The Oracle: Guidance in the Age of Resistance
The Oracle was originally created as a guerrilla art performance for the opening night of Portland's TBA festival. The character is a wholly original, modern-day version of a fortune teller, and uses divination methods inspired by Wendi's diverse cultural heritage to dispense guidance pertinent to social justice and navigating life during times of uncertainty and unrest. Her family roots can be traced to both the colonized and the colonizer, and her commitment to decolonization guided her extensive research and informed her creation of the forecasting tools used by The Oracle. These tools include:
The Affinity Cards are 14 cards, each depicting a different person active in a political, environmental, indigenous, or social justice movement, each representing a particular type of person needed in the resistance. Each card was drawn by hand, with a background that reflects the featured person's roots or area of expertise, and each card back carries an explanation of the traits that exemplify the type of person featured, as well as a blurb about that person. All of the people featured are either women, people of color, indigenous, queer, or a combination thereof.
The 14 are:
- The Protector (Pua Case)
- The Educator (Linda Black Elk)
- The Amplifier (Shaun King)
- The Protester (Double Bird Lady)
- The Innovator (Kelvin Doe)
- The Leverager (Colin Kaepernick)
- The Disruptor (Black Bloc)
- The Change Maker (Kids Against Climate Change)
- The Politician (Nikkita Oliver)
- The Nurturer (Diane Hart)
- The Artist (Melanie Cervantes)
- The Soul Tender (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama)
- The Organizer (Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez)
- The Advocate (Joan Carling)
The seeker who sits with The Oracle is instructed to choose the card that they feel the most affinity for, either because they identify with the person or the traits of the person, or because they strive to embody that person's character. This is the first choice made by the seeker during the reading, and is meant to assist the seeker in entering into the introspective mind state conducive to a successful reading.
Emotion Board: A board inscribed with seven emotions, from which the seeker is bidden to chose up to three that most closely represent their feelings regarding current events. The emotions are Anger, Sadness, Helplessness, Apathy, Fear, Exhaustion, and Determination, and each is represented by a different color.
Fortune Sticks: These are 42 sticks, six for each emotion, each set of six responding in color to the seven colors assigned to the emotions on the Emotion Board, and numbered 1 through 6. Once the seeker has indicated their emotional state, The Oracle selects the corresponding sets of sticks and places them all together in a vessel, which is then shaken until one or more sticks fall out. The process is repeated with the fallen sticks up to five times, in order to narrow down the results to a single stick. If more than one stick continues to fall out at the end of the five shakes, these sticks are all accepted as valid.
Guidance Scrolls: Calling on her lived experience as an activist and mixed race person as well as her skill as a connector from her days in non-profit work, Wendi created 42 different, original Guidance Scrolls, each written with the modern-day seeker in mind. The Fortune Stick will reveal to The Oracle which of these scrolls should be given to the seeker. Most scrolls contain a quote which is then applied directly to the emotion felt by the seeker. Some scrolls direct the seeker to further action such as volunteerism, connecting to local organizations, or further research and reading. All are intended to inspire introspection as well as positive actions.
The Oracle was warmly and enthusiastically received at the 2017 TBA festival, and as a result will be making occasional appearances at galleries and events throughout the Pacific Northwest as we move into winter and look forward to 2018. Each time The Oracle makes an appearance, older and less relevant scrolls will be rotated out and replaced with timely new scrolls based on current events, venue, and audience.
Those interested in having The Oracle perform at an event can contact Wendi Anderson at email@example.com.