Secret Santa Deck Interview! – The Visconti-Sforza Tarot

Received a gift from my tarot Secret Santa today – just in time for Christmas! I don't know her username on here but Mathilde, if you're reading this, thank you!

Deck: Visconti-Sforza TarotArtist: Attributed to Bonifacio Bembo c. 1463, commissioned by Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan.

This deck has fascinated me for a long time for a number of reasons: its historical significance as one of – if not the – oldest tarot decks; its origins in the late medieval period (I am obsessed with the Middle Ages); and as an objet d'art commissioned by the Visconti family (the director Luchino Visconti, one of my favorites, is a descendent).

Hard to tell from the photo, but the cards are embossed with beautiful gold foil. They look like miniature illuminations from a medieval manuscript. Aesthetically and culturally speaking, this deck is very much in my wheelhouse.

Here's my deck interview spread, something I've never done before. There's a link to the spread and my photo below for reference, alongside my interpretation. Whether the three swords are because of my anxiety or poor shuffling skills is to be determined – I get the 9 of Swords often, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was the former.

Deck Interview Spread from Anima in Bloom:

  1. Personality of this Deck: Knight of Swords. Youthful energy, courageous, with a fierce temperament. Quick to act, sharp-witted, but possibly given to impulse. Hints at possible inconsistency, or perhaps an outsized reaction on my part to future interpretations.
  2. Strengths: 9 of Swords. Huh? My read on this was that the 9 of Swords indicates that a difficult situation is interior, not exterior: all in the mind, not manifested outside the self. Maybe the strength here will be a renewed ability to separate manufactured problems from genuine concerns?
  3. How to Collaborate with this Deck: 6 of Swords. Transitioning, moving on, or an unexpected adventure awaits. At first, I was concerned that this augured a "transition" away from my day-to-day deck, but I was able to assuage my anxieties by remembering that different decks have different images and only enrich one's understanding and interpretation skills.
  4. Limitations of this Deck: 3 of Swords. Again with the swords, and all in multiples of three. Seems significant. Grief and heartbreak don't necessarily inspire optimism – will I be heartbroken by these limitations? Or is this an opportunity to embrace and understand what upsets me so as to better understand (see also: 9 of Swords above)?
  5. Primary Elemental Power: King of Coins. Signifies practical knowledge, a clear head where earthly and material matters are concerned. Recalls a prosperous patriarch, someone who exercises control without malice and doesn't suffer fools. After three swords in a row, indicating some mental or psychological difficulty, this primary elemental power strikes me as very grounded. Maybe this is the old Visconti energy?
  6. What This Deck Needs from Me: Page of Coins. Well, there you have it. Study, reflection, new and brilliant ideas that are still in development. I read the Page of Coins as a young and ambitious sort: first to clock into the office, last to clock out, probably studying for an exam at night. Very much a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" energy.

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Kerrie Mercel

Currently Kerrie Mercel, inspirational speaker, author & facilitator for the health and wellness industry. Kerrie enjoys working with professional business women helping them to find the power to live life on their terms.