Database in Ogier Olive

Back to doing Database Monday on Tuesday because I forgot again. I forgot again for about two weeks.

I have found over the years that the Vacchetta Tarot works well with other decks, as a second card. It really works well with Dame Fortune’s Wheel if you have a copy of both. I must get back to these two.


This is my printed copy of the Vacchetta Tarot. Years ago at they had a free downloadable version. I cleaned it up in Photoshop and then coloured the linework olive and printed it on cream-coloured cardstock. Then I made a bag for it from an olive-coloured tie-dyed looking fabric with some silk ribbon embroidery and a swatch of a beaded dress a friend had worn to a wedding. (Click to enlarge.)


I also made a handmade tuckbox for it, smudged up with pastels to emulate tie-dye and with a collage from a wrapping paper accented with gold ink. Gee, I used to have such a lot of energy.

While sorting through the blog to see when I’d used it, I came across this interesting post. It’s a tie-in to Ogier, the Knave of Swords on the Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot (the name is a nod to the characters on playing cards of which Ogier is a classic.) Maybe only interesting to me but I liked it. All the Knights and chivalry and old battles.

That post was done five years ago, I am no longer in my middle age but over it, my armour rusting. Contemplating the Dear Departed Past and Charlemagne.

Oh but years ago I made this marvellous deck and sang a song of Roland.


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.

Ogier in the Spring Chambers

Daily Draw March 14th, 2010

Today I am back to Dame Fortune’s Wheel and the Vacchetta.

Petrarch is being cranky, moaning on and on about Laura and death, so I’m switching back to Chinese poetry.

The Knave of Swords, that old gossipy chap, is visiting. Here he is Ogier the Dane, a paladin or knight of Charlemagne who slew a giant and was the patron of hunting. There’s a bit of a spillover with Arthurian legend in that Ogier is said to be living in Avalon with Morgan Le Fay, waiting for the time he is summoned to defend France against enemies.

There could be a warning of sorrow or conspiracy and deception with this card. I like the image on the Vacchetta, Ogier seems to be pledging allegiance to Charlemagne as his liege-lord with one of his famous swords; like Arthur’s Excalibur, Ogier had special swords that were part of his legend. That certainly makes the card in this deck more memorable. One of these days I must read the translation of The Song of Roland about Charlemagne and his knights. The battle of Roncevaux or Roncesvalles figures in the history of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and the Crusades and pilgrimage, although apparently not exactly as romanticized.

I have never heard of Ogier (or Hogier in the French spelling.) here is some extra information on him from Wikipedia:

Thomas Bullfinch also included legends of Charlemagne in his famous Bullfinch’s Mythology, and he mentions Ogier in several chapters there, starting with Chapter 24. Ah, noble youth destined for great things, that I could gaze on your beauty for a moment in my middle age! I love these romances of chivalry and great deeds, having grown up reading King Arthur books repeatedly when I was young. I just finished a biography of T.E. Lawrence, and he loved them too, and wrote his university thesis on the castles and architecture of the Crusades.

Go ahead, lose yourself in the mists. Charlemagne had a sword called Joyeuse, you can’t beat that.

Song of Chiang-nun
by Tsung Ch’en (1525-60)

On the spring river, you depart;
in the spring chambers, I grieve:
my heart is like the river water,
day and night, touching your boat.

Morgana the fairy, pined for Ogier until such time as she snatched him back to Avalon.

I feel a Grail moment overcoming me.

The Stodger Loves Quinoa

Daily Draw February 14th, 2010

My husband wanted to buy me a bouquet yesterday in the grocery store for Valentine’s Day, but we needed some quinoa, so I got a bag of that instead, which was $2 more than the flowers but I’m worth it.


Another lovely card from Dame Fortune’s Wheel with its counterpart from the Vacchetta Tarot.

Here the knight has a trefoil on his shirt, a reference to the Coins suit counterpart in playing cards, which I usually associate with Diamonds but Etteilla associated with Clubs and clover, as does Huson. So that’s a small difference in these cards in comparison to others.

Usefulness and profitability is what this knight stands for plus achieving results. This does sort of remind me of buying quinoa instead of getting flowers, for quinoa will be more profitable for my health, and be useful long after my flowers would have died. On the Vacchetta card the knight is carrying a coin with the head of Caesar Augustus on it. Augustus would go for the grain and profit too I am sure.

