Better Together: Ceccoli Tarot + Oracle
Happy April Fool's, folks!
I'm kicking off this month with two decks that my clients like to call my "Alice in Wonderland" cards. Nicoletta Ceccoli's artwork wasn't created specifically for divination, but her whimsical images with deeply profound (and TBH sometimes disturbing) undertones do create a wonderful backdrop for the meanings and messages of the tarot. This deck looks lighthearted and whimsical and playful, but make no mistake—it packs bigger punches than a lot of the more "serious" looking decks.
I don't actually read with my Ceccoli cards a lot. Connecting the artwork, which wasn't meant for the tarot, to the meanings I'm used to (mostly RWS and Wild Unknown based) can be a stretch. To use this deck, you have to shift your mindset—you can do all you can to connect what you see in the pictures to what you already know of the cards; but you also need to step out of the box and ask yourself what the card tells YOU. And that takes a lot of energy, a lot of time, and a lot of introspection—not something I can do at the snap of my fingers, when I'm reading for someone at a coffee shop. Instead, I use my Ceccoli tarot for daily draws where I give myself 24 hours to ponder the meaning of a single image. Sometimes, even after a full day I still end up writing "I'm not sure what this really means!" in my tarot journal. :P
Meanings and readings notwithstanding, I take to these cards because they are beautiful. The Ceccoli tarot was one of my first decks and I liked it enough to even snap up the bag. The artwork is mysterious and so are the meanings behind them. I get feelings from the cards, but not necessarily clear thoughts in straight sentences. My experience with these decls is much like watching a French noir movie—I can't immediately figure it out, but I know it's haunting and beautiful, and I probably won't ever be able to explain why I like it, but I just do.
The tarot is a regular Lo Scarabeo deck—it comes in that cardboard tuck box (which was on its way to becoming dog-eared until I decided to "save it" with a strip of washi tape) with the LWB that doesn't really hold a lot of information. When this deck stumps me, I do turn to the little white book—I can't say it's been particularly helpful, but one to two sentences to just nudge you towards any direction is better than nothing.
The oracle deck, which was published just recently ups the ante when it comes to packaging. The decks are large, the box is sturdy, the guidebook isn't little at all. I like the oracle's guidebook because it does go to length in explaining what's going on—something I truly appreciate, more in oracle than in tarot. I like capping off a client's reading with an oracle pull and reading out to them what the guidebook says so that they can draw their own inspirations and pick what resonates with them.
My gripe with the oracle cards is that their "titles" aren't written on the cards themselves. If I pulled the #23 card (shown in the photo above) for example, my mind immediately goes to: work hard (because of the bee), check on what you've done for any slip-ups or mistakes (because they're flying to the left vs. the right), and understand that you have to leave certain things to chance (because of the die falling in the sky). The book, on the other hand, says: "Rescue. Help is on the way!" Hmmm.
I know the point of these cards isn't to dictate to you what your consciousness needs to pick up on, but rather to let your subconscious speak. That said, when the image is doing nothing to provoke your intuition, it would be nice to have a little clue thrown your way.
Ceccoli's dead-eyed girls are haunting and mysterious and remind me of Tim Burton movies. They look both fragile and strong (check out the Empress, High Priestess and Magician above) and most especially in the oracle deck, are sometimes put in very compromising scenes that can leave you scratching your head (see the Pinnochio peep show of oracle card #29, and girl dominating the ice cream cone in #28—are you getting the same hits as me here?).
Aesthetically I am loving the mix of the candy-colored pastels and the darker, deeper, more somber grays. These decks, I love for April because they remind me of the flowers and the rain showers of spring. They capture light and dark perfectly, but aren't obviously illuminating. They don't make things easy for me, as a reader. They leave me thinking, asking questions, searching for answers, which I feel is what art ought to do in the first place.
There are many things I find puzzling about these decks, but I am certain that this is a pair I am lucky to have in my collection. Together, they build a sort of dreamland that you can lose yourself in. When I need to step out of my head and out of logic, when I feel the need to up the cups energy or the water element in my life (to feel, to dream, to imagine, to flow), these cards make perfect sense. And I'm not sure if I've rambled on saying absolutely nothing all through this blog post, but I do hope you leave this review getting a sense of how these make me feel.
PS: I love this card stock— the newer Lo Scarabeo decks, these are easy to shuffle but not flimsy. The oracle cards call for an overhand shuffle because they're so HUGE. That's it :)