Review by Christiana Gaudet
Gilded Tarot Royale: A Deck is Reborn
Just a short
time ago, a few South Florida Tarot friends and I were
enjoying a meal at Ciro and Maria Marchetti's lovely home.
Ciro pulled up an image of the Strength card from
Gilded Tarot on his amazing computer. Then, he showed us
another image. It was an image of the same Strength card,
but it had been altered. The lion's mouth was
different. The woman's dress was more detailed.
explained that he was interested in creating a new special
edition of the Gilded Tarot, incorporating advances in
both computer technology and his own tarot
understanding. Fast forward some months and the Gilded Tarot Royale
has become a reality.
Amongst my students the original
Gilded Tarot published by Llewellyn is a favorite. It
does not contain the most traditional images, but there
is an almost intangible appeal to this deck. Perhaps
it is the colors, the cool steampunk feel of
Marchetti's "retrotech" images, the masks, jesters and cosmic
images that somehow blend together to create a tarot deck
that stimulates the imagination and intuition.
Gilded Tarot Royale is self-published. Its packaging,
printing and cardstock are of the highest quality; arguably
better than standard decks from most publishers. The deck
is oversized with actual gilded edges. It comes with
a CD that includes a comprehensive PDF booklet. In
the booklet, Ciro discusses each card, pointing out
the changes and symbolism. The booklet also includes
three spreads especially designed for this deck by
members of the tarot community; Pamela Steele, Lee Bursten
and me, Christiana Gaudet.
Ciro Marchetti's art style
has made a definite mark on modern tarot. I believe
there are new tarot students whose entire visual
experience of tarot is based on Marchetti's work, rather than
the Waite deck in the yellow box that readers of my
generation identify as their first introduction to tarot
The miraculous thing about Marchetti's work is that he
paints entirely in pixels. Of course advancements in
computer technology would afford him more detail and nuance
in his pictures. And that is primarily what I see in
this new deck; more nuances. The faces of the
characters are more detailed, as are the costumes. The
quality of the art is better overall. In a way, it is like
the difference between an animated movie and a
live-action movie. The message may be the same but the
live-action film evokes more emotion, and is more fun to
There are some symbolic changes as well. In Major Arcana
Six, the Lovers, the man is now transparent. Is he
real, or simply a figment of the woman's imagination?
This helps us to focus on the deeper meaning of the
Lovers, and is a nice correction to the rather simplistic
Lover's card in the original deck.
The Gilded Royale
Hermit is contemplating a snake. In Strength, the chains
with which the woman controls the lion are more
apparent. The Chariot is drastically changed. The
Charioteer, though still female, is now regal, balanced and
The Gilded Royale in no way diminishes the original
Gilded. Gilded Tarot may be flawed, but it is also
well-loved. If you are one of the few who didn't love the
original Gilded, it is worth giving this new deck a try.
The art is better, and the symbolism is better.
you, like me, love your Gilded Tarot, you also need
this new edition, simply for its beauty and maturity.
It is like seeing a small child you once knew now
grown into an adult.
Christiana is a professional tarot grandmaster based in
West Palm Beach Florida. She is the author of "Fortune
Stellar" and the organizer of several tarot meetup groups.
She also teaches tarot webinars to a world-wide audience.