Review: Fairy Tarot Cards

518mKnsc2cL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_For fans of Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine, there is a new kid on the block. Fairy Tarot Cards is hot off of the press and I bought my copy over the weekend.

Over recent years, I have developed a greater appreciation for Doreen Virtue and her work. While her oracles have not always been my first choice for readings, I genuinely enjoy some of her decks and have found that there is a place within my practice for them. This has had a lot to do with my clients – some prefer the no-nonsense practicalities of my standard tarot readings, but in a time of grief or confusion, others who come to see me are looking for a message of reassurance or comfort. I have found that the warmth within some of Doreen and Radleigh’s decks can get the message across sensitively when someone is just not strong enough for a good talking to’ from the tarot.

I’d not expected this deck to be out just yet, so was surprised to see it sitting on the shelf in an out-of-town bookstore. Having seen a few samples online and still enjoying my Angel Tarot (Doreen and Radleigh’s first tarot deck – Fairy Tarot Cards is their fourth), I added it to the pile which was slowly growing in my hands.

One of the things you will notice about Fairy Tarot Cards is that it follows Angel Tarot closely in terms of style and presentation. The cover design is pretty much identical and the cards inside are laid out in exactly the same way. Each card has a title and the interpretation is seated just beneath the image. The Majors and suits are all colour co-ordinated, using the same coding as Angel Tarot. However, there is one notable difference; the Minor Arcana have been renamed. Similar to the Victorian Fairy Tarot (Llewellyn), they have been changed to seasons. Wands are Spring, Cups are Summer, Pentacles are Autumn, and Swords are Winter.

Aces

Fairy Tarot Cards (left), Angel Tarot Cards (right)

I believe that Angel Tarot has been Doreen’s most well-received tarot to date, which could account for why this one has the feel of a ‘sister deck’. In many ways, this will be it’s selling point and asset, but it will also encourage readers and reviewers to notice its differences more readily when comparing the two. Unfortunately, I have already seen two reviewers mention problems with quality. Like one of these, the cutting of my copy of Fairy Tarot Cards is slightly out, showing a slither of colour from a different card at the top where they have not been cut accurately. This is a shame, since one of the bonuses of buying a set of cards from Hay House is their usual outstanding presentation and quality. Their boxes are my favourite of all publishers – attractive, sturdy, and easy to store.

Unlike a lot of card readers, I do have time for Doreen Virtue. For this reason, I will  concentrate on my issues with this deck to begin with, before I share the cards I really do enjoy.

Anyone who has read my reviews of either Angel Tarot or Archangel Power Tarot will know that I am very sensitive to a deck’s artwork. In this set, the artwork is by the artist Howard David Johnson. In his bio it says that he has created a variety of works, ranging from oil on canvas to digital media. Many of the oil paintings in this set are simply breathtaking, but unfortunately, I feel that they do not sit next to his digital pieces comfortably. Before I read Johnson’s biography, I presumed that this deck was made up by two contributing artists. There are some cards which clearly show photographs and others which are illustrations (see the Ace of Autumn and 3 of Autumn below), making the artwork inconsistent. This is not a major problem but I do have a preference to the paintings, since together, it can make the digital and photographic work appear crude.

four sun

greens

I was once again disappointed by another display of cut-and-paste in a deck. Both the King of Summer and King of Autumn have the exact same face, horizontally switched and awkwardly slipped in to an awaiting figure. As I have mentioned previously, this kind of thing can appear rushed, so I was sad to see it happen in another of Doreen’s tarots.

two kings

Many people receiving this deck will very likely be less picky than I am and as a whole, these elements will not faze most readers. While there is a difference between the art styles, when laid out on the table, this will not affect readings for the majority of people who purchase it. In fact, it is an attractive set with many enchanting images.

Set around Glastonbury and Scotland, Fairy Tarot Cards focuses on what are described as ‘nature angels’. The book is very much set out as most Hay House accompanying books are, with a short introduction, two standard spreads, and card interpretations. The interpretations have been adapted to include fairies, but like usual, are well written and thought-provoking. On the whole, they support the Rider Waite system, while shining light on the darker aspects of life and suggesting ways in which the seeker can move forward with a more positive outlook. As an example, in the 5 of Summer (5 of Cups), it says “There’s much serene beauty in life. However, that tranquility may be overlooked when you’re fixated on things that make you unhappy … Envisage the present and future that you want to manifest, and forget about the past. If you need to mourn a loss, don’t hesitate to reach out to those around you who love you and can help you recover in a healthy way”.

On the whole, there are some very beautiful cards in this deck, which will delight fairy and Virtue/Valentine fans alike. Noticeably, the seductive Moon, traditional 6 of Winter (6 of Swords) and delightful 2 of Summer (2 of Cups). I do like the change from traditional suits to seasons, especially if you wish to incorporate timing into a reading, though some readers will possibly have different seasonal associations to those chosen here. Each suit lives within its season, which is a nice touch.

5 moon

While this deck has it’s own flavour, it feels like more of an accompaniment to Angel Tarot than a step into a new creative territory. Angel Tarot included the Archangels, which enriched and deepened the traditional tarot images, but the fairies do not have that same overwhelming influence here.

So, what are my concluding thoughts?

Many people will love this deck, since it brings together some stunning imagery and a workable pack, right out of the box. Personally though, its great points only succeed in highlighting those aspects I am less fond of. The inconsistencies in art style will not bother most people, but will most likely only remind me of the deck I wish it could have been.

To end on a positive note, here are some of my favourite cards from Fairy Tarot Cards.faves 01Faves 2

Print

Illustrations from Fairy Tarot Cards by Howard David Johnson

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18 thoughts on “Review: Fairy Tarot Cards

  1. Thanks for this review. It looks like a good companion deck for the Angel Tarot which I like a lot. The only difficulty for me is the way the suits are connected to the seasons. Personally I see for instance Wands as fire and Cups as autumn.

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    • Yes, I can see that this will be a turn-off for some. One of the suggestions in the accompanying book is that the two decks can be mixed together – especially when learning. I think this would confuse a learner greatly and not be particularly effective for a seasoned practitioner. What might have been nicer would have been if the suits had been titled as Angel Tarot and a reader could have put together their own deck, choosing which fairy or angel they preferred.

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  2. Thanks for a thorough review, Steve. The press on AT is not particularly positive. No surprise there 🙂 But I have to say I think I prefer this artwork to the Angel Tarot artwork. My beef is the key phrases which I find so limiting. I’ve thought of trimming but then you’re left with an awkwardly-shaped deck. At any rate you’ve given me a better glimpse into this deck which will allow for a more informed purchase should I decide to go ahead with it. It looks like it would be a nice deck for Spring and Summer readings.

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    • You’re welcome, Rose! I can only imagine what they are saying about it elsewhere.

      I believe that all tarots have their place. What is one person’s worst nightmare is someone else’s dream. This is Doreen and Radleigh’s fourth deck now; people know what to expect, so a lot of the negative chat (often by those who have not used the sets) can become tiresome. I do have a few problems with this deck, as stated, but it has good qualities too and I don’t doubt it will be an easy deck to read with.

      I don’t notice the phrases too much now as I’ve trained my eye to look away from them in some of her decks. I did notice that her sets are available in other languages, so maybe that would be a way of being able to overlook the writing?

      While I have highlighted [what I see to be] the negatives, it is an attractive set and readings with it will determine how good it is.

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  3. Thank you Steven for a solid and thoughtful review of this deck. I have read with the Angel Tarot and have been working with the Fairy Tarot deck for a few days now. I fully agree with you about the discrepancy between some of the painted vs. digital images, although I find the images overall are very pleasing to work with. Thanks for these reviews and your wonderful insights.

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    • You’re welcome, George!

      I agree that the images work fine over all and when I do glance through them, I see many I like (from both artistic styles). I think that my main disappointment was in hoping that this would be their best yet. Indeed, it is a step up from Archangel Power Tarot, but I don’t like it as much as Angel Tarot and Guardian Angel Tarot (I think that the latter is very much underrated) and one of the most attractive sets out there.

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  4. Like you, I think the inconsistent artwork and cut-and-paste elements would annoy me. And like Ellen, I see Wands as Summer and Cups as Autumn, so that would be confusing, too. Thanks for the review, which helped me decide this is not going on my wishlist 🙂

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    • Sometimes you need a review to give you a few pointers. I write reviews for people like myself. It is never my intention to knock creators and artists but I know how it feels to buy something and then feel an immense disappointment. I hope my reviews help people to either buy the deck they want or not by the one they won’t 🙂

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  5. LOVE the Magician card. I love Photoshop and various other digital art programs like Illustrator or Gliftex, but I am supremely tired of cut and paste. I actually threw out one deck that had so many repeated elements across the deck that it rendered it laughable, and another one with the same blue head across many cards was simply silly, so I traded it. I simply do not buy such decks any more. Too bad. I once had Doreeen,s Goddess Guidance oracel and traded it because the write-ups for each goddess were not comprehensive enough, not enough substance and history for me. Of course, this is what many people like, a brief summary, but I like more information.

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  6. Spelling mistakes. The trouble is that WordPress changed where the Send button is, so when I try to scroll to fix my typos, I hit the Send button instead. It drives me nuts. “Doreen’s” and “oracle”–not the typos above. (rolls eyes)

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  7. This is so helpful to me! I do work with and enjoy very much Doreen Virtue’s decks. The Angel Tarot in particular is a favorite of mine so, I was anxious and excited to hear of the Fairy Tarot! There are a couple of things I don’t love about my Angel Tarot and had questions about whether those elements would also show up in the Fairy version and you have addressed each and every one of my concerns! How can I thank you??

    Based upon your review, I will hold off on adding this deck to my family but remain an avid fan of Doreen & Radleigh’s work and gifts. One of the things that makes my reading experience less enjoyable is artwork that doesn’t flow or that comes from different artists… so, I’m bummed to learn that this deck does exactly what I had hoped it didn’t. And I see from your images that the boarder colors area again too close in hue for my personal taste.

    I’m disappointed as some of the illustrative art is really spectacular! I can see why you have shared those favorite images!

    All the best to you and thank you for this review. It’s refreshing and exactly what I needed to make my decision.

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  8. Not sure why the photos get used along with paitings but there is always a chance the deck will be revised. I put off buying Archangel Power Tarot because of some of the artwork but when I got it this Summer was surprised to find these cards have been replaced with new artwork.

    Hay House have revised other decks I have owned but dont seem to make this clear so always worth looking through new editions in the future.

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    • Ah, I didn’t know that they did that, Ethan. Thanks for letting me know. I sold my Archangel Power Tarot. It was a shame because I liked the set-up (using Archangels as suits) and some of the cards were really beautiful. I will definitely keep a look out for newer editions. I know I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed with that one.

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  9. Wow were you ever wrong on what the miner arcana in this deck were spring is wands summer is swords winter is pentacles and autumn is cups

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