No, I’m not talking about mithril.
It’s the Victorian Flower Oracle, a 40-card oracle deck from Baba Studio. It almost feels like the sort of oracle Elves would use, though.
Trolling Ebay for decks as I do, I started getting a little panicked at the prices I was seeing for this little deck. So a quick trip to Magic Realist Press (aka Baba Studio) Web site confirmed that it could still be had directly from them (both deck alone, and the deck and book kit were still available as of this writing). The price can vary, depending on the exchange rate. If you’ve recently checked prices for this deck on the secondary market, it could turn your hair as white as Bilbo’s up there. You can see all the cards at the Magic Realist site, but they are of necessity low-resolution scans. I know some people have passed on buying their decks because they didn’t realize just how truly beautiful they are so here are some slightly higher resolution scans of a just a few cards. It also comes with a pretty decent LWB that briefly discusses J.J. Grandville and his art (the creator of the original illustrations that have been adapted here, and those in the Fantastic Menagerie deck), along with a brief history of the language of flowers and flower symbolism. Since I ordered directly from Karen and Alex, they kindly signed an extra card for me, fittingly the “Forget-Me-Not” card. I love their humor. The images are so cheery and charming, you could just pull them out and look at them for a little pick-me-up.
I thought I’d take the deck for a test drive here and did their 5-card ‘Posy Spread.’ Basically it’s a 5-card line spread, but you can imagine gathering up all the flowers pictured into a little bouquet.
Card 1 – Present Situation: Sympathy
This card shows two flowers, Scabious and Marigold. Marigold seems sad, and her friend Scabious has come to console her, with her little sprouts in tow. The LWB gives the interpretations of “Compassion, sympathy, seeing the other point of view, fellow feeling.” I’m not sure what this is telling me. I haven’t encountered anyone I need to feel sympathy for that I’m aware of, nor do I need sympathy for anything. I don’t think I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, if anything I’m rather enjoying myself too much having time off from the rat race. I guess my sympathies go out to whoever feels like they need some moral support.
Card 2 – Opportunities and Challenges that may arise: A Hidden Romance
Insert George Takei’s ‘Oh Myyyyyyyyyy!” I can see a hidden romance as both an opportunity and a challenge. Hmm. Well, that puts a little intrigue in the day. I’ll have to be on the lookout for this. Book meanings given are “Romance and intrigue. A secret attachment. A lover who must remain hidden for now. An affair of the heart. A rather dangerous liaison.” These things usually end badly, I’m in no hurry to deal with this.
Card 3 – The Day’s Insight (what you need to know about this situation): Shyness
Interesting image, poor little wallflower being forcibly abducted and uprooted by a rather creepy old man. Book meanings are “Shyness, bashfulness, unassertiveness, caution, timidity, reserve.” Way to not put too fine a point on it, thanks. Yes, that’s me, the eternal wallflower, but I think when faced with this creepy old man I could assert myself very well, thank you. These grody old guys who think they deserve to be with someone young enough to be their granddaughter, in the words of a friend of mine, “had better be VERY RICH, and VERY ILL.” I’m thinking this does not bode well, when interpreted alongside the previous card. MAJOR HASSLE AHEAD.
Card 4 – Advice, how best to deal with all this: Roots, Ties (Water Arum)
This seems pretty simple. My upbringing has already taught me what I need to do. I need to draw on the strength, wisdom and guidance of my family and ancestors. Book meanings are “Foundations, Family, Community, Roots, Identity, Home, Belonging.” We know how important my roots and family, the basis of my identity, are to me. I think standing strong on my foundations will be the best course of action. (The water arum is a plant of bogs and wetlands, and looks like a little calla lily with greenish flowers)
Card 5 – Near Future (how the situation may develop): Wishful Thinking (Pansy)
I think this means I can’t wish it away, this is not the time for wool-gathering. The book lists “Hopes and desires. Daydreaming about what might be. “Fingers crossed”. Aspirations and ambitions. Longing for something. Positive plans. Wishful thoughts.” Then again, this may be the perfect time to brainstorm a new course of action, as long as I take it beyond the ‘wishful thinking’ phase.
The card backs are done with metallic gold ink, although that stuff is notoriously hard to scan or photograph accurately. Take my word for it, it’s quite lovely. The design is ornate, and almost reminds me of some of the alchemical drawings I’ve seen, with a bit of a medieval flair to it, I think.
So there’s a little taste of a very charming deck. And don’t pay scalpers on Ebay fantastic sums of money for it, just order it from Magic Realist Press. But you’re on your own for finding mithril.