These Oracle Cards are Ruining My Snobbery

photo-4So oracle decks fuck with me on a couple of levels.

I’d never had any interest in them. In the realm of cartomancy, tarot is my reigning mistress, with a bit of Lenormand on the side just for variety. The history, the blending together of fascinating magical systems, the provocative artwork…

Oracle cards seem to be mostly devoid of all of the things that make me love tarot. Aside from all of the pastel airbrushing and sparkly foil borders, oracle decks seem to necessarily rely on intuition, impulse, and feelings. “I feel that this card is saying…” as opposed to “this card traditionally means…” With oracle cards, there’s usually not a lot outside of the deck itself to turn to for information. We’re left with our guts (and not in a fun, haruspicy sort of way).

This works for plenty of readers, and it’s certainly an effective way to divine. But it’s never been my preferred style. If I want to practice divination that relies primarily on my woo (a term I use with reverence and which encompasses my witchcraft, my relationships with my gods, and anything we might call “psychic” abilities), I have other preferred methods. Oracle cards have always struck me as super New-Agey, with their cutesy artwork (or Sports-Illustrated-swimsuit-issue portrayals of goddesses), feel-good messages, and plethora of writers with fake PhDs.

But! But! I’m having to throw out my previously established negativity when confronted with Stacey Demarco’s Halloween Oracle. Which I can’t stop handling. The artwork is gorgeous, the book is full of fun Halloween factoids, and even the print job is solid. So what the hell do I do with myself now?

I don’t really know yet. I’m screwing around with a totally different way of reading cards, trying to come up with spreads that make sense to me, and challenging my tendency to rely on external sources for information. It’s fucking with me. But in a good way.

I’ll write more about all this as things progress, and maybe persuade some of my regular clients to allow me to experiment on them.

I will say that, in my cursory reappraisal of oracle decks as a thing, I’ve continued to be disappointed (so many decks are just…gross), but the Halloween Oracle gives me some hope.


7 thoughts on “These Oracle Cards are Ruining My Snobbery

  1. Ivy

    I never liked oracle decks until I saw the Earth Magic Oracle. It was simple, didn’t have bug eyed fairy or angels, etc and the advice was practical and could be applied to any type of reading. The issue I have the most decks is that they are themed (love, positivity, etc) so you end up feeling like you need more decks do to other readings. You’d be surprised how well pulling an oracle card works in a tarot reading, especially in the “what crosses you”, “what are your gifts/weakness”, type of positions that really involve emotion or state of mind. I tend to have the best success with them used in that capacity as opposed to doing complete readings. Enjoy the new deck!


  2. dstflat

    Don’t know shit about decks, but perhaps your “woo” is more intuitive than you give it credit for. Its usually cool when we can move outside of our comfort zones. BTW Oliver looks to be one fine boy. Next time Sally or I are at the shop remind us to show you pictures of our feline family.


  3. Cosette

    I’m a tarot person too. I’ve never worked with Oracles. I’ve owned two: the Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto because I love her artistic interpretation and I no longer have this deck; and the Australian Animal Dreaming Oracle by Scott Alexander King, which I’ve never used either. Recently I saw that Halloween Oracle and was tempted. Artistically, it looked compelling. I look forward to hearing more about how it works out for you.


  4. benebell

    Oracle decks give me that icky guilty feeling of cheating on my tried and true tarot. And that makes sense. Oracle decks always feel like affairs to me. Tarot will always be the real deal. Lenormand is like the officiated second concubine that the tarot is okay with.



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