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The Scarlet Letter
Volume III, Number 1 | Sept. 1995
My Card...An Abstract
by Fr. Sar Shalom & Sr. Lillith

The Palace Deck project of Scarlet Woman Camp was initiated on June 21, 1995 e.v.; the original members were Sr. Lillith, Fr. Sar Shalom, Fr. Xephyr, Fr. Euphoria, Sr. Breanna Ashtara, and Fr. Kestrel. We determined to close this experiment group to additional members until the completion of the first phase of our project. Based on discussion, the purpose of the project was determined to be to experiment with the creation of personal decks of images that would serve as links between the members of the project, for the initial purpose of communication. Other uses for the cards will be determined and investigated in the future. We specifically are NOT creating personal tarot decks, but rather a set of images and correspondences which are more personal and flexible.

This is a brief overview of the project for others interested in similar experiments or usage. Deck construction and magickal "tuning" are covered here. We will continue to report on further experiments, ritual, and results in later issues of the Scarlet Letter. We have found this to be an interesting project; one that is stimulating to the magickal imagination, and wide open to modification., specialization, and personalization. We hope you find it to be as well.

Deck Contruction

The easiest way to create cards with aesthetic appeal requires little effort. A deck, with whatever backs are most appealing, are used as the basis for the final cards. Images for the fronts can be found in hooks, magazines, and many other sources. Once the images for the cards are chosen, all that remains is to affix them to the cards. This should of course he done in a fully banished area, to prevent stray influences from tainting the cards. An expedient way to attach the pictures to their backs is with spray-on adhesive. A layer of spray-on lacquer over that protects the images and makes the cards more pleasant to the eye.

For our project, we created one group deck, to be kept in a safe place, and decks for each individual. The Group Deck contains the following cards:

A Palace Card—the foundation of the deck, that binds together the energies of the members.
A Silence Card—to protect the deck from outside influence or detection.
Individual Cards—one card per member, created by him or her as a self-representation.

The Individual Decks contain the following cards:

Persona Cards —representing each of the other members of the group, and any other individuals important to the owner of the deck.
Open Gate —to initiate a link between the user and the Persona laid next to it.
Close Gate —to break the aforementioned link.
Power/Ground Cards —to be used to formalize the layout of the cards before and after being used.
Symbol Cards —whatever symbols are particularly meaningful to that individual. Different systems, be they astrological, elemental, or aught else can be used.

Advice on Selecting Cards & Images From Sr. Lillith

While this is a highly personal aspect of this project. I do have some suggestions. Old decks of cards, complete or not, make a nice material basis for this project. Older decks are worn and already carry an energy charge from hours of play that can he readily cleansed and redirected. Older decks frequently also sport more attractive hacks that your average new drug store Bicycle deck. I had the good fortune to acquire several antique decks of cards at a flea market in Amsterdam several years ago and one of these will be transformed into my personal deck.

Magazine pictures from glossy publications like National Geographic (my favorite, easily available at Goodwill for cents on the dollar) and Scientific American provide a wealth of material. With the availability of color copying technology, almost any book can be raided without damage.

Fr. Xephyr has artistic talent and so is drawing his own. Fr. Kestrel and Sr. Breanna Ashtara have both produced cards which were images from several sources compiled together. While these cards are beautiful, I am concerned about their life span in terms of catching the corners of the top images during shuffling and handling. Time will tell how sturdy these prove to be.

I have chosen to go with bright colors and abstract images cut out of magazine pictures. Sometimes I will have several cards out of one picture. They will form a family of images which are similar, but not identical. Subtle differences that might be exploited for communication purposes. We have been working to strike a balance between personalizing our decks, and keeping enough in common to carry out experiments with communication. Since my deck is shaping up to be the most abstract, I will be adding small unobtrusive symbols to my cards to correspond with structures that occur in other personal decks in order to facilitate communication.

Miscellaneous Other Notes

The number of cards in your deck can fluctuate as you add or subtract cards over time. Once I have created cards which correspond to other individuals whom I will he wishing to communicate with, I will ask them to carry their card around for a period of time to build up sympathetic vibrations.

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