This Tarot of the Origins deck was created by an Italian, Sergio Toppi, published in 2000 by the firm Lo Scarabeo, and is distributed in the U.S. by Llewellyn.
The seventy-eight card pictures for this deck are all based on themes from Neolithic times. Sergio Toppi used pen and ink along with water color to create boldly stirring images of mankind at its most earthly, basic, and primal.
Most Tarot decks, regardless of their pictoral themes, are largely inspired by or based on the card meanings of the Rider deck. By contrast, the Tarot of the Origins opens up an entirely different dimension of reality. The card meanings of The Major Arcana are not too different, however, with The High Priestess becoming The Great Mother; The Emperor becoming The Father; The Hierophant becoming The Shaman; and so forth. The most startling differences lie with the Minor Arcana cards, none of which match up with the traditional card meanings of the Rider deck. The four card suits are Nature, Jewels, Soul, and Blood. The card pictures all depict humans as we existed in our primeval past: A man is hunting an animal; a man is being hunted by an animal; a woman is giving birth to an infant; someone is being offered to the deities as a human sacrifice; a shaman is casting his divinatory bones; a man is kneeling reverently before a huge monolith, and the like.
Over the years, I have seriously experimented with a large assortment of Tarot card decks, and I have yet to find a useful instruction booklet included with any of them. The instruction booklet (fold-out, actually) that comes with this deck is no exception. For example, the meanings given for the Six of Nature and the Six of Soul are exactly the same.
Based on my experience creating card meanings for other decks, I created a set of 156 card meanings for this Tarot of the Origins deck. My card meanings are in close accord with Toppi's pictures, and I used the card meanings in the instruction booklet as a starting point. Due to those two influences, my resultant card meanings also tend to be earthly, basic, and primal. As a result, this deck is the most fantastic I have ever used. Regardless of the divinatory question asked, the readings I do go straight to the essence of the matter in a way unmatched by any other Tarot card system. I have only recently started using this deck as my preferred deck, but the people I have done readings for so far seem just as stunned and impressed with the readings as I have been.
The quality of the cards is also quite super. The length of the cards is exactly the same as the Rider deck cards, but they are slightly more slender, making them more pliable and easier to shuffle. The cards have a quality finish to them that also makes them very easy to shuffle, and they do not start sticking to each other after extended use.
I cannot recommend this deck too highly.