New “Alchemy Edition” Playing Cards by CJ Freeman

This latest Playing Card Oracles: Alchemy Edition Deck is the third published playing card deck for card reading by my dad, C.J. Freeman (1941 – 2010.) This to me, is the most compelling so far. Perhaps it is the rich pallet, the almost gelatin like expressions in some of the figures, or perhaps it is just too many hours spent in photo editing staring at these things.

Oracle Images Alchemy Edition Playing Card Oracles Deck, playing cards for card reading and cartomancy, all 54 cards are illustrated

Oracle Images from the Alchemy Edition: the “Wind” Cards, indicating direction as well as seasonal associations.

To stand in front of these original paintings is to be transported.

Whatever the cause, I am having a love affair with oracle images.

One thing that adds to my love problem is that these images were painted large (maybe huge is a better word? most being 30″ x 42.5″) and that means not only are the faces and torso’s as big as your own, but the closer you look the more entrancing detail you find. They are from another time, another world. To stand in front of these original paintings is to be transported.





All in all there are 51 paintings (all four of the 7’s in the deck use the same image,) created by my dad about 35 years ago for an extraordinary playing card deck for card reading. It was a completely original idea at the time, only slightly less so now in 2015. I believe that his formerly main stream published deck (The Playing Card Oracles, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.,)  helped to turn the tide and create a larger awareness of playing cards as more than just for games. It created an opening, preparing the way for this perhaps even more dramatic display of Oracle art in this new Alchemy Edition Deck.

Impotent King, original art for 5 of Spades in this playing card deck for card reading and cartomancy

Original oil painting for the 5 of Spades, the “impotent King.” 30″ x 42.5″

He began painting his own deck of playing cards as a “self assigned art project” back in the late 70’s, and what came out on the canvas startled even him.

Maybe you can tell by just looking at these first few images that my dad was a renegade. He never did anything by rote. As he used to say, “I want to figure out the puzzle for myself.” So he would go inward. He had a tremendous connection to the spirit world and was what I call a “natural mystic.” He began painting his own deck of playing cards as a “self assigned art project” back in the late 70’s, and what came out on the canvas startled even him. Once he saw what was coming forward, he began researching the history of playing cards to see if there was any explanation for what was happening. This is what you find in this deck, and the beginning of what was eventually written of in our combined creative exposé, The Playing Card Oracles, A Source Book for Divination. A whole world of interlinking concepts for the practical application of the esoteric took shape, all given form and direction by the playing cards.

Original art for Bethany and Nichomiah, Lady (10) and King of Hearts for this playing card deck for card reading.

“Bethany,” Lady of Hearts (card of the number 10,) and “Nichomiah,” King of Hearts. This Father and Daughter share the moonstone ring that so well defines this suit of emotion. (See the new “Dream Diaries” publication with the original story that accompanies these cards.)

In bringing what is normally hidden into conscious awareness, something extraordinary begins to take place.

So what you will find in this new deck is 52 cards of traditional suit and number (plus 2 jokers) with very untraditional imagery. My dad used to point out how very generic playing card figures had become over the centuries. He wanted to revitalize them and return them to something exciting and alive.



Two cards from the Club Suit, "Wicca," 8 of Clubs, and "Sol," King of Clubs in this playing card deck for card reading and cartomancy.

Original oil paintings for the Club Suit, “Wicca,” 8 of Clubs, and “Sol,” King of Clubs. All 54 cards are illustrated.

It is vital in card reading to have images that move a person, that evoke.

In this work there is some strong imagery, imagery that some people may find offensive or fearful. Yet this is one of the most beautiful and important qualities of this deck. It is vital in card reading to have images that move a person, that evoke. This is how life is. Cards give us an opportunity to get closer acquainted with our fears, so that we may ultimately overcome them. This is what makes cards useful, powerful, and ultimately transformative.


Left to right: Images for the 9 of Clubs, "Galahad," 5 of Hearts, "Fata Morgana," and the 3 of Spades, "The Beggar."

Left to right: Images for the 9 of Clubs, “Galahad,” 5 of Hearts, “Fata Morgana,” and the 3 of Spades, “The Beggar.”

So when my dad passed in 2010, I don’t think he had any hope remaining that these original images, a piece of his own soul torn and put onto canvas, would ever really see the light of day.

So when my dad passed in 2010, I don’t think he had any hope remaining that these original images, a piece of his own soul torn and put onto canvas, would ever really see the light of day. They had been hauled around from so many different storage areas for so many years. (See related blog article HERE.) Over time, not only were paintings becoming seriously damaged, but also starting to disappear. I think my dad gave away a few in a true King of Hearts gesture of drunken generosity, and it all seemed like a fantastic dream that was drifting further and further out of reach.

