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?




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!



It’s the Law: This Card Attracts That Card

Now we come to my usual little visual ramble through a new deck. I didn’t feel like doing this at first because I’ve just done a few convoluted comparisons that required a lot of effort, but once I started going through the deck for about the fourth time, I couldn’t resist.

I’m going to be lazy and not chatter a lot about these, apart from saying that I love the Law of Attraction Tarot and I’m pleased I bought it with birthday money.

That Karl is a busy guy.

And I now come to my favourite card in the deck. I tend to like this sort of card with depictions of everyday objects, and a lot of the Wheel of Change Minors are objects arranged attractively. The chairs here remind me of art class where we used to do exercises drawing chairs and the negative space of chairs.

The Queen of Swords is my personal card. Whew, someone had too much sun before doing this one.

The High Priestess Across Decks

Daily Draw August 17th, 2011

I recently entered my name in a giveaway for a new self-published deck, but I didn’t win so I have become shy of entering these things. However, they do give me inspiration for deck exploration, and that’s how I came to ponder The High Priestess card today, someone was asking people to enter the giveaway by talking about their favourite High Priestess card.

I rarely draw this card and the idea of spooky intuition or prescience doesn’t fit me so I rarely pay attention. I become uncomfortable when I’m reading cards and a knowing comes upon me, it seems too personal. I suppose most of us are pleased that we tune in, but it makes me uncomfortable.

So the old HP is someone I avoid. I avoid thinking about her qualities, I avoid tuning it to other people. Too close, too close.

While browsing through my collection I came upon a few HP cards that I like or studied. Some I thought “Wow, I don’t remember that one.”

I was going to save this for last but feel it fair to weed out the skimmers-of-blogs by telling you right away what my favourite HP is, or as close as I get to designating a favourite: the one from the Arthurian Tarot, the first edition with the gorgeous black borders, the Hallowquest Lady of the Lake.

The next set is very artsy I think. I often wonder why people insist that the Osho Zen deck is not tarot. It is one of my favourite decks, particularly when it comes to people or relationship matters. I think it sings and has terrific artwork, and I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Tarot is tarot, regardless of how you view themes or Osho himself.

These two are quite different. Nigel Jackson brings his own flavour to a conventional HP, but there is something about it or about the colours that makes it one of the better ones. The Via Tarot is always different and interesting.

Two of my favourites. If only U.S. Games still published interesting things like the Phantasmagoric deck, or like the Circle of Life by Lo Scarabeo. This is a good example of why I usually love Lo Scarabeo decks, they have such different takes on the archetypes and really good artwork.

The Silenus Tarot depicts the Oracle of Delphi, and the others are artsy. That Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA is a special deck because of its intense originality, poetry, and writing.

Like many others, I was immediately taken with The Seer from the Wildwood Tarot because of its fantastic art and concept. The Rumi has a great quote that is perfect for this card: “Mysteries are not communicable save to those who know.”

The Vacchetta has the classic look but I love the line art, and this is my own deck that I printed in olive green from one in the public domain. The Stella’s card is simply luscious in blue. I had a good study with this one.

The last set is just because they are neat in art and composition. I like them.

I find it hard to pin down one favourite either in a specific card or a deck. They are almost all interesting to me and have been favourites at some time. For me, if you have one true favourite it seems to exclude other possibilities, so I never really think of decks like that.

This Tarot of Fire Card Reminds Me of That Old Man

Daily Draw June 4th, 2011

I bought The Tarot of Fire deck knowing it wasn’t perfect in its artwork, but knowing that the classic Lo Scarabeo quirkiness of meaning was back in force, I felt compelled to buy it. I like it much better than the Pagan Cats, which was way too bland in its rigorous attachment to Rider-Waite imagery. Poor LS, people complain about one thing or another and they are caught in the middle.

I’ll get the negative bits out of the way first. They’ve used computer generated figures on this which gives some of the cards a goofy lack of expression. I had the Poser software once and I found the absence of expression disconcerting and still do. There is just something missing, but they’ve managed to pull it out of the fire and make some charming cards. (Pun!)

