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.



Database Transformation

Here we go again, Database Monday on Tuesday…

This is an old favourite of mine, the Transformational Tarot, and was one of the decks I found very good for readings. I read with it six years ago for a friend during a troubled time, and I’ve never forgotten that reading because it was one of the last ones I chose to do. It was painfully clear what was going to happen, which I tried to soften, but it stayed in my mind. Not exactly divination but a sense of the outcome.


I’m shocked when people who are new to tarot get all excited about reading for people professionally. There’s a very great responsibility to reading for people. It’s hard to tell them the truth and it’s hard to deal with the emotion involved and people’s reactions. I have no interest in divination, but helping people via card readings is not divination, it’s more of a conversation, a way of giving people who need attention some time to reflect and make sense of what’s troubling them.

It’s also very uncomfortable when you tell people what you see and they refuse the guidance, and you know they’ll have problems and be unhappy. This happened to me when I did a reading for a person on a forum. She didn’t like what I said and kept asking other people for readings on the same subject, over and over again. She was training for a certain job and wanted to know the outcome of a job interview. As she spoke about my reading it came out that she was training for a job that paid the most money, but she hated the work. Is that divination? No, just pictures, a sense of what she was feeling that she ignored. Too close for comfort, I found it disturbingly sad, the envelope of time opened up to give a peek at her unwanted life path.

It still haunts me, so I no longer do readings. Some people can be rather derogatory, even ridicule you, if told that you don’t do readings, as if you aren’t serious. I’m an extremely serious person. I no longer do readings.


This is one of the last collage decks done by hand, with paper and scissors and glue before the advent of digital collage decks. I think it holds up. Arnell is a very creative person and also does miniatures which is one of my favourite things to work on as well. There is a nice balance of colour in this deck, and it’s interesting to pull out details and sort through them, for readings or not.

This deck reminds me that when someone makes derogatory remarks because you or I choose not to read, remember that tuning in to others is often a burden, a calling perhaps, that is not always the way some are called, in the same way that not all people are called to be teachers or doctors.

When I bought my first deck, I started writing stories and essays again, and writing poetry and painting, all the creative things I’d left behind somewhere. I sewed and sold many tarot bags, each one unique. Using the cards made me happier, as did contemplating artwork on card decks of all types.

Tarot is all about art for me, and the influence of art amid archetype, the transformation of that. Respect that.



Pulling Me Backward

Daily Draw January 25th, 2011

Today from the Transformational Tarot:


I don’t get this card too often, such a sorrowful thing it is: backstabbing and outside dangers, stealing, cheating. Ahhhh, they’re out to get me. The paranoia in this reminds me of my feelings yesterday. I like her thoughts on the reversal of the card: “immobilized by regret.” I have a bit of that feeling too.

I am in a reflective time where it’s sometimes hard to turn the Wayback Machine off. I don’t think I intentionally sit around and regret things, but they drift in, little daggers of the mind, uninvited but there. All the betrayals and slights of a long life do tend to add up. It’s silly to avoid everyone because of a few bad people, but that’s what I prefer at the minute.

It’s a peaceful avoidance, I don’t feel regret, but I am immobilized. Who knows? Perhaps there are passages in life where we hide in the foliage, enjoying the scent and feel of growing things around us, but avoiding detection by other people? Just for a time.

I left another forum a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed it for a time but I signed up to study a particular deck and no one had joined in after a year, so I gave up. This particular group seemed locked in inventing associations and going over the same things in a loop of discussion that became stultifying to me. But they loved it. People love what they love–if you don’t love it, move on. They mostly ignored me or any discussion I started, so in some way, my avoidance is a type of growth, or perhaps a closer defining of what I love.

I also feel betrayed by my body which has been going downhill in health again, and I think this card reflects my feelings about that too. Stabbing, pain, robbing me of my health is very definitely part of this picture, as is the regret of how I used to be able to do things.

Just for a time.

Doors, Perception, Liberation

Daily Draw January 12th, 2011

The plumber is here…I’m hiding in the basement…he has gotten the rusted, crumbling basket out of the sink and it was too low, so when he puts the new one in he has to replace all the PVC pipes. At least it’s not a new sink and more days of waiting. It will cost us, but not as much as we thought.

Wow, this could be one of those things where we don’t have to get everything replaced. Could we have a bit of luck? I dare to hope.

Yesterday I managed to clear off enough of the dining table that I could sew. I finished a quilt block I had laid out last May or so, and I ironed and organized pieces for a purse that I started around the same time. I have to be very careful at the sewing machine or it hurts my knee and back, but so far I am chipping away at it, carefully getting up and down to go to the ironing board and back.

Today’s card is from the Transformational Tarot:


That’s the word of the day.

Now I like that thought. On the card it says “attaining spiritual and perceptual freedom.” That’s me, I need some perceptual freedom.

How we perceive the world, and this is The Judgment card in other decks, is often a bit off, we don’t see things properly which is a trap, a prison of mind, a lack of judgment, or perhaps a judgment of personality.

This idea often comes up for me in draws because my mind clings to its prison seemingly. “Limiting modes of perception” need shifting to allow the spirit to evolve.

Rejuvenation and rising above negativity. Good, this 16 days with the plumbing problem, and trying to get hold of a plumber for so long, had me very down, to the point of not talking, not engaging in anything, almost like death and resurrection.


Lovers Under Blue Skies

Daily Draw January 9th, 2011

I managed a walk in the woods yesterday, and today I have arranged my drafting board, loom, and warping peg so that I can warp the purple and red poppy-coloured houndstooth fabric I’m going to weave for a purse set. I still hurt and I’m limping and hobbling but I’m trying to get around.


I rarely use the Transformational Tarot but it is one of the few collage decks I like, perhaps because it was collaged by hand and thus still retains something of the charming imperfections of things handmade.

Well la-dee-da everything is wonderful and marvelous in the world of love. I like that she’s done this art comparison of different kinds of love. Spiritual love, intimate love, companionship, lust, power, self-love, universal love, and true love that embodies emotional, physical and spiritual love. Bit of an overlap literally in life, as well as on the card. I love that she captured the overlapping quality.

Choice and decision. I don’t even want to think about it or love or lovers. I feel this is not part of my life any more. I say that in a calm spirit of resignation. Perhaps resignation is a type of choice? It’s like a dream world that belongs to others under blue skies.

I could not care less, but in a cheerful absent-minded kind of way!