Review time! Short version: beautiful images, garbage quality product – needs work.

Long version:

First of all: wow. It's gorgeous. You can see the work and love poured into it. Each card is a photograph of a physical work of textile art. Like collage decks, it can look a bit busy, but most of that comes from patterns, rather than an onslaught of distinct elements and symbols – the scenes are actually quite simple and clear. I love the color palette (predominantly shades of violet, blue, and pink, with some others here and there, so can be a little same-y), and the fact that the images use big playing card symbols in their backgrounds to signify which suit they are. The suit color-coding borders are oh one hand helpful, on the other – humongous, making the deck nigh unusable. I'd wager most people would have a difficult time handling it as-is. Also one of the guillotine edges cutting the tarot sheets of my particular deck must have been a bit blunt, because each card had a rough curved lip around it. It made the cards catch on each other and chip during shuffling.

Speaking of cardstock – my god is it flimsy. It's the first time I've considered re-backing a deck. Or rather re-fronting, as I'm going with a clear foil to save the images from damage as much as possible. It's already much better after trimming. The smaller surface area makes it less bendy, and the new edges don't have the curved lip. But the paper is still very soft, touch a fingernail to it and it leaves a dent, so just to be safe I'll give it a layer of contact paper.

I've left their little black borders on, because I feel such busy images do need to be somewhat contained, but that means rounding the corners won't look good, so I'm going with pointy for now. If I mess up the foiling I might re-purchase it at some point in the future and try again, with a tighter trim and rounded corners. In this trimmed version, the color palette becomes even more prominent (no oranges or greens of the big borders – I like it, it's more cohesive), and the playing card symbols become even more useful.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this deck if you're not into modding. I would have liked to see a properly produced version, seeing as it's the 25th anniversary edition, something more grand somehow. It does come with a satiny drawstring bag and a full color guidebook – cute and very well thought out, with different ways of looking at the card, it even provides little rituals based on each card's message. If you don't mind or even enjoy modding, taking on this deck could be a very satisfying project.

Note: since drafting this post I have indeed successfully laminated the cards. The process was relatively quick and the cards didn't gain much bulk. Having arrived at the deck's final dimensions was also able to craft it a special box.

a two piece handmade purple box, painted, collaged, and decorated with beads and glitter

Some quick and dirty personal tarot goals:

  • I want to finish my study of the Lioness Oracle Tarot and see how exactly I want to use it. From a deck interview and general messing around I already know I want to use it mostly in my spiritual practice.
  • do an in-depth study of the Enchanted Tarot. I don't think I want to do another classic note-taking study, as the previous attempt was so hard on my tendons and joints, and there's so much new material in the guide book. It would be too much writing. But that's also the best way I learn, so I'm a little stumped as to how I'll do this. If I can't do a deep study, then at least read through the booklet properly and spend plenty of time with the deck to give it an honest shot.
  • not sure if this is even possible but... make my way through the whole of Benebell Wen's “Holistic Tarot” book, hopefully in the company of Fyodor Pavlov's tarot, since it arrived. I did some vague calculating and if you take away the images and empty spaces, and treat the Appendices as non-essential/reference material, there's “only” around 500 pages of text. Doable?
  • more readings! Waiting to see what The Symposium rolls out in terms of a reading space, but if not there, then more consistently on reddit, occasionally on masto.
  • try to finish the tarot workbook I started. It's proving valuable but some exercises are really demanding, I don't often want to commit the spoons to this sort of task.
  • might try one of the Andy Matzner journaling books later in the year? And/or look at some of the books recommended by The Tarot Diagnosis.

I was planning to get both the Tarot Vintage (RWS) and the accompanying Marseille, but I have so much to play with already, including decks from last year and earlier that I still haven't devoted proper attention to. Plus the Fyodor Pavlov and Piatnik Marseille kind of fill the same slots nicely. Also I really appreciate how relatively few decks I bought in 2022. I haven't spent enough time with those new decks, as I've been working with a hefty backlog. I wouldn't want to keep adding now that depth year is over and I technically could.

But of course, as per my little mastodon meltdown, I pulled the trigger on the Ritual Tarot, having found one almost-locally at a “bargain” price. While a nice surprise it's throwing a wrench in the works a little bit. Here's my updated list of decks I want to work with this year:

  • Main decks: Enchanted Tarot, Ritual Tarot, (Lioness Oracle Tarot for specific purpose)
  • Solid fallback basics: Fyodor Pavlov Tarot for a RWS, Piatnik's Tarot de Marseille
  • Re-visit/seasonal: Playful Heart Tarot, Kawaii Tarot, Tarot of the Drowning World

I've cleared the shelves of decks that I don't see having the potential of becoming like... my Powerhouse decks, and I might dip in and out of what remains there as the mood strikes, but the above are my main action points as of now. Looking forward to reviewing this post at the end of the year to see how that went.

Hey there. For my first proper Tarot Blog entry I want to explore a classic spread with my new classic-ish deck (the mass market Tarot de Marseille from Piatnik). I’ve seen this “draw of seven” done a few ways, but I’ll most closely follow what I’ve seen on the cartomancier.com website.

I’m using the whole deck, contrary to the traditional French method, and I’m not asking a question seeing as it’s supposed to be good for general spreads and figuring out what the potential issue might be.

The cards drawn were, in order: Seven of Rods, Le Diable, King of Swords, Page of Swords, La Maison Dieu, Eight of Cups, Seven of Coins

seven cards laid out in an arc

I like the shape of this layout, you can immediately tell the standout cards – the first one, the last one, and the “peak” one. Like in other French cartomancy methods I’m sure you can do a quick at-a-glance reading based on those, I’d need to do more of these to figure out what means what. It seems the peak card could be the kind of the “quintessence” position, like in the classic cross of five – kind of an underlying theme, tying all parts of the reading together. The first card could be just a quick problem defining card. Not yet sure about the last one.

Alright. Step one is reading every fifth card, which results in the following string: Seven of Rods, La Maison Dieu, Le Diable, Eight of Cups, King of Swords, Seven of Coins, Page of Swords.

Loss of inner drive connected to big disruption, resulting in a binding. Sounds like my recent physical issues interfering in my pursuit of interests and passions, crashing my special interest hyperfocus. Community questioning my demanding follow-the-plan attitude (which judges my physical failings), and suggesting instead a more curious, flexible approach. Looks like the exchange I had with Dr. Rua M. Williams about internalized ableism, following their webinar on hacking executive function for neurodiverse folks.

Step two is reading the triads. I think anything after step one is just adding details, the broad strokes having already been placed.

Cards 1, 2, 3: The logical King isn't even looking at the complex web of demons. He can defend himself from their attacks, but he can't actually attack by himself and unravel the root of the problem. True – I can't really hack myself into compliance, there's not enough knowledge in the world about how our brains work, plus it's so individualized too, even between autistics.

Cards 5, 6, 7: It's interesting to me that all of the cards have kind of the same main shape – a column with a wider top and bottom. The edge cards both speak of a “brokenness”, a challenge. The arrangement of the coins looks like the arrangement of the cups, but collapsed. As if the collapsing body can be propped up by love and community, whether it's a big impairment or something smaller. Yes, I need to work on many levels here, as I read the cups to be both about relationships and matters of the spirit. As much as I could probably ask for help more, I can also acknowledge our shared struggles, and afford myself similar compassion as I would to any other ND person.

Cards 3, 4, 5: I love how the King is looking to the Tower, but the Page is there in the middle, saying “I got this.” It's a general mind shift from frustration/strictness to curiosity and adaptability. The “body problems” are an example of a situation where this is most direct, but with two Sword cards it also makes me think of broader mental application – addressing passed down cultural messaging (from King to Page) and how it manifests in unhelpful/outright harmful self-talk.

Step three is about pairing up the cards from either end of the spread.

1+7: Seven of Rods and Seven of Coins – energy/motivation crises are related, I'm a whole being. 2+6: Le Diable and Eight of Cups – find my community with the other ND “outcasts.” 3+5: King of Swords and La Maison Dieu – trying to find and keep a strong grip on my brain is unsustainable and doomed to fail. (Again the leftover 4 seems most important, presiding over the whole spread.)

Ok, that was pretty neat. Not only did it address a kind of past and present situation but also managed to join them and suggest some solutions from slightly different angles. Cool, I can pick one depending on whatever I'm feeling that day – some days I'd be driven by anger and spite (tackling ableism and capitalism), others I'd be more moved by compassion and belonging etc. I'll definitely play more with this method.

#tarot #TdM #ND

Note: I did this reading and drafted this post around a week ago, but then decided to squish in a few 2022 posts before the “official” switch-over of tihs blog to a tarot space. So it's not technically the first post, and it deals with issues no longer at the forefront of my mind.

#22DoubleTake is a tag originating from the Three Fat Readers youtube channel. I don't see why I'd ever vlog if I can blog instead, so here's my 2022 retrospective, picking out two favorites in each category:

1. 2 Most Used Decks in 2022 (Tarot or Oracle)

I spent a lot of time with decks I studied but it didn't exactly translate into using them for readings. Whenever I was discouraged or frustrated with any of the focus decks, I found myself reaching for the Crow Tarot, my kind of most neutral RWS (aside from the old yellow box RWS itself). The art style is a little busy and I don't really love-love it, but my trimmed version is very comforting to handle and none of the cards really irk me too much to grab my attention away from the reading itself. So kind of – favorite by being inoffensive/unobtrusive.

Other than that it's hard to say, it could be that I attained a pretty long streak with the Thoth, when I was pulling a card twice a day along with my Stoic Journal entries? I jumped betweem decks a lot, trying to engage with my collection while bringing in as little as possible.

2. 2 Fave New Decks from 2022 (Tarot or Oracle)

I brought in so few and yet it's difficult to choose – what makes a favorite? Do I automatically disqualify the ones that have a paper/finish I don't like? Do they have to be most-used or just most exciting to get? I'll go with the Playful Heart, because it was both my first deck of the year, opened when spring was coming in, really matching the mood, and my first indie in a long long while. It was such a fun time, reading with it on the balcony, in the sun, making my inner child happy using the colorful notebook I made for it. Maybe I'll swing back around to it next spring/summer.

The second fave would be the Kawaii tarot because it was a surprise from my partner. As stated in the previous post I didn't really spend much time with it, but it still gave me the fuzziest feelings. Haven't read much with it, but I flip through it occasionally and have a good time just taking in the images.

3. 2 Fave Books from 2022

There were two books I found really hard to put down. “Piranesi” by Susanna Clarke – I read it at least three times. It's so cool – philosophically, linguistically. Very re-readable. The second one would be “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. I did re-read it but it didn't quite compare to reading it for the first time. If you have it on your TBR – savor it!

4. 2 Fave Movies or TV Series you watched in 2022

I am so bad at movies and tv. Don't have the focus. But I did jump on the Our Flag Means Death bandwagon. What's not to love about a gay pirate comedy show? Excited for the second season, I read way too many fics speculating how the hell they're going to get out of this one. Interested to see what canon has in store. And screw it – Knives Out 2. Yeah, it only just came out, but I can appreciate a movie that makes 2+ hours go by in a flash. Lots of fun, great actors, great costuming and cinematography, would recommend.

5. 2 Craft/Hobby Related from 2022

I am so proud of myself for my art explosion. I finished two sketchbooks – one thick, one thin. I've started two others. I've been very experimental with my media. Tried gel printing, drawing with dip pens, playing around with acrylic inks, pencil colors, collage. Bookbinding tarot study journals. I think it came about via not-creating-for-content. As in: I wasn't at all times thinking about needing to feed my art blog something, because I stopped posting on it at all. And I was free to just follow anything I was curious about, and do it as badly as I wanted.

Also pretty satisfied with my expanded fiction intake. Dropped off a bit towards the end of the year there, but definitely read more original stories this year than I had in a long while. Happy to have fed my brain like this.

6. 2 Splurges from 2022

Gods, the biggest purchase was the bass guitar. It's entry-level so I suppose the price was reasonable, and it's very pretty. The best thing about it was jamming with my partner, but ultimately it's very stressful for now and I haven't picked it up much since that first month. Kind of feels like... I have to make the most of it to justify the expense, and so it paralyzes me. I'm sure I'll get over it and approach it more lightly some time in the future. It also doesn't help that I can't just pick it up and practice – there's always the plugging in of stuff that's not permanently set up just ready and waiting.

As I was personally on a low-buy, the second biggest splurge that could be considered “mine” is a piece of furniture. One of those square-cubbies-bookshelves that lives near my desk, so that I can keep at least some art supplies out in the open/close to hand. Definitely helped with the art explosion! And with more fiction book purchases I had to shuffle some other shelves around and my collection of in-use tarot decks has also found a home there. Trying to whittle down the “active” decks to a number that will fit in only one of the cubbies, to reclaim some space.

7. 2 Things most excited for in 2023

I'm not sure. Hard to really plan for anything with Covid still going on. I'm excited not to have a rule-heavy year-long project anymore, let's go with that. (My year-long project is going to be very simple!)

And maybe... moving to a better apartment? Not looking forward to the process, but hoping for a good result. This place is a little too small for all our interests, it would be nice to spread out a bit. Also there's like zero insulation and the windows are single-pane? I didn't know that was a thing anymore. Always fighting condensation and mold is killing my autumn and winter vibes. New place by next cold season would indeed be very exciting!

I'm going to add: 2 things most excited about from 2022:

  • getting to see my family – boostered up and took the risk in the low low numbers summer months. Some family members aren't doing so well and I thought this might well be my last chance to meet up with them. Spent plenty of outdoor time together, charged up those good-people-closeness batteries,
  • starting hormone therapy! Wouldn't have believed it could be so easy. Obviously, not all the effects are equally desirable, but they're all worth it. Even just a tiny change in my voice is giving me so much euphoria, and it's kind of reverberating through all areas of my life. Can't wait to see the progress.

That's it! This is the last post of this year, so here's hoping 2023 brings us all more joy and healing.

Here's a little housekeeping as we're heading into 2023: an accounting of all the decks I brought in 2022. Definitely didn't “win” at the no/low-buy part of depth year, but I still think 8 (waiting on the 9th) is a very decent number, compared to some previous years. It's less than one a month! Impressive restraint, for a special interest.

Official depth year decks:

  • Playful Heart (Q1 deck) – first indie in a long while. Turns out I very much don't like the linen finish. And the fact that the illustrations are not as vibrant as the backs, with a predominance of greyish blues.
  • Erotic Tarot (Q2 deck) – impulse bought at a store after chilling in my amazon wishlist for a bit. Love the paper feel. Icky about its take on inclusivity (very femme leaning.)
  • Kawaii Tarot – the new blue version (anniversary gift). So frickin' cute! I haven't spent as much time with it as I'd like yet. But big heart-eyes.
  • Tarot of the Drowning World (Q3 deck/birthday gift) – another indie! Most expensive tarot purchase, what with shipping from the US. Again – unfortunate with the linen finish, the images would look really good with a smooth gloss. Also I feel its rich chaotic images almost defeat the purpose of a pip deck? Like I'd have to read it despite the art, not in tandem with it.
  • Tarot for All Ages (early Q4 deck) – quite like its simplicity and iconic imagery, but had to fudge with the colors for a bit more vibrancy.

Post-depth year (so basically in December):

  • Lioness Oracle Tarot – this is my “poor man's Ritual Tarot”. Just kidding, but it has a similar collage look, if a bit more sparse. The Ritual looks very ancient-earthy, from what I've seen online. The Lioness looks very ancient-cosmic. I'll post more about it in its own post.
  • Piatnik Tarot de Marseille – why buy a historic restoration when there's this guy? (I mean I still probably will at some point...) So pretty, and no nasty cardstock surprises. Sleek and shuffle-able.
  • Enchanted Tarot (Christmas gift, opened but not thoroughly examined). First impressions: huge and flimsy, a trim might be in order. But the images are gorgeous from my first quick glance.
  • Fyodor Pavlov tarot (Christmas gift, still in transit). I've been a fan of his artwork from the Hannibal fandom days. Looking forward to a trans man's take on an inclusive deck!

Ironically I didn't go particularly deep with most of those decks. I gave the indies an honest shot, but otherwise tried to go deeper with stuff I already owned and hadn't yet connected with too well. Wanting to make sure that the lack of connection wasn't due to my lack of trying. I have another general yearly retrospective post in the works, so I'll write about my most used decks there.

Final musings: I've already written about what I've learned about purchasing tarot decks this year, but to summarize:

  • indie decks aren't automatically better,
  • limiting myself to fewer purchases makes me more keen to make expensive purchases, which does not necessarily guarantee getting more “worth”. Also emotions run higher, making it unnecessarily high stakes,
  • some decks are simply gimmicky and won't read well as a tarot deck. They might read better as an oracle, but I'm not too good with oracles so can't really tell,
  • sometimes it's not an itch for a new deck, it's an itch for something new, and a generic mass market deck seems perfectly harmless in that sense,
  • there's more pleasure in using decks than there is in buying them,
  • I personally can't commit to using one or even a small selection of decks exclusively for a given period.

