Better Together: Holly Simple + Spirit Speak's Iris Oracle
More often than not, I use at least two decks for my readings. I used to save one oracle card to wrap things up neatly in a life-affirming bow, but I've slowly been incorporating oracle even for simple three-card draws or within more structured spreads like the Celtic Cross — not just as a bookend, but to give a different perspective to a set structure.
While it makes sense to pair decks made by the same creator, I find that bringing different voices into one reading can give more depth to a singular message. The Iris Oracle and the Holly Simple Tarot are perfect for each other in this respect. Not only do they look like a match made in heaven (I mean, their rainbow backings alone make this pairing a no-brainer), but I feel like their voices seem to click together seamlessly.
If you've ever wondered about these two decks, or pairing them together, here are my top 10 reasons why I feel these two are a great fit.
1. The art styles are complementary. While the Holly Simple is more vivid in color and crisper in its lines and the Iris is softer in its palette and its hand-drawn lines, but taken together, the aesthetic is pastel perfect.
2. They both have a dark edge. The graphic imagery of the Holly Simple (there's a lot of horror-rific goodness there) and the impactful shadow messages of the Iris Oracle show us that despite a pastel perfect veneer, life also offers murkiness and gloom. Both decks seem to float above this shadow quality with good will and an uplifted spirit.
3. There's more to both decks that meet the eye. I find when I really sit with these cards, I can pull so much more than what the surface has to offer. It's easy to fall back on standard meanings for the tarot, and the upfront messages of oracle cards, but the illustrations of both decks do lend to more exploration, if you're willing to go deep.
4. Both decks are confrontational. Because the art styles of the Holly Simple and Iris are so off the cuff, I find that clients do give their pulls a second look and actually try to figure out what's going on themselves.
5. They're both independently published. And there's nothing I love to support more than self-published artists! There's so much meat to these two decks, especially when you track the process and progress of deck creation on the artists' Instagram accounts.
6. The guidebooks are a good read. The Holly Simple Tarot has a very comprehensive card summary included in the deck, but can also be bought with a more comprehensive guidebook (for an extra $24). The Iris Oracle's messages can stand alone, but its guidebook provides a quick, easy and short read.
7. It's a fun exercise to run through the decks and check out similar cards. I can pick out similarities in color, structure, or meaning — whatever the case may be, I find that flipping through the cards consciously instead of random pulls is also a great exercise in deriving your own interpretations. These two decks make it easy.
8. They shuffle well. Always a plus on my book, the Holly Simple has a linen finish while the Iris Oracle has that semi matte finish that fans out smoothly.
9. They're not overly woo woo. I like how there's a mix of practicality and magic in both decks.
10. They have distinct personalities. You can spot the Holly Simple and the Iris Oracle from miles away. I love how the artists just totally committed to their visions — it comes off so clearly in everything about these decks, from their visuals to their packaging to their meanings!