The Fey Tarot by Riccardo Minetti; artwork by Mara Aghem

Review by Arielle Smith

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

I resisted this deck for a long time.  We all have our own ideas of what the fey look like and fear of contaminating my own magical world with someone else’s ideas kept me from wanting to even look at Mara Aghem’s work.  Avoiding these popular cards, however, would be like trying to avoid the sun, and now I’m glad I so graciously capitulated and bought the set.

While the idea for the deck came from Lo Scarabeo’s artistic director, Pietro Alligo, the deck was actually a three-year collaboration between Lo Scarabeo editor, Riccardo Minetti, and artist, Mara Aghem.


Aghem, who grew up with Japanese ‘anime’ cartoons, was not a tarot student when she was asked to do the deck.  One of the pleasant charms of the book is the assortment of along-the-creative-way sketches of the cards as they took shape in Aghem’s imagination.


Like dreams often do, the images on the cards have elements of both reality and fantasy.  As with any deck, some images appeal a lot more than others – some cards are “cute”, some humorous, some elegant, some airy and light, some require time to grow on you.  And that is just what this deck does:  it grows on you.  It is obvious that much thought went into each image and each image has several ways of catching your attention.  See the soulful eyes of the lobster on the Knight of Chalices.  Note the look of wistfulness on the Knave of Swords.  Is that really Pokeman peering into the window on the Five of Pentacles?  (Sort of, yes!)


But even if this deck had not grown on me, I would have been happy I’d bought the set just to have the book. There is a wealth of information ,including background on this deck, a history of tarot, and some nicely different spreads.  But it is the depth of the material that I like. Many of us who have studied tarot have learned one-word definitions for each card.  In the Fey Tarot book, Riccardo Minetti gives us a starting sentence for each of the Majors. It would not seem a significant concept, but see how it works:  The Devil - temptation, bondage, oppression – nice one-word definitions.  Here is Minetti’s sentence:  “The Devil - An enormous beast, guided by its voracious instinct, devouring everything around it until nothing remains.”  Which description really captures your attention?


In addition to the Sentence, each Major also gets an Image description, a Simple Meaning, an Advanced Meaning, the Chosen symbols (brief explanation of what’s on the card and why) and Reflections (still more information).  Minors are slighted only in that they are not given a Sentence or Reflections, but compared to how pips are usually treated, this is minor (pun intended!).


I didn’t wanna do it, I didn’t wanna do it.  Although I was happy to have the Fey Tarot book, I was not that enamored with the cards.  But it is impossible to read the book and not get caught up in Minetti’s enthusiasm.  Slowly, the cards came alive for me…the color, the imagination, the fun, the possibilities….they seeped into my spirit until I was hooked.  It was….well, it was just like magic!

To see a sample reading with this deck, click here.

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

The Fey Tarot Deck/Book Set by Riccardo Minetti and Mara Aghem
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN#: 0738702803


Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with her husband and four cats. Both tree-hugger and animal lover, she is also a part-time teacher and lifetime student of the Tarot. You can visit her at her website, Mystik Moons.

Review © 2003 Arielle Smith
Images © 2002 Lo Scarabeo
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes