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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Making Your Own Oracle Deck

I was always fascinated by the cards. Some of my earliest memories of reading cards include the 1973 film "Live and Let Die" which features Jane Seymour as a tarot-card reader who retains her prophetic powers so long as she remains a virgin. Unfortunately, if my youth I was long on virginity but short on tarot cards and so I started out reading cards by using a deck of playing cards.

I started out by simply ignoring the major arcana and substituting the suits of the minor arcana in the playing cards for those found in the tarot. For example:
  • Clubs --- Wands
  • Diamonds --- Pentacles
  • Spades --- Swords
  • Hearts --- Cups

So that in a reading the meaning of the two of cups would be ascribed to the two of hearts and so on and so forth. Over time I expanded on these meanings by associating the twelve signs of the zodiac with the twelve pip (or people) cards.

For example:

  • King of Clubs (Aries- The Leader) outward appearance, ego, self identity.
  • King of Diamonds (Taurus- The Provider) money and material matters.
  • King of Spades (Gemini- The Judge) communication, siblings, short journeys.
  • King of Hearts (Cancer- The Adviser) home and family.
  • Queen of Clubs (Leo- The Achiever) love, children, and creativity.
  • Queen of Diamonds (Virgo- The Supporter) health, work, and pets.
  • Queen of Spades (Libra-The Worrier) marriage, agreements, and partnerships.
  • Queen of Hearts (Scorpio- The Healer) sex and death.
  • Jack of Clubs (Sagittarius-The Adventurer) spiritual growth, dreams, and long journeys.
  • Jack of Diamonds (Capricorn- The Gambler) career, ambition, profession.
  • Jack of Spades (Aquarius- The Trouble-Maker) friends, associations, and open enemies.
  • Jack of Hearts (Pisces- The Lover) karma, transformation, and self-undoing.

With regard to the numbered cards, I associated them in part with each of the 10 planets (Aces are the sun, 2’s are the moon, 3’s are mercury, etc…) and other numerological associations.

The problem, however, is that whereas the Tarot has pictures that act as a springboard for one’s intuition a reader of playing cards has to rely on his or her memory alone for the determining the meaning of a particular card. To address this, many readers will often mark their cards in some way. They may write little keywords on their cards in permanent marker, or use a lead pencil to place a little dot on one side of their cards to determine if a card is upright or reversed. Commercial decks are available, but they do not have the advantage of using your own personalized key words.

Another technique and one which I like and used myself consist of cutting keywords and phrases out of newspapers, magazines, etc… and gluing them to the cards.

The project took 4 days and was completed over two successive weekends. Each week I purchased a Sunday paper because it is usually the largest one and the one that would have the most words from which to choose. I also had an old dream book that was falling apart from which I was able to cull some words and short phrases. I was also lucky in that the first weekend I started this project a new phone book was left by my front door from which I also took some words. 

When all the cards were done, they were allowed to dry completely before a coat of clear seal was put on them to seal and protect the cards.  I used clear seal because that was just what I happened to have at the time, however, I suspect you could use a very light brown seal to give your cards an aged looked should you choose to do so. 

Overall I enjoyed the process and am really happy with how my playing card oracle turned out.