Review by Bonnie Cehovet
“If art serves any purpose other than
Simple decoration, it’s to bring into
Focus, if only for an instance, that which
Might otherwise pass unnoticed.”
from the book
Ciro Marchetti (Gilded Tarot, Tarot of Dreams, Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Gilded Reverie Lenormand) is an artist and a thinker, and someone that I have long admired. He doesn’t just toss decks out there … they are well thought out, and presented in very unique fashions. With “Oracle of Visions” he moves away from the restrictions of the world of Tarot to create an oracle deck that would work in a more flexible manner as a tool of divination and a tool for meditation. Marchetti’s intention was to create a set of images that spoke for themselves … i.e. they would need no supporting text. He has accomplished this … in a very spectacular fashion!
The end result is a deck of 52 full color cards, with a 140 page companion book, contained in a sturdy, lift top box. The cover of the box shows the image of card number 26 – Past & Future. The cover for the companion book carries the image of card number 36 – Entrapment/Limitations/Restrictions/Complications.
The companion book starts out with a foreword, in which we learn the reasoning behind the creation of this deck, and a bit about its structure. The imagery in this deck is loosely broken down into four categories: Situations, Emotions, Actions, and Behavior. These categories are meant to be flexible enough that each card would be free to serve in many different roles. There are no reversals with this deck … which I really like. (I do not read the Tarot using reversals either.) The images themselves tell the story … either alone, or in combination with other cards.
I also like that there really is no common theme in this deck. For those of us that know Marchetti’s work, we are very comfortable with his use of jesters, masks, and mechanical devices, along with faux Victorian costumes and characters. Marchetti notes that the jesters, masks, and theatrical performances serve as archetypes, while masked figures and performers are both anonymous and role playing. The mechanical devices serve as metaphors for our partial control of our own fate. I feel very much at home with this deck!
“The images on this deck reflect those freedoms of choice Each card is presented with a black and white scan, keywords for the card, a short quote, and a short xplanation of how the card can be read. For example:
we may now have along with considerations and
responsibilities we have to apply when making them.”
Points of View
“I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy to be calm when you’ve found something going on. But take your time, think a lot. Why, think of everything you’ve got. For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.” –
Lyrics from Father and Son, Cat Stevens
There may be no right or wrong. The view is the same, but its perception is different. Fresh ideas and experience sharing the same eyes, but a different vision.
Two manifestations of the same person share a commonality: one from the fresh, eager innocence of youth, the other from the calmer, sobering maturity of experience. Both grasp the same mask in unison, their destinies entwined and ultimately inseparable. At some point, both will see the same vision.
At the end of the companion book Marchetti presents two different ways of interpreting the same card, along with instructions for working with card combinations. He also discusses the deck background, symbolic meanings, and his approach to the deck.
The cards themselves are fairly large – 3 ¾” by 5 ½”, and of sturdy card stock. The card backs show a dark outer border, surrounding gold filigree on a red background. In the center we see the face of a jester. The card faces show a black outer border, with a fine gold inner border. The card number is centered at the top of the card in gold, with Marchetti’s icon centered at the bottom of the card, in gold. There is no text on the card (which, IMHO, makes interpretation easier). The artwork is digital in nature, with a nice depth of color.
One of my favorite cards is Number 15 (Farewell, Goodbyes, Closure). Here we see a lady in Victorian dress, with dark plumes in her hair. In her right hand she holds an envelope, in her left hand a single red rose. She faces the left hand side of the card. The sky above her is filled with clouds and birds.
Another favorite is Number 4 (Perspective/Points of View). In this card we see two aspects of one individual (one older, one younger), side by side. They are each holding on to one side of a mask, with the mask held up so that each one has an eye peering through it.
Card number 24 (Letting Go, Offering A Way Out) certainly gives me pause! Here we see a female figure, with a red robe draped over her shoulders. She is gazing off to the left hand side of the card. A cat peers from her left hand side, while a cage with butterflies in it hangs from the ceiling.
Card Number 39 (Offering Comfort, Healing, Caring) shows a female figure in a red feathered headdress, wearing a red dress, caressing a white dove in her hands.
