Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Awful Vista of the Year - the Fantod Pack of Edward Gorey

'Close your eyes,' said Davina.  'And hold out your hands.'
I'd only popped into Number Seven to buy a sympathy card.  It was the first time I'd been out the house (apart from going to the gym) for a week.  But my little halogen heater had broken (this one has lasted all of three months) and it was warmer out than in.
Anyhow. I duly held out my chillblained, frostbitten paws, and felt something being laid onto them. Well, a vague sensation approaching feeling.
Something rectangular, a slim box the size of a large playing card.  As my eyes focused, I recognised the drawing and yelped with excitement.

The Fantod Pack by Edward Gorey.

'Oh my God!' I squeaked.
'It's a present,' said Davina.  Yay! I love presents. Having a birthday at the fag-end of Christmas means I don't score high in the present-receiving stakes and, if I do, I tend to get fobbed off with everyone else's unwanted Christmas gifts.  So unexpected, unusual and hugely welcome ones like this are triply appreciated.

I love Edward Gorey. As in, ever so slightly obsessed.  Have been so ever since my brother gave me a desk diary with his illustrations way back in the 80s.
How could anyone not love them, I wonder?  Lugubrious, with a humour the shade of bruises.
Anyhow.  The Fantod Pack is Gorey's legendary (piss)take on tarot.  First published in a limited edition in 1995 and long out of print - it consists of 20 cards with odd arcana such as The Limb, The Effigy, The Insects, The Bundle and The Burning Head.
'Don't you want to know what dreadful things lie in wait for you?' it asks.  Of course!
Instructions for use:  'To read your fortune, first shuffle the pack and take it in your left hand. Stand in the centre of a sparsely furnished room and close your eyes.  Fling the pack into the air.  Keep your eyes closed. Pick up five cards from the floor, keeping them in order.'  And so on, and so forth. Okay, let's do it...
Right.  So it seems I have thwarted ambitions and foot trouble in my past (so true). My inner self is a waltzing mouse (morbid cravings, brawls, involuntary seclusion, vertigo and shrivelling) - scary true.  My outer world involves unstable furniture, paranoia and loss of money (aaagh, stop it, Gorey!).  And my future involves a forged letter, false arrest, anemia and loss of teeth.  Now how cheeering is that?

Want me to read your future?  Just say the word (Yes!) and I'll pluck a card for you from my floor.


Pics from lioninthesunps.com - apart from the one of my diary, obviously.

16 comments:

barb said...

Yes.
Please x

Exmoorjane said...

@Barb. Right...here goes...
You get...*fanfare*...The Tunnel!

A sexual disturbance may occur on Monday. Loss of wits or, alternatively, boredom.

barb said...

Thank you. Probably the best fortune ever told x

Exmoorjane said...

You're welcome. Yes, I tend to concur. No waffle or flannel. It just cuts to the chase. :D

Teresa said...

Hmmm, whats to loose??
Yes please Jane! Xxx

Exmoorjane said...

Okay, Teresa... *shuffle, toss* - You get...The Urn.

Watch out for mumbling sickness on Friday. A forged invitation could lead to a sexual dilemma. Beware harmful rays!

Ashen said...

Ha, ha, fun Go ahead, though I've plenty of cards tumbling in the air right now.

Exmoorjane said...

It's The Child for you, Ashen. Expect hallucinations and rust. Come September you might experience sties, forced restraint and loss of youth. Oh, and denigration. Nothing like a bit of denigration.

Maste said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frances said...

Jane, I was and still am a great fan of Mr Gorey. Lucky to have a few of his books on my book shelves. There once was a bookshop, on 47th street in the heart of the diamond district, Gotham Book Market (I will trust my memory without checking with Mr google) that had many exhibits of Gorey's works. I so regret never having actually met him, or even had an in person view of him in that raccoon coat.

And so to honor that artist (who lived on Cape Cod, so perhaps you did meet him?) I would love you to toss those cards in the air for me.

xo

Ashen said...

Hallucination, rust, sties, forced restraint, loss of youth, and to sum it up - denigration. Makes me feel strangely energised - it's what denigration does to me :)08ll

Exmoorjane said...

@Ma - So? :) Wanna card anyhow? :)

Exmoorjane said...

@Frances - I had no idea he lived on Cape Cod. I never read biographies (well, only a handful). And no, I didn't meet him (how wondrous that would have been). Okay...cards shuffled, tossed and...

You get The Effigy. There may be an accident in a stadium come August. Rashness and amnesia result in clouded mentality. Unpleasant secrets.

:)

Exmoorjane said...

@Ashen...yeah, nothing like a bit of honest-to-God denigration to revitalise the senses. :)

Frances said...

Ahh Jane, lots of chew on in interpreting the Gorey reading.

Think that I was last in anything like a stadium ages ago to see the Stones at Shea.

So perhaps I shouldn't take the stadium reference personally?

Amnesia might be a gift.

xo

Frances said...

to chew on, ...perhaps the mind is its own stadium.

xo