Jan 14, 2018

Oracle Deck Review: Heal Yourself Reading Cards

Heal Yourself Reading Cards is a stunning, sensual deck by Inna Segal (creator of The Secret Language of Colour Cards), illustrated by Cris Ortega and Drazenka Kimpel, and published by Rockpool Publishing.

I am going to have trouble writing this review, because I am going to run out of synonyms for "gorgeous". So you'll have to bear with my inevitable repetition.

The Cards
The cards and book are housed in a nice sturdy box which closes magnetically. There is a cardboard insert which holds the cards, but I always remove these as they make it too time consuming to extract the cards. The cards measure 3 3/4" x just over 5 1/2". The cards are large, so I am happy to say that they are flexible enough to riffle shuffle vertically. They have a very glossy finish which attract fingerprints like crazy, but you can only see them under certain light.

The backs feature a non-reversible design (see top photo), but the cards aren't meant to be used with reversals. The cards have a thin golden border. The numbers and titles are at the bottom of the cards, consisting of a keyword or key phrase.

My favorite card in the deck is Pay Attention to Signs (photo above). It is one of my all-time favorite cards of any deck, tarot or oracle. It's the card that made me have to have this deck! I love everything about it.

The Sexuality card is absolutely gorgeous, that woman is so stunning it's kinda hard to look away from her. This coming from a straight woman. :) And I really love the subtlety in the Entrapment card, with the partial view of a plague doctor wearing a beak mask in the corner of the card. It's really creepy and beautiful at the same time, my favorite combination. The Family and Tribe is a gorgeous and powerful card. There really are too many beautiful cards to go through each and every one.

There is a bit of diversity in the deck, but not much. The deck is primarily comprised of beautiful young white women with sexy bods. There is quite a bit of variety in the card imagery, if not in the characters. You will find magic, steampunk, fantasy, 19th century attire, animals, dark romanticism, and walking skeletons among the images.

I love the graveyard/skeleton cards. And there are a few cards that seem to be telling different parts of the same story, which I thought was really neat. Rejection, Love, and Home all seem like they could be the same woman, dealing with her feelings about her beau. In each of these cards, there is a framed painting in the background of a man who I assume is the one she seems to be enamored with. I love the old fashioned romantic scenes and dresses in so many of the cards.

There are three cards that I dislike (Dreams, Self-Love and Sexual Arts), as they don't feel like a fit with the rest of the cards. The art style and coloring make them feel like they belong in a different deck, like they somehow got lost and ended up in this deck by mistake. They would seem more at home in a deck with angels and fairies. It wasn't until I was looking for the artist to credit in this review that I realized the deck had two illustrators. Most of the cards are done by Cris Ortega, with only five of the cards illustrated by Drazenka Kimpel (three of the five being the above mentioned cards). I am curious why they had a second illustrator for just a few cards.

The only other card I don't love is titled Selling Out. While the deck as a whole is very sensual and sexy, this card feels like gratuitous objectification in comparison.

But other than those select few, I am madly in love with the illustrations for the rest of the cards. There is a beautiful darkness to the deck that I am very attracted to. When I think "beautiful decks" this one is certainly among the top of the list. It would be a great deck to bring out at Halloween time, without being Halloween themed.

How it Reads
On my first draw from the deck, I pulled Patience. Patience is a virtue that I seriously lack. I want it all done, and now! So this could have been a timely message for me any day of my life. But particularly on that day, when I had so many different balls in the air at once, I needed to remember to pause, breathe, and accept each moment as it came. This card was a perfect reminder for me that day.

The next day was Halloween, and I drew Inner Child! How perfect! I don't think there could have been a better day to have drawn that card, except maybe Christmas!

I drew Victim Consciousness (love the title of that on a card!) which reminded me to remove my victim mask and empower myself by taking responsibility for whatever seemed unfair at the moment, and arm myself with law of attraction tools to rise myself up.

I drew Self-Love one day, and it reminded me to lay on my acupressure mat, something I hadn't treated myself to in awhile.

The next day I drew Love, and I had happened to listen to a meditation that day about the heart chakra, where I received an internal message from Mother Mary: "You are love, you are loved - open yourself to divine love". So that synchronicity was lovely. The Love message was strong that day.

The most poignant draw was the day I drew Help From Above, and found out that my hospice client had passed away that day.

One week, I had three repeating cards. Here's how that went:

Monday/Thursday: Have Faith
Tuesday/Saturday: Courage
Wednesday/Friday: Pay Attention to Signs

Have Faith: This card told me to focus on the why, not the how, and have faith that everything will work out. Maintain positive expectation, even when you can't see how this thing could possibly work out. Let yourself be surprised and amazed at how it manifests. This wasn't about any one thing in particular, but just a general message for believing in the good in life. Coming up twice that week strengthened the message for me.

Courage: When this came up first on Tuesday, it was encouragement for me to do something I feared. I had a review at work that day to request a raise. I had to co-review myself over a lengthy 3-page questionnaire with over 50 questions rating my work performance on a scale. It is incredibly difficult for me to toot my own horn, so it was a mild form of torture. I brought crystals with me to help easy my anxiety and bring me luck. I did get the raise, and my boss was very heavy with praise for me. So all went well, but it really called up the need for courage on my end, as I am not comfortable people-ing. When the card came up again later in the week, it was a reminder that I am capable of more than I think I am, if only I can face my fears.

Pay Attention to Signs: This is my favorite card in the whole deck, so I was so happy it came up for me not once, but twice that week! And the synchronicity was out of control that week! For one thing, I had three cards from this deck repeat in one week. And to add to the magic, that same week I had five synchronicities with Hermit-type lanterns showing up in different cards, from different decks, including this card! There was literally a sign in the Pay Attention to Signs card! There were too many signs to even keep track of that week. However, as it often happens with me, I get so many synchronicities, but they don't lead anywhere. They're just magical for their own sake really. I made a note to pay closer attention to see if there were actual signs leading me down one path or another.

My most recent draw with this deck was the Temptation card. And I couldn't get that card out of my head for the next couple days. I thought about it when I was stuffing more and more chocolate down my gullet. I thought about the card when I procrastinated doing things that needed doing. I thought about the card while giving into temptation every time. I have no willpower. I thought about this card as I was doing the very thing the card warned me against, and I would just carry right on doing it. Maybe awareness is a first step. But it sure would be more helpful if I was tempted by broccoli and productivity.

So the cards in this deck always had something relevant to say. And they would all be helpful if I was strong/smart enough to heed the messages. Some are easier than others. (Which is insight in itself... spend some time with this deck and pay attention to the advice that seems harder to follow than others. Therein lies a weakness you might want to work on, or at least be aware of.)

The Book
The 88-page book has a thick glossy cover, with nice glossy pages. There is a Table of Contents which lists the cards by card number. I wish the cards had been numbered in alphabetical order for easier reference. (Sometimes I want to look up a card without having the card in hand, and don't know the number.) Next is a brief introduction which includes the usual one-card reading spread, as well as a 3-card Past-Present-Future spread with optional "Overall Message" 4th card. There are a few other suggestions for card selection (pendulum, jumpers, letting the energy of your fingers tingle over a card). Then there is a 6-card reading for deciding between two options.

Each card is given a two-page spread. On the left page is a full-size, full-color image of the card (the images are the same size as the cards). On the right page, the meanings are given. The passage begins with the card title, with a quick and obvious message summary in italics directly below. (Examples: INNER CHILD: Your inner child is urging you to lighten up a little, get out of your comfort zone and have fun! PATIENCE: You must develop patience in all areas of your life.)

Half of the page is dedicated to the card's meaning. This section gives you an idea of how the card pertains to your life, and asks you questions for self-reflection. The last section on the page is an Action prompt, in a little box. These are practical suggestions you can take action on to absorb the card's message into your actual life, to promote concrete change.

Here is the Action prompt for the SAY WHAT YOU MEAN card:

Rub your hands together for about 30-40 secs then imagine that you are holding a blue ball of energy in your hands.  Reflect on the qualities of confidence, honesty and clarity. Then place your hands just above your throat and breathe in the blue light. Imagine this light moving into your throat and helping you to access the right words that you need to say.

Picture the person who you need to communicate with standing in front of you. Share what you feel you need to say to this person, realizing that their Higher Self is listening.

When you have completed this action, write down what you feel you need to say to them. Then share your feelings in person if appropriate.

I appreciate having an action prompt for each card. I haven't personally utilized any of them yet, but they are nice to have.

The book ends with an About the Author page and photograph, Acknowledgments, a page each on the two illustrators, two lined pages for note, and lastly an advert for a book by the author.

Final Thoughts
This is a visually stunning deck, no doubt one of my prettiest decks. It has a lot of dark romanticism in it, which I absolutely love. A few of the cards seem out of place, but as a whole, the deck is gorgeous and seamless despite the varying themes (from steampunk to skeletons). I don't particularly feel this is any more of a healing deck than any other, despite the title, but maybe that's where the action prompts come into play. In any case, it is a gorgeous oracle deck that has some good insights and encourages self-reflection and self-empowerment, which is always a good thing.

Deck: Heal Yourself Reading Cards (by Inna Segal, illustrated by Cris Ortega and Drazenka Kimpel, and published by Rockpool Publishing).