Contrary to popular belief, tarot and card reading is not just for gypsy or crystal-ball reading types. I am fully “out” as a reader who doesn’t own any “props” (not that I have anything against them; just not my style!) and I am here to tell you, playing with what I like to call my ‘story cards’ is accessible to anyone.
That being the case, why not come up with some creative ideas for gifting cards this year to loved ones in your life? There are ways to incorporate the magic and random chance in cards without having to learn or study books or methods.
The inspiration for the two ideas I’m sharing here came to me through Camelia Elias’s Taroflexions blog. Camelia is a consummate cartomancer, artist, teacher, and spreader of glorious magic, and someone I admire a lot. On her blog, she says, “The experience of magic is one of adjustment to the possibility of enchantment and tuning in to what may be accomplished. […] What I’m interested in is seeing how magic empowers people.” Camelia has just recently gone public with her gorgeous handmade sygils, and you can read about that process here on her Enchantments page. A friend and colleague of mine, Miguel, is creating his own for friends and family this holiday season.
As for me, I was inspired by one of Camelia’s other recent projects, where she created her own deck of oracle cards. Oracle cards, in their simplest form, are a set of cards that can be used by anyone who wants to consult them for advice or ideas regarding a concern they have. While some oracle decks, like Lenormand, do require study and practice in order to read their story, there are other decks that simply work on the principle of delivering a meaningful message through the synchronistic chance mechanism of the random draw. That principle is what intrigues me about working with cards, and that’s what I wanted to share with some special people in my life this year. This year has been magical for me, as I’ve launched and developed my card practice over the year, attended a conference for tarot professionals in the UK (where I met both Camelia and Miguel), and have recently formed a very delightful professional partnership with my friend and colleague, Brigit. I am blessed and want to share this abundance with a few people who have touched my life and helped me on my path.
Camelia created an oracle deck called The Oracle of the Fables in an evening together with her extended family, using Aesop’s fables along with a prescribed yet random approach to selecting phrases that would appear on each of the 22 cards (drawn from the tarot’s 22 trumps). I loved this idea of putting the creation of an oracle deck into our own hands, and I also loved the idea of adapting the broad and powerful messages of the 22 trumps into a deck that could deliver these messages in a different way, a way that wouldn’t require training or study for someone unfamiliar with tarot or uninterested in learning how to read cards.
In my oracle deck, which I just finished yesterday, I searched various sources for quotes to represent each of the 22 trumps. I’d start with the trump, and then ponder for a moment to find a concept I felt was at the heart of its message, when represented verbally rather than in image form. Because I am a writer and I love words, using a quote for each trump was a project that interested me, and also a concept that I knew I could use for a deck that wouldn’t require any special skills other than simply being able to shuffle cards and read.
Daniele Nigris, another magical colleague who’s a sociologist at the University of Padova by day, while also an intuitive consultant in his free time, gave me the idea of using Moo cards to make my own deck, an idea which he had received from another cartomancer colleague. In his work, Daniele uses oracle decks with very abstract imagery, which further opened me to the idea that oracle decks can be powerful tools used in any number of ways, so why not with quotations?
While Moo cards aren’t the cheapest option out there, the benefit they have for developing an oracle deck is that you can produce cards with different images, rather than simply business-card style cards with the same image on each card. So I was able to develop one side of my cards with each of the 22 quotations I had selected, while for the backs, I found a free pattern that I liked online and downloaded it.
Here is a sneak peek at the proofs:
I ordered the cards yesterday and I’m really looking forward to packaging them in special wrapping for each of the people I’ve chosen to gift them to. I imagine them being used however the person wants to: drawing a card from time to time for inspiration or brainstorming, asking for guidance regarding what to focus on, or even perhaps in a 3-card spread that could produce a small paragraph of ideas regarding how to approach a situation. The beauty of an oracle deck is that it’s an idea generator that can help us to engage a part of our imagination that isn’t called upon as we go through our overly technological and oftentimes impersonal day-to-day tasks.
Do you have any other creative ideas to add for making personalized or custom-made gifts with a divination twist? Please share in the comments!