Tag: Art

The Book of Primal Signs, by Nigel Pennick

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The Book of Primal Signs, by Nigel PennickThe Book of Primal Signs, by Nigel PennickThe Book of Primal Signs: The High Magic of Symbols, by Nigel Pennick Destiny Books, 9781620553152, 240 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2014Understanding signs and symbols, at least to some extent, can be an important part of many people’s practice. The Book of Primal Signs: The High Magic of Symbols by Nigel Pennick takes an in depth look at many common and uncommon symbols as seen in today’s modern world.The Book of Primal Signs is not a casual read. The tome is academic in nature, and, as such, the writing tends to be quite heavy and dense. There’s a lot of information contained in not so many pages. The text itself is only 200 pages long with an additional 30 paid to the bibliography and index. It hits on large, familiar symbols such like the swastika and the common runes while still paying attention to lesser known images like the checker. Pennick spends equal time discussing the history and usage of all symbols in both the magical world and in popular culture. Read More

The Mutation of a Tarot Deck

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The Mutation TarotIn association with The Mutation Tarot.

The Idea

It all started with a dream, literally. Dreams can, of course, be a great source for creativity and insight. In this case, Mario Rosa dreamed of The Fool from the Rider-Waite Tarot, but this was a fool unlike the innocent and somewhat aloof looking guy about to step off a cliff. This is a character that seems pieced together from a montage of animal, cephalopod, and insect, yet somehow, it still reads as The Fool in the context of the tarot.

“The Fool was the first card I created after the character appeared in a dream”, says Mario. “Once I drew that one out, I knew I couldn’t stop there.”

Having grown up with a Rider-Waite deck, he had always been fascinated with the cards and their symbolism. “I always saw the tarot as representing a timeless collection of the human experience covering everything from life, death, love, struggle, etc. I wanted to see if I could capture the same human concepts and symbolism depicted in the cards, using non-human subject matter.”

The mutated creatures do give an imaginative interpretation to the deck. There is a hint of a human element hidden within the art, but the figures borrow genetics from plants, animals, insects, and aquatic life. They could be aliens who evolved on other planets, or they could come from alternate realities (or alternate evolutions) right here on earth. And that’s what makes this mutation of the tarot interesting. It may have all the symbolism of the Rider-Waite, but the artwork and these dream creatures put another spin on it that could be very interesting in a practical divination sense — for instance, the many eyes of Judgment.

Detail from Judgment, The Mutation Tarot

Detail from Judgment, The Mutation Tarot

The Creation

After The Fool, Mario slowly began to illustrate the rest of the tarot cards. He says, “Once I knew I needed to make the full deck, I randomly chose the next card to do. Often times, I would actually draw a card from my old Rider-Waite deck to see which one I would do next. For some reason, that’s the way it wanted to be done.” And did he get any more help from his subconscious? “Absolutely! Between dreams and my imagination, the mutated creatures themselves came pretty easily.” The artwork took 18 months to complete. And then, about 2 years of life and other projects happened, preventing the Mutation Tarot from becoming an actual deck.

A few months ago, Mario started showing the card art to a larger audience, including professional readers, tarot deck collectors, and even sci-fi and fantasy art fans. With a positive response, he decided now was the time to try to make the deck a reality.

After researching printers and doing a couple prototypes, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to cover the costs of printing the decks. When more feedback started coming in that some people wanted to see more of the art on the cards and a thinner border, a second size deck (2.5” x 6”) was created. So the deck will be available in standard size as well as this alternate size. The Kickstarter backers will be the first people to own The Mutation Tarot.

“I hope that people see it as an imaginative interpretation … a mutation of the old tarot deck. After all, we are all changing, every minute of every day. We might not even recognize ourselves in the future.”

Support the Kickstarter, and learn more about the Mutation Tarot.

  • The Fool, The Mutation Tarot
    The Fool, The Mutation Tarot

Spirit and symbol in the art of Michael Parkes

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Detail from Water Music, by Michael ParkesA kind of prophet of the imagination, Michael Parkes fills his paintings with beasts and landscapes that, like dreams, seem too real to be fantasy, and too fantastical to be real. In his worlds, one can find the most intense conversations happening on tightropes and ledges, in skyscapes that hearken to the artistic styles of Maxfield Parrish and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Here, pompous gnomes with pointed shoes watch over tiptoeing dancers, while eyeless jesters strum silent melodies on violins. Each artwork is an adventure; each figure a wormhole into an ocean of chimeric secrets. Read More

The Gorgon’s Tarot, by Dolores Fitchie

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The Gorgon's Tarot, by Dolores FitchieThe Gorgon's Tarot, by Dolores FitchieThe Gorgon's Tarot, by Dolores Fitchie Schiffer Publishing, 9780764345906, 79 cards, instruction booklet, 2014The Gorgon’s Tarot is an unusual deck: the cards are round, and the images are predominantly black and white. “Gorgon” appears to be a nickname for Dolores Fitchie herself, and also serves as the patron creature presiding over this deck, in particular, Euryale, the gorgon who defied the gods, seeking knowledge and truth.The cards began life as a graphic project, not a divinatory tool, and The Gorgon's Tarot was more than 10 years in the making. The black and white design is deliberate and is intended to remove colour symbolism, which Fitchie finds distracting, and has no interest in. There are two cards that contain splashes of red: The Blind Gorgon and the Devil. When they appear, the bright flashes of red make these cards seem all the more startling. Read More

A chat with Lupa about bones

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LupaLupa is an author, artist and nature-lover living in Portland, Oregon. Her most recent books are New Paths to Animal Totems: Three Alternative Approaches to Creating Your Own Totemism, and Plant and Fungus Totems: Connect with Spirits of Field, Forest, and Garden.Lupa has been making art out of hide and bone for nearly 20 years, and her latest project is The Tarot of Bones: A Natural History Divination Set, currently being funded through Indiegogo through to May 19, 2015.Psyche: First of all, congratulations on having your Indigogo campaign funded within your first 100 hours, that’s wonderful! It’s an unusual deck, and I wanted to know why tarot, why bones?Lupa: Back in October [2014] I had a piece in a local gallery that had a group show with a tarot theme. It was my usual assemblage style, it had a coyote skull and some other things, basically pointing toward the Five of Coins. Putting the piece together, enjoying the show and being able to see everyone else’s interpretation of the tarot and their works, by the end of the evening I felt really inspired. Read More

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