Finding Your Inner Compass with Oracle Cards: An Interview with Dana Whitby
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Ashley Leavy: Welcome. I’m so excited today to be chatting with the amazing Dana Whitby about Finding Your Inner Compass with Oracle Cards. Dana’s been on the show several times before, but she has something super new and exciting to talk about today, so Dana, thank you so much for being here.
Would you mind just introducing yourself to everyone in case they haven’t caught 1 of our previous interviews?
Ashley: I love the way you combine different modalities, and the ones that you work with kind of all gel really well together, and flow into one another, and allow you to provide a lot of support for people in such a huge variety of ways. One of the favorite things that you do of mine is your Instagram stories where you do choose a card like A or B, and it’s really fun to see how much those messages resonate because I think one thing that’s interesting about card reading and you mentioned you have a new Oracle deck coming out soon. It’s available for pre-order. It’s the inner compass oracle. It is gorgeous, like absolutely beautiful.
I’ve seen you use it a few times on stories, you’re sharing some of the cards, but I love when you offer those pick a card stories because you really see your unique view, and insight into the cards kind of shine through when you’re providing that interpretation, and that’s something that I so appreciate in fact, on more than 1 occasion when I’ve come across one of those stories of yours, and it has really resonated. I’ve screenshotted what you said, and written it into my journal entry for that day because it has been so impactful, so I would love to know a little bit about how you made the transition or the leap from reading cards as part of the practice that you do overall into creating and designing your own deck.
Dana: Thank you so much for your kind words. I love to do that because even though it’s a collective message, it still does somehow have a resonance for everyone who sees it, so I actually started by writing a book. I thought that I would put some of the healing work that I had done with clients in, again, both mainstream mental health, and kind of the spiritual world into a book to really help people, and I got about five thousand words in, and I hit this wall. I just had nothing else to write. Nothing was coming to me and I had to just kind of back away from it a little bit, and spend some time just not working on it, and sitting in meditation and it came to me one day that this was actually an Oracle deck.
I have loved and used Oracle and Tarot since I was a teenager in the late 90s. They have always been a love of mine. They were my first entry point into the spiritual world. Cards are something I use all the time and so it felt like a coming home to myself. It kind of felt like this moment of like, “Of course, why would I think it was a book? Of course, it’s an Oracle deck.” So I took that book apart and broke it down into the different meanings of the cards and of course expanded upon it. but that’s kind of really how I got there, and it was also just sort of an exercise in pushing myself to think why not me? Of course, I could, I mean, any of us can. It’s just a matter of wanting to do it, and taking that leap, and having that faith in yourself I think.
Ashley: I would love to touch on something that you just mentioned, which is that you’ve been reading both Tarot and Oracle for years, so if you could summarize for people who might not be familiar, what are the differences between a traditional Tarot card deck, and an Oracle card deck?
Dana: Absolutely. This is such a good question because cards can seem a bit intimidating to people who aren’t familiar. Tarot has a set structure, so anytime you see a tarot deck, there are going to be seventy eight cards. Of course, some authors and artists take some liberties with that, but in general, there are always going to be seventy eight cards that are divided into what’s called the major, and the minor Arcana, and so the major Arcana is the Fool’s Journey, the story of our time here on earth, and then the minor Arcana is that classic set of cards with the four suits. And those represent kind of our day-to-day life in your workings, and how things flow together.
This tarot structure is sort of set and there’s archetypes, and we have to respect, I think the structure of that when we create a tarot deck. Oracle cards are much more free-form. There can be any number of cards from, I don’t know, ten or twelve all the way up to into the sixties or seventies. It really is totally up to the artist, and the author of that Oracle deck, and that allows for just a bit more flexibility, and just free-form for the structure of an Oracle card deck.
Ashley: That is such a succinct description of the difference, so I’m curious, what led you then to pursue an Oracle deck rather than a tarot deck? How did that the inter compass oracle was in fact meant to be an Oracle deck?
