You might notice that I have reviewed a lot of Hay House decks on this blog. In some respects, this is surprising to me, since I only became interested in their titles over the last three or four years.
During the last month, I have received two decks with noticeable damage. I’d like to give a shout out to Hay House Customer Service, who were very friendly and supportive about this. It is always disappointing to open a damaged set, but in my personal experience, this has been rare. One of the reasons why I am often attracted to this publishers card packs is down to their presentation and quality. When they put something together, they usually do it well. With this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Wisdom of the Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid.
I started seeing this deck pop up on my Instagram feed only recently. The artwork is reminiscent of Colette’s other decks; however, this one has a lighter pastel feel, washed in baby blues, soft aquatic greens, and candy floss pinks. When I first looked at it online, I thought it might be too insipid or feminine for my tastes, but in the hand (with its gold edging), it comes alive. It has a slight antique feel to it and the gentle palette is grounded with a brown-sugar colouring, which holds everything together.
The artist for this set is Jena DellaGrottaglia. It is not a fluke that her style is reminiscent of other card decks by Colette Baron-Reid, since she also illustrated The Wisdom of The Hidden Realms Oracle Cards and The Enchanted Map Oracle. With much work under their collective belt, it would seem that this will be a partnership set to continue. In the book which accompanies the deck, Jena describes Colette as part of her ‘creative family’.
Living in New York, Jena is a self-taught artist, describing herself as eclectic and unique in her artistic styles. While you can see similarities between this work and her previous artworks, you will notice how she has developed her style to suit this particular project. The result is a clear and refined oracle, built around whimsy and fantasy. Amongst it, you will find floating eggs, telephones in bottles, a fox asleep on a resting moon, and a paper boat.
With such unnatural colouring and out-of-this-world themes, it could have been easy for this deck to appear twee or even sickly, but it is far from it. This is a deck of dream and fantasy. If you could step out of the world for half an hour, this might be one place you’d wish to go, which could make it an interesting vehicle for meditation and path working.
When I work with an oracle, the words and structure are as important as the images. It is often the titles in a card deck which ground and make sense of what we see, so I need them to be thought out and consistent. What is interesting here is that many of the titles are unique to this deck and don’t follow other systems. It is quite common to find cards with the same titles in more than one oracle deck – such as Release, Ending, Love, or Patience – but in this set, the titling is quirky and original; cards such as ‘Never Ending Story’, ‘Clean It Up’, ‘Go the Distance’ and ‘All That Glitters’ provide the chapters in Wisdom of the Oracle.
Because this is a unique work, it will send your intuition off on a whole different tangent to packs you might have worked with before. It would be easy to read this deck out of the box without any prior knowledge (which some will), but the book, by Collette Baron-Reid, is a chunky volume, packed with invaluable information about these particular cards. As well as notes about reading and examples of her own readings, each card interpretation is broken into four sections – Essential Meanings, The Oracle’s Message, Relationship Message, Prosperity Message, and Protection Message. This is especially interesting for those reading on specific subjects and wanting to see how the card can be adapted for different reading themes. With 204 pages, the manual presents a good lesson about how to be a proficient reader, as well as being a guiding resource to this oracle.
I have been using Wisdom of the Oracle since I bought it and my readings with this pack have been enlightening. When together, the cards work well. I have been using them in duos, allowing their messages to unfold naturally, which they have. Because of the light feel to it, I have found clarity and ease when working with the images.
Do I have any problems with Wisdom of the Oracle? To be truthful, I don’t. If I had to be picky, I would have preferred the beautiful bold red backs of the cards (showing a face which appears discreetly in every card) to have been a softer colour. A pastel hue might have fit in better with the over all dreamy feel of the deck, but this really isn’t a problem. They look elegant laid out as they are. My other quibble is a repetitive one: for those of us who would like to have seen a few males in the deck, I am afraid to say there are none.
I asked the deck to tell me one thing about itself. As quick as anything, it threw out Clean it Up. The first words to describe this card in Colette’s ‘Essential Meaning’ are ‘Getting to the core of a situation’. The card suggests we need to free our self from emotional gunk, so we can think straight. In terms of these cards, I couldn’t agree more. Each card character or symbol sits within a space, allowing it to breathe and for us to digest it carefully. These images are not crammed with unnecessary symbolism, which does make them easy to read and able to cut to the core of a situation.
I can see this deck becoming very popular. It has edged itself into the market quietly but people will soon have no choice but to know that it is here – its beauty, individuality, and usability will stand it in good stead against its contemporaries and give it the undeniable edge on the reading table.
Images from Wisdom of the Oracle (Collette Baron-Reid) by Jena DellaGrottaglia, published by Hay House.