The other really odd thing is the greenish cast to the fire in many of these cards. Green fire? Bad day with printing proofs or something fellas? Instead of fire, it’s more like green ice in some images which is weird. God has green hair instead of gold on one card.

Apart from that I was immediately hooked and liked the deck, I liked that they were all over the place with world mythology, I kept seeing images that reminded me of other decks, which is part of the fun for me in getting a new deck, and away I went. This is a keeper. It may not be an “A” level deck, but it has some solid information on mythology that will lead to greater exploration, and charming imagery.

This is where the old man comes into it, I saw this card and was reminded of the Osho Zen Tarot. Aren’t they a perfect match? In The Tarot of Fire he is illustrating a Chinese myth about animals contributing to the discovery of fire. This little bird was hoping he could get some millet seed for his trouble but the man is busy. What’s this, too busy for the birdie after he helped you discover fire? What kind of a deal is that Grasshopper?

My husband keeps asking me how I remember when I have a similar card, especially since I’ve now got 350 decks. I don’t remember them all but I’ve worked with many of these decks for years so they tend to stay in my visual memory. When the artwork hits your eye, that means it’s good. I saw this chap on the Justice card and out came Osho again. This Tarot of Fire card shows the Egyptian god Osiride on his throne in the Underworld.

Although I didn’t remember this card outright, while I had the Osho Zen out I browsed through it and this one went well with a card I had already pulled out of The Tarot of Fire because it struck me as a good one. The butterfly seems to have the face of a Siamese cat on his wings. The cat is attracted to that fire green candle, while heavily under the influence of Dylan Thomas’s poem Fern Hill obviously.

This references the myth of Eros and Psyche because Eros is the flame of desire that Psyche cannot resist. In this picture, he’s been sucking on a lime green popsicle for refreshment and she, arising from her chair after reading Thomas, finds herself drawn to his ice green flaming lips. I dare you to forget what this card means after that explanatory notation. Hey, I can roll with these Lo Scarabeo booklets, I’m with it, I’m there.

A story to every card, that’s my imperative.

And then the hand of god came into the picture, or rather Zeus. Back to some Greek mythology and Hephaestus forging thunderbolts for Zeus, which reminded me of one of my all-time favourite cards from The Mystic Rubaiyat by Penelope Cline. Destiny, thunder, the hand of Zeus and fire forging our lives and firing up our creativity.

These four cards were ones that struck me and I pulled them out. I really loved that they put Pompeii being destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius on this Tower card. If you’ve ever seen the archaeological digs of Pompeii and Herculaneum, you can see the way the people died, huddled together; it is very poignant. It brings some depth to this card, which as an archetype can become something we take for granted.

The Fool is great, he is an Alf or Drac from Germanic mythology, and LS describes him as a goblin that lives in homes, a ball of fire that enters through the chimney. The Fool as a fiery Santa figure. I thought it was interesting and will look up the legends concerning this goblin later.

The Moon is lovely too—another card that can become worn out in stereotype. Here the snake is bringing man the fire of knowledge and momentarily checking the illusions of the moon. What I really like though is the spider, which brings to mind creation myths of a spider goddess, plus Anansi the trickster spider from African mythology.

That lovely black swan on the 5 of Swords is from an Australian myth, where the swan saves fire (presumably for man) but does not realize the witch is with him. While I did find an aboriginal myth about black swans, I haven’t yet found the particular myth about fire and the black swan and a witch.

And lastly I come to the 6 of Swords which so reminded me of several cards that I had to pull them all. This depicts a Hebrew myth and the purifying flames goes from red to white according to the booklet. But those stairs, those thin, winding stairs are what piqued my interest.

One court card caught my eye, the Queen of Chalices, who is drawing the sign of the rune “Ken” on a rock. I loved the note in the booklet: “The Queen is a dreamer seeking a way of expressing herself through art.” This is probably one of the few Cups Queens across decks that speaks to me. Ken has several meanings and is supposed to represent a torch flame. I like that it is associated with Heimdall as I put Heimdall on the bag I made for the Lord of the Rings Tarot.

It also reminds me of a card I drew from the Instant Oracle in this post that I titled The Secret Writer.

