Pick a Card, Any Card 

Make your own divination deck at a free workshop.

Tarot cards are all well and good. The images printed on them — cups, swords, coins, stakes, royalty, skeletons, and the like — are so universal that seekers around the world have been using them for divination purposes for more than two hundred years. But imagine making this process even more personal with cards you've created yourself, using images you chose yourself. Get started at a free Introductory SoulCollage Workshop for Women at 4148 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, on Sunday, May 10, led by licensed psychotherapist Jeri Robertson.

Developing the SoulCollage idea was "a three-stage unfolding awareness process," says Robertson, who has been using art as a tool for personal exploration since the 1960s, and who founded and directed the San Francisco Women's Art Center during the 1970s. "In the early 1980s," she remembers, "I came across the Secret Dakini Oracle, a deck of tantric divination cards created by Penny Slinger with Nik Douglas." The images on the cards were full-color collages, and "I found them extremely useful for my own personal reflection. In 1986 I took an expressive art therapy class at John F. Kennedy University where one of the techniques I learned was making small collages on cards to use with clients as a method for self-exploration." The actual SoulCollage process was developed in the late 1980s by a series of therapists seeking to merge "world myths, spirituality, archetypal psychotherapy, and creativity."

In workshops, participants use images, such as family photographs, that they've brought themselves, along with images provided by the host. These, Robertson says, "can come from almost unlimited places" such as seed packets and sheet music. The images are then glued to five-inch-by-eight-inch heavy card stock.

Just as with the tarot, Robertson says one consults SoulCollage cards to "tap into the 'higher self' and the collective unconscious in order to gain insight and understanding, which are difficult to access with the logical mind. Some might say that it is a way to directly connect to the right brain to achieve a more complete understanding combining right- and left-brain functions." When consulting the cards, "the reader poses an open-ended question. ... Since the reader created the card, the reader is more directly connected to the imagery and the meanings that they hold for her/him than with tarot. The reader then gives the image a voice and answers the question by saying 'I am the one who...' and 'What I can tell you about the issue is ....'" The reading can be done alone or with others, who observe and document the findings for later analysis.

"The process is potent," Robertson says, "because it evokes the power to listen to oneself in a very deep and mindful way." 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For reservations, send an e-mail to ywissory@yahoo.com or call 510-259-8606.

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