Viking Oracle Review

Viking OracleViking Oracle –  Review by Jan Tjeerd

The Viking Oracle by Stacey DeMarco with art by Jimmy Manton was published by Blue Angel Publishing in February 2017.  Many folks who are interested in divination using Rune cards and Viking themed oracle decks may be interested in the deck for the images connected to the Elder Futhark or as an oracle deck connected to the Gods and Goddess of the North and inspired by Viking-era history.

Based on the description of the deck by Blue Angel Publishing, one would think this could be a suitable deck (even with the mention of the “25 Nordic runes” which we will address later).

 Combining the symbolism and divinatory significance of the 25 Nordic runes with a further 20 Viking-themed cards, the Viking Oracle is a powerful and comprehensive tool for insight and guidance from the Norse tradition. This deck offers a portal back through time into the intriguing culture of ancient Viking society―moving beyond stereotypes of warriors and raiders and delving into the extraordinary Norse mythos and the intricate and powerful belief systems of this ancient people. You’re invited to work with a range of card spreads and striking Norse imagery to deepen your connection with the fascinating world of the Vikings.” – From Blue Angel Publishing’s website (1).

Given that, there are some pros and cons to this deck and system. Prior to getting right to the artwork and meanings, Let’s cover some items that are easy to address and set aside.

The Layout of the Deck

Viking Oracle_ValkyriesThere are 12 female, 11 male, 14 objects, and eight rune designs that make up the artwork for the deck. The artwork is done by Jimmy Manton who has worked with DeMarco on other decks such as the Halloween Oracle, Gods & Titans and Goddesses and Sirens as well as on other projects. It is bold, colorful, and creative.

My first reaction was formed by reading the promotional text and seeing just a couple of the cards when this appeared for pre-order on Amazon late in 2016 was to set it aside to maybe consider it at a later date.  I was not very impressed.  Mostly because of the “25 Nordic runes” comment. This meant that they include the “blank” rune as one of the runes of the Elder Futhark. However, I thought it might be worth using the rune cards as an option for readings and  was how they would include the Gods and Goddesses.

I think the biggest issue with this deck is a lot of missed opportunity as a whole, but the runes in particular. Beginning with the artwork, a lot was wasted with the posed figures in winged helmets and bulging biceps.  The box stated it wanted to move beyond stereotypes, yet all of the figures are nothing but stereotypes. These images basically appear to be mannequins for the costumes.

“Viking” Imagery

The clothing is certainly not of the Viking era. While beautiful gowns, cloaks, and armor adorn the figures, they seem to be a mix of Celtic, Greek and Roman styles that make for nice fantasy dress up, but do not represent the era the deck is supposed to reflect. I showed examples to a member of a living history group who confirmed these do not represent Viking era styles. One would expect that a deck extolling the “wisdom of the ancient Norse” in a “Viking” oracle, the clothing would be true to the period.

Another note is the excessive use of winged headdresses and helmets. It really seemed that these were drawn for day tripping Viking festival patrons rather than those seriously working with the runes and divination tools.

The Runes

VIking Oracle_Tiwaz.pngAmong the rune portion of the deck, the major issue here is Demarco does not make any effort to connect the art to the meaning of the card. For example figures drawn are generic male and female that do not relate to the rune. Even on the runes that actually ARE connected to a God or Goddess (such as Tiwaz for Tyr, Ingwaz for Freyr Ing) they opted to use an image of the rune.

Given that the rune was provided at the bottom of the card with the name written out, this was very disappointing that the images were not connected to the  runes better. The deck also included the “blank” rune as part of the runes. However, this is easily corrected by just shifting this card to the oracle side of the deck.

The Oracle Cards

But the problems continue with the images for the oracle portion of the deck. Many of the cards specifically name a God or Goddess for the divination. Yet the image bears little resemblance or seem to include any of the things we know about Them from the lore (such as Brinsgamen, the cat-drawn chariot or falcon feathered cloak for Freya, the depiction of Hel as half decaying/half beautiful, etc are not included).

Descriptions of the Cards

Regarding the text in the book about the runes and the oracle section, there is a lot better resources out there to reference for the runes and to create conclusions for the oracle cards. The author includes a poem for each of the runes  but they are not from the rune poems we are aware of (I assume the poems are her own as she did not credit any other author).

DeMarco includes meanings for each rune and expands on the meaning she provides, which are basically alright. Without a bibliography, it is not easy to determine where her meanings are sourced from.  However, it does seem she possibly draws from Ralph Blum’s oracle.

The stories associated with the Gods and the era of the people in the Age are generically OK – they seem to be more tales of what the author recalls were told her some years past rather than researching better sources and coming up with a divinatory connection to the subject of the card.

Conclusion

This really leaves the Viking Oracle to have not accomplished what it states it set out to do. The deck may not be entirely valueless, however, for those who may have already purchased it.  I suggest that if someone has purchased this and wants to try to find a use for it, just set aside (or discard) the book that accompanied the cards and go with what you already know, or read up on the subject of the card to create a meaning for it (as well as to draw the eight and ninth world on the Nine Worlds card which appears to have only seven of them).

Although the deck did not meet with the uses I can recommend, the cards may still be an inspiration to some and not a total loss.  To make the best use of this deck, set aside the accompanying book.  Approach learning the deck in two sections, the runes and the oracle.  Obtain a better source of rune knowledge such as  Katie Gerrard’s Odins Gateways (a good beginning rune resource) or Diana Paxson’s Taking Up the Runes. 

Shift the blank 25th card (called the blank or the “void”) to the oracle portion of the deck and make some associations based on information found in resources through the stories of the tradition.

However, for any who have not purchased the deck and may have them on a wish list to obtain later as rune cards or a viking-era themed oracle, do a little more viewing of the images to see if they resonate with you.  There are a some better rune decks already available.

If you are interested in a more detailed description, check out the audio or video podcast on episode 11 (audio) and the Gifts of the Wyrd  YouTube channel (video).

 

  1. Blue Angel(r) Publishing. Website: http://www.blueangelonline.com/viking_oracle.html accessed September 11, 2017
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Frith Forge Recap: Episode 16

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Episode 16 cross posts an episode from The Troth’s Podcast in which Jan interviews Frith Forge co-organizers Robert Schreiwer (Troth Steersman) and Amanda Leigh-Hawkins (International Relations Committee) for a recap of the Frith Forth conference held in October 2017. The conference was a collaboration of the Troth and the Asatru EU Network. The European co-organizer was Haimo Grebenstein of Verein fur Germanisches Heidentum e.V.

There were representatives from organizations from the U.S. and Europe as well as folks who wanted to connect with other leaders and have a good experience.  Links to the organizations can be found on the Frith Forge event page. Scroll down to the Participants section and click on the logo to conect to a website.

IASC_Logo.pngThe Asatru Summer Camp will be held 28 July – 4 August in Gerolstein, Germany. Please see the IASC website for information and booking details. Attendance for the 7-day camp is as low as 230 Euros including accomodations at the youth hostel where it is held.  Workshops, blots, activities, and most of all – connection with other inclusive Heathens in a fun and comfortable setting.

Frith Forge was sponsored by The Troth.

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Thanks for listening

Visit the following Social Media for The Troth:  Twitter: @AtTheTroth     Facebook: TheTroth1 Website: TheTroth.org   Troth Blog: The Troth

Music:  Intro to episode 16: Stanza 31: Valkyries Assemble from Voluspa by Tonya Threet. available on CDBaby. Facebook page: Tonya Threet

Intro to the Troth’s podcast:  To Hear the Trumpets Call by Hauk Heimdallsman Hauk’s only link is currently on Bandcamp but you can find him on Facebook @HaukMusic. John Hyatt has some copies of the album featuring this song. email at giftsofthewyrd@gmail.com

Outgoing piece from Voluspa by Tonya Threet.  Track 10: Stanza 19 Yggdrasil

All music selections on this podcast are written, produced, and copywritten by their respective creators/owners. They are used with permission.

Teutonic Religion by Kveldulf Gundarsson will be released in Spring 2018 by Saga Press. Facebook: @therealsagapress. www.sagapress.ca

Notes and announcements:

Pantheacon is an inclusive pagan convention welcoming all paths and the people who practice them. It is held in San Jose, CA over Presidents Day weekend and hosts workshops, rituals, discussion, music, vending, new releases, and more. In addition to the official program, groups and organizations open hospitality suites to welcome those interested in learning more about a variety of paths and subjects.

In addition to being safe spaces for conversation and a break from the intense schedules and fun, the suites may also have concurrent schedules of workshops, crafting, and ritual.

The Alliance for Inclusive Heathenry hosts an amazing suite and has a Facebook group @inclusive.heathenry.

Wyrd host, Jan, hosts a suite for divination and oracle practices. Facebook – @divinationsuite  both groups have gofundme pages to help costs for the service to the community.

Check out the Tarot Visions podcast for delightful cinversations with Jaymi and Rosered about Tarot and other divination. Tarot Visions is available on podbean  their Facebook page is: @tarotvisionsus

Runes of the Northern Lights by Paola Tartara. Deck with Runes depicted in a delightful retro style. Beautifully colored. This deckis now available and can be ordered from Llewellyn by your local book shop.

Völuspá cd by Tonya Threet is now available. Tonya sets stanzas of the Völuspá to music. I have a copy of this and really enjoy it. Tonya will be on an upcoming episode.  available on CDBaby. Facebook page: Tonya Threet

Check out The Cartomancer magazine. The Cartomancer is a quarterly journal featuring original content in the form of articles, reviews, artwork and more. The main focus is cartomancy in all of its forms; especially tarot, Lenormand, and oracle cards (including runes).

Housekeeping:

Gifts of the Wyrd contact: Twitter: @WyrdGifts  Facebook: @GiftsoftheWyrd Email: GiftsoftheWyrd@gmail.com

Please leave feedback on iTunes. This helps the podcast to be found easier.

Interested in a rune consultation or bindrune? Email me for availabilty and pricing. GiftsoftheWyrd@gmail.com

Logo Created by Xander Folmer of Huginn’s Heathenhof. Contact Xander for logo designs for all your needs. Logo based on a boar design created by Vanatru Priestess, Ember, to represent the Vanatru tradition.  See episode 7 for an interview with Ember and visit her blog, Ember Voices for more about Vanatru.

Studio recordings by Zencastr and Audacity.

Happy Solstice: Hail Sunna

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Sunna by annaiceflames on Deviant Art.

Whether celebrating Winter Solstice or Summer Solstice, may it be joyous and one filled with Sunna’s wonder.

I found this beautiful artwork in a search. I hope the artist attribute is correct. It was located on the Deviant Art page of AnnaiceFlames.

Episode 14: Interview with Diana Paxson

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Author Diana Paxson with Gifts of the Wyrd host Jan Tjeerd at Opfemoor, Germany October 2017

EpisoOdin_Paxsonde 14 of Gifts of the Wyrd welcomes Author, Seeress, Editor (and more) Diana Paxson to discuss her latest book, Odin: Ecstacy, Runes, and Norse Magic.  While in Germany prior to this episode, I had the pleassure of spending a week with Diana and 6 other people as we traveled around central Germany to visit sacred and historical sites. We took a moment after a day of walking around Bronze Age grave mounds to talk about the book and the process leading to its writing. Diana Paxson’s website can be found here.

On the market:

The Christmas Oracle deckThe Christmas Oracle by Jan Tjeerd with art by Vinnora. The Christmas Oracle is a 35 deck depicting scenes associated with the memories of holidays in North America. Based on those traditions, this divination deck will give you magical insights from the holiday season with its birght, colorful art. Deck includes cards with meanings, 3 spreads and a blank card to add something special of your own. Etsy shop: FeniksShop.

Odin: Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic by Diana L. Paxson is now available. check with your local metaphysical shop to see if they can order it from Weiser (support them when you can) or order from Weiser Books or your favorite online seller.

Runes of the Northern Lights by Paola Tartara. Rune deck with Runes depicted in a delightful retro style. Beautifully colored. This deckis now available and can be ordered from Llewellyn by your local book shop. I have this deck and will be doing an audio and YouTube review.

Voluspa CoverVöluspá cd by Tonya Threet is now available. Tonya sets stanzas of the Völuspá to music. I have a copy of this and really enjoy it. Tonya will be on an upcoming episode.  Look for her on Facebook at Tonya Threet or email Tonyathreet09@gmail.com or by visiting Etsy shop: FeniksShop

Freya Prayer Day

Today is #FreyaPrayerDay. Take a moment to spend some time with Freya. You can sing a song, write or recite a poem, draw, have a blot, or just take in some time with Her. However you do, if you post about it, please use the hashtag above to connect the conversation.

Freya Prayer Day was created by Victoria of the  Lion & Dragonfly   so that we can honor the Lady worldwide. Visit the blog for more about the day which is held the second Friday of the month and to subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

Follow on Facebook: @FreyaPrayerDay and email FreyaPrayerDay@gmail.com.

 

Artwork: Freya by Natasa Ilncic

Anglo-Saxon Heathenry

On 6 October, episode 13  will post welcoming Alaric Albertsson and Taren David Martin to the Wyrd hall. We discuss Anglo-Saxon Heathenry, Alaric’s re-release of his book – A Handbook of Saxon Sorcery & Magic, and the Martin Rune Deck, an Anglo-Saxon rune set created by Alaric and Tarin.

Production note: we had feedback on a microphone that we could not adjust. We continued on and I tried to minimize it as much as possible (many hours of post-production).  I hope that I got it to a point where you can hear and understand Alaric well enough. Please forgive the tech difficulties.

Handbook Saxon Sorcery MagicA Handbook of Saxon Sorcery & Magic: Wyrdworking, Rune Craft, Divination & Wortcunning by Alaric Albertsson. This is a re-release of his earlier work Wyrdworking which is out of print. Book shops can order from Llewellyn (support your local shop) or you can order from your online retailer.

 

 

 

Martin Rune DeckMartin Anglo-Saxon Rune Deck: A 33 card deck featuring the Anglo-Saxon runes with artwork by Taren Martin. Deck comes with a booklet with description and rune poem by Alaric Albertsson. However,the runes are fully described in Alaric’s book A Handbook of Saxon Sorcery & Magic. The two are great companions.

 

 

 

 

Music: 

Notes and announcements:

Völuspá cd by Tonya Threet is now available. Tonya sets stanzas of the Völuspá to music. I’ve heard samples (one featured on Episode 11) and think it will be a really good album. I’m looking forward to my copy. Look for her on Facebook at Tonya Threet or email Tonyathreet09@gmail.com.

Odin:  Ecstasy, Runes, and Norse Magic by Diana L. Paxson is now available. check with your local metaphysical shop to see if they can order it from Weiser (support them when you can) or order from Weiser Books or your favorite online seller.

Runes of the Northern Lights by Paola Tartara. Rune deck with Runes depicted in a delightful retro style. Beautifully colored. This deck will be available October 2017 and can also be ordered from Llewellyn by your local book shop. I will be doing a deck review of this.

Housekeeping: 

 

Interested in a rune consultation or bindrune? Email me for availabilty and pricing.

Logo Created by Xander Folmer of Huginn’s Heathenhof. Contact Xander for logo designs for all your needs.

Studio recording by Zencastr.