New Worlds Spring/Summer 2013 Issue
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Review of the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight
This article was written by Barbara Moore on November 30, -0001
The Tarot of the Sweet Twilight is a unique and beautiful place where kindnesses are more poignant and pains evoke tenderness. Opposites blend and dance highlighting the beauty in the darker aspects of life and showcasing joy tinged with knowledge. While not a run-of-the-mill beginner deck, it is a powerful experience appropriate for any level of Tarot enthusiast.
Honesty is imperative. You must know from the start: I love this deck. My heart was lost to it almost a year ago when I was in Italy working in the Lo Scarabeo offices. Riccardo Minetti, the editor there, pulled out Cristina’s original artwork and that was, as they say, that. Later, the little flame in my heart was fanned—again by Riccardo—into a bonfire when I was asked to write the dreaded Little White Booklet. If you think using those books is frustrating, try writing them! Luckily, Riccardo turned what could have been a wretched experience into a magical one. He knows that my "mental deck" is the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. He knows that it is my wont to force all decks into that mold. So he instructed me to just sit with this art, one picture at a time and forget what card it is supposed to be and what the Rider-Waite-Smith version looks like. Just sit with the art and write down what it says. And so I did. And in doing so, I found sweeter beauty and deeper meanings than I otherwise would have.
I don’t tell you all of this to just share an anecdote. I share it because I think it is the best way to experience this deck. Meet it as new person who looks curious and fascinating and slightly freakish and enchanting.
It would be easy to assume that the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight is a dark deck, based on its name and just a few images. But I don’t think it is a dark deck. Perhaps I’m not sure what that really means…dark, pessimistic, painful without hope of redemption. The Sweet Twilight isn’t that at all. There is such a sweet innocence to it. And it is not cloyingly naïve. There is, in almost every image, characters experiencing or facing the loss of their innocence. This makes the situation particularly poignant. But added to that is not despair but wistfulness. Whether the characters are remembering happy yesterdays or looking forward to a new day with hope, it gives the images an added depth. We are not shown merely tragedy; we are shown that redemption exists because of tragedy. We see not merely heartache but the love that mingles with heartache. In short, it shows life in twilight.
You may have gathered from the paragraph above that this deck is well suited for intuitive readings. You would be right. Although it follows the familiar format of the Rider-Waite-Smith in structure, there are differences in composition. Also, the meanings come not so from the "use of traditional symbolism" but from reactions evoked by the art. If you know the RWS deck, you’ll resonate easily with the defiant young girl in an old-fashioned aviator cap holding a pentacle (4 of Pentacles), the young lovers lost in their own world (2 of Cups), and the young purple-haired girl wearing a t-shirt with a large heart on it and holding a knife to the center of that heart (3 of Swords). You may have a harder time connecting with the slender woman with long hair and flowing sleeves standing on a rooftop of a house at the bottom of the ocean looking up at a swan on the surface (9 of Cups) or the girl with long brown hair and clad in pink gazing into a pool where she sees her reflection: a skeleton with long brown hair (7 of Cups) with their Rider-Waite-Smith counterparts.
So you feel a little unsteady for a bit, your world is slightly shaken, you are not in perfect control of the meanings of the cards. So what? It’s a small price to pay for such an experience. As the author of the Little White Booklet so eloquently says, "They [the cards] speak to the soul and their message for each soul will be different. More than most decks, the meanings of these cards are found in that space between you and the image, in the relationship created as you view the image."
Just as twilight is between day and night, this deck is very much about the spaces between things and the possibilities that exist. As for the interpretations in the Little White Booklet, they are a tool. In reading any interpretation you will know immediately whether it resonates or not. If so, then follow the path it is pointing towards and see where you end up. If not, then turn around and go in a different direction. I don’t think I can review the booklet any further than that. I wrote it and a year later, I still like it.
How does this deck read for me? In a word: beautifully. But only if I am in a mood to go slow, to let go of my mental deck, and to rely on my intuition. Frankly, that is not my natural state, so this will probably never become my regular reading deck. But next to my current regular reading deck, this one has been getting the most use. In addition to using it for readings, it’s been an excellent companion for my journaling. I have also really enjoyed using it with Mary K. Greer’s 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card.
You know, I can write about this deck until the cows come home. But the best way to know if this deck is for you is to check out the images. If you love them, then you’re in for a great treat and an exciting adventure. If not, I’d suggest that you keep looking for one that touches your heart.
Name of deck: Tarot of the Sweet Twilight
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator’s name: Cristina Benintende
Name of accompanying booklet: Tarot of the Sweet Twilight
Number of pages of booklet: 63 (14 in English)
Author of booklet: Barbara Moore
Brief biography of author(s): The Tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the Tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the Tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has been active in the American Tarot Association and has spoken at Tarot conferences around the United States. Barbara’s articles on the Tarot have appeared in several Tarot publications and in Llewellyn Publications’ New Worlds of Mind and Spirit magazine. She has also sat on the "Tarot Journal" editorial board. Barbara’s own education in the Tarot has been and continues to be broad and enlightening. She has studied under renowned Tarot scholars Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack, and she has taught the Tarot to all manner of would-be Tarot readers.
Barbara enjoys the challenge of giving a voice to Tarot cards and oracle decks. She has had the good fortune to write books for several decks, including A Guide to Mystic Faerie Tarot, The Gilded Tarot Companion, The Hip Witch Tarot, Enchanted Oracle and The Mystic Dreamer Tarot.
Available in a boxed kit?: No.
Magical Uses: Meditation; Pathworking
Reading Uses: All
Artistic Style: Surreal
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: No.
Does it have extra cards?: No.
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: No, but Justice is VIII and Strength is XI,
Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: No.
Does it have alternate names for the Court Cards?: No.
Why was deck created?: To explore the archetypes of the Tarot through the eyes of innocence as and accompany that innocence as it experiences some of the harder aspects of life.
Book suggestions for Tarot beginners and this deck: 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Alternative decks you might like:
The Hip Witch Tarot
The Secret Tarot
The Tarot of the Elves
"The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew…it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82)
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