Maria - 22 Madonnas of Montserrat - Major Arcana
A deeply personal deck initiated by a spiritual journey that the artist - co-founder of the Italian Tarot Museum - Morena Poltronieri made during the summer of 2013. The 22 ceramic tile images inspired by the 22 Major Arcana can be found in Montserrat, near Barcelona, Spain. They accompany the pilgrim on a path through the woods just below the Monastery which holds one of the most beautiful Black Madonnas in all of Europe. They are 22 ceramic artworks which celebrate Mary. Morena took 22 photos, printed and colored them by hand and then placed them within ceramic tile frames using a computer graphics program.
The deck comes nestled on soft, protective straw in a sturdy box with a magnet which fastens the overhanging lid securely to the bottom portion. The cover is stamped with the Tarot Museum's hot wax seal. The box contains the title card, signed & numbered by Morena Poltronieri, along with the extra large twenty-two Major Arcana trumps. The inspirational leaflet of the artist's mystical sojourn to the sacred site in Spain is in Italian or English. The descriptions Morena shares in the leaflet are sparse but meaningful to anyone who has ever embarked on a spiritual quest to find meaning in life and synchronicity. An example of the text is shared below while that VI card can also be seen on this page:
VI - LOVE In ancient times, Love was a blindfolded Cupid; the god born from Venus, the goddess of beauty. For the Romans, Love was a combination of attraction to an external shape or vision and deep reflection; from which choice was born. The way of love is not simple, because all it requires is itself. ‘Love and do what thou wilt' is a path that leads to freedom, which has nothing to do with libertinism. In the traditional card, two female figures, which represent Vice and Virtue, want to possess the central figure, and force him to choose. But the choice is contrary to authentic freedom; for if you are in resonance with what you are doing, it is not necessary to choose anything, nor required to exclude anything. It is possible to live fully which is true love. The two small children at Mary's feet do not push her to choose one over the other, because the heart has enough room for both and love cannot lead to exclusions. It is vast and it is everlasting.
Artist's Experience in Her Own Words...
A few years ago I went to Montserrat for the first time and was very impressed by the vision of Moreneta, the Black Madonna in the monastery; so stark and austere but also warm and benevolent. Her image touched my heart and from that moment I began a search of these Madonnas, who undoubtedly have a connection to the Great Mother. Her color 'nigro', (in Italian) evokes the Raw Material of the alchemists, from which the personal journey acquires its essence. The essence of all things. The first trip to Montserrat was also inspired by Raimon Panikkar, one of the greatest philosophers of the last century. He received his ordination (priestly vows) in Montserrat and spent the final years of his life not far from there, in Tavertet. Over time I had read his books and watched his documentaries. A new world had opened up within and beyond me. So I decided to meet him. After my sojourn to the Black Madonna I visited him without an appointment. I felt fortunate that he received me regardless of my not having an invitation. A strange thing happened, as soon as I entered. He asked if I knew of a Father Arrigo and then I could not believe my ears. Father Panikkar told me about this priest who lived in Italy a few kilometers from my home that I had not yet met. They had co-founded a magazine together called ‘Interculture’, with a staff in Canada. I had an unforgettable conversation with Panikkar, but afterwards wondered what meaning this meeting could have in the grand scheme of things. Three years passed and I finally met Father Arrigo and learned that the Canadian magazine had since closed down. To cut to the chase; Interculture magazine is now published by my publishing house ' Museodei '. This made me think a lot about the interconnectedness of all things. The purpose of that meeting was revealed only after time had passed. Not only that, but most likely another theme of my story was that I did not have to seek it out, but just to be open to receive the message. That's why I decided to come back to Montserrat on my last birthday, and return to the feminine principle which teaches the difficult path of being a vessel or ‘vase ' that is open to receiving. To give thanks for the great opportunity that I was given. Ultimately, for this reason I decided to dedicate 22 Major Arcana to Mary, the Black Madonna of Montserrat. These 22 cards represent my inner journey of how many times I had to obey, to accept, to subdue my ego, to defend, celebrate and enjoy life for what it has given me, for better or for worse. This work is dedicated to She; who lives inside me and in all creatures who love, despite the travails of life. I thought of Her as the mother who must lose her child; and not only that tragedy; but also the spiritual force that was expressed specifically through her experience. It is a journey in life where each stage represents a sort of 'passage of initiation' through which to deal with different themes, even the most challenging. The aim is to free ourselves from fear in order to love and be loved, because only in this way will we truly be free. And I believe that the voice and spirit of Mary is one of the freest of all...
- Number of Cards: 22 Major Arcana + Signed & Numbered Signature Card
- Cards numbered with Roman numerals, titles in Italian (many renamed)
- Mixed Medium: Photography, Computer Graphics & Pencil
- Leaflet: written by Morena Poltronieri (edited by Arnell Ando)
- Cards on matte cardstock
- Card Back Design: blank - reversible
- Extra Large Card Size: 9.25" H x 6.25" W (23.5 x 15.9 cm)
- Actual Image Size (within card border): 7.75"H x 5.25" W (19.7 x 13.3 cm)
- Limited to 50 numbered sets
- Secure Box with Magnetic Closure
Photo Collages from Spiritual Journey to Black Madonna of Montserrat, Spain
- Museo dei Tarocchi - Hermatena
- On Museo dei Tarocchi Site, Here:
- Arnell's Tarot Museum mini site has write-ups w/pics of all their published decks here: 
- See a description of this deck with more cards here: 
- Specs with 10 images of Maria - 22 Madonnas of Montserrat: