Tarot of the Imagination by Ferenc Pinter    Review by Diane Wilkes

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

This is the 78 card version of a deck that was originally released by Lo Scarabeo as a Majors-Only deck.  You can read Michele Jackson's review of that deck here.

When I first received the Majors-only version, two cards struck me as exceptional: The Lovers and The Moon.  These cards are still beautiful, but the new edition of the deck is plastic-coated and the original was issued on a luxurious creamy cardstock that made the cards look textured.   I must say that, while it would have been improvident to release a 78 card deck in the same manner, the layered colors added, literally, a dimension to the cards that made them more intriguing and aesthetically pleasing.

Ferenc Pinter's art is highly evocative--the cards are like those you see in the Thematic Apperception Tests, ones that strongly convey moods and feelings.  The Major Arcana offers the archetypal imagery we have come to know, but the Minor Arcana is often quite different in feel and symbolism than the Waite/Golden Dawn decks.  The Three of Cups , usually a card of joyous celebration, presents us with a gray train station.  A woman dressed in black stands with her back to us, but is she expecting a visit from a friend, or saying a final goodbye to a lover?  Perhaps she is contemplating throwing herself on the tracks, a la Anna Karennina.  While I appreciate the multi-interpretational quality of the card, none of my options are traditional or familiar.

The RWS Seven of Pentacles (and its many clones) show an individual standing by a ripening bush of coins. The Tarot of the Imagination Seven of Pentacles shows an observant Jew, perhaps a rabbi, scrutinizing a Torah as a well-dressed dowager looks on.  In the background are clergy, the denomination uncertain.  The little white booklet (LWB) gives the keyword as "Study", with the following statement: "In ignorance, nothing can grow; in fear everything is lost."   We're back to something growing (like the RWS plant), but in very different form.  The King of Cups looks very much like King Henry VIII, an emotional figure known for his many romantic liaisons.  One generally thinks of the King of Cups as someone who has mastered his emotions, not allowed them to run roughshod over him and his kingdom. 

Several cards, though, are similar in meaning, if not imagery and symbolism, to the RWS.  The Five of Swords, for example, shows a Centurion grasping a semi-naked woman as another man looks down upon the scene with great satisfaction.  The Five of Cups shows another woman with her back to the reader as she stands on a balcony at dusk, her posture indicating loss and possible regret.

The suits are traditional, though: Wands, Chalices, Swords, and Pentacles.  Wands are bordered in reddish-brown, Chalices, green, Swords, colonial blue, and Pentacles, mustard-yellow.  The backs are not reversible, and show the Strength card (which is numbered 11 in this deck), recast in gradations of teal.

The 14-page LWB provides information on the art of the deck itself, with its "unreal landscapes" that suggest and induce a dream-like state that reveals the subconscious.  There is then a section on Divination which refers to the three elements instrumental in a reading: the cartomancer, the querient (sic), and the Tarots themselves.  The reading is the "dynamic integration of these three elements."  A unique seven card spread, called "Flight" is described next.  Following that is the obligatory three-four sentence description of each of the Majors.  In the shorter description of the Minor Arcana, we are given a reason for the suit border colors--interestingly, Swords are blue "for the sky, for water and for spirit."  Water and Swords aren't normally aligned in the tarot.

The cards measure approximately 5" x 2 1/2" and come in a standard-sized box.

I find Pinter's art beautiful and fascinating.  The reading I did with this deck, though, didn't feel much like a tarot reading.  I garnered insight from the cards when I put aside my mental tarot deck, but it wasn't the tarot I was reading.  There is definitely a learning curve with this deck.

I recommend this deck to art lovers and those who are looking for something striking and non-traditional. 

You can read another review of this deck here.

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

Tarot of the Imagination
Ferenc Pinter
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo/Distributor: Llewellyn Publishing
ISBN#: 0-73870-018-5

Art 2001 Lo Scarabeo
Review and page 2001 Diane Wilkes









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