Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deck Review - Tarot of Durer

This has been a fairly contented week using the Tarot of Durer, which has been published by Lo Scarabeo.  The images are based on the art and engravings of German artist Albrecht Durer (May 21, 1471 – April 6, 1528).

Some of the images are quite bawdy, in a way I find endearing and hilarious, kind of like grandma at a burlesque show, not meant to be taken too seriously, so they are not for everyone.  A mischievous Fool card  shows us exactly what he thinks of a world that sometimes takes itself too seriously, and the Queen of Pentacles sticks her tongue out at us as a reminder that lewd is in the eye of the beholder, and while sometimes we want to reach for ecstatic new heights, sometimes we just need to get it on.  This deck has a bit of a sarcastic, dry sense of humor that does not take itself too seriously while still reaching for good readings.

The art style is saturated water colors, and the deck itself very much reminds me of the Alchemical Tarot by Robert Place, currently about to be printed in a Third Edition.  There are lots of symbols to use and read, and lots of freedom within the structure of the deck to read the way you choose to.  There are 78 cards, with the 22 Major Arcana labeled normally, Strength at 11, Justice at 8, with Latin phrases inscribed on each of the Majors.  The structure is loosely based on the Waite Smith deck, but there are some cards that go a whole new direction, and that is absolutely all right with me.  When I first began using the deck, I was bothered by the titles going vertical on the left side of the card, in multiple languages, but as the days passed it was less bothersome.  I feel this deck is a great candidate for trimming, and may get around to lopping those titles right off soon.  The colors are already gorgeous, and trimming the deck would only make them pop even more.

The deck itself is about 2.75" x 4.75" and packaged in a tuck box with the ubiquitous Little White Book, which does little to explain the thought process behind the choosing of the images, but does translate the Latin better than Google Translate, I found to my chagrin.  The card stock is lightly varnished and shuffles quite easily and smoothly.  The backs are ivory with a green reversible pattern from one of the cards.

I do not think everyone will enjoy this deck, as it is a bit snarky in readings, and  both the easy nudity in cards and the small amounts of blood could be disturbing to some.  The deck has a Renaissance flair to the art, and would work well for people who like their readings a little humorous and who like allegorical stories to tell.  I have found it to be a keeper in my collection, and I will reach for it when I find myself getting a little full of myself, because it seems to have a pretty good ego deflater built in.  The cards flow together easily and offer great readings, as I did several on Aeclectic Tarot this week, as well as using it at Denver Tarot Meetup for the readings I did there.

Two thumbs up for a historical looking deck (artfully speaking, not tarotfully speaking) that carries itself lightly through the world while maintaining a none too careful dignity as well!

These cards are from the Tarot of Durer published by Lo Scarabeo.


  1. This is a rather lovely deck. Thanks for sharing, Mandy! :)

  2. I've been dropping in to read your blog posts for the last few weeks and I love this deck so much I've ordered it off Amazon UK! Since starting to read tarot cards my deck collection is growing steadily, so far I have The Tarot of the Old Path, The Witches Tarot and very soon the Durer Tarot.

    1. What an interesting trio! Best of luck to you on your tarot journey, and thank you for stopping by! I hope to hear from you again.

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