Reviews & Interviews

Oracle Deck Review – Oracle of the Radiant Sun: Astrology Cards to Illuminate Your Life by Caroline Smith and John Astrop

Oracle Deck Review
Oracle of the Radiant Sun
Astrology Cards to Illuminate Your Life
by Caroline Smith and John Astrop



This is a reprint of the original Oracle of the Radiant Sun deck which was difficult to find and quite pricey. It is visually lovely 84-card deck accompanied by a 144-page book, nicely boxed with a woodcut sun graphic that is also the card back. The oracle is in 7 suits, one for each of the 7 ancient planets and luminaries: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Each suit has 12 cards, with a card for each placement of the suit’s planet in the 12 signs of the zodiac. So, for Mercury, the Suit of Change, there is a card for Mercury in Aries, Taurus, and Gemini continuing on through Pisces at the end of the zodiacal wheel. The house number for the sign’s placement on the wheel is at the top of each card. The glyphs for the planet and the sign are at the bottom, on either side of a key word describing this placement of the planet. So, Mercury in Libra (7th House) is Influence. The guide book further explains it as guile, smooth talk, persuasion and temptation. The stunning pastel woodcut artwork on the card shows Adam and Eve with a thorny rosebush and a coiled serpent with the Mercury glyph as its tongue! The book further expands the discussion of the short description with a full page analysis of the personal characteristics of a Mercurial Libran as well as the events potentially symbolized by this placement. The card size is smaller than the Rider Waite Smith deck, making it easy to shuffle, but the cardstock is somewhat flimsy and easy to bend.

The book provides a very good basic introduction to planetary, house and sign associations, with useful keywords and concepts for each. These may be somewhat shallow or stereotypical for practicing astrologers, but are excellent for those looking for a succinct introduction and way in to understanding astrological meanings. There is a 20-page section on card spreads that include sample yearly prediction readings as well as sample horary readings, those done to answer specific questions. There is a basic explanation for conducting a horary reading using the keyword concepts provided for each house.

The artwork is simply stunning. The imagery is rich and symbolic from many religious and mythological traditions, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity and Voodoo as well as Egyptian, Minoan, and Greco-Roman. The images, woodcut style in lovely pastels, are collages of symbols and figures , at first appearing unrelated, but when studied, opening up to release their meanings. It is visually easy to recognize the suit of each card by its layout – each suit has a different design which speaks to the characteristics of the relevant planet: Mercury cards are divided in half diagonally (it is the sign of duality and The Twins!) with a different image or symbol in each half. The Sun cards are an arched portal (the doorway of our identity) with two areas for images. So the layout and imagery in combination speaks to our unconscious and takes our understanding of the cards into a deeper place enhancing the written interpretations.

As an astrologer, I was dubious about what the cards could do when I first got them. I have come to love their imagery and the many ways to work with them. The sample year readings provided are great and useful for working with clients as a complement to progression, transits and solar return readings. I have also used them working with a client to pin down an ascendant or moon placement when they aren’t sure of their birthtime. I cannot recommend these cards highly enough for Tarot readers, practiced or astrologers-in-training, those curious about planetary and house meanings or simply lovers of beautiful objects!



About the Author:

Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanic Arts. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. Art, exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.

Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.

Susan Rossi

Open Channel Astrology

Flying to the Heart