The Medicine Woman Oracle: Discover the Archetypes of the Divine Feminine, by Catherine Maillard and illustrated by Caroline Maniere
Rockpool Publishing, 9782702917824, 49 cards, 196 pages, October 2022
The Medicine Woman Oracle: Discover the Archetypes of the Divine Feminine by Catherine Maillard is an incredibly unique deck. The illustrator, Caroline Maniere, used vivid, jewel-toned colors to illustrate each of the women or animals included, as well as similar colors for the back of the cards. Unlike other decks I’ve worked with, Catherine Maillard divides this deck into four distinct sections: Medicine Women Cards, Gifts of the Feminine Cards, Totem/Allied Spirits Cards, and Medicine Action Cards.
Maillard has a background in facilitating women’s circles and 20 years experience in shamanic practices, dance therapy, and working with the Keepers of the 13 Moons. She also has training in aromatherapy, applied reflexology, and plants and herbs. Her goal in creating this deck is to create a guide for the feminine journey, to help women heal their wounds and free themselves from old patriarchal patterns.
I was extremely interested in this deck because of my love of the spiritual teachings of shamans around the globe and the mystery and healing power of the medicine wheel. This deck did not disappoint! Maillard weaves rich archetypes throughout the deck and includes healing rituals or practices for every card.
Many decks include spreads or ways to interact with the cards, and Maillard is no exception. The spread that first caught my eye was the Medicine Wheel Spread, a spread with four cards that made use of the deck’s unique composition:
Card 1: The Circle of Medicine Women
Card 2: The Circle of Gifts of the Feminine
Card 3: The Circle of the Totems/Allied Spirits
Card 4: The Circle of Medicine Action
Maniere has brilliantly color-coded the cards in each of the four sections by coloring the design on the back of the card a specific color and then matching the color on the bottom of the front of the card. This makes it amazingly easy to divide the cards into the four sections that you need to use for this spread.
After separating the cards, you fan them out and select one card from each of the four groups of cards. Maillard invites you to take your time and turn over each card, one at a time, as you ask a question that relates to the specific flavor of that section of the deck.
Next, it’s time to go to the guidebook and read the messages you find for each card. At the end of each card’s written guidance is a ritual or practice that you can do for healing, more introspection or, as Maillard puts it, “to awaken the medicine wheel.”1
When I used this spread for my own daily card practice, I pulled my four cards and made notes in my journal. I focused on the first two cards for that day, finishing the practice with the suggested rituals. The next day, I worked with the other two cards.
Even after more than 20 years of working with oracle decks, I am still amazed at the clarity of the guidance that comes through and this deck was no exception. I received a message about going within for inner guidance from three of the cards. The fourth card referenced the chance to “Free yourself from secrets; discover the hidden treasure of your heritage,”2 which is available to me from the feminine line of my ancestors. As someone who has been working with my ancestors throughout my spiritual journey, this was a great confirmation. One line particularly spoke to me:
“Remember, along with any trauma you carry the antidote.”3
This is brilliant! I’ve never seen it expressed quite like that before. How affirming and encouraging!
My favorite card in this deck is “Medicine Woman #3: Authenticity: I open the way of truth”. The colors feature my favorites of turquoise and cobalt blue. She holds crystals in her hands and wears a multi-colored headdress of colored feathers.
To further test the wisdom of the deck, I did a series of Medicine Wheel four-card readings for clients and friends. I did these on Zoom and showed the cards and read a few lines from the guidebook. With the rich imagery on the cards, the title and descriptive tagline, there was more than enough information for a quick reading.
Each reading was very unique and each person wrote later to express gratitude for the timeliness of the messages received. One woman was actively researching her genealogy and received the “Healing Family Lines” card. Two women received the “Path of Beauty” card. One woman expressed that she had been “too busy” to spend time in nature and would use the guidance to add this to her daily rituals. The other woman wanted to begin creating art and would use the guidance as confirmation that she was on the right track. Two different actions from the same card! This is why I love oracle decks, especially this one by Maillard.
This deck includes 49 cards, including a 13th Medicine Woman, which Maillard asks you to remove from the deck when doing the Medicine Wheel Spread. I used it as a blessing for each person and shared the guidance as a bonus card. The cards are edged in gold, standard oracle card size and a nice weight. The colors are vivid and printed in a matte finish.
The guidebook is 196 pages and includes a table of contents, which is broken into the four sections. However, due to the color coding of the cards and the matching colors in the guidebook, it’s not really necessary to refer to the table of contents. Maillard also includes a lengthy introduction and a section on how to use the cards. At the end, there is a bibliography for more information. Because of the information she provides, I feel that anyone from a beginner to expert reader can benefit from these cards. She walks you step by step to create space for a reading and then to use the cards for guidance.
Later in the week, I shuffled The Medicine Woman Oracle extensively to mix up the colors and sections and took them to my weekly “Coffee & Cards” group. Each woman pulled just one card from the deck. Again, I was amazed at the guidance and how each person was encouraged by the message she received. One woman pulled one of the same cards she had received earlier in the week from her personal reading with me. She said, “I guess I’ll have to really focus on that one!”
In the future, I’ll use these cards as a sign-off for my intuitive readings or for more detailed readings for women in transition. I feel that these cards can truly benefit any woman who is on a quest to learn more about herself and her own healing capabilities.
PJ Spur is an author, intuitive, spiritual mentor, astrologer, and hypnotist. She does tarot & oracle card readings, natal chart readings, grief coaching, and relationship healing. She also has hosted a weekly “Coffee & Cards” event with her Soul Compass Community for the past four years. Her book Navigating Grief with Grace is available on Amazon. Learn more at www.dearpj.com