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Tarot of The Imagination Cards – March 8, 2001
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About the Author
Lo Scarabeo's Tarot decks have been acclaimed all over the world for originality and quality. With the best Italian and international artists, each Lo Scarabeo deck is an exceptional artistic value.
Commited to developing innovative new decks while preserving the rich tradition of Tarot, Lo Scarabeo continues to be a favorite among collectors and readers.
Llewellyn is the exclusive distributor of Lo Scarabeo products in North America.
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The suits of this deck are a strong departure from other decks, as mentioned above, and are drawn from the artist's large body of work. The trumps were painted for Lo Scarabeo as tarot, and the pips reflect various preoccupations in Pinter's body of work. There are unflinching representations of WWI and WWII, rather melancholic representations of love affairs, and images which suggest travel to distant parts of the world. It is a dream-like, surreal, and evocative deck -- truly a tarot of imagination. It gives particularly poignant readings about love affairs, and lost loves, which should be taken into account if bringing strong feelings to the surface is undesirable. The artist is clearly well acquainted with adventure, love, and romance, as well as disappointment, loss, and violence.
In addition to the historic Kings and Queens, the courts have strong, unique characters. The LWB has brief, poetic meanings for the cards. One of my favorites being the truly romantic Knave of Chalices, "Desire. To search the sea of life for someone who is searching for me." The meanings of the cards are different, and the images resonant. Intuitive readers will recognize a certain world weariness that could be described as a European sensibility. The delineations themselves are some of the most evocatively intimate I have ever read and unique to this deck.
I have sought out different versions of this deck, as it is truly a work of art. The some of the pips and courts have been given monochromatic backgrounds to give the deck a cohesive visual structure, which are sufficiently harmonious with Pinter's sensuous, impressionistic painting.
It is highly recommended for those with an attraction to modern art and complex or diverse artistic visions. It may be unappealing to the more conventional tarot reader, but for those attracted to work that is a little, or very different, this is one not to be missed. It is collectible on artistic merit alone. It is special, as is Iassen Ghiuselev's vastly underrated and widely misunderstood Tarot of the III Millennium, which is truly a work of conceptual art.
While hard to find in the US at the time of this writing, it can be had from the UK and EU amazon, tarot sellers or ebay sites at a reasonable price.
This is a fascinating deck and is a serious departure from the classic Ryder collection, which is much more accessible for most readers, novice and professional alike. These cards are like some phantasmogoric landscape, utterly captivating, but often opaque in meaning. The card faces literally beg the reader to feel meaning, rather than to analyze it.
Some of the cards are more literal than suggestive, such as the King of Pentacles. Most, however, are highly evocative and demand the reader work his or her own imaginative and intuitive powers to derive sense and value from them. Many even seem to echo the absurdism of Salvador Dali, such as the portrait of the Hanged Man, who seems to drip like nasal discharge from the gigantic head of another figure.
Many of the cards have historical contexts as well. Several are set in times of crisis, revolution, and war, chiefly found in the Sword suit, which seems appropriate enough. The artist, Ferenc Pinter is to be commended for his breadth of imaginative topics, which, like the tarot itself, ranges from passion to pain, from illusion to stark reality. The deck has urged me to learn more about this talented artist.
On the downside, the deck has some serious flaws. Perhaps it is my easy familiarity with Ryder, but some of the illustrations simply have no relevance to me with traditional interpretations. For example, the Ten of Pentacles displays what appears to be a typical American couple before the great Sphinx in Egypt. They are on holiday and snapping photos with their 35mm cameras. Perhaps I am misguided, but I thought the general divinatory intent of that card was to signify family prosperity and wealth.
Last, the guidance provided by the boxed set insert for general card meanings often departed from most commonly accepted interpretations. Again returning to the Ten of Pentacles, the brief commentary observes that the card signifies " Understanding. Returning to where one once was afraid to go." The artistic rendering for this card does not suggest that meaning at all, unless I am simply not seeing what the artist saw from the card.
I awarded this deck four stars because of its graphic quality, but it is not a tarot for the beginner. It is more useful for advanced readers, who, when throwing down a spread, are interested in not only answering a critical question, but allowing their minds to run free in this imaginative playground.