Deal with the here and now effectively with this in-depth divination tool. The ancient Chinese method of acquiring wisdom, the I-Ching, comes alive through the awesome art work of the Tao Oracle by Ma Deva Padma. This deck makes the I-Ching entirely accessible to beginners, and the cards' depth and beauty is sure to captivate even advanced practitioners of divination.
From my dabblings with divinatory devices, I believe I can go out on a limb and say that this is the best new divination tool of the year 2002. Padma is also known for the beautiful Osho Zen Tarot, a Tarot deck designed for those concerned with living fully in the present moment. Besides artwork you can just melt right into, there are a lot of other things going for the Tao Oracle.
First, I don't know how you could just pass this deck up on the shelf without giving it a second, or third look. Its earth-toned, sturdy outer packaging depicts card #27, "The corners of the mouth". The card shows a meditative, serene face with a white flowering tree superimposed over the right side of the face. It denotes the importance of achieving body-mind balance towards maintaining good health.
The cards themselves are named, numbered, and each includes extremely helpful word associations. The card's I-Ching symbol appears in the lower right and special symbols created by Padma are on the lower left to help emphasize the natures at work in the I-Ching symbol.
At the top, a Yin-Yang symbol depicts the colors associated with the hexagram, which again, reinforce the duality of forces at work on the card. Sometimes these forces are in harmony, reinforcing each other, sometimes they conflict, showing challenges to be overcome.
The well-organized accompanying text contains direct, thorough interpretations of the cards and Padma shows us that her talents for visualization are not just through art, but through words as well. There is a detailed interpretation of the card followed by an interpretation of the individual lines of the card's hexagram.
There are some well-crafted spreads at the back of the book, including a one-card daily "pearl of wisdom" reading. Should you want more information on the "pearl", or, on the card in the "insight" position in the other layouts, you can use 3 coins like you would when consulting the traditional I-Ching, in order to create a new hexagram.
This is where it gets a little complicated so be sure to carefully read the section on this, it's not that hard to follow, and it will be worth your while. You will be surprised at the new insights you will obtain when you add this step into your reading.
What I especially like is the Tao Oracle's emphasis on the present moment...not some far-flung future predictions. It focuses readers' attention on the thought patterns, habits or actions they are dealing with presently. The future will come about based on what one is doing today -- that's where attention really needs to be focused.
All in all, the Tao Oracle is a feast for the eyes as well as for the spirit. Though fine for the bright beginner, advanced practitioners of divination will more immediately appreciate the depth of this tool for self-awareness. It's an incredibly beautiful, well-designed divination tool at a very reasonable price.