Artist: Luca Raimondo
Publisher: Llewellyn (Lo Scarabeo)
Publication date: April 2002
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The Olympus Tarot attracted my attention the minute I saw it in the Llewellyn catalog. I was interested not only because my religious beliefs are Hellenic, but because the artist is Luca Raimondo. The artwork in Raimondo's previous deck, the Tarot of Casanova, impressed me. I was not disappointed by his efforts on the Olympus Tarot.
Each card in the major arcana pictures a Greek deity strongly associated with the archetype represented by the Tarot. Zeus is The Magician, Athena is Justice, Artemis is The Moon, etc. Most of the choices seem logical, but a few have me scratching my head a bit. The minor arcana use the standard cups, pentacles, wands, and swords as suits, but they are associated with places, objects, creatures, and heroes respectively -- and their illustrations reflect this. The minor arcana are fully illustrated. Unlike most Tarot decks, these illustrations generally do not include a number of cups, pentacles, wands, or swords. Often the only immediate indication of the card's suit and rank is the symbols and words in the margin. The illustrations for the cards generally fit the card meaning, although sometimes this is only apparent after some thought.
Like all the Lo Scarabeo decks I've seen, the Olympus Tarot only comes with a small foldout flyer that describes the reasoning behind of the deck, very brief descriptions of the cards and their meanings, and a single divinatory layout. The descriptions of the cards are very useful for this deck as they identify the scene illustrated on the card. However, there is no way an beginner could learn to use this deck with this flyer.
The Olympus Tarot is published by Lo Scarabeo of Torino in Italy and is distributed in the US by Llewellyn. If you like Greek mythology and are in the market for a Tarot deck, you will definitely want to look at this deck. As the symbolism is somewhat different than the Rider-Waite symbolism shown in many Tarot books, this deck might not be the best choice for a first Tarot deck. That, however, is this deck's only real drawback.
Reviewed by Randall