Meet the Creators: Aubrey Houdeshell and Rose Ides of Oracle of Pluto

Shadow work is having a moment, dear mystics! Author Aubrey Houdeshell and Illustrator Rose Ides developed the forthcoming oracle deck Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self to help modern mystics get in touch with their deepest selves, known as their shadows, to unlock self-transformation. Fifty-five vibrant and dreamy oracle cards guide users through this process using shadow puppetry to depict Plutonian archetypes such as the Crow, the Tiger, and the Spider.

To celebrate the arrival of this unique deck, we invited Aubrey and Rose to interview each other. Read on to learn more about Aubrey’s personal connection to Pluto and Rose’s artistic process in balancing Pluto’s themes with playful whimsy. Plus, get a sneak peek of the deck with a look at Aubrey and Rose’s favorite cards!

Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self goes on sale August 8 and is available for pre-order now wherever books are sold.

Photo of the keepsake box of "Oracle of Pluto: a 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self" laid above various face-up cards from the deck

Aubrey Houdeshell, Interviewed by Rose Ides

Rose Ides: Can you tell us how you incorporate Pluto into your astrology practice?

Aubrey Houdeshell: Pluto has been one of the main focuses of my practice since the moment I learned about it. There was something about the connection to past lives and untangling the deeply rooted, repetitive patterns in our lives that was so intriguing to me. Perhaps because Pluto plays such a prominent role in my chart, or maybe because it immediately elevated my astrological practice, I was hooked. I think the practical application of spiritual concepts is so important – I’ve always been the person who seeks to understand what to actually DO with spiritual information and concepts, and in that sense am deeply interested in the intersection between the concepts of karma and past lives, etc., with our physical, mundane lives. I think that’s why I find astrology to be so compelling.

Once I learned about Pluto and everything it represents, I was instantly fascinated by it and could not consume enough information about it. Pretty much immediately it became the focus of my astrological practice and I began to create special readings and services around it, hoping to help others understand the deeply rooted patterns and karmic journeys in their lives. What started out as a special service just became more and more of the focal point of my approach to astrology over time.

The Goat card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

R: Do you have a favorite Plutonian aspect/transit?

A: Well, I’m biased, but I love Venus conjunct Pluto. I have this aspect in my own chart, and Venus is my chart ruler, so Pluto ends up playing this prominent role in my chart, which is perhaps why I have become so enthralled with it.

The dynamic can be difficult, of course, as it represents an intensely karmic path with romantic partnerships, but it is also deeply transformative, of course, and makes a person incredibly passionate, which I love.

Outside of that, I am a big fan of Pluto in the 5th house, whether by natal placement or by transit, as it becomes this obsessive driving force in a person to create, create, create. In that house Pluto gives an endless well of creativity to draw upon and I think it can be an incredible position in the chart for artists of all kinds.

The Swan card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

R: In what ways did authoring a Pluto themed deck deepen your understanding of Pluto in your own chart?

A: The process of authoring this deck forced me to expand my knowledge of Shadow Work in general, especially from the Jungian and more traditional psychology perspectives. In that sense, learning from people who have dedicated so much time, energy, and education to the Plutonian archetype allowed me to deepen my understanding of Pluto as well. I don’t think it was so much Pluto in my own chart as much as it was understanding Pluto better as a whole.

The act of creating this deck became a devotional act to Pluto, and invited its presence to take up more space in my life, period. To me, the beautiful part of creating this deck was that I began to experience the more positive, creative, generative aspects of Pluto rather than the difficult or destructive aspects that people get so used to. I always speak to others about tapping into the healing and creative aspects of Pluto instead, so it’s been great to be able to experience those things for myself.

Photo of the guidebook laid above the keepsake box and various face-up cards from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

Rose Ides, Interviewed by Aubrey Houdeshell

Aubrey Houdeshell: What inspired the use of shadow puppets in the artwork of the Pluto deck?

