Review by Solandia
“The Affirmations’ goddess imagery honors the highest aspirations of all beliefs, cultures, traditions and religions and celebrates the divine feminine principle which encourages you to grow internally and expand your own personal perspective.”
The Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess set is a tarot-inspired set of 22 wisdom cards intended for contemplation, and increasing self-knowledge and awareness.
The set combines tarot (the 22 cards are also linked with the major arcana of the tarot); affirmations (there is a major affirmation printed on each card and more affirmation work in the book); and divine feminine energy (the everyday goddesses: the illustrated women who are mothers, teachers, professionals, daughters and wives).
There are 22 self-confident, assertive, strong women on these cards, which are illustrated with lush, vivid colours in almost hyper-real detail. The cards are all rather stunning, but there are some stand-outs: The Star and the Emperor. The Star has fairly traditional symbolism of an elegant woman pouring water into a lake, under a star-dotted sky (though she is wearing a gauzy toga rather than being nude). The Emperor on the other hand shows a confident, proud dark-skinned woman with a sceptre in her hand, an eagle on her arm and a lion by her side. Her affirmation: ‘I lead with wisdom, integrity and virtue.’
As is made obvious by the card titles, these ‘wisdom cards for contemplation and prayer’ are also a beautifully designed majors-only art tarot. The cards have standard tarot titles (with a two slight exceptions: instead of the Hanged Man there is the Hanged One, and there is a High Priest instead of a Hierophant) and very recognisable tarot symbolism.
Physically, the cards are large - 9.5cm by 14cm – and on the big side for shuffling but a good size for meditation or contemplation, either in the hand or on an altar. They are glossily laminated with smooth, rounded corners, but are not so slippery that they want to slide off the table. The borders on the face of the cards are brown at first glance but also have a golden shimmer thanks to the gold ink overlay (also used on the box). The backs of the cards have a nature design: a close-up image of a jungle and a jaguar stalking out of the leaves.
The 110-page companion book, the ‘spiritual guidebook for contemplation and prayer’, begins by introducing spiritual concepts important for the deck: archetypes and how they work, the tarot majors, receiving inner guidance and how to recognise it, states of awareness and the feminine/goddess principles and ‘developmental tasks’ they involve. Once the reader is familiar with the concepts, the card meanings and exploration follow. There is not just a description and a few keywords in this book; Pamela has written a complete spiritual guidebook for the cards, built around the corresponding affirmations.
There is a black and white image of each card, with the title and affirmation from the card repeated, and a little about the tarot archetype and what it symbolises. The main portion of the meaning is (for example for The Hermit) ‘Affirming the Hermit’, with a relevant inspirational quote and spiritual advice on how to encourage and recognise that energy in your life. To help contemplation of the card and its energy, Pamela also gives a series of questions to ask yourself, and to ponder on the answers.
Not content to finish there, there is also an exercise linked with the card and sometimes also a poem. The exercises bring the energy into your physical life, and might be producing a piece of art, a meditation, exploring of your shadow side, performing a tarot spread, making a meal or planning your perfect day. Finally, there is a key question to ask yourself. For the Wheel of Fortune, it’s 'May I Understand the nature of God'.
This is the first deck project from Pamela Wells, a California based artist, illustrator and graphic designer. What’s really impressive is that she is not only the artist who created the cards and author of the companion book, but also the box designer, book typesetter, editor, organiser of printing and production, and the distributor and marketer of the completed set. What is more, the finished product is of a very high degree of quality in general and in detail, with the only downside being the odd typo and spelling error (which are hard to pick up if one is both writer and editor).
As well as being an art tarot worth collecting, Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess is a unique tool for spiritual guidance and self-development through affirmations. There is a lot to work with here: tarot symbolism, affirmations, and the book’s thoughtful questions and practical exercises. And on top of that - the cards are also available as an iPhone app. These cards are just gorgeous in print, and on a computer screen they are positively luminous.
(To find out more about Pamela’s journey to self-publish her deck, read her interview with Kris Waldherr.)
Review by Bonnie Cehovet
We are, indeed, all Everyday Goddesses! To help us celebrate this, Wells has combined the archetypes of the Tarot with the art of Affirmations and the energy of the Divine Feminine. “Affirmations For the Everyday Goddess” is a 22 card deck and 110 page companion book set that presents each archetype in feminine form. This is a Collectors' Edition, with the cards and box done in gold leaf overlay.
The companion book, entitled “Spiritual Guidebook For Contemplation & Prayer”, is much more than a presentation of the cards. In her introduction, Wells talks about understanding our life within a spiritual context, a context that gives us the answers to our own personal challenges. The purpose of this deck and book is to help us see our personal issues with greater clarity, and to explore life’s meaning and purpose. How much we learn, and the depth of what is revealed, is dependent upon our depth of study and intentional focus during contemplation, meditation and prayer.
The goddess imagery in this deck honors the highest aspirations of all beliefs, cultures, traditions, and religions, and celebrates the principle of the divine feminine. Affirmations are seen as tools for personal growth that can lead to positive re-imaging, taking personal responsibility, and recognizing your personal potential, amongst other things.
Wells gives suggestions for using the deck, for consecrating it, and for learning to recognize when your own intuition is kicking in. She addresses the archetypal energy of the cards, and the journey to self-knowledge. She discusses the concept of non-dual awareness, the return of the feminine (the Archetypal Goddess), and exploring our inner world (looking behind our eyes).
Each card is presented with a black and white scan, keywords, affirmation, a section on how to affirm each archetype, a list of questions for contemplation, an inspirational quote, sometimes a poem, an exercise, and a final question to ask of each of the archetypes.
Several of the exercises are presented as Tarot reading templates (The Emperor, Temperance, The Moon, and The Sun). Other exercises include writing your life story, making a mask, seeing behind the veil, archetypes and dreams, consciousness visualization, individuation with totem animals, learning from past choices, being of service, visualization embracing death, shadow work, and reconnecting to your joy.
At the end of the book there is a table listing each card and the wisdom prayer connected with each one.
The cards themselves are large – 3 ¾” by 5 ½”, glossy, and laminated, with rounded corners. The backs show a jungle scene, with lush green foliage, red flowers at the bottom of the card, and a jaguar coming straight out of the leaves, meeting the readers eyes. The backs are not reversible.
The card faces have a shimmery gold border (thanks to the gold leaf overlay), with the card number and title in black lettering at the top of he card, and the card affirmation at the bottom, also in black lettering. The titles are traditional, with the following exceptions: the Hierophant becomes the High Priest, and the Hanged Man becomes the Hanged One.
The models that posed for this deck are mothers, teachers, artists, therapists, students, lawyers, businesswomen and friends of Pamela Wells that have devoted their lives to the Goddess, service to others, and the well-being of the planet. The images are meant to portray strong, self-confident, powerful everyday goddesses.
The colors used in this deck are intense, but do not overwhelm the imagery. The imagery and symbols within the card are all part of the story, all meant to help the reader connect with their own feminine within. I was impressed by many things with this deck – the naturalness of the imagery, the flowing nature of the gowns that the women are wearing, and the repetition of symbols throughout the deck, such as the snake (seen in the Empress and the Tower), and birds (the Empress, the Emperor, the High Priest, the Wheel of Fortune, Death and the Star).
Specific cards that I was drawn to were the High Priestess (shown wearing a flowing black dress, holding her arms p over her head, with peacock eyes showing on the material flowing from her left arm, with the sky showing through the material flowing from her right arm), the Empress (a female figure surrounded by a wreath of greenery and red flowers, with an abundance of fruit held in her robes, the Lovers (a winged angel in white robes, gazing into a globe that she is holding sowing a male and female figure). the Hermit (which shows a night scene with a female figure in white robes walking through the forest holding a candle)), the Devil (showing a female figure emerging from the roots of a tree, roots that are connected to a male and female figure).
This is a deck that works well as a spiritual focus, for working with affirmations, and for doing personal work with each of the archetypes. It is also a collectors deck, and a deck that can be appreciated for its wonderful artwork and imagery. A unique feature of this deck is that it is also available as an iphone app.
This is an independently published (self-published) deck, that is of absolutely top quality. The box that it comes in is heavy duty, with a lift off top. The inside of the top shows a white background, with gold leaves. The bottom shows a gold background, with white words representing spirit (i.e. Divine, Yahweh, Infinite, Govinda). The top, sides and bottom of the box were all designed by Wells herself (a definite upside to independent publishing!).
This is definitely a deck worth checking out! More than a deck, more than a series of affirmations – it is a tool of empowerment for anyone that chooses to work with it.
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.