A deck that delicately imitates the soft pastels of colored Ukiyo-e art in an attempt to link Samurai concepts with the Western Tarot paradigm. The art must be appreciated as should be the dedication of the designer. Many may find this deck an excellent introduction to the Samurai and the Bushido code. If you are familiar with some Asian spiritual concepts, this will be a good set of visual cues for meditation.
The Samurai Tarot is a beautiful deck. The soft, pastel colors and watercolor-like washes, certainly evoke another time and place, a tribute to the styles of art known as Ukiyo-e. It is a delightful "art deck."
The Tarot presents a view of life steeped in Western cultural traditions. How do you push and pull Samurai traditions into this Western cultural milieu? That's what this deck does. Although following the RWS format in name, the meanings of the cards do not follow the RWS tradition. Therefore, the Little White Booklet is necessary to get an idea of the meaning of the cards. The Minors follow one of four patterns: Pentacles represent daily life in ancient Japan, Wands are about improving yourself, Chalices deal with creatures of the unconscious, and Swords represent the destination of your spiritual journey. The Court Cards are each a famous person from Japanese history history or legend, ranging from the actor Kabuki Ichikawa Danjuro (Knave of Pentacles) to the monk Takuan (King of Swords). The LWB features two spreads, a two-card reading called "Duel" and a five-card spread called "Clash at the Crossroads."
The symbolism on many of the cards is very simple, matching the rather Zen ethos that pervades the cards. If you are working strictly for meditation purposes, and have studied some Asian traditions, you will find the art evocative.
And speaking of the art, it is very Asian-like, and sure to enhance any Western environment seeking to broadly imitate an Asian atmosphere. The author put a lot of thought into this deck and the art captures a Japanese flavor. This is a deck you'll come back to when in an Asian mood. Saki and some sushi, anyone?
Deck Attributes Name of deck:Samurai Tarot Publisher: Lo Scarabeo ISBN: 9780738709482 Creator’s name: Massimilliano Filadoro Artist’s name: Giancarlo Caracuzzo Name of accompanying booklet:Samurai Tarot Number of pages of booklet: 64 (14 in English) Author of booklet: Massimilliano Filadoro Available in a boxed kit?: No Magical Uses: Attuning to Asian concepts and meditation techniques Reading Uses: General Ethnic Focus: Japanese Artistic Style: Traditional Japanese style Theme: Japan and Samurai traditions Tarot, Divination Deck, Other?: Tarot Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?:Yes, but with the older numbering of Justice as 8 and Strength as 11. Does it have extra cards? If yes, what are they?: No. Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: Card 5, the Hierophant, becomes The Priest Card 9, the Hermit, becomes The Monk Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits? If yes, what are they?: Cups become Chalices Does it have alternate names for the Court Cards? If yes, what are they?: Pages become Knaves Why was deck created?: The Samurai Tarot is presented as a journey of an "inner Samurai" (the initiate that each one of us has inside) through the tests of life, transformed according to the imagination of feudal Japan, where myth and reality do not have precise boundaries and both become a metaphor of our contemporary world. Book suggestions for Tarot beginners and this deck:The Complete Tarot Reader; Tarot for Beginners Book suggestions for experienced Tarot users and this deck:Heart of Tarot; Past Life & Karmic Tarot Alternative decks you might like: The Buddha Tarot China Tarot
While Llewellyn's Classic Tarot has my name on the cover, I did not so much design this project as direct it. Llewellyn wanted a deck that was designed to be faithful to the traditional tarot images, symbols, and meanings recognizable to most modern tarot readers and students. Creating a faithful yet new expression of timeless tarot imagery is... read this article