While I’ve enjoyed this week’s deck, there are several factors that mean I won’t be reading with it again in a hurry. The biggest of these is the fact that the card stock of the Inner Child Cards (Bear & Co, 1992, 2002) is extremely flimsy. Shuffling is made even harder by the large size of the cards (15.8 x 9.8 cms, or 6 1/4 by 3 5/8 inches) – about the same size as the DruidCraft.
Another thing that doesn’t totally work for me is the fact that the cards are often a struggle to fit into traditional interpretations, yet also don’t seem to be entirely separate. Although the cards do encompass some quite difficult situations, because of the child-like aspect many of the traditionally difficult cards have been softenened and altered. Other times, I’m really not sure why the changes have been made. For example, the Four of Hearts (Cups) is rather closer to traditional Five of Cups meanings, showing a mermaid with a broken heart. Then, the Five of Cups is rather happier, and the Six of Cups has a mermaid riding a bird and lifting some of her sister mermaids out of the sea. In the book, this is described as a blissful experience, taking them from the irrational into a higher plane. However, that doesn’t really fit with them being mermaids!
One thing I do generally like is the way fairy tales have been chosen for the Majors. For example, here in the Judgement card we have the Three Little Pigs. The image shows the wolf trying to clamber into the chimney of the house of bricks, and the pigs below already planning to trap and cook him. While I don’t think this is the best moment from the story to have chosen, I guess it depends on which part of the tale you feel most fits this card. For me, it is more about hearing a calling to start a new stage in your life, which is what first drew the Little Pigs away from their mother and their family home. The pig who built its house from bricks had clearly been called to act wisely and create something new and strong in this next stage. As for boiling the wolf up fits with the idea of Judgement, the wolf is judged and found lacking, and also enters a new era as pig food, I suppose…
The Court cards are renamed in this deck as Child, Seeker, Guide and Guardian. Three of the Guardians are Archangels (Michael, Raphael, and Gabrielle), while the third is Gaia herself, represented in angelic form for some reason. Interestingly, several of the Guides are male, yet they can be seen to have a nurturing side. For instance, the Guide of Swords as Robin Hood is someone who robbed the rich to feed the poor: taking care of those in need, nurturing them with physical goods and food. In terms of his Swords association, he was a wily character, evading capture and devising cunning plans to carry out his robberies 🙂
The Aces are generally fairly typical – a suit emblem front and centre on the card. However, in the Ace of Hearts we also have two mermaids, which confuses the issue slightly. Overall, though, these cards work reasonably well.
Speaking of suit emblems, the suits are half renamed, giving us Wands, (Winged) Hearts (Cups), Swords, and (Earth) Crystals (Pentacles). Each suit also has a theme: for Wands it is flower fairies and nature spirits; for Hearts it is mermaids (and the odd merman); for Swords it is a questing theme, with Knights, Damsels, castles and dragons; and for Crystals it is gnomes.
Here in the Ten of Crystals, then, we have a Christmas scene. Three generations of gnomes happily enjoy their Christmas time, with a lovely tree, a blazing fire, and ten stockings (perhaps each containing a crystal) and presents. This card clearly echoes traditional Ten of Pentacles depictions – a family in a situation of happy abundance.
Overall, it is a very sweet deck, and certainly appropriate for children. There is no nudity, no blood shed, but there are some tough emotions and situations. It is also a deck that works just fine for adults, with plenty of symbolism to connect with, much of it nature-based. The companion book is also excellent, if somewhat New Agey. I like the somewhat deeper, more psychological approach taken to the fairy tales that are explored here, and the logic behind the minors is also made clear. Just a shame the card stock is so dreadful!