Ironwing Tarot Book

December 2009 is the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Ironwing Tarot.  Although the full 78-card deck/book set sold out 18 months ago, I still get occasional requests for copies of the deck and/or book.  Since I don’t plan to reprint the deck, I’ve decided to make the book available for free download from my website.   

Download the Ironwing Tarot Book HERE.  (.pdf file, 6.7 mb)


The 112-page book is intended to print on half-sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper, so you’ll need to cut the printed sheets in half and assemble them.  (A note to collectors:  The version that I sold with the deck had a black spiral binding but otherwise looked no different from what you’d print on a home computer.)  The book includes background material about iron geology, blacksmithing, and shamanism.  There are detailed descriptions and a tiny image for each card, several spreads and creative exercises, a few poems, and some other odds and ends.  All of it is intended to make the deck more interesting and usable.  The entire book is black and white, including the images for the Major Arcana, so you don’t need a color printer.

Needless to say, the Ironwing Tarot deck and book are protected by copyright.  Feel free to download the book for your personal use, but not for publication or resale.

I have NO copies of the 78-card deck available for sale.  Decks can sometimes be found for trade on various Tarot forums and occasionally on Ebay.  I am not currently a member of any online Tarot communities, and have stepped away from that world to work on other things (including the Black Cat Deck, which is non-Tarot).

To everyone who has purchased a deck and/or offered their comments about it, either online or privately:  Thank you very much for your support, interest, and contribution.  It was a great project and I have enjoyed sharing it with everyone.


We walked in the Tucson All Souls Procession last night.  We took pictures this year – here’s my set, and from any of these you can link to Flickr’s ALL SOULS PROCESSION group and see more photos from other people.

A big crowd this year, and more spectators than usual.  This event is 20 years old and began as a small procession (so obscure that I never heard of it during the two years I lived in Tucson in the early 90s).   I’ve only attended for the past four years, and during that time it has become a major, heavily-publicized event.  It’s actually TWO events – the procession and the finale.  The procession is open to anyone and is a fascinating showcase for creativity of all kinds – costumes and masks, sculpture, carettas (mobile altars, floats or art), ritual objects, music, and dance.  As was probably inevitable, it appears to be gradually losing its original focus (a memorial procession to honor dead friends, family, and ancestors) and becoming a more generalized public costume party, but there is still enough of the “community deathwalk” aspect to be very powerful.  It starts slowly and often rather solemn.  But when the mob makes the “Underworld passage” through the Fourth Avenue underpass, it conjures the spirit of the Oldest River with a cacophony of howls, ululations, thundering drums, and clanging bells…and all the invisible things riding the night air are drawn through in a gust of wind, scattering on the other side as the crowd becomes quieter and more relaxed, and people move a little faster and more freely. 

The Urn heads the procession, but the burning of the Urn no longer serves any ritual purpose, since the Finale has evolved into a theatrical spectacle of its own that includes firespinners, acrobats, and musicians.  The logistics of this event make for a very long wait in the crowd after the end of the procession.  I have seen it once, but I am not fond of theatrical performance for its own sake, so I prefer to just enjoy the procession and go home.

Jaguar Costume

I recently bought a vintage lapidary machine on Craigslist.  It’s for cutting cabochons, and includes a trim saw, grinding wheels, sanding drum, and buffing wheel.  I mostly want it for making beads and cutting preforms for gem carving. 

Wyoming Archean Banded Iron Cabochons

Wyoming Archean Banded Iron

Double-sided drilled and polished pendant, 31x21x5mm.

Matched pair of triangular cabochons, 20x16x4mm.

This is Early Archean banded iron from the Shirley Basin in southeastern Wyoming.  At 3.7 billion years old, it is one of the oldest rocks on earth.  This rare material is similar in composition to Australian “tiger iron” but is not as colorful and is almost never cut as a gem.   The polished stones were cut from two pebbles that I collected ten years ago.   The gray metallic stripes are mostly hematite with minor black magnetite layers.  The brown layers are composed of tiny interlocking  sheaves of crocidolite crystals, an iron-rich metamorphic silicate that forms at relatively high temperature and pressure. 

The larger stone will adorn a medicine bag.  I will probably set the triangular pair as earrings.