WRITTEN BY: KATALIN PATNAIK
After the international success of the Unified Esoteric Tarot, Attila Blága has launched another campaign on Indiegogo: the Golden Hermetic and Fortune Telling Tarot (GHAFTT). See here: Golden Hermetic and Fortune Telling Tarot
If you are familiar with historical tarots you will immediately recognise Papus’s influence on the cards. Most of the images are exact copies of the originals – well, turned into black and gold – but there are some changes in the layout. To mention a few, the Sanskrit and Egyptian letters have been excluded from the Majors and upright and reversed keywords have been added. Some of the illustrations have been changed, too; for example the Tower shows the Black Tower in Brasov, Romania that has been hit by lightning numerous times throughout history. But the essence of the deck is the rarely used and very under- appreciated Papus Tarot, and this fact makes it one of its kind.
There is a truckload of information on every single card. Each of them has a central picture surrounded by upright and reversed keywords, a certain time of the year as well as astrological, elemental and kabbalistic correspondences. If you don’t already use these additional disciplines with your tarot, this could be a great deck to lead you down the rabbit hole! Of course, even if you don’t want to add anything extra to your practice, you can still use these cards without a problem.
What I like about the cards is their strong, manly energy. This deck will not give you false hopes: if something looks grim, it is going to tell you without a chance of misunderstanding the message or giving you an opportunity to alter their interpretation to your liking (I am pretty sure we all have done that at one point of time). But look at the bright side! It will also tell you how you can fix the situation and if you can expect success and happy times ahead!
A while ago we had a discussion over on the Forum where someone asked if there are any “masculine” decks out there. Well, this one is definitely going to make the cut. I personally like the lack of sexualised images. No perky bosoms or half revealed bottoms in here, which is really refreshing! I could give this deck to my 6 years old son or even my granny in her 80s without a second thought.
So what kind of readings would the GHAFTT be suitable for? What kind of readers can I see shuffling it?
The deck is so versatile I think anyone who wants to hear Truth would be happy to work with it, be it a fortune teller or a tarot therapist. I can see it being used for rapid fire phone call readings – the keywords are great for when you pull blank and need time to recover; I can see it being used to peer into the future – the astrological and timing correspondences give a pretty narrowed down time frame; I can see it being used for soul searching and spiritual readings with the help of the kabbalistic tree of life that is printed on the left of the pips. I can see it being used by beginners – again, keywords – and seasoned readers alike. I think everyone can find something they will like in this deck.
There isn’t really a topic that I wouldn’t read on with the GHAFTT, and this is very rare because I normally use each deck for a certain type of question. Be it love, money, spirituality; this deck will do it all. Maybe – and only maybe – readers who use the cards in a solely intuitive way could find the plethora of information and set meanings a little bit awkward. But the central images, especially on the Majors are very evocative, so even if you don’t use keywords and extra disciplines, you will find what you are looking for. To illustrate this, look at my personal favourites: the High Priestess and Justice. They could be the same lady, but while the Priestess has her eyes covered by the veil, Justice’s eyes seem to shine and throw light on truth and falsehood. In a way, Justice seems to help Priestess to see what is real and what is in her imagination.
The Majors are absolutely beautiful and evocative, but the pips are really interesting, too. They all have their suit represented by their elements put in a circle – no sharp edges even on the wands or swords. Attila puts the elemental dignitaries in spotlight. Swords mean air and thought here, not only conflicts and trouble – smashing stereotypes! Playing card equivalents of the tarot suits have been added too – very handy for playing card games! Yet another nudge from the Universe for me to actually learn how to play tarot. One day!
Talking about smashing stereotypes: a detail that I find strange is that in the courts, each rank looks the same in every suit – for example the same image is used for all the queens, only the token of their suit makes them different from the others. I am not quite sure yet how I feel about this. For me, directions are important when I read, so only time will tell how I get on with this detail. Still, I do see some advantages; for example this way all of the queens are equals. They are all equally intelligent, equally caring, charming and strong, while in some decks the courts can turn into rigid stereotypes. The grieving, cutting Queen of Swords versus the dreamy, intuitive Queen of Cups. Nonsense. Here the queens are real life women who display a certain talent for their suit’s characteristics in addition to them being normal people.
The copy Attila has kindly sent me to test drive is not the one that is being produced through the Indiegogo campaign. The card stock is the same as well as the images but it is not high gloss nor embossed therefore I can’t comment on those features. But, the card stock is pretty decent; lovely to shuffle and seems durable. I am sure having the characters in 3D will make the deck even more awesome! I imagine it would feel like they are more ‘real’, in a way.
As a summary: I think Attila has created yet another addition to the list of ‘must have’ tarot decks. The card stock is great, the design looks professional, and there’s an insane amount of information and research in the cards. Papus would be happy with it, I think. I know I absolutely am.