Monthly Archives: May 2012

Review – Alchemy and the Tarot

Alchemy and the Tarot –
An Examination of the Historic Connection
with a Guide to The Alchemical Tarot

Author: Robert M. Place
Hermes Publications
ISBN #978-0-615-54342-0

This is a long awaited book for many of us in the Tarot field. Acting as an updated companion to all editions of the Alchemical Tarot, it also addresses the historic connection between Alchemy and the Tarot. As in all of his work, Place’s personal story is woven into the process. (I believe that for all of us, our personal story is the foundation for the work we do, and that it is what drives us, not the work itself.) Part of Place’s story is that he is an internationally recognized artist, author, and scholar of the western mystical tradition. His work includes the “Alchemical Tarot”, the “Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery”, the “Angels Tarot”, the “Tarot of the Saints”, the “Buddha Tarot”, and the “Vampire Tarot”, as well as “The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination”, “Astrology and Divination”, “Shamanism”, and “Magic and Alchemy”.

It is interesting to check out Place’s site ( – the name is not a fluke. Here is what he says:

“The “Ovum Philosophicum,” which can be translated as the Philosophical or Alchemical Egg, is the principal vessel used in alchemical operations. During the alchemical process, the material, Hermetically sealed in the Egg, is put through a symbolic death and rebirth. When the Egg was cracked, a new mystical substance emerged which was an elixir that prolonged life and acted as a catalyst capable of improving any substance that it came in contact with. This substance, called the Philosopher’s Stone, could change lead into gold and change an ordinary person into an enlightened master.”
A significant “Aha!” experience happened to Place in the summer os 1987 – as he was studying an illustration of the Philosopher’s Stone in an alchemical book that he was reading. He came to the realization that the symbolism of the design for the Philosopher’s Stone was entirely interchangeable with that of the World card in the Tarot. He came to realize that the Tarot Trumps represent the alchemical Great Work.”

In this book Place does indeed discuss the alchemical symbolism of each of the cards in the Alchemical Tarot. He prefaces this with investigation into the history of alchemy, and the history of the Tarot. We will need to look at both histories to see why there is a connection between the two, and how we can gain deeper insight into the Tarot’s mystical secrets.

In his introduction, Place describes a dream that he had, a dream with great portent. He was told that he was receiving an inheritance from an ancestor, and that it was a powerful tool that needed to be used wisely. That inheritance turned out to be a Tarot deck – the Tarot of Marseille, to be precise. This lead to his purchasing the Waite-Smith Tarot, a deck that one of his friends had shown to him. Place saw these decks in an interesting way – as tools for creating a message in pictures that could be interpreted as a dream – a waking dream. He quickly realized that he needed to gather all of the information that he could related to the themes he saw in the illustrations.

He approached Gnosticism, alchemy, Neoplatonism, and related subjects. In time, he heard a radio commentator discussing the Harmonic Conversion, and how during this period of spiritual transformation sensitive individuals all over the world would be experiencing a flood of information on spiritual subjects. He recognized himself, and what he was experiencing!

Place notes that the work he was doing was guided by spontaneous magical coincidences. It lead him to his writing partner (Rosemary Ellen Guiley), his first publisher (Harper Collins), and has kept his deck (the “Alchemcial Tarot”) in the public eye since its inception. He credits the Anima Mundi with his flow of success, as it is speaking through the cards, and not him.

Place is known for his ability to research, and this shows up well in his chapters on the history of alchemy and the history of Tarot. In the history of alchemy, he covers things like the same symbol meaning different things in different texts, alchemy’s Egyptian origins, the myth of Osiris, Greek alchemy. Hermes Trismegistus, the Seven Hermetic Concepts, the Emerald Tablet, Arabic alchemists, European alchemists, Renaissance alchemy, the Rosicrucians, Jung and Psychological alchemy, and much more. All of which is accompanied by beautiful illustrations from ancient texts.

In Chapter Two we move on to the basic concepts of alchemy, including the numerical symbolism, the ,the Zodiac, and an Alchemical Mandala. As with the previous chapter, beautiful illustrations from ancient text are included. These two chapters alone give the reader an amazing schooling in the alchemical world!

