Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Archaeology Begins at Home

I cleaned off my desk this afternoon and found a hippopotamus. OK, that’s an exaggeration. I did find a hippopotamus but my desk isn’t entirely clean. It’s just that I can see down to the felt my mother glued to the top of this Renaissance Revival beauty I call “desk” and consider my primary workspace. When life piles up, so does my desk.

Oh, the hippo is a celluloid charm, just in case you were wondering. Apparently it conspired with a celluloid pig to escape the herd of charms I’m gathering to create my own “Junk Oracle.” Some of the cool kids at Readers Studio 2011 had these and were demonstrating how they could be used. My mind is seemingly much like my desk, cigarette burns and all to carry a simile too far, and things pile up for later use. The Junk Oracle concept resurfaced recently and I started rummaging around in the backs of dresser drawers and things.

Perhaps I mentioned this before? One thing about antique dealers’ kids: They have everything the antique dealer wanted. They also have everyone nobody wanted. I have weird stuff. To my husband and house-elf’s despair, I have weird stuff in weird places and not terribly well-organized. If you come here looking for a treasure trove, you might find it, but you’ve got your work cut out for you. This is possibly one reason I don’t have nieces and nephews clamoring to be my heir. That, or I haven’t advertised the vacancy too well.

I love the stuff I find when I go digging though. For instance, I found the spare battery to the Hubs’ camera. Knew it had to be around here somewhere. And good news, I don’t have to re-order one of my prescriptions like I thought. Some of the finds are of more recent origin, like the killer earrings the Hubs got me for Christmas. I like both pair so well that I haven’t been able to put them away yet. And I found some of the stuff I had in mind for an online present exchange of handmade gifts that I’m participating in; and nope, I’m still not gonna tell what I’m making. And the hippo came up.

But that’s not as interesting as the stuff some of you folks are interested in. One of the Facebook games is to look to the thing immediately to your left and list it here. I don’t usually do that because the thing to my immediate left could be a cat or … well, it doesn’t really matter. I just don’t usually do that. But I thought I’d share a few fun things I unearthed today in the spirit of archaeology beginning at home, in no particular order.

A word of caution here: I don’t review stuff. I thought I did once and got a review copy of a nice book, listed here, for a review and realized something about me that I didn’t know before. I have some kind of moral aversion to giving reviews about things too similar to things I have created myself, so I don’t review decks or books on Tarot or Lenormand. I may add some of my personal notes about them, but in no way would my comments be considered a review. Show and tell, yes; review, no. If you are interested in more information about these, though, you can click on them for links. None of this is for sale from me.

• Pepi Valderrama’s Alice in Wonderland Vintage Petit Lenormand. Cute little collage deck that I have read with from time to time. There’s something about playing croquet with flamingos that has always felt a little creepy to me, but that in no way reflects on Pepi’s deck!

Britta’s Wahrsagekarten, a Lenormand-style oracle deck with instructions in German. I really like the fox card in this deck because he looks so inquisitive. The plastic box is handy because I hate losing cards.

• Melissa Hill’s Postmark Lenormand. I like this one but I expected to like this one. It kind of goes with my love of postcards. Melissa does a cool thing with these in that her tin boxes (thank you, again, for a box) have one of the cards glued onto it. That personalizes things for me. I have #17 The Stork which can mean “things to come” or transformation. There’s something about having the Stork that works for me, especially with this deck.

• Nice! I found one of Judy Nathan’s handmade deck cases. She usually has had her lovely items for sale at Readers Studio, often made from silky materials recycled from exotic costumes and her cases are one of a kind and reasonably priced. If you’re going to Reader’s Studio, you should look for them at her table of bags and bracelets; if you aren’t, lick your wounds and try to find her on Facebook.

• A junker Aquarian Tarot with the Star missing. I bought it that way, knowing it was incomplete, but I thought it would make a wonderful guilt-free decoupage or other craft project. I wouldn’t want to kill a complete deck, even if I have, what, 10 copies, right? But this poor orphan was dirt cheap due to its missing card and just calling my name, the ghost of some craft project in the future. It’s also proof positive that having a case like Judy’s or someone else’s is a good thing.

• Oooo, now here’s a treasure: My Mary-El Limited Edition, number 11/250. My LE is made of the majors and 4 Aces because at the time, that’s as far as Marie had gotten. I really recommend buying the delicious complete Mary-El Tarot. Dude, that raven with the eyes!

• The Z. Lismon Etteila Type II, Re-done and Re-issued by Molly Kahn. I haven’t played with this one much but I loved the look of it with its French names along the sides. It's available through Gamecrafters; the link I provided is a review of it with photos.

• The Travel Tarot Game tied up with a baby blue ribbon, handmade by the adorable and fun Jude Alexander. No, folks, it’s not an app! It’s analog! I’ve played The Tarot Game with Jude and some other Tarot buds and it was insightful and fun. This is not Tarocchi but a board game created by Jude.

Kirsten Weiss’ The Alchemical Detective, book two in her Riga Hayworth mystery series. Kirsten is cool, period. I want more Riga.

• Anna Burroughs Cook’s Tarot Dynamics Unleashed. It’s Anna’s approach to learning Tarot and uses the Lo Scarabeo Rider Waite Smith black and white illustrations. One thing I found fun was the discussion of Fallen Cards, which, since I’m in the middle of reading a mystery novel featuring Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud’s visit to the United States, has a certain “soiled dove” feeling for me right now. Anna also includes a section on what cards represent where the Moon falls in your birth chart in astrology; and foodles, but mine is the 8 of Swords.

• My Precious (said with a Lord of the Rings voiceover) working copy of The Cirque de Whimsy Tarot by Carol Hartman Devall. I have other copies. My precious. I love Carol’s art and her deck. Someday I hope to drag her out of Nebraska to Readers Studio or SF BATS.

Robyn-Tisch Hollister’s Crow Stones in blue on white. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own junk oracle with stuff from your dresser drawers and your friends’ kids choking hazards, one of these might suit you. They are less to study than runes but have a few things to tell!

• I must have been in a crow mood (puh-leeze do not speak of the SuperBowl; I’m still in mourning) last year but I could not resist Debra Klopp-Kersey’s Crow Tarot, #13 of 250. I love these hand-crafted decks with great art and a unique and personal perspective. Debra makes these a-MAZ-ing dolls and creatures in her Cumberland Falls Arts line.

• Lo Scarabeo’s Universal Transparent Tarot. Used it once. Got confused. Not sure if I could read with it. Pretty sure the problem is me.

• Monica L. Knighton’s Stolen Child Tarot. Monica put my favorite little yellow warbler in the Sun card and included a custom pendant with my Sun card on it. Monica’s art is breath-taking.

• And finally, my workhorse Rider Waite Smith of fairly recent origin and unremarkable characteristic, except the case is a delightful red knit by none other than Mary Greer!

Well, that was a long list! And my desk is still not cleaned off! Well, there’s always next week.

Best wishes!


  1. What a delightful post, Marcia. I'm so glad my tarot pouch is in such interesting company!
    I love the idea of a choking hazard oracle.. send me your leftovers and I'll make you a bracelet, eh!(canadian content).
    I also love the look of the 'lost child tarot'.
    Looking forward to seeing you at RS13. Yup, I'll be there again this spring with all my pretty little bags and baubles!

  2. I'd like to learn more about this junk oracle! Because I've got lots of junk...

    1. One of the many benefits is that anyone can play!