I have been painting lately, or rather drawing. The hiatus I took between October and now led me down a way where I picked up pen and paper and began sketching and drawing. It happened spontaneously. I was sitting about in my house, thinking on playing cards, barajas, fortunetelling packs, and Cyprianic cartomancy. Reflecting on these different types of reading narratives let me to wonder what would a Cyprian inspired cartomancy deck look like for me. Then I grabbed one of my cheap brisca packs (or baraja), shuffled through the cards, scribbled on them, spread them out, and thought, what if?
This what if pulled me to grab an old sketchbook and pencils, and sketch parts of what I had in mind. About a week in, I decided this was a thing I was going to pursue, hence I needed more structure and direction, especially if this was to truly present what a Cyprian deck would look like for me. So I opened up the Cyprian black books* I own and began writing an excel sheet with a list of all the playing card meanings found in the books.
Laying out the card meanings within the Cyprian books I have allowed me to notice recurring patterns and themes in the suits, while also tracking card meanings. Then this whole idea began to take shape in earnest. So here I am, it’s December and I’m drawing everyday, little by little creating a card deck. Currently I have about half the cards sketched in their complete or almost complete form, and the other half is just around the corner.
This whole experience has been a revelatory adventure, a daring, especially the drawing aspect of it. I’m starting to understand how to qualify the ways, the hows, the tones, and the forms of what I see. How shapes, edges, light and shadow weave together, how each relates, co-relates, move, and transform. Perceiving that through this (the doing) I’m recognizing that the act of seeing and putting words to what I see is a conscious act I play with in many areas of my life, and especially with the cards. (We all do this whether aware or not). This whole process has been teaching me different aspects of seeing, creating, and translating, which I’ve found enlightening outside of the act itself of drawing. My hands and these forms they’re creating on paper are speaking this other story for me, that I’m thoroughly enjoying.
And why do I share all this? Well first, I’m creating a cartomancy pack! Second, wanting to share my experiences around seeing, context, and awareness. How one see leads one’s attention via different ways, through gradations, shadows, flows of light. Yet despite this inconspicuous marvel, I don’t think one ever truly grasps seeing the full picture of what is being looked at. What we see and how we see depends largely on context, where we are, what we’re doing, and why. I find this realization lyrically potent as I move from one day to the next (which as yet unknown), or more aptly applied, navigating out of 2020 into 2021. Whatever is unfolding will unfold, and we navigate these folds, these plays of shadow and light, by tuning our seeing toward the different ways we do so (the act of seeing). Interpreting, giving words to what we see, is also a thing we can learn to play with, always aware of context. I have a sense that with these ideas in mind one can better navigate different terrains and landscapes with aplomb.
Rounding out this conversation, I’m expecting to have a draft of the deck I’m creating complete by the end of this month. After the draft is complete I will print a copy and test it out, making sure the narratives, the language it speaks, is what I’m aiming for and that it is cohesive. After this step, I plan on going back and redrawing all the cards again, honing the whole aesthetically, fixing mistakes etc. I have a newsletter, and I plan on sharing more as I go along there, including images. It’s a monthly newsletter, and it includes a short lyrical reading for the month ahead. If you’d like to hop on, you can do so by signing up here.
Lastly, I want to mention that I plan on adding an end of year reading option, it will be a 2021 forecast reading, highlighting what to look for in this new year. The angle will be from an omen and fortuneteller perspective. Which just means, I take a look at the overall tones and highlight key omens. I will share more details when I do make the reading available toward early next week.
This is my re-introduction after a two month hiatus, I hope everyone has been well and here’s to creating ways through…
*Most of the St. Cyprian literature I work with is via José Leitão and his ongoing research, most of which has been published by Hadean Press.