Ode by Stuart R. Kaplan

Emperor Balbi Small I've been reading the Encyclopedia of Tarot Volume 1 by U.S. Games Systems founder Stuart R. Kaplan, and, quite frankly, I am surprised at how absorbing, fascinating and engaging the materal is (this from one who dislikes history, I admit!). One of the gems in ths book is the poem Ode by Mr. Kaplan:

Ode

In this ode to ancient tarot cards

I touch with care new friendships painted
on pasteboard faces drawn
during man’s obscure dawn.

The single-ended carnival figures
clad in full-length costumes conceal
the profound knowledge of antiquity.

Each gamester skillfully plays
with the arcane figures at his command.
The fanciful trickster separates
the fool from his money while
the wicked fortune-teller
with astonishing accuracy lays bare
the great prophecies of life.

As one card falls another
dares to take its place
much like the evolution of life itself.

The relentless processional
out of the past
unmasks each symbol of the present
and portends the limits which exist in
the future.

Ency 200 Despite the sly tricksters,
the gamesters,
the crafty gamblers,
the fortune-tellers,
none can answer the simplest of arcane questions,
whether the Major and Minor Arcana
were created together,
or took form each born of separate genius.

One yearns to discover
the ingenious mind that started it all.

What chance to find
face to face the wit who wrote
life is but a game of cards.

Instead we resign ourselves to accept
the allegorical pictures which we do not
fully understand.

Beautiful cardboard face
I love you as an old friend
despite your unyielding guard
of the symbols shrouded
in the mysterious tarot pack
that beguile and defy us all.

Stuart R. Kaplan

The ISBN for The Encylopedia of Tarot Volume 1 is 0-913866-11-3, available at your favorite bookstore or retailer. If you don't see it, just ask.

The Emperor card at top is a stylized rendition of Stuart R. Kaplan himself, as painted by Domenico Balbi in the Balbi Tarot pack (an interesting tidbit found in Volume 1, along with a full-page grayscale replica of the card).

Janet, Social Media Maven for U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Review Round-Up of USGS Products #1

The response to the Calling All Reviewers post has been fabulous!

Nuevecitas 027 U.S. Games Systems appreciate all the reviewers out there who dedicate their time, energy, bandwidth and other resources to supporting and reviewing decks, books and box sets.

Our first reviewer is Mariana Aguilar of La casa del Tarot blog. Recently, Mariana reviewed Patrick Valenza’s Deviant Moon Tarot. Click here to read her review (in Spanish).

Thank you, Mariana!

Our second reviewer is well known to many deck enthusiasts for her engaging posts and reviews featuring the Tarot.

Tarot dame small Kiki, better known as the Tarot Dame, will be celebrating three years in the blogosphere. Happy anniversary, Tarot Dame!

Below are several of her thorough, entertaining reviews of U.S. Games Systems decks:

 

 

Archeon Tarot

Brotherhood of Light Tarot

Deviant Moon Tarot

Fenestra Tarot

Gummy Bear Tarot

Halloween Tarot (in tin)

Sacred Art Tarot

Sun and Moon Tarot

Tell-Me Tarot

Morgan's Tarot

Thank you, Tarot Dame!

Remember, if you've reviewed a U.S. Games Systems deck, book or box set, drop me a line to be included in the next Review Round- Up.

— Janet

And the Winner of the Ask the Queens Advice Card Deck Is…

Fool Celebrate Deborah Outland!

Congratulations, Deborah!

Please email me at JanetUSGS@atlanticbb.net with your snail mail address so U.S. Games Systems HQ can get the Ask the Queens Advice Card Deckby Kris Waldherr right out to you!

Everyone, thanks so much for your contributions to the Tarot Archetypes The Fool post. Your insights help make the Fool Stop Tarot Blog worth reading, so please keep those comments coming!

Look for a new giveaway to come verrrrry soon….

— Janet

Scoping a New Deck? Which Card Do You Look at First?

Moon JDV Tarot On Twitter, I was chatting with Liz Christy about Paulina Cassidy's delightful Joie de Vivre Tarot.

Liz mentioned how much she loved The Moon card from this upcoming deck (see image at left), and that The Moon was the first card she looked for when checking out a Tarot deck.

I shared the cards I usually look for (The Moon, too, as well as The Hermit, Death, The Tower, 5 of Pentacles and the 7 of Cups) and she wondered if others also had the habit of looking for certain Tarot cards when examining an unfamliar deck.

Figuring this would make a great blog topic, I ran with the idea.

So I now ask you, dear reader: when you're scoping out a Tarot deck, what card/s do you look at first? Any particular reasons for this choice?

Have you ever bought a deck based solely on those cards, only to be disappointed when you got them into your hands and looked through the entire deck?

I'd love to hear what cards you tend to seek out for first-blush impressions!

— Janet

The Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy will be published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. You can also purchase prints of this card and others at Paulina's site here.

Calling All Reviewers!

Woman Book U.S. Games Systems, Inc. greatly appreciates all those reviewers out there who take the time to review our decks and books.

If you're a reviewer who has reviewed a U.S. Games Systems deck, book or deck/book set, please email me at JanetUSGS@atlanticbb.net to let me know. Please be sure to include the URL for each review!

I'll be making Reviews Round-ups posts highlighting and linking to YOUR reviews, so even if your reviews are older, feel free to send them along, too.

— Janet 

Tarot Cards Animated in Disney Movie Princess and the Frog

Princess Frog 200 My family and I saw The Princess and the Frog in the theater last year, we were utterly delighted with the stunning animation, vibrant colors, hilarious dialogue, memorable characters and toe-tappin' jazz music.

Apparently, we weren't the only ones, because this movie ended up nominated for three Academy Awards.

Arguably the coolest thing was the mention and use of Tarot! Admittedly, it was the villain–the Shadowman–who used Tarot cards for nefarious ends, but it was neat to not only see actual cards used, but used correctly!

Disney must have done their homework.

One of the cards in the reading showed an X at the top (Roman numeral 10) with a man carrying a burdensome load of sticks (obvious reference to the 10 of Wands, although no suit name was used). Disney brought the the 3-card Past-Present-Future reading to life by "animating" each card. For example, for the 10 of Wands, the man carrying the load comes to life and becomes henpecked by a woman and further burdened by future challenges.

Shadowman Yes, I realize it's not great that Tarot has once again been relegated to use by charlatans like the Dr. Facilie aka Shadowman, but Mama Odie, the affable, slightly-crazy voodoo lady in the bayou, helps show that magic and intention can also be wielded by noble people with good intentions to serve others.

Also, it was great to see a heroine of color, as well as a strong, talented, confident female who works hard for her dreams and doesn't need someone else to save her. If I could sum up The Princess and the Frog, it would be that hard work + dreaming + flexibility + remembering what's important often = what you need, as opposed to what you want, and also can help redefine what it means to be "successful".

Click here to see the trailer for The Princess and the Frog. (By the way, Dr. Facilier has been added to Villains Mix and Mingle show from Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2010 in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! You can see a video of it here.)

— Janet

Tarot Archetypes The Fool (and a Giveaway!)

T Det Fool 3 I'm pleased to introduce another feature at the Fool Stop Tarot Blog, and I think this one will prove as informative as it is fun: Tarot Archetypes!

Beginning with The Fool, Trump 0, and working through the entire Tarot, I invite you to brainstorm with me–posting all the permutations of a particular card's archetype. (Although some people feel that only Trumps 0-21 portray archetypes, I feel that the entire 78 cards of the Tarot depict familiar universal patterns.)

What is an Archetype? An Archetype is a template or original pattern from which copies are made. Psychologist Carl Jung, author Joseph Campbell, storyteller/author Clarissa Pinkola Estes, psychologist Jean Shinonda-Bolen and others are among those that have brought the concept of Archetypes into our consciousness.

T Det Fool 4 To break it down in practical, every day terms, Archetypes are patterns that are universally recognized. We see Archetypes in myths, fairy tales, literature, and movies. Sometimes, an Archetype plays out right before our very eyes, as in the case of the Twin Towers (The Tower card) or across the big screen (Wall Street, the King of Pentacles card) or in sacred texts (Jesus and Odin, the Hanged Man card).

The Tarot is replete with Archetypes, which no doubt contributes to its lasting intrigue and appeal.

Some Archetypes we find in the Tarot include Soldier, Teacher, Mother, Father, Death, Queen, Thief, Magician, Rebel, Wise Woman, Justice, Resurrection, Lovers, Hermit, Clown, Priest, Bully, Rescuer, Hopeless Romantic, Amazon/Wonder Woman and many others.

