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The Dark Grimoire Tarot Cards – Sep 8 2008


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Product Details

  • Cards
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; Tcr Crds B edition (Sept. 8 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738713848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738713847
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 7.1 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Janet Boyer on Oct. 12 2008
"The Dark Grimoire Tarots are therefore a true Clavicula due to their intrinsic nature and genesis: a key that can open forgotten doors in the darkest corners of the psyche, those doors hidden in the shadows and engulfed in spider webs. Opening those doors can mean gaining knowledge of our own fears and recognising our own dark side, learning how it can balance our whole being." - From the L(ittle) W(hite) B(ook)

Tales of "black books", heretical priests, forbidden rituals and dark magic weave through horror literature and films. Supposedly a mere literary device to awaken fears, reflect existential dread or "entertain" through vicarious catharsis, some individuals theorize that these types of stories--especially those of H.P. Lovecraft and The Necronomicon--contain couched truths of esoteric practices.

In this spirit of these occult mythologies, the Dark Grimoire Tarot unfurls the arresting artistic depictions by Michele Penco. Illustrated with a minimal color palette--mostly sepia tones, silvery purples, blue-gray and a smattering of green--Penco manages to capture the threatening, chaotic and maddening world of the "Great Old Ones", Cthulhu, Dagon and company.

Not being familiar with the works of Lovecraft, I wondered if the Dark Grimoire Tarot would be a dense mystery, only to be understood and appreciated by the "initiated". However, Panco's stark yet evocative images pulled me in, begging to reveal their secrets.

Many of the images are close enough to Rider-Waite renderings to be accessible to a wide audience. Some of the Minor Arcana evoke the situations and emotion imbedded within common interpretations, but those that don't are animated enough to stimulate intuition, invite speculation and encourage contemplation.
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Absolutey love these.

I've been looking for a tarot deck for a while now, but had a hard time liking majority of the ones I found. They were all very traditional or just were a bit too colorful for my liking. I wanted to find a deck that I was in love with, rather than buying one simply to finally have one and I'm so glad that I stumbled across these. The art is beautiful and well done and exactly what I wanted. It's a bit on the darker side, hence the name, and absolutely perfect.
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By SPerrault on Oct. 7 2011
The artwork is very nice. Although, I would have liked more information about the interpretation of the cards (reading them, etc.). It would be nice if the manufacturer could provide a website (or pdf file) with the meanings and more info on the reading of the cards.
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By Lover of Books on Oct. 12 2014
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different
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Demons and Aliens and Cults! Oh My! Nov. 29 2008
By Dandylioness - Published on Amazon.com
Inspired by the demented imagination of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, the Dark Grimoire Tarot features a plethora of leering demons, rampaging alien monsters, and ritual gatherings in dark and ominous settings. While such subject matter certainly makes this deck unsuitable for general, everyday readings, I have found this to be an excellent deck for introspective readings that deal with "inner demons" such as fears or prejudices. Whereas more light-aspected decks can make it difficult to focus on such topics, this deck brings them to the forefront with it's atmospheric and disturbing images.

The illustrations are well-done examples of fantasy horror art. While the deck uses a traditional structure, most of the images do not mimic R-W illustrations. Many of them give a new twist to the traditional meanings. For example, The Fool is pictured as a mental patient in a straight jacket. He is surrounded by demons--creatures that go unseen by the sane and rational world but that he is aware of in his "foolish" state. Fans of Lovecraft's work will notice famous characters and scenes including Erich Zann and Pickman painting his monstrous model. Other cards do not seem to refer to any specific story, but evoke the themes and atmosphere of Lovecraft's fiction. While most of the cards are deliberately disturbing, they are not bloody or gratuitously violent. The most unsettling card is probably The Hanged Man, which obviously depicts a suicide. For the most part, however, the horror is of the fantasy and science fiction variety.

I docked a star for the nearly useless guide book that comes with the deck. The LWB gives a description of each Major Arcana card, but does not give individual details for the Minors. Many of the descriptions will be gibberish to anyone unfamiliar with Lovecraft. Some of them will still be gibberish even if you've read his work. For example, the description of The Lovers references "At the Mountains of Madness." The card shows a man and woman holding hands on a spooky moor, with the figure of another woman in the background. "The Mountains of Madness" is a story about an all-male team of scientists discovering the remains of an alien civilization in Antarctica. Why the author of the LWB chose to connect that story with that image is beyond me. My recommendation: if you still rely on the LWB extensively, do not try this deck. If you do not, the deck is readable without it. A good Lovecraft anthology would give better background for the deciphering the images than the LWB does, but I do not think it is required.

