New deck interview: Key to the Kingdom


Since I want to try out the Key to the Kingdom transformation cards but don’t have any pressing question right now, I’m going to do a new deck interview again (it’s been a while – the last one I did was in October, with the Margarete Petersen deck!).

Since the cards are accompanied by a short verse each (printed in the sturdy little companion book), this will be a kind of carto-bibliomancy reading – which sounds exactly like my cup of tea!

What do I need to learn from you during this week?Four of Clubs

Four keys in four colors (red, blue, yellow, gray) form a diamond-shaped frame on a black background. Inside the frame is a little picture of a monkey crouching on the grass in front of a sunset (or sunrise). I’m thinking of my “monkey brain” here, of the part of my mind that keeps jumping from topic to topic, question to question, idea to idea in a restless, endless quest for input, inspiration, and also plain old entertainment. The four keys seem to really limit the area in which the monkey can move, so I take this to mean I should focus on this deck itself and not drift off into vaguely related explorations of the internet (no matter how wonderful they are at times). Four is also a stable number for me, which is emphasized by the solid shape the four keys make. So this card calls for a stable and limited focus this week – and I assume that doesn’t just go for the times when I actually use the deck.

I am a gold lock.
I am a gold key.

I am a silver lock.
I am a silver key.

I am a brass lock.
I am a brass key.

I am a lead lock.
I am a lead key.

I am a monk lock.
I am a monkey.

~ author unknown

Four metals, fitting together lock and key. And then religion/spirituality (monk) and playful curiosity (monkey) fitting together the same way. This is perfect. I am indeed at my most spiritual when I am playing and exploring (for the record: that’s not the only way for me to be spiritual, but it’s an important one). Then I can experience flow, forget the time, feel at home in the world, and be challenged in just the right way. Boundaries dissolve, and the present is the only time that counts. Needless to say this only works when there is effortless focus (meaning the focus itself doesn’t require any effort, although the activity at hand may well be strenuous).

How can I learn best from you?Six of Spades

This card shows a skull with six spade-shaped openings for eye sockets, nose and teeth. It has been entered by a centipede which now looks out curiously and maybe a little surprised through one of the eye sockets. I don’t much like real-life centipedes, but this one is pretty cute. I imagine it moves like the purple “bad guy” monster Randall from the Pixar animation film Monsters. Inc.

Centipedes also remind me of the Devil card of the Ironwing Tarot, where there is a huge centipede that reads as a spiritual intrusion into someone’s body to me. This is probably due to the fact that the Ironwing card came up in connection with my father’s cancer that he died of exactly three years ago today.

Okay, but what does it all mean here? My various associations make me think I would learn best from this deck by not being afraid of odd connections and seemingly random juxtapositions but by instead letting it take me wherever it wants to go.

Life is jest,
And all things show it;
I thought so once,
But now I know it.

~ John Gay

Once again, I’m amazed at how well the verse fits with what I saw in the card image before I even read it. Yes, it is entirely possible to associate a silly animated movie with my father’s death and not find it disrespectful in the least. In fact, I think he would have appreciated it, since he did have a quick wit and a great, dry humor. By assuming an open-minded, curious attitude (look at the expression on the centipede’s face!), even scary things can become interesting and not-so-scary after all (case in point: seeing and touching my father’s dead body just an hour or so after he died).

Our future relationship?Ten of Diamonds

A snake with a diamond pattern lies in an S-shape on the ground. Snakes are important to me, and have been so in various ways for at least twenty years, so I take this to mean the deck will be a keeper. The letter S also suggests writing and language, which means I might even use the deck as prompts for creative writing at one point.

Barefoot I went and made no sound;
The earth was hot beneath:
The air was quivering around,
The circling kestrel eyed the ground
And hung above the heath.

There in the pathway stretched along
The lovely serpent lay:
She reared not up the heath among,
She bowed her head, she sheathed her tongue,
And shining stole away.

Fair was the brave embroidered dress,
Fairer the gold eyes shone:
Loving her not, yet did I bless
The fallen angel’s comeliness;
And gazed when she had gone.

~ Ruth Pitter

I hope it doesn’t sound too arrogant when I say I believe this is how some people regard me. They see that I have fallen away from what they consider good and proper, but they also can’t deny the beauty and allure of that. And – back to my own perspective – sometimes it’s unnecessary to fight when one can just as well leave and do one’s own thing elsewhere.


Oh yes. I was right in buying this deck – it really is as much of a gem as I suspected. Plus, the cards have a really nice size, they are easy to shuffle, and their glossiness serves to bring out the images well. It’ll be interesting to see how they hold up to frequent shuffling. The companion book is also really nice. It has color illustrations of all card images in their original size, and the verse on the opposite page. It is neatly bound into a sturdy hardback cover and even comes with a red ribbon page marker attached. The only thing I don’t like as much is the dust jacket (but then I almost never like these much, even though I see their purpose), and that’s really me looking very hard for something to complain about.

Great first impression, Key to the Kingdom!


4 responses »

  1. Yes, it definitely sounds like a very interesting deck. I’ll have to watch out for that one. Sorry to hear about your father though. I’m really bad at coping with losses. My parents are both still alive but my father will turn 80 next year and my mother is 77 and both of them have health problems. I know that they are not going to be around forever but I dread the thought. I lost an uncle and my cousin/godmother to cancer. I found it very hard to deal with. But I like your take on things, thinking how your father would appreciate with you not being all grave and serious all the time. Actually it’s the same with my parents. Coming from the Rhine area they both pride themselves on their sense of humour. Perhaps that’s a good attitude to assume. When my nan died it was different. She was 96 and I knew she wanted to leave. She also had a wicked sense of humour plus she was the one who got me interested in tarot in the first place as she liked to “read” with playing cards (she did that just for fun).
    I can also relate to what you say about the playful side of spirituality. I find it very liberating. I mean, most people would think I’m totally crazy if I told them I once removed a blockage in the shape of an evil garden gnome with grappling hooks from my best friend’s back. We often laugh about it but it’s how she visualised the blockage and it helped us get it out. :D

  2. Oh I love the quirky artwork on this deck and its poems for each card. The way you read with these seems to flow so easily with lot of insights. And I agree – that centipede must be related to Randall!

  3. Wow what a find! Love the poems and the cards look great too. Thanks for posting,

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