Tarot Blog Hop: Ostara 2014

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Welcome to the USGames Tarot blog. We love participating in this gathering of Tarot and oracle blogs. It’s always a mystery to see where the blog will go.

Our Tarot Blog Hop mistress for this round is Joanne Sprott. She’s asked us to focus on the resurrection of life, love, dreams, creation (and flowers!). We couldn’t think of anything better than to share some of forthcoming Chrysalis Tarot with you.

This gorgeous deck is from Holly Sierra and Toney Brooks who have put their considerable talents together to create a new, holistic approach to the Tarot.

Enjoy their creativity!

dsm060956 [Converted]CRS-78-card 9 stones CRS-78-card 8 spirals CRS-78-card 5 scrolls CRS-78-card 2 mirrors  CRS-78-Magician CRS-78-card MerlinCRS-78 CRS-78-card back

Now hop to the next post in our Ostara 2014 Tarot Blog Hop. Thanks for leaving a comment. We love hearing what you think of this new deck of ours.

The Chrysalis Tarot should emerge soon so do check back. And join us on Facebook where we post cards and questions so you can join in the fun!

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Tarot Comparisons: Ace of Coins

Let’s take a look at the Ace of Wands. Traditionally this card is read as the start of a business project when upright and a poor time to start a business or change jobs when reversed.

The way we interpret a card can change based on the art of the card itself. Compare the following Ace of Coins:

Morgan Greer Ace of Pentacles

Morgan Greer

Joie de Vivre Ace of Coins

 

Karma Ace of Coins

Karma Tarot

Haindl Ace Stones in the West

Haindl

How does the message of business and money beginnings get changed or enhanced in the four cards.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. What are your experiences with the Ace of Coins in your own readings? Thanks.

Decks Used:
1. Morgan Greer Tarot
2. Joie de Vivre Tarot
3. Karma Tarot
4. Haindl Tarot

Interview: Patrick Valenza

DeviantMoonBorderless_14Wands***LEAVE A COMMENT AND BE IN A DRAWING TO WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF THE DEVIANT MOON TAROT BORDERLESS EDITION***

Please help us welcome Patrick Valenza creator of the Deviant Moon Tarot, the borderless Deviant Moon Tarot and the Deviant Moon book. Interviewed here by Arwen Lynch, he shares thoughts on both versions of the Deviant Moon as well as his Deviant Moon book and his process.

Patrick says, “One of the best parts of creating the deck was “hunting” for specific textures as I respectfully tiptoed around the graveyards of eastern Long Island, N.Y. Background buildings were created with photographs I took from a local abandoned insane asylum. Rotted doors, windows and walls became castles, factories and cities.”

Arwen Lynch: Who or what first interested you in the tarot or in oracle cards?DeviantMoonBorderless_0Fool
Patrick Valenza: I discovered the tarot when I was about eight or nine years old back in 1975. The images fascinated my young mind and I studied them intently. While most of my friends copied drawings of Batman or Superman, I was busy designing the Fool and the Magician along the margins of my schoolwork.

AL: What is your favorite card in the deck?
PV: My favorite cards tend to be the darker ones, such as Death, the Devil and the Tower. My least favorite has always been the Hierophant.

DeviantMoonBorderless_5HierophantArwen Lynch: What was the first deck that truly inspired you?
PV: The first deck that inspired me as a child was the 1JJ Swiss deck as well as the Rider-Waite. When I became a teenager, I discovered images of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, which inspired me to try and create my own hand-painted deck. The hand-painted deck I made in my adolescence later became the Deviant Moon when I reached middle age.

 

 

 

 

AL: What card in the Deviant Moon was the most challenge to paint?
PV: The most challenging aspect of the deck was trying to create custom gold coins for the Suit of Coins out of clay, which I then photographed and put into the art. So difficult, in fact, that I scrapped them and changed the suit to Pentacles after I had already submitted all the artwork to U.S. Games Systems for final publication. The coins just ruined the deck, however I may try them again in a future tarot project.

DeviantMoonBorderless_5Pentacles

AL: What lessons did you learn along the way?
PV: I learned a great deal of technical skills during the deck’s creation, such as Photoshop and digital photography. Up until the Deviant Moon, I was mainly a draftsman working in colored pencil.

AL: What card was the most challenging to write about for the upcoming companion book?
PV: Writing for the companion book was the most challenging project I ever worked on. I created the artwork for the Deviant Moon subconsciously. Writing about it made me stop and analyze the aftermath of it all. The book took almost three years to write. At times, I would spend days trying to find the right words for a simple paragraph. It was quite an accomplishment for me to finish it and my reward came when I hand delivered it to the good folks at U.S. Games Systems last spring.

DeviantMoonBorderless_2HighPriestessAL: How do you deal with creative block issues? Do you have any suggestions for those reading this?
PV: When I get creative blocks, I get out of my own way and let my unconscious mind take control. This is the part that connects best to my Muse. I just keep working until I get it. I usually figure out an artistic problem when I am waiting on line at a supermarket, driving, in the shower, or doing other mundane things that have nothing to do with my projects.

AL: What has been your greatest joy about the launch of your borderless deck?
PV: The borderless Deviant Moon came out over five years after the original. To me, it seems as if it is an entirely different deck and has its own personality. I am thrilled to see that so many feel the same way.

AL: What surprised you the most about creating your deck?
PV: The greatest surprise was how the deck connected me to so many people around the world. I love to hear from folks who say they were inspired in some way by the Deviant Moon.

AL: Name three people who are personal inspirations in the tarot or oracle world?DeviantMoonBorderless_11Cups
PV: Without question, Stuart Kaplan was my greatest tarot inspiration. When I discovered my first tarot deck as a boy, I was curious to know where these amazing cards came from, so I looked on the back of the box and saw his name. I used to think he was a wizard of same kind!
I also admire Paulina Cassidy for her magical illustrative style, as well as Lisa Hunt for her wonderful artistry and work ethic.

AL: Who are your favorite artists?
PV: My favorite style of art comes from pioneering animators such as Max Fleischer and Winsor McCay. I also admire all the unknown medieval woodblock cutters who created early tarot decks. Other favorites are Joan Miro, Max Ernst and Picasso.

AL: What do you do in your leisure time?
PV: In my leisure time I enjoy working on my creations. Luckily for me, work and play are the same.

AL: What is one piece of advice you would offer someone who wanted to create his or her own deck?
DeviantMoonBorderless_2SwordsPV: My advice would be to love it or leave it. You need to put your entire soul into an undertaking such as this for many, many years without expecting any reward in return. There are a zillion decks out there already. Make yours unique! Give it everything you’ve got!

AL: What does the future look like from your side of the computer?
PV: Right now I am working on three different decks at the same time, as well as a children’s book that I want to finish. The Deviant Moon has a sister deck, which I hope to submit for publication very soon.

Visit Patrick’s Deviant Moon site to learn more about his process and projects.

***LEAVE A COMMENT AND BE IN A DRAWING TO WIN YOUR OWN COPY OF THE DEVIANT MOON TAROT BORDERLESS EDITION***

Office Oracle: Paula Palmer

We love what we do here at USGames. It changes all the time plus we get to meet the most interesting people. So we wanted to return the favor and let you meet some of us. Here is our third Office Oracle featuring, Paula. She’s the mad scient…errr,Creative Director.

Stella asked: What’s the best thing about your job?

Paula answered: As Creative Director, I am fortunate to work with some amazingly talented people. Our artists and authors are so creative and passionate and they really inspire us to put out the best possible products we can. I love that USGS is a small company and allows us to be that way. We’re truly a family here and support each other, which I hope our artists and authors experience working with us.

Stella: What’s your favorite U.S. Games product?

Heartswitch_WitchClubPaula: That’s is not a fair question! On the games side, I’d have to go with Wizard or HeartSwitch even though I lose if I’m playing with my husband. On the tarot side, way too many to chose from. I’d have to go with Joie de Vivre, Ghosts and Spirits, and Deviant Moon (the borderless one is so cool!). Wait! Old English, too! and Pixie’s set! and a new surreal one that’s not out yet… UGH! See!?

Stella: What’s one thing you like to do when you are not at work?

Paula: Again with the hard choices! I’m indecisive so here are two: I love photography and try to shoot as often as I can, especially interesting textures and unusual points of view. I love to cook/bake as well and cupcakes are my favorite thing to make. Feeding friends and family makes me happy although I get nervous that someone may not like what I’ve made!

Stella: If you were a Tarot card, which one would you be?DeviantMoon_2HighPriestess

Paula: Hmm… all signs point to the High Priestess. I will take a secret to the grave with me; always try to follow my instincts and often regret when I don’t; and I always play devil’s advocate and try and point out all sides of an issue when there are decisions to be made.

Stella: What’s your favorite music?

Paula: Anything that moves me in some capacity. Whether it be toe-tapping blues or jazz, head-banging hard rock, or tear-inducing soul or classical music, if it causes me to react, I’ll love it. It’s amazing the effect music has over me and my crazy playlists often raise eyebrows!

2014 Imbolc Tarot Blog Hop: Increasing Creativity

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U.S. Games is happy to be joining in another round of the Tarot Blog Hop. Our wrangler for this round is Tarot Grandmaster Christiana Gaudet. She challenged our group to write about “Tarot, Healing and Creativity.”

In Paulina Cassidy’s newest deck (not Tarot), she offers up the idea of choosing two to three of her Witchlings to combine their energy. We offer up this spread to increase your creativity. We chose three Witchlings to serve as the positions of our Tarot spread. You are invited to share what cards you draw and anything you might like to share. There’s even a contest for you.

Spread for Increasing Creativity

    • Meditation,Witchlings by Paulina CassidyMeditation: The Witchling is Jasmine.

      Meditation is not just a journey
      But a shedding of worry and stress.
      Jasmine attunes her mind often
      To keep herself safe from distress.

      This spot will show you what type of meditation might benefit you most in terms of your creative processes. Some find chanting the most relaxing while others prefer to zone out to music. Maybe you are a walking meditation type. See what your cards tell you here.


    • Wish, Witchlings by Paulina CassidyWish: Orchid is the Witchling for this card.

      Orchid wished for happiness
      And then after a short while
      Her rain turned sunny
      Leaving her face with a smile.

      The second Witchling brings you the message of wishing. Creativity is fostered and fed by imagination. What better way to open up our creative channels than with a wish. Draw a card and see where your wishes can take you.


  • Relaxation, Witchlings by Paulina CassidyRelaxation: Petunia is our third and final Witchling.

    Like a river, Petunia flows
    So relaxed to end her day.
    Her mind melds into her spirit
    And with her body, drifts away.

    Our lovely third Witchling suggest that relaxation is the third way to increase your creativity. Sometimes, the brain just needs an out, right? So what card falls here can suggest some ways to relax and just let go.


    Why don’t you draw three cards from your nearest deck now? Share what they are for the positions of Meditation, of Wish and of Relaxation. One comment will be chosen to win their own Witchlings deck.

    Get extra entries for sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ or Tumblr. Just leave the link in an additional comment. Good luck.

P.S. Click on the images to view them in a larger format.

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2013 Yule Tarot Blog Hop

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CrystalVisions_14SwordsWelcome to the Yule Blog Hop. The theme our hostess/wrangler has proposed is “Turning Darkness Into Light”. You can find the blog post before us or after us or the Master list in the links at the top or bottom of this post.

One of the uses of Tarot is to guide people towards light–in a way. If you consider that they are in pain or are scared, then the Tarot can be seen as a path of light. For today’s post, we’ve created a Tarot spread for you. Standing At The Crossroads puts you in the center and offers you four choices. Rather than telling you which one is the right path, or, if you will pardon the pun, the Light path, this spread shows you four options. You get to choose where you want to be.

Crystal_StarCrossroads Spread

A five card spread.
crossroads_spread

1. This card represents you and what is going on with you right now.
2. This card represents Path One.
3. This card represents Path Two.
4. This card represents Path Three.
5. This card represents path Four.

Each card is a potential. If you get the Tower in one, you might be challenged to think of what must come down for you to walk that path.

Please share with us if you do this spread. Feel free to use it on your own blog with a link back to this post. And link your blog in your comment so others can visit you to see how you used this spread.

