✨ A Gathering Place for Magical Readers and Writers ✨

Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards, by Izzy Ivy

Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards, by Izzy Ivy
Blue Angel Publishing, 1925538830, 56 cards, 148 pages, April 2020

Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards might be one of the most eye-catching decks I’ve ever played with. Creator Izzy Ivy’s masterful use of vibrant color highlighting fractal geometry, goddess-like entities, chakras, elementals and other powerful imagery is irresistible – even for those of us who might be still a bit skeptical about such fantastical places as Lemuria.

Ivy’s official bio claims that “The easel is her alter and she is passionate about making images that actively raise the vibration of the environment and observer.”1 And after playing with these cards for a week or so I would agree that Ivy’s devotion to her craft and her vision is apparent in this magical oracle deck.

The deck is composed of 56 cards that are divided into three categories: cards one through ten are the Chakra Cards, cards eleven through seventeen are the Elemental Cards, and the remainder of the deck is referred to as Seed Cards.

I have a habit of initiating a new deck by ceremoniously drawing a first card as a way of allowing the deck to communicate how it would like to be used by me. The first card I drew from this deck was a card called “Endless Opportunities” – which brought a smile to my face because this is indeed a deck that seems to be bursting at the seams with a wide variety of thoughtful messages. Ivy includes ten different ideas for three-card spreads, as well as some larger layouts with directions that are quite unique, even including using the deck in a meditative exercise.

My second draw from the deck came during a group reading. I was drawing single tarot cards for a group of a dozen or so people and decided to pull one card from this new deck for the group, as we were getting ready to conclude our time together. The card I pulled was titled “Surrender.”

The guidebook gives a message for each card and concludes with a divinatory meaning – the one for the card Surrender says in part, “Loosen your hold on the reins and know that the Universe will catch you.”2 More than a few people in the group voiced that they had been dealing with letting go of certain life situations and that this card spoke to them in a deep way.

Next, I read for two clients using three-card layouts from the guidebook. The first spread I used is titled “Bringing in love” and my querent was astounded with how much the reading aligned with current inner work she has been doing. Here are some of her words (shared with her permission) in response to receiving the reading:

What a beautiful set of cards that takes the imagination out of body and into the unknown amongst the stars! And how befitting that the first topic in the reading is that of expansion. Just yesterday I was doing an active meditation and had visions fitting each of these cards.

The first rhyme is that I was sensing into how far my energy was willing to go and feeling that I’ve been pretty constricted.

The second card both delves into the expansion topic deeper AND confronts childhood beliefs. I was raised to be seen and not heard in some environments. As I grew up that lesson morphed into not rocking boats and keeping myself small in ways that became more impactful. This reading is hitting the nail on the head!

The last card’s indication of detachment from beliefs about what abundance is ties into a recent decision to surrender (again) so that I can get into alignment with divine flow. It mirrors eclipse week energies pretty well, I’d say.

Thank you for a lovely reading which does a marvelous job of reflecting divine intuition!

The second three card reading I did was met with similar enthusiasm, especially for the artwork. Here are a few words from my client:

The cards were great at reminding me that I have the power to make things happen for myself. They pointed out some challenges I may run into, things that could hold me back. I liked the fact that questions were asked, which inspired some deep thinking around the topic. The cards themselves were absolutely gorgeous in their artwork and layout.

The only negative feedback I received was that the explanation for each card was a bit too lengthy. I would suggest for any reader that feels this way to just use the “Divinatory Meaning” for each card, which generally consists of one paragraph of key ideas.

All in all, the deck’s breathtaking artwork and deep spiritual explanations were well received by everyone that has encountered them through readings I’ve done.

The guidebook presents the artist’s personal journey of creating the deck and the ideas and philosophies that supported her creative style and messages. Then it proceeds with ideas for some small three-card layouts and several larger layouts, along with a two-page spread of keywords, explanations, empowering questions for the querent, and divinatory meanings for each card.

The deck and guidebook come packaged in a sturdy box, which is always a plus for a collector. The cards are very large, measuring 3 ¾” x 5 ½”. The large size highlights the lovely images while also making them quite difficult to shuffle, especially if one has small hands. The card-stock is good quality, with a matte finish that shows the vibrancy of the images well.

I would recommend Beyond Lemuria Oracle Cards for anyone who loves ethereal artwork combined with spiritual messages, and perhaps especially for people who may be interested in (or at least comfortable with) theories of lost civilizations. However, regardless of philosophy and worldview, the artwork is vibrant, curious, and beautiful, and the messages are soothing, wise, and full of healing words.

The Language of Flowers Oracle, by Cheralyn Darcey

The Language of Flowers Oracle, by Cheralyn Darcey
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924408, 44 cards, 144 pages, April 2021

Spring is in full swing where I am, and it’s been a pleasure enjoying both the scents and scenery of the blooming flowers. It feels like the perfect time to be getting acquainted with The Language of Flowers Oracle by Cheralyn Darcey, as gardening has been on my mind now that outdoor weather has returned. This colorful deck has been brightening my oracle readings, while also giving me personal insights, along with tips and techniques for tending to my plants.

When I first opened the deck, I was immediately delighted by the cards’ colorful design. The blending of pink, dark blue, and white flowers remind me of a Hawaiian shirt, calling to mind memories of sunshine. Turning the cards over to look at them before shuffling, there were all sorts of color palettes popping out to catch my eye. It’s as though an impressionist painted to capture the essence of each flower through variation and contrasted hues.

The cards are all numbered, which makes it easy to find their meaning in the guidebook. There is also a keyword and the name of the flower at the bottom of the card. Then there is the image of the flower in the sacred place where it naturally blossoms.

For instance, the sacred blue lily’s card has the imagery of the Nile River and pyramids in the background because that is its habitat. I really enjoyed this connection between flower and place, as it helped to contextualize the ecosystem each flower thrives in, adding to my understanding of its healing and divinatory message.

