sphinx.jpg (16068 bytes)The Tarots of the Sphinx                          Review by Michele Jackson

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This new deck from Lo Scarabeo has an Egyptian theme. The cards measure 4 11/16" X 2 5/8". The scenes are Egyptian styled images on a gray background. The images have small areas of color missing for an aged effect. The art is good, with bright colors and good detail. The suits are Chalices, Pentacles, Wands and Swords. The Court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Knave. The Major Arcana have the traditional names. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The Aces of each suit are sacred animals or creatures. The Knights show horses without riders. The artist used extant Egyptian art as source material. The meanings in the little booklet are mostly Waite based, and some of the imagery was clearly based on the work of Pamela Colman-Smith as well. Each card has the card name in four languages in the top border: English, French, German and Spanish. The card number is also in the top border. The card name is in the bottom border in Italian. The borders are blue. The backs are not reversible. Most of the images are evocative of the meaning, but I had difficulty connecting some cards to their meaning. For example the Eight of Cups shows what appears to be a young man kneeling over some buried cups. I say buried, but in another card (Five of Cups), this type of image (blue with wave-like lines) represents water. In this case there is a tree and the figure is kneeling on top of it. The meaning given is "Concreteness, farsightedness. Moderation, shyness. Lasting love. Great joy, celebrations, refund." I don't see the connection here.

The little booklet is one of Lo Scarabeo's new fold-out instruction sheets. A brief introduction states that the Egyptian culture inspired many occultists and that modern Tarot decks owe much to Egyptian iconography. One spread (called a reading key in the booklet) is given. It is a seven card spread called The Sword. Brief upright meanings are given for each card. As previously mentioned, they are largely Waite based.

I recommend this deck for collectors and those who are interested in Egyptian art. It would not require a large investment in study for those familiar with the Waite deck, but there are some differences.

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The Tarots of the Sphinx
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo, C.SO SVIZZERA 31, 10143 TORINO, ITALIA
Available from: Llewellyn Publishing


This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson