Monday, June 21, 2021

For the Love of Vintage Tarot Decks

 

For the Love of Vintage Tarot Deck(s)

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

-From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

 

I have always loved this passage from this children’s book. I’m not sure I completely took it inside of my soul, until this weekend. –Just a note—this is longer blog.

 

Also I visit Facebook Marketplace, I haven’t bought anything from the listings…before this past weekend. I sent the typical quarry (fully expecting a “no”) “Is this still available?

I received a “yes, it’s still available”.

A collection of Tarot Books and Tarot decks (about 11 decks) available from a seller who lived “near me” (near me, being in Titusville).

My brain started racing. Do I have the cash available? Asked her if she was “firm” in the price. I mentioned there were a couple decks with which I was not familiar.

She sent me some pics. I checked my resources and had the requested amount.

I was a little reticent because of the “less than comprehensive” answers I was receiving. But I made arrangements to meet with Suzanne (her name was) to me in the parkinglot of the IHOP off the I-95 exit for Titusville.

We arrived before she did, and  suddenly had the worry that I was going to be discovered by the police. Because of the cash in hand, I was worried someone would see the exchange and we would be detained on the grounds (the abscent police) would suspect us of making a drug connection.

When she arrived, she was (exactly) as her picture depicted. Almost 6 ft tall, with platinum hair, and a lovely smile.

She had mentioned that these belonged to her mother and she wanted to sell it as a complete collection.

We made the exchange.

When I got them home (and dumped them onto my bed) I set to the task of making sure (first) that all the cards are in each deck.

One of the decks that I particularly wanted The Zerner Farber Tarot Deck. I had the deck (previously) and now have an incomplete deck and…this deck is no longer in print.

When I came upon the (coveted) deck, the box looked like this:


 



Pushing down my (extreme) dislike of “tuck boxes”, I also tried to hold my optimism that all the cards were there, given the look of the box.

That all sort of fell to hell, when, after I took them out of the box and saw the statis of the cards. Some were upside down (I don’t read reversals). Some were backwards  front-to-back, All of them worn at the corners, many with creases. I was certain not “all of the cards” were there and bolstered myself for disappointment.

As I sorted them into suits, I began to develop appreciation for this deck.

The guidebook said published in 1997.

These cards were (obviously) well loved and well used.



At the end of the sorting and putting the cards in order,

 I realized that all the cards were present and accounted for.

I found myself stunned. Then, my stunned feeling dissolved

 in to a reflective pool of gratitude.

 Felt some presences of spirit with me, as I was visitng with these cards.

One of them, my spirit guide Andrew.

He told me to look at these cards and let that wash over me.

In a moment similar to Rafiki encouraging Simba “Look harder!”

Andrew helped me to see that there are many stories to be told in these vintage cards.

The influence of this (lovely—and I thought, slightly confused) woman who owned this deck was going to remain and guide me in my future works with this deck.

I loved the feel of the soft edges of this well-loved deck. I loved the muffled sounds

 as the cards clapped together. I even appreciated the creases and softly worn corners.

There were several “gems” that I found in the offerings from Suzi this weekend.

I learned that I have 3 new friends. One, a wonderful woman who lives in Titusville. One, a woman in spirit, who might visit me, as I am the conservator of her Tarot collection.  One, a vintage deck, who is pre-loved and embodies for me what it means to be “Real”.

 

Until next time,

Eat something wonderful,

And live a life worth loving.

-Kim Danbert

www.kimdanbert.com

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Pocket of Peers Tarot Deck-Commentary

 

Pocket full of Peers-Tarot Deck by Jamie Sawyer

Commentary-Not really a review.

 

I’m not usually known for Tarot Deck reviews or commentary.

 Something about the emergence of this deck has nudged me toward my blog.

As I move forward, I am aware that some people (reading this) will think that I am jealous because I am not one of the pictured. I am not , really, jealous.

 I am disappointed at some of the content, however.

I have seen a “flip-through” of the deck on Arwen’s youtube channel. I had seen flashes of cards as they were used by Mitchell Osborn on Facebook and a couple of them produced some time ago, of Rachel Pollack and Mary Greer.

Like the other works that I’ve seen (and purchased)  by Jamie Sawyer, the cards are beautiful…stunning, really. Lovely pict-o-graphs of practitioners (and some cards with no real people depicted) casting readings…dancing, playing singing bowls etc       Really amazing

Illustrations as only Jamie Sawyer can capture them. If I was one of the peers depicted, I would be flattered and honored.

There are several of the people represented that I recognize: Arwen, Mitchell Osborn, Ethony, “V”, Mary K. Greer, Rachel Pollack, Benebell Wen. There is a host of other mystical/Tarot luminaries whom I do not recognize, or know.

I like that Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack have “stand out cards” (out of the usual Tarot canon) as Teachers.

Now, I’m about to say something that might make me unpopular. Are these people my peers? I think, by their inclusion in this radiant Tarot deck., they are set aside, maybe set above the rest of us who didn’t make the cut.

 I haven’t (yet) published a Tarot deck, or written a book. So my 39 years in Tarot and mystical practice are unhearalded—at least in this deck. But I find myself feeling that makes this deck more “clique” than “peers”.

If this is a deck meant to embrace the more modern sensibilities, then where is Enrique Enriquez (of the documentary “Tarology”)

I also find myself missing some of the unsung harbingers of Tarot. Maybe they should be in their own deck titled Visionaries. Where is Janet Berres? (Creator of the International Tarot Associattion)? Where is Robert V. O’Neill (author of Tarot Symbolism, one of the first exhaustive texts on the topic). In seeing the flip through, I found myself waiting to see Amy Zerner & Monte Farber as The Lovers, (Creators of The Enchanted Tarot) but they were not pictured. Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone (creator of The Tarot School and The Reader’s Studio) are not among those pictured.

  I found myself looking for Stuart Kaplan (President and creator of U.S Games Inc. who was the first company to print and distribute Tarot in the United States). I found myself missing Eden Gray-who created one of the earliest Tarot texts in modern times.      There is a deck that features A. E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith, so I guess I have no complaint on that score. But where is Robert M. Place (creator of several Tarot decks, among them The Alchemical Tarot)

  I realize that this illustrates (on my part) my belief that I thought we were all (kind of ) in the same Tarot Boat..However, I’m now feeling that we don’t even occupy the same firmament. There (apparently) are the Stars, which glimmer so brightly. Then there are the people in the Mid-heaven, who have notice and prominence.

Then there are we, who collect Tarot decks, buy Tarot books , read Tarot Cards and teach Tarot classes. I’m thinking we’re the ground forces…appreciated, but not really acknowledged.

Am I so socially unaware that (at my age) I don’t realize that there is a kind of caste system in the Tarot world? No, I am not. I have found myself star struck at a Tarot convention.

Do I like pictorial evidence in a medium to which I have devoted much of my professional  career that I am not ‘one of the chosen”?

No.

Will I support a deck that would remind me of this

(every time I break open the oracle) how low down the Tarot Totum pole I actually am? No.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

What kind of Fool am I?

 

In 2005 (not quite sure of the year) my mother and I attended my first World Tarot Congress.

So many Tarot luminaries were in attendance. I spent much of the time gobsmacked,Star struck and card struck.

On Saturday night, there was a banquet and a “talent show” where songs were chosen for the respective cards of the Major Arcana, and I was to sing (solo) “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” because (as Janet Berres, the creator of the event, said) “None of the Pagans are going to know this song”

My mother and I walked into the dimly lit banquet room to take seats in the only table which was unoccupied. All the other tables were full, and I feared we would be the duo outcasts in this lone out-lying table.

But then, a foursome entered the dining room and took their seats with us.

Immediately I knew Amy Zerner, with her stunning purple hair (before it was an actual fad) , Monte Farber (Amy’s husband and co-deck creator) greeted us, pleasantly. Then a long looking man, with a care-warn face, that I recognized as the keynote speaker from the night previous, Stuart Kaplan-president of U.S. Games Inc. and his companion, Bobbie Bensaid.

I was (properly) cowed. My mother was not.

