"The Contemplative Tarot by Adriano Buldrini are the result of the mystical meeting of this artist with the ancient eternal symbols of the Arcana and the numbers as interpreted by P.D. Ouspensky. The purpose is not divination, but rather the urge to undertake an interior voyage to discover the evolution of your own Self through meditation and contemplation.” – From the Little White Book to the Contemplative Tarot
Having seen several cards from the Contemplative Tarot online, I bought it with high hopes. Unfortunately, the pretty Major Arcana cards I saw on the internet was not representative of the entire deck.
In fact, the Minors are illustrated in an entirely different style from the Majors. The Majors look stunning and vibrant, as if they were painted with acrylics or airbrushing. But the Minors look like they were colored with crayon!
The figures in the Court Cards look posed for the most part, with the Queen of Wands sneering and a “deer caught in the headlights” Queen of Swords giving the viewer the “finger”.
The other Minor Arcana cards aren’t purely pips (that is, just a rendering of the suit symbol times the card number), but neither are they fully illustrated in terms of animation. Because this deck is titled Contemplative Tarot, I assumed that mean that the images themselves provoke contemplation.
However, the reason this deck is so titled is because the card meanings in the Little White Book are accompanied by a question or two for meditation and contemplation—most quite good, actually.
Because the imagery doesn’t allow a person to “fall into it”, or at least be able to ponder an animated scene, I found it wanting in terms of a contemplative deck…especially based on imagery alone. (A few Lo Scarabeo decks that *are* good for contemplation include the Secret Tarot, Tarot of Metamorphosis and Tarot of Reflections).
Measuring approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ½ inches, the cards feature a white border with a Hebrew letter at bottom. The Majors of the Contemplative Tarot aren’t traditionally titled, but are rather named according to three groups: Man, The Universe, and The Divine with Trump XXI titled “All”.
The non-reversible backs of the Contemplative Tarot vary in color and design. The backs of the Majors are sort of khaki colored, while the Minors bear colors and symbols associated with their suit (Cups=Green/Water Symbolism; Wands=Red/Fire Symbolism; Pentacles=Yellow/Earth Symbolism; Swords=Blue/Air Symbolism). These are explained in the LWB.
If you don’t mind the jarring differences in illustrations between the Major and Minor Arcanas, and you don’t mind a more pip-like style for the Minors, you may like the Contemplative Tarot. I just wish the Minors were in the same lovely style as the Majors. And, a black border instead of a white border would have set off the artwork better, I feel.
I was expecting a more “interactive” and intuitive deck from the Contemplative Tarot, even for meditation. As they say in the LWB, it’s not a deck for divination, but contemplation—so you may want to keep that in mind, too. It’s definitely not a good deck for those new to Tarot, in my opinion.