Tools of the locksmith


The I CHING is an ancient Chinese oracle. Its one of the more objective frameworks in my opinion for intuitive work, and it follows the cycles and turning points of our life, highlights where we might be, and gives us advice on how to proceed. It has always left me with a sense of peace to use this amazing tool.

The original text was written by Fu Xi in using binary logic that represented the binary poles of reality. The text took this binary concept and developed it into a representation of the archetypal situations of our lives. This text was the inspiration for Gottfried Wilhelm von Liebniz who developed the binary system of mathematics which eventually became the basis of our digital world itself.

In order to use this tool you first need to find the book of interpreted hexagrams that suits you. My two favorites are below.

I Ching or Book of Changes – A guide to life’s turning points – Brian Browne Walker

Next you need three coins, most use pennies. Hold the three pennies in your closed hand and focus on the question at hand, or just ask your inner sage for general guidance for the day or week.

Throw the coins on the table and note how many heads and how many tails. Consult your book to tell you if that creates a dashed line or solid line. Draw that line on a piece of paper. If you throw three head or three tails, this will be a changing line and you should note that also on your paper. The first line is the bottom of the hexagram. Repeat five more time, each time drawing the line above the previous line to create the hexagram.

Next look up the number and name of the hexagram you have just drawn in your text. Read the guidance and reflect on how this relates to your own question or focus. Read the text for any changing lines if any.

Finally redraw the hexagram by changing any of the changing lines to the other type of line. ( solid to broken, or broken to solid.). Redraw any non changing lines as they were in the first hexagram.

Look up the number of this new hexagram and read the guidance. Think again about how this relates to your query, but also how it relates to the first hexagram, what story do the two create together. Does one result on the other?

THE VOYAGER TAROT by James Wanless

I have been using the tarot for my own intuitive practice since my early twenties. I use it to set an intention or focus for the week with myself and with any teams I lead or to meditate on a particular question. I have friends that say that its the only way of objectively asking queries because the structure behind it is unmistakable. As with anything involving your own intuitive practice the answers lie within, and you should decide for yourself.

In brief, the Tarot is organized into Major and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana represent the major steps in your souls journey and consist of the major archetypes. The minor arcana represent aspects of that journey in each the four directions as I like to describe them: Worlds (Pentacles or coins in more standard decks) – physical, Cups – Emotional, Swords – Mental, and Wands – spiritual. (By the way if you look for the four directions as a framework in spiritual practice in many other cultures you will find different representations of this – the Irish Spirit Wheel and the Medicine Wheel to name two)

If you want to learn more about how to get to know this structure and different ways of incorporating them into a weekly practice the below course on insight timer is great.

The Voyager Tarot is one my main decks, I like the non-traditional and very vivid imagery in it and I like that Justice is replaced with Balance in this deck. It gives me plenty to respond to with the multifaceted imagery, and its multicultural which seem to be the only kinds of decks that I really respond to.


written by Taisia Kitaiskaia, Illustrated by Katy Horan

Oracle decks aren’t for everyone, they allow you to be pretty fast and loose with your interpretations, and there isn’t always a particular framework surrounding them like the I Ching or the Tarot. They are also largely based around certain themes, so you have to really relate to and like the theme. Having said all that there are a few that I adore, and this is one of them.

The witch is a female archetype that stands in her own power without needing a male link to refer to in order to understand who she is. Witches are creators, innovators and healers.

In this deck the author picks 30 “witches” who are female authors that changed the world. From Octavia Butler to Leslie Marmon Silko, and Anais Nin, the references are multicultural which is something I always look for in my tools, and there are 40 cards representing “witches materials” that take aspects of these authors separately to allow your mind and spirit to explore in even wider berths.

If you want to explore the authors more there is also a book of the same name that lists the major works of each.

Nocturna Oracle by Megan Wyreweden

Is this a deep Oracle deck (pun intended)? It is not although its meant to represent animals and organisms that dwell in hidden places or in the dark.

