The Literary Witches Oracle by Taisia Kitaiskaia
The Literary Witches Oracle by Taisia Kitaiskaia highlights the wisdom of powerful female authors and reimagines them as creative witches. This oracle honors a diverse group of women, 30 female authors, which range from the wise Zora Neale Hurston (author of Their Eyes were Watching God), to Eileen Chang, a prominent Feminist in Chinese history, to Emily Bronte, an English poet and author. Each card come with an associated message symbolizing their literary contribution to the world. For example, Zora Neale Hurston's message is: "Story. Your Story, Listening." Agatha Christie, the famous mystery writer and detective novelista is also included in this deck! Her message: "Trickery," which I believe is very appropriate. The famous poet, Sylvia Plath, is also represented here. Plath's poetry was shaped by her depression during her challenging marriage with Ted Hughes. While haunting and often dark, Plath's poetry is revered in the literary world. I personally recommend her book, The Bell Jar. Plath's message here is simply, "Dark. Living in the dark. Intensity. Fury." The Gothic Novelist, Mary Shelley, who is responsible for the wonderfully monstrous creation of Frankenstein, is also included as a literary witch in this deck! Her message is "Lost. The cycles of Life. Transitions. Attachment." Mary Shelley lost her feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and headband, the famous poet, Percy Shelley, as well as her children during the course of her life and thus the message here is about resilience amidst loss. The only downside of this deck is that if you are unfamiliar with the works of these literary giants, then it may be difficult to understand or know the complete message from these cards. The guidebook provides a very short discussion of each author, but it is quite short and difficult to completely discern why this literary giant may be speaking to you at this moment unless you are already familiar with their work. Obviously the key words on these cards are super helpful, but they are a little bit limited and will require tapping into your intuition.
In addition to the author cards, this deck comes with cards representing the witches' materials, which are creatures and objects such as the Eel, Ghost, Lantern, etc. As an example, the Pond card represents: Looking inward, Inspiration, and Uncertainty. The Chicken represents: Lore, Cackle, Ancient Past. The Knife represents: Intention, Conflict, Resolution. The challenge with these cards is that there are no further explanations in the guidebook, thus all of the messages you gather from the creature cards must be intuitive. I personally think it would've been quite helpful for the author to have provided some in-depth context to each card for the querent.
The spreads in the guidebook range from the single card spread to the three card spread, representing the past, present, and future (similar to the traditional 3 card spread of the Tarot). As for the texture of the cards, they are very similar to your every day playing cards. The backs of each card look like your standard 52 card 4 suit deck. They are quite easy to shuffle which I really appreciate. To be honest I am quite surprised to see an oracle deck published by Penguin Random House. It looks as if they are transitioning into publishing oracle card decks and I wouldn't be surprised if we begin to see Tarot decks produced by them in the near future.
The artwork is created by Katy Horan. Her work has exhibited throughout the United States and in Canada. Her illustrations are reminiscent of Helen Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit), at least the creature cards.
Let's pick from one of the three cards below:
Okay, let's see what you pulled below:
Left Card Reveal: Eel: What lurks *Electricity*Dishonesty
Center Card Reveal: Rebellion, Independence, Barriers, Isolation
Right Card Reveal: Solitude, Silence, Interiority, Space (struggle with depression)
Unfortunately the guidebook does not expound on the card keywords, but if they hold meaning for you then the job is done. You can intuit the rest of the message.
I do recommend this deck if you already have a working knowledge of these female literary giants, their lives, and their work. However, if you are yet to familiarize yourself with their literature and biographies, you can expect to intuit a good portion of information from this oracle deck. As for using this deck for, let's say, to ask questions about professional development, financial clarity, love life, etc, this deck may not be the most suitable. I do think it would be useful for a one card pull day for some daily insight.