Oracular Mechanics

Story Worlds Sets
By Allan Ritchie

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Working with the Story Cubes has been fun and challenging. With the initial sets the Original, Actions, and Voyages I was working with a random set of icons. These generic symbols allowed the icons to freely represent ideas, people, and events. Stylized and approachable, the Story Cubes are similar to a tarot deck. The Waite-Smith tarot deck serves as a reference but each creator gives their own look. Recently the expanding number of decks has taken on themes and genres. This has changed the look and vocabulary of many decks.


Recently with Rory's Story Cubes® they have released a line of themed nine-cube sets called Story Worlds. Initially, two sets were released Batman and Moomin. The Batman set was widely available here in the United States while the Moomin set was primarily available in Europe. For the American audience, Batman is a prominent iconic figure in our popular culture. The Moomin set of Story Cubes is based on a Swedish set of children's books and comic strips by Tove Jansson. At the end of September, Creativity Hub released three new sets, Doctor Who, Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo.


Working with a set of generic icons has been a journey in learning a new language. When I started to explore the StoryWorlds there has been something new that happens. Each of the sets is profoundly entrenched in a mythology and iconic language all their own. I have found that I do not get any intuitional resonance from the Batman set. Now I love the set as it has me exploring the fictional Batman universe that shaped much of my adolescence. Doctor Who looks like a great set for those that are fans of the series but I have a lot of research and/or catching up to do as I have never been a part of that fandom. Scooby-Doo and the Looney Tunes is likewise just as entertaining. It is full of the characters and familiar elements that its fans will know and love.


The Moomin set was a late purchase. I tend to get my hands on the Story Cube sets as soon as they are available. Because I have never read any of the books or comics, I waited to get this one until this year's came out. Pretty sure I only got it because I am a collector and wanted to have all the sets. The cast of characters are outside my experience, much like the Doctor Who set but there is a general feel to the icons. Moomintroll is the main character. It is a he so he can represent a significator. The Moominmaiden is a female significator. A Momminmamma, Moominpappa, add another layer of relationships to use. Sun, Stars, Anchor, Moomin House, Sail Boat, Diary, and other images seem to hint at another oracular device I have used.

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As I begin to study and work with a new oracle I start by examining it and make lists of cognitive connection that I have with each icon. For the first time, the StoryWorlds collections come with a printed full-color sheet with references for the icons on the cubes. So as I am reflecting on what the icon guide for some of the obscure or unique references such as a Hattifatteners I was at a loss to understand if the words were English or not. Also as with the Hattifattners, I was curious how the image shows what looks like three skinny ghost-like characters with no arms but only fingers extending from their sides could relate to a purely intuitive reading.

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The urge then becomes to read the books.  This creates a crisis.  I like the Story Cubes as a way of working directly with my intuition directly through my imagination. These Moomin images are completely free of cultural references other than my own preconceived connections.  The characters take on the characteristics that place on them.  Reading the stories would give me a background on them. I feel hesitant to be colored by their portrayal in the books. Yet I have not thought twice about my consideration of binge watching through seasons of Doctor Who to better understand that set. Working with an open-ended oracle allows more freedom in interpretation. Yet understanding the source material and the origin culture also gives depth of meaning as well. I feel a fear of knowledge would place restrictions on me or install limitations on my readings. So I am conflicted when I roll the cubes and get Edward the Bobble. Do I let my imagination go, which seems to be a great idea or do I do a little research and see what the author intended the character to represent, which also seems to be a good idea? I wonder which might help to understand the thematic importance of the icons and what they can bring to a casting.

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Using the StoryWorld have been a new chance to see what extent that I can blend my imagination with a preexisting story format and then see what I can trigger in my own intuition that my echo the voice of the divine. The importance of an icon or symbol in the vocabulary of an oracle is the significance and the relevance to a reader. For those that are in love with the Doctor Who series may have an instant connection with the Story Cubes as it is part of their cultural vocabulary. The StoryWorld and working with them compares with theme decks in Tarot. If it works then it is fun to have a new cast of character and a unique fell to the reading. If it doesn't then the deck falls flat and takes a spot on the shelf. The Moomin set works great and have been using it for daily casts for weeks and look forward to continuing to use it. So in closing I would like to say that I am finding the Moomin books to be delightful reading.


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