Vintage Wisdom Oracle | Review

27 January 2016

Box Vintage Wisdom OracleFor years Tarot was my one and only love. I ‘dabbled’ in an oracle or two, but that was it. Until a course some time ago renewed my interest and convinced me it is a great stand-alone to get advice or ‘divine’. I myself realized that in combination with Tarot it gives even more remarkable results. Oracle after Oracle now enters my cupboard. The Vintage Wisdom Oracle was the first. Did she affirm my thoughts or was this one a big disappointment?

The Vintage Wisdom Oracle is a deck consisting of 52 cards and an 80-page guidebook. It comes in a very sturdy box that is nicely decorated. The image and silver drawings definitely made me eager to open up the box and work with the cards. Victoria Mosley created this deck based on several vintage postcards and art from historic painters like John Waterhouse and Vincent van Gogh. Moseley added exotic butterfly wings, flowers and other symbolic adornments.

Gorgeous goddesses
The cards have okay-ish stock and are pretty large. This makes them hard to shuffle with small hands. Initially I thought the borders had some significance since the coloring isn’t the same on all of them, but if they do I haven’t discovered it. I am not a fan of borders in general, and with such large cards I really wonder: why add something extra if it doesn’t have a use? If I could, I would cut off the borders (but this might ruin the back). Luckily the deck is – with 52 cards instead of the 78 of a tarot pack – just ‘small’ enough to shuffle, albeit with some difficulty. However, with bigger cards the art *does* play a leading role, so you win some, you lose some.

Vintage Wisdom Oracle New Beginnings

The back of the cards are illustrated with a female face, embellished with sepia and brown-toned flowers, surrounded by a golden frame. I think it looks a bit like a medallion or jewelry box. The back makes reversals impossible, even though Moseley says it is an option in her book. But you will definitely see immediately when a card is upside down.

Of course the most important part of the deck are the actual images and their meanings. I have to say that this is one gorgeous Oracle. If you’re a vintage fan you will be instantly sold, but I think most people can definitely appreciate the compilation of goddesses, old post cards, period photographs and historic masters. It has a very feminine vibe, so I’m not sure if male readers will like it – unfortunately common with oracles. But other than that the layers of imagery the designer has provided are original and very pretty.

Cover booklet Vintage Wisdom Oracle

The cover of the booklet that comes with the Vintage Wisdom Oracle. For such a tiny little book it comes with a lot of wisdom.

Actual wisdom
The problem with decks that are based on existing images is sometimes that it lacks depth or that an intuitive read is practically impossible without the book. That is luckily not the case with Vintage Wisdom. I have done several readings for myself and recently did a reading for someone else, focusing on challenges and advice. In all those cases it was an amazing answer, that completely resonated too. I first tried reading without the book. With the cards I pulled from the deck that was definitely possible and after checking the text there was a huge overlap in interpretation.

The Vintage Wisdom (or of course its book) actually worded my conclusion in a beautiful way. It was astute, penetrating and wise. While the book is not that big, booklet is a better word, it deserves a compliment. It provides you with an insightful, poetic and deep text. Written in a graphic fashion it also captures the look and feel of all those lovely cards.

For its size it has a lot of oomph and a lot of wisdom to offer. And even though the deck is very spiritual, sometimes uplifting and obviously pretty, it never becomes airy-fairy, sugar-coated or worse: incomprehensible. And with that I mean that the New Age vagueness is stacked on one another like they wanted to build the Tower of Babel…and well, we all know what happened with that one. So, no…it is spiritual and I detect some Eckhart Tolle-lingo or similar in there, but it is definitely a clear advice every time (and sometimes with a big boot imprint on your behind, when needed).

I love the artwork and how Moseley added extra symbolism to the cards. Some cards are more ethereal, others are cute (Kindred Spirits, Playfulness, Innocence). It is not only beautiful, but has a little edge and drama. My personal favorites are New Beginnings, Compassion, Intention, Release, Change and Strength. It hasn’t escaped my attention that most of those cards can be attributed to the historic painters, but for me that does not come as a surprise. I like the old postcards, but actual art is more my thing (especially when it is John Waterhouse!)

Vintage Wisdom Oracle Adventure

Wisdom Oracle. One of the cards that makes you reach a bit for the intended meaning.

Slight disconnect
Despite both text and deck being beautiful, straightforward and clear, I do see a small problem with the fact that it uses existing images instead of working from an idea and then creating art. It fortunately does not happen a lot with his deck, but there are a few cards where I am lost in translation. I just don’t see the connection between card image, keywords and description *that well*. A good example of this is the Adventure card, which I remember very well since it fell on several occasions. The card depicts a beautifully dressed woman (for a gala) lifting an enormous butterfly off the ground. In the back you see the Eiffel Tower. This is one of the former postcards.

When I think of the word adventure I think of a completely different dynamic than I see on this card. Adventure in the Vintage Wisdom focuses on changing an existing situation and letting go of thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve you. It urges to be open for new perspectives even if they involve pain or discomfort. It could also mark the start of a new phase in your life. Normally I would expect a link to the meanings of the tarot Fool, but this description feels more Death to me.

Vintage Wisdom Oracle Nature

The Nature Card of the Vintage Wisdom Oracle gives me a different intuitive feel than what the books says. Not a huge problem, but a bit of a shame.

The new phase *can* be seen in the enormous butterfly the woman is getting off the ground, and Adventure comes back in the Eiffel Tower if you link traveling to adventure. But other than that the image doesn’t completely fit. Another card that does not encompass the meaning in the booklet is Nature. Nature is illustrated by an exotic dancer, standing in a barren field surrounded by poppy flowers. I could easily make up my own interpretation, but that would not be the same one as in the booklet. Not an enormous problem with an Oracle, but it still bothers me.

Conclusion
If you can overlook those little mishaps this deck is one that will give you very deep readings. I have to say it’s probably not useful for fortune-telling (which to me is no issue, because I rarely do that). No Ancient Pythia with this deck, but you can definitely embody the three H’s if you want: the High Priestess, the Hermit and the Hierophant. If you have a need to shine a light on certain challenges, want advice, read intuitively or crave a solution the Vintage Wisdom is a powerful way to go.

Seeing that it comes with several unique spreads especially made, you’ll have an original way of testing out the depth of the cards. I think that the name of the deck is chosen well. For me it is definitely a contender to be used simultaneously with my tarot cards when I am doing lesson spreads or personal growth readings. It is an Oracle for the ‘psychology pile’.

Author or artist Publisher Publication
Victoria Moseley US Games 2014

Vintage deck bags
I just have to mention the strikingly beautiful tarot bags Victoria Moseley has created for her deck. The limited-edition keep-safe bags were commissioned to celebrate the release of the deck and are made of soft cotton velvet, lined with matt olive green satin and embellished using found textiles such as lace from an Edwardian wedding gown, french passimentrie and embroidery taken from Victorian children’s clothes. If you have an extra dime to spare – sadly I don’t – add it to your cart. Especially the Rose velvet with antique passimenterie & pearl embellishments makes me drool, but I’d recommend the last one, the Deep purple velvet with 1930s oriental sequin textile, too. I hope they go to a good home…

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Wrap Up

Vintage Wisdom Oracle

  • 8/10
    Artwork
  • 7/10
    Card stock
  • 8/10
    Symbolism
  • 8.5/10
    Readability
  • 8/10
    Added Materials

Array

  • Beautiful and quality storage box
  • Decent card stock
  • Exquisite paintings
  • Wisdom in the booklet
  • Relatively easy to read

Array

  • Some disconnects between art and meaning
  • Cards quite large to shuffle
  • Not useful for fortune-telling