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Pythagorean Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $14.47

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About this item
  • The Pythagorean Tarot is a complex and deep set of tarot cards, based on ancient Greek paganism, alchemy and
  • Pythagorean numerology. Don't be put off by the symbolic complexity; the companion book is long and very thorough.

Name Pythagorean Tarot
Creators John Opsopaus
Publisher Llewellyn 2001
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Unique
Suits Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards Page, Knight, Queen, King
Strength is 9
Justice is 20
Card Size 2.75 x 4.63 in. = 6.99cm x 11.75cm
Card Language English
Card Back Unknown
Companion Material Large and detailed companion book.


Pythagorus was an ancient Greek mathematician, famous to most high school students for creating the theorem for right angle triangles. What is lesser known is that he was also a magician and philosopher and his ideas are part of the basis of Western magical and occult thinking.

The Pythagorean Tarot, therefore, brings together Pythagorean numerology and the Tarot to create a 'unique system of divination and transformation'.It draws on a pre-Christian framework in the form of ancient Greek Paganism, making a tarot deck that appeals to contemporary Pagans by removing medieval Christian religious symbolism common to many tarot decks.

The art is drawn in coloured pencil and are deceptively simple. The majors are pictorial tarot scenes with the Greek name of the card and its associated letter of the Greek alphabet inset somewhere into the picture. The minors appear quite plain, being pip cards that vary only in the numbers of elemental items and the unique arrangement of the alchemical symbols at the top of the cards. Court cards are ancient Greek deities, which although untitled on the actual card, are recognisable from their accoutrements. For example, Hermes is the Page of Swords, Demeter as the Queen of Pentacles, Poseidon as the King of Cups.

Titles of the cards are in English. Some majors have been reordered and renamed - Fool to the Idiot, Hermit to the Old Man, Chariot to Victory, World to the Cosmos - but the suits are standard Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles.

The companion book, Guide to the Pythagorean Tarot is weighty with Pythagorean numerology, Qabbalah, Jungian psychology and Greek mythology. The book looks daunting but explains itself clearly, exploring and analysing each card, particularly the major arcana, in great detail. (The section explaining the World card symbolism is twenty six pages long. Others, like Temperance, are merely twelve pages long.) Individual minors receive only a page of analysis, but Opsopaus also discusses the group suit, number and court card symbolism. The back of the book supplies rituals and some complex spreads for tarot divination.

Few decks have such research and background information of the Pythagorean Tarot. It is not a deck for casual inspection and quick easy readings, but ideal for those with some tarot knowledge who prefer deep meaning to pretty pictures. It is not just a set of tarot cards, but a whole philosophic system.

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