The Minoan Tarot
Created by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Review by Charlotte Porter

In her exhaustively researched and beautifully drawn “Dark Goddess Tarot,” Ellen Lorenzi-Prince gave us a world tour, all the sights, all the colors of cultures both familiar and alien. Now, her travels almost done, she settles down for an extended stay on one small island. And it proves every bit as rich, captivating and enlightening a visit. Working with a limited palette, drawing from images created by others, Ellen’s “Minoan Tarot” recreates a time and place that flourished, and vanished, long before the Common Era.

Truth be told, I didn’t expect to like this deck. Coming so close on the heels of the “Dark Goddess Tarot,” I assumed it would be bit of an afterthought. When I saw the box, and realized the minors would not be pictorial, I figured I was right. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The nicely bound little book that accompanies this deck makes it clear that this was a true labor of love, and the minors are as well thought-out and intelligent as the majors.

Ellen has drawn her images from pottery, frescoes, talismans and sarcophagi from various periods of Minoan civilization. It was, she reminds us, the world’s first sea power, but not a warlike one. The breadth and depth of the culture were eye-opening to this reader, who remembers vividly the awe she felt at first seeing a picture of a bare-breasted Minoan goddess, snakes writhing in her hands, and then heard little more about Crete and its history, long overshadowed by the Greeks and the Romans.

With each card, Ellen cites her source material, informs the reader whether any changes were made to the image, imparts the card meaning and then poses three messages that will help shape the reader’s understanding of the card’s purpose in the whole. The majors are recognizably within the Rider-Waite-Smith universe, though each of course is shaped by Ellen’s special insight. I was most taken by the minors. Divided into the suits of Earth, Sea, Sky and Art, each bears a distinct image rather than a collection of uniform pips. These images, of animals, fish, birds and artisans, are some of the strongest in the deck. I was mesmerized by the depiction of the bull on Earth Ace and the dancing priestesses of Art Ten.

Ellen has gotten stronger and more sure of her voice with each successive deck. This one is well worth the investment.

Charlotte Porter, who considers herself a mediocre tarot reader, counts herself fortunate to have made some wonderful friends in this far-flung community.

Minoan Tarot is copyright protected. Card images may be used on blogs/websites as 'Card of the Day' endeavors or for review purposes but must contain the website along with Minoan Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. The images are not to form part of written teaching materials or otherwise be used without prior consent from the artist.  

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