- Author: Emanuela Signorini
- Illustrator: Guilia F.Massaglia
- Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
- Year: 2015
- Tradition: None
- Minors: Illustrated
- Suits: Viena, Rome, Paris and Venice
- Court cards: Knave, Knight, Queen, King
- Reversible: Yes
General thoughts, quality, and aesthetics
The Romantic Tarot promises to be an exploration of love, touching on the good and the bad, the petty and the sublime. It delivers.
Often, when a deck attempts to stray too far from the traditional depictions found in Tarot, it is pretty or useful, but rarely both. The Romantic Tarot deck is as gorgeous as it promises it’ll be, with its traditional-like images and its whimsy depictions of not just romance, but amorous relationships and it’s so rich that the cards will tell you their story just by looking at them.
This is a specialty deck, its meaning far from any other deck out there, unaffiliated to any tradition. To make matters worse, there is no companion book: just the Little White Book, and honestly, its text will confuse you more than anything else.
The only way to read this deck is by looking at the images and allowing them to speak to you. This is an advance technique, and so this deck is recommended only for readers who have gained confidence and can step away from standardized meanings and keywords into a new narrative.
That said, once you approach this deck on its own terms, the cards will spin a faithful, rich and detailed story for you. So while I have to warn beginners away from the Romantic Tarot, it is a wonderful tool for more experienced hands.
Set in the Victorian Era, the Romantic Tarot deck takes us for a spin across four emblematic European cities: Venice, Rome, Paris, and Vienna. Each city will allow us to explore the light and shadows of Love.
The symbology of the Romantic Tarot is its own. it won’t correspond to the traditional meanings, and it won’t correspond to its own instructional booklet, either. But the art is rich and detailed enough to allow the cards to stand up and get the job done.
The Romantic Tarot has a major issue: it is only useful for readings on love. It’s true that love and romance are one of those subjects that will come up again and again, though. Having a specialty deck geared toward these questions can enrich your readings and add that one extra layer of detail you didn’t know you were missing. But even so, the limitation does relegate the Romantic Tarot to a back-up deck position, as it cannot be the only one owned by a dedicated reader.
Another issue is that clients might find the meanings and cards too different, and believe they’re in front of an Oracle deck. Nothing wrong with Oracle decks, but some clients shy away from those, as if only Tarot held the key to their truth, so caution is advised.
Cards I love
Remember, this deck doesn’t correspond to the traditional Raider-Waite-Smith meanings. Because of that, each image is unique, and it conveys exactly its meaning—there is no such thing as “missing symbology” or “misleading characterization”, because we’re working from a blank slate. And the Romantic Tarot does a wonderful job of filling that slate with heaps of details and nuances!
Playing favorites with this deck is just about picking images I like personally, really. I’m usually drawn to the suit of Swords, and I’ve of course fallen for the images depicting Imperial Vienna: just look at the fatal duel fought on the Three of Swords, the jealousy depicted in the ball of the Nine of Swords, or the tender goodbye we can witness in the Ten of Swords.
However, if I had to pick one card from the suit, I’d pick the King of Swords: standing from his throne, his weapon broken, his shield discarded… and still, so very much in control. What power he radiates!
Cards I don’t resonate with
It’s not that these cards don’t carry their own meaning, and it’s not that they are poorly drawn. Actually, there is not a single poorly drawn card in the Romantic Tarot deck.
The Fool is, I think, the only card depicting a surreal scene, as in something physically impossible. I’m not a fan of the dandy walking in the clouds, even though it does make its point.
The Knave of Cups is… notoriously unattractive to me, and because of that, I have a hard time reading him.
And the same thing happens with the Hanged Man. Why did he feel the need to chain himself upside down on the street?
A beautiful specialty deck that does the job while staying away from the main traditions.
In-deph view of a timless topic
Must read by intuition alone
Only addresses love & romance