Tag Archives: international icon

Looking back on five months of “decks of the week”


For my 100th public post on this blog I’m going to look back on the “deck of the week” project that was the reason I started blogging here again pretty much exactly five months ago. So far, I have used 21 decks in 22 weeks (17 of them have been tarots, the remaining four were oracles, one of which was a non-card oracle). I think this is totally worth a toast!

Those have been 22 very different weeks in terms of my tarot-related activities.

Sometimes, I did a lot of readings in one week, like with the Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA, Waking the Wild Spirit, or Deviant Moon (unfortunately, I can’t show you most of the readings here so you just have to believe me). The one thing I’ve stopped pretty soon is doing daily draws/readings. I just don’t have that many questions. As a result I currently don’t participate in exchanges all that much, and I also don’t read much for myself. I’m also doubting that readings are as interesting to the readers of this blog as they are for me (and hopefully my sitters). I may eventually go on to borrow the idea of Tarot Bonkers to read in second person or the one of Sharyn’s daily draws with more or less “impersonal” associations (and an interesting quote). Or I may try and read for fictional/historic characters that are somewhat well-known like Satu did a while ago (I especially liked the ones for Eve and Voldemort).

In other weeks I felt more like contemplating a certain aspect of the deck as a whole (e.g. gender in the Deviant Moon, flora and fauna in Waking the Wild Spirit, Hubble space telescope photos that have been used in the Quantum, the Classic suits, or relationships between men during the Renaissance inspired by the Da Vinci Enigma). That has always been fun, especially since all of these studies happened because I suddenly got curious about something…

In yet other weeks I’ve done experiments or exercises with the respective deck (e.g. rearrange furniture and write a Halloween story with the Margarete Petersen, read about Star Trek episodes with the Balbi, do a reverse tarot reading with the Songs for the Journey Home, try out unusual reading methods with the Da Vinci Enigma, chat away with the Silicon Dawn). I’ve also enjoyed those a lot, mainly because I like trying new things. I’ve come across several other great ideas for future experiments on other people’s tarot blogs, so I may use a few of them eventually.

Sometimes I read a lot of background material (like with the Discordian Deck and a little with the Da Vinci Enigma), and sometimes I read nothing but the cards. Often, I just explored individual cards and decks on the side while I was doing a reading (usually for myself). I’m aware that combined readings/card reflections aren’t the best way to present insights, so this is another aspect of this blog that may benefit from some changes.

And sometimes I just blinged the hell out of a card or two (Deviant Moon, Thoth [not a “deck of the week” yet], International Icon Tarot). I’m sure there will be other candidates for that approach.

I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t as happy as I thought when I had the chance to reconnect with old favorites (e.g. Housewives, Ironwing). This led me to the decision to focus mostly on my (nearly) unused decks in my selections for this project. I was also surprised – once again – how well I could read with non-scenic pips (Balbi, Classic, Oswald Wirth, and also the Discordian Deck), and how much I enjoyed that. Finally, I was surprised by how much I liked decks that I felt hesitant about at first (Balbi, Discordian), and how right I was about thinking I’d enjoy others (Key to the Kingdom cards, Silicon Dawn).

I once used two decks in one week (Discordian, Fantastic Menagerie) because I feared one of them (the Discordian) wouldn’t read well enough for me, but quickly noticed that not only had I erred in my assessment of this deck, I also didn’t have the time to look at two decks in just one little week. I also used one deck for three weeks (Silicon Dawn) because I had been looking forward to exploring it during my holidays and then extended the exploration for the entire duration of my time off work. I don’t plan to repeat this with another deck, but the Silicon Dawn was definitely worth it.

The main “trick” for me with this project was not to allow myself to use a different deck just because I don’t like the one I’ve picked for the week (exceptions were my short interlude with the Story Cubes, going back to the tarot deck of the previous week to fulfill an exchange agreement that I couldn’t do with an oracle, or one reading with an erotic deck for an exchange where only those decks were allowed). I found that I can get along with nearly every deck for a week (the Celtic Wisdom Sticks  were the disastrous exception, closely followed by the mess of the Northern Shadows – but I still stuck with each them until the week was over).

I have decided to let go of four of the decks I’ve used (Waking the Wild Spirit, Quantum, Celtic Wisdom Sticks, Tarot of Northern Shadows). I most regret not clicking at all with the Northern Shadows, but pretty pictures really don’t make up for incredibly sloppy research and egomania. I’m actually really glad that I managed to pick some decks for the trade/sale list since I don’t consider myself a collector for collecting’s sake. My idea still is to have a library of working decks, and I’d rather have a small one of tried and tested ones than an ever-extending one of decks I barely get out in a year. I have also acquired seven new tarots/oracles (most of them from fellow Aeclectic members) since I started the project, three of which I’ve already used.

