Hi! Imagine a frantic hand waving at you from my laptop. Tonight I’m finally starting to promote my site and actually use all those lovely social media accounts I’ve set up for it, so hopefully I start to get a few visitors. This is just a little sticky note to welcome you to my new site. Please note that there are a couple of pages I still need to update, but for the most part everything is running smoothly. I hope you find something interesting here and that you visit regularly!
I don’t actually know the proper name of this deck. It’s most popularly identified online (in searches) as the IONA Tarot but I’ve recently learned has a different name. This deck was designed and printed by artist Giona Fiochi and, given its printing process, was produced in really small numbers. It’s a hard deck to find. I stumbled upon this forum conversation about it where a collector managed to purchase a deck as well as show photographs of it. After seeing the actual printed cards it not only makes the tarot collector in me squeal, but the graphic designer as well. I’m not going to be a bad aetherweb person and reprint those photos here, so check out that link! It gives quite a bit of information about the deck as well. The full deck is mature in nature due to nudity and themes, but simply beautiful.
The Paulina Tarot is new to my wish list, though cards from the deck have been bouncing around my pinterest for awhile now. This romantic and whimsical deck by artist Paulina Cassidy is based upon the Rider-Waite-Smith deck with some personal artist influences. And as a wonderful touch for deck collectors each deck comes with a hand painted water-color by the artist! You can purchase this deck here and see Paulina’s portfolio here. Check out her other beautiful decks while you’re there. 🙂
Today is a drive by carding, so to speak. I’m pleased to say this is because I’m up to my neck in commission work for an event in April. The Lenormand’s man card is pretty self explanatory though. Like the woman card, it typically refers to the man in your life; be that a lover, husband, father, brother, son, etc. If the person addressing the cards is a man, then this card represents him. Look to the cards around this one for answers.
My card here is from my Butterfly Circus Lenormand deck. My gent is, as you can imagine, dapper, but also a performer for my butterfly circus. He’s a bit of an M.C. and master butterfly wrangler. Alright, I have poster art needing my attention. Have a good day!
These are a few cards from the Druid Animal Oracle. This is actually my gent’s deck and his area of expertise. I don’t have the companion book to learn it on my own at the moment. It’s incredibly beautiful though. There are thirty-three cards in all, each offering a different animal familiar in Druidism and Celtic mythology. The deck was created by Stephanie Carr-Gomm & Philip Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Will Worthington. It is readily available online in all the usual places. 😉
I happened upon this page while researching something else. This looks so cool! You can visit the site here. Take a moment to watch the video of the event! The living cards above are, left to right: The Lovers, The Wheel of Fortune, and The Fool. Below is quoted from the site:
“As a hallmark that makes IONA stand out from other dance/theatrical groups, alternative venues and cutting-edge themes act as a muse for Artistic Director, Cheryl Flaharty. ‘The Living Tarot’ was the fourth interactive production of IONA’s diverse Salon Series which offered audiences a once in a lifetime provocative interpretation of eleven of the major Arcana Tarot cards.
“This production took place at the century-old house located on Oahu’s Pali Highway (dubbed, ‘The House of the Living Tarot’), in which the living installations became personal encounters as audience-members roamed from room to room to experience the cards they were dealt by their personal reader as they walked in the door.“
Oh how wonderfully beautiful and strange this animal themed tarot is. This deck was created by Italian artist Mibramig and published in 2013 by Lo Scarabeo. It’s at the top of my tarot deck wish list. I was already in love and then I found it had a Happy Squirrel card! I might have to make an entry for that to explain, but it’s neat. This deck is readily available for purchase online.
When you get the Lenormand’s snake card you can think of it in a variety of different ways. It’s not exactly a positive card, but neither should it be thought of as strictly a bad card. You will read that this card is associated with a woman, perhaps a dark haired woman and this may have something to do with the fact that it’s also associated with the Queen of Clubs. And with that a suggestion of a seduction or betrayal. It can represent maliciousness or deceit. When you find it in a spread look towards the cards around them and be wary.
