Bright Idea Deck and Creative Brainstorming With The Bright Idea Deck
by Mark McElroy - Illustrated by Eric Holtz
A review by - Crystal Wind, CTR, CPTR, CTC
The Bright Idea Deck is marketed as Self Help/Business, but I like to think of it as the Un-Tarot Deck. Businesses and corporations will use it because it is a concept deck that reads not unlike a tarot deck. Whereas a tarot deck is usually designed to be somewhat mysterious, metaphysical or occult in its origins, the images in the Bright Idea Deck put you totally in touch with modern reality. Trump 20 Examination illustrates the ancient Hebrew letter 'Shin' meaning tooth. The card shows a mouth wide open with a dentist and tool and a single tooth that needs attention. Scattered throughout the cards are astrological symbols and glyphs similar to those that rule associated tarot cards.
Deck size is 3 x 4 ½ with glossy durable card stock. Art work is line drawings with bold colors with figures clearly defined, and ½ inch borders colored to match the suits. Cards names and numbers are along the bottom borders. Cards' numbers one through ten are a sequence, process or stages one goes through:
1 - opportunity 2 - duality 3 - productivity 4 - stability 5 - instability 6 - flexibility 7 - experiences 8 - activity 9 - finality 10 - totality
Card backs are a reversible hand holding a glowing light bulb with a rainbow background of vivid colors. The deck and book come in a box designed to hold both, but as nicely designed as it is, it is not very durable. Upright cards are called Encouragements and reversed are Cautions.
The deck's structure is 78 cards -- 22 Trumps, and four suits 1-10 with four approach cards similar to the tarot courts. The deck's structure is similar to the organization in tarot but with much different interpretation. There are four approach cards for each suit that would be a tarot court page/Learning, knight/Doing, queen/Feeling, king/Controlling. The suits are (tarot cups) Blue -- emotions, feelings, intuitions, perceptions, prejudices; (pentacles) Green -- practical, physical, material, resources, five senses, environment; (swords) Yellow -- logic, decision making-response, judgment, reasoning; (wands) Red -- action, desire, goals, intention; and (trumps) Purple -- Associations - what the person would do, pay special attention to methods, motivations and influences.
The accompanying book Creative Brainstorming With the Bright Idea Deck doesn't illustrate cards but does give one spread outline, The Four Dimensions Spread. This is the one spread used throughout the entire book for every situation, and you could use the spread similarly in tarot. This book assists the reader in interpreting spreads by asking the client to answer five exploration questions, listing associations of objects and tools in the cards, story telling, interviewing the person in the card, and considering what the person in the card would do. There is no chapter or section in key words definitions, but there is a cheat sheet for the majors. Even better is the 50 Things to do With the Bright Idea Deck section. Experienced readers can mix and match from this section to create new spreads for all kinds of situations.
This deck can be used much the same way as tarot to generate ideas in planning, character development, story outlines and plot twists, writer's block and in training sessions' ice breakers and memory aids by asking questions about: approach to take, action, person, issue, influencing factors and resolution. That alone can be a 7 card reading! I know I have shamelessly compared this concept deck to tarot, but the deck designer is a professional tarot reader called ?Creativity Consultant?. People believe what they can see and put their hands on (as long as you don't call it tarot in the business world). This deck lets them do both. I believe that with this concept deck, it is possible to stimulate creativity in the every day ordinary settings of the corporate world and to create interpersonal relationships that already exist but need to have the dynamics brought out in the open. The Bright Idea deck reads alone as a concept deck, and other then structure, the similarities to tarot stop there as all the cards have been renamed differently. Yellow 5 Irrationality (5 of Swords in tarot) pictures riding a sled on grass in summer; Blue 1 Motivation (Ace of Cups) has a man sitting at a desk, a fishbowl, whip and trophy in his hands; Trumps (tarot major arcane) 16 Demolition (Tower); 14 Synthesis (Temperance);1 Capability (Fool); and 9 Experience (Hermit).
One of the best ways I have seen to use this deck is to Solve Problems 4-Dimensionally. Choose one card from each of the four suits' Approach cards and one from the Associations. Throughout the book the author's witticism helps to convey the cards' meanings. You can have it all, but you have to carry it with you - Highlights the picture of the man carrying personal objects that are weighing him down while he is pulling a cart of everything he owns, whether he really needs it or not. Also, Before you chase the carrot, look past what's right in front of you and see who is carrying the stick. While working with the Bright Idea Deck, it is structured similarly to tarot and is easy to use. The book will help you to ask clients open-ended questions and to have them make associations about the objects pictured in the cards. The images on the cards are simple, bold and uncluttered, making it easy to identify objects and to empathize with persons in the cards.
The Bright Idea Deck isn't a tarot deck, but can be read like one because it is structured similarly. Many of the ideas in the companion book will get your creativity flowing, and it's lessons can be applied like readings. Enjoy the author's wit as he teaches you how to brainstorm and think creatively.