Anatomy of a Crowdfunding Campaign Part 14: Death, Temperance, and the Devil


Half of the Tarot-sized Oracle of Initiation deck
Half of the Tarot-sized Oracle of Initiation deck

Death, Temperance, and the Devil. This is a heady group of cards in the Tarot’s Major Arcana. I had begun this post some days ago to celebrate the arrival and disbursement of the Crowdfunding Tarot-sized Oracle of Initiation decks a month early. Then, as the world shall have it, other things came to light, and we get to grapple with all three of these potent initiators. I had planned on focusing on Temperance in this post, and then death rears its transformative head.

“I hope and trust you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.” Ann Van Buskirk

This quote above was the last message I received on my Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign to print a new Tarot-sized, affordable Oracle of Initiation deck earlier this summer. The campaign ended at midnight on June 21st, the Solstice, and Ann was also the last contributor to the campaign right before it closed. I had not met her in person, but she seemed absolutely lovely, very gracious, curious, and ethereal. She donated three times to the campaign, and even got a Deluxe deck set. I had been trying to reach her about a Mystery Gift she chose from the campaign, and was getting no response. So two days ago I shipped out her sacred surprise, with an original piece of Painted Body art, and an 8×10” giclee print of card number 29. Resonance from the Oracle deck with the guardian Inanna for that card. I was really excited to hear her take on Inanna, as it was chosen intuitively for her from a group of fifteen Painted Body images.

29. Resonance
29. Resonance

Inanna is the Sumerian goddess of the heavens who descended to the underworld to claim her place on her sister Ereshkigal’s subterranean throne. At each level of her downward passage she was required to release a symbol of her earth-plane power and position. In her channeled message in the Oracle of Initiation: Rainbows in the Dark book she speaks of the ancient, regal wisdom being reborn in each of us. Ann, may your journeys back to spirit be a glowing inspiration to all of us reclaiming our own divinity.

Shipping out round two of the Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign Oracle decks
Shipping out round two of the Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign Oracle decks

The day after sending her the big package, when I was in limbo with this post, I found out she had died. I had no idea she was sick, and now the lack of response made sense. I do not actually see death as a terrible thing, the grief for those left behind can be rugged, but it is a sacred transition, and truth be known, a going home. I send you big love sister of the light, you touched my life in the short time I knew you, and it is so fitting that a major initiation should bookend the Oracle’s campaign. Say hi to everyone on the other side, and help we ones who are still embodied offer our blessed work to reclaim all of our wild beauty.

With this turn of events, I will save the musings on Temperance for the next post, moving into dancing with the Devil’s and it’s wily, liberating ways.

Mailbox joy!
Mailbox joy!

And now for some new Tarot-sized Oracle of Initiation deck CELEBRATION!!!!! Oh my goodness. It is such a miracle to have a different form of the deck. It started out as DIY photocopied, hand-cut, and laminated deck about six years ago (not recommended-god bless print-on-demand decks where you can avoid that rigorous task). Then it morphed into the Deluxe 4×6” version printed as postcards. These limited edition, signed and numbered sets (still available) have a presence and power to them that is magnetic. The artwork looks incredible, and as Marcus Katz said, they are grand for your altars. And, again, physical labor was intensive with them. Because they came as packs of separate images, I got to collate almost 20,000 cards over the course of the two editions. UG. (Also not recommended).

Kimberly Gibbs Fordham's first spread with her new deck
Kimberly Gibbs Fordham’s first spread with her new deck

When planning the new Tarot-size, as Allan Ritchie also offers in his quote below, I was concerned about the art suffering in the smaller sized cards. The fascinating thing is, the new deck is brilliant in its own way, and some of the images seem, in a divination deck way, to actually be how they always should have been. It is really a completely different experience, with the smaller cards being more intimate and cloistered. They are an invitations into a secret cave, but a more friendly calling, not a fierce summoning. The reality is, some folks are totally calibrated to the  level of shamanic intensity in the Deluxe cards, and when they find the deck it is like an epiphany. The new cards remain mysterious and beautiful, yet somehow softer and quieter in their initiatory nudges. I have also gotten softer and more open during the initiation of this entire process, and willing to be seen, so the deck’s time has come to reach a broader audience.

Deluxe and new Tarot-size sizes
Deluxe and new Tarot-size sizes

And the textural, physical engagement with the new cards is also completely different. I have been using the Deluxe cards for over four years, and I am really used to their size and finish. They started out glossy one side, and mat the other. Now they are glossy on both sides. They do get scratched up with use, and can get finger prints. That said many of the early deck owners will not part with their beloved sets; there is a lot of mojo built up there. The new Tarot-sized set has a card playing finish, and they slip and slide like fish in the bottom of a boat initially. I am looking forward to the oils in my hands making them less jumpy, and it is kind of fun to see who shimmies into your spreads. They are also more portable, the travel-size for all you sacred wanderers.

Suzy's Wenger's reading with the new deck
Suzy’s Wenger’s reading with the new deck

And then there is the shuffling. A statistic that was up on Tarot Professionals on Facebook spoke of about 80% of Tarot card users being women. We can have small hands, and the new deck fits in them!! Words cannot express what a joy this is to actually easily shuffle them, grasp them, slide them, ponder them as they are tucked securely in my happy paws. Over time, as they get less slippery it will be interesting to see how the relationship to my readings change with the new deck. The Tarot-sized cards are also simpler than the Deluxe cards, the color-coded bands at the bottom of the Deluxe set is gone, and the cards are full-bleed.

Great blessings to all of you who have loved and supported this project throughout the years, eight years is a lot of dedication to something, and I still feel giddy having been chosen to collaborate on this dreamtime offering.

Deluxe 400-page book
Deluxe 400-page book

You can now order the new Tarot-sized decks on the Oracle website. I really suggest getting the Deluxe 400-page book with your cards, it is such a deep and broad companion to the deck, and many cutting-edge visionaries contributed to the book including Mary K. Greer, Joanna Powell Colbert, Marcus Katz, Carrie Paris, Luisah Teish, Lisa de St. Croix and Hillary Raimo. And there is also the nicely priced Tarot-sized deck with the downloadable PDF of the card descriptions (coming in October) that is only $55 shipped in the US, $70 international delivery. What a score to get the deck at one-third the price of the Deluxe set! Blessings on the crisp fall weather coming, and I shall see you at Tarotcon in Dallas October 18th and19th. ML

Oracle of Initiation Mellissae Lucia

Here is some of the early feedback I am getting about the new Tarot-sized edition from the campaign: 

“I thought I would drop you a quick note as I just got my deck but I am off to work and only had a little bit of time to explore with it. It looks and feels amazing.  I love the deluxe deck and use it quite a bit but this one seems perfect in just so many ways.  I love the way that it shuffles, I like the feel of the cards and while I was a little worried that the images would suffer in the smaller size, they are radiant. This is a great deck and I look forward to using it a lot more not that I have it in a size that is a bit more portable. Good job.  You should be really proud of the project and how it turned out.”

Allan Ritchie, the first to comment on the arrival of the new deck in the mail. He has both the Deluxe and Tarot-sized versions. Rock star.

“I Came home and in the mail box, a mystery box…I opened it and it was the Tarot Sized Oracle of Initiation deck! What a surprise!!! Mellissae Lucia I love it, fantastic job, beautiful, great art, perfect size and I can’t believe how fast you did it….. Had to sit down right then open up the deck and drew 3 cards. 10. Preparation, 64. Sanctified, 22.Isolation Thank you!” 

Will Sugg-Mr. three decks procured during the crowdfunding campaign

“This is the version I can actually use. The Deluxe cards are so beautiful, but too intense for me, and the new Tarot-sized cards are more accessible and useable, yet still incredibly gorgeous and mysterious.” 

From a conversation with MK Barr-who has been part of the deck’s emergence from the beginning. The deck would not have birthed so quickly without her support. Thank you kick-ass Technology Goddess. Love yah

Glass artist Cappy Thompson on the right with the Deluxe Oracle deck and myself being filmed for MK Barr's Painted in the Desert documentary
Glass artist Cappy Thompson on the right with the Deluxe Oracle deck and myself being filmed for MK Barr’s Painted in the Desert documentary 

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