Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti © US Games Systems
Status: Reading with it
Best for: Everything. This deck loves questions and claims that it can do it all but it is less specific than other decks.
Favorite cards: 20, 30, 40
Acquired from and date: A birthday gift from my father. June 2015.
This is one of those decks that is so beautiful but is less useful than one might imagine. The cards are colorful, bright, and brilliant but do not have a distinctive meaning. You can use them as prompt cards and they’re excellent for a whole host of intuitive usages.
The imagery here is definitely fantastical and reminds me strongly of dreams – some things just won’t make sense in a mundane way. But if you view the card as a dream, suddenly it starts to become more believable.
There are 52 cards in the deck and, while keywords and descriptions are given in the included book, the cards are numbered. This encourages you to come up with your own meanings for the cards.
Quick note, my images are darker and fuzzier than the cards are themselves. It’s really hard to get photos of just how beautiful this deck is without perfect lighting. My photos do not do this deck justice.
The artwork is, without a doubt, Ciro Marchetti’s work. Beautiful and vibrant, the art is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve seen Marchetti’ work before. There’s often simplistic backgrounds with a humanoid figure as the main attraction to the card. the cards are very detailed so sometimes you’ll discover new things about a card that you didn’t see before.
One of the things I love is that circus arts / carnivals are featured prominently with this deck. Masks, especially that of the jester are everywhere. Tightrope walkers and even implied aerial silks are seen within the deck. Dancers, actors, and other members of the arts are also featured. It’s the theme of the deck. If this is your scene, then you’ll love the deck. If not then you’ll want to stay away.
Additionally, there is a lot of nudity or partial nudity in the deck. At least half the images feature a cloth draped woman and at least one has frontal nudity. By and large, the art consists of women but there are a few masculine figures present. Animals such as horses, fish, birds, and apes are also featured.
There is a distinctive lack of POC in the deck. There are a few vaguely Asian women but none facing forward. They are either in profile or shown from behind. This is a shame as fantastical as this deck is apparently POC are more fantastical? Such a shame.
Because of the coloring this deck is dark but with bright pops of color. All the cards have a black border with a gold thing including the card number. The cards are large, 5 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. The card stock in on the thinner side but that’s a benefit as this deck is on the large side and if the card stock was thinner, I’d have difficulty shuffling it. Breaking in the deck has only helped with the shuffling and the cards have stood up remarkably well over time.
The cards are somewhat glossy so I often end up taking photos in indirect light or low light to avoid reflections. While this isn’t an issue for most people, it can be extremely frustrating when you just want a quick but pretty photo to drop on instagram.
One thing to know about this deck is that there aren’t any set meanings. The cards are merely numbered, not named, so you’ll need to dive for the book for every card meaning or use the images to come up with the meanings. Ciro Marchetti encourages the reader to come up with their own interpretation of the cards, a system I truly love. I always have my own interpretations of any deck but this one encourages it. This also means the client and supplicant can derive their own meaning from the cards. Mermaids may hold special meaning to you and therefore the mermaid card (middle of the image to the left) means more to you than it would another person. It also means that meanings may shift and change as you shift and change as a person.
The deck comes in a thicker cardboard keepsake box which has withstood the test of time. The LWB is actually quite good but I think this deck could have benefited from a larger sized book because of how often you may reference it – all the time or not at all. Weirdly, the LWB doesn’t come with a spread. I don’t mind this but at the same time, it’s definitely something I find I like included in the LWB. The book gives a brief intro on how to interpret the cards and several pages on the deck creation process. These pages are included in the back of the book.
When it comes to the spirit or essence of this deck, I find that I often have multiple “voices” talking to me. It’s more like the characters in the deck are the voices of the deck rather than there’s one uniform voice for the deck. That’s fairly unusual for me to run into in my experience. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I find that these “voices” aren’t actually helpful when it comes to the readings. They’re more like noise or a bunch of people talking at once but way off in the distance.
I feel like this deck is far more useful if you’re in the mood to use it. It’s fun and fantastical but it also has a lot of darker images and themes implied. The idea that carnival or circus folk can be sinister comes to mind here (and that’s a negative stereotype that continue today). If you’re in the kind of mood to see double meanings or the seeking out meanings beyond what’s originally presented, then this deck is a great choice.
As mentioned I don’t use this deck as often as I thought I would primarily because I don’t often find reasons to use it. Clients want clear cut answers and this deck doesn’t often them. Instead, it’s like a person than answers a question with another question or side-steps a question with half of an answer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the answers are there you just have to dig deep for them. Most of my clients are not readers themselves so this process isn’t a good choice for them. In personal readings, I’ll either use this deck extensively or not at all for that same reason.
That isn’t to say it isn’t a good divination deck. It certainly is. But it’s not your typical ask-and-answer deck and that needs to be kept in mind when considering this oracle.
Overall, I love this deck but I find I don’t reach for it very often. Because I’m not one to dive for the book every time I want to draw a card, I’ll need to study the image to find out a meaning and when I draw cards for myself, I’m usually using personally defined keywords.
That being said, this is one of the those decks I use often to create writing prompts for myself or to help define a character in my fiction writing. I also like to use it for meditation or catalyst draws to change things up.
Is it good for beginners? No unless you are highly intuitive. I find most beginners want a deck with set meanings that are clearly defined, even with oracle decks. This is not that deck. Is it still an awesome deck? Yes. Established readers or Marchetti fans will love this deck. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re a beginner and love the art, pick it up. It can be a great teaching tool for increasing intuition but you may find that it’s not as useful for readings as you might imagine.
Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti © US Games Systems