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Tarot of Prague - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $16.64

ProductID: alt0974

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About this item
  • The Tarot of Prague is a very beautiful Tarot, composed of collaged photographs of Prague's art and architecture.
  • Suitable for readings, and for beginners, the Tarot of Prague is now a classic, and is highly recommended.

Name Tarot of Prague
Creators Alex Ukolov, Karen Mahony
Publisher agic Realist Press 2004
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Rider-Waite-Smith
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes With Suit Symbols
Suits Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards Page, Knight, Queen, King
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11
Card Size 2.87 x 4.87 in. = 7.30cm x 12.38cm
Card Language English
Card Back Unknown


Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov are designers who run the baba studio in Prague. Karen told me once in conversation that Prague was a magic city (I later learned it was the surrealist Andre Bréton who so named it) steeped in art, esoterica, and the occult. Over the centuries it has been the home of practitioners of astrology, astronomy, and alchemy. The cards in The Tarot of Prague, a collage deck, reflect this ancient mysticism through the images of the city and the coloration of the cards. Karen and Alex meant them to reflect a sense of fairy tale illustrations and I suggest that is an additional way to use the deck beyond regular Tarot readings (more about that later).

The 78-plus-one-deck (two Death cards, one frightening, one less so) comes in a heavy folder bound together with golden ribbons rather than in a box. A little white book (LWB) is permanently attached to the back binder, so that if you choose to buy only the deck, it is complete in itself. Karen has authored a larger 301-page paperback to accompany the deck, and most readers will want to buy the set that includes it because for each card, there is:

  1. A brief description of the card.
  2. A short interpretation, which is the one included in the LWB
  3. A fuller interpretation, i.e., eight to ten paragraphs compared to the one-paragraph short interpretation
  4. Most important for me, the identification and location of the sources from which the various components of the card are taken, as well as some accompanying photographs scatted through the volume and more historical information on the city and many of the real or mythological figures included in the cards.

The complete set comes in a pretty but rather unwieldy (14" x 7") container.

Everyone develops their favorite cards from a new or loved deck, and I am no exception. Most cards in the deck are vibrantly colored figures placed against some locale in Prague; however, because of his delicate coloring (truly reminiscent of a fairy tale illustration), I fell in love with the Knight of Wands, who rides a white horse high above the rooftops of Prague, even though Karen warned me that he was reckless, irresponsible, and sure to break my heart.

I also was taken by the Queen of Swords, partly because I identify with her, and partly because I have been trying for decades to get the Rider-Waite-Smith Queen to turn around in her throne. Finally, a Queen of Swords who faces me, as do a majority of the figures in this deck. She stands on a snowy hillside (oh, those frozen emotions unable to pierce the intellect!) and is taken from an illuminated medieval manuscript showing St. Catherine. The background shows the Strahov Monastery where the manuscript is housed. Unbeknownst to me when I was drawn to this card, the deck (and the city?) worked its captivating magic since when I was baptized, I was given St. Catherine as one of my patron saints.

One of the things I like to do with a new deck is to draw a Major Arcana card to ask the deck how it wants to speak to me. To answer this question I drew The Empress. The red-gowned Empress sits in front of a mosaic facade of the Municipal House in Prague. As in other decks, she represents the Earth Goddess or the Great Mother Goddess. So I take it to mean that the deck wants me to use it to get more in touch with my passionate and creative inner goddess (in spite of my long-time identification with the Queen of Swords).

I then asked the deck what it wanted to tell you who are reading this review, and the card I drew, from a full deck, is The Chariot. Here a woman, again wearing a crimson robe, drives a chariot, drawn by one black and one white eagle through the clouds above the city. She is taken from the decorated ceiling of the Theology Hall at the Strahov Library. Well, folks, be warned. It is clear to me that you-indeed, all of us-will be on a new and fanciful journey when you begin to work with this deck.

I mentioned earlier the fairy-tale quality of this deck. If you are at all prone to talk to the figures in your Tarot cards, the colors and figures in this deck are perfect to inspire and encourage you to develop a dream-like attitude and interact with the archetypes. I have a sense, difficult to articulate at this point, that the way in which Karen and Alex have combined the earlier artistic expressions of others with their own modern efforts touches, perhaps, a level of the collective unconscious not yet clear but waiting to be invited. Encourage their figures to "speak their piece" regarding how they do, or want to, interact in your life. There are layers and layers of this deck waiting to work their magic during your explorations. Once upon a time, there was a Queen of Swords. . . . .

Combine shipping is possible.

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