The journey to Birds Oracle Deck began in 2017. That April I traveled from Toronto to one of my most favourite countries in the world, Australia. This trip was unlike the others in that I was going on a real adventure. I was traveling with 11 other women to the APY Lands in the Northern Territory for a retreat where we spent our time with Indigenous woman from the local community.. Organised by Kate Foster, we would be taken out of our comfort zones and immersed in something so unexpected. We camped for five nights in the middle of that desert with no running water or electricity. I slept in a swag on the ground and every night I wished I could stay awake, not wanting to miss a moment of that stunning desert sky full of stars. In the day we created and shared stories. It was incredible to say the very least. After the retreat was over, we headed to Uluru for a few days to experience that big rock, perhaps the heart centre of it all, up close. On our last night we picnicked beside Uluru and as the sunset, I crawled into a crevice of her and I sent out all of my biggest hopes and dreams. I learned about colour in the desert. I learned about the colour green and discovered how vast it can be. I learned about the value of silence and the pauses in between everything else. I learned about creating space and honouring space. This is where Birds Oracle Deck was born.
When I returned home to Canada, I immediately started dreaming of what Birds Oracle Deck would be. Being a photographer and not a great illustrator, I knew that I had to hire someone who could bring my vision to life and this could only be one person. Mia Emily Freeman is an artist living in Melbourne who I met at the Rose Street Market there and immediately fell in love with her work. If there was going to be a Birds Oracle Deck, Mia was the only person who could bring it to life. This was something that I felt strongly. I reached out to her and she was in and so we began the work.
I began the writing and Mia began the illustrating based on my words. Despite working in opposite time zones, we quickly found our groove. In January 2018, I traveled to my other favourite country, Mexico – specifically to my beloved Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca. I lived there for a month while finishing up the deck. This deck was birthed in Australia, it grew in Toronto and it really came alive in Mexico.
In May 2018 Birds Oracle Deck was released and I was overwhelmed by how well it was received! This deck flew to all corners of the globe. The deck contains 44 cards of birds from all over the world. About a year after its release, I felt the pull to create another deck, Birds Oracle Deck 2. This would be a continuation of its original with 44 additional cards of birds from even more areas of the world. This time around I had spent time in other places like Paris, Marrakech and all over Italy. We got to work. In January 2020, I returned to that apartment in my beloved Puerto Escondido and Birds Oracle Deck 2 was completed there.
In May 2020, exactly two years after the first deck was released, Birds Oracle Deck 2 was free and it felt so good. So far, Birds Oracle Deck 2 lives in 23 countries, 38 states in the USA and nearly every province in Canada.
I get asked a lot of questions about Birds Oracle Deck so wanted to answer a few of these FAQ.
Is Birds Oracle Deck really sold out?
Yes, it really is. The original Birds Oracle Deck sold out in the fall of 2020. Only 1000 copies of each of the decks was printed and sticking to this number is something that was really important to me. I want my decks to be something special to those who have them. There are still plenty of copies of Birds Oracle Deck 2 – as well as the Additional Box.
Just what is the Additional Box?
The Additional Box is a two-piece box meant to house both decks – either in their tuck boxes or loose. I wanted to create options for people. I know that some like the idea of mixing the decks up while others prefer to keep them separate. This box holds 88 standard-sized tarot card so really, you can use it to hold any cards that you want.
What are some cards light and some cards dark?
Because I get to do what I want! Ha! The background with the artwork of the birds was the artist, Mia’s choice. I just gave her the direction that I wanted an equal mix of light and dark backgrounds in each of the decks. For the actual backs of the cards, I went with a dark background for the original Birds Oracle Deck and then when creating Birds Oracle Deck 2, I was drawn to doing a light background instead of making them matchy-match. I like to think of an equal balance of light and dark with the deck. I also believe that with most things in life, that is the ultimate goal of balancing the two aspects.
I grew up in a family of bird lovers. Some of my most vibrant childhood memories include birds. In my free time, I spend hours wanting in the woods or sitting in my backyard looking for birds. I love them. I love spending time getting to know them. I love discovering new species and I love the thrill of seeing them.
Are you going to create another deck?
Only time can tell but I have to say that having a total of 88 cards in the two decks feels really nice and complete. I am dreaming up new projects but until they are in full production, my lips are sealed.
But actually, is the original Birds Oracle Deck sold out?