Arthor: Riccardo Minetti
Artist: Silvana Alasia
Publisher: Llewellyn (Lo Scarabeo)
Publication date: June 2002
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The Etruscans were a people who lived in the valleys between Tuscany and Lazio in Italy before the Romans achieved greatness. They were engulfed by the early Romans. In fact, they were so thoroughly absorbed by the Romans that not all that much is known about their civilization even today. What remains of Etruscan art and culture is generally often in painted tombs near former Etruscan cities.
The Etruscan Tarot is an attempt to capture the spirit of the Etruscan civilization in tarot card art. The card illustrations are modeled after tomb paintings. The art is even incomplete, as if small parts of the painting had faded or fallen away with the passage of several thousand years. The effect is much nicer than this description may make it sound.
Each card in the deck has a full size picture. The art is somewhat primitive and I did not care much for it when I first saw this deck, but it grew on me. If these cards are truly representative of Etruscan tomb art, the Etruscans must have had a very interesting society. While the deck has the usual cards and suits (queens are called ladies and kings are called lords), the symbolism on each card is much different from the Rider-Waite "standard."
Like the majority of the Lo Scarabeo decks I've seen, the Etruscan Tarot only comes with a small foldout flyer (actually two, one in English and one in Spanish). This one gives a small amount of background information on the Etruscans, very brief descriptions of the cards and their meanings, and two special divinatory layouts. The descriptions tell what the painting on each card is of, but does not any give divinatory meanings. A beginner will need a separate book on the Tarot to even take a stab at divining with these cards. The two divinatory layouts given, the Tomb and the Banquet, look interesting, but the descriptions of the positions for the Banquet are a bit too poetic to be really clear.
The Etruscan Tarot is published by Lo Scarabeo of Torino in Italy and is distributed in the US by Llewellyn. I'm not really sure what to say about this deck. It's not one of my personal favorites -- probably because I'm not a huge fan of primitive art and I prefer more esoteric symbolism in each card, yet this deck has grown on me in the few weeks I've had it. If you are in the market for an unusual deck, take a look at this one. As a gift, however. it's really only appropriate for someone who already knows how to read a tarot deck.
Reviewed by Randall