This week’s posts reminded me that I have a copy of the HR Giger Tarot set published by Taschen under their Evergreen imprint in 2000. The set is Taschen’s reworking of Giger & Akron’s Baphomet Tarot der Unterwelt set from 1994, and I recall this being one of the last things Taschen created with Giger after spending the previous decade producing a run of books, diaries and posters featuring his paintings. Inside a box you find a set of 22 oversize Tarot trumps presenting some of Giger’s works against metallic silver surrounds. There’s also a poster-size sheet for card readings printed with his pentagram design plus a 224-page paperback book by Swiss Tarot scholar Akron, aka CF Frey, which interprets the paintings as they relate to the Major Arcana. (The Baphomet set had a hardback book and the pentagram design printed on the back of each card.)
The design on the back of the cards, printed in black on metallic silver.
If you’re familiar with Tarot symbolism you don’t have to use these cards to find the correspondences intriguing. The trump ordering is an odd mix of the Crowley scheme with the more traditional designations. Two of the trumps have also been given new names: The Hanged Man is now The Hanged Woman while Crowley’s Art (formerly Temperance) has become Alchemy, an association which works since the card in the Crowley deck depicts the Androgyne of alchemical symbolism. I can imagine some Tarot collectors finding these cards far too dark and nasty, but when so many Tarot designs today are various degrees of garish or twee there’s plenty of room for a Giger or two to harsh the New Age mellow.
The card set has been out of print for years but Abebooks still carries copies at reasonable prices. A few examples of the cards follow.