Unreadable Decks, Maybe

It’s strange about decks that are “unreadable”, I consider it a challenge to find a way to use them.

In looking at online comments about the The Lost Code of the Tarot, I am hearing a lot of stuff about cards not being identifiable and the book being a bit of a put-on, a story with no meanings for cards, and then there’s the controversy about the Kickstarter campaign for this deck and how Llewellyn released the mass market version before, which may or may not be exactly the same as the funded one.

I choose not to fund decks at Kickstarter, although I have bought decks elsewhere from artists that were originally funded on Gamecrafter or Kickstarter et al. It’s a bit like buying a house from a developer before anything has been built, which is not something I would do either.

I used to trade people for the “stinker” decks, the ones that weren’t readable. It’s fun to pull something out of chaos. Does everything have to be systematically readable to be enjoyable?

I have a good collection of cards, all listed in a visual database, so I rambled through the tarot entries and pulled a few out that I’ve had a great time with, although many are considered baffling or unreadable. It’s a random pick, subjective, and doesn’t include all the stinker oracles and weird oddities that I delight in keeping regardless of their readability.

I always feel that I should challenge myself more, find something quirky and delightful and completely unfathomable and find a way to use and delight in it. For me, the term “unreadable” conjures up a vision of a mind that can’t be bothered learning new things.


Oh my, the Giotto, Bosch, and Bruegel, the holy trinity of unreadability!! Does it get any better?

Not for me.



Database in Denmark

No, it isn’t a Shakespeare deck and Hamlet, It’s the Javanne Tarot by author Karen Javanna Jordell, and illustrator Annelie Zofia Bisgaard. The Danish book was translated into English by Serena Rose Blossom and is bound between acetate covers. I ordered it from a shop in Denmark and had it shipped to Canada (which you can still do today.)


Years ago, one of my tarot compatriots told me about this. She no longer speaks to me since assuming I’d said something in an e-mail I hadn’t. We could all ditch e-mail and get back to real communication.

However, she got me interested in this deck and she had great interest in art decks as she was training to be an art therapist and the illustrator of this deck is an art therapist. K. Frank Jensen gave this deck an awful review, and ripped into the art on this deck, and ridiculed it. Really, art is subjective and I rather like these cards and the women who created them. I also think art therapy is very important. Frank may be a tarot “expert” but he’s closed-minded in some ways.


The 90 x 90 mm cards have matte laminate and are of very high quality cardstock. The original art was done on 1 meter square canvases by Annelie, who was inspired by two books: Between Worlds and On the Path. The author, Karen Javanna Jordell, has been working with the tarot over 25 years.

The deck is unique because each card can be turned in four different directions. In this way the cards can show you “where you are in your inner landscape at this exact moment.” I actually never use the four directions but consider the four directional write-ups much like I do reversals, where it all can go into the interpretation.

My deck came in a dark green silk bag with leather cording and some glass beads on the ends. As understand it, at the time I ordered it each deck came in a unique bag with odd beads. I’ve seen others in red silk: another from of creativity in coloured silk and beads. These days they don’t come with a bag, I think they are packaged in a box.

It is still available at the website if you are interested. Make sure you order the English book. It is 365 Danish Krone (DKK) which converts to about $60 CAD or $55 USD plus shipping. That is a good price for a book and card set.

As in all decks, some cards are better than others but it’s a nice set and holds up for me. I find the art rather joyous and colourful and the book is well written and insightful.



Ace of Pentacles/Coins Across Decks

I saw in my statistics page that someone had come to my site searching for images of the Ace of Coins. I thought to myself that this might make an excellent study.

Danger, danger, hours later after searching through dozens of decks and scanning, adjusting, rotating and labelling in Photoshop, I’m a bit punchy. When you’re in a funk, nothing helps like a bit of sorting, categorization, and organization. This was more than a bit, but hey it made for a keenly interesting day.

Dealing mostly with the Rider-Waite model (here used in the Universal Waite deck) I decided that there were three kinds of imagery with this card: the classic “hand of God” approach; the figurative approach related to the theme like in the Golden Tarot; and the pattern and shape decorated or changed similar to a pip in transformation playing cards, like in this marvelous Ace of Pentacles in the Sun and Moon.

In this study I am ignoring the figurative approach, and looking more at the other two.






I don’t see too many people using the Fradella deck but it’s one of my favourites.

















I’ve talked about that Universal Fantasy card before, it reminds me so much of an old brooch.

So that’s it, about 8 hours of work and 39 decks!



Scary Ignition and Movement

Daily Draw May 31st, 2013

From the Javanne Tarot, a deck I really like that doesn’t get enough exposure or use. For each card there are four positional meanings, depending on which way you pull the card, which side is up. However, I usually just amalgamate all four meanings into the card meaning as I find several insights in each write-up.


(Click to enlarge image)


Freedom and moving but also a slight undertone of running away. For me, this is about our goal of moving next year and how I feel like running away from the work involved in painting and refurbishing the house. It is a bit overwhelming, particularly when I have pain, but it’s important to channel my energy into that and not get side-tracked or we will never move. I want that end goal, I need to get out of here.

The 7 of Wands ties into this a bit in that I feel like I’m standing there trying to fight the chaos. It is a battle in my mind to give things up and let them go. The trouble with control is that it allows for no flexibility and change.

Aces are about beginnings and this Ace of Wands shows a hand reaching toward light, like something has ignited.

“When you initiate a great challenge, when you put radical changes into effect, when life is difficult, when you stand powerless – have faith.”

I feel afraid of trying somatic exercises for my body, afraid of pain, or more pain, and also afraid that they won’t work and the magic solution won’t appear. So maybe a tweak at that today too, a way of changing, all part of the larger move away from here.

