A slight detour . . .

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Three major arcana cards from Kat Black’s sumptuous Golden Tarot

I was planning to write this week about Suzanne Treister’s Hexen 2.0 Tarot project — but I looped out to retrieve some posts from my old Fool/Moon blog, and became engaged (obsessed?) with finding out what had happened to the artists and decks I was writing about then.

Two Decks

In the middle of 2005, I chose Kat Black’s Golden Tarot (sampled above) as my “Deck of the Moment.”

It was not the first deck to utilize antique art or digital collage, but it was certainly the most carefully thought-out and beautifully rendered creation of the sort that I had seen. …

A story from The Book of Knowledge, 1923 edition

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I had the good luck to be given a 1923 edition of The Book of Knowledge when I was very young — and by then, this particular set was almost a half-century old. But some of the content comes from earlier editions, published in late Victorian times.

TBoK was my favorite possession as a child, and although it’s quite battered now, I still have the whole set. The content includes everything from history lessons to science experiments, from games and crafts to stories of the great philosophers and authors.

These books really were an attempt to make a world of knowledge accessible to children — and when I browse through them today, I’m still amazed at the authors’ respect for the abilities and interests of their young audience. …

I did it. It’s hard . . .

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash


Over the course of quite a few years, I’ve drifted in and out of studying and practicing Buddhism. Insofar as I’m a practitioner, I’m the solitary sort, with no ties to a particular community or perspective, just a general appreciation of the dharma. And insofar as I’m a student, I’ve studied aspects of history and philosophy more than I’ve delved deeply into teachings.

I’m not entirely sure why my engagement level changes, but I think I tend to drift “out” when practice begins to seem like an obligation, and drift “in” when I connect with a particular teacher. …

A tool for collectors + Ken Kesey on Tarot

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Some of my decks, catalogued in LibraryThing

As promised, here’s some information on a nifty tool for creating online records of your Tarot collection. If you’re not a collector, this note might inspire you. And if you already have more than a few books and decks — consider putting them into LibraryThing.

Over two million book lovers catalog their holdings in LibraryThing, which is now free. I could take up several reading-minutes to go over all the cool features it offers, but instead I’ll just offer some examples.

  • Enter an ISBN number or a title and LT will magically produce available facts about the work, and usually a cover image. …

A contrarian view . . .

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Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

I’m long past having school-age children, so I’ll be speaking as an observer of the current situation. But I have some credentials (briefed at the end of this story) — and a lot of opinions on the relationship between our society and its educational systems.

Here are some of them.

First . . . I’ve heard several experts say on national news interviews (cable and network) that children must get back into physical classrooms because they are “not learning” through virtual education.

That’s nonsense.

Children are always learning. They are learning something no matter where they are — just not necessarily what grown-ups (parents, educators, elected officials, etc.) …

The meaning of the words . . .

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Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash

In the aftermath of our 2020 election, the phrase “Trump’s base” is being used more than ever. Elected Republicans have supported the president in rejecting election results because they are fearful of “Trump’s base.” Current and future Republican candidates court “Trump’s base” by emphasizing their support for the president.

So how did this phrase become so powerful?

First — it may or may not be psychologically influential that “trump” derives from the Old French word triomphe, meaning “triumph.” …

Tarot, time, and the mind . . .

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Photo by Santiago Lacarta on Unsplash

Divination offers the promise of peering beyond our present illusions, perhaps into a timeless reality that is continually unfolding before us.

But the reasoning mind has many questions . . .

Does “the future” exist? In what sense? Is it already defined, or can we change it? Do we ever really see ahead in time — or is it just a trick of the imagination?

Divination and the Direction of Time

In a general sense, the verb “to divine” means to produce information that would otherwise be hidden. More specifically, it means to learn the will of
the gods. …

First, a note about the name . . .

Years ago I started a small publication with a similar name — and artist Mindy Sommers generously sent me this header design:

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As it turned out, my life took a sharp turn around that time, and I didn’t go forward with the publication — but I’m delighted to adapt the name for this newsletter, and to share Mindy’s elegant design.

“In those days” Mindy had created an oracle deck called Dreaming in Color. …

A four-minute read on getting started

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Photo by Kat: Creative Commons License

My story on Simple Meditation offered a basic template for creating a seven-minute daily practice. Of course it was just the smallest hint of the barest beginning — there are more books on meditation than you could read in a lifetime, more videos than you could ever watch, more classes than you could possibly take.

But you may have tried some of those things, or you might not want to. In either case, there’s no reason not to road test a simplified approach and see what happens.

Here are three small suggestions for finding your own path to practice.

First of all — “simple” doesn’t mean easy or lazy (or unserious). …

Written in January of 2018

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Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Very likely outcomes of the Trump presidency . . . .

First — there will be a fairly shocking realization (for many people) regarding the actual extent of presidential power. The question of executive authority abruptly shifts from intellectual debate to existential threat when the person occupying the Oval Office is crazy, evil, or both.

Second — there may be an expanded understanding of what constitutes mental illness. Most of Trump’s “followers” will find a way to rationalize anything he does, no matter how bizarre (e.g., “they drove him crazy”), but others will not.

Third — the extent to which many people in our nation are moved by deeply irrational forces will be more clearly revealed. Trump followers are not sui generis; they fit an historically persistent and seemingly universal psychological profile, marked by the need to acquire importance through affiliation. It’s little use looking at Trump supporters in terms of their economic, social, or geographic conditions — rather, they represent an irreducible percentage of any population: i.e., people driven by a hunger to identify with strength. In this connection, what’s not commonly recognized about Trump’s followers is the intense eroticism of their relationship with the “great man.” (Hence, the Access Hollywood tape attracted rather than repelled them.) There’s also a messianic component that is much more powerful than anyone has noticed. …


Cynthia Giles

Writer at large, Ph.D. in interdisciplinary humanities. Persistently curious! Creating “The Constance Project” and a new Tarot book. www.cynthiagiles.com

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