Card Play: Use the power of story, symbol, imagery, and metaphor to support personal growth, self exploration, and wellness

I became fascinated with the myriad creative uses of various types of card decks during my graduate drama therapy program. Cards with imagery on them (like tarot and oracle cards) can be especially potent tools to explore the dynamics of who you are and the wide array of options available in any given moment. Imagery cards can be combined with other types of decks and props to augment self exploration in processes that can ultimately be distilled into action.

Working with image cards to explore the depths of one’s human experience facilitates appreciation for the truth behind that common saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Art has a potent power to unleash emotion. We look at art and we feel something: admiration, awe, fear, uncertainty, disgust. Art can reflect our greatest accomplishments and strengths or the darkest shadows we’d rather not acknowledge. We can see our story mirrored in someone else’s. Art can unveil truths. These can be inspiring, inconvenient, ugly, profound, motivating, encouraging, frightening. They can be catalysts for change, a compass, a call to action. 

Card Play uses visual prompts, typically in the form of imagery cards, to help you explore the nuances and complexities of your life. Bring your hopes and dreams, your worries and fears, your thoughts and questions, to the cards. Unlike a divination process like tarot and oracle, the process of Card Play is intended to assist you in discovering your own path and your own truth. While there are many processes embedded in Card Play, two prominent ones are improvisation and collage.

If you have ever seen an improv show, you will know that the performers frequently ask for suggestions from the audience. The performers, though many are brilliant and well-trained, use prompts from an external source (the audience). They use these prompts to trigger associations, memories, and related ideas. The props in Card Play function similarly. The cards, words, images, and objects are all intended to help you associate your own meanings and connect the dots in ways that are relevant to you.

The other key creative element is collage. A collage integrates bits and pieces from different sources, ultimately creating something wholly unique. Similarly, I include multiple types of card decks as well as objects in Card Play. We can draw on and integrate inspiration from a variety of sources. 

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