2019 July 2 Update
2015 September 24: Original Posting
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And if you’re interested in having your own copy of these cards for personal use, please read on.
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.
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.
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.
Zip File Download