The Nomadic Oracle is a set of 56 cards that brings together the senses, the five elements, aura and chakra energies. It's deliberately independent of any religious beliefs, but draws on connections with the I Ching. The set includes a full companion book.
The Nomadic Oracle is an enigmatic and powerful deck that reaches far beyond pretty pictures and ideas, into the deep realms of Mystery, expansion of consciousness, and everyday challenges. It addresses both higher and mundane needs of the Seeker with exceptional insight and genuine compassion. The deck has been carefully constructed and illustrated with unconventional images – maps of consciousness, dreamscapes - some strangely familiar, others mysterious or nightmarish.
From the outset it is obvious that the Nomadic Oracle is a labour of love. It has been crafted with the utmost care and attention to detail. The guidebook for the deck, also a creation of artist and visionary John Mallek is outstanding for the depth of its intelligence and wisdom. The advice and insight one can gain through this deck moves far beyond the average – offering the Seeker deep understanding of spiritual issues, and the way they can manifest in both esoteric and material matters.
The cards are divided into mini-suits of sorts – The Elements and Spirits, The Senses, The Family of the Emotions, The Realm of the Active Path, The Realm of Time, The Realm of Guidance, The Family of Protection, The Realm of Territories, The Realm of Abundance, The Family of Transition, The Infinite Self, and The Jesters. Each of these mini-suits contains between 3 and 6 cards.
This is a 56 card deck; the cards measure 95 x 134 mm which makes them a fairly average size oracle deck. The card stock is very good, light but sturdy and flexible, low gloss and smooth. The cards are easy to handle and shuffle, and do not stick together or clump. The print is high-quality and preserves the subtleties and eccentricities of the images, as well as the artists unusual colour schemes.
The palette is broad but restrained and eschews bright colours. It ranges from murky black and grey work to peculiar colour choices focusing on mustard yellows, blues, tea, flesh tones, gunmetal blue-grey, with flashes of red, orange, green, and violet. The art style is an amalgam of modern techniques including post-Impressionism with touches of surrealism, pointillism, and a sort of kinetic abstractionism. The cards have a broad white border with titles and other designations listed below the image. The cards are not numbered. The print on the back - an abstract multicoloured pattern - is not reversible. The cards are packaged in a lightweight cardboard box coloured blue and magenta, and printed with images from the Nomadic Oracle. The box is sturdy enough to protect the cards but will not stand up to rough or careless handling.
The 465 page guidebook by the Nomadic Oracle’s creator and illustrator John Mallek is an outstanding work. In his words "The Nomadic Oracle is not an 'Angel Pack' – there are villains and vampires, pixies and outright devils described within."
There is a mandatory Introduction which describes the purpose and possible applications of the Nomadic Oracle. It also outlines some of the unusual features of the deck – The Aspect Matrix, The Jesters and how they can change or influence other cards, Multi Dimensional Spreads, and The Healing Oracle.
‘Using the Oracle’ is a 26 page chapter on methods of divination using the Nomadic Oracle. The NO responds to both open readings and specific questions, so the Querent can take either a formal or informal approach to the deck. A seven card spread has been developed specifically to maximise the strengths of the Oracle in relation to a particular question. Detailed information on how to get the most out of this reading, as well as using additional cards and variations is explored in depth. There are also instructions for other spreads included, and these too are covered in great detail.
This is followed by a short chapter on Building a Relationship (with your cards) which details fairly common advice about learning, patience, keeping a journal, and practice makes perfect.
Divinatory meanings for each card are explored in sizeable chapters. Each card is given a specific meaning in relation to the position it may fall on, in a 7 card spread. This is followed by the Commentary which expands the general meaning of the card. This may include spiritual and psychological insights as well as stories that underscore the card’s meaning or illustrate its potential applications. Many of the chapters have an additional blank page intended for the reader’s notes and observations.
The penultimate chapter focuses on Colour Mapping – various colours used in connection with the Oracle represent different elements and thus different energies. ‘Inconclusions’ – the final chapter – details the origins and inspirations that brought about both the deck and guidebook.
This is an exceptional oracle. Very few decks currently on the market function at the high level of the Nomadic Oracle. If you are looking for an Oracle deck that moves beyond pretty pictures and vague new-age platitudes then this deck has been made for you. It takes the Seeker deep into the realms of the mystical, and engages the one at the highest levels of intellect and spirituality, while magically keeping itself grounded in the realities of everyday life. Outstanding!
“The Nomadic Oracle” consists of a deck of 56 cards, with a 465 page companion book. Originally published in 2010 by Ambient Studio, this review covers the 2014, updated version, from Mattang Book. The book morphed at the speed of light from 144 pages to the current 465 pages! Color mapping now has a chapter of its own, there is a double-page presentation of the Aspect Matrix (for easy cross-referencing between Families and Realms), along with sample readings. The Aspect card entries show interpretations from Fire to Consciousness as required by a 7 card reading (a specific reading created for this deck), making quick first impressions easier to achieve.
I want to take a moment here and share something from the Nomadic Oracle site that I find to be relevant. Mattang Book is “a collaborative exploration in consciousness, offering oracle readings and healing …”. A mattang is defined as a tool to help people show their children how to see beyond the horizon.
In his Author’s Note, Mallek advises the reader to approach the oracle as if it were a very good friend (which it is!). This friend will take things seriously, and never have an agenda of their own. He also explains his use of the term “left hand path to consciousness”. While in the West this may be seen as a dark path, Mallek defines it as “an expanding path to consciousness”, a “shaman’s path”. There is no intention to manipulate the power of intention except through the Higher Self. There is a big difference, and the reader needs to keep in mind the intended meaning of this phrase when working with this material. Expanding awareness releases the Higher Self at all levels of consciousness.
