The Magic of Flowers Oracle, by Tess Whitehurst and Anne Wertheim
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738741147, 44 cards, 256 pp., 2015.
Tess Whitehurst is an award-winning author, spiritual teacher, and feng shui consultant. In the Magic of Flowers Oracle she has combined these three talents to create a delightful inspiration for the heart and mind, and a remedy for the troubled soul.
The boxed set includes a deck of 44 cards and a 5”x 6” 256-page companion guidebook. The cards are 2.6”x 4.6” and printed on quality stock. Each card features one of Anne Wetheim’s vibrantly coloured illustrations of a character, bird or insect accompanied by a species of flower. The guidebook has an introductory chapter which explains the importance of flowers in our everyday lives and the purpose of the oracle deck.
Our coexistence with flowers is characterized by a language that is deeper and more descriptive than any human language and that, through its beauty, strikes to the heart of spiritual and emotional truth…For these reasons and more, flowers are ideal oracular helpers.1
Whitehurst goes on to explain that the Magic of Flowers Oracle is intended to be used as a meditation tool, when you need to find inner peace, as an inspiration tool, when you want to uplift your spirit, and as an oracle, when you need advice pertaining to your personal life.
Before the chapters outlining the symbolic meaning of the cards, there is a section on how to prepare your deck for use. There are three stages: clearing, blessing, and dedicating. Whitehurst says that you can choose any time that is suitable to prepare the deck, though she notes that the morning, day or evening of a full moon is most suitable because these are times of new beginnings.
In order to clear the deck, she recommends lighting a white candle, holding the deck in your left hand, forming your right hand into a fist and rapping on the deck with it. At the same time you should visualize your action cleansing and resetting the deck’s energy. For the blessing stage, she suggests that you light floral scented incense and say a brief blessing. In case you can’t think of one of your own, there is one in the guidebook you can use. Once this is complete, you can dedicate the deck by holding the cards against your heart in both hands and visualizing a sphere of bright energy expanding from your body and filling the deck.
Now you are ready to use the cards. Whitehurst suggests simple readings that are flexible, you can also create your own. Drawing a single card from anywhere in the deck is a good way to find guidance for any situation or issue. Alternatively, she says, you can perform a three-card reading to provide deeper insight. To do so, hold the deck in both hands and ask your question, sending your energy to the cards as you do so. In the three-card reading, the first card represents the past, or the basis of the issue. The second card represents the present or essential advice for the current situation. The third card represents the future or the advice for the situation in the near future.
The rest of the guidebook is dedicated to the interpretation of the cards in the Magic of Flowers Oracle. Each section has a black and white image of a card, a description of its meaning and some ideas to help you attune to the card. There is also a blank page where you can add your own notes. The cards are not numbered, but Whitehurst has placed them in alphabetical order so you can find them easily.
Each card has its own flower and other symbols to guide you. For example, the Iris card depicts purple irises in the foreground. Behind them stands a fair-haired woman, arms outstretched. In the background are verdant trees and a waterfall, from which extends a rainbow. The magical specialties of the iris are alignment with inner truth, balance, creativity, and purification. This card calls for you to fine-tune your psyche by making one or two subtle shifts, rather than a major overhaul of your situation. This could relate to making small changes in your home, your diet or in a personal relationship. Of course, how you interpret this will depend upon your question, the position of the card and any other cards it is in conjunction with. The interpretations themselves are detailed and the reader should have no difficulty connecting them to a personal situation.
At the end of each interpretation there are also suggested actions that can help to enhance the energy of the flower and bring it directly into your life. For example, with the Iris card, you could introduce the flower to your garden or home, schedule an energy healing, do the small things you have been putting off, or cleanse the energy in your home, says Whitehurst.
One of the things I find particularly stimulating and inspirational about this deck is the energy that is conveyed through the beautiful artwork and colourful imagery. The figures depicted in the cards are diverse: characters are Native American, East Asian, Vikings; even mythological beings like nymphs, faeries, and even a mermaid. This inclusiveness goes a long way to add to the individuality and creativity that the cards inspire.
There is a magical tone blended into each card that runs throughout the deck as a whole. One of my favourite cards is the Tulip: the background is dark and mysterious. A beautiful, black-haired woman holds an illuminated tulip in her hand. Four tulips stand in the foreground and another is in shadow in the background. This card reminds us to recognize the beauty we all carry inside us and to let it shine out. I think the choice and arrangement of flowers work perfectly to symbolize that.
I would recommend the Magic of Flowers Oracle for anyone who wants to make a shift from a traditional tarot deck, and who feels a connection to nature and plant-based symbolism. It is an easy deck to read, thanks to the detail in the guidebook, and it won’t be long before you start to notice what a significant part of your life flowers really are.
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