I haven’t been compelled to write card reviews lately because I am bored with reviewing. I feel like the decks coming out resonate with other people. I haven’t been inspired to make a purchase in a while. This deck of cards definitely deserved a space in my collection, and I've been resonating with it like crazy. So much in fact that I purchased two copies. You never know when you need a backup!

I first heard about it during the Kickstarter campaign. He was offering a little Ouija board in the limited edition and yes/no coins that looked amazing! I remember that it was late in 2013, I found out about it during work and decided to make my contribution for two decks. I figured I'd find use for them both, or use one for both playing cards and for divination. I could collect the spare or keep it as backup, as mentioned before. This is a common trait in collectors such as myself; we find a deck that we consider to be a jewel. We think ahead into the future, telling ourselves that it could be scarce in the moment that we need it. Something like that. I feel so safe being in possession of two copies.

When I first held the box in my hands, I was very impressed. No matter where you look at it from, the tiny details on it are delightful. Let’s get started with the feel of the paper… it feels grainy and sturdy. It’s a matte finish with a copper colored foil overlay. The colors are black, ash gray and copper. The top says GOODBYE. The front has all of the suits, a winged skeleton between the sun and the moon. On the bottom, two hands come out of the clouds with an eye on each. The whole composition is framed elegantly, and textured as well. On the sides, you have the name of the deck. On the back of the box, the tuck die shows the skeleton. There is a Ouija board composite that is also on the back of the cards. On the bottom of the box, it lists the distributor as Dead on Paper and gives you the address. With pride it tells you this is an American product.

When you pop open the box, you get a breathtaking surprise. Contained on the inside is a foil damask pattern. It feels like a vampire’s boudoir in there! So beautiful. I gasped when I first noticed it. No details went without being thought about. The designer ensured the quality of this product, and I am truly glad to have two sets. Mine came with a free print that has been made, signed and numbered by Chris himself. I got 1158 / 1172. Whew! I can’t believe he went through the arduous task of making so many of these. When I think about the time it must have taken and the effort, it makes me even prouder to own the product. One of the last in the batch, too. I consider myself way lucky.

You take out the cards and are presented with excellent quality. You get two extra jokers, a gaff card and a yes or no card. Convenient! He considered that this would in fact be used for divination or entertainment… and he was right. I intended to purchase this deck to read along with the Playing Card Oracles method. [Since it requires memorization of the suit placement on each of the cards, I will use it as a more advanced level of cartomancy. I am still getting comfortable with it. I digress, though, that is a post for another day!]

The cards are stunning. I noticed the damask that is on the tuck part of the box as a texture on the fact of the cards. This really brought the project together for me!

The court cards are amazing! I recognize some of the people from the séance picture on the cards, which really resonates with me. That picture used to resonate a lot with me. I also like the others, they are quite imaginative. I’ve never seen cards this beautiful. The card stock is sturdy, luxurious and shuffles like butter. They’re so slippery!

My favorite suit is the suit of hearts. It looks amazing! Well, in truth, all the cards do.

I have a tip to know how the cards are upright: Dots at the top right corner are the strongest. Otherwise you won’t be able to tell if they are upright or not. Pay close attention to them when you first look at your cards so that you will know to identify the orientation of the card for your readings and general neatness. If you lose track, refer to the Ace of Spades and look into the dot clutter on the right. It is exactly the same on all the card backs


What is your most important characteristic?
4 The West Wind. An atmosphere of compassion and warmth is represented in the card. Gentle persuasion to lift the spirits, inviting us to put worry aside. There is harmony and understanding, opposing sides can find common ground and comfort.

What are your limits?
Fata Morgana. Coming from the Arthurian Tales, meaning the spell of Morgana. Over the course of time, many illusions will be cast upon our hearts. They are only shadow images, reflections lacking depth. It’s easy for you to be led astray. Can you still find your center? This deck will help you do just that. Beautiful!

What are you here to teach me?
Dango. Constantly walking the line between fantasy and reality, between the possible and the impossible. Perform the balancing act going on faith, or working under intense pressure. Try and catch hold of it, and it will disappear out of sight, such as inspiration often foes.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
3 The Necklace. Objects of value will be strung together, connected. Suggesting alignment of energies that creates something new, vibrant and transformational. This is a spiritual calling.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Sword of Enchantment. The presence of something special. Unexplainable events come into being. Opportunities magically present themselves. The right person coincidentally happens to be at the right place, right time. Directing spiritual traffic even without conscious intention.

Which card of you want to show off?
Mardoc. The conqueror without mercy or compassion. This is a king whose castle has no walls, whose kingdom is limited only by the length and breadth of the Earth itself. His home is where he makes it, where his conquest demands.

9 The Throne of Spiders.
Have situations gone out of hand? Earthly values, concerns, addictions have become all consuming. Matter is winning the battle over spirit. We are not victims. We are creatures of choice, though sometimes the choices are very difficult. When carrying our burdens involves the ultimate price, it is often better to cut the load than be buried by it. Don't let anybody drain you and don't overwork yourself. Let go if you have to.

How do you see me?
Ignita. WOW! This is a card I ran into in the wild last March. A strong sense of self and a person’s own individuality. Spiritual values and transformation. A new project manifesting itself. It is the most pure form of the element of fire, which can be inspiration or motivation to do something. It can also be passion.

How do you see yourself?
The Enemies. Like rock against rock, sword against sword, this card represents the ultimate clash: two energies equally pitted in strength and determination. Resolution is a final concept for this card. Often there is a perception that one side or the other must win, must conquer the other. Cooperation and understanding is the lesson of this card.

Since I am not yet a buff in playing card divination, I have paraphrased these meanings off of Ana Cortez’s Playing Card Oracles: Source Book for Divination. I started to learn to use it last year, and this deck serves as motivation to keep the study going. This is the start of a beautiful friendship, the mystifying playing cards and I! You'll love this system to compliment the Mystifying Oracle Playing Cards.

It inspires me to host a cartomancy party for my own birthday, and to treat guests to a show tied in with actual readings. It would be really cool to play out a fantasy for them. If a party fails, it would be so cool to do a similar style of photoshoot with the deck for my personal portfolio as a cartomantic fortune teller.

I think about this in a steampunk saloon or parlor somewhere. Including myself in the fantasy, I see myself in a corset and bustle skirt matching the colors of the cards. The warm grays, reds and black. I see shiny embroidery of the damask on the corset. My hands have lace glovelets, my pale hands are contrasted by the metallic dark red on my nails. I will sit back with my deck and shuffle quietly the fates of my sitters. The querent asks me something, only to be dealt a hand of cards that will whisper to them of their fate.

Oh yeah! Are your cards making you day dream lately? I hope you enjoyed this review. Please support Chris Ovdiyenko’s future endeavors. His talent deserves reward and praise! Would you like to purchase your own copy?

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