Chapter Three presents the history of Tarot, from it introduction into Europe, the suit symbols as they varied from country to country, the early Italian decks, the creation of the occult deck, the Waite-Smith deck,

Chapter Four covers interpreting the allegory – the memory arts, the Trionfi, the three-fold allegory of the trumps (the three by seven theory), and the alchemical trumps.

Chapter Five covers the Minor Arcana. Place brings up something very interesting – that there are three ways of interpreting the Minor Arcana: (1) the four suit symbols and their associations, (2) symbolism stemming from the teachings of Pythagoras that are associated with the first ten numbers, and (3) the code of chivalry expressed in the hierarchy of the royal cards. There is quite a bit of interesting thought in this chapter, including a graph that correlates the suits with Jung’s four functions of consciousness.

Chapter Six takes us into the Major Arcana, or the cards of the Opus. Each of the cards shows a black and white illustration, a relevant quote, and a discussion of the symbols of that card as rendered in the “Alchemical Tarot”.

Chapter Seven moves into the cards of the four elements (the four suits). Each of the cards again shows a black and white illustration, along with a discussion of the card, and the symbolism as seen in the “Alchemical Tarot”.

Chapter Eight takes us into the area of divination, broken down into three types: (1) intuitive (dreams and visions), (2) inductive (omens), and (3) interpretive (lots). Place uses three cards in each position, reading them as a statement, or story. He points to the three-fold structure as having archetypal significance – to the Pythagoreans, three defined the points necessary to make the first geometric form, and begin creation.

Place goes into depth on the seven patterns of a three card reading (linear, choice, meeting, central origin, central destination, central problem, and central teacher. He then presents a relationship reading, and a transmutation reading, using this method.

This is a working “bible” for the “Alchemical Tarot” decks, as well as a research quality book for both alchemy and the Tarot. The presentation of reading with three cards is a huge bonus, and not to be taken lightly! I highly recommend this book as an excellent addition to any Tarot (or esoteric) library.

© May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Review – Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

Author: Lisa Hunt
Artist: Lisa Hunt
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-57281-661-9

Lisa Hunt (“The Fairy Tale Tarot”, “Fantastical Creatures Tarot”, “Animals Divine Tarot”, “Shapeshifter Tarot”, “Celtic Dragon Tarot”, “Celestial Goddesses”), has another slam dunk with the “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot”! I have followed this deck since day one, and no one could have been happier when the lovely deck appeared on my doorstep!

This is a 79 card deck, with accompanying 61 page LWB (Little White Book). Excuse me … 79 card deck? Yes, 79 card deck. The additional card is meant to be a special bonus card for those questions that require deeper reflection. Lisa suggests that the reader allow the ghosts and spirits to talk to them, to help dissolve the barriers between conscious constraint and objective inner reflection. She goes on to say that ghosts and spirits are often messengers that are trying to tell us something, and that it is her hope that the “Ghosts and Spirits Tarot” provides a conduit for further communication and understanding. I love the extra card – very reminiscent of the Happy Squirrel in the “Touchstone Tarot” (Kat Black), and the Artist in the “Sakki Sakki Tarot” (Monica Cleo Sakki).

The deck follows a traditional structure, with Strength at VIII and Justice at XI. The Hierophant becomes the High Priest, and the Devil becomes Chains. The suits are entitled Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. The Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight, and Page.

In her introduction in the LWB, Lisa talks about growing up in a wooded New England town, where she played in the woods, never doubting that they contained supernatural energy. She saw faces in the trees, and “little people” in the garden. It is a blessing for all of us that she was allowed these beliefs, as many children are strongly encourage to “forget” this type of connection in their early years.

She notes that many types of ghosts appear in various guises throughout the world. Included in this deck are ghosts and spirits from legend and lore. They represent an array of ethereal beings found throughout the world. Some are friendly, some are terrifying … all are part of the anthropological landscape, reflecting a relevant aspect of our humanity.

The LWB presents the cards through text – no scans. Each card includes a description of the ghost or spirit represented, along with the divinatory meaning. From the book:

The Hermit (Dryads)

Dryads were ancient Greek nymphs that dwelled in forests and lived in trees. Although they were gentle woodland spirits, they were fierce guardians of the environment. The dryads are one with the trees and elements. They participate in the mysteries of the forest and feel connected to the organic matter that is swirling with magical energy. The spirits in the trees mingle with the dryads and exemplify the sacred nature of the isolated ofrest.

