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The Transparent Oracle

By Emily Carding 

Published by Schiffer Publishing

 Ever since Emily Carding came out with her Transparent Tarot I’ve wondered what it would be like to work with layers of card images.  I’m happy to give this deck from Schiffer Publishing a look.  This deck is from 2010 so some of you may have it in your collection already.  

In the boxed set you get a guidebook, the transparent round cards and a white cloth to lay your cards on.  Using a light colored surface seems to be the way to get the most from the cards. I have “heard” that this deck is a way to connect to the elementals-of which I don’t have much experience.

  Emily Carding is a self-taught artist and author, as well as a Priestess, lyricist, actor, singer, and mother. Her inspiration comes from vibrant mythology in all cultures and reality in magic and the Otherworld. She is the author of The Transparent Tarot.

The 70 cards are made of transparent plastic and there seems to be a bit of an oily film on them that makes them look a bit cloudy.  Wiping these down is going to take a minute.  The white cotton reading cloth is folded in the box and I pressed it flat to minimize the distraction of the fold marks. For the review of this deck I started with the guidebook first. That’s right, before I looked at the cards I wanted to get a sense of what I should expect and how I might best work with this oracle. 

The guidebook is divided by chapters.

Chapter One: What is the Transparent Oracle?

Chapter Two: Card Meanings

Chapter Three Using the Cards

Chapter Four: Overlays (Spreads)

The deck is inspired by the Seven Directions: North, South, East, West, Above, Below and Within. These concepts are explained in detail in the card descriptions. 

The Care of the Cards section offers tips on reading and caring for the cards as well as a suggestion to try reading on a light box to make the cards really come alive-makes me wish I had a light box!  There is mention in the guidebook of the oily feel of the cards and Emily recommends wiping them with a damp cloth or you can wash them in soap and water-just make sure to dry them completely. 

As I glance at card meanings I’m realizing this is really a whole new set of symbols that I’m not used to working with. The card meanings are set up in the guidebook with East first, then South, then West, then North, then Above, then Below and finally Within.  There’s a small section to take notes at the end of each of the directions. The guidebook gives you keywords and then the extended meaning of each card. The guidebook suggests using three cards to begin learning to read with.  There are tips on how to form your question while shuffling. Although there are guidelines provided in the guidebook, ultimately each of us will need to find our own unique way of reading these cards.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong way when it comes to divination. 

It took me some time to get all of the cards unstuck and wiped down. There’s a bit of an oily residue on each card. My next challenge was how to shuffle round cards;  I ended up placing all of the cards on a card table and mixing them about. This truly is a whole different way of doing things. I get the feeling that these cards really do offer a look beyond the ordinary and by spending time with this system and learning to interpret the symbols we could have infinite views into understanding the relationship between this world and “other” worlds. It’s fascinating for sure. 

I would love to see some videos on YouTube of people working with this deck-so far I haven’t found any. Let’s take a look at some of the symbols and meanings that this deck uses. 

“East: EAST is the direction of the dawn, of new beginnings and fresh ideas, hence that is where the deck begins.  This direction corresponds with the element of Air, and this with knowledge, intellectual matters and thoughts.”

  1. Gateway
  2.  Weather: Wind
  3.  Element: Air
  4. Time of Day: Dawn
  5. Landscape: Mountains
  6. Guide: Butterfly
  7. Guide: Blackbird
  8. Guide: Eagle
  9. Guide: Wren
  10. Elemental: Sylph

Each of the Seven Directions: North, South, East, West, Above, Below and Within are laid out in the book in this same way. This review has proved tricky to get any good images to go along with it…transparent and shiny surfaces with symbols don’t always translate well in a photo.  I’ve done my best to capture the essence of how a layout could look.  

I would say if you like the challenge of learning a new system of reading this deck is for you.  It’s unique and it definitely has much to offer as a way to get deep meaning.  

Review by Mary Nale

NOTE: The images make the cards appear to be yellowish-they are not yellow at all but, truly clear and transparent.


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