Review: The Transparent Oracle by Emily Carding

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Courtesy of the lovely folks at Schiffer Books, our friendly mail person delivered a copy of Emily Carding‘s Transparent Oracle to my door!

The Transparent Oracle by Emily Carding

Image Courtesy of Schiffer Books

Like Emily’s Transparent Tarot (which I reviewed here, and we chatted with Emily about it in this podcast), the Transparent Oracle is nicely packaged, and includes a white cloth for ease in working with the cards. As with the Transparent Tarot, working with the cards on a light table takes the deck to an entirely different level visually.

First, the book.  An interesting and informative forward by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine, and then Emily’s own preface.  In her delightfully chatty style, Emily encourages us to play with the cards “as friends would”, and tells us that “My role here as author is simply to introduce you.”  How can one resist such a charming invitation?

The Oracle is based on the Seven Sacred Directions: East, West, North, South, Above, Below, and Within, and the elemental correspondences of the four geographic directions.  Emily thoughtfully provides notes on directions and correspondences for readers who are not in the Northern Hemisphere – a nice inclusionary touch which is refreshing to find.

The book gives dscriptions and discusses meanings and associations for each card.  Persisting in a habit developed very young, I played with the cards prior to reading the book, simply to have a chance to work with them intuitively and to see what occurred to me.

The artwork is, of course, wonderful – Emily’s talents are well known and well shown with this deck.  Flower wreaths, fairies, green men, gnomes, geometric shapes, and hands with olives, all beautifully rendered.  Wait – what? Hands with olives?  Okay, time to pop open the book and see what that is about.

Turns out that card 66 (the images are numbered to make it easier to find them in the book) is actually Telepathy, and what I thought might be olives are actually wave lines representing the telepathic energy moving out from the individual.  This card appears in the sequence Within, which I imagine must have been the most challenging for Emily to create – after all, how do you represent, even symbolically, intangibles such as Telepathy and Empathy?

Emily neatly solves this problem by having the cards “show the face and hands, two significant parts of our outer selves which reflect the inner, with energy lines and patterns, or different parts emphasized in color.”  So, no, they’re not olives – although I did play with the idea of them being olives, and thus olive-colored energy in telepathy, and contemplated what that might mean in the context of a reading.  You are welcome to share your ideas in the Comments!

As with the Transparent Tarot, it’s quite possible to spend so much time playing with the cards – looking at the images, sorting and stacking them in various combinations – that one never actually gets around to reading with them.  However fun and enticing the play is, don’t miss the opportunity to read with this deck – you will be rewarded for your discipline and focus, and can still have a great deal of fun playing with combinations and overlaying the cards to create new, interesting, and infinite images.

For even more interest, you can do a reading with the Transparent Tarot, and then pull cards from the Transparent Oracle to add a layer of meaning and enrich the visual experience.  Even though the cards are a different shape, they work together quite nicely – the roundness of the Oracle cards give visual and symbolic expansion to the traditional rectangular Tarot cards, taking the images out of their usual borders and offering a new perspective.

Brava, Emily! Congratulations on another fantastic artistic success!

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