Persian Tarot by
Madame Indira (Tarot Persan de Madame Indira) by Madame Indira
Review by Morwenna Morasch
I bought this deck unseen from a used books dealer via the internet mostly because of its name. While my hopes for luscious oriental imagery were not disappointed, The Persian Tarot is not a tarot deck, but an independent fortune telling system. It is actually composed of 55 cards in the following order:
- 19 trump cards (some of which relate closely to the Major Arcana)
- Three court cards (King, Queen and Cavalier) for the four suits of Swords (spades), Scythes (diamonds), Hearts, and Coins (clubs)
- Each suit consists of five minors: Ace, Five, Six and Ten, which are pips
- Four owl cards (The Owl, Three, Seven and all the Owls)
The trump cards are:
1 The Witch
2 The Black Panther
3 The Tiger
5 The Boat
6 The Fish Wheel
7 The Torchlights
8 The Peacock
9 The Sultana with baby
10 The Chest
11 The Sun
12 The Hand of Fatma
15 The House
17 The Engagement
19 The Island
The trump cards are surrounded by a heavy gold border. The backs are bright green with golden stars and reversible, even though the system obviously does not support the concept of reversed cards. Each card has one central image in vibrant colors and an uni-colored background. All the court cards and pips belonging to one suit share the same background color.
Because the artwork of the deck is so intriguing, I did spend ages with it trying to figure out the inner structure. Unfortunately, the little white book doesn't provide much help, since it's one of the flimsiest I've ever seen – on a mere 12 and a half pages, it runs through the meaning of all cards, single and in combination, shows pictures and gives two spreads and a method for determining the lucky numbers for gambling. The predictions mainly involve everyday problems and advice, like "go to see your doctor", or predicting a tax inspector's visit, money, love and pregnancy. The meanings are given in French and English; the English part starts from the other end of the booklet, so you have to turn it over (like with most booklets for Grimaud decks). All in all, the clear symbolic images remind me of gypsy fortunetelling cards or some of the modern Lenormand variations, like those of Titania Hardie's oracle cards. A lot of emphasis seems to be on the combination of several cards, normally following the rule "more means more of the same – i.e., more of the coin suit minors will result in more money for the client.
Once I gave up on wanting to understand the idea behind the system, and just went on doing divination with it following the instructions given, it produced fairly good results for simple or very explicit questions. For more complex readings or meditation, its use seems very limited, since the pictures are too straightforward to interpret much into them if you are not familiar with the system behind it. Most cards seem to mean what thay depict; even Death stands for actual physical passing.
I would still recommend it for collectors, since it is really beautiful and makes a nice addition to any collection. Also, people familiar with Lenormand or gypsy systems might be able to get some accurate results out of it; I think it is extremely neat as a fortune telling parlour game, which is a little different.
See more cards from this deck here.
You can order the deck from Trigono or directly from the publisher.
Persian Tarot by Madame Indira (Tarot Persan de Madame Indira) by Madame
Publisher: Grimaud/France 1981
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 is presently contracted to write a book linking faerie magic with the Tarot, to be published in Spring, 2003. View Morwenna's private homepage here.
Images © 1981 Grimaud
Review © 2002 Morwenna Morasch
Page © 2002 Diane Wilkes