Few decks in recent memory have been the subject of such intense on-line debate. It is undeniably beautiful and also quirky, with ornate borders that some love and others loathe. It’s a Sola-Busca-meets-RWS extravaganza that toes the interpretive line while also seeming simultaneously fresh and antique. I happen to like the blend, although I haven’t read much with it yet. Given the divergence of opinion that greeted this deck, it seemed like a good candidate for my “personality profile” analysis.
The left-hand column conveys “first impressions,” the face the deck presents to the viewer upon first encounter. It includes the Ace of Pentacles in the Wands position; the 5 of Cups in the Cups position; the Moon in the Swords position; and the Hanged Man in the Pentacles position. Three of the four cards have a correspondence to Water, suggesting the mellow richness of the artwork.
The Ace of Pentacles in Wands gives the deck a sumptuous and robust physicality. It’s up for anything as long as matters don’t get too abstract or tenuous.
The 5 of Cups in Cups wallows just a bit in its all-consuming emotional angst. The Italianate feel of the images may have something to do with that.
The Moon in Swords would like to capitalize on its emotional effulgence but it’s a pincushion for the prickly Swords and its imaginative, mystical brio is allowed to escape. The deck would seem to be more moody than mysterious.
The Hanged Man in Pentacles is perfectly at home hanging around the back yard with nowhere to go, passively surveying the neighborhood. Earth suits its laconic style.
The center column shows the decks “usual mode of speech and conversational tone;” it presents the 5 of Wands in Fire, the Queen of Wands in Water (more on that later), the Ace of Swords in Air and the 9 of Pentacles in Earth.
The 5 of Wands is an argumentative card, suggesting that the deck will take on an impatient and combative tone when confronted with questions involving enterprise and initiative. It will not suffer fools gladly.
There were no Cups or other Water cards in the elemental Water pack; the closest I could come was the Queen of Wands, which represents “Water of Fire” and also corresponds to the Mars decan of Pisces. Better than nothing, I suppose; she can at least muster a semblance of feeling when she cares to. Is that a tiny bead of sweat on her forehead?
The Ace of Swords in the Air position is clear-eyed and cerebral; there is no escaping its laser scrutiny. The deck may speak in verbal short-hand, but every single word will count.
The 9 of Pentacles in Earth will speak calmly and elegantly when her domain is the subject of the conversation. Neither uncouth behavior nor unseemly attitude are allowed in her garden. The Hanged Man approves; he likes what he sees from his vantage point.
The cards in the right-hand column, when read in combination with those in the center column, reveal something of the overall nature of the deck. These cards are the 6 of Pentacles in the Wands position; the 7 of Pentacles in the Cups position; the 5 of Swords in the Swords position; and the 9 of Swords in the Pentacles position.
The 6 of Pentacles in Wands is a productive collaboration. The deck will be down-to-earth and full of harmonious intent, but it will also take on an uncompromising edge with the 5 of Wands feeding it from behind. I would expect it to give as good as it gets. A feisty by uncommonly sensible reading partner!
The 7 of Pentacles in Cups could benefit from a good wetting to irrigate that burgeoning crop, but instead it has the breezy Queen of Wands breathing down its neck. This makes for a kind of schizophrenic duality ; the gardener will be intensely dutiful when she’s watching and a slacker when she looks the other way. I would expect this deck to be of uneven temperament when addressing affairs of the heart or other emotional matters.
The 5 of Swords in Swords is right in its element, and wastes no time taking advantage of it. The multiplicity of swords honors the preceding Ace with its full attention, and the swordsman is an avid pupil. This deck can cut to the quick in numerous ways and never miss a stroke. Harsh but fair may be the best way to describe it.
The 9 of Swords in Pentacles brings a false note to the party, since Air is antagonistic to Earth. It looks like the Hanged Man’s rather impertinent gaze finally got under the thick skin of the aristocratic lady in the 9 of Pentacles, giving her an anxiety attack. The deck might be a bit “squirrely” when asked to address matters of hearth and home.
This is an artistically complex and subtle deck that I need to use more despite its obvious quirkiness.