The Ceremony Cards-Northern LIghts

What are The Ceremony Cards?

In addition to our blood ancestors we also have many spiritual ancestors, who may be from another culture. Even though the Ancestors do not live in the modern world, there is wisdom they have that does not change, wisdom that helps in any world.

—from the word card

boy touching wall of ice

Touching the Big Ice
—Jane English

When the New Year arrived in the springtime, my mother Aanaa Aanaqqii said, “The easiest ice to be melted is the one on the ground. All you need to do is to put your palm on it and within a minute, its entire impression will become visible.

But the hardest ice to be melted is the one in the heart of Man. Only by melting the ice in heart, Man will have a chance to change and begin using his knowledge wisely.”

—Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq

What is in a card set?

• Deck of 72 image cards 2.75” x 2.75” — photographs of Greenland by Ningijoq Jane English, Adam Lyberth, and others. The photographs allow this ancient land that has never known war to speak for itself, wordlessly.
More about the image cards . . . (see also the art posters of some of the photographs)

• Deck of 72 word cards 3.25” x 4.5” — words and phrases from the Traditional Teachings of the Far North from Greenland -- in two languages: English and Kalaallisut (Greenlandic)
More about the word cards . . .

• Book - 96 pages 4.5” x 6” ISBN 978-0-934747-23-3
The book contains card ceremony instructions, brief captions for each of the image cards, and teachings for each of the word cards.
More about the book . . .

• Cotton canvas pouch to contain the book and cards - sewn at home by Ningijoq Jane English. Many colors are available.
See the colorful pouches. . .

Why cards, not just a book?

A book is linear and is read in the order the author chooses. When the same teachings are in a deck of cards, what emerges in a card ceremony is what one is most receptive to right then. Using the cards, we are more engaged than when reading a book. It is interactive, and the teachings have a better chance of becoming living in our lives.
See also the page "Why Ceremony Cards"

Why two card decks?

During a card ceremony, the image cards are placed on the word cards below the words. Much depth and richness are introduced into the card ceremonies by allowing the combination of word and image to be different each time the cards are used, rather than having one image permanently fixed on each word card. Instead of 72 cards with words and images, there are 72 x 72 = 5184 possible combinations.

The making of The Ceremony Cards
—notes from Ningijoq

The idea came to me in 2008 upon seeing many card decks while in a bookshop with Angaangaq and other Circle members. Then it incubated for a few years.

In 2012, after working with the Teachings of the Far North while making IceWisdom calendars for 2011 and 2012, I chose the words for the cards. I edited down an initial list of about 120 words and phrases to just 72 for the word cards. Then I chose one card each day and wrote whatever came to me, going through the word cards twice doing this. Then I edited these writings for the book.

The photos were chosen from among the many images of Greenland I had collected while creating the calendars.

The card ceremonies described in the book came from several sources, including actual ceremonies done while in Circles with Angaangaq, and "spreads" I learned or created during many years of working with other card decks,

A big printing press printed the cards, then I hand-collated them into decks, and rounded the corners. I spent many hours making the 645 pouches for the limited first edition of the cards, often wondering who it would be that would own each pouch.

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Alpine azalea - Greenland —photo by Adam Lyberth