alchem1.jpg (18285 bytes)The Alchemical Tarot
A Review by C.J. Rose

If you are interested in purchasing this deck, click here.

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Robert M. Place
pub Thorsons, imprint of Harper Collins, 1995
traditional card titles
eight: Justice; eleven: Strength
suits are staffs, vessels, swords and coins
courts are lady, knight, queen and king
illustrated pips, no captions
backs non-symmetrical
book forward by Rachel Pollack
purpose: Four of Wands

This elegant deck relates the beliefs and practices of Alchemy to the illustrated
book of human development, the steps we take from innocence to mysticism.  Unifying
the vast library of alchemy’s spiritual death and rebirth symbolism, Place’s subtle
and charming style relates this process to the steps we take along the Royal Road.
Both creators of The Alchemical Tarot say dreams launched their vision of the
deck/book project.  Place notes that, “Synchronicity underlies all of alchemy; it is
the place where the physical and psychic worlds connect.”  He goes on to say, “This
is known as ‘the greater conjunction, the hieros gamos,  or sacred marriage.”

Guiley’s words agree, “Dreamland is an interface.  It is the place where the mundane
world meets the Unus Mundus,  which is the undifferentiated Oneness of the space-time
continuum, the Monad, the cosmic consciousness – or God.  The interface is where the
Unus Mundus breaks through to our consciousness.”  Surely, this describes our holy
play with The Cards!

The Alchemical Tarot is attuned to The Great Work.  The rose is the essential symbol,
pink on the backs of these cards, to represent the perfect unity of all polarities.
Framed by a vesica piscis,  the quinta essentia  stands in the gateway to the
mysteries.  The black, white, citrine and red background depicts the alchemical
stages of initiation.  Coincidentally, the colors relate to the races of Egypt,
Greece, India and China, cradles of alchemy’s 2000 year history.  The blue of sea and
sky, above and below, enclose the sigil, as catalyst for our crossing the threshold
to higher realms.

When invited to name its own intention, my deck offered the Four of Staffs.  Making
Sense of Intuitive Knowing.  Makes sense to me.

If you are interested in purchasing this deck, click here.

Review Copyright (c) 1998 C.J. Rose Rosehips Productions

Images Copyright (c) 1995 Robert Place



Page Copyright 2000 by Diane Wilkes