Keepers Of The Light: Oracle Cards by Kyle Gray & Lily Moses

A few weeks ago, I moseyed over to my favorite local bookstore for a free Tarot reading by the phenomenal Jane Prompeng. I was super intrigued by the way she incorporated Oracle cards into her readings, especially since the cards she pulled for me from this deck were so beautiful and, ultimately, meaningful. When their publisher, Hay House, had a sale recently, I knew it was a sign to grab a copy.

I’d never actually purchased an Oracle deck for myself before, and honestly had had little inclination before seeing Jane use this one to such excellent effect. Tarot cards are my main steez, and a large part of this is due to how the imagery has been refined and codified over the years. Thus, reading Tarot cards makes sense to me: they’re not just random images (when done right anyway) but a full story that covers practically every aspect of life and can help readers figure out what to do with their own. As with more conventional books, a lot depends too on how the deck is “written”, primarily via the choices made in its art and theming (and often too in the author’s intent.) For example, the Seven Of Wands is a card of defense and struggle. In my Divine Deco Tarot deck, this struggle usually has a victorious ending. In my Unofficial Schitty Tarot, it usually means a valiant defeat.

Because Oracle decks don’t have to stick to the Tarot archetypes, I’ve found that they also don’t tend to have a similar resonance for me. That began to change this year with the online Moon Cards deck, which as of this time of writing, still hasn’t made it to physical format. I also learned a surprising amount about building divination decks from James D’Amato’s excellent The Ultimate RPG Game Master’s Guide. And then, ofc, I came across this Keepers Of The Light Oracle deck.

This 45-card deck is beautifully packaged in a sturdy purple box and comes with a fairly substantial guidebook to its use and card meanings. The cards themselves are slightly wider and shorter than standard Tarot cards, so a little extra care has to be taken when shuffling. I was also somewhat baffled by the choice to use primarily mustard and turquoise on the card backs given the prevalence of purple packaging elsewhere, but that’s pretty much the only aesthetic critique I have of the deck overall.

Fair warning before I go on: these cards are a lot more woo than most of the decks I usually deal with. Kyle Gray wholeheartedly embraces Theosophy and New Thought teachings, in addition to more established world mythologies. So alongside Odin and Isis, for example, two fairly archetypal figures known throughout the globe, you’ll also find Kuthumi and The Divine Director depicted on these cards. The Lady Venus of this deck has less to do with the traditional Aphrodite than with actual inhabitants of the planet Venus. It’s… a little weird even for a world religions buff like myself.

But being so familiar with these figures and controversies actually helps make these cards easier for me to read! Unlike Mr Gray, I don’t believe that Kuthumi existed outside of Helena Blavatsky’s letters. I do, however, find great value in being able to interpret his card showing up in a reading to mean that the querent already knows the truth: whether or not they want to believe it is up to them. I also prefer my own interpretation of Faith, Hope and Charity as crucial human concepts and not as literal angels, as the deck portrays them. The fact that this deck stands up to my healthy skepticism is a point in its favor, as it allows for diverse but still useful interpretations. I also really appreciated that each card had a brief explanation on its face, to make it easier to get the meaning across.

For all that, there is one card in this deck that actually makes me feel uncomfortable, not for the Keeper depicted but for a certain choice made in the art alone. Ganesh is an excellent card for this deck, conveying the removal of obstacles on the path the querent is meant to be on. But the artwork does depict him as having a traditional Hindu swastika on his out-facing palm, and while I know it’s a symbol of good luck in many Eastern religions, it’s still too closely related to Nazis to make me feel really comfortable about seeing it used here. And honestly, this is less a critique of the art choice than it is a lamentation of the fact that Nazis fucking ruin everything.

My other criticisms have to do with the guidebook, which is overall very well written and constructed, except for two weird things. First, I was very excited to try out the unique spread included here, of 7 cards representing your life path, until I realized that the last three were 1) what your angels want you to know, 2) what your guides want you to know, and 3) what your heart wants you to know. This seems like a lot of unsolicited advice, with little differential! Sure, the heart thing could be helpful, but why the random division between angels and guides? Aren’t they both trying to help the querent? If there is a difference, it would be helpful to have that explained in the booklet.

The second weird thing was the Twin Flame appendix, which featured names not actually found in the deck. Earlier in the guidebook, Mr Gray takes pains to underscore how the appearance of both Twin Flames in a reading indicates something special, but fully three of the names listed in the back do not appear on any of the cards. Why even bother listing those pairings then?

Overall, however, this is a deck of very positive vibes that encourages querents to believe that they’re supported, loved and guided by external forces. Sometimes when it’s hard to believe in yourself, it’s easier to believe in the opinions of others, even if those others are invisible. This deck quietly channels that in the most positive of ways, using world religions to help querents attach their own meanings to basic archetypes while searching themselves for the answers they need.

Keepers Of The Light: Oracle Cards by Kyle Gray & Lily Moses was published September 27 2016 by Hay House and is available from all good booksellers, including

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