Tag Archives: cartomancy

A 2020 election reading

This is a reading I did on facebook recently, on the fly. I will quote it here as is, neither adding to it nor editing:

“September 16 at 1:42 AM

It’s early yet, but I’ve done early pulls on elections before and they’ve worked. All of my election pulls have been correct except 2016, and the fault in that one was the way I worded the question – Hillary DID win the popular vote, and that’s what the cards reflected.

Even as sick as everybody is of Trump, the GOP is encouraging more Russian interference. And a lot of the Berners are being pissy and threatening to once again sit this one out, or worse yet, vote Trump if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination. So I threw some cards to see what the actual results/aftermath of the next election will be, and ugh, there’s some nasty ones here.

Boundaries of the spread are Tree + Mice, failing health (hmmmm….) and Stork + Birds. Stressful change, but maybe an older couple moves? Let’s look at the inner diamond and see what will happen.

Snake + Anchor + Clouds + Man + Coffin. It’s too early to say who the Snake is. (Warren? I’d be OK with Warren.) Whoever she is, she’s not going away. (Anchor). Trouble (Clouds, and if you use the dark side, it’s definitely facing the Man) for Trump, and there’s the good old Coffin, the end, finis.

So even if they rig this one, we won’t be getting 8 years of this shit. It won’t be a pleasant time (all those nasty cards) but one way or another, he’s out. Maybe he’ll literally croak. You’re all invited for cocktails at my house if that happens.”

What’s interesting is that I got comments from other readers who are getting essentially the same thing – nasty cards around Trump, and a woman who contributes to taking him out. None of us know for sure who she is yet, but she’s apparently very real.

I could parse this further, but I think I’ll just let the reading stand as is and see “which way the cat jumps”.

Until then, I leave you with this song:

“Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win…”

What are you guys getting? Leave me a comment!

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I hate oracle decks (but not the Literary Witches)

It was the face on the box that caught my eye as I was browsing. I thought it was Charlotte Brontë. And there were wolves and hands and trailing vines…I had to find out what this was.

As it turns out, it’s not Charlotte. It’s Emily, the Wuthering Heights sister. The book that spawned multiple film adaptations and that Kate Bush song.

Any one of the Brontës would be a clear indication that this deck is not here to lead you down the primrose path with affirmations and assurances that Your Angels Love You and everything will be All Better. It promises to SAY what’s wrong, and if it delivers good news, well, you can bank on it.
The same could be said of Toni Morrison. Or…

Virginia Woolf. Agatha Christie. Sylvia Plath. Emily Dickenson. Sappho. Anaïs Nin. Flannery O’Connor. Mary Shelley. People I’ve read, people I need to read. The collection is by no means complete, but it’s a pretty damn good sampling of female authors.

There is another set of cards in the deck, “The Witches’ Materials” Little everyday things to drive the plot along, so to speak:

It’s a substantial deck with some size and weight, and it’s linen. The box is sturdy. All in all, above average quality.

by Katy Horan and Taisia Kitaiskaia. And there’s a book. You don’t need the book to read the cards, but it looks like a good book.

Le Tarot Astrologique

Imagine, if you will, a deck published by Grimaud sometime between the late 1800’s and 1917 or so, very roughly coinciding with the Belle Époque. Imagine the strange old art, the fantastic vibe.
Now imagine it’s not yet another Tarot, but an astrology deck. Yes, there are “Majors”: the planets, ascendant, nodes (split into ascendant and descendant) and Part of Fortune. The “Minors” are three cards for each sign – one for each decan.

And it’s an easily readable deck. I’m decidedly not an astrologer (and if I were to deep dive into that particular field, I’d do classical, not modern) but it doesn’t matter. I can approach this as a cartomancer with my smattering of astrological knowledge, and get a clear reading out of it.

The LWB is printed on extra cards, and it’s useful (in spite of such curiousities as “Synthetically, here is the meaning…”, lol.)

It’s an easy deck, but it’s so NOT new age, so NOT “What’s your sign, baby?” (EW.) It predates all that. It’s more elephant-at-the-Moulin-Rouge. A Having Fun In Paris kind of deck.

There are several spreads included in the instructions, but you’re really only limited by your imagination here. There cards can supplement any other system, or stand on their own.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play around with these some more. 😀

Le Tarot Astrologique is available here https://thecartomancer.bigcartel.com/product/le-tarot-astrologique-c-1927-astrology-tarot

“About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.”
—Kurt Vonnegut

Frankie Albano, please call home

(Disclaimer: the title of this post is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, and is not an actual plea. 😉 )

One of the most fascinating mysteries of the Tarot world is “What ever happened to Frankie Albano?” He seems to have dropped off the face of the earth after publishing his tres 60’s recoloring of the RWS.(But he appears to have colored his deck according to B.O.T.A instructions, not as an attempt to create anything “psychedelic”. Note the purple mountains on the Fool: https://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=186698 and the rainbow on Temperance http://waitesmith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/bota_sm_trumps2-min.jpg )

The first thing one turns to when looking to see if fresh information has surfaced is google. And this page features prominently in the results: https://waitesmith.org/index.php/tarot-productions-resident-genius-frankie-albano/

From it, we can see that there was someone named Frankie Albano making records. The text, however, is profoundly ill-informed and sloppily researched. It states that Frankie Albano and the Deadbeats “released a promo single for Dondee records in 1936, even though the single was originally set down in 1922” But if you’ve ever spent any time with old records, you know that 45 RPM singles with big center holes requiring an adaptor didn’t even exist in the 1930’s. From Wikipedia: “The 7-inch 45 rpm record was released 31 March 1949 by RCA Victor as a smaller, more durable and higher-fidelity replacement for the 78 rpm shellac discs.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_%28music%29#7-inch_format

As we can see here, “1936” would have been the catalog number: http://www.45cat.com/label/dondee I have no idea what the number “1922” is, but it’s certainly not a year, either.

I did find the record on the Tower label on youtube. It’s got a Jan and Dean/Beach Boys flavor, but Albano’s vocals seem to be influenced by Frankie Valli:

A bit of trivia: Besides Frankie Albano and the Deadbeats, there was a Tommy Love and the Deadbeats recording on the Dondee label. https://www.discogs.com/artist/3684242-Tommy-Love-And-The-Deadbeats
They recorded for the Orbit label as well, and you can easily find them on youtube. From listening to the vocals, it’s obvious that Tommy Love is NOT Frankie Albano. But one can speculate that they knew each other, if indeed they’re backed by the same band.

There is also a Frank Albano (born 1939, making him about the same age as our guy) who is the current reputed underboss of the Trafficante crime family in Tampa, Florida. But this is not the Tarot guy, obviously. I DO think the singer is the Albano who did the deck, though. In the early to mid 60’s, he took a shot at fame and fortune with a mashup of beach music and Frankie Valli style vocals. When that didn’t work, he left the music business, and in 1967 he did a mashup of Tarot and Ouija:

Are you starting to see a pattern here? A man who likes to combine things? Beach music and Frankie Valli. Tarot and Ouija. RWS and BOTA. 😉

Then the deck came along in 1968. And not a peep out of him after the deck.

Mysteries like this are perfect for reading cards. So why not ask HIS deck?

“What became of Frankie Albano after he disappeared?”

First, we have Death. And I suspect there’s a literal slant, he’d be very old if he was still around. But I don’t think he ended up like Jimmy Hoffa. The other cards are saying he was around for awhile. Death is also “That’s it, the end”, talking about him walking away from his old life. There’s a finality to it. Next, we have the 10 of Pentacles. It’s a card of monetary success, he made a decent living doing something else, for awhile at least. Pamela Colman Smith’s image is interesting in this reading: Odysseus has returned home, and nobody knows him but his old dogs. There’s a certain anonymity about it. Hiding in plain sight, not being recognized. The Six of Pents is also a card of Success, but we’ve dropped back down to 6 from 10. It also reflects the Death card. So it’s probable that the prosperity of the 10 didn’t last, but I still don’t see him as one of the beggars here. He just did VERY well for awhile, and then something changed and he just did OK. For those who are interested, the Qabalistic correspondences are the axis Tiphareth – Netzach, Malkuth through Earth, and Tiphareth through Earth. Almost like a round trip.;)

All of this makes me wonder if “Frankie Albano” might be a stage name. At the time he was recording, the industry was full of Italian teen heartthrobs like Dion, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, and so many others – including the aforementioned Frankie Valli. A name like “Frankie Albano” would have seemed like a pretty good strategy at the time. Maybe he retained the name during his Tarot phase, and then dropped it, dropped out of sight, and started going by his legal name again. That goes a long way towards explaining why there’s no trace of “Frankie Albano”.

This is pure speculation, but one possibility is that he went back to wherever he came from and went into the family business. I can easily imagine “Frankie” rebelling and running off to California to try to be a rock star, and later, to make a name for himself in Tarot. But when it didn’t pay off as planned, returning and taking up the yoke.

He could have repaired your washing machine, or owned the corner liquor store, or sold you a car, or installed your Aunt’s carpet…

I like to think his later career was something more creative. But he could have been anybody.

Cards and sewing and forums and goddamn nazis

If you’re looking for insights on how to read cards, I’ll save you some time. This is purely for those who have been following me for awhile and are interested in what’s going on. And yes, here there be drama – but not the trad-Lenormand-vs.-intuitive kind we used to have.

I found the most wonderful seller on Etsy! Mrs. Depew Vintage I can never find perfect clothes online. Either they’re the wrong fabric, or too long/short, or no good colors, or…something. So – with some trepidation, I have begun sewing again! I haven’t done it since high school, and I’m sure my first few garments will be godawful. But it’s OK. I’m making an authentic 1930’s Hooverette (It seems pretty simple and straightforward) and even if I screw it up, it will be good around the house. Hooverette pattern

A Hooverette is a great dress. If you get a little something on it, you can lap it over the other way. It’s not like regular wrap dresses that only fastens one way. And it’s got that 1930’s look…people were broke, but they tried not to look like it. These were house dresses that people wore for cleaning and cooking, and they’re nicer than a lot of what people wear to go out these days!

So much wonderful vintage stuff there…20’s, 30’s, 40s…

Ah, the 40’s. Things draped in those days. Women had time to fix their hair, and you never left the house without your red lipstick on, because Hitler hated it and an affordable little lipstick was “responsible luxury”. It wasn’t All Good, obviously. We were at war – with Nazis.

I hate nazis and fascists, and I feel obligated to speak against them when I bump into them. If I can’t get away with physically whacking them à la Danuta Danielsson, I will send them into a tailspin of butthurt. It’s quite gratifying.

So I was somewhat shocked and appalled when a forum I have been frequenting for literally years (I co-founded, left, came back, and stuck around a long time) came out in favor of nazis.

I want to say that I have never had a real problem there, and the old admin, Rif (Jase On Cards), always seemed OK. He seems to have gone offline, though, even his blog is gone. Hmmm…

It was a good place, since the focus was reading techniques and learning, not an AT style “buy all the shit and then buy more shit! And don’t criticize the shit!” focus. Or anyway, it was until now.

Some basement dweller was making an inept Tarot deck, a badly done collage deck. The theme was WWII. It had glorified pictures of Hitler and Goebbels, and lots of swastikas.

Here is my final post that got me banned, for those who are interested in such things. And I hate to disappoint, but I didn’t even talk smack:

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Admin: A couple of members strongly dislike this deck, and feel WWII shouldn’t be referenced for any reason. By that reasoning, we shouldn’t have any WWII-era movies, fashion, books, historical photos, museum displays and so on. Yet these things exist.

Me: I don’t recall anyone saying it shouldn’t be referenced for any reason, FCP.
I can’t speak for Ruth, but my own objections to this deck have to do with the way that it’s done, not the fact that it’s a WWII deck.

Admin: Any artist has the right to explore subjects that are important to them through art. It’s the artist’s apparent lot in life to bear disapproval. The question is, what kinds of art are fair to discuss in a public setting at a privately managed forum?

Many of you know Barbara Walker for her tarot contributions, yet she is highly respected by a larger audience for her innovative contributions to the knitting world. Her classic book “Mosaic Knitting” includes many patterns that are swastika variants. I’ve seen amazon reviews criticizing this book for having too many swastikas, which make some people uncomfortable. Yet Barbara, as you might expect from her tarot and mythology work, was aware of the use of the swastika in other cultures before it was appropriated by Hitler. She was not glorifying WWII in her knitting book yet it made people uncomfortable. I wonder if Barbara had sought book advice here, would she have been heavily criticized?

Me: TBH, yes.

Regardless of the original intent of the swastika, it’s tainted now. It’s like the ‘n’ word that way – acceptable for some people to use in certain contexts, but generally to be avoided. The ‘n’ word is a word of degradation. And the swastika is a symbol of exterminating Jews, gays, Romany, Poles, and disabled people. I can count people from all those groups as friends, and in some cases, family. Why the hell should I be OK with that symbol?

I’m aware that a WWII deck would have to include it. I object to the gratuitous use of it in this deck. It has its place. I think this is a FINE use of the swastika:

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(Posted with a spoiler, so people would have to click it to see it):
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Me continued: And it was well placed Art Spiegelman’s Maus. That thing is a masterpiece. You wouldn’t think that a comic featuring anthropomorphized animals would be a respectful medium for a story about the Holocaust, but he makes it work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maus

Same with Schindler’s List. It had swastikas in it, but it expressed the horrific actions of the people who used them. I think that’s key.

Art with swastikas should acknowledge the horror. This deck doesn’t.

I never really got into Barbara Walker as her Tarot doesn’t appeal to me, so I googled the knitting and this was the first thing that came up. https://gidget.typepad.com/gidget_casts_on/2004/06/nazi_knitting.html

“Seriously, if I saw someone wearing a sweater emblazoned with swastikas, I wouldn’t think, “Follower of the Buddha,” I’d think, “Aryan Nation.””

“It’s clear from Walker’s other writings that she was pretty disgusted at how a symbol she saw as having links to prehistory had been debased by the Nazi party. She hoped that someday the world would have healed enough to reclaim that spiritual heritage of the design, rather than focusing on its mid-20th century perversion. That being said, too many of my familiy died in Europe for me to ever see the symbol in any other context, in spite of her reasoning.”

“The number of people who deny the Holocaust is growing steadily.” (In that sense, we never stopped fighting WWII. We’re still battling nazis and fascists.)

“I own that book and I must not have read through it thoroughly enough to catch it. Maybe I’ll rip that page out or something. I don’t really want it in my collection, either.”

“You were right to put the book down. I’d have no problem with the other patterns in the book, but they’re hanging out at the wrong club. So, nope. good on you.”

Admin: I’ve seen the criticism leveled at artists like Ciro Marchetti and Robert Place, and I’ve tried to put the damper on that here. I remember when Ciro and Baba visited us, and I wanted artists to feel welcome to discuss their work. I know how much time and effort goes into painting or drawing one piece of art, let alone 78 of them, and I can’t imagine putting my work-in-progress out for the public. Aside from any question of content, I don’t think it’s right for non-artists to dictate what an artist’s work should be unless it’s a commercial transaction (i.e. paying for an illustrator).

Me: Art is one of my sidelines. I’ve done oils, tattoos, charcoals…I don’t do much with it because there’s not much money in it, considering the time I have to put in. But “non-artist” isn’t applicable here.

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(Side note, not in post: it didn’t occur to me at the time I posted, but Roger Ebert was not an actor. A lot of critics are not actors, musicians, artists, etc. So what? Anybody has the right to criticize anything they want. All that text was just his way of telling me to SHUT UP. And it would be wrong for me to shut up.)

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Admin: Can you imagine telling Vermeer that he sucked while painting Girl with a Pearl Earring because she should have worn diamonds?

Me: Pearls vs. diamonds lacks the gravity of gratuitous swastikas.

Admin: Art, by its nature, can be provocative and uncomfortable. Some people love the saccharine moods of Thomas Kincade’s “paintings of light” while others revel in the madness of H.R. Geiger’s bio-machines. What happens when we get into trigger topics? What about art that represents madness, or loss of humanity, or an artist’s personal crisis such as mental illness or rape? Apparently this is also a trigger topic for some folks who believe that tarot should not include the subject of WWII.

Me: So make it grittier, more real. Show the piled up corpses. Make it HONEST. Not some whitewashed, happy-looking thing.

Admin: For this thorny issue, I look back to our policies. I don’t believe this deck is being shared at the forum to specifically upset people who are uncomfortable with WWII. I don’t see the artist proclaiming the greatness of hate in the United States. The artist was looking for feedback and opinions on his art — which he received in spades. I think this is fair, and our staff supports the same. Whether or not it’s appropriate for the public will be determined by the public, either in sales or a gallery show.
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(Gallery show??? Ha!)
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Me: I STRONGLY encourage everyone to read this. The whole thing. https://medium.com/@DeoTasDevil/the-rhetoric-tricks-traps-and-tactics-of-white-nationalism-b0bca3caeb84
I’m not saying that the dog whistles in this deck are intentional. It could all be innocent mistakes, missteps. But the deck does have dog whistles.

Admin: In short: dial it down, folks. This thread doesn’t have to be a love-fest, but by the same token, it doesn’t have to be a hate-fest either. If there are any more personal attacks or diatribes, then the staff will ban offenders immediately. (In other words, banning isn’t solely dependent on my availability or visiting of a thread.) To be clear, that will be applied to members on either side of this debate, so all should be respectful and avoid personal attacks. You all know the drill by now…

Me: Speaking for myself, all my criticism was directed at the deck, not the man. He’s made multiple personal attacks on me, good thing I have a thick skin. Yet your post seems to mainly be addressing those of us who take issue with the deck? What’s going on here?

If I am on thin ice, so be it. I like this place, but I can’t in good conscience not speak up.
If I am banned, I ask only that you not delete this post.
When it’s all said and done, I want people to at least know I said something.

Another member: Art should make us feel, think, talk. Sometimes art takes on the negative aspects of these, making us angry or argumentative. Negative thoughts and emotions are a crucial part of a life experience. There is no light without the dark. Life isn’t all sunshine, unicorns, and lollipops.

Does this mean we should censor someone else’s art or their freedom of expression because we find it offensive? Bully them into giving up what they believe to be a work they’ve poured their heart and soul into? If we start down this road, there’s no telling where we’ll end.

TCF will not be the place to discourage artist and deck creators from realizing their projects.

Me: Gregory, I don’t have the ability to censor anyone’s art or freedom of expression. And I LOATHE unicorns and lollipops.
See what I said above, re: “Art with swastikas should acknowledge the horror”, “So make it grittier, more real. Show the piled up corpses. Make it HONEST. Not some whitewashed, happy-looking thing”, etc.

It kind of IS unicorns and lollipops. That’s the problem.
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And that got me banned. Criticizing a deck and saying that swastikas shouldn’t be used willy-nilly in a Tarot.

Meanwhile, the “alt-right” shitbag who created that shitty deck had posted this:

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Some “white nationalist”: Oh the irony that this is the first reply after the last two preceding posts. Talk about ‘on cue’.

I was wondering when you were going to pop up again. But to your credit, you have not sent me hate mail (although you were a few peoples first guess, go figure) because obviously, your personality needs an audience to bash and belittle in front of. I find it fascinating and a bit disturbing that instead of actually ‘bowing out’ you sort of just lurked in the shadows keeping tabs on this conversation until it became too civil. And to be fair, too one-sided, as there has not been much civil and constructive decentive views. But now that you have returned…. well, there still isn’t any of that. Also, as I have pointed out earlier in this thread, there are people in the world that would think that reading cards is an ‘appalling monstrosity’, an affront against god and consorting with demons. (admittedly most of those people probably are trump supporting evangelicals, but hey…) Fortunately, we all know better than that. It is all a matter of perspective. Unfortunately, for some, that seems to be a one-way mirror. Although I do agree that this would probably have been a ‘trigger’ for many in the 40’s.

Normally, when I create something and it irritates somebody, I feel a bit put off that it has done such. But your particular brand of vitriol has encouraged me to step up my game. It does not matter if anyone buys this or not, just that it gets done. As a matter of fact, I think I shall enlarge several of the cards up to portrait size and use them in my next art showing in honor of you. And for the record, I would not want it anywhere near your home either as it is not meant for someone like you.

I look forward to you pettily bashing any other project I might post on here just because this one has gotten a bee in your bonnet. Although in this statement, I hope I am wrong about the future conjecture on the possibility of you having an extreme case of self-righteous indignation.
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See all the flaming and ad hominem attacks? Yet all I did was point out what was wrong with the DECK.
Not the most professional or evenhanded modding, is it?

I can only conclude that The Cartomancy Forum is now coddling nazis, racists, and antisemites. It was a good place when Rif had it, but all things must end eventually.

It’s the beginning of the end, though. Andy won’t be posting there anymore. I’m out, and Ruth is done with the place. There’s a few people I’ll miss, but I’ll find them on facebook eventually. It will implode.

My apologies to everyone I sent there.

And speaking of the 30’s, the US is where Germany was then. We have concentration camps – for children. Thousands of them have been raped and molested. Some of these kids have died needlessly. Babies have been sold.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/27/us/immigrant-children-sexual-abuse.html

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-child-detention-centers-listed-alongside-nazi-concentration-camps-985837

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/30/708388844/autopsy-for-7-year-old-migrant-who-died-in-u-s-custody-shows-she-died-of-sepsis

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/30/us/migrant-children-tent-city-texas.html

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2019/02/report-missing-migrant-children-being-funneled-through-christian-adoption-agency/

This is where we are. We don’t have the luxury of blowing this shit off.
FUCK nazis. And fuck that nazi-coddling forum.

VAMP: the Theda Bara Tarot from Jook Art

Sample of the Majors and the card backs. The sepia tone on some of the card faces is from a lamp, and is not actually present on the cards themselves.

Haven’t we all been intrigued by Theda Bara since we were kids? I remember the first time I stumbled across a photo from Cleopatra – I think it was in Encyclopedia Britannica – the intense, heavily made-up eyes, the snake bra…this was not the wholesome, cute, boring little thing that we were expected to like and try to emulate, no Gidget or That Girl. THIS Cleopatra made Liz Taylor’s look boring! Theda was a different kind of icon, the likes of which my eight year old self had never encountered before.

In real life, she was different: a hardworking girl who never actually drained a man of his resources and vitality, or lured him to his doom. But she had people believing in the persona:

“…her popularity was unstoppable. In 1915 alone, she starred in eleven pictures. Labeled “Hell’s Handmaiden,” she received two hundred letters a day, including over a thousand marriage proposals. Adoring fans named their babies after her. Her movies ran continuously, sometimes playing six times a day.

“Some fans failed to distinguish Bara from her fictionalized roles. One bitter moviegoer wrote, “It is such women as you who break up happy homes.” Bara replied, “I am working for my living, dear friend, and if I were the kind of woman you seem to think I am, I wouldn’t have to.” Another, a criminal defendant, claimed that he killed his mother-in-law after viewing one of Bara’s films.

Bara defended her role: “The vampire that I play is the vengeance of my sex upon its exploiters. You see, I have the face of a vampire, but the heart of a feministe.” But she also worried about the image she perpetuated: “I try to show the world how attractive sin may be, how very beautiful, so that one must be always on the lookout and know evil even in disguise.” Besides, she added, “Whenever I try to be a nice, good little thing, you all stay away from my pictures.”
– Source: https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/bara-theda

And another article, with some outstanding photos: Cinema’s First Sex Symbol was also America’s First Goth

I have only seen her early film, A Fool There Was, and her comeback attempt, The Unchastened Woman. In the former, she’s predatory, rapacious, and unencumbered by ethics. In the latter, she’s a wronged wife and her vamping is justified. Both films could use some TLC and restoration. Almost nothing survives. I’m not sure that there is anyone left in this world who remembers seeing the others. We have little but her first starring role, tiny fragments of film, and the still photos. We don’t get to see her develop as an actress. We don’t have her Cleopatra. We will never get to see her read the cards in Carmen:

But somehow, she is still having an impact. The Vamp type is alive and well, still luring men to their doom in contemporary media. People still emulate her look, or emulate someone while unaware that the person whose look they copied was emulating Theda.

So when it was announced that there would be an entire Tarot with Theda on every card, I had to check it out. Warily, at first, since so many theme Tarots go horribly wrong.

I need not have worried. This description at the website drew me in – I HAD to have this deck.

“For the major arcana, the text is taken from ‘The Symbolism of the Tarot’ by PD Ouspensky published in 1913. This book consists of pen pictures describing a journey through the 22 cards of the majors.

“For the VAMP majors, snippets of this text can be seen intertwined with the image so that only certain words can be seen, and I have found that depending on the question, different words make themselves apparent to me.

“For the minor arcana, the text is taken from the 15th century tarot poetry of Count Matteo Boiardo. He proposed a 78 card tarot deck with the minors being split into suits based on the Four Passions of Fear, Jealousy, Hope and Love. The VAMP tarot deck uses these minors which are well suited to the themes of Theda’s films dealing with such passions and emotions.

“Boiardo wrote a three-line poem for each card, and these are shown in their entirety on each minor card in the deck.”

– from http://jooktarot.com/theda-bara-tarot

I’m normally not a fan of renamed suits, but these are so flawlessly done. I ABSOLUTELY make an exception for this deck! And the text – these are not bland little affirmations and useless new age promises of getting things just by thinking happy thoughts. This is a roadmap for life. Some examples:

The Four of Fear:
“Fear keeps four horses at the service of a chariot
Under a cane, tied to a yoke
It also keeps many in servitude, whom I do not excuse.”

The Three of Love:
“Love, the end and final goal of your earnings
Is a continuous sighing until you die;
And he who laughs one day, cries thereafter for a year.”

The Four of Jealousy:
“Jealousy, when it comes,
it is better not to think that you can fight it,
Because it wins everyone:
But it is good to be able to tolerate it.”

The Four of Hope:
“Hope, when it comes together with reason
Is the sweetest food for the heart that wears it;
If it comes another way, it brings more suffering.”

A sample of the Minors from each suit.

One would expect a theme deck about an actress to be shallow and kind of dumb. That is emphatically NOT the case here. This deck is deep. There are references to mythology – it would be fascinating to read alongside the Grand Jeu AstroMythological Lenormand (it’s one of those rare decks that could definitely hold its own with that one.) Or just by itself.

The calligraphy and photos are exquisite. You get a unique hand crafted box and accordion-style booklet. The card backs are in the style of the early 20th century Art Deco Egyptian Revival that was so popular in Theda’s time.

I can’t find a single thing to criticize about this deck. I can’t put it away. I may have to get a backup copy.

And I am on tenterhooks waiting for their wet plate collodion process deck! http://jooktarot.com/wet-plate-process

Jook Art is a father – daughter collaboration, Steve and Katherine, and they are superbly good. You can get a copy of the Vamp Tarot here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/694810115/vamp-the-theda-bara-tarot-self-published?ref=shop_home_active_1&crt=1

Box, deck, and extras – all the loot.

You can watch or download A Fool There Was here https://archive.org/details/A_Fool_There_Was

Or just watch right here. 😉

And The Unchastened Woman

Finding a Lost Object with Lenormand

I misplaced a pocket knife the other day.

It’s just a little toothpick-style Buck, it’s inexpensive, and I have others. But it’s the kind of thing I use for a lot of little jobs, and I miss it again and again when I don’t have it.

It had to be in the house somewhere. I searched the room where I last used it (the kitchen, where I’d opened something with it), and the little box in my bedroom where I keep it handy, along with a couple of heavy-use decks and a bit of jewelry. Nothing.

So I pulled the three cards shown above, asking “Where is my Buck toothpick knife?” I didn’t preselect any cards (though I suppose you could do a Lost Man using the Scythe for a pocket knife), I just wanted something small and clear. The key to using the cards to find a location in your house is simplifying everything: keep the spread small and uncomplicated, and remember that the interpretation is often literal, or almost literal. It’s so simple, it can be tricky. I’ve seen that time and time again.

The simplicity of this type of reading is my reason for posting it. People post these lost object readings all the time, but I really wanted to underline how they need to be pared down to a very basic interpretation. It’s not like reading on most other subjects. It’s more like the cards are trying to show you a little snapshot of the location.

My first thought was the kitchen. Clover could be the little african violets on the windowsill, and Bear sometimes relates to food – but it tends to be absorption rather than cooking, and besides, I’d already searched the kitchen. So I turned my full attention to the center card, the Bear.

The only literal bear thing here is a teddy bear that my grandson left. It’s on a high shelf where my dog can’t reach it, awaiting his return. The shelf is in a room I use for storage. I installed a closet pole under it, and I have some dresses hanging there.

Then I remembered: I wore a flannel dress for a short trip to the store the other day. I changed into an older dress when I got home, since I had housework to do. The flannel was still clean – I only had it on for about 30 minutes – so I hung it back up.

The flannel dress was hanging almost directly below the teddy (Bear). It was in between a red dress (Heart) and a green dress (Clover). And the knife was in the pocket.

A flowing narrative about a brief romantic encounter with a burly man (or minor luck for your beloved mother, if you read the Bear as female), or a love of high finance and a little luck playing the market, or whatever, is appropriate in certain contexts. But forget all that when you can’t find something. Sometimes a heart is just red, clover is just green, and a bear is just a bear.