The Mermaid Tarot by Pietro Alligo & Mauro DeLuca, Artwork by Mauro DeLuca

Review by Arielle Smith


Have you ever been near water and found yourself just staring into it, transfixed and mesmerized by what might lie just beneath the surface?  Welcome to the Tarot of the Mermaids.


At first glance, many of the cards in this tarot deck reminded me of the Maxfield Parrish dreamscapes – soft, luminescent shades of blue, green, and pink.  But then I found myself feeling as if I were being pulled…. down, way down, into swirling waters, going deep beneath the surface, into a secret underwater world.


The artwork of this deck is an effective companion for the myths and mystery of the mermaid.  From Greece’s fishtailed Aphrodite to Africa’s Yemaya, with her seaweed hair, to the seductive sirens who lured sailors to their deaths to Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of a mermaid who exchanges her tail for legs, we are both fascinated and fearful of what might lie beneath the surface.  This applies to both water and the surface of our own personalities, making this deck an enchanting enigma.


The problem here is that Lo Scarabeo has spoiled me with the nice fat book that accompanied the Fey Tarot.  Now I’d like to have a book for all the Lo Scarabeo decks, but particularly this one.  Of course, the cards are quite readable without a book, but it would have been nice to have some of the myths and stories about mermaids to enhance the deck and to explain certain things, like why the four of pentacles has such a masculine face or why some mermaids (Justice, Devil, Stars) have split tails.


I have many favorite cards in the deck.  The Hermit, the Empress, Emperor, and Moon are all impressive images. The most amusing card for me?  The King of Pentacles with his real life spare tire.  The Magician in this deck is a Mermaid, as is the Fool, Hanged Man, and all courts cards but kings.  This seems very appropriate if we think of water as the first element, Mother of All Things.  There is not an excess of symbolism on the cards – but there is enough for all but beginning readers to be able to use this deck. 


The Tarot of the Mermaids will appeal to the romantic spirit who is fascinated by all things hidden, mysterious, and secret.


Now, if the deck only had a book with it…



Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with her husband and five 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

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