Shining Angels Tarot – Giuditta Dembech and Federico Penco
“We have deliberately omitted the 72 Geniuses of the Cabbala, which represent the most widespread angelic tradition, choosing to favour Light Beings from ancient, lesser-known Scriptures. Now the Names of the Divine Intellects leap out of the oblivion of ancients [sic] texts and take on a new life, ready to act with their power in our daily world; because writing and pronouncing their names means beckoning them to us, putting them into contact with our needs.” – From the Little White Book to the Shining Angels Tarot
The second round deck from Italian publishers Lo Scarabeo, the Shining Angels Tarot depicts angels in female form as companions, guides, helpers and protectors to humanity. Culled from the ancient texts of the Pentateuch, the Sepher Ratziel, the Celestial Hierarchy of Dionigi Areopagita, the text by Abbot Tritemius and the works of Giordano Bruno, the Shining Angels deck was “the fruit of careful study, of the experience born of endless research, of the passion with which one explores the marvelous world of the Spiritual Hierarchies.”
Unfortunately, as with practically all Lo Scarabeo LWBs, the scholarship of Guiditta Debech who envisioned the Shining Angels Tarot is mostly lost, with only angelic names and short descriptions accompanying brief, rather traditional card meanings.
Smiling feminine angels and comforting scenes evoke feelings of peace and well-being, as most would expect with an angel deck. Artist Federico Penco wields a dynamic watercolor brush, painting unusual perspectives (for example, Michael hovers far above a town in the Justice card, flaming sword in one hand and scales in the other), as well as an unusual knack for capturing the tender grace angels offer humans (especially children).
One card from the Shining Angels Tarot that reflects angelic love is the 7 of Pentacles, which shows a smiling angel holding the hand of a young boy; she points across a river to the Big Dipper constellation, which happens to be made out of seven gold coins joined by luminescent white lines.
Angels get a more prominent place in the Shining Angels Tarot compared to another Lo Scarabeo deck, the Tarot of the Angels. All cards bear a specific angel’s name as the most prominent title, but traditional designations are placed around the border in six languages. The Minor Arcana suits are Chalices, Wands, Swords and Pentacles, while the Court Cards follow the Knave, Knight, Queen and King categorization.
The round cards of the Shining Angels Tarot are rather large, around four inches wide, and come in an attractive square box with a lift-off lid. Shuffling round cards are understandably difficult, unless you use the “finger paint” method of swishing the cards around.
I’ve been using this deck for several weeks now, and I do admit it has grown on me. At first, I thought the images a bit simplistic, especially with look-alike strawberry blonde angels dominating most illustrations with their wide-eyed knowing smiles. However, the more I use the Shining Angels Tarot, the more I discover gentle secrets about life and the Divine.
Perhaps this deck might whisper to those with open hearts and minds, especially ones inclined to a peaceable Tarot that beckons rather than pushes, illuminates rather than pierces, comforts rather than scolds.