Ibis Tarot Review by C.J. Rose
by Josef Machynka
pub by AGMüller, Neuhausen, Switzerland, 1991
non-traditional card titles
eight: The Balance and the Sword; eleven: The Tamed Lion
suits are scepters, cups, swords and pentacles
courts are slave, warrior, mistress and master
no illustrated pips, no captions
purpose: Six of Swords
This LWB, translated into English by Mascha Rabben, says, The origin of the Tarot
cards remains obscure. Great occultists like H.P. Blavatsky trace them back to the
lost continent of Atlantis, from where they were supposedly transported to Egypt and
its early initiate priesthood. According to occult tradition, hugely oversized Tarot
images adorned the walls of some Egyptian temples. Anyone wanting to be initiated
into the Mysteries had to meditate upon these images for several days and nights
until the meaning of each symbol and picture became clear. These Tarot murals taught
anyone capable of decoding them about the mysteries of human and cosmic evolution.
Inside the Egyptian Hall of the 99 Names of God a part of the ancient Osiris
temple of Abydos countless so-called cartouches depicted variations of the same
basic Tarot images known to us today. This suggests that the number of cards was
considerably greater in ancient times, and that only later, in the course of
centuries, various cards were combined to make their meaning easier to absorb.
Archaeological findings lead many experts to believe that the Osiris Temple is now
buried under the waters of the Nile, beneath several layers of later temple walls.
Underwater explorations recently begun, will hopefully shed more light on the
mysterious customs of pre-dynastic Egypt.
According to Professor Giorgos Alvarado Planas, Director of the international
organization New Akropolis in Greece, The Ibis Tarot is not a new invention but the
result of redesigned and further developing the Tarot teachings found in a book first
published in 1901. It was titled Practical Astrology and written by Edgar de
Valcourt-Vermont, an author who used the pseudonym Comte C. de Saint-Germain (after
the 18th century mystic). An interesting fact is that this very same Tarot was
already in circulation before the end of the 19th century, used by an inner circle of
Theosophists during the lifetime of Madame Blavatsky.
Finally, Valcourt-Vermonts Tarot was published in 1980 in a new edition, this time
as an independent deck of cards without the book. The rather poor design of these
cards prevented their wider distribution, and so the profoundly meaningful symbolism
of this Tarot remained largely undiscovered.
The artist set out to work on Valcourt-Vermonts Tarot in conjunction with New
Akropolis. After completing his first Eclectic Tarot, Josef Machynka embarked on
the task of giving this tarot a more suitable and accessible design. Years of
research into ancient Egyptian culture and Tarot-related topics enabled Machynka to
finally come up with meaningful images deeply rooted in Egyptian symbology.
In most Golden Dawn based decks, the Ibis is at rest in the Star card, to illustrate
thought at rest in the meditative state. This Ibis is an Egyptian bird and familiar
of the god Thoth. Here he perches on the cube of The Magician. Key 2 is The Gate of
the Sanctuary; Key 3 is Isis-Urania; Key 4 is The Cubic Stone; Key 5 is The Master of
the Arcana; Key 6 is The Two Paths; Key 7 is The Chariot of Osiris; Key 8 is The
Balance and the Sword; Key 9 is The Veiled Lamp; Key 10 is The Sphinx, Key 11 is The
Tamed Lion; Key 12 is The Victim; Key 13 is The Reaping Skeleton; Key 14 is The Two
Urns; Key 15 is Typhon; Key 16 is The Thunderstruck Tower; Key 17 is The Star of the
Magicians; Key 18 is The Twilight; Key 19 is The Beaming Light; Key 20 is The
Resurrection from Death; Key 21 is The Crown of the Magicians; Key 22 is The
When shall we pick up this deck? The Six of Swords answers, When powerful forces
try to interfere with the pursuit of ones goals. When we wrestle with a great
temptation. When were beleaguered and unable to make a decision.
See more cards from the Ibis Tarot Deck
Available from US Games
Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax (203)353-8431
Review Copyright 1998 C.J. Rose
Images Copyright 1991 AGM AGMuller
- This page is Copyright © 1999 by Michele