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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Review of The Fey Tarot

This article was written by Barbara Moore on November 30, -0001
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The Fey Tarot invites you into a world of joy and magic. The faeries in these cards are not traditional English spirits but altogether different and completely enchanting. Likewise, the meanings of the cards and the messages they give are fresh, providing new insights and wise advice. Shuffle these cards and find yourself delightfully transported and enlightened.

In-Depth Review:
Once upon a time, Pietro Alligo, the artistic director for Lo Scarabeo, saw the beautiful artwork of Mara Aghen and talked to her about making a deck. She was eager to take on the task, but knowing nothing of Tarot, she wanted help. Pietro asked Riccardo Minetti, a talented Tarot deck creator, to work with Mara. Riccardo and Mara got on famously well and together created something truly unique.

The Fey Tarot is based on the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition but is not strictly speaking a clone. For those very familiar with the RWS images, it will be easy to see similar meanings in these images. If you want a compositional clone, look elsewhere. However, for those who are familiar with RWS and enjoy stretching their understanding and perceptions, this deck will not disappoint.

Although this deck is called The Fey Tarot and does indeed feature faeries, the creatures pictured herein are not like traditional English fairies. These fey creatures have more of a fantasy and alien feeling to them. They inhabit different worlds and places and times. Their pursuits appear at times epic and at other times very simple. And yet, despite the unusual beings and settings, the feelings evoked by these cards are familiar. We easily relate, which makes it all the easier for us to take the next steps and see the differences from a place of acceptance. And thatís how this deck skillfully assists us in gaining new insights.

The 8 of Cups is one that has an epic feel to me. The foreground shows a somber young fey woman in traveling clothes. The background shows a tall, ornate chalice atop a winding stair that looks like a mountain. A crescent moon is visible in the background, but just barely as the space between the fey and the chalice is very misty, as if the way is unclear. The fey is clear and ready to go. The chalice, or the goal, is clearly identified. But the path to get there is not quite as well defined.

The Wheel card is amazing. It shows an aerial view of a young fey in a wonderful pink gown with purple opera gloves and an older, white-haired fey woman. They sit opposite each other and are playing some sort of game. It uses pieces like arches and houses and barns and animals and trees. The pieces are set in a spiral and these fey women are playing by moving the pieces around.

The Death card is perhaps the best Death Iíve ever seen. Riccardo wrote: "The face of Death was greatly influenced by Sandman by Neil Gaiman. When this card was still in progress, I asked Mara to give it a face I could fall in love with." And I have to say that Mara succeeded. In the fey Death card, a young purple fey with red hair and one green eye and one red eye sits at a round table. She rests her face on one hand while she seems to be either looking right at you or staring off into space. On the table in front of her is an unusual chessboard (it is round) and on it are chess pieces. Some look familiar, such as the Rook (which looks like a little like The Tower) and the King, but there are also snails, angels, stars, dragons, and wheels.

This deck is filled with images the easily evoke feelings and insights and meanings. It incorporates plenty of symbolism, both traditional and personal. Anyone, from a novice to a well-seasoned, open-minded reader could read with this deck as is. However, I would highly recommend the kit, which includes a full-sized book. I donít make this recommendation because the book is necessary to understand the cards, but rather because it contains the fascinating story of a deck from concept through development and into the final images. Riccardo saved every sketch and doodle that Mara did and many of them are in the book along with notes from Riccardo. In addition to the creative journey, it is very interesting to read about all the surprising symbolic touches Ric and Mara hid amongst these delightful images.

I find this deck to be a very good reading deck, particularly for spiritual questions and insights. But my favorite use for this deck, and one I just recently realized, is creative writing. This deck inspires my imagination and creativity like no other. If you use tarot for writing or other creative activities and if this art appeals to you, I urge you to try it.

Deck Attributes
Name of deck: The Fey Tarot
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Deck: 9780738706528
Kit: 9780738702803
Creatorsí names: Riccardo Minetti and Mara Aghen
Artistís name: Mara Aghen
Name of accompanying book/booklet:The Fey Tarot
Number of pages of book/booklet: 156/63 (14 in English)
Author of book/booklet: Riccardo Minetti
Brief biography of author: Riccardo is an editor at Lo Scarabeo and has also designed a number of decks, including the Etruscan Tarot, the Manga Tarot, and the Gothic Tarot of Vampires.
Available in a boxed kit?: Yes
If yes, are there extras in the kit? What are they?: A 156-page book
Reading Uses: General
Artistic Style: fantasy/manga
Theme: Faeries
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes
Does it have extra cards?: No
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: No
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 joy and magic of Tarot through fresh eyes.
Book suggestions for experienced Tarot users and this deck:
21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer.
Alternative decks you might like:
The Manga Tarot
The Mystic Faerie Tarot
The Fairy Tarot
Tarot of the Magical Forest
Tarot of the Sweet Twilight

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