So this deck is really a dream come true. It has been a pleasure for me to finally bring the world this art, as well as expose more people to the revolutionary divinatory ideas that accompany it. I know that whatever scale this project achieves, the world will never be the same as it was before.


Playing Card Oracles Book with Alchemy Edition Deck which are playing cards for card reading and cartomancy by CJ Freeman and Ana Cortez

New “Alchemy Edition” cards, with book including Oracle spreads, history and further uses. Recommended together.

I like the name “Alchemy Edition,” for this deck. It is a way of looking at cards and the art of card reading that goes beyond predictions of doom and gloom or personal fortune.

I like the name “Alchemy Edition,” for this deck. It is a way of looking at cards and the art of card reading that goes beyond predictions of doom and gloom or personal fortune. Cards reveal energies. They make energies visible. In bringing what is normally hidden into conscious awareness, something extraordinary begins to take place. As card readers we are potentially much more than purveyors of fortune, we are energy workers, bringing opportunity for growth, awareness, and transformation, which is the heart of alchemy.

New Alchemy Edition decks come with instructional PDF booklet  including card meanings and other essential information helpful for using your cards for insight and self reflection, but recommended for use with The Playing Card Oracles, A Source Book for Divination (sold separately.) This is the book created in collaboration between my father (C.J. Freeman) and myself. It gives you card layouts specific for this deck that actually allow you to use the deck as a calendar (cool, huh?) plus in depth suit and number meanings, interpretation techniques, history, and more, more, more all original material.



  • Jonathan Twidwell says:

    A couple months a ago I bought your oraclae deck. And started learning. Now there is a new one. Why? Is it better? Is it more inutitive learn or how about easier to learn?
    Thank you for your time

    • ana says:

      Hi Jonathan, thanks for your questions. I’m sure many people are wondering the same things. This “Alchemy” deck is simply different than the originally published Playing Card Oracles, and a lot is personal preference. One thing about the first PCO is that it displays pip designs on card faces, emphasizing numerology and pip (suit) meanings, which I feel is very good for work with cards. In this new Edition, you have the richness of color that draws the reader in, so can help with the imagination. So again, personal preference. Each can augment the other.
      As for the other part of your question, it has been 13 years now since the original PCO was first published and I felt time was due for publishing more of Dad’s incredible illustrations for cards. It just wouldn’t be right to leave them unseen. And there will likely be another PCO! There are so many wonderful pieces of art, none less or more valid. All work within the PCO structure outlined in the book.
      Thanks again for your questions.

  • Bebecca says:

    I have purchased the new pco recently.i dont have the meanings but….is there any new things i must know about the new decks!!!! How can understad as some of the cards has changed ,if there would be any changes in meanings too….


    • ana says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      Yes, make sure to download the booklet that comes with the new pco deck. You can use this link and then download to your own computer.

      • Bebecca says:

        Thanks alot dear Ms Cortez of your useful help.
        I have got the Pdf , and i started working with new decks by new meanings.
        By the way i have another qustion about the cards when they r not in their
        Natural position ( head,throat,torso,feet) , i cant realy get the conception ,specialy
        If i would want to use their elements also.for exMple when i have Ace of heart and
        Dango in feet position ,what is it !!!
        The other thing is ,as u mentioned in your lessons that w can start talking abot the
        Story from the card which take our attention first or if the card is in its own position,
        Then what should be done if none of these matters take place!!!! I know about the
        Intuition as u thought, but whenever i go with my intuition, i see im too much faraway
        from the cards,u know what i mean

        Plz help me ,im realy confused.


        • ana says:

          Hi Rebecca,
          Thank you for your questions. Yes, intuition can lead one away from the cards until you have studied them for a while. What you ask are questions that people often have, but usually clear up in time, as you work with the book and your cards. You have the larger book, right? The Playing Card Oracles, A Source Book for Divination? This is necessary.

          To answer some of your more specific questions, if you do not see a card that takes your attention first or a card in it’s natural position, try beginning with a court card. That is the main character in your story. If there is no court card, you can begin with the highest numbered card, for example, or a card that is red, for example, if all the other cards are black or vice versa. Something that makes that card different in some way. Then use what is different about it to begin. Or begin wherever you like! For a long time, dear Bebecca, I used to just read my cards in order, starting at the top and moving down in order. Because I did not know what else to do. I did not have a teacher such as myself! I had to just jump in the pool 🙂 and over time, I found the cards began talking in ways I could understand. I was not so nervous with them. But I was a slow learner! So be patient and keep working with the cards. Make sure to do a daily card every day 🙂
          As to your other question, about Dango and the Ace of Hearts, Dango in the foot position would be someone who is quite charismatic and showy, either in work life or home life or both. Ace of Hearts would express a solitude in work or home life, something that has yet to be fulfilled in that area. Most of the time cards are not in their natural position, of course. Review the section in The Playing Card Oracles called “The Significance of Card Positions” that begins on page 119. Once again, all this will take time, so keep playing with your cards.
          You are asking all the right questions, so keep doing what you are doing. It is worth the effort!

