Music as transformative self care: Alexa Dexa’s Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck

When read musically, I wanted my cards to invoke songspells. … Each songspell serving as a small meditation paving the way for our new growth and holding space for our best potentialities to meet us.

I’m a sound witch.

A xXgrandmacoreXx, queer, femme non-binary, and disabled sound witch creating sound-based rituals that honor belonging in each of our own unique identities. Much of my witchcraft centers on crafting and casting songspells, which I define as intentions holding space for dream possibilities that manifest transformation through the process of deep listening. I love the way sound can transport us, a portal into our inner landscapes and wisdom, an opportunity to learn to listen more deeply to ourselves. As part of my sound rituals, I love setting an intention, translating that intention into music by assigning letters of the alphabet varying intervals of pitch and rhythm, and offering the resulting songspell as a meditation to shift intentions into action. When casting songspells, my tools are my voice, an orchestra of toy instruments to rival a playpen, live electronic processing in MaxMSP, and live coding in TidalCycles.

Images from the Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck

My current femme non-binary form was molded by a lifelong reality of firmly detesting socially-acceptable gender roles – gender roles constructed to keep laborers aplenty for capitalist wealth accumulation, gender roles as a means of control that separate us from the fluidity of nature and the vast spectrum of possibility that exists for us if we open to it. Healing from the systemic and intimate trauma that inevitably permeates these socially-acceptable gender roles is an undertaking that winds its way into the heart of my sound witch workings.

I’ve always been in tune with the healing power of sound.

It’s drawn me in from my youngest days and whispered lyrics and melodies, dissonant harmonies, and rhythmic juxtapositions that I’ve listened to, brought forth, been healed by, and offered sonically to others over 10 years of self-booked DIY tours throughout North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia. Only much later, during my Saturn Return, did I come to the healing power of tarot. In the midst of fairly severe daily existential panic attacks brought on by complex PTSD, reading tarot brought me back into my body. Reading tarot brought me back into relationship with my own self-trust.

Calligraphy pen in hand, Alexa Dexa traces over a pencil design on 300gsm sketchbook paper using black ink. The design features the text “safe guarding” with the letters of “safe” sprawled out throughout the height of the card, each letter shaped into a large circle. “gaurding” is written across the bottom of the card, each letter sprouting an upwards straight line of varying lengths attaching to its own small circle.

Soon after beginning my work with the tarot, I started to dream of bringing together sound and divining healing modalities in an oracle deck. I wanted my deck to share resources to help us collectively and personally cope with, deconstruct, and bypass the harm we encounter. And I wanted each card to offer an easy visual map for sound-making, the kind of map for playful sound-making that’s available to all of us regardless of formal musical training. When read musically, I wanted my cards to invoke songspells. These songspells would root us into the resources surfaced by the cards for us. Each songspell serving as a small meditation paving the way for our new growth and holding space for our best potentialities to meet us.

Alexa Dexa’s digitally colored and printed Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck is spread out in a large cluster of colorful pastel cards. A handful of legible cards include “body listening” and “not your doll”. “body listening” is a light pink card with the text “body” enclosed in a large yellow triangle of color. Small circles attached by straight lines to the text “listening” below are enclosed in a darker pink squiggle which changes to light green where it intersects with yellow. “not your doll” is a purple card with the text “not” enclosed in a light purple triangle of color and “your” in a medium pink triangle of color. Small circles attached by straight lines to the text “doll” below are enclosed in a dark pink triangle. 

Dream in hand, I spent many a morning in a practice of automatic writing.

I called in the universe to share wisdom for the good of the collective and in a trance, let that wisdom flow through me. Many more afternoons, when my psoriatic arthritis wasn’t flaring so badly, I spent dipping my calligraphy pen in ink, shaping resources in card form. After even many more days/weeks/months of digitally coloring each card and gathering the culmination of my automatic writing for print, the Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck and Guidebook were finally pulled from the ether and into this world.

Three stacks of Alexa Dexa’s risograph-printed Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Guidebooks sit on a sheer pink backdrop. The cream colored guidebook cover features a bubble gum pink, textured circle. Within this circle is a purple sigil in the shape of four snowy mountain peaks and a small flower at a flowing river that holds the reflection of two of the snowy mountain peaks and two small flowers. Alexa crafted this sigil to uphold folx through the process of resourcing themselves and sharing their resources. Above the circle reads the purple text “Sacrosanct”. Below reads the purple text “Oracle//Composition Guidebook”. 

My Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck is a collection of resource-based oracle cards that double as graphic musical scores. Composed to uphold folx of marginalized gender identities, the cards offer space to assess, access, cultivate, claim, and share resources to dismantle the binary, gender-based cultural conditioning of patriarchal power structures as we forge our own paths forward. The deck holds 50 hand-drawn and digitally colored oracle//composition cards measuring 3.5” x 5.75” and an altar card featuring a spell for synchronicity. An accompanying 108-page, hand-written and risograph-printed guidebook presents methods for resourcing yourself and musically reading the cards to invoke songspells. Accessing music as transformative self-care through the Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck requires only a mechanism for generating sound and connection to experimentation and play.

If you’re interested in exploring music as transformative self-care and supporting my sound witch workings, I welcome you to Bewitch Yourself with me by booking a virtual offering. You can also purchase my Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck through my Bandcamp page.