Sustain Yourself Cards and Handbook Review from Alison Cross

Sustain Yourself Cards and Handbook
by James Wanless Ph.d ISBN: 13 978 0 9833024 1 4
The Tarot Media Company
Review by Alison Cross

We use Tarot and Oracles in all sorts of ways, right? From good ol’ divination, prompts for creative writing right through to self-development and pursuit of our Highest Good.

James Wanless’s set of 101 cards is not a Tarot, nor an Oracle for fortune-telling, but it is certainly aimed at helping us develop and pursue our Highest Good by living well and in harmony with nature.

The thought behind the deck is that we are all a little lost. Not only have we made a mess of the planet’s resources, we’ve evolved to such an extent that we have lost touch with nature and thereby we have also lost touch with our essential selves. But despite this separation, nature offers us gifts at every turn. By getting involved in what Wanless calls the ‘Sustainability Game of Life’ using the Sustain Yourself cards, we will get back to living a greener and, crucially, a more authentic life.

The first thing that I noticed on sliding the box out of the delivery packaging is the box that the cards come in. This is not a flimsy easy-ruined thing that will soon be consigned to the waste bin. It opens like a jewellery box, on the top flap and inside are the cards and the accompanying handbook. You don’t need a bag for these cards, the box is the perfect home for them.

The cards themselves are printed on good quality card with a high finish and I couldn’t help but wonder – noting that the printing and packaging came from China – how environmentally sound the cards and box might be!

I asked the Tarot Media Company who publish this set about the potential conflict between the ethos of the deck and China’s reputation as one of the planet’s major polluters.

TMC’s Anastasia Haysler admitted that the decision to print in China was difficult for them, but ultimately it came down to being able to make the deck available at a reasonable price. She said: “We did choose recycled materials for the product, which alleviates the environmental sting a bit, but certainly does not cancel it out.

“We’ve since been introduced to a green printer in Bali which quoted us a workable rate, and they are sending us samples of their work. If they prove satisfactory, future editions will be done through them.”

Fingers crossed that the green printer option does work out and that many more companies follow The Tarot Media Company’s lead in searching for that Holy Grail – an environmentally friendly, affordable, quality printer!

Let’s take a look at the cards themselves.

If you’re a fan of Dr Wanless’s ever-popular Voyager Tarot, then you’ll be delighted to know that the Sustain Yourself cards are created in a similar collaged manner.
The card subject matter can broken down into five categories, all of varying size:
• The Elemental Cards (e.g. – Atom, Rainbow, Water)
• The Mineral Cards (e.g. Gold, Soil, Stone)
• The Plant Cards (e.g. Fall Leaves, Pollination, Tulips)
• The Animal Cards (e.g. Bear, Horses, Snake)
• The Human Cards (e.g. Babies, DNA, Hand)

Each card is named in a bar along the bottom of the card and the main quality of the card is shown across the top.

The accompanying book is laid out in four sections.

The first section is a detailed analysis of what it is to be environmentally aware – and is a lot more interesting to read than that probably sounds! Likewise the second section called Nature’s Roadmap where Dr Wanless outlines why we’d benefit from listening to nature a little more than we (generally!) currently do.
Section three is all about playing with the cards and using them as tools to help you create a more vibrant daily life. So the deck is not unlike Tarot in that respect!

There are loads of different (quite Tarot-like) ways to use the cards such as Card of the Day and there is a slew of carefully thought out spreads, all designed to help you tune in to nature and to live more sustainably within it.

For example: What Would Mother Nature Say? This involves shuffling the cards and asking any question. The resulting card drawn will provide insight and inspiration from Mother Nature.

I pulled a card for today and drew Horses (keyword: freedom)

The book says: Exercise your independence and the power of self-determination. Break free to autonomy. Follow your own lead. Gallop with your gang to the creative, original and unrestricted heartbeat of the life force. Jump the fences of limitation and corrals of conventional living. Be true to your own will. Get wild!
Wow! What’s not to like about that?!

The Fourth section of the book details the qualities of each of the 101 cards and contains a useful key phrase.

What I like about these cards is that the eco-wisdom is woven in amongst a contemporary practicality to help us re-empower ourselves using the messengers found in nature.

I have the box of cards sitting in the hallway of my home. Every morning I select a Sustain card and I try to implement the cards qualities throughout the day. It’s fun and it’s useful.

Now, if you would excuse me – I’ve got some self-imposed boundaries to be vaulting over.

You can visit James Wanless’s website to find out more.

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