The Favole Tarot
Reviewed by Magenta
Name of deck: Favole Tarot
Creator’s name: Victoria Francés
Brief biography of creator: Francés was born in Valencia in 1982 and studied Fine Arts at the Facultad de Bellas Artes de San Carlos. While there she worked as an illustrator for book covers and other pieces. Her own first illustrated book was titled Favole, a remembrance of Venice, Genoa and Verona. She is influenced by the pre-Raphaelites and Gothic Romanticism.
Favole in Spanish translates to ‘favours’ in English or ‘tales’ from Italian; in some ways I feel the translation from Italian fits this deck better.
I was given this deck as a present by my dear friend Ann. My immediate reaction was to the artwork; very dark and very Gothic yet beautiful. The deck is Tarot de Marseilles influenced in that it has images on the Major cards and just symbols on the Minors.
And my what images they are! The four suits are completely different to other decks as you have Masks, Flowers (which look like black roses), Butterflies and Crosses. The little white book that came with the deck is of no use whatsoever if you are not familiar with the Tarot as it gives meanings to the standard suits of Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Swords. Very confusing!
So which is which I wondered?
On closer inspection of the cards, I decided to go by what I felt about the four suits and not to try to correlate them with the standard RWS suits. For instance, what do Masks mean? They hide faces for a start, they cover up something, they give a false impression. Looking at the other suits, Flowers are gifts, beautiful, flowers of love, yet roses have thorns too. Butterflies flit from one flower to another, they morph from a chrysalis, they change in short life cycles. Crosses show faith, burdens, even ‘crosses’ to bear, yet something sturdy to cling to, like the big iron cross at the top of Mount Teide on Tenerife; you feel very grateful to hold onto that when you reach the top I can tell you!
For me it was also easier to correspond an elements to each suit; Masks are fire, Butterflies are air, Flowers are Water and Crosses are earth, which again give more qualities to each suit. My keywords for Butterflies are changes, movement, ideas, transience, communications, reason, thought, social interaction. I’m sure you may have other words that spring to mind here too.
I also use Numerology within the Tarot, so I then looked at the meanings of each number. (I won’t go too much into this but if anyone’s interested, I did do an article of Numerology a while back).
For example, 2 is the balance, the stalemate, the partnership and applied to each suit gives a general meaning for the cards. The 2 of Masks could indicate a hidden element with regard to a balance or partnership or alternative courses of action, and the 2 of Crosses could indicate having faith in a partnership, weighing up the practicalities or perhaps finding a stalemate hard to deal with. The meanings would of course depend on the question.
Even looking at the Majors, different keywords spring to mind. The Hanged Man shows a puppet lying on the floor with the remains of strings around her. The RWS Hanged Man is all about being in limbo or suspension and even being tied to the spot, but the Favole Hanged Man suggests that the strings attached have been cut to allow freedom or release or negatively, let down.
The Tower has several significant changes I feel, too. The image here is of a woman in white who looks as if she is escaping from an old tower in the background, yet her movement suggests an unhurried pace; that she is perhaps leaving the tower on her terms, not someone else’s.
Many of the Majors feature female images, although some are very androgynous. Even the male images are beautiful and have an ‘elf-ish’ look to them, except for the King of Flowers whose image reminds me of The Phantom of the Opera.
The final and very surprising difference in this deck, though, is the Knights suit. The Knights of Flowers, Crosses and Butterflies feature stone statues in various poses, yet the Knight of Masks shows a girl with a Mask on. These changes for me are significant and conjure up very different keywords to the RWS Knights.
The notes I made for each Knight are:
Knight of Crosses – faith challenged
Knight of Butterflies – release, escape, setting something free
Knight of Roses/Flowers – false love, unrequited love, love one sided
Knight of Masks – temptation, playfulness, something not as it seems
Overall, this is a beautiful deck, especially if you are drawn to the dark, Gothic images on them. Some reviews say they are depressing but I suppose it depends on your taste. I have read with these cards, although if I’m honest, it did take a bit of getting used to the suits to start with.
Do have a look at this deck, though; it may be your cup of tea or it may not! A Google search will bring up more information and various reviews and images too.
If you decide to add this deck to your collection, do ditch the little white book! The only interesting information I found in it was a section about the Celtic Cross, and a deeper way of using this spread.
A collector’s deck if nothing else, but a deck I will use again!
Images used with the permission of the publisher.