The AlphaBet for Lovers, by Orna Ben-Shosan
There are a lot of oracle decks out there for the diviner, using different themes and concepts to tap into your inner self and your future. There’s oracle decks filled with angels, fairies, mermaids, unicorns, Goddesses, Gods, Hindu mandalas, mantras, saints, crystals, dolphins, and more… yet there aren’t many that utilize the ancient Hebrew system of mysticism, the Kabbalah, to gain and give wisdom. The ones that are currently available are quite serious, and expect the reader to have an intimate and profound understanding of the Kabbalah to accompany the usage of the deck.
However, the AlphaBet for Lovers is a cute, fun, simple and approachable deck using the wisdom of the Kabbalah to expound on the reader’s love life and social relationships. It even has expressive artwork on the cards to make it pleasing to the eye and intuitively easier to read. This allows even those with no knowledge of the Kabbalah to use this deck straight out of the box – which is what many people look for in an oracle deck. This deck consists of 72 heart-shaped cards, each with an image on one side, and on the other side showing the card’s number, the Hebrew letter and its name, a single sentence about the card’s meaning, and that meaning written in Hebrew. But aren’t there only 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet? Indeed there are – but this deck offers us three cards for each of the 22 letters, highlighting different aspects of the meanings of those letters, as well as extra cards (in Hebrew, some letters will be written differently depending on where they are in the word, e.g. “final” Kaf, or “final” Peh (indicating that those letters are different if they appear at the end of a word. There is also one final extra card called, simply, “The Crazy Heart”.
The artwork on the cards can be described as slightly surrealist, though each can be interpreted on its own with a little thought. Each shows a scene of a couple interacting in some way, though often in a strange setting or surrounded by surreal circumstances. In one, “Drowning in your own emotions” (Mem, card 40), we see a man and woman, fully clothed, swimming in the waves of an ocean. The man tries to pour water from a jug out into the sea – presumably to remove some of the water he is surrounded by – while the woman swims, unaware. In another, “Opening, healing and salvation” (Peh, card 52) we see a twist on Botticelli’s famous “Birth of Venus”, with a partially naked man rising from water, blindfolded, his hands covering his heart and genitals, while a fully clothed woman in red and white brings red clothing to cover him.
The cards could be read simply with the words written on them and the images; however, the accompanying 104 page book is thorough and in-depth I offering interpretation of the cards. As well as explaining a brief history of the Kabbalah, offers some spreads, gives advice on how to approach timing questions, yes/no questions, and on reading for others, and offers a threefold interpretation of each card: “For singles”, “Personality” and “Advice.” Each Hebrew letter is discussed briefly in its own right also, which highlights some of the themes that run through the three cards associated with it. Some of these themes are easier to see than others. For instance, since “Mem” means “Water”, it is easy to see the connection of all three of its cards – water and the emotions. However, in places a non-Kabbalist might find it difficult to see these threads.
What impressed me about this oracle deck was the author’s obvious wisdom in this area of life. The “advice” section of each card interpretation is filled with useful approaches to a healthy relationship which would help a lot of people if they read it. This makes the AlphaBet for Lovers a useful tool not just to find out about love in the future, but to work on an existing relationship in harmony and with an open heart, or to heal any wounds to a relationship or individual. The simplicity of the cards would make them non-threatening and engaging enough to be a useful tool in a therapy setting, or for use between a couple as a way to kick-start discussion and mutual exploration.
Perfectionists might find it annoying to shuffle or truly randomise a heart-shaped deck, however, yet the pretty organza bag that the deck can be stored in is big enough for you to pull a card at random from it. The only other reason I can forsee that this deck would not sit well with all is the fact that it is so intensely heterosexual, in both the card images and the interpretation book. However, this is a deck using a Hebrew system, so perhaps this is to be expected.
Overall, this is an accessible and easy to use oracle deck for those seeking a way of engaging with their love life in an open fashion, with honesty, friendship, intimacy and healing as a goal. It would also allow those with an interest in Kabbalah a way of exploring that mystical system in relationship to love and interpersonal relationships.