Know Thy Self Adinkra Cards


‘Know thy self – Adinkra Cards’

50 Adinkra symbols to help know yourself that originate from West Africa.  These symbols convey traditional African wisdom important to the lives of the African Diaspora (Afrikans). ‘Know Thy Self- Adinkra Cards’ were developed by Dr Erica Mapule McInnis, Chartered Clinical Psychologist (UK).

These can be used in groups (more than one pack suggested for choice), in pairs or individually.  Uses include culturally informed: group icebreakers, party games, personal development, or as a rapport-building tool in talking therapy. Couples and friends can play and discus findings. Can be used by children, tweens and teens.  Ask them to pick a card, then say why they chose that card. For younger children they can pick the shape they like.  A meaning can then be described to them.


In stock


Adinkra symbols represent concepts, sayings and wisdom originally used in fabrics and pottery by Ashanti and Akan people in old kingdoms in West Africa (particularly Ghana).

‘Know thy self – Adinkra cards’ were developed by Dr Erica Mapule McInnis (a Chartered Clinical Psychologist,UK) of Jamaican parentage.  Many Jamaicans have Ghanaian roots as many of those enslaved came from Ghana.  Indeed, the Jamaican National Heroine ‘Queen Nanny of the Maroons’ was a Ghanaian warrior.

Dr Erica Mapule McInnis first became aware of Adinkra symbols from the Association of Black Psychologists, (ABPsi) (a USA based international organisation who promote the best of African culture, thought and techniques to promote healing, wellness and illumination of the spirit).

A percentage of the profit goes to fundraising for the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) and their mission.

Dr McInnis used Adinkra cards in therapy with black clients and found they elicited concepts important to them rare in formal Eurocentric assessment tools.  However, a range of cultures report finding these cards useful and they can be used by adults, children, tweens and teens for education about the symbols and discussion about what they mean.

Product Size

Weight 0.2 kg
Dimensions 21 × 8 × 15 cm

Instructions for use


In groups (e.g. personal development/ retreats/ other):

The leader of the group holds cards spread like a fan and randomly asks members to pick a card.  Discussion follows.

Alternatively, pass the deck of cards amongst members for sorting through and choice of cards to which attracted.  Use of more than one pack can give choice.  Members can share why they chose that card or what that card means to them.  This can be a culturally informed icebreaker for groups and team building or material for exploration in personal development sessions.


As an adjunct tool in therapy:

‘Know thy self – Adinkra cards’ can be useful for rapport building and helping clients in therapy elicit and explore important values and dominant themes in their life.  This can also help therapists know what is important to their clients in a culturally informed way.  Research studies are in progress on the therapeutic use of Adinkra cards. 

1   Place the cards in rows on a table (with symbols visible).

2   Ask the one who ‘seeks illumination of their spirit’ (the client) to look along the rows and pick cards to which attracted.  They can pick up as many as they like.

3   If the client feels there are too many cards on the table or the table is not big enough, place less cards.  Ask if they wish to choose any, then remove and replace with more cards and so forth.  (Alternatively, sort through cards in their hand).

4   As necessary, prompt the client with questions such as:

      • Why did you choose that card?


      • What does it say about where you are in your life journey?


      • Does it say something about your future, or who you would like to be?


    • Have you chosen something you feel you need to work on or improve (transform)?

The aim is to generate conversation that reveals what that particular concept means to them.

There are no right or wrong answers or interpretations.  It is what it means to them.

 The other side of each card reveals more information about the symbol.  This can be of use for further discussion.

For those familiar with Adinkra symbols, simply ask their favourite symbols and hand to them for discussion.


Other uses

Various other uses are possible including education about Adinkra symbols, playing a game of snap matching symbols

Furthermore, to try to manifest a concept, individuals could pick an Adinkra symbol to carry with them in their pocket or bag.  The full pack allows change of selection as individuals transform.

I am eternally grateful to many people who helped develop this product.  These include members of ABPsi and a post fellowship grant from WCMT

I hope you enjoy these cards and find them illuminating of the soul.

© Dr Erica Mapule McInnis, 2018.


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