Tarocco di Argio Orell


An exhibit against the idea of idolizing a traditional series of trumps.  In other parts of this guide I have commented on the origins of the trumps being varied, connected to educational decks, and very open to interpretation.  Simply because the U.S. inherited the French and the occult view of the trumps at the same time, we do not have the hindsight for a casual glance at the deck to see it as it appears for many in the old world, a living card game, whose imagery can have applied meanings that power a storytelling device.

I chose this deck from 1914 for its all around wackiness in the world of Tarot.  We have an ocean liner company commissioning the deck, which results in four paintings of passenger ships.  But it is a proper deck meant to play the game of Tarocci, with a two-faced Trump design that points to the game, candidate to explain why trump cards are said to have ‘reverse’ meanings.  The delightful artwork comes with two scenes per Trump, a mixture of theatric Orientalism and Art Nouveau, while the suit cards are absolutely minimal.  Elegant all around, the author was either instructed or asked to do away with any troubling cards, there is no Death or Devil, and more of life’s leisures than virtues have been folded into this deck, with only three trumps and the Fool bearing traditional titles.  In place of antique symbolism, exotica visions of Egypt, Persia, Spain, and Japan stand in.   One thing of special note, as I chose this deck because it is so atypical (and non-occult), is that this is one of few decks I have seen that is predominately people of color, and has slightly more women than men.

The owner of a deck, much like a book or artwork, has the right to see in it anything they choose, to reassign as they please, and disregard the rules completely.  This wonderful series of paintings by Argio Orell introduces many new trumps that are as suitable as any for unlocking the mysteries of the mind by exercising nonlinear association, let alone being perfect for playing the game.


I Il Bagatto  The Juggler
II  La Navigazione  Navigation
 III  L’Imperitrice  The Empress
 IV  La Suonatrice  The Actress
 V  Il Drago Guardiano  The Dragon Guardian
 VI  La Sfinge  The Sphinx


 VII  La Lotta  The Fight
 VIII  Il Cantastorie  The Storyteller
 IX  Il Santuario  Sactuary
 X  Il Giardino  The Garden
 XI  La Forza  Strength
XII  L’Artista The Artist


 XIII La Notte  The Night
 XIV L’Uomo e La Donna Man and Woman
 XV  La Seduzione  The Seduction
 XVI  La Fiera  The Fair
 XVII  L’Esodo The Exodus
 XVIII  Il Fato  Fate


 XIX  Il Parasole  The Umbrella
 XX  Il Tempio  The Temple
 XXI  La Danza  The Dance
0  Il Matto The Fool