Tarocchi Celtici Reviews
The Tarocchi Celtici is an Italian tarot deck based on Celtic mythology. Each card features a Celt god or goddess surrounded by an elaborate knotwork border.
Tarot Deck - 78 Cards - De Vecchi Italia
Review by Pollux
Among the several decks Laura Tuan has created (I might mention I Tarocchi Maya), this is the only one I happened to appreciate, and the only one I may feel to suggest - even though her decks are not at all expensive!
The packaging is the best I've ever experienced so far: a flip-top box of robust red/black cardboard contains the deck (rolled in a gleaming golden strip!) and the mini-book with golden title and red cover, just like the box. The effect, in my case, was magnified by the mysterious paper and strings making up the present: take my word, it was really a beautiful gift.
The Deck itself is really... eclectic! The dimensions are out of the ordinary: the cards are more or less 6 1/4" long and 3 1/4" wide, representing threat to the sanity of readers with small hands; however, it doesn't seem to be a problem, as the deck conveys a sort of "don't use me" vibe, a feeling that one should better keep it as a collection deck, and only contemplate the artwork. Furthermore, other characteristics add to this very effect.
The pictures are framed with a celtic pattern, which, is not altogether disturbing - this is probably due to the hugeness of the cards, that allows big pictures all the same. The card backs are plain, coloured greenish and beige as the cards, and this makes them look like leaves, a very positive impression! The very pictures are masterpieces, refined and detailed scenes depicting a God or Goddess in Majors, and Trees in Minors; the celtic-like feeling of the wood, of the forest, of the wild and powerful spirits of Nature pervades the entire deck, with its height in such cards as Brigit/Empress, Nemetona/Lovers, Arduinna/Justice and Epona/Judgement - all Goddesses, for chance!
In brief, the cards are very inspiring, delightful and rich in details, though easy on the eye; and, despite the use of natural elements like trees and stones, pretty traditional or usual in the representation. They include keywords for divination, for both upright and reversed, but in Italian (eventually, being Italian was useful for once in my life.) Of course I'm not enthusiastic about them: I'd rather have done without, gaining clear space for the picture; but luckily one manages to ignore the writings after a while (also because they're tiny).
The numbering of the cards is peculiar: Mage to World is 1 to 21, the Fool is 22, Justice is 8 and Strength is 11. Personally I have always p the Marseilleuse 8 for Justice and 11 for Strength, but having the Fool as 22 - and it IS specified - is somewhat offputting, as if all the arguing and speculating on Fool's Journeys and the like was like water off a duck's back. In addition, astrological alignments are also GIVEN, some of which arose my skepticism:
- (Magician) Lug - Mercury
- (High Priestess) Morrigan - Moon
- (Empress) Brigantia/Brigit - Virgo
- (Emperor) Amatheon - Leo
- (Hierophant) Esus - Jupiter
- (Lovers) Nemetona - Gemini
- (Chariot) Teutates - Mars
- (Justice) Arduinna - Libra
- (Hermit) Ogmios - Saturn
- (Wheel of Fortune) Dagda - Neptune
- (Strength) Smertrios - Aries
- (Hanged Man) Gwydion - Pisces
- (Death) Sucellos - Capricorn
- (Temperance) Diancecht - Acquarius
- (The Devil) Cerumno - Scorpio
- (The Tower) Taranis - Uranus
- (The Star) Sirona - Venus
- (The Moon) Borvo/Manannan - Cancer
- (The Sun) Belonos - Sun
- (Judgement) Epona - Sagittarius
- (The World) Artio - Taurus
- (The Fool) Cuchulainn - Pluto
In my opinion, something might have been worked out better: certain astrological alignment are just common (for example 1, 2, 8 & 12), others are new and very appropriate (for example, 21 - I surely prefer Taurus to Saturn)... but most are just obscure! Why have Virgo instead of Venus for the Empress? And Venus for the Star? Or Neptune with Dagda/Wheel (Dagda corresponds to Zeus/Jupiter)? Of course, I'll keep using my own system (I'm actually thinking of re-writing the glyphs myself on the cards).
Minors are unusual: instead of suits, Laura introduced seasons. So we have Green/Spring/Air, Yellow/Summer/Fire, Red/Autumn/Earth, Blue/Winter/Water. To each season, instead of pips and courts, there's a system of one Tree/Ace, different for each season, and thirteen trees/pips in common for every season. While the former relate to the most important celebrations of the Celtic year opening the seasons (Samhain/Ohn, Imbolc/Ura, Beltaine/Eadha, Lammas/Ailm), the latter correspond to the 13 trees of the Celtic year and astrological system. There still are numbers (even though from 23 to 78, without differentiations - almost useless) and the letters of the Gaelic alphabet corresponding to each of the 13 trees displace those questionable Astrological associations. The keywords, still present, are somewhat repetitive, dull, fairly vestigial. The pictures, instead, are beautiful and touching, including flowers, fairies, animals and all.
Lastly, the "booklet": 200 page-lings of Celtic myths, stories, astrology and celebrations. It offers valuable knowledge for the celtic general part, and for the Arcana, it is a pool of Knowledge. It is really deep in the explanation of the origins, the names and the peculiarities of each God or Goddess appearing in the cards, while draws some interesting lines between the Trees and the usual meanings of Minors. But it is not very specific about divinatory meanings of the cards - it just repeats tons of keywords, worse than R-W or Marseille tradition - and this was quite upsetting: the cards are so unconventional, anyone would have expected something special for the meaning.
In conclusion, I know I will never use this deck, nor can I suggest it for readings, as the only way would be looking up at the keywords in the book, and choose one by chance - there are really hundrends! - or the use of traditional meanings, solution that might work with Majors, but not with Minors - they look all alike, and are so messy! What is more, I get constantly carried away by the pictures and absent-minded, instead of managing to build up a story or interpretation.
On the other hand, this deck is a MUST for any collector or celtic
enthusiast: the beauty of the pictures, Minors included, are just worth the
expense. After all, someone may decide to go through the translation (if you
want one, call me up!) and the learning of the keywords, and, with the help
of experience and patience, attempt a serious, conscious use of the cards
for divination as well as contemplation!