Power of Flowers: An Archetypal Journey Through Nature
Created by Isha Lerner; Illustrated by Karen Forkish 
Review by Diane Wilkes

I tend to focus on tarot decks much more than I do non-tarot divination sets.  What really fascinates me about the tarot is the perfect cosmic structure of the 78 cards and the interesting perspectives offered by different artists and authors on those "same" 78 cards.  At the same time, I'm a sucker for beauty, which explains why I'll spend more money than is sensible just to own a deck I find particularly lovely.

That "sucker for beauty" aspect of myself explains my attraction to Power of Flowers.  This 32 card-deck is redolent with lovely and feminine images which manage to combine multi-culturalism with a dreamy aesthetic that hearkens back to the idealized work of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Isha Lerner, who co-created the Inner Child Cards with ex-husband Mark Lerner, sees this deck as the "culmination of all [she has] lived until now."  The cards were inspired by her studies of flower essences, folklore and mystical studies, including tarot, astrology, and alchemy--and her gardening, particularly when she worked in the Findhorn gardens, where she was able to "explore the soul connection between human beings and nature."

The card images blend beings and nature into a perfect and harmonious whole.  Even the card borders emphasize this accord with nature--they are a deep green, the color of rain-drenched leaves.  The color texturing even evokes the veins and striations of real plant life.  Within the border is a rounded window-of-sorts that contains the central image.  The colors are rich and enchanting--a kind of spiritual eye-candy.  The card title is nestled at the bottom of the card in white--and when you realize even the white is shaped in the form of a leaf, you realize the amazing amount of consciousness that went into this project to make it detail-perfect.  Of course, the card backs are illustrated with two leaves connected back-to-back, which makes them reversible, as well.  While the scans make the top of the cards look blue, in fact, they are green.  

The little white booklet (LWB) that comes with the deck is also well-thought out and quite generous at 74 pages.  The name of the flower is listed at the top, with the Latin name immediately below.  Then the description is broken down into the following categories: Plant Signature, Flower Esssence, Archetype, Healing, and Blessing.  The Plant Signature describes the unique physical qualities of the featured flower or plant, the Flower Essence provides information about the healing qualities of the flower essence, the Archetype matches the plant with a Goddess or God, the Healing is card's personal message, and the Blessing is self-explanatory.

There is a "wild card", Alchemy, that comes with the deck, which "includes all of the potentials held within the individual cards."  The LWB includes "The Emerald Tablet" to be read in accordance with this card.  The Emerald Tablet is Tabula Smaragdina, aka The Emerald Tablets of Hermes, The Magna Carta of Alchemy.

The text of the LWB is quite ethereal--the emphasis on so many aspects of the new age would repel those who have a low tolerance for subjects such as animal spirits and the chakras.

While I know that a non-tarot divination deck should be assessed on its own merits, my tarot-blinkered eyes couldn't help but see that 22 of these cards could be selected and attributed to the Major Arcana.  I blame Lerner--she used the word "archetype", activating my mind to turn immediately to the tarot.  Some of the matches we found were ideal, and others more forced, but it was a fun afternoon project for my friend Crystal Sage and me to engage in--so we did.  Here are the results:

Orchid or Buttercup - Fool
Black Cohosh - Magician 
Pomegranate - High Priestess
Manzanita - Empress
Angel's Trumpet - Emperor
California Poppy - Hierophant
Calla Lily - Lovers
Bleeding Heart - Chariot
Sagebrush - Strength
Suguaro Cactus - Hermit
Angelica - Wheel
Fig - Justice
Silver Sword - Hanged One
Apple Blossom - Death
Alchemy - Temperance
Passion Flower - Devil
Hibiscus - Tower
Shooting Star - Star
Queen of the Night - Moon
Sunflower - Sun
Lavender - Judgement
Zinnia - World

I'll explain the thinking behind a few of these.  The Apple Blossom is correlated to Astarte, "perpetually destroying the old in order to give rise to the new."  Sounds like Death to me.  Buttercup's archetype is the Divine Child, described as "the heart of the child meets the wisdom inherent in all of life"  What a lovely description of the Fool.  The Hibiscus is matched to Pele--do you wonder that we chose the Tower for this card?

These matches were not the result of deep contemplation, and you might find completely different pairings.  But it's a fun way to work with these cards within a tarot framework.

My whole life sometimes seems to be an attempt to find fun ways to work with everything within a tarot framework!

But you can also, of course, use these cards as directed.  I recommend this deck to those looking for a beautiful and gentle deck that isn't tarot (but can play one on tv).  It would also be a good deck for someone interested in flower essences or those who like to make connections between spirit and nature.  Power of Flowers would  also be good for those who are interested in learning more about Gods and Goddesses within a plant/flower essence framework.  While the LWB includes two "spreads" (one is actually a one-card reading, the other is a four card reading), I think this deck is less geared toward divination and more appropriate for spiritual affirmation work.

Excerpt from LWB:

Silver Sword

Latin: Argroxiphium macrocephalum

Plant Signature
The magnificent Silver Sword grows exclusively on the Islands of Hawaii.  This plant grows in a round cluster of silvery, curved, spiky leaves, remaining in this configuration for over a decade, after which a spectacular stalk of reddish-purple florets emerges from its core, growing to a height of three to six feet.

Flower Essence
The Silver Sword elixir is rare and potent with a high vibratory frequency.  It works its special brand of magic by releasing encoded information that has been stored in its cellular memory bank, completely opening one's energy centers and aligning one's body with the next seven chakras above the crown.  This remedy is best taken by itself.

Archetype - Celestial Light Bearer
In many esoteric disciplines, it is taught that certain plant and mineral substances were brought to the earth from other galaxies, planets, or stars, and that these life forms stand poised to aid and enhance the development of humanity--to take us beyond what we currently think is possible.  The Silver Sword may be one such gift.  IF we open our hearts to the possibilities beyond the material world, we may become acquainted with celestial guides who overlight our journey and help us pierce the veil of illusion.

The presence of the Silver Sword is a rare gift.  You have a heightened sensitivity and are, indeed, opening to new levels of awareness at this time.  The luminous colors emanating from the Light Bearer's hands and above the Silver Sword flowers are waves of vibratory healing available to you at this time.

Celestial greetings
Silver Sword brings
Within its mystery
A Galactic tone rings.
Arise and Awaken
As the universe sings.

Power of Flowers: An Archetypal Journey Through Nature
Created by Isha Lerner; Illustrated by Karen Forkish
Publisher: US GAMES
ISBN#: 1-57281-196-X

Review and page 2001 Diane Wilkes
Images and booklet text 1999 US GAMES








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