Deck Review – Connected and Free Second Edition

One of my favorite oracle deck of the last few years is, hands down, Connected and Free – The Alchemist’s Oracle from Lauren at InnerHue.com.

The first edition of the deck was released in late 2014 and I gave it a review in the summer of 2015. I was really excited for this deck because from the images of the cards Lauren revealed before the launch it looked like a beautiful companion to The Wild Unknown tarot deck. And it was! Maybe almost too much.

One thing that I had heard around the oracle campfire that is the internet were criticisms about some of the cards looking quite similar to the Wild Unknown. One card in particular stood out for a lot of people; the Star in the Wild Unknown and the Abundance card in the Connected and Free deck.

 

 

In general the styles are comparable but I saw that as a plus! Especially since at the time the Wild Unknown was my go to tarot deck.

Two years later, in late 2016, a second edition of Connected and Free was released. In my deck buying/collecting tradition of “if I love it I must have every version of it,” I naturally picked it up, along with the second edition of Lauren’s Lumina Tarot.

 

The Cards…

There are some big changes with Connected and Free 2.0. There are a number of cards that have been redrawn, like that troublesome Abundance card, and there have been five new cards added to the deck.

 

 

 

The quality of the cards has been increased tremendously. If there was going to be any complaint I would have about the first edition of the deck it’s that my cards started to show wear rather quickly. While they aren’t in horrible shape, for a deck that cost around $50 AUD {about $40 USD}, I’d have expected better card stock.

 

 

With the second edition that has happened. The new cards are thicker and have a lovely matte gloss finish to them like the Wild Unknown. But this also comes with a few challenges when it comes to shuffling. If you have a riffle shuffling style like I do, you’ll find that the only real way to shuffle these cards is overhand. They don’t bend easily, which is great for longevity but hard for certain shuffling styles.

 

 

 

The Guidebook…

The guidebook also got a little bit of a facelift. The main font of for the book and card titles has changed from a hand drawn calligraphy style of a hand drawn marker style. This is great for making it easier on the eyes to read the card titles, especially at a glance, but these kinds of fonts are getting so popular these days that it doesn’t stand out like the original did  {no, the irony of my own logo font isn’t lost on me here}.

On the inside of the guidebook the text font has changed to a plain font from the handwriting style font used in the first edition, with the exception of the forward section. This is another great change that makes reading a little easier on the eyes. Otherwise the information appears to be the same. The guidebook size has increased by 12 pages, which mainly accounts for the additional cards.

 

 

There are also two other small changes to the guidebook. The background texture that was visible on the pages in the first book is mostly gone. The exception here is on the black pages of the informational sections on how to use the deck. Also the quality of the paper has changed.

The paper in the second edition is a little less thick, which is actually an improvement. It makes flipping through the book and pressing the book to keep it open a  bit easier. That’s still a bit of a challenge because of the binding, but it’s easier than the first edition book.

 

 

That Controversial Issue About the Book…

The only issue I’ve had with the deck since the first edition isn’t even with the deck but the guidebook. It’s another thing that people have criticized with Connected and Free. There is no index nor structure around the card listings in the book. I had hoped that would change with the second edition, but it didn’t, and honestly I’m not surprised.

When the first edition was out Lauren addressed this continued question about the book since it seemed a number of people were wondering if there was something missing or if this was a print error. The deck was created with intuition being a huge factor and Lauren wanted to make it a little more challenging for you to pick up the book and run for the definition of a card. Instead she wanted there to be a need to stop, pause, and reflect on the card and what you’re receiving about the card intuitively.

It makes a lot of sense really, especially since Lauren talks about her own interpretations in the book being intuitively channeled. Since her guidance was channeled by Spirit and Higher Self it is suggested that its best if you do the same using the same card images as triggers.

The guidance on the cards is still there in the book but you have to flip around until you find a card. For newbie readers this might be really frustrating, especially if you’re someone that prefers “learning what the cards mean.” However, for those that really want to develop their intuition, the format for Connected and Free will be a blessing.

 

 

Is It Worth It?

The second edition of Connected and Free is absolutely an upgrade and improvement. It feels better in your hands and it is more pleasing to the eye. The whites are whiter and the colors feel warm and inviting even though the coloring is largely the same from the first deck. It’s as though the images had a filter put on them to soften things a bit. The added cards also bring a little extra depth to the deck when mixed with the existing ones.

If you love the look and feel of the Wild Unknown tarot but you’re more into oracle cards or you’re looking for a similar styled oracle deck, I can’t recommend Connected and Free enough! And if you have the first edition and find you reach for it a lot, I would definitely recommend picking up the second edition.

 

Purchasing Details: 
Available at InnerHue.com
$50 AUD {as of 1/19/17 that’s approximately $38 USD}
Shipping is calculated at purchase based on where it’s going.
Orders from the site are shipped once a week from Australia.

 

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  • Diana
    January 20, 2017 at 3:42 am

    I love the Wild Unknown, but am not a Tarot reader so this Oracle deck sounds like a wonderful substitute! Thanks for reviewing and sharing.