We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.
I have no idea why I didn’t do intros before. From now on, I will. They will always be the first reading I do from any new deck. The intro with the Anubis Oracle went so nicely I decided to do a sort of “re-intro” with the Book of Doors Oracle and now I’m here to write about my impressions so I can have them in some place I’m not likely to lose them, will be able to come back to revise as needed, and because this is my damn blog and I wanna.
My approach was to ask the deck to please tell me the three most important things about themselves that I ought to know. Below is what I found out. In the case of the BoDO, some of it is based off previous experience I had with the deck. Overall, though, you shouldn’t take this as an unbiased review; just my own personal observations done from a reading.
First, the BoDO because it’s the most recent.
I pulled three cards: Peret-em-Heru, Kek/Kerh, Sekhmet.
Those of you familiar with Kemetic mythology will know that Peret-em-Heru means “Coming Forth by Day”, a reference to making it through the trials of the Duat to rise as an Akh, an effective one.
In the BoDO, Peret-em-Heru is about regeneration, rebirth, coming out into the light, and help you see your own mental projections (especially negative ones). Peret-em-Heru is completion, a spiritual awakening, the last stage of a cycle.
Kek/Kerh is an enigmatic figure, a frog-headed god of the Ogdoad. His card is as difficult to interpret as he is to understand. Kek is the night, the mystery. He is what comes Before. At the same time, he also represents the transmission of energies (like in creation) and realized plans (like, again, in creation).
Sekhmet, in the BoDO is a card about finding your power, destroying evil, and protection. In the BoDO, her job is to clear the darkness and protect from danger. She also represents magic power, passion, fire, and strength.
Based off these three cards and my own personal experience with this deck, the Book of Doors Oracle is not a deck to be taken likely. It does not compromise and is not afraid to tell you all the ways and places you fucked up. It is a mysterious deck that never reveals all of its secrets. Looking over all of this, and recalling my experiences, I think it’s a very passionate deck, brimming with personality once you get to know it. The BoDO is especially concerned with spiritual awakening.
This deck, as I’ve said before, is a heavy hitter. This is just not the deck you want if you’re looking for some guidance on, say, what to get your mother for her birthday (she’s so hard to shop for!) The BoDO is best suited for heavy questions about magic and spirituality, but it definitely has enough firepower for tough questions of a more mundane nature. It’s also a bit verbose. The main way of reading it, with the sacred tetractys, relies heavily on identifying and interpreting relationships amongst the various cards as well as how the positions they’re placed in affect the reading. Make sure you have a good 30 – 45 minutes if you do a tetractys reading.
If you get a reading from this deck, you will probably find that it’s not just concerned with one aspect of your journey. The BoDO tends to look at things as a whole and in context, so if you aren’t prepared for that, then don’t bring the question to the oracle. It will not sugarcoat anything for you. It’s one of the few divinatory items I’ve heard of that has a wholly negative component in it (the Ap-p card). It also has Sekhmet and Mafdet, who can have elements of punishment and making amends attached to them. There’s also Shesmu 42, Judgment–and not your sweet tarot Judgment either!
I cannot stress how much personality this deck has once you get familiar with it. I touch the deck and its energies just jump out at me!
Now, onto the Anubis Oracle. Outside of my introductory reading, I don’t have a lot of experience with the AO, so a lot of this is going to go off my intuition and may change in the future. Actually, knowing me, it probably will!
So, first of all, with the AO, the Anubis key card is always in play in every reading. Anubis in this context is a sort of “shaman guide” and the reader is on a journey. In the AO his fiercer sides are pretty much non-existent. The AO’s stress is on Anubis as a kind, protective guide who sympathizes with us because he knows what the Duat is like. But with me, I also have to remember that even the friendliest canine has teeth. This indicates that while the guidance received from the AO is going to be softer than from the BoDO, it’s important to remember that there’s always an edge to it should you get too far off track!
So I pulled Sothis, Amun-Ra, and Sobek and Horus
Sothis, or Sopdet, is the Sirius star that would rise just before the return of the Nile. Sopdet asks two things of us. One, to identify places or times for renewal or resurgence in your life. Two, to look up in the sky for your personal Sopdet just when things seem to be at their worst. Even if it seems Sopdet is gone, Ausir is dead, and chaos reigns, the star comes and the Nile follows soon after.
Amun-Ra is the hidden and visible powers of the sun rolled up into one to reveal something. In the AO, Amun-Ra brings mysteries to life and light. At the same time, he is an arcane card, asking us to know the unknowable.
The Sobek and Horus card is honestly very strange to me. It depicts something similar to the reconciliation between Heru and Set. But if we imagine that Heru stands for knowledge and taming of the “lower”, so to speak, senses, and Sobek represents the more primordial, “reptilian” aspects of ourselves, the card makes sense. This card is asking us to reconcile two opposites within ourselves, but especially logic and emotion. Heru and Sobek also ask us to encourage healing and forgiveness within ourselves and our community. This is an excellent card to see when you’re hoping for harmony.
The moment I grabbed the Sopdet card, I felt I was dealing with a deck that wants to be more loving in its wisdom than uncompromising. A very different personality from what I’m used to! It’ll take a few readings for us to gel.
This is a deck of loving wisdom interested in journeys that feature or include healing, forgiveness, discovery, and illumination. The AO is concerned with having the hidden come to light, but as embodied by Amun-Ra, it can be a bit arcane. Just because the AO is going to be easier on you doesn’t mean you get to be spoonfed. You’ve got to respect that in a deck.
I felt like this deck wants to challenge hidebound assumptions the reader or querent may hold. This seems right for a deck that’s interested in the aforementioned topics. I think the AO is similar to the BoDO in that it wants you to really think about who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going, but the AO doesn’t want to be too forward about it. Almost like the deck is a little coy.
Definitely a softer deck with some “white light” vibes that I’m really starting to like. Overall, I’ll always have a weak spot for the BoDO’s uncompromising honesty and willingness to cut through the bullshit, but it’s also nice to have a deck that’s less high octane. I feel like I can come to the AO with simpler, more mundane problems and still get an answer.
I think you see the difference because the BoDO is often elbows-deep in the more painful aspects of becoming.