Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Playing Cards by Kipling West

US Games Systems, Inc. has recently published a new playing card deck by Kipling West. The Halloween Playing Cardswill be familiar to those who have the The Halloween Tarotby the same artist. The playing card deck features the same artwork as the tarot deck, but obviously utilizes only 52 of the images. Also, the images are framed so you see only bits and pieces of the scenery fully featured in the tarot deck.

I'm using the two decks together for readings this week on my tarot blog. It's going to be a tremendously busy week, but if I have time, I'll try to post a playing card reading here as well.

Happy Halloween Week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Twilight Marathon

This morning's cards immediately brought to mind the Twilight series. The Nine of Spades is a card that refers to something sucking the life out of you, draining you. It doesn't get more vampire than that. And the Two of Hearts means love. The Three of Diamonds is a card I have personally come to know as the "stitches" card, which can be meant literally or metaphorically.  In this case, it's literal.

The 9S + 2H made me think of the vampire love story of Twilight. And the stitches of the 3D made me think of the scene in New Moon where Carlisle stitches up Bella's arm.

My daughter loves the Twilight movies, and we've been meaning to have a marathon, re-watching all three DVDs, either in one day, or one per night for three consecutive evenings.  So after seeing these cards, I asked her if she wanted to start tonight with Twilight (which we've seen a kajillion times). She said yes, so we're on!

Deck: Emily the Strange Playing Cards (published by Dark Horse)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reminiscing on Childhood Freedoms

Today's cards reflect something I was thinking about yesterday.

The Nine of Diamonds is the Knight in Shining Armor of the deck. I personally think of this card as the "Superman" card. Someone swooping down to save the day and add a bit of adventure to life. The Six of Spades is a card which refers to the past. And the Seven of Hearts indicates healing, and like I saw in it the other day (here), this little guy is suffering from the loss of his balloon, the subject of loss being what needs healing.

The cards read together tell of my remembering my own childhood, and how one of the freedoms I had is unavailable to my own kids. In an oracle reading I did yesterday (here), I mused about my kids not having access to the world of nighttime outdoor play as I did as a kid.  But last night we took a walk in the dark night, which was a fun adventure for us all.

The surprised bunny in the Nine of Diamonds shows the spontaneity and slight nervousness about the adventure. The Six of Spades accurately reflects the sentiment of childhood and the Seven of Hearts illustrates the feeling of loss I have been thinking about, while reflecting on my childhood magical nighttime adventures.

On the flip side, as a whole, my children have infinitely more freedom than I did as a kid. They are unschooled and allowed to make many of their own decisions about their lives that I was never allowed as a kid. So where one door closes, another naturally opens. They're just experiencing different types of freedoms than I did, and their childhoods are magical in their own way. :)

Deck: Untitled Playing Card Deck by Sora Oda

Monday, June 27, 2011

Car Repairs = Financial Anxiety for Dad

I drew some playing cards today to see what was going to be happening around me, in a mundane every-day sort of way. And I knew immediately what these cards were referring to. My dad had emailed me yesterday to let me know that he was going to take his car in today to get his tire changed, and some other car work done. He had been driving on a flat tire for a couple weeks, filling it up every day. Very dangerous, and he's very lucky it never blew out on him.

The Nine of Spades is so beautifully apt here. It's a card which, in Ana Cortez's deck (The Playing Card Oracles), features a spider and the analogy of something sucking/draining the life out of you. How perfectly this describes a leaky tire, being drained of air! The illustration on this card reminds me of the Nine of Swords in the tarot. Anxiety keeping you up at night. This is a financial burden that my dad didn't need, so I'm sure he's not happy about the drain this will cause to his bank account. Notice how the little devil in the card is spewing numbers at the boy in bed, making him sweat with anxiety. The King of Clubs is also referring to numbers, holding up his fingers to show the number "2". (Along with the tire, my father found out more work needs to be done to his car... isn't that always the case?)

The Kings in the spread represent my father and the service man working on his car.

All cards are black, which indicates inner turmoil and gives the impression of dark clouds. The majority suit is Spades which is the practical, physical, laborious side of life.

Crappy day for Dad. But not the end of the world.

Deck: Untitled Playing Card Deck by Sora Oda

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emotions Behind Moving

I've been wanting to use these playing cards my mom got me awhile ago. They feature adorable (Japanese?) illustrations.

I'll be moving soon, and wanted to know if there was anything about the move that I didn't yet know about, but which would benefit me to know. 

All three cards I drew were Hearts, indicating emotions. And it's the same character in all three cards.

The Seven of Hearts is a card of healing. In the image, there's a little dear one losing a balloon. My kids will have to say goodbye to their grandfather and friends when we leave here. It's always hard as a kid, saying goodbye when moving far away.

The Five of Hearts indicates illusions.  The little guy is now being distracted by sweets. A lollipop in one hand and ice cream in another. The act of moving, seeing new sights, and the excitement of it all will serve as distractions for my kids, to help the healing of moving away.  But these are mere band-aids, and I should not underestimate their real emotions while they experience the initial feelings of loss.

