Tarot Feature: I Tarocchi di Vetro

(crossposted at Sketch by Sketch)

There is so much going on with the gorgeous, intriguing I Tarocchi di Vetro by Elizabetta Trevisan. Today I’ll talk about:

  • The Art Itself
  • Unusual Symbolism
  • Names of the Deck
  • Printing History

The Fool

The Art Itself
This is one of the most distinctive, beautiful, and well-composed decks I’ve ever seen. Rendered in tempera and pastels, the effect is that of stained glass. The overall style, in my opinion, is a blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco – the human and animal figures are realistic and have soft shadows as in Art Nouveau, but the rest of the elements are geometric and sharp like Art Deco. The pip cards (1 through 10) have no people and so emphasize geometry more. You will find yourself tracing the dynamic lines and swirls over and over with your eyes.

The Hermit

While you are doing this, you will discover the clever ways zodiac symbols and the symbols for the suits fit into the compositions. I especially like how the Queen of Chalice’s throne is a chalice.

Queen of Chalices

Unusual Symbolism
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the suits have unusual elemental associations. Typically,

  • swords = air
  • cups = water
  • wands = fire
  • coins = earth

In this deck:

  • swords has primarily water imagery with air as a secondary element
  • chalices (cups) seems to suggest both water and air – like a lake environment in the summertime, with lily pads floating on water while dragonflies zip above the surface
  • wands feature fire but tree imagery frequently overtakes the fire in prominence
  • pentacles are earth (no change there)

Knave (Page) of Swords

These differences exist because the Minors of this deck are based on designs by Eudes Picard. Many of the Majors are influenced by Oswald Wirth’s Arcana of the Cabbalistic Tarot, which is itself a modified version of the foundational Tarot of Marseilles.*

Wirth on the left, Tarocchi di Vetro on the right

Picard on the left, Tarocchi di Vetro on the right

The Minors (pips) may at first look like they’re devoid of meaning, but if you look closely, you’ll see helpful symbols.

Three of Wands

Some Minors are nearly identical, though

Also, you may notice that the kings age as you progress through Swords, Chalices, Wands, and Pentacles, which is pretty cool. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.

Ageing Kings

Names of the Deck

This deck has been marketed as “The Crystal Tarots” but that’s an inaccurate translation of the original Italian “I Tarocchi di Vetro”. I’m learning Italian and while I’m no expert, I have learned that “vetro” means “glass” – not “crystal”. Maybe a marketing person thought “crystal” would appeal to the New Age audience.

“Tarots” in the plural sounds weird to English speakers but is accurate because “tarocchi” is plural in Italian. There is also a singular word, “tarocco”, and I admit I’m not sure which to use. There are many decks out there called “Tarocco Whatever” and “Tarocchi di Whatever”.

The Empress

Printing History

Trying to find out when all the editions were printed is like squeezing blood from a turnip while trying to pull the turnip’s teeth. (…It’s really hard.) I used WorldCat, Tarot Garden, the Aeclectic Tarot forums, and Albideuter.de for help.

  • The deck started out Majors-only, possibly as early as 1987.
  • According to Albideuter.de, images from the Majors-only deck appeared on the covers of Lo Scarebo’s catalog from 1987-1994, but I haven’t been able to verify this.
  • At some point, Lo Scarebo published an Edizione d’Arte (Art Edition) on large cards with only Italian labels, which was one of many in a series. I don’t know how many cards this deck has. It may have been the first edition.
  • 1995: Lo Scarebo published the 78-card deck, with labels in several European languages; the High Priestess image is reversed for some reason.
  • 1996 and 1998: U.S. Games Systems published the 78-card deck.
  • 2002: Lo Scarebo published 78-card deck with five Majors printed in reverse (High Priestess, Hierophant, Chariot, Judgement, and the World) – the World being kind of a problem given that the four corners have specific symbols for them. There’s no explanation for this – it was probably a mistake.

The World, reversed

This deck is gorgeous and a wonderful addition to any collection. If you’re used to Rider-Waite-Smith or its many derivatives, though, you may have initial difficulties with the pip cards. But it’s worth it because they’re so beautiful!

Here are the rest of my favorites:

The Hanged Man

The Stars (usually singular “Star”)

The Moon

Four of Pentacles

Queen of Wands

Back of the cards

Links for Tarocchi di Vetro:

*Interestingly, the Universal Wirth Tarot, by the same publisher (Lo Scarebo), used this same Wirth + Picard combination over a decade after I Tarocchi di Vetro was produced. I wonder how many decks are out there with this combo.

Sunday Revue: there’s always something


Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • reminding myself “No biggie, Mercury is in retrograde”
  • writing down my accomplishments
  • 15 minutes blogging before work
  • tapping
  • one cup of hawthorn infusion every night
  • prioritizing sleep
  • dry brushing
  • dinners and lunches chart : )
  • Oasis in the afternoon, not the morning

Next time I might

  • recognize that there is always something, every day, that I think is “just for today” – having to make muffins, clean the shower, go through junk mail, get gas, etc. – and I have to allot for this when my goal is getting to bed by 10.15

The Hard

  • various events knocked my weekend schedule off
  • my tomato plants are still suffering from magnesium deficiency
  • my face is broken out

The Good

  • my partner got the job he wanted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are so happy!!!!!!!!!!!
  • yummy noms
  • nice weather, especially on a crucial day
  • While I didn’t get to bed at 10.15, I got pretty close some days

Sunday Revue: energize!

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

May we all find resources of courage, strength, power and certainty,
so much more than we knew possible,
may we love ourselves with total abandon,
glowing powerful boundaries,
fully present in our declaration that we are ready for
something better…
saying our clear yes
staying with this intensely courageous practice of
self-cherishing and self-treasuring
~ Havi, “Courage Is Coming”

What worked this week

  • saying No, and it was so natural and easy
  • making a chart for dinners and lunches
  • keeping track of how long it takes me to write an art blog entry… it’s a long time!
  • writing down my accomplishments
  • tapping
  • 1 cup of hawthorn infusion every night

Next time I might

  • do less chores after work because I end up eating dinner too late
  • I am taking it easy during this Mercury in Retrograde session, given the weirdness that happened the last two times

The Hard

  • my partner feeling depressed
  • frustrated that I have to Get Everything Done and so get into bed too late
  • one of my nettles doesn’t look too good… she sent out a little shoot and decided to wither away

The Good

  • actually enjoying my job so much that I feel energized when I get home. I never really thought this would happen.
  • my partner has an amazing job opportunity that could mean lots of positive changes for us!
  • I started dry brushing and it feels really nice, and also putting lotion on afterword feels nice too
  • started an artwork I’ve been procrastinating on
  • choreographing a dance to “Move Your Feet” has been going really well – I’m almost done
  • yummy noms and exploring new noms

Sunday Revue: haste makes hazy


Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • doing tasks for 15 minutes
  • looking at my Could Do/Must Do list more often
  • one cup hawthorn infusion every night with honey : )
  • tapping (EFT)
  • writing down my accomplishments
  • chores after work

Next time I might

  • this is a broken record by now – getting ready for bed at 9
  • Neat Bee for junk mail and recording receipts
  • using my new weekly lunches & dinners chart

The Hard

  • there was a lot of rushing at work and at home and as a result, my memory of this week is hazy
  • my partner feeling depressed
  • my partner swinging from being really proud of his art to saying it’s dumb and he’s not good enough because he didn’t spend two full hours drawing every day
  • general money worries – I have less than [X amount] in my savings and it feels scary

The Good

  • shopping with family : )
  • I’m going to try dry brushing and I’m excited
  • yummy noms
  • my strawberry seems to be recovering from hir magnesium deficiency
  • when my partner is hopeful and excited, he’s really hopeful and excited : )
  • I made new banners for Sunday Revues and Monthly Passages that I really like


Red August

I write a Monthly Passage, which I learned from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self, to let go of last month and enter the new month with intention.

What worked in July

  • getting up at 6am every day
  • time management awesomeness:
    • doing 15 minutes of a task every day
    • 40 minutes fun, then 20 minutes housework
    • getting ready for bed earlier
  • writing down my accomplishments during the day
  • tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique)
  • dancing almost every day
  • Could Do/Must Do list
  • chores close to when I arrive home
  • 1 cup hawthorn infusion every night
  • listening to Listen to Wikipedia all day

Next time I might

  • get ready for bed at 9 consistently
  • write every thought down so I don’t forget it!
  • plan my lunches

Qualities I want
Bold. Red. Abundance. Song. My Crown Crushes Those Who Dare To Steal It.

Things I’m working on

  • filling my Redbubble store with photos
  • tweeting more
  • reducing meat and chocolate in our diet to save money
  • keeping my plants healthy
  • new dance playlists

Looking forward to

  • art fairs
  • having a tiny bit more money

Asking and hoping for

  • my partner to get a job he loves and also pays really well
  • people to buy stuff with my art on it!

I’m ready for
Continuing awesome.

Tarot Message
Last month I got the X of Pentacles, and this month I got the IX of Pentacles! It can mean:

  • material success, well-being, contentment
  • embrace material gifts
  • pleasure in what you’ve achieved
  • solid sense of identity from the inside
  • inexhaustible focus
  • growth
  • nobility
  • assurance
  • slow & steady progress

My Tarot resources are The Tarot Directory and Tarot Teachings.

Sunday Revue: cooked nettles!


Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

I had a really good week!

What worked

  • listening to Listen to Wikipedia – it’s like digital wind chimes. Love it love it love it
  • up at 6 am on weekends! This is a habit now.
  • 40-20 rule on the weekend and 15 minutes during the week
  • Could Do/Must Do list
  • tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique)
  • 12 oz nettle infusion in the morning and 8 oz hawthorn infusion at night
  • writing down my accomplishments during the day
  • Anat Baniel exercises, especially when my back hurt

Next time I might

  • get ready for bed at 9 every night!
  • never watch [crass TV show my partner likes] ever again

The Hard

  • a certain episode of [crass TV show my partner likes] was traumatizing for me
  • Saturday was just weird – I was clumsy, got oil on one of my favorite shirts, and nothing turned out according to plan
  • my partner’s job continues to be really draining on him

The Good

  • seeing good decisions made right before my eyes
  • getting lots done and totally fine with what I didn’t get done
  • putting some photos in my Redbubble store!
  • learning some new American Tribal Style moves from Datura Online
  • more time
  • feeling happy and hopeful
  • really yummy food
  • I harvested and cooked some stinging nettles, right from my own patio! I boiled the leaves and stems for 10 minutes and it smelled really good – familiar, but I couldn’t place it. They tasted pretty good, too, although the stems weren’t as tender as they would be if I’d harvested them sooner. You’ll notice from my photo at the top that the spikes remain during cooking, but the heat neutralizes the sting. Being new to nettles, I tested the spikes with my fingertip before eating them, just in case!

Tarot Feature: International Icon Tarot

I think the thing to keep in mind when doing tarot cards is always to let the tarot itself remain in control of the art. If the art style or the artist’s personality becomes the star of the show, with the tarot taking second place, the deck and its usefulness are compromised.

~Robin Ator

(crossposted at Sketch by Sketch)

I really like Robin Ator’s International Icon Tarot, which is based on the classic Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Its simplified design and faceless figures make it more accessible and emphasize only the most important symbols of each card. For example, somehow I missed there are pomegranates behind the High Priestess – I never noticed them until I saw the card from this deck!

Rider-Waite-Smith on the right, International Icon on the left

Ator conceived of the idea to use the isotype style of figures while working on an ad campaign employing those figures. He had also been exploring how to draw the human body in the simplest way possible.

At first, he created the Major Arcana by hand, experimenting with cutting out shapes from painted paper and plastic before deciding to learn Adobe Illustrator to make them digitally. You can read more about his process in this interview at Tarot Garden.

The Fool

Robin Ator also made the cute Ator Tarot and the Prairie Tarot. His non-Tarot work includes character design for commercials and film. Please visit his website, Glow in the Dark Pictures, to see all of the tarot cards and his other artwork.

Below are my favorite cards from the International Icon Tarot:

The Lovers

The Hermit

The Star

3 of Cups

8 of Swords

5 of Wands

Knight of Wands

Ace of Pentacles

9 of Pentacles (look at the snail!)

Sunday Revue: feeling hopeful

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • getting up at 6 am every day – have I mentioned how life-changing this is?
  • 40 minutes doing my stuff, 20 minutes doing housework
  • Could Do/Must Do list
  • writing down my accomplishments
  • ablutions at 9 pm
  • dancing
  • massaging my toes
  • Anat Baniel exercises
  • 15-20 minutes of going through my photos
  • doing one part of [seemingly insurmountable task] once per day
  • drinking 12 oz nettle infusion in the morning and 8 oz hawthorn infusion in the evening
  • pairing annoying tasks with yummy food or drinks

Next time I might

  • 15 minutes of going through emails per day

The Hard

  • my partner is having a tough time adjusting to his new job
  • feeling antsy around 3 pm every day

The Good

  • my job is interesting again
  • lots of ideas for my photos
  • feeling happy and hopeful
  • my partner said I inspire him : )
  • having more time to do what I want

What I’m really afraid of when I am afraid to be seen

hiding_kittenI have been tapping on the subject of visibility, and I found out that I’m not actually afraid of being seen, but of something else.

But first, I’ll explain what tapping is, because it’s how I discovered my deeper fear. Tapping – Emotional Freedom Technique – is a practice that helps you process deep-seated emotions and fears through tapping on parts of the body with the fingers of either both hands or just one. (You can watch Gala Darling’s EFT demonstration for a brief demonstration of using both hands.) The points to tap also vary from practitioner to practitioner, but they seem to follow acupuncture points.

While tapping, you say to yourself something like, “Even though I am afraid of ______, I still love and accept myself.” You can say whatever makes sense. It was through this self talk that I realized I’m not truly afraid of visibility itself.

The self-talk evolved like this:

“Even though I’m afraid of being seen by people…”

“Even though I’m afraid of people seeing me and loving me…”

“Even though I’m afraid of people loving me and trying to own me…”

“Even though I’m afraid of people trying to own me and demand I take care of them…”

I’ve talked a little before about parentification – when a parent turns a child into a replacement for the other parent, who is absent, neglectful, or abusive. My father was neglectful and abusive, but my parents didn’t divorce because they held tight to the very damaging idea that staying together was “better for the family”.

Obviously two people who hate each other should not stay married. One of the many negative outcomes of this situation was that my mother came to me – a young teenager – for support and advice about how to do things, including how to raise my sister. I don’t blame her for doing this, especially after reading Bethany Webster’s articles at Womb of Light about the Mother Wound.

But nonetheless, it’s left this scar on me – I am afraid that if someone loves me, they will turn me into their parent and make me take care of them, and I will have no freedom, and I will resent them.

I have to admit that this has been the case in my romantic relationships – even the one I’m in now, which is very good and fun and rewarding. I’m lucky that my partner was open to the realization that he looks to his partners to take care of him, and now he’s working on taking care of himself; and we’re both working on discerning the difference between supporting someone and taking care of someone.

The solution to not being parentified again is to establish clear boundaries between me and anyone I love. (And also people I don’t love.) So… I will be tapping on that subject now, because enforcing boundaries makes me uncomfortable, as I’m sure it does for most of us.

Image credit: Alexas_Fotos

Sunday Revue: proud of my babies

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • waking up at 6 am every day
  • tapping (EFT)
  • blogging about personal stuff (not published yet)
  • ablutions at 9 and into bed at 10.15!
  • chores on arriving home
  • 15 minutes before work going through photos to put in my Redbubble store… holy jeebus I have taken a lot of photos in my life
  • massaging my toes
  • Must Do/Could Do list

Next time I might

  • look at my Must Do/Could Do list every day
  • meditate closer to when I come home

The Hard

  • derailments from my schedule
  • my partner had to decide between two jobs – two places wanted him! We talked a long time about the pros and cons, how he felt, money stuff, and it was really hard
  • rainy weather for several days
  • my cat was sick : (

The Good

  • having two job offers is a great problem to have
  • my partner was happy with his decision
  • a less hectic work week for me
  • I have lots of good photos to choose from for my store, and some I want to artistically alter
  • I harvested some nettle with minimal stings… is it weird I’m proud of my babies for stinging me?


Sunday Revue: good news!

Every Sunday I revue – the fun kind of review – the past week. I base this on the old style Friday Chicken from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self.

What worked

  • getting up at 6 every day
  • ablutions at 9 so I got into bed at 10.15
  • tapping (EFT)
  • Must Do/Could Do list
  • 15 minutes in the morning of going through my photos
  • sitting with my worries about a big change

Next time I might

  • ablutions at 9 every day!

The Hard

  • my hands hurt from a lot of intense mouse-gripping at work
  • double work because some key information was not communicated to me at the start of a project
  • worries about possibly moving

The Good

  • my partner got a job!
  • we don’t have to move
  • I danced along with Irina Akulenko’s Diamond Cut – it’s really good and challenging
  • new releases from Datura Online
  • had Monday and Tuesday off
  • going through my photos and finding lots I can use for my Redbubble store and photos I can – dum dum DUM – alter artistically!
  • finishing my new user picture (more on that later)

Welcome, July


I write a Monthly Passage, which I learned from Havi’s blog at The Fluent Self, to let go of last month and enter the new month with intention.

What worked in June

  • recognizing my patterns
  • waking up at 6am every day of the week
  • writing down my accomplishments
  • dancing
  • tapping (EFT) on visibility and enforcing barriers
  • following my resistance to its source
  • discovery writing
  • 15 minutes
  • 40-20 rule on the weekends
  • Neat Bee (nip it in the bud), especially with dishes and junk mail
  • having a Must Do/Could Do list
  • doing simple Feldenkrais exercises from Anat Baniel
  • massaging my toes
  • eating half a muffin with yogurt for breakfast
  • prioritizing sleep

Next time I might

  • adapt the 40-20 rule to weekdays
  • get ready for bed at 9

Qualities I want
Progress. Fun. Creativity. Bold. Courage. Care. Flow. Receive.

Things I’m working on

  • keeping up sustainable habits and not abandoning them, because I know they work!
  • prioritizing art and my blogs
  • remembering the fun

Looking forward to

  • changes at work – it will be interesting
  • my partner may have a job soon
  • my plants getting better now that I’ve been giving them epsom salts for their magnesium deficiency

Asking and hoping for

  • courage
  • immediate gut-knowing

I’m ready for

  • consistency
  • more fun

My Tarot Message is the X of Pentacles. This card is for celebrating! Its meanings include:

  • security
  • abundance
  • lasting happiness
  • comfortable with who we are
  • desire to create a legacy
  • actively living
  • the qualities leading up to celebration: a strong foundation, intense focus, commitment, empathy, being present, foresight, leading by power-with

My Tarot resources are The Tarot Directory and Tarot Teachings.