Thursday, May 03, 2007


Yesterday, for the umpteenth time, I sat down determined to write a full review of the Gothic Tarot of the Vampires. Well, I again gave up as for me it not only requires a great deal of thought, figuring out and explaining, but it also both moves and somewhat repells me. All of which makes for a very mixed and complicated writing project. But I decided to work with one card and as I did, a mini-review began to emerge.

To start, on going through the deck I was this time very struck by its Nine of Pentacles:

Nine of Pentacles in The Gothic Tarot of the Vampires,
by Riccardo Minetti & Emiliano Mammucari, published by LoScarabeo

My first thoughts were: A vampire in a church?! In shafts of sunlight?! How?! Why?! I could not, no matter how I stretched my associations, connect this version of the card to more traditional ones, like this in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck:

I then read in LoScarabeo's Little White Book ("LWB") about the Nine of Pentacles and it says: "Overcoming barriers, victorious challenge, exceeding limits." AhHAH! Now the card's images made sense. Although the traditional meaning of "accomplishment" can be seen then in this Nine of Pentacles, that still does not explain how the supposedly impossible accomplishment of a vampire in sunlight has occurred. In the more traditional versions "accomplishment" is well within understandable parameters; i.e. the image is often a woman in her well-tended garden, as in the RWS version above. (You can read my previous post on the Nine of Pentacles in general here.)

This deck's reliance on meanings that are extremely non-traditional to back up its even more non-traditional images, is common throughout the deck. Also, its basis in a vampire mythology that is only referenced in a couple of cryptic sentences in the LWB is frustrating and unenlightening (pun intended). But for all these frustrations, I have to admit this deck does have some very powerful and evocative -- if also often very bloody -- images and pointed meanings.

For example, when I read the LWB's meanings for the Nine of Pentacles I saw why I'd been intuitively drawn to it. As I began to relate those meanings to the specific limitations and fears thereof in my life, I felt encouraged. Afterall, if a vampire can be in a church and in direct shafts of sunlight, maybe some of my small-by-comparison limits can also be "exceeded."

Ultimately I would say provided that one is willing and able -- and probably not a Tarot newbie -- to deal with the challenges of its unusual images and meanings with very little explanation from the LWB of what its overall vampire symbolism is about or how it relates to Tarot, the Gothic Tarot of the Vampires does have a lot of intense insight and (sometimes bloody) beauty to offer. I am very pleased ultimately to have it in my collection and do use it for the occasional reading when I sense its dark and challenging images suit my inquiry. I do recommend that you visit the link beneath the first Nine of Pentacles image above to see a variety of this deck's images.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry and Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka).****

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