Book: The Alchemical Tarot Renewed by Robert Michael PlaceOriginally published by Thorsons in 1995, when the Alchemical Tarot went out of print, many clamored to buy both the deck and companion book--often at a steep price. In fact, the original edition still fetches hundreds of dollars with the companion book by Rosemary Ellen Guiley going for $75 or more online.
Fortunately for Tarot enthusiasts, Hermes Publications/Robert M. Place have issued an updated version of this deck called The Alchemical Tarot Renewed.
The two main differences between the original and the renewed version is that the cards no longer have the pillars flanking the imagery, making more room for the art to shine. Also, the Alchemical Tarot Renewed contains TWO versions of the Lovers card: the original, which was deemed too sexy for publication, and the cleaned up version which was included in the original deck.
When I first bought this deck, the cards were quite flexible, causing me some concern as to their durability. I'm happy to report that I've been using the Alchemical Tarot Renewed exclusively for my client readings and the card are holding up admirably--even better than decks from large publishers, in fact.
Although I found the austere images intriguing, I admit to being flummoxed with some of the alchemical symbolism in this deck. So I thought I'd put it on the shelf until a companion book became available to unlock its secrets.
The Fool and trumps in The Alchemical Tarot each relate to an alchemical process, which is part of the Great Work of alchemy that leads to the creation of the Philosopher s Stone, a mystical catalyst that transforms what it touches to its highest form. It can cure any illness, turn lead into gold, and turn an ordinary person into an enlightened sage. The Stone is represented symbolically by the World card. The four minor suits are related to the Four Elements of the alchemists: earth, air, fire, and water and in The Alchemical Tarot each of these elements is related to one of the four functions of Consciousness as listed by Jung: sensation, thinking, feeling, and intuition, respectively.
I probably would have kept them if the cardstock quality was better. If your just a collector, this would make an excellent addition. However, for daily use, wait until the price gets lowered, because you are definately going to being getting more copies to replace all the soon-to-be defected cards...
My advice to Mr Place, reissue the deck with the revised companion book, using a better card stock, and perhaps throw in a tarot bag too for the current price - then that would make it a great deal!!!
Robert M. Place is an internationally known visionary artist, author, and illustrator, whose award winning works, in painting, sculpture, and jewelry, have been displayed in galleries and museums in America, Europe, and Japan and graced the covers and pages of numerous books and publications. He is the designer, illustrator, and co-author, of: The Alchemical Tarot and The Angels Tarot. He is the designer, illustrator, and author of The Tarot of the Saints, The Buddha Tarot, and The Vampire Tarot. He is the author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, Which Booklist has said;may be the best book ever written on that deck of cards decorated with mysterious images called the tarot. And, he the author of Astrology and Divination and Shamanism which are part of the Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena series published by Facts On File.
Robert is recognized throughout the world as an expert on and gifted teacher of the Western mystical tradition and the history and philosophy of the Tarot. He has conducted lectures and workshops in education centers in the United States and Europe, including the Open Center, Omega Institute, The New York Tarot Festival, and The Reader's Studio in New York, The World Tarot Congress in Chicago, The Southeastern Regional Tarot Festival in Florida, and The Museo Dei Torocchi, in Riola, Italy. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel series Strictly Supernatural and his work has appeared on The Learning Channel and A&E.
Books in PDF format to read:John Dee - The Calls Of Enoch
Aleister Crowley - The Zodiac And The Tarot
Baron Tschoudy - Alchemical Catechism
Christine Payne Towler - The Continental Tarots
Robert Wang - The Qabalistic Tarot