Ace of Pentacles/Coins Across Decks

I saw in my statistics page that someone had come to my site searching for images of the Ace of Coins. I thought to myself that this might make an excellent study.

Danger, danger, hours later after searching through dozens of decks and scanning, adjusting, rotating and labelling in Photoshop, I’m a bit punchy. When you’re in a funk, nothing helps like a bit of sorting, categorization, and organization. This was more than a bit, but hey it made for a keenly interesting day.

Dealing mostly with the Rider-Waite model (here used in the Universal Waite deck) I decided that there were three kinds of imagery with this card: the classic “hand of God” approach; the figurative approach related to the theme like in the Golden Tarot; and the pattern and shape decorated or changed similar to a pip in transformation playing cards, like in this marvelous Ace of Pentacles in the Sun and Moon.

In this study I am ignoring the figurative approach, and looking more at the other two.






I don’t see too many people using the Fradella deck but it’s one of my favourites.

















I’ve talked about that Universal Fantasy card before, it reminds me so much of an old brooch.

So that’s it, about 8 hours of work and 39 decks!




It’s the Law: This Card Attracts That Card

Now we come to my usual little visual ramble through a new deck. I didn’t feel like doing this at first because I’ve just done a few convoluted comparisons that required a lot of effort, but once I started going through the deck for about the fourth time, I couldn’t resist.

I’m going to be lazy and not chatter a lot about these, apart from saying that I love the Law of Attraction Tarot and I’m pleased I bought it with birthday money.

That Karl is a busy guy.

And I now come to my favourite card in the deck. I tend to like this sort of card with depictions of everyday objects, and a lot of the Wheel of Change Minors are objects arranged attractively. The chairs here remind me of art class where we used to do exercises drawing chairs and the negative space of chairs.

The Queen of Swords is my personal card. Whew, someone had too much sun before doing this one.

Three of Swords Rimble Ramble

Daily Draw March 12th, 2011

I am not keen on outright divination because it feels meaningless to me. I am too much a fatalist I think–what happens, happens; yet reflecting on things appeals to me without divining the future.

Yesterday I wanted to soak up card decks and art, fueled by the depth and interest of the Portable Fortitude Playing Cards. I went to and picked a random card to examine across decks randomly.

I picked the International Icon Tarot which I don’t own. I got the 3 of Swords.

As I’ve mentioned before, three swords stabbed through a heart shape is not an inspiring archetype for me. That is a Rider-Waite image, which came from the old Sola Busca deck. (I would like a copy of the Sola Busca, I wish Lo Scarabeo would reprint theirs.) The fact that this image has a long history of association does not improve my disappointment whenever I see a deck with three swords in a heart.

My little ramble here is about augmenting the idea of the 3 of Swords, and how artists do that and thus provide greater depth to their work and the archetype in general.

There was an unfortunate meme at the Jump the Shark Tarot Forum a few years ago where a supposed expert and various cronies decided that it was politically incorrect to collect decks and that one couldn’t be a good reader unless one used a single deck for what they termed “intensive deck study.” Nonsense, where do people get this silly sort of dogma? And why do people jump on this correctness stupidity instead of thinking for themselves? Beats me, but it never kept me from buying more decks, enjoying my deck collection, and continually learning.

1. Whimsical Tarot – Hansel and Gretel are lost, anxious, and frightened of the strange place they are and the strange sounds surrounding them that they can’t identify. Yup, these two are definitely spooked, and Gretel seems to have given herself up entirely to despair. We know this feeling, and having grown up spending summers in northern woods and lakes, I really identified with this example of being lost and not recognizing where you are. The metaphor being that “lost” can mean lost in emotions as well as physical situations. If you lose your home or relationship you have no way to get your bearings, at least for a time.

2. Tarot of the Imagination – The always different imagery in this deck is why I bought it. Soldiers, looking Russian, who remind me of gulags and getting pricked by dear old Uncle Joe and loaded on a railway car to Siberia. It can also mean going into battle and leaving for the front in the middle of the night. How unsettling in any case. The cold, the worry, trying to contain your emotions among strangers.

3. Celtic Tarot – This one comes close to the original archetype, but the raggedy despair is very hard, very compelling. Dreams up in smoke, the desolate landscape before you. I liked the comment in the booklet that this card is about guilt. Yes, we put the Wayback Machine on continual rewind and let that guilt and desolation eat us alive. This figure literally looks like he’s clawing chunks from his face, eating despair.

4. Housewives Tarot – This was the most conventional of the random imagery I picked. Perhaps a bit too much emphasis on infidelity in this deck. I loved the line about how you can’t let him have his cake and eat it too if he’s cheating on you. The focus on an individual relationship and cutting the person out of your life because they give you chronic heartburn was clever but somewhat restrictive, which is probably how the original stabbed heart image seems to me. Still, it’s a nice, fresh image and very, very clever and charming.

5. Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA – This odd deck can really come at things in a new way. That figure reminds me so much of a Rockwell Kent woodcut. Pardon me for mentioning my favourite illustrator again, but he does seem to influence people in a Blakean way, as he himself was influenced by Blake.

There is a wonderful poem in the book to go with this, that I shall copy:

Dim shades of former lives have troubled you.
Fierce violation of your sanctuary.
Fleeing in grave despair, you crouch alone.
You feel defenseless, and you’re vague and wary.
Accept the fact–most people are defective–
and bow to time in bitter compliance.
For in the scheme of things we cannot fathom
suffering itself creates experience.

Notice how well this reflects some of the things I can see in the other cards? Julia Turk nailed it, and gave it greater depth. “Nail” being an apt word with regard to this card as we tend to crucify ourselves.

The birds are condors await carrion and brood in an air-like way, air and intellect being associated with Swords usually. The pearls of reason in the figure’s hand are about to drop as they drop reason and intellect in their despair. She went further and mentions that this deep feeling of sorrow can build a new foundation on the surprising results of discovering yourself. After everyone has gone, we are left with the Self. Ain’t so bad. That also ties in with my general feeling as I discussed last week with the card from the Tarot of Pagan Cats, that this card can be about unnecessary drama when things are not as bad as you feel they are.

I find the “fierce violation of your sanctuary” line echoes the thought of soldiers and battle and having privacy and autonomy ripped from you by war.

6. Golden Dragon Tarot – Another odd deck. I believe the images were taken from something else like a book or comic and then fitted to tarot symbolism. Okay it shows, but so what? It simply gives you another angle which is not a crime. In this image the woman seems to be sewing him into his warrior clothes, or perhaps repairing them and getting him ready for the next battle. An interesting reflection of the card in the Tarot of Imagination. He has turned his back on the star to concentrate on the material plane, which is full of illusion. Actions must be accompanied by harmony, diplomacy, and wisdom. Is the good fight really good or necessary?

7. Circle of Life Tarot – Another favourite deck of mine, and here the figures seem to be fighting with themselves in an angry loop of fussy crankiness. In the booklet they mention that the most dangerous enemy is always within us. To conquer others you must conquer yourself first. The vague smoke of archetype across decks wafts by again.

8. Songs for the Journey Home Tarot – This was my 7th deck when I first discovered tarot, and I love the art and words, the ability of the authors to spot the human condition. I am tempted to call this card “Flying Crabby Kites” and these three are definitely tangled in frustration. They seem locked in this situation, and need to disengage from further entanglement. They have also lost the wind to fly while their emotions take hold. The book talks about unravelling patterns of ineffective communication. I liked the thought that while people might seem aggressive, it is a mask for their feelings of vulnerability and woundedness. That makes sense in recognizing that battle is not necessary, that the drama doesn’t really exist. Always the thought of emotions and intellect, grappling with each other senselessly.

9. Wheel of Change Tarot – People criticize this deck for the author’s ecological “agenda.” So what, she has some good points. Spend ten years completing a deck of your own like she did, and then complain. Oh I forgot, you’re doing your intensive deck study, so you must be more in tune with the proper way of doing things, and thus able to sort everyone else out.

I think of that aged tree being cut down in its prime, but it can be made into other things. Perhaps a dining table, a rustic one showing the split in the wood, ready to receive that gorgeous cake from the Housewives Tarot. Build anew, reform, action and change, plus time that nature needs to recover and develop new growth. The idea of using your inner resources wisely appealed to me, as well as her thoughts about being out of balance in your feelings and using the Earth’s natural rhythms as a mirror to find your own balance.

Which brings me to why I think I keep drawing this card. It isn’t about treachery or betrayal, it’s about finding balance for health and protecting my heart from damage. Eat properly, sleep when the sun goes down, rise when it does, accept the rhythms and gifts of nature. Don’t fight yourself, don’t get tangled up in the past or cranky dramas of your own making. Don’t eat bad food in the material world, accepting the illusion that it is some how making you safe when you feel defenseless. And most of all, don’t have a heart attack that will damage your heart irrevocably. The bitter compliance with time: my body is not young and cannot handle illness.

