Friday, 30 May 2014

Bright Idea Deck Overview

The Bright Idea Deck (Llewellyn, 2005) is a really fascinating set of cards.  It attempted to break into the mainstream by not calling itself a tarot, while maintaining the tarot's structure and ideas, and even having astrological glyphs on the cards.  Whether or not it achieved its aim is questionable, in light of its having been published by Llewellyn, a rather esoteric publishing house who let it go out of print fairly quickly.  And perhaps it was too much in-between, neither appealing to pure tarotists, nor achieving that mainstream acceptance.  However, it is a deck with a lot to recommend it, and many fascinating cards and insights, as well as a very good companion book.

Take the Devil card, titled Shadow.  A faceless, suited man sits in a dark cave, masks strewn around him and a mirror chained to his hand. We often put up a facade in the company of others - good mother, dedicated employee, helpful neighbour.  We may also show less "pretty" faces in public - angry protester, righteous believer, sad widow.  Yet often, people feel empty on the inside, and the hardest thing is to sit with our Self, to find who we really are in the privacy of our own being.  For me, this card can speak to more traditional ideas of consumerism and addiction - so often consequences of that empty feeling portrayed here.  And it also speaks to more philosophical questions such as: who am I?  Who do I want to be?

The Courts are also, as I mentioned on Monday, really fascinating.  Take this King of Wands, or Red Controlling - Direction.  The words tell one story, being able to take control of passion, enthusiasm and our desire to move forward with projects.  The image tells another, related, one.  That we may enjoy being out in front of a crowd, being a star, making strategic decisions, brazening our way through tough situations.  And we might also have a fear of being left out in the cold, alone and unoccupied.

In this deck, no special place is given to the Aces, which are simply numbered one.   And the images also don't distinguish them from other cards.  So, in this Yellow One (Ace of Swords), we have a man in a yellow jacket striding around a life-size chess board.  It's a good image: strategy and thought to the fore.  However, it doesn't have suggestions of truth or communication which might be ascribed to a regular Ace of Swords.

As for the Yellow Three card, I think it's a fabulous depiction of the Three of Swords.  Variance shows beautifully how it is our thoughts and expectations that cause us to feel downhearted.  After all, this person hasn't even tried the cake yet.  It might taste fantastic, but they are upset because it doesn't conform to their expectations.  So it is with heartache, often rooted in things not being the way we wanted.  If we were willing to accept what is without judgement, or let go of that which does not fulfil is without regret, we would live far happier lives.
 


These cards also highlight another feature of this deck: the coloured borders which are the only indication of the cards' suit.  Red for Intention and Action (Wands), Blue for Feelings and Emotions (Cups),Yellow for Decisions and Logic (Swords), Green for Practicality and Physicality (Pentacles), and Purple for Forces and Influences, titled Trumps (Majors).  Of course, these colours fit many traditional tarot systems of colour assignation, once again reinforcing the tarot-ness of this deck for any experienced tarot reader :)  They also make the emphasis of any reading clear at a glance, which can be useful.

The deck advertises itself as being for brainstorming and creative problem solving, and that's a nice additiona focus to the companion book, showing the practical side of tarot rather than the spiritual or psychological.  And yet, those elements are still there, if you want them.  Overall, I find this a great deck for work readings, or for sceptical professionals, though it can also be used for love or spiritual readings if you so choose.

5 comments:

  1. I had this deck and though we had a brief, intense honeymoon period, we quickly fell out of love and I sent it on its way. I wonder where it is now.

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    1. Ah, if only decks could talk, or log in online ;D

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  2. I like the premise but the artwork is for me to much like a digital created comic book

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    1. I'd have to agree, it isn't a beautiful deck. Still, I like comics, and I find it quite fun and different :)

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  3. I have this deck and have always liked it. Don't really use when reading for others but have fun with it for myself. A bit of a different perspective for sure. Thanks for the great review :)

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