I’m on a mission to discover an oracle deck with a natural or mythological theme that isn’t full of bland, breezy New Age affirmations or shamanistic pretensions. Angel decks are “right out,” as Monty Python used to say. Tennyson’s line “Nature, red in tooth and claw” comes to mind, although I’m looking for a balance between light and dark in its philosophical approach. I’m not much impressed by botanical or animal oracles, preferring something that is deeper and more thoughtful or meditative. I missed my chance to buy the Enchanted Map before its quality was severely downgraded, and the newer decks I’ve been able to get a reasonable look at without actually buying them seem entirely too “fluffy,” while the now-ubiquitous “shaman” decks are mostly too earnest and seem to be striving much too hard for legitimacy. I want an effective divination tool, not inspirational encouragement. Fortunately, Aeclectic Tarot’s library of older deck reviews is still available, and I’ve been mining that for ideas.
Lynn Andrews’ Power Deck could have potential, but its “postcard” format won’t work well with my “Mystical Meditation” spread, and I’m not fond of photographic images anyway. I already own the Psycards, but they are just a little too spare to integrate seamlessly with my more mystical oracles and the Thoth Tarot, and the Oracle of Visions (which I also have) is more of a cultural showcase than a divination deck. Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards are looking pretty good to me right now. They appear to be sufficiently uncompromising to serve as the Foundation card in that spread, and their mythological themes ought to play well with the other decks. It’s also quite inexpensive; my only hesitation is the the card-stock has been criticized as being on the thin side.
As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of oracle cards. Unlike tarot, it can be hard to find their “center” beneath the thematic window-dressing. I want a deck that’s more substance than “wrapper,” something that can deliver a kick in the teeth as readily as a caress. In a reading, it’s easier to blunt the jagged edges of a “tough” deck than it is to sharpen the teeth of a “fairy princess.” What I’m after is a fourth deck to blend in readings with the Messenger Oracle, the Earth Wisdom Oracle and the Sacred Geometry Cards for the Visionary Path. Since Aleister Crowley discussed I Ching correspondences for the Minor Arcana in the Book of Thoth, I’m going to give Anthony Clark’s I Ching Pack a try.