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The Experimental Tarot

by Samvado Gunnar Kossatz

Price: $20.00

Number of cards in deck: 78

Measurements: 2.75 x 4 inches; or 70 x 102 millimeters.

Back of card: Concentric glass spheres with diagonal black/red/silver cloud-like image. Not for inversion.

Booklet included: Yes, small, 110 pages, 2.75 x 4 inches, or 70 x 100 mm. Text by Gunnar Kossatz. Dedicated to Osho Rajneesh.

Publisher: AGMueller, Switzerland. Printed in Switzerland.

Comments: I thought I understood this deck when I scanned it but now it all looks confusing. The four suits & major arkana each have their own color frame. Suit cards are Daughter, Son, Mother & Father. Pip cards generally do not have symbols on them which makes it hard to distinguish major arkana cards from the minors. This is further complicated by various non-standard major arkana cards (Creator, Virgin, Choice, Victory, Shaman, Fate, Law, Peace, Aeon). Suits are Air (Swords), Fire (Wands), Water (Cups), Earth (Pentacles/Coins). Notice the writing on the cards. Card with vertical writing on the sides are major arkana (one way to identify them). The name (majors & face cards) or keyword (minors) are given in English at the top left, in German in the bottom center. The card number is in the upper right except for face cards which are simply "numbered" "C". The astrological correspondence (a planetary pair) is given in the lower left. The symbol for the suit (or major arkana) is given in the lower right corner.

I've been reading a bit of Rachel Pollack's excellent Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom, ($21), boning up on Tarot history. Known Tarot decks go back to the mid 1400's. Waite's major innovation (probably more due to Pamela Coleman-Smith than himself) were pictures on the minor arkana pip cards. Before then, Tarot was 22 major arkana cards, 4 face cards for each of the four suits, and 40 pip cards that looked a lot like modern playing cards. In putting pictures on the pip cards, the Rider deck brought them into the foreground. The Experimental Tarot virtually eliminates the distinction between minor & major arkana, which I suspect is not accidental. I don't think all the finer points of Tarot are so ancient. Looks to me as if Tarot is alive & well & evolving right in front of our eyes. If the Experimental Tarot is any indication, Waite's legacy may ultimately be the reduction of the major arkana to the status of a fifth suit, albeit the largest of the five.

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