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- The Daemon Tarot is a 69-card divination deck drawing upon The Infernal Dictionary, a 19th century collection of daemon lore. The deck links 69 daemons and their attributes with each card, and assists in accessing their energies.
Illustration of long-limbed daemon, and the words 'Les Cartes Infernales'
160-page companion book
deck. It's a deck of cards with the illustrations from
the 1863 edition of Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de
Plancy's "Dictionnaire Infernal" (the original 1818 edition
was not illustrated). While the "Dictionnaire" is
definitely due for a reprint, the illustrations may be its
most interesting feature for many people, so I
appreciated having the opportunity to see them through this
I can only assume that it was mislabeled as a
"Tarot" deck out of the idea that any card deck with even
a remote occult connection is "Tarot." One can
forgive this, along with the pretension of the extra "a"
in "Daemon" undoubtedly added to suggest an air of
authenticity that mere "demon" lacks, despte inadvertently
calling to mind a background process running on a
computer, and not a denizen of the netherworld.
includes a book with black and white illustrations of each
card, larger than the cards themselves, although not of
the same quality. Each card's description is divided
into three sections: "Annotation" explains the demon's
origin and attributes, "Inspiration" is the author's own
observations, and "Divination" indicates the card's significance
in the reader's own life.
The cards themselves are
printed on high-quality stock, measuring 4 by 3 inches,
with the monochrome images and text printed clearly in
black on a tan background. Each card gives the demon's
name and includes a short description of his role in
"Hell." The backs have a greenish tinge, and depict a
slender, dinosaurish demon, rendered in a flesh tone,
menacing a prostrate human figure, with the words "Les
Cartes Infernales." Order is alphabetical.
themselves run the gamut from the well-known Lucifer, Mammon,
Beelzebub, Moloch, and Cerberus (the distinction between
Ancient Greek and Christian is apparently irrelevant), to
the less familiar Abraxas, Astaroth, and Azazel, and
finally to the fairly obscure Furfur, Ganga-Gramma, and
Leonard (yes, there is a demon named "Leonard," a man with
a goat's head bearing three horns).
There is also
"Brooms" and "Sabbat" which are not demons at all, but
respectively, magical implements and ceremonies. Also present is
"Torngarsuk," an Inuit deity who must have been included here
only because he is present in de Plancy's book. To de
Plancy, a fervent Catholic, a demon was a demon whether it
was a Christian resident of Hell or the god of a
traditional religion. At least the book clarifies that
Torngarsuk was not a demon, and was seen as benevolent.
can't comment on the appeal of this deck to actual
demon-worshippers; I imagine that they would find it rather limiting.
It's certainly of historical interest, and as a
collection of iconic images, I suppose it could be used for
guidance and inspiration, the same as any other Tarot or
divination deck if one were to take the time to learn its
unique system. Until de Plancy's work is reissued at a
reasonable price, "The Daemon Tarot" is an acceptable