I used the Major Arcana from the Tarot to cover a universal range of life experiences, so the oracle would offer meaningful advice in readings.
For this purpose, choose an upright and reversed keyword for each of the 22 Major Arcana cards, and hey presto, you have the titles for 44 oracle cards.
The Fool – new beginnings, folly The Magician – potential, trickery The High Priestess – intuition, illusion The Empress – creativity, lethargy The Emperor – leadership, control The Hierophant – stability, dogma The Chariot – independence, struggle
Once you have completed your list of cards you want to create, you can decide whether to just use the keywords or turn them into a phrase.
New beginnings: A new journey bears risks but also great reward.
Trickery: Beware of deception. Not all is what it seems.
Stability: A solid foundation provides security.
You can also expand on these phrases. In fact, if you don’t have the artwork for your oracle deck yet, you can just print the oracle messages.
However, as a first step create your own oracle deck for personal use and try it out.
A handmade oracle deck would even make a great gift for a friend, who is into this kind of thing ?
Just in case you do decide at a later stage to have your deck printed by a printing company, make sure the size of the images complies with standard playing card sizes, otherwise you will have to reformat all your images, which would be a lot of unnecessary extra work.
You can find the sizes on printing companies’ websites, most of which will have templates for you to download.
You can choose from mini size (like mine) right through to tarot/large playing card sizes. Some companies even offer round and square card printing.
An oracle deck with keywords can also be used as a random tarot spread generator, a technique I have already mentioned in my previous post.
Simply draw three cards to create your spread. Here’s an example:
You can either formulate a question around each keyword or just keep as it is to read intuitively with a tarot card drawn for each keyword.
Now it’s over to you to create your own magical oracle deck, or make a start by downloading the digital edition of the Cosmic Journaling Oracle (take advantage of 15% sharing discount during September!)
That challenge reminded me of a fun workshop I enjoyed at a TABI conference many years ago, in which we created our own rune set on paper cards, and it also reminded me that I always wanted to learn more about runes.
If you feel the same and are curious about runes, you can make your own card set before you spend money on crystal runes or rune decks.
Materials you will need:
200gsm heavy cardstock
scissors (or guillotine paper cutter)
Cut the cardstock into 24 card squares measuring 55 x 55 mm. You can use ruler and scissors or a guillotine paper cutter.
Then fill out each card as per image on the left:
rune in the centre with a colour pen
name of the rune underneath
corresponding alphabet letter in the bottom left-hand corner
its symbolic meaning in the bottom right-hand corner
divinatory meaning at the top
Scroll down for full list of runes and their meanings.
If you feel adventurous, you can choose more expensive card stock, glitter pens and stickers to make your rune set more special.
If you want to use coloured or patterned card stock, make sure it is white on one side, so you can write on it.
You can increase the size of each rune card (perhaps to the size of a standard Tarot card), if you want to add more information or illustration.
Once you have completed your rune set, you can start getting to know the runes by spreading out your set face down and picking one each day as a special message.
For more information about runes, try the following resources:
These websites offer many free features, but you can also subscribe to premium membership to access even more.
2. Theme of your Deck
The deck I’m creating reflects my personal life – experiences, interests, philosophy and spirituality.
Think about the theme and framework of your deck, and choose your images accordingly.
For example, for a deck reflecting your personal life, you could include snapshots of family members as court cards (or the people cards of the Major Arcana), you could use a photo of your local church/mosque/temple/synagogue as the Hierophant card, etc.
Next, you can add a specific atmosphere to the cards, such as a Gothic or whimsical feel by choosing the relevant location for your shot and/or adding effects with your photo-editor.
3. Getting Started
Set a realistic goal. Unless you are a prolific creator, focus on completing the Major Arcana first.
This makes your project seem less overwhelming, and it is very achievable.
Choose the image for each card carefully, but don’t spend too much time on each image either.
You can always adjust or change it later. That’s the beauty of digital work.
Make sure you save all your images (originals and edited) not only on your computer but also separately on a memory stick or in cloud storage!
4. Sizing and Printing Your Images
When you start creating your images, make sure you size them correctly from the start, otherwise you will have to resize your images later.
You can download Tarot card templates from GameCrafter, where you can also have your deck printed, once it’s finished.
5. Designing Your Images
As you begin to use a photo-editor, you will learn to add effects and overlays to your images.
The first images I created were only cropped, resized and the titles and quotes added, but by the time I reached the World, I have learned to fuse various photos into one image.
It takes some experimenting, but you can do this too!
If you are thinking of using images found on the internet as overlays for your own photo, then you need to be careful about copyright.
For example, avoid using celebrity photos for your deck, if you want to publish and sell it (this doesn’t apply, if you print your deck as a one-off for strictly personal use only).
Marilyn Monroe might be a great Queen of Cups, but her photos are still under copyright unless otherwise stated with individual images.
Use public domain images or stock images that you can buy or are offered free:
Don’t put yourself under pressure by setting crazy deadlines. I don’t know when my deck will be complete, but my target of creating four cards a month is realistic for me. So, if all goes well, May 2014 is my big goal.
Enjoy the process of designing each card and find the right image. It has prompted me to visit new places just to capture a specific image. Creating my own Tarot deck has certainly made me go out there!
8. Turn Your Images into Posters and Art Prints
The completion of your deck might still be light years away, but that shouldn’t stop you from turning the ones already created into hard copies or even merchandise.
Check out places like Photobox, where you can turn your creations into all sorts of goodies – from simple prints and greeting cards to canvas wall art.
The process of creating my own Tarot deck has been so enjoyable.
I have gained confidence in creating artwork without the need to paint, and it has also been a kind of spiritual experience, because it has made me think about how the image of each card is reflected in my life.
With today’s technology, it has never been so easy to create your own Tarot deck. If you are inspired, go for it and make a start today.