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Bosch Tarot Cards – 23 Apr 2001

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Cards, 23 Apr 2001

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Product details

  • Cards
  • Publisher: Titles Distributed by Banyan Tree Book Distributor; Gmc Crds edition (23 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738700126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738700120
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 7.3 x 3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,027,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


These fantastic images, inspired by paintings of the Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch, describe a world which is not unreal even though it might seem so. They express the psyche's daily activity through the use of human, animal, and plant allegories. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Amazon.com: 12 reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
A Tarot of the Dark Side. 16 Oct. 2001
By doctordruidphd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
If you ever wondered what Darth Vader's tarot deck looks like, this is pretty close. Drawing upon the artwork of Hieronymous Bosch, a Flemish painter who lived from about 1450 - 1510, the Bosch Tarot from Lo Scarabeo, via Llewellyn, offers a glimpse into a truly nightmare world. Considering the time in which Bosch lived, the artwork is futuristic, rivaling the best modern horror and fantasy work, if not surpassing it. There is some nudity, although it is not erotic. Some of the cards are truly beautiful, while others will take your breath away for other reasons. Here are plant, animal and human chimeras in abundance, inhabiting a world that is both twisted, and at the same time too close to reality for comfort. The real horror is that this is a world that almost could be, a mixture of post-nuclear holocaust and demonic possession.
The cards themselves are standard, being 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana, with the usual suits and court cards. The artwork is brightly colored against a black border that makes them almost glow; as with all Lo Scarabeo decks, the quality of the cards themselves is high. Names for the major arcana are given in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian, with labels for the minor arcana indicating the rank of the court card and the name of the suit for the numbered cards. In many cases the artwork on the minor arcana cards is neither symbolic nor descriptive of the card's meaning, making many of the numbered cards little more than fancy pips. The little booklet that comes with the deck is a generic description of the Tarot and a list of standard meanings; it is not specific to this deck, giving nothing of its history or background. Perhaps that is, in this case, for the better.
In spite of the strangeness and frightfulness of many of its images, this deck has a place in the repertoire of serious Tarot students and readers. For those who interpret the Tarot in terms of psychology, here is every fear phantasm and paranoid complex that can be imagined, and then some. On a more spiritual level, the major arcana depict the same archetypes as the usual decks, only appearing in a strange and twisted world. A world, perhaps some might feel, that is really not all that different than the horrors of modern "civilization" depicted artistically. In terms of divination, as I said, this is a deck of what might happen and what the world could become, given certain trends in modern culture.
This is not a deck for the weak of heart or the weak of mind. Those who insist that the Oracle yield up sweetness and light at every turn should look elsewhere. It takes a certain amount of spiritual strength to confront the Dark Side, but those who fail to master the darkness -- metaphysically or psychologically -- will eventually find themselves mastered by it. One could think of this as a deck of the Otherworld, which Celtic lore teaches is not a world of punishment and suffering, but a world secrets, teachings and magic that is simply different from our own. In this context, it might well be the ideal deck for Samhain/Halloween readings. If you like art that shows how twisted the world might really be, and tarots that show how the future might turn out once the "blinken" are removed, you might enjoy -- in a fiendish sort of way -- this excellent and stunning set of images.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Not the art of H. Bosch 12 Nov. 2002
By "little_playa_goddess" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Cards
Bosch was one of my earliest artistic influences (by the age of four, courtesy of my mother's Art History Textbooks, I was obsessed with Bosch). I was very excited to find out that a Bosch Tarot had been published in Europe by a major Tarot distributer (I even tried unsuccessfully to bribe friends planning to visit Europe to bring a set back to me in the states, upon discovering that it was not yet being distributed to the US Market).
Then, the deck became available in the US, and I immediately purchased it, and much to my dismay, the artwork was wrong.
It's very close, granted, but the redrawings of Bosch's work in colored pencil are not as gratifying as "the real thing" -- the medium used simply lacks the energy of oil paints. There are a number of cards I would have done differently, for example, the "Strength" card.
To it's merit, the symbology is very rich -- I wanted a deck that is primarily psychological, and it serves the purpose very well. I just wish that the art was done better.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Art deck not for reading 24 Feb. 2007
By George Washington, Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
Bosch, of course, never designed a Tarot deck, nor, we may safely assume, did he produce his paintings with the intention that they would someday be adapted into a deck, even though he may have been familiar with the Tarot decks extant at the time. This deck is a modern adaptation of Bosch's artwork, manipulated into the Tarot format.

