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Tel: 410-638-7761; Fax:410-638-5154; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272
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The Bohemian Gothic Tarot

by Karen Mahoney & Alex Ukolov.

The Bohemian Gothic Tarot
Price: $22.95

Number of cards in deck: 78

Measurements: 3.08 x 5.04 inches, or 78 x 128 mm.

Back of card: Black, borderless, with a modified "hexagonal" laticework of light gray/silver, patterned after radiant Gothic ceiling vaulting. The apexes of these vaults are known as "bosses", which often sport fancy carving. This card shows two, both of which feature skulls. May be inverted.

Booklet included: Yes, 32 pages, 3.1 x 5.5 inches, or 78 x 128 mm. Instructions in English, Italian, Spanish, French & German.

Publisher: Magic Realist Press. Printed in the Czech Republic.

Comments: Dark, dark, dark and dark. I like playing with cards, moving the eye around here & there, teasing out meanings, finding unexpected juxtapositions. That's hard to do when the cards are dark, as the eye has nowhere to go, and just as hard when they're in high contrast, ie, when there's only one brightly illuminated corner that blares out. Like the old joke about why they were looking for the lost article under the street lamp ("because that's where the light is!"), there is an element of manipulation in such cards. We look where the light tells us to look, to find meaning in the areas of light & to ignore the meanings hidden in the dark. In part, one may simply say that there's nothing in the dark so there's no reason to go look there.

Aha! goes the response. There might be something there that would be unfortunate if you should chance upon it, or it upon you. And, well, yes, maybe. But, by definition, whatever is hiding in the dark is something that cannot stand the light of day, because that's why it hides. It can only play on fear. Fear is a useful response, it gets our attention & prepares us for what may come, but it is a transient emotion. To wallow in fear, to remain in fear (such as America did after 9-11) is moronic. When we chance across something in the dark, we are to shine the bright light of day, the bright light of knowledge, of experience, of reason, of truth, upon it. Whereupon whatever it was that had frightened us shrivels. This is innate. There are no exceptions.

But that's not the point of this deck. "Gothic" is that certain erotic thrill you sometimes get when you run your tongue around the inside edge of a freshly emptied, newly opened can of pork & beans. Licking that sweet brown sauce. It is equal amounts of fear mixed with thrill, it activates a curious form of sex adrenaline. It is transient, it is fleeting, it is delicious by nature.

On the other hand, way, way back in the Cathedrale de Notre Dame in Paris, in the ambulatory on the south side, beyond the transept, there is a dark chapel. Inside, off to the left there is a stone casket & looming over it some mysterious hooded figure. There is a hand thrust out, it is holding something. What could that be? Who is the mysterious person? Why is he wearing such a deep dark hood? Our curiousity is aroused. Who could it be, in such intense darkness? Why does the Cathedral waste a fine sculpture in such darkness? As our eyes adjust, slowly the details of the face emerge. We peer all the harder. Who could it be? Napoleon? A forgotten king or prince? Who could it be, uniquely honored in this dark & forgotten chapel? And then we see it: A skull. A grinning skull. The hand of bones holds an empty hourglass. If you should ever see this masterpiece, by Jean-Jacques Pigalle, you will long remember. Only a great light will dissipate the shock of that encounter.

For those who keep track of such things, there is no blood in this deck, not even implied. And, aside from The Star (shown above), there is no nudity. Aside from skeletons, the only actual corpses seems to be on the Death & Judgement cards, and they seem animated.

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Fax:410-638-5154; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Tarot Home Tarot Decks Tarot Books Join our tarot mailing list Astrology Home E-Mail: Dave

Established 1993, The Astrology Center of America is owned & operated by David Roell. Except where noted, this entire site ( & its contents are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by William R. Roell. All rights reserved. Tarot card images are Copyright © by the copyright holder (generally the publisher).