Archive for the ‘Card Collection’ category

Artsy Cards for Eye Candy and Rumination

November 16, 2014

I keep saying this, but this is definitely the end of the Christmas books as I am over budget. Fortunately, as the new and used books roll in via the post, they will keep on giving throughout next year. I am going to learn and do a lot of new things, which I like.

I have an animal deck with art by Sue Lion, but she has two others, one with mythology and one with nature and some wonderful trees. There are those of us who love trees and like a suitable picture. If you’re interested in a nice present for someone, try Sue’s lovely art and words. She has different gifts and ways to display and use her artwork.

She refers to these as “Affirmation Cards” but I refer to them as “art cards.” Same diff. Both images are © Sue Lion. This is the nature-based EartHeart deck:


And the beautiful Magic & Myth deck:


I stumbled across Beverly King’s interpretation of the Buddhist Lojong slogans. She arranged and photographed some delightful nature-inspired images and has a booklet too. I managed to get a copy but she is down to one copy and hopefully will be re-printing the deck if you are interested. Image © 2014 Beverly King.


Bev also cites some relevant books. Oh no not that, I am nothing without a relevant book. So I bought one by Norman Fischer called Training in Compassion which is a commentary on the Lojong sayings. I felt that was geared more toward Westerners and I have several Pema Chodron books I bought recently so wanted a different commentary than hers.


Good thoughts and images: a good focus, is always a fine thing.




So Long John Bellany

August 29, 2013

I only learned about Scottish artist John Bellany through a transformation playing card deck I purchased a few years ago. His work immediately interested me and made me glad that there are artists in the world.


I feel that as people die who were born before the homogeny of the Internet and global communication, we are losing something vital in our culture, the spark of individual creativity. Every one that dies is a huge loss, and takes an attitude and sensibility that can’t be recaptured as we roll on in society.

Change is good but when much of music and art sounds and looks the same, and women talk interminably about buying new shoes, or finding a rich guy to make them a princess, or prostitute themselves in performances on-stage, where are we going, what are we losing?


So long, John Bellany.

So long, so long.




Santa Wrestles with the Allure of Cards

September 12, 2012

I have been waiting for some cards published by the always excellent Dorling Kindersley on snakes. The Boy Scouts of America have a few card decks through DK Publishing with things like first aid, knots, trees, stars, the sort of thing you might use while camping or exploring the back yard.

In June of this year they came out with Boy Scouts of America’s Deck of Snakes. I bought the snake one today. It is wicked of me to spend $9 but how can anyone resist the “Bonus: Snake War Game!” enticement?

The upcoming deck is Spiders & Other Creepy Crawlers. If the snake one is good Santa might want me to have the spidey deck at a later date. Santa likes animals and the natural world. There is apparently a war game attached to this one too. I assume they mean the card game War and not an actual war with commando Orb Weaving Spiders dashing about in yellow coats infiltrating the enemy camp of Fishing Spiders and their minion army of Scutigera coleoptrata.

Santa is also very fond of botanical prints and wall charts. There is a new book out called The Art of Instruction:

NO, Santa doesn’t want the bloody book, Santa wants the set of 100 postcards that Chronicle Books is publishing in October.

Look at these beauties and tell me you wouldn’t want a postcard featuring a vintage educational wall chart about herrings:

Or this one about the Swiss Moss Fern:

You cannot go wrong placing a pre-order for this.

I always do what Santa does; thus am I on the cutting edge of card collection.

Portable Fortitude Playing Cards

March 31, 2011

I’ve been using the Portable Fortitude Playing Cards on my daily card blog, but one of the reasons I bought it was to explore different authors.

I already had Lynda Barry’s book What It Is, and when I saw her in this card deck it convinced me there was something deeper to this deck. After receiving the cards I purchased Barry’s latest book Picture This which is similar but talks about art and creativity rather than creative writing.

After seeing Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan author, in this deck, I received a used copy of the book Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone by Galeano, and several people he discusses in that book are depicted in the Portable Fortitude deck. As well, he covers Hildegard of Bingen, one of my favourite people in history, and the Roman healer and philosopher Galen who had some interesting things to say about wellness.

