THE VICTORIAN ROMANTIC TAROT



The Victorian Romantic Tarot is new to my collection and feels like a necessary addition to any. I now have a deck I love in two sizes. Weeks ago I had no idea if I would be able to read it with precision, but as of this moment I don't really care. Whether I currently understand the semantics or not won't matter; I will be studying the semantics of this deck and two others from now until the end of year. I feel very drawn to Alexander Daniloff's tarot deck, to the Tarot of Prague and to the Victorian Romantic Tarot. Notice two of them are done by Baba Studio, also known as the Magic-Realist Press. Their work is divine!



I don't want to spoil the book for you, but I will mention some highlights that made it very special for me. If briefly touches upon the Victorian obsession with Egypt, the taboo to fortune telling, and how influential people of the time were touched by fortune telling through cards. It redefines the history of tarot within logic and divination as I used to know it. While carefully delineating meanings for us in both keywords and stories, the Victorian Romantic is intended for intuitive use and personal connections. The book itself states that although the information is provided, the best route to go is to develop your own meanings from experience. Sure, many books on tarot say that! However, when you get into practice, you will find that having both perspectives will really aid you in readings.

I have always thought that I was born a few centuries too late. Even with the conscious sacrifice of some hygienic necessities, I have wanted to live in the French Rococó ever since I first learned about the time period in school. I love the discipline — and discrete lack thereof — exercised at the time. Terms such as 'romantic ideals', 'language of flowers' and 'courtship rules' really resonate with me. I was unconsciously brought up to love rules, discipline and romanticism, and I do so madly.



This is a great deck to use in the spring. It has an inherent sweetness to it that is hard to come by, and I especially like the fact that the illustrations convey traditional artwork. Don't get me wrong — I love contemporary art and find stylization to be pretty rockin', but there is something special about Pre-Raphaelite, Neoclassical, Victorian, Rococó and Medieval art periods. They pull us through portals into moments in time that have been frozen for this very purpose. Some of the cards look like paintings, not all of them look like engravings, which is actually quite nice and makes them come alive for me. They read wonderfully and they merit further study. The companion book will help with starting out, but the rest is up to us.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VICTORIAN ROMANTIC TAROT:


What is your most important characteristic?
King of Wands.
This deck steals the show. The world is its stage and it is the only player! I get the sense that music keeps it in harmony, and that its song is meant to touch the lives of those who linger around it. This deck is really different from all of the other tarot decks that I have and it shows. I'll just have to go with the flow on this one and dance to it's song. It'll be much easier to get acquainted that way!

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
The World. This is possibly my favorite depiction of the World card. Watch her float! Her tray is loaded with roses and wildflowers. The circumstances look really warm and inviting; I'd love to spend a day with them frolicking in the beauty of nature. The use of white space is great, it conveys the atmosphere as open. Anything can happen here!

What are your limits?
The Star. This deck has bared its soul through numerous readings around the globe. After you're stripped to the public, all that there is, is all you can give. She looks coy and inviting at the same time, with her drapes barely covering her as she basks in the moonlight. This is an intimate card portraying the deck as an intimate experience, one that shouldn't be shared with too many people.

What are you here to teach me?
The Chariot.
To pick up the pace when I run into a different manner of dialogue from the cards. I slow down considerably when I have to adjust to the new imagery and the symbols it brings. It's saying, "hey! Pull your act together and go with what you feel, we're a little short of time and we have to go!" Taking control of the reigns as you're on your way forward isn't easy, but that's what I am going to get some help with.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Three of Swords. Releasing stress and pressure from waking life. In the place of beauty and mystery there is no room for daily life troubles in the way. Release trouble, release uncertainty and embrace a whole new side of things. If there will be grief present, accept it but count on a friend nearby that will be willing to listen and offer help. This looks like the deck to come to when I am having trouble, which is a good support to have!

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The Hermit. Seeking enlightenment or answers by yourself. It makes sense, since some decks prefer to be used with other people. This one prefers to be used in solitude. Light a candle, dim the lights, put some music on and turn your phone off kind of readings are suggested. Taking away all the noise and withdrawing to a quiet place to think is necessary. To cut away our daily worries, we need to look after ourselves first. I really like that!

Which card do you want to show off?
Nine of Swords. A woman sleepwalks. She is not presently aware of the dangers she is in. She seems to be in a state of hypnosis more so than sleep, and might have a rude awakening once she finds out where she got herself to. Sometimes we carry so many troubles in our minds that we let them carry through into sleep and dreams. We really hurt ourselves when we are overwhelmed with our own thoughts. The circumstances can be quite literally a nightmare.

How do you see me?
Three of Cups. Under siege of the circumstances. I don't quite have the control that I need yet, and if I take to say something, I should watch my words before I do. We tend to run with the circumstances as they are, instead of taking the time to pause and really feel what we do. Logic overrides feeling, and when that happens, we love sensitivity. Focus.

How do you see yourself?
Nine of Pentacles. As a token of wealth offered from a lovely time period. The woman has her head turned towards the right, to the future. She stares with confidence, although her pose is one of relaxation. She loiters through the garden, her estate is right behind her. She doesn't need to go too far to find what she seeks.. happiness and contentment.



This tarot deck sings to you! The scenes are narrative. This is the perfect deck to talk with a friend over some tea in a sunny afternoon. I might just find a parasol and walk through a dream world for a few months. I love it!
♡♡

TAROT BY ALEXANDER DANILOFF




This deck is perhaps my favorite release from 2012 in the world of the tarot. I first heard of it when my boyfriend found it circulating around Tumblr. He resonated with the death card and asked me to take a look at them. It was an instant reblog. A little while later I learned that it was an out of print Majors only deck, but that a 78 card deck was in process of completion. Every now and then I would go back to admire the images for their artistic quality. They seemed so fun and so appropriate at the same time. Finding the out of print version was impossible, not even Ebay turned up any listings. I made peace with the fact that all the decks must have gone to collectors who prized them for the jewel they were, and that they would not pass them on easily.

This tarot deck is an original tarot deck by the artist and illustrator Alexander Daniloff. First edition, signed and numbered to 65 and out of 450 copies. It has three additional cards: carte blanche and two variants of Strength and Justice. This makes it a very versatile deck because you can choose which school of tarot you prefer. More tarot decks should follow this, it feels like a considerate acknowledgement to the people that will be using it. For those who don’t know what to do with the extra cards, they could put them to use as book marks or pin them up on an inspiration board. I keep the extra cards in the box, but am likely to put them in my tarot diary as page markers later on. They are too nice not to use!

The paper stock is excellent; one that requires careful handling if you want the deck to last. It would be a shame for the corners to get dinged up, but that’s a property of paper that cannot be avoided. The colors stand out with vivid reds and blues. It is an absolute delight to shuffle them and run your fingers over the pseudo-waxy feel of this paper. The stock is sturdy enough to be durable, but watch the corners and the edges if you want to get the most out of this deck. The cards are also a larger size than usual, which really favors the beautiful artwork even if you need to take a little extra precaution in shuffling. The only down side or bittersweet fact is that the deck is so beautiful that I want to shuffle it all day, which won’t be good for its pristine preservation. It hurts me to think about those sharp corners bent and dinged! However, this deck was made to be used and loved until it falls to pieces or until the illustrations fade out from excessive shuffling. It achieved its purpose — I can’t let it go!

The carte blanche is a new concept to me, but not a new concept to the rest of the tarot world. It is perhaps my favorite card to interpret because I have next to no experience with it. It depicts a white curtain with no translucence. The interpretation is left to the discretion of the reader. The first time that it showed up in a reading was in a Celtic Cross, in the very center of the situation. I took it as a sign that I needed to focus on the situation or pay extra attention to the details.



POSSIBLE CARTE BLANCHE INTERPRETATIONS:
☆ No answer.
☆ You decide.
☆ Not a good idea.
☆ Complete freedom to act as one wishes or thinks best.

The Daniloff Tarot has a medieval storybook feel to it along with vibrant colors and quirky stylization. It retains its traditional feel of a tarot deck with refreshed images. The Major Arcana is absolutely stunning with the layers of symbolism etched upon them. The symbols are traditional, but the cards are so rich in detail that they convey the feeling with no mistake. The figures in this deck are pretty quiet, barely anybody is smiling. This quality makes the deck serious and asks the reader to be serious as well. This deck speaks to me in whispers and asks for careful contemplation. It is very different from other tarot decks coming out this year, which have a more contemporary setting or theme. The most appealing aspect of this deck is its stunning artwork followed by its regard for tradition.

Lastly, the backs of this deck are fully reversible. You won't have a clue about whether or not they are reversed until you turn them over. Usually I like a subtle hint to give me an idea of whether or not the card is upright, but these are really beautiful. You can see a rendition of a woman, a tower, death, the moon, and the sun amongst flourished elements and frames. It's lovely! This deck would go best over a black spread cloth with no ornaments save for the occasional emblem or whimsical motif to make the cards really stand out.



INTERVIEW WITH THE DANILOFF TAROT:
What is your most important characteristic?
The Hermit.
This deck was conceived under a period of deep study and contemplation. Nothing is left to chance but everything is possible. There had been a lot of careful attention and scrutiny of detail to ensure the visual and physical quality of this deck. It comes after a journey of tests and self-exploration, possessing a level of traditional nourishment for the soul.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Eight of Coins. There was a lot of work put into the durability and intellectual insurance of this deck. It was made to stand the test of time in the community and in your hands. From my intuitive understanding of this card, it may become a staple for the collector that decides to use it. This is a work of art that is meant to be seen by the world and admired by those who feel drawn to it.

What are your limits?
Four of Pentacles. From the personal story of the deck, it is saying that it is a limited paradise. The run was a limited edition of 450 and will get as much exposure as the clients give it. Birthed in a place of classic origin, distributed personally and promoted by those who purchase it. It would need the aid of a big company to really get it across to an exponentially larger community. With what they had available at the time, they were able to make something big.

What are you here to teach me?
Ace of Coins.
The seed is planted, the deck is here. It's time to really get to know it and to tap into the world that it presents to better understand how to use it. It will provide growth if harvested, with which the rest of the town can benefit from. It starts with the interest and the effort to put plans into being.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
King of Cups. Have control over your emotions and understand the circumstances when you sit down to initiate a reading. Focus on the divine connections alluded to in this deck: religion, life, death, secular life, power, dark, light, and other connections that can be accessed through psychic intuition.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The Emperor. The establishment of something solid. The Emperor is a rigid man of tradition, he upholds them as his pedestal for authority. He rules the kingdom with strength and wisdom passed onto him from years of experience.

Which card do you want to show off?
The Ace of Cups. Love, joy and happiness. The ship and the fish indicate new ventures that bring with them new scenarios in the emotional aspect of life. Fish stir in the waters of the psyche and of emotion, ultimately the soul. It will teach us how to react to the currents of feelings, whether overwhelming or joyous. It is a sign of luck in the journey, reinforced by the angel showering us with its blessing as it flies overhead.

How do you see me?
The Moon. My signifier! Psychic intuition that beams down from a divine source as you emerge from the waters of ignorance. You are undergoing a spiritual venture of enlightenment, embracing the shadows to appreciate the light. There are illusion, madness and dreams present in this card, and it is up to you to test the towers of darkness and light. Find a stable ground and go exploring!

How do you see yourself?
Two of Cups. The potential lover that brings a compliment of new views and experiences. What makes this effective is the mix of opposites to bring together something new. The potential relationship is one of direct opposites in harmony. This can be an encouragement to integrate different parts of the self that could be at war or disagreement.


I absolutely love this tarot deck and recommend you purchase yours from Alexander Daniloff before the remaining copies are sold. You won't regret the investment!
♡♡

TOKYO DECADANCE 2012 AT CAFE CHRISTON




I am absolutely charmed with my very first nightlife event in Japan. At 10:30 P.M. I set out from the hotel by myself and felt strange all the way to Shinjuku. We don't rely on public transportation in Puerto Rico, so I took it as a part of the experience of being in a foreign country. I stood before the Alta t.v. as so many before me have, feeling electric with the prospect of the night that lay ahead. To be like an alien and a natural at the same time takes some adjustment, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed it.

While I waited, I met a pretty girl by the name of Sayaka. She was incredibly sweet and so was her friend Taku, who arrived shortly after we had initiated a conversation. They both looked stunning! We waited together until Mat and Kelly got there, and then we went our separate ways before the party, but not before I thanked them for their company.

We walked through some very old streets in Shinjuku, the first with a bunch of restaurants and the second being Golden Gai. It had literally 300 bars inside tiny walkways and alleys of different themes and time periods. You could enter a room and find yourself in the 70's with your friends, or go to a rock bar and delight in some British punk atmosphere. Some could only fit up to 5 or 6 people; others could only fit up to 3. It reminded me of a compacted Old San Juan brought to life with cats, people looking to unwind after work, kareoke, and quirky characters. I would have loved to have spent a little more time there.
When we got to Cafe Christon, we took the elevator up and stood in line for half an hour until Wednesday Addams came to tell us the rules: No sex, no die, payment at the door. They let us in and it turned out to be a haunted house on our way up the steps. It was not at all what we were expecting, so we started on our way as somebody dressed up as an undead came right at us. Poor Kelly fell down on the stairs twice because she happened to know one of the staff members who worked that night, and he was extra keen on scaring her. Ouch! Every time we reached a new floor, we were met with another creepy scene and at least two lurkers trying to scare us. Believe it or not, I coasted through Halloween Horror Nights, but I felt very scared here. It was mad fun!






Once we got out of that, we found a playground fit for children of the night. Nice chandeliers, a throbbing crowd of people dancing and good music. It had been so long since I had been to a party like this, so it felt like a warm welcome back to my favorite place. We each got a shot and then the photos started; there were so many amazing costumes! I felt a little shy to ask people for a photo since my Japanese is terrible, but Mat helped break the ice and introduced me to some lovely people. Had my Japanese been better, I would have chatted up many more clubbers. I danced like crazy, indulging in the delight of self-expression without words.

The performances were breakthtaking and surprisingly humorous for a first timer at Tokyo Decadance. I saw belly dancers, fire dancers, wrestling, an aereal dance, and a performer play some tricks. We each got a chance to dance on the pedestal for the professional dancers, which gets pretty intimidating once you realize there are people watching you and taking pictures. At some point we took a break to sit down and look for Mat. Half an hour later, Sayaka  from the Alta t.v. came up with Taku. They asked us to dance with them, so off we went again. This was for me the highlight of the night, they both looked so good dancing and they shared some nice laughs with Kelly and I.



There were many instances in which I had to control myself. Everyone looked so beautiful that I was tempted to go a little trigger happy with the photos. I remember walking a few laps around the club to get a good sense of place. I saw people with ships and flowers in their hair, ravers, clowns, Elegant Gothic Lolitas, and some very impressive demons & succubi. I regretted not bringing my Debauch Bunny costume along even though it wasn't worth the risk of damaging it in the long trip from the tropics to Asia. It may make an appearance next year, though.






At 5:30 A.M. we walked out of the party — even though it was still raging on — and by 6:15 A.M. I was on the train to Shimbashi. Dead tired, smelling of cigarettes and alcohol even though I didn't partake in either, and with the widest grin anyone could place. I felt as if I was walking on the moon on my way to Shiodome. I keep saying this, but my experience was magical.



See you next year, Decabar!
♡♡
♡♡