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The Fire Tarot is a fascinating study of a single element through seventy-eight different lenses. How does fire express itself in myth, in our spiritual lives and sacred moments, in our emotions, and in the world around us? This element exists in many extremes, from life to death, from truth to fear. How does is it affecting your life right now?
Any study of Tarot quickly reveals that the cards are really, among other things, an exploration of extremes, opposites, and balance.
The Fire Tarot is an interesting intellectual high concept deck that plays with these ideas—extremes, opposites, and balance—on several levels. First, it seeks to examine the archetypes of the deck through a single focus: that of the element of fire. So, we have the extremes of a single focus through seventy-eight lenses. Second, we have the opposition to the nature of fire—as well as its extremes—being explored.
Fire, for example, is the center of the Sun and of life itself. It is also the nature of Hell and damnation…eternal death. Fire represents the search, the quest, the passion for truth and knowledge. Fire is also a tool of fear, used, for example, by the Inquisition or the KKK, organizations of fear that attempt to “cauterize what they cannot understand.”
So, if anyone wondered if the simple theme of “fire” could possibly provide enough variance to make a Tarot deck, the answer is “yes.”
What specifically does this deck set out to do? The creator’s intent is to interpret the myths of fire through the traditional archetypes of Tarot. The Major Arcana explores the myth of fire in its purest form, usually via a fire god. The Minor Arcana take various approaches. The Wands looks at fire in nature. The suit of Cups considers the spiritual or sacred aspect of fire. Swords looks at fire in terms of love and hatred. The Pentacles focus on the fire at the center of the earth.
As you see, there is no connection between the Minor Arcana suits of the Fire Tarot and our traditional associations for those same suits. This is not necessarily a negative thing. I am all for pushing Tarot in new directions. However, one does have to consider how well the deck achieves its aims. This one lacks consistency. Even when a deck pushes traditional boundaries, I like to see the use of the decks structure to help shape the new direction. Given the lofty goals of this deck, we can forgive this small weakness and instead focus on what the deck is and what it does well rather than what we wish it did.
This deck is a complex and fascinating study of fire more than a divination deck. The images are symbolic rather than evocative. This makes sense for an intellectual high concept deck and simply means it is not the best choice for those who read intuitively. The booklet is very brief, as all these booklets are. But it is dead useful! It concisely provides enough information to clarify and open the door to deeper understanding. Very well done, indeed.
Name of deck: Fire Tarot
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Brief biography of artist: Franco was born in Venice, Italy, in 1979 and received his art degree in Milan. Since then he has worked illustrating books, magazines and short animated films.
Name of accompanying booklet: Tarot of Fire
Number of pages of booklet: 63 (14 in English)
Author of booklet: Floreana Nativo
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Reading Uses: General readings
Artistic Style: Illustration
Theme: The element of Fire
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Approximately
Does it have extra cards?: No
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: No
Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: No
Does it have alternate names for the Court Cards?: No
Why was deck created?: To explore the archetypes of Tarot through the single focus of the element of fire.