Shakespeareland Tarot
Two Decks, Inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth
Created by Franco Coletti
Published by Museo dei Tarocchi, Autumn 2018
Decks Sold Separately or as a Deluxe, Double Deck Set in Wooden Box
Each Major Arcana Deck has Hand-Numbered Leaflet, Signed by Curator, Morena Poltronieri
Leaflet: English Version Edited by Arnell Ando
Card Titles: in Italian
Card Size: 4" W by 6" L (10 x 15 cm)
Printed on Softly Textured, Matte Cardstock
Backs: Has Non-Reversible Design
Box Style: 2-Piece Gift Box for Individual Decks, or Wooden Box for Special Ed
Cost for Individual Decks: €. 35. Euro Each (+ Italian P&H)
Price for Deluxe Set Including Both Decks in Wooden Box: €. 120. Euro (+ Italian P&H)
Deluxe Ed. Includes Large Illustration (Your Choice, Either Deck): 9.25 "H x 6.25" W (23.5 x 15.9 Cm)
Individual Decks: Limited to 200, Hand-numbered & Signed
Deluxe Version: Hand-numbered/Signed and Limited to Only 30 Sets
*Special Price for U.S. Customers Shared Below

Shakespeareland Tarot De Luxe: Both decks in wooden box I begin this write-up with the full disclosure that I’ve known the creator of these two impressive decks for years, having befriended Franco Coletti on our Tarot Art History Tours of Italy, hanging out with mutual friends Osvaldo Menegazzi and (publishers of these decks) Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli, of the Tarot Museum. Coletti is such a prolific writer and artist, having created several intriguing decks with both publishing houses (beautifully produced, limited printings), including a 78-card deck dedicated to Dante’s Divine Comedy, which went out of print almost immediately. This retired philosophy professor is warm, engaging and profusely productive, making seven decks (that I know of) for il Meneghello’s shop in a span of just three years, while also working with the Tarot Museum on many collaborations (including books on art, poetry, history and culture; all of which are alas, currently available in Italian only). Many of Coletti's decks are already sold out but please explore these webpages, if so inclined to get a better sense of the breath of his work:

Emi Tarot, 2011

The Divine Comedy’s Tarot (Dante) 2012,

The Black Tarot, 2011

A Great Love in 22 Major Arcana, 2011

The Tarot of Love; Sacred & Profane, 2011

New Tarot of Sacred and Profane Love, 2012

Tarot of Love, Sacred and Profane III, 2013

The two sister decks at the heart of this write-up were inspired by the Shakespearean classics Macbeth and Hamlet. They were derived from two books Franco Coletti had written, which were part of a trilogy dedicated to the Great Bard. In these books can be found illustrations for the 22 Major Arcana, along with a series of sketches. The books are also part of a series dedicated to a little girl called Emi, (daughter of Franco’s true love) who has inspired the imagination of Professor Coletti for years. She acts as muse and guide throughout his Shakespearean realms. These works faithfully represent the well-known tragedies by William Shakespeare, through the dreams and visions of little Emi (portrayed as an additional character in a few of the cards and referenced in the text). To actualize this impressive project, Franco tasked himself with the challenging goal of superimposing the qualities of the Shakespearean characters as well as main scenes from these two iconic plays, while making them identifiable to each Major Arcana card. Many of the images are recognizable but for those that need an added hint of inspiration, the leaflet is insightful.
For example, this passage in the Hamlet Deck: 14-temperance,Hamlet Tarot

(shown below)

Image: Hamlet kills Claudius before dying

Here Justice serves as ruthless revenge: we are in a barbarian age where many acts are primitive. Claudius pays with his life for all those lives that, due to him, were destroyed, beginning with his brother. Fratricide and usurpation of the crown are intertwined to represent the worst sin of all: betrayal. There is no forgiveness for this.

Or Franco's take on Temperance:

13-Death, Macbeth Tarot FOURTEEN
Image: Hamlet dies in the arms of his friend Horace

Here no water is poured from jugs, but instead the blood flows from infected wounds. Yet there is also the acquisition of peace, a serenity reached at the end. As the liquids are rebalanced in their vessels, so it is also in this case - after much trouble and anguish - an inner balance is found and at last everything can be forgotten and laid to rest. We cannot see the stars, but as Hamlet dies we know that he will reach them at last, finding again - who knows? - Perhaps his poor Ophelia. We can only wish it to be true.

Doth thou seek more reference? I bid you, from the deck Franco Coletti hath dedicated to Macbeth:

Image: the two assassins paid by Macbeth with weapons in hand

Death does not necessarily have a scythe in hand: it can, as in this case, wield sword and knife. But these eyes are nonetheless blind orbits without light. The two killers will be thorough: Banquo will not escape, nor Lady Macduff, or the child. Because Death is egalitarian, it makes no distinction between men, women and children. Death has its own high sense of duty.

And the impressive castle tower:

(shown below)

Image: Glamis stronghold erected against the stormy sky

In this case a Tower exists in the play as well as traditional Tarot, even if it does not get struck by lightning, it will still fall into ruin. Glamis is the fortress of Macbeth, and represents the dragon's den: the knight will have to destroy here in order to gain victory. How many Glamis have we erected in our lives? And how many will remain intact in the end? None, perhaps, because even the great Tower of Babel could not reach the sky.

Shakespeareland Tarot: Both decks offered separately Both decks are created with a deep, fertile comprehension of these beloved Shakespearean works. Much thought and detail went into their production, as well as the artistic rendering itself. The backs of the Macbeth deck (shown below) for instance, have an image of the three ‘wicked witchy’ sisters, transformed into hares. Professor Coletti shares these touching words in the leaflet:

Women, hares, animals, fairies. The distant past, in which there was no clear distinction between human beings and animals, returns again to suggest that nothing is as it appears. Because, although we have erected high walls between humans and nature, we will always return to earth. If we do not wish to vanish forever, like the dreams of glory of the Macbeths. In the deepest heart of the world, dancing in magical circles, calling on the moon, the sun and stars to guide us, chanting so as not to enter the darkness, we keep moving towards the light.

The price for either the Hamlet or Macbeth 22 Major Arcana deck: € 35 Euro (around $44 US, depending on Euro rate). Or there is the attractive deluxe edition, limited to only 30 hand-numbered sets, which has both decks nestled on a bed of straw in a sturdy wooden box, with a darkly stained, sliding lid. This special edition includes a large (9.25 "H x 6.25" W - 23.5 x 15.9 cm) signed print, on textured cardstock of one of the illustrations from either deck (make a special request by contacting the curator, Morena Poltronieri.) The deluxe edition costs € 120. Euro (about $140 ~ $145 US + P&H from Italy). The cards are the same size 4 x 6'' (10 x 15 cm) and quality as in the solo decks (matte, textured art stock). The leaflets are signed and numbered in the same manner (the deluxe set, is signed by the curator and hand-numbered and limited to 30 sets); while the individual decks are limited to 200 (hand-numbered/signed). A truly unique offering for serious collector fans of the immortal William Shakespeare.

Shakespeareland Tarot Card Examples

1st and 2nd Rows: Hamlet
Hamlet: 3-Empress (Queen Gertrude), 4-Emperor (Evil Claudius), 8-Justice (Hamlet killing Claudius)
2nd Row: 9-Hermit (Hamlet reflects), 18-Moon (Drowned Ophelia floats under the Moon), 19 Sun (Ofelia in flower garden with Emi)

3rd and 4th Rows: Macbeth
3rd Row: 1-Magician (Sorceresses), 11-Strength (Macbeth killing Duncan) and 14-Temperance (Lady Macbeth)
4th Row: 16-Tower (Macbeth's Fortress), 20-Judgment (Macbeth and Macduff faceoff), Back of Cards (The 3 Sorceresses transformed into hares)

Visit the Italian Tarot Museum Bookshop to order directly

U.S. Customers: When supplies run low on popular decks, an order is placed, so e-mail Arnell if you want certain merch.
(Apologies to other nationals, U.S. international postage is too expensive, best to order directly from Italy.)

Shakespeareland Tarot, Standard Size is Limited to 200 Signed & Numbered Sets
U.S. Customers Can Order from Arnell Ando at the
Special Price of $35. ea. + Priority Mail/Insured
Save on Buying Both Together and Combined Postage 

Currently in Stock

Individual Deck Prices

Deluxe Set Includes Both Decks in a Wooden Box - Currently Out of Stock in U.S.
Available directly from Museo dei Tarocchi.

Contact Morena Poltronieri of Museo dei Tarocchi with questions or special requests.

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