Friday, 14 April 2017

Tarot of The Crone | Ellen Lorenzi-Prince | Arnell's Art

Every now and again a deck catches your eye and you just KNOW that its going to be a powerful tool to work with.  This is exactly the situation with Ellen Lorenzi-Prince's Tarot of The Crone.  Ellen is an experienced deck creator and has two other decks under her belt (The Dark Goddess and the Minoan Tarot)

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Viceroys Playing Cards | Ian Cumpstey

A while back I noticed a kickstarter project for a set of playing cards being created in the UK by Ian Cumpstey.  The intricate styling is very much based on the beautiful cards of the Islamic Mamluks.

As one might expect from Islamic art, there are no figurative representations in the Mamluk cards, only geometric shapes and abstracted floral/leaf images.  This has been translated into Cumpstey's beautiful little deck - take a look, you won't be disappointed.

It's a standard playing card deck - Ace through ten with three court cards - Jack, Queen and King.  There are additional cards - a publisher's card with Ian Cumpstey's details, a title card called 'Viceroys' and two identically decorated cards that equate to a contemporary deck's two jokers.

Here are the details:

52 poker-sized (2.5" x 3.5") playing cards

Double-ended back design

300 gsm card stock with linen finish

Custom tuck box

Printed by Cartamundi UK

The playing card tuck box is decorated on both sides with a blue-toned abstract floral similar to that on the 'jokers'.

'Joker' image on left and card back geometric pattern on right

The Courts follow the same basic pattern as the Mamluk cards with inscriptions in a blue band at the top of the card and the card title in a blue band at the bottom of the card.  However, the suits are those of European playing cards, not the original Mamluk Cups, Swords, Polo Sticks and Coins.

The inscriptions for the courts on the original Mamluk cards are very charming and, in some cases, quite divinatory in nature.  For example (this is a translation) : "With the sword of happiness I shall redeem a beloved who will afterwards take my life".


You don't want that coming up in a reading too often, right?

So the aphorisms on Ian's cards are different.


Jack: Joy appears as I strike with the sword of fortune
Queen: I am blossoming like the flowers in a dewy garden.
King: Rejoice and be glad, your dreams will be fulfilled.


Jack: Rejoice for your good fortune will continue.
Queen: I sparkle in your hand like jewels in a crown.
King:  Within my ornaments great wealth is found.


Jack:  My patterns are the work of an artist's hand.
Queen: Neither gold nor rare crystal compares with me.
King:  May your luck last for another thousand years.


Jack:  I offer a cup filled with never-ending gladness.
Queen:  Be joyful and glad in heart for all I bring to you.
King:  Now is the time for roses to bloom, red as rubies.

If you are looking for a really pretty set of playing cards that respectfully nod back through time to an ancestor of our Tarot deck, then this is the deck for you.  At only £10.00 a pop (plus P&P), it's well worth it.  Check out Ian's website here.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

William Senior | Tarot in Art | Woman with Tarot Cards

William Senior
Woman with Tarot Cards
Not done one of these for a while and this is an actual live auction piece, so if you fancy it, get bidding!

This is up for auction in Edinburgh and is expected to make £300 - £500. Unfortunately, you can't bid for it online, but if you happen to be in Edinburgh on 26 April at Lyon and Turnbull, you can bid!

The author, William Senior, was born in 1927.  I think that he was Scottish, but other than that, don't have a heck of a lot of information about him.  He was a member of the New Scottish Group of artists who were left-wingers influenced by contemporary continental art. He set up the Clyde Group with Tom MacDonald and Bet Lowe.

I do like the painting though. That is probably The Hanged Man on the top of the pile, but because this is a blog about court cards, I'm going to plead ignorance and say that it's a court card.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Mirrors Tarot

So, there is a new kickstarter getting underway today and it gives YOU a chance to be immortalised as a Tarot Major!

It's a Majors Only project, so 22 cards looking to have real life people featured - could one of them be you?!

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Grand Vision | The King of Wands

The King of Wands is a very special card, forming the bridge between the Majors and the Minors.  People with a lot of this energy burn very brightly and are very much 'The Big Picture' kind of people: A Master of the Grand Vision.  She can see clearly how it will all look, but maybe be a little fuzzy on the details of how to get there.

What's your Grand Vision? Do you know how to get there?

