Body Oracle Cards

I Take a Moment of Gratitude

I feel my body
and listen
I breathe the air

I want to fold my hands together
and my dance can begin

It's the wind in the trees,
making me dance

It's everything around me
I can dance!

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Body Oracle Cards and Book

The Body Oracle

Movement and rhythm are always with you.

They can easily be turned into sources for healing your body and your spirit. In a simple and supportive way the Body Oracle¨ helps you find these sources.

The Body Oracle Cards¨ are a playful way--physically, and mentally--to observe your life, thoughts, feelings, and movements. They can help you to find healing prescriptions: a theme for a dance, a new workout, or an answer to a perplexing life situation. The cards can be an oracle, a stimulating guide for your creativity, or a personal affirmation.

An oracle is a being or a place that you consult to learn something about your life. Your body is a being, a place: it speaks to you of your own inner wisdom. The Body Oracle draws you into a dialog with that wisdom and stimulates creative expression of your thoughts, feelings, and movements. The cards help you get in touch with your body in a deep and personal way.

The Body Oracle Cards are presented in six languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. The deck contains 80 cards divided into five "suits": Body Part, Life Attitude, Movement, Direction and Rhythm. Each suit contains 16 cards, each representing a different ally for your daily movements, the dance through your life, your attitudes toward life, and your own creations with dance and rhythm.

The 16 cards of each suit bear a number from 1 to 16 that refers to one of 16 Movement Journeys. These Journeys, presented as poems, suggest ways to weave the five like-numbered cards into a simple dance. The Movement Journeys can also support you in creating movement journeys that arise from your own readings. Read the Journeys and use what resonates the most with you. Dance them in your own way--freely! You certainly don't need to be a skilled dancer to find your own dance of the moment. Everybody who moves can dance!

From the Introduction to The Body Oracle for Reflection-Movement-Creativity: A Key to Unfold the Dance and Rhythm of Your Life, by Heidrun Hoffmann. The Body Oracle¨ book and cards are now available for sale.

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Heidrun's Story:
How the Body Oracle Came to Be

On a beautiful day in February of 1994, I was walking on the beach with my husband and we were talking about people's bodies and their movements. I told him that I believe our body is our home, the place where our soul and our spirit live, where they get fed, nourished, and also challenged. He agreed and said that this needs to be acknowledged, and that we need ways to express our gratitude. Suddenly, at that moment, the idea came up to create a deck of cards that would guide people into an exploration of their dance through life. It was an exciting thought, but it took me by surprise. At first I hesitated, yet at the same time I felt it calling me. The idea had a powerful hold on me, and as I opened up to it, the basic concept appeared--the body as an oracle.

Over the centuries we have accessed the wisdom of oracles through various external sources such as stones, coins, symbols, gods and goddesses. I believe that the time has come to seek out and trust the knowledge that lies within us. To see the body as an oracle--a place where we can learn about ourselves--may be a new idea and yet it's a natural one since our body is where we begin our development as a human being. We come to this earth dependent upon others for care but already filled with our own light, a complete and innocent individual. Every cell in us knows how to grow. From our first day we simply follow the process of learning--gathering knowledge through the experience of movement and contact, looking, listening, and touching. The Body Oracle Cards are an invitation to continue with that exploration. They also invite you to look, from a new perspective, at whatever issues you may have about your body--pain, weight, energy level, self-esteem and so on. By simply taking the Body Oracle Cards into your daily life you acknowledge that movement and rhythm are powerful and supportive forces for your whole being.

During a major transition in my life I was looking for something that could help me. It was an exciting phase, leaving Europe, settling down in California, teaching rhythm and dance, trying to create a good life for myself and those around me. I needed support and at first many different systems attracted me, particularly the Tarot, the I Ching, and Numerology. Although I found them very helpful I still got my greatest support from movement, drumming, and reflecting on them. But I was searching for some connections in my life and I wanted to share the way my inner spiritual world became alive through my play, my dance, and my drumming. I was looking for something to use in teaching rhythm that would provide support for my students when they are working on their own.

Developing The Body Oracle was an exciting adventure. At first I focused on the most important ingredients needed to create a dance: the different parts of the body, a variety of supportive life attitudes, the basic movements and directions, the four elements of nature and the main aspects of rhythm. Then I created the first deck by writing words like arms, openness, swinging, circle, air, offbeat, etc., on index cards of various colors. I immediately began trying out the cards in various ways to see if they would actually stimulate creativity. I did drawings by myself, with my friends, my classes and I used them for my students to create in-class performances. They all liked the idea and encouraged me to continue developing it. We were all amazed at how much meaning we could find in the simple words and their combinations. Everybody began to interpret the readings and relate them to their lives. It was then that I saw the cards work like an oracle, so it seemed only right to call them The Body Oracle.

I also wanted this oracle to be a basis for studying movement and rhythm, which meant that the progression of the cards in each suit had to have a certain meaning. Some, for example the movements cards, were obvious: from rolling, to crawling, to reaching, etc. but others like the life attitude cards could have many progressions. It was a long process, constantly shaped and reshaped by a continuous exploration of different kinds of readings, and always guided by my own values, my intuition, and by my view of life and dance.

Every suit had to go through its own evolution, especially the rhythm cards because of their complexity. For those who had studied with me they provided great stimulation for new rhythmic creations, but they had to be more accessible if they were to open up doors to rhythm and dance for everybody. Nature was the answer. Everything we find in nature expresses rhythm, and therefore gives us analogies to musical rhythm. So I combined the nature cards with the rhythm cards and with that connection everything began to feel right: the movement, dance, therapy, rhythm, and drumming I had studied over many years all came together. Even my love for graphic design bore fruit. When I had just begun to consider the visual aspect of the cards, a friend of mine said, "They could look like jewels, if you want them to."

That sounded good--beautiful and precious like jewels, a pleasure to play with. I wanted them to be rich in color like the rainbow whose brilliance appeared often throughout that time and spoke to me, helped me find crucial bridges between the different worlds I was trying to connect. My study of rhythm and dance was influenced by many cultures. I let that be reflected in the symbols for each suit which I created from icons and designs found in a variety of cultures--Native American, ancient Egypt, Ireland, and Old Germany. Because I imagined that people of different cultures would share readings, I put the cards in English, Spanish, French, and German. I also included Japanese and Korean to honor two cultures which have had a powerful influence on my life through the art of their drumming.

The entire process was a great pleasure and I received a lot of help from many friends. And it took much longer than I thought it would! Looking back, I'm reminded of how my study of rhythm progressed: it took much longer than I thought it would to be able to express myself freely. Learning to be patient, to take my time was the big lesson.

The greatest discovery I made through my study of rhythm was about time itself: the different ways to structure time, and the various meanings of time in my life. When do I need a break, how fast or slow am I going in different situations, and am I content with the way I divide my time? In my study of rhythmic movement and drumming, I found a way to feel and anticipate time. This helps me understand my actions and reactions which I see reflected in ordinary things like eating, meeting people, conversing, my sexuality, or how I flow through the times when I'm by myself.

I studied rhythm through the TaKeTiNa, a process, developed by Reinhard Flatischler that teaches rhythm by using the entire body. I lived and studied with Reinhard for many years and assisted in a variety of trainings and workshops, especially in Germany and Switzerland. During that time TaKeTiNa gained recognition in Europe as a valuable way to study rhythm, drumming, and rhythm therapy. My intensive studies had a clarifying and therapeutic effect on me; I gained more confidence in myself and found the courage to develop my whole being. Through that experience I came to believe that rhythm, like movement, is therapy in itself. Since movement and dance was always at the center of my life, my encounter with this approach to rhythm soon led to the desire to combine TaKeTiNa with movement, and drumming with dance.

In 1986 I began forming Dance in Rhythm-Rhythm in Dance or, "DiRRiD" as everybody calls it now. I integrated TaKeTiNa principles with movement and dance in a free, creative, and playful way so they would stimulate the dancer within. This synthesis enables us to embody rhythm in many ways, and it is an exciting and seemingly endless source for creating new rhythmical dances. To begin, all you need is a basic understanding of how to use syllables to form different rhythms. Then as you discover the art of combining your voice with simple stepping you will enter a process that leads you deeper into your own music.The Body Oracle introduces you to this approach and encourages you to be creative with it.

Writing this book was a new and exciting challenge. I'm a dancer, a teacher, and a drummer. Writing has mainly been a way to counsel myself but writing a manual, is truly a different story. The many hours at the computer were accompanied by a lot of valuable drawings of the cards which got me out of the chair and moving around at just the right moment.

It is my wish that this book may carry you to your own ideas. When you bring your own knowledge and experience to your readings you will find endless possibilities for playing with The Body Oracle. It is an especially useful supplement for any physical activity. Please let the suggestions you find in this book and in the cards stimulate your creativity on all levels. No matter which aspect of The Body Oracle you find most attractive, I hope that each time you draw a card, your mind and your body may reach out to the beauty of your inner wisdom.

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The 16 Movement Journeys

Of the many ways the Movement Journeys can be used, one of the most valuable is as an inspiration for creating your own movement journeys. You might read the Journeys and move through the suggestions at the same time, or you may want to read them to a friend as he or she moves. Read with a sense of your own time and feel free to repeat certain lines in accordance with the pace of your movements.

In each Movement Journey you will see some words in boldface. These are the key words for the five cards numbered alike and a commentary on each one appears on the page facing each Movement Journey. Take these ideas simply as food for thought and whatever they may bring to your own interpretations of your readings.

Some of the journeys also introduce basic concepts in rhythm. If you get thrown off while trying these exercises, please know that this experience of falling out is natural when dealing with rhythm. By falling out and then finding our way back we go deeper into that rhythm and thereby strengthen our rhythmical abilities. Slow down in those moments but keep moving, stepping, and speaking. If it is too complex for now, move on and come back to it whenever you like. Keep coming from a place of inquiry and play--over time you will find flow and stability throughout the rhythm sections.

Take from the Movement Journeys what resonates the most within you. If something carries your dance to a different place, that's fine. You can't do anything wrong, just stay tuned, and keep listening. Dance them in your own way--freely! You certainly don't need to be a trained dancer. Everybody who moves can dance! The Journeys are good for all ages and abilities. The key is to do what works for you. Sometimes you may want to leave parts out or stay longer with certain sections--whatever feels right for you or the person you are playing with.

May you enjoy many uplifting experiences on your journey!


Movement Journey One
In honesty look at your feet
Look at how they have walked you through life
and how they are walking you through your life now.

Go for a walk,
go for a very slow walk,
very slow !

Watch how each step is rolling over the ground,
into the ground
reaching, reaching far below inside the Earth
your steps gently flowing through your body.

Then dive into the earth, freely rolling with your whole body,
all parts of your body rolling and touching the ground.

Fill yourself up with earth energy
let your dance blossom
and then slowly move back into silence.

Sit quietly
until the next dance begins.


Just let it fade
your song
let it fade
your movements
becoming smaller and smaller
fading into quiet
or lying down

Yes, lie down, relax
and listen
to it fade
what remains

The silence
and anything else you find

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