This idea has been a long time coming to fruition, but I think I’ve hit upon a meaningful way to use the handful of oracle decks I currently own. I’ve commented elsewhere that oracle cards seem more “atmospheric” than pragmatic for the purpose of divination; in sports broadcasting terminology, they are more about the “color commentary” than the “play-by-play” analysis. I’ll now add the perception that they are also more “mystical” than the average tarot deck. This often amorphous sheen of mysticism has always put me off since it is so personal to the deck creator’s vision; unlike most traditional tarot decks, each oracle presents its own system of interpretation that must be learned in order to make the most productive use of it. I have neither the time nor the patience to master multiple new systems to the requisite depth. Without doing so, or alternatively referring back to the explanations in a deck’s LWB for every card, the only way to penetrate to its core principles is through intuitive free-association and contemplation. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it doesn’t make for prompt judgments in a reading situation, at least not until one becomes thoroughly familiar and comfortable with its interpretive language. I’ve been seeking a better way to unleash their potential.
I now have four decks that could be described as “oracles” (not counting my Lenormand, Kipper and playing-card decks): the Messenger, the Earth Wisdom, the second Sacred Geometry and the Oracle of Visions. On the tarot side of the picture, I’ve used the Thoth deck for over four decades and have internalized its meanings to a nearly absolute degree. I decided to use the Thoth to pull a weekly focus card and then draw a card from each oracle deck to place around it in a five-card “cross” arrangement, using this pattern as the basis for a meditative reading. The evocative artwork of Frieda Harris should make the Thoth a good match for the similarly expressive images of the oracle decks (an assumption I intend to confirm). Here is the weekly meditation spread for July 7 – 13, 2019.
In this layout, the bottom position is the “Foundation” card, the top position is the “Higher Purpose” card, the left-hand position is the “What I Know” card, and the right-hand position is the “What I Have to Learn” card. The center, or “Focus” position shows the “Heart of the Matter.”
The “Heart of the Matter” card for the next week is the 2 of Disks, titled “Change.” Aleister Crowley applied his formula “Change = Stability; Stability = Change” to this card. In other words, one without the other is ultimately unsustainable. The idea is to maintain my equilibrium and stay on my feet in the middle of shifting circumstances, thereby positioning myself to field new opportunities with confidence. The astrological correspondence, Jupiter in Capricorn, embodies a contradiction: Jupiter is expansive in its action while Capricorn imparts a restrictive conservatism. The upshot is that, although it has its head in the clouds and its feet in the mud, Jupiter will be reasonably energetic while not being frivolous in its boundary-pushing fervor.
The “Foundation” position reflects something that is immutable in the week’s outlook. (For example, the Sun rose today, it did so yesterday and it is expected to appear in the sky again tomorrow.) The card here is No. 23 from the Oracle of Visions, titled “Providing Shelter;” the woman in the image has made a compact with Nature: she “offers support and safety,” and her offer is “accepted and returned with complete trust.” The interesting thing is that the rounded shapes of her encircling arms and her hips echo those of the two halves of the lemniscate (“infinity symbol”) on the 2 of Disks. (Yoav Ben-Dov was fond of saying “Everything is a sign,” and here we have what looks like a validation of the reading.) The concept of “stewardship of Nature” is brought to the forefront as a guiding principle for constructive change. (I really must stop destroying the planet one zip-loc bag at a time!)
The “Higher Purpose” position shows something honorable I should aspire to achieve during the upcoming week. The card in this position is No. 29, “Nurture,” from the Earth Wisdom Oracle. The keynote thought for this card is “Care for yourself and watch transformation unfold.” This card repeats the idea of stewardship, in this case of my personal well-being. It is completely receptive to the onset of change heralded by the 2 of Disks.
The “What I Know” position holds No. 33 from the Messenger Oracle; the card’s title is “Respect your boundaries.” It’s keynote thought is “Honor yourself by treating yourself with the same care, and in the same manner, that you wish others to treat you,” the idea being that respecting your personal space is crucial to getting others to do the same. Here is a confirmation of the “Jupiter in Capricorn” emphasis on working within the system to effect profound change. It also reiterates the self-care message of the previous card.
The “What I Have to Learn” position contains No. 64 from the Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path; its title is “Receiving” and its keynote thoughts are “Readiness and Receptivity,” expressed in trust, openness and infinite potential. Another sentence in the text of the companion book is worth repeating for its correlation to the 2 of Disks:
“This card celebrates the transformation that is taking place in our experience of reality and our willingness to shift from the separation of duality consciousness to the certainty of our connectedness to All That Is.”
The 2 of Disks happens to be a case study in “duality consciousness;” it is like a juggler trying to keep all the balls in the air while concurrently doing a tap-dance. The advice seems to be to shift my perspective from a dualistic “all-or-nothing” mentality to a more accepting “let come what may” attitude, thereby inviting “Change” to work its will.
As an additional experiment, I decided to sum the numerical values of all the cards in the spread and reduce the result to arrive at a Major Arcanum “quintessence” card for the reading. The values 2 + 23 + 29 + 33 + 64 add to 151, which reduces to 7, The Chariot, a card that implies forward momentum with the goal in sight. The spinning wheels of the Chariot suggest the motive force behind the “engine of change” in the 2 of Disks. All of the figures on the oracle cards except “Receiving” are facing to the right, as is the crowned serpent on the 2 of Disks, telling me I should be on the lookout for new developments.
Overall, I’m pleased with the interaction of the cards in this reading, and will continue doing this weekly spread.