In fact, as you can see, some Archetypes share names with Tarot cards!

So our first Tarot Archetype is The Fool. What TV roles, book characters, archetypal patterns, songs, historical figures/events, news items and so on reflect The Fool, in your opinion?

T Det Fool 2 Here are a few of my archetypal associations for The Fool:

General Archetypes: Clown; Jester; Puer Eternis; Wise Fool; Divine Child; Simpleton; Madman; Wanderer

Pop Culture: Pee Wee Herman; Dory in Finding Nemo; Grizzly Man (documentary); Peter Pan; Mork (from Mork and Mindy); Roscoe P. Coltrane (Dukes of Hazzard); What a Wonderful World (song by Louis Armstrong); Jump (song by Van Halen)

So, what are your associations for The Fool? Try not to repeat another's comments if you can! I think this could be an illuminating and informative exercise for us all!

EDIT: Here's the ongoing list of Fool Archetypes and roles; keep 'em coming, everyone, and I'll post yours!

Gilligan (TV show Gilligan's Island) – Kris
Stan Laurel (Laurel and Hardy) – Kris
Susan (from Desperately Seeking Susan TV show) – Prince Lenormand
Yes Man (Movie: Jim Carrey's character) – Dichiaroluna
Alfred E. Newman (Mad Magazine) – Elarbolcelta1967
SpongeBob Squarepants – mdtarot
Teenagers -  Audra
Robin William's character in the movie Toys – Deborah Outland
Marley the dog in the movie Marley and Me – Joanne
Toddlers – Silverlotus
Cameron from Modern Family (TV Show) – Greendaygal540
Fry from Futurama (TV show) – Stephanie
Uncle Fester from The Addams Family (TV show) – Stephanie
Forrest Gump (movie characer) – C.M. Padget
Lucille Ball – Debbie Herbert
Foster Brooks – Debbie Herbert
Baby Bear from the Berenstein Bears – Debbie Herbert

Oh, and did I tell you this will be a giveaway post?

Yep, it's that time again, dear readers. Woohoo!

Every comment you make to this particular post (Tarot Archetypes The Fool) equals an entry to win–drumroll–Kris Waldherr's new Ask the Queens Advice Card Deck! The only caveat is that your posts need to be thoughtful (not merely an "I agree" post)–but you may post as many associations as you'd like when they pop into your head.

The giveaway contest ends next Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 11 PM EST. Every comment made before then will be entered into the random drawing to win the Ask the Queens Advice Card Deck. But even if the deadline passes, feel free to keep posting your archetypal associations for The Fool!

Good luck!

Top card from the Whimsical Tarot ISBN 978-1-57281-253-6

Middle card from the Halloween Tarot ISBN 0-88079-965-X

Bottom card from the Vanessa Tarot ISBN 1-57281-574-4

Janet, Social Media Maven for U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Tarot Mystery #4

Mag 120 It's time for another Tarot Mystery!

Don your deerstalker, grab your magnifying glass, release the bloodhounds–and let the guessing begin!

Below, please note the 8 of Pentacles and 6 of Pentacles from the Tell-Me Tarot deck. What is their Tarot Mystery?

Here's a clue: Tarot Mystery #4 happens to be a "thing".

Tell Me 8 P Tell Me 6 P 

Based on the cards above (the order is important!), can you guess what it is?

Have fun!

The ISBN for the Tell-Me Tarot is 978-1-57281-631-2 and available at your favorite online or brick-and-mortar retailer. If you don't see it, just ask!

— Janet

Madonna Re-Invention Tour Features Tarot Cards

Reinvention Back in 2007, I discovered this live video background used during Madonna's 2004 Re-Invention Tour. Get a load of how many Rider-Waite images are put in motion for the re-mix version of the song Hollywood! I love this song anyway, but now I love it even more because of this awesome video…

How many cards can YOU spot in this awesome moving montage?

— Janet

Lisa Hunt Off the Canvas

Lisa on Bike We've all read interviews with Tarot authors, artists and deck creators.

While fascinating, I thought it would be more interesting to catch one of our Tarot artists and/or authors off guard–you know, like jumping out from behind a virtual tree on Facebook Chat and throwing free association words at them.

That sort of thing.

Fortunately for me, our beloved Lisa Hunt was game (but she did want to get a glass of wine in her first!). Ha!

But not wanting her to escape my playful, interrogatory web, I just started posting words for her to associate with. My words are in black, hers in blue:

 

Art  Soul
 
Color Endless
 
Family Love
 
Politics Hate
 
Environment Sad
 
Ghosts Consuming
 
Tarot Connections
 
Bikes New
 
Food Ritual
 
Reading Always
 
Bells Whistles
 
Coffee Good Morning
 
Facebook Addicting
 
U.S. Games Systems Optimism

Now, you may be wondering why Lisa said "new" to bikes, but if you're one of her Facebook Friends, you know that both she and her daughter just got new bikes! In fact, that's our Lisa here–on her new bike!

As if my nosy ambush wasn't enough, I went "behind" Lisa's back to ask her husband, Kort, some equally nosy questions. I even had the gall to ask if he could share a never-before-seen painting from Lisa's upcoming Ghosts and Spirits Tarot! And he did. Below. Towards the bottom. (But first, check out this fabulous time-lapse video of Lisa painting Battlefield Ghosts! Pay special attention for clay helpers and a bony hand painting while she works…)

Kort, what surprises you the most about Lisa's art process?

What surprises me most is Lisa's ability to make her creative process look effortless when I know how much goes into each and every creation. I can't imagine being constantly creative with such technical fluency as I see in her.

What do you admire most about Lisa?

Her openness to exploring new techniques and her drive to keep pushing her art forward even with all the other things going on in her life.

What strengths does Lisa bring to your life that complements you well?

She keeps me on my toes and doesn't let me slack off into complacency. She urges me to be the best I can be in all that I do and is so very supportive.

What are your shared values/loves?

Our love of art and creative expression is first and foremost, along with dedication to family. Our shared interest in learning, fantasy, sci-fi and so many other things are the multicolored sprinkles on the icing of the cake.

What are your thoughts on Tarot? Do you use the cards in any way? Do you and Lisa talk in "Tarot code" or anything?

I see tarot both as a form expression from the view of the tarot creator, and as a tool for self discovery for the practitioner. While I am intimately familiar with it from working with Lisa's art, I am not really a tarot practitioner. I have some decks and do dabble now and again, but mainly I appreciate it for the art. I see it more as a psychological exercise rather than any sort of supernatural tool. Lisa makes rather frequent tarot references in conversation and at times pulls a card or two for me in the morning or before bed at night. Her artistic and tarot influences are an integral part of the household. Even the kids are into tarot having created their own cards.

Ankou At this point in Lisa's life, what card do you feel most captures her and/or her art process? What card do YOU most identify with right now?

Lisa is so prolific that I don't feel any one image can encompass the entirety of her art process.  But one that really resonates with me currently is her Ankou (King of Pentacles) piece from the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot.

Lisa is working on the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot right now for U.S. Games. Have you two experienced any ghostly apparitions since she's began work on this project?

Indeed we have. We had a working vacation up in Savannah, GA and Tybee Island and while we were sitting on the porch of our B&B, we both saw a swirling mist emanate from the house and dissipate into the air. We checked the location and could find no reason for the phenomenon. We also had an encounter or two while touring the city of Savannah.

Lastly, what do most people NOT know about Lisa that you'd like to share or wish other people knew about her?

Lisa is an intensely private person who was initially reluctant to embrace the cyber world and the potential intrusions she felt it would place upon her. However, she is a deeply loyal person who loves people and is very appreciative of all of the people who support her art and vision. There's an intensity about Lisa that influences everything she does. Her paintings and work with tarot are a reflection of that concentrated energy. Whether it's her work, being a wife & mother, playing piano, cooking gourmet, running etc; Lisa approaches everything and every moment with a passionate mindset. I affectionately call her my "brilliant Lis", though there is a humbleness about her as well.

Kort, thank you so much for your time (and images!) And thank you, Lisa, for being such a good sport. You are such an inspiration!

The gorgeous painting above is Ankou. So pretty…and ghostly!

If you'd like to keep tabs on Lisa's progress on the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, you can join her Facebook fan page at this link or follower her Dynamic Dreamer, Art Weaver blog here. You can also visit Lisa at LisaHuntArt.com, where she has information on all her decks, as well as prints, specials, musings, news and more. 

— Janet