I get this card quite often in draws and tend to call him “Old Stodgy” or “The Stodger” because of the Thoth deck and the weird knight sitting in the wheat field in the heat. He’s a plodder but he gets there in his reliable standfast way. His horse would love to race all out across the heath but he knows it will never happen.

And from Petrarch for today, I shall look to a random passage. This is the first stanza of sonnet 55 from The Canzoniere, translation by David Young:

“That fire which I thought had spent itself
~ the season cold, my age no longer fresh ~
now flares back up, with anguish to my soul.”

One could apply this to any feeling in middle age, although Petrarch is speaking of his desire for Laura and love.

Perhaps a thought to Valentine’s Day, love, and a general resurgence of passion for life as well. There is some anguish to looking back at what you’ve left behind and lost, but renewed excitement to the plod of life. That horse is perking up his ears, he’s been promised a nice, hot mash of oats after the journey and does a bit of high stepping in delight. He singing “We’re out of the woods.”

Virgil Starts a Trend of Melancholia

Daily Draw February 12th, 2010

It’s Dame Fortune’s Wheel day since I received it in the mail yesterday after scraping up the money from next month’s budget. I have a friend in the UK who pays awfully high prices for decks, we are so lucky in North America to be able to get decks at half the price.


I had a chuckle over this. After distributing the deck in piles and then shuffling several times, I have drawn my absolute favourite card from the deck. I love this composition and the death’s head lord at the centre with the winding river behind him. Aren’t the colours marvelous?

Sadness and melancholy, things left undone. What a gloomy fellow. The oak leaves and acorns are a symbol of Jupiter but they are also symbolic of Hercules who is the ruling Cardinal Virtue of the suit of Batons in his guise as Fortitude.

This is a much different interpretation than in the Rider-Waite tradition, but I always think of Twos as balance cards and polarity, which this certainly is in its upright and reversed aspects as reversed it means extraordinary surprise or astonishment.

I seem to be getting cards all week about positive thinking and about thoughts trapping you in negative moods. This fellow is the epitome of crabbiness, hanging on to the marble balustrade and becoming as cold and white as the stone while behind him is water and life and all kinds of green growth.

I am a great proponent of the healing power of Nature and the benefit of getting outside to lift one’s mood and make the day go better. Fortitude can mean physical strength but also strength of mind and resolution. If you resolve to think a different way, you will find the strength to do so. Just think what Hercules did when he put his mind to it.

The corresponding 2 ~ Wands card from the Vacchetta Tarot also shows a youth, who may be melancholy, but he has lit the torches to fire his mind into a better journey. Looking ahead, he sees a warmer existence than merging with cool marble barriers. He is like a herald of better things.

To go with this I choose a random passage of Petrarch from the Triumphs.

“That jealous Juno with Eliza shared,
Whose more than pious hands the flame prepared;
That mix’d her ashes with her murder’d spouse.
A dire completion of her nuptial vows.
(For not the Trojan’s love, as poets sing,
In her wan bosom fix’d the secret string.)”

This is from the Triumph of Chastity and has a hint of learning from the past mistakes of others and feeling some solace that other people have felt the same things in love.

It’s all very tragic. Eliza in this case is another name for Dido, the Queen of Carthage who killed herself with a sword and then hurled herself on a pyre because Aeneas, the Trojan hero would not stay with her after she received him and his crew with generosity and then fell in love with him. Although in fact, she died because she had been trapped into marrying a neighbouring king who threatened to wage war on her if she didn’t marry him. Dido pretended to sacrifice several people on a pyre to her first husband’s memory and then claimed to want to stay true to him and never marry again and thus killed herself. Petrarch is alluding to the real reason for her death, which had nothing to do with love of Aeneas although poets often sing of her as sacrificing herself for unrequited love. That Virgil, I’m telling you, he started a trend.

Juno, called Hera in Greek mythology, was Zeus’s wife. Zeus was not faithful so she took her anger out on others including Hercules. Zeus was apparently very fond of oak trees and it was his sacred tree.

I gather Petrarch believes that Chastity is a greater virtue than Love. I believe Fortitude is a greater virtue than either Chastity or Love.

This young fellow on the Two of Batons might feel better for a walk by the river under the trees and a read of Petrarch.

