Every year around this time I'm inundated with new tarot and oracle decks. This is because we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, and my birthday is also the week before Christmas, so . . . Once a year I basically am showered with presents. (And I don't mind admitting I love it!)
So here's a deck that was given to me for my birthday: The Raven's Prophecy Tarot. I love ravens and crows and blackbirds in general, so this is a great deck for me. There aren't ravens on every card, though. At first I found that kind of confusing. I was like, Where are the ravens? There are several, of course, but they aren't pervasive. It makes sense if you think about it. Too many ravens would feel forced, like the cards were a slave to the theme. Instead, this deck feels very natural and organic.
And I really love the artwork. My guess is it's done with pastels, but I don't really know. It's colorful and contrasts beautifully with the black backgrounds on the cards. Vivid.
Each suit has a motif. The Cups feature the ravens and/or feathers. The Coins (Pentacles) are roses, which speaks to that suit being the Earth suit, all about nurturing and growing things. The Sword cards have hands on them. The Wands are naturally lights and fires, being that Wands represent the element of Fire. And the Major Arcana use various of all these images. It's quite beautifully done.
The corresponding book gives nice 1–2 page descriptions for each card including 3–4 keywords for each as well. I will say I don't always entirely comprehend the written "stories" for each of these cards (they're a tad flowery and artistic, and I sometimes just want something plain and direct), but my working understanding of tarot + the keywords is enough for me. And I overall like the way these cards feel in my hands. They're a good size and weight, easy to shuffle. I also like the way they read. They aren't stark—there is depth to the readings—but they are also not vague or obscure, which was my fear with something so artistic. Again, that might be because I'm bringing a few years' worth of understanding of tarot to the table with me; I don't know how these cards might work for a beginner. But for an intermediate reader like me, they're just different enough from the traditional to keep things interesting. I would certainly choose them for situations in which I need depth of insight but also want some kind of answer rather than just a signpost, because I think this deck is capable of both.