I am very excited that my new book, The Vitruvian Square: Discoveries in Divination, will be released next month. In it, I discuss some powerful – yet easy – methods for using The Deck of Shadows as an incredible oracle (in addition to obviously discussing a wide variety of other divination tools). Naturally, I thought now would be a great time to unveil something I rarely discuss about The Deck of Shadows; a topic that has not previously appeared anywhere in print. In fact, I have only hinted at it a few times in my radio and personal appearances.
So, are you ready to learn some of the intriguing secrets that are quietly (and some not so quietly) tucked away inside The Deck of Shadows? Now I’m not giving away all the secrets. Some of that is left for you.
Now, the cards that make up The Deck of Shadows were intentionally formed from a base of cryptic themes (religious, spiritual, and mythic motifs) that you might not otherwise have discovered. Just like the assumptions that gave rise to the popular Da Vinci Code, Michelaneglo Code, and Bible (Torah) Code stories, The Deck of Shadows contains its own mystifying and mysterious messages.
As you may have noticed, there are standard playing card indices represented at the top of each Deck of Shadows card. With 54 cards represented, you have all 4 suits (Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds), all 13 spot and court cards (Ace through King), and 2 Jokers. As such, the traditional code that is built into a standard deck is also present in The Deck of Shadows (keys that can be used for providing timing during a reading):
There are 52 cards in the deck. There are 52 weeks in the year.
There are 12 court cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings). There are 12 months in the year. There are also 12 hours in both the day and the night
There are 4 suits (Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds). There are 4 seasons.
There are 13 cards in each suit (Ace through King). There are 13 weeks in each of the 4 seasons. Further, in a lunar year, the moon orbits the earth 13 times.
If you add up the value of each card in the deck (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 13), you arrive at 364. If you add one more for a Joker, the sum is 365. There are 365 days in the common calendar year. The additional Joker is used if you want to take into consideration Leap Year.
Now for some fun with The Deck of Shadows, itself:
THE PLAY OF DAY/NIGHT :: HOT/COLD
There are only two colors used for the cards. These represent day and night, and hot and cold. Likewise, you will see that the two sides of the cards (front and back) can embody the same attributes.
THE PLAY OF THE DUALITY OF LIFE :: MALE/FEMALE
The hearts and diamonds are feminine. The spades and clubs are masculine. You thus have the duality of life built into the deck.
THE PLAY OF THE FOUR ELEMENTS :: NATURAL MAGIC
The spades represent air. The clubs represent fire. The hearts represent water. And the diamonds represent earth. Thus you have the four classical elements to draw upon.
There are even more disguised meanings within the deck. Here are a few of the specific card patterns you might consider exploring:
THE PLAY OF THE HERO’S JOURNEY
The Hero’s Journey was made popular by Joseph Campbell. However, the concept is very old and outlines the various, fundamental stages or quests that an individual embarks upon through their life. I personally use these steps as an outline for providing readings.
KEY: STAGE OF THE JOURNEY = MATCHING DECK OF SHADOWS CARD
The Call to Adventure = ADVENTURE (Risk, Variety, Movement)
Refusal of the Call = REFUSAL (Choice, Interdiction, Worthy)
Supernatural Aid = DESTINY (Deserve, Karma, Serendipity)
Crossing of the Threshold = CROSS THE THRESHOLD (Distance, The Way, Pledge)
Belly of the Whale = METAMORPHOSIS (Growth, Physical Change, Disruption)
The Road of Trials = OBSTACLES (Impasse, Drama, Challenge)
The Meeting with the Goddess = LOVE (Arousal, Security, Bliss)
Woman as the Temptress = WRETCHED EXCESS (Obsession, Temptation, Shame)
Atonement with the Father = FAITH (Courage, Prayer, Certainty)
Apotheosis = ASCENSION (Birth, Apotheosis, Salvation)
The Ultimate Boon = THE SOUL (Innocence, Grace, Completion)
Refusal of the Return = FORBIDDEN LOVE (Seduction, Triangle, Detachment)
The Magic Flight = FREEDOM (Catharsis, Sanctuary, Flight)
Rescue from Without =RESCUE (Protection, Home, Religion)
The Crossing of the Return Threshold = WISDOM (Epiphany, Oracle, Initiation)
Master of the Two Worlds = TRANSFORMATION (Return, Inner Change, Sureness)
Freedom to Live = RESURRECTION (Anticipation, Retreat, Redemption)
Obviously, there are other cards within The Deck of Shadows that can be combined and substituted for what I have listed, above. Now you are starting to see the real potential for the cards. In other words, a unique, intoxicating, and intense story – your own Hero’s Journey – can be formed from the cards.
Oh, one more thing – imagine using The Deck of Shadows to write an actual story. Just pull out a number of cards and begin to write your tale in the order the cards are selected – certainly a quick way to vanquish writer’s block!
THE PLAY OF THE SEVEN SINS
There are actually contrasting and distinct lists of the seven sins – those items that early religion found to be objectionable wrongdoings. The original biblical listing only shares Pride with what we know today as the Seven Deadly Sins. For this brief discussion, I am using a more traditional list.
KEY: SIN = MATCHING DECK OF SHADOWS CARD
Pride = RIVALRY (Parity, Argument, Competition)
Lust = FORBIDDEN LOVE (Seduction, Triangle, Detachment)
Greed = WEALTH (Gratitude, Treasure, Increase)
Envy = JEALOUSY (Seize, Vigil, Unforgettable)
Wrath = HATE (Madness, Severity, Rage)
Gluttony = WRETCHED EXCESS (Obsession, Temptation, Shame)
Sloth = LOSS (Destruction, Separation, Despair)
THE PLAY OF THE SEVEN VIRTUES
In contrast to the seven sins, some have found that there are contrasting virtues or respectable conduct.
KEY: VIRTUE = MATCHING DECK OF SHADOWS CARD
Chastity = THE SOUL (Innocence, Grace, Completion)
Temperance = REFUSAL (Choice, Interdiction, Worthy)
Charity = UNITY (Convergence, Marriage, Adaptation)
Diligence = PURSUIT (Race, Goal, Chase)
Patience = FAITH (Courage, Prayer, Certainty)
Kindness = GOOD (Gratitude, Heaven, Worthy)
Humility = SACRIFICE (Promises, Ordeal, Isolation)
You can use any of these previously disguised codes and create vibrant and suggestive readings that center around each of them. For example, and as I indicated earlier, I happen to use The Hero’s Journey when formulating many of my readings. You can just as readily use the seven sins or seven virtues backdrop for some advanced divination, as well. And don’t forget about the timing aspects of the cards that I outlined for you.
There are more items hidden within The Deck of Shadows just waiting for you to discover them. I just know you will enjoy the adventure of getting to know this incredibly potent oracle even better!