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The Decameron Tarot Deck

by Giacinto Gaudenzi, L. Spadanuda, Pietro Alligo, Valentina Bolatto & Ricardo Minetti

The Decameron Tarot Deck
Price: $22.95
Number of cards in deck: 78

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

Back of card: All sorts of frilly stuff. Naughty if you look closely. Not based on any of the cards, so far as I can tell. Cream-colored overall, with blue linework. The card is divided into top & lower halves that mirror each other. Among the smaller details, each half features a clothed male/female couple embracing, but though the colors & positions are similar, the couples are not. The deck can be inverted if you're not fussy.

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. The writing is very good, the delineations consistently sexual in nature, as would be expected with this deck.

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo. Printed in Italy.

Comments: For those that didn't see the X-rated Passolini film of the same name a few decades ago, The Decameron was a 14th century (1348) fantasy novel by Giovanni Boccaccio. Writing in response to the human devastation caused by one of the black plagues in Florence, Boccaccio imagines a revolutionary new world of life & love, a future free of the prejudices & superstitions of the past. Eg, a rather risque book & despite what you may think, not all that unusual for the times. (Hey, Ricardo: How about a Canterbury Tales tarot deck?) I mention this as the notes to the deck suggest Boccaccio made good use of metaphor & allusion, materials moderns have dropped in favor of the simply explicit. Sexual or not, individual tarot cards work best when simple & explicit. The subtle beauty of tarot is in the deck as a whole.

For the most part, the deck shows simple male-female sexual encounters. The Wheel, Hanged Woman (?) and Judgment show group sex scenes, the Sun shows two gay men, the Queen of Swords shows two lesbians. Not quite all the cards are pornographic, there are several pip cards that show landscapes. There are no definitions for inverted cards in the notes to this deck, a pity.

Some of the cards, in brief:

The Hanged Woman is a conceptual jump. Notes say, Short-lived love. The suitors deceive themselves into thinking that their prey is all theirs, unless they are happy with fleeting pleasure. The woman is hung because she is hung in a swing(?). The motion of the swing makes her contact with the males fleeting. She is therefore frustrated, though differently, from the traditionally frustrated Hanged Man.

The Fool: The woman wants sex; the man sometimes looses himself in useless daydreams. Lightheartedness & freedom carry heavy sacrifices. I quote this as many think it is somehow desirable to be a fool.

Six of Wands (one of the non-graphic cards): Married life. Privacy. Everyday love. But note the phallic wands.

There is an amusing card spread based on two lovers in bed getting to know each other. It goes like this: Put two cards on table, on the left for the man, on the right for the woman. (Put a real man & woman lying face to face in bed like this & observe how the man's right arm is free to stroke the woman. That's what it says in the booklet.) Three cards by the man tells us what he's looking for, three cards for the woman tell us about her, three cards below the them tells us what their friends think of them as a pair, three cards over them give us their fate as a couple.

There are now a number of sexually explicit decks - three from Lo Scarabeo - and I am impressed by the craft & subtlety in all of them.

The Astrology Center of America

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

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