Holly de Fount’s A Curious Oracle (2015 – currently OOP) is a delightful little deck with bright, deceptively simple artwork. The card stock is a good thickness, and feels durable while still shuffling well. The backs show a bluish-grey sea- and skyscape with crossed keys at the centre. The deck works perfectly well as a straight-up oracle. However, it does also have a structure behind it which is an interesting addition, if you choose to use it.
There are 49 cards, divided into seven “suits” of seven cards each. The suits are: Body, Motion, Intuition, Heart, Mind, Blessings, and Spirit. The “ranks” within each suit are: Manifest, Relationship, Growth, Structure, Lesson, Healing and Epiphany.
To examine the deck in more detail, I have pulled one card from each of the suits.
For the Body suit, we have card six (Healing). It’s titles are Mercury Rising – Medicine. The image itself echoes the caduceus used by medical professionals in many parts of the world, with additional elements in the budding branch, the rain drops, and the black and red wings. There is also a star and flower mandala at the centre, with what may be handles to either side… To me, it speaks to the idea that medicine must take account of the whole person, of different aspects in our lives and our selves.
The suit of Motion is represented by Mudra – Expression. It’s interesting, as mudras (hand gestures in the yogic tradition) are normally held, rather than being in motion. Yet, the act of forming a mudra does of course require movement. As someone who uses a form of signing on a daily basis, I certainly see how expressive our hand gestures can be. And that fits well with this being the Relationship aspect of Motion. Holly de Fount writes: “Communicating your presence to the world through your words and actions. Establishing the outward expression of your personality and coming into the practice of right relationship.”
Within the suit of Intuition, we have step 1 – Crescent Moon – Intuition. To me, the crescent moon represents the High Priestess of the tarot, that bastion of intuition. The cup, equally, speaks of being attuned to emotion. It’s interesting, too, to have so many hearts in the card, which is not part of the suit of the Heart. Intuition is often about recognising the messages of our other brains – those of the heart and the gut, of which the heart is the most important, according to both mBIT ideas and ancient philosophy. How many expressions can you think of that talk in some way about listening to your heart?!
Then, for the suit of the Heart, we have the first step – The Rose – Beauty. I love Holly’s comment: “beauty as the embodiment of love and hope.” Recognising the beauty around us, seeing with the eyes of love 🙂
Moving to the more intellectual suit of Mind, we have card one – The Raven – Intellect. This is reminiscent of the Ace of Swords, and I love the addition of the raven, merging with the blade of the sword that points up towards the sky. It seems to cut a way through the clouds. And like the Rider Waite Smith version, there are two branches (though here they are the same plant, rather than two different ones), hanging or growing from the hilt. Success through gaining perspective!
The Relationship step of the suit of Blessings is the Gargoyle – Guardian. A blessing, indeed, to receive protection and wise counsel from elders. It’s amazing how prevalent gargoyles are throughout the Western world, on buildings where you might not expect them…
And finally, the suit of Spirit offers us the Lesson card – step 5. Titled Memento Mori – Goodbye, it speaks to me of the hard lesson that saying goodbye entails. How to remember someone or something with fondness, yet also be willing and able to let it or them go.
All told, the cards are beautiful, and I find the images very evocative. The companion material is a single sheet of A4, and each card just has two to three sentences. Yet, they are well-chosen words, as full of depth and wisdom as the images themselves. In case you can’t tell, I am deeply impressed with this little oracle. It offers easy, intuitive access, as well as a clear and interesting structure. Let’s hope Holly does another print run!