"The Blind Ones had told of its coming, that which would bring about our destruction. No one doubted their wisdom, and we neither feared nor questioned their reason. We understood that we were, ourselves, of the stars, and our existence in this form is but an instant in eternity. We would cease to be part of the universe. But we lamented nonetheless." - From the companion book to the Legacy of the Divine Tarot (Gateway to the Divine Tarot)
Months ago, award-winning digital artist Ciro Marchetti came out with a self-published version of his third tarot deck, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot. Now, the mass-market edition from Llewellyn Worldwide has entered the world to much acclaim.
Creator of the well-received Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn) and the Tarot of Dreams (self-published), award-winning digital artist Ciro Marchetti unveils his latest and, supposedly his last, Tarot deck: the Legacy of the Divine Tarot.
Arguably his most aesthetically pleasing and stylistically uniform deck to date, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot begins with a back-story crafted by Ciro in the form of a 42-page self-published book. Although Ciro tells me he's "not a writer", one thing I'm certain about after reading the intriguing fictional history of this deck is that he is, indeed, an engaging storyteller!
There are so many neat touches within the card imagery that it's difficult to just pick a few to talk about--but here are some of my favorites from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot:
* The Empress - A pregnant young woman is surrounded by vibrant tokens of fertility, proliferation, ripeness and protectiveness--eggs in a nest, luscious fruits, scattering dandelion seeds, luxuriant vegetation, a rabbit, a whale and its baby, and so on.
* Faith (Traditionally named The Hierophant) - Like the Tarot of Dreams, this card is not only renamed, but its imagery reflects four different religious traditions
* 10 of Cups - A sleeping dog and cat lie together before a cozy fireplace, ten glass goblets upon the mantle and side shelves
* 3 of Swords - This image shows a close-up of a girl in braids, a tear streaming down her cheek that's adorned with a heart tattoo (it reminds me of the Rohrig Tarot's stunning version of this card)
* The Knights, rather than riding a horse or other beast, are represented by elaborate helmets among representations of the four elements
* 8 of Swords - The woman is not only swathed in loose cloth bindings, but she's suspended in a gossamer web (oh the webs we weave?)
* 6 of Cups - A girl lays in the flower dappled field, daydreaming of a time when she was flying a kite with another child (shown in silhouette)
Astrological correspondences are artfully positioned within the cards (e.g. the symbols Sun in Capricorn for the 4 of Coins, Mars and Pisces for the 10 of Cups, etc.), but admittedly, there are some I simply cannot find! I'm not sure if this is because Ciro left some imagery without the astrological symbols or that he's hidden them so cleverly that I just can't decipher them even after close scrutiny.
The reversible card backing features an intricate mechanistic device, with both front and back borders framed in black, fading into the central image (a beautiful effect resembling looking through time's window). The cards from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot measures approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches.
I've been using this deck for several months now, and I'm so impressed with its imaginative artwork, lavish hues, approachable imagery, and unexpected details. For example, I once did a reading for myself and The Magician and The Chariot were among the cards.
They came up before, so it's not as if I was unfamiliar with the imagery. But during that particular insightful and reassuring reading, a contemplative stillness descended upon me. I felt to "come closer" to the cards--to gaze at them with new eyes.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that The Magician had not five fingers, but six! I then noticed that one of the chains on the white horse of The Chariot had snapped and was flying loose. These unfolding details added intuitive information to the reading, not to mention that I was delighted to discover previously overlooked touches!
In addition to Ciro's creation story and his own take on each of the cards, the 295-page companion book also includes additional card insights from Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone, James Ricklef, and Leisa ReFalo. Reading the different takes on Ciro's imagery is refreshing, providing loads of spiritual, practical and esoteric reflections to chew on.
The companion book to the Legacy of the Divine Tarot also includes several spreads and three correspondence charts: numerological, planetary and zodiacal. There is also a 14-page article on How to Read Tarot by Leisa ReFalo at the end of the book.
In terms of card imagery, most of the pictures remain the same as the self-published edition. The mass-market edition of the Legacy of the Divine Tarot isn't super-glossy like the Gilded Tarot (Ciro's first deck), but it's not as matte as the self-published edition. It's a nice medium, actually.
The card backings are the same, but the fonts are different. I'm not too big on the mass-market edition fonts for the card titles; the letters appear too scrunched together and reminds me of the "wild west" rather than a futuristic society. Ciro's original, clean font is far superior.
The box set of the Legacy of the Divine Tarot also includes a black organdy bag for storing your deck, as well as a plain white paper box.
As with the self-published version, this deck is a gorgeous and accessible deck. In my opinion, it's Ciro's finest. The Legacy of the Divine box set is certainly one of the best Tarot decks of 2009, and the companion book commentaries sparkle with great observations, personal experience, esoteric depth and heart. You'll even find some "inside scoops" on the genesis of card imagery (I loved Ciro's story about his inspiration for the 6 of Cups!).
The Legacy of the Divine Tarot is stunning on so many levels--a truly remarkable deck for readings, contemplation, journaling, and sheer artistic admiration.
(To see 18 images from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, as well as read additional information and see side-by-side images comparing the self-published verson vs. this mass-market edition, visit the Reviews--Decks section at JanetBoyer.com or click here)
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About the reviewer
Janet Boyer (JanetBoyer)
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Amazon.com Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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