This last week I have been thinking of techniques for using cards – any cards – to choose lottery numbers, as those of you who follow my blog will know. So I spent the week – with time on my hands – pondering. As is usual on a Saturday I paid my customary visit to the flea market, not hunting specifically for tarot you understand (I do have a life apart from cards), but you never know what the city casts up like flotsam from the unwanted debris of its household clutter. This is how I see it, a kind of museum, a sprawling installation en masse of what the city and its inhabitants reject. I feel like a beachcomber, rummaging through what has been swept ashore to be shaped by me into another use, another life. For example; a decrepid leather bag (for next to nothing) which can be given a new lease of life as a deck pouch for something on a shaman theme.
I also found an old blue pot, made in Copenhagen, from the golden age of Danish ceramics.
I also spotted a deck peeping out of a sunglasses case. Palpitations in the sunlight. The stallholder had just nipped off for a snack (this always happens with me). Reminder; don’t look too eager so you can barter convincingly. I remembered my plans to seek out incomplete decks for my lottery system. However, when I checked the deck – a U.S Games Egipcios Kier Tarot – it was complete. No box or title card, but with the LWB (which is excellent by the way, very in-depth). However, two cards had what looked like chewing gum sticking them together, a bit disgusting but I can deal with it for the sake of a tarot bargain. I left the cards as they were and wandered off, promising to come back “in a bit” to find out the price. When I did go back after wandering not-very-far, the price was acceptable. The seller seemed more intrigued by the fact that I actually knew what to do with these cards than whether he was going to actually sell them or not. So I bought them. I already have the Egipcios Kier Tarot, but am never averse to buying cheap spares of a deck, especially if it is out of print like this one. Or from the time that I first started buying decks so I can get a little nostalgia kick. This deck was first published in the early 20th Century by an Argentine occultist (not sure who; a quick search brings up nothing). It was issued by Editorial Kier in Argentina in the 1970s and then picked up by U.S Games in 1984, the year I bought my Balbi Tarot (I think). Bit of a gaudy, flourescent deck to be honest but intriguing in its way and, most importantly of all, it is one of the few tarot decks I know (apart from the Etteillas) that have all 78 cards numbered from 1-78. Perfect for my lottery number system, or rather the first fifty cards will be. The tarot gods smile on me at the moments I least expect it. This is exactly what I was looking for and didn’t know it. Plus it is a spare copy so I can use it exclusively for lottery numbers. Then I remembered my incomplete Papus deck at home which I can use for choosing the bonus numbers and this too is on an Egyptian theme so the two will work perfectly together and can live in the same bag. Thus I have my Egipcios Kier Tarot (now sans chewing gum; after a bit of patient scraping with a letter knife and damp cloth there was little trace of it) and the remnants of my Papus merged together into a honed, number-choosing system. Later, back home, I checked my Papus Tarot; it would have been nice if the Coins suit had been complete (you know, money, material wealth) but sadly it isn’t. In fact the only suit with complete pips is the Swords suit (still OK, mentalising money!) So I have cards 1-10 of Swords plus the only remaining court card, the King of Swords to signify the number eleven (shame there is no Valet, but this deck is a bit of a wreck.)
Back at the flea market, on the verge of leaving, I came across another deck – a standard plaid-backed (complete!) Rider Waite Smith deck with the typeface titles, probably the A.G Muller printed edition rather than the U.S Games “printed in Italy” edition as the cardstock is not glossy and I think U.S Games were printing decks in Italy when they removed Colman Smith’s calligraphy and replaced it with a standardised font. Why on earth they did this is anybody’s guess. It beggars belief that publishers should have such lapses of judgement when dealing with something which most people would consider “historic”. It is probably because all other editions in all other languages have to have the titles in typeface, so they’re bringing us English speakers in line with the editions in other languages. But I resent it. The deck I found was in a nice velvet bag and accompanied by a little pocket book and was very cheap so I bought it, a deck to tuck into the drawer at work for emergency readings, and the book, The Pocket Guide to the Tarot by Günter Hager, I could read on the subway going home. I shall leave you with a (heavily) adapted, reduced spread taken from the back pages which might be of interest. I have always had a soft spot for seven card spreads and I rather liked the card positions in this one (see below), though it wasn’t originally for only seven cards. It’s quite conventional with a couple of clearly predictive positions (something so often lacking in modern tarot spreads) and is called The Seven Houses.
Position 1; mental condition of the querent, where they are with their current thinking Position 2; the present environment Position 3; hopes or fears Position 4; expectations Position 5; unexpected influences Position 6; immediate future, next few days or weeks Position 7; long-term influences, not necessarily outcome, just the next couple of months
Before signing off here, I would like to thank the wonderful site Tarot School whose Tarot Tips newsletter featured My Curious Cabinet as their blog of choice yesterday. A big thank you to all at the site and also for those of you who paid a visit here yesterday!