That’s the word today.

After all that.

But didn’t we have fun looking at the pictures?

Sure we did.

And we’ll remember them too, whenever we think of the 3 of Swords.

This Card Reminds Me of That Goddess

It’s time for new deck comparison with the Mythical Goddess Tarot. A bit of a tour today but that’s what you get when something neat comes in through the door.

Before I get going here’s one that seemed familiar but I cannot find the comparison card. I’m sure I’ve got one with a person on puppet strings. If anyone knows of one tell me in an e-mail through my web site, I’d appreciate it.

I found one last night from The Love Pack, but it isn’t the one I was thinking of. Somewhere out there is another puppet on a string.

Still searching, I found four more and now I’ve seen so many cards I can’t remember if any of these is the one I remember. Oh well, as you can see, it’s a popular archetype.

There is an old song called Puppet on a String by Sandie Shaw. It’s from the sixties, but it stayed in my mind.

A couple of these cards struck me right away. There are probably several examples that are similar to this, but these are the two comparators that I immediately thought of.

This imagery of a face with a mask or a face morphing into another person or animal is very archetypal. There might be more examples in card decks but these were the ones I had in my collection.

I was amazed at how many comparators I thought of in the Rohrig Tarot, which is one of my all-time favorite decks.

I love these trees, and again there are probably several more examples that I didn’t think of. The Prudence card in the Rohrig is one of my favourite cards in any deck. It reminds me of jazz pianist Brad Mehldau’s version of the Beatles song Dear Prudence, which is one of the better things I’ve heard in the last few years.

This was another good one, I’d forgotten about the one in the Songs for the Journey Home deck until I opened it looking for something else.

Welcome to the flowing world of love and Waterfallia.

Some quickies that simply struck me as I went along. I like realistic crows on cards. I probably have more in decks but this was enough for me. It reminds me of Diana Krall’s version of a Joni Mitchell song called Black Crow.

The face of Fear made me laugh and I showed it to my husband and he laughed because this is the face I make when something happens in our lives to make me anxious. I go up to him with this face and do a silent scream, just like this picture. How delightful that this is an archetype and not just me!

I love the strong impasto techniques in the bottom two. The Tarots Suzan M. is an oracle deck that I trimmed.

Blue mermaids and the white buffalo.

This has been a real pleasure to work with. I’m not into the whole Sacred Feminine thing, but the art in this deck is so good and refreshing, as are the ideas, that I’m glad I found it.

Make sure you play Dear Prudence at least five times.

I feel like that black crow flying, in a blue sky. . . .

This Card Reminds Me of That Creature

Daily Draw January 11th, 2010

I finally received the Fantastical Creatures Tarot I ordered a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been trying to get this for months and I really like it. As I was going through the deck I noticed a few cards that reminded me of cards in other decks, so I shall blather on about that. This is one of the things I most like to do with a new deck.

The Hermit card is called Old Lady of the Elder and is benevolent, but something in the way she is hiding reminded me so much of an illustration in The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, that I scanned it in for comparison. Queen Jadis becomes like Eve and the snake all in one. See the way she is lurking among the apple trees? Our Venomous Lady of Narnia.

The Four of Wands shows the Egyptian Ba among fruit in a tree, which reminded me of a card in the Osho Zen Tarot and another in the Wheel of Change Tarot. Lisa Hunt has several depictions of apples in this deck which I found neat.

And going back to The Magician’s Nephew, the stunning Pegasus on The Emperor immediately reminded me of the cover illustration by Pauline Baynes for that book. It depicts Fledge, a former horse called Strawberry, who was turned into a winged horse by Aslan in Narnia.

Next up is the charming fellows on the Seven of Pentacles. They are Gargoyles but remind me so much of the Topsie Turvets in Brian Froud’s Faerie’s Oracle that I had to do a comparison. Strangely, the first card that occurred to me was an image from the Dreaming in Color Luman Deck, I think because of the similarity in colours. I love these two cards together.
Because of the paintbrush, the chap on the Three of Pentacles reminded me very much of this card in the Fey Tarot.
Here are some more faces reminiscent of Froud’s work, and the position of the Griffin also reminded me of this particular card from the Faeries’ Oracle. Winged creatures and odd faces abound in each card.
The one card that really struck me from the Fantastical Creatures deck was the Four of Swords, which means respite or taking time away, that sort of thing. I loved the way Lisa Hunt composed this card with such a fresh vision. I think it’s delightful. This creature is called the “vegetable lamb” in the booklet. How charming.