Review: Fin de Siecle – Kipper Fortune Telling Deck

Fin de Siecle – Kipper
Fortune Telling Deck

Author: Ciro Marchetti
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
Contributors: Fortune Buchholtz, Stella Waldvogel, Susanne Zitzi
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-57281-845-3

Fin de Siecles Kipper cover

The Fin de Siecle is a 39 card deck (3 additional cards have been added to the traditional 36 cards – Poverty, Toil & Trouble, and Community) and 83 page companion book based on the traditional German Kipper system. While maintaining the basic concept and numbering, the visual setting (originally from the Biedermeier period in Bavaria) has been adapted to the Victorian period in London. The deck also incorporates an animated video version of each card, which can be accessed by downloading a specific app and signing up (which is free). Full instructions are included in a downloadable, full color pdf document.

The deck and companion book come packaged in a beautiful cardboard box that opens the long way, and has a magnetic closure. (As often as my cats knock my decks down, I truly appreciate these magnetic closures!)

In his introduction, Marchetti talks about the background of this deck – about his meeting with Johannes Fiebig, from the publishing house AGM-Urani/Konigsfurt/Urania, where they discussed various aspects of cartomancy publishing. One of the gifts that Marchetti was given was a copy of the original version of the Kipper. He was then asked if he would like to produce an updated version of this deck. Initially, Marchetti declined, due to the commitment that such a project would require in both time and effort. However, when he started working with the cards he had been gifted with, he began to see what could be done. In the end, he moved the location from Bavaria to Victorian Britain.

Each card is presented with a small black and white scan, the card name and number, and a short write-up by each of the three contributors (Fortune Buchholtz, Stella Waldvogel, and Susanne Zitzi).

The spreads that are presented are the Triple Pyramid Spread (by Stella Waldvogel) and the SOS Spread (by Susanne Zitzi).

The end of the book carries information on accessing the interactive application for this deck.


The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 1/8”, and are of good quality card stock. I love the silver edging – such grace and quality! The card backs have a black border surrounding gold imagery with the image of the face of a Court Jester in the center. The cards are not reversible.

The card faces show the same black border, with the number centered on the top, in gold. The card title is centered on the bottom, in gold lettering. A gold border surrounds the card imagery. The cards maintain a sense of continuity in that elements from one card are also found in other cards (i.e. the paintings seen in the study of the Main Male reference other cards in the deck).

Note: I have chosen to give the explanation from one of the three contributors (all three have contributed an explanation got each card). The need for the contributors has an interesting background – there simply is very little information about the Kipper system in English, so there was a need for knowledge from individuals that were familiar with this system.


1 – Main Male

(Fortune Buccholtz) “The male significator and co-protagonist of our novel. In keeping with the time, he’s a fine gentleman, a so-called Man of Qualities, and we meet him in his study. Note the paintings in the study refer to other cards. For an opposite-sex reading, he’s the partner of the Main Female, Card 2. In a same-sex reading, he’s the partner of the Wealthy Man, Card 13.”


7 – Message

(Stella Waldvogel) “Informal communications such as letters, texts, notes, memos, phone calls, voice messages and e-mails. (Card 27 is the card for formal paperwork requiring a signature.)”


8 – False Person

(Susanne Zitzi) “Don’t trust everybody or everything you see. Even salt looks like sugar. This card warns you against dishonesty and deception. Hold your cards close. Check your motivation and targets too.


21 – Family Room

(Fortune Buchholtz) “Midmorning coffee is served in a bourgeois drawing room, true to Victorian style. The drawing room in better houses was off the formal parlor, and was a place to withdraw to for entertaining close friends and family. Society visits would have been kept in the formal parlor, so we know we’re now in a welcoming and supportive space where secrets and personal matters may be shared. Literally, it’s a room and stands for all private and enclosed spaces such as living rooms, hotel rooms, offices with doors, apartments. More abstractly, it represents privacy and intimacy. This sense of closeness can also refer to the time and place, as in soon, near, right next to you, or shortly, no more than a month.


36 – Distant Horizons

(Stella Waldvogel) “This is a card of dreams and fantasies. The card that follows this one can be a dream (or fear) coming to pass. But is a card is followed by this one, it will remain just a dream for the time covered by the reading. Hopes will come to pass if Card 26 is next to this card. It can also stand for a message from overseas. The timing is usually summer.”

I love the information that Marchetti includes on the background of this deck, and on why the move from Bavaria to Victorian Britain for background. This deck is very good at showing the day to day of life, as it existed in Victorian times. The deck is very easy to use, and a pleasure to read with!

© July 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.


Review – Oracle of Visions

Oracle of Visions

Author: Ciro Marchetti

Artist: Ciro Marchetti

U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


ISBN #978-1-57281-756-2 Oracle of Visions cover

“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 we may now have along with

considerations and responsibilities we have to apply when making them.”

Ciro Marchetti

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: Card 4 Perspective 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. IMG 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. IMG_0001_NEW 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. IMG_0002_NEW 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. IMG_0003_NEW 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. IMG_0004_NEW 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. IMG_0005_NEW 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. IMG_0006_NEW 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. IMG_0007_NEW 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.

(c) 2000 – 2014 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

Oracle of Visions

Oracle of Visions

Author: Ciro Marchetti

Artist: Ciro Marchetti

Independently Published

2010, 2011


If “art” serves any purpose other than

simple decoration, it’s to bring into

focus, if only for an instance, enabling

us to see that which might otherwise

pass unnoticed.

~ Ciro Marchetti


I have followed Ciro’s progress through several decks (“The Gilded Tarot”, “The Tarot of Dreams”, and “Legacy of the Divine Tarot”), and have been awestruck at the innovative manner in which he presents his material. His “Tarot of Dreams” was the was the very first time that I had seen an interactive CD used in such a manner – I was like a little kid in a candy storet! Ciro was also the first deck creator that I knew of to include such marvelous “extra’s”, such as wall paper, note paper, screen savers and more.

While his previous work has been in the area of traditional Tarot decks, his path has taken another turn here, to that of an Oracle deck. In stepping outside of the strictures of traditional Tarot, he was able to create a tool of empowerment for meditation and divination that was not dependent on text of any kind – the images do the talking. The images then act as visual starting points for intuitive reading. The images themselves were consciously kept neutral, so that the interpretation dependent upon the specifics of the reading. In essence, Ciro terms this a “reality check”.

In using an oracle of this type, we are able to get out of our own way – we move past our shadows and our fears, as well as our (at times) unrealistic expectations. We are better able to consider the ramifications of our decisions and actions, and to accept responsibility for the world that we have created/are creating around us.

Ciro has (loosely) broken down the images in this deck into four categories: Situations, Emotins, Actions and Behavior. He also does not see a need for reversals. Yay! I don’t read with reversals anyway, so this is a high spot in my day! His reasoning is that the potential presented by reversals is contained within the images themselves. This is also my thought, along with the caveat that surrounding cards will define the interpretation. This is also the reason for no keywords, and no titles on the cards. The numbers at the top of the card are simply used as a reference to their description in the companion book. There is no one common theme either. Ciro notes that he is sharing his passion for jesters, masks, mechanical devices and faux Victorian dress and characters. The masked figures in this deck can be a generalization, or representative of a specific individual.

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The deck is a 52 card deck, with the cards measuring 3.5” by 5.5”. They have a glossy finish, and that lovely gold edge that I adore! The card backs are red and gold, with a black outer border and a jester in the cener. They are not reversible. The card faces show a black outer border, with a thin gold inner border. The card number is centered on top of the card, and the initials “O V” (Oracle of Visions) centered on the bottom. The artwork in richly colored, along the lines of whimsical fantasy.

The book, deck and CD are packaged in a heavy duty cardboard box that will withstand both storage and handling. The 80 page book begins with an introduction by Ciro, followed by a presentation on each card that includes a full color image of the card, a short quote, Ciro’s personal description and meanings, with opposing suggestions in places.

For example, Card 1 grabbed me immediately, at a time when I was extremely stressed. I loved the card, even though I had no clue how Ciro envisioned it. Looking in the companion book, I saw “A New Beginning – A Release From the Past”. Yahoo! Spot on! The quote for this card is “Yoy may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down. “ ~ Unknown.

Ciro’s notes for this card include the idea that in moving on from failure we make the choice to leave the past behind. On the floor, or bottom of this image are three discarded cards – each a Fool from his three previous Tarot decks. From the bix their spirits are released as three doves, representing new beginnings. There is also a note to be sure that the time is right to move on.

At the end of the book is a short section on interpreting this oracle. Probably the biggest suggestion is that this deck is intended to be as flexible as possible. As an example, he uses card number 1 and interprets it in two different ways. This is followed by an example of several cards read together.

The final chapter of the companion book discusses the background for the “Oracle of Visions”, and the journey (through three Tarot decks) taken to bring it about. It was a learning curve, and this is the end product. He talks about the changes that we see in Tarot from country to country, and from printer to printer, as well as the beliefs of the various decks creators. Then there is the inconsistency in symbolic meaning from deck to deck.

The CD that accompanies this deck/book set includes the extra’s, the “added value” that Ciro is famous for. In this instance, we are gifted with screensavers (Mac and Windows), wallpapers, avatars (Woo Hoo!), and a very engaging  puzzle. One more thing … A thoughts and notes booklet, in PDF format, is downloadable from Ciro’s site!

I found it very easy to relae to and read with this deck. It can be used to augment a Tarot reading, or as a stand alone oracle. No previous knowledge is necessary. Have fun with this!

© July 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Interview With CIro Marchetti

Interview With Ciro Marchetti

I had the great good fortune to meet Ciro Marchetti at Readers Studio 2009. It was there that the Tarot world got the first glimpse of a project that Ciro had been working on for some time – an interactive membership site that was conceived along with the “Legacy of the Divine” Tarot deck itself, the companion story, and the promotional video.

Ciro, along with team members Carlos Rodriguez (FL), Chris Maher (NY), and Rik Hamilton (UK), have put in an incredible amount of work (which started before the deck was even finished). To quote Ciro: “The purpose of this site is to provide a visually rich Tarot environment that will be both entertaining, informative and functional.

This is intended to be an ongoing project, with updated articles, Hall of Knowledge “snippets” (50 word synopsis of Tarot related wisdom), and some completely new features in the future. Various people from the Tarot world have contributed articles and snippets, allowing many different voices to be heard. (I would like to thank Ciro for allowing me to be one of those people!)

Let’s hear what Ciro himself has to say about this stunning world that he has created for us!

BC: Ciro, this was an all inclusive project from the very beginning. How did that come about?

CM: From the learning curve of producing the Gilded Tarot several years ago, I considered there had to be more possibilities and options for telling the Tarot story than simply having 78 images printed on card. Artists throughout history have embraced new media and technology when it became available. From hand prints on cave walls to the latest multimedia feats delivered to your mobile phone. Yet Tarot seemed to have lagged behind, up until very recently. Tarot decks have been modified in thousands of ways from variations of size, system, theme and image style, but all still based on an image printed on card. Even web sites and phone applications are still merely reproducing a static image albeit on a screen of some kind.

I felt that this missed a great opportunity to take the genre to a new and different level entirely, namely to incorporate animation and sound to breathe some additional life and allow the “cards” or sequences to better communicate their message. I believe when I did this initially on the interactive CD that accompanied the original special edition of the Tarot of Dreams, this was a first. This Legacy web site is an evolution of that process.

BC: What was the developmental process of the Hall of Knowledge?

CM: This is really a means of virtually replicating a scene from my Legacy story, where I enter through the “Gateway” and experience the various interactive walls. Interactive data bases which when approached, respond by providing a wealth of information and instructions covering an eclectic range of subjects.

BC: Tell us a bit about the lenses that have been incorporated into the Halls of the Major and Minor Arcana. How will they allow for future expansion, and what might we see here?

CM: The larger central lens is the main viewing area that displays the animated video sequence for every card of the suite and arcana. Outside of that main lens each interface has four additional smaller lenses, the first of which is already active. Its a link to a designated card calculator or “Portal”, with appropriate question categories for its corresponding suite. The other small lenses will be activated in the near future with some really great additional features. These will include “talking cards”, and the ability to select any card, add a personal message or greeting and send it by e-mail as a digital “post card”.

BC: Can you explain why the downloads will go faster the more times an individual uses this site?
(Personally, I felt that the download time was very good, right from the beginning.)

CM: We are assuming that some people may not have the fastest internet access or when they log on for the first time the internet may be at a peak time, and the download of all the graphics and video content may reflect that. Nevertheless we have put a lot of effort into compressing the content to be as efficient as possible and hosting the content on high end servers. Much of the content will also be stored in your browser cache, so in fact it won’t have to be repeatedly downloaded.

BC: I love the reading rooms! Can you give us a mini tour, and tell us how they work?
CM: We consider the reading rooms to be one of, if not the most sophisticated reading software available. Its a proprietary one developed by Rik Hamilton, who is not only a master software programmer, but also a tarot reader of many years experience. It offers the Gilded, Tarot of Dreams and exclusively the Legacy decks. The Reading Rooms are designed to simulated a true reading environment. you click and drag cards onto decorated tables to create whatever spreads you wish. You are not limited to simply choosing from a limited list of pre determined spreads.

After a reading, you can type a summary, save it to your “Private Journal” for future retrieval or send it by e-mail to your querant.

BC: What are some of the ways that you suggest for using the animated cards feature?

CM: Beyond simply looking at them to gain a deeper understanding of their message, we believe that they lend themselves to being used as teaching aids by those who give tarot classes.

BC: Could the animated cards be used in a professional reading?

CM: Absolutely, wether from their home base, or at a local coffee shop or book store. By logging on, readers could quickly select and play the animated cards that they have just selected from a physical deck and discuss them with their querant in their context of the reading.

BC: If someone wanted to submit an article for future use, how would they go about doing so?

CM: Simply contact me with a brief description of the subject of your proposed article and short bio.

BC: Please talk for a moment about your gift shop. There are some incredibly awesome items offered, including Tarot bags, shoulder bags, quilts, cushions and reading cloths. (All done by hand by Ciro’s talented wife Maria!) How did this come about?

CM: My wife and I have a lovely house which is elaborately decorated with a number of mystical and tarot related items, many of which are adapted from, or incorporate my imagery. After having hosted a couple of meetings of the local tarot association, many of our guests indicated that they wanted to also have some of the items on display. It expanded from there.

BC: What is included in your graphics room?

CM: I receive requests almost on a daily basis asking permission to use some of my images to decorate other peoples web sites and blogs. So I decided to go one better and produce a selection of tarot themed images, designed to also incorporate plain areas, where people could add their own names (real or professional)

BC: What would you like the Tarot world to know about using this wonderful site?

CM: I think the most important issue is to point out that this site is not merely a source of tarot ‘eye candy”. The content is designed to be visited on a regular basis to be used and to learn from. It contains an ever growing Library of articles especially written for this site by leading authors and figures from todays tarot community.

Other features such as the daily card calculators are exclusive and sophisticated programs in their own right designed to filter their responses via the users input to provide more personal and relevant results.

And last but not least, the site designed to constantly incorporate new features and content.

I want to thank Ciro for taking the time to chat with us. This is an incredible venture, made even more so by the fact that he is including the Tarot community in the process.

BIO: Ciro Marchetti (Florida) is an award-winning artist from the United Kingdom. He studied art in London, followed by a career working in Europe and South America before settling in the United States where he opened a design agency in Miami. In addition to managing his company, Ciro also gives workshops and lectures on digital digital imagery and illustration at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute, and continues to create his own visionary art. His decks include the “Gilded Tarot”, “Tarot of Dreams”, and “Legacy of the Divine Tarot”.

© October 2009