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Graven Images Oracle - oracle decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Oracle decks

Price: US $13.36

ProductID: alt163

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About this item
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Name Graven Images Oracle
Creators Natalie Zaman, Katharine Clark
Publisher Galde Press 2007
Deck Type Oracle Deck
Cards 71
Suits Divine, Physical, Mental, Social, Emotional
Card Size 4.75 x 2.75 in. = 12.06cm x 6.99cm
Card Language English
Card Back Non-reversible
Back Design Photo of a cemetery stone with a willow tree
Companion Material Book with symbol, interpretation and sample readings.


The Graven Images Oracle is a stand-alone oracular system. Unlike a tarot deck, it has a different structure of 71 instead of 78 cards, and instead of the usual tarot archetypes, it works with the weighty and sombre symbolism and real imagery of the cemetery gravestones and memorials and persons unknown.

Natalie Zaman searched the graveyards of North American to photograph just the right headstones, statues and tombstones to illustrate the symbolism she wanted to show for her cards. Graveside ornaments and headstones use a consistent symbolism of their own, etched or formed in stone: angels, wreaths, lilies, weeping willows, crosses, hand clasped or pointing, torches, columns, obelisks, urns and much more. The cards are clear and atmospheric; sometimes gloomy or bleak, but other times calm or tranquil, eerie, and unexpectedly beautiful.

There are 71 cards in the Oracle set. Seventy of the cards are divided into five ‘suits;, each associated with the five points of the Pentagram: Divine, Physical, Mental, Social and Emotional. Each set of fourteen cards is numbered, and has seven cards linked with positive, light meanings and seven cards for baser, shadow aspects. The higher the number, the greater the achievement (for the positive cards) or the greater the disruption (for the negative cards).

Card zero, the Wall, stands outside the main system. The Wall card is a special card, with no counterpart in a tarot deck. It’s an indication to stop the reading, as an unknown factor is making the information in the reading unreliable. The book instructs to gather up the cards and then try again after cleansing the cards and re-shuffling.

The combination of the Pentagram spread and the ‘points’ associations of the cards adds a second layer of meaning to a reading – beyond that of the individual cards. The ‘Point Cards in Other Positions’ chapter explains what the secondary energy’ might be: such as what it means if a card with a Divine Positive meaning appears on the point of the Pentagram associated with the world of the Mental.

The cards have a non-reversible image on the back - a willow tree etched into granite – as there are no reversals with this deck. The cards are designed to be used upright and the environment, angle, light and shadows in the card all work together to convey the meaning.

Included with the cards and the black velvet bag is a 110-page companion book, written by author Katharine Clark. It’s nicely made with white pages and bound edges (with one downside in that it doesn’t quite fit in the bag provided with the deck). The book introduces the concept of the deck from both Natalie’s and Kat’s points of view, then gives some instruction on the proper serious handling and cleansing of the cards. It illustrates the Pentagram spread, and the associations with each point of the pentagram.

The card meanings and interpretations section of the book lists the number and letter combination (shorthand for the point the card is linked with, and its placement in the suit) and its title. Kat describes the symbol that is the focus of the card, and gives its interpretation and divinatory suggestion. Finally, the book has some simple spread layouts and sample readings to give an idea of how to read with the cards.

The Graven Images Oracle is a truly unique deck for divination, with a developed and unusual theme blended with skilled photography. It could have been morbid or dark, dealing as it does with the symbols and reminders of death, but instead it has a stillness and quiet peace to its cards.

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