I have some new decks in my collection, acquired over the past few weeks.
Top of the list is a long out of print (OOP) deck called the Minotarot. I first became acquainted with this deck from an online review. The deck is based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and, given my fascination for Greek mythology, I put it at the top of my wish list, and began to search for a copy of my own. Occasionally, a copy would turn up, only to be well beyond my price range. OOP decks can be very expensive! On 2 occasions, I came across a copy of the deck on eBay, with a low reserve, only to be outbid when I reached my financial limit. I decided that this was a deck to admire from afar.
Over the years, I have had the good luck to acquire a fair number of OOP decks, without breaking the bank. Some are decks I bought at retail price and had subsequently gone OOP; others were limited edition decks that quickly sold out and appreciated in value; still others I got through trading with other collectors. Many decks in my collection I have purchased at second-hand bookstores, which I often scour for unexpected treasures.
Finally, another copy of the Minotarot surfaced, again at a price I could not afford, although reasonable for a 27 year old, OOP deck. Given the state of our economy, I decided to take a chance. I emailed the seller and inquired if s/he would be interested in trading for the elusive deck. And in response, the seller asked what I had in mind! I went through my collection of OOP/sought-after decks and asked myself if I could, in fact, let any of them go. I came across a couple of decks that rarely came off the shelf, only in my collection because they were rare and people felt they “should” be in one’s collection. I offered these in trade, and my offer was accepted! And only a few days later, the Minotarot was in my hands, at last!
Designed and self-published by Eric Provoost, the deck was issued in France in 1982 in a limited edition of 2,000 copies. The artwork is black and white, with additional touches of brown in the Majors. The back of the deck is terra cotta with an image of a white 7-circuit labyrinth. The deck is signed and numbered, too…mine is #1382/2000.
The Fool – Minotaur
It is a 78-card Tarot deck in structure, with a Major Arcana, 4 suits (here Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamonds), and Court cards. One can lay out the cards in the traditional order, following the numbers in the top left corner. But there are also numbers in the top right corner; if the cards are put into sequence using these numbers, various mini-stories of Theseus and his quest are illustrated. The cards have no borders, either, so that when laid side-by side, they create a panoramic scene. The LWB lists these sequences, along with a brief explanation of the scene and a more general interpretation.
The Emperor – Theseus
The Minors and Courts have a key word or phrase at the bottom of each card, which serve as a caption for the particular scene in the mini sequence, rather than illustrating a divinatory meaning. Examples of the keywords are apprehension, negotiations, a new acquaintance, liberty, joy, and normality. When a mini-scene is laid out, the words/phrases make more sense. Examples of this can be seen in Stuart Kaplan’s Encyclopedia of Tarot, volume 3.
The Empress – Ariadne
I am enjoying laying out the various sequences and seeing what stories they tell. The deck is not a deck that I will likely be using for divination, but more for reflection, and for the excitement that the deck is now a part of my collection. It has taken its place with my other Greek mythology decks, the Mythic Tarot, the Tarot of Olympus, Il Tarocco Mitologico, the Mythic Oracle, the Etruscan Tarot and Ancient Feminine Wisdom of Goddesses and Heroines.
Images from the Minotarot © 1982 by Eric Provoost