          You may want to consider enrolling in the new Playing Card Oracle School, as well. Journal your thoughts and your studies, read for friends and family, even strangers! You will be amazed at how quickly the cards begin really communicating 🙂

          Thanks again for your questions 🙂

          • Bebecca says:

            To The Best Teacher In The WORLD

            First of all a big big biiiiig appreciation and thanks of the very useful things that you mentioned. It was really helpful and I’m enjoying my readings more than before. As you said, since i got the cards i started doing the readings and lay out for myself and my friends and family. Little by little i felt I’m getting to know the cards somehow.
            On the other hand, i had purchased ” The Playing Card Oracles” 3 months before recieving the cards and began translating it in to my language ( im persian and a new comer in canada) , which just today at the moment im writing to you, it’s finished and it was a Big wwwwooooooohhhhh for me, cause finally i could finish it the way i wanted to finish.
            As i was translating , also watching your online videos and comparing to the other online shows. After a while i found it the best, convinced to purchase your awesome book. At last , once i was watching your videos i heard of your cards and your site and… Then after a while I bought the beautiful decks. I was so happy and enthusiastic. According to what you were suggesting, every day i did daily readings. Meanwhile one of my friends from my country became one of my fans, whom is still with me and my readings, sometimes she screams when she calls me and ” you’re fantastic your fancinating ” she says…..
            I’m so happy Ms.Cortez, I think my understanding and conceptions are getting better and better. Cause you are the best Teacher i have ever had, cause you have explained everything and any aspects of this subject so perfect with details.
            Every day i get new things out of these cards, new meanings new feelings, ways of readings, most important thing , being connected to my INTUITION. It’s not weird cause your guidance and tips are the reason of finding them so easy and funny.

            At the end I want to say you are the best. I’m so glad that i found you and your methods.

            Best Regards
            Best wishes in New Year


  • Flavien says:

    Hi Ana,

    I have purchased the playing card oracle deck with the book but I have noticed that you have produced the alchemy edition and some of the cards are different and they also have different definitions. For instance, 10 of diamond in the previous deck is called Tendra while in the alchemy edition it is called seraphine with completely different personality and definition. I am extremely confused. How can I work with this deck along with the book with such discrepancy? I wanted to purchase the alchemy version because I have the possibility to get the bigger version as I like working with bigger cards. The previous version of your deck is too small for my liking. I saw you on YouTube using a bigger version of the old version how can I get it?

    Thank you very much for your great work

    • ana says:

      Hi Flavien and thank you so much for your questions.
      When working with Alchemy Edition deck, make sure to refer to the small PDF e-booklet that comes with the deck for individual card meanings. You will find MOST meanings overlap between that and the meanings for the original Playing Card Oracle Deck. Then you can supplement with Playing Card Oracle Book, for more general things like spreads, how to use the calendar, suit meanings, etc… It does take a bit of an adjustment when going from Original Edition PCO to Alchemy Edition. (Alchemy eBooklet can be downloaded HERE:
      For your other question, the larger version of the old version (the Original Playing Card Oracles Deck) that I use is actually quite an old deck, self-published by my dad and I before U.S. Games Published it. From time to time, I have a very limited sale of these larger, self published decks as I have only a very small inventory of them left. I ran it Black Friday, 2015, and may do so again this year, so make sure you are on the email list for this website so you get the notification :-))))
      Thanks again for your question!!

  • Otyllia says:

    Hi Ana. Can I still order the deck ? I`m in love with it

  • Peter says:

    Love the deck. Question, why the unusual (to me) elemental assignments? Where did yours come from? Thanks!

    • ana says:

      Hi Peter.
      Elemental assignments were intuited by my father, who also intuited the original images and our original system. Not following any other. Thanks for your question!

  • Geslina says:

    Do you plan on printing any more of the Alchemy decks? I have 4 of the original PCO decks – the very hard to find and coveted larger sized one from USG, the one you printed yourself (my favorite), and two of the small decks still in print. And the first edition book. I’m so sorry I didn’t jump on the alchemy deck when it was still available!

    • ana says:

      Hi and sorry it took so long to respond. As a matter of fact the new book and deck (same images as former “Alchemy Edition) have just been submitted to publisher so you will have your chance to grab this deck, plus the full length book it needs and deserves.
      So happy to connect with a true enthusiast! Best to you <3

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