Thursday, January 24, 2008

Night Thoughts: Lovecraftian Tarot - Deal or No Deal?

These (somewhat pompously titled) 'Night Thoughts' are brief commentaries, odd musings and inane ramblings - usually written late at night - about whatever Lovecraftian topic takes my fancy. I plan to post these two or three times a week (depending on how the fancy takes me) in addition to a more substantial weekly post.

On this occasion, I have taken as my topic Lovecraftian tarot, of which a number of sets exist. Principally, there are two commercially available decks: one published by Mythos Books which constitutes a monotone/sepia deck (and to my mind the more Lovecraftian of the two), and Donald Tyson's full colour Necronomicon deck published by Llewellyn. This latter deck is more closely tied to Tyson's novels Necronomicon and Alhazred, and deviates somewhat from 'canonical' Lovecraft.

As regular readers of our missives already know, we at Ghooric Zone Central have a long standing fascination with such occult gewgaws. Thus we wasted no time in charging our agents with the task of purloining copies of these strange artifacts. After a careful examination of the cards for evidence of genuine otherworldly power, I was reminded of the observation (which I think was first made by Jason Colavito) that worshipping or otherwise placing one's faith in Lovecraft's Old Ones constitutes a kind of 'cargo cult'. Given that the role of the tarot is to elide some kind of structure or meaning from the seemingly random occurance of events, it strikes me as odd that producers of a Lovecraftian tarot are not in the least dissuaded by the possibility that the Old Ones, in their indifference, would simply have no interest in providing humans with such a useful tool of divination...

Still, the cards do look rather nice on our bookshelf.

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