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.



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!



Green Turtle Forges the Sword in Earthen Song

While I was preparing to write this up, my husband discovered that the grass trimmer we bought him yesterday is missing a part. He bought the floor model after I didn’t want to because I was worried about it missing something. He’ll return it tomorrow for credit and try to get another one from a different store. It brings a bit of anxiety today just when I was hoping to relax.



I thought I’d mix it up with draws from different decks.

The Rumi Ace is about inner purification of a person, the way the sword needs to be forged, tempered, and polished is similar to how humans improve. The Sufis call this prolonged interior work the “Greater Struggle.” You polish yourself progressively; everyone is a work in progress.

Lady’s Mantle is about healing and dew, the connection to the Earth, groundedness. You can’t love the Earth if you don’t love yourself. I felt this morning that I was in need of some mothering and comfort. We were out shopping yesterday and it often leaves me frazzled and riding in the car bothers my body.

I like the turtle in this, it reminds me of a free pattern I recently saw for a pincushion which I might have a go at one day.


And the Meadowlark is singing cheerfully, the joy of song bubbling up in his chest in early summer. Stay close to the Earth today is his message as he uses his imagination to sing the new moon journey of self-discovery.

Self-discovery, inner contemplation and the mothering of the Earth feels good for today. There’s an answer to anxiety: birdsong and sweet blossoms of early summer.

Happy Sunday!!



Moon, Sky, a Scrap of Cloth

Daily Draw October 1st, 2011

I have been distracted for the last two weeks, so haven’t done much on the blog. I like that ebb and flow for the card blog. You do what you do and have fun.

I know some bloggers feel each post must be a rare gem that can reach in and grip the heart of readers. They want to have followers and be famous. Life is not like that for me, I live an isolated, creative life; I’ve always been a loner, an observer. Some days you sparkle and grip the secrets of the Universe, and some days you don’t.

I usually bury myself in books during these lacklustre periods. I like sociology and history. I’m reading a terrific book on women and the history of weaving where she brings in numbers and languages to sort out the history of an art that often doesn’t have a written record, and the work itself has largely decomposed. It has been a page turner—no joke!

If you are interested the book is: Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years, Women Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. I have an inter-library loan in for another book that looked interesting: No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting by Anne Macdonald. I hope they can get it for me.

Well, what does Rumi have to say about it all today?

The moon is in the sky,
not in the water.

Illusion, a reflection of the light and the night.

I rarely pull The Moon. I like the idea of fluctuations in life reflected in the image of the moon distorted by waves and ripples on water. Everything changes, sometimes you live in the half light, not quite sure of what is real, but reflecting heaven nonetheless.


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.

All of Time All the Time

Daily Draw February 17th, 2011


Don’t say tomorrow, for many tomorrows have passed.

I was having dreams again about houses and moving. Every day is a meeting with the past. It gets a bit tiresome.

The fellow in the image is harvesting grapes with his curved knife. He’s got a full basket but there is still one bunch on the tree to cut. He fondles it as if not quite ready to take it down.

Time is a funny thing, you really need to seize the day and avoid procrastination and laziness. No self-pity, just get on with it.

Nigel also has some thoughts in the book about time and the teachings of Sufism, the aspect of holding the past, present and future all at once or seeing the wine in the grape and harvesting the wheat before it is sown. The idea of holding all of time in your mind at the same time, which was the perception of the Sufi masters.

I found that interesting because then there is no loss, no anxiety about tomorrow, no unawareness of now, you see it all. A deeper reflection for today, and a caution not to sit around and daydream. One can appraise and reflect while doing.

Autumns are Charged with Springs

Daily Draw January 29th, 2011

Grief is better than the world’s empire, as you may call unto God in secret.

It’s true I suppose, we feel more spiritually anchored during hard times. More reflection and meditation slows us down and interrupts the focus on materialism and complacency. The separation allows us to detach and get back to a truer spirit of self.

I liked this other quote from Rumi that Nigel outlines in the book:

The spring seasons are hidden in the autumns and autumns are charged with springs, flee them not.