The Tarot Of The Alchemical Magnum Opus
A new vision of the popular Alchemical Tarot, distilled to its essence.
Inspired by the Lenormand oracle deck and Renaissance-period art, Robert M. Place presents a version of his famed Alchemical Tarot, simplified and distilled down to an elegant, essential form.
The Tarot of the Alchemical Magnum Opus began when I attempted to redesign The Alchemical Tarot in a simpler iconic form, something like the iconic images found in traditional oracle decks, such as the Lenormand oracle. I wanted to create simplified images that captured the essence of what each card was saying. While the original Alchemical Tarot images are strongly based on actual 17th century alchemical engravings, for this version I have created my own images expressing each of the alchemical processes in my own way.
I also waned to make a deck that could have been printed using wood blocks, like Renaissance cards. I used only four colors: black, white, blue, and red, each representing a separate wood block printed on a parchment background. (I found it necessary for the maintenance of alchemical symbolism to add yellow on three cards.) Because the colors each represent an area printed from a carved block, the colors are hard-edged without gradation. The black lines define the outlines and darkest areas and the blue and red areas act as medium tones that define the forms and textures. This simplified code for interpreting forms, like alchemy itself, can be traced back to ancient Greece. It is a cornerstone of Western art. What I also realized was that through this process I was distilling the symbols, paring them down to their essence. It was a work of alchemical art.
- Robert M. Place, The Tarot of the Alchemical Magnum Opus
This 78-card deck features cards measuring 3" x 4", with golden gilding and a small condensed guidebook. The deck comes in a sturdy box with a fabric covered slipcase.
For more information and background on Robert M. Place, check out The Hermit's Lamp Podcast Episode 50, featuring a conversation between Robert and Andrew.