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.
I got this deck as a gift from Katie’s mom for Christmas. I learned about Rumi in a class 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.
It’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 guidebook 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.
Because 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.