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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January's Theme: "Self"
Volume 7 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Cards & Curios
The Magic Manga

with Dan Pelletier

After I drank my espresso at my usual stand, I scurried across the street; dry leaves driven by the cold autumn wind dodged my feet as I dodged the traffic driven by folks who never questioned why they were 'going'.

I opened the door to "Cards & Curios", holding the door against the wind demanding entry before me.

The glass display counters run the length of the store to the left. Cabinets, trunks, and I suppose armoires (I don't really know about such things), cluttered the floor space to my right.

I began to peruse the contents of the glass display cabinets. They contained all sorts of oddities. There was a polished stainless steel gizmo with straps and a nose hole, I suppose it went over someone's face. "Third Eye Sunglasses" said the tag. There was an Akashic record player, a cheese grater, and there - on a tiny wooden easel sat (according to the little tag) a Lombardy-Zeroth Tarot, the faces safely hidden away…

A loud squeaking behind me raised me from my reverie, I turned to see the white hairless head emerge from a cabinet, "Ahhh good to see you again - I stepped out to get us some lunch." He closed the cabinets squeaking door, and carried a tray of two falafel sandwiches, and two cups of cardamom spiced coffee, the aroma filling the room. "I got them from your favourite spot in Al Quds, the 'Four Shekel Man' on Muristan Road off David Street. And no, the Lombardy-Zeroth is not for you." He set the tray down and handed me one of the coffees and a falafel sandwich.

"Now this you may find interesting…" He set a large red box in front of me.

I took a sip of the coffee…heavenly…

Robert Place's Vampire Tarot companion book sits in the top of the box, nested above the deck. The book alone is worth the price of admission, drawing parallels between the vampire myth and alchemy.

The square corner cards are large, three and a half by five and a half inches, dark, stark, and provoking. The suits are knives, stakes, holy water, and garlic flowers.

Like everything else Robert Place does - it's simply a wonderful addition to a tarotist's library of working decks.

A further bonus is that Robert Place used concepts introduced in early vampire fiction, as opposed to today's mass market film based pseudo-vampire 'mythology'.

I was careful not to mar the deck with the wonderful falafel sandwich. They don't make them like that around here… TAROT GARDEN

I finished my coffee. "I'm confused. You were just in that box. And you step out and serve coffee and sandwiches from a place halfway around the world. And how could you know about how I feel about that guy on Muristan…?"

His smirk was disturbing. "Many things I know, many things are possible. Perhaps this would interest you?" He took a small box from a shelf behind the register.

"The long awaited, Londa Marks Alchemist Tarot is now available." He said as he placed the now opened box before me. He handed me the cards.

The matte finish of the Alchemist Tarot is a perfect backdrop for a colourful and visionary approach for a hermetic based modern derivative of a majors-only divination and personal manifestation system.

Reading with Majors-Only decks is a subject near and dear to my heart, and the Alchemist Tarot is a fresh new look at this continental standard.

The Alchemist Tarot is a complete system based on Hermetic Qabalah for both divination and as an aide in attaining more of the things and goals that we desire.

It's a great print job. They did everything right.

Unfortunately, six (that's about 27%) of the cards include advertising to various author owned websites where one may purchase more items, and even business opportunities. That kind of ruined the whole thing for me…

I set it back on the counter next to the box. "Very nice" I said.

"How about something different? Something very very different?"

He pulled out the stainless steel gizmo with straps and a nose hole, about four inches tall. "Third Eye Sunglasses" he said, and proceeded to hold it up to my face, attached the straps behind my head, and my sight was removed.

It was quiet, and I was blind…and…then…images…

The blonde pushed around the eggplant parmigiana with her fork while I was doing a vanishing act with the lasagna.

"My father said once that he'd done the research and found that we're distant relatives of Johannes Vermeer. But in a small country like Holland, I suppose everybody's related to everybody." She chuckled.

I'd been late having hit the wall of traffic called the interstate and missed our appointment time at Vince's Italian Restaurant by half an hour.

I said she'd recognize me as I'd be wearing a bow tie, she said she was a big Dutch woman.

I did, and she was stunning.

A clue slid in with an incomparable lasagna sauce. Nakisha VanderHoeven has read with the Maddonni for 20 years, and her parents are both from Holland.

Nakisha VanderHoeven has a degree in sculpture, and has been creating art since her earliest memory (which is being on an airplane with her father, on their way to Holland, where he'd draw an animal, and then would ask her to draw the same animal - in her style; always complementing her on how much better her drawings were).

It was actually during the minestrone, that she slid The Rabbit Tarot across the table. My taste buds were lost in the deep rich mellowed flavour, and the rest of me was lost to Rabbits.

Some time ago, Nakisha was forced to stop painting with oils which had become an irritant. So she switched back to the water colours of her youth.

One day she was painting a seascape. "Something's missing." She added a boat. "Something's missing." She added a rabbit. It was complete.

Since then, she has produced perhaps hundreds of paintings featuring rabbits, sold them through Etsy, and has developed a following of both her work, and her rabbits.

These are not dressed up critters, no bunnies in clothes. The Rabbit Tarot is not a WCS or Crowley clone.

The Rabbit Tarot follows the Etteilla/LÚvi Continental school of Tarot, and the nine by six point eight cm cards fit the hand beautifully.

Nakisha explained that self-publishing forces one to make choices. One of her considerations was brilliant. She decided to have the 78-card deck printed by a company that prints playing cards, on playing card stock, so that they'd stand up to use. "Doesn't make much sense if you can't play with them," she said between bites.

She does not keep rabbits, but has dogs for animal companions.

I had a difficult time enjoying the lunch, The Rabbit Tarot kept pulling me back, the soft water-colours gently pull one into the cards.

The Rabbit Tarot should not be overlooked. It lends itself to just about any reading situation, be it divination, meditation, or a complete toolbox for personal transformation. It is nothing short of brilliant.

It works very well if the reader uses 'regards' or Robert Place's "Six Patterns" (found in either the companion book for The Vampire Tarot and The Tarot, History, Symbolism, and Divination by Robert M Place).

Nakisha noted that sometimes the rabbits group, White Rabbits on this portion of the spread, Dutch Rabbits on the other portion.

Nakisha talks of preparing for her gallery show of the original art for the Rabbit Tarot, which opens November 14th in Seattle at City Trees Gallery in Ballard (4616 14th Ave NW, Seattle, WA). It will feature framed originals of the majors, prints, and of course Rabbit art.

The images jarred and jumped about and I realized the straps on the Third Eye Sunglasses were being undone. I blinked rapidly for a while my eyes adjusted to the light.

"Well…?"

"Wow," was the only thing I could say.

Long after I'd left, the images of rabbits haunted me. It was those images…those pictures…


Dan Pelletier is the author of 'The Process - The Way of the Tarot Reader', articles appearing in the Tarot for Life website newsletter "Seeker's Journey", TarotSchool.com, and Tarot Passages; Dan has also published interviews with deck creators on the tarotgarden.com website library.

Dan has been reading Tarot for himself and others for close to four decades; is also co-owner of The Tarot Garden, a highly respected resource for tarot decks and related information on the Internet.

He lives north of Seattle Washington with his wife of 24 years Jan, his two cats Spook and Pookha, and 32 rosebushes.

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