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Vikings Tarot | Print |

Vikings Tarot

It's a deck based on the Rider-Waite-Smith, illustrated by Sergio Tisselli; the LWB is by Manfredi Toraldo, who conceptually created the deck and who in the past had also already created the Olympus Tarot, Dürer Tarot, and the Minor Arcana of the Origins Tarot.

From p. 4 of the LWB: "In this deck, the complex Viking world is re-examined using the traditional symbolism of the tarot which, however, penetrates into the mythology, religion, and social organisation of the warrior tribes of the north.

"In regards to the Minor Arcana, the choices encompassed: the Giants (primeval forms of energy, fire, snow, and ice; aspects of unbridled nature) became the Wands; the Vanir (indigenous gods, they were deposed by the Aesir and then became their brothers, expressions of the nature of the sea, connected with water and fertility) are the Chalices; the Dwarves and Elves (creators of handmade goods, makers of weapons and jewelry brought by the gods and heroes, symbol of the Earth and material wealth) are the Pentacles. Finally, Men, instruments of destiny, servants or rebels of the will of the gods, epic heroes, wise magicians, capable rulers or shrewd craftsmen, were assigned the suit of Swords.

"The Aesir, supreme gods, take their place among the Major Arcana." (bold and italicised fonts are mine).

Indeed, this LWB is exceptionally useful: even though it's necessarily concise, it provides the basic information required to understand the rationale for certain tarot-myth pairings; furthermore, it concludes with the following bibliographic suggestions (p. 14):

•o    I Miti Nordici by Gianna Chiesa Isnardi, edizioni Longanesi & C.

•o    Miti e Saghe Vichinghi by Gabriella Agrati e Maria Letizia Magini, Edizioni Mondadori

If your curiosity was piqued by the deck, you can effectively consult the sources which contributed to its creation. Of the two books, I own I Miti Nordici which, at the time of this writing, I've only partially read, but I feel I can recommend it anyway.

Besides the explanations of the tarot-myts pairings, the LWB provides also the divinatory meanings for each card, in keywords. Personally, I don't agree with those given for several Minor Arcana, which I find unconnected either to the images of this deck or the traditional RWS, but this isn't a problem: after all, LBW rarely are enough to do in-depth readings; this LWB is undoubtedly necessary for the tarot-myth pairings, but a further study of other books is unavoidable.

luna_vichinghi.jpgsole_vichinghi.jpgBelow, I quote the descriptions for the Moon and the Sun, from pp. 8-9, in order to illustrate better how the LWB is structured (Minor Arcana only offer the title, not the description, but - as I said above - it is enough to understand the pairings, and in any case you can consult the books in the bibliographic suggestions to learn more).

 "XVIII - The Moon - Máni

The Vikings viewed masculine aspect in the moon and feminine aspect in the sun.

The moon is the nocturnal light that captures light and controls it: a magical being who dies and is born again for all eternity. According to Viking myth, Máni was also a man who, while he was dying, gave himself up to the sun and became its slave."

"XIX - The Sun - Sól

The young girl named Sól guides the chariot of the sun, pulled by horses Árvakr and Alsidr. The runes are cut on the ears of the first horse, as they are on one of the hooves of the second horse. Between the legs of the horses a bellows protects the young girl from the heat of the celestial body as does the shield that she carries on her shoulders. The wolf Skoll follows the chariot and will swallow the sun at the end of time."

w8s.gif08bastoni_vichinghi.jpgSometimes it may happen that this deck's and the traditional RWS's images differ a little, yet if you study them you can understand the connection, and the reading is not at all undermined (and, as I've already written in other reviews, if you follow Valerie Sim's Comparative Tarot philosophy you can even enjoy an enhancement). Probably the only instances that are really different from the RWS, but that don't nullify the deck's overall quality, are the Eight of Wands (that - instead of having 8 arrows/wands flying in the air indicating, among other things, rapid movement - has "The eight Giants killed by Thor") and the Three of Swords (that - instead of having the heart pierced by 3 swords - has "Prell, Karl and Jarl (the ancestors of the social classes)") - titles taken from pp.12-13 of the LWB, which ends in the following page with the spread called The Drakkar which allows you to investigate a situation, the reasons that caused it, the querent's stance, suggested actions for the querent to take in order for things to end favourably s3s.gif03spade_vichinghi.jpgfor him/her.