I happened to stumble upon Lisa Chow’s Oracle Tarot deck while posting some Snowland Bracelets to our Etsy Shop. I had no idea what delightful, innovative Tarot decks were up for sale at Etsy! Since that discovery, I’ve not only bought Lisa’s deck, but four other self-published Tarot decks.
I love this hand-drawn deck done in black, copper, bronze and silver inks. It has an old-fashioned feel, hearkening to the days of daguerreotypes and mannered people.
The artwork is adorable, but I think it’s either a “love it” or “hate it” deck only because it’s such a specific art style. I love it, but my husband does not. A matter of art taste, in this case.
It would have been easy for Chow to make this a Rider-Waite knock off, but she doesn’t. In fact, she brings some clever associations to her simplistic yet lovely imagery.
For example, the Seven of Cups card shows a Native American dream catcher. Look closer, and it’s a Ferris Wheel with seven seats/cups—what an inventive way to portray the “dreaminess” of this card, as well as the “going round in circles” that overwhelming choice presents to us in this modern age.
The Four of Pentacles depicts a simple keyhole with four pentacles, but it’s a powerful suggestion of what may be “locked up” or “locked away” in our life—money or other things.
The clock before the closed gates in Judgement—I mean, does is that a loaded image or what?
The Two of Swords shows a blindfolded woman with two hair spears in her updo. What a great way to imply that the refusal to make a decision or to acknowledge the facts is a simple matter of “pulling out” our preconceived notions so that the full flow of hair (truth) can be seen for what it is. (There’s no companion book with the deck, so these associations are my own!)
And her earrings? One is a silver star and the other a copper moon, suggesting to me that our thoughts can take us all the way from high hopes and idealistic wishes (The Star)…to the muddy mysteries and confusion of The Moon. What is the “middle road”? Ah, but there’s where the bow is tied!
As you can see, I can readily make up stories with Lisa Chow’s Oracle Tarot…and that’s very important to me as both a Tarot reader and a Tarot contemplator. It takes great skill to draw “simple” images that evoke such layered, multiple stories.
Although the Court Cards—Page, Knight, Queen and King—may seem rather static and repetitive at first glance, I love that they convey their element through their eyes—quite literally. It’s a reminder how each Court Card sees, and channels, the particular energy of their suit.
The cards measure approximately 5 x 3 inches, with 90 degree cut corners. They are sharp, in fact (I almost gouged myself the other day!). The images themselves aren’t “perfect”—you can see some ink transfer which, in some cards, are noticeable. For me, this adds to the charm—reminding me that I’m not looking at yet another airbrushed, “perfected” image birthed out of a computer program and sanitized for the masses in the form of traditional publishing.
Lisa Chow’s Oracle Tarot is easy on the eyes and easy on the intuition. It’s not a deck that you have to “work” at (although those new to Tarot may disagree…so I’m hesitant to recommend this deck to a newbie, unless the online images immediately “speak” to you). I’ve used this deck for both personal and client readings and love how it conveys information to me. If you enjoy this type of art with a limited color palette, I think you’ll love it, too. Click here to visit Lisa Chow's Oracle Tarot deck page at Etsy.
Below are 18 images from this deck:
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