May Card-a-Month: Ancient Italian


It's May, definitely in the top five of all months, co-hosted by Taurus and Gemini. For this month, I used a deck that feels as lush as May feels: the Ancient Italian Tarot (Lo Scarabeo).

The Ancient Italian deck is reproduction of a clone of the Tarocco Soprafino from the early 1800s, so calling this deck "ancient" is a stretch. Naming conventions aside, it's a beautiful deck. There's a clear identification with the Marseilles, especially when you look at the court cards, but there are surprises everywhere. The booklet is uninspiring, but aren't most of them? This deck was originally used as playing cards, not divination, which only means it's even more open to possibilities.

Asking the deck for the guide for May 2019 received this response:

Cavaliero di Bastoni, the Knight of Wands

As I've done with this whole series, I've let the native imagery/interpretation of the cards tell most of the story for us, with some insight from different systems. In this case, the booklet isn't going to be any help. Traditionally, the Knight of Wands is a fiery and confident showman. In Jodorowsky's view of the Marseilles, the knights are transformational figures, and this one is moving from the realm of creativity and sex into the Swords' pure consciousness and ideals. The Ancient Italian Knight of Wands is definitely in the mold of the Marseilles, so this reading carries weight. And oddly enough, the undercard at the bottom of the deck for this reading was the Ace of Swords, the next card in this sublime progression between these two suits.

What we have to help us make it through May is a bout of creative strength, both sexual and productive. As the knight and his horse look and turn towards the future, we should use this energy moving ahead. It's an evolving force that will ultimately propel us towards something more rarefied beyond this month, something like an epiphany.

[All original images: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.]

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