I've done a lot of re-shuffling of which decks are sitting out within reach, and which live in a box in storage. I wonder if after a whole year of having done that I'll finally be able to put away the decks that truly aren't working for me. There's always a little doubt of “maybe if I tried a little harder”, but it's distracting me from the decks I actually want to use, and not just out of disappointment/a sense of wastefulness. Fingers crossed for a more positive approach in 2023.

Plans for next year have solidified. I wrote a little bit about it on Mastodon, but to sum up:

  • the only real big focus of next year will be figuring out a way to document and record whatever it is I deem important about my days – trying to catch all the memories/events, ideas etc. No special journaling, no habit tracking (pressure) or to-do lists. (Obviously I can write to-do lists, that's just not part of the Main system and goal). I will not be documenting that process here, that's a bit too meta for me.
  • this blog will probably become some sort of tarot place? It'll become 100x easier once we set up some sort of local file-sharing thing at home, because sending files between devices is a nightmare, and I'd want the tarot posts to feature images.

Running a tarot blog has proven challenging in the past for other reasons too, so that's another thing to maybe figure out. I don't really read all that much for myself, so I wouldn't be sharing personal readings, and I don't want to be beholden to a potential audience by committing to a schedule of readings “for the collective”. I don't consider myself erudite enough to post coherent educational posts (although I'm happy to answer questions and help out one-on-one). Usually if I find something interesting I put it in one of my tarot notebooks, they're much easier to use as reference than an online blog space. What does that leave me with? The kind of exercises and example readings I do for fun but don't really need to hold on to? I guess I'll just post whatever I feel like and not put extra limitations/parameters on what that is (again – freeing up brain space for the primary focus of the year).

Upcoming posts ideas:

  • review/thoughts on the deck I'm currently studying
  • what tarot decks I'm looking to work with next year, at least from the ones I already have/are in the mail
  • a look at my year ahead cards – I haven't really done this before, but I'm curious to try. (So kind of sharing a personal reading, I guess?)

Ok, I am out of words, talk to you soon.

Time for some personal updates:

  • I've been away from and/or quiet on social media – trying to weather the birdsite influx to mastodon and all that came with it (lots of muting, unfollowing, filtering etc). Still feels a bit overwhelming, might need to prune more. Also my phone crapped out and I didn't re-install instagram on the new one (can't be bothered with finding/resetting passwords). Basically only still stuck on youtube.
  • RIP to the no/low-buy part of my depth year. It's time for getting gifts, setting up next year's planning etc. It's whatever at this point. Despite opening the door to buying, I'm not immediately digging into the things I've brought in. They're in their little corner waiting for when the brain needs new stimulation.
  • Following the ban lift I – of course – did get and open a new tarot deck. I spent a lovely day yesterday learning tarot-relevant astrology basics (more than I ever managed towards my Thoth studies before). Invigorating!
  • Speaking of planning – I want to keep playing with what I note down and how I do it. Turns out just “being present” more doesn't fix my memory shit. I've been really happy with the ideas harvesting I've been doing (one type of bullet I use), now I'm thinking it might help for memory-keeping/sense of time, if I make use of my “good thing” and “event” bullets to maybe make little weekly/monthly reviews of what's been happening? One place where I can see everything at a glance, and how it relates to each other?

Anyway, maybe I'll be back if I figure out what exactly I want to focus on next year/if there's a specific plan I want to follow etc. For now it's back to sending international packages, where the postage costs more than the contents. Mmm, holiday spirit.

So I haven't written in a long while, can't say if these summaries and thoughts are new or repeats. I'll write them down just in case.

I haven't written much in general over the last months because one of my “depth” breakthroughs was about relationships. I've stopped chasing after friends that are drifting away, and it seems that's where most of my writing happened. It's not like I'll turn them away if they re-appear, but I'm done trying to invest in friendships that disappear once people's lives become busier. A new relationship, work things, I get it, things get in the way. But if I'm only entertainment for when your life is empty, nuh-uh. It's not even fair-weather friends, because even the best personal news goes unaddressed. (By the way – this isn't a call-out for anyone who might be reading this, don't worry. The people I mean are years-long “friends” who don't keep up with any personal link I might have sent them for staying in touch).

So, that's good for me, I think. I'm more appreciative of the few contacts I do have. Plus it's not really like I could've kept up with All the people that I'd want to have in my life in the capacity I'm imagining. I'd be online all the time. And I was, in the not so distant past, at the beginning of the pandemic. So it's for the better in that sense, too – I'm successfully less online!

