The Body Cards is a 35-card oracle with symbolic images representing parts of the body and their metaphorical meanings. Created by Reiki master and massage therapist Courtney Putnam, the deck is designed to help you uncover the truths in your life through the truths in your body.
The Body Cards Oracle has been created by Reiki master and massage therapist Courtney Putnam. Based on the premise that personal issues often manifest in corresponding physical ailments, this deck has been created to help the Seeker uncover the truths in their life through the truths their body tells them.
As an example our small intestine helps us to digest food, and when something is bad for us the physical manifestations are distinctly unpleasant. In a similar way when we are confronted with an idea which is metaphorically indigestible this toxic energy is felt in our bodies. Conversely an idea that is good for us is also nourishing for us, spiritually speaking. So the card 'Small Intestine’ speaks to us about taking the time to digest an idea and allow it to move through us. There are 35 major bones and organs which are depicted in this deck including the fairly obvious heart, eyes, stomach, teeth, to the less obvious bur equally vital pineal gland, spleen, umbilicus, patella, pancreas.
These organs also correspond with chakras; the throat chakra, for example, is aligned with the larynx, masseter, scalene muscles, teeth, and thyroid gland cards. All 35 cards are divided between the seven chakras.
This is an oracle deck so there is no Major or Minor Arcana, and no provision for the cards to be read in reverse. The cards measure 100 x 152 mm which makes them something of an outsize deck – considerably larger than other oracle decks, and tarot cards. Because of their size some people may experience a little difficulty in shuffling these cards, however they are not exceptionally hard to handle. Failing all else, stirring the cards around on a flat surface will suffice when shuffling becomes too challenging. The card stock is very good, it is sturdy and quite heavy yet flexible, with a smooth, high-gloss finish which can facilitate easier handling and shuffling. The print quality is very good, with the fine details of the artwork being reproduced clearly, with no misprints, no blurry images, and no colour bleeds.
The artwork is mixed media collages, using symbolic colours related link the images to the chakras. Many animals are depicted in these cards and they are too are symbolic, indicative of how we perceive the life force and human spirit. In addition to this there are various patterns, particularly stars and starbursts, which are connected to the areas of the body being explored in each card.
The artist has an unlimited palette of potent, symbolic colours – some are rich and dark like the organs and blood of our bodies, while others are vibrant and found externally, in nature. The imagery is intended to stimulate the imagination and get the Seeker thinking about what each bodily organ may represent to them personally, as well as linking it to some of broader historical interpretations and representations.
The card faces are largely taken up with the illustration. The title of the body organ being depicted is given in a small darkened area in the top left-hand corner, a plain white font on a purple or burgundy background. Underneath the illustration the ‘quality’ which the card represents is given in a cursive white font, again on a purple or burgundy background; for example the Larynx represents the ‘quality’ of Expression, the Kidneys represent the ‘quality’ of Priority and so forth. The images reach to the edges of the cards with no distinct border. The print on the back of the card features another collage with a bird in a sunburst above a hennaed hand, this is accompanied by the phrases 'Insight from the Body’ in plain white print, 'Wisdom for the Soul’ in cursive white print, and the word 'Messenger’ in plain black print.
As with all Schiffer Publishing card decks the Body Cards come in a beautiful box set. The box is sturdy, with a fold back lid which has magnetic clasps to keep it shut, purple ribbon hinges to stop the top from falling open or off, and a small loop of ribbon to help the user open the box. The cards sit in a cardboard well with the guidebook on top. The box is printed with information about the cards as well as images from the deck and has a glossy finish. This box set can withstand the rigours of the road and is not easily damaged.
The 96 page guidebook is written by Courtney Putnam, who is also the cards’ creator and illustrator. The Introduction describes the ideas behind the deck as well as explaining what a chakra actually is. The author also explains some of the symbols that appear frequently in the deck and what part they play in giving meaning to the cards. How to Use the Cards explains to the reader the fundamentals of working with the cards and includes four layouts - The Present Moment Spread, Letting Go Spread, Transformation Spread, and the Chakra Spread.
There is some advice on interpreting the cards which reflects the ideas inherent in the deck – your guidance should essentially come from within (as opposed to slavishly following interpretations laid out in the guidebook). Each card has a double page of information, including a full colour reproduction of the illustration. Each card has an ‘Art Title’ which is in a sense a keyword or phrase. This is followed by an ‘Art Meditation’ which describes the illustration and gives meaning to the actions taking place in it. ‘Location’ simply locates the organ within the human body. ‘Function’ describes the function of this organ in relation to the rest of the human body. ‘Unique Fact’ gives a piece of fascinating information about the organ, usually related to how it functions. ‘Associated Chakra’ simply lists the corresponding chakra. This is followed by information about the organ in relation to how it functions within the body and what that may symbolically represent. We are given examples of how this may manifest, and the roles it has played in myths and legends (e.g. Prometheus’ liver, the umbilicus and the maternal energy of Mother Earth). This is followed by a section titled ‘Try This’ which has three sections – Colour, Essential Oils, and Activity.
‘Colour’ discusses correspondences with chakras, and suggests ways in which we can harness and/or activate this energy by wearing appropriately coloured items of clothing, jewellery, and accessories. This is quite specific in that it may direct the Seeker to wear certain colours on the lower or upper half of the body, or even over a particular region of the body such as head, hands, heart, throat. ‘Essential Oils’ simply directs the Seeker to use specific essential oils in order to maximise the effect of the divinatory meaning of the card by activating a relevant chakra. ‘Activity’ suggests an action which will stimulates one's creativity, release tension, connect with energy, and so forth. Some activities suggested include journal work, collaging, physical exercise, creative visualisation, mindfulness etc.
The cards can be used in a practical sense or in a ritual sense – one can do a quick draw, or one can burn candles and incense and meditate before doing a reading, and still receive the same quality of information. One does not need to be a practised user of oracle cards in order to benefit from this deck. The wisdom contained within them is positive, kind, supportive, and encouraging.
This is an intriguing deck full of fascinating information and insights. The author has created this deck with great sensitivity and wisdom. Anyone looking for an unusual path to connecting to themselves and discovering both inner and outer truths will benefit from using this deck. If you are looking for an oracle deck with a difference, which approaches learning from the inside out (!) this is a great place to start.