New deck(s)

©2023 michael raven

As noted earlier today, I went ahead and treated myself to the Woodland Wardens oracle deck yesterday, in large part because I am really starting to enjoy using physical tools to not only use as writing prompts, but because I am always looking for new methods of exploring the internal me as well. The biggest draw for the deck was the artwork style and the concept of combining symbolisms from plants with that of commonplace woodland animals.

As I have said before, I don’t tend to buy into the concept that these items provide means of prognostication, but I am confident that they are useful for self-reflection as a way for triggering sea-change and evolving perspective. I am not denying their other use as a possibility, I just haven’t seen any real supporting evidence for taking that position over the years. Your own experiences may vary greatly from my own — whereas my animism might seem fantastical to you. Different strokes, different folks, y’ken?

On a whole, I was greatly pleased with the purchase. As with other decks I own, I have some niggling little criticisms not worthy of mention (aside that those criticisms internally exist) because the intent of the art, concept and deck is earnest and well done. I greatly appreciate the avoidance by Jessica Roux of mythic and fantastic creatures and plants in the deck — I think one of the bigger turn-offs for me on other “animal” based oracle decks is the inclusion of cryptids and monsters from myth and fable. The real world is fantastic enough most times to preclude the random addition of a unicorn or a dragon as a totem animal. Again, this is a turn-off for me — if it floats your boat, that’s fine. I won’t judge you for your floating boat. And this deck avoids my anal-retentive concerns.

The artwork generally consists of natural and muted colors. Some cards do a better job of representing the plant/animal combination and suggested meaning than others, but it is all high quality. The cards are a little slick (but textured matte), but I prefer those over the decks I’ve held that are shiny/slick (fingerprint city and hard to handle) or uncoated, layered cardstock (peeling within minutes of use, thanks local publisher of low-quality pagan pulp who will remain unnamed). I think some use will solve the slick feel as they get finger oils and dust on them.

I can see myself working through this shuffled deck, card-by-card, until I get to know each card’s intent well. And then as a regular haunt for writing prompts. I already feel like it lends well to personal and spiritual reflection.

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I went on a bit of a buying spree. While I was more inclined towards the Woodland Wardens deck, I also was intrigued by a newer oracle deck by the same artist who published the Crow Tarot. MJ Cullinane actually has two decks she has made since the Crow Tarot, but it would have been absurd to buy three decks in one day, so I settles on her Urban Crow Oracle. While I feel the pull of her other deck, which is more in alignment with being another form of a tarot deck, I felt getting a separate tool outside of tarot might be more helpful in the long run.

While I haven’t really dug into the Urban Crow, I like the general feel of the art and messages, and the cards feel of a similar high quality. They are a bit on the big size, in my opinion, but that just requires getting used to them (I think). It helps showcase the artwork, but I’m not sure what the size is intended for aside from that. I get less “this might be helpful” vibes from the content than I do from Woodland Wardens, but I don’t regret the purchase. I’ll probably use them as writing prompts on occasion until I work my way through the Woodland Wardens deck unless further inspection triggers something for me that isn’t present at the moment. As I said, they are high quality and well done, they just have yet to grab me on an instinctual level in the same way as the Woodlands deck.

All that said and done, I will probably continue using all of my decks and runes — whether or not I explicitly call them out — as writing prompts in my future posts. Prompted pieces are generally the minority of my published posts, but they are a great way to challenge my writing in ways that I might not otherwise try to challenge myself.

4 thoughts on “New deck(s)

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