Summary: This deck is created to examine the next step in human spiritual evolution that many expect to occur in 2012. The card meanings are extremely positive but balanced by a dark color palette, challenging symbolic compositions, and a Medieval-influenced setting. Those interested in deeply spiritual explorations and complex cards will get the most out of this deck.
In Depth Review
The designer of this deck had a very clear purpose in mind when creating this deck. And the first step in any good review is to understand what the creator set out to accomplish. With that in mind, let’s get the intent from the creator's own words:
The Tarot of Ascension allows us to relate to the leap of knowledge and to understand how our spiritual evolution should proceed…. The deck is intended to suggest an intimate reading of our relationship with the transcendent and with the divine light inherent to the entire cosmos. The Querent who uses this Tarot must be prepared to ask important existential questions about his or her method of seeking a mystical path.
So, there you go. If you are looking for a deck that reveals the next step in human evolution, then this is the deck for you. It seems, by self-proclamation, limited to existential, mystical questions.
Now we know two things about this deck. It is designed for a specific purpose and that it is not suited for general readings. How do I feel about decks designed for a specific purpose? I am open to them. Cautiously open. At best, they can be a great learning experience and add a welcome layer to my Tarot practice. At worst, they are an utter failure. There is nothing worse than a one-trick pony that cannot even perform its intended trick.
How well does this deck fulfill its intended purpose? Maybe we should back up and examine the purpose. “The next step in human evolution?” I don’t know. I kind of think that if there is some huge leap in 2012, part of its effectiveness is that it will be something we don’t expect, that knowing what it is will defeat the purpose. I could be wrong. Maybe we are supposed to seek it out, to strive toward it, to yearn for it, and thereby help bring it about. Frankly, I think it is the former, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it is the latter.
The images and meanings provided, in my opinion, do not show anything much different than the traditional meanings. For example, The Empress says: Abundance is everywhere. Just don’t limit your capacity to receive and, above, all, to give. If you know how to be like Mother Nature, creativity and fertility will conquer squandering and vanity.” This interpretation could come from any tarot booklet for most any deck, with a bit of New Age philosophy thrown in.
The addition of New Age philosophy is what seems to fill in for the “next step in spiritual evolution.” But again, I’m not buying it. New Age philosophy has been around for decades. However, I will ignore my misgivings and continue.
Even if the meanings are not very stimulating, perhaps the images can redeem this experience. Alas, I fear not. I would hope, would expect, that a deck about spiritual evolution would be light and optimistic. Instead, this one is murky and almost depressing…more post-apocalyptic than anything. But maybe that’s what the creator thinks the world…or our experience of it…will be. The clothes and settings have a rather medieval sensibility, adding to the general “dark ages” impression.
There is symbolism, in particular the repetition of a floating, glowing ball, throughout but I’m not quite clear on what it represents and if its relation to the figure in the card has any bearing on the interpretation.
Unfortunately, I do find fault with this deck in terms of its stated goal and how well it achieves that goal.
And as for using it as a general reading deck, there was nothing in the cards to even interest me to try.
Name of deck: 2012: Tarot of Ascension
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator: Pierluca Zizzi
Name of accompanying booklet: 2012: Tarot of Ascension
Number of pages of booklet: 63 (14 in English)
Author of booklet: Pierluca Zizzi
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Reading Uses: spiritual
Artistic Style: Illustration
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other (if other, describe): Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: yes
Does it have extra cards?: no
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards? If yes, what are they?: yes
Death = Nameless Arcane
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 next step in human evolution that will, in theory, be initiated by 2012.