Today and tomorrow’s article is a review of John Richardson’s “Past Life Revealed” deck. Let’s look at the physical dimensions before writing about the symbolism and uses of the seventy-eight cards.
The box is simple and robust enough for the purpose. Although the lettering is considered too small, the designer would have been better advised to use the website address once only and utilise the space with a more explicit definition.
John has chosen traditional dimensions of divination cards: 2-3/4 inches by 4-3/4 inches or 12cm by 7 cm: no problems here people like the standard size ‘working’ deck.
The cards are an excellent weight and finish and will not delaminate. The silk finish is excellent for shuffling and sorting. Users are good to go from opening the box, no sticking or handing problems. The suggestion is not to shuffle the deck from new. Because of the unusual nature of the imagery, the choice would be to work through the deck from one to seventy-eight slowly. An essential aspect of this exercise is to focus on the representation.
Getting to know the deck is very much part of finding its full potential. The professional reader must resonate with combinations and spreads of chosen cards. And they MUST be competent enough to give extensive readings from a small selection.
One of the walls all readers hit is repetitive readings. Many, will deny this statement. This is fine by me. Don’t forget I’ve read a few cards over the years and worked with thousands of clients. Clients talk about their previous readings do not doubt it! Readers reputations reflect the accuracy of their readings! When clients numbers fall off, it is often due to the quality of previous readings.
This is why it is essential to gain a clear and well-defined meaning for the cards. Professional readers have to have an expansive knowledge to keep the interpretation, fresh, interesting and accurate. I believe John Richardson is aware of this issue because he has chosen not to include an information card with the deck. Although his website does have a page where more information can be discovered.
We can evidence the difficulty with perceived meanings if we look at one of John’s Facebook posts. He asked what people saw in the card number fifty-eight. The majority of resulting interpretations were divination based. A few referenced ‘past lives’ which must be the intent of a deck named “Past Lives Revealed”.
There is NO suggestion the interpretations were incorrect. The assumption is this: To most people the sight of Tarot style symbolism evokes Tarot style interpretation. And in this instance, the symbolism invoked similar descriptions. With this in mind, the cards require a method to best advantage their purpose (past life revealed) and two possible ways to do this are investigated in tomorrows review.
The cards are interesting in many ways. I wonder if the numbering is entirely necessary. One to seventy-eight must be a reference to the Tarot. And although the seed words on the lower edge of the deck are useful: at the same time, they can fix meaning in the mind of the reader. Of course, there will be many who’ll come to John’s defence after reading this statement. Their opinions will be valid as will their reasoning. From my perspective, clients always jump on names written on cards. If the reader offered another interpretation opposed to the guiding name, often the client questions the suggestion.
For example, another interpretation of card fifty-eight is: “the use of outmoded technology and methods, which results in difficulty in attaining goals. The use of dated methodology gives the competition the ‘edge’ in areas of work or business”. However, the word ‘Transport’ enforces a ‘meaning’ of the card, and therefore the interpretation becomes more focussed on transport, movement, etc.
There is no suggestion the cards do not have a dual purpose: divination and past life. In the hands of a good reader, the cards can become very insightful. The conclusion here is John is an excellent reader with a first class reputation. It seems likely the advanced nature of his technique is seen in the images of the deck. Therefore, for divination or traditional style reading the deck is more than adequate, with the proviso, that they require an experienced reader to interpret the spreads.
This is not a bad situation. Indeed the suggestion is made, that the use of these cards is a sign of competence. From my perspective: if a second deck were printed without the numbers or seed words. It would become an incredible professional reader’s tool because the vast range of imagery and symbolism extends further than a traditional divination deck.
Yes! I am suggesting two decks: one with and one without the wording. To my mind, the numbering is not required.
My feeling is John desired to expand the range of ideas suggested by the pictures. He has achieved this with magnificence. During the initial reviewing of the images, we see situations, life issues, travel and reference to various cultures and countries. As already mentioned it is essential to review the cards with exceptional care. Readers of long experience will discover many interpretations of each card.
I’ll draw three cards and see if the trio can be deciphered: –
The Shaman – Mother Earth – The Celt
A random choice and three cards which are connected. The test of a good deck is to see if selected groups of cards will blend and become as one. And therefore provide a delightful base for dialogue and guidance: –
The suggestion to the client is simple enough:-
“Central to the reading is Planet, and the secrets it holds. The guidance is to research Celtic shaman practices. One could visit sacred sites, standing stones or the solitude of old and derelict villages. It is suggested while visiting the ancient sites mediation will guide the client to delve deeply into their psychic roots”.
The answer to the million dollar question is: Yes! John’s cards pass the test with ease. A random selection, some minutes focusing on the ‘whole picture’ and the interpretation is made.
The imagery is well defined, and the subdued colours imply ‘the past’. From my perspective, they would be a welcome addition to a professional readers table. Some readers can match the right deck to their client. Here the cards excel because they bring a new aspect of insight to the reader’s table. The reader may say “I feel a past life is influencing this reading, let’s investigate this area for further detail”.
And they will push a novice to seek further insights when reading for friends. Do not think the ‘advanced’ status this reviewer is placing on the deck, limits the accessibility of the symbolism to novice readers. The issue is how to use the cards in a traditional reading spreads. I placed the cards in a Celtic cross spread, and it became difficult (although not impossible ) to resolve. Novices may well struggle in this situation.
The conclusion of Part One: –
John’s cards are an excellent deck. They are unique and well designed. Pictures and symbolism are in line with the purpose of revealing past lives. And as the first part of the review suggests they can be used for divination. The suggestion is the ‘Past Lives Revealed’ is best handled by an advanced reader who can extract the delicate messages the imagery has to offer.
Past Life Revealed continues tomorrow: –