Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holiday Polyhedron #2: Tarot Pentagonal Icositetrahedron

Hot on the heels of the non-denominational rhombic dodecahedron, here's another Christmas bauble to knock your wooly stockings off!

Behold the pentagonal icositetrahedron (if you're keeping up with your Greek prefixes, this means it has 24 pentagonal faces; another Catalan solid), adorned with all 22 trumps from the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck, drawn from Rider-Waite pack, the most commonly used Tarot deck in Anglophone countries.

Start off by printing out the net via Paper Models of Polyhedra. I used red card, and paid no heed to the gratuitous misspelling.

Then cut that bugger up.

I'm using the scissors to score the edges before folding. Makes for cleaner creases, not that mine are terribly clean when you come right down to it.

See how it all fits together? This is going along so nicely.

Now, for the decoupage. I was kinda obsessed with the occult as a teenager, and though I've since become skeptical of Tarot readings (anyway, why are we us Generation X-ers so hung up with this European divination form? We're in Asia; we oughta be using yarrow sticks and the I Ching), I still love the iconography of the Tarot.

It's super-easy to swipe images of the full house off the Net. One jpg to rule them all.

As you can see, I've also added in images of the occultist Arthur Edward Waite and the illustrator Pamela Colman Smith to the 22 trumps to make a total of 24 faces.

Snip snip done! Click to see the above in higher res.

The paper clip and ribbon in the picture are what I use to create the loop for the bauble. Figure out where you're gonna put this before you do any d├ęcoupaging, so you know what's top and bottom in your figure.

Oh, and if at any point in your craftwork your cat comes to sit in your lap...

Do not push her off, but try to annoy her with the camera...

...moving in closer...

... and closer.

I'm fully aware of the apparent wrongness of introducing pagan and occult symbols into Christmas. Sure, I can console myself that the whole principle of Winter Solstice Festivals with erect evergreen trees and wise men following stars to indicate the newest avatar of the godhead is pretty damn pagan and occult in itself...

... but when I've got the Wheel of Fortune, the Day of Judgment, the Devil, the Hanged Man and Death on my bauble, maybe I'm actually more hardcore than is comfortable for me.

Never mind; we can turn that side inwards when we hang it. And there's an angel for Temperance. That's Christmassy.

One last look!

And there we go! All glued up and strung up: your personal Tarot Pentagonal Icositetrahedron, useful for either decoration or divination. (Kids! Freak out your parents by loading the die so it consistently lands on Death!)

Pictured, clockwise from top: illustrator Pamela Colman Smith, the Hierophant, the Emperor, the Empress, the Magician, and if I'm not mistaken a teensy bit of the Fool.

Also useful for annoying your familiar with. She actually knocked it about with her paw.

Avaunt, polyhedron! And a Very Merry Iconoclastic Christmas to you too!

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