Review: Keepers of the Light Oracle Cards

untitled-1The Keepers of the Light Oracle is the second set of oracle cards by Kyle Gray. Ever since I heard that this set was in progress, like many other readers, I’ve been waiting for its release with great anticipation. And there is good reason why I would: Kyle’s first deck, Angel Prayers, received much praise from the spiritual community at large.

It’s kind of hard to not mention Angel Prayers when reviewing this set. That first deck, illustrated by Jason McCreadie, changed what many expect from an angel card pack. For the first time in my experience of angel sets, the figures depicted were modern and confrontational. Rather than posed in traditional garb, angelic superheroes stared straight into my eyes [and heart] for the most part, and were hard to ignore. I adored it so much that I got the A1 print of Archangel Jeremiel from McCreadies online shop, which looks down from above my bed. Kyle’s edgy and unique perception of the Archangels reached a lot of readers who might usually have passed by the angel shelf without a casual glance. It was a punchy deck for a new age, which people found easy to use and difficult to ignore. Therefore, Angel Prayers is notably a tough act to follow.

Keepers of the Light Oracle is published by Hay House. I’ve reviewed a good few of their decks here and, in terms of presentation, you’ll find nothing new: this set is of as high a standard as the publisher’s usual products. The box is extremely sturdy, the cards are of a good stock, and the set comes with a 119 page manual, written by Kyle. It’s worth noting that the card backs are ornate and the deck is gilded in gold, making this a lavish set for your reading table or altar. You’d expect to pay more for a deck of this quality, but Hay House’s tarot and oracle decks are often the most reasonably priced of those on offer.

Keepers of the Light does have some things in common with Angel Prayers but this does not shadow its individual voice. Physically, the cards are set up as the previous oracle was, with a strip below the illustration, including title, keywords, and a bulleted interpretation (in slightly smaller text than its predecessor). Similar to the Archangels in Kyle’s first deck, there are 45 iconic portraits. Staring out from the cards uncompromisingly, the two decks would work well in unison. The comparison between the two decks pretty much ends there though, since Keepers of the Light really is its own beast.

kyle01

Some might have expected Kyle’s second deck to concentrate solely on angels like his first; besides, many other Angel card creators have spread that focus through many publications. However, from what I know about Kyle, he includes many spiritual sources within his practice. This deck is testament to that; while it does feature Angels (including Archangel Michael and a few we might be less familiar with), it brings ascended and enlightened beings from Egyptian, Celtic, Christian, and Buddhist mythology to the table, to name just a few. While angels are referenced and shown, I wouldn’t call this an angel pack. What is instantly warming is that the deck doesn’t exclude anyone. In this day and age, when so many people seem intent on fighting, it is comforting to find global gurus, working together and sharing their knowledge in the one place. And this is pretty much what it feels like when using Keepers of the Light Oracle: the different figures sit well together and their personalities and knowledge can be combined to form new and enlightening interpretations.

This deck has 45 cards; each has a personality, defined by a mythological character, angel, or ascended master. We have the Norse goddess Freya, Isis, Ganesh, and Jesus. As an example, the Roman god Mercury provides the gateway to ‘open communication’. On the card, it says “Get a weight off your chest. Speak up with love, and be heard”. Each card has its own section in the book, comprising a few paragraphs about the character, followed by an extended interpretation. There is enough to get you started here, but the images have their own symbolism for further exploration, should you wish. For instance, the heart held by Faith (Humanity and Benevolence) shows a small Hebrew Yud rising from its rim and Mahavatar Babaji is joined by the symbol for Om. And then there is the symbolism of the flowers, shown on many cards, which could be researched.

kyle-02

The paintings for Keepers of the Light Oracle are by Lily Moses. I was really excited to see that Kyle and Lily were working together. I’d seen her work online beforehand and find it breathtaking. Born in New Zealand, Lily is a full-time artist, now living in Australia. Her images are mainly constructed in acrylics, pencil, and striking gold leaf, giving them a timeless quality, perfect for this project. I’ve heard that she meditates before work, opening herself up as a channel for creative and spiritual insight. You can really appreciate this when looking at her paintings. Locking eyes with the gods, goddesses, angels, and masters, it’s not difficult to connect with their spirit. Lily is far more than an artist for hire here though. Both her and Kyle complement one another in their joint vision of these characters. What is also nice is that Lily imitates the different cultural styles of each card without losing a sense of her own artistic handwriting. There is a consistency throughout this set, which many oracles lack.

kyle03It is the images that people usually notice when buying an oracle deck and I cannot imagine that anyone will be disappointed with these. However, what I have noticed over the years is that even the best of illustrations will not work effectively if they don’t have a good structure behind them. This deck is successful because it is built on a strong foundation. Kyle has really taken time to consider who should be in this group of 45, but most importantly, it’s apparent that he understands these characters intimately and hasn’t plucked them from thin air.

There are patterns within this set which are not obviously noticeable, but which make it all the more interesting to work with. As an example, as well as having individual angels, masters, Gods, and Goddesses, the deck also incorporates the idea of twin flames. Hidden in plain view, there are thirteen pairs within the deck: for example, we have Brigid and Cernunnos, Freya and Odin, Kali and Shiva, and Mary Magdalene and Jesus. While the figures are independently strong, these unions can become even more powerful in combination. The full thirteen pairs are listed in the Appendix for reference. This might be especially interesting when conducting relationship readings, where a reader can identity personality types and partnerships within random pairs. While the suggested pairings are a joy to see turn up in a reading, less expected couples might be just as interesting.

As a working deck, Keepers of the Light packs a punch, since it offers practical advice (Call to Action, Focused Intention, Facing Fear, Inner Strength) as well as providing spiritual affirmations and guidance. For tarot readers, you’ll find recognisable points of interest, such as The Divine Director (which could be compared with Wheel of Fortune), Inner-Strength, and Teacher Awakens (similar to The Hierophant). But this deck can be used in far more ways than just through divination – the cards would look great on an altar, would aid conscious spell work, and could also become a great springboard for learning about different deities and mythological figures. The possibilities for its use are endless.

kyle-04

Angel Prayers will always be an important deck to me. And this deck doesn’t set out to replace it. The two will work harmoniously together but, if I am honest, I feel that this is the more mature of the two. There is a real depth to Keepers of the Light Oracle Cards and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. While it can be read intuitively, right out of the box, and would therefore suit a beginner, for the eager mind, it provides a jumping off point to so much more.

Print

Card images from Keepers of the Light Oracle by Kyle Gray, illustrated by Lily Moses and published by Hay House.

You can find out more about Kyle Gray here

You can find out more about Lily Moses here