Oracolarium by Andrea Aste and Neil Kelso

Reviewed by Pengwen

Oracolarium by Andrea Aste and Neil Kelso
published by Berith and Brimstone
London, First edition 2020
ISBN-13 : 978-1838316303
RRP: £29.50
Available from: https://www.Oracolarium.com/shop 

“I am not omniscient … but I know a lot”

Hello, Friend! Do come in! You didn’t see this tent the first time you passed by? Well, there are more things in heaven and earth, as they say. And you look as though your mind is heavily occupied. Won’t you come in and take a seat? There now, and some tea for you. It’s … herbal. Oh this? This is the magical, mystical Oracolarium! No, don’t close the box quite yet. It’s important for the ambiance, shall we say. In fact, here, let’s have a closer look.

Oracolarium key 13, Transmutation

You take the twenty-eight cards, shuffle them, and draw … let’s start with two. Do you have your phone? No, you don’t have to turn it off. Give it to me for a moment so I can conjure up the looking-glass lens that will bring the cards to life … here we go. See, there is something shifting in the background, mist rising from a witch’s cauldron, a planet shifting into view and out, a ship riding the waves. The music? Oracolarium’s theme, The Night Symphony. And wait, there it is … the voice with a special message for you. Come back now, it’s easy to get lost in the golds and copper, and shades of chocolate and charcoal. But Oracolarium has so much more to tell you.

Oracolarium card with augmented reality view on a cell phone

Look closely now at your cards. Find the magical objects. There are six on each card – maybe a bottle, maybe a bee, maybe a sword, maybe all three – and your two cards will have one of them in common. Let’s find it, and then consult the spell book for advice. Hmmm, interesting …. yes? Oh yes, the Magic Seal! Each card has its own, so look in the spell book yourself this time, to decode the key for the sigil. How do they compare, your two Seals? How remarkable! I didn’t see that …

Oracolarium key 9, Illusion

Yes indeed, there’s Numerology here and Gematria too, if you have the time to stay for a bit longer? Not today? Ah well. For another day then. And when you come back, remind me to show you my favourites … 8, 16, and 20. You will love them, I’m sure.

Oracolarium cards and guidebook

Well no, my friend, I can’t give you my spell book, but it is a treasure, isn’t it? Such beautiful paper, such an unusual shape! And look, here are some spreads we can try next time we’re here. See, they’re created just for Oracolarium. I know! So many. You can come back again and again. I’ll keep the cards safe in the beautiful black gauze bag until next time.

Just pull the drape back to leave … ah, you see the magic now out there now, don’t you? It’s always there, but sometimes we forget how to see, how to touch it. Oracolarium can show you the way.

Oracolarium is co-created by two multi-disciplinary artists: Andrea Aste (the multimedia artist behind The Book of Shadows Tarot, and The Tarot of Light and Shadow and much more) and Neil Kelso (expert in Magic, digital and theatrical immersive experiences, seances and cabarets).

The cards of the deck also feature a cast of famous models. The artwork is a magical fusion of Andrea Aste’s fantastical illustrations with original photographs of stars: people who are experts in fields connected to the meaning of the card they embody. As you use the deck you will come face-to-face with a famous strong-man, a New York Times best-selling author, a World-Record-Holding Fire-breather … drag artists, circus performers… and more.

If you’d like to see the the Augmented Reality in Oracolarium in action, go to https://www.oracolarium.com/ar where there is a video demonstration. If you’d like to try out the app yourself, you can bring the cards in this article to life – and in fact, anywhere you see them in print! Go to the same link as above, and download the AR app to your phone or tablet. Open the app and make sure one entire image is on screen. You may need to tilt your device back and forth slightly so that the image registers. Be sure your sound is on!

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