Deck Author: Ciro Marchetti
Deck Illustrator: Ciro Marchetti
ISBN #: 978-0738715650
Number of Cards: 78 Major Arcana: 22 Minor Arcana: 56
Card Size: 2.75” x 4.5”
Publisher: Mass Market published by Llewellyn 2009, Special Edition version self-published by Ciro Marchetti 2008
Deck Tradition: Rider-Waite-Smith
Deck Theme: Fantasy
Suits: Cups, Swords, Wands, Coins
Court Cards: Page, Knight, Queen, King
Major Titles: 0 – The Fool, 1 – The Magician, 2 – The High Priestess, 3 – The Empress, 4- The Emperor, 5- Faith, 6 – The Lovers, 7 – The Chariot, 8 – Strength, 9 – The Hermit, 10 – The Wheel, 11 – Justice, 12 – The Hanging Man, 13 – Death, 14 – Temperance, 15 – The Devil, 16 – The Tower, 17 – The Star, 18 – The Moon, 19 – The Sun, 20 – Judgement, 21 – The World
The Fool is 0, Strength is 11, Justice is 8
Card Back: Reversible
Companion Material: 295-page companion book in English
Note: this review is for the Mass Market version of the deck published by Llewellyn
I am the proud owner of Ciro’s previous decks – The Gilded Tarot and the Tarot of Dreams (unfortunately,now out of print), both of which I love and use regularly. I may have to say that this third deck, The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, may be his best yet (although it would be a toss-up between this one and the Tarot of Dreams). As I had just purchased this deck recently, I haven’t had much of a chance to read with it. But now after working with it daily for a week, I do believe that this will be one of my main working decks – the ones that I will have available for clients to choose from.
The companion book entitled “Gateway to the Divine Tarot” relates a fictional backstory of a post-apocalyptic world of knowledge lost, then regained (Atlantis perhaps?) and the entire deck is based upon this new world. The first 63 pages of the book relates the entire story – but don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. I will say however that it makes the deck that much more relevant and understandable. Below is an excerpt from the back of the book:
Venture through the gateway…and enter a fantastical world of knowledge lost, a living holographic museum of wisdom waiting to be rediscovered. Unlike other museums, this magical repository of knowledge doesn’t just contain information of the past; it holds vital guidance for our future. And it all began with a dream…
The artwork and colors in deck are stunning – some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen in the decks that I own. In so many of the decks that I’ve seen, the court cards often fall short and are disappointing. Not in this deck! The imagery of the people in the cards is so vibrant and vivid, that if feels as if they are going to come out of the cards. It certainly make it easy to meditate on and enter into the cards. It is interesting to note that each of the court characters look right at you, drawing you further into the card.
Each card is surrounded by a black border which fades into the image, which I really like. It makes the border hardly noticeable at all. The deck uses wands-fire, swords-air symbology with the suits of the minors being Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins. The court cards follow the RWS tradition of Page, Knight, Queen and King. The cards themselves come with a smooth, matte finish with an excellent quality card stock making the cards quite durable. The reversible backs portray a device of some kind – perhaps a door or window – surrounded by a greenish-yellow web-like design. The numbering system of the deck uses standard numbers for the minors and Roman Numerals for the majors. The name of each card is displayed on top center of the card inside of the black border and the number/numeral is placed in the bottom center of the card. Additionally, the astrological correspondence is positioned within each card, adding another layer for the interpretation of the cards. For instance, in the Chariot card, sign of Cancer is placed on the front of the Chariot with the Moon overhead. In the Emperor card, the figure is standing below a stained glass window on which is painted a giant Ram’s head. The deck also comes packaged with the stand Llewellyn black bag.
Back of Cards
The deck follows the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition of 78 cards with the Strength card being 8 and Justice 11. While the much of the imagery is recognizable from the RWS tradition, there are a number of changes to the symbolism. For instance, the figure in the 8 of Swords is not only blindfolded, but is caught in a Web. This made me think of the complicated web we sometimes weave in our own lives. I will say that although some of the symbolism differs from the RWS tradition, those familiar with the tradition should have little difficulty in interpreting the cards.
8 of Swords
The Wheel shows the same person in different phases – sometimes almost falling, sometimes holding on for dear life and sometimes reaching the summit. The deck also gives us a good idea of “The Fool’s Journey” by placing what appears to be the same figure in four different cards: The Fool, The Wheel, The Hanging Man and The World.
Ciro has renamed the Hierophant card to “Faith” and depicts a figure that represents four the world’s major religions. To me, this provide a more encompassing idea of religion and belief systems. Both the imagery and the name of this card seems to depict a more universal idea of spirituality.
I also liked the symbolism in the 2 of Coins card. Here we have a figure on a bicycle with no handlebars. In each hand, he is grasping a large coin and seems to be barely hanging on. He seems to be riding the bicycle on waves that are quite choppy but at the same time he is halfway surrounded by a rainbow. This made me think of the ups and downs of life – and the balancing act we often have to deal with on a daily basis.
2 of Coins
One of my favorite (and in my opinion one of the most beautiful) cards in the deck is The Chariot. Here, a figure is standing upright in a winged chariot led by two horses, one brown and one white, splashing through water. Each horse is attempting to turn in the opposite direction. The brown horse seems more wild and untamed whereas the white horse is muscular and powerful, more disciplined. One really gets the feeling of staying focused and driving straight ahead, in spite of the energies that pull us in different directions.
Another one of my favorite cards is the 10 of Cups, which depicts a cat and a dog sleeping together, in front of a warm fire. Every time I see this card, I can’t help but smile.
10 of Cups
The 295-page companion book is divided into three parts: The Story, The Cards and How to Read Tarot. In the card section, each card is discussed in detail by Ciro, as well as four other well-known experts in the Tarot community: Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone (Proprietors of The Tarot School and organizers of the Tarot Readers Studio), James Ricklef (author of Tarot of the Masters, Tarot Tells the Tale, Tarot Affirmations, The Original Tarot Coloring Book and Tarot: Get the Whole Story) and Leisa ReFalo (owner of Tarot Connection). Each author gives their perspectives and ideas on the cards and at the end of each card description, Ciro provides a quote relevant to the meaning of the card. In the third section of the book, Leisa ReFalo discusses a variety of techniques relating to reading Tarot: how to phrase questions, using spreads, internalizing the cards, connecting with your deck and much more. This section also contains five spreads, ranging from 3 cards to 9 cards: the three card Legacy Spread, a seven card Pages (or What is Needed) Spread, a nine card Knights Spread, a five card Queens Spread, and an eight card Kings Spread.There is an also appendix that contains attributions for the elements, numbers, planets, and zodiac signs which is a treasure in itself.
This beautiful deck can be used by any Tarot student, regardless of level. I personally find it a delight to read with and the richness of the art and colors make it an ideal deck for readers who read intuitively. Those interested in fantasy and science fiction may especially find this deck attractive. This would also be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection. Highly recommended!!
Buy the Legacy of the Divine Tarot HERE
All images of the Legacy of the Divine Tarot © Copyright Ciro Marchetti