Well, here I am again reviewing a traditional oracle deck with an antiquated name. This one has been in continuous publication since 1904. But, unlike the Sibilla della Zingara I reviewed earlier, this little, poker-sized deck still has strong nods to traditional cartomancy. As such, it is something completely different, making it quite fun to learn. Like that sibilla, this deck’s title uses an antiquated term. I include it here only because it is in the deck’s name. I otherwise tend to refer to these as “traditional-style” oracle cards.
Being honest, art is not this deck’s strong suit. Each card is actually dominated by a large playing card insert and a short block of text. With that, there is a small and slightly crude line drawing of each card’s key word. These drawings are then colored in black, yellow, orange and red. The limited palette actually works for me, but the design really doesn’t. That said, there is a certain vintage charm to these cards.
Layout and Feel
The cards include a playing card insert, number, divination meaning and illustration. This is a lot of content on the face of each card, but they do not feel overly crowded in a spread. This is likely due to their consistent color scheme and simplified artwork.
The card backs are bordered and feature a purple-blue silhouette of a woman in a witches hat sitting before a cauldron. So, there is no subtlety of message here and a good deal of kitsch. Some people may not take to this backing because of it’s stereotypical nature.
The card stock itself is decent for oracle cards, but nowhere near what you would get in a good deck of playing cards. So, do not expect premium shuffling ability. The cards also come in a basic tuck box. The box is orange and black and features the image from the card back under the title. The box is actually quite sturdy and has held up to use well.
For those not familiar with them, these types of traditional decks are a little like lenormand in that each card has a keyword that is illustrated on the card as well as any cartomantic reading that comes from the card insert. These cards, however, have all 52 cards in a playing card deck, whereas lenormand has an abbreviated deck of 36. Also, this deck comes with three joker cards, which may be used in some readings. With all these cards, this deck could actually be used to play card games in addition to pulling divination duty.
The LWB is tiny, coming in at only eight pages. It is really more of a fold-out insert. It does include a brief (and somewhat apocryphal) introduction and two card spreads. I actually quite like the shorter spread and tend to use it often. The actual card meanings are printed directly onto the cards themselves. This includes directional and near-far reading cues. I actually find this quite handy at a basic level. However, it is also a bit limiting as it is hard to find information beyond these very basic cues.
I have found this deck to give quite honest reads. It is fun to use, but I will admit that I do not personally use this deck often as I don’t really connect to it. With that said, I know for a fact that many people absolutely love this little deck and see it as an absolute go-to. For as inexpensive as it is, I think it’s worth trying and buying. If nothing else, it’s a great, nostalgic conversation starter for around Halloween time.
Name: The Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Playing Cards
Type/System: Traditional oracle
Card Number: 55
Backs: Not reversible
Card Size: 2.5 x 3.5 in (5.6 x 8.89 cm)
Publisher: U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 1989
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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