May you be at peace, and may you always know love—
May you be at peace, and may you always know love—
Due to a recent upsurge in sales of the Tarot of the Absurd, I have decided to celebrate by increasing the price of the deck by $2.00 on February 14th.
Two bucks! That's right! Not even the price of a Starbucks coffee. Nonetheless, you may ask yourself, why so much? The answer is simple: I need a raise. I make approximately $2.90 per hour on this deck, which was the federal minimum wage in 1979. I live in Vermont where the minimum wage is currently $8.73. How much more money will I make with a price increase of two bucks? Unfortunately, very, very little.
Lucky for you all, new price is still a totally awesome deal for a signed & numbered limited edition hand-finished 100% made in USA tarot deck. Buy one now!
craftsmanship • artisanship • skill • talent maximization
This card is often called the “teamwork” card. However, as an introvert, I prefer to call it the “talent maximization” card.
“Introvert” and “extrovert” are words that describe how one responds to stimulation, especially external stimulation. While extroverts crave large amounts of social stimulation, introverts generally feel most capable in quiet, low key environments. This is because the brains of introverts and extroverts are wired differently. The ratio of introverts to extroverts is possibly 50-50, with most people falling along a continuum somewhere close on either side of middle-ground: a bell-curve.
The key to maximizing individual talent is to put ourselves in situations where the mode of stimulation is right for us. Unfortunately for introverts, the current trend in schoolrooms and workplaces is to maximize productivity for extrovert teamwork: classrooms have little pods of desks and kids are expected to act as committee members in all subjects; most offices are open-plan, without walls. It is difficult to maximize one’s talent when one’s social setting works against it.
It is important to realize that different people have different productivity requirements. It is also important to remember that their are many people on our “team” who remain unseen, behind the scenes. Whether we work best alone or with a group of people, when we work toward the fulfillment of our dreams and improve manners that may be hindering our success, we move closer toward achieving success in our goals. Whether the skills that make our craft come out best in an isolation chamber or at a rave, we are still interdependent within society. The Three of Coins tells us to maximize our own skill and to be appreciative of the teams of people who make our work viable.
The King of Cups was the final card illustrated for the Tarot of the Absurd. My baby was coming soon. Working all day in front of the computer made my ankles disappear into puffiness. I needed a King, and I needed him fast. I cheated— I, too, stole the image of an ancient god.
At first, humans were rather wretched and lived like all other wild beasts. But within one year, a reasonable beast named Oannes emerged from the Erythian Sea, at the point where it borders Babylonia (i.e.: the Persian Gulf). He had a fish’s body. Above his fish's head he had a man’s head. Human feet emerged from beneath his fish's tail. His voice was human. He was never seen to eat.
He passed his days among civilization. He taught the use of letters, sciences and arts of all kinds. He taught men to construct cities, to found temples, and to compile laws. He explained the principles of geometry. He made them learn their plants and showed them how to harvest. In short, he humanized them. No one has ever improved on his instructions. And when the sun set, Oannes retired into the sea, for he was amphibious. After this, there appeared other animals like Oannes.**
Over the years, the confusion of gods multiplies. Who came from whom? Where are the origins? One can trace the threads of mythology’s history like a spider’s web, each strand weaving back upon the others to create a structural whole that makes sense for the present time. Deconstructing mythology— deconstructing the spider’s web— is fascinating from a historical point of view, from a story-teller’s point of view, and from the point of view of those interested in following multitudes back to unity. Mythology is the bizarre sort of lineage where a parent begets a child and the child becomes not just a parent, but the parent of his own self.
Deluge and recovery. Subjugation, assumption, resurrection. In order to better subjugate the conquered people, the gods of the victors assume characteristics of the gods of the vanquished, and the gods of the vanquished rise again. Thus the names and places of gods change through the ages, one god after another taking on similar forms and forces, gods amassed and gods split
Adapa. Oannes. Dagon. Poseidon. Neptune. Triton. Delphin. Noah. Names of gods come and go, but the robes of priesthood have changed very little. Three or five or seven thousand years later, Catholic popes and bishops still wear the headdress dedicated to an ancient Babylonian water god.
… and after this, there appeared other animals like Oannes…
* My illustration is very, very closely modeled after a bas-relief carving of a fish-garbed priest on temple of the god Ninurta (Saturn) at Kalhu (biblical Calah), ca. 883-859 BCE Assurnasirpal II. Source: Anthony Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary, p. 83. fig. 65. Published in London by the British Museum, in association with the University of Texas Press, Austin. 1992.
** Story, in italics, adapted from Berossus, a 3rd century BCE Babylonian priest. Oannes is born of the Mesopotamian god Enki, whose origins go back to the 5th century BCE in Sumer; i.e.: as far back as we have writing.
*** Pen&Ink ilustration by Syrena Seale. Image used without permission, but I would like to use it, with permission, in my book. To see the original image and to see more of Syrena Seale's work, click here or click on her illustration.
Charge! Knight of Sticks pursues the spark of his idea. Ready to take on the world, he charges at his goal. Go! Go! Strong with courage, he fears nothing. Aiming his bow to the sky, he shoots the moon. Let fly! He tucks those with less valor under his strong arm that they might ride. Come ride! Thus, he sets off his journey in haste. Though he has no clear plan of attack, he has glory in his eyes. And O!— he is a thrilling lover with his love for action.
But O! too— he is impatient and impulsive, and consequences be damned! When there is no clear goal, the Knight of Sticks is liable to get restless and act recklessly. He needs to learn about the consequences of his actions. Not every problem can be “fixed” right away; not everything can be controlled. Many things are made worse when one does not take the time to think. In order to keep out of trouble, it is necessary to give this Knight one’s full attention.
I am plodding away at my book.
It is perhaps 1/4 done.
I am doing the easy parts first.
Does anyone here have any editing experience?
I made my first Amazon sale!
Anyone who has purchased a deck thru here
is encouraged to head on over to Amazon to write a glowing review.
With sugar on top?
And a cherry?
A few people have asked me what's up with the crazy hat on the Empress. The Empress is an early card, one of the first ones I illustrated. This was, like, 14 years ago, back when I was still experimenting with which medium I'd draw the deck in, and I didn't even know there were more than 22 important cards. Anyhow, the truth is, I just like drawing fancy hats on silhouettes.
My love of fancy hats stems from early childhood. Did you ever read the "I Can Read" book "Go Dog, Go!" ? There's this one lady dog who keeps asking a guy dog, "Do you like my hat?" and he keeps saying, "I do not." Until the end, when her hat is so fancy, and he says, "I do I do! I like that hat!" Or something to that extent. I haven't read the book in 30 years or so, but it's a classic. And then there's the book "Mother, Mother I Feel Sick, Send for the Doctor, Quick Quick, Quick" which was highly influential in my illustration style and not without a fancy hat (Have you seen my hat?), and of course there were Arthur Rackham's elegant silhouetted hats, and "The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins," all of which I found delightful. My artistic influences did not stretch much beyond what I saw in children's book illustration. In the end, this keeps the deck light-hearted and fun.
But about the Empress' hat, really, I was just putting fancy hats and crazy hair on people. Most of the fancy hats disappeared and the crazy hair became quite tame. The Kings, the last cards to be illustrated, do not have a hair out of place. The Empress kept her crazy hat and her children kept their crazy hair. It's a very important hat.