Author: Laura Tuan
Artist: Silvana Alasia
Book and Cards Set
Publisher: Llewellyn (Lo Scarabeo)
Publication date: May 2003
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The Karma Oracle is a small Tarot-like divination deck based on Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. The artist, Silvana Alasia, did a nice job of capturing the feel of eastern art. As the cards are smaller than the average size of divination decks, Alasia has less space to work with. The space is further reduced by a wide colored border used to divide the cards into groups. Nevertheless, the artist made good use of the space available so each card is seen as an individual entity at a glance.
As there are only thirty-three cards in this deck and they are smaller cards physically than the average Tarot deck, the Karma Oracle is a good choice for someone with small hands -- provided they don't mind the smaller symbol set. The deck is made up of a series of twelve cards devoted to both Vedic and Hindu deities, a series of ten cards depicting the mythical animals the deities ride, and a series of eight cards showing the objects and attributes of the deities. The final three cards are the pillars of the karma doctrine: Karma, Dharma, and Moksha.
This deck comes with a 48 page 4 by 6 inch booklet describing the cards and how to read them. The print is fairly small, but this is still a somewhat thin book for completely new system. The author, however, does make good use of the available space. The book starts out with a two page description of the deck, just over half a page on using the deck (including consecrating and consulting it), and a little over half a page on each of the two five-card spreads used throughout the rest of the book. (Six additional spreads are briefly described in the last three pages of the book.) The remainder of the book is devoted to the cards. On average, each card receives a page and a quarter of description and divinatory information. Each card's symbolism, teachings, general divinatory meaning, and time for realization are described. Then specific divinatory guidelines are provided for the card in each of the positions it could fall on in the two spreads discussed in the introduction.
While I find this deck interesting, it really doesn't do all that much for me. I suspect that the reason it does not is a combination of the small symbol set (only thirty-three cards) and the fact that I'm simply not that familiar with the Hindu symbols that are there. The Karma Oracle is, however, a nice deck for collectors, for those who have trouble handling full-sized Tarot cards, and for those who interested in karma and Hinduism. The accompanying book is concise, but there probably is enough information in it for someone who has never read cards before to read with this deck. The "guided interpretations" given for each card in two spreads are a huge help in this.
Reviewed by Randall