Originally conceived in the early 1970s as a collaborative tool for musicians, artists, and other creators, Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies were embraced by generations of users across many disciplines. The continued allure of the cards lies in their capacity to disrupt linear thinking and suggest unexpected avenues of exploration. Even in today's hyper-digital age, with countless other software tools available for aiding creativity, the tactility, stark, minimalist design, and the enigmatic statements on the cards make them as relevant and popular as ever. Whether used for reshaping a musical composition, breaking through writer's block, or providing a new window onto a design problem, Oblique Strategies remains a useful tool and brilliant testament to the power of lateral thinking.
Just launched on Kickstarter, Occult Strategies, "a gamified grimoire guiding your way through the magickal unknown," is a collaboration between the LA publisher Not A Cult and current occult luminaries like Witch Wave podcaster Pam Grossman, performance poet Janaka Stucky, Bri Luna The Hoodwitch, musician Chelsea Wolfe, and others. It's an impressive list.
Introducing Occult Strategies, an ever-expanding deck of cards designed to be an invaluable companion in the realms of the mystical and a pocket-sized guide through the labyrinth of the arcane.
Crafted by Gabe Soria and Alec Ferrell, Occult Strategies draws inspiration from a groundbreaking project developed in 1975 by musical visionary Brian Eno and his collaborator, Peter Schmidt. Their creative approach to problem-solving using Oblique Strategies through indirect cues and unpredictable prompts is our guiding light, transported from the realm of music to the sphere of the mystical.
Each card within the deck contains an esoteric epigram, concise cantrip, or a gnomic utterance, and together they comprise a gamified grimoire to untie the knots of magical quandaries. Whether you need to jumpstart a working, resolve a hitch in a ritual, cease a silence at a séance, or bridge an impasse in an enchantment, simply draw one or more Occult Strategies cards and let the deck illuminate the path to take… or suggest another path entirely. How you interpret each card is entirely up to you.
As simple and sober as the original Oblique Strategies are, there has always been something mysterious, enchanting, and tarot-like about them. Given a propensity among the deck's fans to add to, riff on, and make fun of it, it really was only a matter of time before someone decided to take it in an overtly bewitching direction. I can't think of a better collaborative group of modern-day shaman to try their hand at such a project than those gathered here. One thing I especially like about their approach is that they don't seem to be taking themselves too seriously. And, I like their motto: "Above All, Summon Thyself."
More images and info on the Kickstarter page.