Straight out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the lamination. These cards are so smooth to the touch, unlike any other deck I've owned. They are literally a joy to have in my hands. When my kids were looking through them, they immediately commented on the same thing. They were oohing and aahing over how smooth they were to touch.
The cards are large (approx 4 1/8" x 5 7/8") which I thought would pose a shuffling problem, since I like to poker-shuffle. However, the cards are amazingly pliable enough to shuffle with great ease sideways (vertically), yet still remain sturdy.
The watercolor and ink illustrations are simply lovely and really capture the essence of each tree. The Weeping Willow has always been my favorite tree. And in this deck, it feels as though I am actually sitting beneath the tree's comforting, shade-generous hanging leaves. The Pendiculate Oak brings back summer memories from childhood. The Maritime Pines give such a strong visual of wind blowing through the branches.
The illustrations are done in an old fashioned style, yet with a modern vibe to them (a concept which I find too complicated to explain beyond just that). It's a very pleasing blend that provides an instant level of comfort with the cards.
On the bottom border of each card is the name of the tree. Along the top border is the theme. For example, the Apple Tree's corresponding title is Love. And the imagery evokes such a sweet, old-fashioned feeling of love that could easily bring to mind feelings of family love, love of friends, or the pure love of a gentle sweetheart.
There aren't any negative cards in the deck, as it is designed for positive affirmations. The closest this deck comes to the dark side is the Turkey Oak card (Healing the Heart) which speaks of oak heart disease that has affected this tree. The passage explains the healing process the tree goes through when recovering from this disease, and relates that to healing human pains of the heart.
How it Reads
Though I have only had the pleasure of owning this deck for a few weeks now, so far the cards I have drawn have proven to be helpful and relevant to my inquiries. And when pulling a card as an accompaniment to a tarot reading, it always adds a helpful dimension to the reading.
I have a lovely example of how this deck was gently relentless in giving me a message I needed to hear, though it was one I didn't expect. Using it for my daily oracle draws, I pulled the Orange Tree (Prosperity) three days in a row. On the second day, my computer crashed.... yet I continued to draw the Prosperity card day after day. So I was having some doubts about the cards' accuracy. I wasn't able to access my online income, so I was feeling pretty much the opposite of prosperous. A week later, my mom told me she was ordering me a brand new laptop (a much nicer one... huge upgrade from my previous laptop) which would arrive the following week! Although I hadn't realized it at the time, the cards were adamant about letting me know that abundance was mine, even if I couldn't yet see evidence of it.
The accompanying book (which is the same size as the cards) is subtitled, "Wisdom of the Standing People" and is very thoughtfully written. The intro gives a beautiful commentary on our ancient connections with trees. For each card, there is a black and white image of the tree on the card, and beneath it an affirmation. On the facing page is a couple of paragraphs with thoughts on the tree and the meaning the card holds for you.
Excerpt from the book:
Honesty - Chestnut:
When I am honest with myself I gain in authenticity.
This large chestnut tree in Kew Gardens has beautiful glossy leaves with light green prickly pompons that conceal sweet chestnuts. There is something straightforward about its demeanour. If you walk under the canopy you will see the beautiful bark bearing the marks of its growth and see by the twists and turns of its branches that its growth hasn't always been straightforward. But it has eventually become a magnificent tree with a wonderful symmetry.
It can be difficult being honest with oneself at times, especially when we have learnt that it is not acceptable to make mistakes. It is also very hard when we feel we have to be right and are faced with others who also feel that way. We may at times shy away from looking at what's really going on and go through all kinds of contortions trying to figure out who's right and who's wrong. Often situations are complicated and then all we can do is acknowledge what we really feel.
Drop all "shoulds" and try and simply accept where you are at this moment. By doing this without judgement we gain in self-acceptance and authenticity. We let down defences and are no longer afraid to be vulnerable, as we have nothing to lose. We are free to become more of who we truly are.
There are three spreads included in the book: The 4-card 'Four Directions Spread', the 6-card 'Tree Spread', the 7-card 'Pathway Energy Spread'.
I am a huge tree lover. I have always felt comforted by the gentle strength of trees. There are several tree oracles on the market, but none had called to me much until I saw the Tree Affirmation Cards. This is, so far, the first tree-based oracle deck that I have resonated with.
Tree Affirmations always seems to provide a message that I need to hear on any given day, whether or not I had realized it yet. They are very wise and comforting cards that, like the trees themselves, are both gentle and strong. This is a beautiful deck for readings, inspiration or meditation.
Tree Affirmation Cards are available for purchase through the artist's website.
Deck: Tree Affirmations (by Vicky Lewis, published by Yellow Seed Media).
This deck review was originally published on my previous blog (Tarot Dame) on 11/27/09.