Posted tagged ‘The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements’

Okanagan Oracle Colour Study 8: Transformation

May 4, 2017

I love cemeteries and cemetery history, so I really enjoyed pulling out this card. It is such a missed opportunity for the locations in the deck not to be identified. I love to explore and look things up in a deck, but this hunt and peck sort of thing for basic information is maddening.

In looking this up at Find a Grave, the stone is in the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, one of two cemeteries in Kelowna and the stone is for Clarissa Graves 1878-1912. Only 34 years-old, perhaps she died in childbirth; we see you still Clarissa, that’s the nice thing about cemeteries.

TRANSFORMATION – Okanagan Oracle
VEINTE-QUATRO ANT – Paraponera clavata – Bugs Knowledge Cards
BORON – Photographic Card Deck of the Elements
A STREET MUSICIAN – Platinum print by J. Furley Lewis – Pomegranate Postcard
29 GRAVE – FUTHARK RUNE EA (ear, grave) – Rune Cards by Linsell/Partridge
THE LAKE WITHIN – High Priestess – Fragments of an Illusion Tarot by Steven Bright (1st edition)


Gosh, aren’t these interesting together? I was looking for grey tones as well, rather than strictly black and white. The ant is among tens of thousands of species of ants, but the sting of this giant species can incapacitate you. So can death and transformation.

Boron is found in the more common borax but is rarely seen in its pure form, these brittle, impractical lumps. Yeah, you lumps out there with your brittle attachment to life, it’s impractical, accept that death is coming, the atomic weight of the grave will roll over you eventually.

I chose the postcard with the violinist because it reminds me of the mournful music played in cemeteries, and yet look at the bright, captivated face of the child, young and old, music binds the spheres and makes life better, transforms fear.

There is literally the grave in the rune card. Again, stop wrestling with the idea of death or the grave that awaits you, but think about sunlight on stone, a life of contemplation in gardens with birds, the end, the transformation is part of the companionship of death.

Lastly, The Lake Within, what a beautiful name for the High Priestess. I think of dark and light, death and life, opposites, and the way you know things deep inside, the progression and transformation of life is a lake within.



Elusive, Unstable Fermium

July 12, 2011

Daily Draw July 12th, 2011

FM 100 – FERMIUM – Atomic Weight 257

This gentleman is Enrico Fermi.

Fermium was discovered in 1952 in the fallout of a the first thermonuclear explosion, but kept secret for three years. Several new elements were discovered in that nuclear reaction, and this one was named after Fermi, the man who initiated the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction in 1942. That’s what we would more familiarly call a chain reaction.

Fermium does not occur naturally in the Earth or humans and there are 20 known isotopes, the longest living is about 100 days, the shortest is 30 minutes. It has no known applications although they are fiddling around with it for medical research in case it can be used for cancer treatment. It decays quickly, attracting neutrons and morphing about into isotopes, then disappearing altogether.

It can only be created in a nuclear reaction. In my book on the elements, author John Emsley says: “Fermium has no role to play in living things…”

This reminds me of my draw yesterday and confidence. The idea that you can reach for something that does play a role in living things, like healthy eating, joy, action, commitment, rather than decay and instability, is a heartening thought.

I also think of concentration, the ephemeral way it comes and goes lately for me, and this action of concentration will be good to keep in my mind today.

An interesting snippet from the Betty Ford Center which I came across:


First, chronic pain is a disease of the brain. Second, given an optimal environment, the brain of the chronic pain patient retains the ability to heal and return to normal function. Chronic pain affects about 25-30% of the population and confers considerable misery and disability to those who suffer its consequences.

Chronic pain patients have changes in mood, lose the ability to remain calm, lack coping skills, experience the inability to sleep, and lack attention to task, hopelessness, memory, planning, and one’s overall outlook toward life. These changes are common to all chronic pain patients and are very treatable. Our holistic approach to treatment targets those areas of the brain that have been affected by chronic pain and restores them to normal function (adaptive plasticity). The track allows patients to gain insight into the ways in which pain has changed their ability to think and approach life. Patients learn a different approach to pain: one in which they are transformed.

Unfortunately Liz Taylor died and is unable to pay for my 45-day treatment, so I’ll have to get along on my own, my usual state of being.

I Ain’t Superman and This is the Real Krypton

December 30, 2010

Daily Draw December 30th, 2010



Long before the Superman comic was created with the deadly kryptonite element from the planet Krypton, this element called Krypton was discovered: in 1898 in fact.

