An Interview with Ciro Marchetti - Part Two

T.C.  There seems to be some familiar faces in the Gilded deck, would you care to share who some of the famous likenesses are?

C.M.  Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but there aren’t any.  If there is a perceived similarity to someone famous and I’ve read on various forums that there are,  it’s truly coincidental.  Depending on your point of view, the Fool has been quoted by many as looking like George W. Bush.  Ironically I’ve received a tremendous amount of kudos for how clever that was.  However I can’t claim to have been so clever as it was not intentional. Serendipitous possibly, even appropriate depending on your political views, but not deliberate or clever.  I’ve also read that the Queen of Wands is Elizabeth Taylor. But these associations are really only in the eye of the beholder.

T.C.  You’ve said that the Legacy of the Divine Tarot will be your last deck, what other Tarot related projects are you working on?

C.M.  Yes, the Legacy of the Divine is my last "deck".  But I am actually working on several tarot "related" projects.  The most elaborate of which is the Legacy of the Divine website.  I was also very close to having an iPhone application ready, but some issues cropped up which unfortunately will postpone that for the time being.  

I am working with a colleague in London who is a very good programmer and also a Tarot Reader, so he is knowledgeable from both perspectives.  We are planning on create interactive online puzzles.  For example a three dimensional magic box, where you have to click on certain areas that will reveal secret doors and compartments, where you will have to answer questions and watch videos to open yet more secret compartments.  It will get deeper and more mysterious as you go.  Just a little entertainment for the future.


T.C.  This sounds similar to the video game Myst?

C.M.  I am familiar with that game and have played it.  Although I must admit I never solved it. It was too complex for my poor little brain.  My puzzles will not be that intense, and will be themed and geared to Tarot. 


T.C.  Out of all three decks, the GildedTarot of Dreams  and the Legacy of the Divine, which particular image is your favorite and why?

C.M.  Not one in particular, I have four favorites.  One would be Faith from the Tarot of Dreams.  That was the one that I took the risk of changing the name completely, from the Hierophant to Faith, and the symbolism from the traditional Christian Pope to encompass a wider religious theme.  I was expecting some sort of negative reaction to that, but it seems to have been well received.  In fact, when I used to participate in local art festivals throughout the state and I produced prints of my work, I also produced that card as a much larger print and it proved to be my best selling piece.  That goes to show that the theme behind it has some sort of universal appeal, not just to the Tarot community. 

Another personal favorite is the Ace of Swords from the Tarot of Dreams.  Just feels like a powerful image.  Several people have asked me for reference prints of this image, to be made into tattoos on various parts of their anatomy.  I don’t ask where exactly they intended to place them :-)  I do know that there is more than one Miami motorbike cop using it, which I thought was pretty cool.

The next one that I am personally pleased with is the 3 of Swords from the Legacy of the Divine.  I really wanted to get away from that clichéd pierced heart of the Rider-Waite which I felt really wasn’t emotive enough anymore to project that particular message.  I hope that I have captured more of that emotion in my version.

For a very personal reason, the 9 of Coins (from the Legacy of the Divine) is another favorite because that is my daughter in the scene.


T.C.  Why did you opt to self-publish the Tarot of Dreams?

C.M.  That is a very delicate question actually, but I will answer it.  I self-published because I didn’t have much choice, it was rejected by the publisher when I sent the imagery and I explained the proposal behind it, namely it being accompanied by an interactive CD.  They were not interested in that "package." 

You have to understand that the Tarot market is not dictated by the likes of me or the publishers for that matter, but the likes of Barnes & Noble and the major retail options. They dictate the market price of what a Tarot deck is "worth."   The production costs that would have been necessary to produce the Tarot of Dreams as I envisioned it, was simply not compatible to that final retail price.   The publisher in this particular case was not comfortable with taking that sort of a risk.  While they would have been happy to accept just the deck, they didn’t want the CD.  I was not prepared to do one without the other.  I had to compromise or self-publish, I chose the latter despite a significant financial up front risk.

Interestingly, when it finally sold out and became out of print, I considered that to be end the of story.  However I began to constantly receive emails from those who were unaware that it had gone out of print or that had not been able afford it while it was available or for whatever reason had not obtained it in time.  Initially had been no plans to re-print, but as time went on, I continued to receive requests to do so.  In the end, I thought I would go ahead, and in fact a standard version of the Tarot of Dreams will be available towards the end of September.  In all fairness to the original concept of the Limited Edition and by default, it’s higher price and those who paid it, I ensured that the re-print will be a separate item. While the basic imagery is the same, it’s a different size,and there are additional cards. It will not include the interactive CD or be numbered and signed as were the original versions.  


T.C.  What was the inspiration for the transforming images with the Tarot of Dreams and the Legacy of the Divine, which has lead to an interactive CD, YouTube Videos and ultimately the interactive website?

C.M.  That all started with the Tarot of Dreams and the animated cards included on the interactive CD.  I am familiar with computers, to a degree.  I have also become increasingly familiar with Tarot.  It seemed to me that in the 600 years or so that Tarot has been around, the telling of its story has remained relatively unchanged. To be sure there are numerous variation on its imagery and themes but essentially the means of delivering the end result has been via imagery printed on cards. Different shapes and sizes certainly, but cards nevertheless, from wood cuts, engravings, litho, you name it. In that same historical time period, we have gone from horse drawn carriage to the walking on the moon. Form quill on parchment, to e-mail.

I felt the time had come to use the today’s medium as an opportunity for telling the Tarot story in a different way.  By introducing animation or a sequence, the message of each card could be more compellingly told. That was the objective.  The new website is an extension of that, but far more complex and elaborate. 


T.C.  Where did your “story” for the historical origin of the Tarot come from?

C.M.  From my head!  Seriously, the more I read about Tarot, to educate myself and to do as much justice to the various texts I was producing, the more research I had to do.  I could not live in some kind of naïve limbo.  But while learning more I also became increasingly confused.  I concluded I could spend the rest of my life trying to bring myself up to scratch on all the various issues related to Tarot and its history, and still be sadly lacking compared to the more academic members of the tarot community.  To be quite frank, I couldn't justify that. I wanted to get on and produce another deck a not invest years in order to better prepare myself to do so.  Not only that, I found that the more I read, the more confused I became. 

There were so many contradictory arguments, rationale, theories and hypothesis as to the origins of this that and the other. So many leading figures of the past who agreed and disagreed with their contemporaries and those who had preceded them. But all seemingly referring always to some ever more distant past as a reference for their arguments. For someone like me who questions even what he hears on today’s news, I found this all increasingly questionable. 

In fact, I became more cynical, asking why?  Who said that this symbol means this or that, in this context?  For example, who said that yellow, gold or blue should represent a specific element or suit? No matter how accurate the reference source or archives for these individual or cultural beliefs, at some point some"one" must have made those decisions. But what was their rationale?  Why were they right?  Were they right?  Lacking any conclusive evidence of definitive answers reasons or origins, I decided to come up with my own mythology for Tarot origins that would serve as a romantic, fictional, quasi-credible basis for it.


T.C.  Many people are asking if there will be a sequel to the “story?”

C.M.  A sequel means a follow up, a what happens next.  No, there isn’t.  In my little world, it happened quite recently and ended in the last chapter.  The opening of the Gateways isn't calculated to happen again in our lifetime.  The story ended where it did.

However I am drafting a tale of what happened in parallel. 

I am writing the accounts of what happens to six people, from the time of the original cataclysmic disaster through to the current era.  Six people who were intimately connected by the story, from their own periods in time.  One was a young girl who survived in a stone age environment that followed in the aftermath of the asteroid's destruction. Other characters play out in ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, and Victorian England. 

There are different cultures and stages throughout history.  All of whom, had two common denominators; they were people who had insight and psychic ability, and all of them also had passed through the Gateway. 


T.C.  When might we see this?

C.M.  I’ve drafted out the various chapters.  At some point, I may need some professional help.  There’s one thing to write a story of fifty pages, the other is writing a full novel.  It’s not going to be in the foreseeable future, I’d say at least two or three years.


T.C.  That definitely gives us something to look forward to!

C.M.  There are some intriguing thoughts, I’ll give you a hint.  One of the characters is from Renaissance Italy and he’s an artist.  He is an apprentice to one of the great renaissance artists in Florence. His duties involve drafting and sketching, and preparation of paint and canvas ready for his master to apply the final imagery.  He possesses, as do the other characters, “the gift.”  He also has the fortune to experience the Gateway. 

There he is shown the scientific applications of lenses, magnifying glasses, mirrors…etc.  So he puts two and two together, from what he has been shown and he now understands how these optical characteristics might be applied to his craft. By positioning the subject matter in a well illuminated area, the scene, when projected through a lens and reflected off a mirror, could in turn be projected onto a surface, i.e. a canvas, from where it could be accurately traced. 

This discovery did indeed happen. At around this point in history and over a very short period of a few years, the art from that time, suddenly became more realistic.  Up until that point, depicting the illusion of perspective had been rather crude, a kind of stylized two and a half dimension.  They had not quite yet figured out how to convincingly portray perspective and depth.  Then very quickly, perspective and "realism", reached a new level of accuracy. This was particularly noticeable in Dutch art of its day. That coincided with that country's new found sophistication and expertise in the manufacture of telescopes, lenses, and optics. So it wasn’t that a bunch of artists across Europe suddenly and in unison became extremely good!  It’s because they used the technology available to them to take their art to a new level. So I am weaving in scientific fact into my story.

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