Some years ago, I realised that I own quite a lot of angel themed card decks. I have fallen angels, dark angels, oracle angels, and a handful of angel tarots. With a saturated market, you’d think that most of these decks must be pretty much the same. In some cases this would be true, but when it comes to Kyle Gray’s Angel Prayers Oracle Cards, think again!
I didn’t buy this deck as soon as it came out. In hindsight, this was a bad move, since the last copy I managed to track down was damaged. I spoke to a lovely lady at Hay House UK, who told me that there had been problems with a batch (mine were stuck together and ruined when prized apart), but that the set was being redesigned and would be re-released either at the end of the year or in early 2016. She said she could not send me a replacement because Hay House did not have one at that time and advised me to get a refund from the shop where I bought it.
Over the eighteen years that I have been reading cards, I have had just one damaged deck out of the hundreds I’ve owned. I took that one, The Rumi Tarot, back to the shop, accepted the refund, and decided to not seek out another copy. However, there was something about this angel oracle; even though 2016 is only a few months away, I didn’t want to hand over the deck and be without it, damaged or not. It is a decision I am glad I made.
For many, Kyle Gray will need little introduction. Born in the West of Scotland, where he is based, Kyle is an angel communicator, medium, and motivational speaker. His spiritual work began early, triggered by a visit from his grandmother, who had passed away when he was just four years old. This experience led Kyle to use his skills and talents professionally, being later dubbed as ‘The youngest medium in the UK’ when he was 17. This is his first oracle, but he has a handful of books under his belt, as well as a large following of people who he reads for and mentors. Kyle also travels and tours, spreading his angel guidance to a wide audience.
So, what makes Angel Prayers different to other angel oracles out there? It is the artwork which first caught my attention, since the style of this oracle is very different to those you will find either through Hay House or elsewhere. In many angel decks on the market, the artwork has a renaissance feel to it. However, Angel Prayers is bold, colourful and of our time.
The artist for this deck is Jason Mccreadie. Also based in Scotland, Jason is a freelance illustrator and the owner of his own company, Vectraits. He and Kyle worked together on the illustrations for this set, which is evident from Kyles writing in both the accompanying book and his lengthier volume of the same name, Angel Prayers (also published by Hay House). Rather than taking images from classical paintings, these illustrations reflect how Kyle sees the beings he communicates with in the angelic realm. Though Mccreadie was the artist for this project, he was not just an artist for hire though; he says ‘I did see an angel as a child, it looked like something out of Tron and I’ll never forget it’. Eager to update the way in which angels are viewed, he added ‘we’ve been working together for the last year or so trying to breathe new life into the angel art world’.
In many ways, the deck mimics the collaboration between Kyle and Jason. As well as being an illustrator, Jason is a dance music producer and Kyle’s rock and roll image sets him aside from many of the other commentators out there. Kyle has brought youth and style to the world of angels, as does this deck.
Like many of the other decks published by Hay House, this one has 44 cards. However, because of the way that it is constructed, it feels as though they naturally fit into two sections – much like the Major and Minor Arcana of tarot. In [what I would call] the major cards, we find the 16 archangels, as well as The Divine Mother, The Divine Father, and Spirit Animal. The remainder of the deck carries angelic advice, but is not geared to a specific archangel – Healthy Choices, Trustworthy Friends, Take A Step Back, and Focus Your Mind, being a few examples. What is nice here is that the two sections can be used in conjunction or separately. In my own practice, I have made most use of the archangel cards, using them as an indication of which angelic energy is surrounding and supporting me each day. I like to combine oracles when I am working, so I have also used the archangel cards as an umbrella from which a reading with another deck can fall beneath. As an example, Archangel Michael might suggest that the theme of a reading concerns cutting our ties with a difficult situation. This deck is very flexible and its modern vibe encourages the reader to try out their own way of working with it. Each card has a small prayer beneath its illustration, directed to either the angels or a specific archangel.
Despite having a range of angel packs to turn to, this has become my first choice right off the bat and I have used it every day since I bought it. Many of the images are breathtakingly beautiful and I have found it far easier to bond with these illustrations than the more traditional imagery found in many angel card decks. Each character is constructed with care, paying attention to colour, detail and mood. Because the archangels all look straight into the eye of the reader, I believe it is far easier to formulate a relationship with each of them. When I read about or connect to the energy of an archangel, my mind (and heart) naturally pulls up the images from this deck now. In many cases, these characters are inspiring in a reading. I have given appropriate cards to clients to hold and look at during a session, which they have found comforting. What is also refreshing is that the images are mulicultural and gender balanced. Many oracles can appear overly feminine, but these cards alienate nobody.
The book which comes with this set is a standard 107 page Hay House volume and is enough to get a reader started. Kyle explains how to use the deck and includes two spreads (one showing his own method of three-card reading, highlighted in his online videos). Each card, ordered alphabetically, has a basic and expanded interpretation. For anyone who wants to dig that little deeper into Kyle’s personal understanding of the angels shown in the deck, there is also a 249 page paperback available, which goes into a lot more detail. I’d recommend this to anyone starting out with this set.
It would be difficult to highlight all of my favourites, since I feel an affinity with all of the archangels here and have found the advice offered from the remainder of the cards useful. While I feel a connection to Chamuel and Jophiel, I’m particularly drawn to the illustrations of Archangel Raziel and Spirit Animal. Both are mesmerising. If I had to be picky (for the purpose of balance in my review), I would note that the style of Archangel Gabriel is ever-so-slightly more refined than the others, making her look almost photo-real. But this is not a real problem and will go unnoticed by most who use these cards.
Since I have brought my own work with angel energy to my online shop and into my public readings, I have began to log my own experiences. Over the weekend, my partner and I visited Highgate Cemetery. It started to rain once we’d exited the tube station and finding the location proved difficult, despite directions from locals and an untrusty phone app. With the umbrella up, I finally asked Archangel Michael for help. We decided to turn on our heels and retrace our steps. Stopping to assess where we were, I realised we were standing right outside St Michaels Church. Knowing this was a sign, we took St Michael’s Road, which eventually led us to our destination. While this was not directly connected to this deck, my work with it and the reading of Kyle’s books has strengthened my own relationship with the energies and angels around me. This far, I’ve not found another angel oracle with which I could do that.
Kyle Gray (and Jason Mccreadie) has brought a fresh deck into the world of oracles. I am hoping that the next printing of Angel Prayers runs smoothly and that it becomes as successful as the first. I will be buying a new set, but will not forget how important this first one has been within my own spiritual journey. If you are looking for a deck which is up to date, clear, and attractive, I would wholly recommend this one. It is as punchy, modern, and original as the people who created it.
Illustrations from Kyle Gray’s ‘Angel Prayers’ by Jason Mccreadie