Deck Review: Rumi Oracle

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Today I’m going to ramble on about the Rumi Oracle by Alana Fairchild with artwork by Rassouli.

When you move beyond consciousness, you caress the beloved.
When you move into the unknown, beyond everything, the beloved caresses you.
-Rumi

I got this deck as a gift from Katie’s mom for Christmas.  I learned about Rumi in a img_0441class called Mysticism and Islam when I was in undergrad.  When I saw that someone had created an oracle deck about him I was so excited.  I knew I had to have it right away.

Rumi, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, was was a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic.  He was also queer.  He had a lover named Shams who he loved very dearly.  And in doing a little more refreshing reading about him to write this post it made me really angry to find out that Rumi’s queerness is totally absent from his wikipedia page.  It’s also totally absent from the book that comes with this deck.

img_0440It’s yet another example of queer erasure.  You see it over and over again, this awesome queer figure and the things you read about them talk about everything else, and completely fail to mention that they were queer.

I’m specifically disappointed that this guide book does not mention this.  Fairchild talks a great deal about sensuality and sexuality and awakenings and about Rumi’s great loves.  She speaks about his love for the Divine and his love for all of us, but conspicuously fails to mention his great love for Shams-e Tabrīzī, a man he met in a market and loved fiercely.  Rumi is perhaps most famous for his poetry, including the love poetry he wrote about his relationships both with God and with Shams.

I also found it really weird that there was so much Christianity talked about in a img_0439guidebook for an oracle featuring a Muslim.  While it is true that Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, it still felt jarring.  And honestly it felt like pandering to the straight Christian demographic.  Why else spend so much time about Jesus in a book about a queer brown guy if not to ensure that your white christian possible buyers will feel comfortable buying your product.

I was, however, excited to see that in the interpretation for each card included there
is a translation of some of Rumi’s verses.  If I use this deck I think I’m inclined to toss the guidebook and just focus on Rumi’s poetry and the beautiful artistry of these cards.

img_0442Because these cards are really beautiful.  They come in a very sturdy and well made box, it’ll protect them quite well and it holds the book that comes with.  The deck contains forty four cards.  They’re large cards, 3.75 x 5.5 inches.  Each one depicts a different person or idea and each has a beautiful painting.  Some have human figures some don’t.  But they’re all beautifully painted in a rainbow of colors and shades each on inviting you to linger over the images, sometimes you see a woman dancing another time you might see the fins of some mythical sea creature.

I can see myself using these cards as meditation aids because there’s a lot you can mull over in them.

So yes, in summary, I love the art, I don’t love the book, I like the poetry.  I probably won’t use the deck for readings, but it’s not a total loss.

Tarot Talk: Decks I’m hoping to check out

I’ve got a handful of decks on my wishlist this holiday season.  I like to keep decks that I’mtarot-talk interested in on my Amazon wishlist that way come gift giving occasions I make it easy for my family to send me something I’d really like and use.

So here’s a few I’m eyeballing right now.

sacred_rebels_oracleThe Sacred Rebels Oracle.  The description of the deck from Amazon says “Live your own unique, inspired life and share your light with the world as a sacred offering. This oracle deck is filled with striking imagery and beautiful heartfelt guidance to support you in awakening your sacred, rebellious heart. Celebrate and nurture your individuality. Become fully alive and express your authentic truths. Use these cards to gain trust in your own uniqueness and honor your creative power.”

It seems like with all the crap that’s poised to come crashing down in 2017 that this would be a useful and reaffirming deck for activist work and self care.  I feel like we’ll all need some sacred rebel support.

Sun and Moon Tarot.  I’ve had this one on my list for a while, I like the way the people sunandmoonhave varied skin tones and they don’t have faces, it feels like it’d be great for more gender fluid/freed readings.  From the description:  “With fresh, contemporary artwork, Sun and Moon Tarot gives a modern twist to ancient spiritual symbols. By playfully incorporating mythology and astrology, Vanessa Decort brings unique interpretations to traditional tarot, presenting a deck that is both insightful and accessible.”

I think I read somewhere that it leans more on the Thoth tarot and I’m more used to RWS, so we’ll see how that works if I end up with this deck.

hiddenTarot of the Hidden Realm.  I LOVE Faerie energy, the Spoutwood Faerie Festival is the even that I look forward to more than any other event all year.  This deck is all about the Fae and I keep seeing it around.  From the description: “Evoke the powerful wisdom of the fae with the Tarot of the Hidden Realm. Instead of relying on esoteric symbols, this powerful deck uses the raw elements―water, air, fire, and earth―to speak directly to your emotions. The beautifully drawn figures follow the Rider Waite style, but express more energy and movement, drawing you in even as you draw their truths out. The companion guidebook reveals techniques and card meanings for beginners and more experienced readers alike.”

rumi_oracle_sample_6The Rumi Oracle: in my undergrad career I majored in Ancient and Middle Eastern History and I took a class about Mysticism and Islam and it was during that class that I finally learned what mysticism was.  A direct connection the the divine without the need for an intermediary.  We learned a lot about the Sufi mystics and I found it all fascinating and intensely interesting.  Rumi was one of the most famous Sufi mystics and he wrote beautiful poetry in an expression of his faith and also to his lover Shams. So in Rumi I get two of my favorite things, queerness and mysticism.  I definitely want to check out this oracle deck.  And the art looks beautiful.  From the description:  “Rumi speaks a sacred language that we understand with our hearts rather than our minds. He knows the heart is the gateway to divine union and he doesn’t want you to play small this lifetime. He encourages humanity to live and love with absolute surrender, abandon and willingness to accept the mysteries of life.”

Two others that I’ve seen that are very tempting are the Mini Mandala deck and the Spirit de la Lune oracle deck.  I’m also REALLY tempted to get myself the haiku oracle. Also I recently backed two decks on Kickstarter, Dark Days Tarot and Our Tarot so I’m excite about those, but I’ve got a while to wait!

I always love hearing about new decks, which ones are on your lists?  What’s something I absolutely must see?  Let me know in the comments!