Customer Review

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Harmless, 18 May 2006
This review is from: The Sharman-Caselli Tarot Deck (Cards)
This is a good deck, but not a great one. I sense that Juliet Sharman-Burke, and her artistic friend Signor Caselli, are more inclined towards using tarot as a psychological tool rather than as a magick mirror. Understanding that, it makes sense that this is a very non-threatening, placid and understated deck which has its uses but ultimately is quite disappointing, particularly because the illustration on the box, of the Two of Swords, is the most striking card in the set and unfortunately none of the other cards live up to the promise, with the possible exceptions of the Nine of Swords and the beautiful Queen of Cups.

It seems to be that Caselli chose to emphasis the symbolic over the esoteric, and cards which should be intense - such as the High Priestess, Death and the Empress - ultimately fail to live up to their archetypes. The High Priestess is more of a village wise woman than a mysterious sorceress, and the Empress fails to excite or titilate as she should. Too much symbolism is crammed into some cards, like the High Priestess, and too little into others, such as many of the Minor Arcana, particularly in the suit of Wands. Those people are only play-fighting, they don't really mean anyone any harm! The cards feel empty and the colouring is wan and pale. Although it is a good deck for beginners (as of course the name suggests), to anyone who becomes a more serious reader reading for serious purposes, the cards soon pale into insignificance beside the exotic beauty of the Morgan-Greer, which is so alive you can almost feel its pulse.

However, the Sharman-Caselli deck still has its uses. Reading the available workbook, which I bought separately, it is plain that Sharman-Caselli hasn't attempted to produce more than a deck which is accessible for those who just want to play around with the cards and maybe tell fortunes for friends and family, rather than those who want to participate in the struggles of the cosmos. And that's fine by me...bringing the tarot to readers of daily horoscopes in women's magazines would be part of legitimising it, demystifying it and helping it to gain a place in modern domesticated society. This is a deck for love, life and livelihood - I would ask this deck, for example, will my grandmother and great-uncle, both recently widowed and brought closer by their respective spouses moving on to the next life, find happiness together in their twilight years? will my dad get the seat on the board that he craves? will my mum take early retirement? will my sister and her partner have children? what is going on inside my boyfriend's mind when he lies through his teeth to his employer about being on sick leave (the combination of the Four of Swords reversed and Seven of Swords is uncanny, showing that he is both cheating his employer AND not giving his gammy shoulder the rest it deserves, but the Tower is heavy with foreboding...I might need to be there for him when it all goes belly-up...although on asking who would find him out or give him away, the deck ominously turned up my significator for this deck, the Two of Swords...)? These are questions which concern 90% of the population 90% of the time, thanks to the ease and contentment with which modern man finds himself living in.

The great battles for survival are still raging, and for those you'll need a different deck, but Sharman-Caselli is tarot for those who are willing to try something new to make sense of perplexing but not life-threatening situations.
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4.9 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
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Location: Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom

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