Vice Versa Tarot
Vice Versa tarot boxed set, box, cards, full-color book
Vice Versa Tarot, by Massimiliano Filadoro and Lunaea Weatherstone, artwork by Davide Corsi Lo Scarabeo, 9780738754369, 78 cards, 160 pp, original release 2017, new edition 2019 The Vice Versa Tarot is a really neat deck, faithful to standard themes, but with so much additional detail to consider — on both sides of the cards! And there’s not a good side or a bad side, just another side. Lunaea Weatherstone explains the concept this way, “The Latin phrase vice versa means ‘the other way around,’ not better or worse. For example, many of the cards show a daytime and a nighttime view. The energies and metaphorical meanings of day and night differ, but one isn’t better than the other.”1 The companion book is full-colour and gives in-depth descriptions, insight, and interpretations for each of the two-sided cards. Each card’s pictures, discussion, and interpretations fall under the headings “this side” or “that side.” This includes the trump and the pip cards. The court cards are presented as “inner self” and “outer self,” and as I’ve always had a hard time relating to the royal characters of tarot, and this makes them a bit more accessible to me. The book also has a section in the beginning on symbolism, and an index of symbols used at the end. The cards themselves are 2-3/4” x 4-3/4”, are a little heavier than standard playing cards, easily shuffled and dealt, but not flimsy. And since there are no backs or fronts to keep track of, shuffling is even easier (and also kind of fun, to see how many times you can switch them up during the shuffle). The cards are without border on the top and sides; the bottom has a solid, pale-green band for the card’s identity. All cards are identified by Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, and/or symbols, with no additional text. I mentioned before that the book has two sections on symbolism. This is because much of the interpretation relies heavily on symbols. In additional to alchemical symbols, there are constellations, animals, flowers, foundation stones, and more to divine from. Many cards include an object from another card. For instance, the goblet-shaped stone fountain from the Ace of Chalices shows up in quite a few other cards. The imagery of the cards is marvellous, and the colours vibrant. Now, the characters seem to be mostly digitally-created. My first reaction to that is negative, because while the body always seems right for the character, the face and eyes are often without much depth or expression. That being said, it is artist Davide Corsi’s most-used medium, and he does a nice job adding some detail to the faces and providing the characters with lush settings from which to deliver their messages. Other examples of his work include Tarot of the Elves and the Ghost Tarot, among many others. To further explore this two-sided approach to the tarot, I’d like to describe two of my favourite cards. The Five of Pentacles depicts a variation on the familiar theme: a needy and lame man, sitting beneath a stained-glass church window in the snow, his clothing insufficient, his feet wrapped in rags. The other side of the card offers collateral perspective on this theme. Inside the church sits a man, his wealth demonstrated by his clean, embellished, and heavy clothing, his lamp providing warmth and even the window’s colourful glow. Yet, he sits with his head in his hands, in obvious despair. Both of these men have been brought low by circumstances; neither is worthy of praise nor discrimination, and neither receiving much-needed help that a church might promise. I have a personal attachment to the Six of Swords. This card usually depicts a cloaked and hooded woman leaving her past behind and heading towards a new life. I have been this woman many times, and have felt like hiding and running far away. But I’ve also seen in it a possible reference to Mary Magdalene, which feels very hopeful and redemptive. In this deck, the reverse side of the card not only shows that the woman is holding a golden chalice, but also shows the boat emerging from a rocky cave onto the open water, and the hood she wears is pulled high enough on her head that she can see and is looking ahead, not hiding her face in shame or fear. I find this exciting and empowering. The Vice Versa Tarot set is a great combination. While the book is full of insight, these cards can also tell their own stories quite well. In using them regularly over the last couple of months, I have seen improvement and built confidence in my intuitive reading. I feel certain they would be great for beginner and seasoned tarot readers alike.
  1. p. 6 []