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there are a few artists who “modernize” it by producing original works. One of these is Atanas Alexander Atanassov. on behalf of the new Lord of Milan Francesco Sforza (†1466) who had recently risen to power following his marriage to Bianca Maria Visconti.VISCONTI TAROTS Historic and artistic notes Those who believe that the art of miniature painting disappeared at the end of the Middle Ages couldn’t be more wrong. natural daughter of Duke Filippo Maria (†1447). and partially in the private collection of the Colleoni family of Bergamo. The missing figures were inspired by analogous figures of that time. lacking four cards: the Devil. 3 of Swords. and the Knight of Pentacles. This work was realized shortly after 1450 by an unknown Lombard artist. Unfortunately the deck divided between Bergamo and New York is incomplete. perhaps connected with the school of Francesco Zavattari. the originals are partially housed at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Today. In Eastern Europe this refined technique continues today. the 2 . Even if miniature painting is more or less confined to monastic centers. in particular. Tower. so much so that it is still being taught in art schools. a brilliant Bulgarian painter to whom Lo Scarabeo has entrusted the difficult task of reproducing what is definitely the most famous deck of miniature cards: the Visconti-Sforza Tarot. partially at the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo.
The Trionfi. Only at the end of the eighteenth century did the tarot begin to be used for cartomancy. The Trionfi were then united with the numerical cards which were already widespread in Italy by at least 1370. Obviously even the Visconti Tarot can be used for divinatory purposes. initial proof of which dates back to around 1440. present. Meanings of the Tarot The Tarot was not originally created with a divinatory purpose but was probably an educational game consisting only of the 22 Trionfi (Arcana). its strength may increase or decrease depending on the numerical 3 . and future. a noble and charming pastime which requires memory and strategy more than luck.artist based the Devil and the Tower on the socalled “Rosenwald Sheet” (Paris. Before beginning. This is how the tarot game was born. and needs tied to the past. Musée du Louvre) printed in Bologna at the end of the fifteenth century. represent desires. esoterically known as the “Major Arcana”. Here we have provided a simple method. ambitions. which are summarized later. The general meaning of each Trionfo is always the same while a more precise interpretation is provided by adapting the other meanings to the “house” where the Trionfo ends up. Furthermore. however. certain things must be known about each card’s divinatory messages. or by observing its direction: up or upside-down.
or rather the 16 characters of the four suits. Then take the deck with the 14 cards of the suit relating to the question. a precise question must be formulated. in this respect. again turning one part of the deck. keeping in mind that the Wands refer to work. Chalices love. Before creating the “spread”. Shuffle them seven times and have the querient cut the deck. The numerical cards refer to situations or attitudes relating to the querient or those close to him or her. the Pentacles business. Choose one of the four suits. the meanings of the numerical cards and figure cards begin with positive concepts which gradually worsen in order to demonstrate the variety of attitudes or situations. The Court Figures. as if these were a type of “power booster”. and Swords to legal questions or health. turning one half towards him or herself. Shuffle them in the same way seven more times and repeat the “cut”. These cards can also be positive or negative depending on the “house” they end up in or the cards next to them.cards nearby. represent physical persons who may act kindly (up) or maliciously (upside-down). Practical use Separate the Figures and the Numerical Cards from the Trionfi. Therefore. Shuffle them two more times in the same 4 . pay close attention when using these meanings. It must be pointed out that.
developing the analysis starting with the past. 3) this represents the future. only when a certain amount of experience has been gained 5 . other ideas may come to mind which are different from those listed. leaving ample space in the middle. During a reading. 4) this one speaks of the future. If you don’t remember their meaning. Now interpret the individual cards. Repeat the same operation with the 22 Trionfi.manner and then lay the first four cards out on the table in the form of a cross. that beginners keep to the traditional divinatory messages. or Major Arcana and. place the first three next to each other on the table between the cards which have already been chosen. 3) this one opposes desires. While laying down the cards. however. You will note that contradictory meanings sometimes exist for the same card. state the following out loud: 1) this card speaks of the recent past. use the list of divinatory messages reported later on. in fact. when finished. 2) this represents the present. stating out loud: 1) this represents the past. It’s a good idea. 2) this one favors desires. Here it must be stated that one single evaluation method does not exist.
