Tarot of Chateau Avenieres by Eugene Vinitski and Elsa Khapatnukovski

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.

Source: chateau-des-avenieres.com

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.

View inside the tarot chapel

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.”

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Golden Venetian Lenormand

The Golden Venetian Lenormand is a sister deck to Eugene Vinitski’s Venetian Tarot, which I’ve reviewed before here. Vinitski has teamed up with author, philologist, and art historian Elsa Khapatnukovski to produce a masterpiece of a Grand Jeu Lenormand, which consists of 54 cards (rather than the popularized Petit Lenormand or Petit Jeu Lenormand, which consists of only 36).

However, you can also select out the 35 Petit Lenormand cards and work with this deck as a Petit Lenormand. So in essence, you’re getting two decks in one. You’ll definitely want to purchase your copy of the Golden Venetian Lenormand via Vinitski’s Etsy shop here.

Like Vinitski’s Venetian Tarot, the Golden Venetian Lenormand is crafted in a High Renaissance style with a design focus on classical humanism.

The Lenormand oracle is a predictive fortune-telling system from the late 18th century based on the Game of Hope by Johann Kasper Hechtel, an illustrated edifying card game steeped in Christian allegories. In the 19th century, 16 more cards were taken from other well-known European cartomancy systems of the time and the 36-card Petit Lenormand was expanded into a 52-card fortune-telling deck, plus the additional 2 jokers.

By the way I love the little details of insight from Khapatnukovski. For example, the Fox card, No. 14, Khapatnukovski acknowledges that you’re not likely to come by a fox in Venice, but because it’s common symbolism in the Lenormand system, here it is. This particular fox is running over a canal holding a seagull in its mouth. The seagull, symbolic of freedom and a desire to dream, locked in the jaws of a fox, show the anguish of mind of a trapped individual.

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Tarot of Magical Correspondences: A Review

In Tarot of Magical Correspondences, Eugene Vinitski has designed a magician’s deck, and it’s spectacular. After Kabbalistic Tarot, which I’ve reviewed before here, Vinitski had acquired so much research and knowledge that hadn’t been incorporated into that deck, and so Tarot of Magical Correspondences was born, built upon the works of Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, Manly P. Hall, Paul FOster Case, and Gareth Knight, among others.

The cardstock is thick, glossy, high quality, and the edges are gilded. You also get a guidebook packed with an impressive amount of information and substantive content, given its size. Each deck will also come with a Certificate of Authenticity numbered and signed by the deck creator. This is a limited edition deck, with only 700 copies available, so get yours over on Etsy while supplies last.

Vinitski notes that Tarot of Magical Correspondences is based largely on the works of Aleister Crowley, and the Kabbalistic references throughout are based on Golden Dawn attributions. Vinitski worked mainly off of Liber 777 by Crowley.

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Top 5 Tarot Decks of 2018

In 2018 we saw so many incredibly innovative and ground-breaking decks to name that I could not reduce it down to just five. This was a difficult list to make and I wish I could name more. I even thought about doing a special mentions section, but then even that would get unduly long!

These are my top five tarot decks from 2018, though two of these decks were published in 2017. Also, my own deck, Spirit Keeper’s Tarot, was disqualified, since come on. I can’t pick my own deck.

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Review of the Kabbalistic Tarot by Eugene Vinitski and Frater North

Eugene Vinitski is one of the most innovative and intelligent deck creators I’ve come across. When I hear that he’s come out with a new deck, even before I’ve seen it, I get excited, because I know it’s going to be high concept and exquisitely executed.

The Kabbalistic Tarot is no exception to that rule. Vinitski collaborates with Frater North on an esoteric study deck rooted in the Golden Dawn traditions and the results are stunning. The contrast on the box design between the ornate patterned lining and the solid black matte finish is perfection.

Celebrating the heritage of linking the Kabbalah to the tarot first prompted by Antoine Court de Gebelin in the 17th century and then later elaborated upon by Eliphas Levi, the Kabbalistic Tarot accentuates the correlations between the tarot and the Sephiroth Tree, where the Majors represent the dynamic part of the Tree, underscoring the paths of movement from one sephira to another, while the Minors are the rigidly bound static sephiroth.

There are 79 cards in total, with the extra card in the tarot deck being a colored diagram of the Kabbalistic Tree as you see at left in the above photograph. The color coding here is going to be significant when we go to  study the anatomy of each card design later in the deck.

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Money Tarot by Eugene Vinitski

This isn’t so much a formal deck review as it is a “let’s ooh and ahh this Vinitski deck together.” I reviewed his masterpiece deck The Venetian Tarot previously, here. And now I have the incredible opportunity to offer you a first-look into the Money Tarot.

The Money Tarot pulls art from actual bills of currency around the world and superimposes actual money art onto the tarot deck structure. The accompanying little white booklets–and there are two of them–tell you the bill that each tarot card image comes from. Also, loving the reversible card backs.

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The Venetian Tarot by Eugene Vinitski

The Venetian Tarot by Eugene Vinitski is a self-published tarot deck that is magnificent for a variety of reasons. Art may be subjective, but I would be hard-pressed to find one person who does not acknowledge the exemplary skill level demonstrated here by Vinitski. Furthermore, there’s both an intuitive and psychological understanding of the human condition that truly gives the deck a transformative, transcendent quality. Vinitski has produced a tarot deck that’s at once beautiful and collection-worthy, yet also a great professional reading deck.

Let’s begin with the packaging and card back design. I love the sturdy box style that Vinitski has chosen, its matte finish, and the complementary companion guidebook. The blues and rose golds complement the tone for the card by card Carnevale di Venezia inspired narratives. Also, yes, the cards are gilded and stunning with reversible card back designs.

Vinitski is an artist and illustrator from Moscow who now lives and works in Switzerland. You’ve got to check out his portfolio of art, which you can find here. Before we talk about the deck, let’s talk about the artist. How people take photographs, I think, reveals a lot about them. There’s a sharpness to Vinitski’s photography that suggests a fine-tuned understanding of human psychology, which you see underscored in his paintings as well. Vinitski’s paintings (from his portfolio; we’ll talk about the artist’s point of view for the Venetian Tarot a little later) bear a strong interest in the human figure, depicting human emotion and interactions with a Post-Impressionist aesthetic.

That keen understanding of people and human predilections sets a fascinating stage for the creation of the Venetian Tarot, where the focal point is on Venetian masks, or the masks we wear as devices to conceal our identity, our social status, and to maintain our anonymity when we act in defiance to our normal characters.

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