These days, many of us collect more decks than we can ever use. We will buy one, use it for a bit, then discard it for the next. This may have something to do with the volume of packs released every year, but for some users, it will be because a deck didn’t live up to their expectations. I can relate to the latter, since there is the occasional pack which doesn’t have the backbone I might have hoped for. At their core, some decks may be little more than a pack of feel-good affirmations. I have received some interesting and liberating messages using this kind of oracle at specific times in my life, but generally, they end up back on the shelf, making way for the big boys (and girls) of the tarot and oracle world to answer questions with greater depth.
Deck combining is not new. Many readers have been doing it for years. However, it is not an option everyone is aware of. A lot of people will combine decks through style of artwork, subject, or colour. Within this method, The Mythic Tarot might sit nicely with the Mythic Oracle and the pastels of the Wisdom of the Oracle compliment the Ceccoli Tarot. While this is a valid and interesting way of combining decks, it is different to my way of working.
In the Angelic Messages set of readings I offer on my site, I do just this. I combine Angel Tarot, Indigo Angel Oracle Cards, and Kyle Gray’s Angel Prayers deck in one reading. I also combine the Indigo Angel Oracle with John Holland’s Psychic Tarot Oracle and Doreen Virtue’s Angel Answers set for my Angelic Kiss reading option, which results in a short and punchy read for clients who need a quick burst of advice.
I have chosen these decks as carefully as I have devised the spread positions. If we look at my Angelic Kiss as an example, our situational position contains a card from the meaty Psychic Tarot Oracle (which many would agree holds a balanced selection of positive and negative cards). In the centre, the Indigo Angel Oracle presents a message from the angelic realm (or spirit, the unconscious, or whatever it is you are personally tapping into). With short messages that are open to interpretation, the Indigo Angel deck suits this position. The final card sums up the reading. Angel Answers is good for this. As a deck on its own (which I don’t think it was ever designed to be) it is lacking; but as a final word in a spread, it works very well.
In the example below, we recognise that the situation is problematic (3 of Swords, left). This, on its own, would give us enough to relate to or speak with a client about. The message from spirit (centre) might regard looking after yourself – many people neglect their own wellbeing during a time of trauma or worry and forget to eat or sleep properly. The last card is one of opportunity. Despite what has happened, it brings comfort and reminds us that in some negative situations there is actually a blessing. In others, where things are regretfully final, it gently reminds us that life will begin again when we decide to step back into it.
Similarly, in the next example, the stocky tarot card gives a practical and earthy look at where a person is at. The World (Witches Tarot) speaks of a cycle ending. The Captive Man (from The Heart of Faerie Oracle) might be our intuitive message, reminding us that we are being held captive and are unable to see things for what they really are. Archangel Michael sits at the end. This is our closing thought and Michael is well-known for helping people cut their cords with something which is no longer for their greater good.
Deck combining can be fun and some sets make it easy for us –
John Holland’s Psychic Tarot Oracle has a selection of chakra cards. Why not separate them from the deck and use them to describe the overriding issue of a reading?
Or why not separate your favourite tarot court cards – you could use them in one position of a read to describe a relevant person within a situation or even as a mediumistic tool, to define the characteristics of someone who has passed?
Each deck has its own job and particular strength.
In one of the other readings I offer, I use one of Kyle’s Gray’s sixteen archangel cards, chosen randomly, as an umbrella beneath which the remainder of the reading falls. You could easily do the same with just the Major Arcana of a specific deck or any set which can naturally be broken up – The Energy Oracle (Sandra Anne Taylor) has a series of ‘window’ cards which might preside over a reading and Brian Froud’s Faeries Oracle have the ‘singers’. Why not mix up a few decks, based on their strengths and voices, and see what you have got!
With so many decks on the market, the possibilities for combining and creating original and useful spreads with more than one deck are endless and only limited by our imagination.
Images from The Faeries Oracle and The Heart of Faerie Oracle (Brian Froud), The Feints Wiener Tarock 1867, Angel Therapy Oracle, Angel Answers Oracle Cards, Indigo Angel Oracle (Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine), Psychic Tarot Oracle (John Holland), The Witches Tarot (Ellen Dugan) and Oracle of the Angels (Richard Webster).