Tarocchi Delle Origini Review by Diane Wilkes

If you would like to purchase the 78 card version of this deck, click here.

Artist: Sergio Toppi Publisher: Lo Scarabeo

I dreaded doing this review, because my initial response to it was rather negative. I was relieved that it was a Majors-Only deck, because I’d only have to look at 22 cards, instead of 78. The Fool and The Magician actually repulsed me, and I suspect this poisoned my response so that I didn’t give the other cards more than a cursory glance. The second look surprised me--not only were there some cards that elicited new insights into the archetypes, some of them I actually liked. There is a lesson in there about prejudice for me, though I’m not sure how I’ll specifically apply it to my worldview. Maybe I’ll make Green Eggs and Ham required bedtime reading for a week.

Back to Tarocchi Delle Origini, which translates in English to Tarot of Origin. The theme seems to be Primitive Man, and could be subtitled, “Back to Our Roots.” Some of these cards offer a striking and unique way of seeing the Majors. The Hierophant or High Priest has been renamed Lo Sciamano (The Shaman), and you can almost hear the rattles and drums and inhale earth incense when you look at the raw energy of this card. Other decks have renamed the Magician or Hermit with the title of Shaman, but I really prefer it in the place of the Hierophant. It evokes a certain respect and legitimacy (for want of a better word) to the title. In the Devil (Demone) card, the shadowed, horned mask speaks volumes about self-imposed slavery without uttering a word. The impact of the card is quite visceral.

Another card that packs quite a punch is the Chariot (Il Carro). A primitive drawing of a primitive wheeled conveyance is scratched in stone in the upper half of the card, but below is the true vehicle: a calloused hand gripping a crude writing implement. The idea that writing/art/communication transports the world hit me very powerfully. The Hanged Man (Il Sacrificio) is electrifying; a man in the position of crucifixion (sans cross) reaches out to embrace a thorny fate. It looks like he is enveloped in passion-red water, but longs for the black abyss above, despite potential pain.

If I were only to be allowed one word to describe this deck, it would be “powerful.” Temperance, often one of my favorite cards, creates a river between two boulders. She looks more like a primitive Empress than any angel I’ve ever seen, but the primal energy of this card has the power to turn lead into gold more quickly than any other I’ve seen. 

This deck is not for the squeamish, though. The Hermit (L’Eremita) looks more like Death than Death (La Morte) itself. The Fool (Il Folle) could be an illustration for Faulkner’s idiot. The Magician, which turned me off initially, has a fierce quality and sense of movement that I have come to appreciate. 

The primordial theme of the deck presents an interesting contrast to the refined packaging we have come to expect from Lo Scarabeo decks. The deck comes in a silk-screened grey and white paper slipcase with a wraparound in the same marbleized paper encasing the pack.

I recommend this deck for people who are attracted to naive art and depictions of less civilized times. Someone whose idea of tarot beauty is the Enchanted Tarot, for example, should probably not mortgage the house to buy this deck. 

If you would like to purchase the 78 card version of this deck, click here.

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Justice (L’Abbondanza): 8/ Strength (La Forza Creatrice): 11
Card Number: 22
Standard size, reversible backs on uncoated paper

Images Copyright Lo Scarabeo

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