Friday, June 25, 2010

Inner Child Cards by Isha and Mark Lerner- Deck Review

Name of Deck: Inner Child Cards- A Fairy-Tale Tarot
Creator: Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner
Illustrator: Christopher Guilfoil
Cost: $34.95 US
Where you can get the Deck: Online, through any retail bookstore, Isha Lerner’s Website (

Once upon a time, Mark and Isha Lerner came together and created a deck full of archetypal childhood stories as means to communicate the Tarot with children and those who are young at heart- our inner child. Four years in the making, The Inner Child Cards feature fairies, gnomes, deceptive animals, knights, and princesses melded with the culture of the Tarot where demons and other deeper and sometimes dark characters are perceived to be alive within us all.

Fables and fairy tales are often moral lessons to be learned and carried throughout life’s journey. As we grow older, we forget about these stories and the Inner Child Cards remind us of these lessons in magnificent, Technicolor usage of fairy-tale images. The combination of fairy tale personalities and the teachings of human psychology found in the Tarot make for famed narratives useful to any Tarot user.

In this deck the four suites are Wands (depicted as butterflies), Swords, Hearts (depicted as winged hearts), and Crystals. In traditional Tarot, Cups always represent emotions and this is where the Lerners have integrated the icon of Hearts. I especially enjoy the switch from Pentacles to Crystals in this deck as it conveys the full meaning of prosperity: material, earthly, physical, and emotional. Other changes include the royal court where Child=Page, Seeker=Knight, Guide=Queen, Guardian=King and the naming of the individual major arcana cards reflecting the themes behind many fables (i.e. Hansel and Gretel as the Lovers, The Yellow Brick Road as Strength, Cinderella as the Moon , etc.).

The large book included with this deck serves as the illuminating waters for the cards. The book, about 291 pages, gives one a complete explanation of the cards the way the creators have envisioned them. Also, there are six highly innovative card layouts presented by the Lerners: the CHILD, Hopscotch (a Kabbalah Tree of Life spread), Wishing Well, Rainbow, Spiral Staircase, and a simple new take on the three-card spread layout called What’s Around the Corner.

The deck fully takes advantage of vibrant primary color combinations and a wonderful use of symbolism. I have chosen to share a few of my favorite cards and also other cards randomly picked from the deck in order to perform the five-card CHILD spread:

C=1st card: Represents your receptivity to the world around you.
The Star- In the time of twilight you see a huge star, similarly depicted in nativity scenes over Bethlehem, a youth steps up to drop a coin into a water well. Underneath is the caption “Wishing Upon A Star.” Traditionally the Star card in Tarot tells us about inspiration, beauty, inner guidance, and hope but it also asks us to take all of these things and step up to the plate, applying a little elbow grease in achieving what we want while holding onto our dreams.

H=2nd card: Dictates how you climb higher within yourself to reach a new level of spirit and understanding.
The Eight of Crystals- Shows us a little female gnome in a pair of skates etching into the ice the figure (number) eight. In the world of ice skating, perfecting the figure eight requires work and patience and signifies a transformation of talent from being a novice skater to one with more skill. The figure 8 also represents the infinite, reaching our infinite potential in an endeavor.

I=3rd card: Symbolizes individuality, independence and developing within.Four of Swords- Four youthful boys are steering a log raft down the river with their swords, while one of them is fishing. Four of Swords traditionally indicates rest. In this card the fishing youth is the odd one out, for the Lerners fishing is the equivalent to rest and relaxation of the mind. This card tells one not to rush the mental process, let your mind rest and free itself in order to bring forth the messages you need to know in order to take charge in life’s upcoming journeys.

L=4th card: The new life you are constantly creating.
Two of Hearts- A card of two mermaids sitting on two separate rocks on the shore. Each is holding a winged heart connected by a rainbow with dolphins flying high above.
The rainbow represents a connection and the dolphins represent spirit/mind. Two of Cups traditionally represent a connection of love or attraction between two individuals. The card capitalizes on the mind aspect of the Two of Cups, lending a friendship partnership feel.

D=5th cared: Your doorway into the world and the challenges one might face.
Guardian of Wands- This card is different in its connotation than many Rider-Waite interpretations. This card is the card of spiritual healing and travels. Archangel Raphael is the ruler of this card and can be further explored by Raphael’s association with King Solomon.

The cards are intentionally big (3 8/16” by 6 ¼”) which is a lot of room to incorporate many symbols and images without them being cluttered. However, the sizing can make the cards difficult to shuffle (which was also an intentional aspect of the cards when created so that one can grasp the concept of youth and having everything surrounding us as being large and inaccessible) and through trial and error I’ve found my own way to shuffle the cards at the corners while holding them vertical. The backs of the cards are of a deep purple with a blazing emblem of a yellow sun and are reversible. The card stock is durable but does not appear to have a protective glossy coating over them. The packaging holds both the book and cards in a box. It is hard to find a bag to fit the cards, but at the same time the packaging it comes in looks fashionable tucked upon a bookcase.

My personal experiences with this deck have been ennobling. I call the Inner Child Cards my “Pluto” deck. Even though it appears as a deck with a light-hearted theme, this is a very serious deck that reaches to the heart of the matter and has the ability to ferret out excess energies in order to find solutions to a problem. I reach for this deck in conjunction with other decks during a read if a problem is indicated. Inner Child Cards also serve as an oracle of sorts because the Lerners’ interpretations of the cards are always positive with a different outlook than the traditional Raider-Waite meaning. However, one can also throw out the meanings the Lerners have for the cards and easily use it in regular Rider-Waite or Golden Dawn form and have as revealing messages. The Lerners suggest using only upright meanings. I am an advocate of utilizing reversed cards during a read, but this is personal preference. The way the selected images on these cards are laid out on the cardstock makes interpretation of reversed cards a breeze.

Inner Child Cards appeal and work best for those who are familiar with fables and fairy-tales. The stories/symbols associated with each card allow for deeper meditation and meaning. Those who love bright colors will be drawn to this deck. Those who are really interested in the way color, numbers, and astrology work in the Tarot will find this deck amazing as the accompanying book taps into the culmination of these ancient traditions. This is an excellent purchase for the experienced Tarot muse looking for something deeper yet unique and also for the non-experienced Tarot user fascinated by fairy-tales and fables.

Listing of the Major Arcana Cards:
0- Little Red Cap; I-Aladdin and the Magic Lamp; II-The Fairy Godmother; III-Mother Goose; IV-The Emperor’s New Clothes; V-The Wand; VI-Hansel and Gretel; VII-Peter Pan; VIII-Beauty and the Beast; IX-Snow White; X-Alice in Wonderland; XI-The Midas Touch; XII-Jack and the Beanstalk; XIII-Sleeping Beauty; XIV-The Guardian Angel; XV-The Big Bad Wolf; XVI-Rapunzel; XVII-Wishing Upon A Star; XVIII-Cinderella; XIX-The Yellow Brick Road; XX-The Three Little Pigs; XXI-The Earth Child.

Ratings: (Out of a total of 6 Stars, 6 being the highest of rank)
Cardstock Quality: 3 Stars
Insight: 6 Stars
LWB: 6 Stars
Readability: 5 Stars
Creativity: 6 Stars
Symbolism: 6 Stars

A Final Word About the Deck from the Deck Itself:

Here is when I have the deck speak for itself by pulling one card...

Six of Hearts (quoted from the LWB of the Inner Child Cards):

"It is an ancient belief that storks are heralds of new life. They are seen frequenting ponds and marshes, which has given rise to the belief that the spirits of unborn children wait in these places, seeking a new mother or a new life. Thus, storks are known as soul carriers.

In this card, something holy is occurring. Five mermaids are joining with each other and rising from the sea. The sixth mermaid, flying upon a stork, is offering a spiritual lifeline from above. In ecstasy, the five emerge from the ocean, representing the unconscious, into the air and sunlight, representing higher revelations. They rejoice as they touch one another and reach skyward. A transition is taking place. It is as if emotions have surfaced and are now being released.

Imagine that the sea has claimed your tears and the Sun is drying your eyes. This is an inner healing, and on that you deserve. The number 6 represents support, dedication, responsibility, and unity. It can also signify the need to balance your emotional life. This may be the time for a family healing or resolution of conflict with a loved one. A deep, heartfelt connection with your friends or community may be happening."

Well said deck…

Love and Light,

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