With its gorgeous gold-edged cards, Leila+Olive’s Pythia Botanica Oracle connects us to the world beyond the mundane. Each card is tea-stained, with the name of each card and the accompanying plant to the side of each plant image. The plants are drawn in a similar style to botanical illustrations from previous eras. Each image is black with white, rose, lavender, and marigold as accent colors. These colors compliment the flowers and plants represented on each card without distracting, showing a unity of theme throughout a deck that would otherwise be a confusing riot of foliage and flowers.
The deck is an easy way to approach nature and its secrets, even for those like myself who yearn for more of a connection with natural things, but lack the understanding of how to speak the language. The meaning of each individual card is implied through the captions, but also through the accompanying book. This makes the deck easily understandable through each card and gives the user the ability to interpret each card according to their own personal needs and experiences.
As an oracle deck rather than a tarot, this deck relies on an internal consistency and imagery rather than outstanding archetypes. Each card speaks to nature and our connectivity with it and as such, the meanings tie to the traditional understanding of herbalism and mythology. For example, the poppy’s associated word is “Sedate” and the Mandrake’s is “Disquiet the Myth.”
Using the oracle is a meditative experience, tying a language of flowers into our personal understanding of our own lives. There is something that taps into the unconscious with this deck, a deep language that reminds us of walking barefoot through a field or finding hidden secrets in forests. It opens us up to meanings beyond our daily experience and gives us the ability to seek understanding from the world around us.
When we have lost our way, sometimes we look to signs in nature to give us guidance. This oracle deck from Leila + Olive gives us the tools to find a path free from the brick and mortar of our experiences and into the roads that lead into the wild and free places of our unconscious.
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