fugue state over my morning tea, Henry Armitage came to me and said “It’s an Eldritch rock Jude, wake up to reality” and sure enough, he was right.


I love this lion and the sentiment of deep freeze or hibernation, staying still for a time. This is one of my favourite cards in this deck  and the slight tint to the lion reminded of the card in the Tarot of Paris.


I immediately thought of the gorgeous Aeon card from the Haindl Tarot with this. Isn’t the name “Storm Fields” evocative?


Another old favourite, the Bone Collector immediately reminded me of The Hermit in the World Spirit Tarot, one of the few female Hermits I have seen. Her cheery face in the oracle deck is immediately uplifting.


Down to the swirling leaves and faint butterflies, these two belong together.


There is something very charming about this card. The surrealism and the beckoning window and cat speak of depths and penetrating glances from other worlds. Windows, windows everywhere.


This was a straight visual memory for me probably because of the circular composition and the bright colours with winged figures.


And another memory jog from the Fey Tarot, but I couldn’t decide if it was one card or the other that was jogging my memory so you get both.


And lastly, my absolutely favourite card in the deck. I used to call myself “Solitudinus” and the number 13 is relevant for me so always a happy number. I think because I enjoy a bit of a chat with people, particularly about books, that they often mistake me for a friendlier person than I am. Really, I could live in a place like this and be perfectly content.


It’s not that I dislike people, but I like the place in the card better, it is better suited to my needs.

The enchantment of maps is that you can draw the place where you are even if people assume that you are somewhere else.


Cernunnos Across Decks

Someone I met online was experiencing an epiphany about Cernunnos, and I started this study thinking I had many images of Cernunnos the Celtic horned God in my deck collection, but I only found four. I know there is one in the Druidcraft Tarot but I don’t own that.

If anyone passes by who knows or owns other decks that contain images of Cernunnos, do post about it in the comments section, thanks.

It’s interesting that in some images he is depicted much like existing statuary of the God with a rounded cap and antlers, and in others he is depicted as a sexy guy with long hair and antlers growing straight out of his head. He is often associated with the Devil, which was an attempt by Christianity to demonize an older, pagan deity. I find it disturbing to have cultural symbolism erased or white-washed like that.








In any case he’s rather dangerous like many Gods, but not unapproachable I would think.



The Hawthorn Tree Across Decks

Daily Draw May 23rd, 2013

I started this yesterday but didn’t have time to pull it all together until tonight.

Because of ordering the Wisdom of Trees Oracle, I got to thinking about trees and the Hawthorn kept popping into my mind, so I’m going to do a small study of it across decks.


Apart from the one I have on order (above), I found this tree in eight other decks.


In the Tree Affirmation Cards, it is about leaving fear behind and delighting in the innocent joy and blossoming in yourself. That little girl on the card makes you want to laugh and jump and touch trees! It is a celebration and delight in change, which is really what is going on with me lately.

The Ogham deck looks a bit more mysterious and is also about dramatic change and growth. Turbulent times can be gone through if you intuitively connect to yourself. The hawthorn berry is good for regulating blood pressure and helping your heart physically, which is also something I am working on these past few years.

I liked all the following cards because they are so botanical:


The Nature’s Pharmacy Deck mentions the heart tonic of the hawthorn fruit, as well as the thorns of the tree that can build livestock-proof hedges around pastures. Perhaps a nod to protecting yourself too against all kinds of things like fairies, and providing general protection of the home.

The Celtic Tree Oracle speaks of renewed growth and strength and also mentions the classic May poles that it decorated and its defensive, protective qualities. There is some mention of keeping to yourself, experiencing a period of restraint and keeping the focus on mental rather than physical things. Since I hurt my back this week trying to do some stretching exercises and am in pain, that sounds good. No rushing into an active phase, but having an adequate waiting period is also mentioned.

I was surprised to find the tree in The Victorian Flower Oracle, where the pruning shears and dentistry are mentioned. Sheila Hamilton writes that we go through painful but necessary experiences and duties and just have to get through them, and Hawthorn grows very slowly and lives to a great age. It also hints at a trip to the doctor which fits in with my naturopathic consultation in two days.


I don’t often use The Herbal Tarot but it has quite a few good plants. This is a demo deck from a shop I used to go to, which is why it has holes punched in it.

I often call the Six of Wands the “victory” card, but they say this victory can be tentative as you aren’t sure if it is worth expending energy on. Something a little different with that card. And the idea that if you don’t gain much, the act of going through a difficulty helps you grow or change which in the end is worth it.

More here about the calming properties of Hawthorn and its effect on high blood pressure. I do take Hawthorn for my blood pressure already so I feel this is backing me up. I will be interested to see what my blood pressure is when I go to the naturopath.

