Angel Tarot Cards
by Radleigh Valentine
artwork by Steve A Roberts
published by Hay House
This is a 78 card deck that comes in a sturdy 2-part box, with a 135-page guide booklet included. The cards are larger than a standard deck (just under 9cm x 13cm), sturdy, glossy, with silver-gilded edges. They are not quite as easy to shuffle as smaller decks if you're not used to larger-sized Tarot cards, but it's quick enough to find a way that works.
The Angel Tarot was specifically designed by Radleigh Valentine (and illustrator Steve A Roberts) to offer an easily accessible Tarot experience for those who might otherwise be intimidated by cards that have negative or frightening associations for some people. The result is a deck that does indeed avoid potentially 'scary' words in its card names and descriptions (for example: The Tower becomes Life Experience and Death becomes Release), but is not so relentlessly positive that it becomes saccharine.
To reinforce the accessibility of this deck, the image on the back is not reversible and the accompaning guide booklet does not include reversed card interpretations. In addition, there are Archangels associated with each of the 22 major Arcana cards, and the guide booklet suggests how you might call on each of them for assistance.
The other difference between this and other (traditional) decks is that the minor Arcana suits are different: wands become fire, cups become water, swords become air and pentacles/coins become earth. These elements have already tended to be associated with the relevant suits, so it makes sense both historically and in the context of accessible Tarot reading.
The cards themselves are rather beautiful, with very detailed illustrations - I have included a few close-ups in the images here to give you an idea. The colours are fully saturated and, as the cards are also very glossy, they are quite difficult to photograph! I have done my best to show them off to full advantage here.
The booklet that come with the deck is perfectly good enough for readings. It is however worth noting that Radleigh Valentine has also produced a book, The Big Book of Angel Tarot, which provides much more detailed interpretations and which, if you like this deck, is a good accompaniament. For each card, it offers an overview, the symbolism of the card, the angel number, and an astrological association, and an archangel association for the major Arcana cards, as well as a substantial pre-amble to the individual card meanings.