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Review Mucha Tarot

DATASHEET
Name : Mucha Tarot
Author : Alligo, Massaglia, Nosenzo, Starrantino
Publisher : Lo scarabeo
Tradition : Tarot Rider-Waite-Smith
Packaging : Solid bell box / 12.5 x 8.1 x 5 cm / 1.7 x 3.1 x 1.9 in
Deck : 78 cards / Plastified, glossy / 12 cm / 4.7 in x 7 cm / 2.7 in
Size : High
Handbook : Booklet of 128 pages in color
Reverse side : No, the backs of the cards are not reversible.
Switch of 8/11 : Yes
Universe : Artistic / Literary / Abstract-Modern
Use : Prediction , Personal development
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The equipment

The equipment

The deck is not delivered in a box, it is contained in a bell-shaped box made of very thick cardboard. A small booklet fits inside the box.

The cards are of normal thickness for a "mass-market" product. With 12 centimeters in height, the cards are rather large, it can be difficult for a person with small hands to shuffle the deck horizontally, in such a case, shuffling the cards vertically will be necessary.

The authors

We know little about authors and illustrators, except that one of them, Pietro Alligo founded the company Lo Scarabeo in 1987. And the other illustrators participated in the creation of other tarot cards at the same publisher.

The booklet

The booklet

There is little to say about the booklet, as it is quite short. First of all, its size and font are quite small, which makes it neither easy to hold in the hands nor easy to read. That said, its format makes it easily transportable.

The game is multi-language, meaning the same box is sold worldwide. In the booklet, we have a 70-page English-language part. Unfortunately the translation of the other languages (French, Spanish, German and Russian) is only 10 pages each. This means that the booklet is primarily intended for English speakers. The French reader who is new to tarot and not an English speaker may feel aggrieved or really handicapped by only 10 pages of explanation. These pages only list a few key words for each of the 78 cards. This is insufficient for a beginner.

The English part devotes one page for each blade of the Major Arcana and half a page for each card of the Minor Arcana. The explanations provided are therefore short and to the point. These texts are not in any way an learning of tarot, they are only a reminder of the usual meanings of the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition. The interpretation of each card ends with a list of key words. The English translation concludes with a last chapter describing 3 drawings. Finally, I would like to point out that the English texts (written by an English or an American woman by name) are not easy to read. For a publication intended for the international market, I would have appreciated a more accessible English.

The first draw "The 4 seasons", proposes 4 locations:
Spring - What needs creative expression ? Summer - what needs to be slowed down ? Autumn - what is ready to be harvested ? Winter - what needs shelter and care ?

The second draw "The 4 flowers" offers 4 locations:
The Iris - The message, The carnation - The secret influence, The lily - The essential sweetness, The rose - The truth.

At the end the last draw "The 4 acts" still defines 4 locations:
Act 1 - The theme of the issue, Act 2 - Who influences the issue, Act 3 - Unexpected changes and developments, Act 4 - The resolution and outcome.

An example is given for each draw. We can regret that the 3 draws have the same format : 4 cards aligned. The authors lacked imagination, even if they avoided talking about the usual cross draw or other conventional draws.

No cards are named

No cards are named

A special feature of this tarot deck is that no card has a name. The blades of the Major Arcana bear only their number in Roman numerals. And the cards of the Minor Arcana have their symbol of belonging to one of the 4 suits, inserted in the foot of the card. And in the header, appears either the number or a representative symbol for a court card (example: a crown for kings).

I imagine that this choice is deliberate in order to offer a multi-language deck, since no text appears on the cards. If for the Minor Arcana, this may be acceptable. For the Major Arcana, cards deprived of their name really lose their meaning. We can be reassured that everyone knows the names of the cards anyway. Certainly in my early days, I quickly memorized the order and name of the Major Arcana cards. But this should not be an excuse to be able to print a multi-language deck. It means that this game is not intended for a beginner looking for his first tarot.

Lack of legibility of the cards

Lack of legibility of the cards

The illustrators have given themselves a lot of pleasure in delivering very beautiful, but also very loaded images. So I really regret that often important details of the image do not stand out.

Typically THE FOOL/LE MAT bundle is lost in the young woman's hair, it does not jump out at the eyes when it should. And next to it, the white flower stands out more clearly, while it is a secondary symbol.

In the Minor Arcana, on the 7 of Swords, the gray of the tent canvas mixes with the gray of the mountains in the background. As a result, the presence of the camp is not striking enough.

The cards I like

8 of Wands

The cards I like

It is unusual for me to start with a card from the Minor Arcana in the "Cards I like" series, meaning that I did not find my happiness in the Major Arcana.

I appreciate the approach of the authors to get as close as possible to the iconography of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot while trying to make some cards more understandable like the 8 of Wands. The authors have kept the 8 wands barring the sky, but have added in the foreground a young woman expressing fear. Thus this card becomes more alive and its intuitive reading is made easier.

6 - The Lovers

6 - The Lovers

While searching carefully, I still found an interesting detail in the Major Arcana.

In the card THE LOVERS/L'AMOUREUX, it is right that the authors have made the snake much more visible. In Waite's vision, the snake in the Garden of Eden is the instigator of temptation and offers the choice to Eve (THE LOVERS is the "choice to be made" card). However in the original image, the snake is certainly present, but wrapped around the tree on the left, it occupies a small part of the image, whereas in my opinion it is the essential symbol of the image. Here, in the Mucha image, the snake is really visible and is placed above the couple, showing the power that the reptile has on them.

15 - The Devil

15 - The Devil

Without a doubt, this is one of the most differentiated cards in the RWS tradition. Due to the need to make this card more digestible and less terrifying, the authors have transformed the scene. Here we have a woman, the devil's incarnation, with unequalled beauty, holding a woman in her right hand and a man in her left hand. At first I thought it could be a representation of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, goddess of love. Why not ? The card THE DEVIL does talk about sexuality (among other things). The golden necklace, the ram's horns, may indeed be attributes of the goddess. Consulting the booklet does not learn anything about this, except that it is a question of temptation. Too bad we won't know more about this she-devil.

The cards I like less

10 - The Wheel of Fortune

The cards I like less

The WHEEL OF FORTUNE leaves me quite perplexed, we see a woman sitting and leaning against a halo of flower, at her feet an hourglass and in the background a windmill. I imagine that the wings of the windmill remind us the wheel. An essential meaning of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is that the wheel turns, luck turns, so we must catch the opportunity. Here the hourglass tells us that "time passes" but this concept is quite different from "time (wheel, luck) turning". Moreover, the nonchalant posture of the young woman, the stationary wings of the mill go against the idea of dynamism and urgency generally conveyed by the card. The two dice placed on the hourglass perhaps speak of hazardous luck. But the WHEEL OF FORTUNE speaks more about a chance, a fortune, which comes sooner or later, and which sooner or later flies away. The dice evokes the chance of life, while the wheel says that every aspect of life is ephemeral. With this card, I have rarely encountered a vision of THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE so far removed from the original.

13 - Death

13 - Death

We see a hooded silhouette (The Death ? it's not even sure...) at the foot of a man lying on the ground. It is true that this scene does evoke death, its drama, its fatality. But the original image speaks above all of cutting with the links of the past (Death mowing the ground) and thus of a transformation that can be done in difficulty or in pain. In the Mucha, we rather see a sun setting (or rising?) between two towers on the horizon, should we think of a threshold or an open door to paradise? This evokes a reward to be obtained (reborn) for the deceased rather than a transformation to be accomplished.

20 - The Jugement

20 - The Jugement

Probably the most curious card in the game. The reading of the booklet teaches us that the man who tries to stand or stay standing refers to the courage and tenacity to face the angel's judgment. An angel who here is no longer a messenger (the primary role of every angel) but a divine and all-powerful manifestation, rendering a implacable judgment. The other men on ground show that on the last day only pure and deserving men will remain standing. This card speaks more of a (terrible) judgment before it speaks of fervor and rebirth.

7 - The Chariot

7 - The Chariot

Certainly in the original Rider-Waite-Smith image, we guess that both sphinxes are female. But the RWS is more than a hundred years old, and at that time the role and situation of women were differents. Women didn't even have the right to vote. I find it a pity today to take up this scene again, and show a man in his cart dominating two women in the shape of sphinxes. What should we think of the fate of these feline women ? One can tell me that it is an allegory, that we should not take this image literally. Ok, but which allegory are we talking about ? In the Tarot de Marseille, there has never been any equivocation, the mounts have always been horses ...

GALLERY
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My opinion on Mucha Tarot

The Mucha tarot is a beautiful deck of cards delivered in a solid box, that's for sure. The illustrations are well done and we can understand why this game is popular. However, this is not enough to make this deck a fair and complete divinatory tarot.

Images can sometimes be loaded with details and nuances that can complicate a divinatory and intuitive reading of the card. But overall the Major Arcana has been so stripped of its symbols that beginners can quickly practice drawing cards with the Mucha Tarot. "It talks to us" easily.

Speaking of the images with the simple symbols of the Mucha, it is only a step to say that this tarot is "simplistic" in its vision of the world. I wouldn't go that far, but while it may be pleasant and comfortable to begin to draw cards with a tarot like the Mucha, I think that the reader will quickly be limited in his interpretations by the symbolism "stripped" of this tarot.

"Beautiful, simple ... too simple?" Tweet
TYPE OF USE
  • Prediction
  • Personal development
PROS
  • Beautiful illustrations
  • Solid bell box
CONS
  • Stripped symbolism
MATERIAL QUALITY RATINGS
3
/5
Quality
Packaging
3
/5
Quality
cards
4
/5
Rating
Artistic
EASE OF INTERPRETATION RATINGS
1
/5
Richness
of symbolism
3
/5
Legibility
of cards
3
/5
Structure
level
EASY-TO-USE RATINGS
3
/5
Ease
of use
3
/5
Accessible
to children
1
/5
Interest
in the study
OVERALL RATING
2.7 / 5

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