Ennui and the 4 of Cups Across Decks

What to do when you feel…nothing? Examine the 4 of Cups in several decks, get a good look at it, eat an apple, wait for something to happen, try to muster up enthusiasm for the sixteen projects you have on-the-go, eat a strawberry, eat homemade potato and leek soup, look through a bunch of old art magazines that you bought ten years ago.

Wait. Slump in the chair, look out the window at cats passing by, go to the library, hang with insomnia for a bit, clench your teeth, read about the 14th century, read about old varieties of roses, vacuum out the fan on your laptop, clean the kitty litter, look at the wall, wonder if the guardian angel appears in the mirror of your dresser or leaps from behind the bathroom door, exiting with a graceful dance after bouncing in to perform various miracles for you.

Wait some more, do laundry and hang the clothes on the rack in the front hall, where you haven’t painted the beige wall a grey colour with a white tree yet, eat a slice of mango and contemplate re-heating jasmine tea in the microwave, sigh and look out at the little girl in the pink coat walking her dog as she skips by going downhill in front of your house and laughs.

Well, you get the drift, hence the 4 of Cups. There is a scent of self-flagellation or self-indulgence with this card. Be wary travellers in self-pity!

I have a large collection so only pulled a few decks at random. Strangely, this has rather cheered me up. Nothing like a good ramble through cards to perk me up. My favourite card (at least this time) was the one from the Infinite Tarot, a deck I don’t see used much but I like the artwork.


Natural forces have you trapped. Oh yeah, I knew it couldn’t be me (cough). Mention here is made of being fearful of death, poor diet, malnourishment, and a lot of negative self-talk. Your own thinking encourages this downfall. Improper choices in thought and deed—look there for rescue.


Here we all are turning away, closing our eyes, with our sad sack mouths, oblivious to that nice kestrel offering us a possibility. Sometimes it’s good to turn away, get a bit of rest, cure your weariness of life with a quiet spell, but not drunkenness. The danger is in never coming back to life and all the good, positive things in life.


The Experimental Tarot has a woman contemplating her ecstatic vision of life. The problem is she’s trapped in a moat. That big hand might be holding her up or holding her in place. Another dreamer with her eyes closed, drifting into a permanent state of bliss while missing the action of life. The German word graben on the card means past or to dig, dig in the past. We get our English expression “grub in the earth” from this word. Put your head in a hole in the earth, don’t ever look at what’s happening now. Oh, she’s in ecstasy, but the things she’s contemplating aren’t real. She’s floating in a moat, permanently wet, come back to reality missy.

In the Scapini deck it’s like all the visions are held in urns, unable to get out and she won’t play, won’t ride her dragon. Eyes covered again, we mustn’t look at the good things, the possibilities. Sad faces everyone.


Don’t you just love the grey and taupe tones she’s used in the Linestrider? It captures the feeling and her eyes are closed, her head is wrapped in a scarf, and she has a large fish on her chest. The fishy emotions have obscured her breasts, the bubbles coming from the fish pop and the sounds “Sad sack, wet blanket” envelop her.

The Aquarian picture is similar to the Fradella in the first group, the hand of God offers life and a big cup but he/she won’t look. The lady in the Heart Tarot is reading a letter, perhaps the final letter from a long-ago sweetheart, dreaming of joy and love, she sits slumped at the table barely holding her head up. The hermit crab in the Animal Wisdom contemplates the glory and protection of shells.

Wet blankets and sad sacks, steeped in wine, misery, and about to go over the falls, there must be better choices. Swim to shore, dry off and get out your pencils and draw a cartouche! Of course, the exact cure for sad sacks, drawing cartouches. Add a lizard, add a condor, get the wet sack off the condor and go. Start in small steps to drag yourself to shore, concentrating on the thorn-tailed rayadito in the tree. What do you mean you don’t see it, it’s bright yellow and black, it’s right there?

Open your eyes.



Eagles Across Decks

I thought I had all my cards unboxed from our cross-country move but while searching for particular animal decks, I realized that some loose ones that I wrapped separately from their boxes were missing. Fortunately the spouse rounded them up for me. You would think with 394 decks I would forget but Judith never forgets a deck!

An overview with an attendant eagle figure, this one by Schleich.


And don’t forget those other four decks Jude. The eagle in the card with the yellow border has taken a fancy to my figure, he’s zooming toward him with some urgency. Figures inspire everyone I suppose.


The KING OF SWORDS  was the card I drew today from the Animal Totem Tarot that started the eagles flying. I had mentioned to someone recently how my deck collecting had gone down lately because I just want to buy art created by hand or at least created by hand in Adobe Illustrator. Upon taking these cards out my heart sang with the impact and beauty of the art and each artist’s expression and composition. It does not get better than this for me as a collector, this stuff makes me happy and inspires my own artwork.

The King, in his highly analytical way, enjoyed this comparison. In this card as you fly higher you strip away what isn’t important, your soaring height makes things clearer, shifts the focus, lets you drop nonessentials. Not a bad reflection of how I currently feel about card decks.


The Magical Menagerie was one deck I couldn’t find this morning so I knew I had another box somewhere. The Pathfinders deck holds up, it’s one of my favourites. Susan Seddon Boulet has been dead since 1997, but her Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards are still in print, and no wonder; what a legacy.


I think the Animal Messages deck is out of print now but I’m so glad I bought one when it was readily available, it’s a treasure, and Sue Lion’s Spirit Animals always looks so fresh and comes in a tin with a window so you can put your card of the day in view. The Animalis deck is also a fresh vision with lots of bones and unusual compositions.


More decks that hold up for me: the Tarot of Reincarnation is one you have to hunt for the species and some of the names have changed. I have a fuller discussion and small review of it here. It has nothing to do with reincarnation, unless you figure the original illustrations (long out of copyright) have been reincarnated.


I absolutely love both these bird decks, they are definitely treasures both for the art and the variety of images. I rarely use the Medicine Cards but they are neat in their own way. At the time they were published I don’t think there were many animal decks in existence, so it was important.

Ah, the satisfaction of a card comparison after a long break from my cards. It’s like coming out of a desert to drink a glass of ice water. Cool baby.

Happy Sunday!







All Is Well Under The Star

PEACOCK – The Illuminator – XVII – The Star


I got my new printer today, which doesn’t have the best scanner but I LOVE this Star card. Peace and beauty and guidance and hope. Hopefully this bodes well for the printer.

I bought a Canon after a friend recommended Canon and the installation was much better than the evil Brother. I like that this book says “acceptance of what comes your way” which for me would include some good advice and a new printer which does what I want. Patience and encouragement, I am moving in the right direction.

All is well.



Hovering Bees Vibrating in the Sun

Still at it, frigging around and worrying things on the computer. I got 1.5 hours of sleep last night and an extra 2.5 hours after the alarm went off at 5:30. Details, details, driving the mind.

Needless to say I am not exactly on steady ground today. I decided to do my routine card draw and blogging, and then I must get to some sewing.

HONEYBEE – Heart Awakener – VI (The Lovers)


Vibration, sensitivity, a coming home to the self. Not much fun when you’ve let your Self vibrate away into obsession and insomnia.

So Honeybee is bringing me balance. I’m going to concentrate on happy tasks like finally, finally working in my handmade Towers journal after all this time. I had let it go, discouraged because the woman who gave me the original impetus to make the journal and had asked to start a study of the tarot Tower card, disappeared on me and seemed to lose interest. She was a vibrant, creative person, I felt such a letdown.

It’s not that big of a deal, if I make a mistake, it’s not a big deal. It really isn’t. It’s about expression and working deeply with archetype, and I enjoy that. So just enjoy it Jude, let it go.

Interestingly, part of my poem for the title page uses sun and here the sun is shining: could be a sign maybe?



Navigating Deftly Through Software Glitches

Nurturer of Shells (Queen of Cups)



Day two of the great printer installation fiasco. After three hours I finally pinpointed the problem to some OCR and PDF programs from Nuance that install with the Brother printer. I tried disabling them but my CPU and Norton still went kerflooey, using 80% of my CPU, so I tried shutting down processes through Windows but to no avail. I ended up deleting the software, leaving me with basic scanning and printing abilities on the printer, which is all I really use anyway.

So, the Nurturer here tells me now that most of the day is gone, I should relax and stop thinking about computer problems. Swim calmly in the sea with the fish and rest my eyes. The old Queen here “navigates deftly through emotional waters” but chances are she has never had to bugger around with Brother printer software.

Sink down to the centre and drift calmly in the lovely blue-green water, let it go, let it go.



Ezra, Wolf, and Horse Remind Me Over a Cup of Tea

WOLF – NINE OF FOSSILS (9 of Pentacles)


I have not been sleeping well and this morning I just did not want to get up but I was fully awake. I finally decided to do something right away when I got up, so I considered what priority my tasks had and then showered and put on clean clothes, did the dishes, fed the pets, and cleaned that all up and washed the counters. Little things, but they gave me some momentum.

Then I washed some bed linens while checking my e-mail, and hung them outside to dry in the sun (always a cheery thing) and had some breakfast.

I ordered two books on inter-library loan by Ezra Bayda who writes on Zen. One is called Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment and the other is At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos. I know these things, these thoughts of Zen and meditation but a refresher is ever needed. Particularly when anxiety rears up or I have a day when I want to give up.

So I’m having a cup of tea and reading Ezra. It’s funny these two cards came up, almost like a nudge that says, “Get going, fly and you will feel better, you will feel freedom,” along with a nudge from the Wolf on enjoying the garden, smelling the laundry drying in the sun, hearing the birds.

It’s similar to that Zen saying on enlightenment: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. The day to day grinds on, but it’s about finding peace within everyday chaos. Do those dishes, get into the shower and clean up, do laundry, all those things that ground us and can give us momentum and something to hold onto when our minds are spinning out of control.

Self-discipline, master instinct and impulse, release judgment and do what needs to be done. The Nine of Fossils is about that sort of thing, the maturity of commitment and yet enjoying what is, accepting what surrounds you. Both these cards speak of self-assurance, command, the kind of feelings I often don’t feel when I’m stuck in the house alone for weeks. And yet, commanding the everyday brings it back.

No need to force things, just sort of flow into and out of them, like a horse flying through air currents. I get scattered into several projects and then feel guilty so the Horse takes aim and goes, we are the vehicle, we decide.

It’s that kind of day, the kind of day where you decide what needs to be done and then you go through the tasks, one by one, peacefully, gently, no big angst, enjoying the doing.



Penguin Thoughts in Crystalline Climes

PENGUIN – Seer of Shells (Page of Cups)


This is a Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua), alert to the playful possibilities of the day. The thoughtful dreamer, artistic and creative, embraces the adventure, chatting to his fish friend about fabric, no doubt.

I have never heard of Gentoo penguins, but they are the third largest penguin and have a wide white stripe across the top of their heads and a reddish-orange bill. They have the longest tail of all penguin species, and are found in the Falkland Islands and Georgia Island near the Sandwich Islands among other places.

I liked the crystalline bridge which seems to be heaving out of an iceberg in the rear of the picture, like a castle in the air, the dreamer builds such elaborate thoughts, linking them, building in his mind.

Our new roof is going on today. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain and they can finish it in one day! Meanwhile, I guess this Penguin is going to concentrate on creative projects to keep his mind off worry.