“The Emperor’s edict was unquestioned. The Kings of the Four Elements offered opinions but were ultimately subordinate to his authority. Within the context of this new imminent reality, their territories and dominions were now redundant—differences and conflicts of the past, now irrelevant. Instead, each was now commanded to adhere to a plan of action that would supersede all else. From this day forth, all activity would be directed to the common goal of survival, albeit for a few, whomever destiny might choose to favor.” – From the Legacy of the Divine Tarot illustrated story book Creator of the well-received Gilded Tarot (Llewellyn) and the Tarot of Dreams (self-published), award-winning digital artist Ciro Marchetti unveils his latest and, supposedly his last, Tarot deck: the Legacy of the Divine Tarot. Arguably his most aesthetically pleasing and stylistically uniform deck to date, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot begins with a back-story crafted by Ciro in the form of a 42-page self-published book. Although Ciro tells me he’s “not a writer”, one thing I’m certain about after reading the intriguing fictional history of this deck is that he is, indeed, an engaging storyteller! This version of the Legacy of the Divine Tarot is self-published, with the mass-market edition available fall 2009 from Llewellyn Worldwide. The illustrated storybook detailing the legacy of a civilization decimated by a foreseen cataclysm will not be reproduced in the mass-market edition; instead, Ciro invited four individuals to offer their personal take on the cards for its companion book.
I’ve been using this deck for several months now, and I’m so impressed with its imaginative artwork, lavish hues, approachable imagery, and unexpected details. For example, I once did a reading for myself and The Magician and The Chariot were among the cards.
They came up before, so it’s not as if I was unfamiliar with the imagery. But during that particular insightful and reassuring reading, a contemplative stillness descended upon me. I felt to “come closer” to the cards—to gaze at them with new eyes.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that The Magician had not five fingers, but six! I then noticed that one of the chains on the white horse of The Chariot had snapped and was flying loose. These unfolding details added intuitive information to the reading, not to mention that I was delighted to discover previously overlooked touches!
There are so many neat elements and cards, that it’s difficult to just pick a few to talk about—but here are some of my favorites from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot:
• The Empress – A pregnant young woman is surrounded by vibrant tokens of fertility, proliferation, ripeness and protectiveness—eggs in a nest, luscious fruits, scattering dandelion seeds, luxuriant vegetation, a rabbit, a whale and its baby, and so on.
• Faith (Traditionally named The Hierophant) – Like the Tarot of Dreams, this card is not only renamed, but its imagery reflects four different religious traditions
• 10 of Cups – A sleeping dog and cat lie together before a cozy fireplace, ten glass goblets upon the mantle and side shelves
• 3 of Swords – This image shows a close-up of a girl in braids, a tear streaming down her cheek that’s adorned with a heart tattoo (it reminds me of the Rohrig Tarot’s stunning version of this card)
• The Knights, rather than riding a horse or other beast, are represented by elaborate helmets among representations of the four elements
• 8 of Swords – The woman is not only swathed in loose cloth bindings, but she’s suspended in a gossamer web (oh the webs we weave?)
• 6 of Cups – A girl lays in the flower dappled field, daydreaming of a time when she was flying a kite with another child (shown in silhouette)
Astrological correspondences are artfully positioned within the cards (e.g. the symbols Sun in Capricorn for the 4 of Coins, Mars and Pisces for the 10 of Cups, etc.), but admittedly, there are some I simply cannot find! I’m not sure if this is because Ciro left some imagery without the astrological symbols or that he’s hidden them so cleverly that I just can’t decipher them even after close scrutiny.
The Legacy of the Divine Tarot cards are rather large, measuring 5 ½ x 3 ¼ inches with an attractive matte finish. The reversible card backing features an intricate mechanistic device, with both front and back borders framed in black, fading into the central image (a beautiful effect resembling looking through time’s window). The cards are quite sturdy, and seem to be holding up well under frequent use. For variety’s sake, Ciro has created three different versions of several cards. After getting the cards back from the printer, he laid them out and then mixed them up, so mathematical uniqueness of each Legacy of the Divine Tarot (special self-published edition) is virtually guaranteed.
For example, the Magician’s garb may be crimson, blue or green . The woman’s dress in the 9 of Coins my be aqua, blue or shimmering turquoise.
This special self-published deck also comes with a black velvet drawstring bag with the words Legacy of the Divine Tarot embossed in gold. The price for the deck and bag is $175 plus shipping and handling. The full-color storybook—akin to a lavish children’s book—is $70 plus shipping and handling. Ciro has also created a 2’ x 2’ reading canvas depicting
There are only two minor issues I feel to mention: the storybook has some a few grammatical errors and typos (but that adds to the charm for me, personally). The second was the lamentable decision on Ciro’s part to allow someone from the internet to use the Queen of Wands face on her website and as an avatar. I thought, initially, that he created it for her as a commission piece.
So for me, it was regrettable to realize that, no, this pervasive image was indeed the Queen of Wands from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot. Pity, because every time I see the image (which happens to be the most attractive and photorealistic human depiction in the entire deck), it comes with an imposed association by default. Barring those two “issues” (the storybook mistakes being truly minor and not detracting from the readability or its charm in the least), the Legacy of the Divine Tarot self-published edition (while perhaps pricey for a casual collector), is Ciro’s tour de force, in my opinion. It is stunning on so many levels—a truly remarkable deck for readings, contemplation, journaling, and sheer artistic admiration. Hearty congratulations to Ciro Marchetti for such a lovely multi-faceted creation! (You can purchase the Legacy of the Divine Tarot deck, storybook and reading canvas directly from Ciro Marchetti at this link.)
Below are 18 images from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot self-published edition:
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