When Archangel Power Tarot was released a few years ago, I took a chance on a copy. I’d already enjoyed Angel Tarot and was excited to see what Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine’s second tarot offering would look like. Some may remember my review. I’d been very disappointed with the deck.
In a recent YouTube review of Fairy Tarot Cards, Kelly Fitzgerald explained why the fairies had disappointed her. Like me, she found that the different art styles (some classically-styled and others, ultra-modern CGI) fight against each other artistically in the one deck. Like Kelly, I had enjoyed some of the classical looking cards very much, which only succeeded in making me more disappointed with the computerised images. With a big sigh, I realised what the Fairy Tarot deck could have been.
It was like this with Archangel Power Tarot. As I unzipped The Fool (or Leap of Faith, as it is retitled), I was excited for what was to come. However, the copy and pasted components in so many of the cards became a major irritation. Worse than that, many of the characters were recognisably Hay House authors or friends of the creators. I found it hard to get past this, since some of the photographs used looked forced and decidedly awkward – like snaps you might find in a family photo album. The deck stayed in my possession for a short while before I sold it. I was not the only person to feel this way. Other reviews of the set were written from a similar perspective.
Recently, someone made a comment on one of my Facebook posts, informing me that the deck has been updated. I wondered if they’d made a mistake until I checked out the free version of the deck’s app on my iPad. As suggested, many of the images (including Doreen in The Moon, Radleigh as The Magician, and Robert Reeves in the 7 of Ariel) have been changed. I can add that the physical deck now carries the new versions too.
Many cards have been given a facelift. Characters have been altered, entire figures replaced, and details have been adjusted. Credit where credit is due. Hay House listened to the opinions of their customers and gave the deck another shot.
Like Angel Tarot, Archangels appear on each of the Major Arcana cards. The selection is different to its predecessor in places though – for example, rather than Archangel Michael, Doreen and Radleigh have chosen Archangel Jeremiel to accompany The Wheel. As oppose to using Archangel Gabriel on this version of The Hanged Man, they’ve chosen Archangel Chamuel as its representative. It’s also worth noting that while the original titles have been altered for a more positive slant in reading, they are quite different to those in both Angel Tarot and Fairy Tarot. Release is Peace (Death) and Ego has become Decision (The Devil), as examples.
As I mentioned in my initial review, I liked the idea of using an Archangel for each of the minor suits – Michael for Air, Ariel for Earth, Raphael for Water, and Gabriel for Fire. As with other tarot decks by Doreen and Radleigh, the Majors and suits are colour-coded, which I like a lot. However, the suit colours for some are different to the choices used in both Angel Tarot and Fairy Tarot – Earth is pink, Fire is orange, and Water is green here. From what I could see, it doesn’t explain the colour choices in the accompanying book. I am no expert, but they seem to follow the chakras – indigo for the Crown Chakra (spirituality), blue for the Throat Chakra (communication), green for the Heart Chakra (emotions), orange for the Sacral Chakra (energy and vitality), and pink (rather than red) for the Base Chakra (grounding and security). This might be a little confusing for anyone who associates suits with the elemental colours, but with a little time, I don’t doubt it will be possible to get your head around these alterations.
Archangel Power Tarot has a Rider Waite leaning. While its pattern has its own individuality, the majority of interpretations follow Waite’s standard. For anyone familiar with Doreen’s other decks, the cards have a summary at the bottom of each. The 10 of Raphael (10 of Cups) shows a Victorian couple (replacing a modern couple from the original Archangel Power Tarot), sitting in a park while their children play behind them. Colman Smith’s trademark rainbow stretches above them and below the illustration on the card, it reads ‘Love and blessings fill your life! Harmonious relationships with family members. Happily ever after’.
While some people might find the switch from traditional suit titles to Archangels a leap too far, I actually like this change. If it had not been for the aesthetics of the original Archangel Power Tarot, I’d have been happily to explore the suits back then. Due to being a patron of creativity, Archangel Gabriel is connected to the element of Fire and traditional Wands. Because of his history with heralding love and important relationships, Raphael rules over the element of Water (Cups). Michael, being a protector and champion of justice and truth, is used within the suit of Air (Swords) and the manifestation powers of Ariel made her the obvious choice for the element of Earth (Pentacles). Within each suit, the Angel is shown interacting with humans. The ‘copy and paste’ job in some of the cards still exists in the new version but with many of the real life characters in the pack changed (minus Louise Hay, who is still the Queen of Michael), this is less of an issue.
For a long time, this was a deck I never thought I’d revisit but since it has been updated, I can now appreciate it in a new way. While the colour coding on the minors does take a little time to adjust to, the whole thing is now what I always hoped it would be – a deck I could happily read without too many cringes or sighs. Since the adjustments, the real beauty of some of the cards can be truly appreciated. A few minor bloopers still exist but cards like Change Your Life (The Tower), The Wheel, and 10 of Michael (10 of Swords) are truly beautiful and the deck is no longer compromised by cards which many felt stuck out like a sore thumb.
Is Archangel Power Tarot now my favourite of Doreen and Radleigh’s tarots? It is not.
Have the updates made much of a difference? A resounding ‘yes’.
While there are still a few left that I would have updated (the 9 of Gabriel being one) and some I’d have left alone (I personally preferred the 2 of Raphael, 4 of Raphael, and 10 of Raphael from the original Archangel Power Tarot release), the update has made a big difference and I will use this version. Of course, if you can find a copy of the original, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a hybrid, combining the ones you like from each, since both have the same format and backs.
In short, this is a nice reading deck. If you are interested in combining Archangels with your tarot practice, unlike Angel Tarot, this one uses them throughout both the Major and Minor Arcana. For the most part, the images are punchy and vibrant and the changes to titles actually enables us to stretch our ideas and feelings about the cards. The deck is gender balanced and shows people of different ethnicities, which I also applaud.
In my opinion, the updated version of this set is a step-up from the original. The former was let down by the photographic collage in many of the cards. While there is still the occasional hodgepodge in the renewed Archangel Power Tarot, there isn’t really anything to offend or greatly disappoint those who will purchase it.
Power to Hay House for re-releasing this tarot in this new version!
Images from Archangel Power Tarot by Jeff Bedrick, published by Hay House