And a long-ago joke of mine comparing two cards in the French facsimile playing card deck Jeu Henri IV by Editions Dusserre. The original deck is conserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and was printed circa 1600. It is attributed to V.G. Cartier.

No melancholy here!

Unfortunately, shortly after I posted this I learned of the death of a former library patron of mine, who was killed in a horrendous traffic accident where she was rammed from behind and her vehicle crossed into the opposite lane and was hit and exploded in flames. I’m afraid it made me very melancholy, it is just the saddest thing.

There’s my Two of Batons for the day.

Francesco, the Dame, and Giovanni on Chingting Mountain

I managed to find ten dollars in the budget for next month, so ordered Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot. I have had it on my wish list for months, and I already own the book Mystical Origins of the Tarot by the same author, Paul Huson.

I also have another historical deck called the Vacchetta Tarot that is available in facsimile to print online, created by Giovanni Vacchetta in the 19th century, which I spent many hours working on changing the ink colour, equalizing the size of the cards, printing it in an olive green shade on cream cardstock, and trimming. That was four years ago and I haven’t explored it much.

When I thought of buying the Dame deck, I realized it might be interesting to use with the Vacchetta and a book of some sort. I looked on my poetry bookshelf I saw an edition of Petrarch’s (Francesco Petrarco) Canzoniere, his famous love sonnets to Laura. My edition is translated by David Young and is supposed to be excellent. I also wanted to get hold of Petrarch’s Triumphs, which are poems related to archetypes as pictured on several Major cards of the tarot. His language is beautiful.

I couldn’t find a cheap paperback of the Triumphs so I downloaded a book from Project Gutenberg, deleted the sonnets, kept the Preface and the Triumphs, and re-saved it into a Word file to use. I would prefer a real book but you find things as you can.

So, because of all this I am starting a new Eccentric Study called Francesco, the Dame, and Giovanni on Chingting Mountain.

It’s a reference to a Chinese poem from the 8th century; centuries before Petrarch’s time, but just as lyrical:

Sitting Alone on Chingting Mountain
by Li Pai

Flocks of birds disappear in the distance
lone clouds wander away
who never tires of my company
only Chingting Mountain

And that’s the story today.

My Card Database

Daily Draw August 24th, 2009

Instead of a draw today, I’m going to talk about my card database. I bought book collector software and use it for the simple reason that it has the option to scan in the back of a book and post it to the entry. Instead, I scan in cards and card backs and sometimes special boxes or bags I have for a deck and post that instead of a back cover.

According to my database I have 322 decks.

135 tarot
74 oracle
63 miscellaneous
50 playing cards

This includes my collection of postcards and botanical postcards too which may include about 700 single cards. I Ching and Rune cards are nice, I have several of those. Odd things in the Miscellaneous category include Knowledge Cards, religious decks like the Gita Deck or The Saint Deck, self-help or business-related cards like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People deck, The Language of Letting Go cards  or Susan Woldman’s Contemplation Cards, my Lewis and Clark expedition cards and the three U.S. Games Strategies For Leadership decks. Two Tao-related decks, a deck on yoga, one on Kabbalah by the Bergs, the Mystic Rubaiyat by Penelope Cline, the wonderfully scientific Elemental Hexagons. This and that.

I just managed to get a scan in of the playing card category showing the thumbnails for the fronts of boxes. Three of the decks are ones I made myself: two using playing card software, and one using collage on an old Bicycle deck.

Click to enlarge the images.


Here is one of the scans I made to use in the database instead of the back of the book. It shows the Victoria Regina Tarot deck and the handmade insert I made for the bag that was included with that. The insert uses a scottie dog button and white cotton lace, silks and tartans to give the flavour of Balmoral.


These are some further examples of card samples from my database. This is the lovely Vacchetta Tarot deck that is copyright free and can be downloaded off the Internet to print. I tinted my cards olive green and made a special bag and tuckbox for them.


This is the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg that I decoupaged and painted a box for plus made a handmade tuckbox for the deck.


The Tarots Suzanne M. is an odd deck that I trimmed of its borders, and then I painted a bag for it using bright colours from the deck. I don’t often trim borders off things, but this really needed it to let the art pop out. It’s not a tarot deck it’s more of a personal art oracle.


And that’s today’s exciting exploration into cards.