Golden Moth Illumination Deck Reviews

The Golden Moth Illumination Deck is a charming divination and inspiration deck of 75 cards. The blue and gold card imagery is wholly original and is reminiscent of storybook line drawings. Self-published in a limited edition of 300 decks.

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Created by Aijung Kim
Oracle Deck - 75 Cards - Self Published 2012

Review by Melissa Hill

I’ve been a fan of Aijung Kim’s art­work for a few years now — since I first pur­chased a copy of her zine, We Carry Each Other (I later pur­chased another copy to gift to my mother — it affected me so pro­foundly). So I was thrilled when she sent a let­ter to her mail­ing list about a div­ina­tion deck that she had cre­ated and started a Kick­starter cam­paign for. I didn’t even hes­i­tate in sup­port­ing the project and a few weeks ago I received my backer’s award — a copy of the fin­ished deck.

The deck is so spe­cial. You real­ize this as soon as you have the pack­age in your hands. Kim sent a copy of the cards in a sturdy tuck-box, the hand­book that accom­pa­nies the cards, a spread­sheet poster, a post­card of her work, a doo­dle and her busi­ness card to her back­ers. My copy is 83/300. Yes, there are only 300 copies of this. Go get one now.

Kim illus­trated 68 cards, but includes seven blank cards (with encour­age­ment to draw your own sym­bols). The print­ing is two-color, blue and gold, and the illus­tra­tions are sim­ple line-style draw­ings. The cards are approx­i­mately bridge sized and the stock is a thick, uncoated card-stock. You could rif­fle shuf­fle, but I’m not sure I would. I’d like to think my pre­cious copy will last for years and years, but it’s def­i­nitely not a deck for tak­ing to the pub or read­ing where coffee-cups tot­ter tena­ciously nearby. So far as I can tell, the box is of the same stock. It’s lovely to the hand, but feels ephemeral (beau­ti­ful, mind you — do not hes­i­tate to pur­chase this deck — but it is delicate).

The hand­book is another trea­sure all together. While read­ing through it I real­ized this was entirely hand-lettered. When this became appar­ent to me — Kim’s lovely hand and straight lines — my respect for her as an artist went WAY WAY UP. This is truly a hand­made endeavor.

The sym­bols are non-traditional and unti­tled. Kim doesn’t explain the cards in the man­ual, rather she encour­ages the user to intuit their own mean­ings based on the con­text of the read­ing. The style one might approach this deck is sim­i­lar to how a Lenor­mand may be read, though the Golden Moth’s sym­bols are more abstract and sur­real than what you’d find in a his­tor­i­cal car­toman­tic deck. She doesn’t men­tion it in the hand­book, but the num­bers may be use­ful if you fancy a bit of numerol­ogy. Kim also includes a spread poster designed specif­i­cally for the deck and sug­gests other spreads in the book, along with tran­scripts of sam­ple readings.

I’ve already used the cards on sev­eral read­ings, com­pletely sat­is­fied with the results. Though the use of sur­pris­ing, non-traditional sym­bols requires a bit of flex­i­bil­ity on the user, the fluid nature of the deck works just per­fectly for me. If you can look at pic­tures and make up a story, you’ll find this deck a trea­sure in your collection.

And finally, I rec­om­mend this deck because Aijung Kim makes art and it’s good art. And this deck rings true to the heart of an artist — which is so rare in the world of div­ina­tory cards, where so many decks are mass-produced by hired guns. The Golden Moth Illu­mi­na­tion Deck speaks to me as an artist, as some­one who could only tell my story through pic­tures that are mean­ing­ful to me. Kim accom­plishes that and more with this lit­tle nugget. And you can bet it’ll soon be as rare and pre­cious as gold itself.

Melissa Jo Hill is a word-slinging, ukulele-playing, fortune-telling, single mother and sauerkraut aficionado in upstate New York; best known as the Sassy Sibyl.

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