Halloween seems like a good time to debut the second edition of our Tea Bats Lenormand deck. You can see samples of the updated cards here. The cards are bigger, a little brighter, I’ve added some extra detailing as well as a small pop of color through tinting. Thankfully most of the cards were already done before my stair diving incident. Right now I’m working out packaging and potential sale times. 🙂
Happy Halloween everyone! I don’t have a lot of meaningful spooky to offer today, but I have a few of my spookier card of the day. 😉 Enjoy the day! Eat some candy for me!
The devil card just came up as card of the day not so long ago. You can read that post here. That card was from my Isidore Tarot deck and very close to the symbolism from the Rider Waite Smith tradition. Today’s devil is from my Black Ibis Tarot where some of the symbolism can be matched to the RWS deck, but in most cases is quite different.
This is one of my favorite cards in this deck, not for meaning, but for the model who let me use his mischievous mug for it. Gerald Brom is one of my most favorite artists hands down and a great influence on me. I’ve also had the pleasure of being able to ask him advice and for favors over the years. This card was one of those favors. I really wanted him as the devil. If you’re familiar with his work you’ll know that such a request didn’t bother him one bit.
The Black Ibis Tarot’s devil is more about whispering in your ear and giving you all the wrong advice. In one sense it has much the same meaning at the Isidore Tarot’s devil, but in this case perhaps you’re already aware that you’re trapped in a bad place and want to be free of that bondage. This devil doesn’t give you the illusion that you are actually trapped; he simply strokes your ego and tells you everything is aces and that you actually like being in that bondage. He is the devil on your shoulder, the voice in the middle of the night that tells you everything is swell, and he knows a lot of tricks to keep you held back in that place. I like to think of this card as one that reminds you that there’s just a con artist behind that alluring voice and it’s about time to shut him down and tell him to shut up. You can try and blame him for life’s messy patches, but in the end only you can actually pick up a mop and bucket and clean it up and get on with life.
In this photo my Brom card is surrounded by his Plucker characters, who are some very scary dolls in this case. The only thing I like better than collecting tarot decks is collecting creepy toys. I keep holding out hope Brom will do some sort of card deck, but so far when I put in Brom and Tarot into a search my Black Ibis deck comes up first. The heart can dream. Check out his work! It’s very dark and beautiful. 😉
In the original Rider Waite Smith deck the four of coins shows a man possessively holding his coins close to him. So much so that he can’t stand up and walk away for fear of losing possession of the two coins his feet are protecting. In the Isidore Tarot the same message is trying to be conveyed via this, uh, we’ll say pup owl mix? 😉 The creature’s wings are keeping guard over two coins, while its claws hold the other two coins in place. This bird cannot fly without giving up that control of his coins. That’s the nature of this card: Both positive and negative depending on how you choose to guard over and control the possessions you’ve worked very hard to come by.
The coins suit, overall, appeals to my Taurus nature when it comes to material things or wealth. It makes me think because I have some hang-ups when it comes to having things. I grew up very poor in a rather chaotic household. The only time I felt any sense of security was when I spent my summers at my father’s house, which was fairly well off, lacking in the chaos, and I knew I would be able to lay down in my bed with good sheets at night and wake up to a healthy breakfast and a day that was going to be routine and most likely safe. Because of this I have triggers when it comes to my environment and what makes me feel safe.
I relate well to this card because I find my security in having the resources to take care of my life and the people around me. I guard over every cent and I’m very proud of any coinage my pursuits provide me. It gives me confidence. However, I’ll never be able to forget my upbringing; the two sides of it. This might lead me to being too possessive of my things, my fiances. It can sometimes lead me to wanting to give into greed. It’s a balancing act and that’s what I meditate on when I see this card.
The four of coins can represent being in a place where you know what works and in needing that control you become inflexible to change. You might be too concerned with controlling everything around you to keep it that way–to keep the status quo and the security it brings. There is something positive in protecting what you work hard to earn and the life it provides, but sometimes change can’t be avoided so it’s good to allow a little flexibility in life. That’s a hard concept for me at of late. So today this card gave me pause to sit and think about things a little. What does it make you think about?
So to kick off October I thought it would be fun to take a look at those decks that celebrate Halloween. The first one is Kipling West’s Halloween Tarot. The theme of the deck is based off the Rider Waite Smith tarot with just a few changes to keep within the deck’s spooky holiday theme. The artwork is simple but authentically Halloween and fun. This deck was originally published way back in 1997, but is easy to pick up through Amazon. 🙂 I don’t care about superstitions, a black cat won’t steer you wrong for the best holiday of the year!
