It’s been a curious week with the Golden Universal Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2013). Using it for my daily draws on Instagram, I have pulled almost all Majors! Which means I’ve been seeing the best of the deck, as there are missing bits of gold inlay on some of the Minors, especially the Pentacles, but not on the Majors.
The deck is basically a RWS clone, Lo Scarabeo’s Universal Tarot (2002), with added sparkles. The costumes are a bit more Renaissance Italian than the RWS more medieval feel. There are minor differences, so it is very easy to read traditionally, but does allow a little variety for intuition to play with.
With the World card, there really is no symbolic difference from the RWS version. However, the golden background emphasises the enlightenment offered by this coming to the end of something, reaching a sense of completion and wholeness.
In the Courts, we have the expected traditional symbolism. Here, though, the differences from the RWS versions are more apparent. For example, the Page of Swords is rather more hunky, or maybe even chunky, than the RWS version. He also seems more aware of his sword than Pixie’s version, and the landscape is quite different, too. There is a fairly modest house close behind him. His intellect is not yet refined, his memory palace does not yet hold a great deal. Yet, his focus on the mind is already clear, and lends him strength.
The sparkling, golden backgrounds work really well for the Aces, too. It lends them an even more magical feel: a wondrous gift from the universe, full of potential. Once again, other than that, these cards are extremely traditional – a wand held out from a cloud by a hand, over a simple landscape…
Like the Courts, in the Minors we find greater difference and variety. In the Seven of Swords, for instance, we still have a man in the foreground sneaking away with five swords, leaving another two behind him. Once again, there are tents in the background. Yet, the differences are also important. The man faces to the right instead of the left, and looks rather more weighed down by his burden of swords. He is also bearded, which could change the interpretation, too. And he wears a hooded cloak, instead of the funny hat seen in Pixie’s version. Here, the golden sky has the interesting addition of a green tint to it – green for envy, perhaps? Altogether, we might see someone weighed down by the research he is doing, or who feels guilty about his thievery. He might be more future-oriented than his RWS counterpart, or trying harder to hide things (from himself or others). Lots of room here for inspiration to guide us in a reading!
While I was a little disappointed with the missing bits of gold on some of the cards, overall I do still really enjoy this deck. And perhaps those missing bits, especially in the Pentacles, could lead into interpretations about the material world… An interesting and very readable deck!