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The Romantic Tarot is set in some of the most romantic cities in Europe and during one of the most romantic times in human history. Each card is a peek into one scene of a love story. When the cards are put together in readings, they tell unique stories, everything from revealed secrets, hidden passions, bittersweet loss, vibrant commitment, and tender declarations.
The Romantic Tarot explores the experience of love through tarot and it does this as thoroughly as possible. It is set in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a time period that is very easy to romanticize. Each suit is set in different city, one selected because it best represents the attributes of the suit. I know, some people don't find structure, theme, and patterns sexy or romantic. I do, so we're starting there.
The booklet that comes with the deck has a typo on page one, but it is corrected on page two. The actual attributes, from page two, are:Cups are set in Venice. With its never-ending carnival, Venice is an illusion. Lovers hide behind masks and the suit represents water and feelings. Cups usually represent positive sentiments but when reversed can revel dark or hidden sides.
The images of the Romantic Tarot are very much like illustrations from a love story, with some scenes filled with tenderness, some with desire, and some with despair. Each image is a door to not just one story, but many stories that include this particular scene. By laying the cards side by side, we create specific stories and hence can read the future of our relationships...if we wish. You know the first rule of divination: Don't ask if you don't want to know. These cards run the full range of love, so any outcome is possible!
Because the cards are so illustrative, they will appeal most to those who do read with a narrative style. This is different from symbol interpreters and from intuitive readers, although both these types can also be narrative readers. If you like to lay out your cards and read the story they tell, you will love this deck.
However, if you require strict adherence to the Rider Waite Smith images, you will find this deck frustrating. Here's why. Some of the cards do follow RWS, but then others do not...not at all. And some, and this is probably the most frustrating, seem to be "mistakes." Here is what I mean. In the 6 of Wands, a man is rowing a woman (who is holding a birdcage) in a small rowboat while the 6 of Swords shows a man and woman sitting at a piano holding hands. For those looking for RWS connections, the image in the 6 of Wands seems to mimic the image in the RWS 6 of Swords.
Sometimes I have big problems with decks like this. However, because of the narrative nature of the images, I would suggest not getting too hung up on the RWS thing and just tell the stories the cards create. In fact, if you cut the borders off, you'll also remove the card names and numbers. I think that would make for a really interesting reading experience. If I ever get around to it, I'll report back. And if any of you try it, let me know how it works for you.
Name of deck: Romantic Tarot
Reviewer's Byline: Barbara Moore
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator name: Emanuela Signorini
Artist name: Giulia F. Massaglia
Name of accompanying book/booklet: Romantic Tarot
Number of pages of book/booklet: 64, 14 in English
Author of book/booklet: Emanuela Signorini
Reading Uses: Romance, Past lives, General
Artistic Style: Illustration
Theme: Romance and romantic European cities, late 19th and early 20th centuries
Does it have extra cards? If yes, what are they?: No