Riddles of the Absurd

Daily Draw January 5th, 2013

Well, I rocketed to the sky this morning when I saw this post on Jessica Shanahan’s blog about the Tarot of the Absurd Riddles.

Oooooh, a riddle, a puzzle, a chance to put cards in order and attach words to them and take a picture. The feel of the cards on the fingers, the snap of them when you lay them down, the spacing, the rows, the snipping and reordering of concepts, the details, the puzzle, the layout, the cards you had forgotten, the stars that you missed.

For me, this was a delightful meditative exercise, the entire concept of it appealed to me. This is a woman with ideas folk out there. She is writing a book, and I am looking forward to that moment, that exquisite moment when thought becomes concept, becomes words, becomes a book, becomes a thought to be read by others.

Plus I got to play with my scissors and lay cards out over the doll quilt I am pinning on my drafting board. I can actually see my drafting board, what better moment for meditation?

by Jessica Rose Shanahan


There they be fellow riddlers on the path of life, and that’s today’s draw.

Update: Rats, I got 3 wrong. More assimilation of concepts needed….




Tarot of the Saints Wrap-Up

April 1st, 2010

It’s a very human thing to want to wrap things nicely, so here are my observations:

It was never my intention to study the entire deck, I was merely curious about St. Helena, but then carried on. Originally I started this on a forum, which unfortunately jumped the shark to ultimate vacuity some years ago. So I took my study to this blog, and continued on, and on, and on. December 2006 to April Fool’s Day 2010.

Generally, I like to suspend disbelief when authors and artists create decks. They make an enormous effort to paint and write these things, so if they want to put someone startling on a card I figure I can learn from that. Most of the time Robert Place seems to have a very fresh vision of a subject that has been examined repeatedly. I disagreed a few times with him, but more with his historic conjecture than his system. The man is a superb artist and has my utmost respect for his skill in composition and illustration. I have seen people complain about the Minor cards in this deck, which are what are described as “semi-illustrated pips,” but I found their simplicity to be one of the best features of this deck, with some odd relationships there that caused me to think more deeply than the canned meanings of most tarot decks.

I would never undertake the commitment to study an entire 78 cards like this again unless I was writing a book myself on a deck. Which gives you an echo of how compelling I found Place’s work, and the history behind it. Kudos to Bob, I wish he would undertake a Dante deck.

I bought two large encyclopedias of Saints to use in this study, and a book depicting devotional cards of Saints, which have all become a valued part of my book collection, as has my paperback dictionary of Saints which was rescued from the garbage.

My writing is a personal study, and as such I wrote about how I reacted personally to the cards and the Saints themselves. I am haunted by some of the more horrific stories like St. Blandina and the martyrs of Lyons. My write-up for St. George was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but over years, some of these legends develop a humorous aspect that it is impossible not to see. Architecture comes into it a lot for me, and several of the images I used are from playing cards that depict art and statuary of the Saints. I also had a great time looking up some of the churches and reliquaries salient to each Saint. There was a rich, visual pleasure of Art with a capital “A” concomitant to studying the deck. I wrangled with The Sun card, perhaps offensively, but it offended my sensibility, so there it is.

I also feel sad, which was why I delayed finishing the study up in January. It’s hard when you make a commitment to something to let it go, but I have come to the end.

The Energy of Commitment

Daily Draw September 26th, 2009

I notice that many people who start blogs don’t keep them up. I find this particularly true with tarot blogs. It’s a rare person who keeps the commitment, and several that do are using a blog for teaching purposes or to advertise their books, classes, or decks. It’s strange that commitment seems to be taken seriously when it’s business-related, but not otherwise.

I eventually get bored simply drawing a card a day, even when switching decks around. That is why I like to do concomitant studies of books with various card decks. There is nothing like the study of two disparate things for piquing my interest. I find doing readings and questions and spreads to be too ephemeral for me, whereas if I learn something from a book in conjunction with a deck, it is memorable. My joy is to explore; my commitment is tied to finding things out as I fancy.

I’m starting up the Tarot of the Saints study again as I revolve through my regular Eccentric Studies, but for now a quick draw to set the focus for the day.

From the Celtic Tarot:


Oh, I like it when I get Wands energy to the day. I’ve been up for hours already, fired up by reading books and designing handmade notebooks and other projects. The Wands hurtling through the Celtic knotwork of my brain meet the vines growing up from the soil of my body, standing in green, green grass.

The blessedly refreshing Lo Scarabeo booklet calls this card “The moment before.”

That’s exactly right, isn’t it? The moment before worlds collide and the whole thing ignites under the roiling patterns of the Aurora sky.


Blue and Green Make the Scene

Daily Draw September 19th, 2009

I persist in using the Oracle of the Dragonfae, even though I don’t like it. Funny how that happens with some decks. I asked someone if they wanted to trade the deck with me but she has stopped answering my e-mails, so I keep trying to like the thing.

37 – GAIA’S DRAGON – Divine Union

This certainly looks fruitful and fecund. Protective dragons are always nice to have around. And blue butterflies.

Harmony between men and women, yin and yang balance, unity and love. Hope, new life, caring and protection, being free to be yourself, creations coming to fruition.

A good day again! I love the colours blue and green together so that dragon looks fabulous to me. The pregnant bimbo is cliché, but the dragon makes the card something elegant and different. Perhaps that’s like men and women elevating each other to a new look and creativity by their union?


And speaking of union. . . .

I notice that the tarot in-crowd has now discovered copyright infringement! They’ve been appropriating the artwork of other people for years and cutting and pasting them on their “own” decks to sell, but now it has become politically incorrect to post pictures of cards in blogs.

So now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and removing all images of cards from their blogs. I greatly compress and resize my samples, often in varying dimensions, and I put them in composite pictures and cut the cards off or put writing or public domain clip art on them, or watermarked copyright symbols.

It’s a good idea to keep them really small and fuzzy, or alter them for the Internet. I think most people can see enough at a smaller size, and it still keeps the interest in the blog and allows people to decide if they want to buy a deck.

There is a balance on the issue where you can post images but show some care about copyright and protect artists and publishers.