I have been working on my In an Open Hand intuitive card deck for at least a year and a half now. It contains 64 cards, each with a different word and prompts for different parts of self for reflection. It is also split into seasons. I’ve finished the prompts for fall and winter, but have much left to do for spring and summer. I’ve been waiting impatiently for spring to be on the horizon so that I can get back to creating in this way again. As I wait for signs winter is lifting, I decided to spend some time reflecting on the process so far.
If you are interested in creating your own intuitive deck, here are a few tips and ideas about how you might go about doing so, based on what I’ve learned from my own experience:
- Decide on a few themes that have a numerical basis to them. For example, I’ve incorporated moon phases, seasons of the year, body systems and the like into my deck. This allowed me to create “suits” as well as types of cards within each suit. Doing this allows for a more intimate focus on a particular area of your inner world and can help to give you some direction.
- Consider the purpose you would like your deck to serve in your life and what you would like to learn from it. Intuitive to me speaks to exploring my internal experiences, but it might mean something else to you. What I love about making my own set of cards is that I am not conforming myself into someone else’s way of conceptualizing things but can be as free as my imagination will allow me to be.
- Do words or images speak more to your inner world and your intuition? If images are how you process, you may want to begin by creating the artwork for each card and then letting your ideas flow from there. I am much more comfortable with my writing skills, so I’ve started with laying out my ideas in language and am still working on finding a way to represent them visually.
- For which type of person do you want your deck to be accessible? As a non-binary person, I’ve been extremely frustrated by the strict gender binary most tarot and oracle cards incorporate, so it was important for me to find a way to represent my spirituality that would not reinforce the gender binary. Even if you are the only one who is going to use the cards you create, spend some time making sure you are welcoming all parts of self and not solely the ones with which you are most comfortable.
- Take your time. I have gotten a lot of fulfillment from having an ongoing creative project with no set end-date and a maximum amount of flexibility. I feel inspired by having something in my life that isn’t focused on deadlines, productivity, making an impression or fitting in. It is possible that you might start creating an intuitive deck and find yourself led in another creative direction. Be open to possibility.
If you have dedication to inner work and/or creativity, what wisdom or inspiration do you have to share? What word or image would feel appropriate to your day today? What does it mean to you to attend to your intuition?
The astonishing snowstorm this weekend in Newfoundland has brought back memories of significant snowfalls I’ve experienced, during which the only means of getting around were small paths carved out of the snow. I think that if, upon opening my front door, I was met with a wall of snow, I’d be tempted to retreat inward (and perhaps to chill some beverages in the natural refrigerator). The theme of an inward-looking viewpoint speaks to me as tied to winter. Deep inner work is, to me, the heart of the winter season, alongside an invitation to a slower and more gentle approach to self-care. I am attempting to allow myself to actually rest, rather than to opine the importance of it while ignoring my needs.
I tend to give myself enough time to sleep at night, so I don’t nap on a regular basis. One of the few times I will physically lie down during the day is if I’m sick. This weekend, the weather where I live has turned bitterly cold and I am still not feeling well. In particular, I find my energy flags by mid-afternoon. I purchased the best robe I’ve ever owned in my life this winter, and have been curling up in bed in my spare room with my pup while wearing it.
It may seem obvious to those who are more able to still themselves, but it has felt like the height of luxury to be able to be warm, cozy and at peace without having to watch the time or jump up to accomplish the next task. I’m a good sitter, in that I do lounge around quite often, but there is a distinct difference to me between being at rest and fully unwinding, as I do not flirt with sleep when I watch TV or sit on my couch. I find myself wondering if I would be more productive if I completely stopped what I was doing and napped on occasion, rather than going into a halfway-state of resting my body without resting my mind.
Even in the time it has taken me to write this post, worries about being lazy and unhealthy are already creeping at the edges of my mind. I’ve been sick for a week and a half and I still cannot accept that my body needs care and cannot always go at one hundred percent. Part of my mission statement for this year involves owning my limitations. My physical constraints have always been a primary source of frustration and struggle for me, so I hope I can allow myself rest in the form of napping when I need to as a simple reflection of my desire for self-care and comfort. Do you nap? If so, is it a part of your self-care routine? If not, do feelings of guilt related to productivity or other self-judgments hold you back from doing so? How can you be kind to yourself today?
I drew the Shimmer card from my In an Open Hand deck today. The focus of this card is on creating internal safety and a welcoming environment for parts of self that might feel abandoned or lost. In order to achieve this, I’ll be spending some time in this post considering adjustments that might be needed in my inner world.
What springs to mind immediately is the amount of time I allot to various aspects of my identity and sense of self. I think that I dwell in my thoughts, trying to anticipate, reason and respond in a mature way to what life gives me, but I do not dedicate as much energy to processing my emotions. My connection to my body is much stronger than it used to be in that I can actually feel my heart beating faster when I am scared or angry and notice the tension in my muscles after a stressor, but I’m not certain that I always take the next step of labeling my emotions after I feel them. Doing so might help me to interact more directly with the parts of self that carry the weight of certain emotional states.
In addition to how I spend my “inner world” time, I also believe that there is room for growth in my level of self-acceptance. I often become angry or upset with myself if I’ve failed to act in a way that aligns perfectly with my values, rather than viewing it from a developmental framework in which I track my progress over time. I know I’ve changed but I don’t necessarily feel better because of it. I want all the parts of who I am to feel loved and embraced, so I hope I can respond more gently and with greater encouragement to myself with time. What is the state of your inner world? How can you create an increased sense of safety there?
I drew a card from my In an Open Hand deck that I have been creating. The card was Calm. For each card, I’ve created a series of questions to connect with different parts of self in relation to the theme, so I sat with those questions today. The focus for the Calm card is on change, loss and a sense of control over life situations.
One of the questions I developed related to exploring where life is causing me to change and where I am active in changing my life. I see these areas intertwining in that much of my life in recent years has been about acceptance. I’ve had to try to come to terms with my limitations as a person, the losses I’ve suffered and the fragility of my successes. I still do not do very well in the moment when life presents me with unanticipated stressors, but I do think that I show more resilience and a faster recovery than I did in the past in areas such as an unexpected financial setback.
At the same time, I’ve used up my reserve of faith in others after one relationship after another failed. I have a much thinner capacity for hurt when it comes to dealing with people, and each “lesson” seems to push me farther into myself rather than to help me move forward. I expect to be betrayed, used, abandoned and taken for granted by every person I meet, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in many cases.
Sometimes I worry that I am not in touch with how alienated I am. I can’t solve people the way I solve other types of problems because I cannot tolerate hypocrisy, a lack of integrity or poor follow-through and I give up when they show up. I don’t think I expect more than others than I do of myself, but rather I cannot seems to find people who hold themselves to the same set of standards to which I hold myself. I’ve been changed by my experiences and I’ve stopped my effort at changing them. I feel adrift, floating from one insufficient island of connection to another, no longer charting my path towards relationship.
The theme of the Calm card is the gut, which I view as the seat of intuitive knowledge as well as a change-maker for taking chances. I do not know what form it will take, but I want to try yet again in some form to find relationship. It feels hopeless and I feel helpless, but there is no way through unless I keep my boat moving, landing on each new shore and perhaps finding, at least for a time, respite. Where in your life are you being moved? Where are you moving yourself? What does seeking calm mean to you?
I’ve added to my personally-created deck collection, and, subsequently, to the categories I will be incorporating on my blog. I’ve gone through nearly all of my “Simple Pleasures” deck and, although I will be reusing the cards, I also wanted to springboard off of what I found most beneficial in that deck to create new ones.
I’ve made an overview category of Writing Everyday, which will include:
- Daily Presence
- Daily Remembrances
- Daily Works of Art
- In the Cards and of course
- Simple Pleasures.
The Daily Presence cards focus on a particular body part. I will use them to get in touch with how my body is moving through the world, and what it needs on any given day to be loved and safe. Daily Remembrances cards are writing prompts designed to help me contemplate past experiences through the lens of acceptance and growth (I am also working on making writing prompt cards for the present moment and for the future). Each Daily Works of Art card focuses on creating a representation of a particular concept through whichever medium I believe will fit best. In the Cards will involve a tarot, oracle or intuitive deck draw and interpretation. This will on occasion include my In an Open Hand Intuitive Deck that I am in the process of creating. The Simple Pleasure cards are what I’ve been using for the past two months to engage in an action which brings joy and hope to my everyday life.
The remaining categories on my blog, such as Creativity, Experiences of Identity and so forth, will be reserved from this point forward for longer essays that focus on specific ideas and experiences. I had to take a break for about a year from writing longer pieces (I’ve written other blogs previously) as my internal world was shifting and I wasn’t sure how best to articulate myself. I think that I’m settling into a place where there may be more that I have to share in a deeper context.
I include an open-ended question or two at the end of almost all of my writings. As a reader of my blog, I hope that you will sharing your thoughts in the comments on occasion and, if you are having a rough day where you need a bright spot of hope or simply a break from what’s going on, I hope what I have to share will afford you that experience. I started Simple Pleasures because I was in a deep depression and needed something to connect with on a daily basis. I expect that expanding into the decks/topics that I’ve chosen will bring new insights and experiences. What are daily practices that bring you peace, acceptance and/or hope?