The Halloween Oracle - Lifting the Veil Between the Worlds Every Night
by Stacey Demarco; card artwork by Jimmy Manton
Halloween is probably the holiday most open to both spiritual as well as purely cultural celebration. As a spiritual or religious holiday with pre-Christian origins, it is largely an acknowledgement of death and passage, darkness and reflection. It finds its place on the pagan "wheel of the year" as the beginning of the darker half of the year. Indeed, it is, for many pagans and witches, a celebration of the new year. As a purely cultural holiday it is celebrated with many symbols that have passed through to our time, as well as some of the festive practices, though the original significance of these symbols and practices might be lost to many.
In The Halloween Oracle
, author Stacey Demarco explores both of these approaches to this colorful, exuberant holiday. She provides enough about the pagan history of Halloween - or Samhain, as it is commonly known in paganism and witchcraft traditions - for the casual reader to understand there is far more to the holiday than the symbols one might have grown up with. She also expresses much appreciation for the fun, festive aspects of the holiday, bringing a definite sense of enjoyment to the oracle. This is, of course, all enhanced by Jimmy Manton's artwork. The cards perfectly portray many of Halloween's symbols that we are familiar with, as well as symbols included for their perhaps less familiar connection to the holiday.
Death is a central theme in the deck, as it is in understanding the holiday. Demarco frequently returns to a discussion of death, but it is joined with a message of hope, renewal, moving forward. And to be clear, there is nothing actually scary about the deck. At most, it might be slightly spooky in some of the card images - perhaps in the Ghost, Zombie, or Skull cards. It fits right in with the atmosphere of Halloween we see all about us in the US in the month of October!
There is some repetition among the cards and the card descriptions. Certain themes other than death are also revisited - healthy relationships, moving forward, personal progress, being authentic. Of course, these are all important themes, and so overall the oracle could be an effective tool for reinforcing positive, self-accepting habits. At the same time, the repetition makes the oracle a slightly less useful tool for truly in-depth readings.
I think a way to remedy this might be to concentrate on smaller spreads, or perhaps a series of one or three card readings over the course of a week or month. These readings could culminate in reflection of those patterns that might have turned up frequently. I personally didn't pick up my Halloween Oracle
to do in-depth readings. It's a fun addition to the other books, tarot cards, and games I have that celebrate this favorite holiday. There's an advantage to its limitations as well - it could easily be used at Halloween gatherings where a long, in-depth reading may not be appropriate, and it would still offer positive insight and advice for personal growth.
One more thing I'd like to point out that I think deserves attention, is that Demarco also introduces other intuitive arts, notably in her Single Card Divination and in the card named Scrying. I found this really interesting. She gives brief but adequate instruction on working with a pendulum, as well as scrying. Those who are unfamiliar with these arts can get a quick start.
The Halloween Oracle
is a really lovely, fun, quality set that ties right into a celebration of Halloween or Samhain. Keep it ready by your spirit board, vampire tarot decks, or scrying glass, and invite a few friends over for a fun, lighthearted night of divination and ritual!
The Cards of the Halloween Oracle:
I light a single candle
Within a lamp for you
A single flame in the darkness
That reflects my heart so true.
Whilst it is a tradition to carve a jack-o'-lantern to scare away the spirits, it was an older tradition still, to light a candle or lamp on Halloween night and leave it at the window as a loving guide home for those who have passed.
Both as a symbol of remembrance and also as a kind of "leaving the lights on" for those who wish to "come home," the lamp was left on to illuminate the night and perhaps even the sadness that was felt because of the passing.
This card reminds us that it is a positive thing to remember those who have passed by celebrating their life rather than mourning their death. For those with whom we did not have an easy relationship or even those we did not like, leave us with valuable lessons. Sometimes, we learn more from our nemesis than we do from our friends and so the darkness can illuminate our strengths and our true values so that we can live them more clearly and fully.
Lady de los Muertos
Skull of Darkness
Skull of Flowers
Skull of Light
Skull of Stars
Card artwork by Jimmy Manton; excerpt by Stacey Demarco
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The Halloween Oracle at Amazon
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The Halloween Oracle at Blue Angel Publishing
Oracle deck review by Nellie Levine
Illumination Tarot has been publishing articles, reviews, tarot spreads, and personal reflections for tarot enthusiasts and followers of alternative spirituality online since 1999.
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