The Hermes Playing-Card Oracle
The Hermes Playing Card Oracle is the latest oracle deck designed by Robert M. Place. It is a standard game deck of 52 cards plus two jokers, but with the addition of symbolic images on each card, each providing a divinatory meaning. It can be used for card games, or laid out in the traditional pattern, known as the Grand Tableau, and used for divination.
Although the Tarot is the deck that most people today would associate with divination, historically, regular four-suit decks of playing cards were more likely to have been used for this purpose. In the late 18th century, oracle decks were first published in which each card was illustrated with a symbol designed primarily for divination, but a small image of the playing card associated with each symbol was also included on each card. The most popular oracle deck was the Petit Lenormand, first published in Germany in 1847. This deck was based on the common 36-card German deck (a deck without the 2 through 5 pip cards in each suit) and a miniature playing card was included at the top of each card. There were, however, many variations of oracle decks produced in the 19th century, including some based on the standard 52-card French deck.
Robert M. Place is an internationally known visionary artist, whose award winning works, in painting, sculpture, and jewelry, have been displayed in galleries and museums in America, Europe, and Japan. He is the designer, illustrator, and coauthor of The Alchemical Tarot and The Angels Tarot, which have received international acclaim. He is designer, illustrator, and author of The Alchemical Tarot Renewed, the award winning The Tarot of the Saints, The Buddha Tarot, The Vampire Tarot, and The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. He is the author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, which Booklist has said, “may be the best book ever written on that deck of cards decorated with mysterious images called the tarot.” He is the author of Astrology and Divination, Magic and Alchemy, and Shamanism, written for the Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena series, and the author of Alchemy and the Tarot. He is the curator of The Fools’ Journey and the author of the catalog for this exhibition of Tarot art that originated at the LA Craft and Folk Art Museum. He was the guest of honor at the opening of the Tarot Museum in Riola, Italy. He has created numerous illustrations for books and magazines, his Facsimile Historic Italian Tarot is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he and his work have appeared on the BBC, A&E, the Discovery Channel and the Learning Channel. His newest work is a Lenormand oracle deck, The Burning Serpent Oracle, on which he collaborated with Tarot diva Rachel Pollack.