Sunday, 29 April 2012

Dark Quills

The pips of the Incidental Tarot (Holly DeFount, 2012) are semi-illustrated: there are no people on them, but the suit elements are not identical and are in different environments rather than on a plain background.

This can be seen with today's card, the Eight of Quills (Swords).  Eight dark quills criss-cross over a piece of parchment, which has a wax seal in its centre.  It looks as though the seal, which identifies the person writing a letter, is trapped by the quills, and nothing can be written through their overlapping feathered shafts.  The traditional RWS meaning of being trapped by your own thoughts can certainly be interpreted from this.  The typical "analysis paralysis" is also suggested - too many ideas to actually get anything written.  However, there is also a beautiful, varied yet symmetrical aspect to the quills, and I could imagine interpreting this as using focus and structure to make dark thoughts into something beautiful and productive.

As for me, today I can't imagine it is analysis paralysis I face, I've been brimming with ideas the last few days (though none for my dissertation protocol, it must be said!)  However, I've been wondering lately if I limit myself too much by my thoughts about how things "should" be done.  That may be something I can face today and, who knows, with this in mind perhaps I can do something differently...

I am grateful for the potential to break old habits.


  1. In the Thoth Tarot, this card is entitled 'Interference', which links beautifully with your idea of 'analysis paralysis' - too much criticism/static interefering with the creative process.

    I like these semi-illustrated type pips, they reminded me of the Thoth, that's why I mentioned its card title :-)

    Get on with your dissertation!!!!

    Ali x

  2. Hi Ali,

    After last year's workshop with Emma, I realize that I just don't like the Thoth. In large part because the colours are cold, and the drawing style is quite angular and hard. So for me, this is the second semi-illustrated pip deck I've even liked, and the first I've loved! Finally, I understand what many thoth-ites are talking about in terms of it acting differently with your intuition!

    As for my dissertation, when I started supervision again last Monday I discovered that the other three people in my group have decided just not to do the dissertation. They'll still get a Postgraduate Diploma, just not a Masters. While it's not my plan to give up on the dissertation, that and the fact that I have another two and a half years to write it mean that I'm focusing elsewhere at the moment. Not sure that's a good thing, but it's the way I feel right now...


  3. I'm not fond of semi-illustrated pips but this card is lovely. I think the only semi-illustrated one I have is the Thoth Deck! The Incidental Tarot could definitely grow on me :) The letter looks like it's been stored in a box, perhaps the quills on top are there to be used later on... when the mind has settled? Looking at the card sideways, each set of four quills almost make the shape of two butterflies. Shamanically speaking, butterflies are symbols of change, freedom (letting go of limitations), and creativity.

  4. I have really enjoyed your posts with this deck. Mine is in Philly, I didn't bring it with me back to New Orleans. I ordered it because I was excited to be in from the ground floor operations of Holly creating the deck. I also really liked the images of the court and Majors, and was really taken with the notion of the additions to the Major Arcana. If I had known the pips were not fully illustrated I most likely would have passed on it. But when I received it and looked at the deck, I had a nice, warm feeling about it. But you hav made me excited to work with it.

  5. Hi Sharon,

    I've been absolutely amazed by this deck, I normally don't buy semi-illustrated pip decks, but decided to give this one a go after seeing some of the images on Lisa's Tarotize blog, and I'm glad I did.

    Love your interp of the card, really adds to it! I saw the bit underneath as a parchment rather than a box, and I love that so many possible ways of seeing the card are possible!

    Hi Krysten,

    Lucky you, seeing this from the start. I think if you start working with it, those semi-illustrated pips may surprise you - they are sooo expressive. This has become my favourite deck of the year so far. That might have gone to Barbara Moore's Steampunk Tarot, but as I can't blog with it, I don't use it much in case I want to post my readings :( Hope to see what you make of it!