One of the most fundamental aspects of the human experience is that we find meaning in our lives. While the narrative is different for everyone, most adhere to certain universal truths. With the decline of traditional religion, people are increasingly seeking a sense of existential verification from other sources. Various forms of spirituality offer a means to connect to a higher realm of being, other than the self; or 'God' in religious terms.
Oracle cards are one such way that people can tap into a universal truth, to make more sense of this miraculous journey that is life. They work on a similar principle to Tarot, except that they give more general guidance and allude to the bigger picture, often using just a few cards with simple layouts. Tarot, on the other hand, can provide far more detailed responses to more specific questions, but are also complicated and therefore easily misinterpreted.
Oracle cards work with the Law of Attraction, or the universal energy that connects all things. You may only pull one card, yet it will reflect some aspect of your life and can be understood using a fairly straight forward interpretation, which always contains a positive message, even if we are conditioned to see the card as connected to a negative emotion.
These philosophies and practices date back thousands of years and span many cultures and traditions. But, what about the world we live today? A world in which lives are dictated by technology and people exist in a virtual reality induced stupor, relying on the internet for everything. In this way, we have lost touch with the real source of life; the planet and the natural environment.
To understand more about how this ancient wisdom fits in with today's world; we spoke to practicing witch, Barbara Meiklejohn-Free, co-creator of the Witches' Wisdom Oracle Cards. She began by clarifying the term 'witchcraft';
"We don't actually call it 'witchcraft', we call it 'wisecraft'". This is because it is a more accurate term to denote the passing down of ancient wisdom through our ancestors. It's concerned with the study of herbal medicine, a knowledge of the land and healing. "It's a completely natural way of being."
"And, it's so important and so needed today more than ever before, because as you know, everybody's so wrapped up with the material aspects of life. What if there was suddenly no electricity, or the internet went down, which could very well happen; what on earth would people do?"
"This is what inspired myself and Flavia Kate Peters to create this new deck, the Witches' Kitchen Oracle Cards. It's written to educate people on aspects of folklore, which we are all steeped in, but have become ignorant to in an age of 'convenience'. The idea is to reconnect people with nature's pantry and demonstrate how plants and herbs can be used domestically and as beauty products."
Going back to the subject of modern day witches, Meiklejohn-Free dispelled a few commonly held myths: "People tend to think of witches as running around with long cloaks on, casting hideous spells and dancing naked under the moon, which couldn't be further from the truth! Witchcraft, which is a form of Paganism, is actually very transparent and is a healing practice that has been around for thousands of centuries."
"There's been a huge rise in veganism and eating organic produce, along with eliminating harsh chemicals from the home. The Witches' Kitchen Oracle Deck fits into that, by giving people a unique method for discovering about herbs and how natural ingredients can be used as household/beauty products. It's a fresh perspective on an ancient wisdom; designed to introduce people to the folklore that is all of our heritage."