At first this might sound “dark” itself, or goth, or some other word that distances you from its true potential. I would tell you to give it a shot.

Its only 48 cards with no particular structure, so its not going to be a way to see where you are on your path today, this week, or this month.

So why use it? I have found it to be an unusually strong source of comfort. If I’m having a week filled with migraines and/or anxiety attacks it gives me a place to go for refuge. If I’m having a good week it allows me to see something in the sacred geometry that I can bring into my practice for the week.

So while it doesn’t provide the same insight and clarity as some of the other decks, its a great source or peace, and for that I keep coming back to it.

The Brady Tarot by Artist Emi Brady

Interpretations and guidebook written by Rachel Pollack

This is my new favorite deck and it continues to inspire me. Its refreshing because its based on animals and Nature. There are no humans in this deck, which gives you a totally new perspective on things.

The art is amazing and was created by Emi Brady through a series of woodblock prints, so its truly art of epic proportions which I can feel through my readings.

There are some Native American stories interwoven with some of the major arcana, and the typical symbols of the minor arcana are replaced with symbols that would make more sense in these traditions and to these North American animals. Wands are replaced with feathers, pentacles or coins with roots, swords with arrows, and cups with horns full of water, or empty of water in the case of more sorrowful connotations.

The proceeds from the deck go to a couple of environmental and indigenous non profits as well. Its not my base deck, but I’m starting to use it regularly for some powerful insights.

The Wild Unknown Archetype Oracle by Kim Krans

This is a unique Oracle in that it has its own structure. Its not the structure of the Tarot, its separated into Archetypes, Places, Tools, and Initiations. It is loosely based on the work of Carl Jung, but definitely expands greatly on that with many other influences as seen through the lens of Krans.

The two coolest spreads I’ve learned using this deck are the Root, Heart, Crown three cards spread, and a four card spread where you pull one archetype, one place, one tool, and one Initiation. This is to answer the question of Who, where, with what and for what purpose.

I’ve found a lot of answers in my own healing process using this deck, and while many Oracle decks are pretty fluffy, I would definitely recommend this one.

Tarot of The Divine created by Yoshi Yoshitani

This tarot follows the structure of a standard deck , but the imagery and choice of cards be represented by male vs female takes some welcome departures. For example, the Heirophant is represented here by White Buffalo Calf Woman of the Lakota.

In some cases the pictures themselves don’t give you what you are looking for, but that’s where the fun starts. This deck is based on deities and folklore from around the world. The guide book gives you some clues, but if you actually look up the stories yourself you will find a much richer meaning.

Afro Brazilian Tarot by Alice Santana

Artwork by Giuseppe Palumbo

Th Afro Brazilian Tarot is a deck from the Lo Scarabeo publisher of many amazing decks. If you are unfamiliar with Tarot however the teeny tiny white pamphlet that comes with the deck is not going to be a great reference. I love this deck though because it has come to tell me so many truths already, and I’ve only started to work with it.

Its a tarot dedicated to the Yoruba deities of Nigeria, the Candomble dieties of Brazil, and the Santeria dieties of Cuba which represent the Yoruban religion which was brought to South America and the Caribbean through the slave trade.

The Yoruba people have contributed an immense amount of art and culture to the world. The Orixas have been translated into the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot, and the minor arcana into other interpretations of ceremony and daily life within these cultures into the four elements.

Animal Totems and the ICHING by Brynja Magnusson

There is an extensive book that goes along with this deck that takes each hexagram of the I CHING and corresponds totem animal to it. There are also some additional animal totems without any corresponding Hexagrams. You can either use the book by throwing coins to get you I CHING, or you can use the cards deck to develop a reading. I haven’t been able to use this as more than a three card spread without things getting pretty complicated, but its great for one card of clarity or for working with other tarot spreads as an oracle card.

