Who was Cagliostro and why does this deck carry his name?
Alessandro Cagliostro, born in 1743 as Giuseppe Balsamo in Palermo (Sicily) was an adventurer much involved with the occult as it was practiced in the second half of the 18th century. Ultimately it cost him his life. He was sentenced to death in Rome in 1791 because he tried to establish a masonic lodge in the same city. The death sentence was changed by the pope into a life sentence and he finally died in the fortress of San Leo in 1795.
As to why his name is associated to these cards in not entirely clear, but the fact that the Italian artist Bruno Sigon was much inspired by Papus and Etteilla explains a lot.
Alan’s Tarot Cards were published by Edizione Modiano, Trieste (Italy) in 1981. This edition to be distributed by U.S. Games Systems, Stamford, USA.
Why the deck is named after Alan, a pseudonym for Mauro Boldi, an astrologer and card reader from Milan is not entirely clear. It may be that he is or was (also unclear) a TV and radio personality during the days of the early eighties of the twentieth century. In any case, he probably compiled the accompanying booklet to the cards designed by Argio Orell (1884-1942), an Italian artist also from Trieste (Italy). The booklet offers fair descriptions of the cards as well as several inspiring spreads like for instance ‘The Snake Spread’.
Click below for previous posts: