Egyptian Scarabeo Tarot Cards


Pack information: 78 cards with 14 page mini booklet 
Card dimensions: 120 x 66 mm
Authors: Silvana Alasia 
Minor Arcana cards individually illustrated? Not really, although some different symbols are used

They say: Holding the power over the mysteries of ancient Egypt.

We say: This deck by Italian artist Silvana Alasia was first published in 1996. Her original paintings were first painted onto parchment. Much of the designs (especially the major arcana) have been based upon the designs of M.O.Wegener. Wegener had attempted to use designs that truly mimicked Egyptian art and combine this with the ideas of Paul Christian who in his research told of an authentic manuscript passed on by a Benedictine Monk. But there has been some doubt thrown onto some of the stories he told.

There is no conclusive evidence of the origins of the Tarot although many believe it to originate from Egypt. There is no direct lineage from this deck (or any other Egyptian deck) back to Egypt although many of the symbols etc. are authentic. I would say this isn't a deck for beginners unless you are very into Egyptian mythology. After having done a fair bit of reading about this deck these are my conclusions:

Much of the imagery used is authentically Egyptian, but it should be considered a themed deck such as the Celtic Tarot or Witches Tarot. It is one of the more respected Egyptian Tarot decks although many of them share much of their imagery with each other as much of the research comes from the same sources.

Guest Review by Brian Stevenson

Although there is no real conclusive proof that Egypt was the source of the Tarot, some Tarot historians do believe that it may have originated from that country. This late-20th Century deck combines unrelated Egyptian images with the traditional elements of the Tarot. Many of the pictures are reminiscent of the hand-painted papyrus paintings specifically made for present-day tourists to buy when visiting Egypt. They depict a view of ancient Egypt that has perhaps been adapted to Western tastes. None-the-less, the images are very colourful as well as being attractive and striking. The printing process used in producing the pack is high and it is clear that the original paintings were made on papyrus. This gives the whole pack an 'authentic Egyptian' feel.

All the Major Arcana are based very loosely on well-established Tarot designs that could have been taken from any traditional deck such as the Rider-Waite or even the Tarot of Marseilles. There are some interesting touches on some of the cards. For example, the Knave (Page) of Swords is depicted as a Scribe in the process of writing something onto a tablet. Instead of a sword he is therefore shown holding a pen or brush. So, is there a hidden message here that 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. Some of the Minor Arcana cards in this deck bear a slight resemblance in basic layout to the Minor Arcana in the Crowley-Thoth Tarot. However, they do not have the complexity and subtlety of the Crowley-Thoth Tarot.

Overall, this deck gives a fresh and unique slant on the Tarot. It is probably best suited to experienced readers who would like an additional pack of cards to give them a different view of Tarot.

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