A unique and beautiful simulation of ancient Egyptian art combining traditional Tarot concepts and the mysticism of Egypt as described by Jean Baptiste Pitois ("Paul Christian") in his fantastic and romanticized book, The History and Practice of Magic. These large, 3" x 6" cards are perfect for meditationIdeal for anyone working an Egyptian spiritual system or for people looking to examine past lives during the Egyptian period.
One of the the enduringly popular books on occultism is The History and Practice of Magic by Paul Christian. This was the Anglicized name of Jean Baptiste Pitois for a book first published in France in 1870, seven years before his death. The reason for its popularity may be its dramatic and imaginative writing style, part of which included a fascinating, fantastic, and almost phantasmagorical story of initiation in ancient Egypt that merged with the Tarot. If you made an error in your attempt to achieve initiation the result was permanent imprisonment or death, not a polite dismissal. It seemed to be part science fiction, part occult, part fantasy, and part horror, but it is presented as if it were a history book. But if some of it is accurate, where is the line between accuracy and imagination drawn?
An artist, Maurice Otto Wegnar, made line drawings of the Major Arcana, based on the stories of Pitois. In The Egyptian Tarot Grand Trumps, Silvana Alasia has created a full-color version of the Major Arcana based on the stories of Pitois, the drawings of Wegnar, and her own creative abilities. These large, 3" x 6" cards are beautiful and remarkable.
The modern occult revival developed along with the archeological excavations in Egypt. The incredible pictographic markings and spiritual beliefs of the ancient Egyptians—many of which were poorly translated or untranslated, leading to imagined interpretations—infiltrated occultism, influencing the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, and many other occultists. The influence of ancient Egypt on occultism remains to this day. The hold of ancient Egypt on the world also remains, as exemplified by the recent tours of ancient Egyptian artifacts from Tutankhamen’s (King Tut’s) tomb. The Rosicrucians, an organization that sprang up in the early 1600s in Germany, has one group that traces itself back to Akhenaton (died c.1336 b.c.e.) of Egypt.
There have been several Tarot decks that have attempted to capture the flavor of ancient Egypt with greater or lesser success. These cards, however, are the first to capture both the flavor of Egypt with the romanticism and fantasy of Pitois that had triggered the imagination of so many occultists over the ages. The images themselves are well researched and have a degree of reality to them mixed with clever alterations to the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition. The Fool, for example, has a crocodile and not a dog at his feet. The Lovers is closer to the pre-RWS vision showing a golden figure aiming a bow and arrow at one of two women vying for the attention of a man wearing the crown of lower Egypt. Death is illustrated by the weight of the feather of truth (the goddess Ma’at) against the deceased. The Tower shows a lightning-struck pyramid, and The Sun shows the famous disk of Aten with its arms reaching out to people below.
The large size of the Egyptian Tarot Grand Trumps is great for doing pathworkings to ancient Egypt. The images of each card appear to be on papyrus with a black border, the darkness representing night and the feel of the papyrus making pathworkings and past life regressions to that time easier and more effective. If you do any work with Egyptian ideas these cards are highly recommended.
Due to the size of the cards, this is not a deck for everyone. Although Tarot readings can be effectively performed using just the Major Arcana, the large size of these cards makes shuffling, cutting, and display on a table challenging. But if you’re interested in Egypt, the artistic Egyptian Revival, or Egyptian mysticism, this would be a package to have for mystical work or display.
Name of deck: Egyptian Tarot Grand Trumps
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Artist’s name: Silvana Alasia
Brief biography of artist: Silvana Alasia was born in Turin, Italy on April 20th 1963. She obtained her art school diploma at the Aldo Passoni Art Institute in Torino. She has always been carrying out a long-range artistic career that encouraged her to be constantly creative. She has been an illustrator and author of many books, most of them children’s books, that have been released by popular publishing houses. Besides working as a commercial artist, she has also been a photographer and author of picture books’ projects as well. She started her career as a visual artist and in particular as a graphic designer in 1984 winning prizes and awards. Later on she focused on the figurative painting.
Available in a boxed kit?: Yes. The kit comes with a full-sized book and a deck with full Major and Minor Arcana. The deck is also available by itself and in mini size
Magical Uses: Path working; Past life work
Ethnic Focus: Ancient Egyptian
Artistic Style: Pseudo-Egyptian Pictographs on papyrus
Theme: Paul Christian’s ancient Egypt
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot Major Arcana
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes
Does it have extra cards? If yes, what are they?: No
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: No
Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: This set does not include the Minor Arcana. A full, regular-sized or mini deck is available.
Does it have alternate names for the Court Cards?: This set does not include court cards. A full, regular-sized or mini deck is available.
Why was deck created?: A modern reconstruction of "Paul Christian’s" union of the Book of Thoth and the Tarot.
Book suggestions for Tarot beginners and this deck: Various introductions to magick such as Tarot & Magic by Donald Michael Kraig would be of value. If you like the imagery and want to use this for readings, don’t get the deck by itself! Beginners should get the kit which contains the full deck and the book.
Book suggestions for experienced Tarot users and this deck: History and Practice of Magic by Paul Christian; The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt and The Sacred Magic of Ancient Egypt by Rosemary Clark. Egyptian Paganism by Jocelyn Almond and Keith Seddon
Alternative decks you might like: Nefetari’s Tarots, Ramses: Tarot of Eternity, Tarot of Cleopatra