A Vision Realized: A Review of Oracle of Visions
Ciro Marchetti’s “Oracle of Visions” has been in my personal vision since before his completion of the original project.
I have been a Ciro Marchetti fan since Gilded Tarot was first released. I met Ciro first when he graciously invited me to his home to interview him about his then-forthcoming “Legacy of the Divine Tarot.”
I invited Ciro to speak to my Tarot Meetup in West Palm Beach. At the time, we were a group of rabid tarotists who wanted to hear about his work as a tarot artist. Ciro complied, but was most excited to share some images from his new project, an oracle deck.
At the time, I had no interest in non-tarot oracles. I like the structure of tarot, its history, its correspondences, its archetypes. A tarot deck feels to me like a complete guide to human existence. Most oracle decks feel like an incomplete and random subset of possibilities. Most tarot images make sense to me. Many oracles seem contrived. Why is this angel the symbol of hope, or that unicorn the symbol of power? For me, the operation of an oracular device is random, the design of it should be anything but.
I was prepared to politely admire Ciro’s oracle images, and then turn the discussion back to my favorite topic; tarot. What happened surprised me.
Ciro’s oracle images spoke to me. I mean, they really spoke to me. They made me feel things more deeply than I would have imagined. There was one image in particular that gave me a visceral response. I began to anticipate “Oracle of Visions” as a new and unique device, rather than just another deck of pretty pictures
As Ciro worked on the accompanying book for his oracle, he invited Mary Ellen Collins, Garnet Schaeffer and me to the lovely home he shares with his talented wife, Maria, to play with his prototype deck and help him organize his thoughts for his book.
I know Mary Ellen and Garnet were just as thrilled as I to be some of the first people on the planet to work with the “Oracle of Visions.”
Ciro Marchetti first released “Oracle of Visions” as a self-published collector’s deck. I am happy to have a copy of that edition. I was curious to see how the newly published U.S. Games edition of “Oracle of Visions” would compare with the premium self-published edition.
I’m happy to report that the US. Games version of “Oracle of Visions” is delicious. It’s a smaller package than the collector’s edition. The deck and book come in a lovely, premium-quality box with a lift-off cover. The 140-page booklet fits snuggly in the box. The 52-card oracle is essentially the same as the first edition, except that the card edges aren’t gold.
To those folks who have already purchases the collector’s edition, here is my advice. Pack your collector’s edition away for safe-keeping. Get a copy of the U.S. Games edition and let yourself play with these fabulous images, without having to worry about keeping them in pristine condition. The fact is, “Oracle of Visions” contains some of the most evocative images you will ever have the pleasure to explore.
“Oracle of Visions” separates itself from most original oracles in a number of ways. First, of course, it contains the inimitable artwork of Ciro Marchetti. Second, there is nothing preachy, religious or dogmatic about “Oracle of Visions”.
In the design and production of three tarot decks, Ciro Marchetti learned a great deal about tarot tradition and the structure of tarot. He also learned that we tarotists can sometimes cling to our own understanding of a card, unwilling to stretch to see someone else’s vision.
“Oracle of Visions” is a remedy to that, just as it will be a remedy to any situation where we allow ourselves to be limited by dogma, expectation and self-imposed barriers. “Oracle of Visions” is aptly named in that one of its major functions is to allow each seeker to find their own vision within the intricate images.
The cards are large, with a black and gold border. Each card is numbered at the top, and has a stylized “OV” for “Oracle of Visions” at the bottom. These are the only writing on the cards. Each image is symbolically and graphically rich, with many opportunities for interpretation and introspection.
The book offers key phrases, descriptions and possible interpretations for each card, along with a quotation that seems to match the energy of the card. I like the scope of the quotation sources; they include everything from Charles Darwin to Cat Stevens.
The book includes some ideas of ways to work with the “Oracle of Visions”, as well as some of Marchetti’s thoughts about his journey to create this oracle.
In the card interpretations themselves, as well as the ways we can use the cards, Marchetti’s goal for us is that we be flexible, intuitive, open and exploratory There is no history, there are no traditions, and there are no sacred mysteries in the “Oracle of Visions,” except the ones we find for ourselves.
As I look through my new “Oracle of Visions”, I come to the card that first spoke to me. It’s card 24. The Key phrases for this card are “Letting Go” and “Offering a Way Out.” When I look at this card now, it is as if I were looking at a younger picture of myself, taken during a difficult time. I have grown, healed and changed since this card first spoke to me. I think some of that healing came from my connection with this image.
Now, I am still grateful for this image, but it no longer pulls at me. I look through the deck again, to find a card that speaks to me today – a card that can help me heal and grow today. I know that random draws with “Oracle of Visions” can be very insightful, but today I want to choose a card visually, rather than at random.
The image that pulls at me today is card 3. The key phrases are “Dreams,” “Meditation” and “Spiritual Escape.” As I read further, I see that the rich imagery in the card – the frog, the fish, the bird, and many other symbols, are not there on a whim. Each is a symbol of dreams. Marchetti draws on a variety of cultures to include symbols, archetypes and sacred images. I am sure these images impact us on a metaphysical level, as well as simply visually.
“Oracle of Visions” will be a great addition to any collection. It separates itself from many oracles in that this deck could be a gift for anyone who appreciates art – regardless of spiritual or metaphysical inclination.
The uses for “Oracle of Visions” are limited only by your imagination. When chosen either randomly or cognitively, these cards can provide spiritual guidance in divination and introspection. They work equally well as creative prompts. I can imagine using them in meditation as well.
Now that “Oracle of Visions” is available through U.S. Games I will be very excited to see the ways intuitive, spiritual and creative people find to weave this tool into their practices.
Check out my video review to see this wonderful deck in action!
Video of Christiana Gaudet Reviews Oracle of Visions