From page 64-65 of Mirrors Eduardo discusses Galen’s advice to patients who were ill by nature to change their habits. Health and illness are ways of life and your habits can often decide that. I found that a revelation. I might type that out and put it up on one of my walls.

Another interesting fact that came to light on page 243 of this book is that Heinrich Göering, the father of the infamous Nazi Hermann Göering, operated a concentration camp in Namibia in 1904 where two men did medical experiments on black captives. These two men were responsible for training Joseph Mengele, so the precedent for concentration camps was far deeper in German culture than one might realize; it didn’t just pop up in the mid-thirties.

Hypatia is discussed on page 74 and also pops up in the Portable Fortitude cards as does Walt Whitman (page 230.) There are too many details and asides to note here and the book really needs to be read from front to back so that you get the connections as he’s written them, but it is worth a read. I’m going to try and find affordable copies of the three books in his Memory of Fire trilogy. I have The Book of Embraces on order from my library so am keen to get that too.

Considering how frivolous people sometimes view collecting card decks, I wanted to point out how interesting another person’s world view through art and literature can be, and how that can positively affect your life. Card decks are always worth a look-see, and this one has fuel for the eye with beautiful artwork plus fuel for the mind.

You never know what the impetus will be for new discovery and excitement in life.

Periodic Rhapsodic

November 20, 2010

I received the deck this week and the first card hydrogen reminded me of a card in the Universe Cards which also feature photographs from NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope.

They both use the same photograph from the Hubble of the Eagle Nebula; one in close-up. That gave me a thrill as I like to tie together various decks in my collection and spot such patterns and similarities. I then had a delightful time learning about hydrogen on my card blog and reading the entry from the book Nature’s Building Blocks : An A-Z Guide to the Elements by John Emsley and using the hydrogen card from the Elemental Hexagons deck too.

So, the exciting world of card decks across various disciplines strikes again. It’s like eating a fine dinner and making a memory of a lovely day.

I was very disappointed that Lorena Moore, one of my favourite artists, is scrapping her idea to make a black cat playing card deck. However she will be writing a book which sounds excellent, and it is about a remarkable black cat who has probably already endeared himself to many through her blog posts about rescuing him. It’s sad though, I was quite entranced with the idea of a playing card deck.

I recently bought a copy of a card deck I’ve wanted for ages, Simon Drew’s Preposterous Playing Cards. They are full of puns and word play and just the sort of thing I like. He trained as a zoologist and is a fantastic illustrator in pen and ink, so the artwork is wonderful.

Here’s a little play on words from me to Simon from my favourite card in the deck.

And one more little thing, I’ve been having fun with digital jigsaws for a few weeks and this is a screen shot of one of my favourites, a book cover of a lovely book on botanical illustration and painting. I use the software from Tibo for doing jigsaws, it’s excellent.

Cards of the Periodic Table

November 4, 2010

I came across an interesting card deck called The Photographic Card Deck of the Elements by Theodore Gray which I ordered to go with my Elemental Hexagons deck, and my book Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements by John Emsley.

Here is some further information about Theodore Gray’s deck. He actually built himself a wooden tray with samples of the elements in it, and offered it as a poster. Now he offers it as a 118-card deck. If you click on the other link from this page, you can see students using it imaginatively in the classroom.

I thought this was great. I like the way he’s depicted objects made of the elements. The poster would be great to have too. The cards are a big 5 inches or 127 mm square with lots of information on the back.

For anyone who isn’t aware of the Elemental Hexagons deck by Calyxa Omphalos, this too would make a great gift. It has a somewhat New-Age bent to it but wonderful photographs and information on the elements, and another fine jumping-off point for people interested in exploring chemistry and science.

With permission, she has used some of Theodore Gray’s photographs in her deck. It’s almost twice the price, but that’s self-publishing, it’s more expensive. She was writing a book but doesn’t seem to have finished it yet.

I’ve owned this for a couple of years, and I get a kick out of pulling a card and then looking it up in the Emsley book. Find out how Bismuth fits into your day!

Here is a screen shot of it in my visual card database. Click to enlarge.

Coco Chanels’s Lenormand Cards

October 15, 2010

Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie
ISBN 9780061963858

I just got this book from the library and it is filled with fabulous photographs and drawings. Right at the beginning of the book, the author talks about Chanel’s fascination with wheat as a symbol of safety and goodness. Chanel had a card deck that she consulted every day which the author mistakenly identifies as a tarot deck. It is actually a Lenormand deck, and Coco’s favourite card was #10 – Scythe. Although it usually depicts wheat with the scythe it is called the Scythe card.

The stated translation from the German is:

Always a scythe around
Will warn you of danger
You cannot ever escape it
Wherever you may go

For those not up on Lenormand history, Marie Anne Lenormand (1768-1843) was a French cartomancer who became famous because of her relationship with Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine. Josephine in particular liked to have her fortune told. Naturally, the high society of the time embraced Mlle. Lenormand enthusiastically and she often did readings for people with a deck she created. Eventually a Lenormand deck with 52 figures that was also associated with the cards from a regular pack of playing cards was published around 1828, and redesigned around 1840 as a 36-card deck, which is the one we know today as the Petit Lenormand.

These decks are wildly popular in Europe and South America, and people who collect cards as I do love them as well. Yes, some people who read tarot cards use them but the history of the cards is associated with a European sensibility of parlour fortune telling and games not linked to tarot.

As for the playing card associations, this is how my 36-card Petit Lenormand is broken down:

Ace, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King

To relate this to cards in general, there is a 32-card pack of playing cards very popular for playing a game called Skat in Europe, particularly Germany, and a well-known game with 32 cards called Piquet and you can also play Bezique using two 32-card decks. The Petit Lenormand resembles those game decks, but with the 6 of the suit added. The revamp of the Lenormand into a 36-card deck took place at about the time Skat decks were developed. There are many games in Europe that use 36-card decks, it seems to be a regional variant of inventiveness, and perhaps some canny publisher figured to cash in on both the playing card decks with fewer cards and the Lenormand focus by modifying the initial Lenormand deck.

We forget in our time of computers and phones that gaming with cards was extremely popular in human society for centuries. It still is. Humans always fiddle around with things and invent their own systems and games, and the fact that some of these games are still played and popular, like Tarock, which is a game played with a variant of a Tarot deck, is fascinating.

For interest’s sake, here is a card comparison of the Scythe card in my small collection of Lenormand decks. You can see the English version of Coco Chanel’s deck in the upper right corner. It is here associated with the Jack of Diamonds and says:

O, dread the scythe,
that you must when to you it is near,
and hope a friendly environment
will aid against the evil you fear.

The dreaded nearness of the scythe refers to how near it is in the card layout to the male of female significator card used to represent you in a reading, and the “friendly environment” to offset that would be reflected in the surrounding cards. It’s quite an interesting system. At the time I bought my cards there were no English books on the subject, so my book is in French but fairly easy to translate.

In the upper middle is the card from the Lenormand deck I designed myself using clip art. The Tarot Lenormand on the upper left is a tarot deck with Lenormand cards added in for some of the usual archetypes and it also has depictions of the French Revolution which was why I bought it. It’s a very nice deck though, despite the mish-mash.

I’m afraid that for me the image of a scythe is always associated with Death from the movie Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Now he was a scary old feller.

There is a long tradition of associating the harvest with human death, using this analogy for the natural cycle of life, but the scythe doesn’t seem to have become associated with Death until about the 15th century when The Grim Reaper became a popular figure. He was supposed to come for you and cut you down to take your life.

No wonder the scythe has dangerous connotations of dread in this card. All humans fear Death, no one wants to be cut down before their time. Coco Chanel seems to have viewed it with rather a brighter tone, that of safety and goodness, wheat as the staff of life, protecting you from Death.

I think I’m going to enjoy this biography.