How many cards do I need to create?

by suzanne oliwa

Not long ago a student wondered at my relatively small deck of collaged cards. This got me thinking: I’ve been at this a while — perhaps I might have made 100 cards by now? Maybe YES… or maybe NO. This process and practice is not about rushing to produce lots of cards. Nope, it’s much more about going deep within ourselves during each part of the process. From gazing over piles of images, to narrowing down our “inner specifications” of what will go into our card. In this way, our inner guidance system leads us to knowing just how to place our chosen images on our card.

Something wonderful that I hear time and again as folks leave my studio after a card making session is, “I LOVE MY CARD!” To me, that embodies the special essence of this practice. We put our hearts into each and every phase of card making, and get something wonderful and surprising in return. I’m using the term WONDERFUL with great purpose. Even when we create cards that appear negative to us, or are strongly revealing their shadow side, we embrace this as well.

The process and practice of SoulCollage® invites us to: extract all the parts of ourselves (the Committee Suit); to honor the sentient beings that have greatly impacted our lives (the Community Suit); to identify the animals that guard and enhance the energy centers of our bodies (the Companions Suit); and finally, to discover the cards in our deck that symbolize archetypes that have guided and led the overarching story of our lives (the Council Suit). I often wonder at how these cards practically make themselves under our hands. Does this sound like a process that would serve our greater good? I certainly think so. And — like any job, task or chore — if we rush through it, we are often unsatisfied with the results. This practice takes us into the slow lane. When we craft our SoulCollage® cards, we really really really do need to slow down. I truly think of SoulCollage® as a lifetime practice, not a race to a particular finish line. It really is OK to leave a studio session without a completed card.

Sometimes my cards have needed a “rest” prior to completion. “When will my DECK be complete?” “How many cards will it consist of?” There is no good answer to these questions, and therein lies a beautiful mystery. As a well known phrase tells us: Chop wood and carry water. So bring your supplies to the crafting table and see what will happen. We show up for ourselves, and for the cards that are ready to be brought into our lives. I like to see how the small and larger mysteries of this life, of my life, can be revealed through my SoulCollage® deck. I invite you to join me on this creative journey!