The Eight of Hearts is a card I relate to good times and community. When we move, I plan to involve the kids in more social settings where we can surround ourselves with like minded people. The card reminded me of Superman's cape, and the word bubble above says "Guts!"  I think this will be a good move for us, and we will be all the happier for it.

Deck: Untitled Playing Card Deck by Sora Oda

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Fortuitous Answer to a Forgotten Question

I just did a series of super quick readings, asking on all sorts of things. These cards are the answer to the last question I asked. But after I asked it and turned over the cards, before I could look at them I was interrupted by my daughter. I had to tend to her for a few minutes, and when I returned to the cards, I looked down at them, and for the life of me I couldn't remember what my last question was!

But I wanted to post this here, in case the question came back to me. Because by the time that happens (if it ever does), I will surely have forgotten the cards' answer by then!

The Queen of Cups I assume is me, and I'm looking at two bright and shiny cards. The Ace of Diamonds is to me like the golden key. A resounding Yes!  A green light to Go. Money, good luck, buried treasure found, etc.  The Eight of Diamonds is like the Ace, but multiplied by eight!  It symbolizes great fortune, success, the Midas Touch, jackpot! It's like the Tarot's Wheel of Fortune, World, and Ten of Pentacles all rolled into one.

So although I don't remember the question, it's a mighty fine answer. And I'm okay with that! I'll just take it as a message I'm meant to revel in right now. And revel I will!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Cards Provide Gift Ideas

My dad's birthday is coming up, and he's hard to shop for.  So I thought I'd ask the cards for gift ideas.

The Queen of Hearts + Eight of Diamonds tells me that whatever I give him will be a success (8♦) as long as it comes from the Heart (Q♥).  Good to know. But I wanted more tangible advice.

So I looked to the card on the left. The Two of Clubs. With this one, I ignored the "meaning" of the card, and instead used it for physical, symbolic clues. The "2" stuck in my mind... I should get him two gifts. The top (upright) club reminded me of a shamrock. My dad is Irish, and he enjoys Irish tokens/items. So maybe something along those lines. Maybe something having to do with Notre Dame ("Fighting Irish") or the Celtics.

And for the second gift idea?  I looked to the bottom club. I let my eyes sink into the card, allowing the world to disappear while I let it form into a symbol for me. What the image of the upside down club looked like to me was a beaker with a bow tied around it. A beaker of liquid... cologne!  Bingo.  He's always running low on cologne.

So that was super easy. Now I don't have to rack my brain for gift ideas. Very helpful indeed.

Deck: Highlander's 1864 Poker Deck (published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Did I Win the Lotto?

I wanted to play with my 1864 Poker deck a bit this evening, but didn't really have anything to inquire about. So I thought I'd ask the cards if I won the lotto. I bought a ticket yesterday. So basically, I was interested in seeing how the cards would show "No, you didn't win the lottery" in a three-card spread.

The Seven of Hearts is known as the Sword of Healing. The Ten of Spades is a young lady, and in her book, The Playing Card Oracles: A Source Book for Divination, Ana Cortez refers to her as a Cinderella type (pre- fairy godmother).  The Six of Hearts represents the home. In these three cards, I saw an image of a poor, homely girl licking her wounds.  Not a great lotto-winning vibe.

Directly afterwards, I went online to check my ticket against the winning numbers. It was not a winner. I had only one matching number: 32.  Which is interesting, because these three cards add up to 23, which is 32 flipped. And 23 was also one of the winning numbers.

This was a fun little reading. Sometimes when I don't have anything to read about, but feel like playing with the cards, I like to ask questions I already know the answer to (or am 99.9% sure about, like not winning the lotto), just to see how the cards will illustrate the answer. It's good practice to see what images or scenes you can see in the card combinations.

Looking at the cards again, another image I see in them is a girl crying... the Lady in the middle, representing a girl's physical (spades) face, and the two water (hearts) cards on either side, like tears streaming down her face. Again, not a great indicator of a winning lotto ticket. But nice intuitive imagery.

Deck: Highlander's 1864 Poker Deck (published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Dexter Deck (or a Review on the Karnival Dead Eyes Playing Cards)

About a week ago, I got a new playing card deck.  I call it my Dexter deck.  But it's actually called Karnival Dead Eyes Deck. When I saw images of the cards online, I had to have it. Like my favorite Bicycle 1800 Vintage Series, it has that dirty, aged look to it. But even more dramatically so, as its "dirt" is darker, and the edges are beautifully darkened so that they look sort of burned. I'm a sucker for these antiqued decks.

But there's much more to this deck than just the aged look. And this deck definitely won't be for everyone, due to its slightly gruesome nature.  There is blood spattered on every card (Enter Dexter).  Each of the numbered card sets have the same spatter design (ie: the spatter is identical on all the 2's, and then all the 3's have matching spatter, etc.). I was a bit disappointed by this, as it seemed a bit lazy. But it's not really that noticeable when reading with the cards, so it's not a big deal.

Another unique feature of this deck is that along both sides of each card, the name of the card (example: Six of Clubs) is spelled out in ransom-letter font. It seems overkill, especially along both edges, and makes the cards feel a bit cluttered. But if they had to do it, the ransom font makes it at least interesting enough to be unique, and it's preferable to regular font. The words are hard enough to make out that I have to really look hard to read them, so for me, it serves as more of a design than any helpful wording.

Courts and Back
I love the colors on the court cards.  The tone of the yellow used is great. And the contrast of the yellow and red on the aged background is really nice.  The courts all feature blacked out eyes, in the form of censor bars. And if you look closely, you'll find some of their eyeballs in unusual places. The Queens have either one or two of their eyes in the center of the flowers they hold. The King of Diamonds holds a scalpel, with his eyeball skewered on it. There is an eyeball on the tip of one of the swords on both the King of Spades and Clubs cards. The King of Hearts' eyeballs are nowhere to be seen.

The Jacks of Hearts and Spades both hold medical tools that look like forceps of some sort. The Jack of Hearts is holding his eyeball with the forceps, on both ends of the card.  The Jack of Spades does so on only one side, with empty forceps on the other side. The Jack of Clubs' eyeballs aren't seen, but it looks almost as if the skin is removed from his lower face. It's hard to describe, even when looking really closely at the image. The Jack of Spades is rather neutral... just the black bar over the eyes and minimal blood spatter. No eyeballs, stitching, etc.

The Kings' and Queens' mouths are stitched closed (though on the Queen of Hearts and Queen of Clubs, the stitching is on the chin, which makes me wonder if this was intentional or if it was misaligned when printing).  The Queens all have smudged bloodied marks on the neckline of their blouses, though there are no wounds apparent.

It all sounds much more gory than they really feel (at least to me) when seen in real life.

The backs of this deck (see image above, beside the court cards) feature a reversible image of a cadaver. As far as cadavers go, it's not all that grody.  No guts spilling out or anything.  The chest cavity is empty/skeletal.  The side of the guy's face is stitched.  And in the center of the body is an eyeball.  In the top right corners, there is a bit of humor added, with three hanging pine tree air fresheners. Death is stinky.

The Aces are what really got me. After the dramatically aged look initially caught my attention, it was the Aces that sealed the deal. In most decks, it's only the Ace of Spades that gets the close up.  In this deck, all the Aces come front and center. And they are all smudged, which I love.  And they all have subtle stitches running through them. They have so much character. Hands down, the best Aces of any deck, bar none.

Jokers and Blank Card
The blank card included is really nice, and I'm thinking of ways to incorporate it into my readings as a wild card of some sort.

The Jokers are nearly identical. They both feature the profile of the inside of a person's head/neck. Inside one, we see a brain. In the other, the head cavity is empty except for the presence of a single card, the Ten of Spades.  "HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!" is featured at the tops and bottoms of the picture, and "JOKER" is printed at the bottom of each, with lower case "j" at the top left of both ends of each card.

Reveal Card (Back and Front)
This is a deck designed, I'm assuming, for the magician crowd, as it comes with a blank card, and a "reveal" card. The advertisement side of the reveal card is the grossest thing in the deck, and I'm super glad it didn't make it to the backs. On the back of the reveal card is an advertisement for the publisher, Karnival Inc, featuring a huge spade suit symbol cutting into this guy's neck, with the apex of the spade coming up through the other side of his skin. Yuck!!!  On the front side of the card, we see the same cadaver as shown on the backs of the cards, though only one-sided.  Below his chest is a diamond with the number 5 in it, and at the top of the card is written: "You will choose 5 of Diamonds".  Thankfully, as a reader, I have no need for this card.

Like I said, although this deck will definitely not be for everyone, the cards really don't look all that gruesome when in hand. And I really love the feel of the deck.  It shuffles really nicely. Much smoother than the thicker Vintage 1800 cards. The dirty/aged look is done superbly. And the blood spatter looks just as much to me like splattered paint as it does blood.  I love the Aces and numbered cards, and the Courts are very original. All in all, it's now one of my favorite playing card decks.

If you're planning on doing playing card readings for Halloween, you really can't beat this deck. I'll definitely be using this one on the nights I shuffle along while watching Dexter next season.  And I've been using it for my own every day readings for the time being.

Deck: Karnival Dead Eyes Deck Playing Cards (published by Bicycle)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Zippered Pouch for my Playing Cards

Today I finally sewed a bag for my favorite playing card deck. I had crocheted a bag for it months ago, but I've been wanting to upgrade to a zippered pouch for awhile. I bought this playing card fabric ages ago, specifically for this project. 

<== Here's the back side.

I'm very happy with how it turned out. I keep taking the cards out and putting them back in, just like a kid playing with a new toy. :)