Origins of Rabika

Origins of Rabika: a Tale of the Tortoise
in Kaarin’s Words


I collected oddities as a child such as, old hats, antique Chinese snuff bottles (unearthed in my backyard), and cards. Playing cards. My collection consisted of cards of odd shapes, odd sizes, and extraordinarily attractive backs. A copy of the tiniest card deck in the world sat beside a card deck so large it couldn’t really be held in the hand during play. My attraction to cards was as powerful as it was inexplicable.

Then in 1969, my parents drove on vacation from California to New Orleans. Their return from that trip would change my life forever.

By the time I was 14, I was reading tea leaves and palms. I was studying numerology and was cursorily interested in astrology. I had learned hypnosis and would regress people to their past lives. Along with a fairly good sized group of classmates, we performed regular Friday night séances. Automatic writing, ‘seeing’ spiritual entities — my teenage years were rife with phenomena most people have only read about or seen in movies. I used pendulums and dowsing canes; scrying bowls and crystals; Chinese sticks and runes. You name it; I probably used it.

Given all that, one would think I would have picked up Tarot! I had friends that used Tarot, but for some reason I never picked up a single card. Even odder still, there were no tarot decks in my extensive card collection. Not a one!

Fascinated with Cartomancy

But, when my folks got home from New Orleans, Dad had brought me two gifts. One was a deck of antique Spanish playing cards from the 16th century called the Baraja. The other was a modern American card deck, normal in every respect except that the cards were round. And I will never forget what he said when he gave them to me, “I thought you could make something out of these. See what you can do.” What he did that day was pass me the torch to a race I was to ‘run’ like a tortoise; plodding forward toward an unseen goal in the hope that if I kept moving forward, inch by inch, I would eventually arrive at the finish line.

Of the two decks I got that day, I thought the round cards a great novelty! But the Baraja were compelling. The pictures were like none I had ever seen and the suits were different from our modern spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. They were Coins, Cups, Swords, and Clubs (big, heavy, wooden, “beat you over the head” clubs!) If you are familiar with Tarot you will notice how these suits are close to the Tarot suits of Pentacles, Cups, Swords, and Wands but this deck was different from the modern 52 card deck, it had just 48 cards.

Fascinated by the similarity of the Baraja to Tarot, I began researching cartomancy, the study of divination with cards. I studied the Tarot’s origins, and its migration into Europe, its link with the Gnostics, and its eventual evolution into the gambling cards we have today. I learned about card systems in other parts of the world as well, such as the ancient Chinese cards carved on bone (now used in a game called Mahjongg) that were suspiciously similar to Tarot, yet pre-dated it. My fascination with playing cards grew, and it easily evolved into a fascination for cartomancy.

Starting Development

So what was I to do with these strange cards from New Orleans? It was during some of my automatic writing sessions that I began to get information about using a regular card deck for divination and giving the cards an exciting new set of meanings. I took a regular 52 rectangular card deck and began devising layouts and meanings of the cards. For years I played with it until I felt I had a system that was rather uncanny.

By the time I was in college I was supporting myself by giving open-air readings at the mall on weekends. I had regular clients who came to see me week after week and a fair amount of trade from tourists. My model of payment was simple; pay me what you think the reading is worth; no more, no less. I performed the readings first, and then the clients paid for their readings as their hearts bade them. In those days the simple idealism of youth outpaced any special business savvy but my ‘take’ always seemed to be enough money to pay the bills — rent, utilities, and school books. And while sometimes dinner was from the local soup kitchen, I felt successful. More importantly, the card system was continuously being honed and the tortoise kept marching.

My passion for this new card system was so deep that I never went anywhere without my cards. Everyone I met would get readings, and they loved them! For one thing, there were no dire prediction cards as in older-style Tarot. The messages of this system were jarringly and refreshingly devoid of judgment. Though clear messages of need, and sometimes pain, were delivered, it was always with a nudge to the notion that people can exert control over their futures and that choices made in this moment could and would profoundly influence where they found themselves in the next.

Duh! Round!

In 1978, I met and began working with a dear friend and remarkable woman, Chris Beale. Chris and I were collaborating on books. And I began to hone my trance-channeling abilities. This card system I had developed was about to take a quantum leap.

One day, during a reading session I was suddenly struck with the realization of why the Baraja and the rounds cards came to me together! The cards of this system needed to be round! Round cards could fall in any of 360 degrees of configuration. The cards could then influence one another, not just by their placement in the layout next to each other, but also because they could directly point to one another from anywhere in the reading! I pulled out the old round deck my father gave me in 1969 and the entire tenor of the readings changed. At once, they became clearer, crisper; more in line with the powerful energies I knew they conducted.

Rabika Finds a New Student

Chris was fascinated by the cards as well. She became the first student of the system and while it was satisfying to have another person learn the methods I had developed, it was frustrating for her because the system resided so much in my head that comprehending it was often mystifying.

It was easy to explain the meaning of each card all by itself, but you see, in order to do a reading, the meaning of each card coupled with its influences had to be ‘divined’ on the spot. When I did a reading, I would hold the cards of influence in my mind’s eye and watch them interact. It may sound strange, but that is exactly what I did; I watched them interact. The resulting interaction revealed the “meaning” of the card at that particular moment. Given this level of complexity, you can see why it was difficult for Chris to learn this rather obscure reading method.

One night Chris said, “You know, you are never going to be able to teach this system to large numbers of people with your nebulous approach. There must be a way to classify, or otherwise capture these interactions on paper.” I knew she was right, but the method for doing so had thus far eluded me.

Unexpected Help

That is where Rex came in. During a trance-channeling session one day, we were introduced to a new being.

His name was Rex and he said he had come to help with the card system. Of course I wasn’t there, I was trancing Rex, so he told Chris that if she set up the sessions, he was prepared to layout the meanings of all the cards with their influences in a grid that would be easy to understand and teach. Chris was ecstatic! She made the preparations and what happened after that was astonishing. During nine very long trance sessions, Rex did just as I had done time and time again; he watched the interaction of the cards as they influenced one another in a very systematic fashion. He explained it a bit differently though. He said that he took images of the cards out to the “plane of creation” and watched the energies that were created in response to the melding of them in this other space. Then he brought those energies back and turned them into keywords and phrases. He wrote the keywords down on paper grids and then spoke about each card at length. Chris recorded all of this on tape. The ‘plane of creation’ Rex spoke about is what we now know as the quantum field.

The results of these sessions were incredible! The resulting grids became what we now call the Quick-Start Guides. And with Rex’s energetic elucidation, we gained an even better understanding of the cards. More importantly, I now had a body of material that could be honed into a system and taught to other people.

A Time of Grief

In 1983, the momentum slowed. Chris died quite suddenly. Chris’s death coupled with a recent divorce set me back quite a bit, but I found solace and meaning in my business — a full-fledged metaphysical business in the San Francisco Bay Area at that time, and I was using the card system in my work.

During this time, all real work on the cards stopped. I completed formal certification in hypnotherapy and I used the card system as it was, still relying on the old 52 card round deck my Dad had given me all those years before.

The System Gets a Name

It was several years later, in 1987, while working with another group of women, that my interest in pushing the system forward resurged. It was around this time that the name Rabika arose. I don’t actually know if the name was conceived, or channeled; those lines were hopelessly blurred in my life by that point; but either way, Rabika was born! During this period, I wrote the first generation of the Rabika companion guide. I will always be grateful for the help and support I received during this time and since from close friends and loved ones.

The tortoise tale resumes in 1996 when a dear friend introduced me to the world of fractals. After being consumed by the concepts and equations of fractals for many months, it became clear to me that fractals were the artwork of Rabika. Not only are they beautiful, but also they literally represent numbers in graphical form. It was a perfect fit! Since numbers are so integral to the concepts of Rabika, so should numbers be the foundation of its art. The art you see associated with the cards now reflects several generations of work to determine which fractals best represent the energies of a particular card.

It was at this time that this same dear friend began working on the Rabika engine that powers the online readings you can get here.

Rabika’s Time Has Come

Fast forward to 2005. The tortoise was still silently and doggedly moving toward its goal. It became obvious that Rabika’s time was near and I again picked up the system with the clear intention of bringing Rabika to the world. I began the process of honing the last bits of the system to meet that goal. In 2008 Rabika was poised to make its grand public debut! More than just a card deck and a book, Rabika now includes energy stones, energy jewelry, artwork, and other products soon to be introduced.

Overall, there is no doubt that many energies and people have influenced Rabika; some are mortal, flesh and blood and some are not. The Rabika Grid that now exists permeates many dimensions of our reality and has the support of large numbers of beings in each of those dimensions. My Dad died in 1993, and I wish he was still here, so he could pick up and experience what I ‘made’ out of those long ago gifts.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Rabika has emerged as a set of conscious tools. Conscious because their use is aided and enhanced by the existence of the Rabika Grid. Rabika and the Rabika Grid are committed to raising consciousness, one person at a time. Rabika has a life of its own and I am now but a shepherd for its work in the world. Rabika is the passion of my life and just like the tortoise of this small tale; Rabika has reached the finish line at exactly the right time, and in exactly the right place.

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