DECK REVIEW: AboraMana: Channeled Goddess Wisdom Cards

AboraMana:  Channeled Goddess Wisdom Cards 
Neithard Horn
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN #: 978-0-7643-3696-6
USD: $34.99
Product Specifics
·         Cards:  4 ½” X 3”, heavy card stock, nicely laminated
·         Guidebook:  8 X 5 ½”, 176 pages, glossy paper, B&W full size images of each card
·         Box:  11 ¾ X 6 X 1 ¾”, sturdy & laminated with a hinge-style lid with magnetic closure
The AboraMana is not your typical goddess oracle deck.  Firstly, the author is male and his goal for this deck was to create an oracular system that would help the women of today find their place in the world and to help them assert their inner power.  Secondly, the deck was not created in some nice artist’s studio, not even a loft or a space in a room set aside for the creation of art.  Neithard Horn created the deck via channeling from the Goddess in a cave on the Carnary Islands and also on a beach on the Hawaiian island of Kua’i.  Lastly, the manner in which this deck operates is very different from most others.  As one who has consulted various tarot and oracular decks over the past 33 years I grew accustomed to approaching a deck with a question, problem, or a situation about which I needed more information.  When using a deck I am looking for answers.  The AboraMana does not provide the reader with the answers itself.  Instead, the interpretations of the cards are written in such a way (remember, also that this is all channeled material throughout) as to ask questions of the reader.  If you take the time to examine the questions and formulate your own answers, therein lies your answer or solution.  In that way, this deck is an excellent tool for guided self-examination.
There is only one lay out discussed in the book and the author does not say whether the deck is useful with typical tarot lay outs or not.  As an experiment, I used the deck with a number of typical tarot lay outs, including the 3-card past-present-future, the 3-card body-mind-spirit, and the Celtic Cross.  At first, the cards did not seem to wish to cooperate.  However, after a few prayers to the Goddess explaining I just wanted to see if the deck could be used another way and asking for Her permission, suddenly, the deck worked just fine in these traditional lay outs.  I do suggest that if you purchase this deck and wish to use traditional tarot lay outs with it that you first ask the Goddess for permission.  I tried for over an hour to use these cards traditionally, without any success until I began to pray to Her.  Some may consider this to be hokey, but that was my experience with this deck, for what it’s worth.
The deck has 89 cards, but it is not organized like a tarot deck.  There are groupings of cards that can be construed as suits:  the Houses of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, & House of AboraMana.  The author suggests laying out the entire deck in the order he specifies in the guidebook. You will need a large table or counter for this exercise.  If you do this, and I highly recommend that you do, you will be able to see connections among the cards within each House, and also further connections between the cards within each subset of each House.  This exercise will aid in your understanding of the cards and how they work together as a cohesive system. 
The Houses are further sub-divided into various sets, which also are organized into cohesive groupings.  They are as follows:  The Jokers (Fates), Your Fighting Spirit, The Hall of God, The Matrix That is the Human Soul, The Science of Physics, The Pillars of the Universe and Time, Magic Physics, The Four Elemental Houses, The Science of Biology, Life-Death, AboraMana, Magic Biology, Devi and Deva, Humankind, FirstWoman and FirstMan, The Temple, Religion and Ceremony, You, and Who are You?  Define  Yourself.  As you can surmise from the titles of the various sets there is an inherent hierarchy within the deck as it moves from universal divine forces through the manifestation of the Universe and of Time, and on into Physics, the Elements, physical life (Biology), onwards to humankind, religion, and finally the big question of who we are.  I found that once I laid out all the cards on my dining room table that the entire exercise, although a bit tedious at first, was quite enlightening and it helped me to work better with the cards, so I highly recommend following the author’s guidelines on page 16 of the guidebook in laying out all the cards in the deck before you begin to use the deck for readings.  You’ll be glad you took the time to do this.
As mentioned, the guidebook only contains one layout, which is similar to the Tree of Life lay out found in many tarot books, but the lay out works a bit differently than the Tree of Life.  The card interpretations provided in the guidebook have no reverse meanings, with the sole exception of a single card, Number 17, that appears twice in the deck with the second version of the card being a reversed image of the first entitled, “The Mirror.”  Interpretations pose various questions to the reader or suggest areas of the reader’s life that ought to be further examined.  This is basically a non-predictive oracle.
As a mother I cannot recommend that minor children use this deck simply because there is a great deal of nudity in it with graphic depictions of male genitalia.  Now, the nudity does lend itself to the interpretation of the card so it’s not nudity for nudity’s sake as a number of card interpretations do focus on sexuality.  However, my daughter is just 12 and although she is reading her own tarot cards, personally, I would not want her to ever view this deck.  Then, that’s just me and everyone has different views on the matter.
The artwork itself is visionary in nature.  Created in a cave on a tropical island and later also on a beach, the images, as well as the interpretations, are all channeled.  The images have a dreamlike quality to them.  Cards with bright colors are balanced by others with earthier tones.
The cards shuffle well and although they are highly laminated (they will last through countless shuffling), in the humid environment of Houston where I live the cards do not stick to one another. 
Regarding packaging, Schiffer sets a higher standard and I sincerely wish other publishers of tarot and oracle decks would follow their example.  The cards and guidebook come packaged in a very sturdy and strong cardboard box that is also heavily laminated.  The lid is hinged with a magnetic closure and it closes perfectly every time.  Within the box the cards and guidebook lie side by side.  Both the box and cards will last through years of regular use. 

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