Is it tarot or is it an oracle? Granted, the name “Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck” is a bit confusing, but this deck of 65 cards really is a hybrid between the two. Though it looks like an oracle deck on the surface, it is heavily based in the tarot tradition. Because of this, it is a great deck for transitioning from one system to the other. This is one of John Holland’s most popular decks, and it is not surprising to see why given this unique approach.
Like a traditional tarot deck, this one has a major arcana (edged in black) and four color-coded suits that correspond to the tarot’s minor arcana. While the major arcana do not carry the card names from a tarot deck, the keywords often correspond neatly with tarot meanings. For example, Judgement becomes “Truth” and the Tower becomes “Disruption.” However, the deck is only 65 cards, so some of the cards of the tarot have been cut. This essentially equals cutting the court cards because Holland wanted to focus on the numerology of the cards one through nine. The remaining pip cards do correspond very closely to a tarot deck, though Holland has sometimes softened the meanings. Each card has a keyword, and the meanings are a little softer than in the more traditional tarot system. An addition from the oracle world is the inclusion of cards representing the chakras, making this a fun deck for exploring those types of readings. I have actually reviewed another chakra-based deck. Unlike that one, this deck handles the chakras quite differently with these dedicated chakra cards.
The guidebook is well done with large black-and-white photos of each card. There is a good description for each card. Holland also lists the tarot card that corresponds to each of the major arcana cards, which is very helpful when learning. He gives a basic introduction to the two arcanas for those not used to working with them, as well as several pages on using symbolism and tips psychic development. He also gives four card spreads, including a yearly forecast spread, which I quite like. The book is quite thick, at over 170 pages, and is nicely bound.
These cards feature nicely drawn artwork that looks like it is done mostly in pastels. All of the cards are illustrated. Human figures feature very prominently and the art seems a bit mystical. I personally feel these cards read a bit “masculine” but that is only my feeling of them. I think the pictures on the cards are fairly neutral overall, and so would be appropriate for many readers. Holland did a good job of matching the images to the keywords.
The colors in the cards are vibrant and there are a lot of primary colors, but the deck does not look at all childish. The most “austere” cards are the chakra cards which simply feature the chakra’s symbol radiating out from background of the corresponding chakra color.
Layout and Feel
The card layout is where this deck really feels more like an oracle than a tarot deck. These cards are a standard size for oracle decks. The cards are slightly glossy and a bit thin but seem sturdy enough. The size of the cards makes it hard for me to riffle shuffle.
As I have mentioned, these cards are color coded in their borders. So, their borders are important for reading the card meanings. As such, I do not think it would be easy to trim the borders. Added to this the cards have lovely gilt edgings that have actually managed to stand up to shuffling without chipping! The card back are also bordered in purple and feature a nice reversible design that looks like it is based on fractal art and sacred geometry.
The box comes in two parts and is a nice quality. Like the cards, it is slightly glossy. It also features some gilt lettering, which corresponds to the card edgings and is a nice touch. The inside is plain white, but has a light design that echoes the card backs.
I can see these cards being great for oracle readers who are trying to transition to reading tarot (or vice versa). They are also nice for people who are a little intimidated by the “darker” cards in the traditional tarot (e.g. Death). For this reason, I can see them fulfilling the same role as The Good Tarot for some readers. I personally like them for readings where I am focusing on chakra work. Having said that, I tend to reach for a “straight” tarot deck more often than not unless I am wanting to specifically work with chakras. This is down to my own personal reading style and not the cards themselves. I can see these cards being a favorite for many other readers.
Name: The Psychic Tarot Oracle Deck
Type/System: Modern oracle/tarot hybrid
Card Number: 65
Card Size: 3.5 x 5 in (8.89 x 12.7 cm)
Author: John Holland
Illustrator: John Matson
Publisher: Hay House, 2009
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not affect my reviews, which I strive to make honest and helpful.
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