napo.jpg (17211 bytes)The Napo Tarot                                    Review by Michele Jackson

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At first glance, the art in this deck, which is in fact named for the artist, appears rather amateurish. However, as one continues to peruse the cards, it turns out that the art is very precise and well planned. The deck appears to have been done in watercolor, and the colors are wonderful. The images are often based on the Waite deck, but there are many innovations as well. The cards measure 2 5/8" X 4 3/4". The cards have a beige inner border. The name is in the top border in English and on the bottom in Spanish. The Major Arcana maintain the orginal names with the exception of the Magus (Magician), the Pope (Hierophant) and Fortitude (Strength). Fortitude is 8 and Justice is 11. The Minor Arcana have a keyword in the top of the border in English and the bottom border in Spanish. The card number is also in the bottom border. Most of the key words are taken from Crowley's Thoth, though a few cards in each suit have names that seem to describe Waite's images. For example "Disgust" for the Four of Cups and "Memories" for the Six of Cups. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Disks and the court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page. The backs are blue with four gold stars.

The cards are based on "..Argentinean myth, culture, and history." This is evident in the mixture of aboriginal and European people in the deck. Many of the people are dressed in various local styles from the boots of the gauchos to the bare feet of the native Indians. Anyone familiar with either the Thoth or the Waite decks should be able to read with this deck right out of the box, though the Waite images do not always work well with the Thoth key words. Although the cards have a whimsical look, an attempt was made to incorporate some of the traditional symbolism in the Major Arcana. The artist's personal viewpoints were incorporated into the art as well. The Major Arcana also have the astrological glyphs worked into the images.

The little booklet that comes with this deck describes the scenes of the Major Arcana and explains the non-traditional symbolism when applicable. An upright meaning is provided for each card. A "related meaning" is also provided. The related meaning tells how each card is read in conjunction with other cards. For the Star the related meaning says "Improves the meaning of all of the cards surrounding it." Two spreads are provided: The Celtic Cross, and a spread that uses the Aces and Major Arcana only called "The Draw of Four Aces."

I recommend this deck for those interested in a deck that portrays a Hispanic culture, or for those who are looking for a colorful, easy to read deck. The art is quite charming, if offbeat.

See more images from the Napo Tarot Deck

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The Napo Tarot Deck
ISBN: 1-57281-067-X
Available from: US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax (203)353-8431

This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson