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The Etruscan Tarot Deck

by Silvana Alasia & Ricardo Minetti

The Etruscan Tarot Deck
Price: $19.95
Number of cards in deck: 78

Measurements: 2.6 x 4.72 inches, or 66 x 120 mm.

Back of card: Solid burnt-orange field with what appears to be a symmetrical, highly abstract (art deco?) white scarab in the center. May be inverted.

Booklets included: Yes, two: One in English, one in Italian. Format for both are long narrow sheets, folded into 16 panes, 2.6 x 4.74 inches, or 66 x 120 mm per pane.

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo. Printed in Italy.

Comments: The artist, Silvana Alasia, has three other decks to her credit, all Egyptian in style. Despite immediate appearances, this deck is not.

The Etruscans were a mysterious Italian civilization that flourished from sometime after 1300 BC to around 350 BC, when they were conquered by the Romans. But not before they had helped shape Roman culture.

Despite research, little is known today about the Etruscans. At one time the rulers of the entire Italian peninsula, their language, not part of the Indo-European language family, has yet to be deciphered. In part this was their fault: They wrote their books on cloth, only two of which have survived. What bits of Etruscan as we have is mainly small funereal inscriptions, eg, "Here lies George Smith". Kind of tough to expand "here lies" into Webster's English Dictionary.

The Etruscans were city dwellers, influenced by the Greeks. They carried on a prosperous trade throughout the Mediterranean. They left behind huge necropolises (cities of the dead), lavishly furnished, mainly in Tuscany. Their cult of the dead appears similar to that of the Egyptians.

In notes to this deck, images on the cards are described, but the cards themselves have no delineations. As examples:

The Magician: I'm dancing for myself. A young man, brightly & richly dressed, is slowly dancing alone & without music.

The Two of Swords: Two wrestlers are facing each other at religious games.

Queen of Pentacles: A woman sits in the center of the garden.

The Ace of Chalices: A mask of beauty & joy.

(These are the cards appearing in the top row, above.) The Etruscans were a matriarchal culture. All such cultures of which I am aware were in generally warm climes & the women commonly went topless. (I mention this as there is a note with the Queen of Pentacles that says women's dress was a bit more relaxed than it is now.) So we may consider carefully: Based on historical evidence, is partial female nudity the key to a female-dominant society?

Spreads: Two spreads in the notes: A Tomb spread of 5 cards, and a Banquet spread of six cards. Seems that when Etruscans weren't busy burying their dead, they were out feasting, throwing parties & generally having fun. By the time they disappeared, their culture & Roman culture were said to be nearly identical. Maybe if they had left more records behind, we would know more.

A nice deck, marred by lack of instructions.

The artist, Sylvana Alasia, has created numerous Egyptian tarot decks. Among them, The Egyptian Tarot Deck and Nefertari's Tarots, as well as the The Cleopatra Tarot. Her Tarot of the Sphynx is now out of print.

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Fax:410-638-5154; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Tarot Home Tarot Decks Tarot Books Join our tarot mailing list Astrology Home E-Mail: Dave

Established 1993, The Astrology Center of America is owned & operated by David Roell. Except where noted, this entire site (AstroAmerica.com) & its contents are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by William R. Roell. All rights reserved. Tarot card images are Copyright © by the copyright holder (generally the publisher).