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!



Clouds, Absorbing Surrounding Colour and Light

Daily Draw May 26th, 2013

I am forging away on the biography Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child. Although I have read Julia’s own book My Life in France twice, I wanted something with a bit more detail. I also just got an inter-library loan for the book Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker by Stacy Cordery, so I am keen to start that.

I had planned to start doing some prep work for painting baseboards but I am still awfully sore and was getting horrendous leg cramps last night. I am arranging to get some new homeopathic Bach flower remedies to combat several physical problems. You never know, anything’s worth a try at this point.

I was up at 4 a.m. to get a hot water bottle for my leg cramps. The heat helps to relax the muscles but nerve pain in my back and hip kept me awake. Honestly, it gets discouraging. I hope to go back to bed after I do my card draw.



Ooh, those pesky fives that everyone says are bad. In this case, the sticks remind me of walking sticks and my fear that I’ll be hobbling about with canes eventually, and the strife and battle I feel within my body.

Struggle, obstacles, BUT the way they are floating in the clouds suggests floating and letting things go to me, drifting with air currents, not fighting them but to let them take you, let them move you somewhere else. The booklet mentions “unsatisfied desires” and I think of my struggle to make art or indeed do any creative endeavours. My conflict in that regard, the way I am locked up, my indecisiveness and dithering, is like being locked in combat.

Why I don’t know. It should be a pleasurable thing, like floating in clouds, harnessing the air current, the peace of light and sky, the deep blue of imagination. I am tired to the bone of struggling.


No Great Insights, But Lots of Orange

Daily Draw May 18th, 2013

SIX OF DISKS (6 of Pentacles)


We had another marvelous vet bill of $230 yesterday. We were thinking that after retirement we’d always have at least one or two pets but I doubt we will be able to afford it.

This piece of art seems to depict teamwork and balance. There is a base of philanthropy to the meaning of card, but I like the idea of kindness with it, as material charity is not the only way to give to others; sometimes being kind is assistance. Giving people a hand up can mean giving of something other than money. Maybe because of overwhelming financial responsibilities that keep piling up, I myself am begging?

Perhaps not the right meaning with this card but I tended to see cooperation here. The way the figures are, like a mechanical bank, where things move around and up and down, giving and receiving, reminds me a bit of the Wheel of Fortune, up and down, moving in time as things must.


Stella in the Pink

Daily Draw May 3rd, 2012

I came across Stella’s Tarot yesterday sitting on a book instead of in its proper place on the shelf. Obviously it was trying to get my attention.



Wheee!! Let’s give her some pinks beads and ribbons to juggle. I am not up to sewing yet, although I did pull my fridge out to clean behind it yesterday, and I’m churning through my second Louise Penny mystery.

My mood has improved at least.  I think the idea of caring for my home and feeling secure is in this card today, and the idea that if you move your arms and open them, your mind goes up, up, up, to a place that’s a lot more fun.


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.

The Insufferable Camera Imperative of the Brain

Daily Draw June 18th, 2011


Well, I didn’t win the camera in the contest entered. But this gal is holding out the macro flower to me and telling me it will be okay. She is holding something in her left hand which looks like an egg in netting or perhaps a sling shot. She’s going to slay Aperture Goliath. What confidence!

The walls of her garden are covered with slate tiles which make a nice contrast to the water lilies in the pond. I like the subdued complementary colour scheme of this card. Good contrast is always essential in a composition.

“Click.” Oh I’ll just do some bracketing to ensure I get good white balance…