Flower Reading Cards is a beautiful book and card set by Flower Therapist Cheralyn Darcey and Rockpool Publishing.
The 36 cards and book are housed in a sturdy box that closes magnetically. I love the boxes that Rockpool makes. They make accessing the deck and putting it away equally quick. Some of their decks come with a cardboard insert for the cards to fit in, and some have a plastic one. This one has a cardboard one. When taking out the cards, the last few are always caught underneath, having partially slipped through a crack in the insert, so it is a bit of a hassle to retrieve those. The plastic inserts (such as in the Chinese Fortune Reading Cards) have no such cracks, and are much easier to use. If using this deck regularly, I would probably remove the cardboard insert and let the cards just float around in the box on top of the book.
The cards have a glossy finish and measure 3 3/4" x 5 1/2". They are really large, but easy to shuffle vertically, because the card stock is so wonderfully flexible. The backs are not reversible. The design on the back is a cropped copy of the Frangipani card, with a yellow border. It is the same image as on the cover of the box and book.
The images were created from linocuts, printed on paper and painted by hand. You can feel how much time, effort, love and connection has gone into the creation of each image. The artwork is captivating and pleasing to the eye. The contrast of color against the black and white backgrounds really catches your eye, yet they have a meditative, soothing quality about them.
Each flower has a black and white background depiction a sacred place connected to it. The flowers grow near these places or have in the past. I love, love, love this so much. This adds so much depth to the cards, placing you there yourself. The places themselves do not come with meanings, although there is a little bit of information given on each place.
Some of my favorite backgrounds include Glastonbury, England (Daisy), Perfume Pagoda, Vietnam (Gardenia), Taal Volcano, Philippines (Jade Vine), Golden Rock, Burma (Jasmine), Stonehenge, England (Pyramidal Orchid), and Gateway Aphrodisias, Turkey (Wild Tulip).
My two favorite images in the deck are Frangipani and Japanese Cherry. I never knew that Frangipani and Plumeria (one of my favorite flower scents) were the same flower. So this deck has already taught me something! There are flowers in the deck from all over the world, and I enjoy the diversity.
How it Reads
I worked with this deck daily for a week, drawing a card of the day. I drew Wild Tulip three times! Tulips are my favorite flowers, so I was happy just for the sake of seeing my favorite flower over and over. But it was during a time when I was receiving repeating messages from my tarot cards about rising up out of boredom, and one of the Challenge meanings of the Wild Tulip is "boredom and disinterest caused by predictability". So this deck was really bringing home the message that week!
I drew Lavender (Cleansing) just as I was about to jump in the shower, which was funny. One day while I was shuffling, Scottish Primrose (Compassion) leaped out of the deck. A friend was snippy with me for no good reason that day, and instead of getting defensive, I figured he was having a bad day and reacted calmly. I didn't let it affect me negatively. I was sympathetic, knowing everyone has bad days. The next day, I drew Frangipani (Freedom) and he apologized to me, the resolution making my spirit feel more free.
There were a couple of days that the card I drew didn't seem to play out in real life, or at least I didn't notice if it did. But for the most part, the messages were well timed.
The 96-page book begins with an interesting introduction to the language of nature and floramancy. Next is a brief peek into the artist's creative process. The How to Use the Cards section includes five ways to use the cards.
There are four spreads included:
- Flora's Seasonal Advice (5 cards)
- A Bouquet of Advice (5 cards)
- The Garden Gate (8 cards)
- The Garden of Life (7 cards)
Every card is given a two-page spread. On the left side is the title (flower name), scientific name and keyword. Below these is a large full color image of the card, not quite life-size, but nearly.
On the right side are four sections: Meaning, Challenges, Botanical Profile and Place.
Meaning covers a plethora of different meanings attributed to each card. I found this to be a bit overwhelming when looking for the divinatory meaning of the card, because there are a multitude of different meanings per card, making it too broad for me to pinpoint what the card meant. For me, it was easier to use the keyword on the card and go from there intuitively. But if you are looking more for the language of flowers, this section covers a great deal of possibilities for each flower.
Challenges shows a list of weaknesses or challenges that each card may present. Reversals aren't mentioned in the deck, but I would guess that if you do use reversals, you would use the Challenges section to find your meaning. If you don't use reversals (as I don't), you can look at these meanings as a warning or heads up for a potential issue. Use your intuition to feel whether the Meaning or Challenge is applicable to your inquiry.
Botanical Profile gives you a bit of information on the flower, including its native area, the average measurements, colors, fragrance, alternate names, and distinctive traits.
Place explains the background image, including the name of the place and country, as well as a little bit of background information. She gives you enough to go on if you want to research the place in greater detail.
The book ends with a glossary and bibliography
These cards are stunning. I love the bold, vibrant colors against the black and white backgrounds. I absolutely love that the backgrounds aren't random, but meaningful places connected to the flowers. You can do a reading just using the keywords on the cards, or you can use the plethora of meanings in the book to take your floramancy to another level. You can engage in flower magic, giving flowers to someone (or yourself) with the intentions you learn from the meanings in the book.
This is a great deck to use at any time of the year. During Spring and Summer, you will naturally be in the vibe of this deck, and when Autumn and Winter roll around, and you are missing the flowers, this deck can stand in for the real thing.
Deck: Flower Reading Cards (by Cheralyn Darcey, published by Rockpool Publishing.)