Deck: Venetian Tarot
Creator: Eugene Vinitski
Publisher: Indie Published, 2017
The Venetian Tarot was created by Eugene Vinitski with the first edition printing of October 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The first edition had a limited run of 500 decks. This is a review of the original Author’s edition. The inspiration for the artwork comes from the Venetian Carnivals of the 16th-18th centuries. All of the figures are masked in the deck. The masks appear to be made of all materials and some are simple to ornate. The clothing and settings all fit into what I would imagine the style of a carnival in Venice to be. Honestly, I can easily see some of these characters dancing in the ballroom scene of Labyrinth.
Let’s get some of the basic stats out of the way:
This is a Rider-Waite-Smith variant. There are exactly 78 cards, no extras, no substitutes. The minor arcane are Swords, Wands, Cups, and Pentacles. Swords correspond with air and Wands with fire. It comes with a “little white book.”
This little white book, is more of a guidebook done on a small scale. At the beginning of the book, there is a brief history of Venetian Carnivals to help give perspective on the imagery of the cards. There is also a three card spreads included: the basic 3-card spread, the Celtic Cross, and the Horse Shoe. Each card is then given a brief description of what is happening, what place the subject is at, and a little information of the symbolism. Below that gives a list of keywords for upright position and reversed. Part of what I find so interesting in this book is that the descriptions easily incorporate the upright and reversed meanings. As someone who doesn’t read reversals, I like that the reversed meaning is easy to find even when the card is upright. A wonderful example is the Strength card.
The Strength card is very typical with a beautiful woman and a lion on the card. In this case, the lion is a man dressed in red with a golden lion mask who is leased to the woman. The woman appears dressed in a beautiful gown, perfectly styled hair, and an intricate half mask. Her her hands she holds a fan, which she is using on herself to cool the flush in her cheeks. In her other hand, she loosely holds the leash attached to her lion man. For the moment, the lion man is choosing to stay at her side. If he changes his mind though, it would take little effort to break away and end the scene. The LWB describes some of these energy of this card: “Strength trump is responsible for the suppression of instincts and the manifestation of of wisdom and vitreousness. It helps cultivate courage, patience, endurance, common sense, and generosity. To tame the wild unbridled energy and direct it for the benefit of yourself and the people around. In those, who could not handle this power, this archetype can be manifested by throes of passions, cruelty, brute force, and the desire for domination and suppression.” (Pages 35-36)
I believe this card better describes the responsibility of the lady. Typically the lady and the lion are more sequestered in nature. In the Venetian Tarot, she is walking him through the streets. This isn’t the lion choosing stillness to have the thorn removed from his paw. He is walking a leash down the street. How easy it would be for this lady to become over confident in her ability to control the lion.
This deck brings this type of subtle good and bad to the cards. It would be easy to overlook but it is there. The descriptions in the accompanying little white book help bring attention to these subtlities.
I really like the art and the imagery of this deck, it is gorgeous and detailed. When it comes to how this deck handles, I immediately noticed how heavy this deck is. The paper is thick and the cards are edged with gold foil. This looks and feels like a premium deck, it also has the price tag to prove it. My preferred way to shuffle decks is a riffle shuffle. (It’s the way most people shuffle poker cards.) This is incredibly difficult to do with these cards as there is very little give to the cards. Also, due to the thickness of the paper it doesn’t fit well into my hands. I also worry about damaging the gold edging of the cards. You can see there is already a little “wear” on the edges. The other struggle that decks with dark edges have is that when the cards begin to bend (or fox) it is more noticeable.
Overall, I like this deck. It speaks in a way that I can understand. It has an edge to it that many decks lack and I like this. Will this become an every day reading deck? Probably not. Due to the price of it, I’d be afraid of ruining one or more of the cards. Since it is a deck that is challenging to shuffle and very distinct imagery, it wouldn’t be a deck I would use with strangers. However, as a deck I would use for personal readings, I would love to spend more time with this deck.