Soprafino Tarot: From Fool to Cobbler

Sadly I am remembering only a few of all the hidden meanings/ allegories that go with the Soprafino deck My memories come from the stories of my mother, when we looked at the cards and she reminisced about the stories Grandma Elizza had told her about certain cards and from what her niece – my “Aunty” told me.
Please keep in mind, that this is/ was the going interpretation my Granand readers like her used in HER time and with Her background as a Manoushe Gypsy reader between ~ ~ 1893 and the time she was interred in concentration camp Bergen Belsen.
Here are a few examples:

Il Matto

Il Matto, the Fool

Il Matto has only one shoe. He is a tender foot, a newbee just starting out. His right foot may get hurt if he puts it forward, so he has to walk left foot first = intuition first. His shoe is red, because it is a new path he is on and he walks into the red dawn of morning.
Matto’s sack is on his back because he wants to make a million (Reichs)marks and will have a million experiences while trying.

His dog has a yellow collar because it is his job to warn him away from danger……..
With only one shoe Matto will have to go find the cobbler to gamble him out of a new pair of shoes for his journey. Right now he has no money and so has to resort to trickery – which made him a favourite among the Gypsy readers. He was pennyless and fancy free and so much like them. Recently I heard someone say, that he was also a Kalo = a black (haired) one = true Gupsy
But now, back to our deck:

Il Matto sets out to find the cobbler/ shoe maker. Instead of tricking the cobbler,out of new shoes,  he will apprentice with him and so learn to make the new shoes himself. = become sufficient and have a trade, with which he can make mark(s) = money anywhere on the road.
From then on it is “trick or trade” for him…….

So the next card of the deck shows us

Il Bagattel –and may be either Matto a little later in life, better dressed and with some wine – come into riches through his new trade – or his teacher of “tricks of the trade”, the cobbler himself. Was he / is he a former Fool?

The table he has there is not one of the “foldaway” tables vaudeville jugglers use, but is quite stable and permanent. There also is no “outdoorsy” background, suggesting that this takes place inside – but also, that, when learning a trade, background is not important, just your skill and the willingness to learn more.

IL  Bagattel


4 thoughts on “Soprafino Tarot: From Fool to Cobbler

  1. Welcome, Jim!
    You are officialy the very first subscriber of the new blog! 🙂
    It is not so much my take on the cards as my Grandmothers – or the way the gypsy people of her time used to read and interpret this card. Shame only, that I do only remember soooo little. There will be a few more posts about the Soprafino Tarot and them stuff about other decks. I however want the Soprafino posts to be all together – at least for now.
    I had previously posted these things on AT, but I have the feeling, there it will just get lost. So, with some luck people can find it when they dig around on the net…. and it will be there – forever… 😉

  2. Well, I have two copies of this deck I like it that much.. uhmm… they are reproductions of course. It must have been something to see your Grandmothers old deck when you were little & the fact that you have still got it … amazing/lucky/great… I couldn’t think of better words to describe such an heirloom.

  3. Well, Jim, sadly mine is a repro as well. The original one from my Gran burned with all her possession in WWII. Then she was stuck into a concentration camp, but survived; although lost her eye sight. I may tell about that a little later….
    Anyway, her sister’s daughter and the oldest daughter of her second son also were readers and they were not interred. My Aunty also had a Soprafino deck – one like Gran’s – oooold frayed and tattered, feeling soft, not like cardboard and it sadly had real cigarette and wine stains… She taught me with her deck when I was 8 years old. She read with her deck in the local watering hole and made good money.
    I sooooooo wish I still had my Gran’s original deck – or the one from Aunty…..
    Iffff that one still exists, it should be with the daughter of her son in the Camargue in France..

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