Apparently I like fairy-themed Tarots. Who knew.
This is my second fairy-fantasy deck (Shadowscapes being the first). I don’t even really know why I bought these, other than the packaging intrigued me, and I’d been going through new-deck withdrawal.
This is a weird deck. Don’t get me wrong – I like it. But it’s weird.
What’s most fascinating about it is that the 78 cards are made from 39 paintings. That is, Lucia Mattioli – the creator of this deck – painted 39 pictures, and then chopped ’em all in half to make 78 cards. There was nothing printed on the tuckbox to suggest this – if it weren’t for my search through aeclectic’s forum archives, I might never have known (well, the LWB suggests as much, but it’s not elaborated upon) – and I can’t make rhyme or reason out of many of the pairings. I suspect that the Mattioli might have drawn two cards at random, and then made the paintings. Whatever the case, the result is a thought-provoking exercise in card pairings (I cheated, by the way, and looked up the matches. I didn’t do the work of actually sorting the cards out and puzzling them together).
The result, in my opinion, is a sort of mixed bag. Some of the pairs sit side-by-side to make truly enchanting art. Some, on the other hand, feel somewhat forced. Either way, though, it’s a brilliant and novel idea. On an individual basis, each card is surreal and beautifully rendered. Some are stranger than I really like, but hey, who am I to say what is and isn’t strange in the Otherworld of the Fae.
I haven’t read too much with these cards yet, but the few I’ve done have been good. The physical cards are typical Lo Scarabeo cards in size and stock, decently made but nothing exceptional. As I mentioned, I was drawn to the tuckbox, which pictures 7 of Wands on the front and 7 of Cups (I think?) on the back, but outside of my own peculiar tastes, there’s nothing special about the packaging, either. The pips are all illustrated, and you can detect some RWS influence here and there, but overall they are original. In some cases, the picture seems to suggest something totally different than the traditional RWS, and often the suit symbols are absent, so you must rely on the numbers and words on the borders to know which cards you’re looking at. The box does specify that these are “intuitive” cards, so evocative art that is not tied to any tradition is kind of the point.
Truthfully, it’s not really a surprise that fairy decks attract me. Of course, the fluffy pretty girls with butterfly wings playing on flowers isn’t really what I’m talking about. Sure, the Shadowscapes appears on the surface to be something like that, but it’s much deeper once you get to know it (and anyways, the art in that deck is so truly spectacular that I don’t even care). I wouldn’t call the Shadowscapes dark, though. The Fairy Lights, on the other hand, can be pretty dark (in particular, compare the Hanged Man from each deck, and you’ll see what I mean). While it isn’t necessarily how I would picture Faerie and its inhabitants, it certainly can’t be said that this deck skimps on the more PG side of fairydom.
Fairy lore from any culture fascinates me, and the piece of me that believes in magic also believes that maybe fairies are lurking on planes just outside my field of vision. I believe in the existence of Faerie as a realm. So yes, I do kind of like to see how some artists capture this place, and this folk, on Tarot cards. There are a lot of fairy Tarots out there, but when the rare one comes along that really catches my eye, I have a hard time resisting the temptation.
Sorry about the lack of photos in this post. I’m in a transitional stage in my life now which has prevented me from connecting my camera to a computer in a long while, but if (hopefully when) I can take and upload some pictures, I’ll update this post with them. I figured my output in recent months has been so sparse that I ought to publish with or without photos.