Tag Archives: tarot cards

H.R. Giger Tarot

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews H.R. Giger Tarot [Amazon, Abebooks, Publisher, Local Library] by Akron (and H R Giger).

Akron H R Giger Tarot

Author Akron (pseudonym of C. F. Frey) is the occultist chiefly responsible for the H. R. Giger Tarot, according to the turn-of-the-millennium account he gives in this book. Giger had certainly been working with tarot themes and motifs on his own, but he produced the tarot-centric volume Baphomet (1992) in collaboration with Frey, as a “tarot cycle” to manifest the ambitions that Frey had nurtured separately for a “Shadow Tarot.” The trump images in Baphomet were largely drawn from Giger’s existing oeuvre.

When publisher Taschen was contemplating an abridged softcover reprint of the Baphomet material for a wider audience to accompany a popular printing of the tarot deck, Akron supplied this text that was superficially more in keeping with typical manuals of tarot. (He was already the author of a successful book on the Crowley tarot.) I do not have the deck, just the book. In particular, the book is limited to the trumps and does not show the small cards, if any exist.

The philosophical introduction and the preliminary chapters on the “spread systems” are applicable to any divinatory tarot, and they are thoughtful and innovative. I was especially intrigued by Akron’s use of fiction for allegories that he uses to structure the spreads. In one case, he draws on Gustav Myerink’s Angel of the West Window and in another he seems to be referencing the cometary apocalypse from Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven and Pournelle.

The bulk of the book consists of chapters for each of the trumps. These begin with two images in each case, the Giger tarot trump itself and an original sketch by Giger for each trump. Sometimes these are closely aligned, and sometimes they differ widely. All the art reproductions are in greyscale and black and white, which is largely sufficient for Giger’s minimally chromatic, gloomy palette.

Akron supplies a little cluster of psychoanalytic sermons for each trump, and these are divided into “The Card” and “The Interpretation” in each case. “The Card” discusses symbolism, and also helps the reader to parse some of the densely clustered imagery of the trump paintings. Despite the collaborative relationship of the writer and artist, it is not clear that Akron is always transmitting Giger’s compositional intent. In fact, it seems likely that there is creative misprision in play.

“The Interpretation” is addressed to the (tarot) reader/querent and is four-fold for each card, divided first by the querent’s sex (“Woman” followed by “Man”) and then by the orientation of the card in a spread–a “Reversed” section follows and complements each main interpretation. Each of the four sections consists of two paragraphs, the second of which is italicized. I was never able to figure out what was supposed to distinguish these two voices from one another.

The book ends with short biographical chronologies for the two Swiss creators Giger and Akron.

Ka Bala

Ka Bala: The Mysterious Game that Foretells the Future was produced by Transogram in 1967 and is an interesting hybrid balancing roulette talking board combining divination by letters, astrology and tarot that has a pretty fantastic kitschy design. It even glows in the dark.

samstoybox image of the Ka Bala board

samstoybox image of the Ka Bala box


There’s a bit of history about the Ka Bala at via the Museum of Talking Boards. An additional page has some captures from the comic that was used to advertize the device. You can even consult the Ka Bala via an interactive online version.

“If there was a contest for the weirdest talking board of all time, ka-bala the Mysterious Game that Foretells the Future, would win unequivocally. From the eerie green glow-in-the-dark board, to the smashed dragon impaled by the Eye of Zohar, ka-bala gives new meaning to the word “bizarre.” You and a partner are instructed to start the game with the chant: “PAX, SAX, SARAX, HOLA, NOA., NOSTRA.” From this point on, anything can happen as the two of you, with your hands on the “Solary Projectors,” roll a black marble around the channel that circles the board and wait for it to come to rest at one of the many symbols. Depending on the “Astral Plane” chosen, the future is revealed by letters and numbers like a talking board, or by Tarot cards placed in specially designed “wells,” or astrologically by the zodiac conveniently spelled out in bas-relief around the perimeter of the board. Care must be taken not to get too carried away as you play since the black marble has a tendency to leave the channel and fly across the room like a bullet. Did I mention that the Eye of Zohar follows your every move? The instruction sheet that comes with ka-bala is especially helpful. All the rules are presented in great detail along with the sage advice that the lights must be on in order to read the Tarot cards.” [via]

Dream Logic Tarot

You may be interested in the Dream Logic Tarot, a collaborative project by Jay Gidwitz and Anthony Teth. I reblogged a quote that was illustrated with the Dream Logic Tarot’s Lust – Strength card over at the Thelema and the Libri of Aleister Crowley blog, and thought you’d be interested in taking a gander at the actual ongoing project.


Gidwitz Teth Dream Logic Tarot The Four of Swords
The 4 of Swords from Dream Logic Tarot


“I’m working on all 78 images for a deck of tarot cards in collaboration with occultist Anthony Teth.
The final images will also be available as fine art prints.
The imagery from tarot provides a rich landscape of archetypes.
The meanings of the cards are derived from platonic ideals, that ultimately every person can relate what a given card “means” to various points in their life.
Conceptually the meanings of the cards are at the perfect level of both generality and specificity that give Anthony and I both creative freedom, as well as a strong framework within which to work.” [via]


Gidwitz Teth Dream Logic Tarot The Tower
The Tower from Dream Logic Tarot


“I have recently joined forces with the extremely talented artist, photographer and reality deviant Jay Gidwitz. Together we are currently embroiled in the creation of a fully functional deck of Tarot Cards, with each card being a digitally illustrated (and esoterically relevant) work of art. An instructional book is also in the works.” [via]


Update 16nov2020: Replaced previous images, per creator request, updated some links that rotted, and added these additional images below.


Gidwitz Teth Dream Logic Tarot Art Temperance
Art Temperance from Dream Logic Tarot


Gidwitz Teth Dream Logic Tarot The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man from Dream Logic Tarot


Gidwitz Teth Dream Logic Tarot The Chariot
The Chariot from Dream Logic Tarot


Gidwitz Teth Dream Logic Tarot The Sun
The Sun from Dream Logic Tarot