Divinatory Meaning: Seek out a sacred space to relieve the mind of external noise. It is important to unplug and release all the mental debris that may be rendering you fatigued and uninspired. Sometimes a time-out is just what you may need!

At the end of the LWB is a five card spread entitled “Realm of the Spirits” that Lisa developed specifically for this deck. This is followed by two lined pages meant for note taking.

The deck and LWB come in a standard sized box, with the image from the card of Justice on it. The front of the LWB carries the image from the Six of Cups. The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾” – a good size for small hands. The backs show a ¼” white border, followed by a thin b lack border. The background is predominately blue, with a swirling yellow circle of energy in the middle of it. Three white ghosts flow in the center of the swirling energy. The card backs are versible.

The card faces are a beautiful beige color, with a thin black border ¼” in from the deck sides. For the Major Arcana, the card number and title are printed in black across the bottom of the card. For the Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards), the number and suit, in text, rare printed in black across the bottom of the card. For the Court Cards, the title and suit name are printed in black across the bottom of the card.

The artwork immediately draws the reader in – it is the most extremely detailed, in depth fantasy work that I have ever seen. Anyone who has ever seen Lisa’s work knows what I am talking about. Her work is haunting, to say the least!

Let’s start out by talking about the bonus card. It shows the head of a figure that appears to be behind bars. Look closer … another face appears to the right of the central face (I didn’t even notice this at first!) More faces are below, and one gets the impression of water. Not a scary card, but a very deep one.

The Queen of Pentacles is Cailleach Bheur, a winter spirit in Scottish tradition that is capable of summoning destructive storms. With her staff, she beat down vegetation and suppressed the soil with an icy grip. Remember, however, that she was an important part of the seasonal cycles.

The Knight of Cups to me is simply haunting, as we see a male and a female figure, hands clasped, flowing towards each other. This Knight is an Undine … a changeling born from the sea as a water-sylph, raised by mortals, that grew into an ethereal beauty. Born without a soul, the only way she could obtain one was by marrying a mortal. This she does … but you will need to read the LWB yourself to see how this turns out!

The Ace of Pentacles is Rubezahl, a German forest spirit who loved to confuse travelers. I love the steps that wind from the bottom to the top of this card, representing ascension and unexpected opportunities.

The Moon is represented by Aeneus’ Journey to the Underground. A prophetic dream sends him to the underground in search of his father. There is good and bad on this journey. When Aeneus finds his dead father, he learns that he, Aeneus, is fated to be the founder of Rome. The underground passage in this card displays the faces of both tortured souls and enlightened beings.

Death is represented by the Grim Reaper, in dark cloak with scythe in one hand, and an orb in the other. The scythe symbolizes linear time, while the orb symbolizes sacred time. The setting indicates that the end is drawing near.

Strength is represented by Mummy/Ka. Ancient Egyptians believed that each individual is born with a spiritual double lived detached from their body, and served as their life force. The deceased would join Ka for eternity. Ka was an important energy, as it wandered in the night for a place to live and food to eat in the afterlife. If Ka were neglected, it would return to haunt the living. The swirling energy int his card shows the duality between the physical body and the eternal spirit.

The Six of Cups is represented by Revenants … restless ghosts who return to the land of the living to tie up lose ends. Some of them could assume mortal qualities, some could come back as ghost animals or apparitions. They seek assistance from among the living to complete their mission and find closure and a peaceful exit to the land of the dead.

The Knight of Wands is represented by Hiku, a Hawaiian hero/demigod that traveled to the land of the dead to bring back his wife, Kawela. When Hiku was traveling with his wife to the physical world, she attempted to escape by turning into a butterfly. Hiku recaptured her and took her to surface. When the butterfly united with the corpse, spirit and body merged, and Kawela returned to consciousness. The edge of the ocean surface represents restrictive thinking.

Note: The descriptions of the cards are directly from the LWB. Lisa is an excellent writer!

This is a very special deck, that could easily be used by anyone, from any background. It is perhaps best not used with children, due to the graphic nature of the cards. However, it may also be that children, who generally do not judge, would find it easier to accept the cards than some adults would. It works well as a reading deck on its own, and could easily be used in comparative reading, or for meditation, ritual or journeying purposes. I don’t think I have to say that I highly recommend this deck!

© May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Review – The Tarot Playbook

The Tarot Playbook –
78 novel ways to connect with your cards

Author: Lynda Cowles
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
ISBN #978-0-7643-3988-2

“The Tarot Playbook” is a 176 page book that focuses on getting to know your cards. Through a series of 78 activities the reader is encouraged to let go and allow their deck(s) to speak to them. Cowles blogs at Archer Tarot, runs an online Tarot store, and studies ways of using the Tarot in interesting ways (not just for readings). The tone of this book is that the reader should “play” with their decks, rather than working with them. As a Capricorn, this is hard for me to adjust to. I do, however, feel that it has its place in the Tarot world.

The presentation of this 6” by 9” book is definitely up to Schiffer’s standards – beautiful color, intriguing change of fonts (chapter titles/subtitles are in the whimsical fontdinerdotcom font, the main text is in Book Antigua) with color photo’s for each of the 78 cards. It is a very classy, beautiful book!

The book is broken into five parts:

Part One – First Contact: 24 Ways to get Acquainted With Your Cards
Part Two – Stepping Out: 14 Ways To Mingle With the Minors
Pat Three – Friends In High Places: 16 Ways to Click With the Court Cards
Part Four – Just My Archetype: 22 Ways to Make It With the Majors
Part Five – Forever Friends: 2 Small Ways to Show You Care

In each part the reader experiences a combination of games, activities, and what-if readings. In this manner the reader comes to understand the unique personality that their deck holds, and how they can best honor it and work with it. The writing is good, but the presentation is very tongue in cheek, light, and at times flippant. This may not work for everybody, but it doesn’t hurt to take a test drive. The book is set up so that the reader can turn to any chapter, any card, and simply dive in.

In her introduction, Cowles eschews the intensive study approach to working with a new deck. In its place, she recommends playing with your deck – taking it with you everywhere you go, set it on the sofa when you watch TV, sleep with it under your pillow. She goes on to say that journaling is not the thing to do, that it will get in the way, and suck the fun out of the learning process. To each his/her own. Some of us will choose to keep journals, and that is fine too,

The Fool gifts the reader with a deliberately silly ceremony to anchor open heart and a willingness to act like a fool. The Magician has the reader putting their deck down, then answering twenty questions about it. The High Priestess works with – excuse me, plays with – the concept of favorite and least favorite cards.

Taroga is an exercise that mixes Tarot and yoga. It somewhat resembles what a reader would do if they walked their client through taking the positions of the figure(s) featured in the cards that they were either attempting to understand, or attempting to draw energy from, with the exception that the poses int his case would resemble yoga poses.

The Tower has the reader doing Cryptarotography – creating a hieroglyph for each Tarot card – what Cowles terms the reader’s own “Rosetta Stone” for their deck.

The 10 of Wands deals with “wishful thinking”, the Ace of Cups deals with moods and feelings, the 4 of Cups with the hats that we all wear. The King of Pentacles has you buying your deck a gift.

At the end of the book are several different “Playlists” – Things To Do With Non-Scenic Pips, Things To Do In A Hurry, Things To Do With Friends, and Sensible Things To Do With Serious Decks. There is also a card index, where each card is listed by page and activity.

Everyone can find something to do in this book, whether as an individual or as a group activity. We can disagree with this and that, but there are also things that we can agree on. A good way to expand your Tarot vision.

© May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Tarot


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Review – HEXEN 2.0 (Book)


Author: Suzanne Treister
Artist: Suzanne Treister
Black Dog Publishing
ISBN #97-1-907317-63-7

HEXEN 2.0 is the sequel to HEXEN 2039, a project that Treister began in 1995. HEXEN2039 consists of drawings, interventions, a book, a film, a website (, and an event. A very spectacular event, actually. It took place in 2006 simultaneously at five London venues: Chelsea Space, the Science Museum, the Warburg Institute, the British Museum, the Goethe Institute and Ognisko Polskie. HEXEN2039 was also where Treister created a fictional alter ego, Rosalind Brodsky. Brodsky is a delusional time traveler, who thinks she is working at the Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality (IMATI) in the 21st century. IMATI is an independent research institute, based in South London, with both government and corporate clients. Brodsky is also in charge of a research program concerning military-occult technologies for psychological warfare.

As the backstory for HEXEN 2.0, it is important to know that HEXEN 2039 revealed links between things like conspiracy theories, occult groups, Chernobyl, witchcraft, the US film industry, British Intelligence agencies, Soviet brainwashing and more. The results of 2039 were utilized between 2040 and 2041, focused on the development of a range of non-lethal weapons for remote alteration of belief patterns in subjects. (Please remember, this is a fictional project.)

This review specifically concerns the 157 page HEXEN 2.0 book. Also included in the HEXEN 2.0 project are a Tarot deck (which is being reviewed separately), alchemical diagrams, photo-text works, a video, and a website ( The book is large (9” by 11”, with the smallest font size known to mankind! The same was the case with the HEXEN2039 book.)

The book begins with an essay by Lars Bang Larsen (writer and art historian at the University of Copenhagen) on the nature of Treister’s work. From the essay:

“Unsurprisingly, considering that she trafficks in unwritten genealogies, the title of Suzanne Treister’s HEXEN 2.0 hides contraband. Diverting the project’s signification from references to witchcraft, the Greek word Hexis means coherence or cohesion; not just understood as a structural unity, but the source of all qualities in a body. Thus Hexis is defined by producing tensional motion in a body or across several bodies. On one ancient account, “there is a tensional motion in bodies which moves simultaneously inwards and outwards.”[i] It is easy to picture Treister’s work and its straddling of disciplines, discourses and cultural hierarchies as a dynamic mover that produces continual and contrary motions in or across bodies: physical bodies, concept-bodies, the body politic”

Larsen also discusses the Macy Conferences, a series of meetings from scholars in diverse disciplines (cyberneticians and social scientists) that were held in New York from 1946 through 1953. (These conferences act as the lens through which Treister leads us on an investigation of the scientific underpinnings of bio-political governance, the government that rules with information and through life. Larsen also places emphasis that the Tarot is used as a structuring device that mirrors and performs procedures of mass intelligence gathering in the service of a new epistemology. He also notes that in the HEXEN 2.0 Tarot deck the original symbolic import of the Tarot is used as ciphers that vie for their meaning with the new content that Treister invested them with.

From MKULTRA via the Counterculture to Technogainism

The book is broken down into four main sections: historical diagrams, the Tarot, the Macy Conferences attendees, and literature. Historical Diagrams are a series of five diagrams that Brodsky developed in 2009 during a residency that function as the key to the project. They are an attempt to map out specific histories, and to show how the histories interrelate. These diagrams include “From ARPANET to DARWARS via the Internet”, “From National Socialism via Cybernetics and the Macy Conferences To Neo-Totalitarianism”, “The Computer – From the Antikithera Mechanism to Quantum Telepathy”, “From Diogenes of Sinope to Anarcho-Primitivism and the Unabomber via Science Fiction”, and “From MKULTRA via the Counterculture to Technogainism”.

The section on the Tarot shows full page, full color reproductions of each of the 78 Tarot cards. Following are the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, and their associations in this deck:

The Fool – Aldous Huxley
The Magician – Timothy Leary
The High Priestess – Macy Conferences
The Empress – Intelligence Agencies
The Emperor – Diogenes of Sinope
The Hierophant – Jim Channon
The Lovers – Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson
The Chariot – Norbert Wiener
Justice – One World Government
The Hermit – Theodore Kaczynski (Unabomber)
Wheel of Fortune – Cybernetics
Strength – Networked Revolution
The Hanged Man – Stewart Brand
Death – John von Neumann
Temperance – ARPANET
The Devil – The Control Society
The Tower – NSA TIA
The Star – Quantum Computing
The Moon – Transhumanism
The Sun – Anarcho-Primitivism
Judgement – Ethics
The World – WW1WW2WWW

Molly Harrower (Psychologist)

The section on the Macy Conferences is a series of short bios, with photographs, of the conference attendees. This included individuals such as Harold Abramson (Psychiatrist), Gregory Bateson (Anthropologist), Julian Bigelow (Computer Engineer), Gerhardt von Bonin (Neuroanatomist), Lawrence K. Frank (Social Scientist), Molly Harrower (Psychologist), Margaret Mead (Anthropologist), Walter Pitts (Mathematician and Logician), and Norbert Wiener (Mathematician).