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Gender, sex and appearance in the Court Cards

Recently I've been seeing a few tweets and fb posts about gender and ethnicity in the tarot and how we can ensure that the entire spectrums of both are represented. People, perfectly reasonably, want to see themselves reflected in the tool that they work with on a daily basis.

Since my own Tarot specialism is the court card arcana, I am especially interested in how these issues might be best resolved in the courts.

From what I can see, we have three issues: 
  • the gender split in the ranks
  • the order of the genders in the ranks
  • the appearance of characters on the cards.

Looking at the deck ranks, we generally have Page, Knight, Queen and King. Knights and Kings are regarded as masculine while Queens are regarded as feminine. Pages tend to be the one rank where there is a bit of leeway and youthful males and females abound.

If pressed, I'd say that Pages and Queens represent a Yin energy whereas the Knights and Kings are more Yang. If that's the case, then we have titles that are 50:50 with regard to the sexes associated with those rank titles.

There are increasing numbers of decks that switch things around a bit. Some have gods and goddesses (with the goddesses allocated the most Kingly rank, thank you very much). Others have titles that bear no relation to the sex of the incumbent nor give a clue as to any order of 'importance' rank - Teacher, Adventurer, Postulant etc.

So we ARE breaking out of the traditional mould and most people should be able to find a deck where the court ranks are more appealing than Page to King. 

Another issue that can arise with the ranks is the eroneous assumption that the King is the 'top' or most desirable rank. Just because the King card is the final card in the series, don't make the mistake of thinking that it's the most important card or the most desirable 'character' in the court series.

Far from it.

King energy is great when you have got to walk the talk, but if you are learning a new skill, the Page's energy will serve you so much better than a King's energy. Similarly, a teacher would aspire to the Queen energy and a medical or software pioneer (for example) may hold the Knight energy to be their most prized court.

No one rank is more important than the others.

We are a multi-hued and sexually fluid bunch these days and we do not want to limit ourselves to the gender- or monochrome cul-de-sac that is depicted in most tarot decks (especially old ones).

As far as the appearances of the various characters in the decks, yes, we do have gazillions of Caucasian or European-looking characters. This is not surprising, given the European history of the Tarot deck. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, we could benefit from more decks casting their nets wider as far as appearance and gender goes. If someone wants to use a Tarot deck because all the characters are African American.... or red-haired .... or all male or all female .... that's absolutely fine. We all want to feel that we are part of the picture, and it would be great if there was a gorgeous deck for everyone!

But here's the thing. For ME, neither the sex of the characters on the cards, nor the sex associated with the rank, nor the ethnicity of the characters on the cards has any bearing on how I read those cards.

For example - The Page of Cups indicates a type of PERSON who may be tentatively embarking (Page energy) a new relationship (Cups energy). This could be a guy, could be a girl, could be a Caucasian person, could be an Asian person, could be red-headed, could be a blonde... could be a 6' transexual from Bolton who calls herself Alan during the week and Tania at the weekends.

If people fall into the trap of thinking that Kings = men, and Queens = women,  they are doing their sitter (and themselves) a disservice.

For me, ALL the ranks apply as equally to women as they do to men. And to men who have transitioned to women. And to women who have transitioned to men. And every sexual stripe and shade of humanity in between.

Court cards are about types of energy and not about sex, gender or colour.

What of the thorny problem of selecting a court card when choosing a significator? 

Traditionally, certain courts have depicted specific 'looks' when choosing a card to represent your sitter.  These Golden Dawn inspired 'looks' don't work in today's multicultural society - they are too restrictive.

Likewise choosing a significator based on someone's perceived sex could easily cause offence. You don't want your reader/client relationship hitting an early bump in the road by making an error in your assumptions, nor by bluntly asking someone how they want to be identified.

Forget choosing a significator with any kind of gender or ethnicity requirement.  Instead consider selecting one based on your sitter's sun sign. Everybody knows their date of birth. Thus, any Cancer-born person would be represented by the Queen of Cups. Simple.

OR you could just let your sitter pick one of the 16 cards by themselves - then you don't have to worry and they don't need to discuss such an intimate detail about themselves with you.  And you, as a reader, can talk with your sitter about the sort of energy associated with that court card too.

OR you might be sitting reading this in a daze thinking - who the hell still bothers with a significator these days?!

