When I get the 3 of Swords done, then I’ll do the 4 of Swords’s blog.
When I get the 3 of Swords done, then I’ll do the 4 of Swords’s blog.
I know its been a while since I’ve posted anything up, but I have been fixing up the website a bit and normal day job stuff. Also my phone broke. But the good news is I got a new one and this one can support Instagram. So follow me on Instagram to see random sketches from my sketchbook. Currently, I’m stuck in Jury Duty and its mainly drawings of people sitting still.
Three weeks ago, a 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol, Philippines, the island my mother and much of my family is from. Over the weekend, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit much of the Philippines. I’ve heard that a Tropical Depression is forming and another typhoon may hit the Philippines.
For the fans of my work, I ask you to donate whatever money you can for the relief efforts.
A lot of people are now homeless and clean water will be hard to get. Usually in post-disaster situations, its easy for people to get sick. Especially for the children and elderly.
Although the Red Cross is a reputable and experienced organization when it comes to disasters, the ABS/CBN Foundation is part of a news organization and have better information of where help needs to go first. If you have friends or family or just have an affinity to other countries that are in Typhoon Haiyan’s path, then please donate money to them instead or, if you don’t mind your kids getting a $20 toy rather than a $200 toy this Christmas, give money to as many countries as you can.
Poker has been around for about 200 years, but it has only managed to capture the cultural zeitgeist in the past ten years or so. Nowadays, you can find amateur poker players almost anywhere in the world. Playing with them has been made even easier thanks to the Internet. There’s nothing quite like winning while playing at a real live poker table, though.
If you want to play poker in a live setting, you need cards. Playing cards have always been a pretty ubiquitous household item but the poker boom has made them even more in demand over the last ten years or so. The boom has also made the market more open to custom and special edition card decks. The US Playing Card Company, for example, has rolled out more than a few beautifully designed decks over the last few years. Even partypoker, the World Poker Tour’s major sponsor, has its own branded deck.
The cards available today aren’t slouches, either. In fact, advances in technology have allowed designers to make even more beautiful decks. Here are a few:
Infinity Playing Cards by Ellusionist – This deck was made with illusionists in mind. Apparently, the USPCC even thought the design was impossible to accomplish at first. It includes full custom court cards, Ace, Pips, and face cards. The deck comes in a tuck box.
Limited Edition Playing Cards by Hydro74 – This custom deck is a mish-mash of geek icons highlighting the work of Hydro74. The Star Wars and Transformers franchises are represented alongside some beautifully detailed artwork of skulls, masks, and animals. Heck, there’s even a robot lion from Voltron in the set. Hydro74 also made five custom poker chips to go along with the deck.
Custom Cards by
Some time ago, I was making my own Tarot cards according to my own personal archetypes. I never finished it. But a lot of Star Wars themes came up. I thought I’d return to the project as a little hobby and just let it be a Star Wars deck. I also thought it might be interesting to incorporate ideas from Jediism, so I did a bit of research on this movement. (I use the term “movement” because to some it is a philosophy, a religion, the equivalent to a masonic lodge, or a well-played prank.) For some, it is a fun excuse to meditate and practice fencing. For others it seems a bit too serious.
But what I’m most attracted to is how Jediism can be a doorway to the works of Joseph Campbell or Carl Jung, chivalry and comparative religion. It may be a way for people to reconnect with their family’s religion, find one’s own path and to find respect and beauty in other people’s traditions. A discipline outside of school or church to learn about the many traditions that influenced the Star Wars movie, and at the same time, keep a humbling sense of humor.
C’mon, if you call yourself a Jedi you’re either crazy or have a great sense of humor. And if you’re getting all defensive and angry because people are laughing at you because you’re a Jedi, then you’re probably an awful Jedi. But it is still a noble thing to try to live your life according to such a great and noble order. Even if that order was fictional.
According to Wookiepedia this is one of the versions of the Jedi Code:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
(There is no chaos, there is harmony.)*
There is no death, there is the Force.
—The Jedi Code (Based on the meditations of Odan-Urr)
*This line is sometimes removed.