When confidence in using this “art” has been gained the words will flow spontaneously like a sort of inspiration induced by the tarot figures. Fruitfulness.should they allow themselves to be influenced by personal suggestions which allow them to focus on problems better. depending on the cards nearby.The Magician Need to convince.The High Priestess Desire to learn. Diplomacy. II .The Hierophant Need for understanding. Even their direction can influence the interpretation. Manual skill.The Emperor Ambition to rule. rather. III . Pranks.The Fool Odd behavior. IV . Shrewdness. Stubbornness. It’s obvious that experience is necessary in order to evaluate all of the possibilities which appear during the “game”. Always remember that a card is weak or strong. Humility. V . Dedication. Productivity. I . Firmness. a card in a normal position refers to an action or desire on behalf of the Querient. Faith. Strangeness. the action or desire comes from the outside and is directed towards the querient. Attention. Therefore. or more or less positive. 6 . Major Arcana 0 . Madness. Vanity. If the card is upside-down. For example. it’s best not to get thrown off-balance by ideas which are too original.The Empress Love of art.
Risk.The Devil Lack of scruples.Strength Intense activity. XIV .The Tower Collapse of assurances.VI . Misanthropy. XVIII . XVII .The Wheel State of uncertainty. 7 . IX . Illness.Justice Need for legality. Wasted energy.The Lovers Need to choose. Scorned help. VII .Death Need for drastic change. Incompatibility. Friendship. Good omens. Adaptability. Impetuousness. XVI . XV . Idleness. VIII . Fatalism. Imprisonment. Fatigue. Alternating situations. XIX . Passionateness. XIII . Adventure.The Hermit Period of reflection. Search for affection. X .Temperance Desire to change. Impulsiveness.The Chariot Desire to progress. Illusions. Exile.The Moon Dreamy character. Diligence. Chaos. Fear. Discouragement. Anxiety. XI .The Sun Need for dialogue. XII . Healing.The Hanged Man Sense of obligation. Excessive scruples. Corruption. Dangerous friendships. Patience.The Stars Hope of tomorrow.
Merchant or trader. 8 .XX . Queen of Pentacles Blond or graying woman. or lawyer. melancholy. Powerful and reserved. wife. Mother. Queen of Wands Woman with dark hair. Happiness. intellectual. doctor. offers business advice. XXI . King of Wands Man with dark hair. Queen of Chalices Blond or graying woman. Heiress. Artist. Judge. Queen of Swords Woman with dark hair. Professional. Excessive optimism. brilliant and seductive but unfaithful. Entrepreneur or farmer. or lover. scholar. Awaiting a verdict.Justice Desire for renewal. King of Swords Man with dark hair. Widowed or single. Knight of Pentacles A man or a woman. Knight of Chalices A man or a woman. King of Pentacles Blond or graying man. Awakening.The World Sense of fulfillment. Court Cards King of Chalices Blond or graying man.
Knave of Chalices Young blond man or woman. or investigator. Knave of Swords Young dark-haired man or woman. Inheritance. Far-off relative. or lover. brings news. Agreement in the family. Confidant. Knave of Wands Man or woman from humble origins. Excessive fatigue. Student or inventor. or in society. Ten of Swords Period of affliction. artist. winnings. or successful business. offers collaboration. Psychological depression. researcher. Physical pain. between friends. Ten of Pentacles Economic stability. Numerical Cards Ten of Chalices Happy union. Knave of Pentacles Man or woman from rich family. Ten of Wands Continuous commitment.Knight of Wands A man or a woman. Athlete. Messenger or employee. Dissatisfaction. Knight of Swords A man or a woman. 9 . energetic.
