Friday, September 29, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Kings


It's said that 'power corrupts', but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. When they do act, they think of it as service, which has limits. The tyrant, though, seeks mastery, for which he is insatiable, implacable. -David Brin, The Postman

All-powerful monarchs whose power was said to be a divine right, appointed by God and given free reign over the land and its subjects is, thankfully, a relic of the distant past. For as the above quote references, it seems quite true that power does corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. History as well as current events show that men don't seem to do well without limits.

The power of the king was limited by an agreement known as the Magna Carta in 1215: this was the starting point of the system of democracy and of the legal system in Britain. A parliament was later established. The early kings used to call meetings of barons and bishops (this became the House of Lords), but a second assembly was also created which included local representatives (this became the House of Commons).Though the Magna Carta placed some limits on the king, it wasn't until The Glorious Revolution in 1688 that things conspicuously changed. But before the 17th century, the king, or monarch, had absolute power. This power extended to the royal family, as well. Every male royal family member had rights that allowed them to enter any house, sleep with any woman, and stay in the house for as long as he wanted. This, along with many other "privileges," including financial in the form of taxes, made peasants, serfs; and sometimes lords, resentful towards the royal family.

The feudal system of government meant that the king owned all the land, but he divided it between barons and the Church. The barons had their own private armies, and agreed to pay taxes and fight for the king.Few kings had enough wealth to keep a standing army and depended on their barons to provide knights and soldiers. Kings had to do fancy negotiations and such to keep the barons under control. In many cases, especially in France and Germany, the barons grew very powerful and governed their fiefs as independent states. Below the barons, or lords, were yeomen. These were farmers and tradespeople who were free but had to do some work for the baron. Serfs (peasants) were slaves owned by the baron and had to provide food in exchange for their security - they were not allowed to leave the manor without permission. Basically, there was no middle class. You had rich and less rich, and poor and more poor.

Kings in tarot are somewhat like their historical counterparts in that they are the top dog of the suits. They represent mastery of the skills and accomplishments of their suit and are the driving force behind the actions within the suit. Their rule is limited to their suit and also by their own personal strengths and weaknesses. They, like the other court cards, are not always men, but represent the qualities of leadership, mastery. As Kent Nerburn has said, "Do not fall prey to the false belief that mastery and domination are synonymous with manliness." They aren't. Kings represent people, usually older people with some maturity and wisdom, that have mastered themselves and their environment in some fashion by hard won skill and experience.

The Kings in tarot are not usually the capricious overlords and tyrannical rulers sometimes (or often) found in history and in real life. Though ill-dignified they can be quite the pain the ass bullies, but thankfully the "Divine Right of Kings" does not extend to the kingdom of tarot. Instead they represent areas in which people strive to gain mastery, and they would collectively advise one to gather your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capacities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor. They often show up in a reading to represent a counselor or father-figure, a boss or person of authority, or yourself in a calmer, wiser, more mature state of mind.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Queen of Pentacles


If nature has made you a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart. And though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that. -Frances Hodgson Burnett

These pentacles people, God love 'em, they're just so real and genuine. Even in a fantasy-based deck such as the Fey Tarot, the Queen of Pentacles evokes such a sincerity and comfortable-with-herselfness. Here is someone you can tell your secrets to and know for sure she'd never betray your trust. Throughout the Fey deck the pentacles suit shows fey folk in the process of creative work, so there is no doubt the Queen is displaying the work of her own hands here. And the thing is, she's liable to gift this piece to you, if she thinks you need it or like it, just because that's how she is.

If you're in need of a business partner who is both creative and practical, as well as passionate and who will truly care about the endeavor, the Queen of Pentacles is the woman for the job. She can makeover your living room on a very spare budget, while pregnant (again), and cook up a pot of soup to leave with you before she goes. Yeah, she's one of those women, the ones who make it all look so easy. She's earthy and sensual, practical and frugal, yet she delights in the finer things in life. She's liable to come from "old money," and understands quality over quantity and comfort over what's in vogue. She isn't concerned with "making an impression" but more with what nourishes the body and the soul.

Yet no matter her homemaking skills and the envy they may inspire, you really can't hate her because she's so warm and genuine. She's so down-to-earth and is totally comfortable in her own skin. See the Queen of Pentacles on the right here from the Tarot of Durer. Her exposed breasts symbolize her maternal, nurturing nature while she displays a coin with her own image embossed on it. Yes, she's sticking her tongue out as if to say, "Yeah, what of it? I'm not impressed with myself." She's funny. She probably laughs herself silly over fart jokes. Kahlil Gibran wrote, "And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. " She knows this. The earth is her home, physically as well as emotionally.

What gives this queen her special knack for growing, creating, and nurturing is her unique elemental combination. She is "water of earth" the life-giving sustenance that no living thing can do without. She is moist peat moss, rich and dark, full of minerals and nutrients that allow roots to anchor deeply and leaves to flourish abundantly. Her flaws, however, exhibit themselves only when imbalanced, when there's too much water, say, with resultant stagnant emotional bogs and swamps. Too much of either element can smother growth and inhibit it rather than encourage. She can, if too "earthy" focus too much on material things and lose interest in people and relationships. She might be the mother who would rather buy her children things than spend time with them. Conversely, she could be the overattentive, emotionally smothering mother who frets over everything or clings too much, sinking her loved ones feet in mud so thick they cannot move. She can get "messy." A natural caretaker, she may give too much and create co-dependency in her relationships when she's needing to be needed.

However, more often than not, she's one of the more emotionally stable of the Queens, thanks to her earthy moorings. Just like all of the Pentacles people, she is reliable, loyal, and can be counted on to give really good advice. When your head and heart are spinning off into oblivion, she will gently ground you with practical suggestions. Then she'll feed you comfort foods she's made herself, and make up a feather bed with Egyptian cotton sheets (300 count, at least), scented with lavendar. She'll leave you alone just the right time and be available for quiet talk when you need it. She will sit and let you lay your head on her lap and she'll stroke your hair until you fall into a blissful slumber. There will be warm muffins and hot coffee when you awaken. This, from Walt Whitman, is her advice:

Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others...
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.



