The Tarot of Chateau Avenieres is a faithful reproduction of the tarot art found on the walls of a chapel at the Chateau Des Avenieres in France. Eugene Vinitski and Elsa Khapatnukovski have produced an absolutely breathtaking deck for those who would like to collect a token of history.
If you appreciate good food and tarot mysticism, then when in southeastern France, visit the Chateau Des Avenieres near the commune of Cruseilles. From the Chateau you get a view of Mont Blanc and then, should you wish to visit Switzerland, it’s just a car ride away.
The Chateau was built some time between 1907 and 1913 by Mary Wallace Schillito, who commissioned a Hindu designer for the chapel, which was built around 1917. Mary Greer has blog post that shares more about the Chateau’s history, here.
Schillito was deeply fascinated in the esoteric arts and frequently visited the Parisian salons along with Papus and Oswald Wirth. She married a Hindu occultist, Assan Farid Dina.
This was also the site where Oswald Wirth completed Le Tarot, des lmagiers du Moyen Age, or better known today as Tarot of the Magicians. In the above snapshot from inside the chapel, left to right you’ll see The Magician card, Death, Justice, and The Fool.
As Greer writes in her Foreword to the 2012 Weiser reprint of Tarot of the Magicians, “The chapel makes it clear by the way its images ascend into the vaulted ceiling, that Wirth’s own deck, rather than being a psychological or fortune-telling one, was created as a moral and initiatory Tarot that describes the apotheosis of human kind.”
Above left is the reversible card back design.
The Tarot of Chateau Avenieres is a reprint of the Major Arcana keys featured in the chapel. The deck is an incredible artifact of esoteric tarot. You’ll spend endless hours contemplating the symbolism of each Key.
The edges are gilded, which is always a nice touch, especially for a collector’s deck. These are limited edition, by the way, and each comes with its own certificate of authenticity signed by the deck creators.
That is such a cool Hierophant card and when placed side by side with The Lovers and The Chariot, you can spot the pattern similarities across the three cards.
Above you’ll see the original art of The Hierophant and The Chariot in the chapel. The right-most panel features The Empress.
The tiles are made of enamel and gold mosaics with a style that is strongly Greco-Roman and Egyptian inspired. By the way, scroll back up to study the High Priestess, The Empress, and then take a look at the Justice card. Interesting how the Justice card here features the pillars typically associated with the Rider-Waite-Smith High Priestess card.
The above photograph from the chapel shows how the tarot card images look originally.
You can see the attention to detail that Vinitski and Khapatnukovski have shown to reproducing the mosaic wall art as tarot cards. For instance, the top right corner of The Hanged Man as it is in the original wall art vs. how they tweaked it into the card image above.
Vinitski and Khapatnukovski have also added key numbers and Hebrew letter correspondences at the bottoms of the cards.
From these images you can see the various mystical symbolic inspirations that subsequent esoteric tarot decks have integrated. If you aren’t able to visit the Chateau, owning a copy of this deck is the next best thing.
Lately I’ve been focused on tarot reading methods with the Majors only, and the Tarot of Chateau Avenieres is a phenomenal deck to work with. If you use tarot for pathworking, I’d also highly recommend this deck.