Dreaming in Color Deck Review
by Shelia Hamilton
Professional Tarot Reader and Mom
First, a word on terminology. This is not a tarot in the sense of having 78 cards divided into Majors and Minors. I say this not to quibble but to point out what I feel is one of the great strengths of the deck--there is no traditional iconography. This is very liberating. Other people have likened the images to the Rorschach blot--you see yourself in them. I would add that, just as Mindy Sommers channelled both the images and the text, we too may "receive" channelling--call it Divine Inspiration, a Nudge from the Unknown--when we work with these cards. Created intuitively, I believe they are best used in this spirit. What I receive one day from a card is quite likely not what I will take from it another time.
The cards themselves: they are colour. They almost breathe it. Although they are derived from fractals--I am told a fractal is a mathematical equation made visible--they look very natural. Many of them look like plants. One of them--the Anger card--looks like a rich, red rose, and never was a rose so unsettling! If someone could invent a way of photographing beautiful dreamscapes, gothic scenes from a vivid nightmare, I believe the photographs would resemble those images. Though the colours are extraordinary--luminous greens, extraordinary pinks, claustrophobic reds--this is no fluffy, superficial deck. They evoke emotions. I did feel anger when looking at the Anger card; I felt that tight feeling in the stomach, almost claustrophobic, and the exhaustion that goes hand-in-hand with prolonged anger when it is not well-used. (This is not my current situation. It was evoked by the image.) I don't think I've encountered any images anywhere that offer so much for meditation, visualization and healing. I meditate on them, drawing one card a day at random, gleaning new and profound wisdom each time I do.
That colour helps and heals I have no doubt. I know Mindy Sommers believes this, too. Prison cells are sometimes painted pink because research has demonstrated the calming effect pink can have, and even on the most violent prisoners. Green interiors are known to reduce suicide and attempted suicide. On a more mundane level, we all know how a well-chosen outfit, a room painted in a particular hue, and how art itself can affect mood and one's sense of well-being.
On a personal note, I have a 6-year-old son with a diagnosis of autism. Studies have shown that many--not necessarily all--autistic people perceive colour (and noise, and scent) more powerfully than the non-autistic. Sometimes, this hypersensitivity can cause distress to the person. Other times, it can be harnessed for healing. (No, autism cannot be cured-not yet, anyway-but there are now more therapies available to autistic people than there have ever been, therapies that really do help enhance mood, self-image and general well-being.) Daniel is fortunate in that he truly does love colour. He points it out, he smiles when he sees a particularly colourful picture like a red dog in a cartoon. He was very interested when I first showed him these cards. Whenever I bring them out, he looks at them for a while and remarks on them. He also responds well to plants, so this deck scores on several points. I now make it a habit of getting out this deck whenever he appears to be in a receptive mood.
For anyone still in doubt as to the efficacy of these cards, they are currently being tested a group of people at Vermont University in the hope that they will indeed be able to give emotionally- and communication-challenged children another tool in their striving toward wholeness. My experiences with my son give me high hopes for this study.
To sum, I am excited to have this deck. Mindy Sommers does not hold it up as a cure-all, but she does believe it will change lives. I do, too.