Mallek states that the Nomadic Oracle has a responsibility to try to illuminate the world as it is, as a first step to enlightenment.
Part 1 introduces the Nomadic Oracle, working with energy, the Aspect Matrix, the power to say no, multidimensional spreads, and the Healing Oracle. The Aspect Matrix consists of a matrix made up of 51 of the 56 cards in this deck. It is comprised of the Elements, the Senses, and the Aspects (the Families and Realms). Each Aspect card represents one of the five elements within its group. Together with the Senses, and the Elements and Spirits, there are ten groups.
Part 2 is all about using the oracle. The reader can approach this oracle is a casual manner, or in a very formal manner. I think that most readers use both techniques, depending on the circumstances. (Especially those who choose to do journey work or meditation.) My personal preference, whether reading causally or formally, has always tended toward structure – towards the use of specific spreads. Others will choose to read in other, less formal, ways. Mallek talks about making friends with the cards, formatting the question, and using a specific 7 card spread, with the cards defined as: the Context, the Here and Now (the “Om Point”), Practical Guidance, the Undercurrent, the Overview, the Receptive, and the Creative.
Mallek talks about the flow of the reading, and about background energies. He talks about converting the 7 card reading into an Information Angel, and drawing two extra cards: Portal (there is a path, but the way may be blocked), and the Drum (the door is open, the light is at the end of the tunnel). Portal and the Drum are seen as thresholds. Instructions are also given for a 5 card spread, and for Super Spreads.
Part 3 talks about building a relationship with the cards. And that it takes patience and time.
Part 4 talks about the cards and the commentaries. The Elements and Spirits are used to draw attention to particular energies. The five Elements and Spirits cards represent energies which originate outside of ourselves, and can be felt as incoming. The Senses which the Elements are paired with, represent energies with origins inside of the self, and which through their actions can be viewed as outgoing. The sequence of the cards from Fire, through Water, Earth and Air, to Consciousness allows the oracle to choose how to describe or predict the frequency of an incoming event.
Each card is presented with a black and white image, a short synopsis of the cards energy, how the card would be read in each of the positions in a 7 card spread, and commentary about the card. The Elements and Spirits cards have who they are companion to listed under the card image (for example, Fire has “Companion to Scenting Action, the Sense of Smell listed under its image). The Senses have the sense they represent (smell, taste, touch, sound, sight), as well as the Elements and Spirits they are twinned with. For example, Scenting Action lists “the Sense of Smell, twinned with the Elements & Spirits of Fire”. The Family of Emotions have the Element they are associated with listed under the card image. For example, Debt & Domination has “Fire in the Family of Emotions” listed under the card image. In the Realm of the Active Path, the Realm of Time, the Realm of Guidance, the Family of Protection, the Realm of Territories, the Realm of Abundance, and the Family of Transition, the associated element is listed under the card image. For example, Kundalini lists “Fire in the Realm of the Active Path”. For the Infinite Self, the principle that is associated with each card is listed under each image. For example, Shakti lists “the Receptive Principle” under the image. The two Jesters have “the 'not- card'” listed under their image.
Part 5 is a chapter that specifically deals with color mapping. Color mapping refers to the “bubble of perception” that allows us to sense the subtle energies of Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Consciousness. These energies are color coded, and can be used to draw out the details in a 7 card spread.
Part 6 speaks of Inconclusions – the nomadic nature of the cards, and Rainbow Consciousness.
At the end of the book is a Appendix that lists influences, sources, and a bibliography.
The cards themselves are 3¾” by 5½”, using a sturdy, non-glossy card stock. A plastic surface was avoided to ensure that the colors remain vivid. The cards were offset printed and die-cut in Malaysia. The card back shows a ¼” light colored border, surrounding the inner imagery (look for the faces!). Predominant colors are yellow, green, and purple, and they are reversible.
The card faces show a white background, with two thin borders. The image is centered on the card, with the card title, element, and realm centered below it. Some of my favorite cards include: Portal (Water in the Realm of Guidance):
“There is a path ahead, but the way appears to be blocked. The Universe is inviting you to seek out this threshold. Portal suggests that this could be more of a case of stepping out of one idiom and into another. If entry were impossible for you, there would be no path and Jester Portal would apply.”
Healer (Water in the Realm of Abundance):
“Trust and detachment are implicit energies here. Healing, which may begin with a simple request or intention, rises and radiates throughout the entire organism. Commitment and patience might be called for but the outcome could bring genuine relief.”
Intruder (Water in the Family of Protection):
“Protection of the mind and its emotions.”
Protection (Consciousness in the Family of Protection):
“The accumulated security and protection of your energy body and your entire being”
Stopping the World (Earth in the Realm of Time):
“Time to relax. It may be that, in your eagerness to find a solution, you have become out-of-phase with the energy of the situation.”
Transition (Air in the Family of Transition):
“The winds of change are shifting and restless.”
Kundalini (Fire in the Realm of the Active Path):
“The hottest card in the oracle, Kundalini refers to your raw, exposed, and highly reactive life-force.”
Ritual Intention (Water in the Realm of the Active Path):
“A card to remind us that actions speak louder than words and that the world is full of good intentions. Make your actions deliberate.”
I found these cards fun to work with – they teach in a very intricate but heart centered manner. I loved the artwork, as well as the focus on the elements. My feeling is that these cards could easily be used by individuals of all ages, from diverse backgrounds. Dip your feet in the water – see which direction your journey takes!