Oracle decks: light, fluffy, colorful and loving thoughts, right? Wrong! It seems oracle makers are making more and more exceptions on the ‘uplifting’ rule and dive deep into the dark soul. Where a certain type of reader rather stayed away from the colorful animals, angels and fairies and thought oracles had nothing to offer, Schiffer’s Shamanic Healing Oracle shows once again that oracles can bring a whole lot more to the table when it comes to reading the cards.
Shamanic Healing Oracle cards are packed in a little ‘jewelry’ box, that can be opened with a fixed ribbon. It fits all the deck and its little companion paperback excellent, so extra storage won’t be needed: it’s classy, handy and sturdy enough.
Black & gold
The 44 cards of Shamanic Healing are tarot-sized (bridge) with golden edges and glossy black backgrounds. That’s what makes them different from most oracle decks I’ve seen so far. Each card has an oracular title, which gives away part of its divinatory meaning. The card stock is good, but just like with most oracles you need to use it a bit before the laminate becomes sleek enough to shuffle comfortably. Luckily that happens quickly enough in most cases, so no complaints here. Especially since the gold stays where it belongs: on the edges of the cards.
So, why this title? Well, creator Michelle Motuzas is a shamanic healer and teacher. All the paintings used for this oracle are paintings based on her shamanic studies. Her belief as a shaman evolves around “everything is energy, but we and things all have a different vibration. Its’ best to raise yours to attract good things.” It is not so much the whole ‘The Secret & Law of Attraction’ thing (good, that gives me hives) as it is ‘work hard on your own manifestations.’
The art-work of the Shamanic Healing Oracle is based on nature and earth-like symbolism. There’s a huge amount of birds and other animals, leaves, vegetation and earthly portrayals like the Sun and water(drops). I can imagine it is therefore easy to recognize regardless of where in the world you are. Imagery of the earth and all that belongs on it usually has a cross-cultural meaning and tells similar stories -save a few nuances of course.
Rough & primitive vibe
The fact she painted many of these drawings in some sort of trance while trying to convey a message really fits the type of art. It isn’t all neatly lined up, water colors and what not. No, it looks like rough sketches, colored in with passion, really coming from inside. There’s a bit of a primitive vibe. Like fancy or neat grotto paintings. White, purple, blue, yellow-gold and green are used the most. And all that on top of black gloss. With black backgrounds the borders are black as well, but every picture has its own frame: a yellow-golden line with -respectfully- doodles fitting to the rest of the picture.
By having such an inky black background, mostly lined with nature’s golden browns, the overall feel is always one of looking into the soul of the artist. I love the darkness of these cards, but practically it makes them a bit hard to read when you’re in a room with bad lighting or after a certain time of day. Daylight (or a good lamp) is really the only time that does them justice, but then Shamanic Healing really offers you something of a luxurious feel. Chauvet-flashback or not ;-).
According to the companion – a tiny paperback with full color cards and an explanatory text – Motuzas based the paintings on both knowledge and every day life. “The symbols and images used in this deck have originated from personal experiences as well as universal symbols harking back to cave drawings” (see!). She made this oracle as a tool to enable the reader to face whatever your life path has thrown at you. The booklet in itself has short, but great and deep, meanings per card and explains a bit on how to read the oracle in general. Enough to get beginners started.
Amongst the 44 cards you will find Anger, Perspective, Joy, Divine Timing, Changes, Stripping illusions, Grounding, Burden and Ascension. With titles like that The Shamanic Healing Oracle seems the pre-eminent deck to help you with tough roads ahead, guidance and shadow work. While some oracle creators do offer spreads with their deck this is usually limited by a 1-card or perhaps a specific 4- card spread based on its theme. Motuzas is highly convinced you can do the whole tarot-shebang with The Shamanic Healing Oracle and easily use past, present, future or even the Celtic Cross.
I tested this out and I soon realized that the keywords, the oracular titles she uses on the cards, are not so much useful for making sentences as they are a clue to what the cards mean symbolically. Try to imagine 44 nieces and nephews to the 22 Majors and you can imagine a bit what it felt like using this deck. The Shamanic Healing is therefore best read by looking at the imagery, using the iconoclastic perspective, as well as the meanings in the very useful and full color companion.
Of course this deck isn’t a tarot at all, but it reads in a slightly similar way without the whole system. The 44 oracle card can’t compare to the 22 Majors of any tarot deck, but it gives you an idea of the usefulness of this oracle. It gave me similar answers (in a try) to both a Kipper and a Tarot deck. So my only conclusion can be: it’s a fine stand-alone.
Shamanic Healing has many typical Oracle-deck characteristics. It doesn’t have a system, it has keywords on the front, it has 44 cards, focuses on nature and the addendum ‘healing’ is a common denominator. However, the use of sketch-like art, muted colors, golden edges and glossy black cards makes it stand out. I would not be surprised if it attracts a different type of reader; maybe even a ‘this is my first oracle’ type. Much to my delight creator Michelle Motuzas made a deck that can give straightforward and deep answers as a stand-alone. Not just that helpful uplifting message *after* a tarot reading.
Shamanic Healing has more to say than “all will be alright” and it does it in a classy way that I normally don’t even associate with the word class. And what reviewer doesn’t like to be surprised? If you were looking for an oracle to try out, why not give this one a voice?
NB. Michelle Motuzas offers a workshop on how to read with her Shamanic Healing Oracle on September 18th. From the looks of it, it is a physical workshop so you would have to be from around. But you can check the contents of the workshop here.
|Author or artist||Publisher||Publication|
|Michelle Motuzas||Schiffer Books||2016|