We all started chatting back and forth and then started talking about the songs we were performing. Monte was to sing “Blue Moon” (for the Moon card) and  Stuart was bemoaning the fact he had been chosen to sing “What kind of Fool am I?” for the Fool Card. I mentioned I was singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”. Monte said he knew that song and sang the tag line of the chorus “Comin’ for to Carry me home” and I chimed in with descant/harmony and the table stopped for a moment. Stuart said to my mother “She can really sing” and my mother-in a knowing way said “yeah, she can sing”.

There many other wonderful things that happened as we made new friends. Monte arranged an entire act around his Blue Moon number with dancing back-ups of Amy, Bobbie and me. Monte and Caitlin Matthews came up and sang Swing Low Sweet Chariot with me, in four-part harmony.

But there was a moment with Stuart that I have remembered just now.

When the event was announced and Stuart introduced to kick off the singing, Stuart, promptly, came to my chair. With one hand on my shoulder, and one drawing the chair back, he leaned down quietly and said “come with me. You’re going to help me sing this song.”

I did as he ask. One does not refuse royalty…even if it is Tarot Royalty.

As we got to the stage there were many people up there to help sing this song. Not be out done, Stuart pushed me forward toward the microphone. In the picture taken, it’s almost as he’s hovering above me (in a back row) in the performance of the song.

After that I kept in touch (for a bit) with him and Bobbie.

I saw him a few years later (at another event) and he treated me like family.

 Just today, I learned that Stuart Kaplan passed on Feb. 8th 2021 of complications of Covid 19.

Rest in deep peace, dear Stuart.

What kind of Fool are you?

The kind who journeys in spiritual realms without cares or pain (now).

All my love,

Kim

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

My ideals for Quarantine 4/2020


My ideals for Quarantine 4/2020
Like so many other times in my life, I had great and momentous plans for this Covid-19 shelter-in-place order. It happens, often, that if we are evacuating because of a hurricane, I will gather several “projects” to take up my time as we await the storm’s passage. Also, inevitably, the tasks are forsaken, in favor of my worrying about all the noise, worrying about my loved ones and awaiting the dark panels to be removed to reveal blessed light.
  I had planned to emerge from this time of confinement, appearing just as a butterfly emerges from a cocoon with resplendent wings, trailing behind me.
A new “lithe” creature would emerge, (no longer the round munching caterpillar). People would no longer wonder which was my head and which was my tail. I would have all of the wisdom of the Hermit (in the Tarot deck) with the erudite reserve of the High Priestess (again, Tarot).
My complexion would be dewy and colored with better habits and new resolved.
 Most of that is not happening (at least not for me).
Although I have been working on them, my two primary projects are not completed. Why?
I’m sure it’s distraction. The same reason it was not completed before confinement.
 I have (believe it or not) lost a small amount of weight.
Why?
Because of dental issues which forced upon me a root canal and excruciating TMJ.
So I don’t look lithe. I’m puffy from all of the medications to treat the issues.
Better skin care (to the cellular level) has not occurred;
My skin is not dewy with renewal.
Why?
Because, between the anxiety and the physical pain, I run out of energy to attend to the more cosmetic aspects of my person.
I had plans to learn Zoom and embark on conducting meetings for Tarot and other things.
Oddly enough, Walt has been successful at embarking on that…but not me.
I find myself purchasing new wardrobe items,
and then telling myself “you are not living in the NOW, Kim”
Like my grandmother, I find myself mopping the floor, like an intern in a typhus unit,
Like somehow THAT will help. –On a side note, my grandmother once had a new floor installed in her home, and 3 months later (because the floor was still under warranty) the company installed a new floor because my grandmother cleaned the finish off the floor by mopping it every day-true story).
I bake and bake…mostly bread.
It’s as if my passion has suddenly come into fashion.
The people who told me they don’t eat bread are now asking me for advice on purchasing
 A bread-maker and recipes and yeast proofing procedures.
In all, some things haven’t changed for me.
My day still begins with communion and prayer and ends with gratitude and thanksgiving.
While many people are re-acquainting themselves with the serenity prayer:
Prayer for Serenity
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.
                                            Reinhold Niebuhr
I am remembering another prayer offered so long ago.
God, thank you for the things you’ve given (to me).
Thank you for the things you’ve taken away (from me)
But mostly, thank you for the things you’ve left (for me).

