#Tarot Riddle: What Deck Am I?

Riddle me this:

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I was first published 31 years ago. I've remained a perennial favorite even though I may not bloom as brightly as some other decks. Some say that the Byzantine empire had a hand in my creation. You may not know it, but my artist was chosen because of a business card. It is said that I am a deck for anyone but you can go deep into my Qabalah meanings if you dare.

Do you know who I am?

Five New Decks

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U.S. Games is happy to announce the release of three new Tarot decks plus two new oracle decks for your holiday happiness. 

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The Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin, DVM, is an unusual deck in that the author and artist is also a feline-focused veterinarian. The card meanings and numbering follow Rider-Waite interpretations, with reptiles, fish, birds, and mice replacing the usual suit symbols. Even the newcomer to tarot will be able to relate to these delightful images of cats and learn valuable lessons from them.

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Then we have Jennifer Galasso's Crystal Visions Tarot. It combines her love of crystal balls with a nod to a famous rock-and-roll singer. The luscious card imagery also illustrates the elemental aspects of each suit in order to aid the novice in forming associations with the cards.

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Joie de Vivre Tarot is the latest from Paulina Cassidy. It features her trademark fantastical creatures and eye for detail. Those who take a journey through this wondrous realm will rediscover their own child-like spirit.

And don't miss our latest oracle card decks!

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The Woodland Wisdom Oracle deck by Rev. Frances Munro features artwork by the talented Fantasy artist Peter Pracownik. Elves and fairies share their Woodland Wisdom to help you move your life forward in positive ways.

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Last but certainly not least is the Rae Hepburn's Tea Leaf Fortune Cards. Rae Hepburn, an accomplished tea leaf reader, teaches you to unlock the ancient secrets of reading tea leaves. Follow a few simple guidelines, and you can immediately read your fortune.

Here are some recent reviews and interviews. If you have reviewed any of these, please send that link to Stella at US Games. We would love to feature that here and on our Facebook page and our Twitter feed.

So which ones do you want? Leave a comment. We want to hear from  you.

An Interview with Rae Hepburn (by Zanna)

This is An Interview with Rae Hepburn (by Zanna) which was originally posted at Tarot Notes – Major and Minor. I was first introduced to Rae Hepburn's Tea Leaf Fortune Cards in 2000, when I purchased the set published by Journey Editions, an imprint of Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd. In the very first reading I did with the cards, my husband (who is totally not into this sort of thing) pointed to one of the cards I had drawn and said, "That's talking about me, right there." Needless to say, I was impressed!

In May 2010, I wrote a post about this deck here at Tarot Notes. I did a sample reading in that post and noted that the deck was out of print. While looking for additional information on the deck and its creators, I came upon a customer discussion at Amazon.com. There, I learned from Rae Hepburn that a new edition of the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards would be published by U.S. Games this fall. To read my review of this new set, click HERE.

I am thrilled that the cards can now find a whole new audience, and delighted that Rae Hepburn agreed to be interviewed for Tarot Notes: Major and Minor. RaehepburnTarot Notes

(TN): Hello, Rae, and welcome to Tarot Notes: Major and Minor! I'm sure our readers would love to know a little bit about you. Could you tell us where you're from and how you became interested in divination?

Rae Hepburn (RH): I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in the north of England, just below Scotland. Newcastle is one of the oldest cities in England and is built on the site of an old Roman fort that was built to keep the Scots from invading Britain.

It's difficult to say when I first became interested in divination as it is something I have done all my life. Everyone in my family could read tea leaves, although some read them a lot better than others. One aunt was an absolute whiz at reading symbols and everyone used to love having their fortunes told by her. She helped me a great deal in recognizing symbols and how they connected. In our family it was common to turn over the dregs of your morning cup of tea into your saucer, spin the cup three times and then read what kind of a day you were going to have. This can be emulated very easily by picking out a single Tea Leaf Fortune Card each day to use as a guide.

TN: Do you currently read tea leaves for yourself or others?

RH: Absolutely. Although I have to admit that I use the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards much more than I use tea leaves. They are just so much easier to use. Reading actual tea leaves can be a bit messy at times.

TN: What prompted you to create a set of cards related to reading tea leaves?

RH: All of my friends loved having their tea leaves read and wanted to be able to read for themselves, but none of them ever had enough time to master the art of reading tea leaves. It can be quite difficult. They would recognize a few symbols but not enough to give an accurate reading. Also, tea leaf reading is very subjective. If someone has no knowledge of the symbols, then an unscrupulous seer can basically tell them whatever he or she wants. I wanted to create a set of cards using tea leaf symbols and their meanings that would make it easy for everyone to accurately read his or her fortune without the need of an expensive seer.

TN: Do these cards represent every symbol used in tea leaf readings? If not, how did you choose which symbols to depict on the cards?

RH: No. There are over five hundred symbols and that's not counting letters of the alphabet and numerical symbols. To make a deck of that many cards would be unwieldy and unfeasible. Many tea leaf symbols have the same meaning e.g. "buffalo," "bison" and "lbul" all mean "Do not back down from opposition. Show strength and fortitude." The only difference between the three is the size and strength of the opposition. In this case, I chose "bull" to represent all three symbols as it is the more common animal. I did this will all symbols that had similar meanings. I also chose the symbols that most frequently occurred in my tea leaf readings. Some symbols are so obscure, I felt it unnecessary to include them. I omitted all numerical symbols as well as letters of the alphabet which often depict a name or place connected with the reading. I did include the letter "V" because it also means "Victory in some endeavor." By culling and doing test after test readings with the cards, I was finally able to arrive at the 182 symbol cards which I feel give the most accurate readings.

TN: What do the Astral House cards represent in this set? How does one use them in connection with the Tea Leaf cards?

RH: At the beginning of a tea leaf reading, the querist can ask a question of the cup. This is called the Astral question as the answer is thought to be in the Astral. The seer will then read the symbols as answering the question the querist asked. It would be impossible to make up cards for all the questions that could be asked. Instead, I used the six subjects people want to know about most when they are having a reading; love, marriage, success, wealth, happiness and career. It is very easy, though, to duplicate the Astral question. Just search through the cards until you find the one that most resembles your question, then place it at the top of the Astral House Pyramid.

TN: Do you have a favorite memory or story about a specific reading that you did using the Tea Leaf Cards?

RH: There are a few that stand out in my mind, but I will tell you about the one where I felt the most helpful and the one where I felt absolutely dreadful. Let me set the scene. This was when I was living in Los Angeles and I used to tell fortunes once a month from 7:00-9:00 pm at Brentanos Book Store in the Beverly Shopping Center to promote the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards. Each querist had the choice of an Astral House or a Coming Week reading (the Coming Year took up too much time) and I used to figure 10 minutes for each reading. (You would be amazed at how slowly some people can pick cards.) I would arrive at the store and see the line of people waiting and ask the manager to tell anyone past the twelfth person that I probably wouldn't be able to read for them as I would only have time to read for twelve. Once in line, people don't like to leave and I always felt dreadful about asking them to leave.

The most helpful reading: It was a young man in his twenties and he was having an Astral House reading on his career. His central card was "DOOR – opportunities are waiting for you." I told him that this meant there were opportunities waiting for him but that they wouldn't present themselves without him taking the first step. I could see I wasn't getting through to him, so I tried again. "Think of it as a computer," I said, "if you don't access a program, you will never know what it can do." His face absolutely lit up. "Computer programming. That's what my mom wants me to do and, now, here it is in my fortune." His "DOOR" card was next to the "OWL – good advice from a wise person." I pointed to the "OWL" card and said, "That's your mother, she's giving you good advice." He came back to see me a few months later and told me he was taking computer programming and thanked me for setting him on the right path. I told him it wasn't me, I just read the cards he picked, but it was very gratifying all the same.

The worst reading: Again it was an Astral House reading, this time on Success. A Korean couple in their late forties were sitting opposite me and the man had chosen the cards. As each card was turned over, it was worse than the one before. It was one of the worst fortunes I have ever seen. The meaning are written on the cards so there was very little I could do to put a positive spin on it other than saying that this represented short term energy and things could be very different in four months. Suddenly, the wife let out a shriek and started cursing out her husband in a mixture of Korean and English in front of all the people still waiting to have their fortunes told and all the shoppers in the store. It seemed that the husband had made an investment against his wife's advice and it was turning out to be a dreadful mistake. The store manager had to come over and ask them to leave.

TN: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

RH: Yes. May all their fortunes be good. TN: Thank you so much, Rae!

(NOTE: Images added by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

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Liz’s Review of Tea Leaf Fortune Cards

Oct 17, 2011

Deck Review- Tea Leaf Fortune Cards

The art of Tea Leaf Reading is referred to as Tasseomancy. Tea has been around for some 5,000 years so it may be that people were reading tea leaves as far back as that. The reader picks up the cup and reads the patterns formed by the tea leaves. Usually the best tea leaf reading will come from readers who also have natural artistic skills but since most of us are not trained as such, there is a wonderful new deck that takes the guess work out of  tea leaf reading.

I'd like to introduce The Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn and published By US Games. Rae Hepburn has studied tea leaf reading for more than thirty years and with these fabulous cards we can reap the benefits of readings without all the hassle of learning volumes of information.

The Tea Leaf Fortune Cards are 200 lovely round cards  (12 Month of the year cards, 6 Astral House cards and 186 Tea Leaf cards) with amazingly appealing artwork that makes reading with them loads of fun, I love the round shape and I've found that shuffling them is actually quite easy. There are a couple different ways that they can be shuffled, by placing them all on a flat surface and mixing them up with your hands or, as I have found, stacking the wonderful little spheres in several small stacks and shuffling as you might do with a regular card deck, making sure to shuffle all the stacks evenly.

This deck and book set also comes with a gorgeous golden bag that you can use to store your cards in and even shake them as a method of shuffling as well. The accompanying 94 page instruction book is a wonderful resource with the history of Tasseomancy, the development of the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards, traditional reading methods, several spreads that you can use with these cards and an alphabetical listing of all 200 cards with an interpretation of each.

I had a really great time shuffling and reading with these cards and I'm simply amazed at just how accurately they read! This is a great deck for anyone who wishes to dip their toes into tea leaf reading and this form of geomancy. This is one deck that would be a wonderful addition to anyone's collection!

 

Integrating Card Meanings in a Tarot Reading (via Mary K. Greer)

I asked a group of tarot readers on Facebook to give their top advice for how to combine and integrate card meanings in a spread. It’s one of the things that beginners find most bewildering, but we can all learn more about. Forty-nine people responded (see list of contributors at the end). I combined, edited and grouped the advice to form sets of approaches, moving roughly from the most intuitive to the most analytical. Share this material freely but please include the list of contributors and a link back to this post.

There are no rules to interpretation.

Continue reading

#Tarot Dilemna: Help Me Out 2

It's a Tarot dilemna! We've lost the LWB (Little White Book) so we don't know what the cards mean. Can you help us out by telling us what each card says to you? And what you would think they meant if you got them in a reading about your own job hunt?

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Images from Cat's Eye Tarot by Debra M. Givin published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc 2011.

Moving Beyond the Little White Book

Imagine yourself in my worn out, yet still fabulous shoes: You’re in the midst of a Tarot reading that is insightful, exciting, revelatory and the querent is eating it all up with a glittery spoon. You feel like this:

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Suddenly, you’re stuck! You’ve pulled a card whose meaning you just can’t remember and you open the Little White Book tucked into the deck’s box. Not only does the published meaning not relate to the meaning, it is so off-base that the LWB pretty much points and laughs at you, jumps out of your hand and crawls back into the box. The delicious stream of consciousness is smashed like a cockroach on the bathroom floor. You feel like this:

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If this happens, it’s time to move past the Little White Book.

The LWB can be helpful. Perhaps you’ve got a radical new deck portraying familiar cards in an unconventional way. The LWB can help you orientate yourself with the perspective of the deck’s artist, which can provide a better understanding and enhance your readings. The LWB is light, easy to carry, and always there for you when you get really stuck. But despite its best intentions, the LWB can inhibit more than help. In fact, when I published a Tarot deck last year, I encouraged people to ignore the LWB and develop their own meanings for the cards.

The Little White Book should be treated as a guide to the deck, but not the final authority on the cards’ meanings. Most Little White Books only provide two or three lines of interpretation for a single card, when a single card could easily have a hundred or more interpretations. When the intuitive voice of the Tarot is coming through, reaching for that LWB can stop an authentic, insightful reading.

So, how does a reader get out from under the crutch of the Little White Book? How do we become our own LWB?

The key is in the images.

Tarot reading is historically an intuitive craft. It important for Tarot folk to remember that the Tarot came into its role as a divinatory device in 1400-1500s—a time when many people were illiterate and therefore LWBs were not part of the equation. Readings were most likely either intuitive or based on systems developed by families or teacher-to-student, or some sort of combination. It is the pictures on the cards that are the keys to tap into our own subconscious and this intuitive ability. When we let the pictures do the talking, there is no limit to what the Tarot can tell us. Let yourself answer the following questions when looking at a Tarot card: If the card contains characters, what are the characters doing? Where are they going? What is the result going to be? If the card does not contain characters, what emotions or feelings do the colors inspire? Does the arrangement of the objects remind you of anything in particular? Look at the card and pretend you’re taking an inkblot test: What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

I allow for any potential inspiration based on the card’s picture to help illustrate the reading. I pay attention to song lyrics it might inspire, quote from movies, a sudden thought of a person, e.g., “For some reason, this 2 of Cups is reminding me of my sister today…are you worried about your baby sister?” One thing to do is to make a practice deck: photocopy a Tarot deck and cut the numbers and titles off each card. Start working with the images themselves, not what you are striving to remember from the LWB’s depiction. For example, take the following card from the Medieval Scapini deck:

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I’ve been working with the Medieval Scapini for seven years and have long since lost its Little White Book. Therefore, I have no idea what Luigi Scapini meant the card to mean (which happens to be the 7 of Wands). But whenever I pull that card, I focus on the guy yelling at a bunch of people who have no interest in what he’s saying. Perhaps the querent is going unheard? Maybe the querent is doing right to ignore nagging influences in their life? It would depend on the question. Again, I’ve been working with this deck for seven years and am only now, as I write this blog post, seeing the little tennis racket in the guy’s hand. If getting this in a reading, I might take the card to mean that physical exercise is important to the situation. (It’s probably a message to me to turn off the laptop and get off the couch…) But the next time I pull this card in a reading, I hope to forget everything I’ve ever concocted about it and let the card reveal something new through its picture.

The energies of the moment and the person you’re reading for (or yourself, if doing a self-reading) are the prime motivators for the reading. These energies will trigger your mind to see particulars in the cards’ images. It is in these particular images that the true message will show.

Allow yourself to forget everything you previously thought you knew about the card and read the pictures in the way a child might tell a story from a picture book. When you get a new Tarot deck, read the Little White Book but ultimately, be your own Little White Book. Draw upon your interpretations. But be willing to rewrite yourself each time you draw a card.

About the author:
Courtney Weber is a Priestess, writer, Tarot Advisor, performer and activist originally from Portland, OR now residing in New York City. Since beginning the study of Tarot at the age of 15, Courtney has gained a national clientele base and is a highly popular Tarot consultant at corporate, community and underground arts events in the Northeast Region and teaches Tarot workshops on both coasts. She is the producer and designer of “Tarot of the Boroughs,” a contemporary, Urban Tarot deck set in New York City with photography by George Courtney. Follow her on Twitter @cocotarot, her blog at agirlcalledwoo.blogspot.com or see Tarot of the Boroughs at www.tarotoftheboroughs.com. She is available for readings via email, Skype and phone: Courtney@tarotoftheboroughs.com.

#Tarot Dilemna: Help Me Out

 It's a Tarot dilemna! We've lost the LWB (Little White Book) so we don't know what the cards mean. Can you help us out by telling us what each card says to you? And what you would think they meant if you got them in a reading about an upcoming vacation?

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Today we are featuring the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy. This is just one of the upcoming releases from U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  If you click on the card, you will get a gorgeous, large image to peruse.