The guidebook is short and sweet. Darcey suggests journaling about the cards, meditating with them, and using them alongside healing modalities, such as homeopathic medicine and flower essences. She also hopes the deck will inspire the reader to connect with nature and learn more about the botanical world.

For each card, the guidebook has the flower’s scientific name, card’s oracle meaning and challenge, botanical profile, gardening tips, and information on the flower’s sacred place. I’ve found the section of meaning and challenge in the guidebook to be very insightful. So far, I’ve found all the readings I’ve done with this deck to be spot on.

It’s also interesting to read the botanical profile, which talks about the color and size of the flower, along with its native region. While I am not much of a gardener myself, I feel the gardening tips would be immensely useful for those who hope to cultivate these flowers, many of which will be growing outside of their native landscape. Darcey, very helpfully, includes a gardening skill level for each flower too. If I do decide to cultivate my green thumb, I’d know which flowers are easiest to get started with growing.

I also just love the description of the flower’s sacred place because it takes me to another place and opens me to new cultures. To give an example, this is part of the description for card twenty-four, Inspiration: Siberian Iris, whose sacred place is Lake Baikal in Russia:

“The lake has been considered sacred throughout history, with many names pertaining to this belief such as Sacred Lake, Sacred Sea, and Spiritual Waters. It is believed by the many Shaman-practicing people of the area that the earth spirits are the strongest here because, despite all odds, the waters are still the purest and the lake has survived for so long.”1

How cool is that? And it’s certainly not a place that I would have known about otherwise. By providing this connection, Darcey helps to bridge the spiritual and material world through the beauty and healing properties of the flowers and their impact in local culture via the honoring of sacred lands.

The entire deck inspires me to go explore outdoors, get to know the flowers in my area, and appreciate the beauty they bring to the world. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and I’m in a sensual, joyful maiden energy, but working with this deck has awakened my desire to smell the scents of the flowers and indulge in purchasing bouquets from the farmer’s market. I want to touch, feel, see, and even taste the flowers! Yes, I’ve been Googling some recipes.

I really have appreciated the deepening of my relationship to flowers through The Language of Flowers Oracle. It has been a wonderful resource to learning more about the natural world, and also a very accurate oracle that’s provided immensely insightful guidance. It truly venerates the exquisite world of flowers.

For those who enjoy the beauty of the natural world and are looking to bring a bit more of it into their oracle readings, this is a wonderful deck. I also recommend it to gardeners and botanical enthusiasts that are looking to explore the oracle realm. This deck is a perfect blend of science and spirituality that will expand one’s knowledge of the world, while also teaching how to cultivate flowers that branch the distance right within your home.

Psychic Reading Cards, by Debbie Malone

Psychic Reading Cards: Awaken your Psychic Abilities, by Debbie Malone and illustrated by Amalia I. Chitulescu 
Rockpool Publishing, 925924763, 36 cards, 96 pages, February 2021

I’ll admit that the Psychic Reading Cards by Debbie Malone deck piqued my interest immediately because of the vivid imagery of a phoenix on the deck box done by illustrator Amalia I. Chitulescu. You know what they say about judging a book by its cover, but great cover art will get my attention every time.

Malone, is a celebrated psychic medium and clairvoyant from Australia who has assisted police departments across her country in missing-persons and murder investigations for well over a decade. She has written other books that mainly center around this work, including Clues from Beyond: True Crime Stories from Australia’s #1 Psychic Detective and Never Alone: A Medium’s Journey – Real Life Files from a Psychic Detective.  The author has also created two other card decks, Angel Reading Cards and Guardian Angel Reading Cards, also both illustrated by Chitulescu.

The cards in this deck sport vibrant illustrations and mostly single word titles, such as Coins, Nature, Abundance, Celebration, Mirror, and Doorways. I’m always curious what my first draw will be from a new deck. This one was an accurate acknowledgment of my present reality with a card titled Juggler – illustrated with a woman sitting cross legged and juggling several different items including a clock, a house, a book, a dollar bill, and some baby shoes.

I was indeed juggling quite a few different obligations the day I drew the card, and I chuckled at the deck’s sense of humor. Interestingly, the following day I did a group reading for over a dozen people and not a single card repeated itself, until I drew one for myself… yep, still juggling I was.

The single word (or in a few cases, multi-word) titles evoke a strong meaning on their own, which coupled with the illustration for each card seem to speak volumes. In the single card readings I did most of the querents felt like they knew exactly what the card was saying without any explanation from me or from the accompanying book.

The guidebook, though, is a beautiful addition, full of wise uplifting words and gorgeously illustrated on every glossy page with full color renditions of the cards and beautiful graphic design throughout. 

All in all, I did over a dozen single-card readings, as well as half a dozen multiple-card readings using the spreads provided in the accompanying guidebook. There were many things in common among the responses from querents – but the two that were unanimous were an excitement about the images and the sense that the deck spoke very clearly to their current situations.

Several people commented they had unspoken questions answered and had received much clarity, such as this actual comment sent to me by a querent in response to her reading (quoted here with her permission):

“I loved the imagery of the cards. They felt so comforting and it was easy to gather the messages from the images. The words that accompanied the images were spot on. What I love is the realness and earthiness of the card descriptions. Sometimes I feel confused by card descriptions but these were really simple to read through and follow. They were relatable and straight to the point. The questions the creator asked in the cards were perfect as well.

In terms of the reading itself it is most definitely resonating. I started to put into works a trip to visit a friend soon. I’d been thinking about it but this spread helped me take some action on it and confirmed for me that was a good step to take. The doors opening and phoenix were so timely as well. I felt there was such a nice flow with the messages of these cards.”

The above comments are indicative of the responses I received from all the querents I read for using this deck. The card meanings in this deck and guidebook all lean towards the extreme positive, which could be partly the reason that all of the comments I received about readings were very positive and optimistic! And even though the card meanings are positive, the author doesn’t hesitate to ask powerful questions that will possibly evoke strong emotion from honest answers.

Each card description begins with an italicized sentence that gives the overall idea for the card. For example, the card titled Phoenix, which is pictured on the deck/book packaging, encapsulates its message in the sentence “It is your time to rise and begin again.”1

The card descriptions go on to not only give advice, but to also ask very good questions that would make for powerful inquiry and journaling prompts. The Phoenix asks:

“Have you been feeling stuck and blocked with your spiritual journey? Have you found it difficult to let go of issues from the past? Do you feel that everything in your life seems to be going wrong? Do you question when will it be your time to shine? Do you feel that you don’t have the power and ability to achieve your goals?”2

As for specifics, the cards are very large – 4 ½ x 5 inches. They are not so easily shuffled if you have small hands, but the trade-off is having those large, gorgeous images. The cards are made of quality glossy cardstock that is thin enough to shuffle easily and thick enough to feel durable. The book is just shy of 5×7 inches and both items come in a beautiful and sturdy box that closes with a magnetic clasp. The lovely, sturdy case is definitely a plus in my book.

I would recommend Psychic Reading Cards for anyone looking for very positive oracle cards, beautiful surrealist collage art, and great journaling prompts for doing deeper work and encouraging intuitive messages.

Sacred Hags Oracle, by Danielle Dulsky

Sacred Hags Oracle: Visionary Guidance for Dreamers, Witches, and Wild Hearts, by Danielle Dulsky with illustrations by Janine Houseman
New World Library, 1608686795, 56 cards, 160 pages, March 2021

Sacred Hags Oracle: Visionary Guidance for Dreamers, Witches, and Wild Hearts by Danielle Dulsky and illustrator Janine Houseman puts a new spin on oracle decks. Usually we pick a card for guidance, passively seeking to be given the guidance and directed a certain way. But this deck doesn’t hand out divinations that easily, rather it invites the reader into a co-creative process with the most sacred, wise, and wild aspect of yourself.

From the get go, Dulsky’s word echoed through my being, enchanting me to read on with curiosity as to how coming to know this deck would unfold.

“To befriend an oracle is to bow deeply to that wild and unseen web to which we already belong. An oracle is more than a divination tool; an oracle is a portal to the not yet known.”1

Immediately, I was drawn into a liminal world where endless possibilities roam. The introduction, written in Dulsky’s poetic form, invites the oracle reader to make the necessary sacrifices to prepare for what the future holds, step into a different notion of time, wake new parts of our Self, and pay homage to the deities that we call upon. This was a whole different approach to working with the oracle deck that filled me with awe at the tenderness and respect Dulsky affords to this special connection we share with the cards we divine from.

I mean, being completely honest, most of the time I’m slinging oracle cards in the morning or evening out of pure curiosity of what the day holds or frustration at a situation trying to figure out why things are going down the way they are right now. I will confess, I am not always the most “tuned in” to my most holy Self during this process.

Sacred Hags Oracle is different because it doesn’t so readily give me the answers I seek. Rather, this deck prompts the reader through ritual and reflection to embody their spirituality, reconnect with the most sacred parts of ourselves, and cherish the relationship we have with the Sacred Hag, which is meant to be tended to, fed, and nourished with our energy. This certainly seems to negate my tendency to fall into auto-pilot mode in my readings.

Before working with the deck, Dulsky offers six rituals to affirm your abilities as a seer through intuitive psychic and body exercises to familiarize yourself with the oracle. While the guidebook itself is filled with potent stories, the introductory rituals also invite you to connect with the sigils on the card deck. These sigils were all designed by sigil witch Janine Houseman, a talented tattoo artist who offers her services to others through her sacred, personalized skin-cantations. There is a sigil for each type of card in the deck: The Sacred Hags, The Seasons, The Stories, and The Spells. Each type of card is also color-coded, which helps when working with the deck.

Before diving into my first reading, I went through the spreads suggested to use with this oracle deck, ranging from one-card to a spread that includes all the cards in the deck. I decided to begin with a one-card reading and make my way from there. I really like that the suggested spreads have an embodied component to them. For instance with the Unanswerable Question one-card pull Dulsky advises to “Feel the image, the sigil, and the words on it.”2 then to “Take three low-belly breaths, and open your eyes again.”3 This reminder to feel the card through my senses and breathe in the process of divination really made a notable difference in my connection with my reading.

The guidebook interpretations are so very interesting and unique. There is a keyword/phrase, a section called Grandmother Speaks, which tells an illuminating story or shares a bit of wisdom, and both a Morning and Moonlight Ritual. Yes, that’s right, a full on ritual for YOU to connect with your inner guidance via the oracle cards, rather than an out-right, mote interpretation. Like I said at the beginning, you’ve got to put in the work too with this oracle deck in a co-creative process, but the rewards are immensely fulfilling!

I pulled the card Season of Spice and Heart (26), which had the keyword “Death,” so aptly suited for the phase of life I am in right now of releasing many outdated habits, beliefs, and situations. Well, the Morning Ritual actually called for me to eulogize these roles I no longer fit into through writing, light a candle, and read the words aloud. I got really into this process, and in the end I felt a million times lighter. This small ritual act did wonders for reorienting my psyche. I plan on saying the accompanying bedtime prayer this evening that was offered under the Moonlight Ritual.

This is what I mean about the cards inviting us to participate in the magic, affirming our abilities to be sacred seers and divine creators. I will admit, at first I was a bit like, “Oh man this is going to require some of my personal energy..” since I was used to pulling cards so I didn’t have to think anymore and could passively receive answers. But working with this deck the past week has been an opportunity to reconnect with myself both morning and night, nourish my relationship with the ancient ones, and be a bit more intentional with my oracle usage.

The imagery on the cards is absolutely breath-taking and immediately evokes a sense of deep connection to the natural world, along with wonder and possibility. My favorite card is Hag of Selkies (14), where a wise woman has seashells and bone strung in her hair with her long-nailed, ring-covered fingers hovering over a crystal ball filled with blue, purple, and gold energy. Filled with magnificent, fierce women, mermaids, animals, and symbolic imagery, the cards themselves make for wonderful meditation. The images really coalesce when laid out side by side for a reading, crafting a story and enhancing visualization of the cards’ energies. 

There are so many different pieces of wisdom, written in Dulsky’s one-of-a-kind prose that just speaks right to the heart and ignites divine revelation, within this deck. Just as a sample, here’s a line of the Grandmother Speaks for Season of Holy Thunder (22):

“So easily can the sun distract us, my love. The omens are much more easily seen in the dark, but it is the mark of a true Witch to witness synchronicities by the light of day, to see shapes in the clouds and scry her future in sidewalk gum.”4

Oh, how marvelously true this is. For those who enjoyed Dulsky’s books The Holy Wild, Season of Moon and Flame, and Woman Most Wild, you will absolutely love what the Sacred Hag Oracle brings into your life. Within this oracle deck are endless rituals, stories, and wisdom to help you hear your own inner voice more clearly, in harmony with the energies of the earth and sacred deities.

I highly recommend Sacred Hags Oracle to the divine seekers and intuitive readers that want to awaken their own inner visions. These cards are filled with magic, sacred feminine knowledge, and the undefinable qualities of all witches. The visionary guidance that comes through this beautifully crafted deck is sure to inspire, transform, and shift your perceptions. This is the first deck that I feel has a malleable quality, able to merge itself and blend with your psyche to invite a fresh perspective and genuinely different reading every time. I look forward to seeing how my relationship with this deck evolves over the weeks, months, and years to come.

The Tree Angel Oracle, by Fred Hageneder

The Tree Angel Oracle: The Ancient Path into the Sacred Grove, by Fred Hageneder and illustrated by Anne Heng
Earthdancer Books, 1644110386, 1144 pages, 2nd Edition 2020

The Tree Angel Oracle by Fred Hageneder is a truly beautiful deck, illustrated by Anne Heng. The cards are illustrated with fairy-like figures ethereally interwoven with an image of a tree, creating a magical, endearing effect.  Printed on heavy, shiny cardstock, the cards felt special and charged from the moment I took them out of the box.  I delighted in selecting the cards that match trees that grow in my yard and around my neighborhood, such as Oak, Holly, Cherry, and Apple. I quickly choose all the cards matching the species of trees I have on my property and had a fun time envisioning these angels living in my trees.  The Tree Angels in these cards are drawn with such delicacy and care that I can truly get a feel for the character of the tree angels and also how they connect to that particular species of tree.

The book opens with an endearing introduction where Hageneder writes about a visionary experience he had while attending a Kundalini Yoga Retreat.  In his vision, he was invited into a sacred grove of trees and encouraged by the Tree Angels themselves to develop this oracle deck based on his experiences connecting deeply to trees.

However, unfortunately for me, the fantasy ended there.  In the first chapter of the book, Hageneder presents sort of a “woven tapestry” per se of world religions, their symbolism and mythologies, and how they each hold trees in high esteem.  He presents a particular interpretation on some ubiquitous religious stories, in particular the Garden of Eden story from the Book of Genesis. Here, he very matter-of-factly presents a remarkably modern and “New Age” summation of what that symbology means. Being somewhat of a nerd about classical Theology, I was miffed not seeing appropriate academic citations to back up his interpretative claims, and by the time I got past this, I was far from thinking about trees. Though his religious world-view is interesting — I probably agree with more of it than I disagree — I think it is problematic to present interpretations on religious symbolism as fact without contextualizing the scholarship that gave rise to those interpretations.  But we’ve strayed from the topic of trees, so let’s get back to that.

Obviously, there are hundreds of species of tree in the world and there are only 36 cards in this deck.  Hageneder has based his selection of trees on the “Ancient Irish Tree Alphabet” called the “ogham.” (p. 25) However because this particular catalogue of trees (and he doesn’t describe the “ogham” any further) all originate in a particular geographical area occupied by the Celts, he has omitted some of those trees in favor of wider diversity. For example, he included Ginkgo and Sycamore, which are native to other regions.

Hageneder offers several simple spreads to read the cards, though he emphasizes that choosing one card at a time is a great method for this deck.  I like the “Silent Guardians” spread which is a two-card spread where each card is part of a message relating to a transition in your life – passing from one phase to another.  The three-card spread suggested is called “The Primeval Doorway,” and in this spread the Tree Angels invite you to meet your guide on a journey into the Underworld.

The messages The Tree Angel Oracle cards offer are rich and long, with multiple meanings embedded.  Oak is one of my favorite cards because Oak trees are often associated with magic.

“The source of the life force nourishes your deepest roots with vitality, will, and power.  Make the world your own! But take care, hear the secrets of success, care for those in need, bring tenderness where emptiness once ruled.” (p. 57)

Oak is about being strong and enjoying vitality, but also about having integrity and being compassionate.

Sometimes the descriptions surprised me.  For example, the Ivy Tree Angel signifies humility, though in other sources I’ve known, ivy represents a protector and in other sources, an opportunist. So it seems to me that Hageneder is developing his meanings and interpretations from his own inspiration instead of drawing on ideas about tree spiritual energies that others have written about.

I am grateful for this deck, grateful for the window into deeper communion with trees that The Tree Angel Oracle offers. The cards are so beautifully illustrated by Anne Heng. The messages about the spiritual consciousness that is alive in trees is also beautiful – for this is something I very much believe in.  While Hageneder’s descriptions of the Tree Angel Oracle do not always resonate with me, I believe there is something profoundly magical and alive in these cards and there is a story to tell about discovering the consciousness in trees.

Cosmic Dancer Oracle, by Sedona Soulfire and Tess Whitehurst

Cosmic Dancer Oracle, by Sedona Soulfire and Tess Whitehurst, illustrated by Elinore Eaton
Llewellyn Publications, 0738767107, 44 cards, 148 pages, 2020 

The Cosmic Dancer Oracle by Sedona Soulfire and Tess Whitehurst perfectly captures the soulful integration of mind, body, and soul. This deck is a mixture of radiance and delight, as the cards beautifully show the flow of energy within the relationship between body and spirit. Elinore Eaton, the deck’s illustrator, has magnificently expressed the dynamic rhythm of the movement as a form of self-expression in this illuminating, brightly colored work of art. Working with this deck has been an exciting journey, as it’s invited my body to participate in the process of connecting with the unseen to glimpse the answer I seek and revitalize my spirit.

I’ve always enjoyed exploring my intuition through my body. I actually wrote my thesis on the importance of teaching in a way that promotes one’s kinesthetic intelligence, or the body’s knowing, as a learning tool. This project evolved into me dancing the principles of eco-psychology and documenting the self-reflection process. Countless hours were spent discovering my body’s intelligence, while also researching how impactful dance can be as a form of therapy. It is for this reason that I absolutely adore and appreciate Soulfire and Whitehurst’s intention in creating this deck.

As the introduction states, “Life really is a dance. Sometimes it’s time to sparkle and shine, and sometimes it’s time to retreat and recharge. Some days you’re called to lead, and others you’re called to follow. At times it’s appropriate to improvise, and others call for well-practiced choreography. What’s more, invisible currents of energy and vibration coalesce in ways that create and animate everyone and everything in the Universe (seen and unseen), even the passage of time.” 1 This deck has done a wonderful job of portraying this sentiment visually, while also providing guidance for the reader to use movement to anchor the oracle cards’ messages in their own body.

There are 44 cards in the Cosmic Dancer Oracle, and every single one is unique. The deck truly represents the range of emotions people are able to share through their bodies. Blending cosmic energy and elemental power, the cards offer the reader intuitive images that are sensational visual representations of dancers using movement to embody a sacred oracle message. Truthfully, the artwork on the cards is some of the best I’ve ever seen in an oracle deck. Looking through the deck, each card fills me with the excitement akin to going to a museum exhibition of my favorite artist. Eaton’s imagery activates my psyche and speaks directly to my soul. Some cards make me want to get up and dance, while others help me to honor the need to rest. As I look from card to card, each one’s energy activates both my body and intuition.

The accompanying guidebook is uplifting and straightforward in the guidance offered. Messages affirm the importance of ancestry, offerings, surrender, and creative flow. It feels as though I am receiving a gentle spiritual reminder when reading the message for the cards I’ve pulled that help me to shift my focus towards love, openness, and unity with the current situation I am inquiring about. The guidebook’s messages further help to facilitate connection to one’s body by offering a movement, pose, or dance for every message. I’ve really enjoyed following the guidance and doing this, as I feel like it imparts the cards within into my embody reality.

For instance, the card I pulled today was Clear The Vessel. This was very apt to how I was feeling, as I had just finished deleting emails back to 2018 to do a bit of techno-cleansing to prepare for the new year. The guidebook offered a breathing posture of moving into a stance with my feet shoulder-width apart, extending my arm upward, pressing together my index finger and thumb, and doing rapid breathing. As I did this pose, I instantly felt my energy becoming grounded and excess energy being released through  my body. It made me feel purified, relaxed, and ready to move onto my next task.

Overall, Cosmic Dancer Oracle is a wonderfully intuitive and well-integrated deck. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to add a bit of mystic movement to their life. The artwork is gorgeous and makes it so this deck can be used for oracle reads, meditative visualization, and altar creation. All my readings with the deck thus far have been just what I needed to hear in the moment. This is definitely a deck that’s not going to get dusty, as I’m sure it will be used it frequently.

The Heart Path Oracle Cards, by Nadine Gordon-Taylor

The Heart Path Oracle Cards, by Nadine Gordon-Taylor
Bear & Company, 1591433903, 53 cards, 128 pages, September 2020

The Heart Path Oracle Cards tell stunning, evocative stories through rich imagery. Nadine Gordon-Taylor, artist and author, offers us the beauty of the natural and the mythic world with incredible technical skill and a visceral understanding of color. Each of these 53 cards holds the galaxy within them.

Gordon-Taylor is able to render exquisite details in a surrealist landscape. Her intimate understanding of the natural world allows this vivid imagery to come alive. The images themselves are portals, offering an initiation into the energy they hold. Each card comes with text that aids you in understanding the transmission of the image if this visual way of understanding the universe is new to you. The visual depth of each card also allows you to put the book aside for your own journey and information to emerge. 

Gordon-Taylor holds an MFA and EdD. She is a classically-trained visual artist. She has a depth of knowledge of both the natural world and the mythological one. The accompanying book offers a vivid description of what is held within the card itself. She includes a channeled message of the card as well as an affirmation to anchor the energy of that card in your body. It is a helpful tool, particularly if you are a beginner in using oracle decks, to deepen your intimacy with yourself and with the more than human world.

I confess, I quickly put aside the booklet, more drawn to the imagery than the writing. As someone who sits with clients regularly, tarot or oracle deck in hand, I found that these cards deepen the divinatory and narrative arc of the reading. They are generous in how they invite you into the mysteries of yourself, of the natural world, of the cosmic and elemental energies swirling around us just waiting to be acknowledged. 

One thing I loved about this deck as I sat with clients is how deftly it moved from the mundane to the inner realms of the heart to the outer realms of the galactic. Each card holds the human-being experience, and how it is that we root into the earth and reach up to the stars. 

As a white person working with a variety of decks, I appreciate in this deck that there are different races and ethnicities as well as some variation in body size.

There are some cards that feel like initiations into the deeper mysteries. Some cards that remind you it gets better. These cards can be an instruction on your spiritual path. “Programming your Highest Intentions” is a card that invites you to use the power of intention to change the reality of your everyday life. There is a playful irreverence to some of the messages. This artist allows vitality and play as a through-line to her work. 

My favorite card, “The Connection” invites you to take deep breaths. A woman-tree at the center of a grove of trees is circled by lambs and her tree family. Above, helping guides offer peace and love. The trees themselves take the shape of a heart. The use of light and shadow brings both grace and soft intensity. It reminds you that you are always held in the nest of the universe. 

The guidebook is practical and accessible as it speaks to these great cosmic archetypes and energies. It is a tool that will meet you where you’re at and invite you to go deeper into what you are seeing and feeling with the imagery. There is a glossary at the back of the book to support you in your growth and learning, if you come to these cards as a beginner. I celebrate the work to take these profound energies and make them accessible. 

Each card is laid out so that the painting fills the majority of the frame. The text of the card gives both title and baseline instruction. Take deep breaths, setting boundaries, manifest your dreams, birthing a new life. In this way, you can be in imaginal space and communion with the card without having to refer to the book. The book will take you deeper if you desire it. For me, the style of writing didn’t land with how I receive and understand information. 

The Heart Path Oracle Cards are truly for anyone who wants help in deepening understanding the messages of love that are offered to us from the unseen world, from the natural world, from our own bodies and hearts. It is a fantastic beginner deck because it delves into profound concepts in accessible ways. For me, this deck inspires me to get outside, to breathe, and to remember my vital, small role in the great organism of the universe. 

Heavenly Bodies Astrology, by Lily Ashwell

Heavenly Bodies Astrology: Deck and Little Guidebook, by Lily Ashwell
CICO Books, 1782499312, 51 cards, 144 pages, February 2021

I have been reading different decks for almost 30 years (I started young!). But when Heavenly Bodies Astrology by Lily Ashwell arrived, I got chills. The presentation of this boxset is unlike any I’ve ever seen. The deck and guidebook came in a gorgeous keepsake box, which really made for a memorable deck unveiling. As I opened the inner cover of the box, I was greeted with a quote by Henry David Thoreau that instantly made me marvel at the idea that heaven is ever-present . Illustrated in tones of pinks and grays, lace, and a full moon, the deck mesmerized me from the get-go. It even has a gold ribbon that can be used to gently remove the deck from the box with grace and ease!

The intricate beauty put into the presentation of the deck and “little guidebook” conveyed to me that just as much care and love was put into the design of this deck. The smaller box within the keepsake box holds the deck, which also has a ribbon to be used to remove it from its holder. The back of the deck’s box has a quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, one of my favorite poets, while the inner lid of the deck’s box has a quote by William Blake. In her Introduction, Lily describes the importance of this quote in her journey, which brought the box to life. 

I normally don’t gush over presentations and artwork, but this deck is truly a magnificent work of art. The contents of this box set are appropriately referred to as “treasures” on the box sleeve. I actually sat with these three pieces laid out on the table in front of me to soak in the craftsmanship that went into their creation. I felt as if someone had shared treasure with me, and I relished opening the book to read its content and then opening the deck to hold the cards as I would a new baby. These feelings were confirmed when I read Lily’s description in the book’s Introduction:

“This deck and guidebook did not begin as something to be shared, let alone published, but as my own study tool, to deepen my understanding of the cosmos.” 1

Bingo – the box and its contents felt like I had come upon someone’s preciously stored items and private writings, something very personal written from the heart and soul. Ashwell is both author and illustrator of the cards and book. Her training at London’s Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design (inner back of book) is vividly demonstrated in the design of the cards, which combine symbolism and astrology to create meaningful works art on each card.

Lily recommends using the cards to learn astrology, decode planetary placements in one’s birth chart, and/or communicate with the angels. As she explains in the guidebook, “understanding the deck requires a general understanding of astrology.”2 She proceeds to give a brief introduction to items such as the planets, zodiac, houses, and major aspects.

As someone who becomes quickly lost when astrological discussions move beyond Sun signs, I appreciated how Lily builds upon concept upon concept to help me begin to better understand the workings of astrology. She began with using the card Jupiter, and then illustrated what Jupiter in Aries meant, and then what Jupiter in Aries in the 7th House meant. This introduction made me feel a bit less intimated to begin working with the cards. I say “a little” because I admit to my head spinning when I got into Nodes, Trine, and Sextile! However, the guidebook generously helped me to navigate the unknown and still find the answers I was seeking.

I was glad to read in the guidebook that she understood that one could become overwhelmed when first beginning to work with the cards, especially if one has a very limited understanding of astrology. I very much appreciated her writing, “That’s okay and totally normal – I felt that way too. Just remember, you don’t need to grasp how everything pieces together right away. This is the journey.”3

Lily remembers her own introduction to astrology and chose to make this deck usable and not intimidating.

“When I began my journey with the cosmos, I felt thirsty for information, but bored and uninspired by the textbook-ish materials available. It’s why I made this little guidebook simple and the cards beautiful. They provide you with enough information to explore the subject but not enough to trigger overwhelm.”4

This reassured me that I didn’t need to be an astrology expert to use the deck; I could use the deck to familiarize myself with astrology, while also enjoying the stunning visuals that help me to learn about the different energies described.

The cards themselves are absolutely beautiful. Each card offers keywords and an “omen,” or the card’s overriding message. There are six categories of cards: the Planets, the Signs of the Zodiac, the Houses, the Major Aspects, the Natural Zodiac, and the Nodes of Destiny. They are have gentle, dreamlike colored tones that make you sink into your imagination when looking at them. The flowing design of the cards seems to make it easier to access my own inner knowing and also receive the card’s message on a soul level.

All the cards are filled with symbolic imagery, helping the reader to access the energy of the astrology viscerally, rather than just through the mind. The Earth card, for example, has four roses in various stages of blooming. There is a heart in the middle of the card, one side of the heart is a cage of bones while the other side is an intact red heart. The keywords are persistence, patience, and practicality. Then, Mercury has a butterfly set against the planet with a watercolor background of what reminds me of waterlilies. Venus’s card has a pale pink background, with an open clamshell displaying a white pearl, set against the planet itself.

My favorite illustrations are found on the House cards, which are bird-themed. The House Four card has a nest containing two eggs, set in a tree, against a full moon in a blue-black sky. The key words are cultural and family roots, home, peace, and comfort. Looking at this card makes me feel that sense of calmness, connectedness, and grounding associated with domestic life (which I also learned is it’s energy in astrology!)