Buying is... weird? The no-buy part of depth year was supposed to apply to tarot decks. I immediately changed the rule to “maybe a deck on birthday and christmas” and then again to “maybe one deck per quarter?” So that didn't exactly work. And I got decks as gifts as well, aside from those I got for myself. But I still learned a lot:

  • I spent much more on those few decks than I usually would. When buying monthly I'd never pull the trigger on a big indie spend. The special quality of a Limited Purchase Opportunity justifies the bigger spend, but...
  • Expensive decks can be just as disappointing as cheap/mass market decks.
  • I've written already how it's about the using that makes tarot satisfying, not the getting, but!
  • Sometimes you do need a new thing in your enclosure, and I think I've learned to recognize that impulse. Instead of jumping straight into “what new deck can I get?” I look at old decks I've packed away, I read a book, I try a new art supply.

I'm no longer looking at the month's “pocket money” as soon as it comes in and thinking, “Right, what can I spend this on?” I just use it for books and art when the time is right/the opportunity arises. I don't feel as deprived, with the free pass to spend on fiction and art, but also it's made me feel as if I'm not... really... doing anything special? Like, I forgot I'm on a depth/low-buy year and just kind of bought a game out of nowhere, for the novelty. It's one I've always known I'm probably gonna get but I didn't even put down special rules about this sort of spend because of how rarely I buy games. Which makes me think – maybe a year long project is just too long to keep focus? If I'd remembered the whole concept for the year it'd be instantly clear that the answer to “should I buy this” should have been “no.”

Next year I'm thinking of doing a couple of shorter experiments, maybe 3 or 4-month long (so I don't forget I'm actually doing one), each with a different focus. I'm hoping what I've learned in terms of art habits and spirituality (I consider both significantly “deepened” or at least expanded! Success!) will remain, alongside a diminished tarot “fervor”, and I can for example go deeper with the nature around me, or learn to be more giving/generous, or alternatively/in a different season – really try to save some money, as this low-buy year really didn't work for that.

Another thing I'm having a bit of a focus-issue with is journaling. I loved doing my tarot journal + list of random thoughts, ideas, good things, events on the other side of the page. But I've started the #DROPM78 mindful tarot challenge and it's messed it all up. I now do what little writing is required for that and can't be bothered with the regular journal, but I've really been relying on the idea-list for a lot of things. I don't want to spread out across many journals. I think I'll drop the challenge (at day 22) and go back to the previous format. I've been bookbinding little booklets for that previously, but maybe that's also a kind of obstacle/distraction? I could just do it in any old notebook, I harvest the ideas into a file at the end of the month anyway, it doesn't matter what the notebook is, that's probably as much looking back as I'm going to do with it anyway. It's more about the process of thinking things through on the page.

Kind of like here – sorry for the ramble! I could've just updated the blog as soon as each of these ideas crystalized. Had I remembered I'm doing and recording The Thing. Maybe shorter projects will be better for archiving as well? Time will tell. Logging off now.

Here's my little unfinished brainstorm trying to reinvent the mysteries of the rosary as something much more ecological, rather than theological. I had the idea for each set to include a whole spectrum of natural phenomena, from the very broad to the smallest human application. They don't go 1:1 with the Christian ones within their sets (although that granularity looks like it could be very useful sometimes, especially in the Sorrowful Mysteries). Rather, I take the theme of each set and start anew.

The Joyful Mysteries are very much about the power of creation, so here's my take: 1. The Mystery of the Big Bang – how did that even happen, how is it still happening, will it continue and fade out, or constrict back up? Every perceivable thing being an effect of this singular event. 2. The Mystery of Natural Laws – the interconnection of processes, how the particles of physics make up chemistry, which in turn makes up biology, which in time translates into neurology and consciousness etc. How all our atoms were forged in the hearts of stars. 3. The Mystery of the Earth Organism – how amazing that some planets can support life, how all that life is intertwined into one inseparable huge organism. 4. The Mystery of Our Ancestors – the evolution of humanity in particular, our ancestral species, our cousins. How from the earliest times we, too, were driven to create. 5. The Mystery of Culture – how the human drive of creation adds up into cultures. How cultures differ, how they're shaped and passed on – in language, art, religion. How it all shapes us even as we shape it.

