Creating a deck based on a system that is mostly unknown outside of Germany and Austria and add animation? You could view it as a tricky move, but if you’ve already almost sold out your first print run and publishers want to mass market it (2016), maybe not so much. It seems like Kipper, Fin de Siecle, is another one of Ciro Marchetti’s successes – with most likely many following in his footsteps. So, should you try to get one and/or wait impatiently for the mass market edition?
Art and quality
Reviewing a Kipper deck if you’re not familiar with the system is tougher than it looks. So if you want to know how it compares to other Kipper decks or the system and in what kind of interesting ways it deviates from that…
sorry: this is not the place for you. the initial review was written from a newbie perspective, but below you’ll see a small addition.
I will be reviewing this deck as a beginner. And maybe that is a good starting point since, apparently, it is quite unknown to a very large part of the tarot community anyway.
Let’s start with what’s most obvious: the look & feel. It breathes quality. The printing is excellent, the card stock is good, the accompanying hand-sown bag with Kipper print and silver lining is beautiful (Maria Marchetti scores points here) and the cards shuffle excellently. There’s even a hand signed card present. I have become a fan of the art-work. They are very much Ciro Marchetti, but less ‘futuristic’ or otherworldly. All these cards look like they have a certain light coming out of them, the Victorian style adds to its beauty and it is very easy to take stock of what’s in them. I, however, have one tiny complaint. As with most cards that are printed on black or very dark card stock you get chipping pretty fast. With these cards I had not expected that so soon, but after two days of use I already see little white edges on the back. *enter pout*
The little white book is digitalized and gives some traditional, intricate -but very large! -spreads as an example, full color pictures of all the cards, combinations and meanings from some Kipper experts and Ciro himself. I’d advice to learn most meanings first before you go into those bigger spreads because it is a system where connections are truly important and you need to know how to work ‘the Kipper-way’. And if you don’t know the system the answers might not make a lot of sense. However the symbolism on most cards, the ones that have scenics for example, is quite clear and in some smaller test readings (5 cards or a little more) I only checked the booklet to be sure.
The pdf is password protected. The designer decided against a paper edition to not add to printing costs and obviously guarded himself against piracy. When you need to reference something you have to have your laptop or tablet present. If that really bugs you, Ciro Marchetti is offering (an excellent) service by sending you your personalized code if you ask for it. I might decide to and create a full-color LWB to keep all the illustrations as they were meant. Because ever since I got the deck I have been working with it non-stop. Tarot is taking a backseat for now…
VIDEO: Check out what this Kipper animation is all about
The booklet is not the only thing that’s digitalized with this deck. With Fin de Siecle Marchetti has taken a clear step into the 21st century where computerized visualization and additions have become so important. Now we get to have that in cartomancy as well. The deck comes with animations. And that’s not only easy as pie, but frankly… just awesome. You download an app (per the pdf’s instructions) on your smartphone or tablet, hold your phone over the card and within seconds you’ll be shown a little movie related to the card and with a meaning at the end. Sometimes it is a scene with a lot of movement and music, at other times persons speak to you.*
What I love about Kipper in general and Ciro’s deck specifically are the historical references. Kipper is drenched in German literature/history. The Fin de Siecle deck uses that treasure chest and adds to its array of meanings by using the Victorian period and Ciro Marchetti’s own life. For example High Honor shows the 25 gun salute that was so common in the British Empire. You can hear Dickension quotes echoing throughout Poverty or think about a Jane Austen novel with Courtship and Lovers. The house that is used in Change or the person in the Thought card both have a very interesting link to the artists past. So if you read the LWB well and research some of the history of the Victorian era (okay not everyone is jumping up and down in their seat now, but any history buff will) those cards will even get deeper meanings.
If you’re not into learning something new and want to be able to use them as ‘a general oracle’ I am not sure this is the deck for you. In order to be able to write this review I read up on the system and talked to some specialists. Kipper is Kipper. Not Oracle or Tarot. Combination, significators or even the distance between cards is important to interpret a spread. And those spreads aren’t usually small. If you know Lenormand you’re a step ahead. The rest of us…well, we have a new and exciting journey ahead of us. So, all in all Kipper: Fin de Siecle is a great addition to your collection. It’s beautifully printed, the artwork is great. It does ask for some studying, and the price is obviously a little higher because it is self-published, but in my opinion: the gorgeous deck is worth it!
|Update on this Kipper deck (January 2018):
When I wrote this initial review I was not really familiar with the Kipper system. Due to Fin de Siecle, I aimed to remedy that real quick. After a short search I ended up doing several courses with the World Lenormand/Kipper Association (now renamed: World Divination Association). The teacher, Toni Puhle, teaches Kipper according to traditional rules. She was trained by a Bavarian reader who in her turn was also trained by (a long line) of other Bavarians, all in the know. In the know of how Kipper should be read and was read since 1890. Since I’ve done those courses I look at Kipper Fin de Siecle in a different way. It is by far one of the better looking Kipper decks out there and it can be read in a traditional way but that will mean that you will have to reinvent the directional cues. Imagery is not only modernised and in many ways better when it is about what it conveys, but sadly some cards that need a diagonal have no visual directional cue, cards that normally see eye-to-eye or are connector cards aren’t in this deck et cetera. So, if you want a deck and not have the necessity of marking it or readjusting in (especially) a GT, Fin de Siecle is not for you. If you don’t mind reading it and reinterpret several of the images and missing some layers it is still a great, gorgeous deck to put on your wish list.
*At the time of writing this the Community card didn’t give its animation, but I’ve heard Ciro is working on it in the app.
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