by Pankhuri Agarwal & Rahul Das (both on Instagram @pankhuri_r.healer & @rahuldasart)
Publisher: US Games
Rec’d Retail Price: $23.95
Date of Publication: 2022
When I saw this deck, I knew I would love it. The box cover art is beautiful, and I was looking forward to learning about stories from, for me, another culture. It didn’t disappoint. But let me get the one niggly thing out of the way because I promise you everything else is good. It’s a tiny thing hardly worth mentioning but still it impacted my first impressions. It’s the insert in the box, which is a typical rigid box and lid, which because the book is much bigger than the cards, the cards sit in with a ribbon that sits partially underneath them to help with lifting them out. I don’t know why but when I see a ribbon like that, I expect quality but somehow the recessed section comes across as a bit cheap. I think it might be that when you turn it over it looks a bit like something made by Blue Peter. It’s just a shame that the quality of the rest of the deck hasn’t carried all the way through. But as I say, it’s minor, don’t let it put you off.
So on to the good stuff. The theme of the deck is insights from traditional Indian mythology and teachings. In the Introduction to the book the author gives us some background about the importance of these stories in India and in their own life growing up. Hind, as they tell us, is what the Persians and Arabs used to call India long, long ago. There are 50 cards, of standard US Games cardstock, with a beautiful tiger and peacock image on the back. The cards are split into 25 stories focused on a female character followed by 25 on a male. The artwork, digitally done, is dramatic as well as beautiful, depicting an element of each story. The guidebook is a good size and with 172 pages contains a lot of information. After the Introduction and a piece on How to Begin, each card description has the story (a simpler shortened form by the author), Questions to ask yourself, Actions to take, and Messages. The stories themselves are interesting and the wisdom is clear. Some are brutal, some speak of gentleness. The author has also included some spreads at the back of the book including an interesting one that draws on the energy of the male/female split.
Beginners would love this deck because the author really supports you in learning from each card in a myriad of ways. And the experienced would love it not least because of the stories and images. The images on the cards and their titles do allow for intuitive reading but really you want to know the stories. And actually you could just not bother with the cards and read the book, but of course you’d miss out on the artwork then.
In the How to Begin section the author suggests doing a Blessing spread when you first get the deck, so I did just that. My cards came out as:
- Shibi’s Selflessness about King Shibi’s passing of a test, set by Lord Indra, with his willingness to sacrifice himself for a sparrow. One of the actions suggested was ‘Put out food for birds’.
- Mandodari’s Love about a king’s wife who loved him despite his unfaithfulness and brutality. One of the messages was ‘Remember…love always feels good. If it feels any less, it isn’t love.’
- Ilvala’s Hatred about a demon brother who invited sages into his home in order to kill them. I loved the message ‘You are worth so much more than being a vessel of hate’.
I think the deck wanted me to know it is here when I need to ground myself or be reminded of how to be in good relationship with others and the world around me. As the title of the deck suggests, there is a lot of wisdom here and the author does a great job of making that relevant to us now.
I love this deck and cannot recommend it enough. Now forgive me whilst I settle down with my cup of tea and lose myself in the Epics of Hind!
Reviewer: Alison Clayton-Smith