Sternenmadchen's Wahrsagespiel Tarot by
Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser and Peter Geitner
Review by Diane Wilkes
This rare Majors-only deck is one of my favorite art decks ever. The pop-art style and vivid colors remind me of Peter Max, whose scarves I wore proudly at the age of 13 (and still own). There's a rock and roll sensibility to this deck, which fits, because it was conceived of by a German record producer. Though it came out in 1975, it conjures images of the more wild and experimental '60's music scene.
Because each image is so striking, choosing cards to scan was a real challenge with this deck. Some cards are rather abstract. The Death (Nullpunkt, which translates to zero-point) card is particularly stark, with quarter-suns bookending the top and bottom of the card, and the capitalized, bolded statement "Fang neu an!" emphasized front and center. The Moon (titled Traume, which means dream) shows a vast expanse of honeydew- and cantaloupe-colored sky dotted with tiny stars and moons.
The deck art is fanciful, but bold, and the colors are bright and riveting. There is a thrust toward modernity in this deck--you can see that not only in the art itself, but in the Chariot's transformation into a spaceship and the Hierophant figure standing at what looks like the internal controls of an intergalactic vehicle. This affection for technology does not make this deck cold or sterile, though; The Lovers card is unusually torrid and Strength/Lust is equally so. The Hanged Man card shows a merging of these two principles: on the bottom left of the card is a golden Egyptian idol, but on the top right, a gaily bedecked astronaut guides his colorful spacecraft towards the stars.
All the titles are in German. A few of them are easy enough to translate without the use of a dictionary (Don Juan for the Devil, Lust for Strength--which is numbered 11, Kosmische Energie for Temperance). Others required translation and/or are not traditional titles.
English Title German Title
Kurier (Messenger, Courier)
The Magician Magier
The High Priestess Hohepriesterin
The Empress Herrscherin (Female Monarch or Ruler)
The Emperor Herrscher (Monarch, Ruler)
The Hierophant Hohepriester
The Lovers Die Liebenden
The Chariot Raumschiff (Spaceship)
Justice Gerechtigkeit (Justice, Equity)
The Hermit Ideen (Ideas)
The Wheel of Fortune Gluck
Hanged Man Wandel
Temperance Kosmische Energie
The Devil Don Juan
The Tower Zukunft
The Star Sterne
The Moon Traume
The Sun Sonne
Judgement Neue Zeit
The World Freude
At the bottom of each card is a keyword or phrase, also in German.
The cards are approximately three by five inches, and bordered in steel grey. Card titles and keywords are ensconsed in steel grey semi-circles that are attached to the borders. The cards themselves are glossy and well-made (AG Muller is the publisher). Card backs are not reversible and show a sun bordered in stars with spiky rays that make a pattern with alternating, wider rays of blue and grey. At the center is a face--or is it faces--from a blue-tinted photograph (this is the only photographic artwork in the deck). The deck comes in a cardboard box with a clear plasti-coated lid. No little white book is provided, but there are two cards that accompany the cards. One touts four other tarot decks, the other merely acknowledges influences and welcomes the buyer with a note that begins, "Hello, cosmic friend" (in German, not English).
Sadly, potential cosmic friends are unlikely to be able to purchase this deck, which is out-of-print. If you are lucky enough to locate a copy of this deck, I'd recommend grabbing it at once, especially if you like beautifully executed pop-art and/or are a tarot collector.
Images © 1975 AG Muller
Review and page © 2002 Diane Wilkes