The Doors of Perception –
Aldus Huxley, 1954

The section on Literature shows a series of photographs representing individual works of literature – with all of the images reversed. A partial listing of this section includes: The Human Use of Human Beings (Norbert Wiener, 1950), The Electric-Kool-Aid Acid Test (Tom Wolf, 1968), Inventing the Future at MIT (Stewart Brand, 1987), The Call of Cthulhu (H. P. Lovecraft, 1926), Walden: or Life in the Woods (Henry David Thoreau, 1854), and Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury, 1953).

HEXEN 2.0 uses post WWII U.S. governmental and military imperatives to chart the coming together of diverse scientific and social sciences through cybernetics, the history of the Internet, the rise of Web 2.0, and increased intelligence gathering. It shows the implications for the implementation in the future of new systems that willo manipulate society, moving it towards was Treister terms a “control society”.

We have heard rumblings of programs of mass control – Treister combines this thought with investigation into the parallel histories of counterculture and grass roots movements. As Larsen noted in his essay, the lens of perception for this book is the Macy Conferences (1946-1953). The primary goal of these conferences was to set down a foundation for a general science of the workings of the human mind. I loved reading about these conferences – something that I had never heard of before! While this book is an imaginal work, it is based on actual events and real people , looking simultaneously at diverse literary, philosophical, and political responses to advances in technology.

The HEXEN 2.0 Project was at the Science Museum in London from March 7th through May 1st 201; at WORK in London from the 16th of March through the 12th of May 2012; will be showing at the Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), Dortmund, Germany, from the 21st of April to the 22nd of July 2012; atD21 Kunstraum Leipzig, German the 11th of July through the 21st of Aug 2012; and at the P.P.O.W., New York, USA, January through February, 2013.

So, we have mass intelligence, the history of the Internet, occult influences, the counterculture … and a Tarot deck! Oh, yes, there is also a black and white video of a cybermetic séance! We are talking alternatives here, mind boggling alternatives! Through the lens of the Macy Conferences, we are getting a whole new look at life! It is worth the price of admission for that reason alone!

Yes, you have to pay attention to follow this project … but then it gets scary … it starts to make sense!

Book cover scan is mine, all other scans are from the HEXEN 2.0 website.

© May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Tarot


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Review – The HEXEN 2.0 Tarot

HEXEN 2.0 Tarot

Author: Suzanne Treister
Artist: Suzanne Treister
Black Dog Publishing
ISBN #078-1-907317-65-1

The HEXEN 2.0 Tarot is part of a project that began in 1995, when Treister created the fictional alter ego Rosalind Brodsky, a delusional time traveler that thought she was working for who thinks she is working at the Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality (IMATI) in the 21st century. IMATI is an independent research institute, based in South London, with both government and corporate clients. Brodsky is also in charge of a research program concerning military-occult technologies for psychological warfare. The story of this part of Treister’s project was told in HEXEN2039.

HEXEN 2.0 is the continuation of HEXEN2039, with the foundation being the Macy Conferences (1946-1953). The HEXEN 2.0 Tarot functions as a part of the HEXEN 2.0 project, reflecting through the framework of a traditional Tarot deck the inter-connected histories of the computer and the Internet, cybernetics and the counter-culture, science-fiction and scientific projections of the future, government and military research programs, social engineering and ideas of the control society, along with diverse philosophical, literary and political responses to the advance of technology.

Tarot reflects the journey of individuation that we all take to become a whole person. Through the framework of the archetypes we can look at the past, present, and possible future … in this deck specifically at how we can work as individual readers, or a group of readers working together, to use the cards to reconfigure history and map out hypothetical futures.

Traditional names are used for the Major arcana, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The suits are Wands, Chalices, Swords, and Pentacles. The Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight and Knave. There is no LWB (Little White Book) that accompanies the deck, nor is there any text that accompanies the full page illustration of each of the 78 cards in the HEXEN 2.0 book. Taking the card titles, we are left to use our own imagination as to meaning. There is some form of occult imagery on every card, mixed in with a plethora of other images. The images are non-traditional, and definitely “busy”, with, in most cases, the colors being fairly muted.

