Created and Published by Betty Skeet 2019
My expectations for the Veleda Oracle were not exceptional. Like many of the other decks I have in my collection I expected the result of a well-run Kickstarter campaign to be a nice deck with a standard 70mm x 120mm size, at least 300 gsm cardstock, and packaged with future storage in mind. What I got instead was mountains above my expectations of “nice”. My mind was blown the instant my hands touched the surface of these cards and whatever expectations I previously had wouldn’t have been enough to do this deck of cards justice. Betty Skeet is the artist and creator behind the Veleda Oracle and her attention to detail is clear from every part of this wonderful creation.
There are many great things to point out about the Veleda Oracle from first impressions alone however I feel the most noteworthy, although hidden, factor of this deck is the eco-responsibility with which it was produced. This deck is not only nice in presentation, it is also nice to the environment. The Veleda Oracle is a nature-based deck which lead to the choice to find a production facility that is eco-friendly. The facility is solar powered, the papers are from certified European mills, and the inks used to print this deck are food grade. A conscious effort to reduce plastic waste was made in the decision to eliminate plastic shrink wraps and shipping components. I am so proud to have a deck manufactured with its impact on the environment in mind. It shows that steps can be made to produce affordable products free of harmful waste. In the near future, I hope to see similar efforts made from this and other industries.
Veleda Oracle is a 54-card deck featuring images inspired by plants, animals, and cycles found within the natural world. The cardstock is some of the best cardstock I’ve ever felt. On the surface is a soft yet textured finish with a grain that runs vertically. It is reminiscent of the rose petal finish that can be found on decks like Dust II Onyx Tarot and True Black Tarot but there is a unique flexibility to this cards stock that allows for effortless riffle shuffles. Betty Skeet made a point to minimize any images of humans or manmade objects which I found to be a thoughtful and sophisticated choice. This forces the user to immerse themselves into the images and ideas expressed on each card. The color palette of this oracle also feels like a conscious and calculated decision. The matte, black background creates an illusion that causes the images to pop for a slight 3D effect. For the most part, each card uses bright primary colors in a neutral tone but the deck has been visually divided into three sets of 18 separated by dominant colors of green, purple and pink. The pages of the accompanying guidebook are separated into the three colors as well. It’s not clear to me the significance of the colors but from what I can gather the keywords in pink seem to represent how one relates to their environment, keywords in purple seem to represent how one reacts to their environment, and keywords in green seem to represent how one is influenced by their environment. If this is the case, I’ve found another reason to love this deck even more.
The guidebook serves as an extension of the keywords found on each card. For each card there are three additional keywords and a detailed description that offers some insight into the imagery of each card. If there was one drawback about this deck it would be that the guidebook is not alphabetized. I would have loved to see each section alphabetized to make it easier to look up card meanings. To be fair, I can’t even count this against the deck because the guidebook is an optional purchase. I personally find Veleda Oracle to be especially intuitive but I also appreciate the additional support from the guidebook. If you didn’t want to purchase a physical copy of the guidebook, a digital download as well as card spread layouts are available on the website. Also available on the website is a dedicated blog where you can explore some of the artist’s choices and inspirations behind the images on each card.
Opening the Veleda Oracle was like opening a Russian matryoshka doll because there are so many layers to it. With each layer was a delightful surprise which made me appreciate this deck more than I thought was possible. Veleda Oracle has set the bar pretty high for what I consider a “nice” deck.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the Veleda Oracle, please keep in mind it is shipped from the EU and prices are listed in Euros. The Veleda Oracle can be found at: www.veledaoracle.com