Crafting Your Own Oracle Deck
Regardless of how experienced you are in cartomancy, you can make an oracle deck using your personal lexicon of symbolic imagery and language. Consider this exercise as an opportunity to understand yourself better wherever in your journey you are right now!
Beginning in 2018 the words "common rite" continuously came to me in meditation. I'd been working with published oracle and tarot decks everyday for just over a year at this point. It became apparent to me that "common rite" was the guiding verbiage for a budding oracle deck I would create in the coming months.
I felt that while the published decks I used daily provided tremendous insight to me, I knew that creating my own would allow me to access another level of intuitive discernment. Below is an image of my completed Common Rite Oracle.
Step 1 in creating your own oracle deck...
Is brainstorming the different aspects you'd like to include! This'll be different for everyone.
The words "common rite" provided the starting point for me in creating a deck. It became obvious to me that the symbolism for the deck would have to reference everyday objects, anything that I could identify as "common" in my own life and surroundings. "Rite" indicated to me that even in most seemingly mundane imagery, meaningful symbolism could exist. I knew sculpture and miniatures would be a personally appropriate medium to express what was forming into the imagery of Common Rite Oracle but I didn't yet have the words for it.
Step 2 is choosing resonating keywords.
Imagery and verbiage is very important to an oracle deck because it triggers the reader's intuition. When making your deck, consider themes and keywords that resonate with you.
Pro Tip: List all your ideas without judgement and then chose which work best for you. The artwork for the cards can be done with drawing, collage, or any other medium that you're comfortable with.
For Common Rite Oracle, I began listing different household objects and scenes that I found meaningful. I then associated these scenes with keywords. Eventually, I decided on 24 keywords that worked for me: Abundance, Ascension, Addiction, Build, Celebration, Cleanse, Control, Distraction, Domination, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Heal, Illuminate, Knowledge, Love, Sustenance, Transformation, Beginnings, Endings, Ritual/Intuition, Divine Order/Chaos, Seed/Intention, Tend/Growth, Reap/Manifestation.
It took me an entire semester of college to finalize these 24 keywords - so take as much time as you need!
Step 3 is making your deck's imagery (so much fun!)
Personally, I combined clay, miniatures an photography to create the artwork for my deck. As a sculptor, polymer clay has always be an important medium for me. Clay represents possibility, the opportunity to sculpt anything from an otherwise amorphous blob. A rainbow arch of polymer clay corresponding with the chakra system emerged as a starting point for background of each card. As a miniaturist, I liked the scale and accessibility of dollhouse furniture. Photography was the best way to capture the scenes I created.
But there are many different artistic mediums you can use when making your own deck (ie: drawing, painting, etc.) Collage is an excellent medium for your first handmade deck. If you go this route, I suggest the following supplies:
magazines and/or books
cardstock paper or index cards
But what if you can't find a picture?
If a problem like this arises, you have three choices. What you decide is entirely up to you:
1) you can decide to not include them in order to keep the aesthetic continuity
2) you could add it in another medium (maybe you decide to draw it!)
3) Find a picture online and print it. (Heads up: If you plan to sell your deck, make sure you choose a picture that's free stock)
Remember, this is merely a suggestion. Like I did, utilize any medium that you feel comfortable with!
Step 4, connect your images and keywords together!
You're almost done! Label your cards with the keywords you've associated the images with.
Pro tip: alphabet stamps are especially fun for this part, but not required!
Here is an example of three of my cards. Notice how elements of the artwork reflect the keywords chosen.
Step 5, get connected with your new deck!
I recommend blessing your deck once it has been completed. You can easily do this by sitting with it in your hands and while speaking aloud, give thanks and set intention for how this deck will become a tool of your personal growth for the highest and greatest good. Make sure to also introduce your homemade deck to any other decks you might be using it with. You can simply do this by laying all your decks in a stack on your altar together.
Remember, the duration for this project is entirely up to you. It could be done in an afternoon or several years. Enjoy the process!