The cards are large – 3 ¾” by 5 7/8”. The backs are black, with a fine white border approximately ¼” in from the sides. In the center of the deck we see a mirror image of the explosion of data through what Treister terms the “Intercloud” – the backs are reversible.

The card faces show a ¼” white border, followed by a thin black border. For the Major Arcana, the card number, in Roman numerals, is at the top of the card, with the card title across the bottom. For the Minor Arcana, the Pips (numbered cards) show the card number and the suit name, in text, at the bottom of the card. For the Court Cards, the card title and suit are at the bottom of the card.

The imagery has a distinct esoteric content, with recurrent themes of the Tree of Life, the Third Eye, the Ouroborus, and Geometric forms, amongst others. What at first glance appears to be chaos within a card takes on more of the look of mind mapping upon closer inspection.

Following are the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, and their associations in this deck:

The Fool – Aldous Huxley
The Magician – Timothy Leary
The High Priestess – Macy Conferences
The Empress – Intelligence Agencies
The Emperor – Diogenes of Sinope
The Hierophant – Jim Channon
The Lovers – Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson
The Chariot – Norbert Wiener
Justice – One World Government
The Hermit – Theodore Kaczynski (Unabomber)
Wheel of Fortune – Cybernetics
Strength – Networked Revolution
The Hanged Man – Stewart Brand
Death – John von Neumann
Temperance – ARPANET
The Devil – The Control Society
The Tower – NSA TIA
The Star – Quantum Computing
The Moon – Transhumanism
The Sun – Anarcho-Primitivism
Judgement – Ethics
The World – WW1WW2WWW

Two cards in the deck draw attention in their simplicity – The World, which shows the initials WWI, WWII, and WWW lined up above each other – which is very telling! – and Judgement, which simply shows the word “ETHICS” in gray, against a yellow background.

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Several of the cards show documents, including Justice, which shows an extract from an article by Bertrand Russell in “The Scientific Outlook”, the High Priestess, which shows information on the Macy Conference, the Six of Chalices , which talks about Dream Sharing, and the Knight of Wands, which talks about the industrial society of the future.

The Ace of Chalices is represented by Henry David Thoreau, and shows his thoughts. The Two of Pentacles show the Intercloud, and the explosion of global data. The Five of Wands is represented by William Blake, and shows his thoughts as an artist and a writer.

The King of Swords is represented by Timothy Leary’s 8 Circuit Model. The Fool is represented by Aldous Huxley, and is perhaps one of the most chaotic cards in the deck. The Lovers is represented by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, and shows the Third Eye and the Ouroborus.

Treister presents this deck as a “new Tarot”, one that allows a reader, or a group of readers, to use the cards to reconfigure history and/or map out hypothetical future narratives. For me, this would be the only way that this deck could be used. It is not Tarot in the sense of use of traditional imagery, or continuity of images within a given suit. At best, it falls into the category of a thematic deck. The basic structure of the Tarot has been used to frame Treister’s work, and in that sense the presentation is good. However, the only “reading” that could be done with this deck lies solely in the area of the work that it represents. This deck is a representation of incredible insight, and this is the way in which it should be appreciated.

© May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Tarot


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Stephanie Arwen Lynch – Steampunk Elements Spread

Thank you to Stephanie Arwen Lynch for allowing me to share her entry into my Steampunk Tarot contest! Enjoy!

Steampunk Elements Spread

…………………Good Doctor
Steam power………………………………………….Air Pirates    Pilot

Note: This spread is meant to look like a spy glass. 🙂

Pilot: This card shows you your strongest leadership skills
Mechanic: This card shows you your strongest fixer skills
Good Doctor: This card shows you your strongest healing gift
Dirigible: This card shows you how you lift others up
Parasol: This card shows you how you shelter others
Clockworks: This card shows you how you work best with others
Monocle: This card shows you how you focus on yourself
Air Pirates: This card warns you who to avoid
Steam Power: This card shows you what moves you

(c) May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Tarot


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Mary Nale – Identify Blocks Using Birth Card Pairs Spread

I want to thank Mary Nale for this entry into my Steampunk Tarot contest – for her originality, and for using the dual Tarot Birth Card system as its basis! Also, many thnaks for allowing me to share this spread! Kudos!

