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Tarocchi dei Celti (Tarot of the Celts) – Majors Only Deck

Astrology is an ancient mind-body science that is based on the belief that human behavior is largely controlled by the movement and positions of the celestial bodies, known as the Zodiac.

Tarocchi dei Celti is a superb deck of cards based on Celtic mythology. It was created by the Italian artist Francesco Marcolongo. It is based on the Major Arcana of traditional tarot decks, with the major arcana cards replaced with Celtic divination cards. The deck contains 78 cards.

Tarocchi dei Celti (Tarot of the Celts) is an Italian Tarot deck, commissioned by the Academia Celtica, which was first published in 1997. The images on the cards are taken from the Celtic Bronze Age (2200-1200 BC) and illustrate the divination of the ancient Celts. This deck of cards has been redesigned for this edition to make it more user-friendly, and it is the only major edition of this Tarot Deck of the Celts available.. Read more about unique tarot decks and let us know what you think.

Tarocchi degli Celti, or Tarot of the Celts, is an Italian Majors-only deck. “Evoking the ancient people of the Celts, with drawings that are full of comedy and sweetness,” says Italian artist Antonio Lupatelli (1930–2018). (thank you, Google Translate).

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Nervously laughs. Okay, I’m completely unqualified to evaluate this deck. I have no clue what any of the major titles imply, and when I tried putting them into Google Translate, for example, it told me that the term “Fintan mac Bochra” doesn’t exist in Italian, and that it means “Venta is not good” in Arabic. There’s not just a linguistic barrier, but also a cultural one: I’m not really acquainted with Celtic mythology.

Oh, wait a minute– the translation results are now better if I write in a whole paragraph. Fintan mac Bóchra is the name for Key 0 (il Matto), and it’s a name. He was regarded as “The Wise,” a Druid. Fintan the Wise’s tarot Fool card play is very appealing to me. The fish on the card is a reference to Fintan’s ability to shape-shift into a salmon, as well as the Irish legend of the Salmon of Knowledge.

These drawings have a quirkiness to them in terms of artwork. Note Morrigan for Key III from what I’ve read so far (The Empress card). For a zoomed-in close-up look, you may need to click on the above picture file. Oh, and I’m assuming Brig or Brigid is Key II (The High Priestess).

I won’t comment on any of the connections because of my lack of understanding of Celtic mythology, so whether The Morrigan as the tarot Empress card makes any sense… I don’t have the knowledge or the information to make an informed opinion. =)

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The deck comes with an Italian-language folding booklet. There is no English. Let’s continue to depend on Google Translate…. Okay, so for Key 1: The Magician card, due to Latin origins, I can understand what’s in the parenthesis (Il Mago) on that title without assistance.

Let’s see if I can come up with a logical translation for the first sentence: Lug was the greatest deity of the Celts, despite Roman critics comparing him to Mercury because of his polytechnic characteristics (military, artisan, and priestly).

Okay, that’s OK. Lugh, the namesake of the harvest festival Lughnasadh, is shown on The Magician card. (This is mentioned in the second paragraph of the entry.)

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I’m not going to try to evaluate this deck; instead, I’ll simply show you the beautiful images. The cards are about 3′′ by 7′′ in size, making them higher than typical mass market tarot cards. It’s printed on the most beautiful papery canvas-like linen cardstock. It’s completely matte and has an Old World feel about it.

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The graphics are witty, evocative of children’s fairytale tales in which you have to imitate amusing voices for the various characters while reading aloud. The painting style has a comic aspect to it, fun without being too serious.

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The booklet provides quite a bit of substantial insight into Celtic mythology, why certain characters are selected to be on the Majors that they are on, and the tarot card interpretation, based on the few lines I put into Google Translate. But then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Giordano Berti, who is a really exceptional writer and thinker. Basically, anything with Giordano Berti’s name on it is certain to be a hit with me. Berti is also the author of the Lupatelli art guide.

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Let’s see how well we can auto-translate the first text from the picture above:

“As far as the most ancient stages of Celtic culture and religion are concerned, only archaeological evidence are available. We have no text written by a Celtic author because of the Druidic schools’ ceremonial ban of writing, while the descriptions of Greek and Latin authors are mainly from later periods and are influenced by the attempt to adapt the Celts’ culture to that of the Mediterranean peoples.”

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This deck’s quality is out of this world. I like the style of the sleeve packaging, which is made of a luxurious paper that feels more like a strong parchment than a plastic-y cardboard. It’s silky and smooth to the touch, almost linen-like in appearance.

Lo Scarabeo released this art deck in 1991 as part of their “Tarocchi d’Arte” collection. Although this ultra-luxe canvas-linen Majors Only deck is probably out of print now, the 78-card Tarot of the Druids, which is based on these first 22 images, is still available. (You’ll notice that the Majors in the Tarot of the Druids are identical to the paintings you see here.)

This isn’t a deck review, again. I haven’t done any readings with these cards yet, and I haven’t even removed them from their original arrangement. This is more of a show-and-tell situation.

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