Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tarot - The Visconti-Sforza Cards

The other day I stopped by TJMaxx to return some chinos for my son. I made a quick walk thru the store to check on favorite departments - books, cards, dishes, and shoes. I found these tarot notecards and was intriqued.

Inside, I found a brief description of the history of tarot cards. Tarot is derived from the Italian tern tarocco. Teracchi refers to a deck of 78 cards and a game played much like Bridge. These first appeared in Ferrara, Italy in the 1400's. The French used the deck for fortune-telling during the 18th century. In Britain in the 1880's, the Rosicrucian secret society the Order of the Golden Dawn adopted its use.

The Visconti-Sforza tarot deck, which appears on my notecards, is the most complete surviving hand-painted 15th century deck. It is now owned by the Morgan Library, inherited from the estate of Pierpont Morgan, who purchased them in 1911.

I had my cards read once in Des Moines by a woman who made her living doing just that. A well-known journalist in the area had consulted Dorothy with regard to a life-changing decision she had to make. This was a woman whose work and opinion I respected, so I decided to give it a go for myself.

Recently I re-listened to the tape she made of my reading done back in 2002. It was eerily accurate looking back over the last 7 years of my life. Today, when I pulled the cards from the box, the short explanation on the back of each of 4 cards in the set made me stop and think about some of the decisions I have made recently and will need to make in the future regarding my life, my family, and my work.

The first card I pulled was the Queen of Coins. This card represents opulence, security, prosperity, and well-being. Other than the opulence, it pretty much describes my life...for someone on the outside looking in.

Tomorrow I will pull another from the box and we will see which one turns over...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Evening with Studio Mates

This morning I received a telephone call from a studio mate who had been promising to get together before school started. I thought we would just meet for a drink, then eat out somewhere. However, he wanted to grill potatoes and summer squash from his garden, so I invited him and 2 other classmates to dinner.

Originally I had planned on grilled chicken breast. However, when I ventured into the garden for onions, basil, green beans, lo and behold!, I found 2 ripe heirloom tomatoes hanging on the vine. I knew immediately what we were having for supper. Panzanella!

Brett brought his new potatoes and squash, so we added those, along with roasted beets, a cuke, fresh mozzarella cheese, an avocado, grilled bread chunks, and a simple oil-vinegar dressing. It was scrumptious. We made a huge bowl of salad, but these 3 growing college boys finished it off in a blink, along with their breast of chix, several ears each of sweetcorn, and two 6-packs of Fat Tire and 1554 ale.

Yesterday, I stopped at a roadside stand to purchase some fresh cantaloupe and watermelon (Support our local farmers!). So for dessert, we grazed on melon, blueberries, and fresh raspberries from the neighbor's patch. I topped the fruit with a dollop of vanilla yogurt, roasted pecans, and sliced almonds. We all agreed, sharing delicious, fresh, locally-grown food was the about the most sensual thing...that we could speak of. It was perfection from the garden.

What will we do when the snow starts flying and our gardens are barren?????

Out in the Garden...

I've been out of commission from the internet for a couple of days. 72 hours to be exact. Its a long story, but when my husband was pick-pocketed in Greece 3 weeks ago, it shut down our access to the internet.

Yesterday I figured out that I could pirate the neighbor's portal to the etherworld, so here I am. Sorry to keep you in the dark. I did learn something about myself in these last few days. I like to write letters. Granted there is a lag in the news, compared to zipping off an email. However, the act of putting ink to paper, then sending it off like a leaf floating down river, helps nourish that special connection to a loved one.

Since blogging was not an option for my daytime pleasure, I got busy in the garden. Weeding, scrubbing birdbaths, and moving hostas from back to front to fill in some bare spots. I even did some long-distance gardening in a flooded-out area of Ev's Butterfly Garden across the river. I added coreopsis, catmint, daylilies, and Russian Sage.

I haven't spent much time this summer enjoying my garden, so the last few days have been wonderful. I never worry too much about specific color in the garden. Mother Nature always manages to put on a spectacular show throughout the seasons, so I leave that to her. The phlox are currently splashing their colors across the beds, brightening every walkway and corner. The scarlet-red monarda, the bright yellow coneflower, and the ruddy orange tiger lilies have all added their punch of color to the softness of the garden. I prefer to work with the textural quality of leaves, bark, and branches of the plants. Colorful blooms are great when they step to the fore, but after a show we all need the restful landscape that follows.

Speaking of color, take a look at Tess' Photog Gallery in the sidebar. This is a foto she took with her pocket digital camera several spring times past. It's an iris blooming in my garden. Notice the furry reproductive organs - virgin white, erect, and available. The stripes remind me of the hide of a magical, purple zebra-stripped unicorn. I used this foto as my desktop background last year and the land arch students were intrigued by it. Tess has a great eye for capturing the everyday around her, then focusing our attention on one small aspect of this world's incredible beauty.