Of Providence and Prudence

Minchiate Fiorentine:

Card 17 Prudence

The word prudence comes from “providence” = being able to see ahead.

So this is the fortune teller’s card about fortune telling.

To me, “seeing ahead” in a shamanic way, “sensing, what lays around the corner, what is going to happen. This however is quite a different thing than the knowledge based weighing of risks versus rewards the 15th century Italians drawing this card had in mind.

In order to find out a little bit more about this I decide to ‘hit the books’ and hit goooogle.

Live and learn 🙂

I find it so very interesting, how each card of a historic deck becomes my guide into a world previously unknown to me.

In reflection I think, the prudence I encountered there is important in counseling and in therapy, guiding a client to make prudent decisions, they can ultimately stand behind and feel good about.

Prudence implies critical judgement, while shamanic seeing needs deep intuition as a springboard and the Ee’rens as Guides to show you, what is ahead.

In more modern every day use I know the word prudence more in context with being prudish, overly cautious, forgoing the soul’s yearning to follow its passions, risk a little to free yourself from constraint and just ”go for it”, in order to be all you can be.

Then of course there is the word prude – inhibited, especially sexually. A problem in itself -? or a virtue?

So, what does prudent Prudence see in her mirror?

The woman is looking into a hand held mirror. This lets me remember, what I wrote about the 4 of Cups, where the Minchiate shows a Monkey starring into such a mirror as well.

But here the theme has a little twist: In her left hand the woman holds on to the tail of a green Snake, who rears up and – from my vantage point- also is looking into the mirror. I looking at the card see the woman’s face reflected, but, by the way she holds the mirror I am quite sure she sees herself in it, as well as the Snake!

To me the Snake is a Spirit of transformation, trance and healing.

Green speaks of healing and personal growth… so a green Snake to me is symbolizing growth through shedding your old skin and growing through learning about healing wisdom.

But I have a sinking feeling, that this is quite far removed from the original meaning this card had in the 15th century in Italy. While in all the different per-christian belief systems the Snake was seen as associated with healing – the reason why we have 2 snakes on the Aesculapius Staff, the symbol of the healer and the medical profession. Sadly to the christians the Snake was a personification of evil, lies and deceit. I suspect they had to give such a powerful symbol as the Snake a bad name in order to undermine it and instill fear of it into the general population, so that they turn away from pagan beliefs and follow the church, give alms and tributes and so feed this giant institution.

It was shrewd – and prudent for them to do so.

For me however it is prudent to view these christian virtues with a lot of mistrust.

I have seen and survived too much………

Daily draws over the last few days

Deck: Minchiate Fiorentine   

I did not have time to post daily draws here every day, so here are the last 4 days in order:

Minchiate Fiorentine

10 of swords

9 Swords create a pattern on the card. The tenth one is a different one, a kind of dagger.

There are lots of smudges on this card – created to make users get that “old deck feeling”

I am looking at these smudges and wonder, if they are blood smudges, in need to be cleaned up.

The phone rings – at 9.00 am??? who will it be, Peter is running up the stairs…….


Someone we knew, who  had depression but did not want to admit it and get help, committed suicide.

His wife is now back at home cleaning up the mess of a shattered life, says, she is fine and refuses help.

I KNOW she is NOT “fine” how can she!!!!
But ….. what can I do…

Realize, that the smudges of this card are blood and RIGHT NOW are being washed away by her tears………

Minchiate Fiorentine:


a biiiiig Crab

suspended in mid air….
The card is Cancer. I hate that word. It is like falling into the icy cold gray water

That is, what is drawn in thin straight lines below that large brown crustacean.
I do not want to talk about cancer, the disease.
Not today…
Do NOT get me started….
I still feel “crabby” because of the sad news yesterday and all the details emerging today….
I also feel suspended in NO man’s land
No woman’s land
No land…
No creativity either. I should be making a beautiful pouch…. I do not have the right Energy. Not today…..
And the energy I do have should not go into someone’s Medicine piece or tool….

I have NOOOOOO clue about the signs of the Zodiac.
But gregory gave me a book: the Astrology Bible!- ?? Bible?? I am suspicious! – and – crabby!!
I will stick my crabby nose into the Astrology Bible and learn about this suspended crustacean.
Luckily you all know more about it than me, so I do not have to report back…
And YOU better not ask….
… says crabby little me….


Minchiate Fiorentine:

XXXI Pisces

Gone fishing!

Rainbow Trout anyone?

I got 2 of them here.

One facing up. The other down. Both are attached to each other by a string of some sort. A small white duck – or rather an seagull swims in the spot exactly between them in the blue water.

Somehow the card feels colorful and serene.

Yet again no clue about yet another Zodiac sign.

But Gregory’s bible will be eager to teach me!

Oh yes, according to that one my mother was a Pisces person. But the attributes stated in the book do not fit her at all.

How come??

What would she have said to the stuff written about having Pisces as a sign?

Minchiate Fiorentine:


The Rainbow-tailed Water Goat!!!

another anthropomorphic Spirit I feel has a rather cheery disposition, smiling froendly – almost a little high on swirrrly Caracol (Nautilus)- like Rainbow power in his tail. He is holding a yellow staff between his front hoofs and – that’s what I do not like – resting the staff on top of a small and miserable looking Turtle that tries to swim on the surface of the water…..

OK, Goat for us in Siberia means good fortune and wealth. Also male prowess, if it is about an male Animal. Rainbow is also fortuitous, the Rainbow leads to the Sky World Where the 9 beautiful Swan Maidens live. A Nautilus shell to me symbolizes the Spiral of life and the realm of the Otherworld, who’s voices speak to the initiated when you listen into the hollow of the shell.

Yes, yes, I know, all this is nonsense because it has nothing to do with what this card is supposed to mean – or meant to the People who engaged with

Minchiate cards in Renaissance Italy.

In order to find out, what I am Supposed to be thinking, be reminded of, when I see this card I have to go to the book and learn. That is at least what Mother Earth the miserable Turtle is thinking: “Get that damn stick of my back, will you!”

“Sorry, Mother Earth, I can not change the card, you will have to dive down below the surface of the choppy water, if you want to get away from this Rainbow Goat”

And reading books will ave to wait, because I am just going to use Rainbow Goat’s cheerful song and go clean up my messy house. I have a client coming later this afternoon. She had cancer a few years ago,but now is loosing weight again…….

I will drum and see, what I “see”.

Hopefully all Rainbows and cheerful news….

– – — – – – – – – – – — — – – – – – 20/20:- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Much much later, in the quiet hours of the late evening I find some time to read up about the Zodiac sign of Capricorn

the lady in my care today was NOT Capricorn, but reading all my – or better Gregorie’s Astrology  Bible had to say about Capricorn fitted her VERY well.

What does THAT say about my book?????

What does that say about stereotyping people according to zodiac signs?????

Aren’t we all unique?


Animal fabMinchiate Fiorentine:

5 of Swords

Struck in the head

This is a card that is had to look at for me:

4 swords suspended in mid air.

Below a horse resting on grass, but with the 5th sword stuck in his head.

This is the place, were the vet hammers in the ” death nail” when he needs to kill a horse. I know, I saw it, I grew up with horses and we raised racing horses at one time……

I am struck in the head today too – maybe because I just pulled this card. – probably….

It sure took away all my “Wind Horse – Hümorü Energy”

Struck, because I want to write, for these pages here, – but do not know, what

– or better, what first!

Toooo many thoughts sirrrrrseling through my head, fighting to come out first, turning my concentration to mush.

Above the swords – on the card, there is an anthropomorphic being sitting on a milk-stool reading a book

– or holding up his new ‘Kindle’ and reading – the New York times –  or my blog or yours – aside from the fact, that this here is Minchiate = AD1550-something and-  No Kindle!

–But books were new and putting ideas into people’s heads,

not only the elite, but also the people on milk stools – the you and me from way back then….

Struck them with notions, that some, mainly the church, thought were of the devil and would certainly kill you.

Why is this Being not fully human – or Animal? Is it a Bear? Is it a Cat?

In the times of Minchiate one could get away with expressing critical ideas and thoughts with Animal fables and caricatures of this kind. Everyone understood the meaning, but nobody could rightly be offended, because it depicted a critter of some sort and not a person.

Today I have to think long and hard to make out the intrinsic meanings.

Especially because this is not my culture and so I am working with “a deck missing quite a few cards”  😉


As a practicing shaman I am quite often dealing with questions of faith and with crisis of faith.

Faith and Fear are bed-fellows, you know.

They sit in client’s and patient’s  necks during the day-

Like: “I have Faith, therefore such and such will happen – or will NOT happen…..”


they REEEEEEALY come out at night

to play, to taunt and to fight!

This is the first time I am confronted with them – not intrinsic – through the imagery of a Tarot card, this time Faith is out in the open, her own card- and like always……..



….. waiting…….

Minchiate Fiorentine:

Card XVIII Faith

A card, that normally is not part of the Mayor Arcana

A middle aged female crowned by a yellow Dragon wing-like halo sits on a bench. She wears a blue (truth – at least for me 🙂 ) dress and has a red shawl draped over her hips and falling to the floor. I personally see red as passion, looking forward. She holds a spear in the left hand, ready to defend, what she beliefs in and with her right hand holds upright a yellow – -???? is it a lire or a book ??? or some form of board

She looks as if she is waiting – for something to happen – to her or for her. That IS the trouble with Faith:

In my shamanic practice I see it all the time. Passivity, passive expectancy towards deity. Especially from people raised in the christian religion. I pray and you do for me…..

OK, Faith is still better than fantasy

Fantasy involves a concept or belief people cling to in order to avoid reality

Faith however involves a concept or belief people cling to in order to face their reality.

Faith however relies on a power from the outside coming to the aid of the person. And then that implies dependency and an everlasting silent fear or uncertainly that that person, Being or deity will come through for them. And when thy waited long enough, or when they waited too long, this fear starts to eat them up from the inside. That is usually, when my phone rings and they are at the other end, looking for

A) me it intercede on their behalf, pray for them to “their” or another external entity, to please bring about what is needed.


B) try to find out “what they did”, where they digressed, committed a taboo, that made their external deity angry and unwilling to help. (Why is god punishing me with cancer?)

Then before me stretches the loooooooong road to mentor them towards the realization, that Spirit(deity) is NOT external, but is to be found within.

Within everyone and everything everywhere all the time.

And that this realization implies action:

The hands of the Goddess/ Creator…. …..are attached to your own wrists!

Do you have faith in yourself?

There are a thousand nasty things that shatter people’s faith.

A young lad, good student, at the beginning of his life – coming down with ALL….

A mother of 34 with 3 little ones dying of breast cancer…..

A soldier killed in the last days of the mission in Afghanistan…..

You all know many more of these scenarios.

Then people end up in a crisis of faith.

Then they need help.

Then I – with what I know and what I do can give them “a bigger boat” that will float them through the crisis.

Is this lady on this card waiting for bigger boat?

Are you?

Hung up

Minchiate Fiorentine:

Card XII

The Traitor or, as we later will get to know it: The Hanged Man

In the 15th and 16th century, Traitors were hanged upside down onto a Tree.

For a time, so they could be hazed by the passers by?

Pelted with stones, manure and rotten eggs, peed at and taunted….

Or sometimes they were to hang there until death – or the wrath of the public finished them. Often they were decked out with symbolic objects that told of the traitorous act committed. Here the Minchi- Traitor is holding up 2 bags: One yellow – probably coins. One blue, maybe a stand -in for truth? Or is that purely my personal interpretation of the color blue?

I had to deal with a traitor quite recently: The pagan community here is quite small and everyone knows everyone else – and often also their problems and vices. Sadly there is also at least one person, who on more than one occasion, has used this knowledge and – instead of keeping it to herself, could not resist to become the bearer of a juicy gossip story. 😦

I forgive her. She is lonely,at home, does not work, has limited contact, but a huuuuge circle of acquaintances. To “talk” and also to tattle tale puts her into the center of attention, into the limelight – for the shortest of moments. An addictive process for some people..

But this eventually hurts someone… and then again…..

Breaking trust, because whoever gossssips about others will also gosssssip about you…..

I had to make a decision: Simply stay away from that person.

This incidentally is in good keeping with the fundamental ethics of the Haudenosaunee Longhouse, of which I am a member: Do ignore and stay away from idle talk.

What this card is talking to me about today:

All the “gold of the moment” is not worth loosing the trust of a friend.

The Fox in the Hen House

Card of the day:

Minchiate Fiorentine :

5 of Swords

Oh, the Fox in the hen house!

5 blue swords with yellow ………………. and red…………………. are nicely arranged, suspended in mid air over a scene: 3 chickens – cockerels to be precise ,2 red and and one white are looking on as a rather simply drawn Fox – or Wolf is seen emerging out of a rather stylized cube-like edifice, that somehow reminds me of a guard house !!! that lets me think of another allegorical saying: It goes something like “When the Fox is guarding the hens” or “Look, who is guarding the fort!

From the RWS system we all know by heart, what the 5 of swords mean. But Minchiate is 400 years its senior , even older than the Marseille – I think- (and have to check -) So all these rules along which we navigate through Tarot do not apply. I actually like that.

For one I can read a card purely intuitively, but as an added bonus I can study and find out as much as I can about these early decks and their time and their correspondences.

To recognize allegories in the cards is fun! Some I know – like this one, Others I do not, because I did not grow up with a “white Western worldview” and so have not been exposed to many of its fables, folk songs, fairytale and legends. I am learning now, as an adult =via intellect and memory, but that is very different compared to growing up with it…..Many of he stories and fables of my childhood are quite different, from Siberia and then again, some of the western ones were mixed in with them…..

Back to the Fox in the hen house:

He is white!

Innocent looking = according to the ways of the people in 1550 Italy.

The 2 hens with the red wing feathers -?- are they sensing the danger?, the first on stretches out as if to get a closer look, or a whiff of the Foxes scent. Chickens are reported not to have good eyesight – I have never “been a Chicken” – in trance I mean, I do not know, if that is true.-

Somehow the color of the chickens reminds me of the French, that invaded Italy in1494. What did the players of the Minchiate game think, seeing this card. Especially during and after these times of peril

Did these chickens represent the armies of Charles VIII of France to them?

Ifffff, then the Borgia Pope – Alexander VI certainly was to them the Fox in his white papal robe…..

Well, I recognize, I am drifting here….

For today, this is another “watch out, be careful, not all is as it seems “card.

For me NOTHING is ever, as it seems.

It is, as it is.

Minchiate and me :)

Having been much encouraged by the Money Hungry Lettuce Lion

I am continuing my tentative explorations into the world of the Minchiat Fiorentine and its world and time.

A few facts first:

The Minchiate deck:.

Here we have an early sister to the Tarot:

But: Is the Minchiate a Tarot deck???
Or not??

It has 40 trumps – and then the Fool and then the minors and courts…
There are 2 Emperors and all the Zodiac signs as well as the Elements and the Virtues….

There is no Empress, High Priestess or Hierophant or Pope

It used to be a game… waaaay back in 1466
It was called minchiate = meaning “nonsense” or “trifle.”
The word minchione in Italian has meaning “fool,” and minchionare means “to laugh at” someone. The intended meaning may be “The Game of the Fool”
I am the fool, that is playing it this week. and I am learning a lot on the way.

I am doing my daily draws with this deck and will “let you in” into what I think about what I see and also, what I learn along the way.

My head is swirrrzeling

Meet the mayors:0 The Fool 14 The Devil 28 Capricorn
1 The Magician 15 The Tower 29 Sagittarius
2 The Grand Duke 16 Hope 30 Cancer
3 The Western Emperor 17 Prudence 31 Pisces
4 The Eastern Emperor 18 Faith 32 Aquarius
5  Love 19 Charity 33 Leo
6 Temperance 20 Fire 34 Taurus
7 Strength 21 Water 35 Gemini
8 Justice 22 Earth 36 The Star
9 The Wheel of Fortune 23 Air 37 The Moon
10 The Chariot 24 Libra 38 The Sun
11 Time 25 Virgo 39 The World
12 The Hanged Man 26 Scorpio 40 Fame
13 Death 27 Aries

Images of the deck can be found here:


How the Minchiate game was played:


OK, time to have a look at the Fox in the Hen House:

After 2 days of “miniciiating” and comparing it to my very limited experiences with other early decks, I am reminded of the fact, that I will have to throw out of my head EVERYTHING I know and consider “traditional Tarot”
This deck comes from BEFORE there was any traditional Tarot.

I think we have to see these early decks in the mirror of THEIR TIME!
There is a LOT of study involved, to learn the allegories the cards hint at –
Each card will need study……
Then it will open up a fascinating world for us.
I personally am in my earliest baby steps when it comes to explore the early decks. Learning about Renaissance Italy and its culture and its players.

The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion???

Tarot:Tarocco Minchiate Fiorentine

Card: Coins11 Knight/ Cavalier

The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion:


Don’t laugh!!

That is what I see in front of me this morning.

I know NOTHING about this deck – so far and this week I want to change that.

The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion may just be the ideal card to start with.

Who is he???

Today For us??

Waaaaay back when, at the time of the Minchiate?

An “anthropomorph” – that is what an ethnologist would call him. Part human, part Animal, part Plant – and holding up a shiny gold coin as if it was the sun – of his existence? He also could be part metal. All the stuff the world is made out of.. In my shamanic World view I see a rather sad and troubled Spirit. He is holding up his Sun, but his expression is sad, resigned. Is that his fate??

What does need to change, for him to smile again?

He is young. Is it difficult to be part of sooooo many different things but really neither?

He awakens the healer of sorrows in me. That is good, compassion is, what drives me, luuuuuures me, pushes me, guides me – in my life.

I also sometimes feel like him. ( Part human, part Animal, part Plant, part metal)

Part modern western educated middle-aged woman,….

Part child of the forests of Siberia, but transplanted to a world sooo similar to home, but yet soooo different……..

Part instinctual animal -Wolf Soul sniffing along the trail of my ancestry……

Part successful artist with a reputation for the “strange” and “tribal”………

Part reluctant healer, holding on to my drum for dear life, praying for Spirits like the The Money Hungry Lettuce Lion to appear and lead me to the roots of hidden ills hiding in the bushes of my clients Souls……..

OK! let’s go!

I am used to following Spirits like this one – out into the UNKNOWN and – hopefully returning with a little bit of knowledge……


I show the card to my husband Peter: “He has Wolf’s feet” he says.

I ask about Centaurs and mention our trusted Siberian Griffins – but a Lion and a Human???

What’s that called in myth??

We will find out.

Peter says: He looks like Atlas, carrying the world on his shoulders…”

The journey has begun…..



all about manticores: http://users.vianet.ca/grizelda/fur/mard.html