Magician and Priestess Finished Cards

These didn't take as long as posting would make it appear. In fact I am currently up to the Lovers.

The Magician is mostly based on Alan Moore and the Priestess is built around Marie Laveau

I was slightly ashamed that in brainstorming these two I was able to rattle off any number of male magicians but had nothing top of mind for the priestess. Possibly the the Oracle at Delphi but I wasn't 100% sure of the gender. 

This turned out to be a great positive because Marie Laveau turns out to be an amazing and fascinating character who I might never have found out about otherwise.

Magicians and Priestesses

I'm a bit behind blogwise so I need to plough on a bit. However I have been given permission to share the Tarot deck of a friend of mine as we go along. So there's that to look forward to.

Almost immediately on my Fool's Journey I am presented with a challenge to my assumptions. I had intended to carry on one card at a time but the first thing that happens is that the Fool meets both the Magician and the Priestess. It is also abundantly clear that they should be considered in conjunction to and counter-point with each other. So maybe this will be a 4 week pair rather than 2x2week cards.


Skill, wisdom, elasticity, craft, cunning, deciet, theft. 

Initiative, action, confidence, travel perception. Hidden knowledge which could be creative consciousness or trickery.

Male consciousness achievement.

Planet Mercury, Hebrew letter Beth (House)

Will, mastery, skill and oratory. Self knowledge and personal power.

Gods Mercury, Odin and Thoth. Writng, poetry and runes.

Pure, exalted and gracious influence. Change, alteration, fluctuation. Enthusiasm.

Wisdom, intuition, decisions, authority, dreams.

Female unconscious intuition.

The Moon. Hebrew letter Gimmel (Camel).

Intuitive insight. Hidden influences. Mysteries and secrets.Feminine power.

Artemis, the huntress. Hecate. All moon goddesses.

Other Foolish Notions

I finished The Fool last night. That was a perfect time-boxed Sunday completion. It's a bit worrying because I had a lot of extra time during this one so I'm going to have to step it up a bit on the others. 

I will post the card and some interim steps tomorrow. Today I want to note a couple more of the influences that went in.


Me in the middle singing "I wanna be a McGillicuddy" to the tune of "Anarchy in the UK"

Me in the middle singing "I wanna be a McGillicuddy" to the tune of "Anarchy in the UK"

A big part of my youth was the McGillicuddy Serious Party. Technically I was part of an affiliated group called the Auckland Revolutionary Army (Same initials as the Bus company... You had to be there).

The McGSP had two main elements of style: Scottish Clans, manifested by lots of kilt wearing and waving of paper swords on 

Culloden's Day. And the other main iconography was The Jester.

So because it fit with my own halcyon days of innocence and reckless adventure I wanted it to be referenced here. So I included some Celtic braiding as part of what I am thinking of as the 'card business'. However due to the somewhat overplayed nature of Celtic knots in tattoos etc I made one that was unravelling.


Quest tags including the sticker on Taipa Starbucks.

Quest tags including the sticker on Taipa Starbucks.

We went to Macau for a couple of days last week and spent most of it wandering around old Taipa. That's the olde worlde bit in the almost literal shadow of the massive casino space stations that have landed nearby.

I noticed without really catching the relevance that most prominent local tagger was some one calling themselves 'Quest'. Mostly I noticed that there was a noticeable progression in the graffiti. Quest has two styles a linear squiggle style and large puffy letters. I first realised that i could see the work evolving when we walke past one where Quest clearly hadn't figured out how to do the puffy Q.

Later works added a Halo.  This has become the zero for my fool card.

I kind of wanted the whole signature in but another characteristic of Quest seems to be the tagging targets. Quest, I expect politically, only tags new and temporary stuff. None of the tags I saw were on Macau's old stone buildings. Which is great but it meant that everything that Quest was written on was kinda gross.

As an alternative I had photos of the traditional Portugese-style cobbles. This is what I ended up using but it didn't seem right to put Quest's tag on them. So the Macau connection and the halo would have to do.

Look Into My Eye


Last week I had a strong experience of feeling like a fool.

I was rubbing my eye and there was a click and it felt like something shifted. Then is hurt really bad for a moment. It felt like I had a hard contact lens loose in my eye. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. It looked like one of my eyes has a weird semicircle across it and I couldn't see properly. But I don't have contact lenses.

Basically, I panicked. 

I went to hospital. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't deal with my emergency. I sat waiting for the eye specialist for around 2 hours. So by the time I saw him my allergic reaction had dissipated. So he gave me the eye drop equivalent of 2 aspirins and told me politely to fuck off.

Because in the end there was nothing really wrong. Somehow because it was my eye, maybe because of the adrenaline that comes with an allergic reaction I freaked out. Even when I was trying to be calm and figure out the best thing to do I was working from the ridiculous premise that my cornea had fallen out and was stuck half out of my eye.

That's more or less completely ridiculous. 

So, duh, I've been loudly announcing that I have an emergency to all and sundry but there's really nothing wrong. I total idiotsville.

So, cut to trying to decide what cartoon style to do The Fool's eyes and it just seems obvious that I should use my own. I already knew that The Fool was going to need to be me partly.  So I had to try and take a photo of my eye. You can see the results above.

Turned out to be less easy than I expected. Putting the camera on timer meant that I was Clockwork Oranging my eyes way too early and they just wandered off at the critical moment. And then I'd end up with the shadow of my hand all in the way. 

But I got it in the end. 

Fool Sketches

I've sketched the three Fool cards that I have on hand as a way of closely examining them and comparing their iconography.


Rider Waite - The Rennaisance Fop

A very classical card. Well drawn and well observed figures. Heavy lines, perhaps for the reproduction technology of its time, giving it an earthy aged feel. 

A youth on his way out into the world. Standing on a cliff's edge with the ocean behind. The sun is in the sky and the number 0 floats freely. The pattern on his flowing clothes suggests the sun as well. He is accompanied by a small excited dog. In one hand a flower and over his shoulder he carries his bundle of possessions.  There are stong diagonal lines in the waves and the stick that give an open composition. The feather in his cap and the flow of his clothing suggest motion.

Garner Dean - The Newsprint Jester

A modern interpretation of a classical style. Watercolours and inks with some collage. The figure is cartoonish but sharp edged. 

He is in full medival court jester costume with bells on his hat an shoes. He is more stylised and is textured with fragments of text. I can read the word 'changeable'. He carries a bigger flower but more casually. It is mirrored by a butterfly.  Again he travels left towards the open road but is stepping off a cliff. His dog bites at his ankle. The card detail (numbers and titles are strongly boxed in while the illustration itself has no boundary. 

Thoth - Crowley's Demons

This is a much more deliberately designed card. It is bursting with symbols all tied together by a swirling transparent loop.  

The Fool, here, stares straight out of the card. The sun shines out of his crotch and he has the horned hat but it makes him look like a devil, not a joker. His eyes are wide and he grins madly with fire in one hand and a diamond in the other. It is not a dog but a tiger that bites his leg and a dove pursues the butterfly around the swooping loops that make up an large 0. There is an alligator below him. Perhaps that is peril replacing the cliff. Behind him is a bunch of grapes and  a pile of discs or coins with zodiac symbols on them. Flowers in this case come in a three way bunch between his legs. Below that are two entwined cherub/babies. 

I don't know if the framing of the card is part of the original design or added for this edition. Included with the name of the fool are the Hebrew letter Aleph and the alchemical triangle symbolising air. 

My Takeaways

I like the directional and open styles. I think the companion should be a puppy and biting the ankle is a very puppy thing to do. I prefer the Rider Waite style of holding the flower because it reminds me of Delirium from The Sandman comics. I'd like my card to be very open and readable. The card business I want to reflect standard playing cards. Thinking about it I want the Fool to be travelling left to right because that seems to lead more to the future and the cards that will come after it. 

Thelema and Loose Typing

looked up Hoor-paar-kraat (rhymes with Ilkely Moor Bar T'at) and it turns out that Aleister Crowley invented it/him as part of Thelema which was the religion he made up.  Hoor-paar-kraat (where the ducks play football) is a composite of a Egyptian and other gods and symbols.

The more I read about this and Thelema the more I found myself struggling to care. 

The big take-away for me was it is totally ok to make up whatever you want. that suits me down to the ground. "Do what thou wilt," the man said and I shall do just that.

Fool: Interpretations

Innocence, beginnings, risk, the unexpected, folly. Opportunity, rejuvenation, amusement spontenaity. 

Ideas, thoughts, efforts to transcend the earth, eccentricity and mania.

Beginning of a new cycle, energy, optimism happiness and force,. Overturning existing states. Important choices ahead. Recklessness, indiscretion. Frittering away of creative energy.

Hebrew letter aleph. Zeus, Jupiter, Hoor-Paar-Kraat.

Number zero.

Gentle Progress


I've been looking at the Fool cards that I have and stuck them up by my monitor. Plus the Rider-Waite which is up on the Wikipedia page. I probably should get a deck of those because they are so archetypal.

And I've been thinking about the themes a fair bit.

However, I want to start on a Monday so that the finish of each one is a weekend. So technically this has been more of a set up period. Getting my head back into web-sitery is going to be important too.

That's kind of the point - to have a project that creates problems to solve.

A Stupid Idea

Here is where I commence my own personal Fool's Journey.

The aim is to design a Tarot Deck over the course of this year. As I write it is New Year's Day 2014 and I have already skipped Boxing class because I was too hung over and my shoulder hurts a bit. 

The Fool's Journey, to my understanding, is a narrative that ties together the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. Those are the trump cards, the interesting ones as opposed to the Seven of Biscuits or the Nine of Not Much.

So my plan is to knock out one of these cards every two weeks. Roughly spend a week researching and contemplating the card and it's symbolism then spend the following week implementing the design in some form that fits my current art obsessions.