The Hermetic Tarotherm1.jpg (17987 bytes)                                                                                     Review by Michele Jackson
The Hermetic Tarot is rather small in size compared to most Tarot decks, but it is a giant in terms of its symbolism. The art is black and white line drawings which are similar in style to the plates found in older esoteric books. The artist based this deck on the Golden Dawn system, especially “Book T” a treatise by MacGregor Mathers, founder of the Golden Dawn. The art in this deck is excellent. Nearly every detail on each card has some significance; the facial expression, the direction a hand is pointing, the symbols and their placement are all important to understanding the interpretation of the card. The
name of the card is centered on the top of the card, with the Hebrew letter on the left and the Roman numeral on the right (Majors only). Both Majors and Minors have the Golden Dawn name across the bottom, i.e., “Lord of Established Strength” (3 of wands) or “Children of the Voice Divine” (The Lovers). The cards are lavishly illustrated .
The minors do not have scenes on them like most modern decks, but they are highly detailed
and are symbol rich as well. They remind one of the Minors in the Thoth deck in format,
but not art style. The Court Cards are especially well done. There are elemental and
astrological symbols on each card. One could spend a great deal of time identifying all of the symbolism each time you use it.
The booklet that accompanies the deck is one of the better ones I’ve seen from
U.S. Games. A short introduction to the Golden Dawn and the background of the deck is
provided, followed by a short explanation of the Qabalistic and Astrological
correspondences as described by the Golden Dawn. The symbolism of each card is
described as well as possible in the limited space available. This deck uses elemental
dignities, vice reversals . I would recommend one of the many books written for Golden
Dawn Decks, such as those by Wang as an aid to studying this deck in detail. I would also love
to see a separate book written for this deck by the artist, who evidently put much time and
thought into his renderings of the symbolism.
This deck is recommended for those interested in esoteric Tarot and is especially
recommended for those interested in the Golden Dawn. I only wish the cards were larger
and perhaps in color, though they are quite attractive in black and white. The monumental
task of adding color correspondences to this symbol filled deck may be too much to ask.
See more images from the Hermetic Tarot Deck
The Cosmic Tarot Deck
Publisher: US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford CT, 06902, (800) 544-2637
ISBN: 0-913866-92-X

This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson