This is a short story about creative living, self-realization and playing card games. It explores the non linear reality of contemporary life as an epic Greek Odyssey voyage. In the journey we discover Carl Jung, dream analysis, and tarot. This epic covers 33 years and ends with the birth of a card game.
The hero of Chaos Odyssey is an artist named Mitra. Our creative hero’s adventure takes her far from home. Forced by an inner drive to seek out unique beautiful images she struggles with her need for a balance healthy lifestyle. Her creative efforts, if viewed chronologically, illustrate not only the development of artistic skills, but also psychological development on a journey of individuation. According to Jung (1972), “Individuation means becoming an ‘in-dividual,’ and, in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming into selfhood’ or ‘self-realization.’” (p.173)
Figure 1. mitra_art (2015) Collection of Mitra’s Art
Destiny had a hand in the choice of Mitra’s name. She was named after the twin Gods of Indic culture, Mitra-Veruna. Haldar (n.d.) describes the Mitra-Veruna deities as;
Separate yet complementary, anti-thetical yet symbiotic. Mitra-Varuna are solar deities or, perhaps more correctly, solar-lunar deities. According to one commentary on the RigVeda, cited by Dumezil, ‘the day is of Mitra…the night is of Varuna’. (p. 7)
Mitra calls attention to the deeper pattern in a creative life purpose–balancing and uniting opposing forces. Le Grice (2013) explains the challenge and purpose of creative individuals living today: “The aim of the hero’s journey is to bring together masculine and feminine. This process is also described in alchemy, as Jung has shown, as the union of Sol (sun) and Luna (moon)” (Kindle Locations 1794-1798).
Mitra’s first encounter with her divine purpose happened in 2001. Inspired by the meaning of dream images, she discovered tarot cards and her gift for reading fortunes. Within a year, Mitra was reading cards at parties, for friends, and at paid public events. By sharing the experience of discovering meaning in random cards, Mitra connected emotionally and creatively with others. At any time or in any place, the cards are ready to reveal secrets and offer meaningful insights. As Jung (1972) said, “spontaneity is the very essence of creative thought” (p.185).
Ten years passed, and the numinous sense Mitra felt while reading cards starts to fade. She was familiar with the many stories and characters in the 78 cards of the tarot deck. As Jung (1977) said, “We cannot go back to the symbolism that is gone” (p. 276). Thinking more deeply, Mitra started to question the symbolism in the basic repetitive nature of tarot. Rowland (2012) explains the meaning of Jung’s term symbol as something that points “to what is hardly known, not yet known, or unknowable” (p. 202). Why had she been selecting random tarot cards for so many years?
The persistent habit of selecting random cards intrigued Mitra. Responding to the call for adventure, Mitra started to imagine her own card game based on daily task repetition. She considered the daily practices in her creative lifestyle and collected artwork that reflected her personal history. She started to construct the story of her past life as a mythic collection of cards. According to Le Grice (2013),
Myths are stories that provide perspective and meaning to help individuals and cultures orient themselves to the requirements of living. They serve as a record of humanity’s spiritual heritage, and they have inspired all the great religions and cultural world views (Kindle Locations 170-174).
The Birth of Chaos Odyssey
The result of Mitra’s card playing efforts, so far, has become Chaos Odyssey–Creative Thinking Games. The cards in this are somewhat like fantasy “choose your own adventure” stories that encourage spontaneity. The game play is intended for transitional moments in life. Individuals and groups who wish to switch their mode of thinking, for example, from work to play at the end of the day will appreciate this game.
The 33 square cards feature a series of digital drawings created over a three-year period. The style is childlike and playful. Le Grice (2013) explains that “in its positive aspect, the child suggests continual creativity, spiritual freedom, and playfulness” (Kindle Locations 3458-3460). The cards can be separated into three groups – self sphere, creative cube, and diamond nature – and loosely reflect the three stages of the hero’s journey of individuation that Le Grice (2013) calls “separation, initiation, and return or incorporation” (Kindle Location 1768). The cards come in a box and can be arranged as a map or visual instructions. Professional artists and creative-thinking novices alike can play together.
