Unboxing: The Goddess Oracle by Marashinsky and Janto

Finally found some time to do an unboxing of The Goddess Oracle by Amy Marashinsky and Hrana Janto. This is my third goddess-focused deck with the other two being the Goddess Guidance Oracle and the Divine Feminine Oracle.

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Straight out of the gate there is one major difference between this deck’s guidebook and the guidebooks of the others. It’s written for an audience that wants to work with deity or already does. Now, this doesn’t mean this is a requirement to use this deck, but rather that there’s quite a large chunk of content that is ritual-focused. I mentioned this in my condensed IG post about this deck that I think anyone who is Pagan, Wiccan, a Witch, anyone who connects with or wishes to invoke Goddesses is going to really get along well with this set.

There are some ritual basics outlined in the introductory section of the book like casting a circle and getting grounded. I really dig the emphasis on exposing the reader to different elements and styles of ritual and then encouraging them to make their own, to individualize their rituals in general. It’s like Roger Horne said in his Folk Witchcraft book (paraphrasing here), magick and ritual that is not personalized can be rather hollow.

Each Goddess also has a ritual/meditation in her entry. For instance, Lilith has an interesting cord cutting ceremony and Corn Mother (called Corn Woman here), a Goddess of North American Indigenous and Native Peoples, has what I would describe more as a guided meditation called Ritual Eating to connect with the energy and spirits of the ingredients in your meal to show thanks and gratitude.

Here’s an example of a Goddess entry using Lakshmi‘s:

Lakshmi entry, The Goddess Oracle by Marashinksy and Janto (1/2)
Lakshmi entry, The Goddess Oracle by Marashinksy and Janto (2/2)

You have the name, focus word, and the image of the Goddess’s card followed by a lovely poem in the voice of the Goddess, herself. A section about mythology and background comes next before closing out the entry with a suggested ritual.

One of my big criticisms about the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck was that not only were the entries in the guidebook ridiculously one dimensional, but they also seemed disingenuous to me when considering the deck’s over-all billed purpose. There are some Goddesses here in this deck that only have one aspect of their story presented (e.g. Sekhmet, Oshun), but I feel it’s more acceptable here because each card seems to be assigned a quality or lesson and then it’s backed up with an explanation, a meditation/ritual, etc. It gives the reader something to learn, recognize, and a way to either enhance or release it depending on whatever the case may be. It’s not a superficial, slapdash, simplistic editing of the Goddess’s story. It’s focused and tied to the keyword of her card in the deck, which in turn is tied back to a significant aspect of her identity. I go into great detail in this entry about my agita over what information is excluded (and included) in the write-ups of Goddesses in this comparison entry: Women’s Empowerment and Divination.

Ritual Guidance

A word about the rituals though. Considering some of the deities represented here, I would strongly encourage readers to research the Goddesses who come up for them in this deck before following through with the meditations and especially the rituals. Not only is it important to introduce yourself properly and respectfully, it’s also crucial that you operate in a way that demonstrates your deference to them. To (again) paraphrase Roger Horne: they’re not our servants.

The way some of these rituals/meditations are written paints a picture of automatically-granted, on demand access to these deities, which I’m not a fan of. I think it’s important to build a relationship with the deities who reach out to you via decks and other means. While I know that not everyone will use this deck to connect with deity, but instead will utilize it as a way to get in touch with archetypes in their own feminine energy, I still would be a bit more circumspect in what I would say and how I would say it. This can veer very quickly into a heated discussion about access entitlement to deities outside of one’s own culture. Food for thought. What softens this a bit is that there are times when an offering is included in the write up and a gracious acknowledgement of presence.

Two additional positive notes about the included rituals/meditations: There are sometimes references to other rituals/meditations from other Goddesses that may help enhance the current entry/exercise. This is quite nice as it increases the reader’s exposure to other deities and includes more experience with ritual and workings.

The Numbers

Chart of Goddesses, The Goddess Oracle by Marashinsky and Janto (1/2)
Chart of Goddesses, The Goddess Oracle by Marashinsky and Janto (2/2)

The guidebook also has a great chart in the back that lists all the Goddesses and is a type of quick reference, which includes their original culture and belief system. The cultural breakdown is as follows: Greek (9), Egyptian (6), Celtic (5), Hindu (5), Welsh (3), Yoruban (3), Buddhism (2), Chinese (2), Indigenous/Native Peoples of North America (3), Japanese/Shinto (2), Slavic (2), Sumerian (2), Aztec (1), Germanic (1), Hawaiian (1), Incan (1), Inuit (1), Jewish (1), Mayan (1), Norse (1), Roman (1).

Goddesses shared only with the Divine Feminine Oracle (53 cards):

  1. Hestia
  2. Inanna
  3. Lilith

The overlap of Goddesses with the Goddess Guidance Oracle (44 cards):

  1. Aphrodite
  2. Artemis
  3. Bast
  4. Eostre/Ostara
  5. Hathor
  6. Ix Chel/Ixchel
  7. Maat
  8. Maeve
  9. Pele
  10. Rhiannon
  11. Sedna
  12. Sulis

Goddesses present in all three decks:

  1. Brigid/Brigit
  2. Freya/Freyja
  3. Isis
  4. Kali
  5. Kuan Yin/Quan Yin
  6. Lakshmi
  7. Sekhmet
  8. Tara — The Goddess Guidance Oracle and Divine Feminine Oracle both have a Green Tara and a White Tara whereas The Goddess Oracle has one simply called “Tara”, who is green, but shares more visual similarity in form to White Tara. However, the focus term of “centering” and the Meditation/Ritual included seems to skew toward a version of Tara that is associated with a particular version of Tantra. This form of her happens to be green, but she isn’t actually Green Tara.
  9. Yemaya/Yemoja/Yemanya

That comes to 24% overlap with the Divine Feminine Oracle and 50% overlap with the Goddess Guidance Oracle. I’m rather pleased with such a high percentage in common with Doreen Virtue’s deck as it will bring me one step further away from needing to use it.

The Artwork

A sampling from The Goddess Oracle by Marashinsky and Janto (1/2)
A sampling from The Goddess Oracle by Marashinsky and Janto (2/2)

Artwork does have a fair amount of nudity, which I do think is great to include in a Goddess deck. The bodies here are different shapes, sizes, and ages. I would say it’s a very body-positive deck. I think the style is a good match for this deck as most cards seem to incorporate an action or symbolism that is associated with the Goddess rather than just being a portrait.

The depiction of the Goddess’ varied ethnicity is decent. It falters with the Egyptian deities, in my opinion. But it’s much better than Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle deck.

An image of a Sibyl is featured on the reverse of every card in The Goddess Oracle.

Cards have a lovely matte finish on them and they’re super easy to shuffle. They’re a traditional size and there isn’t elaborate ornamentation that distracts or detracts from the Goddesses themselves. I do very much appreciate the election to have the image and representation of a Sibyl on the back of every oracle card rather than a pattern of some kind. It’s a really lovely way to acknowledge the past and to keep that connection strong. Hard to ignore the theme these days about women speaking truth, how it’s received and viewed.

The Sibyl, with frenzied mouth uttering things not to be laughed at, unadorned and unperfumed, yet reaches to a thousand years with her voice by aid of the god.

Heraclitus

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