Friday, 26 September 2014

Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot Overview

The Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) is filled with strange characters.  Large heads and small bodies are one element of her artistic style.  Yet, the bizarre mixing and morphing of human, animal and plant adds another layer to this surreal melange.

One thing some may object to is the fact that every card shows a female figure, most often just the one.  This is true even of the different Courts, on which more below.  Yet, despite this, the images are not samey or lacking in symbolism.

Conversely, one thing detractors of Lo Scarabeo decks may appreciate is that there are no multilingual titles, just basic numbers and suit symbols. The borders are delicate and slightly ornate, much like the images themselves.  And the card stock is sturdy, flexible, not overly thick, and easy to shuffle.

Turning to the images, we see in Temperance a beautiful girl with white hair and a white dress.  This pallid creature is offset by the red fish she sleeps upon.  There are other, smaller red fish that fly around them in the cloudy blue sky, and still others that seem to emerge from, or play among the strands of, her hair.  The colours, the play with fish and sky, and the peacefulness of her sleeping figure, all point to traditional notions.  The card suggests well the mixing of different elements, and how this can be healing.

For the Courts, the King of Pentacles came up.  A beautiful woman raises her skirts, allowing a bull to come charging out. The landscape around her isn't particularly lush, but there is a large town or city behind her.  Strength, groundedness, responsibility and economic growth, as well Taurean links, are all to be found here.

Looking a bit deeper, the Courts are distinguished by the little symbols at the bottom of the cards.  Yet, when placed together, the symbolism and differences are also quite apparent.  The Knights always have some kind of steed, the Queens are always more in close-up, and the Pages farther away.

I like the ballerina for the Page of Pentacles, suggesting a certain youth and innocence, as well as the need for practice to master anything physical.  The Knight on her button-eyed rabbit keeps a tight leash on her physical control, yet still has work to do to have everything as it should be.

The Queen is beautiful, indulging her physical desires with plenty left to share.  And the King, though female, has the strength and power of the bull, and that sense of overarching control and responsibility, through the use of landscape.  Thus, though each shows a female character, they are easily distinguished, with plenty of appropriate symbolism.

Moving on to the Ace of Pentacles, her yellow, egg shape suggests the seed of some material growth or expansion.  The birds are a little strange, more in tune with an airier sign, yet the idea that new possibilities can grow from here is certainly clear.

The Eight of Cups at first glance seems quite similar: pretty girl, bulbous dress and birds.  Yet the differences are also striking.  Her dress is a gilded cage, and the birds are dark.  We can get trapped by our emotions, by the pleasant situation we appear to have.  One bird, though, is out, and the girl's eyes turn to the right, to an as yet unseen potential future.  Will she leave the dress behind, morphing into a bird herself to fly away and seek out new, more fulfilling possibilities?

Overall, this deck does not feel to me like it has been slapped together from preexisting artwork.  While unusual, the symbolism still feels largely appropriate if quite different from tradition.  It is beautiful and bizarre, and would work well as a deck for free-flying intuitive readings, while still being open to traditional interpretations.  While perhaps not the best deck for a beginner, it is lovely and very usable.

20 comments:

  1. I am attracted to the art in this deck, but I know I would not read with it. I must resist LS decks! We don't do well together, the two of us. :)

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  2. I love the artwork but like you I get confused by the birds. I tought the eight of cups was the eight of swords :D

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    1. Yes, the art is gorgeous, but it takes a bit of effort to read... :)

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  3. Thank you for this review - this is one of those decks that I am strangely attracted to, yet not sure about getting, so any extra information is fantastic. I don't think I would read with it for the public - yet I'd like to shuffle it out of personal curiosity :) Blessings, Monica.

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    1. Well, nothing wrong with that, Monica! I've done a couple more personal readings with it, and they were interesting, though not easy. Blessings, Chloë

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  4. I thought the 8 of Cups was the 8 of Swords too.

    I'm with Carla on this one. Although I think Coelli is an amazing artist, would I really bond and read with this? I don't think I would, so I sadly cancelled my order.

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  5. Oh I don't know Chloe, I think you might have nabbed me, and thanks for the extra information and samples. I don't have money right now but this one reminds me slightly of the AGM deck Stella's Tarot which I love but I'm not sure others did. I could actually see using the Nicoletta deck with that one, pairing them up for fantastic daily draws.

    So maybe for Christmas or New Year when I buy the Celtic Lenormand I might get this one too if I can scrape up the money. I can really see myself using it in the way I use decks for daily draws. Good to see that Lo Scarabeo can still publish decks with real art not CGI junk, and a different take on things. I would think the bulk of my tarot cards are by LS, so I mesh with them and find them delightful for the most part.

    Different strokes for different folks!

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    1. I love the Stella Tarot and find it very easy to read. This one is beautiful but harder for me. Still, I think it repays the effort, and offers a different perspective :)

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  6. I think that if I was working the blog I used to, this would be a good choice for personal exploration. But I am working differently with the cards to how I was. I have other decks (like the Sweet Twilight) which I like, but which don't feel right for my style of reading. That King of Pentacles just doesn't feel like the King of Pentacles to me.

    I was looking on Nicoletta's site and many of the card images are there under different names, which makes me wonder if they existed prior to the tarot - in the same way that someone else mentioned about the Hidden Realm Tarot images, and the Favole before that.

    I just know that Woley will work beautifully with this deck (it also reminds me of the Stella) but I think it would become another redundant pack for me. Different strokes, indeed! My thoughts are not intended to knock the art, since I think it is stunningly beautiful. I just don't want to clutter up the cupboard with another pack I won't use. I think you get a better understanding about what suits you as time with tarot moves on. I pass up a lot more than I buy these days.

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  7. Well, the spouse gave me permission to in a pre-order so it definitely is coming here in October. I was so disappointed that Steve cancelled his order that I had to take up the slack!

    I know exactly what Steve means about using pre-existing art on tarot cards. The Haindl is like that so the precedent goes way back, and more recently the Shadowscapes Tarot did the same. Some can overlook it and some can't. If I like the art enough I can overlook it so it's fine for me.

    Generally this is not the kind of art I go for but it appealed to me as a companion deck. I too have many decks taking up shelf space so don't buy too often, but I bought this and the Messenger Cards by Sandra Kunz as early Christmas gifts.

    Nowt wrong with that, right?

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    1. Yeah, I never bonded with the Haindl. Steve says this was pre-existing art, still, I think they did a good job with the choices, overall. Hope you'll enjoy your early Christmas gifts :D

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    2. Just fyi - the Shadowscapes tarot - If you go to Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's website, she explains that each picture was created for the deck specifically. They did not exist before hand.
      http://www.shadowscapes.com/Tarot/cardsmain.php?suit=0

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    3. Thanks for the info, Sarah. Yes, I thought that was the case, too - I remember her poems in the book were very specific and described the cards perfectly :)

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  8. Nowt wrong with that at all!

    In terms of existing art, I guess it is down to the perception of the reader and how they wish to use of the cards. I received the Anne Stokes tarot (Gothic) for a birthday. Although nice in many ways, the artwork used for each tarot card felt like someone squeezing their size 6 foot into a size 4 shoe. I'd say that is one example where the process seemed hurried. I guess it is down to whether the reader can either connect it to their understanding of tarot or are open-minded enough to let the images create a new story. I can see those qualities in many readers, but not so readily in myself.

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    1. Hmm, I think you underestimate yourself. On the other hand, that kind of bonding can take time. And I, for one, would rather you spent your energy on the lovely Tiferet Tarot, so I can add another very readable deck to my collection! :D

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    2. I think I have worked like that well in the past but at the moment, I am trying to stick with recognisable systems (RWS) to aid my teaching course and readings for others. I very may well read more openly in the future :) And I can see how a deck like this would be great for that.

      Have only got 23 cards left to create. Was going to see how the creative juices flow with a cup of coffee and a little music in a bit ;) Getting nearer, Chloe!

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    3. I can understand wanting to stick with greater clarity for a blog that is more teaching based.

      As for the cards, yippee, nearly there :D

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  9. I was actually given this deck as a gift. I have a hard time reading it sometimes because the booklet it comes with seems mixed up sometimes. For example, it describes the Queen of Discs as motherly and the Queen of Wands as beautiful and charismatic, but the pictures on the actual cards depict the opposite (switched meanings, I mean). Does anyone else feel this way?

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