The Creation Story

Over 20 years ago, I took a class from Rachael Kessler of PassageWorks (then called The Mysteries Program) at a beautiful retreat center on the California coast. She happened to be using a set of symbol cards in her workshop that were vital tools for connecting people with their internal experiences. We became close colleagues and each of us, at different times, ended up moving to Boulder, Colorado, years later—and coincidentally, we both ended up working with youth and educators.

Over the years, I heard Rachael talk about how much she loved these symbol cards and how all her class participants loved them too. They intrigued me, but I had other things going on and didn’t pursue it. It wasn’t until 2007 that I started a toy company and thought it would be interesting to see if we could use the symbol card idea as a new product for our young, up-and-coming company.

After digging around for a few weeks, I discovered that the cards Rachael used came from an out-of-print card set called StarGate that was created by Richard Geer. I may have even done a search on eBay—to no avail. But one day, I walked into a used bookstore in town called the Bookworm and lo and behold, sitting on the display table up front was the card set I was looking for. I bought it immediately and called Rachael the next day to tell her the news. She was thrilled. I then was able to get in touch with Richard and talk about the project. We even met once in person when I was in California.

After some discussion, I decided to create my own set of cards because I wanted the illustrations to look a little different and to put my own spin on things. Needless to say, Richard’s work inspired me significantly, and his generosity and support meant a lot in this endeavor. (You can now find his work online.)

The idea for creating 11 different categories came up after talking with my cousin (and nationally recognized artist) Rebecca DiDomenico. We both realized that it might be interesting and useful to categorize the cards. After a bit of shuffling, adding, renaming, and dreaming, the 11 categories showed up and the names for their categories became almost immediately evident.

I always loved the idea of creating a deck of cards that had multiple purposes—playful, educational, and insightful. After all, isn’t the world a combination of all of these? As a result, we created this deck for exploring one’s inner world that can be used in a wide variety of settings whether it be in the confines of one’s own home, a classroom, or a training. In addition, we created a separate deck for kids and families that can be used for storytelling, playing card games, or as conversation starters (StoryPlay Cards). The kids we tested this with loved the images as well as playing games with the cards.

Finally, on a personal note, I was born with the name Randolph. About 10 years ago, I looked up the meaning of my name online with my daughter and discovered that my name meant shieldwolf, or at least that was the Germanic translation of it. It was then that I realized that the wolf had played (and continues to play) a significant role in my life. My daughter had a very significant dream involving a white wolf; my wife at the time had a deep connection with wolves; and the characteristics of the wolf—loyal, family oriented, and cooperative, among others—were characteristics that I recognized in my own personal story. I began to see this connection as something more than coincidental and as something to be treated with respect.

Each of us finds our own path to understanding, and I have found it both comforting and insightful to look at the symbols that show up in my life at various times for various reasons. They are like whispers of the Universe that give me a sense that there is something bigger at work, and this evokes a feeling of reverence and deep connection.

I am grateful for how this card deck has had its own impact on my life, and I hope that in some small way it may touch yours as well.

“A wondrous set of images for many fascinating journeys.
The Insight Story Cards will bring you rich rewards.”
––Chris Hoffman, author of The Hoop and The Tree