solleone.JPG (27650 bytes)Solleone Tarot Deck

This deck depicts a violent and bloody world, where Justice is a marionette manipulated by soldiers, merchants, politicians and priests; Strength is a blood smeared, armored knight preparing to  behead an unarmed, half naked peasant; and Judgment is the Inquisition. And that is only the Major Arcana. In the suit of Swords, we are exposed to beheadings, back-stabbing and overkill. Blood is everywhere - on weapons, clothing, even splashing through the air. Pentacles show us the various evils caused by money: robbery, prostitution, bribes and gambling, to name a few.  Cups are not much better: poisoning, vampirism and drunkenness are depicted here. Wands seems to be the least violent suit, though we do get some violence and strife here as well.

The art is good. The scenes are engravings which have been painted with tempera and watercolor. The colors are bright and the scenes are detailed. The Major Arcana have the traditional names, as do the suits. The Court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The cards are larger than average at 3 1/4" X 5 7/8". The card name is in the top border in Italian and in the bottom border in English. Although the art and scenes are original, we see the influence of the Waite deck in several of the cards.

The little booklet that comes with the deck is more detailed than most, probably due to the larger size. The artist explains the methodology used to create the deck, and explains what she was trying to depict. An excerpt is given below. The section on the Major Arcana gives a brief description of the card and a fairly robust divinatory meaning. Brief reversed meanings are also provided. The Minor Arcana are given similar treatment, though the descriptions and upright meanings are much shorter than those provided for the Majors. Despite the depressing scenery, the meanings are fairly traditional, though some emphasize the negative meanings of the card, vice the positive.  Instructions for the Celtic Cross Spread are given.

I recommend this deck for collectors. The violent imagery could be distracting in a reading and the emphasis on the negative aspects of the cards is depressing and unrealistic. The deck is no longer published by US Games, but used copies can be found from time to time.

Solleone Tarot
ISBN: 0-88079-048-2
Artist: Elisabetta Cassari
Published by US Games, 179 Ludlow St, Stamford CT, 06902 (800)544-2637 (OOP)

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"...The deck incorporates tradition with a contemporary outlook, creating a tarot that is both familiar to readers of the tarot and entirely new and updated. All seventy-eight cards are joined by an ambience, a hypothetical kingdom that blends the medieval world with the surreal one. The characters move to create a story that, though it may seem bizarre, si not so very different from the story that takes place in each of our lives. Each suit has a theme or motif. Wands represent the world of the common people or the peasants. Cups have as their protagonist Woman, in the guise of wife, mother, sorceress and so on. Swords depict the world of death and war. Pentacles depict monetary concerns and the way that material loss and gain manifest in life.

Three of Pentacles

On a city street, a man is ribbed at knifepoint. The bandit, masked in red, with a fierce look in the eyes, is skilled at extorting money from frightened victims.

Divinatory meanings: Great skill in trade or work. Mastery. Power. Extortion.

Reverse meanings: Sloppiness. Mediocrity. Lower quality. Money problems. Commonplace ideas. Lack of skill. Preoccupation."

Images Copyright (c) 1983 US Games Systems Inc.

This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson