My friend Mean Jean Brophey collects playing cards. Not such an unusual hobby except that she does it one card at a time. Some years ago, she started noticing individual cards lying on the street. She’d see them here and there and wonder how they got separated from their decks. After a while, she decided to start picking them up (for some reason always hoping for a 9 of Spades).
Today she’s got over 90 cards and is just 10 shy of a complete deck of 54 (if we include the Jokers). Of course there are duplicates and triplicates. She’s got four 4 of Spades and 8 Jokers. And some cards aren’t even from regular decks. There’s a property card from a Chinese game of Monopoly and a somewhat creepy one labeled ‘blowjob’ discovered on the floor of a strip club in BC. But most are your everyday Bicycle brand red or blue with diamonds on the back.
Mean Jean’s method of deciding whether or not to pick up a card is quite specific. If she comes across an entire deck or extremely large cluster of cards somewhere on the ground, she ignores them all. It’s primarily the lone wolves she’s looking for. The single 4 of Hearts laying on a sewer grate or an 8 of Spades beside some paint buckets in the alley.
There have been the odd exception to the lone card rule. For instance, once she and a friend were walking along an empty beach and came across what looked to be an entire deck floating on the ocean. In that case they plucked just one from the water – a Jack of Hearts. It’s a particular treasure.
Word has spread about Mean Jean’s collection and other people have started keeping an eye out too. I’ve personally added a few cards to the deck. It’s rare that I see a single playing card lying around, but unless it’s covered in something too disgusting to be involved with, I pick it up and bring it to my friend.
Though it’s not a Tarot deck, Mean Jean’s Found Deck loves giving advice. Its cards come from all over North America, and it enjoys sharing its unique perspective with anyone who cares to ask. So … in anticipation of the coming holiday season, we decided to ask Mean Jean’s Found Deck what it advises to make the most of this (potentially) wonderful time of year.
Mean Jean herself drew the cards. She pulled one to describe the spirit we should bring with us to our holiday activities, one for an emotional attitude to take, one for a positive direction of thoughts and finally, one about how we might physically behave.
Remarkably, all the cards she pulled had red backs (her eyes were closed while she was drawing) and red fronts! They were diamonds and hearts. Red and white just like Santa!
The first card drawn, representing the spirit of the season, was the 5 of Hearts. My take on this card is to turn it into the 5 of Cups and say that the spirit of the season is to forget all the sadnesses, fights, disappointments and other displeasures we’ve had with our family, friends and strangers and look at the healthy love in all these relationships. If it’s hard to find – look that much closer. There’s gotta be something.
But since this isn’t a Tarot deck, and we’re actually reading playing cards – I thought I’d take a peek in a book dedicated to just that. It’s called It’s All In The Cards by Chita St. Lawrence. Chita says the 5 of Hearts means: “small token/gift/little attention/a pleasant telephone call/surprise.” Apparently this card is all good and suggests a short period of time when gifts, visits and surprises abound. Couldn’t be more perfect for the holidays!
The second card in the spread represents the emotional attitude recommended by Mean Jean’s Found Deck. The card she pulled was the 4 of Diamonds. As a Tarot reader I translate that into the 4 of Wands. The emotional attitude suggested by this card is enthusiasm and celebration! Laughing, dancing and enjoying everyone you meet. Sounds good.
But Chita’s message is a little more somber. “decision/four corners” is what she says. There’s a suggestion of being at a crossroads, about ready to make a choice. The choice has a lot to do with the surrounding cards, in this case two rather happy ones. Maybe the choice is to be happy or not. Enjoy this time with your family and friends or be cranky at having to spend so much time and money on people you usually avoid. It’s up to you how you want to look at it. Sounds a little like that 5 of Hearts in the Spirit position – at least as interpreted from a Tarot perspective.
In the position of mental attitude, the card that appeared was the 6 of Hearts. Could it be more sweet? The 6 of Hearts in Tarot would be the 6 of Cups – a card of unbounded loveliness. It’s all about gratitude and sharing, letting those you love know you love them and appreciate them for all they are and all they’ve shared with you. There could hardly be a more beautiful mental attitude to take with you to every holiday gathering you attend.
Chita agrees. The book says “very nice trip or path”. It goes on to describe a time of pleasant passage, well-being and very enjoyable ventures. Highlighted are family, friends, personal trips, dates, parties. Even excursions to the mall!! “Any steps taken are pleasant.” If we can pull off this mental attitude, the holidays will be fantastic!
And finally, in the physical position, Mean Jean pulled the 10 of Hearts (I’m starting to think she’s not so mean after all). The 10 of Hearts would be the 10 of Cups in Tarot, a card typically pictured with a happy family enjoying life under a rainbow. The suggested physical behaviour to engage in this season is loving and enjoying your family and friends. Could the message be hitting home any harder?
Apparently it can. According Chita, the 10 of Hearts means “great joy”. In playing card speak, this card is a straightforward positive representation of exceptional happiness and well-being.
That about does it then. “Joy, Happiness, Gratitude, Love and Good Will to All” is the message from Mean Jean’s Found Deck. Whether you read them as Tarot cards or playing cards, the message is the same. Love as much as you can!!
Start this Holiday Season right and listen to a deck that’s really been around. I think it knows its stuff.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans!! And thanks Mean Jean for sharing your cards with us.