It all started with a Joker

TT Journal, ISSUE 6, September 2023

by Evelyna Nova

I have never been interested in playing with cards. For some reason I didn’t like following the rules of classical card games.

Instead, my post-it on the wall at home would ask every day:

“What if life was an epic game?”

A little later the unimaginable happened: Cards began playing with me!

The whole game started with a Joker on the sidewalk in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, a few years ago and has continued until today. Almost wherever I live or travel, I constantly find all kinds of playing cards. It became a playful, but steady and reliable pattern within my ever changing reality.

This pattern consists of cycles. Whenever Joker cards appear, I know a chapter in my life is closing and a brand new one is starting.

The Joker is a massive reset button.

The Joker is the odd card and is usually rejected, but is given greater value when used in playing a game. The Joker can be imagined as God (…). The average person rejects the idea that his own consciousness is God in his or her world, and that one creates and fashions one‘s future by thoughts and feelings.

Break the seal of a new reality

Reaching Singapore just one week after I found the first Joker, a radically new life journey began for me – more adventurous and surprising than ever.

I had forgotten about the card in Plovdiv when I found a whole deck of cards on the sidewalk, still sealed with foil.

It is necessary to break the seal to use the cards, which are symbolic of the Intelligence, Wisdom, and Power located in our depths, waiting to be resurrected.

When one learns of the powers of the conscious and subconscious mind and the law of action and reaction, one begins to realize that thoughts are things,
that what one feels, one attracts, and that what one believes one experiences.

Well, I “broke the seal”. And I haven’t stopped learning mind-blowing new things about life ever since. Breaking the seal for me was like breaking with almost all my negative and limiting beliefs during the following years – beliefs about love, wellbeing, life purpose, death, time, wealth, abundance, power, relationships, science, health, food, nature, environmental challenges, sex, making art, identity, success, violence, drugs, addictions… one by one. Like unlearning almost everything I had believed and learned with so much diligence and blind stubbornness. Like approaching a state of emptiness and of a radically open mind – like the blank playing card which I found on the beach soon after.

Because one by one, cards continued popping up throughout the next months traveling across the Philippines and back home in Plovdiv, later in Berlin… I am still exploring how to decipher them as messages – the symbolism of their aesthetics, the way they pave my path and relate to the moment… As if my consciousness was talking to me, mirroring my thoughts, feelings, desires, even life events.

The pack consists of four suits: clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds,
symbolising the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical nature of man.

It seems I have called a game into my life which plays out beyond the rules of my rational mind. The new “rules” are the laws of the universe, which the cards inspired me to research, understand and use intentionally.

It all started with a Joker on the sidewalk.

Background information

Tracing back my so-called Global Card Game, I have found 900+ playing cards (mainly poker cards) and other game items in 16 different places in 5 countries (Bulgaria, Singapore, Philippines, Costa Rica, Germany) on 3 continents since 2018. Usually they appear spread on sidewalks and streets, sometimes beaches or even peripheries of cities and the strangest places I previously would not even think are possible.

I started sharing my most symbolic card episodes on Instagram and via #ItAllStartedWithAJoker for now.

Friends and others around the world (e. g. Buenos Aires, Berlin) started sharing their findings with me, some of them using the hashtag #globalcardgame which I created (or other hashtags). For cards appearing with a story or experience I offer and use myself #globalcardgamestories. With the hashtags I seek to connect with other passionate found card collectors – to exchange meaningful experiences, or just for the excitement of the game.

All quotes here are extracted from Dr. Joseph Murphy’s “Only Good Can Come out of This” (USA 2009). He and classical tarot reading helped me making more sense of the symbolism of cards.

Murphy also tells about a legend of the wisest men of China working together with artists in order to design a game which would preserve and spread the truths and principles of the universe across humanity. The result: today’s classic playing cards for poker. And: the evolution of the system of Cartomancy which attempts reading cards for divination purposes (which I don’t recommend using).

Evelyna Kokoranova alias Evelyna Nova is an artist (of life) with experiences within a wide range of formats and means like acting in sensory theatres/Labyrinths – mainly in Bulgaria, co-creating and guiding silent walks and other sensory experiences in Berlin and different Bulgarian places under the project label “SensoryMind”, photography, writing, installation art and contact improvisation. Evelyna Nova’s biggest fascination is to explore how unlimited, malleable and ductile our minds and perception can be and are yet to become – individually and collectively. And how thoughts and emotions translate into physical manifestations and sensations. In this sense, she’s looking at life as an ongoing piece of art, in which arts and life merge in (un)expected ways. Those often appear to be incredibly well organised and structured by synchronicities (seemingly coincidental but meaningful experiences).

All images courtesy of Evelyna Nova