The way this deck came into my life was rather strange. I put it off on my wishlist for years because it brought me a lot of memories I was heavily attached to. Wonderful times indeed, memories I'll never forget — until you realize that life snapped that cord in two and the psychic connection that was once there was unfortunately cut. However, the tender feeling of once more handling this deck after the time of absence has been very rewarding. Although it stands as a reminder of a dearly cherished friend in voluntary absence, it also has enough substance to stand on its own. It's a wonderful tarot deck, one I will read with often for clients. It speaks to me, I have really connected with it and I absolutely love it. Why should I not use it?

Various influences come into my mind when I look through these busy and heavily narrative cards. They tell stories of impossible lands, or lands of those evolved beings that dwell as or with aliens from our culture. It is more of an alternate world, I don't expect ever to see animals of the same magnitude in scale and intimidation as the Ace of Wands. It's huge! I love that mesmerized feeling that comes in waves every time a card is flipped over to reveal its message. Some of these scenes would be quite breathtaking to experience. Although it doesn't look like a real world to me, I don't doubt the magic that was purposely injected into it. This tarot deck was illustrated by Paolo Martinello from Bologna, Italy.

There are shamanic undertones living in this alternate reality, but it takes a little effort to tie in the absolutely surreal scenes with contemporary life. This deck is for people with a developed psychic sense of intuition and with a very vivid imagination. They need to make the scenes in this deck turn into stories that can be related to anyone. The scenes tell a story, no problem! — The details are in telling a story in which your client or sitter will understand why those elaborate monster beings are telling them the news they are receiving. There has to be a reason for everything, and if you have difficulty with getting grounded and mundane with such divine cards, then I don't think this tarot deck is for you.

The Universal Fantasy Tarot is loosely based on Rider-Waite Smith principles. The scenes aren't meant to be depicted as clones, which could be the aversion of many when it comes to tackling a deck like this. I like it because it is a reminder not to get too comfortable. If you want messages, you need to be willing to learn to understand the manner in which the cards are speaking to you. With every new deck, you need to take the time to understand the way in which it conveys its messages. Once you're a pro at this, you'll be able to read with anything that has a picture on it. I wouldn't recommend it for writers either, since it is so heavily grounded in the literary genre of fictional fantasy. It won't provide you with the right ideas outside of the world it is already immersed in. If you're writing about the woods and the magic contained therein, possibly. If not, try looking for a tarot deck that really incites your mind to explore.

The card stock from Lo Scarabeo is really great. These cards are slim, tall and will stand to years of repetitive use without a problem. My only qualms are with the white borders in the front; they would have looked much more attractive if they had kept the black borders from the back. The backs are another fancy treat, though! It is the Wheel of Fortune card mirrored twice out to create a window into a world that constantly warps itself inside out for you. I really like the fact they are fully reversible, even though a pointer to whether or not they are upright is usually quite helpful to me. The text is hard to read, but at least this keeps it unobtrusive. With such a elaborate images, you don't really want to be distracted with some clunky text. The cards honestly beg to be trimmed of their edges! If only they were a little bigger... all the details deserve more attention!

The Little White Booklet is surprisingly brief because it has to include other languages in it. While this broadens the scope of this tarot deck throughout the world, I wish they would have put a little more love into the booklet. The definitions are quite wonderful and serve as valuable nuggets of information to add to what you may already know about the tarot. I also thought it was all worded out rather poetically, so I will be adding those definitions to my grimoire for future reference. Should you be curious to hear the ones provided for some specific cards, please comment below.

The colors in this deck are delicious. They're vibrant but not overly dramatic. It really helps bring those detailed scenes to life.


What is your most important characteristic? Eight of Swords. The LWB says that to free ourselves of the difficulties that hold us in chains we must first understand what is important for us. This can be interpreted as the push to realize that we place ourselves in prisons of our own design. When we gather the strength to break free of those mental bonds, we learn that the nightmares attacking us can be faced once we are ready to deal with them only. If we are feeling stuck at the time this card surfaces, it is a queue to break free of those mental bonds and to take a risk with our mentality. After a few bumps and cuts, we may once more find ourselves in friendly terrain.

What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
The Hanged Man. In search of an ideal we can discover our best resources, as well as our worst. This card doesn't look too comfortable. He trusts that the bird will take him where he needs to go while he concentrates on the risk he is taking. This is a moment of what could be very dangerous, we force the time to look within for that guiding light we may have lost. It isn't comfortable and it probably takes a while to find what we look for, but therein is the challenge.

What are your limits?
Nine of Wands. Those who know how to harmonize strength and wisdom are able to keep their will under control and wait their turn. Once the plans are forged and you have your path set, you will find yourself going through many stages. This is the second to last stage you are at right now, and at this point what is left is to put effort into finishing. Once you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is time to let the cards go. Finish what you started with energy and enthusiasm, even if you need to take a quick break before doing it.

What are you here to teach me?
The Empress.
Our sentiments will take us to great heights if we are careful to keep our feet on the ground. The universe provides. With a card like this, support that nurtures our soul is what we can get. The energy feels female throughout, which is an interesting take. This Empress is not as approachable as the ones in other decks. It makes me wonder how different it would be if I was used to seeing headdresses that large.

How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Ten of Cups. The happiness that we experience in daily domestic is greater than that of the king who wins a war. There is a great feeling of emotional satisfaction coming from this card. Watch what the two people in the scene have built with their love for their craft. It isn't impossible to build up to a long-lasting relationship if you nurture something long enough. It looks like a wonderful card for collaboration.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Two of Cups. The most fertile marriages can arise from radical changes and sudden shocks. This is the joining of two different worlds as a question of perspective through the looking glass. It speaks of the joining of male and female energy in an alchemical sense. It looks like a nice relation between the material world I exist in and the fantasy world that resides within this tarot deck. Two of Cups is a positive relationship; one that is starting out but holds potential for the future.

Which card do you want to show off?
The Devil. Some things that we believe to be good are really the main chain that holds us enslaved. At times we must question the scale of values that others have decided for us. Naughty! The Universal Fantasy wants to show off the controversial card that lets us know we are neglecting our own liberation through the limitations that we sometimes impose over ourselves. Regardless, sometimes it's okay to celebrate in things that shouldn't be done or that are controversial.

How do you see me?
The World. Material wealth can never compensate for the lack of inner peace. The world will be ours if we are the masters of out own soul. Generous message! This woman is large in scale, you can see her clothed by the drapes of an oracle. There is a psychic sense of magic portrayed in this card that I really like. She smiles as she treads into the town. I rather doubt she can cross this city without being noticed. She doesn't seem to be preoccupied with it, though. From the little town I get the sence of community, which can include friends, supporters and clients.

How do you see yourself?
The Fool. At times, in order to understand things, we have to open our mind to dreams. Open to the next adventure. The Fool is resting his feet over the cliff with absolutely no concern. His little alien friend watches with caution, ready to take action if anything were to happen. The Fool doesn't know what to expect next, but he knows there will be adventure wherever it is he goes next. The journey is just now starting.

The Universal Fantasy doesn't scream, it whispers wisely. This is a deck for grounded dreamers. The kind that knows their mind has the blessing of tapping or tuning into other worlds that aren't present to our eyes, but can still hold true to the reality they live in. Paolo Martinello did a really wonderful job with these illustrations.

I still can't find my favorite reading cloth. It's such a shame, I wonder where I hid it!


  1. This is one of my favourite decks, I always find a good story with each card. Lo Scarabeo decks are delightful this way.

    I did one on my other blog you might find interesting:

    Such beautiful artwork in this deck, very inventive.

    1. Hi Woley,

      Interesting indeed! There are uncanny similarities in these cards.

      Thanks for sharing!