Tarot Blog Hop: The Comfort Queen

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Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop for August 2014. USGames is delighted to be the lead blogger this time. Our wrangler for this round is Joanna Ash of SunGoddess Tarot. She’s given us this theme:

“How Do You Channel Your Inner Queen Of Pentacles?”

Our answer is, “Creativity.”

We take a lot of pride in our artists and authors here at US Games. We also must give a nod to all those others who help bring a deck to life. From our art department who help design the decks to those who write the blurbs for our marketing, creativity is one of the most important pieces of our day-to-day life.

Without the creative juices flowing on both sides, we wouldn’t have the amazing products that we do. So here’s to the talented Queen of Pentacles in us all.

Here are a few of our lovely Queen of Pentacles from some of our decks. We can’t share them all. With as many decks as we have, you’d never be able to hop to the next blog. And we do want you to have time to enjoy all twenty-one blog posts. Remember if you find a link that isn’t working, go to the master list.

ArtofLife_13Pentacles005

Art of Life Tarot

Chinese_13Pentacles002

Chinese Tarot

CrystalVisions_13Pentacles003

Crystal Visions

Halloween_13Pentacles007

Halloween

HansonRoberts_13Pentacles004

Hanson-Roberts

RadiantRWS_13Pentacles001

Radiant Rider Waite Smith

TotOP_13Pentacles006

Tarot of the Old Path

Chrysalis_13Pentacles

Chrysalis

Fenestra_13Pentacles008

Fenestra

Which is your favorite? One commenter will win their choice of one of these Tarot decks (as long as we have it in stock!) to help you celebrate the creativity of the Tarot.

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Celebrating COVR Winner: Magical Times Empowerment Cards

As we reported on our post Monday July 20, 2014, USGames was thrilled to be the recipient of three awards. Today we are celebrating with Jody Bergsma’s Magical Times Empowerment Cards.

If you haven’t seen this one yet, here’s some info about it. This exquisite deck presents 44 over-sized cards with inspirational images and affirmations. An illustrated 28-page booklet, which provides gentle, yet powerful messages, id included. Let this deck and the insightful writings help you channel the magic all around you to achieve your greatest dreams.

Jody Bergsma’s unique watercolor artwork combines her passion for native wildlife, fantasy creatures, and geometric design. She also illustrated The Spirit of the Wheel Meditation Deck by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Enjoy some images from the Magical Times Empowerment Cards.
Magical Times Empowerment MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Anticipation MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Awareness MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Change MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Dignity MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Energy MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Flexibility002 MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Humor MagicalTimesEmpowerment_Metamorphosis

Celebrating COVR WINNER: Sacred World Oracle

Lynn at INATS 2014

Lynn at INATS 2014

Each year COVR confers awards to the best of the best in the Visionary Resources. Formed in 1996, this non-profit trade organization works to help those in the Mind/Body/Spirit category. From artists to musicians to manufacturers, retailers and more, COVR puts the M/B/S industry first.

One of those ways is with their Visionary Award program. They invite “all those who inspire humanity with their books, products, art, music and messages to enter their works to be evaluated by” their judges.

This year, we were thrilled to win three awards. One for Jody Bergsma’s Magical Times deck which one the Best Inspirational Product. Kris Waldherr’s Sacred World Oracle not only won Best Divination product but also deemed best product of the year.

Today’s post is to show off our Best Product of the Year according to COVR. Look for our showing off of Jody’s excellent deck on Wednesday.

SacredWorld_Firebird
Sacred World Frog

Cover for the Sacred World Oracle

Sacred World Oracle Peacock

Sacred World Oracle Elephant

SacredWorld_Dove

Sacred World Oracle Dragonfly

Congratulations to Kris Waldherr for this amazing deck!

Earth Power Oracle

TarotBlogHop: Solstice 2014

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Chrysalis Tarot Magician

Chrysalis Tarot

Wish, Witchlings by Paulina Cassidy

Witchlings by Paulina Cassidy

Welcome to the 2014 Solstice Tarot Blog Hop. Our wrangler for this hop is Olivia from First Earth Tarot. She’s challenged us with this question/theme:

For this blog hop, the theme is: joy. What are you joyful about? What brings light to your heart? How do you spread joy to others?

We like to think that we spread joy is many ways–from new Tarot decks to gorgeous oracle decks to lovely Lenormand decks. But did you know we also have games? Check out our 1864 poker deck or the immensely popular, not to mention award-winning, Wizard(r) card game.

Gilded Reverie Lenormand

Gilded Reverie Lenormand

Some recent offerings that are bringing joy to us are these Lenormand decks:

Then there are these Tarot decks.

And we can’t forget the Oracle decks:

Earth Power Oracle

Earth Power Oracle

Meditation,Witchlings by Paulina Cassidy

Witchlings

In our very joyful Joie de Vivre Tarot, we shared a spread we called Spreading The Joy. You can find it in the Little White Book for that deck. Did you know that you can find the LWB for many of our decks online? Just go to our home page, search for your deck, then look for the PDF link on that deck’s page.

So tell us which of these decks mentioned here bring you the most joy. We’d love to hear from you. And we have so many new products that we may have inadvertently forgotten one! So our apologies if we did. If you let us know, we will include it on this joyful roundup.

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Gilded Reverie Lenormand

May We Introduce Mlle. Lenormand

003bWith the Lenormand decks growing in popularity, we wanted to share a bit about the woman this system is named for and her original deck.

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand was born in 1772. Her date of birth, May 27, puts her in the Gemini house. She was orphaned very early in her life so she was sent to a convent to receive her education. It is said that she left there at the age of 14 to head to Paris.

Blue Owl Lenornmand

Blue Owl Lenormand

Per her own writing, Mademoiselle Lenormand read

her cards for many important people including Tsar Alexander 1. The Empress Josephine was arguably her most famous client but she also read for Robespierre and other French revolutionaries such as Marat. It is an interesting thing to think about, isn’t it?

If she read for those revolutionaries as well as French nobility, could she have been setting both sides against one another? Purely speculation on this writer’s part, of course, but it is fun to consider.

Under the Roses Lenormand

Under the Roses Lenormand

There are many references to her readings and predictions. It is said that she told Bonaparte that he would meet a widow who would make him happy. She also advised that he would, “achieve a very high rank by his influence; but that ye be ungrateful to it” thus losing any happiness he might find. I think we all know how that one turned out.

At the age of 42, she began writing. Some of her literary works ended her up in prison a few times. Madame Lenormand never spent too much time in jail though. It seems our card reader was a bit of a rabble rouser. Her death came at less than a month after her seventy first birthday in 1843.

Gilded Reverie Lenormand

Gilded Reverie Lenormand

A misconception is that Mlle. Lenormand created the Lenormand deck. That is not correct. She popularized the reading of cards. Card reading was fairly common but generally done by the travelers or Romany people. The term gypsy is offensive to many in that populace so we will not use that here. Mlle. Lenormand did say that her first pack of cards was given to her at the age of fourteen by that group. It would be intriguing to go back to that time to discover if getting that deck of cards was what precipitated her leaving the convent to head into the grand city of Paris.

A deck created by Madame Breteau was named “Le Grand Jeu de Mlle. Lenormand” in honor of Lenormand after her death. This Madame Breteau claimed to be a student of Mlle. Lenormand. The deck was the fifty-four card version. Another deck was also published around the same time called the “Petit Lenormand.”

Mystical Lenormand

Mystical Lenormand

That 36 card deck is the one that is most popular now. German in origin, it is said to be based on the “Game of Hope” card game, which is based on a board game where you raced around the board based on cards drawn. Similar games would be Candyland in today’s world. I can only hope that one hundred years from now we do not have a Candyland oracle.

So from 18th and 19th century Paris, a young orphan girl still shines. Do you think she knew her legacy would stretch so far into the future? I like to think that she did.

We are celebrating our Lenormand line today. Which of the four decks featured here appeal to you the most? One commenter will win their choice of these four Lenormand decks.

Comments must be entered by Friday June 20 no later than 12 midnight PST.

Winner announced on this blog Tuesday June 24, 2014.

