Lo Scarabeo Tarot

Deck by Mark McElroy & Anna Lazzarini
© 2007 Lo Scarabeo

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The Fool in
                Lo Scarabeo Tarot2 of Chalices
                in Lo Scarabeo TarotKnight of
                Wands in Lo Scarabeo Tarot
                in Lo Scarabeo TarotAce of Swords
                in Lo Scarabeo Tarot7 of
                Pentacles in Lo Scarabeo Tarot

The Lo Scarabeo Tarot was created in celebration of the Italian publishing house's twentieth year of business.  Lo Scarabeo wanted their creation to be both a tribute to the company's achievements and a powerful, useful Tarot tool for divination, reflection, or metaphysical study.  This deck combines three major tarot traditions -- the Rider-Waite, the Tarot de Marseille, and the Thoth.  I see a lot of Rider-Waite tradition in this deck, and for the most part, I can relate to the cards.

9 of Swords
                in Lo Scarabeo TarotThere are, however, a few cards that seem a bit disturbing overall (or somewhat out of character).  For example, the Nine of Swords features bloodied swords on a wall while a figure sits on the floor in obvious despair.  The message of despair is very clear here, but the imagery adds a tone of violence that is not necessarily what the Nine of Swords is meant to convey, in my opinion.

One might take this card to be even more devastating than is warranted for a particular situation.  But the Nine of Swords is indeed referred to as a "nightmare card," and I think the presentation for this card in the Lo Scarabeo Tarot is like a nightmare, even though the image is not shown as if the figure was dreaming.  The figure of this card is not even sitting on a bed to imply a nightmare in that way.  But I would definitely consider it a "nightmare" with the bloody swords on the wall.

And certainly, we can't take every image literally!  That holds true for any deck.  So for this card, those swords on the wall may represent how the person on the floor feels like he has stabbed someone in the back or wounded someone in some way . . . and now he feels the painful remorse and regret for words or deeds that can't be taken back.

Now when we compare the cards from the Thoth, the Rider Waite, and a Marseille version of Tarot, we can see elements of these three cards combined into the Lo Scarabeo Nine of Swords (see below).

In the Thoth Tarot, nine swords are dripping blood; in the Rider Waite Tarot, an individual sits with his head in his hands in obvious despair, and in the Marseille-styled decks, we see circular swords featured similar to the circular swords on the wall of the Lo Scarabeo Nine of Swords.  So as I explored that, I could really see how these three features were combined.

Of course, that still doesn't make me like the bloody swords that give rise to something that feels more violent than heartbreaking.  I can get more of a feel of heartbreak, regret, and deep disappointment from the Thoth deck that shows nine bloody swords.  Perhaps because it reminds me of the Three of Swords where three swords are typically pierced into the image of a heart to represent heartbreak.

Thoth Tarot
9 of Swords in Thoth Tarot
Rider-Waite Tarot
9 of Swords in Rider
                                  Waite Tarot
Marseille Style Tarot
9 of Swords in Marseille Style Tarot

6 of
                  Chalices in Lo Scarabeo TarotThe Six of Cups features a nude woman holding an apple, and that seemed really out of character for me with this particular card.  There is no nudity in any of the other three influencing tarot traditions for this card -- although the keyword on the Thoth card for the Six of Cups is "pleasure." A nude woman holding an apple among flowing background waters could certainly suggest the concept of pleasure.

The LWB (little white booklet) gives the interpretation of "plentiful" for the upright Six of Cups card, and the interpretation of "deficit" for the reversal.  That is all you get for each card in the small booklet -- two keywords . . . one to represent the Light of the card, and one to represent the Shadow.

The LWB is 63 pages to include five languages -- English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Dutch.  The English portion is 14 pages in length, and a special Lo Scarabeo spread and sample reading are included as well.  It was apparently decided that the traditions featured in the cards could stand on their own without a lot of explanation.  I think that is true since this deck has a traditional feeling to it overall.

I do like the Knights of this Tarot deck.  They are interesting in that they each are riding a different animal or beast (rather than the typical horse that we see with the Knights).

The Knight of Cups is riding a horned water dragon; the Knight of Wands sits atop a full-maned lion; the Knight of Swords is steering an eagle in a flighted journey as if he's about to go to war (and there are falling figures in the background, so it has a battle feeling to it which is fairly common for the Knight of Swords); and the Knight of Pentacles sits atop an ox.  That image rings true to the Knight of Pentacles being the slowest moving of all the Tarot Knights.  I could relate to that.

Some of the three traditional Tarot influences (Rider-Waite, Thoth, and Marseille) of cards from the Lo Scarabeo Tarot can be easily identified (such as in the Nine of Swords example above) . . . while other cards don't seem to really relate to the influential themes that inspired this deck.  I think that many of the cards do successfully combine the three influential elements, but some of them just don't work for me.  And that stems back to personal preference and personal opinions.  My opinion is not the only one by far!

The backs of the cards are reversible, featuring the scarab beetle inverted on a black and gray background.  The cards have a smooth matte finish and measure approximately 4-3/4" by 2-1/2."  The deluxe edition of the Lo Scarabeo Tarot comes with a large black velvet back with an embroidered golden scarab symbol on the front.  The black satin drawstring of the bag has a golden satin fabric  tip on each side.  The inclusion of the velvet Tarot bag is the only difference between the deluxe box set and the regular deck.

This is a deck that can be used straight out of the box, of course -- but you may enjoy it more if you also have the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot, the Thoth deck, and a Marseille-styled deck so that you can start making comparisons when you have questions about why a card was presented in a certain manner.  Having those decks that influenced the creation of the Lo Scarabeo Tarot helped me enjoy this deck more . . . even though I must admit that this deck is still not going to rank among my personal favorites.  But just because it's not a favorite among my collection doesn't mean that it won't be a favorite for someone else.

Other decks created by the authors of the Lo Scarabeo Tarot are the Bright Idea Deck, Mona Lisa Tarot, Tarot of the Elves by Mark McElroy, and the Manga Tarot by Anna Lazzarini.

Lo Scarabeo
            Tarot Cards

Deck Details - Lo Scarabeo Tarot

Number of Cards in Deck: 78

Size of Cards:  4-3/4" by 2-1/2"

Included with deck: A 63-page booklet; black velvet tarot bag (deluxe edition only)

Major Arcana:  Fool, Magician, Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot,
Strength (#8),
Hermit, Wheel, Justice (#11), Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Devil, Tower,
Moon, Sun, Judgement, World

Suit Names: Cups, Swords, Wands, Coins

Court Cards: Princess, Prince, Queen, King

Back Design of Cards: Lo Scarabeo
                Tarot Card Back

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