In Greek, the word kryptos means “hidden” and this element was hidden inside air. To discover it, William Ramsay, the discoverer of helium, thought he’d found a new group of elements and went about trying to extract more from minerals, as he’d done with helium, but it just wasn’t working.

So he switched to air and extracted the oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide from it by using chemicals, and he was left with argon which had previously been discovered. Thinking that there might be other gases in the argon, he and his assistant liquefied it, then left it to evaporate to see what was left. They were left with some sort of gas so they tested it in the spectrometer, which shows the atomic spectrum of substances, and this gas had readings that didn’t match anything else, so it was a new element, and they verified it by weighing it as well, and compared the colour which had orange and green lines in it unlike any other gas. He called it Krypton because it was so well hidden in the air we breathe.

Krypton is rare so it’s expensive, but they use it for lighting because it has this marvelous violet colour. Either on its own or mixed to change the colour of other neon lights it works fine. It’s also used in certain types of high speed flashes for photography, and in lasers and expensive incandescent light bulbs. They extract it by the liquid air method, which condenses the gases by extreme cold, and then each gas is separated for their various uses. Krypton extraction is about 8 tons per year.

It reacts fine with fluorine, and electric current, but in later years they discovered it was very unstable compounded with other substances and the temperature had to be carefully controlled or it would explode. So, it’s okay for lighting, not really good for other things because of this instability, plus it’s expensive.

It has six naturally occurring isotopes which are not radioactive, and one isotope, Krypton-85, that is. I found it another interesting “hidden” ability of Krypton, because this isotope is only given off by nuclear plants, and back in the days of the cold war, the States used to monitor this gas in the atmosphere. They would take the amount coming from the US and Europe, and subtract it from the total amount of Krypton-85 they found, and what was left was coming from the Soviets, and then they’d use that figure to extrapolate how much material was available to the USSR for nuclear arms.

Imagine all those hidden calculations and jiggering around with numbers? With so many countries having nuclear power these days, it would be impossible to pin down, but I found it fascinating that at some point in history they did this.

We are like beetles on the Earth, floundering about with our partial knowledge of things. But still, it’s sort of interesting what we get up to out there: cryogenics, air separation, elements, neon lighting in different colours, comic books and mythoi…..

The Stench of the Web Site Apartment Complex

December 16, 2010

Daily Draw December 16th, 2010

The Bell Canada server has been down for hours off and on for three days. Before that it was so slow that I couldn’t update my web site with the online tools. So I’ve given up, and I’m using a free web site generator to redo my web site offline.

I do text, I put pictures in, that’s all I want to fuss with. I like a plain, clean site.

My eyes hurt, so does my hand from using the mouse yesterday. I admire people who can do this without screaming and going insane. It was going fine up to a point, then not. I can make things that take hours and hours of detailed concentration and work, but web site creation is not for me.

Today’s card:


Of course, one of the most reactive substances on Earth. Yeah, the old choking gas envelops me as I try yet again to set up the hierarchy for my site. Bromine evaporates very rapidly like my patience.

My brother had a pool once that used bromine instead of chlorine. My husband nearly drowned me pushing me under the water and holding me there in that pool. He was laughing, I was drowning.

Kind of like web site design: some people find it joyous, others feel like they’re drowning. I absolutely hate it. You would think that after 15 years they would have made the task much easier. I don’t want to finance and buy an apartment building, I want a one-room cottage where I can plant a flower garden.

Bromine comes from the Greek bromos, meaning stench. Bromide depresses mental activity and the sex drive. Full-blown bromine is toxic and corrosive. Pure poison to the environment.

Absolutely. No wonder people switched from web sites to blogs.

It’s Only the Cure That Makes Me Radioactive

November 27, 2010

Daily Draw November 27th, 2010




Radium is the element that Marie and Pierre Curie discovered in 1898. It’s also the one of the substances that killed her with its radioactivity. A lot of people died of radium poisoning before they figured out it was so deadly. The infamous one is the Radium Girls who worked in a clock factory from 1917-1924 and had to hand paint radium on the dials of clocks and watches. They would lick their brushes periodically to keep the fine point on them…some were dead within a few years, the others left with glowing hair and skin and radiation sickness.

If you owned a clock or watch with a radium dial you were safe because the glass and casing would keep the deadly rays from effecting you. What if you crack the glass? What if the casing gets bashed and comes apart a bit at the seams?

Interestingly, they still used radium in World War II for luminous dials in aircraft and elsewhere, but had strict controls in the factories to protect workers so none of them went through the hellish effects of earlier manufacturing.

