Review by Solandia
A fully illustrated 78-card deck by Pietro Alligo and Mauro de Luca, this is a pretty themed tarot that pays homage to the myth of the mermaid. As described in the companion booklet:
"This sea being similar to man fascinates but at the same time strikes fear because in her lies the secret that gave place to mankind. Her hybrid image highlights an unfinished evolutionary process. She unveils our ancient animalistic and savage nature. The sea or lakes in which the mermaids live, after all, are the symbol of the unconscious profound layers of our personality."
Artistically the Tarot of the Mermaids is painted in greens, blues, pinks and traditionally feminine colours, and has a very watery, undersea feeling. Inspired by the Rider-Waite-Smith style, these cards borrow just enough from its symbolism for the underwater-themed scenes to be recognisable. The Hierophant keeps his staff, the High Priestess holds a scroll, and the Magician has a trident and caduceus and swims in a garden of coral, shells and fish.
By design, these cards almost wholly feature women. Traditionally male figures have been modified so that the only mermen appear in selected majors (the Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot, and Hermit) and in the King cards. As a consequence, there is a lot of female nudity and a slight topless beach vibe, mermaids not being known for their large amounts of clothing.
The suits are titled with the standard Chalices, Swords, Wands and Pentacles, but the images show a different association. The suit elements are represented by Shells, Tritons, Oars, and Pearls and are purplish-blue, blue-green, reddish-brown and orange-red in overall tone. This gives the Pentacles and Wands cards a warmer energy than the other suits. (Swords in particular has a very gloomy cast, as its scenes were happening deep underwater on a stormy and overcast day, and its mermaids are drawn with reptilian rather than piscine tails. Even so, one of my favourite cards in this deck is the Knight of Swords - shown skimming over the ocean on the back of a dolphin.
The border treatment on these cards is very nice, not only functional but also decorative. The titles are enclosed in green panels top and bottom, which have a subtle pattern of darker green bubbles. The backs area the mirrored images type favoured by Lo Scarabeo of late. This deck shows a small image of the Magician repeated in a dark teal colour.
This is an appealing tarot deck with a pretty, feminine energy. I recommend it to those who enjoy attractive artwork, and for readers past the novice stage.