Manhattan in February. It’s pleasantly gray, misting off and on. I had scheduled just three hours between LaGuardia airport and my destination when I impulsively made a crazy overture that was crazily accepted. But now the rain has whittled those three hours down to barely more than one. Messages back and forth in the taxi, then at last–I arrive! I’m at the cafe we agreed on, one just a few blocks from my journey’s end. We have exactly one hour before I need to move on to the main purpose of my trip. One stolen hour for this delightful addition to my itinerary–to look at cards on a rainy late-afternoon with my teacher Enrique. Continue reading
Heard a bit of discussion in the cartomantic world lately: 1) What good are daily draws? and 2) What good are two cards together, as opposed to three? If you’re not card-crazed, it sounds like minutiae, I agree. But as sometimes happens with tiny, seemingly- loose threads, pulling on this one led to a tapestry of interlocking insights. Continue reading
Some 15 years ago, Brian Williams created a Tarot based on humanist Sebastian Brant’s illustrated tome of moral commentary, the Narranschiff, or Ship of Fools. It was inevitable that my interest in the Ship of Fools Tarot would be reignited. Brant’s 15th century work is not only fascinating in its own right, but it was undoubtedly an influence on Jost Amman, whose 16th century deck of 52 playing cards has become a bit of an idee fixe for me of late. Continue reading
The Devil’s in the details.
Give the Devil his due.
A deliberate mistake in the weaving, so as not to tempt the Devil.
Speak of the devil–and he appears.
The devil you know is better than the one you don’t.
You handsome devil, you!
The Devil is not without a lot of cultural baggage, and not a nicely-matched luggage set either. Continue reading
An ex-partner of mine had an arresting philosophy of household repair jobs. He articulated it thus: “You can fix anything one of two ways–cut it, or duct tape it.” Continue reading
If you are looking to read Tarot cards by actually seeing them, rather than by an overlay of imposed or associative meanings, you could find no finer card to practice on than the Hanged Man, Le Pendu. Continue reading
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor
look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the
spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
–Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Those who know of Joanna Field’s fascinating book “On Not Being Able to Paint” will recognize the hat-tip in this post’s title. Her book includes poignantly honest descriptions of the act of seeing. Not thinking about seeing, or seeing what she’d been told was there, or looking “through the eyes of the dead.” Not anything but what happened when, for instance, one object seemed to meet another as she looked out her own two eyes. Seeing for oneself.
I’ve been on an elusive quest to, as they say, find my voice as an artist. The great jazz musician Miles Davis once said, You have to play for a long time to play like yourself. I believe that is true, though I have not “played” long enough yet as an artist or even as just a person. The elusive nature of the quest is compounded by the whole “self” idea. What is myself? The more closely I look, the more slippery the whole concept becomes, Continue reading