The Psychohist Oracle

Deck Name: The PsychohistOracle
Creator(s): Robert Saint John
Publisher & Year: Self-Published, 2020
Availability: Etsy
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As a huge fan of Ray Bradbury and the retro futuristic sci-fi genre, I was extremely excited when I saw this deck was created. From the moment I opened the box, the Psychohist Oracle did not disappoint. Saint John draws inspiration from many great authors such as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Poul Anderson, A. E. van Vogt, and more to bring us this incredible deck. Many of these authors had an almost uncanny prediction of what the future would look like so it’s only fitting to create an oracle deck with their legacy. I only wish I would have thought of it first!

Yes, you might say that we don’t have flying cars or colonies on Mars yet, but what these authors captured was the core of human nature and how that would play out in our present day society. They truly understood the nature of humanity at its core. By casting their characters in fantasy scenarios, authors are able to highlight some of the bigger challenges our society faces that are true in any human interaction, regardless of how normal the setting is; challenges like xenophobia, escapism, the drive to be special and important, sacrificing a few to save many. Every time I go back and read Fahrenheit 451 I am blown away (and rather frightened) by how accurately some portrayals of society have played out. It’s this understanding and prediction of the course of human nature that makes this genre so great for an oracle deck.

Many of these sci-fi masterpieces play on the classic hero’s journey, which is a timeless tale that lies deeply in our psyche. We all face a version of the hero’s journey in our own lives, and tarot/oracle decks are an incredible way to analyze our struggles and get some guidance. Retro sci-fi in particular adds our relationship to technology in the mix of our journey. Many a sci-fi story outlines our hidden fears about advances in technology and how they change our relationship to each other and the world. This is a beautiful nuance to bring into an oracle deck and makes it very relevant to modern day readers.

The cards are beautifully illustrated on linen cardstock with all of our favorite characters from the collection of heroines and heroes to villains and far away places. These classic archetypes are all represented in this deck and make for incredible story telling in readings. This deck’s theme certainly adds an entertaining layer to readings, especially when talking about the work we need to do. Changing the perspective helps us remember to have fun in life. Messages like “you need to step outside of your comfort zone to grow” become “ you need to go on an epic Quest, explore uncharted territories, and meet alien civilizations to expand your knowledge of yourself and the universe”.

I’m immediately thrown into nostalgia of reading my favorite authors every time I pull a card. This only enhances the deck’s theme of analyzing the past to get guidance of our future. Wikipedia puts it quite well: “Psychohistory is a fictional science in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation universe which combines history, sociology, and mathematical statistics to make general predictions about the future behavior of very large groups of people, such as the Galactic Empire. It was first introduced in the four short stories (1942–1944) which would later be collected as the 1951 novel Foundation”.

While the cards are rich enough to read solely based on your intuition, the deck comes with a little white book that gives a brief sentence on the character in the card and a few key words.

Positronic Man – Humankind once relied on loyal Robots for the colonization of the Galaxy. Now nearly forgotten, do they still exist? What part would they play in the Plan? Keywords: observation, guardianship

Quest – Some questions can only be answered by a journey away from the familiar. Set a goal and look for clues. Keywords: escape, growth

The Library – Other than the Palace, the most prominent structure of the Imperial Galaxy. It holds the collected data of Humanity, and its preservation through the Long Night is paramount. Keywords: reflection, quiet

Star’s End – The other end of the Galaxy, said to be the home of the Second Institue. But determining the precise location depends on your point of view. Keywords: expectations, destination

This deck is certainly a must have for any of my fellow retro sci-fi fans out there!