The Amado 777 Tarot by Amado Crowley
Review by Morwenna Morasch

 

When I received this deck from a friend in the United Kingdom, I was extremely curious. After all, the name of Crowley will raise your expectations, especially when the bearer claims to be an illegitimate son of Aleister’s. I will not, however, question the author’s origins, but just stick to Tarot.

 

The deck comes in a deep violet cardboard box adorned with purple stars and the The Magus (Major Arcana Card XXV). The reversible backs show the same stars with “777” emblazoned in the middle. The cards consist of two packs, the Alpha and Beta Pack. The Alpha pack is structured like any other Tarot, with 22 Majors and four suits of 14 Minor Arcana cards each. Seven of the Majors have been renamed as follows (Aleister, by the way, renamed six):

 

Number

Traditional name

Amado 777 name

1

Magician

Conjurer

2

High Priestess

Pythia

8

Justice

Tribunal

11

Strength

Might

12

Hanged Man

Gibbet

14

Temperance

Sobriety

16

Tower

Citadel

 

The Beta Pack gives us another two suits and an additional five Major Arcana cards. The new suits are not named, but the website informs us they are called Crowns and Acorns. The additional Majors are called:

 

22 – Zany

23 – Question

24 – Starman

25 – Magus

26 - Lookout

 

There is no little white booklet (LWB), just one folded A4 sheet of paper, telling us the actual manual is available from Amado’s website. It does not say Amado expects us to pay another 21 dollars for the download of that ebook, which I found rather annoying as a marketing strategy. After all, the (approximately $57) deck had already been dearly paid for, which I felt entitled me to at least some basic information. The manual would have been essential especially for the new suits, of which I can’t make head or tail otherwise. The website speaks of a free preview of the first three chapters, but I didn’t manage to find a download link without having to pass on my credit card information...so I left it at that. In addition, the sheet warns us that, "the Beta Pack contains all the cards that are new to you. You do not have to make use of them, but if you do – mingling the two packs together – then all the meanings change significantly."

 

I would have like to see that happen, simply because I can’t see why an addition of new cards should change the meaning of those existing before at all, and also because I can’t see how the author would achieve this. Apart from the scarce information on the deck, I scanned the FAQ section to find out whether there is more to be learned about systems and symbols Amado uses, but while most answers sound down-to-earth enough, there isn’t really much insight to be gained from them.

 

The art is not really my cup of tea. Many of the computer-enhanced drawings seem quite primitive and clumsy, and the colors are sometimes garish. Still, in their own way, some of the bold sketches do make a visual impact. The deck supposedly was inspired from an old deck handed down to Amado by his maternal grandmother, which allegedly must pass from male to female to male in the family. Apparently, pictures of the original cards are included with the ebook.

 

The Major Arcana are probably the most traditional part of the deck. Many cards are easily recognizable and depict the well-known scenes and personages. Justice (Tribunal) is eight, a heavily veiled figure holding a sword and scales, Strength (Might) is 11, a blonde in a green dress trying to overwhelm what seems to be a sharp-toothed teddy bear. Anyway, a lot of the cards show motifs that invoke fairy tales or nursery rhymes, though most of them have a grotesque edge to them. The Empress, for example, shows an old granny knitting a long stocking or shawl with red and yellow stripes. Yes, she produces something – but does this equal fertility? I think not.

 

The Minors are much less traditional. The suit of Coins starts with an Ace that depicts an antiques store named “Crowley & Son,” which showcases a huge coin and a board advertising “Rare coins sale today”. A Rolls Royce parks in front of it. While unconventional, I can see this as setting the mood for the suit. Many of the other cards seem to follow traditional meanings at least to some extent, while using original scenes to convey that message. The Eight of Coins, for example, features “The Great Marvo”, a skilled illusionist juggling coins between his fingers. Others are less transferable, like the Five of Cups, where a closed casket stands in a wine cellar between old glasses, bottles and cobwebs. The window reminds me of a prison. A rat has turned over one of the glasses and sips up a green liquid. The whole scene looks abandoned and long forgotten. All in all, most meanings can be matched to traditional keywords.

 

The extra Majors from the Beta Pack remain a mystery to me. I can’t really distinguish between the Conjurer (Magician) from the Alpha Pack and the Magus in the Beta Pack, except the former looks a bit like a charlatan, whereas the latter at least is engaged in a serious magickal ceremony. Did Amado feel the need for a Master of High Magick as opposed to the traditional Magician’s sometimes rather flashy side? I can accept Question (XXIII) as a possible Major, but the scene of some Ku Klux Klan or High Inquisition members torturing the bequestioned person is not my idea of it. Zany (XXII) shows a creature that is half-man, half-woman, seducing a man and woman to either side. The whole deck is certainly zany, so maybe a card of that name is just as well…  Starman (XXIV) is my favorite card in the deck, reminding me of Copernicus, which is why I associate him with a an ever-questioning, probing and inquiring mind – the Faustian principle. The last Major, Lookout, shows a feisty guy with a third eye cutting toadstools with a scythe – probably to assist his visions? Moving to a higher level of consciousness in this way, I’d rather connect with Judgment instead of appointing a new card.

 

I’ve tried to connect the two additional suits to a stringent system without the booklet's help, but was unable to do so. The suit of Crowns seems to relate somewhat to physical primal forces, especially when you look at the Ace, which shows an erect (and quite realistically rendered) penis, which is surrounded by butterflies and thistles with a sheet of teardrops and blood in the background. A huge crown hovers above the scene, and, as if all this isn’t enough, the poor thing is throttled by a black belt. The Four is also gory, with a green-robed man slicing open a lilac-colored giant, red guts spilling out of his body with hands and a face (and a snake dangling down between the legs). Many of the other cards in this suit also deal with physical pain or violence, and a lot of fighting is going on (between a griffin and a snake, a knight and a dragon, a druid about to sacrifice her victim… you get the idea).

 

The suit of Acorns includes more legends and fairy tales. The Ace only shows an acorn and some oak leaves. The three pictures the Pied Piper attacked by rats, the Eight features a green-faced witch peeling potatoes, the Nine shows a huge church bell hanging over a coffin, while a snowman stands guard merrily, the Queen is a sort of Bo Peep herding piglets. If anyone can appoint an elemental correspondence to this, please contact me as soon as possible. For my part, I have no idea how to interpret this (Too much cocaine will kill you?).

 

This is, for sure, an interesting deck. While I think the art is frumpish and sloppy, it is not unimpressive. I like my decks to follow a system that feels consistent however, and can’t find any merit in the additional cards. I’m pretty sure I will never get a good reading out of this deck myself, but as a collector’s item, there will be at least the novelty aspect.

 

The Amado 777 Tarot by Amado Crowley

Publisher: Diamond Books

ISBN#: 0-9517528-5-5
 

 

You can order the book and see Amado Crowley's website here.


 

Morwenna Nadja Morasch's first encounter with the tarot took place 20 years ago, when she bought Ferguson's Tarot of the Witches in a novelty store out of curiosity. She was immediately hooked and presently owns a collection of about 60 decks. Morwenna has taken classes with two excellent German teachers, Pekny and Banzhaf, and also studies astrology. Spiritually, she follow a Witch's path with a close relationship to the Faerie folk, and has written a book linking faerie magic with the Tarot, Begegne Deiner Fee. View Morwenna's private homepage here.

 

 

Images © 2001 Diamond Books
Review © 2003 Morwenna Morasch
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes