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Friday, 30 May 2014

Deck Review: Chakra Wisdom Oracle

Chakra Wisdom Oracle by Tori Hartman, illustrated by Gretchen Raisch-Baskin 
(Watkins Publishing 2014)

What's included
This kit includes a deck of 49 cards and a 95-page companion book. It is housed in a very sturdy box of similar dimensions to Blue Angel oracle boxes, measuring 12 x 17 x 4 cm. It is very colourful, well constructed, and with a matte finish. Instead of the top lifting off the box, the cards are contained within a tray that slides inside a sleeve. It's a snug fit, very secure. A small loop of ribbon has been built into the tray so that you can pull it out. The tray will not slide out of the box when tipped. I tested this by putting deck and book into the box, turning the box with tray side facing down and shaking the box vigorously. The tray just started sliding out after the fifth vigorous shake. (I did this three times -- comes out on fifth shake!) In other words, whichever way you store this box, however you pick up, the cards are not going to fall out. This is a big plus to me. Inside the tray, there is a cardboard inset that the cards are meant to nestle inside; however, the bottom cards of the deck do slide under the edges of it, which is annoying. A molded plastic inset, or one made of a continuous piece of card which would not allow cards to slide under it, would have made this the perfect packaging!

The book
The small companion book fits snugly into the packaging. It is printed on colourful, matte paper with a glued and stitching binding which will train to lie flat (be careful, though). The book is short at 95 pages. There is a brief explanation of each suit of cards, and each card gets one page which includes a small colour thumbnail image of the card, a brief story, a few thoughts to get you started, and a very short meditation. There are several layouts and sample readings included.

The cards
Now that I've struggled to pull the seven bottom cards of my deck out from under the inset in the box, let me describe them to you. (Some of the borders are already showing damage from having to pull them out when stuck. These things happen in this kind of inset. I will probably seal the inset to the bottom of the box using wide clear tape to prevent this from happening in future. Shouldn't have to do that.)

The deck itself is on the small side for an oracle - 11 x 7.5 x 2 cm. I love the card back:

The hooded and caped figure holds her lantern aloft, staff in hand, feet bare. She walks the dirt path through the colours of the chakras, a crystal or lantern shining in each. From the bottom of the card they are: root chakra, sacral chakra, solar plexus chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra, third eye or brow chakra, and crown chakra. We often hear the phrase 'a journey through the chakras', which is well depicted here. I would love to have a large poster of this image. I believe it would fit very well near a yoga or meditation space.

The card stock is a pleasant thickness and texture with a matte finish, very light lamination. The illustrations by Getchen Raisch-Baskin are rich in colour. At the bottom of each card is a wide white space in which the key word or card title is printed in large capital letters. Each card has a thin coloured border corresponding to suit.

The system
Deck creator Tori Hartman recounts a near-death experience in 1988 during which she began to hear voices of angels, who over the next five years, dictated curious tales to her. These tales always involved colours. Tori felt compelled to write them down and they remained stored in a drawer for the next 20 years. When asked for advice by a friend, Tori chanced upon the stories, saw one that applied to the situation, relayed it to her friend and the idea for sharing the stories was born. When Tori realised that the colours and energies of the stories correspond to the chakras, a deck was born.

Each chakra gets a chapter, with one page of explanation for the chakra, a quick guide to the cards, and one page of text for each card. I found the material in the book to require a lot of piecing together. It is entirely down to the user of the deck to make his or her own sense of the card, the image, the angelic fable, the meditation, and how any or all of this applies to the question or issue at hand. This might come in a flash or it might take a lot of thought. Depends on the user.

The spreads in the back are useful and different from the norm.

Here's the creator explaining the deck (she starts talking about the deck about 1:30 into the clip):

The verdict
There is much to like about this kit. It is colourful, which I love, connected to chakras, which I have an interest in, and nice to touch and look at. One big plus is the focus on examining and assessing one's intentions using specific spreads provided. This is particularly useful for magical workings and so this is a deck that might  be prized by spellcasters. The caveat is that the system is based on highly personal experiences of the creator, purported channeled stories from angels. You might have to work hard to get them to make sense for you, or if you are so inclined, you might ask your own angels to interpret them as they pertain to you. The Chakra Wisdom Oracle website says:

The Chakra Wisdom Oracle will allow you to see what was once invisible to you. It has taken 25 years for the fables to come to life in workshops, readings, and fable groups. The most remarkable thing is how they reveal your path and gift instantly if you understand how to step into the state of connection with your higher self. Like many gifts from Spirit, it takes some people time to recognize what they’re given and the path they must take to realize their true calling.

I am not impressed by the implication that if a card doesn't instantly mean something to you that you lack connection to your higher self, but leaving that aside, I do think the cards are useful and could be a nice addition to your collection if you are interested in chakras and meditation. And angels.

Since I got this deck, I have found out there is a workbook sold separately -- Chakra Wisdom Oracle Toolkit: 52-Week Journey of Self-Discovery with the Lost Fables. I can't see myself devoting a year to this deck, or committing to memory the stories that apparently were personally channeled to someone else; for myself, I would rather learn about  more widely known myths, legends, and traditions.

Still, this is an interesting addition to my oracle collection, and I really dig the card back!


  1. This looks like an interesting deck.

  2. Beautiful vibrant. Would love to win

  3. Dear Carla, Kudos to you for all of your work in the Tarot field! I have completed the facebook, twitter, and amazon requirements of your contest. It was a pleasure seeing your contributions! I would love to win this deck because I feel very connected to the ideology of Chakras, and I created a chakra healing tarot spread which I find is very powerful! I am also an artist and I believe this deck would provide unlimited creative and intuitive guidance on my path. Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!
    Meags (Moonlit Tarot)

    1. Thank you, Meags! I am entering you in the draw, which will take place on 1 July. :)

  4. Hi Carla! I've done the three steps and this looks like a very interesting deck. I love chakra work and I love color and this looks like a deck I'd enjoy quite a lot.

    1. Hi Christine, thanks for taking time to enter! :)

  5. What a lovely deck. I followed the three steps. I read the reviews and think that the color and rhythm of the cards are just beautiful. I have began working on my Chakra colors so this would be a welcome additional tool on my journey. I struggle with my blue Chakra the most and would love to give one of these beautiful decks a loving home and a review on my website. tidalmiller.com

    1. Hi Tidal Miller, thank you so much for commenting on my blog and entering the prize draw. Best of luck, and hope to see you visit here more often. I am currently writing about Chrysalis Tarot. Tell me what you think! :)