Visualizing a Future: A personal card deck

I finished work on another installment of a deck of personal vision cards for founder of Butopia and dancer, Maureen Freehill, and I’m now working on a deck for performance artist and process geek,  Heidi Madsen.

Here are a few of Heidi’s cards drying in my studio.


I love this process!  I get to interview the most fascinating and inspired people–artists and movers and creators with big visions for the future. Using the images and metaphors of their choice, I create a set of cards that visually represent their stories, their visions, and their values.

This is the insert that I included for Maureen’s cards that I mailed off yesterday.

Your Personal Vision Cards

Welcome to the next step in your Journey

May this Deck of Cards help guide you on your way.

Before we get started, a few FAQs

  1. Who made these cards?  We did. You and I. And we made them just for you!  Seriously.  Nobody else has a deck quite like this one because it was made with your intentions, your chosen metaphors, your words, and your images (as I imagine them).
  2. How might I use the cards?  Lots of ways! Carry one or two around with you for inspiration or reminder. Use them as book marks. Collect them over time. Create cards from scratch and add to the deck. Use them as prompts for journal writing. Use them as inspiration for movement. Make up a game to play with them. Just be careful with the deck, as the cards are created from your intention, your vision, your imagination.
  3. Some of the cards seem incomplete.  Why is that? The cards that seem incomplete are waiting for your intervention. Feel free to add color, collage, or write on your cards
  4. Some of these cards seem scary and don’t represent my intention at all. Why are they in this deck? Scary cards are there to represent the challenges, changes, or dream images that came up during our interview. The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.
  5. What materials are these cards made of?

Post-consumer cardstock

Acrylic paint, inks, permanent and water-based markers

Oil pastels

I cannot guarantee that they are non-toxic, so please keep from the mouths of babes.

6. My cards came wrapped in paper. Do I have to keep them that way?

The covering is just to keep the cards from sticking together during shipment.

7. I want more cards for my deck. How do I get them?

Arrange for another session with me. New cards will be added to your deck.

How to use the cards

 This deck of cards was made for you with your stated intention in mind. During an interview I had with you, you talked about what was important to you: your hopes and dreams, your experiences, your  and I recorded these intentions in picture and word.

The result is this deck.

There are lots of possible ways for you to use this deck, and I hope that you play around with them and enjoy the images, and perhaps even gain some insight into your life and what you want to do with your life in the future.

The point is to create what you want from these images, just as you can create what you intend with your life.  You create the meaning. You follow through.

A Few Ideas for Using your Cards

  1. The Morning Pull.  Pull a card (or two or three) each day from the deck to clarify an intention for the day. Pull a card at random or be selective and pick a card you want. Keep the card with you as a reminder of your intention.
  2. The Storyteller. Move all the cards around in orderly stacks, rows and columns. Make these categories mean something. Create a logical narrative sequence. Tell your story based on the arrangement of your cards.
  3. The Divinator. Ask the cards a question. Pull cards at random. Let them speak to you.
  4. The Reader. Read as you would a tarot deck. Arrange cards pulled at random into the shape of a classic metaphor: tree of life, mandala, vesica piscis, seasons, or some such archetypal configuration. Create meaning from your placement of the cards in the arrangement.
  5. For Gratitude. Pull a card at random. Allow the word and image to remind you of what you already have in your life. *
  6. If you pull a card that scares you, acknowledge the challenges, the pain in the world as related to the image or word on your card. *
  7. Create a vision. Using the cards, remind yourself of the vision for our future you are creating with your intention.*
  8. Take action. Choose a single card or a combination of two or three cards. Create an action plan for taking next steps toward concrete, measurable results toward fulfilling your intentions.*

*The last four ideas inspired by Joana Macy’s  “The Work that Reconnects.”