Abe's Tarot Cards

Grendel's Coffee House Presents: Abe Nelson's "The Tarot" (major arcana) On: September 1st At: six-o-clock pm Located at: 729 E. Burnside Portland, OR 97214 ...or maybe you already knew that.


CARD 2: THE PRIESTEST (picture to come)

The Picture:
A youthful crowned woman sits on a throne, her face covered, between a dark and light pillar behind her is a hill. In one hand is a pomegranate and her other hand points at a page in a mysterious book in her reach is a filled silver cup.

The Meaning:
(Note: in being true with the meaning of this card I decided to just talk about the over all meaning. I will not be going over any of these items that are in this card; cup, pomegranate, book, or her crown of waxing and waning moon…you don’t need to know, but if you want to know I encourage you research it for yourself.)
The Priestess (or High Priestess, Female Pope, ect.) inhabits a quiet spot between your actions and in-action on severity and mercy (light and dark pillars) and is the adviser of climbing the hill behind her to your spiritual goals…she tells you the path you must climb but never answering the whys or showing her source, that’s our responsibility if were interested. She sits and patiently waits until we are ready to be sensitive, listen and heed to her advice. Her voice is the goal when we meditate, it is the still small voice we should strive to be sensitive to as much as possible in order to be the rose we want to become.

In a Reading:
In a reading this card is telling you to listen, and look with-in. it is time to reach inward and develop a stronger inner connection with yourself.(as opposed to the physical dynamic application of the magician.) Let your intuitive nature carefully guide you along as you explore who you are and why.


CARD 1: THE MAGICIAN (picture soon)

The Picture:
This card shows a youthful man posed with one arm up to the heavens and one arm down to earth, a symbol of mercury at each palm. His head is surrounded by a halo of infinity as he looks down at a table with the tools of magic before him (cup, pentacle, dagger, and wand) the world is divided almost in half showing earth and heavens.

The Meaning:
The man in the card shows himself as a divine messenger between the heavens and earth. In mythology he is represented as Mercury, or Hermes. He is the representation of us as communicators, of bringing our will of the spirit to the physical plane. The black and white background represents the yin and yang of our will and the physical world and that proper balance and technique is needed to control both equally for perfect communication. The halo represents that this communication between both is always present in our lives, whether we know how to control it properly or not.
The items showed on the table show us the means as which to bring things about in the physical. Each item on the table is a representation of our basic elements in the physical plane; Cup = water, Pentacle = Earth, Dagger = Air, and Wand = Fire (this is a basic overview, there’s much more to these items then that.). I feel that these items can be represented by ALL means of our taught communicative skills (the tools of an artist, a cook, cyclist, musician, even a carpenter.) anything that helps brings a thought of your will to the physical. The reason I don’t show anything specific (like frying pans) is because you should always be open to new ways express yourself. You never know what opportunity life will bring. I felt the traditional elemental tools blanketed this idea.

In a Reading:
This card tells you that you may have some new opportunities and decisions ahead so this is a good time to, take all your intuitiveness, focus in on your initiative, make a decision and follow through to achieve those goals and dreams. Apply those innate talents to make things happen.



Card 0: The Fool
NOTE: First off I should state this about the fool .This is not the first card of the deck as it is most commonly placed. It is the embodiment of your approach to all things of the heart. The fool is a reminder of how to approach the tarot itself, it needs to be the representation of your outward perspective as a whole. This card represents the nature that you should be reading the cards at zero with a natural Zen-like spirit of "no-nothing". This card should be you; mind, body and soul.

The Picture:
On this card is depicted a child atop a wild wolf as the wolf guides him along a cliff he is stopped in mid stride as the boy looks at the highest point of a fully blossomed rose.

The Meaning:
The child represents our basic mind; using logic it can say go and stop but is unable to gain any real ground without our raw nature (our primal urges, basic motor skills, and our body) of the wolf. Our minds (child) carried by our raw nature (wolf) guide us (working together in some degree) ahead through the ups and downs of life (the cliffs) but our minds have now stopped us to focus on the potential of our soul, the rose. (Note: at this stage we do not fully comprehend the cycle of the rose, the hard work that it takes to blossom nor the decline of it back to seed. we can only see what we want to obtain.) The outward drive has now become an inward one and we now see the urge to heighten our inner beauty even though we might not be sure how to obtain it.

In a Reading:
In a reading this card will a notice that opportunity is just around the corner for you if you don’t let your "adult self" get in the way too much. Approach life with an openness and innocence as to experience it to the fullest right now. Its okay to just stop, put your worries aside, bring yourself back to center, opening up and looking around to find the awe and amazement in the world around you.


Well, if you weren't able to make it, the event at Grendel's Coffee Shop on Friday went well. Not only did I have a wonderful time, but most of you came up and told me that you were enjoying it, which is what truly made it a success.
In this show I really focused hard on the idea that if I made everything I did with 100% love, honesty and passion that that love, honesty and passion would be recipricated back... (In weeks before the show I was VERY concerned about this and that this "idea" of mine was too far-fetched in todays socitey...people wouldn't feel what I was giving them they would only see the surface of it all and all the heart I vested into this would be lost.) What I got in return I wasin't prepared for. Now looking back I can only describe it as a cannon blast of Karma...a force exploding back all that I packed into it. I dont even know what held me up through it and often felt like falling to my knees, weeping. It acually hit me so hard that by the end of the night I was angery at myself, thinking "What did you really expect?"
I guess what I'm trying to say out of all this is thank you all. ...THANK YOU
If you didin't make it on Friday it will be up all this month so go down and check it out. you can still order the decks and t-shirts...and I think a couple of paintings are still available. I'll have ordering info up here by the end of the month, if you want to order on-line.
I also really want to take time out to thank the people who was there through everything and really helped this show get off the ground. No man is an island and that applys double when you put a show like this together. (this is starting to sound like the back of a rap album...but really, I mean it.)
ERIC-Thank you for the space...and your MEAN bagle sandwhiches and coffee.
JODI- If you dont already know this all was really Jodi's show. she gave alot of her time energy money and concern (way more then she needed to)...Jodi MADE this show...I was just the dancing monkey at it.
CAROL and FAITH- The "WOO WOO'S" Who both did Tarot readings for the show. Carol also did my first reading that night and has been always in the back of my mind while drawing and carving. Blessings upon you both.
ADAM- Designer extrodinare! For doing my flyers...they were AWESOME!!!better then anything I could of ever done...thank you, thank you, thank you!
RAE- for letting me use her extra papercutter and corner rounder when I was going NUTS cutting them all out by hand.I will say nothing bad about Scrapbookers again.
FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU- I just always wanted to say that :)
I know I said I'd have THE FOOL POST today but I have ALOT of orders to fill and I want to get on those first...I'll try for tonight...by noon tomorrow for sure...thanks for understanding...


To continue onto the process of mine I'd like to tell you about how I'm carving and printing the cards up.

After the tracing is put onto the block via permanent marker it's time to carve it out. When I carve I try to think about the line I'm trying to create and also the way that I can make the block endure time the longest. What goods a block print if you can only use it a couple hundred times before deteriorating, right? What's been working for me is instead of a harsh line carved right up next to my mark I try to create a bevel or plateau to the assumed printed summit. This way I won't be compounding on a cube but a triangle which should hold up longer...

This is too much isn't it?

Okay I take about three to five hours to carve a block. This is much faster than my first day of carving; I did the back of the cards, which took me 12 hours! (18 with drawing time...and all in one sitting to boot!) I'm only giving myself ONE SHOT to carve each block and all mistakes HAVE to be left in (example: on the back of the cards the last thing I carved on it was my name...BACKWARDS!!...argh! You don't know how frustrating to see that printed hundreds of times! But this life is it is what it is, mistakes and all we can do is move on and attempt to correct them in the future.) Also remember rule #2 nothing automated can touch the blocks. (This one SCREWED me this week, when I ran into a problem getting registration (lined up front to back) while printing and could of easily solved it by cutting the blocks to fit the sheet better I even called up my good friend Lucas and left a message asking him to cut them on his table saw for me‚ but by the time he called back I remembered rule #2. ‚again, argh! It could be fixed so easily‚but my backwards logic is the card need to be the closest reflection of me completely and convenient gadgets and computers can only save time they cannot show you my heart...just the same, it is still frustrating!)
‚anyways, I could get real descriptive about how carving them but it's not all that exciting to read (not even to me) and honestly I'm not sure if I'm doing it right anyways‚it's not like I took an art, or carving class or anything‚I'm just giving you the best that this bucket between my ears can do.
‚but printing well that's a different story...


I've been printing for going on 11 years now and I've done a little bit of everything

(sorry about this it just popped into my head but, I remember as a kid making 25-30 cards with a drawing of the same 3 hammerhead sharks in pencil on typing paper for my birthday party. I remember going to school and not giving them out and later throwing them away because I was afraid my classmates wouldn't appreciate them...huh...wow! I totally forgot about that! )

...ANYWAYS‚...as I was saying, I've been printing for 11 years now. And I pride myself on my craft. So when this project begin to evolve I tried to set it up as best I could to run smoothly on the printing side of it. I tried to open up my images as much as possible to accommodate this step. Okay, here are my steps:
first off I print all of the backs on the full back of the 9x5 sheet and let dry for a day
Next because of the variance there location on the paper (even with my jig in place.)I hand cut each card down to the size it needs to be. ( about 6/34 x 4")
Then I set-up individual jigs and print the fronts. Wait a day.
Apply color ( I will have hand painted versions but on the most part colored pencil does the trick.) and wood stain. Wait a day.
Clear coat wait until dry and then flatten and smooth (I use a Chap Stick lid on my finger‚ although I might need to revise that...) and then shape for strength (adding a nice length-wise curve to them so they don't flop around.)
The smell of the wood stain passes in about a week...and BAM! See it's just that easy!!
Add an impossible deadline, a job and more drama then any one man can bear in a lifetime (Whine, whine, whine...) and you can be just like me in no time flat!

No really, I'm doing all of THIS (my time effort and a price that even I could afford) so you can get a little piece of my heart to have, hold and share with others. I really try hard to make my art, my thanks. Thank you all.
...alright it's back pushing this bitch of a boulder up this hill... again. I hope to see you at the top!
Your Sisyphus,


Good Morning My Friends!
Today I want to talk about my process, kinda a like an” exclusive inside look" thing.

1. The Conception

First I read. I read a number of books I check out my "companion books" these books usually come with a specific deck there small and usually give you an overview of the card and you can sometimes gain a little insight on why they made there cards the way they did. I own four decks myself; Rider-Waite (By A E Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith A go-to classic), The Golden Dawn Magical (by the Sandra Tabitha Cicero and Chic Cicero), The Classic Tarot (18 century woodcut prints by Caude Burdel) and The Golden Dawn (Illustrated by Robert Wang under the direction of Israel Regardie) I read all of them and cross reference them. I try not to focus on the pictures too much I might look it over real quick for the general idea of things but most of it comes from the text (I want this to be MY deck after all) I also try to weed out certain thing that don’t make sense to me or that I think will put the cards in a "narrower field of perspective". Anything that "assigned" to the cards or that I think will away from the basic idea of the card (i.e. astrological signs, Hebrew alphabet...ect.ect.). The things I do keep in are basic ideas, feelings and emotions any body stance or pose and objects needed to help get the feeling/idea across. Usually I make a couple of quick thumbnail sketches before I get too cluttered up with information at this point. Then I get into the bigger things Garden Of Pomegranates by Israel Regardie How to understand the Tarot by Frank Linn and a couple of others that I have floating around here (I think I left them in the basement and feel too lazy to go look...is that bad?) basically I'm looking for flaws in my interpretations of the cards ,which is why I try and do that thumbnail sketch oh and also I've been going http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/ a lot too (my deck will be reviewed and posted there soon.)If I think I understand it I start sketching if not I meditate re-read and try it again (and sometimes ...try it AGAIN.)

2. Lay out

This is very important to me ...how the card looks and how it comes across. I cant just draw any-old way I like since I have to be carving and printing them. I have a look that I'm going for that’s not too basic but also isn’t too cluttered up either. I can’t just "let loose" on these. Each card needs to translate into exactly what I have in mind that takes a lot of my self-control and focus. Also I have to think about the parameters of the material I'm carving them out of because one of my rules for carving is "mistakes are left in". That means if I screw up while carving I cant go back and re-carve it until NEXT YEAR...that means I have to get it as right as I can the FIRST time which means my drawing has to be as good as I can make it before it hits the block.(here’s some sketches I did for card 12 the Hanged Man) after I think I have everything right where I want it and it's the right size (cant shrink it on a copier.) I make a tracing of it ( couldnt find the Hanged man but here's a tracing of the SUN) then I turn it over and retrace it onto the block. Then to fix it onto the block I go over it again in permanent marker (if you’re counting I have now drawn and re-drawn the same image at least four times.)...NOW I'M READY TO CARVE!