Tarot Review: Mildred Payne's Oracle of Black Enchantment

8:40:00 AM

If there's a bad-ass deck out there, I'm likely to find and own it.  The last three years have been great for tarot with the release of favorites like The Golden Thread, Tarot of the Absurd, Ophidia Rosa and Marigold Tarot.  Is it just me, or has the golden all-seeing-eye become very popular in the current witch zeitgeist?

The latest in my vast collection, lucky number 52 is Mildred Payne's Oracle of Black Enchantment by Deviant Moon.  It's marketed as a "haunted" oracle, made against the wishes of an early 20th century coven called Fenwood.  I don't know about the backstory or how it was created or why, and I don't think it matters to me personally because this deck is fascinating and fun regardless.

Do you want to live and read deliciously?  Then this is the deck for you.  I admit I didn't know a thing about it when I ordered it, but a fellow Riverton witch shared a picture of hers on Instagram and within a few seconds, I purchased my own copy.  They may be high gloss and almost impossible to casino shuffle, but that's because it's not a tarot deck, it's a very large oracle with thick glossy card-stock.  It's essentially a black and white deck, very popular right now; the card faces are all thick black line print on parchment colored backgrounds, and the backs feature an ornate golden eye on a black background.

The illustrations are such a treat, a complete throwback to English woodblock prints, particularly those popular from witch-hunting manuals, witch-trials and manuscripts on black magic.  Dancing devils, wind-swept hags, maidens of the sabbat and skeletons of the dead make this deck truly one of a kind.  I've waited my whole life for someone to adapt the woodblock style well enough for a tarot deck but it turns out the idea is even better suited to an oracle deck. 


The oracle tells a story from the first block print illustration to the last, a story of wicked women dancing with death and the devils, the story of witching herbs growing from our gardens, dreams and bodies.   There's moonlight rituals and wild dances in graveyards, there are night-riders and twisted demons.   Hell, there's even a depiction of that classic moment when the witch must kiss the butt hole of the devil.  Even if traditional witchcraft isn't your vibe, this deck and its haunting occult imagery will be sure to entertain your magical whimsy. 

I think I was afraid at first that this deck was going to be a rehashing of overused motifs but it actually comes across as rather celebratory and humorous, with artwork that only hints at the old woodblock series without directly emulating every scene.  No card is boring, no two are very alike and each one seems like a complete story unto itself.  For me, each scene appears to be a still of the witch's journey to the sabbat, and a good deal of the cards depict night-riding and sabbat dancing and all of it from the perspective of English witch hysteria art.  Never gruesome or violent, and even a little bit cute where the bulbous-headed skeleton familiars are concerned, this oracle strikes a balance between fairytale and scary story.


While I never quite figured out a rating system for my tarot and book reviews because it would require me throwing shade on works that don't meet my personal standards, I always write reviews for the decks I believe deserve to be watched by the witching world and baby, you better keep an eye on these little demons.  Deviant Moon, I give you Oracle of Black Enchantment my full recommendation and thank you for your swift delivery and fair prices.  A PDF download of the workbook is available when you purchase the deck with the link provided in the shipping box.  Luckily, the cards sort of explain themselves, especially if you're already well acquainted with English and New English occult art.  I think I'll be using this deck for a while because it speaks to the plain old witch in me.

You Might Also Like

1 comments

  1. Wow - this deck looks like a treat! As soon as I landed on your homepage and saw the art I said to myself (in my brain), "what is this???". I had to look it up immediately and then hop back to read your review and see the pictures too. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete