by Fez Inkwright (www.rosdottir.com)
Rec’d Retail Price: £23.99
Date of Publication: 2021
First off, this is a truly beautiful deck. Fez Inkwright is an ‘illustrator, author & folklorist’ and her knowledge and skill shine through in this botanical and seasonal deck. The illustrations are stunning, so much so you could literally just use this deck to pick a daily piece of small art for your desk. With 55 cards the range of plants depicted is wide, but some of the cards feature symbols such as snakes, skulls and daggers. I’ve always struggled to relate to Oracle Decks because they seem so already defined, but this deck gives you scope to read the cards intuitively without the guidebooks. But then the guidebooks, yes there is more than one, are stunning in themselves.
The deck comes with a Dawn guidebook and a Dusk guidebook, an unusual feature. Also beautifully illustrated and written, the Dawn gives you card readings about starting new things, whereas the Dusk one is focused on guidance for looking after yourself. Many of the card interpretations contain something from folklore from around the world relating to the plant, as well as information about the plant itself, so this is a great deck for learning about botanicals as well. The cards are divided across the four seasons, the first card being The Seed and the last card being The Sickle, the cycle of new beginning to harvest.
The books also contain a quick guide to the cards, tips on how to read, spreads, and how to use the deck alongside the Tarot. With a wealth of practical information this makes the deck very beginner friendly. One thing I thought was particularly innovative, when it came to Reversals, was the suggestion to use the opposite guidebook to the one you intended when you pulled the card. If you intended to go with the Dawn interpretation, you would instead read the Dusk one.
From a practical point of view, the cardstock is fairly sturdy with a matte finish and I found, with my small hands, that the deck was relatively easy to shuffle. The packaging, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear, is also beautiful. In fact, given this deck’s RRP is £23.99, I was surprised at how much attention to detail there is. It’s a hardcover slipcase illustrated inside both the inner and outer box and with ‘hidden’ phrases printed on the cases.
There are a few things I would have loved to have seen done differently, none of which should put you off.
First, I would have loved to see in the spread suggestions one which took advantage of the dawn/dusk approach and combined both in one spread, as opposed to only being one or the other.
Second, in some cases the relevance of the plant chosen to the interpretation isn’t clear in one book but is clear in the other where the folklore is explained. I’m not sure though how you would change this without risking a lot of repetition, which leads me on to my main niggle. Although I love the creative idea of the two guidebooks, I don’t think it quite works because lots of content is repeated, such as the wording of each season section introduction, reading the cards tips, reversals and some of the spreads. In a time when it’s good, especially with something so clearly related to the environment, to be conscious of our use of resources, this seems rather a waste.
Overall, this is a deck that is a joy to look at and interesting to work with and learn from. When I gave it a New Deck Interview it told me that if we keep working together we may just fall in love and I think it’s right.
Reviewed by: Alison Clayton-Smith