I have a confession to make, and it's one I've been putting off for a long time.

I've been experimenting...

With oracle cards.

The Doreen Virtue Goddess Guidance cards, to be specific, with the sparkly gold edges the pretty, soothing pictures of gorgeous women. The sweet, "non-threatening" messages.

And okay, okay, I jest. There is nothing wrong with oracle cards - they're lovely! And fascinating! There's so much variety! But I was always a bit skeptical about Ms. Virtue. Not because she's doing it wrong - no one is doing it wrong. But I didn't know if she was for me.

I don't know if I believe in Indigo children, you see. Angels and faeries do incredible things for some people, magickally and spiritually - I've met just as many people who say these are powerful forces you don't want to mess with idly. (I've got no idea how they got such a different set of references.) And then there's Doreen Virtue's Tarot deck, in which she claimed she'd removed anything "threatening" or "scary" - when really, the only thing scary about Tarot is how it might tell you there's things in your life that need a little work. Why would I want to avoid anything that might tell me the truth? 

But I kept running into these cards, over and over again. Different readers would pull them to supplement a reading. They were out for display at my favorite occult shop, and I couldn't stop staring at them. And finally, a financial windfall came my way to treat myself to some Amazon goodies, and I put them on the order list. 

What strikes me first about these cards is the artwork. It's so lush and also so varied, in different styles and forms of expression that let you really feel the personality of each goddess as the cards express them. You could use these cards meditatively if you like, delving into the details of each image and seeing what stands out to you. Or you could just treat the goddess in each card as a friend and a guide, as the deck encourages you to do. That'd trouble you, obviously, if you come from a faith that views these figures as literal beings who want to be called on and honored in a specific way, but as I'm more from the "facets of the same diamond" camp, I see the cards as having a unique energy that they bring with each individual message.

In general, oracle cards tend to be more specific than Tarot, more on point. That doesn't allow for a reading of more than a few cards, and it doesn't delve into complexity, but it provides an excellent springboard for deeper work. Reflecting on the energy of a single card can provide a lot of journal fodder, or maybe researching the nature of that goddess beyond the surface, learning the deeper aspects of her particular message. (I do wish the guidebook provided a little more insight into each individual goddess, and the legends that informed her message.)

There really is a lot of variety for "gentle, non-threatening" messages. Ishtar encourages you to set healthy boundaries, and Green Tara tells you that this may be a time to avoid harsh situations or environments. Kwan Yin tells you to be compassionate towards others, but most of all towards yourself. I realized very quickly that giving yourself kind, careful messages doesn't always mean avoiding truths. Certainly a few daily draws have already given me a lot of food for thought. But much like Tarot, it's up to me how deep I choose to go, whether I do the reflective work on what a particular card might mean to me. That provides a bit of extra responsibility on the part of the seeker, but I can't think of anything less coddling than that.

While Tarot's definitely my one true love as far as divination's concerned, I think I can count this experiment a success.

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