Its success depends on how you intend to use it. Many of the figures, especially the Minor Arcana, seem arbitrary - an odd, disturbing monster carrying the requisite number of pip objects. I don't believe that all decks must be versions of the Rider-Waite, but if another image is used on a card, it should carry the same level of mystery and evocative power. Those qualities are not present in many of the cards in this deck.

For someone like myself who collects Tarot decks primarily for their artwork, and also has a fondness for Bosch, this deck is a fresh and delightful exploration of that artist's work. I can't recommend using it for any other purpose.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Strange, but not excessively dark. 21 Jan. 2004
By Kriosa Lysia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Cards
I don't think this deck is quite as dark as one of the previous reviewers suggests. If you want something truly dark, try the H.R. Giger deck or (according to some) Crowley's Thoth Tarot. The former is truly and fascinatingly nightmarish but contains only the major arcana. The latter has very thought-provoking correspondences.

This deck is very strange, however, and not simply because of the bizarre pictures. The interpretations of some cards, especially in the minor arcana, are not the same as in other decks. If you are used to "standard" interpretations, you may find that this deck throws you for a loop at times. Personally, I've found it a useful deck for stimulating the imagination and more intuitive, symbolic processes.

I would give it 4 1/2 stars if I could, but I'm not quite ready to give it a 5 because, well, some figures in the minor arcana seem to be drawn just to be strange rather than to convey some form of actual symbolism. Maybe I'm wrong, though. See what you think.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Interesting deck for meditation 16 Dec. 2009
By Hayward H. Siegel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Cards Verified Purchase
This deck is not for card spread readings. However, meditation upon the cards is thought provoking and meaningful. At first glance, I would not have given the deck 5 stars, notwithstanding my delight with the illustrations on the cards, because I originally found it virtually impossible to understand how the illustrations on the cards relate to Tarot. This was based upon my knowledge of other Tarot decks. But, I did not give up! I kept on trying to understand this deck, and with the aid of the LWB included with the deck, I started, little by little, to understand how the illustrations relate to the meanings of Tarot cards. I must point out at this time, that most of the LWBs included in decks by Lo Scarabeo do not aid you that much in understanding the cards, but the one in this deck is different; if it were not for the LWB in this deck, I wouldn't have had any idea about how to interpret the cards. It was stated, that Bosch, whose artwork was the inspiration for this deck, lived in the 16th Century, when the imagination was shaped by stories about Heaven and Hell. I knew that during said century, the Church and the State influenced the thinking and actions of the population, through their written and unwritten rules. People had to worry about survival in this life, plus worry about salvation or damnation in the hereafter. Bosch painted scenes in which the fears and anxieties of mankind were pictured, using monstrous, diabolical and grotesque imagery. By understanding the reasoning behind Bosch's artwork, in conjunction with the text of the LWB, I was able to, slowly but surely, obtain some understanding of what most of the cards were trying to express. I still have some difficulty with some of the cards, especially the Court cards and the Chalice suit. It is my belief that the theme of the cards is, that there is a constant conflict between what the individual desires to do, and what the Church and State requires and expects him/her to do. What fascinates me, is that I don't know if each of the cards is either telling us to follow the rules of Society, or is thumbing its nose at said rules. Getting to the cards, the Major Arcana cards are absolutely beautiful, with the use of vibrant colors. The Court cards are also well illustrated, appear like those in most traditional decks, but include strange looking scenery and grotesque looking creatures. The pip cards are surreal in nature, loaded with grotesque looking creatures and strange looking objects. This is a deck which should be purchased for its artwork and meditative qualities.
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