by Helen Howell
A new deck came to stay at my place this week: The Tarot of the Vampyres by Ian Daniel. I couldn’t wait to interview it and immediately sent an invitation up to its room. Would you believe it made me wait for a couple of days before saying it would grace me with its company tonight. Tonight! Oh my goodness that’s short notice. I sent a message back saying couldn’t they come tomorrow afternoon? I got a rather terse reply saying they never rose until the sun had gone down and it’s tonight or never. Pfft, who do they think they are— of course, silly me, it’s a Vampyre deck, when else would it come out except at night. (hurries away to get ready)
Okay the room’s tidied up and I got some blood oranges for the refreshment. Well it was short notice and the blood bank was closed. Besides, they always look so pale, a bit of vitamin C will do them good. I glance at the clock. It’s really late. I wonder when it will come down and who will be its spokesperson?
A gust of wind blows the door open and two bats flutter through and fly to the top of the window, where they settle. The air feels algid as a cloudy haze floats into the room. I hold my breath as I watch it take the form of the Empress. She’s beautiful. She glides across the floor; the rustle of her skirt is the only sound to be heard.
She moves to the chair opposite me. I notice her eyes are dark, alluring.
She stares at me. Shall we get on with it? Ask your questions I will do my best to translate my brother and sister cards' replies.
“Yes, of course. But would you like a blood orange before we start?” I hold the plate out with the ruby segments.
She wrinkles her nose. Fruit, are you mad?
“But they’re blood ora........” I never finished my sentence before she holds up a hand adorned with pointed red nails.
Enough. Ask your questions.
I feel her eyes wash over my neck. My heart skips a beat as my hand touches my throat. “First question:
“Ah, yes I understand why you would choose that. Perhaps you see yourself as a means to liberate the questioner from their situation?”
Is that the next question? She glances up to the top of the window. Come here darlings. The bats descend to rest one on each of her shoulders.
“Oh no, I was just thinking aloud.”
Question number 2:
2: What would you say makes you different from other decks? - The Priestess
Ah that’s the secret isn’t it, the difference I mean. I encourage you to create your own outcomes by helping you to accept the multitude of possibilities that exist. How do I do this? Rather than tell you what will be, I help you to unlock that inner knowledge that resides within you, so that you too may become the Magician in creating your own new beginnings. I do not just show you what alternative possibilities or potential exists, I show you that you are the writer of your own story.
“Wow. So you don’t just predict, you encourage us to make our own decisions about things. I like the idea of being the Magician.”
Aren’t we all magicians in our own way? She leans forwards and spears two segments of blood orange with her nails, and hands one each to the bats.
“Oh my god they’re fruit bats.” I watch the two small creatures nibble at the segments.
Why, were you expecting something different? Her lips curl into a smile and the tips of her fangs glow in the soft light. Nature is a wonderful thing is it not. Next question, and hurry up it’s past my supper time.
3. Why should I work with you? - The Hierophant
Simply because I’m here to teach you some important lessons that need to be learnt and understood in order for you to grow. I will be the link between your earthly existence and your spiritual one. By working with me I will instill within you a greater amount of trust in yourself and open your eyes to the bigger picture. I will urge you to find your own truth rather than follow the truth of others. Work with me and you will learn that knowledge is what gives you freedom of choice.
“That seems an excellent reason to work with you. Emm, would your bats like another piece of orange?” I hold the plate out but she brushes it away with a flick of her hand.
Are there any more questions? Her nails rattle on the wooden arm of the chair as she drums her fingers.
(Maybe she’s more than a tad hungry - I should hurry up.)
4. How do you see me? - Lord of Sceptres Reversed.
I see you as one who has creative ideas and the will to set goals but at the same time you can lack structure and that holds you back from meeting the challenge of completing those goals. I’m here to help you form those structures so that you may follow your vision and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.
“Well, I suppose I do think about things a lot longer than I should, and yes I’m not necessarily interested in leading others, but more happy just jogging along. I guess you’ll gee me up in this area. I have one more question for you.
Question number 5:
5. What is to be gained from working together? - Two of Grails
That’s very simple to answer. Together we will be able to reconcile any opposing forces that exist, so that instead of working against you they work for you. It will be a new and fresh relationship that over a time will grow into something deeper. A relationship that is built on trust and honesty. I will always be honest with you. By working together we will forge an understanding that has the potential for a lasting friendship. This will form a union between us based on a greater understanding of not just yourself, but also me as your deck of choice.
“I shall look forward to that. Thanks for taking the time to come down and speak with me. I guess you must fly now as it’s gone midnight.”
Before I go, do you think I could have a small drink?
“Of course. What can I get you?”
Your wrist would be perfect.
“Eeek!” (holds out wrist and closes eyes)
Phantasmagoria (Tarot of the Vampyres) by Ian Daniels
Published by Llewellyn