Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Each year the Italian Tarot Museum (Museum Dei Tarocchi) hosts a collaborative Tarot project, based on a different theme. For 2008 the theme, LiteraTarot, was dedicated to great classics of literature, either contemporary or from the past. The goal was to take a recognizable element from the work of literature and meld it with the traditional meaning and symbolism of each card. This was a wonderful, large-scale project in that multiple continents were represented. Fern Mercier and Lyn Olds (New Zealand) co-hosted the deck for Oceania (down under), with sister decks coming from Asia, Europe (due out in early 2009), and the United States (this deck, LiteraTarot America, hosted by Arnell Ando, is also out).
The museum itself is a magickal place in time over 400 years old, and lovingly restored by founders and curators Ernesto and Morena. In her blog on the museum Arnell talks about tree trunks that open up to reveal hidden shelves of prized Tarocchi, and tiny doors with lit windows hidden in the stone walls that open to show off miniature artwork.
Ernesto and Morena also give guided esoteric tours, and maintain a museum website. This is a great site to visit to get a feel for the work being done by these marvelous people. They are also doing exhibition work so if you are going on vacation anywhere near Italy
take the time to see what is being offered!
Each deck is a Limited Edition (300 copies), Major Arcana project involving the host and 22 other Tarot artists. The artists for this deck, the cards they contributed, and the literature referenced are as follows:
The Fool Pat Reble (Australia) Winnie The Pooh
The Magician Keron Smith (New Zealand) Harry Potter
The Papess Ronnie Wiblin (New Zealand) The Sibylline Prophecies
The Empress Aileen Flynn (Australia) Homers Hymn To Gaia
The Emperor Jason Dean (Australia) Heart of Darkness
The Pope Louise Sadgrove (New Zealand) The Lovely Bones
The Lovers Fern Mercier (New Zealand) Psyche and Eros
The Chariot Melanie Cook (Australia) The Owl and the Pussycat
Justice Helen Meinecke (Australia) - Pomera
The Hermit Catherine Ballantyne (New Zealand) The Envoy From Mirror City
The Wheel of Fortune Claudia Pond (New Zealand) The Monks Tale
Strength Bea Scott (Australia) Oscar and Lucinda
The Hanging Man Broa Deed (New Zealand) Biographia Literaria
Death Klaz Blennerhassett (New Zealand) Jonathon Livingston Seagull
Temperance Sarah McKenney (New Zealand) Angel At My Table
The Devil Linde Rosenberg (New Zealand) The Bible
The Tower Roisia Kearney The Bible
The Star Mala Mayo (New Zealand) Manon de Sources
The Moon Samar Ocean Wolf The God of Small Things
The Sun Lyn Howarth-Olds and Scott Olds (New Zealand) Maui and the Sun
Judgment Steve Farac-Ciprian Of Mice and Men
The World Lynda Robinson Alice In Wonderland
The cards are approximately 2 Ύ by 4 Ύ, of quality cardstock. The backs have a Ό white border, surrounding an orange and gold inset, and are reversible. The card faces have no border the image continues to the edge which is my personal preference, but something that one does not often see. The card number, in Roman numerals, and the traditional card name are placed in differing positions on each of the cards.
A huge Harry Potter fan, I adored the Magician
who was, of course, Harry Potter! Some of the choices in this deck drew intense emotion, none so more than Death (Jonathon Livingston Seagull). Here we see a white bird in flight in a deep blue sky, with a school of fish beneath him in the green waters of the ocean. I have a needlepoint of Jonathon Livingston Seagull from another lifetime he represents a moment in time, and that moment in time is a lifetime away.
The cards come in a book-like carrier, with a ribbon tie on the right hand side, and ends that come up from the top and bottom so that the cards do not fall out. Publication information is on the back, with a random card from the deck on the front. It is well put together, graceful, beautiful, and serving its purpose. Please note: This is the carrier that you will receive if you purchase from Arnell Ando. The Museum Dei Tarocchi carries a second version a metallic paper bag that carries the publication information on the back, and a random card from the deck on the front. The top is folded down and tied with a ribbon. You may need to state which carrier you want when ordering directly from the Museum site.
There is a print-out that comes with this deck that shows each artists story for the card that they drew. The stories, and the cards, work in combination to bring this deck alive, and to show how the world of literature reflects the same archetypes that inhabit the Tarot. It is a learning experience, and a great gift. I found it very interesting that there did not appear to be duplicate sources in literature between the LiteraTarot Oceania and the LiteraTarot America deck. The two decks have an entirely different feel.
This deck can be purchased from Arnells site, or directly from the Museo Dei Tarocchi bookshop. Please note - when ordering from Arnells site, there is a discount for those in the United States and Canada. It is, for me, much more than a collectors deck. As with its sister deck, it also has a place in personal study, and is an excellent resource for journaling and story writing. It opens the mind, and the heart!
© January 2009
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.