Tuesday, February 26, 2008


From the first images I saw online in this deck I've craved it for my collection. Not only am I a sucker for color, detail, and richness in Tarot (or any) art, but I love fantasy writing and illustration. And now that I am a proud possessor of this deck, have gone through it several times, and have done one simple reading with it I can say it was well worth the wait.

At first I was a bit bemused as I'd gotten a somewhat different overall visual sense of the deck from the online samples I saw. But as I wandered through the deck I became more and more pleased with the corrections made to my preconceptions. It would be hard to describe all of these "corrections" but I can say, e.g., that I was not expecting the contrast between the mechanical and the biological (very broadly put) in many of the cards. A contrast which, by the way, is very effective when it appears. As in the Five of Pentacles:

I'd be very happy to be excluded from or outside of that city and/or future. :-) (This fits with one of the meanings I have seen myself for the Five of Pentacles in general: You are not meant to be part of that group or effort or situation.)

The Little White Book ("LWB") that comes with the deck is also of more help than many of Lo Scarabeo's tend to be. As an intense tarotphile I am endlessly grateful for Lo Scarabeo's commitment to producing a variety of unusual new Tarot decks. As I've said before here I only wish their LWB's were more accurate and actually related to the deck they come with. In this deck's case, the LWB is quite interesting. As in what it says about the Knave (Page) of Cups that I got when I asked: What single thing do I most need to do? (I deliberately ask a very open-ended question like this sometimes because maybe I'm not looking at some area I really need to.) Here's the Knave (Page) of Cups:

Before going into the LWB's comment on this card, I need to say that when I saw this card I thought in terms of a more traditional Page of Cups, as in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck in which a small fish is just about to maybe jump up out of a goblet/cup the Page is holding. I thought: Ah, something new...maybe I need to really be open to something very new that's coming. Then I looked back at the Knave of Cups in this deck and I laughed: Oh, my, that new fish is already out of the cup, fully here, and it's huge! And I associated that huge fish to the experience of being in my new home here in California, in a senior community of over 200 people. Lots of newness, I'd say. :-) I also thought: Have I got the strength for this, especially as I tend to be a bit of a hermit. So I went to the LWB, which says: "We must be careful in judging those who appear strong and remember that strength has no value if it is not controlled by ideals and sincere sentiments." In that I hear that more than being concerned with strength, per se, I need to stick to my ideals and be sincere. I also think there's a little caveat for me in that I tend to gravitate to those who appear strong and then feel let down when they, too, turn out to have human shortcomings. (Not to mention I tend to judge myself in that same way.) Yes, a truly big fish has come out of this cup!

A P.S. to the reading I did in my previous post, featuring the intriguing Portmeirion Tarot. The outcome card in that reading was the Eight of Pentacles. When I saw that card in this deck:

I thought: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." :-) Which is not something I've ever seen in the Eight of Pentacles before.

Before I share two more cards from the Universal Fantasy Tarot, one further comment. I wish when decks show nude female bodies frequently, they'd bring a bit of balance with some male nudes, as well. As it is, the many nude females and virtually no male nudes in this deck tend to annoy this aging feminist.

Two more samples:

The Ace of Wands

The Devil

All in all, Lo Scarabeo (distributor: Llewellyn) has produced another fantastic deck. And I hasten to add praise for Pietro Alligo who did the graphics and Bepi Vigna who wrote the instructions.

* * * *

‘til next time, keep enjoying the fantastic universe of 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).****



Anonymous Ark Tarot said...

I believe Tarot reading revolves around the belief that the cards can be used to gain insight into the current and possible future situations of the subject (or querent).

Some believe they are guided by a spiritual force, and they might be right, such as gaia, while others believe the cards help them tap into a collective unconscious or their own creative, brainstorming subconscious.

At the end is up to you

7:42 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

I agree with all that you say.

It's probably obvious, but my Tarot reading approach is largely based in intuition and association. Though there are times that I have no idea where certain information has come from, whatsoever; that "a spiritual force" must have been involved. Then again, I do not see my own intuition as separate from what is far greater, from the Great Mystery of the Universe. I believe that much deep intuition comes via our connection to the Great Mystery.

12:21 PM  
Blogger adreampainter said...

I've had this deck for almost a year and I love it. It has received some very mixed reviews. I am glad your's was of a positive nature.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Thanks for stopping by, "adeampainter." It is an intriguing deck and your comment has reminded me to pull it out and do some reading with it. I tend to get caught up in my newest deck or decks, and neglect the previous ones. :-D Right now I'm planning a post about and using The Bohemian Gothic Tarot. That's going to be a rather mixed review, though some of the art does really work, IMHO.

12:38 PM  

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