A Brazilian fan of the deck explains why it is his favorite to read
People from all sorts of backgrounds become involved with Tarot, and also have different reasons for choosing the deck they use.
For Leonardo Chioda, a Tarot card reader from Brazil, his interest goes back to his childhood. His grandmother Nair had an old friend, Yolanda, who read fortunes to her in their kitchen. “In my childhood, I was very curious about these colored papers with Kings, Hearts, the Devil,” he said.
“As a teenager, I crossed the Wiccan path until I discovered Tarot cards. It was like a flashback to Yolanda’s table and her mysterious words to my grandmother. I promised myself that I would understand them and use them well. Somehow, I wanted to master these images,” he said.
He started reading 15 years ago, and has a blog called Cafe Tarot in Portuguese. “The Tarot was always my great passion,” he said.
He has become a big fan of the decks made by Baba Studio, especially The Tarot of Prague. “I found out about the existence of The Tarot of Prague in 2005, when it was totally sold out. After many years of searching, I finally found it in the end of 2014 and since then I have been using it in my professional readings. As a tarot deck collector, I can assure this is one of the most beautiful ever made worldwide,” he said. (The third edition of the deck was released in 2015 and is available to buy in both standard and Limited Edition versions).
He also finds the imagery on the deck to be inspirational “It’s really impressive that a statue on Nerudova Street is on a card randomly selected by someone in São Paulo who wants to know about work or love. It’s magical. The Tarot of Prague is one of the most luxurious decks that have ever been created,” he said.
“As a result of intense historical and iconographic researching and frequent photographic tours by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, this deck is not only a tribute to the capital of the Czech Republic as well as a unique tool for oracular expression. It introduces us to the symbols of several centuries and dynasties of Bohemia, and brings intuition to me and inspiration to my querents. I’m completely in love with this deck. Since always,” he said.
As a collector, he has many decks and also likes some others made by Baba Studio. “I’m in love with The Victorian Romantic Tarot and The Bohemian Gothic Tarot. In my opinion, Baba Studio is the best Tarot publisher ever. And I use all the decks, even The Victorian Flower Oracle and The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot. All the Baba decks are based on the RWS system, which makes it a handy deck to any reader who is familiar with illustrated Minor Arcana,” he added, referring to the famous Rider-Waite-Smith deck that was fully illustrated with symbolic pictures.
Fortune-telling is very popular in Brazil. “There is a very strong line of prediction with cards. We have several studies and methods for reading the future, which keeps the Tarot next to Astrology in popularity. … Statistics show that Tarot is the most used tool for those who want to know what the course of life will be in the coming months and which actions should be taken.” he stated.
People most often want to know about love and money. “These two lines of questioning sustain the esoteric market. For me, even the classic questions as ‘Is he coming back to me?’ and ‘Will I make lots of money this year?’ should be answered with attention, respect and clarity,” he said.
Baba Studio was founded in 2002 by Russian/Irish husband and wife partnership Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony. The Tarot of Prague was their first deck, initially published in 2003, and they have reissued it with spectacular metallic ink overlays, plus some redesigned cards that reflect the studio’s growing image library. Baba Studio has also designed a range of other Tarot decks including The Alice Tarot, The Baroque Bohemian Cats’ Tarot and The Victorian Romantic Tarot (which has a new edition being released this spring).
Alex graduated as an illustrator and graphic designer from the Kharkov Academy in Ukraine. Karen did her post-graduate training at the Royal College of Art in London, specialising in interactive media and ran her own very successful design agency in London for many years.
The Prague studio began in a 15th century building in Mala Strana, surrounded by inspirational art and architecture. Baba Studio has now moved to Killarney, in Ireland, though it still has a small studio space in Prague.
The studio has also moved into distinctive textiles such as pouches for Tarot decks and wildly decorative accessories that often include esoteric motifs.
Alex and Karen also organize and accompany the Magic Prague tour, which takes people on a week-long tour of Prague and sites in Bohemia, such as the Bone Church in Kutná Hora. The next tour takes place April 18-25, 2018. You can find more details at this link.