There seems to be no end in awesome decks lately, finding my desk. But even amongst awesomeness there is always Top Dog and it looks like that one just barked ;). The latest oracle deck by Ana Tourian, deck designer of the Hidden Waters Tarot, is most likely one of the most beautiful oracle decks I have ever seen. The name is Oracle of Echoes, and I can’t wait to test this puppy out!
Oracle of Echoes from the outside is quite ‘simple’. It comes in a black carton tuck box, printed on both sides which one of the cards. That text on the side of the box offers an introduction. It says The Oracle of Echoes is a vivid 50 cards deck divination system, exploring the inner reflections of the human psyche and offering a unique magical entrance into the patterns of our soul. And the art definitely reflects that, the cards feel like a peek into ones soul and they were what enthralled me so much in the beginning already, but I will tell you all about that a little later.
Borderless, no gloss
First, the quality test: the 50 cards of the Oracle of Echoes are more tarot sized than oracle sized, borderless (yay!) and only have a black part underneath the art for the title. (Think: Tarot Illuminati). I think this is, other than my (ehm I guess previously) number one oracle Vintage Wisdom one of the very few oracle decks that isn’t laminated and does not have gloss either. That rarely happens and it definitely makes the shuffling easier.
But…and this is a thing that I am a bit bummed out about: I had wished them to be a tad thicker. Don’t get me wrong…it isn’t very bad quality and I am sure it’ll hold up during frequent use, but you can riffle them in an instant, if you want. I guess this is the only minus (and not even a big one I have for this oracle deck).
Tourian did something quite unique while making this deck: she placed an open invitation to people who had specific ideas on what they longed to see in an Oracle. The Oracle of Echoes has a few expected titles like a Nature, Abundance, Intuition, Gift, or Healing, but a lot are also quite very new, or indeed cards I would like to see in a deck myself.
Those are exactly the ones that came from her unique collaboration with the audience, namely The Chrone, Imperfect beauty, The Ancestors, Self-involved, Balance, Let go, and Breakthrough. And there is a little tarot influence here as well with cards like Death and The Lovers – bearing similar meanings.
Gods & guides
The deck also features cards like Ancestors, Spirit guides and God Speaks and Goddess Speaks. Again, tarot users will most likely recognize a bit of Empress and Emperor in the last two, but definitely on a more spiritual level. In one of the others cards she also references gods and goddesses. So, if this is something you feel uncomfortable with or can’t ‘bow’ or fit into your own beliefs or belief system, these could be a deal breaker.
It is the designer’s hope that the involvement of her audience in the creation of the Oracle of echoes will enhance both understanding and value of the deck, as she states in the PDF guidebook. From what I can see, this is definitely what will happen.
Greek mythology & companion
By the way… absolutely download (or print) this little guide if you buy the deck. It looks amazing: full color cards on a black and fiery red background, with the perspective of the artist on the cards (and a few spreads for soul work!). Every card has a paragraph (or 2) of text with a little art description and the intention and/or advice. A good example is the card Discord, which shows a tree with a large apple on it, picturing two angry, screaming faces. Discord’s art is based on the Greek mythological story of the Apple of Discord. So, it can be an interesting read at times and offer you a foundation to build your knowledge of this deck on.
However, however it is my opinion but with this oracle a guidebook is hardly necessary. And that brings me back to the art.
From the moment I unpacked the 50 cards of the Oracle of Echoes and started to shuffle through them, I had an instant connection. I am not sure if I am able to explain it properly, but I could and can actually ‘feel’ the art. The emotion behind every depiction, the intention in every piece of art is so well done that they hit me right where they need to be. I’ve done a few test readings and it was so easy to see their message that only shortly before I published this review did I check the guidebook to see if I was actually close to what Ana Tourian had envisioned (Mostly: yes, but her words can offer something extra, as well as your own visual interpretation).
I am willing to bet Oracle of Echoes will appeal to a very broad public of oracle users of this type -and maybe beyond. Tourian’s work is different than most oracle types. No abstract images, no fairylike creatures or angels, no nature theme, nor simplistic figures of every day life. Her cards are made with water colors (no pastels) and the images are raw, as if they were made while the artist lived through the emotions she wanted to portray at the time of painting. And in a way they feel like watching a dream, something fluid and smokey, but still vivid and clear. Tourian calls them ‘surrealistic’ (and raw too). Style wise they are at times, but at the same time also very realistic and gripping. As if she was able to draw the surface of your soul, your thoughts the moment you face fears, ever day life quarrels, or even something that goes deeper and put brush to canvas.
Surrealistic or not: for me every image was very recognizable and so fitting, every card made sense. Ana is a very talented painter for sure, but what makes for a true artist of divination decks is when you are able to communicate a whole story and feelings. That is exactly what the Oracle of Echoes does for me.
Straightforward & clear
The deck is a straight shooter on top of that and there were no vague answers. They are direct…perhaps even raw at times. Not as blunt as a tarot deck like Crowley’s Thoth can be, but absolutely and definitely suited for a look into the human psyche and offering clear advice. In a lot of cases the titles of Oracle of Echoes weren’t necessary to convey the meaning, but they were useful when you use them in a technique like ‘oracular sentence’ (where each word is put into a specific part of a sentence to give you the road to your goal).
Conclusion: strong and for all
So, to sum it all up: there is hardly any learning curve with this deck, other than getting acquainted with its art and the inspiration of the artist for some deeper connection. If you are used to ‘oracle language’ you will be able to jump right in, but I think that every beginner -whether you just started with divining or are already a Lenormand or tarot reader stepping out to oracle decks – who is interested in a deck that is excellent for advice, shadow work. For the more complex or unexpected cards, like The Crone, Beyond The Veil, Imperfect Beauty or Creativity, you can always reference the digital guidebook, but my guess is even those new to Oracles won’t *need* it much.
Oracle of Echoes is one of the most beautiful and definitely one of the strongest oracle decks I’ve ever come across. The art is amazing, intuitive and conveys the answer to your questions direct and easy. With their borderless art the cards are allowed to speak loud and clear. The deck deserves a de-luxe finish (paper-wise) and box, and if I had to whine about something it would be that this part of the Echoes-package is too simple. I would have liked to see just a tad more. But I can still say only one thing: buy!
|Author or artist||Publisher||Publication|
|Ana Tourian||Ana Tourian/ SP||January 2017|