Tarot de Euskalherria (Basque Country Tarot) - Review by Michele Jackson

This deck, published by Fournier, was published in commemoration of the "75th Anniversary of the Fournier Museum of Cards." It is an interesting mixture of the old and the new. The art is good. It appears to have been done in watercolors. The colors range from pastels to quite intense. Some images are quite modern: The Fool shows a young executive in a suit jacket, who has left his car and is preparing to cross a bridge on foot. He has his briefcase in hand, and strides forward confidently. However, he seems to have forgotten his pants. The Empress is much more traditional with a woman who appears pregnant holding a shield. She is sitting on a tree stump with strong roots going into the ground. The Major Arcana retain the traditional names with the exception of the Hierophant, who is the High Priest. The Majors have the names written on the bottoms in Spanish, Basque and English. Death is unnamed and the Fool is unnumbered. The Majors also have astrological symbols, but they do not correspond to the Golden Dawn assignments. The Court Cards do not have names written on them. However, they are easy to recognize. The Page is a young person standing, the Knight is on a horse, and the King is a seated older man. The Minor Arcana are pips, but they are quite charming. The painting style makes them interesting as they are not perfectly executed and laid out with precise symmetry. For example, the cups, which look more like bowls on stems, have different patterns. Some have liquid in them and some do not. The coins are not always perfectly round. The Minors are embellished with flowers and plants. The entire effect is much more interesting than most pips.

The deck comes with a little booklet that folds out. It provides information in Spanish, English, French and German, so it is rather thick. It is also rather sexist. It begins with a dedication: "To all women so that they can wisely interpret the Tarot." Later in the introduction the author states: "Should you, my dear lady reader, discover any deficiency in these subject matters, please overlook them on account of the good will with which they were written and drawn." Shades of Papus. The introduction expounds on the artist's love of nature, and has a couple of references to the Bible. A table of correspondences is given which provides a one word interpretation, the astrological symbol and the astrological house. As previously noted, it is not the Golden Dawn system. The Major Arcana have upright and reversed interpretations, along with an explanation of the astrological assignment. The Court Cards and Minors only have upright and reversed interpretations. The interpretations are fairly traditional and should be recognizable to anyone familiar with the Golden dawn system. Four spreads are provided including a four card spread, a modified Celtic Cross of nine cards, a sixteen card Geomantic Spread and a horoscope spread. Two of the spreads require Majors only be used.

I recommend this deck for collectors or for those looking for an interesting deck with pips. I liked the art, despite the artist's manner of addressing women.

Tarot de Euskalherria
Published by Fournier, Spain

See more images from the Basque Country Tarot

Images copyright Maritxu Erlanz de Guler

Review Copyright 1998  Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes