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Kalevala Tarot [Cards]

Kalervo Aaltonen


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Product details

  • Cards
  • Publisher: United States Games Systems; Pap/Crds edition (July 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088079187X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880791878
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 12.1 x 5.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,471,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inacurrate and forced 7 Jan 2003
By "matti@quebectel.com" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Cards
In the book accompanying the Tarot deck, Aaltonen makes many mistakes who undermine his own understanding of the Kalevala and the credibility of his work. 1)On page 159 he mistakingly writes that in the Kalevala, Lemminkäinen achieves the three tasks that Louhi set for him, including killing the Swan of Tuonela. In fact, he doesn't kill the Swan, but gets killed himself just before. Lemminkäinen's death is an important scene in the Kalevala and one wonders how Aaltonen could forget it altogether. 2)On page 75, he pretends that the name Ainikki was given to two different characters in the Kalevala, eg, the sisters of Ilmarinen and Lemminkäinen. In truth, Ilmarinen sister is not Ainikki, but Annikki, a wholly different person (associated sometimes with with Tapio's daughter in other Finnish folk songs, while Ainikki was associated sometimes with Kyllikki and the character which became Aino). 3)On page 99, he states that Marjatta's Son was brought before Ukko. That's a mistake since he was rather brought before Virokannas, sometimes called ukko Virokannas (meaning : old Virokannas, while Ukko with a capital U designates the god Ukko). 4)On page 153 and on his Three of Stakes, he describes Väinämöinen and Joukahainen fighting for the courtship of Aino. In the Kalevala, they are not fighting for her at all; she is Joukahainen's sister whom Joukahainen promises to Väinämöinen ultimately to save his own life. 5)On pages 14 and 16, Aaltonen lists a bunch of people which he says to be of Kaleva clan, and among them, he lists Louhi, the mistres of Pohja! (clearly not Kaleva). That'S for the Kalevala. Now, about the Tarot, his book contains a series of kabbalistic diagrams of the sephiroth and the links between them grouped together and associated with several cards, suits or characters. Most of these diagrams are, in substance, copies from Crowley's Book of Thot (or any other book who copied from it) and Aaltonen doesn't give any explanation or reference. What's more, the kabbalistic associations that he makes with the Tarot cards are incoherent with the associations he makes betwen the Kalevala and the Tarot cards (already poorly fit). His choice of court cards is dull, introducing a lot of characters unknown to the Kalevala! Some of the card designs just try to reproduce the Smith-Waite cards with funny substitutions, such as antlers instead of a crown, bears instead of horses and so on. I also found that the cards' interpretations often overlap each other, because the symbolism is too dense. The catchy sentences printed in the booklet in order to summarize the meaning of each card, sometimes have little to do with the book.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Looks nice, but a poor fit to the Kalevala 15 July 2000
By M. S. Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a tarot deck, this one is attractive. The accompanying book has brief descriptions of the various characters from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, and their histories. Unfortunately, the fit between the characters and the meanings given for the cards is often very forced -- a disappointment to me as a Kalevala lover. I guess I'll stick to keeping the Kalevala and tarot separate.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kalevala as Tarot - A Special Creation 15 Feb 2008
By Fulgour Prentice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's no good to be an "expert" if you don't have anything good to say, especially in this case: here is a genuine work of art, inspired and joyous! Let your imagination guide you, and fill in your own details... a book is a book, not a straight-jacket. Read it, if you wish to, but then pick up the cards! No reviewer seems to have been listening to the spirit of this work, but rather just enjoying speaking their opinions. But why not listen to the cards...

The cards are magical, and they speak volumes.
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly inaccurate and dogmatic - but some nice drawings :) 10 Jan 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Cards
In the companion book, Aaltonen makes several interpretation errors which undermine the validity of his joint work with Taina Pailos. For instance, he mixes characters Ainikki and Annikki, which are clearly different personalities coming from different sources of oral tradition. He also misinterprets Lemminkäinen as having slain the swan of Tuonela (p.159), while the Kalevala recounts that he was killed before he could do it. Ukko is mistaken for Virokannas (p.99), and the fight between Väinämöinen is interpreted as courtship for Aino (p.153). Some cards are drawn according to these "false" interpretations. Furthermore, some of the cards meanings are far-fetched. A lot of the Smith-Waite symbolism is held on to, with some weird modifications (antlers replacing a crown..). Aaltonen really tried to cover the Kalevala but I would have come up with characters/scenes for most of the cards. I especially disagree with the Court cards and the treatment of the Kullervo cycle. Some characters who are introduced are simply non-existent in the Kalevala and Finnish oral poetry altogether. The interpretation of the cards, described in the book, is very dense. The symbolism is heavy, involving colors, notions of modern psychology, self-help material, shamanism (animals..), and sometimes end up being inconsistent (as demonstrated by the pine and birch). I found that the cards' interpretations often overlap each other, because the symbolism is too dense, especially if you also try to take in account the Crowleyan kabbalstic diagrams of pages 10-16 (with no text!). The catchy sentences printed in the booklet in order to summarize the meaning of each card, sometimes have little to do with the book. It seems as if he has thrown in a lot stuff (mainly copied or transmitted from Crowley) very quickly without checking the correspondences at all, in order to add substance to his book. You can read my full-length review at home.primus.ca/~matti
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a big hit here. 7 May 2010
By Yukio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Cards|Verified Purchase
The artwork was okay. Some upfront nudity. It did have a homemade feel and the cups suit should have stayed cups as opposed to dishes since there isn't a dish one among that suits illustrations. It is hard for me to connect to the imagery since it is about a people who lived in another time and place and the history of them seems so minor but for something differant and 'homemade' or 'handpainted' this deck will do nicely and itsn't your run of the mill standard deck.
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