Angels and oracle decks seem to go hand-in-hand these days. Where there is an angel, you’ll find an oracle. Within the oracle section of most Waterstones retailers, you’ll stumble over a thousand angels. We have Ascension Angels, Indigo Angels, Guardian Angels and Fallen Angels. There are Angel Feathers, Angel Prayers and Angel Answers. Of course, we know that the oracle shelves are flooded with deck-sets and books by Doreen Virtue, but other ‘angel interpreters’ are following suit and releasing similar sets – noticeably Kyle Gray, Richard Crookes, and Diana Cooper. And here’s another one for the collection by Mario Dugulay – Oracle of the Angels.
So, what is different about this one? On first glance, not very much.
This is a 44-card deck, housed in typical robust packaging (per Hayhouse, Blue Angel), with flexible guidebook inside. It says on the box that as well as being a tool for communicating with the angelic realm, the words and images of Oracle of the Angels will ‘open the door and pathway to your heart and lead you to a place within you, full of unconditional love and divine wisdom’. There is no introduction in the guidebook, so I can only guess that the set is a tool for self-enlightenment and comfort, rather than for divining in the same way a tarot or Lenormand deck would be used.
The set-up for this kind of deck is why many oracles do not work so well for me. I like to be able to use them for others and to do this, I need titles within a deck which will describe specific situations, people or challenges in a clients life. Although you will find some cards like that here (Success, Harmony and Application), there are many which simply provide a pat on the back and tell the reader that everything is going to be alright. Due to the popularity of Virtue-type decks, I would guess that there is a high-demand for this kind of tool. If you are looking for a deck to tell fortunes with or to examine concrete situations, you will probably not find what you are looking for here.
One of the biggest problems with this deck for me is how so many cards are alike. As an example, Higher Thought concerns moving out of a negative perspective. It shows a bright light at the top of a set of steps. Similarly, there is a radiant light at the end of a path in Moving Towards the Light: this card concerns looking for a positive angle within a challenge. In High Consciousness, Duguay says ‘you are currently able to experience your life from a higher perspective than you are used to’. After a while, the advice can begin to sound alike and in a spread (of which there are four in the guidebook), there isn’t really too much to get your teeth into.
Despite this, my work with the deck on the blog this week has been truly enlightening. As stated, this deck is not a predictive tool, but an aid for reflection and self-exploration. If you really hunt them out, you will find interesting details, such as the baron land beneath the natural landscape gifted to us in I Am Beautiful. This is one card which I struggled with at first. I am not a fan of cards which alert us to the fact that we are a) beautiful b) loved c) not alone or all of the above, but there is a deepness to the image which I didn’t notice at first. There are lessons about real beauty held within this card, which I discovered from my time with the illustration. This is an example of a relationship with a card which deepened further than the guidebook could provoke alone.
Part of the problem here, you are probably thinking, is that I chose the wrong deck for the job. Of course, if I’d have wanted a tarot, I should have bought a tarot. That’s a fair point. But what pulled me into purchase was the artwork. At first, I didn’t pay too much attention to the run-of-the-mill packaging on the shelf, but when I saw the samples on the box, I was intrigued by Duguay’s beautiful artwork. If you think it is just another bunch of angels in pastel-tones, you are only half-right. There are some strong images, inventive designs and darker spots for those willing to rummage.
Mario Duguay is an artist from Quebec in Canada. In his bio, it says that he has explored his identity and spiritual path through his art from a young age. His paintings are of a high standard and many use his artwork for enlightenment. I must say that while meditating on the card for each day, I found the images to be very inspiring, positive and comforting.
If you are looking for cards to use as daily affirmations or for one-off pieces of wisdom, this could be the deck for you; though I’d advise using the guide book as a starting point only. There could be a larger variety of meanings on offer for those who are either patient or persistent enough to look for them. If you want to consult an oracle for the purposes of fortune telling for yourself or as a reading deck for others, I’d say that Oracle of the Angels could disappoint, since it is geared to personal studies and leans heavily on positive feel-good types of advice. Although it is not a deck I can see myself using for full readings, I can see how a card could be used for confirmation at the end of work with another deck. In the context of my daily draws, I certainly found it enlightening and an attractive set of images to work with; far more inspiring than many of its peers on the market.
Illustrations from Oracle of the Angels by Mario Duguay, published by Blue Angel, 2014