Review: Tarot Fluff Edition

Yes, I know I’ve been posting a bunch in the last few days when I probably should be reading/doing other writing/doing anything that isn’t posting, but after two bad reviews in a row, I felt like reviewing something saccharine sweet and not (intentionally) offensive.

The problem is, I couldn’t decide which of my fluffy decks I wanted to review, so here’s a quick summary of two of them, and a longer review of a third:

Wisdom of the Hidden Realms Oracle (Colette Baron-Reid):

The Good: Interesting card titles (Wise Woman of Wonderland, The High Lady of Love and Compassion), interesting way of using reversals (upright cards are “Allies”, reversed cards are “Challengers”), art is pretty, deck is diverse-ish

The Bad: Awkward, pretentious card titles (see above), a few cards have the stereotypical Native-American-with-feathers-and-buckskin thing going on, figures seem posed and lifeless, some cards are always allies no matter what because Light and Love (or something), no card is ever only a challenger. There are cards like this:

Light-and-Love White does not go with her skin colour. Also, she could use some clothes, and what’s with that incredibly awkward position?

Erm, moving on…..

Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Lucy Cavendish and Selina Fenech)

The Good: Pretty art, large cards (to better see the art). Gef thought the art was more appealing than Froud’s Fairies (which she just finds creepy, every single one of them).

The Bad: Fairy art is almost exclusively the waifish, pasty white sort of fairy, the companion book is so fluffy, it says (paraphrased) “Fairies don’t mind iron, in my experience.”

Fairies don’t mind iron….

Fairies don’t mind iron!

Also, “dark” fairies: “are truly very soft and fragile souls, fearful for their survival amongst the urban ruins….They are dark because they often work under cover of night–and her darkness is soft. They are skittish and fearful at times, and though they are fearful of you, they will not harm you. In fact, the most harmful thing they can do is withdraw…..” (p. 28)

Aw, that poor Redcap, he’s so misunderstood, let’s give him a hug–AAAAHHHH! AAAAHHHH! MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!

Which brings me to the latest product of Doreen Virtue’s fluffy New Age mega-publishing machine: the Angel Tarot–actually, I’m pretty sure it’s not the latest anymore, but it’s the latest deck I have from her.

Anyways, basically this deck is a result people constantly requesting that Doreen slap her name on a tarot deck. However, apparently conventional tarot images are too scaaaaary for your average fluffy bunny gullible lemming Doreen Virtue fan….

So here we have it “the first deck of tarot cards that is 100% gentle, safe, and trustworthy!” (Yes, that is actually on the back of the box, including the exclamation mark.) Goodbye, Tarot of Vampyres! Farewell, Giants’ Tarot! I don’t need your harsh truths and spooky cards like “The Devil” and “The Tower”, especially now that I have the one deck that is absolutely, positively, 100% trustworthy.

Okay, seriously now. The Angel Tarot is a 78 card deck, suits are Earth (represented by fairies), Air (unicorns, because their horns look like swords), Fire (*friendly* dragons, not just dragons, but *friendly* ones), and Water (mermaids). Court cards are Page, Knight, Queen, King. The cards are quite big (if you’ve ever shuffled one of her oracle decks, they have the same dimensions, so just put two of them together, subtract ten cards, and you have this deck), the backs are a non-reversible (showing the archangel from the Wheel of Fortune) and a bunch of cards have been given Safe and Gentle (TM) renames:

The Dreamer (The Fool)

Unity (The Hierophant)

Awakening (The Hanged Man)

Release (Death)

Balance (Temperance)

Ego (The Devil)

Life Experience (The Tower)

Renewal (Judgement)

The borders are different colours: purple for the majors, red for the suit of fire, green for the suit of earth, dark blue for the suit of air, and light blue (kind of a teal) for water.

I never thought I’d have anything positive to say about a Doreen Virtue deck, but the art is actually quite pretty, lots of bright colours, lots of colour, period. Unlike her other decks, this deck has a single artist (Radleigh Valentine) so the artwork is consistent, no cartoonish art one moment and well-known painting with a big name artist attached the next. I was just flipping through the deck and I couldn’t decide which cards I wanted to show you, so here’s the Safe and Gentle (TM) version of the Tower card.

and here you can see the Queen of Air.

As you can see, the art is as sparkly as Edward Cullen very pretty, but, as with a lot of New Age art, some cards have some….interesting….alternative interpretations.

Allow me to introduce “slasher smile mermaid”.

Here, I’ve zoomed in on her face so you can see it better:

She will eat your soul.

Also, the King of Water has a part time job as a drag queen.

or he’s a gay man who is really, REALLY flamboyant.

Seriously, I can understand the long hair, but eyeshadow? Something that looks suspiciously like lipstick?

and the King of Fire is, well….

Seriously, no heterosexual man would ever wear a hat like this:

And then there’s the Knight of Fire.

I don’t honestly know what to make of the Knight of Fire. What is it with the court of fire and funny hats? My guess is he’s supposed to look Aztec-ish? Incan, perhaps? It looks like he’s wearing a leopard skin?

Okay, the last thing I’ll say about the art is that there’s an awful lot of recycling going on in this deck, particularly in the suit of water and the latter half of the suit of air. It’s like the artist ran out of ideas and was like “let’s put the same cup in different places and call them different cards, the lemmings customers will totally buy it anyways!” so they did, and it’s kind of a shame, because the rest of the art is well, pretty….for a Doreen Virtue deck.

Another thing you might have noticed is that the cards have keywords, lots and lots of keywords, and the suit of air and the majors have similarly coloured borders, which can make them difficult to pick out. Did I also mention that the deck is heavy and a nightmare to shuffle for someone with small hands? I’d recommend scattering the cards to shuffle them.

And then, of course, there’s the fluffy bunny sweet and gentle candyfloss interpretations, but if you know anything about Doreen Virtue, you’ve already heard her Safe and Gentle (TM) spiel a million times now. In the video where she first introduced the Angel Tarot cards, she wouldn’t even say the word “Devil”–too spooky–“this card is, um, a different card in the traditional tarot”.

Oh, and another thing is that there is some diversity in this deck. I see at least one black person (a very kick ass woman in the nine of fire), a couple east Asians (the couple in the Lovers is a maybe, but the ace of fire is a definite) and….okay, maybe it’s not that diverse, but it’s still a change of pace from “Whitelandia” where most tarot decks are set (unless that deck happens to be the World Spirit Tarot, or a culturally specific deck). I’ve noticed that the New Agey type decks in my collection (like the Gaian and the Mythical Goddess) do tend to….put more of an effort into showing people who aren’t pasty white twenty-somethings? (Ooh, I should review either of those decks, but I’ve told myself I will take a break from reviewing decks for a bit.)

My recommendation: this would be a great deck to use for someone (like my mom) who is freaked out by scaaaary cards like the Devil and the Tower (as well as naked people, like the Star). Other than that (unless you like the art) stay far, far away.

Now, for saying something nice about a Doreen Virtue deck, I should probably punish myself by giving myself fifty lashes with a bunny flogger (made from real fluffy bunnies, of course). However, since I am allergic to rabbits, I will settle for re-reading Fifty Shades of Grey–no, no, that’s too harsh. How about if I just not review decks for a bit?



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