Category Archives: Androidography

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part IV

Thank you for following my Lenormand Project so far. I had fun creating the cards, and also sharing the process with you all too. :)

Here then are the first 18 cards from the Moonshadow Lenormand:

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This will help with the meanings:

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The “Moonshadow Lenormand” is available now on my eBay and Etsy shops:

http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/261630354440

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

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The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part II

And so, following on from Part I of “The Making Of the Moonshadow Lenormand” yesterday, here is Part II.

For those unfamiliar with Lenormand cartomancy, it’s basically a set of 36 cards, with or without playing card inserts. Some readers use the playing card inserts for further depth in their readings, for example to add nuance or to signify people other than the querent. Others regard the pips as a leftover and unneccesary effect from when the first Lenormand decks were created using actual piquet playing cards. Some modern decks do not even have the playing card pips.

The 36 cards, regardless of which artist or publisher, always contain the same archetypes. There are modern, whimsical artist decks with Halloween or Christmas themes, where the imagery is dark and spooky, or bright and festive, and where substitutions might occur…for example in a Halloween themed Lenormand deck, the 1st card, which is the Rider, might instead be The Headless Horseman. And for a Christmas themed Lenormand deck, the Rider may well be Father Christmas on his reindeer sleigh.

Here are the 36 cards in any traditional Lenormand deck, and their corresponding Archetypes:

1 Rider
2 Clover
3 Ship
4 House
5 Tree
6 Clouds
7 Snake
8 Coffin
9 Bouquet
10 Scythe
11 Whip
12 Birds
13 Child
14 Fox
15 Bear
16 Stars
17 Stork
18 Dog
19 Tower
20 Garden
21 Mountain
22 Crossroads
23 Mice
24 Heart
25 Ring
26 Book
27 Letter
28 Man
29 Woman
30 Lily
31 Sun
32 Moon
33 Key
34 Fish
35 Anchor
36 Cross

Here’s an image showing Titania Hardie’s Fortune Cards (Lenormand style) and the 36 cards arranged in a Grand Tableau.

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When I first embarked on this Project or Journey, I knew I would encounter a few snags along the way. One of them was finding the archetypal images to go with the cards. Some of the more mundane images, e.g house, tree, clouds, birds etc were easy enough to source via my Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera i.e by taking actual photos. Others were not so easy…you just don’t come across foxes, bears or storks in your everyday meanderings. Or scythes and whips either. And I’d have to travel far to get a snapshot of a real maritime tallship or a mountain.

That’s where Google, Wikimedia and the beautiful term “Public Domain” come into play. I set up folders on my S4 camera roll to house archetypal images that I found online that were in the public domain. This means that I can then utilise these images in my work, without fear of stealing someone else’s copyright to them, as the original copyright owners have already voluntarily relinquished their rights to the image, i.e gifted it to the world, or the copyright has expired, 70 years after the death of the original artist/photographer/copyright holder. For example, I found that the copyright to Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit illustrations expired in January this year, 2014. Similarly, John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and others of the same era, expired years ago.

Anyhow, I managed to cobble together my 36 archetypal images, and so began the real work – using my S4 and Apps to create the imagery for each card.

Of which more in Part III. ;)

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The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part I

Okay, folks have been asking me how I created my first Lenormand cartomancy deck.

This Project had me using a technique I had never even considered before. And it’s such an old technique, by today’s standards. By this I mean the use of a Scanner.

I’d been intrigued by seeing pictures of the Palimpsest Lenormand, by Bertrand Saint Guillain.

Palimpsest : masc. noun, A palimpsest (/ˈpælɪmpsɛst/) is a manuscript page from a scroll or book from which the text has been scraped off and which can be used again. The word “palimpsest” comes through Latin palimpsēstus from Ancient Greek παλίμψηστος (palímpsestos, “scratched or scraped again”) originally compounded from πάλιν (palin, “again”) and ψάω (psao, “I scrape”) literally meaning “scraped clean and used again”.
Source: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palimpsest)

Here’s a photo of some of Bertrand’s cards:

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Here’s an explanation of how and why Bertrand created the Palimpsest Lenormand, taken from his site:

From realisation to the final picture
The drawing is made by hand on standard cards whose original picture has been partially or entirely covered (hence the name). The result is then photographed and slightly adjusted with an image manipulation program to harmonize the whole deck.

