In this newly published Alchemy Edition card deck there is some strong imagery, imagery that some people are going to find offensive or fearful. Yet this is one of the most beautiful and important qualities of this deck. I feel it is vital to have images that move a person, that evoke. This is how life is. Cards give us an opportunity to get closer acquainted with our fears, our demons, so that we may ultimately overcome. This is what makes cards useful, powerful, and ultimately transformative.
Although I always loved this work of my father’s, there were some images that I felt were embarrassing.
Without a doubt, the most notable of these was the painting for the 8 of Spades.
This was like the wart I always tried to hide. I didn’t want anyone to see it. Even when I would stack the paintings for storage I would make sure this one was well buried in the stack.
In my mind, there is just no way that this was a “personal” issue. I felt the image was too strong. Too hideous. “Why, oh why, did he have to paint this,” I wondered.
And then there came this “aha” moment when I realized the momentous power of this card for me. It symbolizes transformation. It illustrates me facing my own greatest fears, and coming face to face with my own strongest demons. It defines the most pivotal moments in my life.
And still I know many people will have a problem with this card. I know many people will have “problems” with a lot of the cards in this deck. Because I have been there myself.
For this new Alchemy Edition deck you need a little taste for adventure. Maybe a big taste. It goes where other decks will not. The meanings are different, the system it uses is different, and the images lead to new territories in ourselves, as only our fears can deliver.
To me, the images that “press on” fear most strongly in this deck are among the best. They bring beauty to the nightmare, and the juxtaposition is divine.