Rose Ides: Prior to conceptualizing this deck, I had been exploring the intersection of grief, art, and creativity…when I read the story of the Han Dynasty Emperor Han Wudi’s heartsick loss of his wife, I learned that shadow puppets were invented to ease his pain with shows of her memory. I became deeply intrigued by the ability of shadow puppets to tell stories in simple silhouettes which let our minds fill in the details; these details come from memory, the visceral plane which has a deep connection to our grief. As shadow puppets developed into shadowgraphy in 19th century Europe, hands became a standard for making shadow shapes. I started illustrating shadowgraphy, being fascinated by the human hand’s ability to fold itself into new shapes to tell a story. This transformative behavior that projects voids of light for us to fill in with our own inner worlds immediately felt connected to Pluto symbolism in astrology.

The Swallow card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

A: How are you hoping to see others connect with the art in the deck?

R: I would love for my deck art to enliven the parts of us that seek to go beyond the mundane in ways that exude playfully quaint ways of being in the world. I believe this sense of whimsy is important for emotional and spiritual transformations, which ultimately take us “beyond”, because whimsy keeps us connected to the mundane in a way that acknowledges its sacredness. Whimsy also extends a warm invitation back from the depths and heights of transformational journeys; it is a grounding energy. I wish for the whimsy I’ve imbued in this deck art to invoke a sense of being playfully grounded as you travel other worlds.

The Fox card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

A: Can you share a bit about your artistic process with us?

R: My artistic process is fueled by my dreaming life when I sleep. My dreams make up an extraordinary part of my life and I consider myself an oneironaut because of the vast number of life changing experiences from these dreams. I learn so much from them, and I have also experienced emotions that only exist in my dreams that often come from lucid visual experiences that simply aren’t possible while awake in an unaltered state. I often tap into the waking memory of these emotions and use somatic feedback when I draw or paint to further excavate these feelings through the imagery. I do this even if I have given myself a prompt, as the prompt is then expressed through the lens of my process. The Oracle of Pluto deck was no exception. I connected myself to these inwardly transcendental experiences and poured them into the deck.

Photo of various face-up cards from "Oracle of Pluto: a 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

Aubrey and Rose’s Favorite Cards

The Goat card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

GOAT
UNTAPPED POTENTIAL, FERTILITY, VIRILITY, STUBBORNNESS

As the first domesticated animal in human history, the Goat is an old, familiar friend. The horns on a Goat often represent fertility, virility, and life force. At the same time, the Goat can be a very destruc­tive creature if not managed properly. When the Goat card appears in a reading, the primordial force from which both creation and destruc­tion spring is asking for your attention. There is untapped potential within you that is begging to be harnessed now, and the way you choose to engage with it—or not—is up to you.

When Goat energy is present, there is often a certain stubbornness at play. Perhaps you are engag­ing in an old pattern or behavior that you know is self-destructive, but is ultimately familiar and there­fore comfortable. This is your chance to switch up the story and transmute that stubbornness into determination. When channeled correctly, nothing can stand in the way of the Goat.

FURTHER REFLECTION:
Think about your relationship to power. To whom and what do you give your power away, and why? What would it look like for you to be embodied in your power? What could you accomplish?

SWALLOW
HOPE, OPTIMISM, LAST STEPS ON A JOURNEY, TRUST

The Swallow has deep ties to sailors and naval com­panies across the world. In the UK, a sailor earns a Swallow tattoo for every five thousand nautical miles they travel. Lore among sailors is that seeing a Swal­low is a sure sign you’re approaching land, even if you can’t see it yet—it represents the end of the journey back home.

The Swallow card in this deck represents a sim­ilar sentiment: one of hope, optimism, and trust. It is a sure sign that you are nearing the completion of a cycle in some way. The last steps of this jour­ney are in front of you, even if you can’t see them or are having trouble believing they’re there. Muster whatever strength and resiliency you can, and trust that you have nearly made it. This may require faith in something higher or bigger than yourself—something Divine and omnipotent that sees the grand plan. Trust that you are fully supported in this journey and will be carried where you need to go, when you need to be there.

Whatever the end of this cycle represents for you, know that hope is present. Find a way to grab on to it and trust that after being out at sea for so long, your landing on solid ground is imminent.

FURTHER REFLECTION:
When was the last time you experienced the undeniable synchronicity of it all? An alignment of so many serendipitous events that it couldn’t be anything other than fate? Try to grab on to that feeling now and know that some magick is afoot.

The Swallow card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"
The Swan card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

SWAN
SOULMATES, A SPECIAL CONNECTION WITH SOMEONE ELSE

The Swan is a bird revered for its beauty and grace. They are a rather rare sight in many parts of the world, and there is something extraordinary about seeing a pair of elegant Swans together. Just as Swans wait to find the perfect match, knowing they will mate for life, this card is an affirmation that you’ve found yourself a truly special connection. There is something more profound about the energy between you, where love and deep understanding just seem to flow. Keep in mind, this connection may not be romantic.

Whoever the person is that comes to mind as you read this description, that’s the relationship the Swan is pointing to. Perhaps this relationship is a big focus in your life right now, or maybe it needs to be a bigger one. Reach out to this person, spend time in their company, and share what’s in your heart. Allow the ease and flow of understanding, love, compassion, and deep nurturing to nourish your soul. It may also be that they need this same energy from you now. Offer up a listening ear and share your deep gratitude for their presence in your life.

FURTHER REFLECTION:
A common misconception regarding soulmates is that these relationships are meant to be lifelong. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes a soulmate is meant to come into your life, teach you something big, and then leave. It’s important to be able to discern which relationships are which, and to know when it’s time to let them go. This card, however, is about the soulmates who are meant to stay. Often, these relationships are a love that has nothing to do with romance. It could be an important friend, family member, or other close loved one. Call them.

FOX
TRICKSTER ENERGY, SLY, SLIPPERY, ELUSIVE, CLEVER

That saying “sly like a fox” exists for a reason. Just when you think you’ve got the Fox pinned down, this slippery friend pulls another trick from its sleeve and escapes once again. In many cultures the Fox is asso­ciated with the trickster archetype, as well—often a character in stories that fools the protagonist over and over. If the clever Fox has wiggled into a reading of yours, this trickster energy is asking for your attention.

A situation has arrived that requires you to think on your feet or be very cunning in your approach. Whatever is going on, you must be clever. When we are in the theater of the trickster, everyone is wearing a mask, including you. Clarity may feel elusive, just out of reach no matter what you do, and certainly there is drama. Be very smart about your next move and consider the image your mask is presenting.

FURTHER REFLECTION:
In Norse mythology, Loki is the Trickster God. In Roman mythology, this title belongs to Mercury. While the connotations that the word trickster carries are often negative, these trickster gods are always having a good time with their schemes.
Drama and glamour go hand in hand with this energy, and they are two things that are highly prized in modern society. Indeed, people lead lifelong, successful careers in the art of just that. How can you channel these ideals to serve you now? You can make yourself up to whatever you need to be.

The Fox card from "Oracle of Pluto: A 55-Card Exploration of the Undiscovered Self"

Dive Deeper

Photo of author Aubrey Houdeshell

Aubrey Houdeshell

About the Author

Aubrey Houdeshell is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, and shadow worker through her business Graveyard Roses. Her mission is to make spiritual work accessible and digestible to everyone, and her readings center on personal transformation and empowerment. Before turning to the mystical world full-time, Aubrey was a full-time writer and editor for non-profits. She resides in South Denver with her husband.

Learn more about this author

Photo of artist Rose Ides. Photo credit to Matthew Guerrero

Rose Ides

About the Author

Rose Ides is an artist based in San Francisco. Her work is playful, whimsical, and often mystical, and has been featured in multiple collaborations.

Learn more about this author