"The natural elements have inspired this deck: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Space. In this respect, it's similar to the system used by the Tibetans and other societies whose aim it is to encourage people to bring balance into their lives by recognizing the lack or over-abundance of any one element." - From the companion booklet
Scottish psychic Gordon Smith has teamed up with his dear friend, Dronma, to create the 5 Keys to Happiness Oracle Cards. Dronma is a Tibetan Buddhist artist who often works with Smith to create "psychic art".
Inspired by the quiet yet vibrant Scottish countryside, Smith and Dronma realized that the five elements combine for a sense of well-being and balance. They decided to collaborate on a tool that would allow people to find happiness, with Smith receiving a cosmic "download" of appropriate statements while Dronma received visions of accompanying artwork. Thus the 5 Keys to Happiness Oracle Cards were born.
The 5 Keys to Happiness Oracle Cards is 34-card deck made up of five "families" (suits) which correspond to the Tibetan elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Space. Each elemental suit correlates to the sacred colors of Tibet: Green, Red, Blue, Yellow and White. According to the 113-page companion booklet, these colors are often found among Tibetan mountain passages and on prayer flags.
There are six cards in each suit, with cards 1 through 4 representing five stages of life: embryo, child, adult and elder. Card 5-a ring of protection-represents the subconscious mind, while card 6 features a dragon of wisdom, symbolizing the higher self in mythical form. In addition, there are four Guardian Kings, which correlate to the four directions. However, these cards are only used for the Mandala Spread, which is explained in the back of the booklet.
Smith provides positive and negative interpretations for each card, indicating the meanings when the card is upright on reversed. The card backing is fully reversible with a blue background, bronze speckles and swirls, and a luminous white diamond sitting atop a gray disc. Also included with in the box is a glossy pullout illustrating a colorful mandala, which you can use for the Mandala Spread or for meditation.
While 5 Keys to Happiness Oracle Cards is unique, the information provided is too vague and incomplete. Smith spends more time explaining the Scottish countryside, how he met Dronma, and their frequent collaborations than he does the meanings of the five elements. He mentions the importance of maintaining balance in life using these elements, but doesn't elaborate on the nature of the elements, the various manifestations of these elements in life, and ways in which to bring an element into the forefront.
For example, of the Space element he merely says that it's "the illuminator" and that too much of this element causes one to feel "spaced out". What is confusing, even for individuals familiar with elemental work via Tarot, Feng Shui, or Earth-based spiritual paths, is the lack of detailed explanation concerning this Tibetan system. The Fire element is called the element of "infinite light", yet there's no explanation as to how this differs from the "illumination" of space. Also, being "spaced out" is often correlated with the Air element, so there's no delineation between how Space and Air differ from one another.
Perhaps Smith and Dronma have created a comprehensive system using Tibetan elemental spirituality, but needed to truncate the information for publishing reasons. However, the 5 Keys to Happiness Oracle Cards beg for elucidation. How do the five elements promote happiness? How are they similar and different? What are some practical examples of elemental imbalance?
I performed several readings using this deck, including the Mandala Spread, but the information was too general to add much insight. I felt like I was reading the horoscopes in the Sunday paper. It wasn't that this deck was inaccurate or way off base, just that it seemed to lack pointed insight. Maybe because I'm so used to the depth of Tarot-including the four elements associated with the Minor Arcana-the 5 Keys to Happiness Oracle Cards was too subtle for my tastes.
It's a great concept, and I do agree about bringing in various elements for energetic balance. However, I'm no closer to understanding the purpose of the Space element (which I've never heard of before), nor how this system differs (if it does) between other element-based practices.
If you're looking for a comprehensive book about bringing balance in your life using the four elements, I recommend The Way of Four by Deborah Lipp. Filled with self-tests and fascinating information, you'll discover which element/s saturates your life, and how to add other elements to achieve energetic balance.
(To see 6 images from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at [...])