Review: Mystical Shaman Oracle

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Title: Mystical Shaman Oracle
Author: Alberto Villoldo, Colette Baron-Reid, Marcela Lobos
Publisher: Hay House
Number of Cards: 64
Pages In Guidebook: 139
Card Size: Oracle Size
Where to Purchase: Hay House, Amazon
Top Three Favorite Cards: Middle World, The Rainmaker, Taming The Wind
 
Why I Bought This Deck...
I love Colette Baron-Reid so I automatically buy any deck she makes, sight unseen. I’ve yet to get a deck from her that hasn’t resonated. I pre-ordered this deck immediately when I saw it on Amazon (because yes, I am constantly trolling Amazon for pre-releases). I had no idea what it was about but felt called to it instantly. Then when I saw I few photos of the cards, I said to myself “I’ve got to have it”. It’s really just that simple. Colette Baron-Reid always has a fresh perspective on every deck she turns out. I highly recommend her as a spiritual teacher. 
 


The Packaging.
Ok, Hay House… Look who stepped up their packaging!! Hay House has never had bad packaging. In fact, they’ve had the hard, rigid box for a long time. It’s just now, they’ve really outdone themselves. The packaging coming out of Hay House this past year has been some of the best I’ve ever seen and this one, in particular, is so luscious. Not going to lie, I may buy an extra just to keep unopened. It’s the same kind of gift box that the mass-produced version of The Wild Unknown Tarot and now Animal Spirit Oracle decks come in. It has the side, magnetic closure that houses both the cards themselves (which come in another, smaller box) and the guidebook. 
 
The cards themselves are amazing. The cardstock is matte and thick but still easy to shuffle. I don’t typically care for thick cardstock because I have small hands and wrist problems. The stiffness of thick cards makes it really hard for me to shuffle. A prime example of this is the Starchild Tarot, Akashic. While the quality is obviously amazing, I would prefer to have a thinner cardstock that shuffles well. As I just mentioned, the cards are matte which seems to be the overall direction of Hay House now. I don’t have an issue with laminate cards but I do feel the matte gives the cards a better sense of quality and refinement. 
 

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The Guidebook
The guidebook is pretty thick and I think well-done overall. One thing I look for in a guidebook is whether or not it has photos of the cards. Artists have gotten incredibly innovative over the years but a lot of times, an artist will make it difficult to find the description in the book. I believe this is done in an effort to make the reader depend more on one’s own intuition but I feel like that should be my choice, not the author’s. I will decide if and when I’m ready to rely on my own intuition at a pace that feels right for me. You don’t have this problem here. The photos are clear, numbered and the cards are in alphabetical order. You even have a table of contents… Perfect!
 
Inside of the book, you’ll find a message from the three authors, an introduction, very brief explanation on the Law of Synchronicity and a short paragraph about NOT expecting definitive answers from this oracle deck. That for me is most important. A lot of people come to tarot thinking it will tell them if their partner is cheating on them or if they should absolutely take that job or any one of a million yes or no questions. Tarot/Oracle doesn’t work in the definitive so I’m happy to see the authors taking their time to explain this principle. In addition, there’s a couple of pages on how to use this deck as well as two spreads. 
 

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The real beauty comes down to the interpretations which are separated into “the Essence” or the general understanding of the card, “the Invitation” or the upright meaning of the card, and “the Medicine” which is the reversed meaning of the card. I love the idea of having an “Essence” for each card. It gives the readers an understanding of the underlying message, regardless of it being upright or reversed. A lot of people have trouble with reversals. I believe the upright and reversed aren’t very different at all. The reverse just presents a different perspective on the same meaning. I believe this guidebook to be a perfect manifestation of my thoughts on reversals. 
 
What I Liked About It...
EVERY. SINGLE. IMAGE. I’m literally drooling over every card. I have 16 favorites cards right now so it was really hard to narrow it down to the top 3. There are some truly interesting card titles like Taming The Wind, The Sacrifice, The Ghost Dance and The Rainmaker. These are somewhat intense cards at first glance but the messages are so profound and full of healing once you read their interpretation. I’ve found this deck to be really great for doing shadow work but from a much more loving foundation. 
 
Shadow work is a lot of work and requires a lot of bravery. This deck for me softens the sometimes harsh blows present in confronting your darkness. It almost feels like having an actual Shaman present with you as you descend into your darkness. Each image brings up a bit of fear but also intrigue. I’m almost afraid to hear the messages when I pull a card and yet, I feel as though I have to welcome them. For me, working with this deck so far has forced me to challenge a lot of the emotions and baggage I’ve been hiding over. The stuff that’s in the further corners of my mind. 
 
What I Didn't Like...
Honestly, not much. This deck is truly spectacular. If I had to complain about one thing, it would probably be the number of spreads in the guidebook. I love it when a deck comes with a handful of spreads that are specific to its energy. This deck is so different and I would’ve liked to see several spreads that take advantage of its energy. I’m no stranger to making my own spreads but I didn’t create the deck and therefore, won’t have the same understanding as the authors themselves. Having said that, that is a really small thing to complain about and honestly, It makes absolutely no difference to me. 
 
I Recommend These Cards For...
There are few decks that I would say are for everyone but this deck for sure is one of them. It’s been a while since I’ve felt interested in my study of shamanism. This deck immediately reconnected me to the healing and presence found in shamanism which I plan to focus on as my energy of choice for the summer. So if you’re interested in shamanism at all, this deck is a must. If you’re interested in a more indigenous understanding of magic, this deck is a must. If you’re interested in elemental wisdom, this deck is a must. And really, if you’re seeking something that helps you to have a better understanding of the connection between the physical world and the spiritual one, then you absolutely need to work with this deck.