Card Number 31 (Secrecy, Confidentiality) shows a female figure dressed in a lavender dress, standing between two blue curtains, with a lit chandelier behind her. Her hands are held out in front of her, her right hand resting on what appears to be a locked box or book, with her right hand reaching out towards a lit globe sitting on a desk.
Card Number 41 (Identity, Self-Analysis, Knowing Oneself) shows a female figure holding up what looks to be a mask, which is reflected in a triple mirror. On the table in front o her are two masks, and a series of small Russian dolls.
Card Number 16 (Distance, Isolation, Perspective) reminds me of Avalon. We see a female figure, dressed in blue, walking along a shore. She is facing away from us. Floating monoliths appear in front of her.
I recommend this deck not only for divination purposes, but for meditation, ritual, and journeying.
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.
Review by Mythic Silence
The Oracle of Visions is a 52 card oracle deck by Ciro Marchetti, creator of the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Gilded Tarot, Tarot of Dreams, and the Gilded Reverie Lenormand. The Oracle of Visions was originally self-published and has now been released by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. The cards measure 3.75 x 5.5 inches and the backs are not reversible.
The cards and book nestle snugly inside a sturdy matte box with a lift off lid. I think this presentation adds extra sophistication to the product. The cardstock is durable without being too thick or overly glossy with lamination. The cards fan easily and are large enough to show the detail in the artwork, but they may be difficult to shuffle if you have small hands.
Extra Materials (Mini Book):
The accompanying book is a 140 page mini book, not a slim paper booklet, and it is well worth reading cover to cover. Marchetti introduces his deck, describes his approach, and reflects on the progression of his work. He is an excellent writer and his insights are a delight to read.
Each card’s description is accompanied by a scan of the card’s image, a list of keywords, and a quotation. The quotations are a thoughtful inclusion and I love how they grasp the essence of a card and enhance its meaning. I think this makes the deck an excellent choice for daily draws. Although the quotes are not necessarily affirmations, they provide interesting ideas to mull over during the course of the day. For example, card #46’s keywords are “connections,” “putting the pieces together,” and “coming to conclusions.” The accompanying quotation is from Joe Cordare: “To the question of your life you are the answer, and to the problems of your life you are the solution.”
Marchetti highlights major themes for each card and provides interpretations for the details and symbols within the images. He also includes an example for working with card combinations that is concise and helpful for getting started with the deck. He creates a solid foundation for working with the cards without stifling the incentive to create personal interpretations. The booklet even provides interpretations from other readers on the first card in the deck to demonstrate the versatility of its content.
The artwork in this deck is filled with beautiful scenery and masterfully depicted figures. I enjoy Marchetti’s use of light and shadow to create atmosphere and depth that immediately engages the eye. The imagery is evocative and less stiff than many other decks with a similar art style. It is cohesive without being repetitive, and both male and female figures are represented. Additionally, the tone of the artwork is usually neutral, allowing for both positive and negative interpretations. The illustrations do not adhere to a specific theme, but the jesters and masks that distinguish Marchetti’s work grace several cards.
Although a few similar ideas show up among the card meanings, there is less repetition in this deck than many other oracles on the market. The keywords are also widely applicable, which makes this deck appropriate for a variety of topics. Additionally, the choice of imagery to represent many of the concepts is innovative and unique. For instance, card #37’s theme is relationships, and the image depicts a mechanical photography device displaying snapshots of different people.
Another element of this deck that I appreciate is that the keywords do not appear on the cards. Marchetti encourages the reader to interpret the cards and their symbols without immediately being influenced by a word or phrase. He states in the companion book that one of his intentions was for the deck to be flexible in its interpretations, and I think he did an excellent job achieving this goal. The symbolism within the cards is accessible and multifaceted. There is a lot of depth to ponder, but one does not feel lost or confused without the guidance of keywords on the cards. I think the facial expressions, postures, and details throughout the deck are wonderful fuel for intuitive insights. The thoughtfulness and intent behind every nuance makes this deck very satisfying to both the eye and the intellect.
I think this deck is an excellent choice for a reader who wants to utilize personal associations and read without the immediate input of keywords or other systematic associations. There is a sense of freedom with this deck that is very refreshing, and the artwork is unique and attractive. I highly recommend adding this oracle to your collection!
Extra Materials: *****
Overall Score: 5 out of 5