The Tree Magick deck is a gem that I don’t often see people using. Here it is about transformation and changing something extreme into its opposite, so a turning point is coming. Because of its medicinal properties she says an upsetting situation is improving, but also says to be cautious, similar to the slowing down and restraint spoken of in the other decks.

Lastly, The Green Man Tree Oracle also speaks of challenge but says that it doesn’t have to be threatening, it can simply be an opportunity to explore and test our strength. There is mention of fear again and turning that into power. I love that he mentions that your life may be in a rut and you can accept the possibility of change. I feel that so deeply this week, like I am stuck in a rut, in the fog of ennui and in a continual loop that isn’t going anywhere.

So a slow and steady progress with a bit of challenge and fear. I shall show restraint and forge on!



The Queen of Coins in Black and White

Daily Draw March 22nd, 2013

I drew a card from the Tarot of the Absurd, and then I thought it might be an interesting study to pull the same card from other black and white decks, so this is a small study of the Queen of Coins or Queen of Pentacles.

The one that started it all:


Many people seem to attach the mothering gene to The Empress, but for me she is always this Queen. She stops to smell the flower, stops to nurture herself and others. There is something about the chair in this card, the cut-outs seem to allow for growth or change if not innovation, and the idea of movement and air circulating is here, like the openness this Queen has to others, like the tracery in the window, allowing and nurturing different paths.


Steve Bright has retitled the Queen “Nurturer of Pentacles”in his Fragments of an Illusion deck. In this case the queen is a Dad making sure he spends time with a young child even though he wants to fiddle on his computer.

In the Hermetic, she is associated with a goat for fertility. I like that he’s drawn a spiral on her helmet for snails and the fertility of the Earth too.

The Enigma makes mention of comfort not being for you alone, but something you give to others along with support. This drawing was a study for one of the angels in Da Vinci’s painting Madonna of the Rocks, so there is an angelic security or support hinted at here.

The Ship of Fools card displays the Queen with a mirror, an emblem of vanity and pride and it looks like a demon is going to roast her over a fire, an image the reminds me of several saints being tortured and grilled in history. The Queen seems unconcerned, a product of her grounded nature, although there is a hint that she might get carried away with material things and vanity.


Well, Queen Victoria had a lot of children herself and the stewardship of her people, which is a mothering concern. This is another very secure and dignified Queen and obviously fertile, generous too. There is that reciprocal idea of care and concern, also found in the Tarokado.

Ah the Ironwing, this is the Madrone of Bells, and the name madrone comes from the Arizona madrone tree which is a type of arbutus tree. My mother loved the Pacific arbutus. I was just copying out a poem for my Dad and I put an image of an arbutus with it. For me it is MOTHER and it’s so touching to see it referenced here. Proof that when you least expect it, a card will reach out to you. Collaboration and generosity, yet with productive work as crystals in a dark cave were transformed to provide the fruitful berries, and this Queen shares with animals too.

The Ravenswood deck shows the Queen with a necklace with a gold bull’s head. She has the freedom and wealth to share and seems very quiet and contained.

Le Tarokado is a French deck from Quebec. My French fell down on this one but it says something about everything being sacred and what returns is dedicated or consecrated. So in generosity and nurturing, the Queen has it returned to her and then she dedicates it to others again. Also in this card she looks very calm and contained, very grounded.


This card is so big I had to put it on its own. Again, you can see the goat association with fertility and also earthy impulses. I was interested that the dark and light aspect of the halves of the Queen is associated with versions of the Earth Mother from early cultures, and there is a suggestion of a third eye in the image. The darkness reminds me of the cave description in the Ironwing, where it is not dark and wet but fertile. Soil and growth and invention—I like the idea of invention as you grow things from your mind.


The Kaos shows another mother, nurturing a child. Comfortable and generous, secure productive and practical. She is really a great influence on people as well as taking care of them, she inspires us to be better, to work and be fruitful in many ways.

The Queen of Diamonds in the Diary deck also seems to have a third eye. The spider web on her face and the spider-like qualities of the jewel in her forehead remind me of the mythology of the Great Mother or Great Weaver, the creator of the world in several world mythologies. The web of life and mothering qualities are here, but there is also a watchfulness to this Queen, as a guardian to the Earth, a nurturing omniscience.

I don’t often get this card, but with my Dad going into a care home and his condominium being sold off, it does remind me of my Mom. She has been dead for twenty years but that was her home and as such it was an anchor or home base in the family and a reminder of her spirit.

The Madrone of Bells came to say “I am still here.” The other Queens say the same thing, and watch and comfort.