Review by Rosewater
Although called a tarot deck, this Angel Tarot
looks and handles more like an oracle deck. The cards
are large (3 ˝ x 5 inches) and the card stock is
robust, but also glossy and slippery. All these factors
can make it a challenging deck to shuffle. It comes in
a sturdy and colorful box that should last for quite
a while. The backs feature an image of Archangel
Michael, and are non-reversible. Going by the packaging and
overall effect, the theme color of this deck is blue.
Silver edging adds a distinctive touch.
A 135-page book
fits in the box with the cards. It gives a brief intro
and how-to, two spread suggestions, a small B&W
picture of each card and a 2-3-para interpretation.
Overall the book is useful, or at least worth reading
through. It certainly gives enough to get a beginner on
track. Although no reversed meanings are specifically
given, one could draw both positive and negative
interpretations from what is there.
The Major Arcana roughly
follows the RWS tradition, with several title variations.
The Fool is titled “The Dreamer”; the Hierophant,
“Unity”; the Wheel of Fortune, simply “The Wheel”; the
Hanged Man, “Awakening”; Death is “Release”; Temperance
is “Balance”; the Devil is called “Ego”; the Tower
becomes “Life Experience” and Judgment is “Renewal.”
her little blue book, Doreen Virtue has softened the
severity of some cards. For example, she interprets the
fifteenth card, Ego, as a false sense of entrapment and
over-focus on material life. The sixteenth card, Life
Experience, is described as a wake-up call, “a moment both of
freedom and awakening.” Whether you like these changes of
title and interpretation is of course an individual
Each Major Arcana card depicts a corresponding
Archangel, with some double-up attributions (eg, Archangel
Michael shows on three cards: the Emperor, the Wheel and
the World. Gabriel represents both the Empress and
Awakening). For those who aren’t familiar with their roles, a
brief introduction to each Archangel follows the
interpretations given in the book.
The top of every Court card
gives a few words about the person it represents. I find
these keywords trite and stereotypical, hardly doing
justice to the possible richness within each person, so I
ignore them. Throughout the entire deck there is a also
2-3 line interpretation at the bottom of each card,
perhaps useful as a prompt for deeper analysis. Beginners
will appreciate this; experienced readers may find it
annoying. For me, some of these two-liners offered ideas I’d
never thought of before.
For Minor suit titles, the
deck’s creators have used the traditional elemental
attributions Fire, Water, Air and Earth, de-emphasizing the
symbolic tools. You’ll still see plenty of the latter in
the card images, though in the Air suit the swords are
mostly replaced by unicorn horns.
Yes, you read it
right, unicorns. Not only that but fairies feature in the
Earth suit; dragons in Fire; mermaids, whales and
dolphins in Water. All these in an angel tarot, you may
ask? Some may love these inclusions; others might feel
that in combining angelic and mythical representations,
Doreen Virtue has packed too much into one deck.
the card images aren’t exactly borderless, they are
framed by flat colors to distinguish each suit. The Major
Arcana is bordered by purple, Wands by russet, Cups by
aqua, Air by blue and Earth by green. This scheme adds
to the overall colorfulness—which gets me on to the
The drawcard (excuse the pun) of this
deck has to be the artwork. Steve A Roberts has done an
admirable job of creating lush and fantastical landscapes,
taking the viewer to what looks like an exotic tropical
planet. I find some face renderings a little disappointing
(eg. the angel in the Lovers; the mer-people in the Ten
of Water), and that the oceans in the Water suit all
seem to be the same shade of blue, but this is
quibbling. While the artist has reused backdrops here and
there (eg. Eight and Nine of Earth), for me this didn’t
At first I worried that the visual lushness
would overwhelm this deck’s readability, but so far I
find it remarkably accurate. Sometimes I miss the more
explicit symbolic details given in (say) the RWS deck, but
nevertheless this one works for me.
Rosewater has over the years spent time with many
decks, both as a reader and as an enthusiast. She is
always on the lookout for new approaches and old
Review by Christiana Gaudet
After a few months of fussing and fuming about the
disingenuous promotions Hay House has used for the new Doreen
Virtue Angel Tarot Cards, I am finally holding the deck
in my hands. No, I didn’t break down and make the
However, I do believe the Doreen Virtue
Angel Tarot is a legitimate contribution to the tarot
corpus, and I am glad a friend lent me her copy so I could
give it a legitimate review.
Angel Tarot Cards
(yes, that is the official title) looks like a typical
Doreen Virtue oracle. It is oversized, printed on very
sturdy stock and packaged in a lovely box with a small
but substantial booklet. Because of their size and
sturdiness, the cards are a bit hard to handle, but lovely to
The deck is a standard 78 card tarot deck in
many respects. The artwork is gorgeous, but there are
few visual clues in each picture about what the card
might actually mean. Never fear, there are
interpretations written on each card. There is no need to actually
intuit or study anything. This is a boon for new tarot
readers, or for those who want to use the deck as a simple,
I like many of the written
interpretations on the cards and in the booklet. Virtue and I
agree that every tarot card can have an uplifting
meaning. The punctuation on some of the interpretations
summons my inner grammar police. The interpretations are a
mishmash of full sentences and key words, but each thought
is punctuated with a full stop. Apparently angels
find no need for complete sentences or proper
punctuation. We can’t really blame the deck designers for this;
many other oracle creators are guilty of the same lazy
crime against the English language.
