The Tulku Oracle
Updated: Mar 4
Our latest interview is with Karla Refoxo, the creator of the Tulku Oracle. a collection of 53 oracle cards that are portals into the wisdom of heart, nature and ancient traditions. The images of the cards include totems, archetypes and symbols—all based on the blessed amulets from Karla's sacred jewellery range - the Tulku Jewels amulet collection.
The Tulku Oracle is an invitation to connect with timeless companion presences who show up to remind us of our gifts, intuition and knowing. .
Kickstarter - Tulku Oracle
Where in the world do you call home?
I live in the beautiful Rocky Mountains—in the Arapahoe National Forest in a small town named Jamestown, CO. near Boulder.
What was your first experience with tarot or oracle and when did you fall in love with it?
My first WOW experience was when I was about 35 and I got a reading by an elder tarot reader named Gladys. She was visiting a friend of mine and staying with her and offered to do a reading for me in exchange for some small offering. I was living in an ashram, making my living as a fresco painter, making antique thangka reproductions (Tibetan paintings) and Tibetan art restorer at that time. I was also working with bronze casters making a large guru statue on commission in Kathmandu Nepal for 4 months of every year. And it was hard to make ends meet. In the reading, I asked Gladys about my livelihood as a fresco painter, and she came back with seeing me making pendulums in Nepal. I really didn’t see that, but there were so many other things she said that really were spot on and got my attention. About 5 months or so later I had the idea to make amulets and to start a small business working with traditional artists in Nepal, which has since grown into so much more. I always thank Gladys for the encouragement and light she shined on that part of my journey. It was really a pivotal moment for me.
What made you want to create your own oracle deck? What was your inspiration?
Years later, the idea to create an oracle deck based on the images of the amulets arose from my desire to synthesize years of living in the ashram and learning a Tantric, Hindu, Buddhist perspective that honors non-dualism, ancient wisdom traditions, and the power of imagery to enliven the sacred.
Over time, other influences have shaped my world view, including my work as a Plant Spirit Medicine healer (as taught by Eliot Cowan) and a deep dive into the world of dreams through DreamTending. Spirituality and art have always gone hand in hand for me, and indigenous wisdom and following a pilgrimage path reawakened my natural orientation towards animism, shamanism, and nature. As I have grown over the years as an artist, and engaged with others using the amulets, the imagery and symbols have revealed many levels of deeper meanings. Creating the oracle deck has been a way for me to express my own unique understanding and experience of what the symbols behind the Tulku amulets represent.
I also really wanted to create art again, as Tulku (the jewellery business) took off and I found myself spending my time much more as a business person rather than creating art. So this has been a delicious journey for me, diving back into the images and discovering what more they have to share with me as an artist as well.
What would you say is unique about your deck?
I think it is not only that each card has a very special, handmade, blessed amulet companion available for purchase should someone really want to bring that energy home, but that it is an eclectic mix of traditions and images that I have developed a relationship with over a long period of time. The companion book (266 pages) goes into some depth about the symbolism as well as the oracle, and my hope is that it will help others deepen into relationship with some of these images in ways they perhaps have not. This deck would resonate with people who practice yoga, Hindu and Buddhist esoteric meditation traditions, and also with people who want to connect in new ways to the power of Symbols, Totems and Archetypes.
How long have you had the idea for the deck for and how long has it taken you to create it?
This deck has been in the making for about ten years!
We are living in such crazy times. How has the pandemic affected your creativity?
It was actually the pandemic that created the window of time for me to dedicate to finishing this long project. And it made me realize the time is now. Prior to the pandemic, I was traveling about once a month mostly for the jewellery work—selling at retreats and events (mostly with the Chopra Center) around the world. So this being at home for such an extended amount of time, with little business happening on the jewellery front, has given me permission to finally create this long held dream. And I got a government loan so that I could help fund it!
What have been your challenges in creating this deck?
For me the writing has been the most challenging part, it’s not my natural medium and it really stretched me to go deeper. I think in images and expressing my experience in words has been really profound. I did procrastinate and struggle a lot with that part though. Since I also began this project ten years ago, I have changed and grown a lot during that time so I had to redo a lot of what I had created initially. That was hard to do as well!
The cards are all brothers and sisters to the amulets of the Tulku Jewels. Could you please explain what amulets of the Tulku Jewels are?
Tulku amulets are like talismans, or charms. They are created not only for adornment, but with the intention to provide instruments of healing that bring support to others. They are caringly hand-crafted with consciousness by several loving hands, hearts, and souls to awaken their powerful quality. Each amulet is carved in repousse by master artist Rajendra Bajracharya—a 17th generation Buddhist priest; then blessed by a Nepalese holy woman known as Mata. These amulets are imbued with the power inherent in traditions where there is no separation between pure spirituality and the act of creation. Through wearing these amulets, that power supports, inspires, and protects us on our own particular Paths in Life.
How will you celebrate when the deck is finally published?
I will take time offline and go deep into nature to give thanks!
What is on offer for people who pledge?
The deck, the 266 perfect bound full-length guidebook all wrapped up in a beautiful elegant box. Other pledge items include a two-sided spread cloth, a handmade pouch to hold both the book and the deck, jewellery, a special amulet and prints. You can see more details on the Kickstarter. Thank you so much for your support!
To connect with nature and ancient traditions through these cards, back it here:
Kickstarter - Tulku Oracle