Maria Celia Tarot

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Nemia
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Maria Celia Tarot

Post by Nemia » 25 Sep 2017, 10:07

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Filipino artist Lynyrd-Jym Narciso is an interesting, talented and prolific creator of tarot and Lenormand decks. You can buy his decks through his Paraluman Studio or via Etsy. There is an app on the market (which I don't know). He was active on AT and it was a privilege to see his decks emerge. He's also a member here on ET as BlueToy.

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I want to review Narciso's Maria Celia deck, one of the most charming and vital modern interpretations of the Tarot de Marseille tradition.
The name Maria Celia is inspired by the word Marseille.

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After the meteoric rise of RWS-style tarot decks with narrative scenes on the minors, the TdM tradition was overshadowed for many years by tarot innovations, but in the last few years I observe a rising interest both in new editions of classical decks and artistic re-interpretations. There are good books that teach you how to read a card with card symbols (pips) and additions like flowers.

I can recommend Yoav Ben-Dov’s “Open Reading” which was written with his own deck in mind. His method works for every pip deck, and there are other popular books available. You may add your own favorite book about reading with the TdM in the comments!

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The artist works digitally, but his creations often remind me of wood cuts, which is of course very suitable for a new Tarot de Marseille. His lines are soft and vary in width (as though working with different carving knives), and the colouring is very soft and unusual. It reminds me works by artists like Max Ernst who didn’t apply colour directly to the intended surface but indirectly: first to another surface from where he transferred it by rubbing or pressing where he wanted it.

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Narciso’s colour choices are unusual and break the tradition of TdM colour scheme of white background, black lines and primary colour blocks. In the Maria Celia, the background is artificially aged to look like aged parchment or cardboard, and the colours are far removed from the clarity of primary colours. They are muted mixed hues: may green, purple, pink, orange, mustard etc. Some cards have lovely stars in the background (Hermit, Papesse).

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Each suit has its own subtly unique colour scheme, especially visible in the background. The majors have cloudy dark backgrounds; the Wands orange-reddish backgrounds; the Cups greenish-blue; the Swords purplish and the Pentacles yellow-greenish.

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I’m no TdM expert and probably can’t identify the inspiration for this deck precisely, but some majors remind me of the Tarot de Bologna (which has muted colours as well), and also of the gorgeous Jean Payen TdM.

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The facial expressions and body language, however, are Narciso’s very own. He doesn’t try to “clean up” the original faces like Yoav Ben Dov did, he treats them freely and they seem to like it. They are childlike, expressive, quirky and engaging. Look at that guy in the chariot. I swear he winks at me when I look at him sideways!

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This deck will soon be available in a mass market edition – in a tin! The tin looks unbelievably pretty, and so does the deck.

The one thing the old Gamecrafter edition has and the new one doesn’t is the Happy Squirrel.

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I love decks with Happy Squirrel cards, and probably no squirrel is cuter and smarter than this one. You can watch the scene from the Simpson’s on Youtube and have fun seeing the Happy Squirrel in action.



The cardbacks are lovely, the card stock is great (I have the old Gamecrafter version but can't imagine the new version will have worse cardstock), and the little copyright notice on the right doesn’t disturb me.

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The card titles are in French, and the only slight detail that mars the overall impression is the choice of characters. A typewriter font doesn’t fit here – well, you might say, it’s like the colour choice a way to alienate, to break the link to tradition. But I belong to a generation who wrote their papers on typewriters, and when I see a typewriter font, I associate it with the moment of pressure – from my fingers to the keys, from the type to the paper. It’s a tiny discord in the otherwise gentle and delicate esthetic of the deck. I’m sure many people never notice it or like the unobtrusive simple characters.

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I can recommend this deck wholeheartedly. If you want to ease your way into the TdM, you can start right here with the Maria Celia because it interacts nicely with the reader and invites interpretation.

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BlueToy
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by BlueToy » 26 Sep 2017, 09:07

Thanks for the review! I originally thought the dirty typewritten font would kind of add to that "bridging of then and now" feel I wanted for the deck, but, well, it didn't work out the way I wanted it to. The font of the USG edition, hopefully addresses this issue. I personally like how the new font has this understated slightly magical thing going. :D

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Nemia
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by Nemia » 26 Sep 2017, 10:01

Oh, wow, the new font is wonderful. But your Maria Celia is a wonderful achievement and I meant by no means to say anything against it! I'm sure many people understood your intention with the typewriter font better than I did. And the new font is perfect :-)

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CharlotteK
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by CharlotteK » 26 Sep 2017, 10:29

I had a typewriter as a child and to me it was a very magical process of punching out my thoughts, one letter at a time, then seeing them appear, crisp black ink typset on white paper, as if they has been torn fresh from a book. It was exhilarating - so much more exciting than scribbling them down in pencìl or with a leaky ballpoint pen. I like very much the way the letters are slightly offset the way they actually come out on a typewriter. I would still like to put things down on paper in this way, may be I should get on to ebay.

The new font is very beautiful though and works perfectly with the deck.

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Charlie Brown
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by Charlie Brown » 26 Sep 2017, 18:29

If you're going to buy a typewriter, be sure that it's a model you can get ribbons, etc. for.
Charlie Brown
—“I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.”

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BlueToy
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by BlueToy » 13 Jan 2018, 22:30

Just like to share that the USG edition of the deck is already up for preorder on Book Depository and Amazon, and will probably be up for preorder on the USG site in the next few weeks. :)

-Ly

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CharlotteK
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by CharlotteK » 14 Jan 2018, 10:51

BlueToy wrote:
13 Jan 2018, 22:30
Just like to share that the USG edition of the deck is already up for preorder on Book Depository and Amazon, and will probably be up for preorder on the USG site in the next few weeks. :)

-Ly
Wonderful news :)

ETA: I pre-ordered from Book Depository today. Exciting!

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BlueToy
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by BlueToy » 09 Feb 2018, 02:06

Just sharing that the deck is now also available for pre order via the USG site: https://www.usgamesinc.com/Tarot-de-Maria-Celia :)

-Ly

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Lux Lucis
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by Lux Lucis » 17 Feb 2018, 14:33

Now that is a lovely deck to behold. It's the first time i've seen this.

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Nemia
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Re: Maria Celia Tarot

Post by Nemia » 17 Feb 2018, 16:59

BlueToy/Ly Narciso is a wonderful artist who has created some great tarot decks. He is young, and I expect we'll see more of him. If you like the Maria Celia, have a look also at his other decks, incl Lenormands. Creative, unusual, warm, with a wonderful sense of humour, and very good reading decks.

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