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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Review of Dark Angels Tarot

This article was written by Barbara Moore on November 30, -0001
posted under Dark Angels Tarot

Summary:
The angels who serve the creator are sent to earth to comfort the remaining humans. As they explore a dying world, they discover love and pain, strength and weakness. Through their experiences, we explore our hidden selves and find treasures we never knew existed.

In-Depth Review:
One of the great joys of Tarot is the sheer decadence of art—both in quantity and quality. Each deck gives us seventy-eight (seventy-nine if we count the back) images. If you think about it, that’s quite a lot; more than many exhibits or shows. The Dark Angels Tarot puts in your hands seventy-nine (because I’m including the back) exquisite treasures.

Now, you know as well as I do that there are any number of marvelous decks on the market that are known for their art. In fact, sometimes so much attention has gone into the artsy-ness of them that someone forgot to attend to the practical aspect and hence the decks are sometimes "art decks," which means "very lovely but not really great for readings." And while there are many, many good decks for reading that are artsy, I’d have to say that generally speaking one aspect or the other (art or practicality) holds more sway. It is a rare thing to find a deck that is actually equally balanced. I think the Dark Angels Tarot is one of those rare decks. But because quality of art can be objective, feel free to disagree with me.

The concept of the deck is that it represents a world, our world, that is near the end of its existence. The sun is dying and so is the world. The Creator, in despair, turns His back on the tragedy while His angels come to the earth to comfort and help the people still left. The dark angels not only fall in love with humankind but also fall prey to the passions and problems that shape the human experience.

The use of the angels to represent the death of the world and human experience is quite brilliant. It lends a sense of deeper bitterness and heightened drama. For these creatures have just discovered, in a sense, the world we may take for granted. They are like a young person who has just fallen in love. After three days of glorious reverie, the young lovers are tragically separated and utterly destroyed. (Okay, I’m thinking here of the love story in the movie Titanic.) For some reason, that kind of separation, of one who has just discovered love from the object of that newly realized affection, is even more awful than simply the end of humankind.

So we have this highly dramatic setting for our archetypes. The art does everything just right in order express that feeling, playing with perspective and media to create a beautiful, eclectic, but quickly disintegrating world. Pencil, oils, watercolors…they all exist in one image via the magic of computer generated art, and the effect is not jarring. On the contrary, it is stunning. Some images use just one medium. Some combine two. Each one is perfect unto itself. What is amazing to me is that despite the eclectic feel, the deck goes together seamlessly. It is, I have to say, like magic.

The deck reads beautifully, as well. The images are based on the RWS tradition, so anyone can pick it up, shuffle, and start reading immediately. And while this deck has a dark or goth aesthetic, the readings are certainly not dark. In this way, it reminds me of the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight. It is nuanced enough that it is not simply a parade of doom and gloom and angst and drama. Because the images are creative and because the artist plays with perspective, it might take a while to read as quickly as you might with a plain RWS clone. However, the colored borders (a different color for each suit) and numbers make it easy to see at a glance what the card is. This deck will prove to be a gift—stunning to look at and full of deep, insightful wisdom.



Deck Attributes
Name of deck: Dark Angels Tarot
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN: 9780738720715
Creator’s name: Luca Russo
Artist’s name: Luca Russo
Name of accompanying booklet: Dark Angels Tarot
Number of pages of booklet: 63 (14 in English)
Author of booklet: Lillie
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Reading Uses: General
Artistic Style: Goth
Original Medium: computer generated/mixed media
Theme: The impending end of the world as we know it
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes
Does it have extra cards?: No
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: No
Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: No
Does it have alternate names for the Court Cards?: No
Alternative decks you might like:
Necronomicon Tarot
Mystic Dreamer Tarot
Dark Grimoire Tarot
Secret Tarot
Tarot of the Sweet Twilight

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