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.



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!



Moving On Under the Moon

Usually when I get a new deck a few cards jump out at me and remind me of cards I know from other decks. In the Badgers Forest Tarot, this only happened to me with one card, perhaps a testimony to the deck’s originality?

At first I thought it was the Fey Tarot it reminded me of, but after two more days the older memory drifted up to me. An old memory from my initial years in tarot when I struggled to cement the meaning of the 8 of Cups in my mind.

VIII OF FOXES (8 of Cups)


Ever since I have called this the “Moving On” card. As things go, any card can have more nuances, especially if you parse something intuitively, but for me, the moment of perception with this card came on a long-ago list with the Eight of Cups when the imagery in the World Spirit Tarot finally clicked it all into place for me.

When I was pulling out the cards I liked from the Badgers Forest, the memory fell into place. See it pilgrims of the moon?

It’s funny, when I was new to tarot I joined a list and spilled out my enthusiasm and wonder. Because of my baby steps and naiveté, the people on the list became quite patronizing. Except I am old in mind in a different way, so being patronized was silly to me. There was a lot of winking and teasing and efforts to make me believe in the things they believed in. I used to get irritable with them. My intellect does not like to be patronized, especially by fatuous people who may be covered in wisdom but lack intellectual depth and curiosity. Never patronize a Queen of Swords, it doesn’t fly.

This is a perfect card for that list. Being there for a time, much of it spent in laughter and learning, it became time to get along, to listen to the moon and walk on.

I made the mistake of going back, but I should have pressed on regardless of my fondness for some of the people there. It didn’t work the second time either. The lone fox, the lone pilgrim, is simply the way they are inside, under the moon, the light they know.



This Card Reminds of That Enchanted Map

I was struck by a few cards in the Enchanted Map Oracle Cards when I received the deck so thought to have a little ramble as I like to do.

I looked and looked for the card that tweaked my visual memory for this one. I still can’t find it, either I don’t own the deck and I saw it online, or I simply can’t place it in my collection right now. If anyone knows of another deck with a similar visual let me know.

In the meantime, while in a fugue state over my morning tea, Henry Armitage came to me and said “It’s an Eldritch rock Jude, wake up to reality” and sure enough, he was right.


I love this lion and the sentiment of deep freeze or hibernation, staying still for a time. This is one of my favourite cards in this deck  and the slight tint to the lion reminded of the card in the Tarot of Paris.


I immediately thought of the gorgeous Aeon card from the Haindl Tarot with this. Isn’t the name “Storm Fields” evocative?


Another old favourite, the Bone Collector immediately reminded me of The Hermit in the World Spirit Tarot, one of the few female Hermits I have seen. Her cheery face in the oracle deck is immediately uplifting.


Down to the swirling leaves and faint butterflies, these two belong together.


There is something very charming about this card. The surrealism and the beckoning window and cat speak of depths and penetrating glances from other worlds. Windows, windows everywhere.


This was a straight visual memory for me probably because of the circular composition and the bright colours with winged figures.


And another memory jog from the Fey Tarot, but I couldn’t decide if it was one card or the other that was jogging my memory so you get both.


And lastly, my absolutely favourite card in the deck. I used to call myself “Solitudinus” and the number 13 is relevant for me so always a happy number. I think because I enjoy a bit of a chat with people, particularly about books, that they often mistake me for a friendlier person than I am. Really, I could live in a place like this and be perfectly content.


It’s not that I dislike people, but I like the place in the card better, it is better suited to my needs.

The enchantment of maps is that you can draw the place where you are even if people assume that you are somewhere else.


Sage Death

Daily Draw March 11th, 2012

I spent five hours yesterday reorganizing financial paperwork and shredding old stuff and generally organizing household records. Today I am doing our tax return, so I feel my anxiety dropping off to get some of this off my mind.

13 – DEATH

The words “sage” and “death” together remind me of burning sage and cleansing.

I keep getting the King of Cups, or at least it feels like I keep getting him. I used to consider him weak and too emotional, and I still do, but there is a newer sense that he is holding too much emotion inside which makes him weak. The idea of holding it in is my way, and I get to the point where I feel this odd anxiety and know I should be doing something to release myself. Usually it has to do with procrastination and letting things get untidy. A bit of hustling about to reorganize is helpful I find, and I slept much more peacefully and not as tensely last night for doing that.

Death reminds me that I am planning our wills and thinking about what we want to specify. My husband tells me there is a green movement toward burial which I found interesting. Neither one of us wants a funeral or memorial service (and neither did Georgia O’Keeffe!), or a headstone, but the idea of burning excessive fuel for cremation does not appeal either. Apparently it takes about 27 litres of fuel to cremate a single person, and it all goes into the air, so perhaps not the quick fix I thought it was. My husband says some of the memorial places allow a tree or shrub to be planted over your grave, which sounds ideal. They only allow you to be buried in a shroud or clothing of natural fibres. Anyway, something to consider.

This card and the depiction on it of a funeral pyre is rather apt considering what we were thinking about yesterday.



Paradox in Dreams

Daily Draw June 27th, 2011

Today from the always wonderful World Spirit Tarot:

SIBYL OF CUPS (Queen of Cups)

The Queen of emotion, here to remind me of emotions and health. I have not been looking after myself or eating properly, and that makes it worse. I wake up and find I’ve been clenching my jaw all night and that the muscles in my neck, shoulders, and back will not release.

Apart from relentless chronic pain, this sort of thing wears the physical body out years ahead of its time. I feel about 30 years older than I am, with the same debilitation to my body. Either my heart or my brain is going to die, fully or partially, if I don’t bother.

I was dreaming about my childhood friend, who was a witness with her husband at my wedding. He died last year and the anniversary of his death is approaching. Clench, clench. What I remember is that she didn’t tell us he’d been dead until a month later, so we did not go to the funeral or see the family, and when I did talk to her she didn’t want to talk to me on the phone although I offered to phone and speak with her several times. She never asked about me, she didn’t care, she just wanted attention when she felt like it. I would have been happy to help or support if she’d shown any interest in me, but she didn’t. My husband came to Canada with her husband, she and I grew up together, but I am nothing to her. The more I e-mailed her, the greater my cynicism and bitterness grew.

It reminds me of this Sibyl, of her sensitivity to emotion and the feelings of others. For some of us the time comes to say “No” to giving emotionally to people who don’t care. Only in fantasy is there unconditional love.

And yet, I do care and wonder how she is with the anniversary of his death approaching. I love that the book for this deck mentions the “paradoxical realm of feeling.”

Just so.

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. . . .