Oracle of the Radiant Sun by Caroline Smith and John Astrop

Review by Rowan Laurel


If you would like to purchase this book/deck set, click here.


All of Caroline Smith’s work is visually stunning (see the Elemental Tarot for an example) and The Oracle of the Radiant Sun is no exception.  Her medium here is collage, and these 84 poker-sized cards display wit in addition to artistic skill.  The Sun oracle is a companion to The Moon Oracle. The purpose of the Oracle of the Radiant Sun is to provide an astrological basis for prediction and inner examination.  It’s also a great way for tarotists to brush up on their astrology.


That being said, the packaging of this deck is curious and most annoying.  The book is integrated with the box, all folded together.  You cannot remove the book without cutting it off the box!  But then you have nowhere to store the cards…I’ve never seen this arrangement before and I hope never to see it again!


But back to the cards.  Caroline Smith and astrologer John Astrop’s system consists of 12 cards each in seven “suits,” one for each of the planets used in horary astrology.  The 12 cards correspond to the 12 astrological houses.  Each card has a key word, and consists of a collage which illustrates and expands its meaning.  The suits are:  Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Here are some examples from the Sun suit, the Suit of Fortune.  Card 1, the Sun in Aries, has the keyword ‘Assertion’, for Sun (Fortune) plus Aries (Self-Will).  Card 2, the Sun in Taurus, is ‘Acquisition’ (Taurus = Material Values); Card 3, the Sun in Gemini, is ‘Versatility’ (Gemini = Mental Awareness), and so forth.


The Moon is the Suit of Security, Mercury's is Change. The other suits are Love (Venus), Action (Mars), Gain (Jupiter), and Ambition (Saturn).


The book is very useful, and explains astrology basics very well.  It’s a great primer.  The spreads are also astrology-related:  a yearly spread, a Horary Reading, a Cardinal Cross, and a Grand Trine reading.


The cards are beautiful.  Some of my favorites are:  Mars 5, Egotism, which shows a cockerel with a man’s crowned head; Venus 8, Secrets, with a Sphinx with a ram’s head surrounded by keys, glyphs, and knots; Mercury 8, Extremism, with a struggling couple out of a Victorian melodrama.


You can appreciate this deck for its artwork, and you can use it to strengthen your knowledge of astrology.  While The Oracle of the Radiant Sun is not as powerful a predictor as The Moon Oracle—which is almost spooky in its accuracy—the Sun Oracle is easier to use, more varied, and instructional.  The packaging is a major drawback, though.  While the Oracle of the Radiant Sun is out of print, it is still available on Amazon.  If you admire Caroline Smith’s work, pick it up today!


You can see more on the website of Caroline Smith and John Astrop.


Oracle of the Radiant Sun by Caroline Smith and John Astrop

84 cards, 44 page book

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN #: 031230420X


If you would like to purchase this book/deck set, click here.


Rowan Laurel lives in Des Plaines, Illinois, and has been reading and studying tarot for more than 30 years.  Her mundane job is in higher education.  She loves cats and dogs, and enjoys gardening, kayaking, and the northwoods.

Review © 2004 Rowan Laurel
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes