The Russian Victorian Romantic on Liberty fabric

I am constantly in love with this deck, sometimes more dizzily than at other times, but perpetually in love nonetheless. I already loved the English language version of the Victorian Romantic when I stumbled upon it one winter’s day in 2007. This was the deck that resuscitated my dormant love of tarot which had slumbered uninspired for twenty years or more. And only this deck had the magic, elegance, mystery and languid romanticism to captivate me and it has keep me captivated ever since. I also have the rare Gold version and (of course, still) my well-thumbed original. But with the Russian language edition (published in Finland by Pryahi in 2010), the deck was given a new lease of life for me as I loved not being able to understand the titles, not really registering the names. Or rather, when reading for others, there isn’t that annoyance of querents peering across the table, reading aloud “Death? the Devil? Isn’t that the Tower? Should I be worried?” In fact, one would be hard pressed in this deck to find the Devil at all unsettling. She bears jewels and flowers and has the widest, most welcoming of smiles. I feel that when I lay these cards out, I have the luxury of time on my side to fully digest what I see before me before reading, without the nagging anxiety of someone going into panic mode at my side.

So I feel that the Russian Victorian Romantic is my Victorian Romantic, with added indecipherable mystery. And it feels like a deck to be used for reading at a St Petersburg ball (in a rococo back room), for querents arriving by troika, circa 1900. And then this week, I came across some Liberty fabric handkerchiefs with Victorian prints which I thought would be perfect reading cloths, light delicate cotton but with beautiful prints. Fabrics which can be used to wrap the deck up and give added protection in its bag. Of course I cannot resist a quick draw…

(Left to right) Five of Wands, Hierophant (centre), The Fool. Spot on; holidays are over, colleagues back. The Five of Wands sees the familiar jostle for space with the office full, everybody back, the calm days of August recede and the time to grit teeth and get down to business has arrived. I don’t see hostility here, simply an increase in the number of people within a confined space, as these brigands fill the confines of the card and literally jostle. The Hierophant; back to school, back to lessons. The teacher drones on here, the boys dutifully listen. He is old, perhaps staid, doing what is expected of him. But it’s that time of year, the children are back and that is what anchors us as it anchors the spread, the onward cycle of seasons and learning, the young finding the old dull. The Fool is about to step off his plinth. This is me; excited and adventurous for this next phase in a new job. So much can happen, so much can stimulate. I am optimistic, but all is new in my new position. And – rather unnervingly – I feel there is an audience. People watching me as they do him, to see if I put a foot wrong.


About Le Fanu

Tarot collector in a far off land; loves ghost stories, magick, tarot, wistfulness, spookiness, Victorian spiritism, ectoplasm...
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4 Responses to The Russian Victorian Romantic on Liberty fabric

  1. I much prefer the Russian titles. I have the general and the Gold, even though I haven’t used either for many years. Don’t think I have ever done more than look through the Gold a couple of times. The fabric is lovely and such a great story through the three images.

  2. jema says:

    I need to make this my weekly deck soon. I had it a long time but didn’t use it much. Perhaps September should be my MRP month! I have all their decks except the flower oracle. Should I get the oracle?

  3. Sharyn/AJ says:

    It’s long gone, but I used an aqua Liberty fabric very like this for the bag/spread cloth for my Hanson-Roberts. The backs of that deck resemble this

    • Le Fanu says:

      AJ, I can see that now you mention it. But I felt that this cloth was so (late) Victorian it would pair nicely here. Would also work with the Rider Waite if you think about it I suppose. That Edwardian touch. Oh and the Lo Scarabeo Harmonious Tarot. I now have to pair up my other cotton cloths. the others are more Pre-Raphaelite. This one is a bit Edwardian/ art deco. Jema, I have the Granville Flower Oracle but so rarely use it. Even though – like all baba decks – it is gorgeous. Oh and Prince, you must give the VR Gold another go, it is just stunning, but I adore their decks so much, I have to get back ups to be able to use them as much as I want and – most unnerving of all – hand them over for others’ clumsy hands to shuffle!

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