Tag Archives: oracle cards

Deck Review: Oracle of the Unicorns

I love unicorns. They’re like horses but magical and able to impale people. Despite being loved by the New Age movement in particular for their “purity” and “loving energy” there aren’t many unicorn decks. There’s the Unicorn Tarot, which AFAIK is out of print or hard to find, and Doreen Virtue’s Magical Unicorns cards, and that one by Diana Cooper. None of these decks really have what I want in a unicorn deck, so when I saw this deck up on Blue Angel’s website and took a look at the sample images, I knew I needed it.

oracle_of_the_unicorns

The Oracle of the Unicorns is a 44 card deck and book set by Cordelia Francesca Brabbs. The art is done by a variety of artists. The card size is typical for Blue Angel oracle decks. The cards are borderless and each card has its title and a few sentences to clue you in to the meaning of the card. The guidebook elaborates on these sentences with a few paragraphs for each card. There are no upright and reversed meanings given for any of the cards. The guidebook contains a number of spreads specific to this deck. There’s instructions for daily card draws, a four card “Through the Forest” spread, a five card “Elemental Star”, a seven card “Path to Miracles” spread, an eight card “Pegasus” spread, and a nine card “Unicorn Horn” spread.

This is generally a positive, uplifting deck, with cards like “Compassion”, “Sanctuary”and “Gentleness”, even the “Anger” card is about dealing with your anger in healthy ways (and is actually one of the best cards dealing with “negative” emotions in a way that doesn’t involve denying or “releasing” your anger). Despite the deck being called the Oracle of the Unicorns, there are pegasi in here as well, but I suspect few people will mind that some of the magical horse-creatures have wings instead of a horn.

I loved the artwork without exception. Even though the art is done by different artists, it’s coherent. My only gripe is that I wish the humans on the cards were more diverse. I only saw one figure (perhaps two) that is possibly not white, and all are women. Many of the unicorns are also white with white horns, although a few are different colours. I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot about my recent deck purchases, but I’m seriously considering buying art from this to hang over my computer desk. Every single one of these paintings would make a stunning poster.

I’ve been using this deck to pull a card each day. I did a few readings with it for other people, and I think it would work best for spiritual questions, if you need a bit of a pick me up, or for questions regarding activism and social justice. I did the meditation included with this deck (to find your unicorn guide) and had an (unexpectedly) powerful experience where I did meet two such guides, whether or not it was all in my head is something I continue to ask myself, but I can’t deny that it evoked some very raw emotions in me

Besides the lack of diversity, I think a lot of people will be turned off by the New Agey-ness of the deck. The accompanying meditation references the chakras, “white light”, light and love, and all that, things that, granted, you’ve probably come to expect from a deck like this (especially ones published by Blue Angel). If you can handle the cotton candy love and light stuff and you love unicorns, this deck is an easy recommendation.

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Review: The Heart of Faerie Oracle

I’m mad at you, Internet.

I’m mad at you because everywhere I looked, reviews for this deck always chose the creepiest or the most colourless cards to show off, and because of that, I deemed the art “too creepy” for my tastes and avoided this deck.

And I’m mad at you, because this deck is easily the most responsive oracle I own.

Ask a bunch of ATers (even those who aren’t into non-tarot oracle decks) what their favourite, most reliable oracle deck is, and I guarantee you a good chunk of that sample will mention Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Oracle. The Heart of Faerie Oracle, a joint effort between Brian and Wendy Froud, is in the same vein as the earlier deck (it even has some of the same cards), but focuses more on relationships.

Now, I know what you’re thinking “So is this basically The Faeries’ Oracle: Love and Romance Edition? Is this like Doreen Virtue and her Legion of Angel Decks to Inject Fluff into Every Facet of Human Existence?”

And the answer is no, no no no, not even close.

You see, the Heart of Faerie Oracle is more about relationships in general, not just romantic relationships (although there are cards that address that sort of thing), how we relate to others, and, of course, to Faerie itself (interpret ‘Faerie’ however you like, whether as a general sense of “enchantment” or in the sense of this deck being a gateway to the faery realm–just don’t eat the food).

So, before I get really gushy, some more technical details. The deck has 68 cards (sized 3″ x 5″), 65 cards are “named” cards, and 3 have images but no titles. Don’t worry, your deck isn’t defective. The set also includes a sturdy hardcover book, which is probably why the deck was so expensive initially (I bought mine for $10, though). The backs have a winged heart design and are fully reversible (even though the authors recommend not using reversed cards with this deck). Besides one card draws, suggestions for three card draws and one unique spread (which uses four or seven cards, depending on your need) are included. The colour scheme, to my eyes, seems strangely subdued, looks of browns, whites, and dark blues, it’s definitely not a deck that I would consider eye-popping (unlike, say, my Mythical Goddess, which has really bright, vibrant colours). There is a lot of colour in the deck if you give it a look through, but it’s not colour that particularly jumps out at me, or maybe I’m just used to looking at images that are saturated by pretty colours.

The cards are divided into seven categories: The Faerie Queens, The Queens’ Consorts, The Archetypes, The Sprites, The Ladies, The Tricksters, and The Journey. The Queens represent powerful forces and “feminine” energy, the Consorts being their “masculine” counterparts, whereas the Ladies deal with more personal issues and the Tricksters are….tricky, Sprites are generally positive, playful, joyful energies, Archetypes are “ancient energies of Faery” and the Journey cards take us not only on a journey through Faerie, but through life stages.

For some reason, I keep finding myself drawing the cards in pairs. I have no idea why this is, but it seems like each card I’ve drawn so far seems to overlap with its “partner” nicely.

I’ll give you an example. Two weeks ago I was just like “So, what should I do now?” Knowing full well that I had a week “off” (A.K.A. when my mom’s not in the house to write). The cards I drew were the Smith (Creation/Bond/Promises) and the Queen of Hearth and Home (Courtesy/Hospitality/Welcome) which I interpreted quite literally to mean “You’re going to have a nice quiet home for a week, stop saying you’re going to write and WRITE!”

From this I have determined that this oracle does not fuck around.

Okay, I do have one quibble, and that’s that the descriptions can get a little fluffy at times, but there are definitely cards that are a bit more cautionary (the super creepy Prince of Shadows might as well be named the “don’t get into a relationship with this person, ever” card, as well as one that basically means that everything is going wrong). The cards certainly aren’t as fluffy as, say The Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle or anything Doreen Virtue puts out, but the deck does seem to focus on the positive overall.

And now, some pictures (I can’t promise they will be better than the ones on the rest of the Internet, but keep in mind they are a bit darker in person):

Review: Wisdom of the House of Night Oracle

I know I said I’d review Awakened before reviewing the oracle, but I’m still working my way through the offensiveness book, so it’ll have to wait, plus I’d really like to review the oracle while it’s fresh in my mind.

Wisdom of the House of Night is the latest oracle by Colette Baron-Reid (who also did The Enchanted Map, Wisdom of the Hidden Realms, and Wisdom of Avalon oracles). For this oracle, she’s teamed up with P.C. Cast to bring us an oracle based on the Casts’ House of Night series.

I have limited experience with Baron-Reid’s other oracles. I have Wisdom of the Hidden Realms, which is pretty, but the readings I get with it don’t seem to make any sense, and I refuse to shell out the cash to buy Wisdom of Avalon, because the fact that half the cards have nearly identical signposts on them with keywords is just….lazy.

I became aware of the existence of this oracle a couple of weeks ago and quickly resigned myself to purchasing it. I bought it expecting it to be a cheesy gallery of images of svelte models with photoshopped facial tattoos and little substance. I mean, come on, look at the sort of material it’s based on!

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I actually….like this deck.

First, the technical stuff. There are 50 cards in this deck, and they are about 4 1/4 inches long and just under 3 1/2 inches wide, in comparison to Wisdom of the Hidden Realms, these cards are not as wide. The borders are black with a gold knotwork design and the back of the card is also black with a triple moon symbol with a bit of knotwork inside and the same kind of border you see on the fronts. The fronts of the cards include the card number within a triple moon and title in teal at the bottom. There are no additional keywords (although some of the images have words). The guidebook’s cover is also black with gold borders (made to resemble a House of Night textbook).

Oh, and the deck is very sparkly.

Yes, I’m serious, the guidebook as well as the cards have glitter on them. The cards also have silver gilded edges. I love gilt-edged cards, they look so luxurious, but seriously, GLITTER! (Although, in a way it makes sense, because the vampyre goddess Nyx is a goddess of, well, night.

On the subject of the art (I’ll get to the guidebook in a minute), it’s actually very pretty. Yes, there are lots of tattooed women and men, some of them cheesier than others, but there are plenty of cards where there are no human figures at all. If you love cats, you’re going to love this deck. On a more serious note, I actually want to eat the pomegranate depicted on the “Fulfillment” card, and I can feel the heat of the candle flame on the “Honesty” card. This seems to be the kind of deck that really engages all of my senses. In the back of my mind, I kept saying “Man, this is just cheesy….” but I really can’t deny it when the pictures evoke such feelings. If I had to sum up the art in one word, I think I’d say “minimalist”, there’s not a whole lot going on in most of the cards, but I think the images do a good job of expressing the meaning of that card in a very straightforward way (ie. depicting a diploma that says “Congratulations!” for the “Success” card or a cat at play for the “Playful” card). The one issue I have, though, is that some of the cards do include the name of the character from the books that it represents (Aphrodite for Vision, for instance). On the one hand, it’s helpful to fans of the books who know about Aphrodite’s role in the story (and it isn’t so confusing for newcomers who wonder why a pale blonde waif is on the Vision card). On the other hand, it is kind of distracting. you can see some scans here, though the scans are a lot darker than the actual cards. The art actually reminds me of Nigel Suckling’s Fallen Angel Oracle (which I recommend) only with real people instead of stonework.

Now to the guidebook, it’s obvious that this is intended for fans of the House of Night series who may not be familiar with oracle cards. The first part of the book contains instructions on how to use the cards, what sorts of questions to ask, that sort of thing, along with basic one, two, and three card spreads. The rest of the book is devoted to explaining the meaning of each individual card. The story behind the cards is that they are Nyx’s messages to vampyres and humans alike, given to vampyre Queen Sgiach in a vision. It might not make a lot of sense to people who haven’t read the books, but it’s a nice way to tie it in to the House of Night series.

Unfortunately, the guidebook is as fluffy as a litter of kittens in a room full of cotton candy.

Every card, even the more negative cards in the deck (like ‘Forbidden’) have this candy-coated reassurance that everything will be okay because Nyx loves all her children. In the art, there are some clear nods to Greek mythology (“Denial” has a hand trying to grasp a bunch of grapes and failing, a la Tantalus) but the book never acknowledges these things (or maybe I’m just too smart for this deck). I also find it hilarious that the book admonishes the reader “to avoid frivolous or silly questions, otherwise the goddess is likely to send you on a wild, confusing ride.” (p. 13) This is right before a sample reading in which the querent thinks a guy is hot and wants to know if there’s anything going on between them (said guy is sending her mixed messages). Now, plenty of people want to know what the cards say about their love life, but the way the reading is phrased just….makes it sound exactly like the kind of silly problem the book warns us about.

Anyways, I guess the long and short of it is that the cards are lovely, but the book sucks.

Now, could someone please pitch an oracle/tarot deck based on Kushiel’s Legacy to Jacqueline Carey or whomever they need to pitch it to to make it happen? If I like this cheesy deck I can’t imagine what I’d think of one based on KL! Hel, I’ll even take that Wraeththu Tarot that everyone forgot about even though the book is driving me crazy (note to self: start reading that book again).