 

Cards shown:

Blue Owl Lenormand (rhymes written by Stuart Kaplan)
Gilded Reverie Lenormand
Under The Roses Lenormand
Mystical Lenormand

Gilded Reverie Lenormand Review Roundup

Ciro Marchetti's Oracle of visions party puzzle

Ciro Marchetti

Acclaimed artist Ciro Marchetti has transformed the traditional Lenormand cards with a rich, new aesthetic featuring gilded edges and accents. Gilded Reverie Lenormand remains true to the iconic 36-card oracle system made famous in the 19th century by Mlle Lenormand, the fortune-teller to Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte. Recently, there has been a groundswell of renewed interest in reading with Lenormand decks. Gilded Reverie’s elaborately detailed images in vivid, jewel-toned colors render the 36-card Lenormand system more appealing and accessible than ever. A 48-page booklet provides insightful interpretations and instructions. Ciro Marchetti is an award-winning artist who has designed five tarot and oracle decks including Tarot of Dreams and Oracle of Visions. Prints, puzzles and other items featuring his artwork are popular around the world.

See the artist’s video.

GildedReverieLenormand_3002 Here are just a few of the rave reviews this gorgeous deck is receiving. (Please note that the card error mentioned in a few has been corrected. If you get a copy that has a duplicate card, just let us know!)

GildedReverie_14In her Aeclectic Tarot review, Erica says, “this deck is very enjoyable and easy to read.”

GildedReverie_3CardsPromotion002Elizabeth of Tarot by Elizabeth was “absolutely blown away by this Lenormand deck”.

Donnaleigh of Divine Whispers shouts her praise: “Luscious, opulent, rich, vibrant, gem-like, sturdy”.

Over at Tarot Notes, Zanna declares this “a treasure/jewel of a deck”.

GildedReverie_BookLily002Terri of Tarot Reviews is sure no one will be disappointed!

Alura at Everything Under The Moon says she was tickled pink by this deck.

Kayla from the Eclectic Element warns, “Don’t let this seemingly simple deck fool you, though!”

GildedLenormand_10Ship“The luxurious feel” is what Ellen from the Grey Lady’s Hearth talks about impressing her.

Enjoy one of Donnaleigh’s amazing video review of the Gilded Reverie Lenormand.

gilded reverie-BOX-FLAT

Get yours today.

Dance Of Opposites–A Tarot Blog Hop

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Thank you for joining us on our Beltane or May Day 2014 Tarot Blog Hop. To navigate, just click previous  or next to go to the next blog post.

Our blog hop wrangler this time is Aisling from Utah. She tasked us with  discussing The Union of Opposites. She wanted to see our own take about how combining two dissimilar things which may seem to be in opposition to one another can produce an harmonious whole.

We decided to show you two sets of opposites from five different decks.
The Empress is the embodiment of life and abundance whereas Death is about embracing that final change. See how these five decks interpret this particular dance of opposites.

Do you think Death yearns for what the Empress offers? Or is it the other way around?

Deviant Moon | Death vs. The Empress

Deviant Moon | Death vs. The Empress

Cat's Eye | Death vs. The Empress

Cat’s Eye | Death vs. The Empress

Thoth | Death vs. The Empress

Thoth | Death vs. The Empress

Rider Waite Smith | Death vs. The Empress

Rider Waite Smith | Death vs. The Empress

Joie de Vivre | Death vs the Empress

Joie de Vivre | Death vs the Empress

 Next we offer the delicate dance of opposites between the Devil and Strength. Is it sometimes stronger to give into temptation?

Deviant Moon | Strength vs The Devil

Deviant Moon | Strength vs The Devil

Cat's Eye | Strength vs The Devil

Cat’s Eye | Strength vs The Devil

Thoth | Strength vs The Devil

Thoth | Strength vs The Devil

Rider Waite Smith | Strength vs. Devil

Rider Waite Smith | Strength vs. Devil

Joie de Vivre | Strength vs The Devil

Joie de Vivre | Strength vs The Devil

Decks featured:

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Puzzling Ciro Marchetti

Recently the talented Ciro Marchetti posted a puzzle on his Facebook page. We are sharing it here.

We will be releasing Ciro’s Oracle of Visions soon. For now, search for the insects and keys. Ciro hasn’t said how many there are so let us know how many you find.

Click for a larger image.

Ciro Marchetti's Oracle of visions party puzzle

Ciro Marchetti

And while you wait impatiently for this deck, don’t forget about his Gilded Reverie Lenormand that is already available.

REPOST: Resurrection and Rebirth

We wanted to share this terrific use of the Art of Life Tarot. This pieces was originally posted March 20th, 2014 by Joy Vernon of Completely Joyous.

Thank you, Joy, for featuring the Art of Life Tarot. This deck was a Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) Award Finalist 2013. We are very proud to offer this unique deck.

Now enjoy Joy’s post.

—————————————

Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!

An international group of tarotists (check out the master list) are all writing on the same topic and then linking to each other so that the reader can hop from one blog to the next, seeing all the permutations and facets that the topic inspired in different writers.

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Resurrection and Rebirth

ArtofLife_13Death

Death from the Art of Life Tarot

I just finished the beginning tarot class that I teach once or twice a year. On the last day I usually have time set aside for students to do readings for each other (as we do in one or two other classes). But this group was insistent that they would get more out of seeing me do a reading. I was hesitant—I thought it was a faulty argument, in that practice is the only way to increase one’s skill. But they wanted to see my techniques in action. I finally said that I would, but only if they could provide me a deck I hadn’t used before—otherwise it would be too likely that I would not be using the skills from the beginning class but using built up associations from my familiarity with the cards. One student reached into her bag and pulled out an Art of Life Tarot. It’s one I haven’t read with, so I finally consented.

I taught them my favorite 7-card spread, the Split Hexagram, which I originally learned from Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig (RIP, 1951-2014).

We decided to do a general reading on how the students as a group would progress with their tarot studies. I’d like to share the reading with you.

Reading for Magician’s Tools Tarot Basics Class
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Split Hexagram Spread
Art of Life Tarot Deck

Question: How will the students in this group progress with their tarot studies?

Card 1. Spiritual Influence
9 of Pentacles

The 9 of Pentacles in the AoL deck shows a man in a black Edwardian tailcoat and black top hat standing on a balcony under a red and white striped canopy looking over the green leafy treetops of the boulevard below him while a long row of attached houses or apartments curves into the distance. There is a sense of solitude and nature in the midst of a crowded city.

This card wasn’t saying much to me as I started the reading for the group— it came to life when I moved to the second card and compared the two—which ironically is one of my teaching points: the cards are meaningless out of context, which has to be built through their relationship to the question, the querent, the spread positions, and the surrounding cards.

Card 2, Spiritual Influence (stronger)
The Star

The Star is portrayed by The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. In stark contrast to the impressionist piece preceding it, this work seemed to embody more of the psychic energy of tarot reading with its swirling, heavy strokes and sharp contrasts of dark, inky blues with the bright yellows of the stars and moon. I felt that the black suit of the man in the first card, in some ways out of place in the otherwise bright card, was tied in to the darker colors of van Gogh’s nighttime scene. This led me to say that the intuition represented by the moon in the card and the spirituality represented by the church steeple were what was going on inside the man in the previous picture. Externally, he was alone looking out over the city, internally he was experiencing the heightened psychic energy of a deep spiritual connection.

Card 3, Spiritual Advice
Queen of Cups

Breakfast in Bed by Mary Cassatt

The Queen of Cups in the AoL Tarot is illustrated by Breakfast in Bed by Mary Cassatt. The image is of a woman lying in bed, her arms around a child sitting on the edge of the bed. The white of the bedclothes, her white nightgown, and the child’s white garments contrasted with the darkness of the previous card. The child, I thought, represented those who couldn’t understand what we were doing but who supported us anyway.

Putting the three cards together now, I said that the Spiritual Advice represented here in this card was to be able to easily move back and forth between a state of awareness of conscious reality, shown by the man on the balcony overlooking the boulevard, and the state of deep intuition, represented by The Starry Night. Just as one experiences the transition between the dreaming state and the waking state every day as we wake up, we needed to learn to consciously integrate the two states such that we could inhabit both at the same time.

Card 4, Material Influence
Knight of Pentacles

The Knight of Pentacles shows a woman rehearsing on the violin, a stand with sheet music in front her, a couch strewn with books and perhaps more music behind her. The reds and browns in the card combined with the creativity of the music made me want to lean towards a more fiery interpretation, but I could see that clearly she was not performing but practicing, and ongoing dedication and commitment to a craft is a very earthy, Pentacles thing. To me, the card represented practice with an intention to eventually perform.

Card 5, Material Influence (stronger)
Page of Wands

The Page of Wands threw me off because the child was shown with a sword. A boy sits on a stone bench in a courtyard, holding a sword haphazardly in front of him, point to the ground, while a bearded man sits next to him. The child and man look at each other, perhaps the bearded man is instructing the boy.

What I liked about the combination of the material influences was that solitary practice was shown first, then instruction shown second. I told my students that the recommendation here was to work on their own, practicing their current skills, and then when they felt accomplished in their work, to move on to additional instruction. I think there is often a tendency to jump from one class to the next without fully integrating the experiences and knowledge of the first.

Card 6, Material Advice
Death

It’s always helpful when a difficult card comes up in class and we can address it!

Death and Life by Gustav Klimt

Death here is illustrated with Death and Life by Gustav Klimt. The figure of skeletal Death, draped in blues and purples, covered in Latin crosses, swaying and hunched, clutching a short wooden club to his chest with his white, bone fingers, stands separate from but looking over toward bodies of men, women and children, entwined and embracing, forming an amorphous mass. Although the figures are mostly nude, bright, colorful swatches of fabric with printed geometric designs swathe and shroud them.

Following as it does our two cards that represent practicing and gaining instruction, I read in this card that the students are the figure of Death itself—they lose the amalgamation of the colorful variety of their different teachers and influences and come into their own distinctiveness and uniqueness, intuitive and spiritually based, in alignment with the color and religious symbolism of the Star card.

Card 7, Final Outcome
7 of Pentacles

This final card utilizes a detail from The Empress of China Culling Mulberry Leaves by Bernhard Rode. We laughed at the ridiculousness to our minds of the Empress needing her entire entourage to accomplish a task that the average peasant could easily do alone. I talked about the ways in which we use our techniques like servants to support us, just as one servant lowered the branch, one held the bowl to receive the leaves, and one held a parasol to shade the sun.

Then I noticed the words on the card. I try my best to avoid words and interpretive card titles, and had successfully up to this point not noticed any of the other quotes offered in the lower part of each card. But this one caught my eye, and turned out to be educational—I did not know the meaning of the Mulberry tree in the image. The quote is a Chinese proverb: “With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.” I now understood that the Empress in the painting was harvesting silk worms and their cocoons from the tree.

moth and silk wormYears ago during a Denver Tarot Meetup event, down in the basement of Gypsy House Café, Jordan Hoggard told us all that when a caterpillar encases itself in the cocoon, it actually dissolves completely and the butterfly is created out of the primordial ooze of this dissolution. The silk worm, if left alone and not turned into a silk gown, will transform into a beautiful moth. (One of my students Googled it for me during class.)

As a final outcome, this certainly played nicely off the preceding Death card. Like the Empress shown in the image, they would be supported by the skills and techniques they had learned. But each student would go through a complete dissolution to become their own totally unique reader, like the silk worm transforming in its chrysalis.

I think of rebirth as beginning a new cycle: second verse, same as the first. These cycles are on the same plane, like tracing a circle over and over again. Cards that I use to represent new cycles can include the Wheel of Fortune, Death, the Moon and the Sun. I think of resurrection as moving to whole new level, from the ephemeral to the eternal, from the mortal to the immortal. This is a spiral, pushing off from and moving up and away from lower planes into new levels, like climbing a spiral staircase. I usually associate this idea with cards such as the Fool, the Tower, Judgment, or perhaps Temperance under certain conditions. An example of rebirth would be a seed that holds the complex code that perfectly recreates what is was before. Resurrection does not recreate what went before, but transforms utterly to something completely new.

To me, this reading spoke to the students of undergoing a resurrection of their tarot abilities, dissolving into the slime of death, and utterly transforming into their own unique and beautiful tarot selves.