I chose this version because it sounds much more Zen than the other. It sounds like something Yoda would say and something a Jedi would need to meditate on.– “What do you mean there are no emotions? I’m feeling emotions all the time!”
I can’t help but put my two cents into this since my work seems to be a mixture of pop-culture and religion.
To me, this sounds a lot like the Buddhist view of the mind. That the mind is naturally peaceful and our thoughts and emotions are the disturbance, like momentary ripples on a pond’s surface. In a lot of Buddhist texts, you’ll find terms like, “there is no self”. Part of it is that its making arguments against the competing philosophies of the time, like Hinduism. But another part of it is it’s like saying the orange peel isn’t the important thing, its the entire orange. So saying that there “is no emotion” would be more like saying emotion is the illusion. Emotion is the surface of peace. Understand your emotions, don’t give importance to your emotions. And the natural path to that is peace.
Of course, if this makes you emotional and frustrated, then you’re doing it wrong.
I’m reminded of the Taoist sage or Zen monk, or better yet, the archetypal Fool. There is a sort of wisdom to foolishness. For example, when children learn a new language, they just absorb everything. They absorb grammar and tenses and structure without question. When an adult learns a new language they will ask why its spelled this way and not that way and why adjectives have to come before a noun and not after and etc, etc. The lack of knowledge is the first step to knowledge. Ignorance is part of knowledge, not its opposite.
This is similar to the first line. But “emotion” seems to be the “what” . “Passion” is more like the “how” or the “why”. Perhaps this is similar to Wu-Wei. Instead of having the passion and drive and motive to do something, just let that go and do it. Passion will dissolve into the automatic groove or the action itself.
I have personally found something like this going on when I draw or work . But when you really get into it, really get focused, something melts away. And you’re just in the flow of things. Although there is a lot going on, at the heart of it is serenity.
A wise man once said, “Chaos is order according to God.” Everyday, someone somewhere is dying in a horrible way. The weather forecast doesn’t match with the weather. Something random happens. But there might be something bigger going on here. How many people have you heard of who were devastated because they got dumped or cheated on and now they’re happily married with kids? Or how many rich people were rock-bottom poor? How many organizations dedicated to peace and helping people come out of war? I do think there is a plan. You might not like it. It might not benefit you. But there is a plan. Everything is as it should be, right now, at this moment, if you like it or not.
We’ve all seen the Star Wars movies where Alec Guinness dies and now he’s a glowing blue ghost, guiding Luke on his path. In many traditions, death isn’t the end. I’m not going to get too into the concept of the After-Life. In the Christian-Judeo-Islamic system, you retain your ego. In Buddhism, your ego wasn’t really you. But in both cases, the most important part of you moves on.
Death is part of the Force. Death is an illusion of the Force. And the Force is the essence and intelligence of life.
Okay, maybe you don’t believe in an After-Life. Let’s say that there were no sequels and New Hope was the only Star Wars movie ever. Pretend we never saw Alec Guiness’s ghost. Obi Wan was a voice in the back of Luke’s head. He was part of Luke’s superego.
Do you have a dead relative who was close to you? Do you think, “I did this because if Gampa was alive today, I would make him so proud”? In this way, the dead are not dead and they have a life, they aren’t “a-live”, but have “a life” in us. And when we die, we will have a life in others, and so on and so on. There is no death. The love and memory of others is the Force.
Doesn’t the Force create inter-connectedness according to Yoda?
Life creates it, makes it grow. It’s energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere! Yes, even between this land and that ship!
So beyond the illusion of Death, the illusion of separation, you will find the Force.
* * * * *
Basically, I don’t see Jediism as denying or negating emotion, ignorance, passion, chaos or death. Actually its doing the opposite. It is accepting these things, understanding these things in order to find peace, knowledge, serenity, harmony and the divine. (You can call it “The Force” if you want to.) And it takes a lot of discipline to do this. A lot of… force.
So, as someone who regards comparative religion as a hobby and lifestyle, as someone who has felt spiritually comfortable in several places of worship (San Diego Comic Con is included), as someone who has hung out with clergyman of different faiths (usually alcohol is involved) and was elated when I got the Imperial Shuttle for Christmas– that’s my two cents about the Jedi Code.
…and if I did join a Jedi Order, my Jedi name would be Quezon Parsec.
–May the Force Be With You
This is me at Jack Kirby’s grave. Me and a friend decided to visit one day. We each sipped gin from a flask. I poured a bit on the ground to share. And we said our “thank you”s like the rock star that he is.
If I knew what was his favorite drink was, I would’ve brought him some… and a cigar.
Thank you Jack. Thank you for all your creations and your artwork and how you’ve managed to influence the 21st century.
You are one of my great Creative Saints, and I hope to do good work for my King.
sam-sa-ra [səmˈsɑːrə] (noun):
1. Hinduism the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth
2. Buddhism the transmigration or rebirth of a person
[Sanskrit, literally: a passing through, from sam altogether + sarati it runs]
I feel sorry for Superman. He exists in a universe where he is constantly rewritten, reborn and revamped. First he’s an orphan found by a motorist and raised in an orphanage. Then he has adopted parents, only to be revamped and retold and then adapted for a major motion picture. First he leaps then he flies. His adopted father has a heart attack and all of Kal El’s super powers couldn’t save him.
Of course Superman isn’t aware of any of this. He just lives on without aging. Without growth or evolving. He falls in love with Lois Lane, never to admit that Clark Kent and Superman are the same people. Sure, he’ll eventually marry her, but the universe will just start over again and he will just find himself in another bizzare love triangle between him, Lois Lane and himself.
He will never die. We won’t let him. He will never escape this kingdom, his imprisoned Malkuth. Here he will always be a god. Here he will always have the same problems. He can’t change. We won’t let him.
For years, fans have complained about his red underwear (something a circus strongman would wear back in the days when Superman was created) and when the artists, writers, and editors decided to get rid of the underwear, fans got upset.
Once, the powers that be and the rulers of his destiny tried to kill him off and replace him. They put him in a crazy energy costume, had him co-star with Kristin Kreuk, never to put on the cape until the very last episode! But fans just wanted the old Superman.
Imagine how annoyed Superman would be if he knew that he was living in an endless circle of profit and entertainment? Immortal, sure, but his archons and stewards would make him relive his most traumatic experiences again and again. — Yes, they are the most character defining experiences — but how many times would he have to go to Pa Kent’s funeral? How many times would he have to come to age and struggle with his alien identity? How many times will he have to run into Kyptonite? Or save the world? How many times will his writers run out of ideas?
He’s stuck in Samsara because its just so damned entertaining for us. I guess that’s his karma.
Just look at other Superheroes. How long has Cyclops been in his 30′s? How many times does he have to watch Jean Grey die and then come back? And then die, and then come back? I’m sure by now, he’s just ACTING sad over the death(s) of his wife. (I mean, Its not cheating if she’s dead.)
Or how about something a bit more controversial like Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern. He has his adventures, disappears for a while, comes back old, and he has a few kids. Then the DC Universe starts up all over again from scratch and now he’s gay!
Now, as long as its written well, there’s nothing wrong with another gay superhero. But you got to think: When this new version of Alan Scott: Green Lantern was a kid, trying to figure out his sexual identity– I wouldn’t be surprised if that fifteen-year-old Alan Scott wished he were straight. Would it be comforting for him to know that in another time and another universe, he WAS straight? …with kids? Would this distress the Green Lantern? I mean, how would you feel if your sexual identity was ultimately in the hands of DC comics editor and chief, Dan DiDio?
Superman can’t change. If there was ever an ending to the Superman mythos, if Superman was put to rest like King Arthur, if everyone wondered ‘Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow’, his universe would just start up all over again.
He will never find liberation because there will always be a new re-telling of the Superman story.
He will never find peace because story always means conflict.
He will neither find inner peace nor peace for the World that he protects.
Here’s a piece I did after the Batman Shooting. Uploaded July 24, 2012.
TESTING TESTING TESTING
I’m redesigning the website. So it might be a bit messy for a while.
You can still visit the old home page, though.
–Elan’ Rodger Trinidad
(three names makes me sound a little like a serial killer)