Last weekend, I co-facilitated the Deck Creator's Mastermind (DCM), led by Kiala Givehand. The DCM shows you all the ways to create, publish, and sell the oracle deck of your dreams. One of my favorite aspects to teach is deck concept. The deck concept goes beyond just a deck idea and really hones in on the WHY behind making a deck. Each year that I've participated in DCM, it's become more and more clear to me that deck creating isn't just a creative process. It's a self-discovery process and, more importantly, a shadow-work process.
Shadow is the stuff we wrestle with, that presents us with more questions than answers. It's what we don't see or are in denial about. It's when we feel stuck or when life feels hard and we get overwhelmed. Shadow work, however, is the work of facing the shadow stuff. It's confronting the heavy emotions and repeated unproductive patterns. Shadow work challenges us to witness our wholeness and not just the parts we want the world to see.
Here are a few truths about shadow work and the deck-making process:
(1) You can't make a deck that does not reflect you. Everything you create, especially an oracle deck, reflects you at that moment in time. And if you're wise, you'll look deep into the depths of that deck and discover yourself, your biases, and your fears, in the process.
(2) Your deck concept reveals your current shadow work project. The deck you're trying to bring into the world has elements or themes of your current challenges. For instance, if your deck is about speaking up and using your voice, that's your biggest obstacle at the moment. If your deck promotes greater authenticity, that's what you're trying to integrate. Writing an honest deck concept will help you figure this out. Answer these questions:
(3) Lack of self-acceptance may be what's blocking you from completing your deck. If you cannot accept the shadow stuff your deck is bringing up, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to complete the deck. For instance, if you cannot seem to complete your deck that helps others with body esteem, it may be that, unconsciously, your own body esteem issues are the block. The deck may not progress until you do your shadow work and address, or at least acknowledge, the underlying issues.
Last week, I made two personal oracle decks: Creative Compass Oracle and Black Gurl Magic Oracle. The Creative Compass Oracle is a deck that keeps evolving. This is the 5th version of it and it still feels incomplete. It's a deck reflecting the creative process. It answers questions about why you may be encountering blocks on your creative journey and offers ways to resolve them. Every card is presented in a positive light or as solutions to creative problems. I've been developing it as a way to better understand my creative process so I can help others with their creative process. It has the word "compass" in the name because my intention is that it's a tool that can help you determine your creative direction. But that's also my shadow work. I'm unsure of what my creative direction is at this stage in life. So, my deck evolves as I reach new states of awareness and understanding in this area.
Black Gurl Magic Oracle features abstracts of Black women dancing, to reflect the ability of Black women to rise above suffering and pain. This is a poetry divination deck and the keywords are from 7 poems from 7 contemporary Black female poets. When you string a row of cards together, you'll create an original poem reflecting the soul of Black women. This deck is an antidote to the daily heaviness I feel for myself and other Black women, who seem to always be at the bottom of the world's hierarchy, "the mule of the world" to quote Zora Neale Hurston, and everyone's scapegoat. I am striving to dance through it with my head in the air, like these beautiful Black queens.
If you have an urge to create an oracle deck, just remember there's an internal process at work. It's not just about finding art and choosing a few keywords. I believe deck-making is a way to assist in your soul's evolution. When you complete the deck, you'll have the sense of opening up to a bigger version of yourself.