Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No Good Deed

You’ve heard the saying: No good deed goes unpunished. It ranks right up there with: The path to hell is paved with good intentions. I figure my tombstone, if I get a tombstone, will say, “She meant well.” She did and still does.

I finally submitted my written entries to the Little White Book (LWB in Tarot jargon) for the 2011 Tarot Collectors Forum Collaborative Deck. I had volunteered to help, meaning well. I did help, some, but not as much as I originally meant to. I had no idea that my time between April and the present day would be so busy. Luckily, I had created my card images early in the project and knew what I wanted them to look like.

My Hierophant is taken from a postcard from 1900, a Medicine Man, a shaman from his tribe, enfolded in skins, showing his hard-won humanity from within the animal and as if from an inner glow, the spirit within him showing through that humanity. I portrayed him in shades of plum rather than stark black and white, a color like the fruit that nourishes the spirit and the body, a color like blood, like royalty, like a cabinet piece kept behind curved glass, forever protected like a treasured pearl within an oyster. He is gentle and terrible. He is stern and understanding. On his face are the events of humanity somehow put together as a puzzle to answer the questions of spirit. He is here with the cure, although you may not like his answers.

My King of Wands is also from an antique postcard. Depicting the Master of Energy, my guy, the mighty hunter, has a solid grip on his shotgun but even that control is not enough to prevent an accidental misfire as the gun fires when the stock hits the ground. The Mighty Hunter’s hat is thrown back from the force of the blast, a bit of collateral damage, and he is momentarily thrown off balance. But the Happy Squirrel in the corner of this funky valentine is unharmed. I wanted to show that just a “hands on” approach was not necessarily enough to demonstrate true mastery of energy. You can be paying attention to one thing and something else can go wrong.

My favorite offering this year is my 9 of Wands. The subject of this card is a little fellow in colorful clothing, seemingly ready for a party, but he has a terrible toothache. It could be from some bad eating habits like too many sweets. Whatever, the cause from the past, he has a cloth bandage tied around his head and jaw. His lips and tongue are swollen almost to the size of the moon. At this moment in time, he’s apparently experienced some good times and has the expectation of more, but also he is currently experiencing the bad times. He has paused in his steps along the road, clear that his next move is to get some relief for that tooth but also with a dawning suspicion that his problems, which may have come all of a sudden, could be due to his own actions. Overlaid on the image is the music score to Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, a dance traditionally celebrating harvest. The throb of the music seems to be in sync with the throb of the pain of that sore tooth, like a tune he can’t get out of his head. It is a self-assessment he cannot ignore. Can he go on?

My father used to caution me about burning my candle at both ends, which sounds like typical fatherly advice from his Air Sign Aquarius to my Fire Sign Aries. I of course took a typical Fire Sign approach to this well-meant warning. I usually ignored him. After all, a candle does have two ends and what’s that other end doing just sitting there? Makes a better fire if you’ve got more, right? And if you hold that candle in the middle… well, if you do, it can start to look a lot like that shotgun the King of Wands accidentally fired. So over time, I have learned to try to limit my commitments to what I can actually accomplish.

It doesn’t always work that way. I have so many more ideas than I can ever implement or even write down and save for later. I thought I would have more time this summer because I had not committed to as many events for reading tarot. But I underestimated how time-consuming my two favorite tarot conferences would be, The Readers Studio in April and BATS, the Bay Area Tarot Symposium in August. Throw in that family reunion, a couple of classes to teach, a few readings, work, the house and basically, I think I ran out of candle! True Fire Sign, my first impulse is to ask for more candle, not to step away from any of the activities.

But I was happy I had caught up on some of my obligations, although I’m not sure my partners who have worked more steadily on the Collaborative Deck are quite ready to forgive me. I hope they do. They are good people and have continued to nag me without actually taking out ads to hire someone to hunt me down and execute me. I think that was going to be the next step. And I still want to participate in this deck and future ones. I have offered further help.
Art Postcard Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

The help comes with just a little ray of hope for my collaborators: I’m not actually committed to any big tarot projects between now and the end of the year. And I’ve volunteered for one of the more odious tasks in the deck creation, the money part. I’m hoping they will take me up on the offer so that in some way I can atone for my being the Prodigal Partner.

In that way, maybe my own 3 of Pentacles, the teamwork card, won’t have completely fallen off the cart of intent and we will get the 2011 Tarot Collectors Forum Collaborative Deck published after all!

Best wishes.

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This week’s results for Mr. Goon’s Sports Page are posted. Picks for the upcoming weekend games will be posted soon. Let’s see if we can do better!


  1. Week 2 Picks are posted for Mr Goon's Sports Page.

  2. Well, well, well! Mr Goon's Picks did a bit better this week and we are no longer next-to-last!