Tarot cards

Tarot of Atlantis - CARDS

Product Information

Pack information: 78 cards & booklet
Card dimensions: 65 x 120 mms
Author: Bepi Vigna

They say: The first person to mention Atlantis was the great Greek philosopher, Plato, about 2,500 years ago. Wanting to write his most famous dialogue, Republic, he planned a trilogy of works, each centered on the dissertations of certain figures of his time: The astronomer Timaeus would have talked about the origin of the world. The poet and historian Critias would have told about the war between Athens and Atlantis. And the Syracusan general, Hermocrates, would have dwelled on some other topic unknown to us. The trilogy, however, was never completed.

In Timaeus Plato has Critias tell a story, which he had heard from an elderly poet when he was a child. According to this story, the great lawgiver Solon, having gone to Egypt, had spoken of "ancient facts" with the old priests of Isis around 590 BC. One of these priests had told him that the Greeks should be considered a young population compared to another one, of which the Egyptians possessed various written evidence. In fact, a great civilization had developed much earlier on an island located beyond the Pillars of Hercules. The people of this island had waged war against Greece, Egypt, and all of the regions on this side of the strait, but they had been defeated. There are other references to Atlantis in the next dialogue. The island is described in detail: There was a large fertile plain through which two rivers ran, one with hot water and the other with cold water. Mountains on two sides protected it from the wind and a city with a circular layout rose on the southern coast. This city was surrounded by two rings of land and three of water, connected by bridges and tunnels that let ships pass. The royal palace and a temple whose walls were covered with gold stood on the centre island.

Is this story just a myth? There are some who believe that Plato's tale is nothing but an allegory that the philosopher used to better illustrate the characteristics of an ideal state. Others, however, will not rule out that traces of real facts also converge in the myth. Since Plato tells of a continent beyond the Pillars of Hercules, which are traditionally located at the strait of Gibraltar, a land rising from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean has long been dreamt. The Pillars of Hercules actually decreed the boundaries of the Greek world and, as recent studies seem to now confirm, their location was different from the one that was passed down to us. In fact, if they defined the area under Greek influence, the latter might not have extended beyond the eastern Mediterranean for a long time: Other populations had predominated the coasts and routes on the other side of Sicily and the Gulf of Sirte. Egyptian sources give an account of these "Sea Peoples" and it is known that they joined forces with Libyan populations and fought against Egypt, Asia Minor, Cypress, and Syria on two occasions. The invaders were defeated under Pharoah Merenptah and Pharoah Ramses III around 1178 and 1175 BC. A parallel can easily be traced between certain aspects of Plato's tale and these actual world wars of ancient times. Egyptian documents show that the Sea Peoples were also called "King of the Western Islands" and they consisted of various ethnic groups. One that distinguished itself was the Shardana. The Shardana lead us to Sardinia not just because of linguistic assonance but also because of the indisputable similarities between the warriors depicted in Egyptian bas-reliefs and the figures represented in the small nuraghic bronzes. Sardinia, which for the Greeks might once have been beyond those Pillars of Hercules that divided the eastern Mediterranean from the western Mediterranean, is a large island that rises to the west of Egypt and Greece: A land with a mild climate and lush vegetation, rich in precious metals, which in ancient times must have seemed like a far-away Eden. If we let our imaginations run free, it is easy to imagine that that lost island experienced a golden age - a Utopian age in which people were able to live in perfect harmony with nature. What happened on that happy island? Did a huge wave caused by an earthquake carry away the cities and villages? Clues, hypotheses - nothing certain except perhaps a single fact: Atlantis is a profoundly Mediterranean myth. Doesn't Critias perhaps say that on that far-off island there was a marvellous royal power that dominated "the regions of Libya all the way to Egypt and of Europe all the way to Tyrrhenia" And doesn't Tyrrhenia perhaps mean "land of towers" And right in the middle of that sea that we call the Tyrrhenian Sea, aren't the thousands of nuraghi scattered across the Sardinian hills towers?

The fact that the idea of the vanished continent captures our imaginations so much might mean that we hold the ancestral memory of that which was. Perhaps that lost continent is just a desire, a hope, the need to believe that it could have been a truly happy period that could return in the future.

But Atlantis, the great island in the sea of our imagination is also a cautionary epos, the symbol not just of a tragedy buried in history (maybe), but also a fear continuously present in our subconscious. Because if examined carefully, the sea that invades the land and submerges it is like the Flood and the message contained in the myth is identical: The water of the primordial flow of many myths about the creation, can become an element of dissolution and drowning in those cases in which man loses awareness of his own guilt.


Guest review

"People have been fascinated by the legend of Atlantis since the Greek philosopher Plato first wrote about the city over 2,500 years ago. These cards depict the people and stories of Atlantis re-interpreted through the Tarot. Some of the Major Arcana show the destruction of Atlantis. For example, The Tower is illustrated by a gigantic tidal wave about to engulf the city walls and Judgment shows a volcano and earthquake, leading to the city's demise. Some cards are more contemplative; The Star shows an Astrologer studying the heavens and presumably predicting the imminent catastrophe. Some cards will appeal to puzzle-solvers. For example, The Lovers shows two near-naked men wrestling. This may not make much sense until you remember that during his life Plato was more famous for being a wrestler than he was for being a philosopher.

All the Minor Arcana are fully illustrated. These depict everyday life in Atlantis. The Pentacles concentrate on trading activities, Wands show idols and statues, Cups are illustrated with chalices, vases and bowls and Swords depict weapons and fighting. Several of the Cups cards show orgies where naked couples writhe in drunken ecstasy. There are some references to The Rider-Waite, but not enough to class this deck as a Rider-Waite 'clone'.

The small booklet includes a helpful four-page article about the legends of Atlantis.

The deck will certainly appeal to anyone interested in Atlantis and its stories. However, because the cards are not particularly influenced by The Rider-Waite, they may not be suitable for absolute beginners."

By Brian Stevenson

Dictionary Terms Explained

Tarot Cards
The Tarot is a specific system that has 78 cards in total. There are 4 suits (referred to as the minor arcana) and 22 other cards (referred to as the major arcana). Each card represents a specific energy. And each card, through the picture on the card, is trying to help you to feel the specific energy of that card. The reason there are so many different kinds of Tarot decks is that Different Tarot decks may present this energy in different pictorial form. We have lots of articles on Tarot.

To learn more visit our Tarot Articles Section

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Guest review

"People have been fascinated by the legend of Atlantis since the Greek philosopher Plato first wrote about the city over 2,500 years ago. These cards depict the people and stories of Atlantis re-interpreted through the Tarot. Some of the Major Arcana show the destruction of Atlantis. For example, The Tower is illustrated by a gigantic tidal wave about to engulf the city walls and Judgment shows a volcano and earthquake, leading to the city's demise. Some cards are more contemplative; The Star shows an Astrologer studying the heavens and presumably predicting the imminent catastrophe. Some cards will appeal to puzzle-solvers. For example, The Lovers shows two near-naked men wrestling. This may not make much sense until you remember that during his life Plato was more famous for being a wrestler than he was for being a philosopher.

All the Minor Arcana are fully illustrated. These depict everyday life in Atlantis. The Pentacles concentrate on trading activities, Wands show idols and statues, Cups are illustrated with chalices, vases and bowls and Swords depict weapons and fighting. Several of the Cups cards show orgies where naked couples writhe in drunken ecstasy. There are some references to The Rider-Waite, but not enough to class this deck as a Rider-Waite 'clone'.

The small booklet includes a helpful four-page article about the legends of Atlantis.

The deck will certainly appeal to anyone interested in Atlantis and its stories. However, because the cards are not particularly influenced by The Rider-Waite, they may not be suitable for absolute beginners."

By Brian Stevenson

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