Identify Blocks Using Birth Card Pairs Spread

Placing the Birth Card Pairs: Place one below the spread and one on top of the spread

Three Cards and what they indicate:

What is keeping me from moving forward? Card 1 in center

What can I do to move forward? Card 2 on left

What is the lesson here? Card 3 on right

This Spread will be especially awesome using the Steampunk Tarot!!!!!

Adding Birth Card Pairs to a simple three card reading can help you identify traits in the person you’re reading for and also it can shed light on issues that might otherwise remain hidden.
Some prefer to place the Birth Cards at the top or off to the side of the spread. I like the way this spread looks and feels when layed out this way. If you happen to know the person you’re reading for, you could place the positive Birth Card at the top and the negative/shadow aspects card at the bottom or dominant and non dominant…play with it! You won’t believe how much more you can get from reading three cards this way.
I’ve used the Tarot of Dreams Deck created by Ciro Marchetti to illustrate the spread with Major Arcana Cards.
And to make the cards look extra nice I used a screenshot from: Orphalese
Special thanks to Bonnie Cehovet for writing a wonderful book on Birth Cards!
Tarot, Birth Cards, and You: Keys to Empowering Yourself

(c) May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Tarot


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Dork Tarot – Entrepreneur Spread

This spread is from Dork Tarot (, and was entered into my contest for the Steampunk Tarot. This spread was designed specifically to determine the success of a new business. Many thanks tot hem for allowing me to share this spread with you. Enjoy!

The Entrepreneur Spread

1     2     3

4     5     6

7     8     9

1. The Idea

2. The Proposal

3. The Venture Capitol

The first row of cards are important for determining the early phases of the company, whether or not they will raise adequate funds, etc.

4. President/Ceo

5. CFO

6. CTO (Lead Architect)

The second row of cards are the Management cards, and they are for the business once it is off the ground. These cards determine how well the management team members work together. For example, a reversed card in the CFO position might indicate someone who isn’t an ideal choice.

7. Implementation

8. Marketing

9. Regulation

The third row, the Execution cards, are Implementation, Marketing and Regulation. Once the company has an actual product, these cards determine their success in the marketplace and whether there are any legal ramifications. For example, a five of wands in the Regulation position might indicate red tape or audits.

Addition note from Dork Tarot: Depending on the field of the business, the meaning of the cards could be flexed a little. A reader might prefer to use “Marketplace Competition” instead of say, Marketing. It’s tempting to add a Board of Directors or IPO to the mix, too, but for a new company those may not be important yet.

(c) May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Tarot


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Lisa Frideborg Lloyd – The Steampunk Future – Future Spread

This is Lisa Frideborg Lloyd’s entry into my Steampunk Tarot contest. It is a very ingenious spread, and I thank Lisa for sharing it with us. Enjoy!

The Steampunk Future-Future Spread:


1. Vision for the future. You need to set a specific time limit for this and it could be anything from a week to several years. Whatever you can imagine as a future goal and whatever time limit you would like to set for it is fine. This card represents your goal/vision.

2. Personality challenge. The card covering is something in your personality which is challenging your vision.

3. Karmic challenge. This card shows you a karmic challenge or something which happened in the past which could cause troubles.

4. Cosmic challenge. This card shows you the outer circumstances imposed by the Universe.

5-7. Steps on the way to achieving your goal/vision. If the final card is a poor match you can pull one or two cards extra as advice for how to rectify this.

(c) May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Tarot


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Teresa – Key Spread

I would like to thank Teresa Best for this incredible entry into my Steampunk Tarot contest. Kudos! This is being shared with Teresa’s permission. Enjoy!

Key Spread

For the Steampunk Tarot

1. Your KeyHow to unlock the issue.

2.Your Parasol – How to protect yourself from the negativity of the issue.

3. Your Corset – The heart of the matter; what is really causing the issue

4. Your Brass Goggles – How to see the issue with new clarity

5. Your Pocket watch – How to deal with the issue in a timely matter.

(c) May 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Tarot


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