Lo Scarabeo's Tarot decks have been acclaimed all over the world for originality and quality. With the best Italian and international artists, each Lo Scarabeo deck is an exceptional artistic value.
Commited to developing innovative new decks while preserving the rich tradition of Tarot, Lo Scarabeo continues to be a favorite among collectors and readers.
Llewellyn is the exclusive distributor of Lo Scarabeo products in North America.
Publisher Review #2:
The brilliance of the art and the deck's adherence to the original concepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn helps make the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn the ultimate deck for doing readings according to the Golden Dawn tradition.
Before discussing the deck itself, let's look at the LWB (Little White Booklet) that accompanies the deck. This LWB uses its limited space very effectively. It doesn't describe the symbolism on each card (you can look at the card), but does give the divinatory meaning based on the Golden Dawn system. The creative force behind the deck, Giordano Bertia, only gave basic information about the meanings of the cards to artist Patrizio Evangelisti, so on this basis, the deck is a Golden Dawn deck. The LWB also includes an original six-card spread called the "Method of the Rosacroce." It has a unique method of selecting the cards for the layout that will intrigue you.
The thing about the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot that made it unique is that for the first time it had a fully illustrated Minor Arcana. Until that deck was published in 1909, all Tarot decks were mainly numerical for the Minors. That is, they were closer to a deck of common playing cards than an RWS illustrated Tarot. The Golden Dawn used a numerical Minor Arcana rather than a heavily illustrated one, so this deck, which is fully illustrated, varies from the original Golden Dawn concept in imagery, but not in meaning.
Strictly on an art basis, these cards are beautiful. The drawings are wonderful and well formed. The coloring is elegant and expressive. It is more like a modern illustrated novel than most Tarot decks. Some of the images are at what might be called "comic book angles." Instead of straight on, you get images from below (such as The Wheel of Fortune) or from above (such as The Devil). This brings exciting new life to the designs and puts this deck in a completely different category than other Golden Dawn decks.
How close are they to the instructions for designing a Golden Dawn deck? The Major Arcana is amazingly close and is really going to do the job. The high priestess is a powerful woman in the midst of controlling powerful energies as she casts a spell. The horses of The Chariot are in full gallop, almost falling over themselves pulling the chariot. The charioteer can barely control them. The lion in the Strength card looks like he could tear your arm off and eat you for lunch without even panting. The Devil shows an odd-looking creature, Levi's image but from above, revealing that he has both womanly breasts and a penis. Yes, this deck does have full frontal nudity, so if that would offend you, be aware.
The art on the Minor Arcana cards matches the Majors, so they are powerful, evocative, and beautiful.
If you look at the Golden Dawn manuscripts, you'll see that although the descriptions of the Minors are minimal, they do give some basic ideas. Aces have hands coming out of a cloud holding the symbol of the suit. That's the extent of the description for most of the Minors. Take those brief descriptions, look at the meaning of the card and throw in a person or two and you have the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn One card that is completely unique is the six of Wands, meaning "victory following a long struggle." It shows a scene of celebration. The six wands are part of a victorious headpiece. The point of view is personal, and you are about to be crowned with the headpiece, drawing you deeply into the card.
Simply put, this deck is extremely well drawn, better than any other Golden Dawn oriented deck. It's an absolute delight to give general purpose readings with. The drawings are very realistic. If you want to give readings following the Golden Dawn system, this is simply the finest deck of its kind ever published.
Name of deck: Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Artist's name: Patrizio Evangelisti
Brief biography of artists: Patrizio is a comics artist.
Name of accompanying booklet: Initiatory Tarots of the Golden Dawn
Number of pages of booklet: 64, 14 in English
Author of booklet: Giordano Berti
Brief biography of author: Giordano is an expert in the history of Tarot and all things esoteric. He has designed many decks, has written many books, and serves as a consultant for Lo Scarabeo.
Available in a boxed kit?: Yes
What are the extras in the kit?: A red satin bag for the cards
Reading Uses: Excellent for all general divination, especially in the Golden Dawn manner.
Theme: Golden Dawn
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Somewhat--It blends the RWS, Golden Dawn and the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: Following the Golden Dawn tradition, the RWS card The World is named The Universe.
Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: No
Does it have alternate names for Court Cards?: It uses Princess, Prince, Queen Knight. The Golden Dawn instructions for this are a bit confused, and other Golden Dawn decks use Princess, Prince, Queen, King, but because of the Golden Dawn instructions, this is perfectly acceptable and is described in the Little White Booklet (LWB).
Why was deck created?: To express "a new vision that is...coherent with the tradition of the G[olden] D[awn] and with the needs of the contemporary public."