The book also corresponds a Human Design Gate and a Gene Key with each Hexagram. I have not delved into these systems and concepts so I don’t use this correspondence yet, but so many things to study here!

The Enchanted Map Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid

A great Oracle deck for simple spreads, or for picking a card to start a tarot reading. The concepts are open and the imagery is beautiful which has led to some really intuitive moments for me so far. Its a companion deck to the book The Map by the same author which I have not checked out yet, and is meant to represent ones journey through life.

Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards by Kyle Gray – Artwork by Lily Moses

Like the Enchanted Map I like to use these for simple three card messages or a card to start a reading with. Where the Enchanted Map is about the journey, this deck is about the guides that help us along the way, as well as energies we can used to center ourselves on our journey.

I like to use this deck in combination with the Enchanted Map.

The Way Home Tarot by Bakara Wintner and Autumn Whitehurst

This deck is so simple but the images are great and give yet another take on some standard Tarot concepts.

I’ve used them so far for short readings and could also see them as an Oracle to start a reading with another deck.

They are beautiful but i would say if you are a beginner you will need another text to reference as these come without a guidebook.

The Ancestral Path Tarot by Julia Cuccia-Watts

The Ancestral Path Tarot has the viewpoint of what the querant would like to leave behind as their legacy to family, the next generation, or even humanity. It helps you explore where your story and myth or legend might collide, and this viewpoint will further pull you into the present moment by asking these questions of your higher self.

The Suits are represented by the Japanese Feudal Era in the Swords, the 19th Dynasty of Ramses (Egypt) in the Staves, Arthurian Britain in the cups, and Northern Native American images in the sacred circles which have replaced the suit of the pentacles or coins.

The Tarot of Mystical Moments by Catrin Welz-Stein

This deck is both whimsical and accessible, and intentionally uses a female point of view in the majority of the cards. In order to keep this as an inclusive deck Catrin states that she also included some traditional male figures as well, and some cards come in two versions. In the case of the two versions you get to choose which card you include in the deck of 78.

Its also another deck where you don’t see literal pentacles, swords, wands and cups, but different objects that represent them in the appropriate number in the card which I’ve always loved seeing in a deck.

Osho Zen Tarot – The Transcendental Game of Zen

A very different deck with most of the cards using images that are a far cry for the Rider-Waite-Smith images. (Shown is the card for the traditional Hierophant which is called Nothingness here) It comes with a book where each card references a quote from an Osho book. Books by Osho are not written, they are transcribed from his talks on many many different topics.

The whole deck is different, but some further notes on this: There is an additional Major Arcana Card of The Master, Fire (Wands) court cards are termed Mastery of Action, Water (Cups) are Master of Emotions, Clouds (Swords) are Master of the Mind, and somehow Rainbows are Pentacles and represent Mastery of the Physical.

I like this deck because the differences in its interpretation often lead me to a deeper meaning of the card and concept of the archetype itself. Its very complex however and so I only use it for my own readings and study and not in readings for others.

Lua Tarot by Maree Bento

Lua is the Portuguese word for the Moon and this deck is made up of 19th century engravings of landscapes and images. The images are from books, magazines and advertisements from that age.

The images are both whimsical but also diverse in characters. The book that comes with the deck is full of info on the tarot and the history of divination.

The Light Seer’s Tarot by Chris-Anne

This deck has the goal of healing using contemporary images of 21st century people, experiences, and spirituality. I love the images and find it to be quite accessible. The guidebook also has a sort of mantra for each card which I find helpful when diving deeper into the meaning of the card, or just repeating to myself throughout the day to maintain clarity.

The Sufi Tarot by Ayeda Husain

This deck is amazing. It takes two things that might seem dissimilar and relates them in beautiful and accessible images across the Tarot. Each card in the guidebook is given an traditional tarot treatment and then Ayeda brings her vast knowledge of Sufism to the same card expanding and deepening its meaning in such a beautiful way. My new favorite deck for sure.