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Da Vinci Enigma Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $15.57

ProductID: alt819

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About this item
  • The Da Vinci Enigma Tarot uses drawings and illustrations from Renaissance man, inventor, and artist, Leonardo da
  • Vinci. His sketches have been matched with the Tarot archetypes to create a deck with some depth. The suits are
  • elemental—Fire, Earth, Air and Water—and some of the major arcana cards have been renamed to better fit Leonardo's
  • theme.

Name Da Vinci Enigma Tarot
Creators Caitlin Matthews
Publisher Connections 2005
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Unique
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes Without Suit Symbols
Suits Court Cards
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11
Card Size 2.95 x 4.72 in. = 7.50cm x 12.00cm
Card Language English
Card Back Make a Larger Pattern
Back Design Fractal patterns and shapes. The 78 backs make a complete pattern when put together.
Companion Material Companion book.


"There is something indefinably enigmatic about Leonardo that fuels all kind of wild speculation, but you won’t find such speculation in this tarot. I have attempted to use his own words and images and let them speak… The images on these cards portray the range of Leonardo’s vast interests. Though they may be less familiar to us than the famous paintings, they are no less iconic."

The enigma of Leonardo Da Vinci - Renaissance man, engineer, artist, natural historian, philosopher, and thinker who created blueprints for manned flight, helicopters, the diving bell, and hydraulics (to name a few) and painted one of the most famous art images, the Mona Lisa - is the inspiration for the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot.

Caitlin Matthews, previously known for her Celtic-inspired Tarot works such as the rthurian Tarot and the eltic Wisdom Tarot, has branched out to research and create a profound and original Tarot set. The Da Vinci Enigma Tarot artwork is not just inspired by or in the style of Leonardo - these cards have illustrations from Leonardo’s own notebooks, drawings and writings, all carefully chosen to fit the Tarot archetypes.

"These tarot cards follow his curious and penetrating vision through his own words and drawings to look more deeply at how the macrocosm, the Greater World of the Eternal Cosmos, and the microcosm, the created world in which we live, meet and mingle."

The major arcana images have been chosen from the sketches and studies for Leonardo’s own paintings. The numbered minor cards are from his notebooks, "where he sketched his inventions, dissections, theories and observations about the natural world" and court cards are from drawings for "portraits, masques, and fantasies". The selected drawings very in size and have been placed against a white background.

There are some other changes from a standard Rider-Waite style deck. The minor arcana have suits that are purely elemental – Air, Fire, Earth and Water – and courts that match the Italian royalty of Leonardo’s time - Page, Knight, Lady and Lord. Some of the major arcana have been re-titled to better fit the Enigma theme. In order, they are:

0 – Fool
I – Magician
II – Enigma
III – Empress
IV – Emperor
V – Hierophant
VI – Twins
VII – Imagination
VIII – Strength
IX – Hermit
X – Time
XI – Experience
XII – Passover
XIII – Death
XIV – Temperance
XV – Pain and Pleasure
XVI – Deluge
XVII – Way-shower
XVIII – Conception
XIX – Birth
XX – Renewal
XXI – World

The sketches by Leonardo are simple, appearing to have been drawn in lead pencil on what is now aged-looking paper. The deck has quite a technical and mechanical bent, as the cards often depict blueprints, war machines and inventive devices, as well as portrait sketches. For example, the Nine of Water (Airborne) is a picture of a man in a flying machine (which seems appropriate for the wish card). In the Ten of Fire, men are moving a very large and heavy cannon and wooden contraption. The Two of Water depicts an anatomical union between a man and a woman, rather than an emotional or spiritual one. The images also have an impression of movement, which I noticed first in the Seven of Earth (Stamina). Here a draught horse is drawn stepping out, its actual shape in dark outline; lighter in shade, the position of the legs just a few moments earlier have been penciled in.

Physically, the cards are smooth-edged and have rounded corners. They are comparable in size to a Lo Scarabeo deck, perhaps a little wider. There are two extra cards included with the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot which are not the usual title or spread cards. One, The Enigma Pattern, pictures the complete pattern of silver-and-white knot work and three-dimensional Platonic solids on a dark red background that's made by the cards when face-down, which is intended to enable you to ‘read both connected and disconnected cards’. The other card, The Enigma Grid, illustrates their same order when placed face-up. The backs are not strictly reversible, given that put together they make an 80-card pattern, but the pattern elements are similar enough that they could function as reversible cards without much trouble.

The packaging is attractive: a matte silver two-piece box that holds the companion book above a cardboard insert that holds the cards and prevents them from slipping.

The book for the Da Vinci Enigma Tarot is 144 pages in length, divided into five chapters: a biography of Leonardo; an introduction to the use of the Enigma deck; explanations for the macrocosm and microcosm cards; and the Seat of the Soul (spreads and readings, based on the Vitruvian Man, Leonardo’s observations on cause and effect, and the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci sequence). The card meanings have several sections, three of which are unique to this deck:

Dimmi – (‘Tell me’) Offering relevant questions on the card.
Background – Card info and background in Leonardo’s life and works, or the card subject.
Soul-Code – "Reveals how the chosen card helps or challenges your soul’s destiny."
Upright/Reversed – Card meanings. "The meanings of the cards in the Da Vinci Enigma tarot have been personalized for the lone reader o wants to decode the enigma of the soul."
Disconnected – For difficult cards or one about which you have an ‘inner ambivalence’.

I drew a card to answer the question: what does this deck have to teach me?. The card drawn was the Page of Earth, an image of the Study of St Philip for the Last Supper. Two sentences in the book stood out: ‘Application and patient tenacity help bring the soul steadily along the path of destiny’, and ‘Work proceeds steadily from daily application’. I found this card and its interpretations to be very accurate – the deck doesn’t necessarily reveal its secrets via casual observation; while a little work and study brings results, and wisdom.

The more I look at these cards, the more connections I find between Leonardo’s drawings and the Tarot archetype they have been chosen to illustrate. The Da Vinci Enigma Tarot is a beautifully-made set, suitable for anyone with some basic Tarot experience and a little time to spend with Leonardo.

"These 78 cards create a portable notebook to help you explore the sacred proportions and divine harmony of the macrocosm, so that you can find balance and harmony in your everyday life."

Combine shipping is possible.

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