The Tarot of Atlantis by Bepi Vigna, Art by Massimo Rotundo

Review by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

 

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

 

Disaster, chaos and collapse have been in the news and on my mind. In this mood, I saw the Tarot of Atlantis deck while browsing in a local shop. Atlantis the lost, the abiding legend, the Fall of our magical past. If Atlantis were real, I thought, then its people faced what we face. And if this tarot deck were real, I thought, it would tell of struggling, surviving, in the end of course dying, in such a world. So I picked it up on the off chance it might work – and the cover art was pretty.

 

The inside illustrations range from elegant to dynamic to cartoon, but they depict a consistent world. A world that enchants and repels, that is both beautiful and corrupt. A warlike, luxurious, knowledgeable, arrogant world. Overall, a lot like our own.

 

The Moon card is pure magic. An island in a moonlit lake, just large enough for the great stone that touches the sky, and the ring of dancing women invoking its power. Drawing down the Moon. Not so lovely, but brilliantly done is Death, which shows a grieving woman holding a young warrior’s lifeless body. A personal favorite among the Majors is the sailing ship in stormy seas as the Chariot. If you’ve held a tiller to ride that rushing edge of water and wind, then you know what I’m talking about. And for an island nation, strong ships meant prosperity and protection.

 

So what of the corruption? Some of it, appropriately, lies within the story of Atlantis itself, for Judgement must be the screaming people, the exploding volcano, the falling pillars. And the World – a mere map of the land that was once but is no longer. The Devil is a chained monster, an exhibit of humanity’s power rather than its wickedness, and so in its way, even more of a monument to denial.

 

Every Sword is a scene of men at war. The Chalices (Cups) are a lascivious suit, which is mostly okay by me. But the nostalgia of the Six of Cups shown as a drunk old man peeping into a bedroom window is creepy. And I fail to see why the giant orgy in the Five of Cups should mean, according to the booklet, “secret practices” while the smaller orgy in the Ten of Cups means “love and friendship” – but toss out the little white book anyway. The pictures tell their own story. Some, like the Seven of Wands with its guarded procession of noble men and women passing through a dolmen, are engagingly enigmatic, and may tell a number of stories.

 

The Aces aren’t as strong as I’d like. The Ace of Pentacles shows four men over a dice game. Their play appears more important than whatever gain is supposed to be at stake. The Ace of Wands is better, showing a man inscribing a stone with a sacred bull’s head. The image acknowledges the power of creativity but in its depiction glorifies the human activity over the source. The court cards (King, Queen, Knight and Knave) are a mixed bag of interesting characters, but they are not uniformly presented as in some decks, and not all of them stand out from the pack of the pips as a result. 

 

To enter and divine in the world of the Tarot of Atlantis, accept it on its own terms. Take its limitations with its gifts. And it will work as an oracle of these decadent yet precious and meaningful times.

 

You can see more images from this deck here.

 

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

 

You can read another review of this deck here.

 

Tarot of Atlantis by Bepi Vigna; Art by Massimo Rotundo
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN#: 0738704644


 

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince has been a reader and teacher of Tarot for over 15 years. She is the artist and designer of the Tarot of the Crone, a sold-out, limited-edition deck. She writes tarot-related articles, poetry, short stories and meditations for herself and for several online study groups, as well as for printed newsletters. She is presently working on Pandora's Tarot, which can also be seen on her site.


 

Images © 2004 Lo Scarabeo
Review © 2005 Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Page © 2005 Diane Wilkes