Sunday, May 20th, 2012

The Hermit β€” Tarocchi dei Celti “Jacovitti”

The Hermit turns away from a consumerist, materialistic society to seek answers that arise in quiet solitude. He teaches us to honor timeless inner wisdom. The Hermit understands the myriad of paths that people choose andΒ  helps us with compassionate detachment.


I draw one last card from this deck before I send it away to its new home. The Hermit. Why do I let this deck go so easily? Perhaps because I do not realize its value. Perhaps because I realize value is not intrinsic to an object, but rather given to it by others. Perhaps because it makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps because I know it will be adored in its new home. Most likely I let it go because I am afraid of becoming like my mother in her vast house full of curiosities and wonders. For example, there is a room built specially to house reels and skeins of yarn whose twisted fibers will never touch one of the dozens of knitting machines that lounge about the house, each one purchased in state of disrepair and fixed to perfect working order. They are for sale, if only some one would ask.


Last weekend I asked to borrow my mother’s button collection. I haven’t looked through it in years. I remember three large tins of buttons. They arrived with my sister last weekend, eleven tins of fasteners, each tin averaging 5”x8”x8” in size. One tin contains old coat buttons, hundreds of buttons in muted hues of grays and browns. Another contains white buttons, no mother-of-pearl. Another contains mother-of-pearl buttons only. Another contains antique cards of buttons once sold at 27Β’ each. There are buttons to be covered, wooden buttons, woven leather buttons, sequined buttons, glass buttons, silver buttons, and more. Any button, any button. Thousands of buttonsβ€” myriads.


I am in the process of having my tarot deck printed. It is a long process because I am learning about papers and bleed and color and layout and nursing all at the same time. The local printer does not have a tuck box die, so I am going to design a card sleeve and then make a box decorated with ribbon and an antique buttonβ€” hence the buttonsβ€” if I ever have two hands free.


There is always an idea. There is always material to carry out the project. There is often not enough time. Even less often is there enough will. The house is full of possibilities. A room of yarn. A room of fabrics. Dozens of sewing and knitting machines, fixed to perfect working order. Paints. Papers. Inks. Rooms full of books. Where is my mother amongst this? It is springtime. She is in the garden, weeding, building fences, moving rocks, planting seeds. Everything in the house can burn, as far as she is concerned. These curious items are nothing. The earth is everything.


The Hermit turns away from a consumerist, materialistic society to seek answers that arise in quiet solitude. He teaches us to honor timeless inner wisdom. The Hermit understands the myriad of paths that people choose andΒ  helps us with compassionate detachment.

Friday, May 11th, 2012

The Two Moons of the Tarot of the Absurd

Jes Shanahan

Artist: Jessica Rose Shanahan


Strange things happen by the light of the Moon.


The Moon shines light on the inner demons of the unconsciousβ€”
giving life to the shadow self’s distorted visionβ€”
a moon-shadow landscape of illusion
where dream and reality swirlβ€” undifferentiatedβ€”
where the self wanders bewildered and aimlessβ€”
anxious and madβ€” into the arms of deception.


When illustrating the cards in this deck, I incorporated the meaning of the card with a few traditional symbols together with a few symbols of my own into an illustration that attempts to embody the concept of the card intuitively. The conveyed meaning is based largely on posture and human expression rather than on the basis of occult symbols. What allowed me to do this relatively freely was largely my ignorance of the sacredness of symbols in the occult tarot. However, artists invariably have personal symbols that come through in work. Thus the cardsβ€” like any work of artβ€” are not devoid of symbols. The symbols are merely different. My goal was to offer a new way of looking at looking at an old idea.


When illustrating the Moon I thought, What is the most deceptive thing? My conclusion was that the most deceptive thing is a creator who brings something into this world and endows it with the faith that it will be loved and cared for and protected fullyβ€” then from within the realm of confidence of its creation, the creator becomes destroyer. I illustrated this as a mad mother consuming her own child: the ultimate deception. It is a disturbing image.


This action can be seen overtly in cases of child abuse. However, it also occurs small-scale in every-day relationships. We let people down. Despite our best efforts, we are imperfect mothers, friends and lovers. We deceive and destroy even our own selves. This inevitability begs the question, Who is more greatly deceived in this relationship: the creator or the destroyed?


Upon becoming a mother myself, I find this image more and more disturbing and have found it necessary to deceive myself anew. Thus, I drew a second Moon. The second Moon contains not only the illusion that my creation will have the ability to wander into the wilds unarmed and sleep with the wolves, unharmed, but that I myself will be the perfect mother, able to produce such a miracle. This comforting illusion occurs when we refuse to take off the veil of deception and witness reality.


Unfortunately, although this is the more comforting image, the refusal to see reality ultimately does more harm than good. Facing the truth of one’s destructiveness allows us to better our actions. Choosing some comforting illusion allows us to be lead blindly by our own inner demons into the deception of dreams.


Which Moon you choose is up to you. I leave them both in the deck.

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Verso β€” Tarot of the Absurd

I drew a picture for the back of the card.

I have recently come to the realization

that many things in life have the ability to wait

but a newborn is not one of them.

I do hope to get my deck printed relatively soon.

Please check up on me now & again!