This tarot deck focuses on the theme of ancient Minoan art and culture. It shares the title and theme with the Minoan Tarot created by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince in 2014 (ISBN 978-0-9894739-3-4). Purchasers interested in either deck should note the ISBN numbers to distinguish between the decks.

Apparently the Minoan culture exerts great allure for contemporary people! The Minoans became very advanced before their society was destroyed by a volcano and earthquakes around 1500 BCE. It was a gender-balanced society that lived in harmonious symbiosis with the environment, and emphasized peace, keenly developed spirituality and creativity rather than war. Admirable traits indeed!

This deck has unique qualities. There are 84 cards because the court cards are expanded to include two extra characters. This makes the deck a bit bulkier to handle. The suits are Daggers (fire), Rhytons (vessels for water), Labryses (double-headed axe for air) and Horns (earth). Fans of the Smith-Waite Tarot may be a little discomfited by the sword-like Daggers representing the fire element. The images are drawn from Minoan art and its distinctive color palette. Each card features small symbols, which are words in Linear B, an extremely ancient proto-alphabet. These are explained in the book.

The book begins with a series of useful spreads to use with the deck. Card descriptions include remarks about the artwork, the meaning of the card, and the stage of the journey based on the Major Arcana Fool’s Journey, or the journey of each elemental suit. The card meanings offer useful real-world tips and practical examples for interpreting the card in a reading.  The book is well-planned and written, and beautifully produced in full color.

The artwork adheres to the Minoan color palette, which is dominated by blue with red, yellow, black, white, green, and brown. The images are simple and uncluttered, with solid, flat color fields in the background. The Major Arcana cards feature multi-colored borders, while the suit cards have monochromatic borders. The numbered suit cards are minimally illustrated. The appropriate number of suit-related objects are shown, sometimes with simple ornaments or other clues to the card’s meaning. For example, the 5 of Rhytons (vessels) shows three intact rhytons in the background and two broken ones in the foreground.

Court card images are very simple, with the figures either holding or in close proximity to the suit’s representative object. Clothing and posture help to convey the meaning. Major Arcana cards have prominent figures that echo or mimic RWS imagery. Some figures are altered to fit the theme; for example, the Devil card is transformed into The Minotaur. Given the level of dysfunction in that mythic family, the creature is a good fit for the Devil. The Empress is mounted on a griffin, and the Sun card features bees around the sun, thus integrating popular Minoan art imagery into these cards.  The Hermit is transformed into the Labyrinth, an important architectural structure built by these peoples.

This deck is a fine production that’s well-thought out and nicely packaged. Ms Perry’s rendering of a Minoan-inspired tarot features her own distinctive approach to the theme. Tarotists interesting in connecting with a fascinating ancient culture will enjoy the wisdom presented by these cards.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Creator: Laura Perry
Schiffer Books, 2016
84 (3” x 5”) cards and 176 page book in 6”x9” box
ISBN 978-0-7643-5231-7