Eva is a new series of playing cards inspired by the story of the Four First Women. It was printed by USPCC and features an experimental letterpress tuck box, numbered custom seal (1-1999). The cards have metallic ink, the courts are women and the deck includes an extra joker. Meroni suggests these decks are for mature audiences as they include some nudity.
Each suit represents one of the first four women of different cultures. All the court cards are the same first woman, and Jack, Queen and King tell a chronological evolution of the character. The Aces are the last part of the story, the epilogue. The Jokers symbolise the relation between the first women and their men. There is also a tiny graphic on the card edges, different for every suit, that tells a little story.
Pandora, the Curious Betrayer (Spades)
You are my gift to mankind, and this box is my gift to you. Don’t open it for any reason, or you’ll condemn all of humanity.
Pandora was the first human woman, created by Hephaestus and Athena on the instruction of Zeus. She was a punishment to humanity for Prometheus’ theft of the secret of fire.
She’s the young “Gift of Zeus” when she is a Jack and she’ll become the “Traitor of Humanity” in her King form. The Queen form is the “Curious Betrayer”: Pandora, seduced by the Zeus’s Forbidden Box (or jar, pithos), decided to open it, condemning all humanity.
The Ace represents the open Forbidden Box, with the Ace itself being the Evil that Pandora unleashed. There was also Hope in the Forbidden Box, but Pandora closed the lid and trapped it inside. Why did Pandora decide to keep Hope inside the Box? There are many theories about this, but I’m reminded of the famous quote by Friedrich Nietzsche: “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of men.”
If you’re wondering why there is a Snake and an Apple, it’s because you could think of Pandora as a reflection of Eve – opening the Forbidden Box is like eating the Apple of Knowledge.
Lilith, the First Rebel (Diamonds)
I was created from the same dirt as the first man. He wanted to dominate me and we fought. I left him and Eden, and I found an Angel.
Lilith is, in some cultures, the real first woman. She was made from the same earth as Adam. The first man wanted to dominate her, so she grew wings and flew away from Eden. Then she coupled with a fallen angel.
The Diamonds court cards represent the evolution of Lilith from the first woman to the First Rebel. In the Jack of Diamonds, Lilith is just created: the “True First Woman”. She’s completely unaware about everything, and her only purpose is to be Adam’s wife.
Adam tries to enslave Lilith – represented in the “The Prisoner Queen”, the Queen of Diamonds. In this card, Lilith is in chains, angry, and she’s ready to fight back against Adam.
Lilith becomes the “First Rebel” on the King of Diamonds. She is full of anger towards Adam and men. She decides to leave him and Eden forever, with her love, Samael – an angel.
Pyrrha, the Mother of the World (Clubs)
Pyrrha was the daughter of Pandora. She’s not a first woman, since her mother was the first, but she and her husband, Deucalion, were the only survivors of the Great Flood sent by Zeus to end the Bronze Age. Prometheus warned Pyrrha about the deluge, telling Deucalion to build an Ark for himself and his wife, thus Prometheus saved mankind for the second time.
Pyrrha was the daughter of Pandora and Epimetheus, Prometheus’s brother. She is married to Deucalion, the son of Prometheus. In the Greek myth, it was Deucalion who was told about the great deluge by his father, but in Giovannie’s version, Prometheus (in his Snake form) is telling that to a young Pyrrha. The “Annunciation” is illustrated in the Jack of Clubs.
The Queen of Clubs is “The Queen of the Deluge”. Pyrrha is on the Ark, watching the endless rain sent by Zeus. Her hair is longer, and she grieves for the destiny of the world. She will became the “Mother of the World” years later, as shown in the King of Clubs:
Pyrrha grows older, she’s a mature woman now. The Deluge is over and she and Deucalion are the only survivors. They ask the Oracle of Themis how to repopulate the world, and they are told to “Throw the bones of the Mother over your shoulder.” At first Pyrrha is distraught at the idea of desecrating her mother’s honor by digging up her bones, but Deucalion correctly reasons that the “mother” is Gaia, the Earth, and the bones are rocks.
In the Ace of Clubs, she’s throwing rocks behind her. Both Pyrrha and Deucalion throw a stone over their shoulder – Pyrrha’s turning into a woman, Deucalion’s turning into a man. Once the land has been repopulated with humans, mother earth follows suit and begins to produce all other forms of life.
A little trivia – Pyrrha had three daughters from Deucalion. She called one “Pandora II”, after her mother.
Eva, the Lover (Hearts)
Eva (Eve) loves knowledge, freedom and life, and her partner Adam. She must taste the forbidden fruit, although the price she and humanity must pay will be high.
Eve is the main character – she shares a lot in common with the other women. She is curious like Pandora, rebellious like Lilith and motherly like Pyrrha. Giovanni decided to call her “The Lover” because he believes that she did what she did because she was in love – with Adam, with knowledge, but more than anything – with freedom.
Eve is “The First Lover” in her Jack of Hearts form. She has just been created from Adam’s rib, and she is frightened and unaware. Her purpose, like Lilith, is to be Adam’s wife – but this time things are different, since between Adam and Eve there is true love. Adam learns what it means to love and to treat his partner accordingly.
Eve grows to become beautiful and clever. Although she is happy in Eden’s “golden cage” she feels she is missing something – she is hungry for true knowledge. In her Queen form, Eve is “The Temptress”. Prometheus, in the form of a Snake, reveals to her that all Knowledge is hidden in the Apple. She persuades Adam to follow her – they know they will be punished but they decide to eat the Apple of Knowledge anyway.
After eating the Apple, Adam and Eve are banned from Eden forever. They lose their immortality and start to feel hunger and pain. But their eyes are finally opened. They become human. In her King form, Eve is mortal. She has become the “Queen of the World”, since she was the very first female on Earth. Despite humanity’s state of Original Sin, resulting from her rebellion in Eden, and the pain she suffered, she’s proud to be an aware human being.
The relation between Eve and the other first Women
Both Pandora and Eve did something forbidden, and by doing so they doomed all humanity. Both of them love Knowledge and are curious to know what the Supreme Powers wish to keep hidden.
Pyrrha and Eve populated the Earth once. Both are the mothers of humanity. Pyrrha used ‘Gaia’s Bones’ thrown behind her, Eve physically gave birth to the first men.
Eve chose to be at Adam’s side, but it is clear that she shares the same rebellious nature as Lilith.
Prometheus, the Snake
The Snake, Prometheus, represents the voice of freedom and rebellion as expressed by the first women and by humanity as a whole. He inspired Eve to eat the Apple of Knowledge, as well as convincing Pandora to open her Box. He told Pyrrha about the great deluge and he embraced Lilith when she flew away from the Garden of Eden. He’s both a positive and a negative figure.