Once again I find myself posting a “top 3” list, and this time it’s all about my favorite divination tools. This is timely as I’d recently been thinking about that impossible hypothetical situation: “If you could only ever use one deck for the rest of your life, which would it be?” I’m grateful not to have to make that decision, as I find it hard enough to choose only three tools per category for this post! Chloe from Inner Whispers recently discussed hers, and then Ellen at Greylady’s Hearth took up the challenge, so here is my own contribution (these “favorite” posts are never in any particular order):
Top Three Tarot Decks
1. Thoth Tarot, by Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris
I love the art in this deck, which I find incredibly vibrant, sumptuous, and expressive. The cards have a great all-around size and stock, so it’s a pleasure to shuffle. I love the card backs. While it’s true that I like reversible backs, the color and intricacy of the art on the Thoth card back is so lovely that it doesn’t really bother me at all. In fact all of the decks in my top three list have non-reversible backs! If I truly had to choose only one deck to use for the rest of my life, it would probably be this one.
|Thoth Tarot/New Orleans Voodoo Tarot|
2. New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, by Louis Martinié and Sallie Ann Glassman
This deck resonates with me in important ways because it connects to a spiritual/religious system that is home to me. I don’t practice Voodoo/Vodou, but I respect it greatly. I do practice Santería/Lukumí, and I love that the suit of earth features Olodumare and many of the Orishas. The artwork is earthy and rustic and sensual, and it attracts me in ways that other Orishas/Santería/Umbanda decks I’ve seen simply don’t. You can use this deck for “standard” readings, yet it has the additional layer of religious associations that make it valuable for tradition-focused meditations as well.
3. Light and Shadow Tarot, by Brian Williams and Michael Goepferd
Based on art created from wood cuts, this black and white deck is simply stunning. The cards are way too big for me to shuffle as I normally would, so I spread them out on a flat surface, swish them around, and pick the cards that call to me. I enjoy breaking my shuffling routine in this way, and I would never trim this deck – partly because I think there is value in allowing it to be what it is, and partly because the size of the inner borders is not consistent across all cards, so it would essentially be impossible! No matter, however. The artwork leaps from the stark white background, and the lack of color doesn’t impede the reading process. It’s a total pleasure working with this deck!
|Light and Shadow Tarot|
Top Three Oracle Decks
1. Viking Cards, by Gudrun Bergmann and Olafur Gudlaugson
The imagery is simple, but the perspectives are refreshing and very insightful. There are 32 cards in this set, and each one features an aspect or symbol of Viking culture, such as “The Stone of Thor: Sacrifice”, or “Sleipnir: Changes.” My ancestry on my father’s side is Frisian and Danish, and Norse culture and spirituality is something I enjoy honoring and exploring. This has been a wonderful part of my relatively small collection of oracle decks, and is one I use often. It’s provided me with some very thoughtful and helpful readings!
2. Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams, David Carson, and Angela Werneke
This, along with the Druid Animal Oracle, is a favorite of mine as it highlights the power and wisdom of animal energy and teachings. They are excellent for readings all on their own, or in conjunction with Tarot. They’re also great for exploring animal symbolism across various contexts. This is the first deck of divination cards that I ever used, starting with them at the age of 12 or 13, and I fondly remember the valuable insights they gave me at the time. They helped me think about myself, my environment, and my behaviors in ways I hadn’t before, and they are still a precious part of my collection.
3. Halloween Oracle, by Stacey Demarco and Jimmy Manton
I remember the first glimpse I had of the cards in this deck during its production period, and I really loved the art work and the way that Halloween symbols were used in unique ways to highlight aspects of the human experience. I found this deck at a local bookstore rather unexpectedly, became very excited, and headed straight for the check-out line. They have not been a disappointment. Quite the contrary, they are beautiful, engaging, and deeply meaningful. And hey, I love Halloween, so that doesn’t hurt! This deck is often by my bedside, as I enjoy simply pulling a card from it now and again and using it for meditation.
Top Three “Other Tools”
1. Lenormand (Enchanted Lenormand by Caitlin Matthews/Virgina Lee is a mainstay)
Lenormand is technically an oracle, as is Tarot, however it is a defined system which sets it apart from the kinds of oracles I listed in the previous section, which vary in card quantity, card meanings, and just about everything else. Lenormand constitutes an essential part of my divination practice; I read with it every single day, and I find it’s a wonderful complement to Tarot. If I want very specific, concrete information about a course of events, this is my go-to reading tool. I also use Lenormand prior to, and sometimes following, root workings.
|Lenormand, Runes, and Apophyllite|
The set I use most often is one I made myself out of smooth black stones. Rune study is something I enjoy quite a bit, and definitely constitutes a regular part of my divinatory practices. Once you start to work with runes, you see them everywhere, such as in broken twigs on the sidewalk, or in spray painted markings left in the grass by the electrician. I use runes for readings in much the same way as with cards, however I also use runes quite commonly in magical workings, such as engravings, or including a carefully thought-out script on a petition paper.
3. Dream work; apophyllite
I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and dream interpretation. In fact I remember once in high school when, just as we were strolling into the ladies room, an acquaintance suddenly told me about a dream she’d had the night before. I started talking her through the symbols and what they might mean, and she looked at me, wide-eyed, and said “Whoa! That actually makes sense!” I laughed (and was also pleasantly surprised with myself, I’m sure). I’ve had what you might call “prophetic” dreams, where what is dreamt is cluing you in to something that is going to happen, or that is already occurring outside your conscious awareness. Those are pretty helpful and interesting. I also find dreams to be wonderful guides, and insightful reflections of our true, inner world. Apophyllite crystals have amplified my dreams in many ways, and is a great tool for working in the dreamworld.
That wraps it up for my 3x3x3 Divination Tag. If you decide to compile your own list, be sure to let me know so I can read (or watch) it!