Empath Activation Cards: Discover Your Cosmic Purpose, by Reverand Stephanie Red Feather
Bear & Company, 1591434173, 224 pages, November 2021
Empath. What’s an empath? According to Merriam Webster an empath is “one who experiences the emotions of others.”1 Now I get it, I’m quoting a dictionary, but this is important. Important to me as a person and important to this review.
I have from a very early age basically been a sponge for emotions. I could feel and access the vibe/feel of a space or hone in on the strong emotions of an individual with relative ease. And long-ish story short, it messed me up a bit. Young me not knowing how to handle all this extra data was so overwhelmed with processing that, that working on my own personal emotions fell to the wayside and is still developing today.
I’m opening up about this here because I know I’m not alone in this experience. I don’t doubt that there are many empaths out there who aren’t entirely aware of this side of them. who don’t quite know where they fall in this world and are just kind of floating aimlessly and going through the motions of adult life. Empath Activation Cards: Discover Your Cosmic Purpose by Reverand Stephanie Red Feather claims to help you figure that out, it says that it’s a rite of passage and being “cross-cultural in design”2 will touch everyone who handles them. I had to test these bold, bold claims made by Red Feather for myself.
Right off the bat, I was hooked on the box. It is bright, it is eye-catching, and dare I say a bit gaudy. Bright red, featuring a magnetic flap closure that just shouts, “Look at me I’m important!”, right into my eye sockets. You can’t look away once you catch a glimpse, so much so I have to make sure the box is behind me while writing this to keep from going to play with it.
Structurally, it’s pretty tanky. Like it could handle a decent toss across a bed or into a bag with other items without dumping your cards everywhere. The flap is a bit tricky to get open one handed, so be aware of this if you end up having like 50 things going at once and only one free hand.
On opening the box the first thing we see is the guidebook. The book itself is a good size and fits well in my hands even if it doesn’t like to lie flat just yet. Inside, we have a quick foreword by Daniel Moler (“Author, artist, and a sanctioned teacher in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition, a cross-cultural shamanic lineage”3). After this foreword there’s an introduction by our creator Red Feather and then four main sections where the card meanings and exercises are separated into.
In this introduction, Red Feather gives us her personal definition of empath. There’s five main aspects listed, and I highly recommend picking this deck up to learn more. It then talks of a couple ways to use this deck. Obviously there’s the regular reading method, but there’s also the meditative journey. You can opt to either work through each card in numerical order or do like a weekly draw and work with that card for a time.
A recommendation is made in the intro to “cleanse your deck with sage, sweet-grass, or palo santo”4 as a means to activate and bond with the cards. Yet, this makes me a little uncomfy. I get the cleansing bit, I really do, but why sage? Why sweetgrass? Why palo santo? I’d love to hear Red Feather’s reasoning, as well as a clarification on if it’s common sage or not, and possibly a note to make sure you source your stuff as ethically as possible.
“The deck has life force and each oracle has its own consciousness and message beyond the meaning written on the card.”5
The cards themselves have an energy. They make my tummy do flip-flops when I pick them up; good flip-flops but flip-flops nonetheless. Our front facing card in the first slot is called Abundant Universe, which is fitting. There is nothing but possibility ahead of us, we just need to see it.
The cards in this deck make you think. There are no quick keywords in the meaning sections. You really need to sit down and think about the meaning of the cards you have pulled to really and truly understand them. I have been sitting with card 1 Abundant Universe since I got the deck (which has basically been a full month), and I am still pulling new meaning from it.
There is so much going on in these cards. The colors are wonderful, and if you can blur or unfocus your eyes, I highly recommend doing that at least a little bit when working with a card. Something about doing that opens new avenues of understanding for me and it might do the same for you.
Personally, I think the meditation route is the best use for these cards. This is because the shuffle feel is a bit off due to them being rather wide and the drastically different personalities contained in each card would distract me in a spread larger than a single draw. Our author provides us some spreads, but I doubt I’ll be using them except for the Ascension Initiation Sequence one. This particular spread outlines a smaller meditation sequence that is tailored specifically to what you need at this moment. Just an FYI, a plate stand makes a great card holder for use in meditations.
I would recommend Empath Activation Cards, even if you don’t identify as an empath. Slowing down and connoting to yourself and the wider universe is something we could all stand to do. I know it’s hard to sit down and slow the mind, but aren’t the challenging things the most rewarding in the end? So, start up a practice of slowing down, meditating, trying journaling on these cards or other things in your life. Your mind and body will thank you in the long run.
Antoinette Aird is a lifelong creator of whatever pleases her, thank you very much. Be it short stories that never see the light of day or ramblings on items she loves. When she’s not shouting at the neighbor chickens for pecking at her garden or reading you can find her attempting various methods of divination or trying to befriend the local stray cats. Antoinette has a lot of thoughts floating around in her brain and is willing to share them. Come and sit for a spell…