Winged Spirit Tarotws7.jpg (19582 bytes)
Review by Michele Jackson

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This deck is primarily illustrated with Angels, though there are other "winged spirits" like the Valkyrie as well. There are a few humans shown, but the angels are the focus of the deck. The cards are slightly wider than average at  3 1/8" X 4 1/2". The Major Arcana have traditional names.  The suits are Swords, Wands, Cups and Spheres. The Court consists of Page, Knight, Queen and King. Strength is eight and Justice is 11. The art is good. The angels look like dancers. They are often posed in graceful, dance-like poses and they have the well defined musculature of professional dancers. The imagery generally consists of a large central figure, or figures posed on a beige or other neutral toned background with very little, if any scenery. The scenes are simple and do not contain a lot of symbolism. The Fool is a human - Tobias from the Apocryphal book of Tobit. Tobias went on a journey accompanied by the angel Raphael. Raphael is depicted as a stained glass image. The High Priestess is Gabriel depicted as a coy young woman lifting her dress ever so slightly. Strength depicts the wrestling match between Jacob and Uriel. The Wheel of Fortune has the Aeons - which my "Dictionary of Angels" defines as a "celestial power of a higher order." The Devil is Lucifer (who else could it be?) and the Moon is Lilith.

The Minor Arcana Ace through ten, are illustrated in the same style as the Majors, though the same type of angel appears throughout each suit. Swords seem to be avenging angels - the type that appeared in Sodom and Gomorrah and Revelations; Wands show a male and two female  "elemental forces - beings of fire and light;"  Cups are cherubs and Spheres are "the heavy earthbound angels of the Renaissance." The Cups have a blond couple who appears in the two through ten and the Spheres feature a redheaded woman. Each suit also has a uniform background color. The scenes in the Ace through ten are not based on Waite, even though the card meanings are. While some small attempt at being evocative has been made, the images are more decorative than anything else. If you don't know what the card means beforehand, you are not likely to glean much of its meaning from its illustration. The Court Cards are not of a uniform type like the Ace through ten, and they are not named angels with myths or histories like those in the Major Arcana. The backs are reversible.

The little booklet that comes with the deck identifies each angel or winged being in the Major Arcana and gives a very brief synopsis of its story, followed by the card meaning. It is obvious that some thought was given to the winged spirits chosen for each card in the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana scenes are described followed by a brief meaning. Most of the meanings are based on Waite, but others seem to be the artist's own take on the card. No spreads are given. There is some background information about Tarot in general and this deck in particular. I found my Dictionary of Angels helpful in understanding the artist's choices for the Major Arcana. A book would be useful for the Major Arcana, but there would not be much to say about the Minors other than the cards meanings.

I recommend this deck for those who are looking for something visually different. The graceful figures and simple, uncluttered backgrounds are pleasing to the eye. Frankly, I think this deck is mostly decorative. While the Major Arcana meanings are based on angelic and other myths, the creator seemed to run out of gas once he was through with them. The Minors don't offer anything new or even interesting, aside from the imagery. Collectors will want it but that is always the case.

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Winged Spirit Tarot Deck
ISBN: 1-57281-121-8
Publisher: US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax (203)353-8431

Images Copyright 1999 US Games Systems Inc.

This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson