on 4 June 2014
There is much to like about this Chakra Wisdom Oracle (Watkins, 2014). For instance, there is the structure - seven cards for each of the seven main chakras - which also hints at magic, with it's connotations of the seventh son of a seventh son. There is also the fact that the cards aren't all sweetness and light. Life, after all, isn't always perfect, and it is often precisely when things aren't great that we are most in need of assistance. The Rejection card, for example, suggests those times when we listen to critical voices: those of others around us, ourselves, or people from our past. Yet the view outside the windows hints that there is a wider world, and these concerns are very small in comparison.
The notion of being able to read cards to establish chakra imbalances is also an interesting one. These can then be adjusted either through using some of the spreads that accompany the deck, or by other recognised means of chakra balancing. The companion book offers seven spreads specifically to look at and work on intentions, along with sample readings using these. I like both the spreads and the sample readings, which help show how to use the spreads in a very practical, concise way.
In terms of the cards, the coloured borders make it easy to identify the chakra to which each card is associated. It's nice, too, that the images play with this colour scheme - the main character or object on each card is in a tone connected to that chakra. And the artwork, while simple, is colourful and attractive. There are lots of people depicted, with some ethnic diversity, which works quite well for giving the deck a balanced feel and human expressiveness. There are also a number of animals, plants and spirits shown. I particularly like the "Instinct" card, showing a white wolf under a full moon, for instance.
It must be said, sometimes the images seem to have little to do with the fable they are associated with. For instance, the Balance card's fable is about a character called Periwinkle, who is an actor trying to "make" it. He drops his "loved ones" to sign with an agent, only to find that he doesn't get the big break he hoped for. While the image certainly shows the idea of upsetting others, the figure in purple could just as easily be a spirit suggesting a work-life balance, or compromising between different options, rather than the fable's moral that living a loving reality is better than waiting for a dream.
Another aspect which surprised me about the deck is some of the associations to the chakras. For example, while connecting the red base chakra with grounding is very traditional, associating the third, solar plexus chakra to the intellect is quite unusual. It is an interesting notion, linking with ideas of knowing things at a gut level. Nevertheless, people who have spent time studying the chakras may prefer to use their own understandings of the chakras, rather than changing to fit those given in the companion book.
Other aspects of the companion book, though, are fascinating. The write-up to each card offers a "Legend" (a short fable), an "Inspiration" (a three line summary or thinking point), a "Personal Inquiry" (a question to ask yourself), "Key Ideas" and "Keywords", as well as a short "Meditation". While it may take some probing to understand how these relate amongst themselves, most people will find something to inspire them or help them connect to each card amongst these.
The set is attractively packaged, though I had to have my partner help me get the cards out as they were rather too firmly wedged in the box, and the little ribbon to help draw them out fell off the first time I pulled on it. The card backs, which is echoed on the book cover, is lovely, and the companion book offers brief, varied approaches to the cards. The cards are a nice quality cardstock, neither too flimsy nor too thick and rigid. They shuffle well, and are not so large as to be unwieldy for most people's hands. While the set's catchphrase "The complete spiritual toolkit for transforming your life" may be a little overblown, this is a nice deck and book set, particularly useful for those who like to work with intention and/or with chakras.