Well my plan to do the thirteen days of Hallowe’en totally backfired but now that it’s actually Hallowe’en and I am not recovering from eye surgery like I was last year, here is a review of a deck that I’ve been saving just for this occasion: the Halloween Oracle!
As much as I hate the cold, I adore autumn. I love the colours and the food, autumn is just a magical season, and Hallowe’en is a holiday I look forward to celebrating year after year. I mean, Hallowe’en is the one time of year where I can dress in outrageous costumes and eat all the candy and it’s perfectly normal and expected.
In general, though, I’ve been looking to acquire an “autumnal” deck. I have decks that I associate more with spring and summer, but few that are autumn themed or seem “autumn-esque” to me, so when I saw that the Halloween Oracle was in the works I knew I had to have it.
The Halloween Oracle has 36 cards and comes in a sturdy box with a slim guidebook. The card stock is thin and the cards are glossy. The cards stuck together when I took them out for the first time. The card size is roughly 5 ½ x 3 ¾ inches, and the entire deck is almost thick enough to make shuffling an annoyance with my small hands. The cards have a black border, the card title, and a line of text as well as the image. The card back is black with a variety of Halloween symbols (ghosts, brooms, etc.) in grey and are non-reversible, although this oracle doesn’t use reversals. The guidebook contains instructions for a one card draw, three card spread, and six card Jack O’ Lantern spread. The entries for each individual card include a small image of that card, a short verse, and some text on how to interpret it.
First let me say that the art is gorgeous. It reminds me of the Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle Cards. However, the Halloween Oracle uses a warmer colour palette, which is an interesting choice considering that many place an emphasis on the dark and creepy on Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of bones (and entire skeletons) in this deck, and you’ll find werewolves, witches, and zombies, but none of the art is especially grotesque or gory, and this deck contains cards such as “Forgiveness” and “Joy” as well as the expected assortment of monsters. I would even say that this deck is appropriate as a general autumn deck, not just Halloween specifically.
I think the biggest issue with this deck for me is that the card text often doesn’t seem to “mesh” with the card or the associations most people would have of the chosen image. For the Vampire card, for example, the text reads “Emotional intelligence”. The text in the book talks about cultivating emotional intelligence against emotional vampires, things that “drain” a person, but I didn’t really get how that had anything to do with vampires until I read about it in the book. The text just seems really vague. It would have been better, in my mind, to have text that said “Things that drain you” or “Cultivate emotional intelligence” or whatever. I think one of my main problems with this. I also think that for an oracle that seems to sell itself as a more “generic” Halloween Oracle, the card meanings seem to have a more specific purpose, that of self-improvement or realizing your full potential, so I found it difficult to use it for readings on more practical matters, like employment and romance. On a more personal note, the author has a tendency to use the word “synergy” a lot, but that’s more of a personal quibble as I am easily annoyed by constant repetition. Oh, and this may seem obvious, but I definitely wouldn’t treat this guidebook as an authoritative reference on Halloween customs because it’s really not. Lastly, although the art is gorgeous, there are an abundance of “sexy” women in this deck, even on cards where there’s really no need for any human figures to be there at all (like the “Midnight” card). In fact the only unquestionably male figure is on the werewolf card, and while he is practically naked and buff, that still doesn’t change the fact that there are a bunch of sexy women to his one sexy man. This was the one thing that really bothered me about the art.
Despite all these negatives, the Halloween Oracle isn’t a bad deck. It is a very nice deck and one I can definitely see myself using. I just feel like it could have been so much more than it is. One thing this deck definitely does capture for me, however, is the magic of fall, and Halloween in particular, and for that, I’d say this deck is worth a look.