Dec 8, 2017

Oracle Deck Review: Crystal Keepers Oracle

Crystal Keepers Oracle is a magnificent deck featuring crystal guardians, crystals and animal energy. The deck was created by Adam Barralet and published by Animal Dreaming Publishing.

The Cards
The cards are large, measuring approximately 3 3/4" x 5 1/2" and have a glossy finish. The cards are very flexible and have a great deal of bend to them when riffle shuffling in the normal horizontal manner. But with cards this large, I find I need to shuffle them vertically, and they are not quite flexible enough the other way to do this smoothly. So I shuffle them at the corners, and it works out.

The backs are not reversible, but the deck is not designed to be used with reversals. The design is a crest shield (see photo at the top of the review). The inner borders (two thin white lines) are very unobtrusive, which I appreciate, although I think it would have looked nicer borderless. The titles are at the top of the card and feature the name of the crystal each guardian represents.

The cards and book are housed in a really nice, sturdy box with a lift-off lid. The lid has half-moon cut outs on two sides for easy lifting.

The idea behind this deck is so creative and innovative. I love the thought of crystal guardian/keepers. And the way the author/artist has portrayed them is genius and beautiful. And as if that wasn't enough, the extra work he put in to include so many different spirit allies for each Keeper goes above and beyond. Adam Barralet has really put so much into this deck, and the energy shines through so beautifully.

There are so many images in this deck that just blew me away. My favorites are the ones where the guardian is one with the animal spirit, like the three in the above photo. The Black Onyx spider woman is so gorgeous! The Pietersite Man/Scorpio is so cool. And at first glance I thought the Serpentine man was part of the snake, but it appears he is bursting out of the snake's body, which is a bit gruesome and less animal-friendly, but it is still a powerful image. Other non-human characters in the deck include mer-people, a Kitsune, a centaur, an antlered man and boy, and a flying angel. There is also a strange woman-bat hybrid in a cocoon which I don't really understand, but it's a cool image.

There are more female guardians than men in the deck, but there are 16 cards featuring male characters, with an additional four that feature both men and women. So there is a fair amount of masculine energy in the deck, which I appreciate. Usually in oracle decks of this type, it is overwhelmingly, if not entirely, female, with perhaps one or two male exceptions. I like that this deck feels much more balanced in that way.

The deck is mostly young adults, but there are children and elderly representations, as well as different races. So the deck is diverse in many different ways.

I love that the guardians match the crystals so well. For example, it is well known that the legend of bloodstone involves Jesus, and Jesus is featured on the Bloodstone card. There are mer-people in the Aquamarine card. Serpentine has a snake, and so on. The creator did a wonderful job of matching guardians, settings and animals with the spirit of each stone.

The energy of the imagery feels very in tune with nature. The good vibes are very strong in the cards. There are cards that feel sweet and gentle, and some that feel strong and powerful, but underlying every single one of them is a positive energy that shines through.

The colors in the deck are deep and vibrant. I have just under half of the crystals represented in these cards, and now I want them all! I think it would be really cool to be able to have all of the crystals, and to work with them along with the deck. There are some crystals featured that I have never even heard of.

How it Reads
My first draw with this deck was Iolite. Since I don't have this crystal, I utilized one of the spirit allies of the Iolite Keeper (as mentioned in the book), myrrh. I did have myrrh essential oil, so I used it before going to bed.

The next day I did have the crystal I drew (Selenite), so I put a piece under my pillow when I went to bed.

A couple days later, I drew the Larimar card, which is about allowing and healing. It was very timely, as I had to slow down due to an injury. The card guided me to go with the flow. When I hurt my back the day before, instead of getting all pissed off at life, I immediately realized it for what it was (which was a proud moment of spiritual growth). I had overworked myself and it was my body's way of getting me to take it easy. The booklet said to take a break from forcing and controlling situations and outcomes. It even mentioned the stone being a powerful healing tool if required. So the card nailed that one!

The next day I drew Malachite. The image on this card is of a woman, surrounded by butterflies, kicking the door right off the frame of a house! She is not messing around. The message of this card is letting go of the past and exploring your greater potential, like the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Interestingly, two days prior, I had been weeding the backyard among bees and butterflies and my daughter found a cute green caterpillar. She spent some time watching it, making sure it was alive and that we wouldn't accidentally step on it. Years ago I had a beautiful piece of malachite that fell and broke. I was sad about it, but I let it go instead of keeping the pieces. So it was interesting to me that the key phrase for this card is Letting Go. my own piece of malachite had me do just that! And apparently this was a message I needed to hear at the time.

Next was Nuummite, which I had never heard of, but of course now I want. It represents secrets hidden deep in the earth, answers found in the darkness. Very Scorpionic, so obviously I love it. It echoes a beautiful chapter I had recently read in the book Burning Woman about the need to regularly visit darkness. I meant to go for a darkness walk the night I drew this card, to honor the message, but I forgot. I remembered just before bed, so I took a few moments in a blacked out room, my eyes wide and seeing nothing. I stood for awhile in discomfort, ignoring my impulses to see, to read, to do something. It was only for a few minutes, but it was very interesting. The card's less literal meaning is about feeling restricted, fearful and powerless, and facing those dark things and finding the courage to break free of them instead of succumbing to them. That is something I really needed to hear that week, as I was deep in fear about something (which ended up working out just fine).

The last card of the week was Sugilite, which is about universal love, love for all humankind, which is not one of my specialties, to be honest as I am a bit of a misanthrope. I am also a bit of a paradox because although I mostly despise humankind because there are so many rotten apples (and ignorant/boring/annoying ones), and I generally don't like spending time with people, I can fiercely love and support total strangers. Anyway, this card says that we are totally supported by the universe, and universal love and connection will help us see what we may be missing. Everyone and everything is connected. I received the message to remember that self-love and self-acceptance must be included in this universal love fest! The full moon is associated with this card, and as synchronicity would have it, the full moon was two days away!

A couple months later, I was a bit stressed out, needing to get so much done before starting 3 days of 13-hour overnight shifts with very little sleep. I pulled a card from this deck asking what could help with my stress. I drew Stichtite. I don't have any stichtite crystals, but the energy of the card is just what I needed to hear. It's about being of value to others, and my job is hospice care. The key phrase in the book says, "There are people that need the blessing of your gifts." I needed to keep in mind the good I was doing, instead of focusing on the lack of sleep I was facing. The passage says to stay calm and positive, focusing on what is important and the greater good. It is also about spending time with people who are different from you, giving you a broader perspective of the world. The image on the card also reminded me of my daughter (an antlered man and boy drawing a bow and arrow together), as I had plans to take her out target shooting the following week with her bow and arrow (paper target, not animals).

So the cards either gave me either exactly what I needed to hear, or it gave me something to do or think about, which I didn't even know I needed. Either way, there was never a time when I got nothing out of the reading.

The Book
The 112-page book is larger than the cards, fitting in the box perfectly. It has a nice thick, glossy cover and features the title and author's name on the binding.

The book begins with some basic information (a paragraph each for the Introduction, Welcome, Who Are The Crystal Keepers?, and Working With the Crystal Keepers). Then there is a two-page Crystal Keeper Meditation, followed by a paragraph titled Who Are the Spirit Allies of the Keepers? To answer that question in a nutshell, the allies include animals, plants, the four magical elements and astrological bodies.

There is a Table of Contents listing the card titles (crystals) in alphabetical order. Next, the book goes a little into reading with the cards, including six spreads:

Single Card (1 card)
Two Paths (2+ cards)
Past, Present and Future (3 cards)
The Balanced Circle (4 cards)
The Twelve Houses (12 cards)
Thirteen Virtues of World Healing (13 cards)

There is a little chart on Chakra correspondences to crystal colors and areas of the body. Following the spreads is a tip on what to do after your reading, and tips on cleansing and caring for your cards.

Each card is given a two-page spread. On the upper left hand side of the left page is a small black-and-white image of the card. The title/crystal is listed at the top of the page followed by a keyword or phrase. Beneath this, in italics, is a paragraph which reads like a message directly spoken from the crystal guardian to you.

There is an "About" paragraph for each card. For example, "About Celestite" which gives you information on the crystal itself (where it's from, how it grows, what metaphysical properties it has, etc.). After this is "Your Message From...", e.g., Your "Message from Celestite". This is a couple paragraphs on the card's meaning.

On the right-hand pages are the Spirit Allies. The Spirit Allies of the Celestite Keeper, for example, include Swan, Cherry, Air, Water, Venus and Pleiades. The Spirit Allies of Black Tourmaline are Chimpanzee, Vanilla, Ravensara, Earth element, and Pluto. Each spirit ally is given from a few sentences up to a paragraph of information on how to utilize the energy of the ally in your practical life.

The book is not only a helpful source for learning more about the crystals included, but with the inclusion of the spirit allies, it is also incredibly useful and practical. It takes the deck from merely a psychological tool and transforms the card messages into real tangible action you can take. It is empowering, extremely interesting and fun!

The book closes with a recommended reading list, and a page about the author.

Final Thoughts
I love this deck so much! It is such a unique creation. The artwork is beautiful and original. The energy is positive and empowering. The book is fantastic - enjoyable, informative, helpful and practical. I highly, highly recommend this deck. In fact, I would be thrilled if there was a sequel!

Deck: Crystal Keepers Oracle, by Adam Barralet, published by Animal Dreaming Publishing.