Deck Review: Oracle of the Mermaids

Happy Valentine’s Day! (Or as I’m now calling it “Self Love/Self Care Day”) Since I’m emphasizing self love on this day, I thought now would be a good opportunity to review a deck I love.

I’ve been a fan of Selina Fenech’s art since I learned of the existence of the Wild Wisdom of Faery Oracle, so when I found out that she was doing the art for a mermaids deck, I knew I had to have it and it instantly went on my deck lust list.

As usual, let’s start with some technical information. The cards are large-ish: 3.67 x 5.50 inches, and are very glossy, each card has a number at the top and the title and keywords at the bottom. The cards also have a thin border in “pearl” shades. The card backs show a blonde mermaid with hair that would make Rapunzel jealous. The backs are non-reversible. The cards come in a sturdy box. Included is a 168 page companion book by Lucy Cavendish. The companion book includes instructions for a three card spread, two five card spreads, and a “Mermaid Celtic Cross” which is like a standard Celtic Cross with an extra card. I personally don’t like to use spreads with oracles, but someone else might find them useful.

The art is simply gorgeous. This is one of those decks that I’ve shown to others where they’re instantly captivated by the art. One of my absolute favourite cards in this deck is “Sanctuary” which depicts a mermaid (representing Melusine) lounging in a bathtub. Another card I loved is “Freedom” which depicts a pirate mermaid with a skull and crossbones shirt and a cutlass lying next to her. Obviously taste in arr varies, but if you liked the art in the Wild Wisdom of Faery Oracle, chances are you’ll like the art in this one too.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much from the companion book. I found the companion book for the fairy oracle to be one of the fluffiest companion books I’ve ever read, and while I don’t think this one is as bad, there were still passages that raised an eyebrow or two for me. For instance, while Lucy Cavendish talks about how society creates unrealistic expectations for men (hello patriarchy), she then goes on to say that men suffer “in some ways even moreso than women” which….no…..just don’t go there. References to Atlantis and Lemuria are common in this book, and at one point there’s a jarring shift in tone from talking about relationships and the importance of taking time for yourself to talking about how Atlanteans conducted cruel experiments on the poor Lemurians. Still, I did appreciate the messages about loving yourself and setting firm boundaries.

This deck has become my self-care deck. If I’m feeling down and need a pick me up. I pull a card from this deck, although you can also use it for relationship readings. I did some readings for others and the feedback I received was that the deck was pretty accurate and helpful.

If I had any gripes with this deck, it would be that there’s not a whole lot of diversity in either body type or race (three cards clearly depict mermaids of colour), and it’s also a very heterosexual deck, with one card “Yearning” looking like a cheesy romance novel cover. I was particularly annoyed by the explanation for the “Soul Cage” card, which turned a story about the friendship between a male fisherman and a merman into a story about a man being rescued by a mermaid, and it’s actually not an old fairy tale at all, but the invention of its author, Thomas Keightley. I should also note in case anyone who follows this blog is tokophobic, but a few of the images in this deck depict pregnant mermaids.

Despite these annoyances, I really like this deck and I think any mermaid fan should check it out. It easily has the most appealing art of any of the mermaid/sea themed decks on the market for me at this time. If it had the racial diversity of, say, the World Spirit Tarot or the diverse body types of the Mythical Goddess Tarot, it would have been that much better, but as it is, it’s still a great deck, especially if you’re into mermaids.

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