John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Artists and Creators in conversations about their work
Post Reply
Joan Marie

John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by Joan Marie » 21 Sep 2017, 07:21

John Mangiapane, the artist behind the Everyman Tarot Deck is affectionately known to many of us on Eclectic Tarot Forum as tarotbear. John is a man of many diverse talents. I mean, really diverse. Besides his work designing Tarot decks, John has written several books on subjects ranging from quilting (there are quilts he’s made that are now hanging in museums!) Cross-stitch Artistry, Memoirs and of course Tarot. (see photos below)

These are just a few of the topics we discuss in the following interview.
He also shares some of his opinions on the “Men in Tights” aesthetic in Tarot card design.


Q. John, you’ve written 3 books on superstitions. I think most people honor a superstition or two and maybe don’t admit it or pretend it’s a joke but I think it’s about our need for small rituals in everyday life.
What is you’re feeling about why people have superstitions or the role they play in modern life?


A. The funny thing is that even in this modern world, everyone has superstitions - even ones they may not be aware of as being 'superstition'. When I wrote this trilogy - which didn't start out to be one - I decided to focus on the three main interests on my life: Tarot, Sewing, and Food. I knew there were lots of sewing superstitions - especially concerning quilting and wedding dresses - but some of the food superstitions are amazing - like eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Years- one for every month of the coming year. A bad-tasting grape means that month will have problems.

Q. I’ve heard the grape one. In Spain you can buy canned grapes for New Years Eve. Each can contains exactly 12 grapes.

We had a superstition in my family that it’s bad luck to get a knife as a gift, so whenever someone made a present of a knife, the receiver had to pay 1 penny to the giver so it was technically considered a purchase and not a gift. I saw this little ritual practiced several times when I was kid. I always found it so charming.
Is there a superstition that was part of your family lore that you are particularly fond of?


A. You pay them a penny so that their giving you the knife, axe, scissors, or whatever does not 'cut your friendship short' because you are perceived as having paid for it. My family had this annoying habit of tugging on your ears on your Saint's feast day and/or going into the ocean a set number of times - not sure why about those ones.

Q. Christmas seems a significant time of year for you, having written 4 books about it. Three of those are children’s books. The titles are adorable, "Cars With Trees on Top", "We Can't Move! It's Almost Christmas" and "Grandpa Builds a Christmas Tree" I also saw some amazing embroidered Christmas ornaments you made. How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?

A. The Temari (their real name) are Japanese objet d'art; technically they are NOT Christmas ornaments - but you can hang yours on a tree if you wish to! I did make some 'Christmas versions' this year for a Christmas shop. Once upon a time I did put up seven Christmas trees, but now I barely get around to putting up one, and going to dinner over a friend's house.

ImageImage

ImageImage
Hand embroidered Temari Balls. Just Amazing John!

Q Let’s get to your Tarot work. You have designed a Tarot deck with the male Tarot reader in mind. You have explained very clearly in your videos and on your web site about the need you saw for a deck like The Everyman Tarot. I want to ask about using the deck.
Could you maybe choose a card or a couple of cards and describe for us how they read differently than the Rider-Waite-Smith deck on which they are based?


A. First I need to explain that when I created The Everyman Tarot, I did NOT remove the Queens, HP, Justice, or the Empress. All decks need to have a balance. So I left these important female cards. When it came to the Suites, however, I made a single male character to inhabit the entire suit.

I feel The Everyman Tarot Deck speaks to men differently 1) by how the cards look - no men in tights with floppy hats with feathers - do you expect a male Querent to take their message seriously? I decided one of things 'wrong' about Tarot in the modern world is the RWS idea that 'Medieval looks old - therefore it will give everyone the idea that "old = mysterious" and old gives it some sense of '"importance" - that just comes off as false to me. I felt it needed to show modern men (cargo shorts, button-down shirts) in a more modern setting; 2) I hope that putting a single male character in each suit shows both diversity of the men, and better defines the 'everyman' idea, something men in tights does not!

One card I entirely redrew was the Six of Swords. In its re-interpretation, the card "Suggests that you may give up too easily, that you sit there idly by while others cover your ass for things not accomplished. You tend to leave all the details until the last second, and then are unprepared for the overwhelming burden they create. This card also says that sometimes rather than take some constructive criticism and work to improve - that you merely take your bat & ball and go home."
Image

Another card to get a major facelift was the Nine of Pentacles - to skip the usual 'you feel fenced in by your undeserved wealth' and dwell on some of the more positive - though usually overlooked - aspects of this card. " We have reached a stage in our development where we worked to have things to enjoy and now have the time or ability to do so. You have come this far and attained this end because you have endured and overcame obstacles placed in your path. Anything that strengthens your faith or belief is spiritual. Now you are being given the opportunity to try and make the connections."
Image

I have created both upright and reversed meanings, and also something called 'The Best (or Worst) Case Scenario for each cards. I also created a interpretation for the Fives cards called 'Too Much, Too Little, Too Late, and Too Soon".


Q. How could a reader, who isn’t a man, use this deck?

A. Oh - the deck is male-centric, but it is not anti-female. One shop sells my men's book - to a lot of women! It is still considered an RWS clone, so anyone familiar with RWS imagery should have no problem with it. The Men's book however, is not your typical Tarot book.

Why would a woman want to use my deck? My hope is that by offering a male querent something that they might better relate to (something a Tarot of rainbows and unicorns will not) that perhaps the male querent might walk away with a better understanding of the images and his issues. Does a white knight on a white horse bearing posies really mean anything to a 21st Century man?

Image

Q. I guess that depends on the man, but I see your point. And isn’t that one reason we collect decks, in order to have the right one for a particular situation?
I really like your idea of creating a single character to represent each suit. There’s “Cargo-shorts and T-Shirt guy” “Plaid shirt guy” etc. Is there anything about those characters you’d like to share with us? Are they based on real people?


A. Yes - the Pentacles man in the t-shirt & cargo shorts - who also appears on some of the Major Arcana - is ME! I had a lot of fun with that! Mr. Bear - the plaid flannel shirt guy (Wands) didn't start out to be someone, but after a while he started looking extraordinarily like my friend Dave - I so used him throughout the Wands (and also gave him a free copy of the deck).


Q. You’ve written a companion book for the Everyman Deck. Additionally, you’ve written several other Tarot books. Could you tell us a little about those?

A. The Men's Tarot book - 'Every Man's Tarot; Tarot and the Male Experience' is a set of 78 essays about the cards, not a recipe book of meanings. I had to take everything I know about Tarot and throw it out the door and come back in through a window to get away from those RWS Victorian stereotypes with White Knights bringing flower love tokens -- not in a Man's world! I wrote it for both straight and LGBTQ people, trying to have as much inclusive language as I could create.

'It's All in the Cards' - my original, best selling book is available in both a desk reference and workbook format. It follows more traditional lines of thinking about card interpretation ... which led to creating the Men's book!

The Bear Tarot Book is essentially the Men's book tailored to a segment of the gay male population known as 'the Bears'.

The Tarot superstition book 'Never Read on a Sunday and Other Tarot Tales' is a compilation of all sorts of superstitions spoken by both Readers & Querents alike {" You should not buy a Tarot deck - it has to be given to you"}.


Q. Could you provide us some links here for where we can see more of your work and where it can be purchased?

A. My decks can be purchased directly from The Game Crafter - found under 'Tarot & Oracles. My books are available through Amazon and Kindle; you can contact them directly, or go through my website https://jmanauthor.wordpress.com/


John, I want to thank you so much for doing this interview for us here at Eclectic Tarot Forum. It’s so interesting to learn more about the people behind the things we collect.

I wasn’t able to get to all John books, decks and other interests. If any of you have any questions for John about his work, I’m sure he’d be happy to answer them here.

Now have a look at some of his other work!

