FRANKENDECKEN – Travelling Tarot of the 78 Spares!

An international Tarot community has put together a motley deck out of extra cards from 78 different decks into a whole deck, and nicknamed it Frankie. It was completed some time ago, and has been travelling the world ever since, staying a week in the homes and lives of each of its donors. At the end of its travels, names will be thrown into a hat, and of its donors, whoever’s name gets pulled out will get to keep it. An on-line journal of its adventures has been entertainingly maintained, but I thought I’d copy my entries here, not least because photos are so much easier to upload here than they are there.

September 8th

Well, the photos are slowly uploading, so I thought I’d get the journalling started. I’ve decided to upload the photos elsewhere and just insert URLs in the journal posts pointing to them, for my convenience and everyone’s enjoyment.

Have we all thrown bananas and Camembert rings at Brigid? I’ll tell you why. In the flurry of PMs, exchanging addresses and so forth, she let slip that there was something little in the packet as a personal present to me. <clears throat>.


The journal should tell the story.

Yesterday, she told me via PM that Frankie had left via express post, so I had a reasonable expectation that he would be at the post office this morning. And so he was. I was going to photograph the Ceremonial Opening Of The Post Office Box, plus the Ceremonial Removal Of The Parcel Notification, but I was so excited that I couldn’t restrain myself and didn’t get to photograph anything until I was inside and the New Guy placed the parcel on the counter in front of me. (photo 1 deleted for administrative reasons)

Since Frankie experienced the delights of an Asian Macdonalds Breakfast, I decided he should experience the delights of an Aussie Maccas Brekkie, so I scurried right out of the post office with the Rather Large Parcel () dangling from my hand, raced off to Maccas (otherwise known to the uninitiated as The Golden Arches, or That Scottish Restaurant, or to the unimaginatively uninitiated as MacDonalds). Lately, if you’re prepared to spend a little more, they’ve been making remarkably tolerable coffee. I don’t know why I went there – it was Frankie’s bad influence, honest! Normally I head out of the post office in almost the opposite direction to a halfway reasonable cafe, but no. Well hey, he is a young boy, after all. They can’t think past McDonalds, most of ’em. I placed the parcel, still suspiciously large, on the table, and placed my two constant companions, the Granny Jones Australian Tarot (in the blue-ish wrap) and the Servants of the Light Tarot (in the superior embroidered orange bag Gregory thoughtfully provided) nearby to meet him (photo 2 also deleted for the same reasons). I explained that for a while they would have to share me with him.

They were a bit concerned about that, and got into a huddle with each other, conferring about the matter (photo 3, ditto). They eventually conveyed their decision to me: they would generously give him a probationary period of one week. I smiled quietly – little did they know he’d leave at the end of his probation. Jealousy issues solved! Damn, I’m good – I should seek a career in mediation.

Then that exquisite moment when you open a sealed parcel containing Tarot goodies <swoons with pleasure> (photo 4 – and again. This is the last, I promise,) teasing myself by not looking inside until after I’d taken time to photograph it.

There were two inner parcels: one wrapped in several layers of warm, comforting newspaper – any homeless person knows that in winter, a newspaper is your best friend – and one wrapped in another recycled mailing box, about video-sized. I glanced at them both, and knew at once that the video box contained something that had been through many, many hands (ie, Frankie), and the newspaper had a new or near-new object within it. So I teased myself still further, and unfolded the newspaper.

Anna K. at McDonalds, a horrifying initiation

(Photo 5) A brand-new, sealed copy of the Anna K. kit: box, book and two half-decks, tumbled out. How did Brigid know? I had looked and looked at this deck, put it on my wish-list, removed it, put it back, removed it, and forgot about it. It looked great on-line, but there were other decks that, realistically, I *should* buy first. So the Anna K was on the backburner. And here it was! What a mind-reader! Here, Brigid: accept the Banana of Thanks and the Camembert of Gratitude. <flings food>.

This is Frankie’s week. It will take me a while to do this personal gift justice but I am touched, really touched. Thank you, Brigid. And I loved the personal letter that came with it, too – it’s staying inside the deck’s box.

So then I opened the mailing box to find Frankie well-waterproofed within: in both bubble-wrap and a ziplock bag. (photo 6)

Frankie in his Travelling Underwear

I have reserved both to make sure that I can waterproof him just as well when I send him on. As soon as I unwrapped him, out popped the Wheel of Fortune, (photo 7)

Frankie's first glimpse of Nisaba's world

which I translated as “Here we go again, another lap on my journey. I arrive, I leave, I arrive again, and it’s all a whirl of spinning Wheels. The spice of a deck’s life is travel.”

Granny and the SOL edged a little closer, both showing their backs – but Granny couldn’t help smiling that loving smile of hers! (photo 8).

First Meeting

Frankie wasn’t about to take this lying down – down popped the Wheel of Fortune, and up popped the Chariot! (photo 9)

Frankie showing his Inner Charioteer

Later, I swallowed my coffee. Frankie wanted a taste, but I bared my fangs and allowed my Inner Vicious Animal to show, and he shut up. The other two quietly whispered in my bag to him, that it isn’t wise to challenge me to coffee or food or, when home, weak tea and soy milk. They fancied I didn’t hear them. I chuckled quietly at that. They’ll get on just fine. Then when he leaves, they’ll pretend to be relieved.

So we went to the bus stop (photo 10),

Looking at buses together

as my car is out of rego, and Frankie showed me Justice: I do not deserve to drive if I cannot fund the basic costs of running a car. He had a point, I was forced to concede. So we sat down for the journey, and I struggled a little a little to photograph him moving, in poor light (photo 11),

"Jeez, Nisaba, *hide* your spherical body, no?"

so he showed me the Seven Wands for my efforts and concentration on the task. I was a little offended – I might be almost perfectly spherical, but my breasts are *much* better than that! He giggled a little, but didn’t show me a Card of Laughter. However as we travelled a little further and the landscape outside the bus became greener, he showed his Temperate Side (photo 12).

Frankie settling down and being more Temperate on the bus

A lovely elderly lady on the bus with a strong Scouse accent and a humorous smile twinkled at me as I took the shots, so I mentioned to her that Frankie was a travelling Tarot deck, and had already been to many places in Europe and Asia, and had plenty of destinations ahead of him. I asked her to pose with him, and she did, smiling like a goddess. I’m beginning to wonder if she was: the photo looked lovely on the camera (I showed it to her), but was entirely Not There when I came home later and uploaded everything. That is, until today, a couple of days after I documented it in the Tarot forum: suddenly she popped up again:

The mystery Liverpudlean on the bus holding Frankie

Eventually we got to my friend Ambrosia’s place, after she picked me up from the bus terminal and we grabbed some Sushi for lunch (Jeannette from TG would be proud of us). Frankie didn’t make an appearance until after we ate: he remembered breakfast and my snarl, I think.  So I pulled out Frankie, and offered him to Ambrosia (photos 13-16), who was utterly enchanted by the idea of a composite travelling deck and had a great time looking through him.

Ambrosia and Frankie

Ambrosia showing a card that later would be significant

Frankie in good hands

Ambrosia and Frankie really liked each other!

As I remember it, most people so far had done readings for themselves or others with Frankie – I was going to be different. While she was still interested and involved, I asked her to read for me, so that his first reading in my presence would be done by someone else. I could really tell that I wasn’t the reader this time – suddenly the cards could all have been blanks, they weren’t talking to me at all. The most important card turned out to be the Knight Swords (photo 17)

Frankie's advice to me

– I really need to pull out his questing, conquering spirit and use that in my treatment of my current difficulties. We both just kept coming to that card again and again. It seemed to be the answer to moving on from the grief I’m still experiencing (photo 18)

Frankie sympathises

– grief is complicating my recovery from a brain injury. Photo 19 shows what was left of the spread after we’d talked it through for a while and shifted cards around.

What a Nouveau-Celtic near-cross becomes after Ambrosia and Nisaba strike it!

Afterwards we did our craft activities for a while, then Ambrosia wanted to go out into her backyard. I went out onto her half-built back verandah (photo 20)

Frankie looking at the backyard from the half-built decking

passing her Magical Tools as I did so (photo 21)

Frankie with the witch's Magical Tools

and Frankie and I looked down on the garden from above. Then I took him down to join her in the garden: she was working near the frog-pond, and on our way Frankie posed under the mandarin tree (photo 22)

Frankie under the mandarin tree

and on top of one of the compost bins (photo 23)

One of the compost bins

showing his Inner Magician as a response to the manifestation and transformation magic that every compost heap exhibits.

(I did not pick any of these cards consciously, guys, fair dinkum, he threw them out randomly when I dove into the bag and pulled!)

Frankie dangerously close to the frog-pond

Photos 24 and 25

Frankie learns about tadpoles

show Frankie supervising Ambrosia pulling muck and fallen branches out of the pond, and both of us seeking out tadpoles and pollywogs from the mess and returning them to the pond without injury. They were really warm and tender in our hands – I really, really love living things. We spent a long, long time making sure that none of them got raked away with the leaves to become living (then dying) mulch.

Apple trees are really, really mystical, especially to Pagans. Ambrosia is a natural perfumer/aromatherapist, and one of her more special scents is called “Avalon” not after the Sydney suburb but after the Isle of Apples, where Arthur was said to have been entombed. Frankie posed in the apple tree as soon as I realised that there were flushes of flowers and some embryo fruits (photo 26).


Frankie in the Isle of Apples

When Ambrosia’s daughter came home from school, they dropped me back at the bus terminal (photo 27)

Bus rank at Wyong Station

and we jumped on a bus heading in roughly the right direction (photo 28).

On the bus back home

The kid in front of me had his schoolbag up on the seat in direct defiance of the convention that kids travelling on a school bus pass stand up for paying passengers, and all passengers occupy only one seat unless they pay a second fare, so Frankie glared at him (photo 29) with a curmudgeonly expression that closely matched my own,

Frankie glaring

but the kid blythely didn’t notice, and seemed conscience-unaffected by a frail elder having to stand. <snarls at the memory>.

Despite having rescheduled my afternoon medical appointment to a later time to cater for my and Frankie’s rapidly-burgeoning social life, I was still late. Gillian was trying to leave; Kim was trying to leave. Kim left. Gillian saw me. I didn’t pull Frankie out – Gill asked about when my segment on Tarot was going to appear on the Collectors TV show, then showed interest when I said that I’d shared the medical assessment that had been done with Ambrosia, and we talked about why today had been the best, the happiest day I’d had in literally months. Frankie is, I kid you not, far better than medications.

While I was typing this up, a young friend of mine (half my age) rang and asked me out to lunch to celebrate my birthday, which is in two days’ time, Friday. She is a client of mine, so even though she wasn’t after a reading, I told her about Frankie and promised to bring him. We are going to explore a restaurant that neither of us have ever entered. She will celebrate with me, and Frankie will celebrate with both of us.

Just think – if the mix-up with Elven and Rhombchick hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have got the deck for probably another three weeks, and certainly not in time for my birthday! So thanks, guys, for being slack. You’ll get your turn – I’m just really, really enjoying having him around for now.

9th September

And here I am, the following morning, at TAFE. Not a good day – I could tell that as soon as I opened my eyes and realised that it was an hour later than it should have been when my eyes opened.

Nonetheless, I am nearly an hour early for my first class, allowing me to sit on a computer in the library, where I’ve photographed Frankie,

Frankie emerging nervously in the TAFE library

and do my other AT stuff before sitting in a classroom pretending to be interested.

Frankie has been entirely silent this morning. So he should be. The Anna K is at home sulking, knowing that the most attention she’s going to get for at least a week was the attention that Ambrosia gave her yesterday. As I was approaching TAFE, neither of the two women I sometimes meet for coffee were there, and there is a current soy-milk drought in my home, so I’m not feeling even remotely homoeostatic. As well as sleep-deprived.

Grumpy as.

Frankie’s keeping quiet. Someone must have warned him about me.

Frankie just sat through a horrible TAFE exam with me. Aged care – the systems of the body. Baby-basic anatomy and physiology. The teacher supervising it told us not to worry, the answers were all in the handout we’d received and it was an open-book exam.

I had thrown away my handbook.

I had done better-than basic anat & phys in about 1987.

I had not paid attention in class.

I filled the whole thing in, in about five minutes, and I’m now back in the library playing on the net whilst the other poor suckers struggle with a “hard” exam.


Frankie stayed in the bottom of my bag, crawling with horror.

“What, at the stupidity of the questions?” I asked him. (I had corrected one of the questions on the sheet before I even answered it, for heavens’ sakes!)

“No, at the hardness of the exam,” he replied, a little shamefacedly.

I didn’t take a photo because I didn’t feel it was appropriate.

Not … happy … Jan.

(Nobody heard his brief conversation with me).

I was asked elsewhere on the net where people who don’t have Frankie are welcome to talk, why Frankie hasn’t been so loquacious today.

Because we didn’t have such a fantastically good day, today. We had to go to TAFE, and he didn’t get to pop out of my bag except once, briefly, on a library computer (when I was told to put him away when I pulled out the camera). I don’t enjoy the course I’m going, but I can’t see my way out of it. Frankie stayed in the bottom of my bag, and shivered silently for most of the day. Some overseas idiot, apparently, promised him warmer weather when he hit Australia, and he left his woollies behind.

He didn’t get to pose on a police car. (that could still happen.) He didn’t get to be pulled out this afternoon when my horticultural class was on, because I was on Tap Duty, not doing any of the fun stuff (I rebelled, grabbed a set of clippers and did some unauthorised pruning, but he and my camera were both in my bag, a long, long way away by then).

I wanted him to see me having blood drawn for some long-overdue tests, seeing as I’ve donated blood too recently to be able to take him to the Blood Bank, but I left the form at home, so I couldn’t even do that, bleed a little in his presence.

We had a fairly crappy time. As Kissa has recently taught me to say, “Paska, paska, paska!”

However, Avril, young enthusiast, occasional Tarot client and all-round nut-case, is taking me out for lunch tomorrow, and of course Frankie will come. Zan_Chan, did he like Japanese food? We’re going to be going to a Teppinyaki restaurant which I didn’t even know existed around here (I only knew of a few sushi bars). Mind you, its location is not promising: a venue where many inferior restaurants have set up and failed in succession. All that seems to succeed there is a choice of hot fats laced with salt in all their glorious variety.

When we came home, I potted up two lilli-pilli seedlings someone in the horticulture class had propagated for us and went inside to grab Frankie for photos – and it started pouring. I didn’t even ask – I know that although he has a well-developed Water side, he’s a little afraid of showers.

Now Frankie’s still asleep in the bedroom, which is why I’m whispering. I’m packing my bag to go to TAFE, and I’ll try to remember to get a photo of him on a cop car on the way. We’re also going to skive off (truant, not attend class without explanation) for the afternoon class, because Frankie’s going to strut his stuff over Japanese/Australian cuisine. I’ve burnt a copy of an unobtainable early Rosanne Cash CD and one of Pagan music for a friend of mine who will be at tonight’s meditation group – Frankie will shine!

Must wake him up now.

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3 Responses to FRANKENDECKEN – Travelling Tarot of the 78 Spares!

  1. Stella Hoshiko says:

    what a wonderful time you’ve spent with Frankie! Thanks for sharing your moments with all of us, Nisaba. Speaking of Zan_Chan, you mean Frankie had spent time with Zan_Chan too?

  2. 乳膠床墊 says:

    Wow! This really is 1 of the most beneficial blogs I’ve ever occur across on this subject. Merely Amazing

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