Friday, 23 June 2017

Tarot Games -- Shahrazad and Stones of Fate

So far I've bought two games that involve Tarot in some way, so I thought I'd do a little review of them. :)

Shahrazad, Osprey Games 2017

The first is Shahrazad, published by Osprey Games. This game is based on the Tarot majors, with each card assigned a thematically linked world fairy tale. In the game, you are Shahrazad, stringing together the fairy tales in order to survive another day. It was originally published as Tarot Storia in Japan, printed on cardstock. Shahrazad is the US/UK version, leaving out any mention of Tarot on the box and instead focusing on the fairy tales. In the new version, the cards have become tiles.

Cards or tiles, neither the fairy tales nor the Tarot carry a whole lot of weight, as the object of the game is to arrange the cards in columns in numerical order. You do this by drawing cards one at a time and placing them in offset columns of four cards each.  When you've finished laying all the cards, you then score based on how many contiguous cards of the same colour you have, after eliminating any cards that cannot be connected first to last column and that appear out of numerical order. This does not sound particularly challenging, but it is! This game is recommended for solo play, and it is a quiet, meditative game, particularly if you let your mind wander over the fairy tales and how those fit in with the Tarot card meaning whilst you are placing the cards. Two players can also play, taking turns and working collaboratively.

I bought this game at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham and paid £13, only to come home and find it on Amazon for £5.99. The dirty robbin' bastards. :)

Stones of Fate, Cosmic Wombat 2014

The second game I can share with you is Stones of Fate published by Cosmic Wombat Games, which was apparently formed in order to publish this particular game.  I don't think they've done anything else.

Stones of Fate contains the 78-card Tarot deck, art work by Ciro Marchetti. Tarot plays a stronger role in this game, with each card even getting a few lines of text explaining the card meaning. However, game play does not really involve Tarot meanings. It turns out this is a memory game!

Each player is given a set of 4 coloured tokens and the object of the game is to collect cards by placing the stones in the proper places above, below and/or left and right of the face down cards. Here's how it works:

Cards are laid out face down in 3 or 4 columns of 3 rows. (To its credit, the rules book calls this a 'spread'.) The cards are turned over so that players can examine the card placement in the spread. On each card, there are markings at top, bottom and sides indicating how many stones must be placed there in order to claim the card. Then all the cards are turned face down again. On your turn, you can either peek at a card, place a stone, or try to claim a card by turning it over. When you turn it over, if you have the proper number of stones on each side, you can claim it. If you don't, it goes into the discard pile and is replaced. This carries on for 78 cards. You keep all the cards you've claimed and at the end of the game, points are added up to see who wins. Some cards have special powers based on their Tarot meaning, such as Queen of Coins, 'This card represents the 'motherly' aspect, the desire to care for and nurture your family. Choose a card from your collection and give it to another player.' Or The Fool, 'The Fool represents a new journey into the complete unknown. Each player must remove all of their fate stones from the spread.' Or The Tower, 'The Tower represents a time of great turmoil and insecurity, shaking foundations built on naivety. Each player must discard at random one card from their collection.' Which is all well and good, but it's the memory aspect that is the big challenge here for me. I found myself getting so confused and grumpy that we decided we should play it with a timer set and then count up points after 15, 20, 30 minutes. When we played it recently, I found myself getting very upset with myself for not being able to remember where to place the stones! Funnily enough, improving my memory is one of the main reasons we started gaming. But memory games! Oy!

I think either of these games would make a nice addition for a Tarot group that might want to try something a bit different.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Hey, I'm still here! (waves)

I haven't been blogging about tarot, but I'm still doing readings if you want one, and I've been keeping myself busy with the new house.

This week the decorator is in doing some painting in the dining room. Yesterday, he removed some paper, today he's sanding the walls, who knows when the painting will start.

Last week, a work colleague gave me three tomato vines, and yesterday I decided at sweltering 4 pm that would be a good time to repot them, and of course I caught the sun on my face and neck. The courgette plant is taking over the neighbourhood; I decided yesterday to clip off some leaves that looked worse for the wear and I'm hoping it doesn't see that as a good reason to die.

All those pretty winter flowers went the way of all flesh, and now I'll need to get new bedding plants to replace them, but yesterday the hubster and I went clothes shopping (we both looked like Victorian orphans, it was really time to buy something) so it will have to wait until cash reserves are replenished.

Speaking of which, last week we had to buy a new clutch for Old Faithful, and this week we've got the decorator, so even though we have this week off, we haven't been able to travel to Wales as we'd planned. Too broke. However, my recent tarot/oracle sales have generated Paypal money for the buying of board games, so we have been playing those every evening and enjoying them very much. Hope everyone who bought decks from me is loving their new decks.

Here's how the garden looked at 7.00 this morning. (Hubster calls this corner 'Carla's farm'.)

The newly potted tomato plants. Blue pot: french beans, green pot chili pepper (Apache).

Left planter: cayenne pepper and more dwarf french beans. Right: herbs

Left: the triffid yellow courgette
Carla's farm (that's the neighbour's fence, nothing we can do. Spot of soil is where at 9 pm last night I decided to repot the french beans and apache pepper to make space in the planter) 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Images from my garden

What have I been up to lately? Learning to bake sourdough bread, discovering the joys of board games and making a start on doing up the garden. 

Here's what I've managed so far, using a lot of stuff I found out there (salvaged brick, an old stump, some flower pots I brought from the flat). 

It takes a lot to fill a garden, but only a little to start to make it feel welcoming. This is just the beginning -- the shed arrives next week -- and I'm going to paint it like a beach hut!

View from back door

View from the back step :) 

Old flower pots, old bricks and pansies 

Classy owl wall art

Brand new grow tables (ignore the junk, that's going)

a £2 watering can

Faery altar from found stump and stones (that's our leftover Yule tree)

Sunday, 9 April 2017

April card and mantra

Star Tarot by Cathy McClelland
The major card for April 2017 is Temperance, and the mantra for Temperance (according to my own system) is Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung. This mantra was taught by Yogi Bhajan in the summer of 1973, and is chanted by kundalini yoga practitioners, and others. It is considered a sacred healing meditation for the self and others.

Ra - Sun
Ma - Moon
Da - Earth
Sa - Impersonal infinity
Sa say - Totality of infinity
So - Personal sense of merger and identity
Hung - The infinite, vibrating and real

It is often translated: 'Sun, Moon, Earth, Infinity, Totality of Infinity, I am thou (or I am that)'.

The above is a lovely rendition with photographs to help get you in the mood to contemplate the meaning. It's not my favourite version for chanting though. My favourite is by Mantra Girl (Erin Kamler) from her album, 'Truth'. However, it's not on You Tube.

Blessed be.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

March month card and mantra

Star Tarot, C McClelland 
March's tarot card is Death:

3 + 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 13

You can see in the image by Cathy McClelland that death represents an ending and a beginning. There are many symbols. We have Nuit arching over the sky, the traditional faceless Grim Reaper, but he holds a glowing stone rather than a scythe. The Phoenix flies upward, and a butterfly hovers above. Ends and beginnings.

The mantra for this month that I will chant daily is:





My favourite version of this chant is from Mantra Girl:

Blessings for the month of March. x

Sunday, 5 February 2017

February Month Card and Mantra

Star Tarot, Cathy McClelland
February is the second month, so to find the 'month card', I have added 2+2017=2+0+1+9=12. The Hanged Man. Or the Hanged One, as Cathy McClelland calls it in the Star Tarot. Please follow the link in the image caption to read Cathy's words about this card.

The Hanged Man, then, is the card for February. As Cathy says, the image represents a sort of surrender to the universe. With all that's going on in the world, surrendering up our fears and worries seems the best possible choice, and it is the advice of the card.

The mantra that I have selected to represent the Hanged Man is Shante prashante:

Shante prashante sarva bhaya upasha mani swaha

Invoking peace, perfect peace, I offer up the energy of fear to the universal formless mind

Bhaya is the word for fear. If you would prefer to release some other energy, you can substitute a different word: 

Khroda - anger
Shoka - grief

Here's a pleasant enough example of one way to chant the mantra. Chant it however it suits you.

I am chanting this for 5 minutes a day every day in the month of February.

Blessed be!