So You Want To Get Creative

Mesquite Oracle

Mesquite Oracle

Since this is a fortune telling blog, I’m guessing you want to make an oracle. Speaking as someone who has designed a working oracle, I’d like to offer some guidance.

1. Understand what creativity is. Let’s look at the definition of “creative”: relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work. What this means is that you need an original idea. You can borrow bits here and there (look at the similarities of Lenormand, Gypsy Witch and Whitman cards – they share some images, but not all, and the interpretations can be quite different) but the oracle itself should be original. What this means is CREATE something, don’t put out yet another ill-conceived Lenormand with glaring mistakes like a female Rider. (When the Rider is read as a person, he’s always male.) Making a dysfunctional version of something that already exists isn’t “creating” anything.

2. Work backwards. This is what I did with the Mesquite Oracles I was making back in 2008. I sat and made a list of things that impacted peoples’ lives, common things like getting paid, traveling, endings, and friends. Some things I split into more than one symbol – I made separate symbols for love and attraction. But I thought of the meanings FIRST, which was a lot easier than creating symbols and then assigning meanings to them.

3. Take your time. Don’t rush. Make a proto-set and experiment with it for a few weeks. You’ll find yourself dropping symbols and adding new ones. Test for accuracy and ease of reading, and refine accordingly.

4. Choose your medium. A good rule of thumb is for less than 30 or so symbols, a casting oracle is good. Wood, glass, stone, metal, whatever you like to work with. More than 30 symbols calls for cards.

5. Write instructions. This can be as simple as an explanation of meanings, or quite elaborate, complete with spreads and sample readings. Just make sure the instructions are clear.

6. Set your prices. Be sure to factor in your overhead, including shipping and packing materials, and your time. My Mesquite Oracle was cheap to make, but labor intensive and time consuming since each symbol was individually drawn and burned into the wood, all by hand. Most people understood this, but a few complained that the price was too high. I just pointed out that it took several full days to complete a set, and that I wasn’t even clearing minimum wage. (You won’t get rich doing this, consider it a labor of love and a little pin money.)

7. Be available for questions. If you’ve done well, it won’t be confusing as a rule, but people still get stuck sometimes. These are your patrons, help them out.

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