A parcel was waiting for me when I returned home this afternoon; Doreen Virtue's Angel Tarot Cards. They have been popping up in a handful of places and I found the paintings to be quite uplifting on screen. Okay, there are a few personal bugs for me. As mentioned by Chloe at Inner Whispers in her video review, it is a bit annoying to find duplications of details from card to card; not only Archangel Michael is duplicated, but the same dolphins and unicorns are copied and pasted from one to another in a few places. But to be honest, it isn't noticeable enough to be a problem for most people and due to the overwhelming beauty of the cards, it doesn't really matter. Not to me, anyway.
The main beef that many in the tarot community have about this set is how it is light, fluffy and advertised as being 'safe'. The problem for many is that it doesn't display an over all balance. Life is not all love and light, I'm told. This comes from the same people who happily say 'it's important to have a dark deck in your collection' and enjoy playing it 'dark' with their Vampyres, melodramatic Gothic cards and 'dark sister' sets. If we can use decks clouded in just darkness, what is wrong with those bathed in just light? How many times have you heard people say 'The Hanson Roberts really packs a punch' or 'Their's nothing fluffy about the Hello Kitty Tarot'? I think it is Doreen which stirs the emotions, pure and simple. I mean, which professional reader would want to be seen using one of her decks? (*rolls eyes*).
I care less for a lot of what I hear on the grapevine these days. I have had many decks that are highly recommended and respected but which do nothing for me (the Deviant Moon and Legacy of the Divine anyone?). I have many which read beautifully, that others wouldn't touch with a barge poll or might snigger at. In the past, I have read many forum threads asking what deck would be good for either a child or for someone fearful of tarot. Well, here's one ... and everyone is pulling it to pieces. One of the reasons I have never owned one of Virtue's previous oracles was down to the lack of consistent artwork, but this one is all by the same artist, Steve A. Roberts. It is luminescent and very detailed: the paintings are beautiful, which is the main reason why I chose to buy it. It's personal taste, yeah?
It doesn't usually take me this long to look through a set of cards, but I really digested this lot like good food. The surprising thing for me is that I hate keywords on cards, so having actual descriptions and interpretations is usually a very big 'no, no'. However, in this example, it was one of the reasons I bought it. Many of them feel just right with my understanding of tarot and are quite poetic. Okay, I would rather see more of the picture, but the wording is far less obtrusive than I thought it might be. Most of the pictures are so charming that it just doesn't really matter. I am not an 'angel fan', but that doesn't bother me so much either: besides, there is a hefty sprinkling of faeries, unicorns, dragons and mermaids, so the cards are not overpowered by the winged ones. What I do like is that the deck has a very soothing feel to it. It reminds me of the Celestial Tarot in places; sometimes, it picks up colours of The New Century or the watery characters are like echos of Stephanie Pui Mun Law.
I have only had the set for an afternoon. I haven't had a chance to really delve into it, since I pulled our garden shed down with the help of a mallet and needed to go and buy my friend a birthday present. But I'll give it some attention tomorrow.
Illustrations from The Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot Deck by Steve A. Roberts