Seed & Sickle Oracle by Fez Inkwright is a botanical lover’s dream deck. There are 49 cards, where each card reads a little differently depending on whether you’re reading it as a Dawn card or Dusk card.
And thus you’ll get two guidebooks, the Dawn Guidebook and the Dusk Guidebook. Dawn is for reading about growth, investment, and nurturing something to manifestation, while Dusk is about self-reflection, self-care, or even connecting to the unseen spirit realms.
I worked with the planetary hours when reading with these cards. So for readings at the hour of sunrise, about taking action or initiative, I’ll work with the Dawn aspect, and thus look up my card readings in the Dawn Guidebook. At the hour of sunset, for meditative divination, I’ll work with the Dusk Guidebook.
The numbering in the cards begins with The Seed in the suit of spring and the suit of winter ends with The Sickle, completing a cycle that follows an agricultural calendar and incidentally, its ordering reminds me of the I Ching Book of Changes.
It’s fascinating to follow what subject matter or aspect of our world a deck creator connects to tarot or oracle cards, implying the divinatory value of something from our material reality (or conceptual world of ideas, such as with integrating Kabbalah, I Ching, etc.). Sometimes it’s an oracle deck and astronomy, looking up to the skies, as it was in the Cosmos Tarot and Oracle. In The Seed & Sickle Oracle, it’s the plant kingdom.
As for the cards, I’m loving the modern minimalist reinvention of chinoiserie. When you apply Taoist-based art theory to Inkwright’s art style, you can really see the depths of spirituality embedded into these works. The tones here are subtle, quiet, and convey the value of modesty. Using the Bone Method of art interpretation, from these illustrations, I would speculate that Inkwright is more introverted, more of a listener than a speaker, and someone with more of a philosopher/scholar’s qi, or spirit.
The imagery in the cards keep you reminded that all of life and nature is cyclical. For instance, Poppy is from the suit of Spring, for renewed life, and yet there you see at the center the imprint of a skull. This card is about grief, but more specifically, conveys the message that, “This, too, shall pass.” The red poppy is associated with Demeter and Persephone.
The writing in these books is beautiful. Quite like how I approach I Ching divination, I’ll cast a reading with the cards, but then look up the divinatory message in the books, so in that sense, this deck set is as much bibliomancy to me as it is cartomancy.
In the guidebook, the Dawn meaning for Card 23, Willow, from the suit of Summer, is about being more adaptable in your mindset. In the situation you find yourself in, try to be more flexible. Meanwhile the entry for Willow in the Dusk guidebook talks about the indigenous Ainu of northern Japan and their lore of the willow branch being what originally formed the backbone of us humans. In times of adversity, lean so you don’t break.
Funny: My first impression of these cards, before peeking inside the guidebooks, was that the style and aesthetic reminded me of Yoshi Yoshitani (Tarot of the Divine). And then a minute later when I opened the guidebook I realized Yoshitani wrote the Foreword.
This particular art style I’m associating with both Yoshitani and Inkwright is trending right now in 2020 to 2021. A lot of the young adult novels coming out at the moment, for instance, feature book covers with this aesthetic. And I’m totally here for it.
Not only do I love this deck for its oracle function, but I love it as a hand-held gallery or portfolio of Inkwright’s art, which is just stunning. Every card in this deck is exquisite. Not a single one makes me go “meh,” but rather, “wow.”
And I love how much educational information is packed into the guidebooks, from learning about the Elder as the tree of mischievous magic to the history of Romans carrying verbena into peace talks (and in Renaissance magic, verbena was associated with protection against evil) or how the spirit of the datura plant will take on the form of a hunting dog and help you to find that which had been lost.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the Seed and Sickle Oracle from the publisher for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.