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Confused Disappointment Towards Decks/Creators (Jolanda / Swedish Witch Tarot)


Green Tales

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Green Tales

Hello there!

 

I do hope this will be an okay subject, even if it might veer a bit negative. I simply have to get this off my chest and see if I'm the only one who's had this experience. If it's not allowed, please let me know and delete this thread!

 

Now, what is this all about? Well, I recently caved and invested in the Jolanda tarot / Swedish Witch tarot, due to having very strong emotional bonds to its artist, Hans Arnold. He illustrated many a book with short horror stories, which I used to adore as a child. And that same feeling of dread carries over into many of the cards in this deck. Everything else about it, though...

 

First of all, it's never mentioned in either the Swedish book about the deck (I'm Swedish), or the LWB, that it's much, much more based on the Toth system than RWS. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like it's something important to point out to make things less confusing for the buyers? Especially as the English version uses the RWS titles. Then there's the borders, and so many rumors I've heard surrounding Jolanda herself... Hopefully they aren't true, it's just hard for them to not colour my feelings towards her.

 

Is there any deck and/or creator you have similarly mixed feelings towards? I utterly love my Jolanda deck, once trimmed it's the deck that fits the best in my tiny hands. I just have a lot of conflicting emotions towards one of its creators.

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13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Hello there!

 

I do hope this will be an okay subject, even if it might veer a bit negative. I simply have to get this off my chest and see if I'm the only one who's had this experience. If it's not allowed, please let me know and delete this thread!

As it stands now, it’s ok. But I moved it to Tarot Decks as it is mostly related to a specific deck. 

13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Now, what is this all about? Well, I recently caved and invested in the Jolanda tarot / Swedish Witch tarot, due to having very strong emotional bonds to its artist, Hans Arnold. He illustrated many a book with short horror stories, which I used to adore as a child. And that same feeling of dread carries over into many of the cards in this deck. Everything else about it, though...

 

First of all, it's never mentioned in either the Swedish book about the deck (I'm Swedish), or the LWB, that it's much, much more based on the Toth system than RWS.

I’m Swedish too 🙂. I know that Jolanda has mentioned in interviews that it is Thoth inspired and I also know that she wanted to create her own little white booklet to go with the deck but that AGM said no (for budget reasons. They simply added the standard booklet that they have for all their decks). 

13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like it's something important to point out to make things less confusing for the buyers?

Back when this deck was first created there wasn’t as much discussion around the different systems and there was several decks on the market that had their own (or mixed/unclear) structure. The osho zen deck comes to mind. 

13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Especially as the English version uses the RWS titles.

Well. This is probably something that AGM decided on. I have other decks by AGM where the creator was inspired by Thoth decks but  where the booklet and the card titles are unclear or contradictory  (like the Stella’s tarot). 

13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Then there's the borders

Again, she wanted grey borders but AGM decided on purple borders. 

13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

, and so many rumors I've heard surrounding Jolanda herself... Hopefully they aren't true, it's just hard for them to not colour my feelings towards her.

Well, this is where I’m not as sure where the topic is going. I don’t think it’s a good idea to start discussing rumors about deck creators. But there are lots of decks with infamous creators - such as the Thoth deck itself. So I think it’s up to each individual what they believe and how much that impacts their feelings about a deck. I totally respect those that won’t use a deck because of the creator or the publisher (or whatever). A lot of decks have been birthed under less than ideal and ethical conditions. Sometimes there are copyright issues and other times it comes across as cultural misappropriation. I personally avoid any decks that I feel leave a bad taste in my mouth, for whatever reason. (Though I do not avoid the Thoth deck, might I add 🙂)

13 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Is there any deck and/or creator you have similarly mixed feelings towards? I utterly love my Jolanda deck, once trimmed it's the deck that fits the best in my tiny hands. I just have a lot of conflicting emotions towards one of its creators.

Oh yes. But I tend to simply dislike decks or creators more often than I feel conflicted about them. And that’s when I simply stay away from them 🙂

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I don't think one can tar people's work with their IRL persona. Crowley, of course. Philip Larkin. Beethoven. Mozart, All those film stars who did good work, and seem to have behaved badly. It doesn't make their work bad. Just that I wouldn't ask them to dinner.

 

I'd have said it followed MANY traditions all at once, actually.

 

And you can comment negatively if you like. We don't all have to like the same things. I hadn't heard bad stuff about Jolanda though.

Edited by gregory
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Green Tales
10 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:
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Then there's the borders

Again, she wanted grey borders but AGM decided on purple borders. 

Oh, I'm just confused by the choice of huge borders in general. 🤣 It minimizes the very detailed art, in my opinion.

 

And this explains a lot about the Thoth/RWS mixing! Thank you so much, it means a lot to me. When I trimmed the deck I added my own titles to the Major Arcana in Swedish, using a mix of Thoth, RWS and my own interpretation of the card.

 

And indeed, I don't want to bring up any of the rumours I've heard about Jolanda, as I cannot verify whether they're true or not. They are simply things that are in the back of my head, nagging slightly. This is the only deck I have such complex emotions towards, and in a way, I like it more for it? Bad feelings aren't only bad, they're important to recognize and understand. Though yes, I too simply avoid decks and creators that leave a primarily bad taste in my mouth, haha.

Edited by Green Tales
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Green Tales
9 minutes ago, gregory said:

I'd have said it followed MANY traditions all at once, actually.

This is probably very true, especially from what I've seen of the book. I'm still very much a newbie to tarot, so I can only assume I barely even know half the traditions it follows. I only wish it was better explained, I guess? But that might be on me not reading it as intended, who knows. And boy oh boy, how I wish I could separate art from creator! It is not an ability I was blessed with, sadly enough. Just gotta do my best not to let it affect me too much.

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2 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Oh, I'm just confused by the choice of huge borders in general. 🤣 It minimizes the very detailed art, in my opinion.

 

And this explains a lot about the Thoth/RWS mixing! Thank you so much, it means a lot to me. When I trimmed the deck I added my own titles to the Major Arcana in Swedish, using a mix of Thoth, RWS and my own interpretation of the card.

 

And indeed, I don't want to bring up any of the rumours I've heard about Jolanda, as I cannot verify whether they're true or not. They are simply things that are in the back of my head, nagging slightly. This is the only deck I have such complex emotions towards, and in a way, I like it more for it? Bad feelings aren't only bad, they're important to recognize and understand. Though yes, I too simply avoid decks and creators that leave a bad taste in my mouth, haha.

Yeah. I am bit conflicted about this deck too, but for very different reasons. I struggle with the artwork and don’t agree with a lot of the symbolism (well beyond Thoth vs RWS, it simply doesn’t resonate fully with me). I feel like I should like it because it’s a famous Swedish deck and well, I’m Swedish 😅 But I only like some of the imagery, unfortunately. And it’s not the artists fault. I think he’s very talented. It’s just the concept of the images I guess..

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4 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

Yeah. I am bit conflicted about this deck too, but for very different reasons. I struggle with the artwork and don’t agree with a lot of the symbolism (well beyond Thoth vs RWS, it simply doesn’t resonate fully with me). I feel like I should like it because it’s a famous Swedish deck and well, I’m Swedish 😅 But I only like some of the imagery, unfortunately. And it’s not the artists fault. I think he’s very talented. It’s just the concept of the images I guess..

Oh yeah, many cards are so... Childish? There's a huge dissonance between the cards, especially in the Coin suit! And the symbol(ism) also make me frown sometimes, like Kali in the Tower card. Why. It's deck made by a Swede and a Swiss living in Sweden, why the sudden Hindi goddess? My connection to Hans Arnold's style helped me bridge a lot, though, as well as the fact that my copy of the deck is obsessed with helping me face the darkest parts of my life. So the silly cards don't show up a lot, whoops?

 

I'm not sure it feels inherently Swedish to me either, though? Like @gregory said, it follows many traditions. Kind of like how the makers of the Bauer tarot seem to have little to no knowledge about the stories illustrated in Bauer's work. So many of the cards illustrate something that's utterly removed from the traditional meaning of the cards, which is sad. Still hasn't stopped me from making multiple posts about the way the stories and traditional meanings do connect, though!

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4 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

Oh yeah, many cards are so... Childish? There's a huge dissonance between the cards, especially in the Coin suit! And the symbol(ism) also make me frown sometimes, like Kali in the Tower card. Why. It's deck made by a Swede and a Swiss living in Sweden, why the sudden Hindi goddess?

Yes! So true 😂

4 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

My connection to Hans Arnold's style helped me bridge a lot, though, as well as the fact that my copy of the deck is obsessed with helping me face the darkest parts of my life. So the silly cards don't show up a lot, whoops?

 

I'm not sure it feels inherently Swedish to me either, though? Like @gregory said, it follows many traditions. Kind of like how the makers of the Bauer tarot seem to have little to no knowledge about the stories illustrated in Bauer's work.

Don’t get me started. Seriously!! 😅 I had old posters of Bauer’s art plastered all over my childhood room. I loved Tomtar och troll. And I have not been able to convince myself to buy that deck. If I could trim off all the titles and use it as an intuitive oracle then I would, but sadly I can tell that the design on the backs would look so wonky if I trimmed it so I don’t want to try. 

4 minutes ago, Green Tales said:

So many of the cards illustrate something that's utterly removed from the traditional meaning of the cards, which is sad. Still hasn't stopped me from making multiple posts about the way the stories and traditional meanings do connect, though!

Good for you! I have come to embrace my seemingly conflicting beliefs and personality traits. It’s a beautiful thing to not have to be consistent. So freeing and it stimulates creativity too! 

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Interesting topic! I do love to discuss the choices that creators make in their works. Music, acting, story telling, tarot, and so on.

 

But I don't give a flying fig about their personal lives. High IQ and high creativity are often linked to dysfunction in every day life, as is mysticism. Not always. But there are reasons why this is so. That said, if I find they've done something unspeakable like abuse children, well, that would ruin it for me.

 

Crowley's issues, for example, don't bother me. It's a good reminder that humans have failings, and while an individual may have manifested important work into this earthly reality, it doesn't mean they are a truly enlightened being. It's always good to have that eyebrow raised over your third eye, and put everything in the context that it did come through a human being, after all.

Edited by McFaire
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3 minutes ago, gregory said:

Well, it has HIS ART on it ! how could I not :classic_tongue:

True. Had it only lacked the titles then I would have loved it too. 

 

1 minute ago, McFaire said:

Interesting topic! I do love to discuss the choices that creators make in their works. Music, acting, story telling, tarot, and so on.

 

But I don't give a flying fig about their personal lives. High IQ and high creativity are often linked to dysfunction in every day life, as is mysticism. Not always. But there are reasons why this is so. That said, if I find they've done something unspeakable like abuse children, well, that would ruin it for me.

 

Crowley's issues, for example, don't bother me. It's a good reminder that humans have failings, and while an individual may have manifested important work into this earthly reality, it doesn't mean they are an truly enlightened being. It's always good to have that eyebrow raised over your third eye, and put everything in the context that it did come through a human being, after all.

Yeah, and some people like to speak in controversial ways. Crowley was definitely one of those people and I dare to say that Jolanda is much the same. Those who have read her (Swedish) book will know that 😊

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