Hello, soul friends!
Today's review is covering a deck that caught my attention for it's beautiful Jimmy Manton's artwork, which I have grown to love since I first saw the Goddesses and Sirens deck. I thought this looked like an amazing addition to add to my collection. I loved the details, color, and overall theme of the cards. I couldn't wait to get my own and work with this beauty.
I hope you enjoy my review and generous pictures!
Gospel of Aradia Oracle
I received this deck in 2016 as a birthday gift from my best friend after seeing it online from Blue Angel Publishing, which has a lot of interesting and unique decks. After seeing the gorgeous artwork online, I had to have it. Even if it was not available in the US, yet.
Amazon's description of the Gospel of Aradia Oracle:
In historical accounts, Aradia has many faces: she is depicted as the daughter of a goddess, as the leader of a resistance movement, as the ‘first witch,’ as the embodiment of the Divine Feminine, and, at times, as a mere mythological legend.
As we delve into the mythos of Aradia, we realize that regardless of who she is, we can still glean so much from the powerful stories that form her legacy. Aradia courageously spoke her truth, compassionately assisted others, and unflinchingly searched her own soul along the way. Through this deck, her energy comes to you now to help you do the same.Walk hand in hand with Aradia, as she guides you along your pilgrim journey, transforming the obstacles in your way into unique opportunities for spiritual growth and blessing your path with her extraordinary magic and wisdom.
About the Author
Stacey Demarco is an internationally respected spiritual Pagan practitioner, Witch, author, and activist who hails from Sydney, Australia. Her passion is to make practical magic accessible to everyone and to reconnect people with the power of nature.
Her down-to-earth yet scholastic spiritual style and her skill at weaving ancient techniques to solve modern problems make her popular amongst clients and a regular contributor upon all things spiritual across television, radio, and other media.
A former successful corporate animal, she has worked for multinational companies in senior marketing and PR roles until she decided to transition into her purpose - that of being a "catalyst for change."
A long-time lover and scholar of the mythos of the feminine and masculine divine, her first set of Oracle cards, Gods & Titans, illustrated by award-winning artist Jimmy Manton, was released early 2011 and her second set, Goddesses & Sirens, was released in October 2011 in Australia with a US release in 2013. Reflecting her love of nature, her Earth Power: An Atlas for the Soul was released worldwide in 2014, and the stunning Halloween Oracle is her latest work. Her next book, The Disconnect will be released early 2015.
About the Illustrator
Jimmy Manton is an award-winning illustrator who has provided artwork for numerous Blue Angel publications. While he has been drawing since his little opposable thumbs allowed him to grasp a pen, he has been obsessed with all things sci-fi and fantasy. It runs in the family, too. Jimmy was named after James T Kirk, Star Trek’s indomitable captain of the USS Enterprise. For the last few years Jimmy concentrated on studying architecture and also the art of architectural model building. Jimmy’s work is featured in magazines including international architectural and gaming titles. He is based in Melbourne, Australia.
My Personal Review
This 33-card deck is meant to be used as an Oracle deck, which is just meant to be a little less restrictive than tarot, while allowing you to devise your own meanings of the cards, as well. The dimensions of the deck are 5 x 1.4 x 6.7 inches and published by Blue Angel Publishing and Llewellyn, as well.
The lift top box is beautiful. I love the thickness and large size of the box. The image on the box is stunning. The artwork throughout the deck is just breathtaking. The images are bright without being overpowering, delicately balancing the darkness of an earthy palette without appearing murky and wit bold touches of color throughout to balance each card's imagery. I am always impressed with Jimmy Manton's artwork, and this deck holds quite a few of my favorite pieces from him.
The card backs are a beautiful Celtic influenced design, in beautiful green and gold. Reversals are up to the reader but are really not needed with this deck. The cards are a larger size, which I have become familiar with Blue Angel's decks. They are a decent quality with a smooth feel that makes shuffling easy. A keyword is printed on the front of each card which corresponds to the keyword descriptions in the guidebook. Some of the images are a bit darker, but nothing too scary for those faint of heart. The size of the cards is larger than Hay House products. The card stock is actually very thin, compared to other cards from Blue Angel, glossy, with a sticky shuffle, and allows you get a nice bend without cracking the card stock. These cards are already showing signs of wear, with visible lines on the lamination. The finish and thickness of the cards is not my favorite. It make the cards stick and I see potential scratching of the cards. The quality is different here and not in a good way. Usually their cardstock is very sturdy with a nice glossy finish. Needless to say I am disappointed in the physical quality of the deck.
Although the history portion of the guidebook I would give five stars, the spreads and divinatory meanings I would not. The divinatory meanings are very very short (4-6 sentences at most). Then after the short divinatory meanings, there is a poem and then some history pertaining to how the imagery relates to Aradia. Sometimes in that history portion of the page you can find some nuggets of wisdom that one can include as a divinatory meaning. But it is not consistent for each card (meaning some cards might have it while others will not).
An example of how short the meanings can be : for the card “the Hedge” it states the importance of boundaries, establishing a relationship with our plant allies and that one should plant a medicinal garden. That is about it, then there is a lovely poem, then history pertaining to how plants were used during Aradia’s time to heal or poison. Which leads me to the spreads/ how it reads.
The spreads included in the guidebook are very interesting. Some of them are the flower spread, the evil eye spread and finally Aradia’s journey spread. There are a total of six spreads which I find very very generous and great to include in any guidebook. However, I personally feel some of these spreads don’t really go with this deck. It can be difficult to create a deck that also has spreads that work perfect with it, and I feel that some of these spreads were just created to fill in some space.
As far as for my personal use and success with clients, I find this deck to just be kept there for its beautiful artwork. This makes it a very hit or miss deck for me. I feel that for ritual work, or more spiritual based questions - this deck would be stellar. As far as divining anything else (say romantic, career, etc), this deck may only serve to confuse you more. While I appreciate the history and depth of knowledge in learning about Aradia and also the Stregha, there are some portions of the deck that I feel were rushed.
The amount of research and history Stacey Demarco put in the guidebook is absolutely incredible. I admire how much pure hard work she put into giving information regarding the mythos of Aradia and the stories that are part of her legacy. Before seeing this deck, I was not aware of Aradia and now I feel like a missing link was connected for me. It allowed me to find another guide to work with.
Although the deck is based on the Stregoneria tradition, ANYONE practicing a witchcraft path will enjoy this deck. There are cards titled “Curses”, “Ritual”, “La Luna” and “The Hedge” that are universal in all witchcraft practices. As I stated, I don't consider myself a witch in the traditional sense, but I do at the same time. I don't practice "the arts" but I love learning and finding other ways that various cultures have before us.
There is a beautiful mysterious vibe to a lot of the images, but they may not be the most user friendly for those that are not comfortable with darker images. I find that I need to know my clients pretty well before I pull this one out on them, in case they are uncomfortable with some of the images.
This may not be the easiest to just pick up for those who are not used to having to rely too heavily on intuition, but with practice and an open mind, it can quickly become a unique addition.
Here are some extra pictures of this beautiful creation:
Overall, I think this was a well-executed themed deck. Vibrant and interesting, I think it can be a fun choice for those looking at more witchy decks!
My overall opinion is that this deck is a 3 star choice.
Artwork - 5 stars
Card stock - 2 stars
Ease - 3 stars
Guidebook - 3 stars
I hope that you enjoyed my deck review, and also enjoy other deck reviews that I add to this site. I have a passion for exploring new decks and also finding various ways of connecting to my intuition. I appreciate you checking out my site and taking the time to read my review.