Dana: Yeah, so the way that I knew was in the way that it came through with the divine downloads. So I started with this idea of a compass, and the idea that we all have this inner compass within us, but we maybe don’t know how to access it. So from there my guides, my angels, my divine team told me that there needed to be 4 sections in the deck. Honoring the four directions, North, South, East, and West on a compass, and so right there I knew, “Okay, well a tarot deck is out because that goes against the inherent structure of a tarot deck.” And then from there, I was instructed to put twelve cards in each direction, and I honestly, I still don’t know why. I still have no clue why twelve.
But that was why I chose the Oracle deck, simply because of its free-form nature, and I could build it around this structure that I wanted, and that I was envisioning. Also on a personal note, I started with Oracle cards, and so this feels like a full circle moment to me. I incorporated Tarot a bit later, but Oracle felt a bit more approachable, a bit more comfortable. There were less cards, the structure did intimidate me in the beginning. I don’t know that Tarot is always the beginner’s choice. I think sometimes it is, but it felt like an easier entry point for me.
Ashley: I’m so glad that you’ve said that because I think a lot of people are intimidated by doing their own card reading because their first introduction is Tarot, and it just seems a bit overwhelming. There’s a lot to feel like you have to learn, feels like there’s a lot to know before you can really dive in. Whereas in Oracle Deck, because it’s a little bit more free-form, the way that you work with it, and use it can be a little bit more free-form as well I think, so it does seem to be kind of that inviting doorway into the world of cardommancy and working with cards for divination for personal growth work, and insight.
Within those 4 different directions in the twelve cards in each direction, is there a similarity among the twelve cards? Is there always a crystal in each of those 4 directions or is there more of a structure within each of those directions as well?
Dana: The way that it worked was, I started in the east because the sunrise is in the east, so the east message came to me first, and so the entire theme of all of the east cards is recognizing our divinity because what came through channeled for me was that we can’t connect to our intuition, our inner compass if we don’t first believe that we are divine and that we come from the divine, so that has to be our first step, and then we move into the South, and in the South, the theme of those cards is shadow work, and delving into our humanity, and the parts of ourselves that we don’t want to acknowledge or admit or recognize, and how challenging that can truly be.
To ignore our humanity is to ignore this human experience that we’re having.
Then we move into the West, and all of the cards in the West ask us to incorporate both this beautiful, shiny illuminated divine self that you have discovered, and your deepest darkest shadows, and how can you love yourself through all of that, and how can you integrate both of those sides? And then we move into the north where we take all of this and we make inspired conscious decisions, and we take action toward something that we want or towards change, and then we cycle back around again, don’t we?
We always are constantly finding a new divine part of ourselves, a new part of our shadow, and having to integrate, and so they showed me this compass as almost like a spiral. It’s like we continue moving up, and we have more insight and awareness the further up we go in our evolution, but we’re still seeing that, and so within those categories, certain archetypes jumped out at me. I just knew certain cards needed to be, or certain archetypes needed to be in different sections based on what they represented to me, but I do have… I don’t know why now this is a really strange thing.
There are only 3 crystal cards. There is not a fourth crystal card, and I do not know why. Again, 1 of the mysteries that maybe will come to me later. but those 3 cards are very, very special to me, and I don’t know, it’s kind of just a little mystery there, but there are astrological signs, and planets as well as archetypes of things that you would find here on Earth in nature, so it is reflective of both the human experience and the divine experience.
Ashley: I love this so much, not only because this is so well thought out, but because there are a lot of layers here, you’re talking about how this is a guide for us connecting with our own inner compass, but then we also see our personal journey reflected in that compass. It’s pointing us on the way to the different parts of that journey.
I think that’s so magical because a lot of times we turn to Tarot or Oracle or any divination method, truly when we’re at a crossroads, when we’re having difficulty making a decision when we feel like we’re just are lacking in a little bit of clarity.
We need sort of a confirmation of the way that we’re feeling or the thing that we’re thinking is the next best step for us, and it seems like this deck is really dialed into supporting us through our human parts of our life.
Dana: Yeah, that truly was my inspiration, was a healing method, and you can see how this was perhaps a book, in the beginning, working through these different directions, and all that I had to say about that. but I just love this Oracle card format so much better.
Ashley: I love that it was born out of another project because you were following your own inner compass as well on that journey and being guided to the right form for this information to be shared, and this tool really to be used by other people. Let me ask you, Dana, how is the deck different than other ones out there? Because there are thousands and thousands of decks available. A lot of different decks will resonate with me for different reasons, and I’ll use some for different things, so what makes this one different from some of the others that people might have worked with before?
