Friday, December 30, 2016

Deck Review: The Halloween Oracle

Stacey DeMarco (author) and Jimmy Manton (illustrator), The Halloween Oracle. Victoria, Australia: Blue Angel Publishing, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-922161-32-1. (Link to information on

Genre: nonfiction and inspirational
Subgenre: oracle cards, divination, Halloween

I've wanted to write a review of this deck and its companion book for a while now. During the month of October 2016, I used it on Fridays and on some extra days for the "31 Days Tarot Challenge." This is me using the deck on the second day of the challenge. I was very happy with the results and readings I got with the deck. It may be called The Halloween Oracle, but this is a deck you can use year round. This is specially true for folks like me who believe every day, except Christmas maybe, should be Halloween. I will probably bring it out throughout the year as needed.

The deck comes in a relatively solid, small box (about 6 1/4 inches by 5 inches). The box contains the 36-cards deck and the 80-pages companion guidebook. The box can be used to store the deck and book, which is important to me since I do not keep a supply of pouch bags around for decks. I wish more publishers did this instead of packaging their deck sets in useless, padded big boxes that take up space and can't really be reused. Rant aside, let's see what we get in the set.

The cards are about 5 1/4 inches by 3 3/4 inches The deck includes 36 cards with a broad variety of themes on the cards. Cards are not too thick, but they still have good card stock; the cards also have a light glossy coating. These are not cards for riffle shuffling, but overall with care they should last a good long time.

Jimmy Manton did the artwork on the cards, and he did excellent work. In the spirit of Halloween, this deck features cards that go from playful to haunting. This is a deck that has darkness, but I would not consider it a "dark" deck. As I said, if you are fan of Halloween, this is a deck for you. The images are in realistic style paintings that are rich in detail and provide a lot of depth. For folks who read cards intuitively, the images are strong and evocative. I do not consider myself to be the most intuitive person, and I could read these cards well enough with minimal use of the book. Still, if you need a little help, each card has a label and a few keywords or phrase to help you along. This is the a deck where the images invite  you to stare a bit and reflect. I mostly read cards for myself as a tool for meditation and reflection, so I found the cards useful for that. I am sure that if you read for others, they will work well. Perhaps you can use them to supplement a dark-themed deck. During October 2016, I used this deck along with the Vampire Tarot of the Eternal Night deck, and it went well. Experts out there can try other deck combinations.

Stacey DeMarco created the concept and writes the companion book. The cards concepts and text on the cards are spot on. The book is small and simple, but it gives you just enough guidance to get you going. The book is arranged as follows:

  • A short introduction on Halloween, the scariest night of the year, and its traditions. DeMarco adds a bit of interesting perspective: living in Australia, it is not really Halloween season as it is here in the United States. However, the holiday is gaining popularity down there, so she celebrates it a bit with her children along with Beltaine, a spring celebration given it is spring in the land down under when it is fall here. 
  • Next we get a few pages on "How to use this deck." This includes tips for single card draws, and it features two card spreads: a three-card draw and a Jack O'Lantern spread with six cards. In addition, there is a section on dedicating your deck to get it ready for use. This is just a suggestion. Feel free to use any ritual you wish to in order to dedicate or purify your cards or none at all. If you choose to follow her suggested ritual, it does seem pretty easy to do. 
  • The card meanings. Each card gets its own entry. Entries vary in length from a single page to two pages. Each entry includes the card's title, its keywords, a small poem, and the entry itself. Entry text gives a bit on the significance of the card's symbols and the last paragraph gives a meaning, i.e. tells you if you get this card in a reading, this is what it can be. 

Overall, the companion book is a pretty light book, but I found some of the details on traditions and history of Halloween interesting. The meanings provided were relevant and on point. However, as I mentioned, if you are one of those readers who just ignores the book, you'll do fine. If on the other hand, you need a little help or just want to read a bit more, the book provides a good head start.

In the end, for me this is now a favorite deck. I highly recommend it for card readers and collectors. You can use it on its own or to supplement a Tarot deck. Overall, this is an excellent work, and I am glad I added it to my collection. I look forward to using it for years to come.

5 out of 5 stars.

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