The Tarots of the Golden Dawn (I Tarocchi Dell'Alba Dorata)gold14.jpg (12010 bytes)
Review by Michele Jackson

This is an art deck by Lo Scarabeo. Although the Golden Dawn is in the name, as far as I can determine, this deck has nothing to do with the occult group, past or present. It is also different from the Golden Dawn Tarot by Robert Wang. These cards depict a world of fairies and elves. The art is excellent. The scenes are detailed and the colors intense. The Minor Arcana are pips, but even these are well done. The suit symbols on each card are different, so we are treated to 14 different types of cups. Even the branches used in the suit of Wands are different.

The Major Arcana have traditional names. Justice is VIII and Strength XI. Like many Lo Scarabeo decks, the card name appears in English, French, German and Spanish in the top border of the card and Italian in the bottom border. The cards measuree 4 1/2" X 2 3/8". There is also a thin border around each scene. Usually I do not like decks that are "cute" or "sweet." Decks featuring fairies and elves usually manage to have one, and sometimes both, of these attributes. This deck breaks the mold. The elves and fairies in this deck look like real people, only smaller and sometimes with wings. They are not all sweet faced cherubs, smiling as they flit through the forest. These faces have character. Some look stupid; some are thoughtful; some are pensive; some are fat; some are old; some are ugly; some are beautiful. The Major Arcana scenes bear superficial similarities to the traditional - The Fool has a knapsack, the High Priestess has an open book, and Justice carries scales. But there are many whimsical changes - Strength is subduing a frog, the Hermit has cloven hooves, and the Tower is an anthill.

The suits are Cups, Pentacles, Wands and Swords. The court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Knave. As previously mentioned, each card has a different suit symbol. I especially like the Ace of Swords, whose broken blade, butterfly and plant growth immediately reminded me of the bible verse about turning swords into plowshares. The Court Cards are also very well done. The Knights ride birds or animals vice horses, and each is depicted in appropriate setting for the corresponding element. The more I look at this deck, the more I am impressed by the artist's skill and imagination. You feel as though you can step right into these scenes. Even the backs are well done.

This deck does not have a little booklet. Like older Lo Scarabeo decks, it has a set of extra cards that provide brief upright and reversed meanings, and a paragraph describing a simplistic method of reading.

I recommend this deck for collectors and for anyone looking for a beautiful art deck. Although elves and fairies are the subjects, this is not a deck for children. The images are not at all childlike and there is nudity.

See more cards from the Tarots of the Golden Dawn

Tarots of the Golden Dawn
Published by Lo Scarabeo, C.SO SVIZZERA 31, 10143 TORINO, ITALIA
Distributed in the U.S. by Llewellyn Publishing

Images Copyright 1995 Lo Scarabeo

This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson