A Curious Oracle - an original 49 card oracle deck
About the art

The images for A Curious Oracle came from a challenge I gave myself in 2011: to create one piece of art every day. My subject matter came from anything and everything that intrigued me, from photographs I took myself to symbols and archetypes I’d always been drawn to. My other deck, The Incidental Tarot, also came out of this year of art. When I chose the images I wanted for the Oracle, I pulled the ones from my collection that spoke to me in some way, or as it happens, spoke to each other.

About the card back

This is my favorite image from A Curious Oracle; it is featured as the card back and also as the 3rd step of the “Intuition” set. The inspiration for this drawing came from a song called Nautical Twilight by Tori Amos, on the album Night of Hunters. The term “nautical twilight” refers to the middle of 3 stages of twilight; by definition, nautical twilight ends when the distant line of the sea’s horizon stops being visible against the background of the sky – about when the sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. Metaphorically, nautical twilight represents the liminal world, that which exists as a threshold from one state to another, from the seen and known, to the unseen and mysterious. As the card “Twilight” in the 3rd Set of Intuition, Twilight is the evocation of this concept, the profound place between seeing and knowing that which cannot be perceived by the physical senses. As the card back, it colors the whole deck with its aura of mystery and potentiality…a secret language that the Oracle as a tool of vision is meant to unlock.

The song tells the story of a young woman who gives up her spiritual power in pursuit of her lover, and eventually comes full circle to reclaim it. The story, the melody, and the spirit of the song move me deeply, and have come to inhabit a permanent place in my creative and esoteric mind, along with the whole of the album Night of Hunters. I love that it’s recalled every time I spread the cards of the Oracle before me.

About the photograph

The photograph at the top of the Curious Oracle website was taken by me in the winter of 2012, on a morning drive to Bolinas in West Marin county. The sight of the vultures warming their wings in the sunlight breaking through fog was haunting and breathtaking; it stopped me in my tracks. I call the photograph “Tuning the Frequency,” which just so happens to be another nod to Night of Hunters…

Ravensquare

As the day gave way to Nautical Twilight
I turned my back on the force of which I am made
I abandoned it, rupturing a delicate balance
when I left my world for his.

Day after day, as my city fades
and is swallowed by his sea
and She is boundless
even breaking on the beach

Every Alchemist
knows fusion and fission
can unify or drive a force to split

He has been possessed
to drink of the spices from the east
by his Liquid Mistress
Which then pushed me into the lair
of Uranium — She divides time between
Greed and his twin Tyranny

Day after day, cities are betrayed
and the earthly sons lay their blame
and She is boundless
but by then she has been frayed

As the night gives way to Nautical Dawn
I can see I must activate the force of which I am made

Tori Amos