Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beginning the Pip Cards: 10 of Swords

Earlier in the week, I promised you THE LOVERS. It's on the way! In the meantime, here's something that I did just last night that I'm pretty excited about: my first design for the deck's pip cards. This meant  deciding on a style and frame format that would set the whole rest of the deck in stone -- and I'm pleased with what took shape.

At the top of each card, in the same style but with the colors reversed from the Majors, will be the card number and its suit. At the bottom, in the same style and colors as the Majors, will be a keyword for the card's basic meaning. Most of these will be derived from Aleistair Crowley's THOTH deck (which will make my Circus Tarot an interesting Bastard Child born of RWS and Thoth), but I reserve the right to use a different word if I think that I can do better. This gives each card a real circus-sideshow look that I'm quite pleased with, and leaves plenty of room for the central image.

This also forced me to decide on my suit names, so here they are: CUPS are CUPS, SWORDS are BLADES, WANDS are BATONS, and COINS/PENTACLES/DISKS are RINGS. 

So, I made a lot of little progress last night!

The thing that made this card the obvious first choice from the pip cards to get its design was the central image. I found it quite early on in the process and immediately thought, "Ten of Swords! If he doesn't have enough piercings, I'll add 'em on!" 

He didn't, and I did.

The DEATH card in the Majors is nothing to be afraid of: that's not true of the ten of swords! The ten of swords is one of only about two or three cards in a Tarot deck that you DON'T want to draw under any circumstances. Even its REVERSED meaning is not good! In the past couple of years, drawing at least one card for a daily reading, I have only drawn the ten of swords twice -- and both times what it predicted came fully to fruition. Don't mess with the ten of swords. Does it look painful? It should. No good will come of it!

Next up: THE LOVERS. Promise!

-- Freder

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Queen of Cups

Sometimes it's all just trial and error. This lady was originally to have been my design for the Empress card -- but it was pointed out to me (and I agreed) that she wasn't nearly "Earth Motherish" enough for that role. So -- I'm still looking for my Empress. On the other hand, nothing goes to waste: and with a little rejiggering and some thought, the same lady became my Queen of Cups. It was the elephant that helped me decide on the suit. Elephants, I have already decided, will factor heavily in my deck's suit of Cups. Although not a water-bound species, they are reliant upon and connected to water -- and their emotions run deep. These are both Cup elements. Naturally their Queen would be an Elephant trainer. It just so happens that Mirjam Magi -- the character from my novel who is pictured here -- is the Elephant trainer for the Circus Magi. 

That's another reason why I couldn't just let this design go: this is one of only three cards so far that actually represents a character from the story, and must be included in the finished book. 

It helps, I think, that the blue flowing curtain adds a vaguely waterish touch.

"Duchess" being something of a circus term, I will be using it for all the Queens in the Minor Arcana. The Kings will be called "Governors." I've yet to decide on the naming for the Knights and Pages -- but I can tell you right now that they won't be called Knights or Pages! Likewise, for a while, I entertained the notion of changing the suit name from "Cups" to "Elephants" -- but I think that's just a little too cute, don't you? Also limiting. I don't want to commit right up front to having an Elephant on every card in that suit! So, for now at least, Cups are Cups. Swords will change to Knives and Wands will become Batons. Coins I have not yet decided upon. The proper Circus term for money is "Mazuma," but I again I worry about getting to cute with the deck...

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