Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Deck of the Month | Orbifold Tarot: A Mind-Bendingly Beautiful Tool for the Psychonaut in You

For the last couple of months I have been solidifying my relationship with The Orbifold Tarot, and February has begun with just as much enthusiasm for it! It's always on hand for me, and it gives me great pleasure to resuscitate my Deck of the Month blog feature by wading into my thoughts and feelings about it.

Benebell Wen said that this deck 'expresses the mathematics and the musical harmonies of the universe.' I definitely think that sums it up nicely! When the creator, Michael Bridge-Dickson, contacted me and asked me if I would like a copy of it, I checked out the images and nearly fell out of my seat. I felt that I was genuinely looking at something which hasn't been done before. It made me think of atoms, fractals, sacred geometry and the intense process of gazing at the connecting materials of the universe under a microscope. There is something scientific and matter-of-fact about this deck whilst, at the same time, it contains an undeniable poetry. The colours and symmetry provide an aesthetic adventure which makes laying out spreads incredibly pleasing. I love the fact that laying the deck out in order creates an organic, flowing pattern which demonstrates logic and harmony, only to find that laying it out once shuffled creates a clashing, hectic image of pure chaos!

I think that my love for The Orbifold Tarot is actually a reflection of my love for Tarot as a system overall. I'm one of those people who eats, breathes and sleeps Tarot. I work with it as a full-time job, I teach other people to use the system and I've had Tarot in my life since I was around the age of thirteen. Tarot is one of the very first words which comes out of my mouth when people ask me about passions and pastimes. For me, disconnecting myself from the illustrative aspect of a Tarot deck and succumbing to an experience which only involves symmetry, shape and colour against monochromatic backgrounds was decidedly trippy!

As soon as I started working with this deck I realised that I was accessing my vast internal index of meanings, moods and associations for each card. Without illustrations to shape and guide my perception of each card's meaning, I was kind of going into a trance state and disappearing into the symmetrical portals provided in The Orbifold Tarot, taking my emotional associations with me and allowing them to marry up with the symmetry. It really is like a journey. There have been a couple of instances when I actually felt that I lost time. Zoning out and allowing the patterns to take me on a heady exploration, I have found myself swimming out amidst incredible layers of meaning upon meaning.

When working with this deck I begin to think about the meanings of the colours in each card and how those colours could be associated with the card's theme. I count the amount of circles and other shapes and then reference my numerology knowledge to see how the numbers fit with the card's definition. I 'zoom in' to the centre of the pattern, using it as a kind of vortex into which I can get totally lost and permit my associations of the card to merge with the experience of 'walking the maze' which each pattern seems to turn in to. I recall emailing Michael to let him know that his unique take on Tarot had provided me with 'doorways to the astral'. There are so many vast reflections on offer with The Orbifold Tarot. It certainly provides a stirring experience which can be taken in many different directions.

The initial reactions to this deck probably fall into three distinct categories. There will be those who know immediately that it's not for them and that they wouldn't like to work without illustrative images to reference. Then there are the second camp who are immediately excited and eager to test drive it for the sheer experience of something so different! The third camp is the camp of the undecided - those who can't work out whether they would love it or loathe it and might be wary of giving in to their curiosity.

I would personally recommend this deck to those who are true psychonauts and who have a close connection to Tarot already. There is definitely something psychedelic about connecting to Tarot's archetypes and messages through this collection of sacred geometry but you've really got to want to have an experience which is markedly different from what illustrated decks offer. If you enjoy a mind-bending lens through which to view something you know and love, Orbifold is for you!

One thing that Orbifold has helped me to realise is how far my relationship with Tarot has come in the many years I have been learning about it. When pictorial triggers are taken out of the equation and replaced with patterns which seem to directly reflect my pantheistic ideas about monism, unity and the synchronistic poetry of the cosmos, things get really interesting! Disconnected from the pictures which anchor me into a consensus view of Tarot, I can flow into the abstract. There is a sense that other 'sides' to a card's meaning are available to me in a way which feels strangely limitless. When I work with this deck, I never know where it's going to take me because essentially it's not going to take me anywhere - my mind is going to drive all on its own. This deck is therefore a very strong contender for things like shadow work and release work. I feel like the external influences are taken out and I am just left with lots of raw material to work with as my psyche relates to each card on its own terms.

The moment I truly fell in love with this deck was when I opened it and realised that there are two cards which come before The Fool - The Void and Manifestation. I mean, that on its own is enough to send me on an entire day's worth of deep exploration.

The shiny new edition of Orbifold is coming out this March. 
It is currently available for pre-order.


Wanna keep reading?

Self-Harm: A Blog Post in the Interest of Openness
Self-Love September: 10 Inspiring Messages from Tarot
This is It
The Awesome Power of Relationship Readings: Q&A