Speaking of concept decks, this arrived today. I’d forgotten that I ordered it!
(Much as I recently wound up with two copies of a Gypsy Oracle deck, although in that instance one was listed as “cards” whole the other was listed as “book”, so it can be excused. I was going to return one, but Morgana was looking through it, and said she’d like it, so I gave it to her. As I don’t typically use Lenormand decks, I asked Megan if they would like to have the other one, and now I have neither!)
This deck is depicted as chalk drawings of the Tarot of Marseille, and is “based on and inspired by the mid-century artwork originally created in 1960 by Paul Mathison for the Rolla Nordic Tarot”, a deck I have been seeking for several years(see update, below). This deck follows the ancient Marseille tarot tradition., and looks to be interesting. We’ll see how I feel after sleeping with it a few days.
UPDATE 4 Feb 2020: Finally!! Rolla Nordic was a Welsh Traditionalist Priestess in the Edmund Buczynski lineage through the same line that my Welsh 3rd comes from.
As Simon Wintle noted, “the Rolla Nordic Tarot was conceived by Rolla Nordic, whose real name was Murielle Doris Berulfsen (1898-1996) and who was an avowed practitioner of divination, rune stones, celtic witchcraft and ceremonial magic, and author of the book “The Tarot Shows the Path” (1960 & 1990) first published during the hippie tarot revival (see cover notes). The artwork was produced by Paul Mathison in black and white so that the owner might colour the cards by hand to complement their learning process and enhance the personal nature of tarot reading.” I have searched for a copy of it ever since, as at the time it was a very limited printing. It’s worth noting that the deck was also originally named “Tarot Sows the Path” as well.
US Games did a slightly larger print run in the 1980s, but it went out of print following her death in 1995. I recently found a seller in Japan who had a copy at a price I could afford, and it arrived this pssat week, after spending a week sitting in a Post Office in Los Angeles. I’m undecided if I will color it or not. I may scan the cards and color those, and keep the cards themselves uncolored.
The Frankie Albano edition of the Waite-Smith deck has long been a favorite of mine. I’m exceedingly fond of the miniature version, which fits comfortably in my hand as is easily portable. Sadly, I recently learned that my oldest copy of this deck has been damaged by something being spilled on it, and so I’m researching my options towards a replacement. While searching, I found this video on YouTube.
Over the years that I have been reading Tarot, I have used many decks, from the Smith-Waite (“Rider-Waite”) to David Palladini’s “Aquarian Tarot”, and numerous others.
My very first deck was The Zolar Astrological Tarot, which is a strange Chimera indeed. It is a double-sided deck of 56 cards that touts itself as ‘four decks in one’.
The images shown here are of the 1983 reissue by US Games Systems, mine was the earlier 1968 edition. The deck consists of 56 cards. Printed on the cards are the Minor Arcana, (complete with playing card designations and interpretations of them as tarot cards (both upright and reversed. On the back of these cards are the 22 cards of the Major Arcana and several “astrological cards” with planetary and astrological signs and information.
As a result of this printing style, , you don’t have a complete deck of 78 tarot cards on one side, some of the cards are on the back of other cards.
As a new reader at the time, I hated that you couldn’t actually do a full reading with them, and quickly replaced this with something more conventional, which was a version of the Smith-Waite (Rider) tarot, printed like medieval woodcuts and in very earthy tones. I lost this deck several decades agi, and have never found another one identical to it.
Selection of cards from the Zolar Astrological tarot deck
The other deck I acquired at that time was the Swiss 1JJ Müller Tarot, which I use to this day.
The 1JJ Swiss deck is derived from the Tarot de Besançon which itself comes from the Tarot of Marseilles. It is an Italian suited pack which substitutes the figures of Juno and Jupiter in place of the Popess (The High Priestess in many modern decks) and Pope (Hierophant) of the Tarot of Marseilles. The first version was produced between 1831 and 1838 in the card factory of Johann Georg Rauch. In 1965 the Swiss card game firm, AGMüller, issued a reprint which is distinguished by its cleaner lines. The deck owes its name to this edition, the “1” simply being a number within the product line and “JJ” the replacement of 2 trumps by Juno and Jupiter. My copy of this edition dates from about 1969, and was acquired either while I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Bell, Book & Candle, a metaphysical shop co-owned by Sybil Leek at the time (which I did not know back then, otherwise I would have spent much more time there than I did as a 9th Grader! (The other likely source would be “The Magic Shop” in Lancaster, California, which I frequented often anytime I was in that town from 1969 through 1972.)
Of the decks that I use most often, the 1JJ Swiss is the one I use most, followed by a variant of the Smith-Waite, as colored by Frankie Albano, which I own in both full-size and a miniature, pocket/purse size. I am very fond of the miniature decks, because they fit comfortably in my hand, and are small enough that I can carry several similarly sized decks with me most of the time. At present, I generally carry the Albano-Waite, a miniature Tarot de Marseille, and a miniature Visconti-Sforza deck.
I’m growing very fond of the various Visconti decks, and currently own copies of the Visconti-Sforza, Visconti Modrone Tarot (aka Visconti Cary Yale), The Golden Tarot, and the Sola-Busca Tarot which is widely believed to be an early Visconti Deck.
The Visconti Modrone Tarot is from the 15th Century, fully restored, composed of 80 cards of a very large size (90×189 mm/3.5×7.4 inches) and printed in lavish gold foil.
As Lo Scarabeo describes them, “The Visconti Modrone) deck is one of three created for the noble Visconti family of Milan (the other two are the Visconti Sforza and the Visconti Brambilla decks). The Visconti Modrone Tarot is the most precious of these three decks.