I decided to work with the cards as Lily suggests, get to know them, try various spreads, allow them to speak to me, and to not get hung up with astrological terms. And guess what? I love, love, love working with them! I value Lily’s advice about asking questions of the cards by framing it as “what is…” versus yes or no questions. For example, “What is the best way to approach a job change?” instead of “Should I apply for job A next week?” This method helped me to open up to receive intuitive messages, deepening my capacity for communion with the cards.

In the guidebook, Liluyoffers three card spreads; a one card of the day, a three-card soul spread, and a four-card third eye spread. My favorite spread with this deck was the three-card soul spread, cards that revealed what one is learning, how one is learning it, and where the wisdom will take one.5 Without revealing my own card pulls, I will say that the way these cards communicated with me enabled me to drop my resistance to diving deeper into astrology and working with concepts other than my Sun sign.

I did the one card pulls for a few days. I sat with the selected card each day, reading the guidebook’s description and letting it marinate. I liked to pick my card early in the morning and sit with it all day – throughout my daily activities. Sometimes it resonated very quickly. Other times, it slowly revealed its meaning to me.

Three days in a row, I have pulled the card Yin! So, I’ve been trying to incorporate a slower pace in life. The Yin card is part of the Natural Zodiac in the Little Guidebook, along with Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Yang, Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. In addition to the keywords listed on the card itself, the guidebook also lists the “omen” for each card as described earlier as well as a description of the energy of the card itself. For example, for the Yin card, Lily writes about the “energy of the Divine Feminine.” 

The guidebook is easy to read and even includes blank pages at the end for note-taking, which offers the opportunity for me to personalize my deck with my thoughts and discoveries. I responded to Lily’s description of the energy of each card and found great insight in each card’s “omens.” I used the omen of a card to guide me, inspire me, and give me pause in my response to some of the questions posed. All food for thought – or rather, for the soul to digest.  I look forward to continuing taking it slow with the cards, allowing our relationship to develop, and learning more about the energy of astrology through the cards.

My next step using the cards is going to be laying them out to create different planet placements in my chart. I hope to gain insight from the visual representation of the energy of my personal astrological make-up, such as Moon in Aries in the first house and Mars in Taurus in the third house. I believe the keywords on the cards will help me to better understand these aspects in my chart, further deepening my astrological understanding.

All in all, Heavenly Bodies Astrology is a true gift in its beauty and its message. Lily’s honesty in describing her journey using astrology, her sharing of her artwork on the cards and in the little guidebook, and her gentle taking of the reader’s hand to encourage us to “find out own direct connection to the heavens,”6 makes for a very personalized feeling in this deck. The supreme elegance of the symbolic representation of the cosmos creates the feeling of sublime connection to the heavens. I highly recommend that you bring this treasure into your life. Whether you’re a novice or expert astrologer, you’ll feel there’s an exalted mysticism within these cards. As Ashwell writes, if this deck resonates with you, trust that you were brought to it for a reason. 

Kali Oracle, by Alana Fairchild

Kali Oracle: Ferocious Grace and Supreme Protection with the Wild Divine Mother, by Alana Fairchild, illustrated by Jimmy Manton
Blue Angel Publishing, 0648746713, 44 cards, 228 pages, January 2021

Fierce. Provocative. Destructive. These are the words that usually come to mind when thinking of the Kali, but they can hardly encapsulate the myriad forms this goddess of transformation can take. Kali Oracle, created by Alana Fairchild and illustrated by Jimmy Manton, perfectly captures the dark, primal nature of Kali, while also initiating the reader into some of her lesser-known forms to help the reader get the full picture of this powerful dark goddess. This deck has become my go-to when I want the raw truth, and so far it hasn’t steered me in the wrong direction.

Kali is not for everyone. In Sanskirt Kali means “She Who is Black” or “She Who is Death.”1 The artwork in this deck often portrays her wearing a necklace of skulls, or holding a severed head in her hand — images that may be hard for some to stomach. The box-cover alone is sure to scare off some, for Kali stands mightily wielding her swords with a horned headdress and blazing red eyes. But for those who have the courage to pick this deck up, there’s a lot of wisdom to behold.

I’m genuinely impressed with the range of emotional depth and information within the guidebook. Farichild’s introduction is heartfelt, describing a situation where she needed the strength of Kali to face the pain of a situation and cut through the suffering to find spiritual freedom. As Kali is my middle name, I’ve always felt a very close connection to this goddess and I found Fairchild’s introduction to be one of the best descriptions of Kali and her power to end the grip of fear and suffering.

“A bandaid eventually needs to come off so a wound can heal. We may fear the pain and pull at it, feeling the prolonged suffering as hair by hair is pulled out by the root. However, if we take too long, we may miss a vital unfoldment of our destiny. Kali manifests to get us moving and will rip the darn thing clear off. There is shock, but if we can brave the pain, knowing that it will pass, we will truly release an era of suffering.”2

It is clear Fairchild has worked extensively with Kali and used her craft of writing and creating oracle decks to imbue this deck with the goddess’s energy. Through the channeled wisdom messages of each card, Kali’s energy streams to liberate the reader from their bond to trauma, illuminating the way out of pain, hurt, and fear to reclaim their empowered spiritual center.

Following the extremely informative Introduction, Fairchild makes a note on the topic of tantra. While it is only a brief overview of the tantric path and its history, I still found it informative and useful for working with the deck. I especially like how she framed Kali as “the tantric queen — for those who seek to awaken according to their inner path, using their life experiences as their core learning material.” 3 While I do know practitioners who have undertaken initiations into tantric traditions, Fairchild asserts that it’s a path one can follow regardless of religious belief or free from any religious structure at all. This inclusive nature may turn some fundamentalists away, but I enjoy her assertion that we all can walk the tantric path.

Many of the divinations in the guidebook inspire the reader to purify these situations, create proper boundaries, and trust in the spiritual process even when the world seems against us. These are all the messages we truly need to hear in times of crisis that many oracle decks often overlook in favor of more whimsical or positive messages of hope. This bold oracle energy make this deck worth having in one’s collection.

Kali Oracle is honest, and its frank messages bring one back into their personal authority and remind us of our ability to land back on our feet in all situations. Every card also has an Invocation Ritual, or short prayer to say to draw in the energy of the card, found in the guidebook. This helps to give one the spiritual power to go act on the divinatory information received.

The cards themselves are filled with bold colors and visually-stunning depictions of Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. There are also cards with symbols such as mandala beads, flowers, and sacred weaponry. Many of the figures in the cards stare you directly in the eye, creating this very neat connection to their energy that feels almost visceral.

My favorite card is “Mahakali” that depicts Kali in her full 8-armed glory. With her bejeweled arms carrying her most sacred objects, she looks absolutely stunning. I have been keeping this card on my altar, which is another way to make use of the Kali Oracle. Every time I look at this card, I feel filled with a sacred fierceness that keeps me grounded and in alignment with my spirit.

The deck especially speaks to me as someone who often falls into the trap of over-giving and never feeling worthy enough. Whenever I pull a card from this deck, I reconnect with the part of me that is wild, honest, genuine, and quite frankly, a bad ass. Every reading I do is a reminder to step back into my sovereignty, liberate my doubts, and remember that I have nothing to fear. The wisdom of Kali Oracle helps me to move through the tough times by reminding me that I am not a victim and beauty can come forth from the toughness of life.

I highly recommend Kali Oracle to anyone looking for a deck to work with their shadow and liberate themselves from the conventional platitudes oracle decks often offer. Kali has power to reveal the pain, but in service of liberation and spiritual healing. Her strength can hold us through the darkest of times and guide us back in touch with our most primal, authentic sovereignty. Working with this deck is bound to create changes in your life if you have the courage to drop the illusions and face your demons head-on.

Green Witch Oracle, by Cheralyn Darcey

Green Witch Oracle: Discover real secrets of botanical magick, by Cheralyn Darcey
Rockpool Publishing, 1925924718, 44 cards, 144 pages, February 2021

Green Witch Oracle: Discover real secrets of botanical magick by Cheralyn Darcey is absolutely bursting with garden wisdom and colorful fun. This deck really pops, and it reminds me of a plentiful garden on a warm summer’s day. Darcey has beautifully blended elemental affinity with the secret sagacity of plants to create a multi-purpose deck. It is a splendid resource to create a magickal bond with plants through spellwork, learn about the different plant correspondences as you garden, or engage in divination with plant energy.

Opening the box and seeing the brilliant green back of the cards filled me with a sense of heart-opening abundance. The alchemical symbols for the four elements (fire, water, air, earth) are drawn in white on the back of the cards. The cards were nice and smooth as I shuffled them, offering little resistance due to their glistening shine.

Looking through the deck, I was struck by the bright color of all the varieties of plants featured in the deck. The creamy background is the perfect contrast to make the images burst forth and capture the reader’s attention. Black ink blots add to the dynamic energy of each card, further illuminating the plant image. There’s a wide range of plants featured in the deck, which include fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

On every card is the number at the top for guidebook reference, the elemental symbol, a key word, and the name of the plant (both common name and genus/species name). If the plant has an astrological correspondence, there is also a glyph of the zodiac sign. There are also little sketches of metaphysical objects that are related to the card’s meaning, such as a dreamcatcher for Marigold’s key word ‘Positivity’ and a sword for Fennel’s key word ‘Strength.’

I’ve been pulling a card a day and have very much enjoyed reading the guidebook to better understand the energy of each one. Reading through it I noticed that the deck is organized so that certain types of plants correspond with an elemental energy: vegetables are earth, herbs are fire, fruits are water, and flowers are air. Also being a tarot reader, the elemental correspondence of the cards made intuitive sense to me. Now when I pull a card, I am also able to sense the elemental energy within it too, which I feel has enhanced my readings.

In the guidebook, Darcey first provides a short and sweet introduction and a bit of information on how to use the deck. Then there are three garden-themed card spreads suggested. My favorite to use so far has been “The garden shed” that is meant to help the reader with a challenge they are facing. The card placements relate to gardening, such as Card 1 being called “the shovel,” and this card is meant to highlight the energy of “the deepest part that needs to come to light.”1 All the spreads are creative and well-suited for this deck. It was unique to see something different than the standard card placements (ex. past, present, future) often suggested.

The rest of the guidebook focuses on the 44 cards in the deck. For each card there is a quote, oracle meaning, description of the plant’s cultivation, and list of magical correspondences (uses, deities, celestial, and astrological sign). The best part is that there is also a spell to generate the energy of the plant in your life. All the spells listed use the plant of their card in the spellwork, which gives the reader another way to connect to the magickal energy of each plant.

So far I’ve only tried one spell: a desire spell from the Lettuce card. Who would have thought you could make an incredible facial mask with lettuce and use it to super-charge your desire? I did have to switch out dried milk for a bit of whole milk, but it still turned out just fine. Looking through the spells, I would say the majority of them can be done easily with simple ingredients most people already have in their kitchen. Next time I want to do some protection work, I plan on using the spell given in the guidebook for Onion!

The very end of the guidebook includes a small glossary of terms used and also *drum roll* a bibliography! I really like to see a nice bibliography, as so many books and decks seem to freely dispense information with no sources listed for where it was found. While things like the oracle meaning of the card are bound to be more subjective, I value Darcey’s sharing the sources of her knowledge. This is sure to be a starting point for readers that use the deck and wish to continue learning more about the gardening techniques and properties of different types of plants.

For anyone interested in enhancing their magick with a bit of green witchery this is absolutely a deck you’ll want to have in your collection. I highly recommend Green Witch Oracle to anyone who is interested in learning more about the energy of plants. Whether you’re interested in cultivating a magickal relationship or simply discovering new ways to connect with your garden through learning about plant properties and timing techniques, this deck is a wonderful resource. It’s a deck filled with an enthusiastic levity that makes these explorations fun and exciting.