“Imagine a well-shuffled Tarot deck formulating the blueprint for an eccentric village, every picture unfolding into a picturesque architecture, every background transforming into real ground, every portent a literal signpost. The idiosyncratic coastal village of Portmeirion, Wales is exactly such a place—a Tarot deck made manifest in mortar and gold leaf.” – From Trump L’oeil: Tarot of Portmeirion
A statue of St. Peter preaches from a balcony, while a fierce stone lion lies regally under a hedgerow canopy. Could these seemingly ordinary points of interest in the village of Portmeirion reflect the archetypal energies of The Hierophant and Strength?
Well, after author Craig Conley takes you on a sightseeing tour of 78 photographs taken around Portmeirion, you may just be convinced that this coastal Welsh village was designed around the Tarot!
Trump L’oeil, a play on the phrase trompe l’oeil (a painting technique used in photorealistic art to create a 3D illusion and pronounced trawmp loy), is an actual Tarot deck with cards measuring approximately 3 ½ x 2 ½ inches. Attractive, borderless, photos, this Majors only deck also comes with a satin blue pouch with drawstrings to hold the cards.
The glossy, full-color 57-page companion book is a literal tour guide to the Tarot of Portmeirion, where Conley provides descriptions of the 22 Major cards, as well as their place on the village map. Cleverly, he weaves traditional Tarot meanings in with the descriptions of each of the fascinating landmarks.
In addition to supplying lively descriptions of the sights of this Welsh village that unfolds as the Portmeirion Tarot, the author also includes 52 additional images that represent the Minor Arcana (although these aren’t reproduce as physical cards to go along with the deck). These, too, are correlated via graphics to their location in the village (without card-by-card interpretations, however).
Shells, vases and pots represent the Cups suit, while slate paving discs and other circular motifs symbolize Pentacles. Columns and wood posts correspond with Wands, as iron in various forms signifies the Swords suit.
In the companion book, the color photographs are actually a bit larger than the cards in the deck—approximately 4 x 3 inches.
The architecture and ornamentation of Portmeirion solidifies into a delightful three-dimensional Tarot, thanks to the quirky vision of Craig Conley. Collectors of Tarot decks rare or highly unusual will want to have Trump L’oeil: Tarot of Portmeirion among their collection, as would those who enjoy entertaining travel guides or individuals wanting to know more about Portmeirion.
As I read the companion book, admired the lovely photos, and worked with the cards, I wanted to visit this place some day!