Dana: I really wanted to make this a more immersive experience, rather than just shuffling cards and getting a message, so there are journal prompts in here, meditations, and there are reflection questions. Also the crystal cards. You really are encouraged to either hold the crystal in your hand or if you don’t own that crystal, that’s fine, the energy can come to you too. You can picture the crystal in your mind or you can even look at the artwork on the card, to try to bring these allies in to have, something tangible. I also included astrological chart information, so for every planet that I have in the deck, you are given a specific message for your placement.
There’s a general message for the card and then you can look at your individual say Saturn in Aquarius, and you could have your own personalized message, so I wanted to take it from being collective into bringing it down, and making it much more personal for you, so there’s a lot of interactive pieces here with the deck that I haven’t seen in other places. I’ve seen astrological decks, but they still are kind of a collective, general message, so this incorporates your personal message, and collective as well as you use it.
Ashley: That is definitely unique, and really special to give another way of working with this tool that is more dialed into what your personal needs are and what you might need help with, what you might need more clarity about. I love the idea of some of these reflection questions that you’ve mixed in, because a lot of times we get the information, and then we go, “Okay, now what?”
Ashley: I would love to know about what the journey is like to create your own Oracle deck. I’ve done a few independently published decks myself. It sounds like you’ve gone the independent route with this deck as well. Which, I want to mention people can order online at your website at DanaWhitby.com.
Dana: This is something that has been about a 2, and a half year process for me. Again, starting as a book and then having to turn it into something else took a bit of time, and I really found that as I wrote each card, I actually relived the message, so I pulled some of the messages from my past, from things that I had learned, but some of them I kind of experienced in the moment, or again, they came back up for me in a different way, and it’s interesting because sometimes the message came first, and then I would match it up with an archetype that I felt like exemplified that message, and other times the archetype came to me first, and then I was like, “Okay, so I have this bee. I want to have a bee card.”
I could go into talking about honey or honeycombs the sweetness of life, or the fact that the body of a bee is so big that its wings, actually aerodynamically shouldn’t be able to support it and how special that is. It’s like you could go a million different ways, and so I really had to actually trust my own inner compass, my own inner knowing of what the message is supposed to be, and even within that, I wrote in the guidebook a whole section about how I hope that you take all of my messages with a grain of salt because this whole thing is teaching you to listen to your own inner compass, and so if you read my message, and you think, “That’s not quite right for me right now.”
I hope that you would listen to what you think of when you see this archetype, this item, this crystal, this planet, whatever it may be, so it was a trusting of myself, but also knowing that this is going to be its own entity for every person who uses it, and allowing it to be everyone’s not just mine.
Ashley: It really empowers the user of the deck, the person working with the deck to have their own aha moments, and takeaways from working with those archetypes, and really that’s pretty special because it creates this collective communal body of knowledge that’s so much larger than even how it started, so I hope that people when they have those insights will share them with you and connect because that’s really special. When people share their experiences and let us the creator of a deck, like, “Hey, I had this really transformative or really powerful experience using these cards. Thanks for creating it.” I think that’s pretty cool, and I’m so glad that you want to empower other people, even in part of your writing of the guidebook, to use your own intuition, rely on your inner guidance, and your inner compass to find the deeper meaning for you as well.
Sometimes what’s in a guidebook sort of leads us in the right direction, and it gives us a taste, but then we uncover that deeper meaning over time even. Like you said, even in the creation of the guidebook, and the writing of the meanings for each card, you had this come up for you as well.
Dana: Yeah, I think that’s so important, like you said, to use this as a jumping off point and you can do that with any deck, not just mine. All decks are like that, and it’s interesting too that I also want to mention in the creation of this, we were talking about the difference between Oracle, and tarot earlier. I did use tarot to inspire some of my cards. I think that when we really use Oracle cards, they can help us to understand tarot cards a bit better and the opposite is true as well. When we work with tarot cards, they can help us give a deeper meaning to Oracle cards, so there are a few of them that are inspired by tarot themes and ideas.
Ashley: I’d love to know Dana, in this journey of creation, you went from a book and then a conceptualized deck, and then you start writing the deck. What happens next in the behind the scenes of the process of deck creation? How did you handle the art piece of it? How did you handle the production side? Because I think a lot of people are really inspired by all the amazing indie decks out there, and they might be looking to as kind of a leader going, “Oh my gosh, I would love to know how to bring my creation forward as well.” How did you navigate that process?
Dana: So I wrote all of the descriptions myself, and then my whole plan all along was to find an artist because I knew that my strength was in the channeling and the messaging, not in the visual side of cards. That’s something I know about myself and I wanted to do these energies. I wanted to honor them in the correct way and so I said, “If I’m supposed to have an artist, then send them to me spirit.” And I just asked that my team would lead them, and a friend just happened to recommend to my artist and I saw her work, and I saw that she only lived an hour and a half away from me, and I just knew that it was the right thing.
She also experienced these messages herself in her own life as she created the artwork for the cards, and it was almost like we created this matrix together where we were both tapping into the collective message of the card, and she was able to interpret how it should look visually, so once I received the art from her, I felt very confident about it, but if you are working on a deck, and it does not match the vision that you have, It’s really important to speak up.
That’s something that you have to talk to your artist about along the way if you are trying to find an artist, and you don’t have someone to refer someone to you, you can always put out a call on your website or your social media or search for people online on Pinterest and through Instagram. There’s tons of ways to find artists, and then once we had created all of that, I did some research on printing companies that I wanted to use. There’s lots of different overseas options. For me personally, I wanted to print something in the United States and and so my search led me to a company called Shuffled Inc, out of Orlando, Florida and I ordered a deck that they had already printed.
I wanted to see the quality, and feel it with my own hands and know what they would create. I did get quotes from other printing companies, just to be able to compare, and to know what to go with, and to be able to make my decisions, and so I decided to move forward with them, and so after we sent them all of the cards, we had samples printed, and so we were able to see what they looked like to make sure that it was up to our quality, and our standards and from there we made some changes and tweaked a few things.
Ashley: That’s so exciting I think I remember when you got the proofs, they came printed multiple cards to a big sheet, so for your first sort of sample deck, you had to cut them out yourself to see what they would feel like and look like, and was that like a really exciting moment unboxing that, and seeing your vision and your collaboration with Jennifer come to life.
Dana: Yeah, it was an out of body experience. I mean, I can’t wait to even see it, I still haven’t seen the full deck actually printed in a box, but just to see the artwork printed out on smooth paper, finished paper, it really was so cool.
Ashley: Well can you tell everyone, Dana, where they can find the deck where they can get more information, and where they can connect with you online, because in addition to this amazing deck, and the other work that you do you also offer readings?
Dana: I do offer readings both with my Inner Compass Oracle. I am doing readings with them currently, so if you want to experience the cards, and hear the messages from me, I do readings with them right now, but I also do tarot readings as well if you’re more interested in that route and again, I offer Holy Fire Reiki, and you can pre-order the deck at DanaWhitby.com and you should see the intercom oracle at the top. You can click on that. Should be nice and easy for you there, and until May 28th, I’m offering a discount code of 15% off if you use the code Compass 15.
That’s a little thank you for pre-ordering, so I know how many decks I need to ship, that sort of thing. You can also find me on Instagram at @danasoulrises and on TikTok under @danawhitby.
Ashley: When is the expected, anticipated guesstimated shipping date for your new deck?
Dana: The estimated shipping date is the end of June, so June 28th. They may get to you by the beginning of July, but that is what we are currently looking at as far as production goes.
Ashley: Thank you so much for coming on today and sharing a little bit about your journey in creating this deck. For explaining the deck structure because I think it’s so innovative, and just sharing your light with us.
Dana Whitby has used and loved divination cards of all kinds since 1999. She holds an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Counseling. After a spiritual awakening in 2015, Dana expanded her work into the mystical realms. She uses a rich toolbox of spiritual modalities with her clients, and is trained in the areas of Mediumship, Regression Therapy, Holy Fire Reiki, and Meditation. Click Here to order Dana’s new deck, the Inner Compass Oracle