A funny thing happened on the way to writing this review, I was forbidden to actually try out the product by my house mate. But I'll get into that in a minute. Matt Busch was kind enough to send me the newest version of IRM Foundation's Konxari (pronounced kon-zar-ee) Cards to try out. Konxari is a form of Cartomancy, which is divination or fortune-telling through the use of cards. Konxari itself dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and is said to have been created by their god, Thoth. The word Konxari derives from the Egyptian word Konxar which means to speak with the dead. And this is where the history and entomology lesson ends but unfortunately where my problems begin.
You see, I live in a haunted house. The term Haunted House usually goes hand in hand with the word “BAD”, but not in this case. Have I seen eerie shadows of hanging figures on the stairs leading down to the basement? No. Do I awake at night to the sound of distant echoing voices in the hall. Not really. Is my house a creepy old mansion, built on a sacred ancient Indian burial ground whose previous tenants mysteriously disappeared late one foggy, desolate night? Ahh... No, No, and No. But I do often find my dog just sitting for hours staring at the empty stairwell, tilting her head listening, to things that remain unheard to me. And my roommate, who swears she's sensitive to such things, says that she often feels various presences around the house. So, who am I to argue with the smartest dog in the world and the lady who pays half my rent?
But I digress, and will continue to do so for one more paragraph. So here's my problem. I have this pack of cards that plainly state DO NOT USE ALONE because, well, it would be bad. How bad?
I'll let my friends the Ghostbusters explain:
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean “bad?”
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously, and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right, that's bad, Okay, alright, important safety tip, thanks Egon.
I think you get the picture. There is absolutely no way I was ever going to actually try these cards in this household. So, I did what all good strong virile dominate “THIS IS MY HOUSE” kinda guys would do. I said a variation of “Yes Dear” and just did an end run around the entire situation. So, here is my non- review review.
As soon as I opened up the pack and started flipping through the cards I noticed these weren't like any other divination cards I'd ever seen. They are beautifully designed with a central photograph surrounded at the edges by a main title, such as DESIRE and a letter, number or symbol meant to further elaborate on the theme of each card. As I slowly scanned through all the cards, I was amazed at how many memories, thoughts and feelings were invoked by the imagery portrayed. Creepy would be the primary feeling I had while looking through them. Thoughts filled my head of Blair Witch and abandoned buildings with shattered glass, John Carpenter's Halloween and old 1950s war department Nuclear bomb tests, The Ring, The Grudge and One Missed Call, and walks late at night when you just know someone or something is following just beyond the fading streetlight. Like I said, Creepy.
But freaked out as I was by this flood of memories, I was often totally surprised by the occasional card that led down other interesting paths. The Desire card made me think of the first girl I ever kissed. And the Hatred card made my thoughts jump to Martin Luther King's struggles for freedom against intolerable and seemingly insurmountable odds. Great works of art can do that to you. Make you stop in your tracks and suddenly think and feel... I mean really think and feel.
Did I just call this pack of cards a great work of art? Well yeah, I guess I did.
The photographs for the Konxari Cards are taken by award winning photographer Paul Michael Kane. Amazingly, each photograph is 100% pure with zero Photoshop effects. In this age of digital manipulation and spending hours adding just the right shadow where one never existed, Kane's startling array of haunting and otherworldly images is astonishing in their natural beauty. The entire project is being over seen by Matt Busch, best known for his work on such mainstream projects as Star Wars, Witchblade and Battlestar Galactica, and Matt's also representing IRM Foundation as their chief spokesman for the cards.
I highly recommend going out right away in a buying frenzy and picking up a pack of Konxari cards to see what amazing doors of perception they trigger in your mind. And while your sitting there in the dark, candlelit recesses of your house, and just before you try to cross between the realms to retrieve the hitherto veiled and hidden messages the spirits have for you... Please... Please... don't forget...
Give me a call... I'm dying to try these suckers out!
PS: I just read this review to my roommate. The only response:”I'm still not trying the damn cards.”