Newly published tarot and oracle decks arrive on Amazon, Etsy, crowd-funding platforms, and bookstores every month. Today there are literally thousands of decks to choose from, including out-of-print decks as well as published ones. Reviewing a deck is a subjective judgment intended to help readers determine if they want to own the deck reviewed.
The critical review of a deck for askAstrology involves looking at the quality and size of the cards, visual accessibility of the art, quality of the companion text of the deck, and potential usefulness in professional practice. This month I have chosen to review the Oracle of Mystical Moments by Catrin Welz-Stein.
The Oracle of Mystical Moments Cards
From the back cover of the box:
Visionary collage artist Catrin Welz-Stein intermixes unexpected elements of nature and imagination, creating a sumptuous world where flower spirits and floating castles happily co-exist. Each of the 52 oracle cards captures a magical moment full of delightful surprises and vintage charm. Powerful messages in the 44-page guidebook lead you into discoveries of insight that inspire new ways of looking at life.
The deck is both a beautiful collection of art and insightful oracle tool.
The card stock of the deck is medium quality and will hold up with regular, but not heavy use. The cards are larger than standard playing cards, but not so large that they are hard to hold in your hands. Because the card stock is not the thickest available, the cards are very flexible, making them easy to shuffle.
Visual Accessibility of the Deck
The deck artwork is stunning, but not what I would consider visually accessible. Some cards are more visually accessible, like number 6, Listen, but others are not, like number 21, Tiny Triumphs.
As you can see from the sample cards, the creator’s imagination is something to behold. The deck may not easily or clearly convey meanings through the artwork, but the cards are visually arresting, nonetheless.
Number 6 – Listen
From the companion book:
This young woman with closed eyes and a knowing smile is rooted in the earth. Her hair has transformed into the roots of the plants above her. You can tell the woman is aware of her surroundings. She is connected to the voice of nature. She can listen to the growing plants beneath the ground. She is an integral part of her world. She understands the sorrows and worries of the environment. She also knows the songs of nature’s pleasures. (10)
Number 11 – Queen Be
From the companion book:
Madam Queen Bee is big and strong, yet gentle and mothering. Her skirt is a flower tower, a home for bees that sustain our ecosystem. She gives strength, power, and life to her surroundings. She is Mother Nature. She is responsible for the tulips that send energy into the world, and all that grows to know the beauty of each day. Her children are the children of earth. She nurtures all of us. (13)
Number 21 – Tiny Triumphs
From the companion book:
A big mouse dressed as a circus trainer is holding a small eagle. The situation is inverted: The predator is small and the prey is big. This card urges us to believe in ourselves. Don’t ever think you’re too small or too outmatched in a situation. Inner size is what matters. Think back to a time when you felt good about an achievement. Don’t give up now; with patience and hard work, you will triumph. (19-20)
Explanation of the Cards
The booklet is simple. It has brief explanations for each card, with a short introduction at the beginning and a couple of pages about the author at the end. All cards receive a paragraph of explanation. There are three or four keywords or phrases associated with each card.
Since the cards do not have a tarot structure, there is no sequence of meaning from one card to the next or grouping like you find in the tarot suits.
As a professional reader who started reading cards for pay in 1992, I can say that this deck is rather average when it comes to reading for clients. You will have to memorize a fair number of the cards because you cannot readily or easily rely on the key phrase or the images to make the meanings very clear.
Therefore, I would recommend the deck for personal use, collecting, or admiring the artwork. Other oracle and tarot decks have much better designs for “divination” work. This modern deck does not offer any reading spreads or suggestions on how to best use the cards.
While the deck is a visually stunning set of cards, it not one I would give a high rating, three out of five stars at most. I have used the deck in a public setting, since the images are beautiful, and there is nothing offensive in the artwork, but interpreting the cards required more effort than I would like to use when working with the public. I do think it is possible for the deck to be a good personal deck, especially if the images really speak to you.