John designed these 6 extra cards to work with his concept of Life Numbers

Image

John Created an amazingly complex piece of cross-stitch work. He also made this video about how he did it.
https://youtu.be/ApYUI3p1eCA

This Quilt is in a museum
Image

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
raymojay
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 Sep 2017, 14:08

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by raymojay » 21 Sep 2017, 14:18

John, It irritates me that you have SOO much talent.
hahaha

RJR

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
CharlotteK
Posts: 987
Joined: 05 Jul 2017, 16:59

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by CharlotteK » 21 Sep 2017, 14:28

Wow. Such prodigious creativity! The cross stitch piece is incredible. I am intrigued by the Everyman tarot too.

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
tarotbear
Posts: 103
Joined: 16 Sep 2017, 15:10
Location: New England
Contact:

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by tarotbear » 21 Sep 2017, 18:35

CharlotteKAT wrote:
21 Sep 2017, 14:28
Wow. Such prodigious creativity! The cross stitch piece is incredible. I am intrigued by the Everyman tarot too.
After you watch the YouTube video on Seurat - the next link that may pop up is me in a 12-minute monologue, playing Zero Mostel in 'Zero Hour' - you can watch me emote! Link:
There are three ways of looking at things; theirs, yours, and my Tarot cards.

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
Jo Ann
Founder
Posts: 1085
Joined: 04 Jul 2017, 23:20

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by Jo Ann » 23 Sep 2017, 16:22

beautiful work john. have you seen redhearts mandala yarn. Its my by lion and mandala is walmart brand and thats the only place you can find it, cuz Benat sells it too but they are on back order. Caron has it too.


Image Image
Image Image Image
________________________________________________________
Know Your Stuff -My Card Lists -My Think Tank Blog
Rooster Mama :had: here, my sidekick Yarr :yarr: his spirit guide :trans16: and me wee beastie :beasty: Familier!

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
Jo Ann
Founder
Posts: 1085
Joined: 04 Jul 2017, 23:20

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by Jo Ann » 23 Sep 2017, 16:24

I always called that painting: Summer in the Park with George probably because of the play i saw with Benadette Peters
________________________________________________________
Know Your Stuff -My Card Lists -My Think Tank Blog
Rooster Mama :had: here, my sidekick Yarr :yarr: his spirit guide :trans16: and me wee beastie :beasty: Familier!

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
Mee-Wah
Posts: 17
Joined: 09 Sep 2017, 09:16

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by Mee-Wah » 23 Sep 2017, 17:04

CharlotteKAT wrote:
21 Sep 2017, 14:28
Wow. Such prodigious creativity! The cross stitch piece is incredible. I am intrigued by the Everyman tarot too.
The Everyman Tarot is a viable deck in its own right. Although its intent is male-oriented, it is not devoid of female figures or imagery; so it could be used by anyone. Some of the cards--i.e., The Hermit, Death, The Tower, The Moon--are not of the usual imagery associated with the RWS style, but generally are based on the RWS tradition. I have used it over a protracted period of time for daily draws and readings successfully.

Note: The foregoing is based on the original or First Edition. If memory serves, some cosmetic changes and other details were amended in a subsequent edition, but the basic imagery remained the same.

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

User avatar
Mee-Wah
Posts: 17
Joined: 09 Sep 2017, 09:16

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by Mee-Wah » 23 Sep 2017, 17:18

The book, "Every Man's Tarot: Tarot and the Male Experience" actually could also be used by anyone because it is written from a more inclusive view. I find it very insightful; and definitely interesting to experience a male point of view, too.

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

Grizabella
Posts: 126
Joined: 03 Feb 2018, 19:26
Location: Tacoma Washington

Re: John Mangiapane - A Tarotbear for All Seasons

Post by Grizabella » 05 Feb 2018, 02:22

I'm so glad to have found you here, John! I missed you when you were gone from AT and I was quite shocked. I've always enjoyed your input and loved seeing all the expressions of your creativity in so many endeavors. I look forward to being able to enjoy having you around again. :icon_e_smile:

Link:
BBcode:
HTML:
Hide post links
Show post links

Post Reply

Return to “The Eclectic Interviews”