Newly published tarot and oracle decks arrive on Amazon, Etsy, crowd-funding platforms, and in bookstores every month. Today there are literally thousands of decks to choose from, including out-of-print decks as well as published ones. Reviewing a deck is a subjective judgement intended to help readers determine if they want to own the deck.
The critical review of a deck for AskAstrology involves looking at the quality and size of the cards, visual accessibility of the art, quality of the companion book or booklet, and potential usefulness in professional practice. This month I have chosen to review the Angels and Ancestors Oracle Cards by Kyle Gray (Author) and Lily Moses (Illustrator) from Hay House UK.
From the back of the box:
We are surrounded by countless guides who want to share their knowledge with us to bring healing and change. Among them are the Angels and Ancestors. Including images from Celtic, Native American, Aboriginal, and Earth-based spiritualities, Angels and Ancestors crosses the divide between all cultures to bridge the gap between this world and the next. It is a powerful tool, ready to help you unlock the answers that are waiting within you through the divine and ancient wisdom of the Angels and Ancestors.
About the author:
Kyle Gray is one of the UK’s youngest, most sought after angel experts, and the author of six books. “Kyle Gray (he/him) is a spiritual teacher with a difference. With his down to Earth approach and hip style, this modern spiritual guide brings an authentic and accessible approach to spirituality and living a high vibrational life.”
About the artist:
Lily Moses is a visionary artist who paints what she sees from a deep meditative state. “Lily’s art is inspired by the beauty of life within all things, seen & unseen. She has received no formal training in art, but her natural artistic gifts were apparent from an early age as she was able to draw a highly detailed picture, even before she could write her name.”
Card Stock and Shuffling
Printed on thick card stock, these cards have a matte finish with curved edges. They are a bit challenging to riffle shuffle (interweaving them between two hands) when you first get them out of the box. It will be easiest to overhand shuffle them, transferring them from one hand to the other by sliding small groups on top of each other. Even If the deck is used heavily, it will not need to be replaced for a long time.
Artwork and the Visual Accessibility of the Deck
The artwork is quite beautiful and well-done, especially for a self-trained artist. The artist also does a good job communicating the meanings through the artwork, making this deck very good for beginners or professional readers.
The Great Teacher
From the booklet:
Message: Know that what is happening around you is divinely inspired. Learn from your current experiences, then share them with others. This card represents a teacher in your life or the Great Teacher within (36-37).
From the booklet:
Message: Slow and steady. Breathe and flow. Take a gentler approach. The Shaolin Master calls forth the ninja within. Shaolin medicine is about learning to adapt to a situation and to tap into the energy running through your body and preserve it in order to release it at the right moment (66-67).
From the booklet:
Message: Connect with your deepest desires, then choose the path that will make your heart and soul sing. Your path isn’t set in stone, and your angels and guides have no expectations for you. Nor should you have any for yourself. There are many directions you can take (96-97).
Explanation of the Cards
This deck does have a companion booklet that is, surprisingly, very good; and the explanations are well written. There is a short section for the essential “Message:”. A longer section “About:” the card. And a final section for the “Extended Message:”. The writing is clear and easily understood.
As a professional reader, I can say that this deck is excellent for both personal and professional use; it certainly works for reading in public spaces. The artwork is very good and will appeal to people who enjoy hand-drawn work over computer generated images. The art of the animals is particularly good and the figures come from various cultures, giving the deck a strong multi-cultural feel.
I would recommend the deck for personal use, collecting, and general professional use. This deck is creatively drawn; and provides positive themes about archetypes with thoughtful visuals, like the drawings of the Elder and the Direction Guardian cards (two of my favorites).
The deck is quite good, visually-speaking. The art conveys the meanings in an intelligent and colorful way. The companion booklet that comes with the cards provides very thoughtful explanations. The stiff card stock makes shuffling challenging right out of the box, but the cards will last. I rate this deck five out of five stars.