Better Together: The Sasuraibito Tarot and the Awakened Soul Oracle
For most of my readings, I like drawing from two to three decks. Mixing up the tarot with oracle is a favorite practice of mine because I get the best of both worlds—the structure of the tarot and the soft, affirming hug that an oracle delivers (granted, not all oracle decks are all-affirming and the ones I do own also carry a lot of hard-hitting shadow messages).
While most creators do come up with tarot and oracle tandems, they hardly every produce decks that come out at the exact same time. I can only imagine the amount of effort it takes to come up with just one self-published deck, what more two, am I right? It's because of this that I tend to pair decks from different creators. Sometimes, an oracle deck pops up and as much as I want to purchase it right away, if I can't think of a tarot deck to pair it with, I'll wait 'til something good comes along.
That's exactly the case with this pair. Ethony's Awakened Soul Oracle was long on my wishlist, but wasn't one of those decks I felt I could snap up right away because something told me to wait 'til I could find the perfect pair for it. When the Sasuraibito Tarot started popping up on my YouTube feed (I have Elyse of Wild Moon Woman to thank for this one), I knew it was time to bite the bullet.
From the packaging alone, you can tell that these are a great fit for each other! Each deck utilizes a sturdy two-piece matte box that means you can dump them in your bag and not have to worry about your cards getting nicks, scratches, and folds.
Both decks come with substantial guidebooks too. Ethony's is housed within the deck box, while Stasia's comes separate because it is a lot larger than the deck itself.
I tend to reference oracle guidebooks more than tarot and I love how well-written and thoughtful Ethony's guidebook is—it covers practically everything so that the oracle or tarot newbie doesn't have to worry about how exactly to apply their oracle pulls to their own lives or their querent's situations.
I appreciate that the Sasuraibito comes with a book—most deck creators relegate their guidebooks to the internet (as downloadable PDFs) or as literally little white books. I can see this guide being particularly helpful to those first dipping their toes into the tarot and need some hand-holding when it comes to reading the cards.
Another reason this felt like a perfect match for me are the card backs. Both completely reversible, they look like mirrors of each other, don't they? Both employing winged creatures and a black base, they are the epitome of MFEO. I like the difference in sizes also, with the Sasuraibito subscribing to the typical tarot card size, while the oracle is a lot larger. When reading, the difference in sizes can be helpful when you want to layer tarot cards on top of oracle cards—your spread looks a lot more interesting and you don't take up your entire desktop just to make sure all the cards fit!
Both decks also possess shiny, gilded edges, with the Sasuraibito coming in gold and the Awakened Soul Oracle in silver. I love myself some gilded edges except when they make the cards sticky and impossible to shuffle. Like the Cosmos Tarot & Oracle however, these two decks, do NOT adhere to each other (woohoo!) and are both thin and pliant enough to riffle without any trouble.
Check out those lovely backs! If you're a stickler for decorating your altar, these two decks' boxes can be utilized as the perfect accoutrements for your sacred space. I really appreciate how deck creators that go the self-published route look into all the little details so meticulously and with so much care. It's details like these that make the actual experience of reading the cards all the more special.
And now, for the meat and potatoes of this review, the actual cards.
Ethony has always been outspoken about her desire to incorporate diversity into cards. As an Asian growing up in Asia, it's not something I really feel too strongly about (I can imagine it could be different if I were Asian American living in the US, for example). That said, I appreciate the many colors that Ethony consciously and purposefully included here. The inclusivity also goes beyond the people and characters within the Awakened Soul Oracle, but also with the light and shadow messages encapsulated by the deck. There is a healthy mix of ups and downs and neutrals within the cards—enough to give you a well-rounded look at life and all its complexities.
The situations she places her characters in are contemporary and completely relatable too. I tend to prefer these types of decks rather than the more fantastical ones, so yay.
If I were to have one (just one!) nitpick—and this is very much a personal thing for me, it would be the choice of type used to label the cards. I was a bit of a typography nerd in design school and Zapfino and all its iterations kind of grates on my nerves and was one of the reasons I also held off on purchasing the deck right away. It's silly I know, but these things matter (to me). It's a terribly small bone to pick, however, as this is deck is 99% magical and practical. :)
The Sasuraibito Tarot is also a contemporary deck that mixes the Japanese anime aesthetic with a modern take on the magic of tarot. I love how the characters look like they're freeze-framed vignettes from manga. I'm in no way, shape or form a manga person and yet I can absolutely appreciate the art style, the zoomed in tableaus, and the lovely use of gouache (my favorite medium!). Like the Awakened Soul Oracle, diversity plays a big part in this deck with people of different body types, shapes and colors incorporated. There is no confusion among the suits or the cast of characters because the cards are beautifully labeled (this is my beef with the Tarot Mucha and Lo Scarabeo's other unlabelled cards—the courts can get confusing!). I love the tall, thin hand lettering of the cards as well as the simple borders that frame each illustration. Perfection!
You know you've figured out the perfect match when you can't stop using decks, either for yourself or for clients—and this has been the case with me and the Sasuraibito Tarot and the Awakened Soul Oracle. As soon as I got these, I had to drag myself away from them just to give my other decks some airtime. They work so seamlessly together and the intuitive hits I get from them flow effortlessly.
What do you think about this deck pair? Have you tried either one? Do you couple these decks with other decks from your collection? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear your thoughts!
And PS: When do I not use two decks? (Just in case anyone was wondering…)
- When I only have five minutes to do a Daily Draw for myself in the morning.
- When I'm feeling particularly icky and need something quick to help me "fix" the yuckiness.
- When I want the cards to give it to me straight—no fluffing around. (aka, when I need the brutal truth).