Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tarot - The Cards of Triumphs

The actual origin of the tarot is unclear to say the least. It has been lost in the fog and legends of distant past. As in all issues where solid facts are scarce there are many views and much debate.

Originally it was a card game for the elite and eccentric. Lavishly hand painted cards were designed to be used in the courts of kings and nobles. Carte Da Trionfi or the Cards of Triumphs as they were known was the deck of choice. The introduction of the game seems to date back to the second half of the thirteenth century. It is still debated as to what the actual origin of the game was yet most believe it to be Arab.

The first complete deck (at least believed by some) is the Italian Vis-Contideck dating back to the 1400s. It is thought that the deck was created after the wedding of Philip and Mary Maria of Savoy, daughter of Amadeus VIII. The intricacy of each card is exquisite and hard to believe that they retained themselves after so many years. This deck has been reproduced somewhat and can still be obtained in replication.

After some time, thought to be in the early 1500, the cards began to be known as tarochhi or tarock and later tarot. The standard deck numbers seventy eight. There are four standard suits with 14 representations in each suit. Much like the standard card deck of club, spades, hearts, and diamonds, the tarot deck is made up of wands/staves, cups, swords, and pentacles/coins. This is known as the minor arcana. Twenty two trump cards make up the major arcana. Examples of these cards are the fool, the world, strength, the sun, the lovers, and so on. The card game of triumphs is still played in Europe to this day yet it seems that we Americans tend to lean more to the use of the tarot for divination.

There have been a multitude of decks designed over the years. I think I can be safe when saying that a deck to fit absolutely anyone could be found if one was to look hard enough. The most commonly known is the Rider Waite deck at least in the English speaking countries. It was originally produced in December of 1909. Academic mystic A.E.Waite was instrumental in the instructional book and bares at least half of the name of the deck. The other half is the Rider Publishing Company. Illustrator and artist Pamela Colman Smith was commissioned by Waite to lend her talents to the creation of the visual aspect of each interpretation. Simplistic is a word often used by many to describe this deck yet it has withstood the test of time and become one if not the most popular deck.

Among the many modern artist today that have had a hand in creating the elaborate and colorful modern decks we see is Ciro Marchetti. His use of broad imagination and brilliance of color has made his decks one of the most admired today. His first deck, The Guilded Tarot released in 2004, is a perfect example of this. Transporting one to a realm of knights and fair maidens the imagery is breathtaking. Among his other decks are the Legacy tarot and his Tarot of Dreams. As tried and true as some are to the Rider Waite, there are others who prefer the opportunity to derive their intuition from a deck that lends itself to a larger variety of imagery and messages.

The deck which I prefer most is neither of the ones mentioned above. I will be honest and say that I have a few decks in my possession. I have always been one who enjoys the different interpretation that each new deck seems to offer. There are those decks that honestly do nothing for me yet there are those who swear by their use and gift which they give. Likewise I am sure that some of the decks I enjoy are equally viewed the same.

My favorite deck is the Druidcraft deck which was created and designed by Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm of the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids in England. Released in 2005 it combines my likes and interests perfectly. A combination of nature based spiritualism of the druid life coupled with pagan beliefs makes this deck a perfect fit.  As is in many modern decks there are some cards (especially in the Major arcana) with different names or references.  An example of this is the card pictured above (The Lady).  The four suits, although the same, have a deeper representation bringing about a more nature based message.

In closing, just a brief reminder that tomorrow I will be drawing the winner of the Guilded Tarot Deck by Marchetti.  You can enter for a chance to win by clicking the link.  Blessings


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, lots of people love the Druidcraft deck. I have one Ciro Marchetti deck -- Legacy of the Divine Tarot.

Anonymous said...

Cool...I never knew any of this before...

Mother's Moon's Message said...

Debra, I just happened upon the Druidcraft deck and am so glad I did. I think each has to find the cards that suit them best. Like anything it is not always the same.

Christiejolu, I have to agree. I thought it would be interesting to give a bit of background before I did the giveaway and was surprised at the info I found. It always seems to show me just how young we americans are. The history in Europe is so much deeper

Alice in Wonderland said...

I have a few decks, some French, some Italian, but an English deck is one that I don't own!
Yes, I have even used an ordinary deck of playing cards, but I love the detail and feel of a real deck!
I would love to own a really old deck, just so I can feel or get vibes from people who have used them before me.
The artwork is just so fantastic!

Wendy said...

I love the deck you're giving away, wish I could enter ;) I love the Greek Mythology Deck which I've used for years. It's wonderful how many decks are out there for each individuals taste.


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