Crystal Visions Tarot

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Tarot Comparisons: Ace of Wands

Let’s take a look at the Ace of Wands. Traditionally this card is read as the start of a creative project when upright and a lack of creative passion when reversed.

The way we interpret a card can change based on the art of the card itself. Compare the following Ace of Wands:

RWS1W

Rider Waite Tarot

D1W

Deviant Moon

Th1W

Thoth

CE1W

Cat’s Eye

How does the message of inspiration and creation get changed or enhanced in the four cards.

Leave your thoughts in the comments. All commenters will be entered in our December drawing so make sure you leave us a working email. Thanks.

The Sacred World Oracle Deck: Reading by Kayla Garnet Rose, Ph.D.

 Dr. Kayla Garnet Rose, Ph.D. graciously allowed us to repost her blog post.

Written and illustrated by Kris Waldherr, creator of The Goddess Tarot, The Sacred World Oracle deck is a sumptuous feast for the mind and an excellent gift for the upcoming holidays. The cards themselves are pleasing to eye, beautifully illustrated with animals, both real and mythological; pleasing to the hand, nice and thick yet well sized for smaller folks; and further complemented by the rich descriptions found in the accompanying booklet. Waldherr writes, “Oracles bear the double duty of being the message as well as the vehicle to communicate it…”

The Sacred World Oracle is divided into four sections- earth, water, fire, and air. Each suit has a main card for the element, plus ten associated animals. The mythology of each is contained within the booklet, however, merely gazing at the images evokes personal resonances, memories, and inspirations. Two different spreads are also outlined in the LWB, one a past-present-future card spread, fairly standard. The other a five card spread developed by Thalassa of the Daughter’s of Divination’s San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium ( BATS) was inspired by the ballet Swan Lake is called Black Swan, White Swan. This spread “helps us explore our blind spots – those pesky obstacles we can’t, or don’t want to see. It also points to the wisdom that lies in front of our noses.”
I shuffled the cards, pensating upon it being Day of the Dead. I had a ho-hum Halloween yesterday and had no plans for the new moon this weekend, so doing the Swan reading seemed like a good way to acknowledge the change of seasons and tap into the thinning of the veils. I whispered the names of my ancestors as well as my kin/cats passed, friends who have crossed over and even contemplated my own death, hopefully far into the future. It has been in a time of endings and beginnings, as my daughter started college and I completed my PhD, empty nest syndrome hitting hard after her last visit. Recognizing the new chapter of my life unfolding, I pulled the five cards…
The first card is the black swan, or what you need to see that can get in your way. I pulled I-Earth. A very green card, right away I was aware of the animals suggested not just in the distant mountains but in the nearby copses, a huge oak in the foreground, beautifully framed with vining flowers and a picture of Ivy at the bottom. I reflect up upon how much time I have spent inside my house, working on my studies in particular, especially since my sweetie was hospitalized last spring and we stopped going on our weekend hikes. “When the Earth card appears in an Oracle reading, look for opportunities to take your dreams and turn them into a concrete reality” advises Waldherr. Certainly there is the opportunity to turn my dissertation into a book, changing a thought into form, but I also recognized the message to spend time in the outside world as much as in my interior landscape, and to change my isolation over the last six months into more outgoing, social adventures.
The second card is the magic feather, what you can do about it, and I pull XLIII- The Centaur – half human, half horse, pulling on an arrow notched into a bow, the classic sign of Sagittarius. As an astrologer I reflect that this sign symbolizes the higher mind, higher education, philosophy and travel. Here is the ability to focus on a goal, pull back to take aim, and the follow through. Mercury being retrograde, I notice it is a time of pulling back, with the trust that full moment will be gained after the planets shift in November. A card of being proactive, I feel encouraged to review my long term projects list and initiated some dreams that have been simmering on the back burner.
The third card is the White Swan, or what you need to see that can help you. I draw XXVII- Dragonfly. A lovely woman, maybe from South America, gazes at me, tattooed cheeks, a red dragonfly before her, a jaguar peeping in the background. Several of my students spring to mind, both past and present. The message here is of “unexpected grace found in difficult places”. I laugh, this has been my lesson the last two weeks. In The Medicine Cards, dragonfly is a message to confront denials, honor inner truths and to break through any illusions.
The fourth card is also a magic feather, or how to use the solution presented in the card. Now I pull XXXIX- Firefly. I liked the transition from an air element (dragonfly) to a fire element, the ability to change thoughts into action. I grew up on the east coast, so catching fireflies reminded me of my childhood, times past, not an experience I have here now, living in California. Interestingly, the message here is to “seek moments of unexpected beauty that offer gateways for inspiration.”
Finally, the fifth card is known as the Swan in Flight, an aerial perspective of the situation which gives an overview of the problems and steps for a solution. I pull II -Cat. Very curious, since I had completely shuffled the cards to pull the first card as the beginning card and the second card as the last, let alone the fact that I had invoked all of my past familiars/cats when setting my intentions. Here we see the Egyptian cat goddess, Bast, in a temple, with cats and kittens all around, even perching on the shoulder of the icon. My personal talisman, again my kin, my family, I am at times ridiculously attached to my cats and find it difficult to leave them for a night, let alone a vacation. The message in the booklet states, “the cat card challenges you to find ways to express your individuality. How can you create more magic and beauty?” Indeed, a good question.
So, personally I avoid using terms such as black/white to indicate problem/solution as it is basically racist if not simply reductionist. I did like the concept of exploring blind spots but wish it was presented in a way that was color blind. That being said, the cards themselves have a wonderful array of images, and although focused on animals, include humans in an international array, from Ganesha to Cimidye. The booklet really covers a gamut of worldwide folklore and hopefully will be expanded into a book. I honor that the author chose to use roman symbols for the cards, reminiscent of the Major Arcana in the Tarot, but I found the need to stop and calculate into western numbers a little tedious and off putting. The backs of each card had a representation of the four elements with the simple inscription, “As Above, So Below”. Indeed, a simple reminder that the “function of an oracle remains the same: oracles offer us information. They can provide us with the experience of synchronicity… Our personal experience serve to frame these events, thus releasing information we already possess deep in our psyche.”
Blessed be.

Get your own copy of this lovely oracle.

Office Oracle: Jody B

We have folks who do hard work. Jody is one of those. Here she is with Lynn A. Anyone know who that fellow in the middle is? LOL! Might be a hint on his shirt…

JodiBStella asked: What’s the best thing about your job?

JODY: Helping to bring a product into the world is fun work…and often it doesn’t seem like work at all. The bonus is seeing and holding the final printed piece.
 

Stella: What’s your favorite U.S. Games product?

 
HY165

Stella: What’s one thing you like to do when you are not at work?

JODY: Cook
 

Stella: If you were a Tarot card, which one would you be?

 
JODY: TemperanceHalloween_17Star

 

Stella: What’s your favorite music?

 
JODY: Can’t pick just ONE favorite…
 

So what questions would you want to ask Jodi? Do you think it would be fun to work at U.S. Games?

 

OFFICE ORACLE: Lynn A

It’s our Office Oracle! We will feature someone from our offices so you can learn a bit about us.

LynnAFirst up is a name many already know. Lynn Araujo is active on our Facebook page. Her familiar smile brightens many a group! You may also know her as Lynn Sparrow.

Stella: Lynn, what’s the best thing about your job?

Lynn: Working with talented artists and authors. Getting to know people in the tarot and games communities.

S: What’s your favorite U.S. Games product?

bananasplitLynn: On the games side, I had a lot of fun developing Banana Split Card game so it’s exciting to see its success. On the Tarot side, The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set is special to me because it is so gorgeous (thanks to our designer Jody, who also designed Banana Split) but also because I got to work closely with Stuart Kaplan on the research and writing about Pixie.

S: What’s one thing you like to do when you are not at work?
Lynn: Take hikes with my two dogs, and gardening.

S: If you were a Tarot card, which one would you be?
Lynn: The Three of Cups. Everyday I like to celebrate abundance and emotional connection with the people in my life.

Comparison_3Cups_Deviant_JdV001

Joie de Vivre Tarot (l) || Deviant Moon Tarot (r)

S: What’s your favorite food?
Lynn: I love ethnic foods from places I have traveled like Indian, Turkey, Indonesian, and Thailand,