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The Fey Tarot


ISBN: 978-0738702803 Publisher & Year: Lo Scarabeo, September 2002 Author: Riccardo Minetti Artist: Mara Aghem Pages: 158 Purchase at: Out of Print Card Size: 4.75” x 2.60”

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Faerie Decks

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The Fey Tarot

By Jewel


Those of you who know me know I have an affinity towards faerie themed decks.  What you probably did not know (or care), is that this is the faerie deck that started my love of faerie themed decks.  The Fey Tarot by Riccardo Minetti with artwork by Mara Aghem was published by LoScarabeo in 2002 as a deck and book set.  I will confess upfront, that when I first saw images of the deck I thought it was kind of childish, but a friend on Aeclectic Tarot insisted I buy and try it, that I would really like it.  She knew me well, so as I talked to her on the phone about it I pranced into Barnes & Noble and picked up my copy.  I am so glad I listened to her, she was right.  This became my new primary reading deck for the next 12-15 years.


These are not your British or Victorian faeries of folklore, they are much more universal in nature. The art has an Anime feel to it, and the colors are bright and vivid.  Think graphic Anime novels.  Some of the images will appeal to your inner child, but the deck is mature and for all ages.  What I love most about this deck is that it was the first deck I ever encountered that used the illustrations to provide the meanings to the cards without feeling like it had to include the number of corresponding suit symbols as part of the illustration itself.  Instead of being distracted by 8 to 10 of the suit symbol object I was drawn into the world of the Fey.  The illustrations themselves tell the story that is the card.  For the time I think this was a novel concept that has since become much more common.  The faces are expressive, and thoughts and emotions are felt through the combination of the facial expressions, use of body language, and background scenery weaving the story of your reading.


The deck is your traditional LoScarabeo deck, measuring approximately 4.75” X 2.60” with the card titles in 5 languages.  The card number and English language in the top border, and the Italian, French, German, and Spanish card titles in the bottom border.  The backdrops of the card a lilac color with ¼” borders on the top and sides, and a ½” border at the bottom.  The illustrations are framed with a thin colored line as follows:  yellow for the Major Arcana, and blue for the Chalices, green for the Wands, purple for the Pentacles, and red for the Swords of the Minor Arcana.  The card backs have a ¼” white border, with a dark purple frame with a symmetrical monochromatic purple and white mirror image of the Lover’s Card.  The cards are reversible.


The deck is Raider Wait Smith (RWS) based.  The following changes have been made in the names of Major Arcana cards:  The High Priestess is called The Seer, The Hierophant is called The Wisest, and The Star is called The Stars.  Strength is in position VIII and Justice at IX.  The court cards are Knave, Knight, Queen and King, with two of cards of each gender per suit.  The Chalices and Pentacles have female Knaves and male Knights, and the Wands and Swords have male Knaves, and female Knights.  I really like many of the court cards in this deck, as they are lively and have personality.  Overall if you are familiar with the RWS system, you will not have a problem using this deck.


The companion book, The Fey Tarot – Dreams, Joy and Magic, is 158 pages in length and includes preliminary sketches of cards throughout the first 35 pages of the book with commentary.  I really enjoy Mr. Minetti’s warm and friendly writing style, reading the book was as if I was sitting in an Italian café having a beer with him listening to him to go on about Tarot, Faeries, and how this deck came to be.


The book starts off with a section on how to use the book then moves into the introduction which speaks about the idea for the deck and the working method of the deck which details the depth of collaboration and synergy between Mr. Minetti and Ms. Aghem.  Mr. Minetti follows this section with a section on the Introduction of Tarot which covers historical information, the masters of European Esotericism, and artistic perspective.  The next section titled And Finally … Divination gets into the meat of this magical deck.  It speaks to why the Fey were selected for this project, the structure of this deck which dispenses with astrological designs and cabalistic references but maintains all references to life ensuring that cards “provide a parallel between what is in a card and an emotion or recognizable sensation.”  And this deck does this so well.  The themes running behind each suit, as noted in the companion book, are:


• CHALICES: “represent the emotional and spiritual world."

• SWORDS: “represent the intellectual and conflicting world."

• PENTACLES: “represent the physical world, the world objects and earthly securities."

• WANDS: “represent the world of man, what he does, feels, asks …”


Armed with 36 pages of information you are now ready to move into the cards themselves, first the Major Arcana, then the Minor Arcana, and last but not least the Court Cards.  Both the sections on the Majors and Minors include black & white pictures of the cards.  The Majors section gives you the following for each card:  The Sentence, which speaks to the elements of significance of the Arcana.  The Image, which is a description of the card.  The Simple Meaning, which is a key phrase or phrases.  The Advanced Meaning, which is a description that highlights elements of the cards and how they interrelate.  And lastly The Chosen Symbols.  The Minors sections include:  The Image, Simple Meaning, Advanced Meaning, Symbols Used.  The Court Card section includes:  Personality, Image, Simple Meaning, and Advanced Meaning.


On page 149 its time to dip your toes into Divinatory Spreads.  In this last section of the book he explains what divinatory spreads are and talks about ritual.  We then move into the Dream Joy Magic 3 card spread, the 2 card Fey Child spread which he recommends for reflecting on the cards or meditating.  Then you get into larger spreads such as The Cross of the Four Kingdoms which starts with 4 cards and is expanded adding onto the reading as you go, and finally we have the Six Stars spread which is general in design.


In my years of experience working with this deck I found it great for all kinds of readings, a very good general deck.  Reading with it becomes telling a story to answer the question.  I am not a huge fan of Anime art, and this deck is not Anime in its strictest sense, but the way it reads transcended any reservations that I had going in.  Some cards convey deep emotions others make you laugh out loud.  Together they are everything I could have ever hoped for and more.  This is one of those decks that I will treasure forever and never retire.


The Fey Tarot is great for Tarot enthusiasts of all levels.  Intuitive readers or those expanding their intuitive reading abilities should give this deck a try.  Beginners can enjoy the deck without getting bogged down with the esoteric symbolism, because the companion book will help you make the journey.  If you can only get the deck, and not the book, then I recommend having a RWS deck handy so you can reference the books you are using in your learning process.  Those interested in storytelling and writing will also like this deck.  If you are particular about your court cards having an even male to female ratio this deck offers that.  And of course, if you are like me and love faeries and Tarot then this deck is definitely one you want to add to your collection.  In addition, it is a good deck to use with querents that are nervous about Tarot as whole.  If you are looking for a deck steeped in esoteric symbolism this is probably not the deck you are looking for.


As of this writing the deck/book set is out of print.  But I have seen both the deck and book very reasonably priced on E-bay.

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