Le Mani Divinatorie di Osvaldo Menegazzi - Review by Elizabeth Hazel
Buon giorno! The deck of the Hand of Divination is a sublime example of a Majors-only tarot. The deck is packaged in a custom presentation box with a stamped seal on the front. Within the box are the 22 Trump cards, a signature card, and 2 LWB's.
Commentator Alberto Tanturri has provided an insightful, tightly-written guide to the deck. In the introduction, he states "...the Tarot cards give us moral recommendations in which the future is the basest and most mundane part. In fact it is the principles which are important, not the consequences of them. Thus, this latest pack by Menegazzi is a means of meditating on our reason for being."
Each trump card is rendered with a disembodied blue hand holding a corresponding item or forming a gesture. For example, in XII., L'Appeso (Hanged Man), the hand holds the cord of a pendulum suspended over a chess board. In XV., Il Diavolo (The Devil), the hand holds the head of the devil puppet from Menegazzi's "Tarocci della Collezione" deck.
Small hand gestures speak volumes: in VIII., La Giustizia (Justice), the hand is posed in a rigid "halt" signal. A dagger floats in front of the hand, with scales suspended from either side of the hilt.
Menegazzi departs from the single hand pattern twice: VI., Gli Amanti (The Lovers) depicts a male and female hand clasping; and in XIV., La Temperanza, one hand holds a jug and pours water into a second hand.
The approach to O., Il Matto (The Fool), in both the rendering and accompanying text, is a sharp departure from the light-hearted jester depicted in the RWS. The hand emerges from a rumpled shirt sleeve with a noose around the wrist. A black blindfold is draped through the fingers. "Man, blind above all to the truth, strangled by his passions and dominated by disorder." This is a gritty take on the Fool, accenting the extremes of the probable and improbable, the vagaries of Fortune.
As a set, this rendition of the Fool's journey strikes the viewer as a mystical form of American Sign Language. With an interplay of hands postured and lightly accessorized, the artist conveys deep hermetic thought through sheer simplicity and lack of symbolic clutter. The nearly monochromatic color scheme of forget-me-not blue hands with pale, flat robin-egg aqua is compellingly soothing. Gazing at this deck could be compared to working with a crystal ball.
The philosophical content is a blend of hermeticism and Christianity, with a twist of masonic lore for spice. It is a deck, as the title suggests, for divining, meditation, and clairvoyant experiences. A matchless arcane plum for those who have a copy.
Edition: 1979, Milano. 1,500 copies, signed and numbered.
Major Arcana, 22 cards (plus signature card)
Full color fronts; light green cardboard backs.
Presentation box with two small multi-fold LWBs, (English/Italian), written by Alberto Tanturri.
Size: 3 1/8" x 5 1/2". 8 x 14 cm.
Typeface: Large black Roman numerals upper left, titles at bottom, bold caps with serifs.
Elizabeth Hazel is a
professional astrologer, tarotist, and rune-reader. She has been studying the
tarot since the early 70's, and has an unusual collection of decks acquired
through her travels in Europe. Her other interests include alchemy, history, and
multi-cultural mythologies. She has been published in a variety of magazines and
web-sites, and regularly attends tarot conferences. Her specialty is blending
tarot and astrology. She has worked as a professional musician, performing in a
variety of bands, theatrical productions, and as soloist and conductor. Her
original rock opera, produced in 1990, received the "Community Impact
Award" from the Arts Council of Greater Toledo. She has received awards for
her original compositions and for art work. In 1995, Elizabeth began work on
"The Vala Tarot". It is now complete, and she is currently
seeking a publisher for the deck.
Art © 1979 Oswaldo Menegazzi
Review © 2001 Elizabeth Hazel
Page © 2001 Diane Wilkes