Sep 4, 2016

Oracle Deck Review: Inspirations for Survivors

Inspirations for Survivors is a gorgeous deck of encouraging cards created by Aunia Kahn and Russell J. Moon (the creative team who gave us the Silver Era Tarot and Lowbrow Tarot).

If you think this deck is not for you, based on the seemingly dramatic title reference to "survivors", think again. We are all survivors.

"Who is a survivor? Is there any action that constitutes someone being more so than anyone else? The answer is a simple, no. Everyone - no matter who you are, where you are from or what you do - is a survivor.

Every person becomes a survivor when they are faced with situations they must overcome, whether it be an illness, a relationship, financial hardships, bad breakups, a death, or graduating from school. Every day we all survive something; even a bad day at work is survival - it comes down to our own personal relevance. The key is not to judge your circumstance, do not compare it to someone else's; if it influences you, then it is significant in your life. We are the only ones who feel our emotions, and in some way, must find a way to understand, endure, or inevitably change our situation. The Inspirations for Survivors oracle deck was created with this purpose in mind. (Excerpt taken from the Introduction in the accompanying booklet.)

The deck is housed in solid hinged box with a magnetic closure. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Schiffer Publishing rules the tarot/oracle box world.

The Cards
The deck contains 44 cards which measure 2 7/8" x 4 3/4". They are printed on glossy, sturdy card stock. The backs are not reversible, but the cards aren't meant to be read with reversals. The cards have a variety of different colored borders.

Some of the cards offer direct advice such as taking a bath or holding a stuffed animal. Most of them are more abstract in their encouragement like Even in Chaos You Can Find Peace and We Are Reflections of Each Other.

Interesting note: The World is at Your Fingertips is a cropped section of the image used for the World card in the Lowbrow Tarot (you can see the former image below, and the latter image here).

There are so many beautiful images in this deck, it was so hard to select the ones I wanted to feature in this review.

I love the cards featuring nature and moss-covered ruins of old buildings. Sepia colored old suitcases and stormy skies above an old stone wall. Gorgeous photography of the lovely Aunia Kahn. The vintage feel of an old clock. The cards in this deck really reach out and make you feel something. They are very emotive.

I usually have a small handful of cards that I don't really like in a deck, and I like to share those so as to give an honest, full rounded review, but in this deck, there aren't any cards I dislike. There are a few cards that, to me, don't feel like they vibe with the rest of the deck, but I don't dislike them, per se.  As an example, art-wise, the Go With the Flow and a Benefit May Follow card (see below, featuring a duck in the water) feels somehow out of place in this deck. But I did draw that card once for myself, and it was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. So I really have nothing negative to say about any of the cards.

I must note that a few of my cards arrived chipped along the borders. With shuffling, I imagine there will be more chipping. Maybe it was just my deck, and I don't really mind it, but I thought I'd mention it.

How it Reads
My daughter had an uneasy spiritual experience in her bedroom, and wanted to ask the cards if it was okay to go back in there. She asked, "Is it safe to go back to my room now?" and she pulled the card You Can Go Anywhere and Do Anything. Wow! We were both amazed that it answered her question so literally. This card, by the way (shown above) is one of my favorites in the deck.

The same day, my daughter wanted to pull a card, just to see what she would get. She drew The Song Bird in Your Soul is Ready to Sing. She smiled and said, "Hmm. Maybe I should write a new song!" And she did just that.

I drew a card for myself to ask about forgiveness, and I drew the card Every Soul Has a Story. It really made me stop and think about that. Although the passage in the book focuses on our own soul's path, the title of the card made me think about those I need to forgive. It made me think about how the people who hurt us in life have their own soul stories, and unless we are in their bodies, experiencing their emotions, we cannot know what they are going through, or what led them to lash out and inflict pain on others. This card, like so many others in this deck, features an image that you can meditate on and further contemplate its meaning and insight.

So this deck definitely reads with accuracy and comfort. I think even if you were to pull a card that didn't have anything directly to do with your inquiry, you would find truth in it to fit your experience. There is a card that focuses specifically on forgiveness, but I didn't draw that card when asking about forgiveness. I drew another one that provided me with a particular insight that I needed to realize when facing the subject of forgiveness.

The Book
The full color booklet that comes with this deck is 96 pages and is sized slightly larger than the cards. It's not a stapled booklet... it has a thick cover with side binding. There is a 2-page layout dedicated to each card. The left side contains the meaning of the card, and the right side features a full-color image of the card. There is a bizarre exception, on pages 60-61, with two cards sharing a 2-page spread.

Final Thoughts 
This is a gorgeous, atmospheric set of cards. The images pull you in, help you face your feelings, and inspire emotional release. The messages are comforting and loving and offer words of encouragement and advice. It's like having an unconditionally loving support system, or friend, in a deck of cards. I would recommend this deck to anyone, as we are all survivors of one thing or another. This deck is a wonderful tool to have when you need encouragement and support, for any reason, which we all need at times.

Deck: Inspirations for Survivors by Aunia Kahn and Russell J. Moon, published by Schiffer.

This deck review was originally published on my previous blog (Tarot Dame) on 2/2/13.