on 16 August 2014
I have a complicated relationship with the Haindl. I guess a lot of us do. I really admire the deck, but I find I can't work with it much because for me the imagery is just so poignant. The cards are just throat-achingly rife with an emotion that I find hard to name. There is so much there. Decay, regret, the sense of an ending...but also beauty, a feeling of the eternal, and even glimmers of hope. But just glimmers.
I guess the thing that gets to me in this deck is the deep sense of how temporary humanity is, how fragile. How delicate we are in our emotions, our spirituality and our bodies. This is represented through the four suits and the court cards. Haindl uses Egyptian mythology in the suit of Swords, Native American in the suit of Stones (Coins), Western Europe in the suit of Cups, and Hindu gods and goddesses in the Wands. So in the courts, I see reflected the attempts of humanity to make sense of ourselves and our place in the universe and in relation to each other and our world.
The pip cards show the fragility and frailty of human daily life set against a backdrop of sky, rock and sea--those elements of the earth that seem to us to be so longlasting.
Then there are the majors, Haindl's own vision of the traditional meanings shining through in his unique and unsettling style. I think 'unsettling' may be the word I've been looking for.
I haven't even mentioned the backs of the cards, which for some people are so intense as to put them off the deck entirely. A staring, lashless eye, with a sty. The perfect expression, really, of beauty side by side with suffering, and the feeling of this deck of looking at both squarely and without self-deception.
Anyone who picks up this deck and has a flick through can immediately sense the suffering and pain that runs throughout it. Haindl's world view seems to have been shaped early by his experience as a prisoner of war in Russia for four years, from age 17 to 21. Surrounded by death and grim physical indignity, Haindl found symbolic meaning in a small birch sapling growing up through a barbed wire fence, which he would contemplate for hours, and which came to him to signify growth in the midst of misery and destruction of human dignity--a symbol of rebirth and life. 'Hermann never forgot the green leaves of the little tree...the secret of the profound connection between life and death became a well of strength in him, never to be lost' (Erika Haind, 261).
So that explains the constant, throat-achingly small and keenly beautiful glimmer of hope that runs through this pain-infused deck.
There is another theme in the deck, a sort of environmental message:
'We can describe the central theme of the Haindl Tarot as the renewal of the Earth -- not just the material resources but the spiritual Earth' (13).
'We can summarize these themes simply, as a return to the ancient wisdom and respect for nature, a need to renew the Earth as well as to restore the female principle to its true place--in daily life, in society and in the cosmos.' (26).
'In the absence of harmonious balance, our nations will not stop destroying each other in war. Our food, the air we breathe, and the earth itself will be further poisoned by a society moving away from balance' (Erika Haindl, 264).
So what is the 'mission statement' of the Haindl Tarot? As Erika says:
The Haindl Tarot cannot bring about significant changes in the way we conduct ourselves. Its positive influence will be almost weightless and barely detectable. However, there is an ever-expanding network of people who not only fend off that which is destructive, but also go further and nurture the spiritual. The Haindl Tarot is part of that network. Many people will see these cards and be moved by them. In this way the rich experience and understanding captured in these inspired images will help balance the scales -- with the weight of a feather (264).
(Quotations from Rachel Pollack's Haindl Tarot books).
on 8 January 2012
Tarot expert Rachel Pollack explores the symbology and personal nuances of Haindl's esoteric deck. Special attention is paid to the I Ching aspects, upright and reversed, which is helpful and to the Court cards and the myths attached to them. This deepens the reader's appreciation to what might otherwise be a perplexing deck to a novice, but which is in fact solidly within the tarot tradition, albeit with an environmentalist/ new age feel, transmuting the ancient signs for greater relevance in a nuclear age.
on 31 October 2015
I like everything about this deck except the card stock which I think is thin and flimsy. But the images, references to I ching, runes, horoscope, kabbalah are glorious. I find this deck really easy and accurate to read with, I'd recommend it for anyone with a good understanding of other systems of divination & archetypes. Also good for people who don't quite connect with Rider Waite, but it's not for beginners
on 3 May 2009
I do not think the author went into sufficient detail with some of the cards, because there were things in the pictures that were not dealt with; on the other hand, I must take into consideration how much bigger and more expensive the book would have been if she HAD covered every detail! On the whole, this is a very good and useful handbook for both the beginner and more advanced Tarot users. The Haindl Tarot is an exceptional pack by any standards, and Rachel Pollock almost does it justice.
on 18 September 1997
The Haindl deck is one of the most multicultural I've ever encountered. Instead of the Anglo prototypes prevalent since the Rider-Waite, Hermann Haindl uses India, Egypt, England, and America as his four suits. He also uses Norse runes, Hebrew letters, and I Ching characters on each card. It's lovely and visually enticing, and it truly speaks to the experienced reader. It's a good intermediate deck, perhaps a bit too full for the neophyte reader.
A very unusual, but attractive Tarot Deck this - though very hard to read on one's own... I understand that there is an accompanying book (sold separately) to assist with these Cards that may help the Reader somewhat, but this appears to be out of print - or at least judging by the ridiculous prices being charged for even used copies - in extremely short supply...
I do like these Cards and will keep them for my ever growing Collection, but it is unlikely I feel I shall ever use them... Way too much going on in the images for my liking, and you have to really look too deeply (even more intently than one feels one should have to) in order to make out some of the very intricate images and symbolism...
Nice quality though, with a lovely `waxy' finish, and they do come with a small booklet that does give quite a bit of information on the meanings - but just difficult to decipher without some form of assistance...
I really like the idea of `Stones' as a suit, and I have a whole bunch of favourite Cards which are; `The Tower', `King of Wands', `The Fool', `Prince of Cups', `Prince of Wands', `Princess of Cups', `The Hierophant', `Alchemy', and `Princess of Wands', and I do like the little differences showing the various titles and words at the top and bottom of some Cards.