Occult practices. Creative tension. Relief through trust. Exposed secrets.Nine of Chalices Solved problems. Seven of Pentacles Charity. Moderation. Eight of Wands Initiative. Patience. Intuition of danger. Signs of danger. Pragmatism. Seven of Wands Initial results. Excessive imagination. Search for help Seven of Swords Search for truth. Virtuous action. Partial success. Continuous commitment. Calm. Preparation for disagreement. Eight of Pentacles New ambitions. Intellectual or professional growth. Seven of Chalices Bizarre projects. Medical or social expenses. New resources to invest. Holding back impulses. Nine of Swords Intellectual or emotional maturity. Eight of Swords Defense. Nine of Wands Calculated risk. 10 . Nightmares. Nine of Pentacles Unexpressed potential. Eight of Chalices Self-control.
Five of Pentacles Worries. Test of conscience.Six of Chalices Pleasant memories. Spiritual experiences. New knowledge. Economic uncertainties. Appeal to specialists. Four of Wands Alliance. 11 . Four of Pentacles Savings. Four of Swords Safe refuge. Omens. Shaky balance. Six of Pentacles Unscrupulousness. Business agreement. Risk of loss. Prudence. Goodness of heart. Sense of protection. Frugal conduct. Six of Wands Obstacles. Remorse. Pain. Four of Chalices Birth of children or animals. Lack of scruples. Uncertain victory. Opportunity. Cynicism. Search for gain. Society. Five of Wands Tough competition. Severed hope. Supervision. Self-analysis. Six of Swords New physical and mental horizons. Five of Swords Danger of defeat. Enormous effort. Retreat. Five of Chalices Spirit of sacrifice.
Ace of Swords Spirit of conquest. Confusion. Tiredness. 12 . End to undertaking. Two of Wands Balance. Three of Swords Wasting of energy. Two of Pentacles Publicity. Beginning of an undertaking or activity. Disclosure. Confrontation.Three of Chalices Growth. Sincerity. Bitter opposition. Exaltation of own ego. Ace of Wands Invention. Two of Chalices Affinity. Good prospects for gain. Ace of Chalices Abundance. Three of Pentacles Expansion. Encounters. Three of Wands Careful preparation. Healing. Investments. Emotional fulfillment. Duel. Ace of Pentacles Acquisitions. Development of ideas. Measuring strengths. Incitement. Showing off capabilities. Loving passion. Two of Swords Rivalry. Stage of reorganization. Stability. Plan of union. Promotion.
As the situation appears to be in its best surroundings. the cartomant must lay out the tarots in a certain sequence. one must understand what a cartomantic spread or layout is. Each position of the sequence corresponds to part of the answer.The Esoteric Interpretation Divining with the Tarot is very easy. After the querient has shuffled the cards and cut the deck. In order to respond to the querient’s questions. First of all. 2) The second layer. lay out 5 cards as shown in the figure. Bronze. we will describe the cartomantic spread called: “The five layers” Just as the original Visconti arcana were created by superimposing very thin gold leaf on the cards and then embossing. As an example. How things change through attention and reflection. 3) The third layer. This cartomantic spread is useful for observing the hidden aspects of things. 1 2 3 4 5 1) The surface. How the mysterious 13 . Gold. Silver. without obscurities. each situation may be analyzed beyond the surface. The reading is carried out through an understanding of the divinatory meaning of the Arcanum which appears in a certain position.
or a state of mind. How the essence of things.loscarabeo. Gold.com 14 . Wavering between a negative and positive aspect must in the end lead to clarity without ever neglecting the energy each person may provide in order to change things and to take control of situations he or she is involved in. How the way we would like the situation to be changes the situation itself. This reading must be interpreted as awareness which is progressively increased with respect to a situation.com Internet: http://www. good and bad. 5) The layer of hope. 4) The final layer. emerges and the truth is approached. The effort to change things.side carrying delusion and deception is brought to light. © 2001 Copyright Lo Scarabeo Via Varese 15c 10152 Torino Italy Tel: +39 011 283793 Fax: +39 011 280756 E-mail: info@loscarabeo. an event.
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