I am a huge Grecophile, actually lived on Crete and I am an historian. So the fact that the Minoan Tarot grabbed my attention is quite logical. But I would do the artist a disservice if I left it at that. The Minoan Tarot, now up for pre-order, and hand drawn by Laura Perry is definitely something different despite already so many Ancient history (Greek or Egyptian) decks out there.
First of all, the Minoan culture has only been portrayed on a deck *once* before – that I know of. And that deck looks quite different, with another take on the suits and names of the Majors. The very colorful cards are inspired by frescoes, jewelry, pottery and carved seal stones created by the Minoans. And that is indeed visible, also in the style of the art.
This is not the definite version yet – something about the borders is going to change. My hope is Perry will keep the fitting colored ones, find a solution for the titles and skip the yellow in its entirety. But all in all you can definitely see how this deck might look once its done. Not everyone will think this art is appealing, but it isn’t a Minoan art-inspired deck for nothing of course.
The Minoan Tarot is a 86-card deck which according to the artist is easy to use for a novice. I actually think some of the changes in imagery and titles might confuse a complete newbie. Especially when using other decks later on. An intermediate student with some grasp of tarot would do better probably.
Renamed & semi-scenics
So what are these changes then? First up is the Major Arcana: 22 cards and in known order (no idea what 8/11 is though), but with other symbolism and a few different titles. Sacrifice for Hanged Man, The Minotaur instead of The Devil. Fate is Wheel of Fortune and The Magician is renamed as The High Priest. Some make a lot of sense, others I need to think about. The Minor Arcana are semi-scenics drawn from the iconography and culture of ancient Crete. Here the names are also different: Daggers, Rhytons, Labryses and Horns.
The biggest difference in the Minoan Tarot are the courts. I like that the artist chose to change these based on Minoan culture. Back then there was, culturally and spiritually, way more equality between the sexes. It seems the priesthood was even dominated by females (but well, they got a male king in return). If you look at the Waite-Smith or other classic decks men are not only in the majority, but also seen as the obvious rulers. The 15th century Cary-Yale Visconti Tarot inspired her to come up with a court system true to the Minoans: six court cards instead of four, creating set. Priestess and Priest, Lady and Lord, Maid and Youth.
There will also be a companion for this deck with a description and so-called elemental journey for spiritual work. I am looking forward to see if the completed deck will be a whole and working theme I do like most of what I am seeing now. When you look at the other ancient history decks, especially the Greek, Mythology is a huge focus. This one definitely stands out because of it and fits more in the Egyptian inspired decks I think. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, I leave up to you.
If you think The Minoan Tarot is a deck for you, you can pre-order it on Amazon.