Saturday, January 2, 2010

It Ain't Braggin' If You Really Done It

In the words of the Immortal Bard, Dizzy Dean, "It ain't braggin' if you really done it."  In that spirit, I want to share my contributions to the recently published very limited edition (restricted only to the contributing artists) 2009 Tarot Collectors Forum Collaborative Deck.  I am so excited to have some of my work published, and, since I retain the copyright to my own work in that deck, I wanted to post my cards and tell you about them.  Remember, this deck isn't for sale.  I don't have extra copies.  Part of the agreement we all made as contributors was that we did not want this deck for sale commercially.  It was a labor of love.

When I first saw the posts on the forum about the 2008 deck, I was eager to get a copy and crestfallen when I was told it was not for sale.  Only the artists had copies.  Then, the threads started up about the 2009 deck.  I pinged a friendly contributor, expressing my inhibitions and inadequacies as an artist.  Sure, I stitch, but it's a grid.  And sure, I took art classes in college, just enough to realize that my kindergarten dream of becoming "a artist" was not to be.  I actually walked out of a college art class when I had one of my Tower moments:  Kiddo, there is a big difference between appreciating art and creating it.  I resigned myself to being a big appreciator, not famous or rich, just big.  By the way, thanks to Dr. Acker for giving me a grade in that class instead of an incomplete.  I think he gave it to me as credit for an artistic fit of pique.

Thanks to the encouragement of gregory, who uses a small G in her name on the boards, I contributed anyway using my own photographs and a little post-photographic magic courtesy of Photoshop to crop and in a couple of instances enhance reality.  Thanks also to skad1 and BlueToy for turning all the contributing artists' efforts into a real deck of cards, complete with LWB (that's Little White Book).  This has been one my favorite Christmas presents this season!  The following are the entries from our LWB and cards I contributed.

The Empress:  My Empress is a photo of the Sheela Na Gig that still guards the eastern wall of the castle at Ballinacarriga, Co. Cork, Ireland.  While in later years, sheelas were used as religious instruction on the "evils of women," there is an earlier tradition that a sheela placed on the eastern wall will protect the castle from harm.  The story goes that when invaders sought to destroy a community, the old wise woman confronted them by exposing herself.  Whether through shame of fighting with their mother or terror of divine retribution, they retreated and the village was saved.  Sheelas are found throughout Ireland and the UK usually on the eastern wall if still in situ.

My husband and I had a wonderful time while we were in Ireland and I took thousands of photos, thanks to the miracle of digital photography.  The next three cards are also part of our trip to Ireland.

Page of Cups:  A foam model of Shakespeare's head floats in the Mall River in Co. Mayo, Ireland.  In the bright September sunshine, he gazes into the water while his reflection, a bit darker but no less clear, gazes back.  The Page of Cups dips into the subconscious for a message.  Shakespeare looked into the soul and reflected it, good and bad, funny and sad, great and small, for our understanding of what it is to be human.

The City of Westport in Co. Mayo, Ireland, where this photograph was taken is a frequent winner of the "Tidy Town" award and for good reason.  During our stay, there were perhaps a dozen Shakespeare heads floating in the Mall River and they all looked like fun...and a little spooky.  It's a lovely place to visit!

Four of Pentacles:  4 Celtic-style triskeles on a stone column, Balintubber Abbey, Co. Mayo, Ireland.  While these triskeles aren't pentacles, this set of four struck me as the ultimate "can't take it with you" gracing the abbey ruins.  The more you hang onto the material world, the more likely you are to notice that it slips away.

Our friend Vince met us in Westport, Co. Mayo, where he has a home.  Our quarters looked over the peaceful Mall River where the days were just a little warmer than we expected.  While in Westport, I made an emergency purchase of good walking sandals to keep cool.  They turned out to be an excellent buy because Vince gave us a wonderful tour of ruined abbeys, pilgrim paths and prehistoric stone markers.  What a treat!

Page of Swords:  A face melted into the stone ruins of a gothic window at the church at Aghagower, Co. Mayo, Ireland behind Croagh Patrick is revealed.  The observer, the spy, the messenger whose trust is in question.

Just to show that my whole contribution wasn't that one fantastic vacation in Ireland, this next section shows another favorite place of mine, the American Southwest.

Eight of Pentacles:  A display of native American baskets from the Arizona desert.  Baskets were essential technology and this display shows the diversity of size and decoration, plus a brief glimpse into the mind of the master craftsman.

Knight of Wands:  A true relic of the old west from the 1800's, this portrait of a man and his horse is part of the precious heritage of the Pueblo peoples of the American Southwest near Mesa Verde, Colorado.  Card meaning:  Action and energy, perhaps too rash, exemplifies the Old West and while the "fire stick" firearm here is implied, the vitality, glory and grit of the armed man on horseback lights the fire of our imaginations even today.  The Wild West at first seems romantic, but look closer and find a common theme of "ready-fire-aim" so much a part of the settlement of any frontier.

We've been lucky to find the most interesting people and places while on vacation.  Certainly a favorite was our trip to the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation where our native guide introduced us to the many aspects of life there.  Besides this relatively modern "knight" from Ute times, we saw much more ancient Pueblo petroglyphs.  In them were the stories of creation, hunting, travel, astronomy and horticulture.  One is even a solar calendar that marks the winter solstice and the return of the sun.  If you have the urge to travel back in time, take a road trip a bit off the beaten path.  Visit and check out the Tribal Park.

Six of Cups:  Children's toys at the Borland Home which is also home of the Martinez Historical Society in Martinez, California while on a ghost hunt.  In a departure from the rest of my relatively "straight" photos, I wanted to show that memory, especially of childhood, is always enhanced.  Some things are not part of the picture, some things are perhaps not exactly as they happened.  Or, are they?  Is a step back into the past just like a step into an alternate dimension?

If you collect tarot cards and you aren't a member of this informative and fun online forum, I highly recommend it.  Visit and enjoy!

Best wishes for a bright New Year!

copyright 2009-2010 Marcia McCord

No comments:

Post a Comment