Saturday, 10 August 2013

Which Queen?

Last week's entry by Alison Cross for the Lammas Tarot Blog Hop reminded me of a deck I've had for a while but never used, never even shuffled!  The main reason was that I was really disappointed with the Court cards on my first look through the deck, so I put it back in its box, and have ignored it ever since.  However, after the reminder, I decided I should dig it out and give it another chance.  The deck is Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot Deck.  No idea why it's called an oracle, as it is a straight up tarot...

Opening the box for the first time in a year, I was reminded of another reason why I'd set it aside: the corners weren't rounded.  Although I've put my corner rounder to work on a number of decks, it does take some effort.  As you can see from the scans, though, I've now bitten the bullet :)

So, having set aside an otherwise interesting deck because of the Court cards, it's rather fitting that the first card I drew should be the Queen of Swords.  With her analytical mind and no-nonsense approach, she challenged me to dig out the other queens and assess whether these Courts are as bad as I'd made them out to be in my mind. 

Overall, I'm still not hugely fond of them.  As you can see, the base drawing for all the queens is identical - same hair, same face, same collar, same crown.  And given the limited colour palette employed in the whole deck (black, grey, gold and brown), there is little overt colour differentiation either.  Each queen has her suit emblem, an elemental symbol on her crown, and a landscape that is echoed in her eyes.  Other than that and some minor colour differences, they are the same.  Not a lot of symbolism there to spark intuition or understanding of what these cards, which many find the hardest in any deck to interpret, actually represent.

The Kings and Knights are even worse, being extremely similar not just among their own rank, but also to each other, as you can see here with the rest of the Swords Court.  My favourites are the Pages, who are at least quite different from the Queens, but still the same as each other.


In general, then, I stand by my initial assessment that this isn't a deck for anyone uncertain of the Court cards.  It also isn't great for quickly scanning a larger reading, if you have a couple of Courts in it, as you have to look closely to see the differences (or just read the titles).  However, the rest of the deck is very sweet and charming.  So, I've rounded all the corners and will give it another chance :)

Returning to the card for today, the Queen of Swords, she has clouds (not dissimilar from the Queen of Cups' waves, though) and birds as her landscape and eyes.  Her colours are simply grey and black, her crown has an air symbol, and there is a sword that seems almost to jab her through the neck (opening her throat for communication, at a macabre push).  And, as you can see above, the other swords Courts have their sword positioned in the exact same way: yeah, definitely not a fan of the Courts overall!

She seems cold, somewhat distant, but clear.  She'll tell you the truth, but won't be purposely mean about it.  She sees the big picture, and always acts from a place of rational calm.

I have some research to do today, to finish off the Celtic Lenormand companion book.  My, I hope they actually bother to publish it!  Ah well, we'll see.  For the moment, I shall just put my best into it, and hope it's worthwhile.  And if not, maybe I can analyse the content and the market, and find another way to get at least some of it out there...

I am grateful for my reference books and some time to go through them :)

8 comments:

  1. I am with you, I don't like this deck at all, based on the scans here. Seriously, Chloe, I think you could draw a better one yourself. Was this self-published??

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    1. Yes, it was self-published. And overall I think it's a sweet deck, with interesting imagery (some of which you'll see over the next week). And I don't think I could draw one as good! But these Courts really don't do it for me :(

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  2. On another note, I wonder why people have trouble with courts. To me, I find them easiest in the deck. They're people, and they have personalities. I must admit, before I got to know them, I couldn't remember who they were, but that's like they way it is when you first meet 16 new people. After years of working with them, you get to know them!! :)

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    1. I think one of the issues is that we often don't really understand other people, especially when they are quite different from ourselves. If we have familiar people we can relate them to, that helps. But, for instance, I have quite a hard time understanding the decision-making process of a Queen of Cups.

      I think it's a bit like Jung's personality types - the one that is most shadow in ourselves is very hard for us to see or comprehend. So, depending on your life experience, you may not find it easy to understand some people, and likewise some Courts.

      I think perhaps interacting with the Courts actually helps with that, encouraging us to get to know and try to understand these "others". Still, I recognise that it's easier for me to see the negative of some cards than the positive, which I think is part of not really grasping the entirety of that part of personality...

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  3. I'll be interested to see more cards from this deck ..

    (Prince delves into the world of the internet to take a look)

    This is a strange old one. These courts look like an after-thought. I always think that the court cards are a wonderful opportunity for an artist to get creative with (I agree with Carla, so much personality to draw on), but these look tired and lazy. There are some nice ideas, but they look as if they are drawn by a different person than a lot of the others. Even the fonts are lacking, where as some of the other cards have more ornate titling.

    I don't really like knocking people's work but I agree that these courts let the rest of the deck down. They scream 'unimaginative'. Self-publication must cost a lot in money and energy, so I wonder why these cards are not as good as they could have been. A shame :(

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    1. I know I struggle with drawing people, too (well, none of my artwork's all that). Still, as you say, these let the deck down. I don't think self-publishing is necessarily all that expensive: these feel as though they were self-printed and laminated. For me, it's just a shame, because I like most of the rest of the deck!

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  4. I clicked on your link to see the other card images, and they look really nice! From the pics it seems like the creator didn't put as much finesse into the Court cards, which is a shame. They don't seem to match the rest of the deck. I wonder if the artist simply has a hard time drawing people, which can happen.

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    1. Yes, that may well be, Olivia. After all, there aren't many people on the rest of the cards. Still, she obviously can do them, even if they're hard, and it would have improved the deck so much if she'd put in that extra effort. Ah well...

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