The most-clicked post (excluding the Pagan Blog Project ones) was Bling the Deviant Moon! and the least-clicked one was Why “Deck of the Week”?. The Deviant Moon is one of the most searched-for decks, closely followed by the Margarete Petersen. Most people come here by way of a Google image search, but I hope that some of them also stay around for some of the text.

So far, the project has been totally worthwhile. It kept me using my decks and it made me explore new ones that I hadn’t used before. A week seems a good time to get at least a basic idea of a deck and its compatibility with me, so I’ll stick to that schedule. Anything less would be stressful, and anything more would make me procrastinate because there’d always be next week… Since I’m easily bored, a good deal of variety is key to sticking with something for an extended period of time. I’ve found a lot of interesting things to do with a tarot (or oracle) deck, and I’m sure I won’t run out of ideas anytime soon.

I also have a question or two for you readers (feel free to answer any or all of them):

  • What kinds of tarot/oracle posts on this blog do you like best? Why? (Excluding the ones for the Pagan Blog Project, because those are a completely different category of writing for me.)
  • How do you feel about the posts from the “reading” category, especially the ones that aren’t also “experiments”? Do you like them? Why (not)?
  • Would you like to see some other kind of tarot or oracle-related posts that I haven’t written so far? (I’m not saying I’ll fulfill any wishes but you may just inspire me!)

Please feel free to add any other comments you’d like to make about this project and my way of blogging about it. I’m very curious! I’d also like to get a better idea of your interests and preferences so I can better judge what of my writing is of public interest and what is better kept behind the scenes. After all, I don’t want to bore you!

And now all I have to say for today is: Good night!


The good thing is: I know where it hurts


I haven’t been feeling to well emotionally the past few days, so here’s a spread to look at some good things. I found it on AT but originally it’s from Know Your Tarot.

I’m still using the International Icon Tarot because I didn’t get around to choosing a new deck last weekend and didn’t yet do much with the deck anyway. I’m taking the spread positions as pointers to how things are right now for me.

1 – 2 – 3

1. AbundanceFive of Wands

2. Sources of loveTen of Pentacles

3. Silver liningsThree of Swords

I’m not sure if this is a cruel joke the deck is playing on me, but this doesn’t look like a very comforting spread to me…

I certainly have an abundance of conflict, mostly within myself but also with the world around me. It’s not so much that I have fights with individual people (although I did sort of fight with my mother over the holidays) but that I perceive myself to be in conflict with the world as it is. I don’t seem to find the right place for me to be me. But as I said, most of the conflict is within myself, with different “voices” arguing against each other about way too many things at once. It’s mostly making me crazy right now, because I can’t seem to find some solid ground to stand on and make up my mind. Oh well, maybe I will appreciate the polyphony again sometime soon… And all that anger? At least it’s energy.

Well, this is one of those family cards… My most recent experience with my biological family wasn’t all too pleasant, so I didn’t quite feel the love. I’m not saying it’s not there but we really don’t seem to speak the same language when it comes to expressing that we care for each other. Instead of time, understanding, and honest communication (things that I rate very highly as expressions of love) I always seem to get money from my mother (her favorite way of expressing love but unfortunately the one I appreciate the least – material gifts just don’t mean much to me).* At any rate, at least money is not an area of worry for me right now (which is more than many other people can say at this time). And maybe these people on the other side of the doorway are actually caring for me, and I just don’t feel it right now.

* My ideas about “love languages” here are based on Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, a book which I much recommend  (if you either don’t mind his strong Christian slant that only talks about heterosexual, monogamous marriages as love relationships or are willing and able to translate it into your own relationship life that may be none of these things – the basic ideas certainly are worth the effort).

And the silver lining to all of this is heartbreak? Now that sounds great… *rolling eyes* Okay, maybe this means that the pain is now out in the open, it has been expressed (if only mostly to myself and therefore not necessarily been heard), and now the worst is over? Maybe taking the time to really cry about a whole bunch of things has been the first step forward and out of this mess. This card also reminds me of a blog post I read earlier today. My AT friend Nisaba Merrieweather wrote about pain and why it’s good to feel it. She says we are more gentle with ourselves when we actually feel the pain instead of blocking it out and that we therefore heal more quickly. I think she has a point there (but I still think blocking out the pain can make a lot of sense if you do it temporarily and still remember that you’re not at the top of your strength).

I think I’ll listen to my sore back now and go offline to have a relatively early night. Even though this reading didn’t cheer me up the way I hoped it would. But maybe that’s the other pain I need to feel right now.

Bling the International Icon!


I mostly had a Four of Cups kind of day today (thanks, hormones…), so when I came home tonight, I felt like playing. What better way to do that than blinging a few more cards?!

When I looked through the International Icon Tarot, the weirdly emphasized scepter of the Empress stood out to me. Suddenly it looked like a microphone, and that’s where it all started… Now I had to find someone for whom she would hold the mic, and then there was that guitar, which seemed even better, because you can’t have the Empress just sit there and serve someone else, right? As you can see, there isn’t much left of the original microphone idea by now, but that’s probably for the best.

