Monday, April 25, 2016

Lovecraftian Thing a a Day No.116: The Tyson Necronomicon Tarot

I have something of an obsession with Cthulhu Mythos-themed tarot decks, even though the tarot (at least in its application as divinatory device) is about as far removed from the fatalistic underpinnings of the Mythos as is possible; like attempts to map the Mythos onto the Qabalistic Tree of Life, trying to get Lovecraft's creation to fit with the standard symbolism of the tarot also feels like trying to force a round peg into a square hole, and often ends up making far too many concessions to the rigid structures and stuffy traditionalism characteristic of much of Western esotericism for what should really be a wholly alien system of barely-comprehensible hyper-dimensional physics.

I do, of course, recognise that tarot cards have additional (non-divinatory) functions in the context of occult practice (particularly as aids to visualisation), where intersections with Mythos themes becomes, perhaps, more evident. Donald Tyson's Necronomicon tarot - a nice visual accompaniment to yesterday's entries - does, however, tend to fall into the more anthropocentric camp of modern Mythos decks; nonetheless its remains an interesting (and very nicely produced) contribution to the material culture of Lovecraftian occultism. I also like the inferred conceit that this set of tarot constitutes, in symbolic form, an actual Necronomicon. The cards also come in a rather attracrive presentation box, along with a helpful divinatory guide entitled Secrets of the Necronomicon, which informs the prospective neophyte that 'your readings will take on intensified power as you discover horrifying and loathsome figures of eldritch evil and unlock doors to the potent magic of the Old Ones'. Nice.

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