Monday, 17 August 2015

Page of Pentacles | Baking | Focaccia di Recco

Page of Pentacles
on his way to Masterchef
It doesn’t matter what age you are, we are all Pages at something or other. The Tarot deck's Pages show us in our tentative first steps, those beginner steps at anything: those moments where you wobble uncertainly forwards, sometimes falling - but always getting back up again.

The Page of Pentacles shows us the beginner in practical matters.

I am definitely this Page when it comes to cooking.  Most efforts turn out to be only fit for the inside of the swing bin - except my lasagna. My lasagna is TO DIE FOR.  Well, hopefully not DIE …. but you get the general idea. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

The Alchemical Tarot | Robert Place |4th Edition

The Alchemical Tarot
on the Throne!
I've been coveting a Robert Place deck for a long time now and lo! because I'm a dozy mare and got my Alchemicals and my Sevenfolds all mixed up, I will shortly be the proud owner of both the decks and the book and poorer than a Church Mouse.

This is the 4th Edition of this deck and it has been funded via an Indigogo campaign.

We've got four families - Staffs, Swords, Vessels and Coins; nice and traditional.

Each family member sports their name and also the elemental glyph associated with that suit.  The first thing that you will notice about the courts in the Alchemical Tarot is that the Pages have been replaced with the rank of Lady and the second thing is that the King is not a figure but a creature.

Let's take a closer look ...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

TABI's Tarot Conference 2015 | Court Cards

Saturday saw the return of TABI's annual Tarot Conference in Birmingham.  Here it is, in court cards:

So we checked in to our rooms and the speakers and organisers had been presented with a li'l hand-made bar of chocolate and a welcome card. Everyone was thrilled and posted photos like this:

© Viv Kacal 
As Page of Pentacles, my first thought was 'Thank God, something to eat. So my photo was like this:

*wipes chocolate smears from mouth to take photo*
We met up before dinner on the Friday.  My inner Queen of Wands became my Outer.  Are you digging the leopard print cardi and the gold high heels?

I'm working my Bette Lynch vibe like mad here.
© Viv Kacal or Ania Marczyk (I wasn't looking)
Our meal on Friday night was very tasty indeed.  I barely stopped eating to look up for photos.  Look - I'm not even drunk.  But my head can't do that Linda Blair 360 degree thing....

© Ania Marczyk
On Saturday morning I was the first speaker on the floor - the warm up act for our wonderful head-liners - Jane Struthers, Andy Boroshevengra and Caitlin Matthews.

I attended dressed as the Druidcraft's Queen of Swords:

© Viv Kacal (I think)
That's me in the spotlight! That's me as the Queen of Swords :-)
It's me! No, it's not - it's the Queen of Swords!

I didn't do the bare feet thing though.  Sometimes you can take something too far .... I wore the gold high heels though. See? My outer skin at the Conference was the Queen of Swords, but my feet are forever the Queen of Wands.  Until about lunch time and then they morphed into terribly unflattering running shoes and I went all Queen of Pentacles :-D

And also managed to double up as Queen of Cups in Ania Marczyk's forthcoming Meniscus Tarot too.  Tha' Queen of Swords outfit is VERSATILE!

Queen of Cups Meniscus Tarot Ania Marczyk
© Ania Marczyk
I brought home a throne - as you do!


And brought home one of Moti's beautiful prints!



Moti's original painting was there for us to see too - what a talent!

So, only one question remains ......Why have I not posted pix of the speakers as Court Cards?

Because they were all complete STARS!

Coming along next year?!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Book of Shadows | Andrea Aste | Page of Swords |Kickstarter

Andrea Aste
I first encountered the delightful genius of Andrea Aste when I was on Arnell Ando's Tarot Tour of Italy back in April and I was struck a) by the amazing artwork that he showed us and b) the overall vision of his Tarot project.

So, here's a quick Q&A with the man himself about that vision and his Tarot deck - through the Page of Swords, of course!

Me:  Andrea - for those that aren't aware of your Tarot project can you briefly outline it here?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Strength | Summer Solstice | Blog Hop

Welcome to the Midsummer Blog hop! If you've happened here by chance, then you are in for a treat if you follow the links below to all the other blog hoppers who are providing a chain that runs from 0 The Fool through to XXI The World.


My card of choice is Strength.

Most decks published today show Strength as Major Arcana VIII, however this wasn't always the case. In older Marseille-style decks Justice is found at position VIII.

So why the switch? Well, Back in the early 1900s, The Golden Dawn's 
A E Waite (the creator of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot) was keen to add astrological references to the Major Arcana.  But if Strength (Leo), kept her position at Major XI, then pesky Justice (Libra) would disrupt their plan to show all the Astrological trumps in their correct order. 

And Lo! The switch was made!  Righting some ancient Tarot wrong, no doubt :)

Aleister Crowley, another but more notorious member of the Golden Dawn, stuck resolutely to the traditional numbering for his Thoth deck. But changed the names of the cards - Strength became Lust.  Contrary ol' coot!

Does this order-switching matter? Probably not really, because back in the day, the old decks didn't have numbered Major Arcana cards. 

Why were numbers added? I fondly imagine that the various City States of Italy – each more powerful and vainglorious than the next – ended up with different cards in different orders.  It's easy to imagine courtly gents in tights arguing heatedly about whether Temperance scored more points than Justice in their card game.  That's the sort of argument that can get you run through with a rapier....

But I digress, what I REALLY wanted to share with you is the evolution of the image:

Visconti Sforza - 1451
Hercules giving the Ebil Nemean lion a jolly good thrashing.
Pretty danged violent to our contemporary eyes, isn't it? 
The Sola Busca Tarot - 1491
A completely different viewpoint from a completely unique deck.
 This is Tulio, meditating on the night

Don't mix up card VIII which shows a child being dismembered over a fire by Nero - that's Justice, not Strength!

This is a deck crammed with alchemical symbolism :)
Tarot del Mantegna - 1470(ll Meneghello version)

A woman holds a club and wears a lion's mask.
There is also a lion behind her and a broken column.
The broken column is traditionally the symbol for Forteza.

BTW - this deck doesn't actually have anything to do with Mantegna :)

The Rider Waite Smith - 1909
The combination of lion, woman and physicality that we strongly associate with this card makes an appearance.

Tarot Sophistique - 2014
A contemporary version of a Marseille Tarot image 
Woman and Lion
we can see the nascent leminscate of the RWS in the circle of her hat.
Strength earned her place in the Tarot deck by dint of being one of the four Cardinal Virtues: Fortitude.

The other virtues are Prudence (The High Priestess), Temperance and Justice (represented by, erm, Temperance and Justice).

I like the virtue of Fortitude being part of the Tarot deck.  But Fortitude and Strength have slightly differing meanings:

Fortitude means courage in pain or adversary.

Strength means:

a) the quality or state of being physically strong
b) the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure

The subtle difference is that Fortitude brings a moral strength, a valour (indeed a Virtue!) to the heart of the card, which Strength alone does not.

And there endeth the Lesson on Strength!

Hope you're ready to hop onwards to the next card?