Madame Endora's Fortune Cards
by Christine Filipak
For those who aren't afraid to admit they like looking into the future with a deck of cards, Madame Endora's Fortune Cards will provide a beautiful alternative to tarot. It says right on the box, "The fastest and easiest way to discover what the future holds." I don't know if that's something that can be guaranteed, but when I first worked with these cards I found their predictions surprisingly on the mark - given the simplicity of their design, and the general brevity of readings done with them.
I first asked about the path my writing would soon take, and was answered with, of all things, The Sphinx. This sphinx is not exactly Egyptian in style, and oddly, looks just a little bit like me, with her long auburn hair and her slightly defiant posture - a mirror image offering advice? (I'm kidding really). Her advice, written on the card, is to "Choose your words carefully." That immediately made me laugh (some humor is a good thing during fortune-telling, I think), and turning to the booklet I read further, "Your abilities will be tested. Don't act on impulse. Choose your words carefully and think before you speak." This isn't all the booklet says, but it is what I pulled from it for being applicable to my writing. And very applicable advice it is. I have a habit of impulsively saying yes to requests for work, when often I don't have the time, energy, or the interest. This Sphinx actually served as a reminder a couple of times shortly after, to politely decline when I was asked to take on some new projects. Additionally, as a writer, words really must be chosen carefully - or at least with skill and focus, as well as with heart. I drew more cards that day, each one closely aligning to the truth as I knew it, and each - over time - proving to be accurate.
One might argue that any cards could be used to divine the future, so why might this one be special? I find it special, and quite unique, because in these cards we so clearly enter the realms of legend, fantasy, and fable. As Filipak describes, "This method of fortune-telling incorporates Mythological lore and Old World concepts of the Tarot with New Age mysticism." We meet The Knight, The Minstrel, and The Maiden; see our friends (or ourselves) reflected in The Satyr, The Golem, or even green Medusa. Obstacles or opportunities before us are shown in The Gate, The Key, or The Talisman. Besides being gorgeous - done in black, deep rich colors, and lots of gold - these are very fun cards to use.
There are no suits, but the cards are divided into several sections: The Royal Court (eight cards), The Realm of Fable (ten cards), The Bestiary (ten cards), The Treasury (twelve cards), and The Elements (eight cards). The card images are straightforward; each figure is generally shown against a lush backdrop or bordered by colorful scrollwork. There is a sense of the Old World here, without feeling truly archaic or ancient.
The accompanying booklet is nicely written by Filipak, who stirs a little superstition in with her insights. Card interpretations are clear and short, offering direct answers and evoking further thought or planning. It is very well laid out, with attractive fonts and illustrations. A solid instruction for reading the cards is provided, as are six interesting spreads. One spread I like - the Oracle of Kindred Spirits - brings together two people involved in a relationship. Each person asks questions, shuffles, cuts, and draws cards. This arrangement allows for close dialogue to take place, with the quieting effect of the cards acting as a unifier.
Of all the card oracles that have come my way recently, this one stands out for its simplicity and elegance. Its beauty and unusual effectiveness are immediate, and combine to create intriguing and very enjoyable readings. Take this one along with you, and have it ready for fun or serious inquiry.
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Card artwork by Christine Filipak; Monolith Graphics
All writing and photography © N Levine - Illumination Tarot, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2021