Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco & Blue Angel Publishing
Status: Currently reading with it
Best for: Halloween and autumn but it offers the truth in an interesting and unique way. Great for all questions all year around.
Favorite cards: The Veil, Invisibility, Scrying
I’ll admit it: I love Halloween and when I saw this Halloween Oracle it shot up on my “must have” list to #1. No regrets at all.
It’s a beautifully vivid deck with some quirks that gets you into the Halloween mood nicely. It’s also great to use during the autumn season because of the more autumnal feel to the cards. That being said, I use this deck all year around in my personal readings, especially when I’m doing readings to spark creative writing. It just has that kind of fun but serious feel to it.
I’ll be honest, this Halloween Oracle is a bit strange. There are some cards that don’t read as Halloween at all to me. I think some of that comes from the artist being Australian rather than American. It doesn’t have the same kind of American Halloween kind of feel. That’s not a bad thing but it’s something to keep in mind.
The deck also feels somewhat disconnected. The skull set, for example, is lovely but I think they might have been better served as a separate oracle all by themselves. The Lady De Los Muertos is kind of a surprise as it’s the only truly culturally specific addition to the deck and I’m not sure it’s appropriate given the rest of the cards. I think it would have been more appropriate in an entirely Mexican deck or a deck with traditions from all over the world.
And then there’s cards that don’t wholly seem to fit the Halloween them at all. Like Forgiveness and Hearth. I can see the connect, especially if you think of the rituals performed around the holiday. I don’t look at the Hearth card and go “Halloween!” It’s something of a logical leap.
There is a definite witchy feel to most, if not all, of the cards which balances out the deck for me, personally. A less witchcraft-oriented reader might not get that same feel.
Weirdly, the back of the deck has a very Halloween less serious feel which kind of seems like the artist was phoning it in for the deck backs. It doesn’t really mesh well with the deck’s painted sketch style. If you saw the deck backs without knowing what the cards were suppose to look like, you’d probably be surprised.
The art, as you can see, has a almost painted sketch quality to it. They’re not sketches, exactly but they’re not fully cleaned up art either – and that’s the point. The art is finished but it has a washed or scraped feeling to the art. It’s kind of like someone drew it then scraped a broom over the surface of the art. The images are clear but there’s a lot of background noise.
Speaking of backgrounds, outside of a few select images like The Lamp, there isn’t a lot of background to the image. There’s a lot of the scraped colored and light filter kind of backgrounds. Which I kind of like as it focuses the main image more. It doesn’t lend any additional meanings, really, but rather serves as an assistant to the mood of the card.
The art varying somewhat in another unique way. There’s the natural styling like in The Lamp or Nightsong where it’s clearly a complete picture. And then there’s singular focuses where there’s nothing but the card’s focus seen, such as with The Pumpkin or Invisibility. And other times there’s this surreal thing happening. The Underworld, Midnight, or Ghost shows off what I mean where there’s kind of a main image and some hue background and some other elements going on all together. The Apple, Joy, and Black Cat show this a bit too. It’s like a scene but without the coherency of the scene – and yet it’s still coherent as an image. Almost like a collage except it’s all one image. It strikes me as odd and I’m not sure if that’s just me not fully liking that as a style choice or something else.
The borders are black with a color second border around the image. The color is the most prevalent color in the image but that sometimes means the border stands out a lot and other times it melts into the image. I think I’d like to see this borderless or without the second border at least. If you’re into trimming cards, this is a definite candidate. Especially since when trimmed these cards would be so much easier to handle.
I know from looking about the internet that the art style in general is the same for all of the artist’s cards but I’m not sure about the backgrounds. That might be unique to this deck. The large and secondary border thing is definitely a Blue Angel Publishing trait as my Sacred Rebels Oracle has a similar style.
Personally, I tend to use this deck for when I need a push in the right direction without any sass. I also use it for daily draws a lot. One of my favorite usages is to pull a card to help build original characters for writing (oh hai NaNoWriMo participants!)
I sometimes find myself pulling the deck apart and putting the decks into groups and then fanning that particular group to get a reading. For example, I might pull all of the skulls and pull a card from that. I don’t really do that with other decks so I’m thinking it’s because this one’s kind of disjointed. But I also do it because it’s easier to pull out cards that are useful to character creation.
That being said, I totally do use this for your regular ol’ readings. It’s not great for large readings as it only has 36 cards but unlike the Lenormand or Tarot, it’s sometimes hard to pull a full and complete story or reading from it. Or, rather, you could create a whole story from all the cards but it would take some clever talking to cover yourself. Might be a fun experiment.
I don’t find that this deck specializes in any particular way. It covers all the questions equally but does slightly better with personal questions. For example, I’d probably pick another deck for a financial based reading but if this one was within reach, it would handle the question well enough. It’s not designed to cover a lot of the more practical questions but it can still handle them.
All of this being said, there’s not an overwhelming spirit to this deck for me. I get a sense of purpose and of mischievousness and just the right amount of shadowy darkness to really mark it as Halloween but not a spirit that jumps out and says “hi!”. This is n’t even remotely as vocal as the Heart of the Faerie Oracle, for example. I consider the Heart of the Faerie Oracle an extremely vocal and personality driven deck. This one’s more low-key in personality.
That being said, the deck reads extremely well despite the size. Blue Angel cards tend to be larger in size and this one is no exception. The size makes it rather hard to shuffle. Those folks with smaller hands (like me!) will find themselves struggling to shuffle these cards. My tip? Rotate the cards so you’re shuffling not on the side but on the top. If that doesn’t work, try the fan method or a stacking method.
The deck box and book are all nice and study. The book isn’t your average LWB. It’s 73 pages and nicely written with the meanings. It also has the images of the cards alongside the meanings. It’s set up in alphabetical order which is good because the cards aren’t numbered. Some oracle decks don’t have that and it’s frustrating.
The cards are solid. They bend nicely like cards should but can take damage. I’ve even spilled coffee on the cards and just wiped it clean (in a panic, because liquid + paper = enemies). The cards have a plastic (?) coating to them which means they can take the aforementioned damaged. But it comes with a cost – they’re highly reflective. Like “I can send signals and see myself” reflective. Their shininess makes photography a challenge, especially with strong light. It even reflects in candlelight!
Even worse, the shininess makes all sorts of damage appear obvious on the card. Bent corners, scratches, and even dust are very noticeable. Even fingerprint smudges. This isn’t a problem if you photograph in low light or use filters to correct the problem but on-the-go photography can be a challenge. It also doesn’t really show on the face of the card when you’re doing a reading unless a serious scratch. It shows more on the back of the cards.
While I seem to bash the deck a lot in this reading, I actually really love the deck. It had a lot of witchyness to it which means I can use it all year around. I always have fun reading with it. I find the written meanings are just vague enough to allow a greater range of usage.
I really like this deck, I do. I’m not sure I’d love it more if some of the above things were different. I wouldn’t love it less either. It’s one of those decks I love despite what I see as flaws.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I consider this the ultimate Halloween divination deck? No. There’s just enough quirks against this deck to have me continue my search for the best Halloween deck in the land. But I do love this deck!
Halloween Oracle by Stacey Demarco © Blue Angel Publishing