Peace Oracle: Guidance for Challenging Times, by Toni Carmine Salerno and Leela J. Williams Blue Angel Publishing, 9781925538281, 45 cards, 71 pp., 2018 Created by artist Toni Carmine Salerno and author Leela J. Williams, the Peace Oracle is an oracle deck where each card focuses on a different aspect peace, and what it means. Salerno has created a few other oracle decks, including the Gaia Oracle and the Art of Love Tarot, also published by Blue Angel Publishing. The deck is not based on any pre-existing oracular system. The kit comes with 45 cards and a 71-page guide book.1 The cards are larger than a typical tarot deck, which can make them a bit awkward to handle, but the size allows for the detail of the artwork to be fully seen. The cards are sturdy and shuffle easily without sticking. They are actually a pleasure to handle. I found myself enjoying the feel of them moving in my hands as I made my first explorations of the deck. The artwork of the cards is beautiful and engaging. With their bright colours, they reminded me of medieval illuminations or the stained-glass windows of a church. The images draw upon several visual themes, with trees, faces, and natural scenes repeating throughout the deck. Each image is accompanied by a single word that is tied to the peace theme of the deck. The combination of the bright image with its single-word title lends itself easily to meditation. I use the card’s image as a focus and the card title (for example, transformation, blessing, and release are a few of my favourites) as a mantra that I could speak aloud. The book includes an introduction and brief instruction on card layouts, with the card meanings making up the bulk of the text. The introduction covers the topic of peace and what it means to align oneself with a life of peace. There is a discussion of the Eleven Points of Peace, a list of 11 statements about what peace is, followed by a short explanation of the statement. There is also a section on how to use the Peace Oracle for contemplation or divination, followed by a few simple one-, two-, and three-card layouts. I found this first section of the book to be lacking. It is very short, only eight pages, and I wanted to know more about the process behind the creation of this gorgeous oracle deck. What inspired the artist and author to create an oracle deck about peace? Why were these particular 45 images and card titles chosen? How are they connected to each other, if at all? It also felt a little short on information about how to use them as a tool to actually get through the “challenging times” referenced in the deck’s title. While it offered a basic guide on learning the cards (find a quiet spot, make a cup of tea, sit with each card for a time, and so on), I wanted to know more about how to actually apply the information in each card to my life as it relates to peace. The second part of the guidebook includes the meanings for each of the 45 oracle cards. There is one page for each card, which includes a black and white image of the card, a quote related to the card meaning, a paragraph or two about the card, a short divinatory meaning, and an affirmation. The quotes are quite nice. Many were new to me, and I was inspired to look up information about a few of the quote authors. The descriptions of the card meanings are eloquent, though I would have liked to have had a bit more information on how the image and its symbolism were tied to that meaning. I really liked that the divinatory meaning was listed separately. These descriptions were very clear and made reading for myself quite easy, and I did not feel like I had to puzzle out which one of several possible meanings might apply. The affirmations, while all positive, were very wordy. I’m not sure how useful they might be as spoken affirmations due to their length. They read more like prayers or meditation concepts to me. The Peace Oracle is a deck worth purchasing, especially for the gorgeous images it contains. It is also useful if you have difficulty doing readings for yourself, as the meanings of each card are clear and simple. I do hope that the author plans to come out with a separate guidebook that might help one explore the cards more fully, and how they might be used as a tool for achieving a deeper connection with peace.
  1. For more on Toni Carmine Salerno’s work, see Alanna Wright’s review of The Art of Love Tarot and Corinna Underwood’s review of Sacred Earth Oracle Cards. []