Mucha - 00 The Fool
Type of Spiritual Experience
Firstly, Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) did not design these cards. The Tarot Mucha pays homage to the Czech Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha, however, they are so lovely we have included them on the site. Artists Giulia Massaglia and Barbara Nosenzo took many of Mucha’s most well-known images and adjusted them to the Rider Waite Smith framework.
Mucha produced hundreds of his highly stylised, sensuous paintings during the course of his career so there was a treasure trove of images to use in creating the Tarot Mucha. Rather than simply renaming unmodified copies of Mucha's works, Massaglia and Nosenzo faithfully adapted the images. ‘Familiar here are the women from his multitude of collections - Moon and Stars, Seasons, Flowers, and many advertisements’.
Sarah Berhardt, whose commissions of theatre posters catapulted Mucha into artistic fame, appears as The Magician, and Mucha himself appears as the driver of The Chariot.
Tarot Mucha is a standard deck with roman-numeral’d Major Arcana cards and regular numbered, illustrated pip cards. Strength is VIII and Justice is XI, and the suits are Cups, Discs, Staves, and Swords. The court cards are Knave, Knight, Queen, and King. The cards have no words on them. The Tarot Mucha is a fully illustrated 78 card deck with 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana.
A characteristic of this deck is the prevalence of female images. For example, the Fool, the Magician, the Hermit and the Devil are all shown as female. This preponderance reflects the mysterious, Muse-like archetype that Mucha was fascinated by and depicted in so much of his work. The Minor Arcana leans more strongly on Rider-Waite imagery, but not to the extent that the deck looks inconsistent. The Mucha touch is particularly evident in the clothing and the drapery.
The pack is supposed to come with a guidebook. It begins with a few pages about Mucha and his time, then a short explanation of the Tarot structure. Every card, both Major and Minor Arcana, is given a paragraph of interpretation. The 128 page guidebook has instructions in six languages; English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Polish. Written by Lunaea Weatherstone this guidebook has a thorough description of each card that explains both the symbols, and the emotional and intellectual intent of the people depicted.
Lunaea Weatherstone’s contribution has been praised by a number of reviewers, for example one says
“it shows that a guidebook needn’t be wordy to be profound. For example, her take on the Temperance card (a woman pouring water from a glass jar into a larger earthenware pot): -Pouring water from a smaller vessel to a larger vessel is symbolic of the single soul being part of the Great Soul. When we are in divine connection with all that is, we are in balance in our individual selves as well. The maiden stands in the waters of life, which flow from a common source to all parts of the universe. You too stand in that living stream. You too pour the offering of your spirit into the greater vessel of humanity.”
A description of the experience