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.
Before diving into my first reading with the DFO deck (pictured above), I want to talk about Khadijah. While I make it very clear that I’m head over heels about the artwork in this deck, this card in particular is at the very top of my favorites. Her pose, her power, her style, her age. It fits so well with her story, but is also a perfect example of what I see in my mind’s eye when I think of an empowered, respected, successful woman. As a woman who not only has her own business, but comes from a line of women who have done the same, I find that Khadijah resonates deeply with me. Meeting her at this time in my life is really magickal, in my eyes, as there are still things I want to achieve professionally, but also desire to start a family of my own. While working on this unboxing post and the previous comparison post, her card was one of the first that stood out to me. She’s hard to miss! In fact, when I would shuffle, select, or arrange the cards, her card kept reappearing.
I honestly didn’t who she was prior to looking her up in the guidebook. It has inspired me to learn more about her though and I wish more people knew of her as I think that would really go far in combating discrimination and stereotypes. This, in and of itself, is one of the prime examples of why I believe in and support a deck like this that seemingly approaches these revered figures with tremendous love and respect.
When I first began shuffling, it was a bit awkward as the matte finish of the cards forces a change in how my fingers need to work. Practice makes perfect and as time went on, I found the rhythm. Prior to this, I had cleansed under the moon the scarf you see beneath the cards and then slept with the deck under my pillow. A delightfully clean blend of Rosemary and Spearmint was burning through the evening and as I did this reading.
I was so happy to finally purchase The Divine Feminine Oracle deck. When it arrived on Tuesday, I couldn’t wait to unpack it and explore. This is such a grown up collection. That probably sounds really bizarre, but I feel it’s accurate. You have the deck you might get your kid or young teenager (though even then I might question that) to introduce them to different names and faces and stories. And then you have this one. I look at the quality of the imagery, the power of it. I examine the guidebook and read the care and consideration put into the entries. This is the deck you buy for seriously connecting with the spirit and knowledge offered here.
These are not caricatures visually or contextually. The background and information provided hasn’t been run through a Disney machine to sanitize everything with rainbows and smiley faces. Each individual gets about a three page write up that includes a bit of background, symbolism, cultural impact, as well as a meditative phrase and intention. This is a grown up deck. Rather than classify this as a sunny-side-of-the-street deck, I’d rather say that its tone is inline with its purpose and overall it is very motivating.
There’s quite a nice age range featured here as well, beyond the big three of maiden, mother, and crone. A woman’s age and how that impacts her appearance is (unfortunately) such a large part of the psyche. It’s refreshing to see older faces glowing with vivaciousness rather than being so weathered and perhaps diminished in spirit. For me at least, I think a person’s inner vitality is reflected a lot in their expression and demeanor regardless of age. When it comes to artistic representation of that, society’s prejudices about women who are older can dim the glow or dull the magnetism. Happy to report that every Goddess here presents powerfully, however their definition of power manifests.
Last year, I purchased Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle deck (GGO). Since then, I have done a few posts about it and occasionally a reading. It wasn’t long after that I made the decision to replace it with The Divine Feminine Oracle (DFO) deck by Meggan Watterson. While the cards I drew from the GGO resonated with me for those situations, I still felt put off by the guidebook. Even when I stopped bringing the book out altogether and started diving straight into my own research, there felt like this wall in between me and the deck.
The Back Story
I bought the GGO (and then decided to buy DFO) because for most of my life I haven’t had many positive female influences. The women who raised me were all powerful in certain ways, but very dysfunctional. Some were very much not who I should have looked up to as role models for how to function in relationships or even how to interact with my self. Through ancestor work and my love of learning about different cultures, I wanted a deck focused on feminine energy with deities, archetypes, and heroes that could help me grow in places that were neglected. Obviously, this is why I was so disappointed in how GGO handled introducing the strong female identities.
Today is my maternal grandmother’s birthday, 7/11. She was a boss in every sense of the word. She ran the books, the businesses, the households. Wife, mother, partner. Shrewd and with one of the strongest senses of discernment I’ve ever known. While these qualities made her an amazing business owner, they often complicated her relationship with her children and, of course, me (her only grandchild). I learned a lot about people and negotiation watching her. The things she could do with money and a business were amazing. But years of fighting to survive starting at a super young age and then going into television and radio, followed by construction, and then finally the healthcare sector created a toughness that never really went away — not even at home with a four year old.
Though she passed over a decade ago, it has taken some work to process how her parenting decisions impacted my childhood. While I value my independence and disinterest in what my peers think of my hobbies or abilities, I’m still struggling to break free from the isolationism and the harsh black-and-white view I can have of other people’s judgement. As an adult, I’ve come to realize that it is important to have a support system of friends for when times are tough and when you just want to have some fun. There’s still quite a bit unwiring and rewiring to do. However, through my efforts to move past the upset and see her more completely as a woman, I’ve arrived at a place where I can value both her abilities and accomplishments.
Before this reading, I was actually praying and crying to her. I really need those qualities, her super powers, right now. Her drive, her strength, her determination, her business sense, her wisdom about money. That steel to keep me held up cause there’s nobody left to help pick me up anymore. I’m all I’ve got at the minute. Add to it that I’m like most Geminis and I make my best money when I’m happy and energized. If I could just tap into her energy and get supercharged, it could really help me turn a corner I feel. Plus there was always this vibe of unflappability she projected. She was human and I know things got to her. But she always said that there would be a time to cry later. It’s good that I’m learning to access and process my emotions through shadow work, but I still need to be able to put them to the side in order to see a situation clearly and make the best decision.
I asked what Goddesses I should also look to for qualities that I need to accomplish my goals. Shuffling the deck, these are the two Goddesses that came out:
Was it any surprise that I was going to do a Valentine’s Day reading with The Lovers Path Tarot? It’s such a beautiful deck. And full of wisdom! I keep it in this embroidered burgundy and gold drawstring bag that matches the palette of the deck’s artwork. I had been looking around a bit for a cloth to do readings on for it and happened across this gorgeous vintage Oscar de la Renta scarf with all the reds, pinks, and purples a person could want. My heart!
I have this relative that I’ve mentioned previously, the fire sign. She’s a maternal figure of sorts. She’s my mother’s sister. We have a very complicated relationship and it’s something I’ve really been working to improve. Earlier today, I was trying to help her with something. Unfortunately, it was beyond my ability and she’d have to find someone else to get it sorted. I came back to my desk to do my Valentine’s Day reading and she was sorta floating in and out of my head a bit whilst I was trying to get centered. It wasn’t enough to get me to stop shuffling, so I just went with it. Up come the Six of Swords and the Wheel of Fortune cards.
When I first saw photos online of The Lovers Path Tarot by Kris Waldherr, I felt emotional. It was more than being moved. It was stronger, deeper. I love tarot decks and there are dozens I’d love to have. But there was this pull to have it. Like my heart ached for it. The booklet I will definitely use as the Major Arcana are connected to different couples.
This second photo gives examples of the High Priestess (Shahrazade and Shahriyar), the Empress (Cleopatra and Caesar), the Emperor (Arthur and Guinevere), the Hierophant (Romeo and Juliet), and the Lovers (Isis and Osiris) cards. There’s a lot of opportunity to do extra research into the history of the personalities of these couples and how they connect to the archetypes of their traditional Tarot card counterparts.
So, so beautiful. And they feel great in the hands.