The Victoria Frances Gothic Oracle has 36 stunning cards of romantic melancholia. The illustrations, by Spanish artist Victoria Frances, are seductive, sinister, poetic and darkly evocative.
Of all the artists favoured by Goths none is more beloved than Victoria Frances. Her romantic images perfectly capture the sinister, melancholy, and poetic atmosphere that so pervades the interests of Goth culture. In this stunning oracle deck are images of sorrow and foreboding weeping women, tear stained water nymphs, curious Columbines, strange adventuresses whose lone rambles through dark woods can only end badly for someone, vampire women with blood stained lips and direct, seductive stares, Ophelia-types drifting in a stream strewn with flowers.
Victoria Frances illustrations are sumptuous with beautiful attention to detail fabulous jewels, plush fabrics with gorgeous lines of drapery, velvet, leather, satin, feathers and fur. The settings and mis-en-scene are darkly evocative graveyards with tombstones tilted at rakish angles, wintry woods with snowclad, grasping, spindly trees, ivy clad walls, stained glass windows, dense forests, forbidding castles, even the Bridge of Sighs in Venice makes an appearance.
This is a deck of 36, with numbers only, no titles on the cards (these are given in the guidebook). The cards measure 88 x 125 mm which makes them a little broader than most standard tarot decks, and somewhat smaller than many oracle decks. The card stock is excellent solid yet flexible, and quite light. They have a smooth, high-gloss finish which makes them easy to handle and shuffle. As with many glossy decks, the cards may initially be somewhat stuck together, but if you simply flex the whole deck they will separate easily.
The print quality is superb the subtleties and fine detail, as well as the delicate line work and shading used by Victoria Frances is perfectly reproduced. There are no misprinted cards, no blurring, no colour bleeds. Not surprisingly, given her chosen subject matter, Victoria Frances favours quite a dark palette of silvery greys, lavenders, deep burgundy and dark amethyst, ivy greens, and contrasting scarlet and blood red. Many of her pictures are rendered in sepia and ivory shades. These are exquisite works some in pencil others in a mix of watercolour/ink and pencil. Each card has a black border surrounding the image. The picture on the back of the cards mirror images of a woman with kohl smeared eyes is fully reversible.
The cards and guidebook come in a solid cardboard box with liftoff lid. The box has a glossy finish, and is printed with images from the oracle cards as well as cursory information about the deck in 5 languages.There is a black ribbon inside which helps the user lift the cards and guidebook from the box.
The 127 page guidebook by Kim Arnold has information in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. The introduction gives some brief information on the function of Oracles. It goes on to acknowledge the Goth culture that has both influenced and is the broadly intended audience for this deck. There is instruction for 1-card, 3-card, and 5-card layouts. There is also a small but functional (and very helpful) meditation that can be done with the cards. The divinatory advice addresses emotional, spiritual, and even 'occult 'issues. Each card has an evocative title such as Midnight Mirth, The Autumn Bride, Under the Mask, The Colourless Duke, the Garden of Cruel Thorns, and keywords, as well as divinatory meanings. These cards seek to address the balance between darkness and light with an emphasis on always seeing light at the end of the tunnel. They encourage the user to face their fears rather than be crippled and limited by them.
This is a stunningly beautiful oracle deck. If you are a fan of Victoria Frances' art then you cannot miss out on this. If you are looking for a genuinely Goth oracle then this deck is going to be hard to beat. With its gorgeous artwork and divinatory meanings that truly reflect Goth sensibilities the Victoria Frances Oracle is darkly enlightening.