Instead of having an insert in the middle of the card, the standard card association is given by the corner indices.

I was strongly intrigued by the whole idea of using the Palimpsest method for my deck. I decided I would use it as a springboard for my own deck. Not copying Bertrand’s deck, but distilling the idea of Palimpsest and giving it my own creative twist.

I already had 2 decks of cheap playing cards, so I sacrificed one. And set to desecrating obliterating altering (hehehe) the central images of the cards with white gesso. I had no Tippex like Bertrand, but I had lots of Gesso to hand. Needs must.

I was coming from a mobile photographer’s point of view, so instead of following Bertrand’s technique of photographing the finished product, like he did, I knew I wanted a digital version I could then work on. So I simply gessoed the 36 cards I needed (reducing the playing cards deck from 52 to 36 by removing the cards numbered 2-5 from each suit) and then I scanned each card, one by one, on my trusty old workhorse, the Canon Pixma MX870 printer-scanner-copier-fax.

I then transferred the scans to my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which is essentially my studio. To do this, I first had to save the scans to a USB stick, then transfer them to my Mac, then from the Mac I used an App called Photo Transfer (funnily enough) to move them to the S4. Convoluted, but worth it.

Et voila! A Palimpsest deck of playing cards that can be used time and time again, as the template or background to my first Lenormand deck. Or any subsequent Lenormand deck, for that matter. I wasn’t too concerned about whether I’d completely covered the central images on each card or not, or whether I’d gessoed over parts of the side indices, as I like a bit of randomness. Besides, most of the central part of each card would be covered by digital imagery that I would superimpose on them.

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The gessoed cards
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Close-up of some of the gessoed cards.

Please bookmark this and check out Part II, coming up next, where I will explain how I then used my Palimpsest templates to create my Moonshadow Lenormand cards.

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All Done With Mirrors

I’m in the midst of not one but two concurrent projects creating Oracle cards and Lenormand cards. For my Oracle card shenanigans, read here. I haven’t blogged about Lenormand cards yet, or indeed about my Lenormand cards project, as I’m still learning about that divination system myself. Rest assured all will be revealed in due course.

So, my idea is to create a deck of Oracle cards, which I will then either 1) approach a publisher to license or 2) self-publish through a Print-on-Demand site. Still having a think about how to get a package together consisting of the deck of cards, a box and what those in the trade call the LWB or the “little white book”.

My Oracle Cards project has passed the 40th mark, out of a potential 52 cards, so it is well on the way.

As for my Lenormand Cards project, I’ve done 12 out of the 36 cards that make up a Lenormand deck. I’m taking my time with this project, as I’m learning about the symbols and meanings as I go along. Fascinating subject, which I will blog about soon enough.

All playing cards have a front and back, right? My digital mixed media photography art will go on the front of the cards, and now I need to create some designs for the back too. Here are some potential card back designs that I created using the App PicsArt, mainly playing with its “Distort” filter which offers image mirroring on X and Y axes, easily creating symmetrical designs.

PicsArt for Android

PicsArt for iOS

Enjoy! (All images copyright AlyZen Moonshadow)

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FREEBIE!

I have, after 16 months of blogging, finally cracked the ceiling and surpassed 200 followers. That’s not many, by most accounts, but these followers still follow me even after realising that I blog every single day. And despite knowing that my posts could be very random, from a funny anecdote, to Life philosophy, a poem, an expression of sadness, a rant, curated images from my Pinterest boards, inspirational quotes, the sharing of my digital imagery workflow, recipes, gardening etc. Maybe they don’t read every single entry that I post, but I appreciate the fact that they are still following me. So, I am very grateful to you all!

Besides, the number of followers you have isn’t necessarily an indication of how good a person you are. Look at Hitler, he had millions. Jesus Christ had twelve. Just sayin’ ;)!

Anyway, when I wrote this initially I was on the cusp of getting my 200th follower, and I thought it was time again to give out freebies, to help celebrate this milestone. Just one freebie this time, though. And not a virtual one, either.

However, I got my 200th follower before I finished writing this piece…so now the prize will instead be awarded to my 222nd follower. I like number repeats :).

