By Deborah Koff-Chapin
Creator of SoulCards, Touch Drawing and Soul-Touch Coloring Journals

Little did I know when I published SoulCards in 1995, how deeply rooted they would become in lives of so many. In my travels to teach Touch Drawing and draw at conferences, I meet many people. Often someone will come up to me to say how important SoulCards are in their lives. It is not uncommon for them to have been using them for many years. At times they tell me that SoulCards helped them through the challenges of adolescence. This is what happens when a creation has been in the world for over a generation!

I have done very little to promote SoulCards 1&2 since their launch. Word-of-mouth keeps them alive and growing. When invited to write this article for the Advance, I wanted to find some new stories to share. I didn’t have to look very far. One story had arrived in my inbox that morning. Another came into my voicemail within a couple of days. Yet another was shared at a conference last week. What more could an artist ask, but that their images serve people’s souls? I hope these stories inspire and spark even more possibilities in the ways SoulCards can be used.

For Personal Insight and Creativity:

I have been using SoulCards in my daily ritual for over twenty years. Because the images are not assigned a specific meaning, what I take away from the image changes according the question, situation, or lesson. The beauty of the image stays with me throughout the day. I oftentimes find myself seeing it in my mind’s eye, as I’m reminded of the central lesson or message of the day.

In Therapy:

I use SoulCards myself and with clients on a regular basis. One of the things I love about these magnificent cards is that there are no words. SoulCards allow people to give interpretations using their creative, imaginative minds and share things that might not have come up without the image’s inspiration. It is fascinating to see the variety of interpretations of any individual card.

In my personal life, I use them as meditation cards – as well as a way to start the morning with my partner or other family members. I also use them as journal entry starters.

In my work with people, I use them to begin a dialogue, catalyzing a process of updating their identity. I use them to explore stories about their past, present and future, or to stimulate dialogue about something challenging. The cards help my clients to view their questions from a completely different angle. The SoulCards are a gift in my own life and in my therapeutic work with a wide range of people.

In Coaching:

I am a Results Coach and use the SoulCards with clients. The images bypass the narrative we carry around in our lives. Because there are no words, intuition isn’t inhibited or convoluted. They take people right into the mystery of the experience at hand. These attributes assist people in forming a connection to their essence.

In Shamanic Circles:

I have used use the SoulCards for over 20 years in MoonDrum circles I lead. After meditating and toning vocally, we invoke that we can ‘receive’ what we need from the card, then chose one at random. When participants first look at the image, I often hear a strong “gasp” or “oh, my God”. We then journey for 10 minutes, while I drum the heartbeat of the Earth INTO their cards. Many participants experience much deeper journeys and re-connection to the part of themselves that was hidden. Often they access a vital connection to their Soul and their Soul’s forward movement. I wish I had collected the stories of these amazing outcomes over all these years!

In University Classes about Oppression:

I’ve been struggling with how to articulate how I have been using the cards for many years in my anti-oppression training work. There is a moment early in the class where I ask students to connect to what is transcendent for them. I approach this in a variety of ways: inviting a memory of a significant teacher, an aspect of nature, a time when they worked for a common outcome, etc. I ask them to let a card choose them and then I do a variety of exercises involving dialogue with the card. The image then becomes a touchstone for their learning through the rest of the class.

In Grief Support Leader Trainings:

I recently attended a training to be a facilitator for a grief support program for kids and their parents or guardians. Towards the end of the training, the SoulCards were passed around the circle. Each person was invited to pick one, describe the image, and then finish the sentence “I am...” My heart kept opening further to hold the gifts that were offered by each person’s sharing. It was a most profound way to end such a moving training, allowing us to share more of ourselves with the group and deepen the experience of the training.

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