SOME WORDS ABOUT THE DANTE TAROT
 

I have received many e-mails with request of explanations about the project of Dante Tarot. So, I’m sure I shall please to the appraisers of this deck writing here some informations regards the screenplay that I have given to Andrea Serio, the excellent artist whom have painted the deck.
Really, already exist a very detailed handbook (94 pages; cm 13x22, illustrated); it was realized at the graphic center of Lo Scarabeo, in Turin, but nobody know when this book will be printed. Therefore, as agree with the publisher, I can anticipate the planning of the book and other informations regard the single cards.

 
DANTE TAROT: HANDBOOK’S INDEX
 

Chapter 1:
Presentation
……………………………………………… by Giordano Berti
– New symbols of the Dante Tarot
– An ouline of the “Convivio”
– An ouline of the “Divine Comedy”
– Something about Dante’s life

Chapter 2:
Description of the Deck
……………………………… by Giordano Berti
– Introduction
– The Bricks: Dante’s life
– The Flames: journey in the Hell
– The Clouds: the Purgatory Mountain
– The Lights: the ascension to the Heavenly Paradiss
– The Triumphs: a way to the wisdom

Chapter 3:
Divination with Dante Tarot
……………………… by Greta Bonidori
– Preliminary remarks
– Meanings of these cards 
– How to use these cards: a simple method

 

 
CONTENTS OF THE DECK
 

Here, I report a brief explanation of each card, that I wrote with every detail in the first chapter of my book.
At the place of the Wands I have chosen to use Bricks, because they are symbols of the material life. The 14 cards of this suit depicts situations and persons who have had most importance in Dante’s life. 
At the place of the Swords, symbol of war and death, I have put the Flames because they are related with the Hell’s punishment of the sinners. So, the 14 cards of Flames referring at the Inferno cantos.
Then, I have trasformed the Coins, symbols of exchange, with Clouds, wich represents passing situations, as the punishments in the Purgatory circles.
At the place of the Cups, wich symbolize the pleasures of body and soul, I have used the Lights, symbols of intellectual and spiritual perfection as we can read in Dante’s Paradise.
Regard the Triumphs, or Major Arcana, I have preserved the traditional significances but, in the same time, I have adjust my “screenplay” with the words of Convivio, a work that synthesize civil engagement, intellectual passions and spirituals ambitions of Dante Alighieri.
The reference of each card is resumed here.

WANDS: “Bricks” of Dante’s life
1 of Bricks = Dante bring the Comedy in his hands
2 of Bricks = The youth studies
3 of Bricks = Beatrix: the first love
4 of Bricks = The Love Court
5 of Bricks = The bad company
6 of Bricks = The wife: Gemma Donati
7 of Bricks = The great enemy: Corso Donati
8 of Bricks = The simoniac pope: Boniface VIII
9 of Bricks = A mysterious woman: Madame Stone
10 of Bricks = The great friend: Cino from Pistoia
Knave of Bricks = The last protector: Guido Novello from Polenta
Knight of Bricks = The maecenas: Cangrande della Scala
Queen of Bricks = The emperor’s wife: Margaret of Brabante
King of Bricks = The world’s king: Henry VII of Luxembourg

SWORDS: “Flames” of the Hell
1 of Flames = The Hell’s entrance (I,61) 
2 of Flames = Charon take on board the damneds (III,84-85)
3 of Flames = The meeting with Virgil (IV,39). 
4 of Flames = The hellish judge: Minos (V,25).
5 of Flames = The adulterer: Paul and Frances (V,103)
6 of Flames = The tremendous guardian: Cerberus (VI,16-18)
7 of Flames = The circle of suicides (XIII,37 sg.)
8 of Flames = Simoniacs and deviners (XIX, 52-87 e XX,114-120)
9 of Flames = Alichino and Barbariccia (XXII, 139)
10 of Flames = The circle of thiefs (XXIV e XXV).
Knave of Flames = Ulysses and Diomedes (XXVI,119-20)
Knight of Flames = Bertrand of Born (XXVIII, 134)
Queen of Flames = Mirra: the incestuous woman (XXX,37-41) 
King of Flames = Lucifer (XXXIV,28 sg.)

