Oracle of Novice Witches is a 50-card deck featuring 24 witches and wizards from history and folklore, 13 tools of the craft, and 13 animal familiars. The deck was created by Francesca Matteoni and with art by Elisa Macellari.
The full-color guidebook accompanying the cards features a profile summary of every witch and wizard depicted. Entries for the tools of craft define each tool’s purpose and how it’s generally used. For the familiars, animal symbolism and correspondences are provided.
I like how distinct the different categories of cards are. You’ve got the portraits, and then the tool cards are rendered with a consistent layout design that give this deck a definitive cohesiveness.
One of the risks that comes with creating an homage deck like this, which showcases profiles of famous witches and wizards, is inadvertently leaving people out. Specifically, leaving out magicians that many would have liked to see included.
Or leaving out continents. And getting critiqued for it. Like all of the Middle East and Asia. So much of Western mysticism has traces to Zoroaster– wouldn’t a mention have been nice? The legendary Persian/Arabic magi Ostanes? Ge Hong? The high priestess and shamaness Lady Fu Hao? Any of the famous Taoist priestesses of the Tang dynasty? Or historical shamanesses of Asia? Any of the Eight Immortals?
I’m not too bothered by it, though the product description could have set the scope upfront– witches and wizards from Western history, literature, and folklore.
I do love the guidebook though! The card entries are short and sweet, yet give each subject a fairly comprehensive summary and overview. This deck is absolutely perfect for the novice witch, because it’s an introduction into the world of how Western witchcraft is practiced, in the palm of your hands.
It’s like a glossary come to life. If you’re at the beginning stages of your mystical journey, pull a card on the eve of the new moon. Read its corresponding pages in the guidebook. Dedicate the next lunar cycle to studying and honing your craft in that area.
Or, if one of the witch profile cards is drawn, draw a second card. If that’s also a profile card, draw a third, until you get one of the tools or animal familiars cards. Read more on the historical or legendary figures. Take notes. Extract from their works what you want to integrate into your practice. Then endeavor into practicums throughout the month focused on the tool card you had drawn. Or if it was an animal spirit card, then work with that animal spirit for the month.
The cardstock has a standard semi-gloss finish and great slip. They shuffle perfectly. U.S. Games in general does a great job with cardstock, so rest assured you’ll have no trouble handling these cards for oracle readings.
There’s a clean color block paper-cut style to these illustrations. The candy-toned vibrancy gives levity and brings that important element of fun. Most importantly, the deck achieves its purpose– the Oracle of Novice Witches is itself an incredible learning tool for the new initiate.
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 deck from the publisher for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck and book.