Imagine my delight at receiving the lovely Arthur Rackham Oracle as an anniversary gift from my DH on Saturday! Rackham was a prolific illustrator and even if you aren’t familiar with his name, you’ll almost certainly have come across some of his images. The 80 cards in this deck are derived from only four of the forty-two books he illustrated: Grimm’s Fairy Tales (two volumes), Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, and they are absolutely lovely.
I can’t wait to get started and I rifle through them but since they are an oracle, rather than a Tarot deck, nothing looks familiar. “Let’s draw a card”, I say, fanning out the deck enthusiastically, so that DH can choose one.
“My turn”, I say, shuffling the deck and eagerly choosing a card.
“Quackery”, the deck snarls.
“Charming!”, I reply, somewhat affronted and have another quick look through the cards to see if maybe the overall theme was tending towards the negative. It isn’t. Okay…let’s try another…
“Female Significator”, it offers dismissively.
“Ah, didn’t realise it had those”, and proceed to explain to DH what a significator is and how it is used. “Clearly that didn’t count…” and choose another card…
“Parasite”, the deck spits with scorn. I recoil and put the deck away, tucking it into my bag to play with in the pub later.
*wavy lines denoting the passage of time*
“So, let’s have another look at these cards”, I say to DH over a pint, and offer him the deck.
“Fecundity”, the deck flirts, loosening its bodice.
“Choose one for me”, I suggest, “Perhaps I’ll get a better card than the last two.”
“Curse”, the deck growls at me.
“I’ll try another one for myself”, says DH.
“Fecundity”, the deck reiterates lasciviously, spreading its metaphorical legs. “Madrugada”, it murmurs, lying back.
I give up, reconciling myself to unrequited love as I stuff the cards back in their bag.