You can download these printable 2.5″ x 3.0″ divinity blessing cards. High-res 500 dpi JPGs to follow.
The first set is Buddhist: Maitreya, bodhisattva of loving-kindness and Kuan Yin, bodhisattva of mercy and compassion.
The second set is Kemetic: Thoth (Dhwty or Tehuti), the Egyptian god of knowledge and writing, and Isis (Ese or Ast), goddess of magic.
Then I’ll chat a bit about deck packing favors, for the prospective indie deck creators who might be interested in my notes and commentary on the matter.
IMPORTANT TECH NOTE ABOUT PRINTING: If you want to create stuff with these four images and print them on your own, via a home or office full-color printer, then do a test print first. You may need to do a manual brightness and contrast adjustment to the images so they print a little brighter and clearer. I recommend Brightness +21 and Contrast +3, then sharpen just 7%. There may be an initial discrepancy between the colors as you see them digitally and the colors printed on paper. So tinker a bit.
Kuan Yin: Divine Compassion
The Chinese characters written top down vertically along the viewer’s right side of Kuan Yin reads, in Traditional Chinese: Na Mo Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa, a short mantra recitation invoking Kuan Yin, essentially meaning, “I honor (or) blessed be the bodhisattva Kuan Yin, The One Who Hears All Cries.”
The red seal is my Chinese seal stamp (i.e., my signature). I put my artist seal stamp there because without that red square thingie, it just felt like the overall composition was missing something.
You can read more about Kuan Yin (Kannon/Gwan Eum) in the Book of Maps, entries for Key 17: The Healer and also in the Four of Chalices. I think there are passing references, too, in the Seven of Orbs BoM card entry.
Maitreya: Divine Loving-Kindness
The seed syllable Mayim for Maitreya appears above his head in Siddham script (Sanskrit). The mantra for invoking Maitreya, appearing below the lotus, reading: Om Maitri Maha Maitri Matriye Svaha. (Maitri is Metta, or loving-kindness, in Pali.)
I used “his” here per historical and classical form, but within the religious culture, it is understood that Maitreya presently takes no human gendered manifestation yet, and so “his” is used with the implicit understanding that we do not yet know what earthly form Maitreya will take when he/they return as the messiah Buddha.
You can read more about Maitreya in the Book of Maps entry for Key 5: The Hierophant and the Knight of Scepters (The Shining Flame). There’s also a nod to this in reference to the meditating ascetic depicted on the Four of Chalices.
Isis: Divine Magic
The hieroglyphs in both Kemetic divinity cards are cited from A Hieroglyphic Vocabulary to the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, Vol. XXXI, by Dr. E. A. Wallis Budge published in 1911.
The top right corner reads: “In the dwelling place of the gods.” Below it, Smaa-Kheru, essentially meaning, “And so it is justified (or) And so it shall be triumphant (or) And so it has been proclaimed blessed.”
Top left: “Wherever you go, I will protect you.” Bottom left: “The goddess Isis” and Nebt Ankh, “Lady of Life” (an honorary title of Isis). Inscribed within her throne are various words for hekau, or magic, which the Book of Maps details in the Three of Swords entry.
Here, Isis is depicted wearing Hathor’s solar disk.
Thoth: Divine Knowledge
The hieroglyphic inscriptions along the viewer’s left, behind Thoth, also appeared earlier on the Isis illustration. (If you look closely, you’ll find these passages inscribed on the SKT Revelation card back design, the box, and as barely-visible details throughout the cards.)
To the viewer’s right: Tehuti, the god Thoth, scribe of the gods, dweller in Khemenu [ogdoad of Hermopolis]. Inscribed within the crescent moon: Books of Holy Words, the Book of Thoth, which is the Book of Traversing Eternity. More info is found in the Eight of Chalices entry in the Book of Maps.
The wall of hieroglyphs behind both Isis and Thoth feature passages from the Book of the Dead.
I ordered these divinity blessing cards as fun little packaging favors that’ll accompany the decks, but you can download the high-res image files provided here and custom-print your own.
These will be U.S. standard business card size, or 2″ x 3.5″, matte finish at 16 pt (that’s 350 gsm, the same cardstock weight as the tarot cards).
They are double-sided, so the two Kemetic divinities are back and front on one card option, and the two Buddhist divinities are back and front on the second card option.
The Sapere Aude illustration I previously posted here is also at 2″ x 3.5″ U.S. standard business card size though the back side of that will be magnetic. Magnetism? Electromagnetic wave functions and frequencies? Astral light? Eliphas Levi? =)
If you are a proprietor of a spirituality-based business, please feel free to use any of these downloadable images in any way that makes sense to you. Or, like the packaging favors that’ll be accompanying each deck purchase, you can print divinity blessing cards just for the sake of gifting them to people. You can print them on adhesive paper to make stickers. Who doesn’t love stickers?!
Design Notes to Keep in Mind: If you want to use these image files for other purposes, like upload them to create different types of merch, just note that the image files as-is do not have any bleed margin. You’ll need to get a little savvy with graphic design on your own and add some sort of bleed margin, or else parts of the intended artwork might get cut off. Also, as noted, the sizing is set to 2 inches by 3.5 inches. If you are working with a size different from that, you may need to resize or redesign the files.
If you have an art prints quality full-color printer, then you can print out your own art cards. Above, I printed the two sides of an art card side by side, with just a little bit of space in between for the fold. I also left on an extra flap for gluing.