The Sorrowful Mysteries are about destruction and dominion. The original ones do well with listing out the atrocities of humanity, I try to fit those into the last three, while allowing space for some natural destruction as well: 1. The Mystery of Impermanence – nothing is forever. Entropy progresses, death comes for all. Some things simply are destruction (black holes?) 2. The Mystery of Natural Disasters – Earth destroys as much as it creates. Natural disasters have always been a part of its history, even without humanity's contribution. Mass extinction events, floods, earth quakes happened for millions of years without our input and aren't things we can control (for the most part). 3. The Mystery of Evil – how every single human has the capacity for petty cruelties, a small spirit, the potential of violence under the “right” circumstances. How we can't just brand some people evil and be rid of them, how we must acknowledge “goodness” is relative, and also a choice not everyone has the luxury of making. 4. The Mystery of Patriarchy/White Supremacy – the Big One, how systems of power and oppression perpetrate mass violence through racism, colonialism, genocide, war, misogyny, ableism and other normalized atrocities baked into a status quo. 5. The Mystery of Capitalism – an extension of the 4th Mystery – how our culture progressed so far into capitalism that a literal handful of people is killing the whole world for greed and somehow that's allowed.

The Glorious Mysteries are about resurrection, and connection over domination. I'm having the most trouble with these. I can't structure them as neatly – from broad to narrow. And I'm not entirely sure what they could be, as culturally we haven't been there yet. Nature should be the blueprint, but I feel that has been covered in the Joyful Mysteries, which makes sense. Creation is re-creation, the cycle has two phases. I feel the Christian version speaks of hope, and finding inner strength to start again. Regaining your sense of power. So far my version goes something like this: 1. The Mystery of Decomposition – all death feeds new life. The wondrous work of the organisms that break down dead organic matter, repurposing it, returning nutrients to the soil, which in turn feeds the whole food chain. Similarly letting go of things that no longer work for us, makes space for things that do. 2. The Mystery of Hope – how even in the darkest times, humanity has shown hope and perseverance, finding even the smallest things to defy the fatalism and darkness. Individual acts of kindness, small individual actions, symbolic opposition (minimalism, going green etc) 3. The Mystery of Activism – from those people who care, arise groups and organizations that have a chance to, and often do, effect real change. Voting, community aid, no-police zones. Doing for their communities what the governing systems in place fail to or simply won't do – food not bombs, antifa. 4. The Mystery of Social Change – the broad pro-human rights changes happening over the centuries – decriminalizing the existence of whole groups, cultural shifts towards acceptance, inclusion, accessibility. Most things are still being dismantled and I can't imagine it will ever be over, this is a constant work in progress, with things like land back initiatives, ending the “war on drugs” and the prison industrial complex etc still in the works with a long way to go. 5. The Mystery of Global Triumphs – moments where humanity succeeded in cooperating as a whole, like eradicating certain illnesses, manufacturing vaccines, restoring lost species. The value of sharing, freely communicating knowledge. Our potential, individually and as a species, if we seek to connect and celebrate diverse perspectives and solutions.

That's it for now.

Things sure do keep on happening. Summary:

  • had my birthday, got a really cool tarot deck and the previously mentioned bass guitar. It's good! Currently learning the Cure's Lullaby and the Cranberries' Zombie.
  • there was a terrible heatwave which completely dampened any impulses to do anything whatsoever for a while.
  • had another one of my tarot realizations – I don't seriously read with cute or modern decks, even though I like the aesthetics and playing around with them. This has considerably lowered any purchasing urges, at least of stuff from the Fancy Wishlist I have going. It does highlight how few decks I do read with and that there isn't a single RWS among them...
  • started a crafting project of making Nice boxes for those decks that I do like to use more often.
  • looking to maybe start a new color sketchbook next month? I think having Only the ink sketchbook is making me insecure and I draw less in effect. Having a backup of “look, you still know how to do this, you don't completely suck” might help?
  • traveled to Poland, managed not to buy garbage both to bring there, and to bring back here. Still came back with a handful of cherished little gifts I received from friends and family, and grandma's rosary and Holy Virgin medal I was going to put on the ancestral shrine for her but ended up doing something else with.
  • speaking of – I'm investigating the Way of the Rose and coming up with a reclamation of the rosary that would work with the fellowship's “ecology, not theology” motto, but that's a whole separate post (coming soon).
  • did end up traveling around for transition reasons and am now after my first T shot – woo!

That about sums it up! Nice mix of minimizing, mindfulness, and going deeper with self, interests, and connections. I expect to post a brainstorm about an ecologically-themed sets of rosary mysteries some time soon. Take care, everyone.