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!
As a few of you may know I’ve been swimming through some icky health waters the last couple of months. After some tests and a trip to the surgeon we found out the main culprit of my irritations. Yesterday I had out-patient surgery to correct that irritation. The procedure went along smoothly and I came home snorgled out of my gourd (read that as: They gave me a lot of happy drugs so I wouldn’t feel or really remember what happened) and camped out in a recliner all night in la la land. Today I’m mostly more coherent, but the pain of the surgery is slowing me down a bit.
I’ll be on some heavy meds for the next week or so and keeping myself away from the aetherwebs so I have a little time to relax and heal. Then I’m hoping things will finally be back to normal again. I’ve been working at half capacity and very distracted for months now and I feel like that’s put me behind on so many things. I’m happy I can get back into my sites at full strength again!
I’ve had these cards bookmarked for awhile now and I hope to nab them one day when my coin purse is full of coins and not cobwebs. The deck is described as “ntricately drawn, stunningly unique. Arcana Playing cards blend the traditions of standard playing cards with the secrets of the Tarot. Each royal is drawn with an unprecedented amount of detail in a engraved style. Featuring 12 uniquely crafted Royals and Aces, 4 Major Arcana cards (The Fool, The Lovers, Death, and The Tower), and standard pip number cards.” and is available for a very wee price. You can nab one here.
This is a really nice dark and moody deck that I came across by pure chance while doing a google search, which is strange! Me being a fan of collage art, the tarot, and all things dark and mysterious I should have come across this deck before. So thank you random google search algorithm. The deck description states “The deck takes a subtle and psychological approach to the Gothic. It draws much of its atmosphere from the 19th century Gothic writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Sheridan Le Fanu, Henry James , Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.” and indeed it does that. It’s simply beautiful. The deck was created by Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony and published in 2007. It’s currently on its third edition and is available for purchase here.
I have put a proper page up for my latest lenormand deck project – The Ink & Blood Lenormand. There you will find the rough drafts of the cards that are almost finished. They just need a little tweaking here and there, but for the most part they’re close to the final versions. More to come. 🙂
I have Isidore decks available again but only in a limited number. When this printing sells out I’m not sure when I’ll be able to order them again, but I’m working on that. You can grab an Isidore Tarot deck with full packaging here. For those who’d like just the deck you can pick that up here, there is also the option to add a book. These are available until I’ve sold out. And as mentioned in the previous post: These decks will come with my version of the Happy Squirrel card for tarot fans who collect decks with those. I’ve also listed them (at that link) for anyone who already has the deck and would like to add it to their deck. 🙂
So as I mentioned in my previous shoppe update there is an add-on card for The Isidore Tarot. I included it in the doll-size version of the deck (pictured here) and showed it off at my last convention and everyone loved it. I hadn’t included it originally because I didn’t have the space. I mentioned to a few people that I was planning to include it with the third edition of the deck that I would eventually publish. A few of my existing Isidore deck owners cried foul so I made a promise to make it available for anyone who’d like to add it to their deck.
So here it is! Since there are two editions of the deck I’ve made sure to order cards that have both card backs. These are being printed through the same printer whose cardstock and printing are pretty uniform. I’ve never had any decks that felt different than the others and the size is also uniform so this card should fit right into an existing deck. Below are options for each deck back. Select the one that matches your deck. Cards are a whooping $2 to cover the card, envelope, and stamps. Cards are printing and will be available to ship in two weeks. As for the card going into the deck, it will be available in every deck for the third edition and I will be including one in any second edition orders. Nab one by hitting that little more button.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been out looking for pretty pretty decks, but I had a moment today and stumbled upon the Medieval Cat Tarot. Oh this is an adorable deck! The artist is Lawrence Teng and to quote him about the deck: “Medieval Cat Tarot marries rich esoteric symbolism with truly wonderful artistic styling and expression. While there is a definite theme to the illustrations on the cards, this is not merely a collector’s deck. Each card’s meaning is rendered in a heartfelt but simple way so that anyone can appreciate and understand it. One need only seek to identify with the players in the drama acted out on each card. The characters on each card are shown either in the act of, or participating in, behavior and situations which describe the truest meanings of the card as it is understood in a more universal way, based upon the Golden dawn symbolism as interpreted by A.E. Waite.” Quote taken from his U.S. Games Systems page. And that is where you can find the deck if you’d like to pick it up.