I cut out a piece of cardboard to place in between the two sides, so the card is sturdier. Then you just glue it all together. I prefer using a scrapbooking glue stick for this project. To create a personalized talisman, utilize that cardboard center thingie to write out, you know, something talisman-y, in like, dragon’s blood ink painted on with horse hair cast under a new moon. Go nuts.
Here you can see the size of these art cards (business card size, so pretty tiny) compared to standard tarot card dimensions.
The prints look dark yet overexposed in these photographs due to bad lighting. Sorry about that. I assure you they’re a lot prettier in person. However, the color palette is still quite light and subtle. If you’re familiar with those mantra or prayer cards you get at Buddhist temples, then these are reminiscent of those.
The illustrations provided for free download here are under a creative commons license that lets you distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon my original artwork, even use it commercially, as long as you credit me, the artist [Benebell Wen] for the original creation and if you are adding to or changing my original art in any way, then please make it clear what is your added derivative or modification to my original art.
About Deck Packing Favors: Huh, What? That’s a Thing?
No, there are no rules or requirements here, so please, as an indie deck creator, you do you, and most important of all, you do you based on what is best per your overhead cost budget allowance.
Over the years, I noticed that indie deck creators almost always include these tiny little nothing-crazy-but-still-a-very-pleasant-bonus goodies into the box, packed with the deck you ordered.
Sometimes you get stickers, or a postcard, bookmark, a notecard, a free mini art print or art card. Often it’s just a sweet and genuine handwritten thank you note. The free goodies might feature artwork from the deck and/or have the creator’s business logo, for branding and marketing purposes.
I call these goodies deck packing favors. In a previous SKT status update post on my Sapere Aude magnets, toward the end of that write-up, I compared the consideration points for deck packing favors to choosing good wedding favors.
If your business branding on the packing favors is overly prominent to the point where it feels more like advertising than a fun bonus, people won’t use it. It’ll get tossed out with the trash and that’s basically a waste of the money and time you spent creating those packing favors.
For the First Edition and Vitruvian Edition SKT deck orders, the packing favors I opted for were a magnet and a sticker, both 2″ x 2″, of the same hand-drawn illustration I did, tucked in with each deck.
They didn’t have any writing, logo, branding, or even my name or signature on them. But I feel like the art I chose was distinct enough in style that it still had the imprint of my branding all over it.
You have no idea how happy it made me to hear about people who were very thoughtful about where they decided to place that sticker, or how the sticker would get integrated into handmade talismans, and how the little magnet was either still carefully kept in the deck box with the cards or has been hanging somewhere in the home.
I’ll say this– as a consumer of indie decks myself, I’m the same way. When I get freebie stickers that are really cool, and not overly-advertisey, I’ll definitely be thoughtful about where I put that sticker, and it’ll hold sentimental meaning to me. When a deck creator has turned a particularly beautiful work of art into a free bonus 4″ x 6″ postcard, I’ll frame that postcard and it’ll be displayed somewhere in my home. Every single bookmark I’ve ever gotten as one of these packing favors has been put into practical use.
Confession though: When the goodies just look like hard-sell advertisements, like it’s got a shop page’s website URL address in oversize garish font, an e-mail address, and the focus point is a brand name, er… I’m so sorry… those tend to get recycled.
An exception to that rule is the business card. If you offer readings, coaching, or sell stuff, then you definitely want to include a business card with all your contact information on it. If the customer likes you, they’ll keep that business card and will be more likely to re-patron your shop or services in the future. Sweeten the incentive to keep that business card by including a small discount offer on the card, or designate that the holder of such a card is a VIP who will get special bonuses when they book you.
And this is not to say you can’t have branding stuff on the freebie. Take for instance the bookmark. If the front face of the bookmark is beautiful artwork, and then discretely on the back side there’s your URL or deck name, I totally still use those bookmarks and keep them forever.
So as a deck creator, think about striking that balance between achieving the purpose of the goodies, which is branding and marketing, and those actual goodies not going to waste on the consumer’s end.
These are also free little bonuses so don’t go crazy. Anything that’s going to get costly in terms of money or your time isn’t going to be a smart business move. One preliminary consideration point I use as I ponder what to create for the packing favors is this: Will the recipient of the thing value it more than its cost of production? Really think about the brutally honest answer to that question. “Cost” isn’t just actual cents or dollars for producing and ordering the thing; “cost” is also your time and labor.
I also consider handwritten thank you notes from the artist to be a packing favor. But again, think about the cost in terms of your time and labor. Handwritten notes are labor intensive, and is that investment of your time and energy going to be worth it? Yes, if the customer appreciates it and saves it tucked inside the deck box with the cards; no, if the customer didn’t even bother reading it and it gets recycled within the same hour the package was received.
Just my personal recommendation and not at all an affiliate link: I use UPrinting.com. I have no idea if they’re the best, and to be honest, I didn’t really do too comprehensive a market research. However, I’ve placed about a dozen different custom orders with them and I really like the quality for the price, and their customer service is really good, too (or at least I’ve had positive experiences).
The thing to remember when you’re the seller is the total package weight limit. Whatever you decide on for the packing favors, you don’t want the weight of the little goodies to put the total weight of your package over your mailing tier’s limit.
I can’t emphasize enough: packing favors are never required, never essential. I’ve received plenty of indie decks that did not come with packing favors, and I love and treasure them just as much as the ones that came with little freebies.
But they do generate goodwill between you, the indie deck seller, and your customer. It’s an economical way to create an opportunity to be remembered.