Steph Stern and Natalie Rothfels sent over their brand new creation, The Ripple Deck, for me to review and share with you. And I’ve been so excited to work with it ever since they announced this collaborative project.
The Ripple Deck is a meaty 84-card oracle deck centered around the theme of power. The deck creators are both coaches and IFS practitioners who decided to make a deck they could use with their clients. I was attracted to their vision for the deck, which was to create a tool to help us rethink how we view power.
They rightly point out that “our default associations with power tend to be around strength, force, and domination. These forms of power-over-others offer a limited, individualist, and patriarchal view. They leave out vital and catalyzing forms of power that include, rather than dominate. The Ripple Deck was designed to broaden our notion of what power is, how we can cultivate it, and what it’s in service to.”
They’ve divided the cards into 6 suits for an empowered life. Suits like individuation (the power of being ourselves), relationships (the power of connection), emotions (the power of feeling), accomplishment (the power of doing), resilience (the power of overcoming), and collective (the power of all of us together).
Each suit contains 12 cards arranged alphabetically, which are important building blocks of power towards the suit’s goal. Each suit includes two peak cards: powers that rest on the other ten cards and exemplify the apex of the suit. These are iconic forms of the suit, an ideal we can all build toward but never an end destination. Examples of peak cards include: self-respect and agency for the individuation suit and learning and purpose for the accomplishment suit.
Additionally, they’ve assigned each card as a being or doing card. Being cards have a cooler color palette and are ones that call for stillness, reflection, or mindset. Doing cards have a warmer color palette and suggest an action or behavior needed to enact the card’s power. Notice in the above photo I’ve sorted the first row into the being (cooler) category and the second row into the doing (warmer) category. I love how intuitive they’ve made this deck. It’s user-friendly and easy to work with. Which do you gravitate toward? I'm definitely a doer! Those warm oranges and reds really call out to me and energize me!
Here are just a few of the cards that stood out to me from my work with this deck: mindset, accountability, agency, interdependence, discernment, awe, self-respect, speaking, listening, perspective, boundaries, precision, flow, and persistence (shown in the photo above).
“Even strengths have a down-side, too much or too little of a good thing. The Ripple Deck includes 84 forms of power and the accompanying guidebook describes what each power looks like when empowered, under-exercised, and overused. All powers should be used with conscientiousness. We’re seeking balance, not perfection, as we build greater awareness of our own power and its impact in our lives and those around us.”
The creators have written an accompanying guidebook that goes along with the cards that helps to deepen our connection with different forms of power through activities and reflections that we can use on our own in our healing journeys. These cards would be great for therapy clients and counselors/coaches/psychologists wanting to go deeper with clients and to use as homework assignments with their clients. The creators even note that one of the reasons they created this deck in the first place was to give their clients something to use between sessions. The deck can be used individually, in groups, or as a part of a creative practice.
This unique deck can help each of us reflect on our own power, help us cultivate our personal power, and it can be a resource for coaches, therapists, and healers to use with clients. I also think therapy clients could use this on their own as a supplement to therapy to help build that agency as well. I love how working with this deck has challenged my own views of power in the world and how I have used my power or given it away in some circumstances. At this time in my healing journey, I’ve been actively working on calling all my power back to me, so this deck crossed my path at the perfect time. So, much of my writing process for my novels has been a healing process centered around telling my story by finding my voice and using it to reclaim my power while inspiring my readers to do the same. This tool can help us do that more intentionally and effectively.
The creators have included exercises in the guidebook for group work to help with getting to know team members or group members, to facilitate communication, and can even be used at a dinner party as an ice breaker or to deepen conversations. These cards can help with goal setting, gaining feedback, and reflection on steps of a project whether it be a group or individual project.
There’s so many uses for this versatile deck. Use your creativity to come up with novel ways to apply these cards to your modern life. For creative purposes, I think you could easily use these cards for building character profiles, mapping out plot ideas, and deepening story development to make your characters and story more complex and compelling.
Pick a card a day and journal about your reactions to the card for the day and explore your relationship with that type of power. And ask yourself these questions:
Are you under or over utilizing that power?
Do you need to work on this area to bring it more into balance?
Do you need to reframe how you’ve viewed this type of power in the past?
Does the card bring up any resistance at first glance? If so, explore why and journal about any images, memories, or emotions that come to the surface when looking at the card.
Use these cards to explore how power plays a role in your life, relationships, interactions with others, your mood, your career, and your life purpose/path. Explore which areas of your life where this power is overused, and which are underused. How would it feel to have this power balanced in your life going forward?
Each of the 84 cards can help us shift from this view of power-over to a model of power-with that recognizes our internal strengths and leverages our connection.
The creators say that The Ripple Deck is “a call for a reclaiming process: for us to broaden our notion of what power is, how we can cultivate it and what it’s in service to. We tend to associate power with strength, might, force and domination.”
If you are a counselor or healer of any sort, I’d definitely recommend looking at this deck for your own use and to utilize in your practice. I’m asked all the time how I see divination and psychology merging, and this is a prime example of the vision I have for the future of psychology/psychotherapy. Therapeutic tools such as these are deeply needed to help all of us with self-reflection, personal growth, and personal development. That’s what started me on this healing thru tarot journey in the first place, and I’m even more convinced that there will be a blending of psychology and spirituality/divination when I witness tools such as this deck being born. Practitioners are starting to think more and more outside the box and are more open-minded about how to approach healing, coaching, skill development, trauma work, and empowerment.
I pulled a card from the deck for us after asking, "Which card do we most need to work with now?"
The Values card from the Collective suit came out.
And boy, is that relevant now. I know people with no values or questionable values have been a huge trigger for me the past several years. I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering if the world has gone crazy with it seeming like those with no ethics or values have been skating by with little to no consequences while the rest of us that hold altruistic values seem to suffer in the meantime. Seems completely backwards. But we still hold true to our values because for some of us, that’s the most important thing keeping us afloat in this crazy world.
The guidebook says “Misalignment with values can lead to inner conflict, dissatisfaction, or a lack of personal integrity. But values aren't just individual. They are collective: shaped by our family, community, and culture. This power is about getting clear on how you show up and treat others in the world."
When empowered: We are clear, authentic, and aligned
When under exercised: We are malleable, constantly flipping, and self-betraying
When overused: We are rigid and dogmatic
My interpretation of the card pull: So knowing this, we can work to stay empowered in the area of our values to stay authentic, aligned with our life path/purpose and clear-minded regarding the direction we’re going because our values serve as our compass on this journey of life. Keep your values front of mind when making decisions on how to live your life, how to interact with others, and the actions you take (keeping in mind the consequences of those actions as well). And stay aware of when you feel that you are flip flopping on your stances because that's a sign that you're betraying the values you hold dear.
Our values are a large part of our core construct system that is formed early in our life. This is central to our identity, and it helps to steer us on our path throughout life. Revisit those core values when you feel off course and find your way back to your center when things seem to lead you astray. Tune into that inner compass and you can’t miss what’s meant for you! Hope this message resonates for you today.
Let's Learn More About the Deck and The Creation Process
The deck creators are coaches and practitioners and are admittedly not visual artists, so they're very transparent that the images for the cards were created using an AI image generator (Midjourney) because they wouldn’t have been able to create this deck without the help of an AI tool. They recognize and address on their website that the advancement of generative image technology may bring up ethical concerns for folks. I’ll share their statement here.
“Our deep hope is that this deck can help inspire and create cascading positive impact, which is why we’ve called it The Ripple Deck. That said, we believe it is ethically imperative to name that image generators like Midjourney use (and therefore can exploit) the real labor and creative output of artists in order to create novel imagery. We wrestled with this irony during our creation process: how can we be making a deck about shared collective power and yet be using unknown-to-us and un-cited creative sources for our imagery? We are cognizant of the second and third order consequences that using these tools may have for working artists, so we want to be transparent about our use of AI. The card images were generated using prompts that we fine-tuned to try to create a cohesive style. The ideas for the images, all of the descriptions of the cards in the guidebook and its accompanying facilitated exercises were written by us.”
I, for one, understand that not every creator is a visual artist and tools like this can become necessary in order to bring a creator’s vision to life. I appreciate that Steph and Natalie are open and transparent about their use of AI, their reasons, the details of the process, and the fact that they commit to hiring an artist in the future if the deck becomes popular. So it is very possible that they could publish a new edition with original art by a human!
We intentionally designed it to be used in a range of contexts:
Steph Stern and Natalie Rothfels are coaches committed to building meaningful lives and helping others do the same. They created the deck out of a need for themselves and wanted to share that with others to be of service and as “a reminder of our innate internal powers.”
They explain that this creative project came about when Steph became curious about the ways she was holding herself back and how she could step more into her own power. This came at a time when Natalie had just returned from a group retreat where she'd learned all about her own power.
How synchronistic! I’m obsessed with situations like these that clearly show divine timing and planning!
With both of them pondering ways to reconceptualize power and work with it in their own lives, they began to wonder if a tool could be created that could help them to “recognize, cultivate and grow the power innate within us rather than strive for more in order to feel like enough?”
