“The Castle of Crossed Destinies” by Italo Calvino

What’s up with Tarot cards?

Oh, a lot… because Tarot cards tell stories.

Now, I am not talking about gypsies or fortune-tellers. There’s nothing spiritual or esoteric in what I am saying here.

Take what they call the Major Arcana, with The Fool at the beginning of it all, the child who jumps off a cliff and leaps into the adventure.

Take the court cards, with the Page of Swords, who holds his sword with both hands, ready for the fight, ready to defend himself, but from what?

It doesn’t come as a surprise that an imaginative writer such as Italo Calvino has one day looked at a deck of Tarot Cards and written a psychedelic tale like “The Castle of Crossed Destinies”.

The idea is very simple, the result quite less so, but that falls to the cards.

In the story, the author wanders through the dark woods, until he arrives to a castle (or maybe a tavern that had started thinking very well of itself, because how could it be so easy to get into a castle that way?).

There are many people in the castle already and they all share the same surprise as they realise that as much as they attempt to talk, no word comes out of their mouths; they have all turned mute.

They are all so eager to tell their story, but how?

The host gives them a pack of Tarot cards, the same used to play cards, maybe to entertain them. However, they find another use for it.

Building a complex scheme on the table and drawing from their imagination and memories more than from the symbology hidden in the cards, each person standing around the table starts lay down lines of cards, crisscrossing each other’s tale, so letting their story unfold…


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