This is what you will receive:

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This is one of my images from my ongoing Oracle Cards Project, created using my Samsung Galaxy S4 and Android Apps. It will be printed onto glossy photographic paper, A4 size, signed on the back and shipped out to you. I will contact the lucky winner via your blog or email. I will find a way! :)

(The lucky winner will get a mention in an update on this post).

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Workflow : INITIATE

Here is another card from my Oracle Cards project. The card is called “INITIATE”. I was inspired by a graphic I saw on Pinterest, which utilised curlicues, shape templates and borders.

For the background, I chose a photo of a piece of scrapbooking paper (oh, I have hundreds of those!).

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Which I then processed on my Samsung Galaxy S4 with the app PicsArt. I added a frame, some curlicues and a shaped template, from the Clipart section of PicsArt. Then I added the text “INITIATE”.

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My initial idea was to create an image that looked vintage and mysterious. I quite liked the above image already as it was, but I felt it was missing something.

So I loaded the image to Pixlr Express and toyed with a few filters and effects. Then I noticed a new set of effects that the developers post up for a limited time every now and then, like a teaser.

Of all the effects I tried on my image, this geometric one spoke to me the most.

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And there you go. :)

INITIATE : If you have a project or a plan but you have been procrastinating about starting it, now is the perfect time to put things into motion. Initiate action now, and things will fall into place. Don’t overthink it, trust your instincts and your heart will tell you if you’re going the right way.

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I’m seeing Raccoons…

Sometimes, strange things happen that make you sit up and pay attention. Mostly it’s patterns – once I noticed 3 women with casts on their right legs, all in the same town as I was cycling around. Another time there seemed an inordinate number of pregnant ladies around. Then there were the 4 men in the same t-shirt in various different locations. Sometimes it’s numbers – repetitions of 2, or sequences like 7171, or I wake up at 3:33am, 4:44am etc.

Today it was Raccoons.

1. First, a friend on Facebook posted up some photos of her visit to a Birds Of Prey centre in Ireland. One of the photos showed her petting a raccoon. I especially noticed it because raccoons are not native to Ireland, and besides, it was a Birds of Prey centre.

2. Another friend on Facebook posted up a video of a raccoon stealing the cats’ food. http://youtu.be/FTcjzaqL0pE

3. Yet another friend posted this up. “Raccoons are Awesome” http://youtu.be/jlYKZmTvzi0

4. Here’s another raccoon related post I saw just before bedtime last night.

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Too many raccoons to be a coincidence. So I looked up Raccoon in Steven D. Farmer’s “Power Animal Oracle Cards”. I wasn’t familiar with the deck, having only received it 3 days ago. So I wasn’t sure if there would be a Raccoon card in it.

But there was! And it said “You have all the RESOURCES you need”.

I’m taking this as a sign that my Oracle Cards and Lenormand Cards projects, which are running concurrently, are achievable. I’ve done enough research into the logistics and practicalities, and I’ve also created some of the cards already, on my smartphone.

Either that, or Facebook is testing out some new algorhithm on its users, and bombarding images of raccoons here and there, for people to pick up and share.

And now…just to seal the deal, I’m off to watch Resident Evil on DVD, not sure which one from the 4 movies, but I like them all. Oh hey, guess what…it revolves around wait for it…Raccoon City! 😄

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Workflow : CLARITY

I was just fooling around with some new filters the developers of Pixlr Express had put on the App. I had no set plans or ideas to create another Oracle Card image, but this one literally created itself. Divine inspiration? 😇

For the background, I chose a colourfield image I had created previously using the Android-only app “Impressionist Fingerpaint”.

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I simply ran this through the App Pixlr Express, and liked the effect that created this crystalline entity.

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Then, still in Pixlr Express, I added some lights to add depth to the image.

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Finally, I loaded the image to PicsArt, tweaked the brightness, contrast and saturation, then added the text CLARITY.

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CLARITY : By stilling the voices in your head that constantly clamour for your attention, and by deliberately calming your mind, you will be able to see clearly all your options and opportunities. Clarity will come to you like a crystalline vision bathed in a bright light. Let your intuition lead you.

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Workflow : ONENESS

Today I’ll be sharing my workflow or process of how I created one of my Oracle Cards, “Oneness”. This is an ongoing Project.

I used the Live Wallpaper App “Elements of Design” to randomly generate a dynamic wallpaper, which I took several screenshots of, as the app did its job. And then I chose at random one of the screenshots and loaded it into PicsArt.

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In PicsArt, I then cropped the top and bottom of the screenshot. I also flipped and rotated the image.

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I layered another image over this in PicsArt, that of a colourfield background. Then I played around with various blending modes and opacities until I found a result that I liked. I really like the smoky, smudged effect here.
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Now the image needs some motif or object. I searched through the vast catalogue of clipart that PicsArt has, trying out one thing after another (it’s obvious that I don’t have a Master Plan!) Until I found one that just clicked. This was a red bird from the Geometric clipart range in PicsArt.

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Three birds later…here I’ve altered the angles, direction and sizes of the bird clipart so they wouldn’t all look identical. I love how they seem to pick up the vibrant reds and orange colours of the background, and yet somehow retain their own presence.

I wanted the overall image to be more cohesive. I added some sprigs to the beaks of the birds. I wanted the viewer to be able to look at the image and intuitively guess what the meanings could be. Here’s a possible explanation:


This Card signifies the idea of Working together harmoniously towards a common goal and for the greater good. The Three Birds belong to the same Family and are united in their mission. In their beak each Bird carries a sprig of Holly Leaves with Holly Berries. These are sacred symbols and the Birds are bringing them to some far off destination to be used as building blocks for the future. The Birds are in commune with their surroundings, their colours blend in with Mother Nature’s glorious sunset. The number 3 signifies the Holy Trinity, a concept prevalent in humanity’s many religions. The Birds symbolise Oneness, they work together as One. Note there is only one set of concentric rings in the picture, at the bottom right corner. This reinforces the idea of Oneness.

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Next, I brought the image into the App Repix. And added a sprinkling of stars. I also tweaked the colours of the background, to create a little more depth to the overall image. I decided to tone down the vibrance a little, to make the image look more painterly and old, like a vintage Christmas card, perhaps.

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Then it was back to PicsArt to put in the text for “Oneness”.
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And finally, for my own reference, I added my digital signature. Very subtly, of course ;). And so here I present “ONENESS” by AlyZen Moonshadow:

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Stop and smell the flowers.

Time was, I used to rush around like a headless chicken, day in, day out. I had places to go, things to do, people to see, targets to meet. Rush, rush, rush.

Nowadays, it’s a completely different story. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m tired, I sleep. And in between those events I fill my day with whatever I happen to be doing. Which could be jumping on my bicycle and going for a long ride. Or staying at home writing this blog. Or at the table trying out new crafts. Uploading more artwork online for my Licensors. Creating more art. Updating my Society 6 shop (oops, I admit I really must get back to doing that!). Practising my tarot and oracle card readings. Playing the piano. Hugging my hens. Playing with my dogs. Shopping.

My point is, at some stage you just got to remember to stop and smell the flowers. Okay, the saying is about roses. But you know what I mean. Make the time to slow down from the mad everyday mayhem, take a deep breath, close your eyes. And just be. Enjoy being in the present. There’s no hurry. There’s nothing more than just yourself being mindful, being in the Now.

Today was one of my long bike rides…to get to Bunnings to buy replacement mouse traps and rat poison. Ummm…not very Zenlike in my thinking, you’re thinking. True. But when you lift up the roof of the Japanese Quails’ shaded area and find not 1 but 8 quivering mice staring back at you with their little paws held to their shocked faces, (all except for the one who’s holding onto a stolen quail’s egg), and when Mr Rat in the ceiling above your bedroom keeps you up at night with his rolling bowling games and tequila slamming parties, then something has to be done.

Anyway, moving swiftly on. Along my adventures today I took time to enjoy some flowers. One was a surprise Dutch Iris growing in a pot where “Stick” my Frangipani was. I thought last year’s bloom had died, but obviously the plant had other ideas. It even had fresh morning dew still on its petals when I took my photos of it. Such a tart! 😄

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While in Bunnings (my local mega hardware/garden centre), I saw some pretty cherry and almond blossoms.

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And then on my way home, I noticed this purple flowering bush outside a house, so I stopped to take some photos. If anyone knows what plant this is, please do let me know! It’s gorgeous. I also managed to photograph a few bees doing their thing. I love bees.

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(All images here are straight out of my Samsung Galaxy S4’s native camera, and unedited. Great mobile phone, the S4!)

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