The Tarot of the New Vision by Pietro Alligo provides a look at what is going on in front of or behind the scenes from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot. It is as if the deck has been rotated 180°, providing a new point of view from which to see the action. For some of the cards, the view isn’t exactly 180° from what we are used to, mainly in the court cards, but even some of the court cards do present us with views like the back of a throne. Albeit, the thrones and other potentially uninteresting views reveal interesting details. (See the King of Pentacles below for an example. The deck on the left is Tarot of the New Vision and the deck on the right is The Universal Waite.)
In most cases, the original symbolism of the card is maintained and amplified. For example, in Judgement we are presented with much the same card as in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, but we are able to clearly see the bliss on the faces of the figures, further reinforcing the uplifting message of this card. There are cases, though, where the new point of view and the additional symbols and figures just serve to cause confusion. A good example of this is the two prisoners walking behind the Chariot or the odd contraption in Temperance.
It is clear that some decisions had to be made as to which shade of the card meaning to depict. In the case of the Magician, we are presented quite clearly with the Trickster persona (complete with a monkey helper), rather then the idea of a an adept. In the Five of Pentacles, a card I have always taken to mean that help and shelter is nearby even if one isn’t willing to seek it out, we see that the people inside the church/building are just as poorly off as the people outside.
Overall, the Tarot of the New Vision provides more dimension to the Rider-Waite-Smith cards. I think that it would be interesting and helpful to do readings in which the spread was laid out with a RWS deck, and the corresponding New Vision cards laid along side.
In terms of the physical characteristics of the deck, the New Vision is printed on the standard Lo Scarabeo card stock. The artwork is some of the best I have seen on a Lo Scarbeo deck in the past several years. It is neither too comic-bookish, nor is it the overly loose style that some of their decks exhibit. It is interesting to note that although Pietro Alligo worked on Lo Scarbeo’s Universal Tarot, the artwork in this deck is very different. It is much more of a match for U.S. Game System’s Universal Waite, terms of both symbolism and art style.
While I did enjoy looking at this deck, and I do certainly appreciate finding new ways to look at the standard RWS Tarot cards, this is not a deck that I have decided to keep in my collection. Some readers may get a great deal of use out of it, especially when trying to understand cards that they have difficulty with. For me though, I would rather puzzle things out on my own. It is an interesting deck, though. But if you either are wedded deeply to the standard RWS symbolism, or have moved beyond into RWS-influenced decks, it is probably a deck you can skip.
Summary of Features
# of Cards: 78
Reversible Backs: Yes
Symbol Inspiration: RWS (Rider-Waite-Smith)
Suits: Wands – fire, Swords – air, Chalices – water, Pentacles – earth
Size: approx. 12 cm x 6.5 cm (approx. 4.7″ x 2.6″)
Rating: 3.5 – An inspired look at what is going on behind the scenes of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.