An article by Janine Moore

Janine Moore’s article “OH Cards: The Game of Inner Vision” was published in Positive Health magazine, Issue 45, October 1999 (and was previously published in Connections magazine).

The article begins with these passages:

If you need an ice-breaker in a room full of strangers, open up a deck of OH cards. According to their creator Ely Raman, “The cards will get people talking and you won’t be strangers for long”.

Made up of two decks of interactive cards – one of paintings and the other of words – the OH cards provide an entertaining medium for deeper understanding of certain personal issues. By choosing one card from each deck, a concept or scenario emerges, the meaning of which the player must then attempt to figure out for him/herself.

For example, just prior to writing this I drew the word card “Should” and a picture card depicting a desk in an office. For me this combination meant that I should get to work and stop daydreaming. The combination would have different meanings for different people and may even be interpreted differently by me on another day.

The power of the cards lies in their ability to tap into the unconscious and perhaps bring to the surface buried feelings and emotions. In fact, the cards are often used as a counselling tool – particularly with those who have difficulty expressing their emotions.

Other ways the cards can be used range from light-hearted story-telling to corporate communication. They can also be used as a game of solitaire or a springboard for journal writing or meditation. Their primary focus is on instilling a process of self-exploration, sharing, discovering and creating. There are no wrong interpretations. The pleasure of an OH card game is in the creation of an atmosphere of trust and fellowship where people feel heard and respected. The cards can be used with all ages, although some cards should perhaps be removed from the pack when playing with children.

Raman thinks of the cards as a new genre, halfway between literature and art; we can interpret the pictures in a way that creates our own stories. “There’s fun in the cards – not competitive fun, but a kind of co-operative, tribal fun,” he says. “The cards enable us to create our own soap operas, a form of gossip humans everywhere seem to thrive on.” The cards are like an unbound book, with the story constantly changing as the pages are re-shuffled, or like a newspaper that contains news about our inner world.

You can read the full article on Positive Health Online: “OH Cards: The Game of Inner Vision.”