COINS: Clouds of Purgatory
1 of Clouds = The celestial guide (II,22-49).
2 of Clouds = Manfred of Swabia (III,103-145)
3 of Clouds = The flowering valley (VI,58 sg.)
4 of Clouds = The Tempter drive out by Angels (VIII,94-106)
5 of Clouds = The 7 Purifications: Angel of 7 P ( (IX,112)
6 of Clouds = The haughties (XI,100).
7 of Clouds = The enviouses (XIII,109-154). 
8 of Clouds = The irascibles (XVI,46-145). 
9 of Clouds = The slothfuls (XVIII,97). 
10 of Clouds = The stammering woman (XIX,1-31) 
Knave of Clouds = The stingies and the too prodigals (XX,1 sg.)
Knight of Clouds = The keeper of Eden: Matelda (XXVIII, 1 sg.)
Queen of Clouds = The high heavenly guide: Beatrix (XXX,40-54)
King of Clouds = The giant and his concubine (XXXII,103-160)

CUPS: Lights of Paradise
1 of Lights = The Divine Glory (I,1-9).
2 of Lights = Heaven of the Moon: sister Piccarda and Constance of Altavilla (III,34-130)
3 of Lights = Heaven of Mercury: the emperor Giustiniano (VI,1-142).
4 of Lights = Heaven of Venus: Cunizza from Romano (IX,31-36). 
5 of Lights = Heaven of Sun: the blessed souls (X,91-148)
6 of Lights = Heaven of Mars: Cacciaguida (XV,37 sg.)
7 of Lights = Heaven of Juppiter: the eagle of justice (XIX,1 sg.).
8 of Lights = Heaven of Saturn: Saint Pier Damiano (XXI,1 sg.)
9 of Lights = The fixed Stars: Jesus Christ (XXIII,19-43)
10 of Lights = The angelic choirs (XXIII,103-108)
Knave of Lights = The ancient father: Adam (XXVI,80-142)
Knight of Lights = Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (XXXI,1 sg.)
Queen of Lights = The Virgin Mary (XXXII,1 sg.).
King of Lights = The Eternal Light (XXXIII,121)

TRIUMPHS: Ideas from the Convivio
0 = State of Necessity (I,I sg.)
I = Capability of Intellect (IV,XXI)
II = Doubts of Philosophy (III,XI)
III = Desire of Knowledge (III,XIV)
IV = Ability of Governement (IV,I sg.)
V = Virtue of Hope (III,XIV e IV,XXI)
VI = Sentiment of Love (II,XV e III,XII)
VII = Sense of Direction (III,II)
VIII = Virtue of Justice (IV,IX ; IV,XVII ; IV,XXVII)
IX = Virtue of Prudence (IV,XVI)
X = Good or Bad Chance (IV,XI)
XI = Virtue of Fortitude (IV,XVII)
XII = Virtue of Charity (IV,XXI e XXIII-XXIV)
XIII = Softness of the Death (IV,XXVIII)
XIV = Virtue of Temperance (IV,XVII e XXII)
XV = Hierarchy of Power Angels (II,XIII ; II,IV-V)
XVI = Hierarchy of Virtues Angels (II,XIII)
XVII = Hierarchy of Throne Angels (II,V e XIII)
XVIII = Hierarchy of Superiors Angels (II,V e XIII)
XIX = Hierarchy of Dominations Angels (II,XIII)
XX = Hierarchy of Archangels (II,V e XIII)
XXI = Hierarchy of Principalities Angels (II,XIII)

 

 
SYNTHESIS
 
I like to finish these notes with a wonderful phrase of Dante, wich can summarize the philosophy at the ground of this deck:
“… do you see that we are worms,
borne to become angelic butterflies
wich flies to the Justice without veils?”

from Purgatory X, 124-12
SOME EVALUATIONS REGARDS THIS DECK
 

(…) The Dante Tarot is artistically interesting. (…) The surreal and streamlined work of Andrea Serio would not be out of place in a museum or a chic and classy restaurant. 
(…) The brilliantly-colored images look like faceted jewels against the black background. If this were simply an art deck, I'd give it two thumbs up. However, it is much more, and needs to be examined in the light of all its attributes
(…) I do think the artwork alone qualifies this deck as essential for collectors, and the subject matter makes it highly desirable for fans of Dante Alighieri's writing (…). 


Extract from the article written by Diane Wilkes in the website review «Tarot passages»
(http://www.tarotpassages.com/dante-dw.htm)

 
(…) Understanding Dante’s Divine Comedy can provide you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Fool’s Journey. If the Dante Tarot does nothing other than inspire you to take up this amazing poem and stick with it until the end, then it will have done you a huge service. How can you not learn from one of the great Hero’s Journeys? 
(…) the Dante Tarot holds up well under its incredible burden of visually retelling one of the greatest of stories. 
(…) It is visually stunning and even the most ardent Dante purist will be satisfied with the images – they are absolutely faithful to the story. And how can you not want to lay these beautiful cards next to their corresponding (and breathtakingly eloquent and beautiful) cantos? Lovely words, lovely images. What a perfect treat for the mind and soul!


Extract from the article written by Paula Gibby in the website review «Tarot passages»
(http://www.tarotpassages.com/dante-dw.htm)

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