And thus, The Ripple deck was born! And they have kindly shared it with the rest of us knowing that more people could benefit from this unique tool that they created for their own personal journeys and their coaching work with their clients. They noted that they created this deck with their coachees in mind since they often hear stories of clients desiring to boost their confidence and sense of agency. Too often, they hear from their clients that they assume that kind of power and agency only comes from emulating others rather than developing those skills from within.
“We see leaders that want to find new ways to lead but don’t yet understand the transformative impact of cultivating power with others versus power over them. We see overwhelmed overachievers burning out and unable to tap into more sustainable and integrated ways of being.”
I’m deeply grateful to practitioners such as Steph and Natalie for creating therapeutic tools for us to explore deeper aspects of ourselves. That’s how we all heal and grow collectively by pushing ourselves in new ways and striving to better ourselves through deep analytical work. I see this deck as an amazing shadow work tool, especially for those who may be triggered by those who abuse their power and who have had their power taken away. With this deck, we can reclaim that power and heal those aspects of our shadow, which harbor those deep resentments and trauma from wounds from the past.
These power cards are perfect to use with the Power Up Spread I created for Healing Thru Tarot Ep. 30, which I’ve shared below
And I created a spread just for this deck, included below. I was inspired by working with this deck and working with the guidebook. I thought I would share this custom spread with you today to help you get the most out of this deck. If you throw it for yourself, tag me @healingthrutarot and tag @rippledeck on Instagram so Natalie and Steph can see your spread too. Use #HTTRippleDeckPowerSpread
“As we reclaim and cultivate these forms of power, we develop more awareness, a greater sense of inner stability, calm, and well-being. This deck is intended to help facilitate the development process from a fear-based orientation to one of safety, connection, and healing. Enhancing our capacity for love and connection, including for ourselves, has an innate healing power.”
If you are looking for new decks with a psychological approach, check out The Ripple Deck. They have a Kickstarter campaign for The Ripple Deck that just launched on 9/14/23 - kickstarter link here
And learn more about the deck and the creators at https://rippledeck.com/
Thank you so much Steph and Natalie for sending me an early copy of this wonderful deck! This is my new favorite psychologically-oriented deck. Gonna get a lot of use out of this one!!
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the Ripple Deck from Steph Stern and Natalie Rothfels for prospective review and feedback on the deck. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of this deck.
If you want to learn more about how to use tarot and oracle decks in your healing journey follow the Healing Thru Tarot Podcast available on all major podcasting platforms such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Goodpods, Amazon Music, Audible, Pandora, Pocketcasts, and more. Link to the podcast public page here where you can find around 50 episodes already to help facilitate your healing journey through using tarot for healing, personal development, reflection, self-growth and more.
And if you are looking for a good witchy book for autumn, my fictional divination book series, The Divining Sisters, is perfect for this time of year. Book 1 in the series, The Call of the Cards, and book 2, We Divine Three, are out now. Book 3, The Threads of Fate, drops 9/26/23.
They're available as ebooks $4.99 and paperbacks $14.99 on Amazon. And the eBooks are also on Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Google Play, Kobo, Scribd, Smash words, and more.
Find out more details on my novels on my author website author.heatherhardison.com - where I post updates on book releases, book blurbs and quotes, book covers, links to purchase, and fun things like my Spotify playlists for each book. I carefully curate those to express the energy of each book.
Readers are raving about the series like these 5 star amazon reviews of The Call of the Cards and We Divine Three:
"Absolutely Unique! Resonated so much!"
"Life-changing. I felt seen. I don't think I've had this experience with any other book."
“The metaphysical series I've been waiting for! I was hooked from the beginning and even found myself slowing down because I want it to last. The characters are so relatable and genuine, and the explanations of tarot readings and past life stories is spot on! I'm eagerly awaiting the next ones. Please please, Heather, keep writing.”
Readers call it "Harry Potter for adults."
If you get a copy, please leave a book review on whatever platform you buy it on if you enjoy it. That really helps me out and can help get my book in front of more readers. And if you love it please also review it on good reads.
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A Spread for All Seasons - 17 custom spreads
Healing and Mental Health Spreads Vol. 1 - 15 custom spreads
Healing and Mental Health Spreads Vol. 2- 15 9-card spreads
Shadow Work Spreads and Workbook - 20 spreads
Healing Thru Tarot’s Life Path and Life Purpose spread ebook includes 15 custom spreads I’ve created to help you identify and align with your life path and sail to success. Spreads like the life path alignment spread, lightwork path guidance spread, conquering obstacles on my path spread, advice from my future self-spread and karmic healing path spread will help you position yourself to step into your full power and achieve the purpose you incarnated to fulfill. Plus many more spreads offering guidance and advice to get on path and stay on track. $12