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Hauntingly Beautiful Esoteric Deck
on 1 March 2008
I want to start off by saying two things. First, this deck is hauntingly beautiful. And second, this deck is not for everyone. The subject material and design will intrigue and delight some folks or repulse and disgust some others. You will love it or hate it.
Having said that, my own opinion is that I really do like this deck, and did some back research on this before even writing this review. Reading through the book with the deck, I saw in the Introduction that the deck is based on Mr. Tysons own work "Necronomicon - The Wanderings of Alhazred". So after glancing through the included book, I acquired a copy of Tyson's Necronomicon and read through that, wandering back and forth between the book and the deck.
The deck is based on the Ryder Waite deck. It contains 22 Trump cards and 4 full suites with court cards of king, queen, knight and knave. The suits are broken into disks, swords, cups and wands. Each suit has its own theme color to make them easily distinguishable from the other suits. The reverse of the cards is a very clever design of Cthulhu, intriguingly done.
The correspondence "is designed to be in harmony with the set of esoteric correspondences used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn." And reading through the accompanying book confirms this. The suits are Wands - fire, Cups - water, Swords - air and Disks - earth. This desk also relies heavily on reversal reading of the cards, so that has to be taken into consideration when working with this deck. The deck is meant to work mostly with ritual magics and meditation, and is not considered a "fortune telling" deck.
Looking at the images will tell you this as well. Ms. Stokes has presented us with some images that will really give you pause to consider. While I think they are stunning, other people I have shown this deck could not deal with it. And still others quoted H. P. Lovecraft's work as fiction and didn't take the deck seriously.
The concept of necormancy is not new, and to eventually write a book on Necromancy and call it the Necronomicon would not have been so far fetched if it had not been that the book first appeared in a fantasy novel.
This deck is a natural progression of this process, working into using a deck designed for use in necromancy and the magical arts , calling upon real and imagined images to create a world within the deck that draws you towards the ideas and concepts that Mr. Tyson explains in both of these books.
The images work well with the usual meanings of the decks, but the designs are dark, raw and not for the weak of stomach. While the card for the Two of Cups shows a priestess of Bast pouring wine for a youth and having a statue of Bast in the background and implies what we usually associate with this card as a minor card of love, we contrast this with the Four of Wands, which shows a noble woman sitting staring amorously into the eyes of "The Deep One", very reptilian looking, having a tryst. A very different view of the meaning of enjoyment, harmony and satisfaction.
Ms. Stokes designs are very powerful. The Magician card is one of the most powerful Magician cards I've seen in a while, with the Magician raising a spirit from a grave. Now that's magic!. The Fool card is Azathoth - fat, naked, dirty and alone playing happily on his pipes. Such innocence, such blindness to the world around him.
The deck continues along in this fashion, and should really been seen and felt and contemplated to understand how this deck can work for your own path. I have found it to be compelling to use, but as I said, it is not for everyone.
However, I do recommend that you take a look at this deck and decide for yourself. I do think it is a remarkable deck, and if you have read Tyson's Necronomicon, you will find this deck as fascinating a work as
the book. boudica