The New Palladini Tarot by David Palladini        Review by Don Davies

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I first encountered David Palladiniís art when my best friend in college did a reading for me using the Aquarian Tarot. This was my first experience of Tarot and the Aquarian soon became the first deck I ever owned. However, as much as I wanted to love and bond with this deck, I had difficulty connecting with the figures and images. The people in these cards seemed somehow aloof and pristine to me, figures who knew of life and possessed great wisdom, yet were above the everyday human condition.

The years passed and Tarot for me grew beyond occasional "dabbling" into a full-fledged passion. Then, just this past year, I discovered the New Palladini Tarot and I have not been able to put the deck down since.

The New Palladini tarot is a 78 card, Rider-Waite Smith style deck rendered in vibrant, living color. The people in these cards not only know about life, but experience it passionately and with their whole being. Each original drawing for this deck is 10" x 16 Ĺ" in size and was created on rag paper using ink, magic marker and pencil. The backs are reversible and show a serpent forming an infinity symbol and biting its own tail. A variety of different elements, including those of medieval and Egyptian influence, are creatively combined with the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith images to produce a deck that is at once familiar and exciting . An example of the medieval influence may be seen in the gauntlet-clad hand of the Ace of Swords.

One of the most unique features of this deck is Mr. Palladiniís use of portraiture for images which have traditionally been scenes or full-body representations. This focus on the human faces of Tarot results in a more powerful experience of each cardís persona(e). The Lovers in particular is an excellent example of this. Adam and Eve are shown in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life and a serpent nearby. In nearly every version of this card that I have seen, the figures are portrayed in a full-body embrace or stance. In the New Palladini, all we see are their faces intimately close amidst the plants of the garden. The Divine connection between them is expressed by their faces; there is a tenderness and vulnerability between them which tugs at the heart. Other examples of portraiture are the Queen of Swords and King of Pentacles.

The final surprise for me lay in the booklet which accompanied the deck. Not only are the descriptions richer than expected, but the booklet begins with three essays, "Use the Cards for a Reason", "When to Do a Reading", and "The Meanings of the Cards". In these essays, Mr. Palladini does a wonderful job in briefly describing the Tarot as a tool for insight and spiritual connection. From "When to Do a Reading": "The Tarot seems to be most important during times of growth or crisis. When the stresses and confusions of modern life become too much, many people turn to the Tarot. It allows for a time of quiet introspection and communion. For many, a Tarot reading is the only quiet time they have , and the only time the spirit can be touched."

I think this deck is a treasure for anyone who uses Rider-Waite-Smith style decks and is also appropriate as a beginning deck. When my boyfriend began to study Tarot, I actually bought this deck for him when I couldnít find a copy of the Universal Waite at the bookstore! The images are vibrant, dynamic, and beautifully rendered.

If you would like to purchase the New Palladini Tarot Deck, click here.

The New Palladini Tarot
David Palladini
Publisher: US Games Systems, Inc., 1996
ISBN#: 0-88079-189-6

Don Davies has had an interest in Tarot since 1989 and is a Certified Tarot Reader. He is a member of the American Tarot Association and International Tarot Society, a student of The Tarot School, and a regular contributor to Comparative Tarot, an online Tarot discussion group. Favorite decks include The Ancestral Path Tarot, the Universal Waite Tarot, the Osho Zen Tarot and Songs for the Journey Home. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his cats , Winston and Jasper, and works as a programmer and data analyst for a medical software company in Boston. Spiritual interests include yoga and Wicca. Mr. Davies is also the recent founder of Tarot Inspirations, an e-mail Tarot reading service. You may visit his site at

Review © 2001 Don Davies
Illustrations from the New Palladini copyright © 1996 by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT.
Page © 2001 Diane Wilkes







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