"At first glance the creatures from another planet appear very different from us, but in reality after looking closely, more elements unite us with them than differentiate us, almost as if to emphasize an identical creative idea at the heart of the presence of intelligent life in the universe." - From the LWB
From the giant robot of Justice to the glowing yellow figures on the Wands suit, the brown insectile bipeds of the Pentacles to the watery, willowy creatures on the Cups, an otherworldly menagerie of aliens populate the UFO Tarot.
In addition to aliens and flying saucers, UFO motifs from alleged visitations, myth and movies also make an appearance in this deck--crop circles, abductions, friendly contact, mass exodus, experimentation, and even a hieroglyphic space man in a rocket ship.
Some cards, like the 2 of Wands and Queen of Swords, show gentle, curious aliens. Others depict hostile posturing from both humans and extraterrestrials--using either guns or light sabers--and more than a few hint of alien invasion and mass destruction.
This is curious in light of this specific comment from the UFO Tarot LWB: "...the aliens appearing in the cards are never proposed as enemies or invaders but rather the bearers of a message of brotherhood." Well, it doesn't really matter that the LWB contradicts the images, because other than a brief intro to Americana ufology, the pamphlet is next to useless! In fact, there is NO correlation--at all--between the images from this deck and the interpretations...which is (once again) a pity.
There are many intriguing images and arresting artistic perspectives in the UFO Tarot--a landscape ripe for aiding intuitive reading, journaling and storytelling. I love the unusual color of the borders--a midnight blue--as well as the absence of any words on the cards. Yep...you read right! This Lo Scarabeo deck doesn't have ANY words at all--not even the usual card names in umpteen languages!
However, this wonderful touch removes the UFO Tarot from the candidates for "good beginner decks"--especially since it's hard to tell, at first, which symbol represents Swords (the light saber!) and which represents Wands (the metallic telescopic thingy). And the Courts are demarcated by ellipses: one for Knaves, two for Knights, three for Queens and four for Kings.
Not only do I love the complicated simplicity of the UFO Tarot, but also the attractive, reversible card backing--a melding of metallic spheres, circuitry, lights and smoke. (It reminds me a bit of the backing on the Universal Fantasy Tarot).
Some of my favorite cards from this deck are:
* The Fool - With outstretched arms, an alien levitates towards a growling wolf on the edge of a cliff. The alien seems to have the wonderment and naiveté of the Magical Child archetype--devoid of preconceived notions or fears.
* The Magician - A DNA matrix hovers above his left hand while his right hand hovers over four elemental representations: flames, droplets of water, a pile of rocks, and a mini-tornado.
* The Emperor - The ancient stone carving of an alien driving a space craft reminded me of man's attempt to record and preserve history--an organizational feat worthy of this card.
* The Sun - On a sunny day, a man horseback riding comes across a crop circle in a field of sunflowers (very van Gogh-esque).
* Four of Wands - During the full moon, four luminous figures approach a farmhouse that's lit from within. I can't help but imagine one cool coffee klatch!
* Four of Cups - Four hairless aliens with elongated faces appear to float meditatively in a body of water, eyes closed.
So while I marvel at some of the extraordinary artwork and unusual perspectives by Arturo Picca--even gleaning some surprising insights into the cards--I don't think I'll be reading with the UFO Tarot anytime soon. However, I'm definitely keeping it on hand as an art deck, as well as for additional contemplation.
(To see 10 images from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at [...])
Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book: Picture the Past, Experience the Cards, Understand the Present (coming Fall 2008 from Hampton Roads Publishing)