Tag Archives: Tarot

Killing the Glad Girl

There is a scene early in the film Red Dust where Clark Gable goes to toss a drunk worker at his rubber plantation into bed, and discovers that Jean Harlow has taken up residence there. She kicks the drunk to the floor, and the exchange goes like this:

Harlow: You’re not going to leave the corpse here?
Gable: It’s his room. Didn’t you know?
Harlow: Honest I didn’t. I just took the first room the houseboy showed me. Oh, please you guys. This place is full of lizards and cockroaches as it is.
Gable: One more won’t hurt. Come on, lets have it. Who are you? Where’d you come from?
Harlow: Don’t rush me, brother. I’m Pollyanna, the Glad Girl.

She means it sarcastically – she’s a stranded hooker (yet the most ethical and compassionate character in the movie. It’s a great film.) And I was intrigued by what it was referring to – a Depression-era advertising shill? Some cartoon lady who was glad because her floors were shiny, or her dishes were super clean? So I googled.

It turned out that “Pollyanna the Glad Girl” is regular old Pollyanna, the eternal optimist. She’s pathologically optimistic.

From wikipedia:
“The title character is Pollyanna Whittier, an eleven-year-old orphan who goes to live in the fictional town of Beldingsville, Vermont, with her wealthy but stern and cold spinster Aunt Polly, who does not want to take in Pollyanna but feels it is her duty to her late sister. Pollyanna’s philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game,” an optimistic and positive attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation, no matter how bleak it may be. It originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping for a doll in the missionary barrel, found only a pair of crutches inside. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna’s father taught her to look at the good side of things—in this case, to be glad about the crutches because she did not need to use them.”

It’s all well and good to find some little silver lining in a bad situation. But to paint the whole thing with a broad brush and say it’s a positive – NO. If your partner punched your teeth out, I hope you wouldn’t say that they were a bit crooked or stained anyway, and now you can get some lovely caps. I hope you wouldn’t stay with him and hope to win him over and mend his ways with your “positive attitude”, the way Pollyanna did her creepy old aunt in the book. Would a qualified therapist tell you to do that? No, they’d try to get it into your head that you need to GTFO.

That book is from an era when kids weren’t supposed to feel sad, or angry, or disappointed, they were supposed to SHUT UP. Fred Rogers grew up in that era, and he dedicated his life to countering the idea and telling kids that it’s OK to FEEL things. I highly recommend the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” You can rent it on amazon prime for a pittance – about $2.99. Here’s Mr. Rogers winning over a hardassed senator who was all set to refuse him funding. I think Senator Pastore was raised with similar rules, and he could relate:

A majority of people here in the US are uninsured, or underinsured, and can’t afford quality, certified counseling or therapy. So people seek out reassurance from readers, aspiring readers, bad readers, all kinds of readers, in card reading communities. Often free, from new readers trying to gain experience, from incompetent readers, from readers following the lead of others. The good, seasoned readers are outnumbered by the bad ones, and people will cherry pick what they want to hear, anyway. And this phony reading is becoming normalized. It’s not difficult to find articles like this one https://www.dailydot.com/irl/tarot-cards-facebook/

Reassurance is not therapy. Therapy is, by all accounts, HARD. People who tell you everything will be OK and you’re doing the right thing (even if you aren’t) are not therapists. We’re venturing into pathological things like co-dependence and denial here.

I’m here to tell you that you’re better off with NO treatment that with BAD treatment.

Card reading – real card reading – is predictive fortunetelling. We don’t pretend to fix people or “make everything all better.” When asked what the cards say, we interpret them – AS IS. Death or the Coffin are endings, not “transformation”.

We’re living in time-space, and that means loss sometimes. Think back to your past. Even if you made it to this point without being truly, horribly abused in any way, you’ve experienced pain. People die, pets die, bad things happen sometimes. That’s just the way life is, it HURTS, and we need to acknowledge that, not stick our heads in the sand and go “LA LA LA LA LA – NOT LISTENING!”

I can’t reassure anybody that everything will be OK without lying. “Everything” is NEVER OK. But this lowlife fortuneteller (with about as much respectability as Harlow’s hooker Vantine in Red Dust), can do everything in her power to Keep It Real. It’s helpful – I rely on reading for myself, and my clients say that they’re helped by readings – but it’s NOT therapy.

The only thing it has in common with actual therapy is that it acknowledges when something is wrong.

If you really feel called to become a counselor, here are the requirements to be licensed in your state. “Owning a Tarot deck and practicing on the internet” is not one of them. https://careersinpsychology.org/how-to-become-a-licensed-counselor/

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, leaves much to be desired. 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.

No Time Like The First Time (University Books RWS)

OK, Betty’s talking about sex. But I want you to do this for me if you will: think back…to your very… first…DECK.

Mine was a University Books RWS, a lonnnnng time ago. I had it for about 10 years, from about age 13 to 23. It finally got lost in a move.

I loved that deck! (In spite of the crazy pink ankh backs.) I used to practice while my roommates were watching boring television, endlessly riffle shuffling and laying the cards out. One guy, superstitiously, got scared I was putting curses on him. 😆 I probably should have, he was a shitbag! But the Karminator eventually got him. 😉 All hail the Karminator!

A few years after I lost that deck, a friend gifted me another RWS, a “normal” one with plaid backs, but I couldn’t love it. I didn’t know why, and guessed that maybe I’d moved on? The deck was special for sentimental reasons (the gifter was a good friend, the best anyone could hope for – Brandi/Judy if you’re out there, leave me a comment!) but I just couldn’t get into it the way I used to.

The years went on. I got an “Original” RWS, and I liked the green tones in the deck, but not the lines. (The lines were so borked, some of the facial expressions were changed. Case in point: the Empress.) That deck isn’t really original, I’m told it’s from a 1930’s print made when the plates were quite worn.

But – besides the “Original” phase, the font phase, the copyrights on the card faces, etc. – all of which I could overlook – something else was not right. And it took getting another copy of the University Books deck on ebay for me to figure it out. Look at these brilliant turquoise blues!

And the curious details like the extra rock on the island behind the 2 of Swords lady:

    And the half-shadow on Rosalind’s face:

    Compare the colors. The USG High Priestess has dull, greyish blues and near-invisible greens. But the University Books High Priestess – well, see for yourself!

    For me, there is no RWS that can compare with University Books. Not the Centennial, hell, not even a Pam A or B. The only beef I ever had with it was those pink ankh backs (they bugged me back then!), but now I appreciate the sheer kitschiness of them. Of all the RWS repros I’ve seen, none beat this one. ❤

    What was your first deck? 😀

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

Get. This. Book.

I’m about to advise you to get this book. , Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots But the deck in the image above isn’t an ancient Tarot. It’s a Lasenic Tarot, first published “between the Wars”, and full of Wirthy occult goodness. (From what I gather, Lasenic studied with Wirth.)

For you shoppers (and I hope you are here for something besides that!) the deck can be purchased at Pyroskin, the pouch is from Baba Studios,

Now, an occult deck by a strange and wonderful man is by all means worth study and contemplation. Lasenic certainly has my attention! (Karen Mahony once shared this gem at AT: “certainly many occultists hid everything (Madame de Thebes was killed by the Nazis, Lasenic was questioned about occultism by the gestapo and escaped – in what we now recognise as true Lasenic style – by EATING the charge papers when his interrogator left the room for a minute. The super-efficient Nazis could not cope with this and let him go – wonderful story and apparently true).”

But even the Buddha didn’t sit under the Bo Tree all his life. Sometimes we have to roll up our sleeves, put on our high boots, and wade into the poomp: the dirty dishes, the bills, the crazy lady across the street who hates your kids, the middle management guy who thinks he can grope the help, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

And that is where Untold Tarot comes in. This is the best book for reading TdM-type decks that I have come across. It’s an actual, pragmatic card reading manual. There’s a disturbing tendency in Tarot literature -old as well as new – to talk and talk but not give any useful information. You don’t see that in this book at all. There is no such mumbo jumbo going on here. It’s all useful and clear:

“The Fool shows you what you are not taking seriously, which will be the card he faces.”

There’s history, too, and it’s always interesting and relevant to reading the cards, never dry or tedious.

She separates this from GD/Crowley type reading. This has about as much in common with RWS or Thoth as Kipperkarten does.

If you feel the need to (at least temporarily) jettison elemental dignities, hermetic Qaballah, etc. and just want your Tarot to talk to you like your Lenormand does, this is the book you need.

I also want to add that even though it’s a paperback, the pages are stitched in. Better quality than I see with a lot of hardcovers! This book will stand up to years of constant referencing.

Caitlin has truly outdone herself this time, this is the pip-Tarot book I’ve been waiting for. Color me impressed! 😀

Lenormand Has Served Me Well (& two new decks)

Hello all – I’m here to discuss cartomantic simplicity. It may be seeing a minor renaissance.
Caitlin Matthews has a new book , Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots, and Toni Puhle’s review of it really drives the point home.

Some of us are “system readers”, meaning we have meanings for each card and rules for when the cards fall in certain positions. This has always been called “traditional” reading, which has spawned many, many internet fights with people who try to say that tradition is frozen in time and outdated (it isn’t). But in any case, “system reader” is a good descriptor and I give props to Toni for it.

Even the Crowley Thoth can be read in that manner. After all, you have to remember the paths, elemental dignities, etc. (Which I am no wiz at, as my memory appears to be stuffed already. But I can see the beauty and incisiveness of the Thoth – as a system reader.

There is much discussion, nit picking, and hair splitting on internet forums, facebook, etc. over details in the Tarot – is the man walking away on the RWS Six of Cups leaving the past behind? Etc. It all seems irrelevant to me. Waite’s PKT gives a nostalgic interpretation. Crowley (who spilled the s00per seKrit Golden Dawn meanings, lol) simply calls it “Pleasure”. Who actually gives a f*** about that guy walking away?

That brings us to – well, everything else.

,

What is happening here? Do we need all manner of esoteric noise?

No. There is a brunette woman (me) who is catching flack from coworkers, but she’s staying on top of it.

Cards are actually very simple. Don’t overthink them. 😉

Petit Oracle des Dames bridge sized edition available here The Cartomancer

Another deck I want to mention is Patrick Valenza’s Oracle of Black Enchantment, the latest installment in the Mildred Payne cycle.

Like all of Valenza’s decks, it reads flawlessly right out of the box – eloquent, is this not?

(Look at that mess. I do need to mind my P’s and Q’s, lol)

The crazy thing is that Valenza has stated that he doesn’t read. But all of his decks have that precision, like they were designed by a constant reader.

The OBE is available here Deviant Moon Inc.

Anyway, my card reading philosophy is rooted in Lenormand and Kipper. (A man is a man, unless context absolutely doesn’t allow. He’s not “qualities you should take on”, or “advice”, he’s a person. Yes, I started with Tarot, but it took Lenormand and Kippers to show me what cartomantic precision actually is! I don’t fault Tarot itself, I fault modern reading styles.) Approach things that way, and the answers are right in front of you. *wink*

Get Yourself Sane

0brahan
One can’t be an effective reader while putting on an act.

And by “act”, I don’t mean dressing all boho. I mean being FAKE.

If memory serves, it was the Scots who called prognostication “the tongue that cannot lie” – even if it means being burnt in a spiked tar barrel, as was said to be the fate of the Brahan Seer. Whether this actually happened or not is debatable, but the point is that while there are a lot of liars out there calling themselves “readers”, real readers are not bullshitters. We learn to read cards, you pay us to read cards, we tell you what the cards say.

There are certain psych disorders that interfere with one’s effectiveness as a reader, and a big one I want to talk about here is the Martyr Complex. You’ve all run into them: those pagans who are always screeching about the evil Christians and “never again the burning times!”, those rubber room feminists who accuse every male who answers a simple question of “mansplaining” and paint all men as “the patriarchy”, or worse, “rapists”.

I run into these types often. Here is one who apparently collected over $27,000 from 374 backers and didn’t produce the goods, and is now attention whoring all over facebook and playing the victim. All the while blaming everyone but herself and libeling at least one friend of mine that I know of, which I don’t take kindly to.

This person is not a reader. This person is a fake. Don’t be this person. Study, practice, and above all – Be Real.

That is all.

Counterfeit deck alert

I think the world is aware of this by now, but just in case you are not on facebook or AT or any of that, the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Baba Studios has been counterfeited by Oranum.

This is the REAL Victorian Romantic:
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And this is the fake one. All cheap plastic and loud colors too, a really bad print. Très trashy, is it not?
0oranumfakeass

They did not get permission to do this. Karen and Alex are NOT amused – that deck took ages to perfect.

Karen wrote this:

“Please help us to fight illegal bootlegging and counterfeiting! Were you offered any of these counterfeit decks?

We have discovered that Oranum has taken our Victorian Romantic cards and bootlegged them with their own brand put on the back. We believe they did this over a year ago.

By the way, although they have been informed of this, and have been asked to remove all images and references to this deck, two days later they are still showing these illegal counterfeit goods on their Facebook page and we think, in many other places.Their social media manager has been in touch with us, but has apparently made no effort to remove these images and references.
facebook.com/Oranum.Global/

This damages us not only financially, but also in terms of brand and reputation, as the cards were not done under any license from us and we would obviously never have authorised this.

Please help by letting us know if you have seen, were given or offered any of these illegal decks (you can of course PM or email us).

We are proceeding with full legal action and all evidence will be helpful to us when this reaches court. Please help small studios fight this theft of our work.”

Oranum has always struck me as somewhat sleazy. I tried working for them a few years ago. You have to hang out in an open chat room doing free mini readings and booting perverts out, waiting for someone to take you to a private video chat for a paid reading (who is hopefully not also a freak that you have to boot). As time goes on and you boot more and more guys who want you to watch them snap their carrots, your traffic goes WAY down.

Kind of makes you think the whole thing is a cover for a jack site, doesn’t it?

Anyway, enough meandering. If you have any of the information Karen is looking for, you can contact her through the Baba Studios facebook page, or use the contact email on the Baba website.

And if you somehow missed the Victorian Romantic and you MUST get a copy, the authentic ones come up on ebay all the time. Or you could just give it some time, Karen is talking about doing another edition in a year or two. In any case, save your ducats for the real thing and not this Oranum garbage.

Needful Things: Tarot Talismans, Hallowstones, & Fin de Siécle

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(A nod to Mr. Stephen King for the title – tis the season!)
Just checking in with a quick mention of Carrie Paris’s Tarot Talismans, Professional Dreamer’s Hallowstones, and Ciro Marchetti’s Fin de Siécle Kipperkarten deck. I will be blogging more on each separately as time allows, they’re all fabulous.

The Tarot Talismans are pure genius. There is a charm for each Trump, and the rest of the deck has been reduced – you can determine the rest via four suit charms, a ten sided die, and four chess charms that represent the Courts. It’s all explained thoroughly in the free PDF download available here. The tin is beautiful and large enough to hold a few extra things, the charms themselves are in a small organza bag and more portable than all but the tiniest mini deck. You can toss it in a little sling pouch along with your keys, wallet, phone and a little makeup and be ready for anything. 😀

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When it first arrived, I made a game of guessing which charms represented which card, and it was very easy. The meditating Kuan Yin makes a perfect High Priestess/Papess, the ballerina is obviously the dancing lady from The World. And a lot of them are literal, like the Sun, Moon, Star and Tower.
It can be purchased here, along with other Needful Things: http://carrieparis.com/shop/

The Hallowstones are Halloween/Samhain-themed, but I’m going to use mine year round – it’s my favorite holiday, after all! 😉 They’re somewhat like those wonderful Crowstones, but distilled down to twelve symbols that still manage to give a nuanced reading. Robyn is just really, really good at coming up with these things, they always work well. Even the pickiest of us love the Crowstones, and the Hallowstones are equally good, I think. It’s another very, very portable casting oracle. And it comes with a laminated casting sheet:

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The whole thing is very cheery and playful-looking, but it will dish the dirt, too, if you need it to do that. 😉 It’s available here, also with other Needful Things: http://tarotgoodies.webs.com/apps/webstore/

Now to get away from casting for a bit and talk about a deck. Ciro Marchetti has done a Kipper, not “Kipper inspired” or any of that, it just IS a Kipper, as much or moreso than Leidingkarten or Mystiches. It’s called the Fin de Siécle (pronounced “fon duh see-ECK-luh” – audio HERE) Yes, there have been changes – the cards are slightly larger to show the art, and the images have been done in a way that’s less ambiguous in many cases, and easier for beginners to understand. Compare the Original “Getting A Gift” and Ciro’s Gift card:

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It’s a lovely deck, somewhat more shadowy than other Marchetti decks, both in color values and subject matter – it has cards that convey some extremely gritty elements of life. The deck balances the Gilded Age lifestyle with the Dickensian poverty that went along with it and makes for a great spot-on reading deck that’s relevant today.

The stock is good, flexible and lightly coated. It comes with a printed satin bag and a personally autographed card. When you purchase, you’re sent a link to a downloadable Companion PDF that I’m honored to be a part of, along with Susanne Zitzl, Fortune Buchholtz, and Mr. Marchetti. The Companion Document contains cards descriptions, meanings, spreads, and Ciro’s commentary on the creation of the deck and the rationale behind the changes he implemented. At sixty-odd pages, it’s substantial. There’s also instructions for downloading a free app that’s a lot of fun – you point your phone at a card and it becomes animated – sound and movement! – and it shows you the card meaning (or, in the case of the Courthouse, the judge tells you!)

So it’s good value for the money. I’m told that US Games and Königsfurt-Urania Verlag have already licensed the deck, and we’ll be seeing that in a year or so, but I like these less-coated cards with all the bells and whistles. 🙂

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It’s available here (and you can also see a sample of the app in action): http://www.ciromarchetti.com/#!kipper/c1irz

And here is a teaser video that gives you a good idea of the art:

And because some of the cards reminded me of this movie, here’s the incomparable Lon Chaney Sr. and little Jackie Coogan (who grew up to be our beloved Uncle Fester!) in 1922’s Oliver Twist:

The Roots of Idiocy

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(No, not the things in the photo…read on!)

Comments are welcome, because I’m really, REALLY trying to find the root of this – so I can douse it with gasoline and enjoy the bonfire.

If you’ve followed this blog at all, you’ve seen many, many posts about learning Lenormand rather than pulling meanings out of your ass. And “new thought” vs. “new age” (AKA “sewerage”).

Now I’ve found this old thread http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=98307 (pardon me if I don’t keep up with the purple shithole – also, profound props to you, Scion, whoever you are – eloquent and well put) on AT where some are defending a book by Arrien Angeles that is purportedly an instruction on the Crowley Thoth – with the caveat that she suggests ignoring Crowley (WUT) and goes on to give made-up interpretations of the images on the cards. (Crowley’s pelican, according to this dribble-of-misapprehended-symbols-by-someone-who-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-research, is a “swan” and “the ugly duckling”, the venom is “tears of the spirit”)

Look, if you want to learn the Thoth, read Crowley. The Book of Thoth, 777, and The Book of the Law at the very least. If you still can’t make sense of it, read Duquette. But not this Angeles fuckwittery.

The same goes for anything else. Read the real stuff, not the fake stuff. Jeez.

None of this is news, it’s been all too common since the 80’s. But what broadsided me and led me to mention it here, is that this execrable Angeles book came out in the late 70’s. The shitting down the throat of Lenormand – and all things cartomantic – has a precedent going back further than I previously realized. New age BS predates the 80’s. It snuck in when I was unaware of it, blithely shuffling my battered University Press RWS with Trapeze or BOC playing in the background. A lifetime ago.

Maybe Crowley was right (and not just yanking our chains) and we’re really in for another 500 years of Dark Ages. Say what you will about him, he was still a brilliant SOB.

ETA: Further digging has shown me that apparently, the pulling-meanings-out-of-your-wazoo school of reading goes ALL THE WAY BACK TO 1969 and the publication of “The New Tarot: The Tarot for the Aquarian Age”. The premise of this dribble is that just looking at the magic pasteboard unlocks wisdom in your subconscious, and is probably what set off this whole “learning is bad!” trope. It claims any idiot’s “insights” are just as valid as Waite’s, Crowley’s, Wirth’s, or anyone else who actually learned the cards. It was allegedly channeled with a Ouija board and published along with a hideous deck.

I can only conclude that the new agers and the Pat Robertson type wacky evangelicals are two sides of the same coin and we’ve gotten ourselves back to the Dark Ages.