Marcello Tarot - Header

Tarot of the Journey to the Orient | Print |

Tarot of the Journey to the Orient

"The Journey through the Orient Tarot describes scenes, customs, dress, and rituals which recall the fabulous tales of the wonders of the Orient described by Marco Polo (1254-1324) in his book ‘Il milione'." (from the LWB, p. 3)

amanti_wirth.jpgamanti_marco_polo.jpg"The artist Severino Baraldi, illustrating the plates of the twenty-two Major Arcana with subtle refinement, inserted two scenes for each card therefore paralleling and comparing the East with the West." (p. 3) (Baraldi also masterfully illustrated the Tarot of White Cats and Ramses - Tarot of Eternity.)

The divinatory meanings of the Major Arcana are introduced by a maxim and then concisely explained; they can be a start, but they are not enough (but in such a restricted space you cannot possibly give explanations taking into account the full range of each card).

The maxim introducing the Lovers is "Knowing How To Make Decisions Will Help Growth" (p. 5) and the imagery brings to mind the ancient name of this card ("The Two Paths") which used to indicate the need to make a choice once arrived at a crossroad, as shown in the Oswald Wirth Tarot.

05_coppe_marco_polo.jpgThe meanings of the Minor Arcana are given in short strings of keywords which not always are appropriate to the card in question. Also, often the number of wands, cups, swords or pentacles is not pictured on the card (i.e. there are not five cups in the Five of Cups), and you can get to identity of the card only thanks to the writings on its borders.

s8s.gif08_spade_marco_polo.jpgIn a few instances the images are a re-elaboration of their Rider-Waite-Smith counterpart, but the connection is not always immediate. Of course, if you know the RWS well, you can get to an explanation by comparing the cards but, as I said, the connection is not immediate; as it's often the case, sometimes there may be a delay in getting to the right interpretation and other times there may be a particular nuance (see Valerie Sim's Comparative Tarot philosophy). The Eight of Sword is an example: the emphasis is on external obstacles instead of on those created by your mind (force of nature vs. self-imposed restrictions).

However, there are a few cases where I really can't make the connections, such as in the Seven of Wands and in the Two of Swords, not to mention the Four of Swords which reminds me of the Nine of Pentacles. 

 07_bastoni_marco_polo.jpg 02_spade_marco_polo.jpg 
 04_spade_marco_polo.jpg  p9s.gif  09_denari_marco_polo.jpg

The associations of the suits with the traditional Elements are missing, and this is especially evident in the Court Cards, which also lack their typical companion animals.

04_bastoni_marco_polo.jpgAll this being said, it is a likable deck on the whole, not difficult to read with, and gifting us with pleasant artistic surprises, such as in the Four of Wands which never fails to convey an atmosphere of peace and serenity.