I’ve not delved much into Oracle decks over the last few years, feeling that Tarot itself is an Oracle. However, as more and more of my clients look for specific Oracular readings over self-reflection, I have seen the great benefits of decks that are simple, straight-forward, with a greater focus on divination. Schiffer recently sent me The Witch’s Oracle, a 45-card oracle deck designed for bringing clarity to confusing situations. The authors encourage readers to use the deck by itself or in conjunction with Tarot readings. The authors also note that this deck is not to be confused with Angel Cards. While, like Angel Cards, the Witch’s Oracle contains uplifting messages, they also mention that there are “problems and issues we face that aren’t always based on light and love and we need gentle guidance to get us through the bad times as well as the good.” As a reader and a Tarot artist myself, I strongly agree and appreciate the authors’ candor!
I’m a big snob about Tarot paper. Thin, mushy cards make me angry. I was in love with the paper on The Witch’s Oracle as soon as I opened the deck. It’s sturdy and beautiful with a textured design that is just lovely. Schiffer Books is known for the beautiful and sturdy boxes that accompany their Tarot decks. Packaging might seem like a trivial thing to mention in a review, but when you own as many decks as I do, you begin to appreciate the solid boxes that can house decks for a long time. The Witch’s Oracle is no exception! I won’t need a silk bag for this one.
The artwork contains clear images and rich color. The symbolism is heavily influenced by Wiccan Witchcraft, but also includes elements from Irish folklore, Khametic images, Welsh mythology, and elements found in some Native American traditions such as the Dream Catcher. I appreciate that the images are straight-forward. Sometimes, when I’m in need of a quick, direct answer, a Tarot card that can have 78,000 meanings might not be as helpful. But the cards from The Witch’s Oracle offer very specific messages:
The booklet also includes historical information about each image. For example, one card is the Merkabah which was something I wasn’t familiar with. In the book, Brooks and Kahn explain the magickal significance of the shape alongside its oracular meaning.
One of the things I like most about the decks are the incantations offered for each card. The Triple Goddess Card includes this sweet spell:
The card imagery and the accompanying booklet leave little room for individual interpretation. Naturally, readers will bring their own relationship to these images, particularly the more common ones, and therefore their own interpretations as well. Some of the booklet’s descriptions are quite directional such as Hourglass: There is something you’ve been putting off that needs to be completed and you are quickly running out of time. Do not delay any longer. Readers who prefer more interpretive flexibility may struggle with this aspect of the deck, but then again, it’s an Oracle deck and not the Tarot. By its very nature, it offers more specific direction and less room for personal interpretation.
While my feeling is that the deck is probably best served for single-card questions or perhaps drawing one in the morning as an oracle for the day, The booklet also offers two sweet, simple spreads if readers wanted to expand a bit. I tested out the “Witch’s Broom Spread” below on myself. The cards are (numbered 1-4 from top-down, 5 and 6 on the left and right on the bottom ) as follows: 1.) Represents reader at this time 2.) Challenges reader faces 3.) Opportunities 4.) The Past 5.) The Present 6.) The Future.
For my Card 1, I received Banshee. The booklet says this is a warning of an obstacle that may soon come about that I will need to clear away–but mentions that I already know what it is. Truthfully, I could think of seven such obstacles, so the Oracle is already correct! Card 2, the area of obstacles, is Athame. Athame says: …while you have the ability to see both sides of any of the issues or problems that you are facing at this time, you are choosing to be very one-sided and only seeing what you want to see rather than digging deeper for the answers that will allow the situation to be resolved once and for all. I’ll have to think on this as it’s not immediately apparent to me. Card 3, opportunities is Bat: Old habits no longer suit the new opportunities that will soon be coming your way. Card 4, the past is Bell: Think of this bell as an alarm. You are being alerted to a situation that needs your immediate attention. I feel like Athame and Bell are both picking up on some of the feelings I’m still sorting through with regards to having left my Coven. I still struggle with what was left undone. Card 5, the present is Lightning and Card 6, the future is Labyrinth. Lightning seems to focus on being aware of creative energy and messages, catching them while they’re hot. Labyrinth talks about getting to know the inner you again. This last card resonates with me the most. Through Priestessing and my move, there has been a sense of having lost the self, but I feel that I’m finally coming back around to me.
I’m not sure what to make of my reading. I’ve got a bit of turmoil in my head at the moment, but the home-front has been pretty quiet. Husband and I are enjoying the hermit life in the country after years of being in the middle of everything in NYC. However, Oracles by their very nature discuss things that haven’t yet manifested, so the plethora of warnings could be about something that hasn’t even materialized!
Because these cards are each so full of information that would be better with proper reflection, I don’t see myself using the spreads as often as I might just a single card, although I do like them very much. I believe many will find themselves quite satisfied with single-card readings through The Witch’s Oracle. I can see myself using it to end my readings with clients. Sometimes I’ll wrap up the reading with “One card to grow on…” and I can see myself using The Witch’s Oracle for just that purpose.
To end this post, I pulled my own “Card to Grow on:”
Skull’s message is one I’ve been clinging to since I was 17 and it’s the guiding theme of my novel. Perhaps The Witch’s Oracle is saying that I’m on the right track? I hope so, anyway!
Summation: The Witch’s Oracle is a deep, introspective and powerful tool to complement your Tarot practice or simply by itself. It’s beautiful and well-constructed and I’m certainly happy it’s fallen into my hands!