What do you think - find new titles for the 21st century? Expand the genders? Switch up how the courts look?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Top Tarot Books | As selected by YOU

So, it was World Book Day last week and I floated the question: What's your Top Tarot book?' on Facebook.  And lots of lovely people chipped in with their thoughts.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

One Singer One Song | Which Court | Camouflage

When Sonshine was small, this tale of soldierly woe used to reduce him to a quivering pile of snot and tears whenever it came on the radio.

If you can drag yourself through the tale of Camouflage which court card do you think might represent the Big Marine?

Wasn't music in the 70s .... odd?!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Trionfi Della Luna |Patrick Valenza | Review

So, this deck arrived and I was DETERMINED to do an unboxing video about it.  This called for RESTRAINT otherwise the unboxing video would have looked like this:

Reader, it took DAYS to find the camera and the charging cable for the camera's battery. A Sisyphean Task in this house of elebenty billion different charging cables.

Anyway, off I went.

And, as you can see, I wasn't properly prepared for an unboxing video.

And this took DAYS to complete.  I'm so much better with a pad and pen :D

Next time I promise that I will have scissors and a sharp knife to hand.

I commend this brilliantly strange deck to the house!

You can buy it here on Patrick's website.

If you are a member of TABI, there might be one or two left over from our recent group order to Patrick, so visit the forum and check it out.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Alexander Daniloff | 2012 Tarot | 3rd Edition

They say that you can have too much of a good thing.  Pah! I don't believe that at all.  Good things are good things are good things.  Especially when it comes to Tarot decks.  Especially when it comes to THIS particular Tarot deck!

Alexander Daniloff's 2012 Tarot has now reached its third incarnation and I am now proudly clutching a copy of that 3rd Edition to my ample and heaving bosom.

This third edition has several changes, so buckle up baby, we're going in!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Feminism | The Tarot Queens

For the past ten days or so, I have been feeling as though I am living through the looking glass - and it's not good, with cake that says 'Eat Me'. I'm not even an American.  What a challenge it is to be a liberally-minded American at the moment, because:

YES, Trump wants to build an actual wall.

YES, Trump shuts out Syrian refugees from America (allegedly for only a set period of time. We'll see)  Dear America, what happened to 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore'?

How sad that it should come to this.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Tarot Court Card Necklaces | Prudence J.M. Theriault

For all your Wandsy moods!
At the beginning of January, I posted on how to find your Tarot court card companion for 2017.

Prudence got in touch to say that she was the Queen of Wands and she was so inspired, that she created a necklace ... and here it is!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

3-card Reading | Inspired by the Tarot's 10s

10 Swords
Sola Busca Tarot
Here's another spread for you, taken from my e-book 'Tarot Kaizen' that you can use for the coming week.

Prior to this spread exercise, there are four exercises that consider the broad function and energy of the Tarot's 10s.

Take your entire deck (ie not just the 10s) and give it a thorough shuffle to break up any ordering that may be in your deck from previous exercises:

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tarot Trump

Donald Trump
The President
The United States of America
God help us all.
So, inauguration day looms for my cousins over the water in the US of A and what an unsettling day it will be for my friends there.

I say MY friends because the majority of my facebook pals across the pond are liberal in outlook, interested in the arts, passionate about equality and generally all-round good eggs.

There will be Tarot readings a-plenty on The Donald's future presidency, but I wanted to take a look at him in the arena of the Tarot's court cards.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Deviant Moon Tarot Book | Wordery | BARGAIN!

I know - advertising - it's the bane of the modern world, but I would be failing in my duties as a Tarot bestie if I neglected to tell you about the BARGAIN Deviant Moon Tarot book over on Wordery.

There are also three versions of the deck over there too - so make sure that you get the one that you are after!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Spread| Next 7 Days

I'm publishing this on a Sunday, the one day of the week where I do my very best to avoid being online.  Call it Digital Detox and a passing fad if you must, but for me it's an integral part of getting organised for the coming week.

Part of that organising is taking a look at what the next 7 days may be throwing my way:

This spread requires you to separate your Majors, your Minors and your Courts into three bundles.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Book Review | Notes From The Pagan Otherworld Tarot | Uusi Studios

photo © uusi studio
Towards the end of 2016, I backed the Kickstarter campaign by Uusi Studios to create the Pagan Otherworld Tarot.  The resulting deck is a delight to use - both in its imagery and card stock quality - and I reviewed it here.

After the deck was created, Uusi announced that there would be an accompanying book* to buy from the Uusi store.

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