For the past two months I’ve been busy drawing a new set of Tarot designs. More about these later, but sporadic research has naturally led to me to look at a few earlier sets, although my Trumps have mostly been following Pamela Colman Smith’s illustrations for the Waite deck. Tarot designs have really proliferated in the past few years (Is there a Lego Tarot? Yes, of course there is), so much so that many previous designs which would once have been notable are now swamped by mediocre decks.
David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot first appeared in 1970 when the occult revival was getting into its stride. Palladini had contributed to the Linweave Tarot in 1967 along with three other artists, something you can read more about at the excellent Sweet Jane’s Pop Boutique. I’m sure I must have seen the Aquarian Tarot in the past but probably dismissed it for being too modish and not occult enough; for a long time Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck was the only one I’d look at. Palladini’s art is a lot more familiar now that his fabulous poster for Nosferatu the Vampyre looks down on me every day, and I’ve grown to enjoy his combination of Art Nouveau and Deco motifs so much that I wouldn’t mind a pack of these cards. The Aeclectic site reviews the deck, and has a few more examples of the designs. They also review the New Palladini Tarot which the artist produced in 1996. Given the choice I’d still go for the earlier set.