Until next time,
May God Bless.
-Kim

Friday, April 24, 2020

It’s Friday, so it’s a Challah-Day!



OK so it’s a play on words, and no, I’m not apologizing.
I began baking bread this morning (this loaf will go out to a friend),
 And working on a Bible Journaling entry and realized, in my mind, the two
Coincide—or maybe collide.
So, I might have alluded this previously (in a blog) and I’m going to do it again.
In the 1980’s my best friend (Jacqueline Schuler) taught me how to bake bread (for my birthday). I found bread baking to be amazing and magical, and she spent all one evening teaching me how to make whole wheat bread, and at the end of it, I was hooked. The following Christmas, my mother and (then) husband purchased a breadmaker for me (one pound loaf) at $99 it was a steal (from K-mart) and probably the most expensive gift my (then) husband had ever given me (and yes, that includes my wedding ring).
But I digress.
Later, I attended a 24 hour retreat in Orlando, called “Womanrest”.
The coordinator of this Episcopal retreat facility was (oddly) Jewish.
She provided a ritual to kick off our retreat,
 the center piece of which was a giant Challah.
It was soft and sweet and holy.
Upon returning home I sought out all of the recipes and techniques I could find for this exquisite (and holy) bread. I learned to braid, and made some
Beautiful (if I say so, myself) breads.
To this day, my choice for a “gift bread” is a Challah bread.
In the light of this, Fridays bring two moods to me that are (seemingly) in antithesis to each other and yet, entwine in me, like the strands of the Challah braid. Friday mornings, my brain (if not my actual body) sets to the task of the bread I will make for the day, and to whom it will be gifted.
The second “mood” in me, seems to be also a kind of spin-off on the Shabbatt concept (if I had it correct in my mind, and I am not sure that I do)
Time to relax. Enjoy your home. Make good food. Have chicken and chicken soup. Make some wonderful bread. Cocoon. 
In parts of my mind, I am walking down the abandon halls of Satellite High School on a Friday afternoon with the strands of the Four seasons playing through my head (or the Bee Gee’s Night Fever). Feeling as though the weekend held nothing but promise for me. It seldom did, actually. I belonged to a choral ensemble (The Ten Tones) so we likely had a performance or two on a weekend. I also held a part-time job.
But I digress.
In that time at the Womanrest retreat I learned several things;
Among them: Rest can be holy and lovely.
Bread can be Holy and lovely.
 If these two can join together in your soul.
Life can be Holy and lovely.

Until next time,
Wash your hands,
Wear your mask.
Plant some seeds.
Eat some wonderful bread.
-Kim

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Kind word from a long-time friend

A Blog
A Kind word from a long-time friend
Recently, I watched the Netflix Mini-series Self-Made. It is inspired by the life of Madam CJ Walker, a woman who produced the first nationally distributed hair products for women of color. Her products are still produced today.
During this series, (spoiler alert) Ms. Walker has a lapse in judgement where she goes to bed with her ex-husband. Upon morning light, she says to herself
“Never go back to the place that broke you.”
My blog, this time has to do with that theme.
Some of you might know that (at least two years) ago, Walt and I were ousted from our home church of 5 years. During the time in that church, Walt led Bible studies, we both participated in Emmaus events. At one point, I led the prayer ministry.
We baked communion bread for World communion day.
We participated in the puppet ministry.
After the (then) Pastor so effectively made us feel “unwelcome”, Walt and I did not seek another church. We visited a couple of churches. But really haven’t sought another.
When a new Pastor came to our (former ) home church, we received much encouragement to return to our (former) home church. Comments such as “You can come back, Pastor Pam is gone” were routinely spoken to us, when we ran into church members.
After much prayer and consideration, we attended Ash Wednesday service, this year. Then began to follow this pastor’s devotionals. He seemed to be kind and sincere about being “honored” to be the pastor and how God loves us all.
So , Walt and I made an appointment to speak with the new(est) pastor about re-uniting with the church.
After stating (quite blatantly) what I do for a living, the Pastor told us that he wanted to know our “side “ of things. After mentioning a smattering of mis-deeds to which the previous pastor subjected us, the pastor announced that he doesn’t agree with what I do for a living either. He proceeded to tell me that I was “bucking 2000 years of church tradition” . He was confused about what the previous pastor actually did. He told us she had told us about a Psychic-medium that was in the church and that she “got them out” and took it “all the way up the supervisory ladder” to do it. The present pastor began a statement saying “since you had the problem with Pastor Pam”….my ire kicked up, I said “WE had the problem with her…meaning no-one else ever had a problem with her” He chuckled and said “I think we both know that’s not true”.
I was shattered and dismayed to learn that—In the eyes of the church—and it’s representatives, even a pastor who commits illegal acts, is better than a parishioner who doesn’t agree with church policy.
The day after this, Walt and I did what we do every morning. We had communion and prayed together and I was in a recalcitrant mood.
In a supreme moment of enlightenment, I contacted a long-time friend.
She was sympathetic. She was gentle. She was kind.
Despite my anxiety to the contrary, she told me that Walt was very lucky to have me. that I had not forever cleaved him from the body of believers.
She suggested that I try not to confuse faith (belief) with “church politics”.
She suggested some other congregations that we might try (after the confinement is over).
I was met with understanding and grace…something I had hoped to find from a Pastor.
On another note-the Pastor in question (the newer one) had cast question as to whether Walt---believing what he does, and being my husband, was fit for any church leadership---i…e…leading his Bible study that contains some of the church members.
This same Bible study moved from the church grounds to the home of a friend, who is a member of the church board.
Walt (being a man of conscience) felt it incumbent upon him to tell this friend (in brief) about the meeting with the Pastor.
The friend said…in short ,that it made no difference to him what the Pastor said or how he felt about Walt.
Both of the people I’ve mentioned (who were not pastors) are gentle people. Both of them are people whom Walt and I have loved and prayed for and attempted to be encouraging to,
in the past.
Until this happened, I never would have expected these seeds to bare fruit in such a beautiful and fragrant way.
It is in this moment, that I wish to thank Dikki-Jo Mullen, my long-time friend, for being there when I needed a kind word, so desperately.
Also, I wish to thank the host of the Bible Study
that Walt facilitates, Keith.
For the same reason.

Until next time,
Wash your hands,
Wear your mask,
And don’t give up the faith.
-Kim Danbert

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A refresher on manners for the Holidays


A refresher for some manners to remember for the Holidays
Aunt Eliscia (from the film Gigi) tells her niece "Bad table manners, my dear Gigi, have broken up more households than infidelity."
Although this is not (specifically) about table manners, I've been thinking about some of my own graces that I need to brush up. Maybe you do too.

1) say Please.
  I was reminded of this when visiting my hair-dresser and was asking if I might please, have a piece of candy from their candy jar. My hair dresser said "of course" and then went on to tell me that no one ever asks.
Please is a graceful word, devoid of entitlement.

2) Say Thank you
  Expressing thanks to someone who does (even the smallest ) kindness, is acknowledging their intersection in your life's path. Yes God -and the universe does want the best for you, in your life's journey. Putting people in your life to help you is part of the way that happens. Say Thank you, when it does.

3) Do not arrive at someone's home (this holiday season) empty handed.
 If you are visiting a friend-co-worker's- or acquaintance's home, bring something
to thank them for their hospitality. My personal favorite for this, is that I bake bread for them and bring it with me to their home. Very few people refuse home- baked bread.

4) Acknowledge their decorations (if they have them)
   I don't care if their Christmas tree looks like the dog's breakfast, or their decorations are chicken wire and toilet paper. If they're making an effort, acknowledge it. Just like ALL dogs go to heaven-ALL Christmas trees are beautiful-it's a rule. Offering "Oh, what a lovely tree" or noticing a specific ornament will be meaningful to your host or hostess.


5) Be receptive to courtesy.
 My reference point about this will appall most of you. In the film Erin Brockavich, Erin tells her boss (after a meeting with clients) to have a (bleeping) cup of coffee with these people.  Have the cup of coffee, the glass of eggnog, take a seat--sit deep--visit a (short) while. Being receptive to courtesy shows that you are (essentially) not in a rush to get away from them.

6) Honor your commitments.
  Don't blow someone off because you have a "better offer" and expect your original friend or acquaintance to be "understanding".  Talk about bad manners...geez.