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?
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?
This simple pleasure brought me joy! When I first began creating altars, I updated them four times a year with the passing of each season. Although the results were appealing, I soon felt cluttered and overwhelmed with the random materials I was accumulating, so I stopped doing much with them. The small altar I worked on today had not been touched in many months, and it was good to light the candles and pull new cards for it.
The card in the back of the display in my photograph is a Lisa Frank (TM) tarot card, which my inner child loves! The particular card I drew is the Lovers. The card to the right is from the Good Tarot. I drew Four of Air, which focuses on rest and self-care. This was an affirmation I needed today as I have been feeling a bit physically run down, which has slowed my pace. As soon as I am not going full-speed, I start to worry that I am lazy and pathetic. Having the guide tell me to take a break allowed me to grant myself more grace.
My overall impression is that my altars are there waiting for me to return as I am able. The Wisdom they represent is patient and kind. Do you have any altars, and, if so, what ideas do you have for updating or rearranging one of them?
I use tarot and oracle cards as a way to (re)focus my vision as well as for clarity in situations that I find confusing. For today’s simple pleasure, I drew a card from a small hand-painted deck I made that contains one-word verbs to motivate change. The word I received was “cleanse,” which felt ironic, given that I’d just eaten an entire lunch filled with junk food and therefore feel gross. My stress level has been extremely high, so the card spoke to me about finding positive self-care behaviors in which I can engage rather than unhealthy coping mechanisms.
I also found a card stuck in between my books which referenced the Earth and how it provides all we need. I’ve gotten multiple messages recently about returning to Source and connecting with humanity, so this felt on target. With all that is going on domestically and abroad, it is easy for me to focus on dehumanization and evil. The cards I drew, collectively, are reminding me that there is goodness, gentleness, kindness and care in the world, if I pay attention to it.