In sum, I do recommend this deck to anyone interested in a Gothic or horror themed deck. This is my first dark deck and I have been surprised that it has been easier to use and more helpful (rather than discouraging or depressing) than I expected. Additionally, since all of these cards suggest a narrative, I think this could be fun to use for creative purposes. Finally, it will of course be of interest to collectors of Lovecraft-themed items.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Welcome to the Dark Side of Life Nov. 20 2008
By Hayward H. Siegel - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Look at the Hanged Man card first! You will quickly realize that this is not your usual Tarot deck. This Tarot deck is DARK, not only because of the muted colors used, or the shadowy illustrations, but also because, as the LWB states, it is "a key that can open forgotten doors in the darkest corners of the psyche". The deck is inspired by writings on magic, witchcraft and the occult, especially those of H.P. Lovecraft, in his tales about The Necronomicon. There is a Necronomicon Tarot published, but these two decks are quite different. The LWB included with the deck is the usual type from Lo Scarabeo, that is, it gives you very little to aid you in determining the meanings of the cards. In fact, no meanings for each card is set forth. However, with regard to this deck, that is a good thing. The reader is given alot of leeway in interpreting the cards. The LWB gives you alittle info to start you off, and you do the rest. In many decks, the cards "speak" to you, and basically tell you how to interpret the cards, but this is not the case, in this deck. In this deck, the cards invite you in, to ponder what they might mean. I don't want to tell much about what is included in the Major and Minor Arcana cards, just that the illustrations are beautiful. The only thing I wish to say about the cards is, that I own about 35 decks, and that this is the first deck to which I can truly say, that I was more fascinated with the pip cards 2-10, than I was with the other cards in this deck. You look at the cards, and you keep on asking yourself "what if", and what would happen if one's dark side and fears do not remain hidden, but come to the surface? I don't think that this deck is good for beginners into Tarot. Some understanding of Tarot meanings would be helpful in interpreting these cards. Also, I don't think that it would be a good idea in using this deck for divination purposes for other people, because of the negative ideas and scary illustrations contained in the deck. It is more useful for meditation and analysis. It should be used as a tool to "know Thyself". The illustrations contain severed heads, demons, monsters, spirits and apparitions. You must delve into the psyche to seek the answers to the following questions: Do these things exist in reality, or are they goblins all of my own creation? Are we in control, or are we being controlled?
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Haunting Deck in Sepia Tones Oct. 8 2008
By Janet Boyer - Published on Amazon.com
"The Dark Grimoire Tarots are therefore a true Clavicula due to their intrinsic nature and genesis: a key that can open forgotten doors in the darkest corners of the psyche, those doors hidden in the shadows and engulfed in spider webs. Opening those doors can mean gaining knowledge of our own fears and recognising our own dark side, learning how it can balance our whole being." - From the L(ittle) W(hite) B(ook)

Tales of "black books", heretical priests, forbidden rituals and dark magic weave through horror literature and films. Supposedly a mere literary device to awaken fears, reflect existential dread or "entertain" through vicarious catharsis, some individuals theorize that these types of stories--especially those of H.P. Lovecraft and The Necronomicon--contain couched truths of esoteric practices.

In this spirit of these occult mythologies, the Dark Grimoire Tarot unfurls the arresting artistic depictions by Michele Penco. Illustrated with a minimal color palette--mostly sepia tones, silvery purples, blue-gray and a smattering of green--Penco manages to capture the threatening, chaotic and maddening world of the "Great Old Ones", Cthulhu, Dagon and company.

Not being familiar with the works of Lovecraft, I wondered if the Dark Grimoire Tarot would be a dense mystery, only to be understood and appreciated by the "initiated". However, Panco's stark yet evocative images pulled me in, begging to reveal their secrets.

Many of the images are close enough to Rider-Waite renderings to be accessible to a wide audience. Some of the Minor Arcana evoke the situations and emotion imbedded within common interpretations, but those that don't are animated enough to stimulate intuition, invite speculation and encourage contemplation.

In some cases, the LWB to the Dark Grimoire Tarot conveys interesting observations but, unfortunately, it falls short as a guide--even for LWB standards. For example, there is NO description of the Minor Arcana cards other than a general guide to numerological and court meanings, and even those don't correlate with the actual imagery.

In addition to Panco's awe-inspiring, dramatic artwork, I was pleasantly surprised at how such a supposedly "dark" deck conveyed (to me) very practical perspectives on the Tarot. For example, in the Two of Swords, a blindfolded man stands fiddling atop a tree stump as demons encircle him on the ground. This brought to mind the proverbial "fiddling while Rome burns", a phrase often used to describe someone oblivious or apathetic to the destruction around them (even if set in motion by their own actions).

The Four of Pentacles shows a shriveled man clutching a book (presumably a dark grimoire) that almost looks to have his mouth sewn shut. This image suggests to me that hording possessions that may benefit others--even if it's something as seemingly innocuous as information--brings soul-rot, causing everyone to be poorer in the end.

As with most Lo Scarabeo decks, the Dark Grimoire Tarot cards measure approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ½ inches with an intriguing--but non-reversible--backing. The front images feature a slate gray border (I love the look of dark borders on decks like this!) with a parchment scroll banner at the bottom noting the card/suit in four languages.

A small suit emblem hovers above the numbers in the Minor Arcana (a sword, a chalice, a brass coin, etc.), and in this deck, Justice is Trump 8 and Strength is Trump 11. The court cards follow the Knave, Knight, Queen and King designation.

Because I'm not familiar with The Necronomicon, I can't say with any certainty if fans of Lovecraft will love this deck. However, I think that those who appreciate striking artwork will want to add the Dark Grimoire Tarot to their collection, as will those who enjoy horror books, zombies, and tales of evil unleashed on the world as a result of consulting a secret tome. It's a very readable deck, but those disconcerted by images of monsters, "black magic" and demonic entities might want to pass on this one.

(To see 15 cards from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at [...])

-- Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not Really a Tarot Deck April 15 2014
By Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I love the imagery on the cards, but this isn't a Tarot Deck. The classic symbolism of the cards is discarded for a Lovecraftian tilt. Chop off the bottom quarter inch and you've got an interesting Oracle Deck.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I love it Sept. 9 2013
By Rebecca - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
First of all this deck is NOT for beginners and nor for those that are used with the classic type of symbols and keys.Also I would not recommend it to those that are not familiar with the Dark Arts because it has very strong symbols and very very strong keys.Some cards from the Minor Arcana have different names from what the usual decks have, so this could be misleading to some.It is a real Lovecraftian deck, no Egyptian or other types of deities like others... but only pure figures from his tales.Some said that it's quite depressing but that's the first impression and if you start to meditate on the cards and connect with them it's just a great key to all of your works.


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