Deck Review: Romantic Tarot (Lo Scarabeo)




As the old saying goes ‘Don’t judge the book by its cover’. This concept is applicable when it comes to describing Romantic Tarot published by Lo Scarabeo. Having a couple passionately kissing in a gondola in the front of the box and a lady dressing in ball gown with a tiara on her head at the back evoke the memory of a bygone era — Belle Époque, when life was pleasant and arts flourished. However, Romantic Tarot depicts more than just a fairy tale with a happily-ever-after ending.

Upon opening the box, we receive the warm welcome from the creator Emanuela Signorini and artist Giulia F. Massaglia. Together we start the journey to four European cities — Paris, Rome, Venice, and Vienna to observe people from all walks of life by channeling the energy of four suits — wands, pentacles, chalices, and swords.

With the wands energy we arrive in Paris, there we have the pleasure of witnessing the competition between suitors trying to win a lady’s heart (3 of wands), the courtships between lovers (5 of wands, 6 of wands etc.), and we are lucky enough to be invited to a wedding (4 of wands). Interestingly, the courting ritual is completed in the Ace of wands, showing a gentleman’s walking stick with a lady’s garter. Perhaps, in love, there is no beginning and no end.

With the Ace of pentacles inscribed ‘Omnia Vincit Amor’ (Love Conquers All), we find ourselves in Rome where magicians (3 of pentacles), artists (6 of pentacles), and musicians (knave of pentacles) performing on the streets trying to make a living. Yes, ‘Love Conquers All’, love is the fuel that gives us strength to survive in reality and to earn enough to support a family. At young age, we were naïve like the children depicted in 2 of pentacles, trying to win, trying to be a boss of everything resulting in the disharmony in a relationship. Luckily, with the help of the energy of pentacles, we have the chance to grow mature enough to understand the sharing of responsibilities in a relationship like the couple depicted in The Chariot.

Even with love, life is hard. Sometimes our emotions flood our life like the overflowing chalice depicted in the Ace of chalices. To release the stress, we find ourselves wandering in the narrow streets of Venice. In a square with no name, we might encounter another lost soul (2 of chalices); we might find ourselves in a ball room filled with strangers (7 of chalices); with a Venetian mask and a few drinks, you will discover that there is no gap between classes (6 of chalices).

Life’s sorrows are not reserved only for commoners. In the suit of swords, we witness scene after scene of life’s sorrows (8 of swords), heart breaks (3 of swords), and struggles (2 of swords) in the high society in Vienna. Perhaps life is fair after all, no matter which class we were born into, we have lessons to learn because lessons facilitate growth. Growth happens when we let go of the past (Ace of swords), when we have the courage to say ‘no’ to the old that no longer serve us. And that is how we begin the next journey, the next chapter in our life.

The journey with Romantic Tarot opens up readers’ imaginations. It speaks to those who feel nostalgic towards the traditions and values of Victorian period. It shows you the reality and life as it is yet remains the charm and elegance of that particular period. It helps beginners develop their intuitions by using the story telling technique. It adds layers upon layers to enrich the advanced tarot readers’ interpretations of the card spreads.

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