Review of The Power Deck: The Cards of Wisdom and Guidebook
by Lynn V. Andrews.
Back in the 1980’s, when I was searching for a way out of my depression and drug addiction, I found what was then called “Women’s Spirituality”. Having been raised Catholic, I was of course well aware of the female aspect in religion – the Virgin Mary and all the various female saints – and I always had a strong devotion to the Holy Mother. However, the Nicene Creed recited at all Masses demanded that I “believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth”, not the Mother of that God, and therefore the true Creatrix. Even as a child, I could see that the Mother of Baby Jesus should take precedence over some white-bearded dude who was never there but raged on anyway.
Since I worked in a public library – one of my many jobs at that time – I was able to access all kinds of books about comparative religions and spirituality. When I read a book, I looked at the reference section and I noted the books that the author read and then I looked for those books. I can’t remember how I found out about Lynn V. Andrews but it was probably from one of the women’s spirituality books I was reading in those days. I adored her books from the very beginning. I read every one, as soon as they came out. In those days I wasn’t able to buy books like I can now and I was only able to borrow them from the library. But I faithfully read all of Andrews’ books up to Woman at the Edge of Two Worlds – I had just had a baby and a book about menopause didn’t seem to have anything to do with my life. At that point, my life got away from me and I stopped reading so many books – anyone who has ever had a baby knows what I mean! It’s only in the last few years that I’ve been able to get back into truly reading again.
In preparation for this article, I read sections of Andrew’s books on Amazon.com and it was like meeting with an old friend after thirty or so years and having a lovely cup of tea and picking up our conversation where we left off like we had never been parted. I have now added all of Andrew’s books to my ever-growing list of “BOOKS I WANT”. I also checked out her website. You can too; there’s a wealth of information there, from how to become a student of Lynn’s to where to buy her books to how to subscribe to her monthly newsletter. Here’s the link: https://lynnandrews.com/
Usually when I get a new set of cards, I look at the cards first but in this case, I actually read the guide book first. Not that I didn’t give the cards a peek – they were so beautifully arranged by color – but I wanted to follow the directions – the first line in the book says, “Please read this introduction completely before you begin.” (Andrews, 15). I went beyond that; I read the entire book.
Then I looked at the cards. They are some of the most beautiful cards I have seen in a very long time – at least as far as being able to hold the cards in my very own hands. I see fabulous cards every day somewhere on the internet! The artist of these cards is Rob Schouten; his website is here: http://www.robschoutengallery.com/ – I highly suggest you check it out as he is a very gifted artist. If you live in the Greater Seattle area, you should get to his Gallery on Whidbey Island. I know I would if I lived there!
One thing about the cards. They are very large and made of a very thick card stock, which doesn’t make them very easy to shuffle.
I know that my hands are on the small size but I can handle most larger-sized cards easily. It was really the thicker card stock that made the shuffling so difficult. I decided to try some “Fifty-Two Card Pick-Up” – ok, 45-Card Pick-Up! – but the cards were so heavy, they just fell in one pile after I tossed them into the air. Honestly, I had to laugh.
So then I got down on the floor and mixed them up by hand. As you can see, my cat Bobby helped. He was quite attracted to these cards!
I laid them out side by side and then I noticed something else about them: some of the cards are presented in what is called a “portrait” layout and some presented in a “landscape” layout. I had never seen that before. Usually cards are always in “portrait”; that’s how you would hold them in your hand, if you were playing a game. However, these cards are definitely not for playing any kind of card game, so that
Another thing about these cards which I think is really brilliant is that while Andrews has all the meanings of the cards in the guidebook, each card has the meaning on the flip side of the card. So if you are pulling a card a day for daily meditation (as I have been doing; these cards are perfect for that) this is what you might find:
Andrews includes several spreads in the section entitled “How to use The Power Deck” and I found them all to be very enlightening, not only with The Power Deck cards but with my other divinatory cards as well. I plan to work with these spread more closely in the coming months.
I especially liked the Sacred-Task Layout. As Andrews writes, “The Sacred-Task Layout utilizes the sacred wheel in which, traditionally, the four directions circle the center (the self), with each direction representing different aspects of one’s self or one’s growth in the process of enlightenment.” (Andrews, 20)
The first card is south, representing trust and innocence. Your inner child lives here. The second card is west and there resides your sacred dream; it is the place of death and rebirth and transformation. The third card is north, the place of spirit and power. This is where your adult self lives. The fourth card is east – your creativity and mental illumination. Your grandparents live there. The fifth card – the card in the middle – is the Self. This is the “essence of you of the essence of your dilemma.” (Andrews, 22) The last card – the sixth card – is your task card. This is the card that tells you what you need to work on – your spiritual task.
(The Sacred Task Spread. (Andrews, 21))
One thing I thought was interesting is that, in this spread anyway, Andrews’ instruction includes rubbing your hands “until they are warm and sensitized” and shuffling the pack before each card is chosen. Also, you put the cards down with the picture side up and you meditate on that side first before flipping the card over and reading its message. Although you pick one card at a time, shuffling between each time you pick a card, you do not turn the cards over to see the messages until you have looked over the all the cards and observed how they “fit together as a group” and how they all “represent the “tree of life within the sacred wheel.” (Andrews, 23). Obviously, this is a very long, meditative process but the point is to gain in wisdom and self-knowledge and not a quick and easy spiritual soundbite.
Here is my Sacred Task Spread:
At first glance, what I saw was a lot of red. What was I doing with all these cards from the south? And those two white cards – a northern aspect. Nothing from the west or the east? How very curious! And my Sacred Task card – that’s a super surrealistic scene right there! Just looking at these pictures – going from one to another one – gives me hours of ideas and sensory perceptions to think about.
Here’s the flip side of the cards, with their messages:
I know you can’t read what’s written on the cards but I didn’t take the photograph to show you what was actually written on the cards, just to show you how the spread looks, picture-side-up and message-side-up.
I cannot say enough how much I love this deck. There’s a companion deck, the Sacred Vision Oracle Cards and I am now craving to get my hands on a set of those! As well of all of Lynn V. Andrews’ books! And any of Rob Schouten’s artwork for that matter. The Power Deck: The Cards of Wisdom are very simply one of the most beautiful, spiritually appealing oracle decks I have had the pleasure to work with in many years. I look forward to using them for many more years.
Andrews, Lynn V. The Power Deck: The Cards of Wisdom Guidebook. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Worlds, 2019.
About the Author:
Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.
Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.
She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.