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Tarot of White Cats

Tarot of White Cats
Highlights:
Designer:  Severino Baraldi.  Publisher: Lo Scarabeo 2005.  Size:  660cm x 1200cm (2.8 x 4.7). Price includes shipping. 
Price: £18.95
Points Price: 190
Reward Points: 19

Description

Lo Scarabeo brings us the Tarot of White Cats, by artist Severino Baraldi, whose impressive portfolio includes the Dragon’s Tarot, Journey to the Orient, and the Tarot of Druids.   My first reaction to this deck was lukewarm (I keep saying that don’t I?)   I thought “Hmmm…Rider Waite with white cats.   OK.   Sweet.”    But on closer examination I noticed the extraordinary attention to detail in the creation of flowers, trees and the skies in many of the images.

Also, whilst the deck stays fairly close to the Colman Smith designs, there are some really amusing and imaginative deviations from the theme.    For example the Hanged Man cat has a positively delighted look on his face and appears for all the world to be river-dancing!     

I’d also be fascinated to know why the Knight of Wands background veers away from the pastel fairytale scenes depicted on all the other cards….here, instead of spired castles and misted mountains we see the three main pyramids at Giza beneath the horse’s flailing hooves.

The 10 of Swords is interesting as well – 9 swords piece a white tousled blanket which lays on the ground.   The 10th sword lays on top of the blanket…and the cat (who presumably had been face down under the blanket) scampers away with a defiant wave of one upraised paw.   

The golden borders which surround each of the images on these cards feature what looks to be an infinite number of kittens chasing golden balls, and the backs, which are reversible, show kittens in chalices, snatching unseen things from the air – these could be taken from the Ace of Cups where a white cat emerges from the chalice to swipe at a fleeing white dove.    The cat detail is astonishing, coming up in the most unexpected places.   Pentacles all have the heads of cats on them, as do thrones, buildings, stained glass windows etc.       I do suspect the King of Cups was distracted though, or he would surely have seen that fish blithely leaping toward his feet.

I was quite taken by the Death card, in which a hooded figure gazes out across a stormy sea, beneath a lightning rent sky, as a chest full of golden artefacts spills at his feet.   The booklet definition reads “Everything ends sooner or later and is transformed into something else.   It’s best therefore to be ready for all kinds of change”.

Strength is another striking card, with the cat inside the mouth of the lion, holding his jaws apart.   Whilst the lion looks none too pleased about this behaviour, the white cat seems perfectly comfortable in his Atlas-like crouch.   This card more than most others indicates a hint of whimsical amusement from the designer of the deck, Baraldi.   Take a look at the expression in the eyes of that lion!!

This could be a beginner’s deck for cat-lovers.    The symbolism is evocative enough to start the process of integrating and interpreting the various meanings of the cards.

 


Images
Chariot
Death
Devil
Star
7 Wands
10 Wands
Ace Chalices
8 Chalices
5 Swords
Queen Swords
5 Pents
Knave Pents

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