Posted in art, Office Life, Tarot, writing

Weekly Card – Time for Study?

Page of Pentacles

Once again I was tempted to try a different deck and pull a different card, but I’ve sort of learned to go with whatever comes up. Here we have the Page of Pentacles from the Sacred Rose Tarot by Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman. The art style may seem a little “70s-ish” but that’s to be expected. The deck was first published in 1982. Hmm. Detecting a theme here (tomorrow’s post will also hearken to that year).

So what do we have? Pages are generally indicative of young people, and in this case, a very studious, serious type. He stands on a path strewn with flowers, with a golden rose growing at his feet. The mountains behind him indicate a difficult journey, but the rewards make it worthwhile. I’m taking this as a message that it’s time to hunker down and do some work, some studying (job hunting?), if I want to reap the rewards (of a happier workplace). I know I whine a lot about my job, and if it was just one unpleasant co-worker I could deal with it. But it’s my boss, the person I directly support, who makes it so miserable. She makes it so obvious that she dislikes me, and who wants to be in that kind of atmosphere?

Another indication of this card can be a new job, a new opportunity, so maybe this is the week something will come up. If you’re looking for work, don’t slack this week.

Good week, all!

Posted in art, Quotes, Tarot, writing

The Greater Part of Life is Sunshine

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. – Thomas Jefferson

Sun Card from the Touchstone Tarot

The Sun card is exactly what you would think: Success, happiness, achievement of goals and dreams. The sort of feeling you get when everything seems to be going your way. Standing in the sunshine, basking in the wonderful warmth and life-giving light. With spring around the corner we should all be seeing more sun (well, most of us. Maybe not here in the Northwest for awhile yet). The card speaks of more than literal sunshine, it’s dreams coming to fruition, joy. Like the innocent baby merrily sitting astride the lovely white pony, sunflowers reaching to the sky, we’re about to experience abundance, strength, vitality.

White horses have been long held as sacred in many cultures, and heroes and gods and goddesses were often described as riding white horses. Even Gandalf’s horse in “The Lord of the Rings”, Shadowfax, lord of all horses, was white.


So, saddle up my friends. Brighter days are coming.

Posted in art, books, fantasy, miniatures, movies, writing

More Miniature Madness

This makes me want to quit my day-job and do this full-time (if only one could get paid for efforts such as this).

Only one shot here, but do go check out the whole blog post at Madshobbithole’s blog. It’s breathtaking.

Bag End mini

(thanks to Margrét Helgadóttir @MaHelgad)

UPDATED 1/27/13: I should have added, if you want to see more mind-blowing miniatures, see my first Miniature Mania and  Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle at the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, and the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute in Chicago.

Posted in art, Tarot, Vampires, writing

Guiding Star

Sorry to be late with this week’s post. I was deep into edits on the vampire novel last night and barely stopped for a bio-break. Happily I’m about 2/3 of the way through the first round of revisions and then I’ll be looking for beta readers to give it a look. I did, however, manage to pull a card just before climbing into bed last night, so here’s our card for the week:


Oh rejoice! The Star (from the Art of Life Tarot) is one of the best cards in the deck. It speaks of hope and happiness, keeping the faith. We’ve passed the trauma of card 16, The Tower, with it’s annihilation of the ego, the tearing down of the familiar, beating us back to bedrock. Now we stand on a clean open plain, gazing at the stars, ready to start over. This is your inner light, your guide. Follow your star. This is the hope of a new day. It’s time to focus on your inner self, your spiritual life, peace and renewal, rebuilding self-esteem, gathering your courage after a rough patch.

The Star is one of the cards that makes or breaks a deck for me. If I don’t like the Star card (and I’m able to see it before purchase), I won’t acquire the deck.

So here we have Van Gogh’s Starry Night, with a fabulous quote from Dante. My vampires like this one very much.

Wishing you starry nights, and your own guiding light.

Posted in Angels, art, dystopia, Office Life, Tarot, writing

Feeling Creative?

Here’s our lovely card for the week, the Ace of Wands from the Victorian Romantic Tarot by Baba Studio in Prague.

Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands is the root of the creative powers, a beginning, fire energy. This could be good. A new creative undertaking about to take off? Maybe Prometheus has some fire from the gods for us all. The LWB suggests “Bravery and courage in the face of something new.”  How apropos. I’m about to get saddled with a new duty at work, one I truly dread (I’ve already seen my ‘revised job description’ so I know it’s coming). Six more months and I can bail. I can’t believe I’ve been at this job nearly six months already. By Zeus, there has to be a better way to make a living. I really need to get moving on the escape plan.

Posted in art, Quotes, Tarot, writing

I’ll Take One World, Please

The World from the Victorian Romantic Tarot

Served up with a lovely side of flowers.

The World card indicates pretty much what you see: Being on top of the world, having things come out in your favor, your plans coming to fruition, cause for celebration.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. — Helen Keller

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. — Oscar Wilde

I wonder if Wilde really thought of that as a punishment. Some of the most compelling moments in my life have been watching the sun rise. It was one of the things I loved about my commute to my last job, cresting the hill in the road and seeing the sun about to rise above the hills, the different and stunning clouds in the morning, or the fog laying in the fields below. I always meant to pull over and get some pictures but never did, in the rush to get to work on time. Plus that stretch of road was two-lane, and there really wasn’t any place to pull over except into private driveways. Alas. Maybe some weekend on the bike.

Have a great week, everyone!


Posted in art, Quotes, Tarot, writing


I had a request to use this deck so this week’s card is from the Baroque Bohemian Cats deck (3rd edition) from Baba Studio. This is a wonderful, whimsical deck of anthropomorphic cats dressed in rich garments, with backgrounds taken from locations in and around Prague. Cats, sumptuous fabrics and Prague, what more can we ask for?

The Strength card. Typically on most decks Strength features a woman subduing a lion, or sitting contentedly with one. The Strength card is about our inner strength, subduing our own baser instincts and becoming better for it. I found a couple of quotes I liked about strength and wanted to share them.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms


This one made me a little misty-eyed:

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

I feel like I’m going off to battle every day when I go to work now. Somehow I have to believe I have the strength to get through this.

Be strong, be brave.


Posted in art, History, Quotes, Tarot, writing


Our weekly card. Sometimes I pick one out that seems to be vying for my attention more strongly than the rest, but this week I went through the whole deck and couldn’t decide on one (although there were several contenders) so I shuffled and cut the deck and let the Cosmos decide what we needed this week.

So, who’s feeling all Napoleon-like? Anyone? Raise your hand.

Yeah, me neither.

As usual, this is from the Art of Life Tarot by Charlene Livingstone. The painting detail is from “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David. Turns out there are five versions of it, and this particular one is called the Charlottenburg. Since it was painted around 1800, I think it’s safe to assume the artist had some knowledge of what Napoleon looked like. So there he is, looking at us through the ages. Of course the painting is highly idealized, David wasn’t actually there during the crossing of the Alps to pose his subject.

Here’s the full version, found on Wikipedia:

(click to embiggen, then click again for the really big one)

So what can we make of this? The King of Wands in the Tarot is Fire of Fire (each suit corresponds to an element, and each court card – King, Queen, Knight, Page – further corresponds as Fire, Water, Air, Earth). Explosive energy, this guy. Boundless enthusiasm. He’s the one who dreams up the battle plans and organizes everything. Sounds like ol’ Nappy to me. He’s a hard-charger, and it’s never occurred to him not to try, or that it couldn’t be done. Does it always work out? Course not. Ask Napoleon about his trip to Russia. Maybe that cold put out the fire. He sure gave it the ol’ college try, though, didn’t he?

But nothing’s going to happen at all if we don’t have the confidence in ourselves to try.

And with that, I’m off to work on a story that I will hopefully be able to submit somewhere very soon. What are your battle plans for the week?

Posted in art, books, historical fiction, movies, Quotes, Tarot, writing

A Gentle Start for the Week

Ten of Pentacles from the Art of Life Tarot by Charlene Livingstone

This card immediately made me think of “Little Women”. If you’re a guy and haven’t read it or even know what it is, it’s a book by Louisa May Alcott about four sisters during the Civil War while their father is off fighting and they and their mother and aunt try to keep the household running. The family was financially strapped (except for the wealthy aunt), and between the painting of the two girls and the sentiment of the quote on the card, it seems to be the embodiment of that book. I think of the girls in the picture as Jo and Beth (Beth was the musical one, played by Claire Danes in the 1994 movie based on the book. Jo was played by Winona Ryder, and Christian Bale played Laurie, their neighbor).

Though the March family is struggling financially, they pull together and do what they can to help support the family and eachother. Never were there four sisters closer and more devoted to eachother in literature (and probably life. Although the lives of the Bronte sisters has some parallels with the March girls). They write and perform plays to amuse themselves and their families, make personal sacrifices for eachother, spend time aiding neighbors in more dire straits than themselves. I think that fits in nicely with this quote by Senn. They enjoyed their time as best they could despite their lack of material wealth. I often wished my family had been more like this. My sisters and I were more often at eachother’s throats. Oh well.

The Ten of Pentacles is often called “the Wall St. card” because it speaks of great wealth, and as a pentacle (earth) card, this is usually of the material variety. This card suggests we look beyond material wealth to other things that truly make us happy. You can live without a lot of ‘stuff’ when your heart is full. An old Russian blessing says “May your purse be heavy and your heart be light.” Well, maybe our hearts can be light even when our purses are the same.

Have a great week.

Posted in art, books, music, Quotes, random thoughts, Tarot, writing

Thoughts as I Thinketh

Well, this was just going to be a quick post to show the card, as our ‘thought for the coming week’ but the quote got me started thinking, as I’m sure it was intended to do. The card is from Charlene Livingstone’s Art of Life Tarot.

I do think this is an interesting choice for the ‘Judgment’ card, as well. The usual image on Judgment is of people rising from their graves, with an angel overhead blowing a trumpet a la the Visconti-Sforza Tarot (Lo Scarabeo edition) Judgementwhich carries a far more anxiety-inducing promise.

But anyway, I digress. The Art of Life Tarot is such a gentle deck, all the cards are designed to be uplifting, encouraging. The Marcus Aurelius quote immediately reminded me of a tiny little book someone once gave me. She had herself been given a copy at some point and was so enamored of it that she sought out older copies wherever she could find them (garage sales, book stores, etc.). The book is “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen. It was written in 1902 and continues to inspire today. It’s now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free here at Project Gutenberg. The title derives from a passage in the Bible, specifically Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I think Mr. Allen can rightly be called the original self-help guru, or motivational life-coach. It’s a tiny little book, all of 47 pages. The copy I have is a lovely little volume that may be a first edition, but there’s no copyright in it so I don’t know. The cover is done in this beautiful pink pansy design on a gold background that was hard to photograph, but it has dimension to it, you can feel the ridges in the gold. It’s in remarkably good condition with just a little wear on the bottom corners.

As a Man Thinketh

The basic premise of the book is whatever you think about is what you cause to manifest in your life. Direct your thoughts the way you want your life to go. But it’s more than that, you have to be willing to change yourself to change your life. Our life is what our thoughts make it, because our thoughts direct our actions. It’s not enough to simply sit around imagining yourself sitting in your dream house, all bills paid. You must make the necessary sacrifices to bring about the change. If you want to lose weight but won’t change your diet, nothing’s going to happen. To quote from the book:

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.

Such a simple little sentence but packed to the gills with ramifications.

I suppose that’s what the Judgment card is getting at. We can transform ourselves, our world, our universe based on our thoughts. In the end, that’s what we’ll be judged on, whether by gods or men, the legacy we leave behind.

This is the last paragraph of the book, and I think pretty stirring:

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this – in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep; wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is masterly; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”

Here’s some nice soothing music to bring peace to your heart, William Ackerman on guitar playing “The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter”. The background is perfect with fall approaching.