Waterfall along the Road to Hana, Maui. Copyright Nefer Khepri, 2014.
Yes, I am at it AGAIN! Here I am with yet another deck idea, but this time no hand-drawn art is involved. Instead, the deck will consist of my own photographs that I took on 3 vacations to Maui, Hawaii. The idea germinated in 2009 upon returning from our first trip to Maui. I was looking through my pictures and every once in a while I’d say to myself:
“Ooh! That would make a great card image for some deck!”
As it turned out, I took well over 1,800 photos that first trip and narrowed it down to keeping 688. Of those, around 22 made for great card images, but I just didn’t know the type of deck. I have 37 year’s experience reading Tarot so naturally I assumed my pictures would contribute to a Tarot deck.
But things change …
In 2007 I had learned from a cousin of mine that one of my aunts had read Lenormand cards, but only for immediate family and very close friends. I had never known this about her, but she was the one who taught me how to perform spiritual cleansings on people and locations. I always knew she was a curandera (Mexican white witch and healer), although being a firm Catholic she would never ever admit to that. I spent the next 2 years trying to convince my cousin to send me a copy of my aunt’s handwritten notes on her Lenormand card-reading system. Late in 2009 he finally agreed and that was my first real introduction to the wonderful world of Lenormand. I was totally sucked in and began studying all I could, which was mainly online via blogs since at that time very little was available in English that made any good sense to me.
When we returned to Maui in 2011 I began thinking that perhaps what I had going with my 2009 photos wasn’t so much a Tarot deck as a Lenormand deck. I began looking for Lenormand symbols in nature that I could photograph. Again, I went on a photo-shooting frenzy taking anywhere from 120 to 300 pictures a day. We were there for 8 days, so yes, that adds up fast. Upon returning home I narrowed the field of my 2011 photos down to a group of 510 from a total of over 2,100. Once again I saw images that would make great Lenormand cards, but the Lenormand system just didn’t seem exactly right.
As a result, I needed to go to Maui a third and final time.
Natural archway at Black Sand Beach, Maui. Copyright Nefer Khepri, 2014.
I just knew that the old adage, “third time’s the charm” would prove true and I would come home and realize just what sort of a deck I had in the making. Unfortunately, when my husband asked me early this year where I’d like to go for our 20th anniversary and I said “Maui,” he replied, “Aw, honey, I’m sorry, but I’m all Maui-ed out.”
To say I was bummed would be a gross understatement. I think I cried off and one for about five days. How was I to come up with the images I needed? Plus, I dearly LOVE Maui. The energy there is so healing. I was dying to go back. If I had my way we’d be living there now.
So I waited and did not mention Maui or card deck ideas. I figured if it was meant to be that it would just find a way of working itself out.
As our anniversary date loomed on the calendrical horizon my husband called me from work one fine day and announced, “You know, we need to go somewhere special we both love for our anniversary. How do you feel about going back to Maui?” He had totally forgotten our previous conversation on the subject, obviously. Now he was convinced it was a great idea! I replied very calmly with, “that would be very nice.” So he told me to go ahead and make the arrangements and we would go a month after our anniversary and make the trip coincide with my birthday.
After that phone conversation I got up and performed a huge happy dance all around the house!
On June 17, 2014 I returned to Maui now determined to get those final shots I needed for whatever deck this island’s wonderful energy wished to create through me as the channel. I set my intention before getting on the plane and reiterated my intention upon landing that I was here to obtain the final images necessary for this photographic card deck.
River at Iao State Park, Maui. Copyright Nefer Khepri, 2014.
Once again I went on a picture taking spree, but after the first day it was extremely limited. The evening of our first full day there I took a very bad fall. Not down a cliff or anything as dramatic as that (thank the gods!). It was in a dark parking lot. I bounced several times & skidded across loose gravel for about 10 feet, all according to my husband. I went through the next day, my birthday, in EXTREME pain and was popping Tylenol 3 at a time every 4 hours after a quick call to my GP, plus taking 3 Aleve every 12 hours, as per his instructions. I didn’t even sleep the night of my birthday due to all the pain so the next day not only was I in pain, but I felt awful from lack of sleep.
Yet, I persevered. I went around with Stuart and we did things he wanted to do. I was cut up, bleeding, and had 2 bandages on each arm so I was unable to get in the water, not only due to the salt content that would have burned my wounds, but hey, sharks, dude. Sharks. NO WAY! And yes, I have seen “Jaws” way too many times, which is to say I’ve seen it 3 times, which is far too many for me since I’m afraid of water in the first place and can’t swim!
Despite all the pain and misery, I managed to take 400 pictures despite the pain it caused me to raise the camera to my eye, and believe me, it seriously hurt every single time. I had badly injured both my lower arms, my elbows and when I was bouncing on the gravel, well, I did that on my chest. The bruises were something out of a nightmare, let me tell you.
On my birthday as my husband snorkeled happily with not just one, but TWO SEA TURTLES (for those of you who know me you know I dearly LOVE sea turtles & had my own great experience in 2011), I sat up on the beach working on a card for my forthcoming, “Turtle Lenormand” (you can follow that deck’s progress here). Then he had to come up & tell me all about the sea turtles, one of which had a shell that was “at least four feet long.” Yeah, go husband, go! I hate you! Happy freakin’ birthday to me. Sob. Sob.
Yet, I continued to take photos, sometimes of very odd things and I had no idea why I would ever think such a thing would make for a good photo, but I figured perhaps the island was speaking through my camera lens.
Sure enough, upon returning home as I examined my photos I ended up with an additional 84 that I felt would make great card images. I also realized what I had on my hands.
An oracle deck.
To be honest, oracle decks and I do not get along very well. I use only two with great success: Ciro Marchetti’s self-published edition of Oracle of Visions and The Map. A few other oracle decks also work well for me, but are not as insightful as these two have been. Let me stress this is a VERY individual thing. Just because only two oracle decks work well for me consistently time and time again does NOT mean they are the two best out there or that they would also work great for you. There are a lot of great oracle decks out there, a few of which I have reviewed for my blog. You need to experiment and purchase different decks and see which ones work best for you. As with everything else, what works great for one person may not do the same for another.
I never thought I would ever even consider creating an oracle deck, but as I examined my photos from our 2014 trip it was crystal clear that was what had formulated among my vast collection of Maui photographs.
Thus, The Aloha Spirit of Maui oracle deck was born.
I have been busy off and on cropping my images into 4X6″ portrait orientation so they can serve as card images. I’m also thinking up titles for each and also card interpretations. It’s all quite a process and although no hand-drawn art is involved in this particular project, it will still end up being time-consuming, but I am really looking forward to the finished result.
If you would like to follow the process of this deck, please visit its blog, the sister-blog to my main blog here at WordPress. If you follow you will receive an email notification every time I submit a new post. If you are on Facebook you can also follow my visionary art and other art projects and decks as a member of my new group.
I look forward to seeing what The Aloha Spirit of Maui has to say through me. I am very excited about this project and hope that others will also share in my excitement as I go through the birthing process with this deck.
Wishing You All Many Blessings,
Nefer Khepri, PhD.
EgyptianLenormand.com (only 7 self-published, signed & numbered copies remain!)