Chinese Oracle Script Divination Cards

2019 July 2 Update

A revised and improved Version 2.0 of this free divination deck is now available. Go here or click on the banner below.

Chinese Oracle Bone Divination Deck, Version 2.0, Free Deck + Book Set

2015 September 24: Original Posting

Instagram Pic Cards Snapshot

While writing my forthcoming second book, tentatively titled The Tao of Craft, I had to do some intense study of oracle bone script. That’s where the knowledge for the card content comes from. All citations to the amazing references I used are in the book, but one person I want to thank right away is Richard Sears, who runs ChineseEtymology.org. Now, as for the inspiration, that’s a little harder for me to convey.

On a morning I was to drive my parents to the airport, I thought I heard a voice speaking to me in my room, while I was sleeping in bed, and that woke me up. Then after that, no matter how hard I tried to go back to sleep, I couldn’t, so I relented, booted up my computer, and in that same sitting, a complete first draft of this deck was done. I talk more about the conception of this deck in the accompanying 55-page Guidebook. The deck itself is made up of 33 cards.

Card Images Snapshot
Screenshots of the first 18 cards

These cards are not for sale, but I am offering a free license for you to use them. Keep reading for now. (Or skim and scroll down. Whatevs.)

I created a Microsoft Word template of all the cards that you can print out from your home or office printer, double-sided (with card backs). Then you’ll need to cut the pages into cards yourself and use a corner cutter to round out the edges. Below is the corner cutter I bought just for this project.

CornerCutter

I spent a stupid amount of time cutting out my print-out cards manually and rounding the corners with the cutter.

Then I discovered makeplayingcards.com (MPC) and I swear to you there are no affiliations, advertising arrangements, or anything between us. I stumbled across the site, discovered that they print single deck orders, and then proceeded to upload my card designs for a custom personal oracle deck.

MPC Screenshot - All Cards Uploaded

I created 33 separate image files for the cards at 300 dpi resolution, along the an image file for the reversible card backs you see. However, the digital files I created– according to the MPC website– will only work with the standard playing card or Lenormand size cards. That was fine by me. The total cost was $15.99. See below. Had I known this before self-printing and cutting my deck, I would never have done that and would have gone straight for the custom order.

MPC Screenshot - Cost

From the above screen shot, you can see that I placed my order on September 12. The cards arrived shrink-wrapped and in perfect condition on September 22. Amaze-balls. The below is the final result. Great cardstock quality for the 310 gsm (linen) option I selected. I’ve been using my own oracle deck and have found them to yield accurate results.

Benevolence and Exchange

And if you’re interested in having your own copy of these cards for personal use, please read on.

Guidebook Snapshots
Screenshots of the Guidebook

The above are screen shots of the 55-page Guidebook I’ve written up to go along with the 33-card oracle deck. The Guidebook gives you some background on where I got the idea for this deck, why oracle scripts, what the heck oracle scripts are, my interpretation of each script, and a few brief tidbits on the etymological origins and history of each script.

To create your own 33-card oracle deck, I have both an MS Word document that you can print on your own, double-sided, flipping on the short edge. Then you’ll have to cut each card out yourself and round out the corners. In the Guidebook, I explain the type of cardstock I used for a decent quality deck.

MPC Screenshot - Sample Preview

Alternatively, you can upload the image files I provide to you onto a print-on-demand website like MPC to order your own copy of the deck. You can either use the Guidebook digitally (it’s a PDF) as an e-book or print it out. I did not print it out and have opted to keep it as an e-book reference.

photo 1
The deck I custom-ordered from MPC, still shrink-wrapped.

Wait, wait, how much does this all cost?

I’m not commercializing the deck.

It’s a free digital download. Click on the zip file link below.

Oracle Bone Script Divination Cards

Version 1.0

Zip File Download

29 thoughts on “Chinese Oracle Script Divination Cards

  1. Eleanor Gona

    I would love to get a copy of your cards. I will let you know how they work for me after I use them for a while. I will also send a donation soon.
    Thank you,
    Eleanor

    Like

  2. Carol Higeli

    I’m so excited about this!!! I’ve ordered the cards from MPC, printed out the book (I did 2 per page to make a mini version – to save on my dwindling ink) and was happy to send the $10 U.S. to you via your hubby! Thanks again for this generous offering 😀 – Carol

    Like

  3. Inger Anne-Sofi Jansson

    Would love to get and try this oracle out! I have e-mailed you and I’m going to donate also.
    Thank you / Inger Anne-Sofi Jansson

    Like

  4. Hi Benebell,

    I have two questions for you.

    1) When you say oracle bone script, is that also the same as dragon bone oracle? I’d wondered this when I first read your post, and thought I would ask.

    2) This one is for the lawyer. 🙂 I have a PDF that is easily found on the Internet, containing images of an tarot deck based on characters from a popular comic strip. This is not a licensed product. Do you think that MPC would print something like that? I’d love a copy of this for personal use, if it was easy to have printed (as opposed to DIY).

    Thanks for any insight on these questions.

    Like

    1. Hi Jason!

      I have no idea what “dragon bones” are. The system I devised is based on oracle bone scripts as noted in the Guidebook, but the system is not based on any traditional or existing divination systems.

      As for IP (intellectual property) questions, I don’t give legal advice through blog comments, so please do not construe this as legal advice or even opinion. Generally speaking, though, if it will help your due diligence, use of images or likenesses from a popular comic strip, unless it’s in the public domain, requires the written permission of the author of that comic strip, even if it’s for personal use or not for sale. Also, copyright laws will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it really depends on what applies to where you live.

      Hope that helps!

      Like

  5. Impressive as always, Benebell! I’m always on the lookout for Asian divination systems; I thoroughly enjoyed your posts about I Ching and Mahjong. I’m really looking forward to your new book! Some time ago I found pictures of ancient Liubo dice on Google that were driving me nuts because I couldn’t find any more information about them. The symbols on those dice really remind me of these scripts… I wonder if they’re related? Will be contacting you on FB soon about your oracle!

    Like

    1. Hey Chiza!

      Yes, def contact me. I’m happy to send this along!

      Also, if you meant “六博,” may I recommend copying and pasting that term into Google to search. You may find a lot more information on it!

      Like

  6. Hello. I downloaded the zipped folder yesterday from “Read Excerpt” section yesterday and planning to search for the card-stock paper. Then I found this post this morning. It’s been for a while since you wrote this particular post but is it still possible placing the order of the deck?

    Like

    1. I do not sell the cards at all. Anyone is free to meet a copy of this deck for their own uses. If you want to print duck to work with that has been professionally produced, try makeplayingcards.com.

      Like

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