Bringing the mystical tradition of Tarot firmly into the 21st century, The Oracle Tarot by Lucy Cavendish is a bright, colorful, positive and feminine deck that exudes "girl power". You will not find any frightening images or meanings in this deck, so there's no need to feel apprehensive of their messages. Some people have never delved into the mysterious and profound world of Tarot precisely because of cards like Death, The Devil, and The Tower. However, in The Oracle Tarot, the Death card is re-named Change and The Devil is re-named Bondage. Although upbeat and positive, this is not a "fluff" deck; I guarantee you that outmoded or negative thinking patterns and behavior will be challenged by the messages in these cards!
Instead of a straightforward deck where the 10 of Swords would be merely depicted as 10 interlocking swords, Cavendish has created a visual allegory for every single card. The stunning, hand-painted artwork of Melinda Ayre adds so much pizzazz to the images; I'm reminded of the wetly vibrant oil-painted images in the movie What Dreams May Come. An example of the art and allegory in this deck: the 10 of Swords features a woman in a bright red dress highlighted with golden swirls, skirt flared around her thighs while on tiptoe like a ballerina. Her eyes look upward, and a sword is held high in each of her hands--the other 8 swords lie at her feet, pointed away from her. The keywords at the bottom are Healing, Second Chance. This very card came up in a reading I did for myself and was profoundly insightful and encouraging to me.
An intriguing aspect of The Oracle Tarot is that there are no court cards. I've never been attached to the court cards, and for me, they've seemed redundant in readings--so I was happy to see a deck without them, quite frankly. Another name change besides the ones already mentioned is The Hierophant being re-named Tradition.
The thick, glossy cards measure 1.61 x 5.50 x 3.84 inches, come in a sturdy, high-gloss box, and are accompanied by a 69 page instruction booklet with a few pages in the back expressly for notes. Each card contains a key word or words written in white on the outer edges of the image. The backs of the cards are a gorgeous mix of blues and greens, with shimmering stars in a diagonal swathe.
The Cups suit are teacups and the way they are incorporated into the images is very inventive. For example, for the 2 of Cups, two people are seated facing one another at a small table. It looks as though they are playing footsies under the table, and that they are doing a "cheers" with their red mugs. The steam swirls from each mug, almost forming a heart. The keywords are Loving Union, Teamwork. For the 8 of Cups, a woman is sitting in bed looking out the window. Woven into the border of her salmon colored bedspread are eight golden teacups, and the keyword is Contemplation. For the 6 of Cups, a woman's back is to us, and she's just opened a cupboard with 6 blue teacups sitting on the shelves. Question marks are on the border of her skirt and the keyword is Reflection.
The Coins suit is just as inventive. The 9 of Coins depicts a smartly dressed woman in profile, striding downhill. Her violet dress features 4 yellow disks on the hem, her purse clasp is a yellow disk, 2 are on her shoe straps, 1 is an earring, and 1 is the top of her hat. (9 total) The strings that flow from her hat turn into dollar signs, and the keyword of this card is Good fortune. For the 10 of Coins, 9 yellow disks form the border of a pool where a woman sits lounging in a bikini--a drink on the table beside her. The brightly glowing sun makes 10 (see image above)..
And the Wands and Swords? Also very cleverly portrayed. The 6 of Wands shows a woman blowing out 6 candles (wands) on a birthday cake. The keywords are Wisdom of Experience. For the 8 of Swords, a white-haired woman in a green dress sits before a steaming cup of soup with a spoon in her hands. Eight swords are painted on the borders of the image. The keywords are Caring for Yourself.
It's always nice to see a deck creator take so much time and care with the Minor Arcana--something that often seems like a mere afterthought in some decks.
The Major Arcana is just as gorgeous. The Chariot, a card that keeps popping up in my own readings, features a woman in a crimson dress and high heels with one hand on a shopping cart and the other formed into a pumping fist. She sports a sassy smile, as well as a heart tattoo on her upper arm. The keywords for this card are The Inspired Warrior. Change (the card typically known as Death) features a nude, winged woman emerging from a cocoon. The keywords are Release the Past. The Sun portrays a nude woman whose long orange and gold hair flows upward, spiraling and morphing into a sun above her head. The keywords for this card are Awards, Camaraderie, Affection.
I have been getting amazing readings and insights from The Oracle Tarot. I've also used it as one of my main decks when doing phone readings. With fresh, empowering images, this deck inspires, illuminates, and expands self-knowing. I admit, I was put-off at first by the images of perky breasts and nude women, but somehow this deck kept calling to me. I'm so glad I gave The Oracle Tarot a chance, and that I heeded it's gentle call to my spirit.
This deck would be perfect for those just beginning working with Tarot--and for those seeking a more modern, accessible, and positive approach to this mysterious and sacred art. Feminists, womanists, and those on the Goddess path will also enjoy this deck.
Below are 10 images from this deck:
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