In Western culture our hair is something most of us take for granted and it is little more than an accessory we fashion into trendy styles to complement our features. For many cultures around the world however, our hair represents more. It is a physical reminder of our growth, our experience, our love, our, joy and our pain. Recently, in an Instagram post I highlighted the 8 of Cups from the Sasuraibito Tarot as one of my personal favorite tarot cards in my whole collection. It shows a person cutting off their locks in preparation to move forward in their life. I too have made the emotional decision to cut my hair off at a turbulent time in my life. I was shocked to see how many other people have shared this powerfully intimate moment within their own lives. Ida Ngueng Feze’s The Wisdom of Natural Hair Cards shows the growth that occurs when a person goes through a spiritual transformation through the relationship they have with their hair.
Ida Ngueng Feze has a YouTube channel called Makeda Wisdom that focuses on African Spirituality. Although she currently resides in Canada she was raised in Africa. When Ida moved to North America she was proud to wear her hair naturally without a second thought however, she found many people telling her to change her hair to advance in her career. A large portion of these people were women of African descent. She also had a lot of women praising her for her bravery to wear her hair naturally. Ida didn’t understand how the simple act of wearing her natural hair could be such a radical act. She decided to work with women and teach them how to love themselves through the act of loving their hair. The Wisdom of Natural Hair was created two years ago as tool for her group. When Ida announced the creation of this deck I was eager to express my excitement,
“AHHHH I freakin LOOOOVE it! Gosh I can’t tell you (well actually I can :D) how frustrating it is to see a lack of representation for POC in oracle and tarot decks. But also, different body types and beauty trends in POC. I’ve been on my natural hair journey for two and a half years and I love the transformation I’ve made. I’ve grown with my hair, literally. It’s interesting how one little thing like wearing your hair the way it naturally grows out of your head can be seen as a political statement. It’s sad and empowering at the same time. Reminds me I am a Goddess. I can’t wait to see these and I’ll be saving up specifically for these”
As if the concept of learning how to love your hair wasn’t amazing enough, this deck exclusively features people of color. This does not mean it is only meant for people of color but it is created from the perspective of Ida’s own journey. To have a deck created by a woman of color, with art by a woman of color, for people of the natural hair community makes this deck such a personal treat. This was the first deck in my personal collection that only featured people of color and it will always hold an honored place in my deck collection.
The construction of this 55-card deck is quite simple which may be a sticking point for some but does not prevent me from using it. It arrives in a sturdy two-part box decorated with previews of artwork from the deck. “Listen to the wisdom of your hair” is inscribed inside each half of the box in both French and English. The whole deck is bilingual to serve to Ida’s French speaking students. The cards are glossy, and borderless however the print quality is not the best and some of the printing may run off the edges. This does not impede the words or titles. The cardstock is not thick, but can be a bit stiff when shuffling. The backs are a lovely chocolate brown and feature a stylized Adinkra Comb, an African symbol of a woman’s energy. In fact, this deck is quite heavy in African symbology which may not be immediately obvious unless you are very familiar with it. The images are powerful enough without recognizing the Andinkra images, but when layered with the symbolic messages this deck becomes very powerful magic.
I’ve chosen a few of my favorite cards to express my own personal journey with this deck and my own individuality. Transformation (2) shows a person shaving off their relaxed hair. On their arm rests a yellow butterfly and behind them a curtain patterned with Sesa Wo Suban, a star shaped symbol. Both the butterfly and the Sesa Wo Suban are symbols representing change and transformation.
From Roots to Tip (55) is a card that reminds me that even a great tree starts as a little seed, and so do we. First, we establish roots, a small seedling, then eventually, with proper nurturing, a strong body. We must start small, go slow, allow our experiences to shape our growth and then share ourselves with those around us.
Grow With Your Hair (27), this card is meaningful to me because these are the exact words I use to describe my natural hair journey. I have literally grown with my hair. Every time I do a length check I am reminded of how far I’ve come from the worst time in my life when I decided to cut off all my hair, how close I was to calling it quits, and how thankful I am that I continue to grow and live.
The Wisdom of Natural Hair does not come with a guidebook but it comes with something better. There is a whole playlist available on the Makeda Wisdom YouTube Channel for the cards in this deck. The videos go into detail about each card, about Ida’s thoughts behind creating the cards, and what her intentions were. I find this interactive approach to a guidebook refreshing and exciting. The Wisdom of Natural hair is a stunning work of love and manifestation which I am happy to share here with you.