In my Butterfly Circus Lenormand I kept my snake dapper. Because I wanted this to be a bright and more whimsical deck of cards, I kept all my characters a bit more light. This will sound silly but I always hear in my head Michigan J frog’s song only with lyrics for the cards at hand and a snake in a top hat belting it out. Sometimes you just have to keep things light hearted. 😉
I’ve been a part of the Michigan steampunk scene since around 2009. My first event was vending at the Steampunk Expo and there I met so many wonderful people who I’ve gotten to know over the years. There was one couple I first saw there and then at many events afterwards. Though I never knew them by name for a very long time, I always knew them. They were always dressed fabulously and always looked so happy. This couple I would learn was Don and Sue Watts.
I was asked to be a guest of honor at the first year of The Motor City Steam Con and as their guest artist I wanted to contribute something noteworthy to it. I’ve made a lot of decks, but never a simple deck of playing cards, so I suggested that. Sal, the event organizer (and great chick), and I worked out who in our Michigan steampunk community should be featured on the trump cards. Sal asked if I would put the Watts on the hearts suit. By this point Sue was very ill and we wanted to celebrate this wonderful couple and all they offered our community. So Don became my King of Hearts, Sue my Queen, and their son Kyle the Jack. (Kyle’s wife Jenny is also in the deck as the Jack of Diamonds.)
Sue has since passed. I never knew her very well, but I knew better the people around her and all of them have nothing but incredibly beautiful things to say about her. I’m very glad I was able to offer this small thing to the Michigan steampunk community, who have supported me through the years. This deck is no longer available for sale online, it’s a convention only type item. But I do have the whole deck to preview here. I wanted to highlight my hearts and the story behind them for this Valentine’s Day.
On a sentimental note: I came across my great, great grandmother Meike’s sentiment book. As best I can figure it’s well wishes to her on her wedding day. It’s written in Friesland Dutch so I can’t make out too much of what’s said. It’s a beautiful book, two pages which are under my heart cards. It’s from the turn of the 20th century so it’s pretty antique.
So a five card spread for your Lenormand deck is really good for beginners or as a quickie for pros. Shuffle your deck and then think upon what you want to ask it as you cut the deck. Draw your first card and set it down. Draw your next card and lay it to the right of the first. Do this till you have five cards. The center card will be your focus card.
To begin, read the cards around your focus card. Gradually all the cards will create a picture for you. So my spread presented here is not random. It being Valentine’s Day I decided to do the make my gent peer over his book as I read this out loud spread. Ha! Or the Ohmahgawd look at that spread on V-Day! spread. So my focus is the Ring. This is an engagement, a commitment. To the immediate right is the Man card that I will say represents my gent. To the immediate left is the Heart card. Next to that is the Woman card, which we’ll say represents me. On the opposite side is the Moon. I was just saying this the other day about the tarot, but I love the moon card. In the Lenormand it represents romance, desire, intimacy, and dreams. It’s a good card.
So if I were to look at this spread and paint a picture for myself I see me and my gent and we are very much in love. Not only that, as cliche as it sounds, he’s been my best friend for a very long time. I see a commitment, which we have. We’ve been engaged for most of our relationship, though a legal marriage has not been something we’re rushing towards. That’s my focus card and I ask myself what I feel about our commitment. I’m quite happy with it and the surrounding cards (especially the Moon) remind me why I’m happy. He’s my moon in all ways, but especially in dreaming.
With the five card spread you can also go a step further and read the first and fifth card together and then the second and fourth. This is called mirroring. For this spread it just further sums up what I wrote above. So there is a little bit about reading the Lenormand and how to compare cards to one another and a stab at Valentine’s Day all in one! <3
Today is Valentine’s Day so of course the card of the day should be the Lenormand Heart. My little Ghosty girl helped me with card prep, which usually translates to let me sniff that a second… no really, put that over here mah nose needs to be on that! This time around it kind of looks like she’s giving the card a smooch, to which I said a few dawwwwww! and got back to work. 😉
There is no special meaning to the heart card, it’s pretty much what you think it’s about: Love. All kinds of love. Romantic, familial, yourself, and so on. In cartomancy is represents the Jack of Hearts. When you turn to the lenormand with questions about love the heart card is what you focus on and what other cards surround it. As you can imagine some card pairings are self explanatory. When the heart is near the ring card it suggests a partnership like marriage. To the other extreme having it near the whip card is more le rowr (eh hem, the sexy sex). The scythe a break-up. The dog might be a best friend and so on. Later on today I’m going to do an example quick five card layout with my Tea Bats lenormand and go a little deeper into that. 🙂
A very fluttering hearts happy Valentine’s Day to you! The original heart image is Lousie Brooks illustrated and featured in 1928 in La Vie Parisienne, an old saucy French periodical. Illustration by Cheri Herouard Samedi, 21 Avril 66 Année, No 16.
I have just stumbled upon a new artist crush. Originally I came upon Renee’s work because of the beautiful tarot reading photograph below, which is all over pinterest. Upon finally moving through different links to her actual pinterest account I was able to visit her active site. There I found beautiful work and that she has her own tarot deck! Please please please take a moment to visit her site and support her fine work! rensarasvati.com *I added the day of the dead portrait to sample her work for you because… well… you may have noticed I’m a bit about that. 😉
This type of fortune teller machine is called Grandmother’s Predictions, also known as Cleveland Grandma. This style of machine was designed and distributed by William Gent Vending Company between 1929-1932. Cleveland Grandma holds a series of cards in one hand and when you offer her a coin she moves her hands over a display of cards below. She stops on your card and it falls into the tray below. Depending on the style the card has a basic fortune or a longer story. There have been several variations on this particular style over the years by different manufacturers. Still an old favorite!
Tonight’s Winter Moon also corresponds with a penumbral eclipse. Penumbral type eclipses typically aren’t as exciting as a regular lunar eclipse as there is just a light shadow cast over the moon. This one, however, will be darker than most. One celestial site suggested we think blood moon. I’m a star-gazer through and through so any excuse to stare at the moon makes me happy. In honor of this event today is all about the tarot’s moon card. Here are a few of mine. 😉
Today’s card of the day comes from my Butterfly Circus deck. The mountain card, visually one of my favorites from this deck, tends to represent an obstacle or a challenge. I can’t think of too many times in my life where there hasn’t been such a thing looming somewhere nearby. This reminds me to look around and see what is currently looming that needs to be dealt with.
When I was designing this card I had a lot going on in my life that was wearing me down. I very much felt the sensation of sitting at the base of something very tall and trying to find the energy to push myself up and over it. This is easier said than done. I was quite literal with my card woman laying at the base of a mountain of towers and staring up at the sky high above them. When looking at a challenge from the lowest point the task can feel incredibly daunting, even beyond reach. However, in the middle of the mountain of towers there is a doorway lit up offering the potential for either a rest in the climb or a doorway to bypass some of the obstacle. In other words, a spot of hope when things seem too hard. Sometimes we only need that one little thing to give us a kick in the bum and then onward up and over.
The Black Ibis third edition is all done and formatted. I have a sample copy being printed right now to see how it looks. I’m very happy with the new look. A sample companion book should be here soon as well. 🙂 Above are some samples of the deck.
The Knight of Cups is a charming card, or should I say that knight offers a bit of feminine charm. It’s also a card that is about going with your heart, whether that makes good sense or not. As it happens, it’s one of my favorite cards from my Isidore Tarot. Yes, probably because I went with a mermaid to represent the knight and she ride her trusty water steed. As I’m pretty sure I was a mermaid in a past life, a mermaid never disappoints. It also represents the fantasy side of my brain.
As I’m still trying to get my strength back from my downtime (and juggling much needed site revamps to my portfolio and writing site as they make the move to this server) I’m going to be a pinch lazy today. The Biddy Tarot site was one of my first online resources years back when I was trying to broaden my understanding of tarot symbolism. It’s still one of the best online resources for quick card go to. I’m going to take a quote from their Knight of Cups page:
“The Knight of Cups represents the undertaking of the creative adventure hinted at in the Page of Cups. Whereas the Page encounters the mystical fish out of the golden cup and is thus initially inspired with creativity, the Knight has already encountered his inspiration and is about to undertake the journey of imagination and creativity to which the unconscious has impelled him. If you are about to start a new creative project, direct your imagination into the ‘real’ world. True imagination feeds on ‘action’ thus if you do nothing with your dreams they will remain vague and unrelated to the rest of your life. The Knight of Cups brings a warning about getting too caught up in fantasy and the romanticism of life. Fantasy excites but it lacks any real meaning as you deny your basic commitment to the world and your imagination produces nothing. ”
With the new year comes shoppe inventory time and looking over my yearly sales. It kind of correlates with one of the first questions I was sent when I started this site. The question was what things prompted me to feel a need to make a new edition of a deck? This is a good question, because in the beginning I was not sure myself and wasn’t sure if making different editions would be a good thing. Turns out, for the right reasons, it’s quite invaluable to the life and longevity of a deck. I’m about to publish the third edition of the Black Ibis Tarot and I’m going to share why I’m doing a new edition to help answer that question.
I encourage feedback on my decks. I must confess though, it used to be hard for me to get feedback because I didn’t quite know how to take a thoughtful critique as anything but a put down. It’s not even a matter of having thick or thin skin, it’s just realizing that a customer can offer me negative feedback that is meant to be used to make my product better and to take it for that. Not why don’t you love everything about my baby! as some sensitive creative types (like me) can get. Of course someone saying this sucks is not helpful. However, someone taking the time to share with me what they didn’t completely like about the deck and how it might be improved is something of great value and beneficial to how I look after my decks as they age.
For example: Card stock quality is usually the biggest thing I get feedback on. Individuals tend to vary on what they think is thick enough. This was an issue my old decks had. With my current printer their decks are made with standard playing card stock with a smooth finish. They’re made to be handled and the occasional drop of spilled tea. Since switching to them and reformatting my decks I’ve had next to no negative feedback about the weight of the decks. The feedback I get now tends to be how easily the decks shuffle and how they’re good for daily use. In one rare case where a woman was still not quite happy with the thickness (she admitted she was really hard on her cards on a daily basis and she’d moved to daily use with the Isidore deck) I was able to extend her the option to get the heaviest weight of cards my printer offers that has a super thick finish, which is not practical for all decks. It worked out well for this wonderful wonky tarot reader who admits sometimes more tea ends up on her table and cards than her mouth. 😉
Creating the second edition of my Isidore Tarot was very successful and it’s remained quite popular. I was hoping my revamp and second edition of my Black Ibis Tarot would be as successful, but it just hasn’t been. So I sent out a questionnaire to those who have the deck and those who had interest in it but didn’t end up investing in it. I asked what owners thought of it and for those who would have bought it what kept them from picking up the second edition after the first edition they wanted was sold out. Overwhelmingly I was told the deck size I went with was too small for the very detailed card artwork. Also, they felt the cards were too dark in coloring. And the solid colored border as oppose to the original textured border was really not liked. Lastly I was told there was a bit of a disconnect between the deck itself and my second edition packaging. One nice gent pointed out that when he first saw the ad for the deck he thought all of the artwork would be like the orange themed tin & book cover. He said he wouldn’t have known how colorful and pretty the deck itself was from that cover.
So I took this feedback and sat down with my deck and realized I agreed with much of it. The original size of the first edition cards was a custom size that was offered by my original printer. My new printer doesn’t offer it so I had to opt for a card size that best fit my deck, which meant going smaller. I typically don’t go for anything but the standard tarot deck size my printer uses, which is a nice size and easy to handle. It was going to require a far more time consuming reformatting of the cards to fit that size though and back then I just didn’t have the time. My mistake. I should have taken the time to do it right. After the feedback and the obvious decline in Black Ibis sales I knew it was time for a revamp. Click that little arrow for the rest of the article.