Arcana cards are each illustrated with an archangel. The
cards bear the traditional number at the top. Each Major
Arcana has a name, although many of the names have been
changed from the traditional Major Arcana designations.
Under the Major Arcana name is the name of the angel,
then the illustration. The written interpretations are
at the bottom.
In this deck, Justice is card
eight, and Strength is card eleven. The Fool has been
renamed as “The Dreamer.” Major Arcana five (Hierophant)
is called “Unity,” twelve (Hanged Man) is called
“Awakening,” thirteen (Death) is “Release,” fourteen
(Temperance) is “Balance,” fifteen (Devil) is “Ego”, sixteen
(Tower) is “Life Experience” and twenty (Judgment) is
“Renewal.” The rest retain their traditional names.
am comfortable with changing the traditional names of
Major Arcana cards. In the five hundred year history of
tarot some have already been changed. The Hierophant was
once the Pope, for instance. I like Lisa Hunt’s
replacement of “Chains” for the Devil, and Eileen Connolly’s
“Transition” for Death.
I think Virtue’s “Release” for
Death is brilliant. I also like “Ego” for the Devil. I
think “Life Experience” for the Tower is shallow, and
“Unity” for the Hierophant is simply wishful thinking.
The assignment of an archangel for each Major
Arcana is very interesting, and will be helpful to those
who work with archangels, or want to learn more about
them. Following in the footsteps of Kris Waldherr and
some other modern tarot designers, this is a great
example of what I like to call “archetypal assignment
tarot.” The question is, how well do the archangel choices
reflect the standard Major Arcana archetypes?
“Unity” card (Hierophant), is represented by Archangel
Sandalphon. Sandalphon is one of the few archangels who was
once a mortal man. This makes sense for the “Pope”
archetype of Major Arcana five. The Pope is a mortal man who
is also God, or God’s representative on Earth.
Sandalphon’s responsibilities include prayers, personal
ascension and Earth. To me, this seems like a very good
The High Priestess is represented by
Archangel Haniel. Haniel is feminine, and associated with
grace, intuitive development, and finding our divine
essence. Again, this seems a perfect fit.
studying the archangels and the Major Arcana cards with
which they are assigned, I feel the designers of this
deck really did their homework. One problem with
archetypal assignment decks is the assignments sometimes feel
forced. In Angel Tarot Cards, the assignments make sense,
and feel natural.
My only real complaint with
the Major Arcana in this deck is the loss of the
“Fool’s Journey.” I would be fine with the “Dreamer’s
Journey.” But here, there is no journey at all. Instead,
there are simply twenty-two archangels, each with a
beautiful picture, a strong archetypal association and a
powerful message. For many, this will be enough.
me, the concept of card zero (Fool or Dreamer) as the
star of the show and the representation of each of us
on our journey through life is critical to developing
a full archetypal and allegorical understanding of
The Minor Arcana of Angel Tarot Cards uses
the elements instead of the icons. This is not an
unusual switch in modern tarot. The Earth cards have green
borders and are illustrated with faeries. The Water cards
have dark blue borders and are illustrated with
mermaids. The Fire cards have dark red borders and are
illustrated with dragons. The Air cards have light blue
borders and are illustrated with unicorns.
of the Minor Arcana is quite traditional, with ranks
of Page, Knight, Queen and King. The interpretations
include the possibility of the cards representing people,
energies or predictions.
I have a problem with mixing
archangels with unicorns, mermaids, dragons and faeries,
especially since Virtue has made a living of presenting the
angels as actual beings rather than mythological beings.
Does this mean she thinks unicorns and mermaids are
actual beings as well? Many people do, but for me this
demotes the archangels to mere mythical beasts.
Clearly, Angel Tarot Cards would not be my first choice for
a personal or professional tarot deck. However, the
artwork and deck quality are stunning. The deck honors
tarot tradition in many ways, and will be a great tool
for folks who want to learn tarot, or who want to
learn about the archangels. It is evident that a great
deal of work went into producing this deck. That work
has resulting in a strong tarot deck that many people
will cherish and enjoy. Angel Tarot Cards is a valuable
offering to the tarot community, and may serve to bring new
tarot enthusiasts into our community.
Christiana is a professional tarot grandmaster based in
West Palm Beach Florida. She is the author of "Fortune
Stellar" and the organizer of several tarot meetup groups.
She also teaches tarot webinars to a world-wide audience.