Deck Name: Angel Evoking Tarot
Creators: Travis McHenry
Publisher & Year: Funded by Kickstarter, 2019
The Angel Evoking Tarot by Travis McHenry was a successful Kickstarter project. Each card is assigned to one of the 72 angels of the Kabbalah or 1 of 6 archangels. In addition to the names and images of the angels, each card also displays the angel’s number, meaning of their name, a brief description of their powers and two summoning sigils. The pictures of these angels are a combination of original commissioned artwork and images taken from occult books dating as far back as the 1500s.
I was immediately impressed with the quality of this deck. One of the stretch goals for this project was a beautiful red velvet box with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life printed on its cover. Inside this box is the deck in a white tuck box printed with the Pentacle of Solomon and the words of invocation to summon the angels (also printed on the card backs). The cards themselves are sturdy with metallic silver gilded edges (another stretch goal). Also included is a brief pamphlet of instructions.
While many cards in this deck depict angels in their popular image of beautiful people with wings and serene faces, there are also some that appear militant and some that look more like demons than angels. A few of them even reminded me of monsters from Studio Ghibli films (which puts a smile on my face).
As beautiful as the cards are, however, after using it for several weeks I find myself wishing that it had just a little bit more. Upon flipping through the cards for the first time, I noticed that the angel names are only in English. I wish the names were also printed in Hebrew as it is said that meditating upon the images of the Hebrew alphabet will provide insight into the aspect of creation that the letter is responsible for.
Another thing I found lacking is the lack of diversity in the images. Although it acknowledges that angels aren’t necessarily beautiful people as commonly depicted, many images in this deck still portray them as such. While approximately half the deck’s images derive from old manuscripts, it makes sense for them to show traditional images, the other half is newly commissioned artwork. For this portion, it would have been nice to see some of these personified angels with something other than typical Caucasian facial features.
In addition to wanting to see more on the cards themselves, I also wanted the deck to come with more writing. There’s no LWB, only a short pamphlet with instructions on how to use the cards. I wish there were more written about each angel. I also wish the creator provided more insight into the reasons for the pairings between each angel and tarot card.
At first, I was more than a little disappointed by the lack of written materials that accompanied this deck. I bought it because I wanted to learn more about Kabbalistic angel magic and thought I needed to read in order to learn. After using this deck for a few months, however, I am most satisfied with this deck. While I’m sure there’s a more I can learn intellectually, I’ve realized that this deck teaches in a different way.
Growing up, I was a good student because I learnt well via traditional methods of reading and memorizing. In fact, I’ve internalized this identity so much that this is the only way I’m comfortable learning. With this deck I’m being taught that there’s more than one way to gain understanding. Instead of spewing facts, this deck invites readers to connect with it visually and intuitively. Simply meditating upon the images and repeating the angel names aloud is enough to absorb the essence of the cards’ messages. It’s like having a conversation with the Divine – while I can never understand it in its entirety, if I’m receptive, I’ll understand what I need to know at this time.
Since I started using this deck, my dreams have been much more vivid and symbolic. I feel like I’m being guided by these angelic forces. It’s exciting but also exhausting at times because the energy is so intense.
My favourite way to use this deck is to pull one card and use it for meditation. I’ve read elsewhere that one should work with one angel for a few days at a time, so I do weekly draws instead of daily. Sometimes I will contemplate on the connection between the angel and the tarot card assigned to it. Other times, I just absorb all that is printed on the card.
I’ve tried reading with this deck for specific questions but found that the answers weren’t too clear. While the correspondences between the angels and tarot are clear in some cards, it’s not as obvious in others. Thus, when reading with it, I had a bit of trouble deciding whether I should utilize traditional tarot meaning or try to forge new meanings using the information on the card. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend this deck for beginners as I consider this deck to possess its own interpretation system.
Having said that, I also believe that this deck is very versatile. While I found traditional readings a bit harder, I can definitely see how others can connect with it and receive great readings.
For more information regarding the creator and his other works, please visit: https://www.bloodstone.info/