The card of the day is from my Isidore Tarot and features the sun. This is a good card. It represents success and abundance. I like to think it literally represents warmth. When this card comes up I like to sit back and look out the window and take a deep breath. I think about no matter what is going on, the day is beautiful, I feel positive, and I just kind of want to smile. It’s a good card to meditate on.
Pictured here is not the card itself, but an art print of it with some embellishing. I did these long ago for a special Isidore sale. I’m thinking I might put art prints for the deck back up. I was getting a little overwhelmed for awhile there with small orders. I especially enjoy embellishing prints. Anyhoo, today’s entry is a little light. I suggest going outside and enjoying the day. 😉
There’s nothing I like better than artwork that makes use of stark, color specific imagery. The Cruel Thing Tarot is a lovely display of line artwork in bold shades of red, black, and white. This deck was created by Luciano Vecchio in 2009 and the artwork is as striking as it is simple. It’s very dark, very gothic. Sadly, it’s also very hard to find. So far I only see one being sold as a collectable on Amazon. You can see more of the artists work though his DeviantArt page. He seems to be quite the superhero buff.
The first tarot deck I ever made was a long, kick-me-in-the-arse sort of project and when it was done I was content to leave it done. Now I can think of so many ways I could do so much more with it. Much of that is thanks to all the wonderful ways my Isidore deck has lent itself to special editions. My favorite so far is the My Tiny Valentine limited edition. So today’s throwback Tuesday is just a look at that pretty pretty deck. Special bonus for it because I am a typo demon who doesn’t have enough proof-readers: My first name is misspelled in the book. I hope that gives someone a chuckle. Technically not misspelled, there’s just an extra “y” in there that I didn’t catch in the very loopy font. Doh!
In keeping with a comment made in my previous post, this is one of those started decks that’s sitting in my What were you thinking? folder. This one comes from about three years ago. I was just visiting Ohio after my gent moved down here ahead of me. I was hanging out in a basically empty house with no internet access, only a bag packed for a long weekend, and my laptop. Before leaving MI I had just come upon a treasure trove of black and white drawings, as well as a folder full of vintage celestial maps and diagrams. I wondered what kind of hot mess I could turn those two things into.
So as I sat looking over a giant bundle of my most favorite things (that would be public domain works that can be put into a collage) I thought about how nice it would be to create a very dark, stark, and without thrills sort of deck of cards. Something basically simple, but not without an attractive aesthetic. So I started toying with my two folders and these are the cards that started coming of it. Ultimately I went a little more colorful with a card and it turned into the Fool for my Halloween tarot. This idea was set to the side and instead my very colorful, vintage painting collage Halloween deck was born. Every now and then, as with the Bete Noire cards, I consider revisiting it. It just comes down to time management and which of my projects is most important to me. Right now my Blood and Ink Lenormand has my heart so it gets what little free time I have. I still like its understated charm. I might end up using it as a prop of sorts in my next work of fiction. I nicknamed it Celestial Royalty.
As a pretty busy-busy artist I have a rather massive inventory of art at my disposal. Much of it is grouped into collections by style and tone. Perhaps one of my most favorite collections is my Bete Noire series of nightmare collages. They were, for me, the perfect combination of Victorian dread, childhood fears that slowly grew into irrational adult fears, and the taking of the human form and twisting it from something recognizable to something horrific. Though of course they’re meant to be beautiful in a dark way as well.
When I have any collected art I think about what I could do with it beyond just displaying it. So of course my first thought with this collection was to turn it into a very dark tarot deck. I think it would be the closest thing to a goth tarot I do. I got a little ways into the process and realized I would need to start making fresh collages to have all that I needed. Given how much was going on at the time the work needed was not something I had time to devote to. So I retired it to my unfinished folder. That folder sits right next to my what the hell were you thinking? folder. Both taunt me now and then to open them up and revisit a project or bad idea. Above are samples from this unfinished deck.
The Devil is perhaps one of the most occult symbolism happy cards in the traditional Rider Waite Smith deck. In my Isidore deck the traditional satyr becomes a horned (and dashing) buffalo and the people chained to his podium are my dapper hippo & goat couple very happy to be clothed. I tried to stay true to the original symbolism beyond that right down to the bat wings and pentagram.
The devil card has a lot of shock value to it when using the tarot as a prop, but it is indeed and troublesome card. It has always reminded me of that line from Labyrinth when the goblin king says “Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.” only without the hot David Bowie accent and far darker tones. The devil gives you the illusion that you are stuck within whatever has you held back and you believe there’s nothing you can do about it. He offers a self imposed bondage where one feels retrained even though they have the ability to simply remove the bonds restraining them.
So if you meditate on this card, I would suggest asking yourself what is holding you back and why do you feel helpless to do anything about it? Perhaps it’s just a matter of taking a step back and really looking at the situation and realizing you’ve put yourself in that corner and it’s time to step out of it. The devil is a deceiver but in the end he only has the power you give him and that’s a good way to look at life and your own issues. Perhaps the only thing holding you back is your unwillingness to take a step and start the process of moving forward.
As a side note: This photo features my Isidore doll sized deck. The doll in the photo is Corina Corina and you can’t see it, but she has her own black bare tree twig wings, a lot of red and black, and she permanently holds this card in her arms. She is part of my U.F.R.L. doll collection; all made by hand by me. Doll making has become a bit of a distraction for me when I wasn’t able to do much computing. She, or a doll like her, is available should anyone be interested. 😉
This little beauty is from my own collection. It was gifted to me several years back now. I hate to admit that it arrived during an extremely hectic time of moving and readjusting, so shortly after I received it, it ended up being packed and lost to me for awhile. I’m probably terribly guilty of not thanking the original sender for it as well. That was the air fairy in me that I had to exorcise myself of. That aside, this is a very lovely hand drawn deck. And Winny’s packaging is simply beautiful right down to the purple ribbon divider in the tarot’s box. This was a very limited edition deck and you can only find it now by google searching and looking for anyone wanting to sell their copy. Mine is not for sale. It is a very happy part of my collection. I haven’t been very successful finding a homepage or additional information for artist Christina Fernandez a.k.a. Winny, but if I do I will surely post it.
Good afternoon! Or morning, evening, pick your time of the day. I’m about to zoom zoom rooom to Boston for a week with my gent to take in the Inbound marketing convention (courtesy of his day job where I freelance now and again) and visit with my dad, who happens to be in that area. I spent my summers growing up in Boston. It’s a lovely place. I won’t have my laptop with me, but I will have tablet on had to catch my emails. In the meantime, don’t worry! Daily updates will continue as normal in my absence. I have scheduled posts to see Attic Cartomancy through until I return. Be a good cheer!
Today’s pretty pretty deck is Anne Stokes’ Gothic Tarot. It was published in 2012 by Lo Scarabeo and is readily available through most tarot sellers. I like the deck especially because it swaps out the traditional symbolism for the minor arcana (something I’m a big fan of) and replaces those familiar symbols. The wands are now dragons, skeletons take the boney place of pentacles, vampires can be seen in place of cups, and the swords are angels. Not to mention the artwork is just extremely beautiful fantasy work. I’m adding this one to my tarot deck wish list, which one day I will post. I’m always happy to swap one of mine for one I don’t have! 😉
Today’s TBT takes a look back at the many specialty backs the Isidore Tarot has had over the years. None of these are standard. Most of them were specials for various sales. My favorite will always be the knight of cups. Mermaid! Remember, right now is your last chance to nab a second edition.
I could say that Halloween is fast coming into view so to celebrate we are starting to put our Jacks out for the season. Then I’d giggle a little. Why? Jack and every other form of Halloween thing we have is typically out year round. Halloween time simply means I switch out all of my summer flowers for autumn ones. Today Jack has selected three cards for me from my Isidore mini tarot. I have decided to touch upon the first one; if you can see it! The Hanged Man.
I’m not a fan of this card. I never have been. I think this can be strictly chalked up to how I feel about the symbolism on the card. Simply put? It bothers me. That aside, there are a few different ways to take this card. I typically think of it as a suggestion of being stuck or indecisive. Though it is also often a suggestion of giving up the lesser to gain something greater. The Hanged Man is willing to sacrifice himself for a greater good. It’s like I really want and need this now! But if I just wait and try to be patient something better might come along. There’s a lot to it. But like I originally said, for me it’s a card about being held in one place. Thankfully right now I’m only surmising it for you and not having to apply it to myself.
For the Isidore Tarot I was very mindful of keeping a certain whimsy to every card, even the darker ones. In the case of this card my hanged man is a happy little gent who was thoughtful enough to strap his hat down so he does lose it as he dangles upside down. It takes a little of the harshness out of the card’s symbolism for me without removing any of the meaning.
So I have a new project for my shoppe and that’s basically using a standard size card for all my decks. It makes the bulk ordering process just that much easier. I can buy packaging supplies for everything and not have to keep up on a variety of different sizes. With that said, I’ve been reworking the Tea Bats Lenormand card artwork to fit a larger card size. In the long run they’ll look a lot better. The current cards are super neat, but there is so much detailing to the collages on them that some of those details get lost.
So I’m about to retire the first edition of the deck and look towards offering the second edition in the new year. The packaging will be slightly different, but I’ve kept all the very best pieces of what made the first edition lovely. The companion book will remain the same. Technically what I use now is the second edition of the book anyway and I love it. I have our last sale for the first edition at this link if you’d like to pick up an original deck.
This is just a quick (call it a drive-by posting) to let you know I have decks on sale now that have been sold out for awhile. The Isidore Tarot second edition and the Tea Bats Lenormand first edition are about to be retired. They’re not on sale until mid-October for anyone interesting. Stop into my shoppe page for more details and links to order. Thanks!! I’ll be making dedicated posts about those decks and when to expect their next editions after these sales close.
Would it be too cliche of me to say, given the nature of my swords suit in the Isidore Tarot, stick a fork in me I’m done? I picked the Ten of Swords today to be dramatic, because this card looks most brutal and dramatic, but a lot of the perceived woe in it really is more just the drama. It’s about hitting the bottom and looking up and seeing that’s the only way left to go. I’ve felt very much like that the last few months.
All the misery I went through leading up to my diagnosis that resulted in surgery did a lot to squeeze the happiness out of my summer. However, no matter how hard it squeezed at the end of the day I could still take a step back and realize that I was still happy for the most part. Much of my perceived irritations in life are ones that I know I can easily sweep to the side. Like my surgery. I didn’t want to go into my fifth major surgery, be sure of that. However, the surgery went very well, I was healing very quickly, and I was no longer suffering those painful episodes. I didn’t want to do it but was very grateful it went as well as it did. It was a little harder to keep that chipper frame of mind when at the end of that healing process I took a header down a flight of stairs.
Now that I’m recovering I’m able to, here too, take a step back and allow myself a smile when I think about it. Attic is on all of my branding and it was my attic stairs that did me in. Our duplex has one large bedroom and a long finished attic. We opted to turn the spare room into a work room for the gent and I. The attic we split in half; one side being our bedroom and the other side my sewing and project room. The stairs leading up to it go through the middle of it in what looks like a closet with a door at the bottom. Well on route to the bathroom downstairs around 5am three Sundays ago I took a trip head first that left me in a trauma center looking like Edward Norton in Fight Club as he lay on an ER bed telling the nurse I fell down some stairs. Meh to that. I don’t need to recap it all here. It sucked. My personal blog has the bits for the curious.
The point being: I was knocked out cold long before I lay at the bottom of those attic stairs in a heap, but I can imagine looking up from the bottom of them in that heap and thinking sonofabitch (in a Melissa McCarthy voice). All the specialists, brain scans, body repairs, and time spent confined to a recliner half blind and feeling tore up really knocked the wind from my sails. I can look at this card and say it represents how victimized I feel by circumstance and how beat down I am. And when you hit the bottom what is there left to do? Start climbing back up. The night is always darkness before the dawn but the sun will surely rise again. So I got back up and dusted myself off, plugged my many holes, and started to trudge back forward. I still give the attic stairs the weary stink-eye though. I’m not altogether unconvinced there isn’t a gnome living under the top step. I just happened to step on his roof at the exact moment he decided to pop up to go investigate the cat’s food dishes downstairs.
So in closing, with tarot symbolism I like the fact that even when you’re looking at something that should make you shudder, there is a place to drag some hope from it. So always keep a stiff upper lip and stay positive. Life is about ups and downs, bumps and bruises, and maybe, like me, when something so horrible happens a little of the brightness comes in with how those around you circle and show how much they care. And with that, I’m back to regular updates again. Hopefully! I’m still half blind at the moment, so screen time is off and on. I hope you’re all well!