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.

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‘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).****


Sunday, February 24, 2008

FEATURE (with reading) OF THE PORTMEIRION TAROT, by Craig Conley

I’ve promised a couple of times here to feature a new photographic deck, Trump L’Oeil: The Portmeirion Tarot, photographer/author Craig Conley, and here that post finally is. My first new deck review from my new home cross-country in California.

I won’t give you too many details as I really want to encourage you to visit the link at the bottom of this post for an intriguing journey. I will say all of the photos in this deck are of architecture, statues, paintings, etc., found in the welsh village of Portmeirion. For those who have seen the wonderful classic surreal T.V. show “The Prisoner,” Portmeirion is where it was filmed. I love that a village can be so saturated with archetypal symbolism that Tarot images (as the author and photographer says) “pop up” as one wanders through it. It is not unusual for me to see Tarot images as I go about my daily life, but all 78 and all clustered in one place? Delightful, delicious, delovely! :-D

As to how these Portmeirion images work as a Tarot deck? Quite well, I believe, though some knowledge of Tarot might be helpful. Unless one reads very intuitively, then this deck would work absolutely fine. I’ve looked at those cards Conley displays on his site and see why he chose each aspect of Portmeirion. Each seems clearly suitable as a Tarot image, yet at the same time offers something unique. I have also done one three card reading at the site – see the link below to try a free reading for yourself – and found it’s particular images brought something additional to the experience.

I asked if it’s finally a good time for me to switch to that better way of eating I’ve developed over the years (in order not only to lose another good chunk of weight, but improve my health in general). I got the Eight of Pentacles, Strength, and The World. (By the way, I read three card layouts right to left.) The World in this deck is Hercules holding the world on his shoulders. Big wry laugh! All this weight -- and worry about it -- IS like carrying the world around. I don’t think I’d have gotten such an “in my face” response from a more traditional World card who’s figure is usually dancing and certainly not burdened looking. Strength spoke fairly traditionally: it will take a lot of strength and application, but in a gentle way, no forcing; more the sort of strength that permits things to happen. The outcome card, the Eight of Pentacles is one I have the image for:

A couple days before I did the above reading I’d thought how this photo calls up for me that aspect of “making pentacles” that is sometimes attributed to the Eight of Pentacles of developing one’s spiritual life, as opposed (or in addition) to the more usual attribution of physical work and skills. In this Portmeirion version I saw the possibility of moving from the archway on the left or the more material world, toward the archway on the right or the more spiritual. And then to have this same card come up later as the outcome in the above reading was quite encouraging. That is, to recognize that this material struggle to create better health and well-being for myself, is also very much a part of my spiritual work. When I typed that I thought how obvious that comment seems, but it’s easy to lose that awareness beneath each day’s more concrete demands, at least for me. I am not sure I’d have recalled that spiritual aspect to the Eight of Pentacles if I’d read with a more traditional deck.

Here’s a few more cards from the Portmeirion Tarot I’d requested images for some time ago, so you can get a little taste of the deck, before visiting the site:

I highly recommend that you visit Conley’s site (and check out the link to information about the village in general, as well): Trump L'Oeil: The Portmeirion Tarot. You’ll be intrigued.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying the 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).****

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