An Evening With Ciro Marchetti, Tarot Authors and Artists Series
On May 26, 2009 the Tarot Circle Meetup of the Palm Beaches was pleased to hold the second in our Tarot Authors and Artists series. This time our Tarot Author and Artist was South Florida’s own Ciro Marchetti.
I am always amazed at just what a talent hotbed South Florida is. Whether it’s food, sports, music, dance, art, or even, specifically, Tarot, South Florida has the best of the best. And that’s what Ciro Marchetti is; the best of the best.
Ciro has recently published his third and final Tarot deck, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot. It was his goal that this be his best deck, and it is. That’s not to say that the first two, Gilded Tarot and Tarot of Dreams, were not delightful, or meaningful. But Legacy of the Divine is certainly a masterpiece. Rich in symbolism, it has real thought and creativity behind it, and pays homage to more traditional Tarot images in really respectful ways.
Ciro Marchetti considers himself neither a spiritual person, nor a Tarot reader. His entrance into the Tarot world came as an artistic challenge. Now that he is solidly entrenched here he is able to offer some witty and sardonic observations of our community. Sometimes it takes fresh eyes, an objective opinion, or an outside view to get perspective. In his presentation to Tarot Circle, Ciro gave us a view of ourselves, as well as a view of the Tarot.
There are two stunning things about Legacy of the Divine Tarot, besides its amazing artwork. One is the myth that Ciro has created around it, and the other is its animated, interactive app for IPhone and IPad, now available from the ITunes Store.
While enjoying the informal and captivating presentation, I discovered that Ciro’s take on Tarot history is similar to my own. We both find it suspicious that the only evidence ever given in defense of the myth of Tarot’s Egyptian origins is psychic. For instance, we know that the Tarot originated in Egypt because we channeled an entity that told us so. Or, we know that the Tarot originated in Egypt because, well, it just feels true.
Ciro went on to say that not only did he find the Egyptian story improbable; he found European Tarot history dry and unsatisfying. I think that a lot of us feel that way. But while using Tarot in storytelling and telling stories about the Tarot are common themes in modern Tarot study, none of us have done as Ciro has done.
Ciro has created a myth describing an otherworldly culture; wise, spiritual, intellectual, and aware of its imminent demise. His Tarot is literally the legacy of this doomed culture. It tells the story of this culture’s rise and fall, and within it is preserved all of this culture’s esoteric wisdom.
Prior to its publication, the Legacy of the Divine Tarot starred in a promo video that let us all know just how amazing this deck was going to be. But that short video did something else as well. It brought the Tarot characters to life.
When I teach Tarot Magick, I instruct my students to enter the card, and to become part of the action. Or to meditate on the card, and see how the characters move and interact with their surroundings. Giving the cards dimension and motion, and putting ourselves into the action, is an amazing tool of Tarot understanding. Creating video for the Tarot cards was a stroke of inspired genius that will help new generations of Tarot students understand and experience the cards even more deeply in this way.
Those in attendance were thrilled to be amongst the first humans to see the Legacy of the Divine Tarot app, which was released to the public just a few days after his visit with us. In the app, each card comes alive with movement and music. Each card has some key words listed for it, and some of Ciro’s thoughts for each card, although he does not call them “interpretations.” We, as readers, will interpret the cards. He, as artist, will only describe them. To me, that feels like both a respectful distinction and a beautiful Tarot partnership between artist and reader.
A couple of years ago, Wald Amberstone of the Tarot School in NYC asked me how I felt about the possibility of computer Tarot readings replacing me in my job of Tarot reader. I felt then as I do now, that a computer can display the cards, and display some possible interpretations, but a computer can never “read” the cards.
While Ciro’s Tarot app certainly performs Tarot spreads, he made it very clear that he in no way intended the app to replace a living reader; only to be a tool for one. And what a tool it is! With this app, as we saw in the presentation, one can create a custom spread, perform the reading, make notes about the reading, save the reading, and even email it to a client or friend. And I had just decided NOT to get an IPhone. Hmmm . . . Perhaps this Tarot card reader sees an IPad in her future?
Always respectful of the Tarot, Tarot readers, and the Tarot community, Ciro talked a lot about “pushing the Tarot envelope.” One of our members, Adrienne Percival, compared him to the Dyson of vacuum fame. In her review of the evening she said, in part, “As I listened to you describe how you would challenge yourself on each project to create something innovative and new, I was oddly reminded of Dyson. I stand in wonder at how he took such ordinary, everyday tools and has completely revolutionized them. Likewise in a field of 200,000 decks of cards each fitting neatly into their box, along comes your movie or your CD and explodes beyond the comfortably expected box”. That’s well said, Adrienne.
While Legacy of the Divine Tarot is his last Tarot deck, it is not his last deck of divination. Ciro is now hard at work on his Oracle deck, whose working title is “Oracle of Visions.” He brought some large prints to show us, and let us know a little bit about its structure.
Everyone knows I don’t like oracle decks. For me, if it ain’t Tarot, it ain’t worth it. I must say, though, that this deck has caught my eye. One of the images really spoke to me in a way that was visceral.
It’s a smart deck, too. For example, a card that depicts a sense of being stuck includes in its image a chess game at check-mate. Each image has those kinds of interesting details, indicative of Ciro’s many talents and interests.
Ciro and his gracious wife, Maria, arrived with enough goodies for us all to have a nice shopping experience. They are also pushing the Tarot envelope when it comes to the kind of merchandise they are producing. Amazing Tarot boxes and Tarot pouches are great, so are the altar clothes. But have you ever seen a Tarot purse? The shoulder bags are as yummy as they are affordable. Check them out, along with Tarot decks, prints and other great stuff, at http://www.ciromarchetti.com. And, don’t forget your Legacy of the Divine Tarot app at the ITunes Store!
Tarot Circle Meetup of the Palm Beaches is grateful to Ciro and Maria Marchetti for sharing their time, stories, talent and ideas with us!