Oracle decks are tricky because you can’t judge the contents by the box cover. An appealing concept or theme (like dragons or faeries for some) doesn’t guarantee that the ideas are cohesive and well-planned, and the artwork is good or excellent. The King Solomon Oracle Cards is an entirely new species of oracle deck. They were created with thought, care and fine artistry, and offer a vastly different and tantalizing trajectory on a number of levels.

The deck’s creative team is Itzhak Mizrahi, an Israeli Kabbalist and talisman-maker (no, not the clothing designer, although that would be fun) and the mystic artist Orna Ben-Shoshan. Their approach to the content and design of this oracle deck is unique: each card features a talismanic panticle (a.k.a. Solomon Seal) and Goetic figures that correspond to the card’s central concept. The artwork also centers on that central concept, but Ms. Ben-Shoshan’s art expresses the card’s themes in a highly surrealistic manner. The cards are reminiscent of Julia Turk’s Navigators of the Mystic Sea deck. Gazing at these cards is like getting a revitalizing brain massage – you can sense your synapses making happy “pling!” sounds as new connections and ideas emerge.

The accompanying LWB provides meanings for the thirty-six cards, which don’t have individual names but are labeled as topical categories. For example, Card #9 is “Learning – Studies – Lessons Learned” and Card #13 is “Power-Strength-Determination.” The card descriptions include short paragraphs for each about the situation, person, advice, and inverted meanings. The panticles are not identified, nor are the Goetic symbols, and I wish they would have included that information (thus saving me the time of looking it up in Agrippa and other reference works). The purpose of the Goetic symbols is “to transfer information from the subconscious to the conscious mind through symbolization.” Okay, but inquiring minds want to know!

Nevertheless, the brain-tickling surrealism sucks the viewer into this bizarre world. By looking at each card, along with its description in the LWB, the viewer begins to make sense of the components of the imagery. The meanings unfold into a myriad of permutations through the evocative renderings. A few rudimentary spreads are included at the back of the book.

A special feature of this deck is the inclusion of four extra “amulet” cards: for livelihood (prosperity), for attracting/improving a love relationship, for good health, and protection. The person who wants to use these cards is instructed to write her name and mother’s name on the back of the card in the space provided and carry them. Benefits will be forthcoming after 21 days. Bonus!

The King Solomon Oracle Deck is recommended for readers who enjoy working with surreal artwork, who are fascinated by talismanic symbols, and who want to get out of card-reading ruts.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author: Itzhak Mizrahi, deck by artist Orna Ben-Shoshan
U.S. Games Systems, Inc. 2011.
Thirty-six cards plus four amulet cards with accompanying LWB in a tuck-box. $15.00.

 

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