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A Compendium of Witches Oracle

Natasa Ilincic, a published author, has created this oracle deck in response to readers of her book, "A Compendium of Witches", some of whom were already using the book for bibliomancy (using randomly chosen passages from the book in the same way they would randomly choose oracle cards). A tool of self reflection and guidance, this deck would be a unique addition to any collection.

Where in the world do you call home?

Home is many places. At the moment, home is Edinburgh, where I live with my partner and a little jungle of plants – but home is also the Italian Alps, where I grew up, and the Dalmatian coast, where my family is from.

What was your first experience with oracles and / or tarot and when did you fall in love with it?

My first experience with decks was during my teenage years. At the time I was starting to learn about various methods of divination, including water scrying and bone reading. I was particularly interested in researching how various cultures around the world have different approaches to the art of divination.

What made you want to create this deck? What was your inspiration?

The idea was sparked by the readers of A Compendium of Witches, a book I published last year. Many readers reached out to me after finishing the book and asked if I was ever going to make a deck; some of them also told me that they were already using the book for bibliomancy.

In 2020, whilst preparing the book for its second printing, I noticed how perfectly my witches embodied specific archetypes, so I decided to feature them in an oracle deck - along with 30 brand new additional companions with symbology derived from myth and folklore.

Aside from your own deck, do you have a favourite deck? If so, which one?

I do not collect decks, but I do have one that has been with me for a long time and that I really like - called Symbolon. It has an interesting approach that incorporates astrology, and rather than focusing on predicting the future it emphasises self-reflection, much like my deck.

Do you have a favourite card (either from your deck or just the card in general). If so, why is it your favourite?

In tarot, I have always been very fond of the Fool. From my deck I think it would be the Crossroads – a card depicting Hecate. It is a card that invites us to reflect upon our journey – to pause upon reaching a crossroads, familiarise ourselves with the landscape around us, and sometimes retrace our steps. It encourages us to think about our options and choose the wisest path, without being afraid of changing our course.

What have been your challenges in creating this deck?

After being so focused on exploring the specific meanings of each card, the most challenging aspect was probably visualising the deck in its entirety and making sure it felt whole and cohesive

What is one thing you really want people to know about this deck?

That it is designed to be used as a tool for reflection and guidance, rather than a divinatory instrument, but that should not prevent people from using it in any way they see fit. I think that the organic familiarity between the deck and the reader surpasses any written instructions, and readers should always feel free to follow their intuition and needs.

Your deck is based on a book that you published, “A Compendium of Witches”. What inspired you to write the book?

Despite working as an illustrator, my background is in Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology. In 2016 my anthropological fieldwork took me to the rural highlands of Bosnia with the objective of researching and learning as much as I could about traditional female tattooing. I interviewed the elderly women who bear the last of these tattoos, the roots of which are embedded deep within a pre-Christian Illyrian past.

I collected not just symbols, but the stories and wisdom of strong and resilient women that had survived not one, but two wars.

All of this made me wonder; if I could talk to the women of the past, what would I learn? And if I could talk to the wise women of the past – those who were familiar with a wider world, those familiar with spirits and the invisible forces hiding within nature – then what would they tell me?

Women were given little space in historical record, and wise women even less, often being from marginalised fringes of society. My mind started to spin, and the idea for this book was born. Through the years I have learnt so much about history, folklore, beliefs and customs, and this seems like the perfect project to put that information to good use.

I wanted to meet these witches, to give them faces and voices. Weave their stories in the fabric of history. This is how the book was born.

How will you celebrate when your deck is finally published?

With a glass of wine and some rest! I think the best feeling will be seeing the backers of the project share pictures of the decks in their new homes – that will be the true celebration!

What is on offer for people who pledge?

The deck is available in two editions: a compact one for those who prioritise practicality, and a deluxe one with guidebook included. The Bibliophile tier gives people the chance of getting a copy of A Compendium of Witches at below its retail price, and the Collector’s edition comes with an exclusive altar / reading cloth and an original ink sketch signed card. There are also many pieces of original watercolours available during the campaign, for those who love collecting art.

To show your support for this amazing author and artist, pledge here:

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