I read a biography of Marie Curie when I was a teenager, and have since read it many times, buying a hardcover of it in a used bookstore in later years. It was written by her daughter Eve Curie, herself a well-known person, first a concert pianist, then a writer and lecturer. Excellent book, I recommend it.

Radium isn’t used today except for research. There was a craze for it in watery cures and miracle snake oil for about 30 years in the early 20th century. That of course left many people sick or dying. As did the use of radium for cancer treatment. They used to make needles with radium to embed them in the body to destroy cancer, which worked as a treatment but used to make the workers who made the needles sick and a few died from the radium exposure.

It’s amazing what people don’t understand. Again I am struck by how arrogant we are about the natural world and our understanding of it.

So today is a day to be luminous without chemicals. Be cautious of “cures” promoted without understanding of their consequences.

And like Marie Curie, live simply and work hard.

Gravity, Hydrogen, and Chaos

November 18, 2010

Daily Draw November 18th, 2010

Yes, you guessed it, The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements came yesterday. The first thing that struck me was how much the Hydrogen card looked like a card in Kay Stopforth’s Universe Cards, so I pulled it out for comparison.



A colorless gas, by weight hydrogen makes up 75% of the visible universe. Huge quantities of it interact in space with starlight to create sights such as this Eagle Nebula on the card, which was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, as was the image on the Universe Card. It is in fact the exact same picture, my memory for images on cards strikes again, as I knew I’d seen it.

In the Elemental Hexagons deck, hydrogen is associated with The Magician of tarot, because like the elements on the Magician’s table, hydrogen is the raw building block for all matter, releasing light and heat. On the hexagonal card she has used a picture of the whirlpool galaxy, which shines because of hydrogen and nuclear fusion.



When I bought The Elements cards, I knew they were big at five inches square, but there is something magical about holding such a large card in the hand. The box weighs quite a bit too, and one feels that something substantial has come into one’s life.


And consulting my book Nature’s Building Blocks : An A-Z Guide to the Elements by John Emsley, I find these interesting facts about hydrogen:

– The name comes from the Greek hydro and genes meaning water-forming.

– The sun’s high temperature causes hydrogen to “burn” and the protons of hydrogen fuse and form helium nuclei releasing all that energy in heat, light and radiation. The sun converts about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium per second. No wonder the stars shine.
– I wonder if all that release of helium makes the sun laugh?
– You would think the sun (which is itself a large star) would run out of hydrogen to burn but it has enough fuel to burn for 10 billion years.

– Because hydrogen is so light in weight, it rises above the Earth and is released into space. Only the planet Jupiter has the immense pressure of high gravity to prevent this from happening. I was wondering why Kay Stopforth had used hydrogen for the gravity card, and here is the reason I expect.

– There are about 7 kilograms of hydrogen in the human body. it is a key component of DNA and thus part of our genetic code.

– Hydrogen was observed to exist from 1671 as flammable fumes but it wasn’t properly discovered until 1766 by Henry Cavendish, a rich English chemist who liked to dabble in the laboratory at home. He was very solitary and wouldn’t speak to female servants except by notes: either very shy or perhaps an early example of Asperger’s Syndrome. His shyness kept him from publishing several things about his electrical experiments which would have made him the discoverer of record. He also demonstrated that when hydrogen burned it formed water, but the name hydrogen wasn’t given to this element until the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier called it that.

– Hydrogen was first used by man in balloons and airships, and in theatres to produce limelight. In 1898 they discovered how to liquefy hydrogen gas and James Dewar invented the vacuum flask to hold it.

– Hydrogen in airships was quite stable and contrary to what I was taught, the crash of the zeppelin Hindenburg  in 1937 was more likely caused by the aluminized fabric coating of the ship rather than a hydrogen leak.

– Most hydrogen is now made from natural gas and gathered as a by-product of making sodium hydroxide. Two thirds of the world’s hydrogen is used for making fertilizer, and we also are familiar with it used to hydrogenate vegetable oil and turn it into margarine.

– They are trying to come up with an affordable hydrogen fuel so that we can use that instead of hydrocarbon fuels like gas and oil. I think it’s too expensive to be viable right now, but you never know.

With the unlimited power of hydrogen fusion, we use hydrogen to make margarine and fertilizer. A telling fact about human understanding of the universe. Not to denigrate science and research, but we are rather full of false omniscience for knowing so little.

Consider the sun and humility.