I’m So Mad I Could Scream at the Sky

Daily Draw February 7th, 2012



Here I am screaming at the sky in the 7 of Wands because I am so tired and have severe leg cramps in both shins which has kept me leaping in and out of bed for two hours. I’ve been taking vitamins this week so I can’t see that this would be caused by a deficiency, so I think it must be from bending and stooping washing the floor and reorganizing my spare room. My knees are popping in and out too. Damn, I am so tired. Anyway, I took a melatonin to try and trick the brain into shutting down, so I have enough time to do a card draw while it is assimilating.

I am mad though, I really wanted to scream while I was putting my jacket and blanket on to come down here. MAD. If I exercise I hurt, if I don’t exercise I hurt. ANGRY I am. I want to shake my body and throw it down the stairs, I want to send it outside to freeze and die from hypothermia. I want to swear at it, I want to kick it until it is all blood. RAGE.

Okay, well I got that out.

Hmmm, I’m just reading the companion book under The Emperor and it says: “You have power and influence over your life. Be aware of what you release when you use your will-power or throw your trump on the table.” Then I skim down a bit and it says: “…you must believe that everything happens for your own best. The Emperor can therefore come when you work on transforming old anger and feelings of injustice.”

She is talking about relating to other people and intrigues and games but today it reminds me of the games I play with myself and the negative force of inner-directed anger. Today The Emperor is about inner peace with myself.

The 7 of Wands in this deck is about seizing your destiny and having to use a lot of energy to retain balance in the chaos. Also struggling to be free of patterns and having patience while that happens. The waiting time is frustrating and the past seems to repeat itself over and over. It’s an inner battle of confusion and not having things turn out as planned.

Well, she got that right. I am amazed whenever I use this deck at the fresh insights it provides. She has a different way of seeing the archetypes that I like. It was just what I needed in my snit alone in the dark. The patience, the wait, the inner peace. When my husband came home I was floundering around trying to get comfortable and whining about having no peace, so there you go, it is inside me.




Pigs Can Paint Angels

Daily Draw May 7th, 2010

This is from the Javanne Tarot. I love this deck and the artwork. Each side of the card has a slightly different write-up so depending on which way it is turned when you shuffle it out, you choose one of the four interpretations. I never do that, I just read through all four and pick the stuff that resonates with me for that particular day.


This has come up a bit for me this last year. Think rebirth, resurrection, moving upward. In this image there is a tree (I love my trees!) and an umbilical cord reaching to the ground and the ouroboros. Cycles, also reflected in the phoenix at the top, circles, infinity, wholeness.

Funny, this business of wholeness came up for me yesterday in thinking about sewing and making nice things for myself as a way of taking care of myself in different ways than eating junk food or whatever ephemeral doodad I use to satisfy my moods with. I often think of people smoking, which is a supreme thief of vitality, when they could be creating or treating themselves with things that engender wholeness. My mother used to say “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die,” and twenty years later she did die, gasping all alone and partly paralyzed in a hospital bed, in wretched pain, eyes open and staring in death, killed by cigarettes.

We all have our emotional triggers and treats. Is it a treat if it kills you???? Humans are so odd in their perceptions.

So Judgment gives us clarity and pulls us back to the reality of life and death.

Of course, it’s time for the pig eraser photo holder I made, he’s been living with Kwan Yin in Poetry Corner for a time, but came out to play with the wolves of Ragnorak that eat the sun and moon. Pigs have odd ideas about treats.

Guardian angel in the top left. I’m not an angel person, but my friend got me to draw an angel once and a couple of weeks ago I took the drawing into my bedroom to keep beside my bed. So you never know, this card says “The angel will save you, maybe even without you knowing you were in danger.”

Hold on to hope because if you lose it, you lose your ability to find joy in your life. A challenge could lead to a new life. My particular challenge is chronic pain and dealing with that is leading to a new life. “The sound of the angel’s trumpet awakens an inner desire in you and causes you to fight for your own peace of mind.” Getting over the barrier is now an option. See the planet on the upper right–it means a belief in a better world.

The Abstract Level of the High Idea

Daily Draw May 9th, 2009

From the Javanne Tarot. . .


He’s shaking his rattle and bellowing, what have we done now? This is not one of my favourite cards, I always see the bad side of this archetype. Not the kingly shepherd, but the control freak holding his masculinity like a bomb in his hand. That’s an interesting detail in this card, the masculine symbol on the left does look like a grenade.

Good aspects of The Emperor are rational thought and the abstract level of the high idea, giving us insight. Again the spectre of injustice. I was feeling that last night with regard to some tarot people I used to know, as I browsed some blogs on the Internet, and in this deck at least the Emperor can help in transforming old anger and feelings of injustice.

I got the scales of justice yesterday too and shield. This is about the same thing and perhaps having holes in my shield. Mostly, I concentrate on working with my cards, as I have found the cliques of tarot people I have experienced to be very dogmatic and bullying. They swerve from rigid autocracy and Credo with a capital, to helpless emotional jellyness in the guise of “spirituality” that I find brings me down. For me, these are not high ideas or inspiring, and I now simply enjoy my cards and inner inspiration and creativity by myself.

The aspects of work and society in this card tie into a commission that I’m working on. Hold onto the good ideas, and think of my hands as transferring insight and energy into my work; shepherd ideas into a workable form; govern the outcome. That’s a nice way of thinking about it. I am so close to getting the job done but bogged down for one item, so I will think of the lightning ideas and take-charge masculinity of The Emperor to inspire me to completion.