The Transparent Oracle, a review

The Transparent Oracle, by Emily Carding, is a wonderful combination of the ideas behind the Transparent Tarot and a unique and insightful, circular oracle design. If you’re not familiar with the Transparent Tarot, then I suggest you take a look at Anastasia’s review of Emily’s Transparent Tarot.

Oracle Deck structure: Suites of North, East, South, West, Above, Below and Within

It also goes without saying (and yet here I am saying it anyway) that an Oracle deck isn’t structured like a Tarot deck, but the unique characteristics of the transparent cards makes their integration with other oracle decks and tarot decks a novel feature. The Transparent Oracle is divided into seven suites; four cardinal directions and Above, Below and Within. The four cardinal suites have elemental properties, by default they are North = Earth, South = Fire, East = Air, and West = Water; although these can be redefined by the deck owner. For the other three suites: Above represents the astral, Below is the ancestral and Within is about the human senses. The four directional suites each hasve ten cards: One Gateway, four Animal Guides, a Weather, a Landscape, a Time of Day, an Element and an Elemental. The suite of Above has celestial objects, Below has ancestral forces and the suite of Within is about the human senses (both physical and metaphysical). All in all, this makes for a very diverse range of elements to draw upon when using the Transparent Oracle. When doing readings, you have more options in creating sub-sets of the cards to draw upon. Draw from just the Animal guide cards, or the Landscapes (where should I go on vacation?) or the Time of Day cards when seeking chronological answers, and so on.

On using the Transparent Oracle

Of course, the key idea behind the Transparent Oracle is the ability to stack cards and combine images. Personally I found stacking more than two cards made it difficult to see much of anything. Maybe for readers who are comfortable with very abstract or interpretive artwork (I’m looking at you, Thoth) could see something more in a triple-or-more card stack than I could.

I did try twisting the cards about, trying to create an alignment of the images that inspired me which resulted in a kind of kaleidescope effect, especially with the cards that have bold border elements. I sorta wish that I could play with the images digitally, resizing them so they could form concentric patterns. One could always just hold the top card above the others, closer to the eyes and thus create the illusion of change in size… Hm. now I will have to go back and try that… That would make an awesome digital application!

Finally, I’d like to address the idea of stacking the Transparent cards with cards from other tarot decks. The cards for the Transparent Tarot are a bit on the large size, which means they frame cards from other decks pretty well; creating a border, a penumbra if you will, accentuating the underlying image(s) with additional layers of meaning. The downside is you need a strong white background color under your reading space in order to see the images of the transparent cards very well. Fortunately the Transparent Oracle comes with white linen cloths that serve nicely both as a reading backdrop as well as a way to wrap and store your Transparent cards.

Overall I really like the concept and the execution of the Transparent Oracle as well as the Transparent Tarot. I don’t get to play with them nearly as often as I like, but they are very welcome additions to the arsenal of divination tools on my shelves.

~Andrew