Another successful deck. I will enjoy rummaging through this periodically and reading up on the mythology.

Creativity Leads to Good Exhaustion

Daily Draw May 28th, 2011

I was fiddling with a design for a redwork block for a sampler quilt and made a mock-up to send to the artist to ask permission to use it. I was really happy that the artist, one of my favourites, gave me permission, so all systems are go.

Except I have run out of background fabric! I have been working on this quilt for 14 years, and I have morphed through several fabric patterns, always keeping to the colour scheme of red with green and off-white or cream. So naturally I wanted to go to the quilt shop which is 40 minutes away and we managed to get there at a time when we were the only people in the shop and had a few laughs with the two ladies working and I got some marvellous fabric for this quilt plus three beautiful blue fabrics to help me finish off a blue sampler quilt. Thank goodness for tax returns, and a bit of extra money.

I also got some special interfacing that I’ve been trying to find for months to go with a purse pattern I want to make. Success!!

So we finally got to eat at 3 in the afternoon and I pulled my card of the day then. Except one card fell out of the pack and I noticed it after I drew another card, so I was fated to get two cards.

From the wonderful Osho Zen Tarot:

9 OF FIRE – EXHAUSTION (9 of Wands)

III – CREATIVITY (The Empress)

The Exhaustion card is about how you can deplete your whole life energy by being too attached to living a certain way and your own self-importance and work. We can also become rigid in routines and forget to be spontaneous. In order to truly relax we have to let the ready-made answers go and let our rigid ideas go.

The Creativity card, and thank goodness we don’t have the simplistic Big Mom syndrome going on in this particular take on the archetype, is also about quality of life, and how creativity is a union with the divine, abandoning yourself to the mysterious, doing what you do creatively, whatever that is. Love what you do. See the glow about her head—connected to the divine, she is suffused with energy.

I like the way these cards go together for my day. I spontaneously decided to dash out and get some fabric because I was all fired up for a creative project. We were both exhausted after, but we had fun, it was so nice for a change. I have pre-washed all my fabric and tomorrow I will cut out my background and get going on this embroidery.

That’s what I like, that is my creativity in action, my attitude, my approach.

“Whatever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing is not purely economical, then it is creative. If you have something growing out of it within you, if it gives you growth, it is spiritual, it is creative, it is divine.”

Eating of the Apple of Osho

Daily Draw July 21st, 2010

Boy, that time thing again, July is almost over. My husband is planning to pick up my new sponge bar for the knitting machine today, so I hope that goes well. He’s got to travel in the city during rush hour to get it.

Freshly returned from my morning bike ride, I pick two cards from the Osho Zen Tarot:

Double 7s


The pregnant woman waiting patiently while contemplating lunar cycles reminds me of how artists often depict The Empress. I’m not too into pregnancy but I understand waiting and cycles in life. Phases of the month and being patient with the body when healing. The moon also symbolizes perpetual renewal, so I mustn’t give up hope (says she biting into a crisp apple after biking.) The flowers indicate full development of potential, so I take that as an “it’s never too late” nod.

I like Osho’s remarks on how we have forgotten how to wait. Our instant society has us all a-jitter 90% of the time. He says it is our greatest treasure to wait for the right moment. I like that. Anyone alive has experienced this feeling that you just can’t make something happen. When that occurs, we have the gift of waiting and developing our authentic selves to refresh, become newer, more juicy as Sark would say. The Rainbows suit deals with the physical as they are Pentacles, renamed. Ever since I drew this card from the Songs For the Journey Home deck, I have liked it. Waiting for the garden to grow can be a peaceful rather than frustrating ideal.

Projections are something that came up for me earlier this week, and not seeing people as they really are. The man on the card seems to think the woman is much more open and receptive to him than she actually is, and she views him as a devil or satyr. So much for reality, the awareness of emotional falsity is good.

Drop the mind dream about people, drop the intoxication, drop that world you build in your mind about people and just look at them as they are. I’ll have to remember that.

My husband gets tired after work and I always think he’s angry when he’s simply tired. So, I must remember this projection today as he’s bound to be tired and frazzled after zooming around buying me my machine part.