Historically, I do not do well with oracle decks. What usually happens is that I come across an interesting-looking one and try to convince myself that I don’t need it but end up buying it anyway, then play with it for a week or so and think, “Yeah, this doesn’t resonate with me at all, and I feel like the cards are too vague to really mean anything.”
So I get frustrated with it and give the deck to a friend, and they immediately turn over a card and go, “Oh! The Porous Weevil! Yes… yes, my God, how true…”
And then they rattle off a brilliant, in-depth interpretation, and I’m like, “I guess you read the little white book, huh?” And they go, “There’s a book?” At which point I just fucking quit.
That said, I picked up Laura Tempest Zakroff’s Liminal Spirits Oracle, because I adore her art (regular readers will have noticed that I’m president of the LTZ Fan Club), and I figured I could put the cards in little frames and decorate with them. Plus I was already writing a Discordian review of Anatomy of a Witch, from the point of view of someone who thought he was reading a young-adult fantasy novel.
But then I started working my way through the deck, and I was like, “Wow. This is… a legitimate oracle.”
The Liminal Spirits cards are designed for use in spirit communication, trance journeys, spellcasting, meditation, and divination, and they are divided into eight groups or families: Rites; Places; Trees; Herbs; Scale, Slither & Swim; Wings; Fur Fauna; and Artifacts. There are five cards in each family, and two outlier cards — the Gateway and the Mushroom — begin and end the deck.
Thing is, if I wasn’t familiar with Tempest’s work, and someone handed me this deck and told me it was created for the Minoan Brotherhood, I would’ve believed them. I also would’ve believed them if they’d said the deck was for Feri, or Georgian Wicca, or Cultus Sabbati — the spirits of the deck are archetypical, so any Witch will recognize them within their own practice.
Of course, the big question with any oracle deck is this: Does it read? As it turned out, I had a situation that was begging for some direction, so it was an excellent opportunity to put the cards to work and see what they had to say.
I have not been very involved with the my leather club lately. A year and a half of quarantining screwed with my panic disorder and made me mildly agoraphobic — Misfit events are typically late-night affairs, and I was finding it harder and harder to force myself out of the house to attend. But I’ve really been missing my brothers, and I haven’t been feeling very connected to them.
The Misfits bartend and sell Jell-O shots on the the third Saturday of every month, and this time around, Scott (the current president) made it a point to reach out and let me know exactly when the club would be getting together to make preparations. I knew he wanted me there, but my anxiety was acting up, and I was worried that the other guys wouldn’t be happy to see me.
Unsure of the best course of action, I shuffled the deck and laid out three cards.
The Cat in the Past showed me trying to figure out where I fit, and the Fox in the Present suggested that I make things move in my favor through wit, charm, and diplomacy. The Honey Bee in the future represented a balance between work and play, and being an active part of a community.
It was a labor to get out the door, but I did manage to do it, and once I was up at the bar, I cracked a lot of jokes and got a lot of hugs from my brothers, which was a much needed relief. I helped make the Jell-O shots, and since I was in the area, I decided to visit my favorite museum, and then I did my weekly coffee date with my friend Reed, and by the time I got home, I was like, “That was a long, fruitful day, but I’m pretty much out of spoons, and no one would fault me if I stayed in tonight.”
But I’d promised Scott I’d show up for bartending, and the club was planning on assembling early to take pictures for an upcoming calendar featuring the Houston-area leather organizations. And I didn’t want to get left out of that. But I also didn’t want to leave the safety and comfort of my couch.
So I pulled one more card.
Analyze your foundation: Is it solid and strong, or unstable and prone to decay, falling apart over time?
Even if you are feeling alone, there is a legion of ancestors and spirits around you. Have faith in yourself, muster up some courage, and cleanse away those fears.
In other words, the card was like, “Get your shit together, Marjorie,” but in a very encouraging way. So that’s what I did.
If I’d pulled, say, the Desert card (a hot situation; proceed with caution), I definitely would’ve stayed home. But I showed up like I promised I would, and posed for pictures, and had a lovely evening overall. Although the kicker was when one of the other Misfits came over and was like, “I’m having fun, but man, I really didn’t want to come out tonight.”
Cedar was right: I wasn’t alone, even if my neurodiversity wanted me to believe otherwise.
Patience is a common theme throughout the oracle, which makes sense, since the spirits invoked by the deck have been around a long time, and have endured. And patience itself is a liminal spirit of Witchcraft — it takes time, effort, and practice to develop and hone our magical skills, and the deck basically paid for itself by reminding me of that.
Tempest’s shop is currently sold out of The Liminal Spirits Oracle, but it’s still available on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and through the publisher. The deck and book also come in a nifty box with a magnetic closure, which I may or may not have already taken apart so that I could use the magnets for Witchcraft. But I did grab a Mother Matrix Tarot bag (Fan Club!), so the cards are totally safe and ready to read me again in the future.