The Fey Tarot Written by Riccardo Minetti, Artwork by Mara Aghem Published by Lo Scarabeo and distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide
Tarot of Durer by Giacinto Gaudenzi Tarot Deck Published by Lo Scarabeo 2002
Crystal Tarot by Elistabetta Trevisan Published by Lo Scarabeo and distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide Copyright 2000

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Queen of Wands

Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world lets them. --Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), U.S. essayist, aphorist.

You can't miss her. Her energy lights up a city block. Her personality sparkles and sizzles. This woman is SEXY, fun, witty, and charming. She's not just the life of the party, she IS the party. She's planned it, coordinated every detail, brought in fabulous entertainment, and made sure everything goes off without a hitch. Enter, the Queen of Wands, with a spotlight on her, flashbulbs popping, and adoring admirers waiting for an opportunity to bask in her short-lived attention.

The thing women have got to learn is that nobody gives you power. You just take it. -Roseanne Barr

She's firey, flashy, and charismatic. She is aggressive and assertive, creative and knows how to live life to the fullest. She's ready to take on adventure, new ideas, new projects, but she'd rather be the one to come up with the original idea herself. But even if it's someone else's idea, she'll be happy to come in and take charge and tell them how it's done. She's so confident in her abilities that she can, if not careful, run roughshod over others, with the best of intentions, of course, to the point that you might have to tell her severely to "Back off!" She won't hear you otherwise.


As her Queenly element is water, her wands fire is tempered with sensitivity. She's not as brash as her knight, nor as single-minded as her king. When overly emotional, that water can put her fire right out and you'll find her depressed and sluggish, crying over everything and nothing. Wait it out, she'll find that spark again. More often, the "water of fire" combination results in sizzling, steamy, hotness that knows just the right temperature to keep things cooking at the proper pace. Her actions, while energetic, come from her heart and she deeply cares about the outcome and its effect on everyone involved. This is partly why she can host such wonderful events: she truly cares that everyone there has a great time. It's really not all window dressing for herself, though it may seem that way sometimes.

Ill-aspected, the Queen of Wands has her anger issues. She can be scary. She'll key your car, break the fine china, and throw a hissy fit worthy of an Academy Award. At her very worst, she can display the violent mood swings of someone with Bi-Polar Disorder off her meds. It's that water/fire combination. She can be promiscuous, meddling, and yes, abusive. If her insecurities prevail, you will find her at middle age wearing her teenage daughter's clothing and shagging her son's friends. As brash and bold as she can be, as seemingly independent as she appears, she has a strong need to be partnered with someone. This isn't necessarily a weakness, but her distractedness can cause her to either be serially monogomous with a high number of long-term partners or a philandering cheater who is always betraying the ones she claims to love. I likened Scarlett O'Hara to this queen, and of course that impression comes from the more negative qualities. While I admire Scarlett's pluck and determination, it's hard to admire her manipulative narcissism, which is precisely where this queen can go if reversed.

Yet, even when she's bad, she's good. Her disarming smile, her quick wit, her engaging personality goes a long way with others who will more often forgive her shortcomings and put up with her temper as small sacrifice to basking in this woman's warm and exciting presence. It takes a LOT to get to the point Rhett Butler did when he turned his back and finally exited with, "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn." And he, being quite the rogue and scoundrel himself, a Knight of Wands, really, even given his age, he had a lot of tolerance for her antics. Most will do as he did for so long and really get a kick out of her, see her manipulations, and love her anyway. Therefore, as advice the Queen of Wands is kicking things up a notch and urging you to be passionate about life, about love, about everything you do. She recommends a night of dancing, but not at your usual place. Find a new kind of music to dance to, take belly dance lessons, create a scene, be impulsive and let your inner sex goddess out. Do what you love and do it with enthusiasm and flair. Be outrageous once in a while. She'll be the first to remind you that you only go around once in life, so live. A little crazy never hurt anyone. And if it did, they'll forgive you.

The Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Losche Published by Published by US Games 1986
Classic Tarot By Carlo DellaRocca Tarot Deck Published by Lo Scarabeo

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Queen of Cups

“There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion
That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble
Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret,
Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together”
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (American Poet, 1807-1882)

With some people, you never have to guess what they are feeling, and it's not because they have chosen to display their emotions to the world, it's that they simply cannot do otherwise. Their emotions are the water in which they live and move and by which they navigate their daily lives. Emotions, being inconstant and very powerful, are often mistrusted and therefore thought to be a poor way to make one's decisions, but I wish the Greeks had never disparaged the passions that way and ascribed them to the realm of "women." For in the dualistic Greek philosophies, all things untameable, wild, free and mysterious were seen as base and therefore "feminine." The Greeks did not deny the existence of emotion in men, obviously, but being ruled by one's emotions was believed to be a shortcoming, not a strength. Control over one's passions was a much loftier goal, lest one be found too "womanly."

"Men are no more immune from emotions than women; we think women are more emotional because the culture lets them give free vent to certain feelings, "feminine" ones, that is, no anger please, but it's okay to turn on the waterworks," wrote Una Stannard, feminist author. Here is where the nuances of this Queen as well as her glaring stereotype crystalizes. She represents both the way patriarchal influences have disparaged emotions as being weaker and "feminine" (read: bad), but she also demonstrates the value of emotions and the strength of allowing them to guide and shape our lives.

The negative beliefs about emotionalism still reigns in our attitudes today, and as such the Queen of Cups is often seen as someone who indulges "too much" in waves of feelings, illustrated above as the Queen of Cups from the Tarot of Durer drinks deeply and sensuously from her cup. She's viewed as inconstant, prone to too much idealism and flights of fancy, she's romantic, dreamy, and otherworldly. She cries a lot, laughs a lot, and seems a bit too childlike. Personally, I do not find anything negative about someone who is so in touch with their emotions that they wouldn't understand how to live without them being so prominent and on the surface. This Queen is double water as she embodies the Queen's element of water as well as the cups' water element, so she is "water of water" and yes, that's a lot of water. If one is comfortable and accepting of one's own emotions, this Queen can be seen as more positive than negative, and even honored for her abilities to navigate her own as well as others' emotions with skill and familiarity.

This queen makes a tremendous counselor, artist, mother, and therapist. She is empathic and intuitive, often to a freakishly psychic degree. She may come across as naieve, but she isn't. She has sailed the rough seas and knows how to survive the onslaught of stormy emotional waves. If someone is in crisis, she is the one to call. She'll talk you down from the ledge, soothe your fears, and make sense of the chaos in your heart and soul. She knows the secrets of the heart and honors the pulse of it as it overtly or covertly moves you. Though many of us wish to deny it, she knows the strength of emotions and doesn't try to rationalize or whitewash their importance in logical sounding theories and formulas. In the Queen of Cup's embrace, you are accepted fully.

True enough, she is apt to drown her sorrows in too much drink, too many heartfelt displays of dramatic weeping and wailing, and yet it's not the "drama queen" put on of say, Scarlett O'Hara whose crocodile tears were simply a mechanism of emotional manipulation. Scarlett, I think, is much more a Queen of Wands, but we can debate that if you like. The Queen of Cups truly feels the pain as deeply as is being displayed, though the crisis may only have been a torn hangnail. While the Queen of Cups can and will use emotional manipulation, it is less calculated. It comes so naturally to her, she may not even realize she is doing it, but her skillful knowledge of the emotional landscape of others gives her the advantage that way, and if her emotions turn sour, she is likely to use that knowlege to her own ends. When ill-aspected at her worst, this queen can show symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, a pathological clinging vine that blows hot and cold emotions as a way of getting her own emotional needs sated.

As an advisor, the Queen of Cups urges getting in touch with your own heart and feeling your way through a situation. She recommends showing how you feel, not hiding your emotions, and recognizing and honoring the emotions of others. She asks you to walk sensitively around your own heart and the hearts of others and to use the emotional lessons you have learned not to grow a hardened shell of emotional protection, but to allow your emotions their just due and respect. Realize that when she shows up in your readings, if she is not representing another person playing a part in the situation, she is telling you to acknowledge emotions first and rather than think your way through things, but turn to your empathic intuition and feel what the right course will be. For emotions, if walled or dammed, will eventually work their way through the slightest opening and forcefully rush and flood the entire landscape. Directing the flow of emotion through one's life is more productive and there's a lot less of a mess to clean up afterwards.

The Tarot of Durer Published by Lo Scarabeo December 2002

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Queen of Swords


"...This is the paradox of vision: Sharp perception softens our existence in the world." -Susan Griffin (b. 1943), U.S. author and feminist.

Gossip! Shrew! Bitter old woman! Possibly you've heard she's a bitch, a widow, or an old maid. These are typical of the associations you might find digging around old tarot books for the Queen of Swords. Waite's divinitory meanings for this card are: "Widowhood, female sadness and embarrassment, absence, sterility, mourning, privation, separation." Reversed: "Malice, bigotry, artifice, prudery, bale, deceit...A bad woman with ill-will towards the Querent." Nice, right? One of the effects feminism has had on tarot can be found in the more updated meanings of this queen, as these older meanings, I believe were more a result of the patriarchal disparagement of a woman who exhibits her strong qualities than of a true assessment of her character.

This woman is sharp witted, very astute, nothing gets past her. She has an extraordinary bullshit detector. Most times, she'll let you slide with nothing more than a knowing look, but if she thinks you've gone too far she'll call you out and you will shrivel under the glare of her pointed words that unveil your duplicity as easily as slipping the skin off a ripe banana. She's brilliant and perceptive, with a strong intuitive sense that, combined with her ability for rational thought makes her seem almost psychic. Mostly it comes from the fact that she is a keen observer and she understands the interaction of the human psyche with behavior and emotions such that she is able to accurately predict what another person is likely to do. The element of the tarot queens is water, the emotional, life-nourishing force that navigates and flows throughout human interaction. The Queens, like their historical counterparts, are natural diplomats and negotiators due to this watery element to their natures. This queen's suit element is air, the element of active thought, communication, and conflict. She is "water of air" where the water tempers the nonemotional logical air and softens the icy blast with a humidity that quenches the breath.

So where did she garner such a negative reputation? Wisdom of her kind often comes from sad experience. She has often been through some fairly tragic life trials and has come away understanding much about human nature and herself. She is independent and sometimes prefers her own thoughts to the company of others. She isn't emotionally dependent and as such is happy with or without a mate. True, her sharp mind and tongue can wound when directed in anger. This woman can be spiteful, mean, and verbally abusive if she is crossed. Her preferred tactic would probably be more an icy silence that speaks more than words ever could. She is not above telling tales about one who has betrayed her, so by far she's not always someone you can trust.

This queen is undoubtedly one of the most feminist queens in the deck, not that each of them don't have their strong, womanly attributes, but she is one who patriarchy once disparaged for precisely those strengths and has come to be recognized for her true character and celebrated for the talented and critical-thinking woman that she is. Her meaning in tarot has evolved the most of all the queens in tarot due to the raising of feminist consciousness among the general population and among tarot readers specifically who, being predominantly intelligent women in their own right, could not abide the slander of the mighty Queen of Swords.

Robin Wood Tarot by Robin Wood Copyright 1999 Published by Llewellyn Worldwide
The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti Copyright 2004 Published by Llewellyn Worldwide





Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Queens

Joos van Cleve [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
"Though pedantry denies,
It's plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens...."
-William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) "On Woman."

What exactly did a Queen do? Was her role merely as a consort to a King or did she have other specific duties? Well, the answers to those questions depends on the Queen. History is a mixed bag where queens are concerned with some serving as adornment and makers of heirs while others held power and authority at full throttle. Most were the ultimate diplomats and served as negotiators between conflicting lands.

Mostly, I think, it depended upon their own personalities whether they chose to take a more active or passive role in politics and intrigue, and as was true in history the same is reflected in the Tarot Queens as each has their own personalities and manner. The Queens that held the most power were those whom, upon inheriting the throne, refused to marry. There is a difference between power and authority and while queens often held tremendous power they, unless they were the sole monarch, had little authority. Therefore, they often found ways to exert their will more subtly and with more diplomacy than say, giving an outright order. Some might say they were the power behind the workings of the monarchy and indeed they often were. Sometimes without the knowlege of the king. Some were treacherous and some were loyal, so there really isn't one composite sketch of a queen that can be drawn.

In Spinning Clio: Where History and Politics Meet author Marc posts about the role of Medieval Queens:

"To generalize a bit, queens during the EMA [Early Middle Ages] were one of a small number of influential advisors at court and thus had a greater advisory role to the king. During the High Middle Ages of the 12th-15th century, royal courts had become more complex and the influx of new officials tended to reduce the role of the queen in governmental matters... Thus, the primary importance of the Queen shifted from being a royal consort who could wield power in her own right to being the vehicle through which the royal blood was continued. Her womb was her most valuable commodity. Yet, an individual queen’s actual power still depended on her relative strength of position as king’s consort and her own personal power, which both tended to be greater the smaller the size of the royal court. "

See? Even he says, "It depends on the queen."

Of course it does. It always has.

Portrait of Eleonora, Queen of France c. 1530 Oil on wood, 35,5 x 29,5 cmKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back to Mundania

Well, that was fun. Until I drove home to a messy house and lazy kids living in their own squalor. Bleah. How many glasses does one NEED to dirty in six hours? Empty pizza boxes and dirty socks. Nevermind. I had a hissy fit and it's over. I will, however, show off my garb and then back to the business of tarot:

First, my new gypsy garb. The picture is not very clear, but the skirt panels are a beautiful satin paisley, and the waist cincher is leather but I did not make that. I took several decks and did a few readings, but mostly I was "off duty." That woodpile is what was leftover after the first night's fires and was used up for the second night. We had four fire pits in our encampment that lit up the night.

The battle games are fun to watch. Both men and women take the field. I have done so at times, but I prefer to relax (read: laze around in pretty clothes) for the most part. Here is a shot of two women going at it on the field during a company battle. There are fighting companies/households that are for women only, but most companies are co-ed. As you can see, the weapons are fully padded as are the shields. You can get hurt, but usually you don't. Unlike the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), Amtgard does not allow live steel weaponry. It's less realistic, to be sure, but it tends to be safer. And it's a great outlet for aggression!

I think my friend Brad makes an excellent Knight of Swords in this picture. The full leather armor is pretty striking. When people wear steel armor, they clank when they walk and I can't help laughing as they sound very much like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. The leather armor is useful, even though the weapons are padded because it takes more hits to "kill" someone in armor. They don't require helms, though some wear them, because head shots, anything above the shoulders, are not allowed. No decapitating in Amtgard. Head shots occur accidentally at times, though, and I once recieved a shot to my throat that left me unable to breathe for a moment. However, hits "below the belt" are allowed, so in that case women have an advantage. "Nut shots" don't disable us.

Finally, this is the court garb I wore Saturday night. I got the hem completely filthy and have a fresh appreciation for those who had to wash these kinds of dresses by hand. In tubs. With care. Every time I wear this dress I also understand why nobility needed people to help them dress. The inner bodice has laces up the sides. What kind of contortionist does one have to be to get dressed?

As demure as I may appear in this this photo, I assure you I was still able to take up a sword and surprise a few folks with my ability to block, parry, and wrap shot in a German Renn gown no less and slightly tipsy too. I actually fight better after a few drinks. I become unreserved and fearless. Grrr!

It was actually a wonderful weekend, the weather held up with only a few sprinkly showers, it wasn't too hot or too cold, and there was much feasting and laughter and silliness. I'm already looking at patterns for my next feast garb.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Huzzah!

Tomorrow I am off to enjoy one of the two bi-annual celebration feasts hosted by the Duchy of Crystal Groves in the Amtgard Kingdom of Goldenvale. We camp, we dress in medieval and/or fantasy garb, we drink alcoholic beverages, fight battles with foam swords, tell silly stories and stupid jokes, play drums, sing, dance, get toasty around fires, and all in all have a grand time pretending to be someone else in another time or universe for a few days.

This is a needed and welcomed respite. Just like the 4 of Wands implies, it will be a brief interlude where I will stop working and just enjoy the company of others, attend a party, eat good food, drink good wine (or honey mead, as the case will be) and generally make a fool of myself.

I usually prepare for these feasts by making some fancy frocks such as I'm wearing in the photo above. This time I am prepared with the garb of a gypsy, as well as court garb, a German Rennaissance gown I positively slaved over. It looks a lot like this one (left) I also sometimes weild a rapier, so I suppose I look a lot like a Queen of Swords then.

So, anyway, I wanted to let you know I won't be posting for a few days. I'll continue with the Tarot Court series on Monday or Tuesday of next week, talking about the Queens and the first one up will be the Queen of Swords. How fitting. Until then, Huzzah! And be thou of good health and good cheer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Knight of Pentacles

“'Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause, and of obstinacy in a bad one”
- Laurence Sterne (Irish born English Writer, 1713-1768)

You may have noticed in some of my other descriptions of the knights of tarot that I made exception for this knight, the Knight of Pentacles. Where I pointed out the lack of staying power and unreliability in the others, this one comes through with just those qualities. It is, in fact, what distinguishes him not just from the other knights but from all the tarot court. His word is his bond, he is fiercely loyal and if he takes on a task you can be sure it will be done and done well, if not at the time appointed. He is so terribly thorough he will take all the time necessary to complete a job even if you might think he's taking unnecessary pains.

You see, his methodical nature insists that he first have a plan. Not a rough draft, not a sketch, no, he needs blueprints with measurements and maps drawn to scale. A 3-D model maybe, too. He must know ahead of time the tools he will need and he must know how to use them properly. Then and only then will he commence. Then, on the journey, he will take the most efficient route, not the shortcut if it proves risky or dangerous, and not the highway either if it takes him too far out of the way or if he has learned of construction delays. He drives the speed limit and fills up the gas tank before he goes. He watches the mile markers, too. If it doesn't make practical sense to stop at that interesting looking shop or scenic site, he won't, especially if he told someone at the other end of the journey that he would be there by a certain time. A bit of a tight ass? Yes, definitely. He's sure he knows the best way to do something and it's his way or no way. If you want something done, he's the man for the job, but it's best if you just leave him to it else you're liable to tear your hair out in the process. He's a bit of a control freak, so just let him have his way or he'll drive you crazy with his insistence and persistence.

He's often pictured astride his horse but not going anywhere. He's often well armored and guarded with a shield. These depictions aren't meant to say he doesn't get anywhere, he does, but in his own time. His comprehensive approach simply means he spends a lot of time preparing, but when he does move he can move quickly if that is what is called for, and there is no questioning the success of the endeavor. He stands in contrast to the other knights who are rushing off on this or that quest often ill-prepared with merely their passion and ideas in tow. This guy had to have been an Eagle Scout because the Boy Scout Motto is his own.

Being a knight, he does embody the element of fire, of active energy, so don't let his stationary appearance fool you. It's just that as "fire of earth" he knows how to keep that fire smouldering at just the right temperature to get things cooking. Which leads me to another aspect of the pentacles court that I haven't mentioned, probably because last time I was talking about the Page and it just isn't seemly to talk about sex with pages (erotic decks excepted), but this knight and all the pentacles people are very earthy and luxurious in their sexual tastes. The pentacles folk love the good things in life, the things that bring physical delight and comfort and as such are very sensuous. And this knight can last all night. Most associate making love with cups (emotion) and wands (passion), but pentacles has its own sensuous style and its symbolism is directly associated with the Devil, that horny hotness himself, the Lord of the Material World. Very sexy people these.

As advice the Knight of Pentacles would tell you to slow down and make sure you've dotted all your i's and crossed all your t's. Go over the fine print. Make sure your ass is covered. He also encourages you to keep your promises and stay true to your commitments. If you're weary and tempted to quit he beckons you to keep at it, keep grinding away at it and you will see success. Conversely, if a situation has been stagnant for some time, you might see this knight as telling you you're being a bit stubborn and could stand to compromise a bit, for his sight can be a tad too narrow when he's fixated on his own stuff. That's a tough call to make sometimes in a reading, whether to give in or keep plodding on because sometimes success may be just around the corner out of sight, or we may be going in circles. It's hard to tell sometimes, so be very aware of the surrounding cards with this one.

The Knight of Pentacles, for all his seeming stodgyness, is really a true blue friend, faithful to the end, and really, everyone needs someone like him in their corner. Even though obstinate and careful to a fault, follow-through is assured. It's really nice to know there are some people that can truly be counted on.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Knight of Wands

Ok, the party has begun, the Knight of Wands is here! Oh, you weren't planning on a party? Too bad. He brings the party with him. Eager to try most anything once, or twice, this young man creates a stir wherever he goes. Are you game? No? He's got game enough for you both. He's charming, flashy, charismatic, and bursting with energy. Wooo hoo, here we go! Hang on!

I particularly like the DruidCraft image of the Knight of Wands because of the movement and energy depicted as well as the fact that he's one of the only knights in tarot I've ever seen grinning like that. He looks at you with a sideways twinkle in his eye from just under his helm as he bounds over hills and across grassy fields. If it's an adventure, he's up for it and he's bound to enjoy it. This one will likely bring a smile to your face, too. His enthusiasm is infectious and his antics are amusing. He's full of swagger, boasting, and bravado, but there's something about that wink that tells you he doesn't take himself, or much of anything, too seriously.

What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in confidence, and that alone will usually tide him over. He has no fear and will take on a challenge just for the sport of it. He's competitive and doesn't like to lose. Sometimes, if angered, you'll find out how much a poor sport he can be. He lashes out quickly, sometimes violently, in fits of fleeting rage. He can pop off with little provocation, but just as quickly calm down and move on. Thing is, like all the other knights, save the Knight of Pentacles, he just doesn't have the maturity to see much of anything through to completion. He'd rather start things than finish them, dabbling in various activities and interests. If there's one thing he cannot tolerate is being bored. That's a problem because he bores quickly. He hops from job to job, might have enough college credits for three degrees, but actually has none completed. He needs a lot of stimulation and really cannot stay in one place, or one relationship, too long. He has the reputation as a Player, a guy who finds 'em, fucks 'em, and forgets them. His conquests are left to sort out their own dizziness in the wake of this whirlwind. Though as much as that behavior may leave you cold, there's just something about this character that you can't hate. He'll leave you with a smile even if he's just turned your whole world inside out.

As elements go, this knight is "fire of fire." Whoa. That's a lot of energy. But without any other elements to temper this flame, he sometimes rages out of control or quickly dies out. One or the other, because there's nothing to keep it slowly, temperately burning. He's got two settings: On and Off. His energy can be quite welcome at the right moment, or you just want him to go away. Now. Stop it.

When the Knight of Wands appears in a tarot reading, he's advising a highly enthusiastic, active approach. Take the bull by the horns, damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! Don't think, ACT! Foolhardy bravery is what's called for here because it might be the only way you'll accomplish this. If he's a person likely to be involved, prepare for assiness extraordinaire. He'll charge in, do what needs doing, and then wink and say, "I knew I could do it. It was EASY." If you want some fun, he's just the one to help. Wanna go bungee-jumping? Sure! He'll be the first one to yell, "Road trip!" Conversely, if you find yourself itching to jump in with both feet where angels fear to tread, he could be advising you to check your impulses. Are you acting too hastily? What about the consequences? That's a really long drop...can you make it? And anyway, weren't you supposed to babysit your niece this weekend? Should you just run off to the 3-day Rock Festival in the next state?

The one thing about most of the knights, and especially this one, is their effect is rather short-lived. He's a party alright, but he doesn't last forever. He ties one on and leaves you with the hangover the morning after. So if a bit of kicking up your heels is the right medicine, he's great company. Just remember who pays the dues. Here's a hint: it's not him.

DruidCraft Tarot By Stephanie Carr-Gomm & Philip Carr-Gomm & Will Worthington Published by Connections 2004

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Knight of Cups

"... no knight can be brave unless he is in love, love gives the knight his courage." -Lecoy de la Marche, A. La Charre francaise au moyen age


 


This is one of my favorite art prints. Oh my God, can't you just feel forbidden love's agony? It's called "Meeting on the Turret Stairs" by Pre-Raphaelite artist Fredrick Burton. I'm a sucker for this kind of tragic, uber-romantic codswallop. Sigh. This type of "love" was in fact made an institution in the middle ages: courtly love. A knight would focus his amorous attentions on an unavailable noble lady and seek to win her favor. The affair was often unconsummated, for adultery was viewed with such seriousness that a man could be executed for it. But humans being what we are, I'm sure that little legality didn't stop many. Marriages were often loveless, as they were political and arranged for land and negotiation rather than love. So the emotional outlets were through the practice of courtly love, and, well...emotions are not so easily restrained.
When this knight appears in a reading, he often heralds an ardent romantic admirer. More often than not, this court card usually does represent an actual person who is trying to "court" you in some way and his way of approach is through your emotions. It's a soft sell, but an efficient one, especially if you tend towards the cups inclinations as well. As advice, he often prompts you to consider feelings in the matter, especially your own, but of others as well. He asks you to consider doing what it is you love, what really speaks to your emotional side, and to understand that when you love what you do, you naturally do it well. He also gives a nudge to those who have been admiring someone they fancy from afar and with a knowing wink he says, "Go for it."

Conversely, he could likewise be telling you that you may be apt to lose interest in something or someone too quickly, and to check how deep your emotions in this matter truly go. Because if you are simply caught up in the moment and not truly committed, it won't last. Are you making promises based on something fleeting? Don't. Is your head in the romantic clouds? Come back to earth, please. While being "in love with love" is a wonderful feeling, it can leave the soul unsatisfied when the wanderlust has worn off.

Old English Tarot By Maggie Kneen Published by US Games 1997

The Tarot Court: The Knight of Swords

I cannot, nor I will not hold me still; My tongue, though not my heart, shall have his will. - William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors (Adriana at IV, ii)

Ok, now we're talking. The Knight of Swords, one of the purest assholes you'll ever meet. You'll know you've had a run-in with him when you find a brand new orifice has just been deftly sliced open in your nether regions. Tongue-lasher extraordinaire, you probably don't want to tangle with him when he's all fired up. He won't spare your feelings, he's extremely direct and more often than not he's also quite right. He's not just blowing off steam, he cuts right to the heart of the matter with his keen insight and has just the right words that will lay bare the problem at hand. He may or may not cuss you out, he'll probably find and use other more suitable terms, and they will cut even deeper than if he just went off on you in some kind of emotional frenzy. But see, that's just it. It's NOT an emotional frenzy and hence not so easily dismissed. This is an intense, logical, rational ass-whooping.


Knights are of the element of fire. Fire elements are marked by passion and commitment, creativity, and yes, anger, too. The Knight of Swords suit element is air which represents the intellect, reason, and communication. Combined, he is "fire of air" and I think we know what happens when a fierce wind blows a fire through the brush. Fire thrives on air, on oxygen, and burns it as fuel. Thus, the Knight of Swords' intellect fuels his passions and provides the reason for his actions. As a Knight, his youthful bravado and idealism brings forth someone who is committed and quite sure of his own ideas and who clings to them with fierce devotion. He's an ace problem-solver who doesn't let emotions get in the way. When he's not shredding someone else's arguments, he's actually quite reserved and above petty exchanges. He's calm and thoughtful, and he is quite the witty conversationalist when you want someone with whom to exchange ideas. But true to his knightly nature, he's not liable to stick around long and can be quite unreliable. He's always off on another adventure or quest, so I wouldn't look for deep commitment with this one. Also, his lack of emotion can be a problem for those with whom he interacts, for when he is reversed or ill-dignified, this knight can be utterly cruel and even seem to take perverse delight in the emotional suffering of others. Unable to empathize with others feelings, he may display the qualities of a pathological narcissist, someone so full of himself that others function merely as pawns in his game, and if they don't agree with his assessment of things, they are cut off mercilessly.

As advice the Knight of Swords may be telling you to take the direct approach to a problem or situation. He would advise you not to mince words, don't let your feelings drive you. Rather, approach things logically, dispassionately, and with forceful aim and let the chips fall where they may. At times, this is precisely what is needed and will yield the results you want. At other times, and actually I have found this interpretation true more often, he may be warning you that you're acting too hastily, jumping to conclusions, and that you're ready to take someone's head off that may or may not deserve it. So think of the long term consequences of following through before you take this knight's lead.

The Druid Craft Tarot Text by Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm Copyright © 2004Illustrations by Will Worthington Copyright © 2004Eddison Saad Editions Copyright © 2004ISBN 1 85906 144 3
The Tarot of Durer Published by Lo Scarabeo December 2002

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Tarot Court: "Be Thou a Knight"

Surviving squirehood, a young man of medieval Europe advanced to knighthood at around the age of 21. When the young man had completed his training in not only battle skill but social and courtly skills as well, he was ready to become a knight, and would be honoured as such in a ceremony (represented in this pre-Raphaelite piece "The Accolade"by Edmund Blair Leighton) known as "dubbing" (knighting) from the French "adoubement". The squire would hold a vigil, praying into the night. He was then ritually bathed, and in the morning he was dressed in a white shirt, gold tunic, purple cloak, and was knighted by his king or lord. As the Middle Ages progressed, the process changed. The squire was made to vow that he would obey the regulations of chivalry, and never flee from battle. A squire could also be knighted on the battlefield, in much abbreviated fashion, in which a lord simply performed the accolade, striking him on the shoulder saying “Be thou a knight”.
By the 1500's when tarot was developed, knighthood was already declining and knights in shining armor were mostly confined to the jousting field. The honorific title of knight conferred for civil service rather than military valor began in about 1560 and continues to today. Therefore, even in tarot's earliest form, the knights were more symbolic than literal. Even though military knights certainly still existed then, they had already become romanticized. Modern monarchies of that era had already begun to switch to standing armies, professional soldiers, rather than knights, who had become a land-owning noble class all their own. Knights were then associated more with chivalraic notions and an historically stereotyped role of those who fought for their monarch in brave and unyielding loyalty, which in actuality often veered far from the truth. Knights were not above using their wealth and influence to corrupt ends. In theory, knights were the warrior class defending the people of feudal Christianity and bound by a code of chivalry but this code was perhaps less scrupulously observed. In reality, rules were often bent or blatantly broken by knights as well as their masters, for power, goods or honour. So-called robber knights or robber barons would run organized crime rings from their estates or castles.

As in life, so it is in tarot, the Knights in tarot are honorable and dishonorable, positive and negative in their traits and actions. Their element is fire, the creative, active force that fuels ideas and gets things moving and accomplished. Knights go on "quests" -- they have missions, and so when you see a Knight in tarot you might ask yourself what is his mission, what is he trying to accomplish? His suit will tell you how he will go about it, as well as what is most important to him. Given the same mission or directive, each of the four knights will approach the goal differently according to his own ideas and personality. Regardless, they will get it done and show you the recommended approach to ensure success. Or not. Knights bring energy and movement to a situation, but depending on what you would like to see accomplished, the reading might show the wrong knight for the job. The situation might call for a meticulously slow and dedicated approach, so if say, the Knight of Swords pays a visit for that job, you might need to put on the brakes and restrain yourself.

Knights, like all court cards, are not necessarily literally young 20-something men. They can be male or female, young or old. It is this exuberant, youthful, get-there-or-die-trying characteristic that is found in all of us, given the right circumstances, that the knights are portraying. Though their energy is admirable, they tend to have that egocentric tendency that younger men have, complete with a distinct sense of invincibility. This makes them short sighted and impulsive, and a bit too sure that they are right. They also possess, with the exception of the Knight of Pentacles, a distinct lack of "sticktoitiveness." (The Knight of Pentacles has a bit too much of that, he's not easily swayed from anything he sets his mind to, which can be a problem at times, too.) You can depend on the Knights for the short term, but rarely for the long term. Their immaturity is displayed by their bravado and rash tempers, their lack of thinking things through, and an inability to pace themselves in a realistic fashion.

Even with their distinct flaws, I thoroughly enjoy the knights in tarot. Their energy and enthusiasm is usually welcome and can bring a fresh insight and spark to things and remind you how it feels to be young and ready to take on the world by your own lights. If nothing else they are passionate and responsive. While not always welcome when you had hoped for more stability, or when you don't really have enough information or understanding, acting first and thinking later can be a problem. They can exasperate, especially if you are on the receiving end of a fierce knight on a mission, you can be left picking up the pieces after they tromp through your life on their mighty steeds. But exciting? Yes, definitely.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

One of Those Days

Today:
Tomorrow (hopefully):

See you then.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Tarot Court: For Adults Only

Are these court card posts boring? Just wait until we get to the knights. They're not boring. Well, maybe the Knight of Pentacles is, but he's got his unboring side, too.

The thing about courts is they CAN be a little boring because they're stereotypes. They're flat figures because of that. And Pages, well...they're just learning, so they're a little dull.

So I thought I'd spice things up with some DecameronTarot images. Heh. Gawd, this deck. I can't even get a decent reading with it, and not because its full of sex, sex, and more sex, but because some of the images just don't align with what I know the meaning of a particular card to be. Take this Knight of Swords over here. Well, seems the lady in question has turned the tables on this knight and is communicating in a shocking fashion all her own. That's usually his job, getting right to the point. Well, I guess he just got a shock himself. And not a bad one, I don't think.

This Page of Cups, ahem KNAVE of Cups is having an awfully good time, to be sure, but there's something very not-so-innocent about this one, and not so pure. And the woman is like, oh, that's going to be a pain to wash off, isn't it? So, I'm sorry, but while the deck is full of raucous, raunchy, medieval fun, it doesn't lend itself well to tarot reading much. I find that the pips are even harder to decipher in this deck, too, with images that, while amusing, shocking, or even disturbing, just don't tell me a thing about what the card is saying. Besides, the deck is offensive in many ways in its depiction of women often in submissive, even violent, definitely nonconsensual acts.

By contrast, Lori Walls' Tarot Erotica does a better job with erotic images that actually match the meaning of the suits and numbers. Here, her Page of Cups displays the kind of free and unbounded emotion typified by the Page of Cups, a fun, overflowing kind of emotion. Her narcisisstic King of Swords is amusing as well, he's just too sexy for, well...anyone but himself. The artist also weaves all manner of sexuality into the deck, hetero, bi, gay, lesbian, interracial, polyamourous, BDSM, you name it and it runs the gamut whereas the Decameron, while featuring some fetish scenes, and one gay card, is primarily aimed at a heterosexual male reader. Erm, viewer.

While there are other erotic decks, they usually fall prey to the same problems as the Decameron. The art is well done, but the meanings are barren. One exception would be the Tarots of Casanova, but again, it is done from a very limited and limiting heterosexual male perspective, an 18th century perspective at that. However, it is readable with the card images aligning with traditional meanings, at least. I am neither a prude nor a tarot purist, and I am used to eeking out meanings from obscure symbolism but when the images say nothing that I am even remotely familiar with that a particular tarot card is supposed to mean, the deck has deviated seriously from tarot tradition and it could be argued that, regardless that it may have 78 cards, 22 Majors, and four distinct elemental suits, it is NOT a tarot deck. It's fine for collectors, I suppose, or those who just like the imagery, for whatever purpose.

I just thought you'd like to see what these folks do on their off time and that the courts really do have lives of their own. They're not so one-dimensional after all, eh?

Decameron Tarot Deck By Luciano Spadanuda & Giacinto Gaudenzi Published by Lo Scarabeo
The Tarot Erotica by Lori Walls Publisher: QED Games Copyright 1999
Tarots of Casanova By Luca Raimondo Published by Lo Scarabeo. Available in the U.S. from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

The Tarot Court: The Page of Pentacles

There's a saying that I believe is attributed to Will Rogers:

There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin'. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

The latter is the Page of Pentacles. This one needs to put theories to the test, check out the results, and get his hands dirty in the process. He wants results from his efforts and he doesn't much care how long or arduous the process is to get them. He's got time, he's not in a rush, his motto is "Anything worth doing is worth doing well." As a result, this Page has garnered the reputation of The Student.

The image to the right is from the Hudes Tarot Deck. He is dressed not unlike a university student of days past, cap and gown. In this deck, Hudes used marbelized and florentine paper patterns such as found in the end leafs of books to distinguish the different suits. In this image she used the pattern of the pentacles suit on the Page's cap to, I believe, symbolize his quest for knowledge. He has a firm grasp on the marbelized pentacle, which guides his direction to things known. In order for him to learn, he must be able to grasp it in his hands, see it with his eyes. Knowledge is tangible to him and without proof, he is unlikely to believe or even understand it very well. To him, the end result is what is most important, to work towards a solid goal, to see the reward. His focus is on the practical, the earthly rather than the esoteric.

You can depend on this one. He will get the job done. It might take him a really long time, though, because he will have to do every step just so. He'll have to learn as he goes, too, and that will take some more time. He's not about to skip a step or take an untried shortcut. And he probably won't take someone else's word for it, either. If he hasn't already done something, he's going to meticulously research it first, compare prices, look up reports, check out the competition, watch trends. He was probably the one who came up with the rule: "Measure twice, cut once." He is most unlike the Page of Wands who acts first, then thinks. That's because being a Page his element is earth and being pentacles, which is also earth, he is "earth of earth." Good grief, this one is as slow as molasses.

As one who is always regretting she didn't use a level first and mark the placement on the wall before hanging a framed picture, I have an appreciation for this Page. I should be so thorough. I am also a perennial student. In fact, after a twenty-year hiatus, I recently began attending college again last year. After that long a break, it all seemed new again and I was definitely in the seat of The Student once again. While this Page's meticulousness is not my overall style, I can definitely see his usefulness once in a while, especially where certain projects are concerned. So when he appears in a reading he may be advising you to slow down, take notes, research and learn more about what you want to do before you do it. Understand that if you want something worthwhile, it's going to take some time and diligent effort. Good things come to those who patiently attend to the task and don't skip any steps. Conversely, if you tend to always play the student, he might be asking you if you aren't feeling a bit inferior to someone else, not allowing your own ideas and skill to come to the fore.

As a messenger, this Page brings actual, tangible messages. Real mail in your mailbox. A bouquet of roses at your office or tickets to a concert or other event. He brings news of money matters, both increase and loss. A dear friend of mine, concerned about me being down in the dumps, once played the Page of Pentacles with a delivery of gingerbread scones with maple butter and a sweet card deposited at my door early one morning. The message was kind and uplifting, but oh, were those scones delicious! She certainly did brighten my day in a very real and tangible way. So, you see, the Page of Pentacles often brings something you need, or want, or need to know, and what's great about his messages is they come with a gift you can taste, feel, hold, or use.

Hudes Tarot Deck by Susan Hudes Published by US Games Copyright 1995

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Tarot Court: The Page of Wands


Unlike in days of yore when Pages were strictly boys, today's tarot often depict girls or women in the Page position. Sometimes they are called "Princess" or "Herald" instead of Page, but they are nonetheless functioning in the role of Page: the newcomer, student, messenger, servant. The Page of Wands often deviates from this role, however, as he or she can be a bit of an upstart. This Page often has his or her own idea about how something needs to be done and they impulsively follow their own lead and create their own paths in life.

The Princess of Staves in The Lovers Path Tarot by Kris Waldherr is a really fine example of a woman with her own mind who illustrates the qualities of the Page of Wands in all her sometimes erratic and firey ways. Kris chose Brunnhilde to represent this rebel and what an excellent choice it was. Brunnhilde was known as a mighty female warrior, one of the Valkyries, who were the messengers of Odin, the primary god in Norse mythology. They were primarily corpse goddesses who fought and roamed the battlefields looking for worthy warriors to take to Valhallah. In Norse legend, Brunnhilde defied Odin by deciding against his preferred king in a battle so he imprisoned her within a ring of fire on earth (or, depending on the version of the story you read, he might have imprisoned her in a remote castle behind a wall of shields on top of mount Hindarfjall in the Alps instead) decreeing that there she would remain in sleep (because Odin knew if you leave this firey maiden to her own devices she would figure a way out) until a brave hero rescued her. Siegfried braved the fire, broke her charmed sleep, and fell in love with her. Who wouldn't?

This Page of fire is apt to defy authority, not just because they have issues with authority as much as they simply become inspired by their own ideas and think they can do the required task in a different and better way. These Pages are creative and courageous, or maybe they have a bad case of thinking they're invincible, but whatever the case they will always being trying out new and different things. Not much holds their interest for very long and they seem to hop from one passion to the next with alarming, distracted speed. These guys are very hyper and may even have attention deficit disorder and can't sit still for long unless playing video games which, by the way, they are very good at because they're always coming up with different ways to approach the problems presented in the games. This is their greatest strength. Elementally this Page is "earth of fire" which, together, simply fuels each other. Fire uses earth to burn but also enriches the earth with ash which makes the earth more fertile. Wherever this Page goes, she finds inspiration to fuel her next idea and adventure.

Trouble comes via her inability to clearly think through her plans before acting on them. Half-baked schemes and ideas provoke just as much response and really brilliant ones, so she might find herself in various pickles. But these don't tend to thwart her as she will either quickly come up with another way around the problem or she'll drop the project altogether because she thought of something else to do instead. So as advice this Page may be cautioning you to think through your grand ideas a bit more before putting them into play as they might yet be immature and not ready for action. Conversely, if you are more apt to think and plan something to death and find it difficult to act on your ideas, this Page could be saying Just Do It! Do something, anything, because it's better than just sitting there.

Often, the Page of Wands is depicted in tarot decks as traveling, going to distant lands and moving about. They can bring news from far away, quickly, as through email or instant message. They can also bring news that you will be traveling, such as being told by your boss that you will need to attend a conference in Borneo next week. Timewise, these Pages act quickly and suddenly, so whatever news is coming expect it soon and be ready to grab the opportunity and act on it because it also quickly passes out of sight.


The Lovers Path Tarot by Kris Waldherr. Copyright 2004 US Games Systems, Inc.
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