The interpretation of this blingified version? Classic Empress, of course: This card is all about femininity, boundless creativity, female power, a bit of chaos and overabundance, and generally ruling the masses.

Imagine it is 1992 and she is the all-female rock band L7 (except I believe L7 would never have tolerated a disco ball) at an outdoor music festival I went to with my best friend (back when people always thought we were a couple but we never were). This was the first time ever I saw a bunch of women rock a crowd like that – needless to say I was massively impressed and went on to get all their records on tape. Fast and Frightening still is one of my all-time favorite songs. Here’s the official video (to get an impression of how they were on stage check out this video from 1990).

After that, I looked for another card to bling, and since I had discovered the wig section of Blingee.com, I decided to put some strange wigs onto some card characters.

What can I say? There were mostly wigs with long, feminine hair, and then I thought of how we always complain that the Lovers and Two of Cups are so heterosexual all the time, and then it all turned into a lesbian version of paper dolls…

I would have preferred to make a nice butch and femme couple (since that’s how I rock), but there weren’t any useful pants, the short hair wigs didn’t fit the three-quarter position of the head, and it probably wouldn’t have looked the way it feels anyway.

So I settled for these two. Thank goodness someone started associating rainbow colors with gayness a long time ago, because that made it all so much more kitschy so much more easily! I’m especially delighted with the image of Applejack and Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic I came across right at the end – a butchy outdoor pony and a nerdy femme one make the perfect subtext to this otherwise rather mainstreamy image of lesbian love. More so since the character on the left had that braided wig and hat combo, and the one on the right was clad in pink things already.

Serendipity works in the strangest ways!

And my mood has improved, too.

New Deck: International Icon Tarot (with Happy Squirrel card)


It’s time to choose another deck! Since I’m a bit late this week and since I’ll be at my mother’s next weekend, my week will run from Sunday to Sunday/Monday this time.

This is what the random number generator offers:

Since I’ll be travelling, the Shining Tribe Tarot is out, due to its massive companion book. The Light and Shadow Tarot looks great but may need more time and attention than I’ll be able to give it next week. Therefore, the International Icon Tarot it is. (You may remember it from this post.)

I think I first came across this deck when I was going through Aeclectic Tarot‘s massive review archives in search for the deck to reconnect me with tarot after a break of 10+ years. The International Icon wasn’t that deck, though (the honor went to the World Spirit Tarot). The next thing I remember is reading about some AT members with huge tarot collections who used this deck for a year-long period of reading with one deck only (the idea became known as the “One Deck Wonder”). Even later, I finally bought my copy from another AT member.

When I received it, I was surprised at how big the cards seemed. Don’t get me wrong, they’re comfortable to handle as they are, but since there isn’t much detail in the images, I somehow expected the cards to be smaller. I still think that making them the size of, say, the Vanessa Tarot or some other smallish deck would be perfect.

I love the range and use of color in the International Icon Tarot. I can imagine relying a lot on the moods of the colors in my readings with the deck. I also appreciate the lack of gender or race markers (Western culture is still present, but a lot less than in the RWS deck this is based on). The most pronounced gender cues are in the cards that feature both men and women, in the Queens, and a small handful of other cards. Come to think of it, I may just do another analysis of gender representation with this deck – its supposed neutrality seems like an interesting angle to start from.

Some extra love is of course reserved for the Happy Squirrel card (about which you can read everything you ever wanted to know here and here), which was included as a reference to Matt Groening’s The Simpsons (you can see a storyboard of the episode here). I love squirrels, and I love Lisa Simpson, and I love having a serious tarot deck that references The Simpsons.

Should I decide to let my family know of my interest in tarot while I’m visiting, the International Icon is probably the single most non-threatening deck there is. Could be interesting to see what my nephew and niece think of it, too. But I’m not sure I’ll feel like opening that particular can of worms this time, although it is about time I told my family (I don’t expect any huge drama, because none of my closest relatives is actually religious, but rather a skepticism that could make me feel even more unlike them, which isn’t necessarily something I want to emphasize too much). We’ll see.

Let’s get back for a moment to the idea of making a tarot deck that looks like the people from the restroom doors got together with some other airport signage. It seems there has been at least one other attempt to do so. However, International Icon Tarot creator Robin Ator initially used shapes cut from paper for his images (and later realized the deck digitally), whereas John Coulthart has limited himself to using (nearly) nothing but “international symbol pictograms or dingbat sets” in his work.

The Fool is a geocacher!


Today, we interrupt the usual deck of the week program for this random and amusing tarot-related find from Geocaching.com‘s shop (left). Isn’t that a wonderful rendition of The Fool? I like it even better in its wonderful simplicity than the one from the International Icon Tarot (right), although the latter is of course richer in symbols.