Legacy of the Divine Tarot
Author: Ciro Marchetti
Artist: Ciro Marchetti
The “Legacy of the Divine Tarot” was first published as a Special Edition deck, prior to being mass published by Llewellyn Worldwide. It comes as a set, with the traditional 78 cards, the companion book “Gateway to the Divine Tarot”, and a black organdy bag to hold the cards. The box is a cigar type box that opens lengthwise. The cover shows the imagery from the Queen of Wands (which many of you will recognize from Leisa ReFalo’s “Tarot Connection” site). On the back is printed the following:
“Step into a lost world from long ago …
A world veiled in darkness after a cataclysmic collision that stilled the earth. Millennia have passed and only humankind has survived – through the divine gifts of dreams.
Exquisitely rich and magical, this new Rider-Waite-Smith based tarot deck by digital artist Ciro Marchetti takes you into the heart of fantasy. You can use this legacy from ages past to discover what you need for your own life as it guides you toward hope, wisdom, and inspiration.”
The 295 page companion book, “Gateway to the Divine Tarot”, is a story onto itself – that also tells the story that is Tarot. The beginning of the story is all about a dream – a dream that it seems must be a reality, as there are physical manifestations of the dream in Ciro’s real environment. From there, we go far back into history, where the third planet from the sun collides with an asteroid. This is catastrophic, but some flora and fauna did survive. One species survived above all others, because it had one distinct advantage over other species – it had the advantage of forewarning.
We learn about the Blind Ones, an elite class with great knowledge. They revealed to humankind, to the hour, the time of their passing. A council was called, and the Kings and their courts of the four elements were summoned. The goal was to determine the directions and actions to be taken in the remaining twelve solar orbits.
The Four Kingdoms flourished, and were in balance with their environment. However, they were not always in balance with each other. One realm shared in their activities, but also ruled over them. They were the people that looked beyond the physical to the mind and the universe. The Blind Ones were part of this group of people. They were blessed from birth, and possessed great powers. (Another group came to my mind when I read this – the Bene Gesserit from the Dune Trilogy.) With their guidance, the civilizations that developed after the cataclysm paid homage to their common memories and heritage.
The story now moves back to the present, and to correspondence Ciro is having with a gentleman by the name of Gianluca Colombo de Savoy. De Savoy comments on the “Limited Edition Tarot” that Ciro did, and then he sends him prints, along with a handwritten note. The imagery in the “Gilded Tarot” – is it possibly not unique to Ciro? Could he have seen it before, and not remembered it? Ciro is invited to Italy – in fact, it is more of a command performance than an invitation.
Once he gets there, he hears a fantastic tale about knowledge shared between de Savoy and a small group of colleagues, and now being shared with Ciro. For various reasons, the time was not right, and this information has been suppressed. Part of this story is about gateways – gateways that are very similar to images in the “Tarot of Dreams”.
Ciro had been “encouraged” to visit Italy at a specific time because one of the gateways would be opening, and de Savoy wanted him to experience the museum that it opened into for himself. This is an absolutely wonderful section, showing a great gift for vision and insight into journey work. From this experience Ciro walked away with formative ideas for his next Tarot deck – “The Legacy of the Divine Tarot”.
The traditional names for the Major Arcana are used, with the following exceptions: The Hierophant becomes Faith, The Wheel of Fortune becomes the Wheel, and the Hanged Man becomes the Hanging Man. Strength is VIII, Justice is XI. The suits are entitled Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles; the Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight and Page.
The presentation of the cards in the companion book is text only. Ciro has presented his own thoughts on the cards, as have contributors Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone, James Ricklef, and Leisa ReFalo. Ciro talks about the reasoning behind his choices of imagery for the card, while the Amberstones talk about the basic card energy. James Ricklef provides in depth commentary, while Leisa ReFalo covers each card using the following categories: keywords, reversed keywords, description, meanings, elemental attribution, planetary attribution, gifts and advice. At the end of the presentation on each card Ciro has included an applicable quote.
In a precursor to the Court Cards, Ciro talks about the Court Cards as templates for royal families. In other words, the Court Cards are flexible! In this deck, they all look directly at the reader, making a strong connection. Ciro gives a general description of each card, and the intent behind the card.
Leisa wrote a very comprehensive chapter on how to read the cards. Brief instruction for doing a one to three card daily spread is given, along with a three card Legacy Spread, a seven card Pages (or What is Needed) Spread, a nine card Knights Spread, a five card Queens Spread, and an eight card Kings Spread.
There is an appendix with attributions for elements, numbers, planets, and zodiac signs, along with an in-depth bibliography.
The cards themselves are approximately 2 ¾” by 4 ½”, of good quality card stock. The backs are reversible, with a dark border surrounding a gold and silver mechanical web (the same back as the Special Edition deck). The card faces carry the same dark border, with the Major Arcana showing the card title at the top of the card, and the card number, in Roman numerals, at the bottom of the card. The numbering and lettering is color coded by element.
The Minor Arcana Pips show the suit at the top of the card, and the card number at the bottom of the card. There is a slight difference in style, as the Special Edition used Roman numerals for the pips, while the mass edition does not. The Court Cards carry the card title and suit at the top of the card, with the lettering color coded to the elemental associations.
The artwork is digital, very much in the fantasy tradition. The Pips and Court Cards show the same imagery as the Special Edition deck, while there is some difference in the coloring (but not the imagery) in the mass produced deck. The cards that I noticed significant color changes in were The Magician, The Emperor, Strength, and Justice.
Some of the imagery carries through the Major Arcana – for instance, the same figure appears on The Fool, TheWheel, The Hanging Man, and The World. The hourglass that The Fool balances on, and its colored sand, also appears in The Hanging Man and The World.
We see The Fool balanced in space, with the Major Arcana cards arching around him. The High Priestess has eyes so pale as to almost not be there. The Emperor, standng under the sign of the Ram, evokes a sense of great power. The Chariot is a winged chariot, while the Hermit carries with him a sense of the hidden (as does the High Priestess). I love that The Wheel shows the same figure (that of The Fool) in all four of its phases. The Hanging Man is suspended horizontally over a horizontal hourglass (indicating that time is standing still). Judgment shows a larger than life Archangel, while The World shows the figure of The Fool, standing balanced on the hourglass of time, with the twelve Zodiac signs circling around him.
Ciro has created a beautiful, magickal interactive e site to showcase this deck at www.legacyofthedivinetarot.com. Here members will be able to create and save their own readings, work with the cards and much more! He also has stunning videos on You Tube for The Tower), The Empress, and the Four of Wands.
This is a deck that could be used by any Tarot student that had a basic understanding of the cards. It is a deck for collectors, for those that are interested in the theme of fantasy, as well as for those that want to offer their clients a choice of decks that will open up their experience o the cards.
© August 2009