Getting to know the big-eyed girls


To get to know the voice of the Oracle of Shadows and Light a bit, I decided to do a deck interview as a first reading.

1. What key lesson do you have for me this week?The Sea Beacon Fairy

A fairy in dark blue-green rises from the ocean, holding a small lamp that glows faintly. Another lamp hangs from her bat-like wing. Way back at the horizon, a sailing ship can be seen. The water is choppy but the size of the waves is hard to tell (they seem small around the fairy but bigger in relation to the ship).

Guidance: but where will it lead you?” is the subtitle of this card.

Clearly, there is some kind of orientation offered, some signal to potentially follow. But where does it lead? What happens to those who sail towards this fairy? Is she indicating safe lands? Or will they drown at the sharp rocks at her feet? Is she a trustworthy beacon, or is she some kind of nautical will o’ the wisp?

The fairy itself looks as if she doesn’t really care either way. She doesn’t even turn towards the deck but instead poses nicely for the artist/viewer. Could that mean the Shadows and Light is most of all about looking pretty and then, a long way off, about being of any actual help?

2. What are you best used for?Nautilus Princess

We’re sticking with the nautical theme here, it seems. A red-haired girl clutches a beautiful Nautilus shell close to her chest. Pearly bubbles and small shells decorate her hair. We see her as if we’re looking between two pillars (the image hasn’t been made for the card so there has been some red background added in).

This one is subtitled: “Powerful personal growth.”

The Nautilus shell reminds me of the Golden Ratio (see this post from my week with the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot) and by way of that leads me to the idea of perfection. So this oracle is best used for perfecting myself?

The image and its subtitle also make me think of people who spend a lot of time on their “personal growth” without ever stopping to wonder how the world at large is going to benefit from that. I’m certainly not against growing into “better” human beings, I just don’t think we agree on what this “better” actually means. To me, there needs to be more than just personal satisfaction. How are you contributing to making the world a better place? I’m not sure our princess here has an answer to that…

That said, maybe there are times when getting to the point of being happier as an individual is the next step we have to take before we can then move on to doing something that’s not just for and about ourselves.

3. What will I take away from my time with you at the end of the week?Faceless Ghosts and the Haunted Girl

A black-haired girl kneels between two masks that remind me vaguely of Japanese kabuki make-up. She is situated in a bleak landscape of leafless trees and fog.

Edited to add: They are actually noh masks.

Ghost people” is the subtitle for this card.

It seems I will return to somewhat normal eye-sizes again… ;-) The way her hair is draped makes me think of Spanish Moss or Weeping Willows, which don’t exactly add a cheerful feeling to the scene. The masks and subtitle certainly suggest there is a lack of personality. All in all, I’d say this doesn’t look like we’re going to be best friends forever!


I’ve also taken a look at the small companion book that comes with the deck.

The entry for the Sea Beacon Fairy says pretty much what I saw in the card. The one for the Nautilus Princess tells us that she’s a shy mermaid and that she’s worried about having to assume more power and responsibility soon because others may not like her anymore. Well. While I can relate to the feeling to a degree, and while I think that doubts and hesitations have their place in such an oracle, I still don’t find this moment of hesitation and doubt portrayed here a good illustration of the ultimate success the book promises. Finally, the entry for the Faceless Ghosts and the Haunted Girl tells me that the ghost people are actually called “noppera-bō” (although the card image and the actual folklore don’t seem to have much in common) and come from Japanese culture alright. It seems the author is getting at the idea of people who leech away one’s energy because they have no source of power of their own. Something about the “easified” explanation of this concept together with the complete dismissal of the poor “ghost people” strongly rubs me the wrong way. If nothing else, this entry is way too simplified and black-and-white for me.

Well. Looks like I don’t feel much love for the deck so far. I offered a few readings on Aeclectic this week and hope to post some on this blog. Maybe the deck reads better for others, when the focus is not so much on my own cynicism.


4 responses »

  1. this art was called Dondi when I was a teenager and the world was still black and white.
    I know from my own experiences we can pull something from any deck, but I also know portrait decks aren’t for me. Good luck!

  2. Normally, I would try hard to defend the art of decks I like for some reason (watch me argue why mouthless Hello Kitty is a great choice for a High Priestess card!), but I admit I’m having a hard time doing that with this deck… I think our relationship is doomed already.

    Now that you mention all these comparisons, I’m suddenly thinking of these über-cute velvet paintings of kids that were often horribly ethnically stereotyped. No wonder they were crying all the time!

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