Featuring vibrant images that straddle worlds mechanical and magical, as well as ancient and futuristic, The Gilded Tarot is a visually sumptuous deck created by award-winning digital artist Ciro Marchetti. Modeled after the Rider-Waite deck, the cards follow the traditional renderings of both the Major and Minor Arcana. Polished metal, silken garments and ethereal space-scapes unite to tell the time-honored tale of the Tarot.
The Minor Arcana is fully illustrated, and just as much care has been taken in their rendering as with the Majors. I always enjoy seeing this in a deck, especially since the Minors are often treated as an afterthought. The outer edging of the cards is black, while a golden bejeweled frame encloses the central image. The jewel-like accoutrements are color-coded thusly: Black for the Majors, blue for the Swords, green for the Pentacles, red for the Wands, and orange for the Cups.
The 150-page companion book by Barbara Moore provides solid interpretations for each card, and is especially good for Tarot novices. Upright and reversed meanings are not addressed separately, but rather, the messages and challenges inherent in each card are woven together as one. A black organdy pouch is also included in this box set, which is a nice addition.
I’m a big fan of high-tech, ethereal images, and this one delivers. It’s a deck that belongs in every Tarot collection, in my opinion. As far as reading the cards, though, several aspects are wanting. Firstly, the insertion of random astrological symbols—or the entire Zodiac itself—is a bit distracting. It’s obvious that Ciro is a Tarot novice, and this manifests itself into the cards. Decks that are created/illustrated by Tarot readers carry a depth to them that’s hard to translate into words—but is felt by those who read the cards. The Quest Tarot, Golden Tarot, DruidCraft Tarot, and Oracle Tarot come to mind as examples of decks created by enthusiasts/readers who either illustrate the decks themselves, or who work closely with the artist to bring about their vision.
So while the images are slick, there is a lack of depth to The Gilded Tarot, in my opinion. The High Priestess, for example, features a lithe, masked acrobat draped in gossamer fabric. She floats above the water, head bent backwards with eyes closed, and stars sparkle from her cap. While this is a gorgeous image, it brings very little to a reading. In the companion book, Moore does a great job at trying to interpret the image in the context of possible card meanings. But when it’s all said and done, the cards themselves must speak on their own for successful reading. And while I love looking at this deck, I’ve yet to receive a flood of intuitive information from their images, let alone solid, clear Guidance when consulting them for meditation or insight.
Another issue I have with this deck is that The Fool looks just like George W. Bush. No, I am not joking. In fact, I thought Ciro did this on purpose. When I asked him about it, he assured me that was not his intention in the least. But it’s rather hard to take this deck seriously when The Fool—the soul of the Tarot—looks so much like the President of the United States!
Perhaps you will be able to read with this deck—who knows? At the very least, The Gilded Tarot is a beautiful deck that offers vibrant images rendered by a highly skilled artist. It’s readily apparent that Ciro loves what he does, and takes great care with his work. However, when it comes to intuitive reading, gorgeous images alone aren’t enough.