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The Llewellyn Journal
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The Necronomicon Tarot: The Tarot of Madness and Beauty

This article was written by Llewellyn
posted under Magick

The “unmentionable Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred” is best known from the references that appear in the short stories of H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) and other authors who wrote stories grouped together as part of the “Cthulhu Mythos.” The stories are filled with tales of evil and horror, of ancient, all-powerful gods who once ruled the earth and who are trying to rule again.

Recently, famed occultist Donald Tyson has written two books in this tradition. The first is his version of the Necronomicon, what has been called the most comprehensive version of that book. The second book, Alhazred, is the autobiography of the “mad Arab” himself. Now, completing the trilogy is the most amazing deck and book in this tradition, the Necronomicon Tarot.

It’s in the Cards

The first thing you’ll note about the seventy-eight cards of this deck is the spectacular art by the well-known fantasy artist, Anne Stokes. What you’ll notice is the beauty…and the madness. Images of the ghouls and evil magicians, of necromancers and horrendous entities bespeak a chance for ultimate power and knowledge.

At the same time, the images will have an eerie familiarity. That’s because the images follow the same pattern as that of the famous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Rider-Waite deck. This makes the Necronomicon Tarot the first deck that is completely usable as a Tarot with any Tarot spread.

There’s More in the Book

Next in the box you’ll see the book Secrets of the Necronomicon Tarot. Befitting its uncanny contents, its shape is uniquely horizontal rather than the typical vertical book design. Here you’ll find everything you need to know in order to understand the meanings of each card. Included is the unique Necronomicon Layout spread that uses the major and minor arcana in different sections, making sure that both are used fully in a general reading that covers family life, social life, love life, and school life.

But the true strangeness and design is in the cards and their link to the bizarre worlds of the Necronomicon:

  • The Fool is the blind idiot god Azathoth. He represents innocence, simplicity and new beginnings in a reading.
  • The Magician is Nyarlathotep, who represents attainment, mastery, skill, and more in a reading.
  • The Empress is represented by Shub-Niggurath, with a bestial head with wild hair like black bristles. In a reading she represents fertility, vitality, wildness, good health, and more.
  • Strength is a Shoggoth, similar to the form of an amoeba but the size of an elephant. When this card appears in a reading it means indomitable spirit, endurance, defiance, valor, nobility, and more.
  • And of course, the Devil is mighty Cthulhu himself, shown against the city of R’lyeh. In a reading this card means rebellion, willfulness, arrogance, or pride.
The book fully describes the symbolism and meaning of each card both in upright and inverted positions.

Is This the Deck for You?
If you love horror and Lovecraft, this is the deck you have been waiting for! If you’re a fan of the Necronomicon or of the work of Donald Tyson, this deck is a must. If you’re tired of some of the “fluffy” decks that are available, you should get this deck. If you’re a Goth, a practitioner of the dark arts, or if you just prefer the night, this is the deck you need to own.

The Necronomicon Tarot will give you new insights into ways to interpret the cards. If you delight in Lovecraft, Cthulhu, eldritch ways and magic of the shadows, this is the deck for you!

Llewellyn Publications has grown and expanded into new areas of personal growth and transformation since it began as the Portland School of Astrology in 1901. Along with the strong line of astrology books the company was founded upon, Llewellyn publishes...  Read more


The Wanderings of Alhazred
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