Posted by Sarah Wray
Today we’re happy to share with you a discussion with tarot deck collector, YouTube blogger and librarian Ikale Sunflower. Ikale Sunflower introduced herself to Liminal 11 co-founders Mike & Darren a few months back at the Laydeez Do Comics festival in London, where we connected over our mutual love for tarot and all things divination. We’re so grateful for all of the knowledge she shares with the community on her Ikale Sunflower YouTube channel – and truly blown away by her collection of tarot and oracle decks, as seen @ikale.sunflower on Instagram.
At our recent spring launch party, I had the chance to get to know Ikale Sunflower a little better myself, and we talked about her background and her collection, including her tools for keeping organised. (I’m a little obsessed by tidiness and organisation – I geeked out big time!) Ikale Sunflower kindly agreed to let us continue the discussion here on our blog. Read on for the conversation…
Hi Ikale! Thanks for talking to us. Could you tell us a bit about the meaning of your beautiful ‘online name’ – Ikale Sunflower?
Ok, so Ikale is my father’s ancestral home, and sunflower is my favourite plant.
Most of my love for divination came from my paternal side of the family; however, being born, bred and raised in England I wasn’t able to fully embrace or really understand the Ikale culture. Back in the 1960s and 70s when I was growing up as a child, England did not really celebrate different cultures and most people of colour followed English culture as there parent or parents were coming from countries that had recently gained independence from Britain – which a lot of people seem to forget and assume that people of colour followed cultures of their heritage, like they do today.
So in a way Ikale is my way of appreciating my spiritual roots. If you want more information about the history of the Ikale please click onto this link.
What drew you to tarot and oracle cards in the first place? What meaning does divination bring to your life?
I grew up with spirituality around me. My father was a bit eccentric and used to practice the orisha religion, bone casting and the Ifa divination system. Below are some videos if you’d like to know more:
He used to also have friends that read tarot and tealeaves. However, tarot was the system that was more relatable to me. Now that I am in my crone years, I am trying to embrace Yoruba divinations.
Divination brings pleasure to my life.
You describe yourself as a tarot deck collector – how many decks do you have in your collection now? How often would you say you get a new deck?
My combined collection of Tarot, oracle, lenormand and playing cards is roughly at 181.
Lol, I’ve been on a deck buying bender recently, so its difficult to say how often I buy a deck, but if I average it out, I would say roughly about 2 a month.
And how do you manage to keep your massive collection organised?
I scan all my divination stuff into an app called Libib. If you click onto each subheading once you get in the app, you will see a photo of the deck or book.
It kind of keeps me on top of my decks and gives me a visual picture of my collection. In addition, it gives me the opportunity to see what everyone else has got.Please feel free to peruse my collection! Here is my handle: https://bosede.libib.com/
This is the top part of my bookshelf:
With so many decks to hand, how does it work practically when you want to read for yourself or others? What draws you to a deck? Do you find you use specific types of decks when you feel a certain way, or at certain times of year?
I have kind of put my decks into categories of seasons; quirky; modern; happy; boring (decks that I cannot connect with); straitlaced; systems (i.e. RWS, Thoth, Marseille); traditional; melanated; multicultural; feminine; masculine; animal; dark; etc – and then I intuitively select them.
If I’m doing a reading for others, I will select a deck according to their personality or bring a selection of decks for them to choose. Sometimes customers may have already become attached to a deck and may request that you use that deck.
With so many new tarot decks coming out year on year, surely you can’t get them all! What do you look for when deciding whether or not to buy a deck?
I look for an instant connection in terms of colour palette, scenery, can I see a story in the cards, artwork, etc. As I buy most of my decks online, that is quite difficult to achieve, so I often refer to YouTube videos and blogs from members of the tarot community, and the website Aeclectic Tarot as it allows you to look at the first nine cards in detail.
What are your three favourite indie tarot decks from the past few years? What do you think makes these decks stand out?
1. Luna Sol Tarot (Mike Medaglia / Liminal 11)
This deck has a soft colour palette and is very readable, and the energy of this deck really tunes into my intuition. I like to call her Lorna.
Being a UK based deck, it brings down the cost as I didn’t have to pay customs charges and high shipping costs.
I gained an instant connection with this deck and find Lorna to be a pretty version of the Rider-Waite-Smith system (RWS), which is my preferred system of tarot.
She has a kind of cartoonish effect which gives the deck a sense of humour.
The backs of the cards have a gold and dark blue effect, which enables the reader to distinguish whether the card is reverse or upright. I also love that the archetypes are of different skin tones, which makes the deck relatable to all.
2. Textured Tarot (Lisa McLoughlin)
This deck was my first collage deck and I was instantly attracted to her when I saw YouTuber Katey Flowers do a walkthrough on her.
She reads like a storybook and gives very accurate readings; the colour palette really draws me in and the modern artwork is just so relatable. The matte cardstock is just so appealing, and she really taps into my intuition.
Buying a deck created by a UK based artist was also a bonus as it cuts shipping and custom charges.
3. Afro Goddess Tarot Arcanas (Andrea Furtick)
This is the first Melanated deck that I added to my collection that was created by a woman of colour. I call this deck Andrea.
She was also the first deck that I backed on Kickstarter, and the creator sent regular updates while creating the deck that made me form a relationship with the deck before the product arrived to me.
I am very in tune with this deck and she stimulates my intuition when I read with her. I find her archetypes very relatable and her aesthetic sublime. I don’t know what the creator used when creating her, but the cardstock has a sweet smell to her.
I tend to pull out Andrea when I am doing complicated predictive readings. I must admit I’m a little possessive about her and will only use her for my face-to-face customers who I know or trust, as for some reason I don’t like strangers shuffling or cutting her. I prefer to use her for phone readings.
Finally, an unrelated question – we love your nail art! Do you do them yourself?
Funny enough when she was 16, I gave her a tarot reading and told her that she would have a successful business.
Thanks so much to Ikale Sunflower for sharing so much with us, and we hope you all enjoyed our conversation! Don’t forget to follow her on YouTube and Instagram for her insights on tarot and oracle decks, divination and lots more!