Sep 5, 2016

Oracle Deck Review: Gaia Oracle

Gaia Oracle is a 45-card deck and guidebook packaged in a hard-cover boxed set, created by Toni Carmine Salerno and published by Blue Angel Gallery. Its subtitle offers: Guidance, Affirmations, Transformation. The cards in this deck have a very peaceful flow and calming energy about them. I have chosen to use this deck by drawing a single card daily, sometimes two. I find that pulling a singular card gives me one targeted, soulful theme to focus on for the day.

"Far back in time, light from the underlying fabric of creation burst forth creating the super-luminous event through which our Universe was born. Time began its endless journey through ever-expanding space. The early universe was simply a sea of particles floating through space and time. But life's invisible wheels were already in motion and over time the sea of particles became a sea of stars from which Gaia, our Earth, was born; a living, breathing entity; our Goddess, our Mother and our reflection. Gaia Oracle will point you in love's direction and help you find the answers you seek.

• 45 Gaia-inspired images designed to bring peace and healing
• 45 powerful heartfelt messages that offer guidance and clarity
• 45 self-empowering affirmations to help you fulfil your dreams."

(Excerpt above from the Gaia Oracle boxed set.) 

The cards measure approximately 3.75" x 5.5" and are printed on firm cardstock with a glossy finish. The backs of the cards are not reversible, but the cards aren't designed to be used with reversals. The design on the backs is the image from the card titled Sacred Heart.

The imagery in the deck is very soft and comforting, akin to the feeling of curling up in the crook of a loved one's arms. There are no jarring images in the deck. The softness of the artwork exudes a peace so that you can almost breathe in the essence of the card's meaning as you absorb the illustration. The messages are very deep and meaningful, and really get you to stop and think about how the subject is affecting your life.

Though no two cards are identical, there is some repetition. Several cards feature a woman standing, arms outstretched in the vines/branches of a tree, extemely similar to one another. There are three cards with doves floating in the center, in the same exact position, which leads me to wonder why they weren't shown flying in at least slightly different angles, so as to give some variety to the cards. (Perhaps the deck is a case of the oracle working to match existing artwork, rather than artwork created with each card in mind.) There are a couple of other sets of cards that greatly resemble each other. These various similarities were very noticeable to me while going through the deck, but as I only draw a single card for myself per reading, I didn't find it to have any repetitive affect on my readings. (And the deck is so beautiful that I'm certain it wouldn't bother me anyway. It's more of an observation than a complaint.)

There is a great deal of female nudity in the cards. It's very tastefully done, as the beauty of the female body blends in with the earth and trees and spirit of nature. Ordinarily, I'm turned off by unnecessary nudity in decks, because I find it distracting. But I don't feel at all that way about the nudity in this deck. It blends in so well that it's as natural as the surroundings.

There is one male figure in the deck, and even though the male/female ratio is unbalanced, it was refreshing to see the male face in the deck. We see the head and (clothed) shoulders of a male angel with a bit of wings shown behind him on the "A Hidden Gift" card.

While most of the cards are positive, there are also cards that cover the other end of life's spectrum, addressing issues such as sadness, fear, healing, release, repression, lonliness, confusion, and grief. I like the balance this gives the deck. The cards that acknowledge the dark side are all empowering in their messages, and provide supportive words for helping you get through.

The softcover 88-page guidebook begins with a brief introduction, followed by several spreads:

• Four Card Spread
• Elemental Star Spread (6 cards)
• Rainbow Chakra Spread (7 cards)
• Relationship Spread (8 cards)
• Two Ways Spread (6 cards)

One of the things written by Salerno in the section "How to Use the Cards" struck a chord with me, as it is something I sometimes ponder: "When you do a reading for another person, the information is just as important for you. It will reflect an aspect of your life. It may be different to the query of the other person, but just as pertinent to you." I have reflected on this possiblity many times before, as I considered how we draw the querents to us who pose questions which mirror what is happening within us internally at the time, whether we consciously make that connection or not. I like the idea that in every reading we give to others, there is also a message for us in it as well.

The individual card interpretations in the booklet include a small black and white photo of each card, followed by the title and keywords featured on the card. Then the meaning of the card is given, and a closing affirmation for each card. (Although I don't use affirmations myself, I think it's a lovely added touch, for those who do.) Following is an excerpt from the book of a card interpretation:

27. Enchanted Forest
Mystery, Magic, Excitement

One minute life seems rather mundane and boring, then all of a sudden someone or something sweeps into your world like a breath of fresh air. All of a sudden you feel as though you are on a magical mystery tour, with a renewed sense of passion and excitement for life. And it doesn't matter that you have no real idea where this is all leading you. In fact, not knowing only creates more excitement. Life is now full of romance and seemingly endless creative possibilities. Embrace all that comes your way. Enjoy the journey and don't be in a hurry to settle things down or draw conclusions. Allow things to unfold in their own way and time. What unravels will bring you lasting joy and a deep sense of fulfilment.

I am open to new ideas and adventures
Life is full of endless creative possibility
I embrace each opportunity that comes my way
I love the magic and mystery of life
I trust my heart - I believe in love
I have found the Gaia Oracle deck to be very supportive and helpful in connecting with spiritual life on a daily basis. It provides a theme for the day, which you can then recognize and acknowledge as you go throughtout your activities. The artwork and comforting words of Salerno make pulling one of these cards at the start of the day feel like a gentle and supportive hug from a good friend. The deck is full of beauty and wisdom, peace and love.

Deck: Gaia Oracle (by Toni Carmine Salerno, published by Blue Angel Gallery. Distributed in the US by US Games Systems, Inc.)

This deck review was originally published on my previous blog (Tarot Dame) on 10/20/10.