There are three basic ways to play with the cards, based on the number of players. The single-gamer play focuses on imagination. The two-gamer play focuses on memory. The multi-gamer play focuses on communication.
The rules for the single-player game are similar to classic oracle divination. Shuffle the cards and select one or more cards from the deck. The challenge of selecting a card is to start a new creative project and record the event on the map. Over time, the history of recorded creative work that comes out of these sessions can become the source of a personal myth. Le Grice (2013) and others advocate the importance of personal myth because it provides “a living meaning, relevant to the heart and to the spirit, as much as to the mind— to be conveyed through painting, dance, music, poetry, and literature, and not just through rational discourse and theories.” (Kindle Locations 244-249).
Figure 2. mitramap (2015) Selected images from Mitra’s Personal Myth Map
The two-player rules are similar to the classic matching memory game. The play starts by placing the cards face down in a grid pattern or as desired. Gamers take turns selecting cards and sharing memories they associate with the cards. Since none of the cards actually matches, the challenge is to find a creative connection. This game amplifies symbols and initiates creative dialogue.
The multi-player game starts by shuffling and passing out the cards. The task is to describe the card selected and its meaning. After a card has been described, the other players respond in a free, open form. A spontaneous collective meaning naturally forms during multi-payer sessions and inspires self-reflection on the persona. Jung (1972) defines the persona:
It is, as its name implies, only a mask of the collective psyche, a mask that feigns individuality, making others and oneself believe that one is individual, whereas one is simply acting a role through which the collective psyche speaks. (p. 157)
In conclusion, Chaos Odyssey is for freethinking individuals living in a global culture that seek to develop psychic wisdom and maintain balance. The card games, based on a repetitive ritual like process, aim to “divest the self of the false wrappings of the persona…and of the suggestive power of primordial images” (Jung, 1972, p. 174). Ideally these creative and symbolic card games will help individuals, like Mitra, maintain the delicate balance required for the cyclical process of self-realization so they can fulfill their life’s unique purpose.
Pre-Order your own set a Chaos Odyssey – Creative thinking game cards.
Playing Chaos Odyssey is a method for practicing creative thinking skills and abilities both personally and collectively. Experiencing collaborative learning environments in play is a method for personal identity development. The game is ideal to play at transitional moments in life. Individuals or groups who wish to switch their mode of thinking, for example from work to play at the end of the day, will appreciate this game. (Patent pending)
The funds raised will cover the print costs of the first official print edition, quoted by my local printer Haagen Printing Typecraft Inc., of the unique card game Chaos Odyssey. The game includes 33 square 3×3 inch cards in a box and 1,000 sets will be printed in the first series. Some cards will be given as perks to funders and some sold. I will be donating 10% of all sales to the Santa Barbara non profit, Art Without Limits (http://www.awolsb.org/).
Haldar, P. (n.d.). Sovereignty and Divinity in the Vedic Tradition; Mitra Varuna, Prajapati and RTA. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/2571373/Sovereignty_and_Divinity_in_the_Vedic_Tradition_Mitra_Varuna_Prajapati_and_RTA
Jung, C. G. (1972). Two essays on analytical psychology. (G. Adler & R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (0002 edition). New York: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1977). The symbolic life: miscellaneous writings. (G. Adler & R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
Le Grice, K. (2013). The rebirth of the hero: Mythology as a guide to spiritual transformation (first edition). Muswell Hill Press.
Rowland, S. (2012). C.G. Jung in the humanities. Spring Journal, Inc.
mitramap. (2015 May 20). Retrieved from http://mitracline.com/?attachment_id=6610
mitra_art (2015 May 20). Retrieved from http://mitracline.com/?attachment_id=6609