|Haindl Tarot cards. Click to open in new window for a clearer view.|
The Haindl Tarot Card Deck: A Review
The Haindl Tarot was one of the first decks I ever bought, and it remains a favorite. First published in the 1980s, it is the creation of German artist Hermann Haindl. The LWB that accompanies it was written by no less than Tarot expert extraordinaire Rachel Pollack. However, unlike many decks where the works of a particular artist are adapted or chosen after the fact by a Tarot writer, or that are developed as a collaboration, the Haindl Tarot was a finished creation in itself before Lotos Verlag ever contacted Pollack.
Pollack was so enthralled by writing up on the Haindl Tarot, that instead of a single book, she produced three - one dedicated to the majors, 'Haindl Tarot: The Major Arcana'; another to the minors, 'Haindl Tarot: The Minor Arcana'; and a third called 'The Haindl Tarot: A Reader’s Handbook'. The first two have been revised and reprinted and are highly recommended; sadly, the third one remains OOP. The LWB includes excerpts of Pollack’s books.
The court cards feature historical characters and/or deities of each particular culture. I particularly like the big-bellied, big-breasted Venus of Willendorf as Queen of Cups (or Mother of Cups in the North), the Black Kali as Queen of Wands, and the rather abstract representation of Old-Man as Father of Stones in the West.
At 5” x 3”, the cards are larger than your regular Tarot cards (which tend to be around 4.75” x 2.75” or 4.75” x 3”); the original Lotos printing is even larger, about 6” x 3.5”. While that could make shuffling a tad uncomfortable for some, the wealth of details in these magnificent cards does need room to be truly appreciated. The colors are muted earth tones, and the gray borders are unobtrusive.
Those who like trimming the borders from their card decks (as I do) may find that trimming the Haindl makes it not only easier to shuffle, but also more vibrant. It is as if freeing the images of those borders which are the color of storm clouds, allows the sun to shine on the somewhat somber and melancholy images and change their mood to a happier one.
The Haindl Tarot is a good deck for any purpose, be it divination, meditation, or study. It is above all, however, a thing of beauty. If you plan on checking it out, it would serve you well to note, as previously mentioned, that the Haindl Tarot bears more resemblance to the Thoth Tarot system than to any other.
Copyright attributions for the Haindl Tarot: US Games; Lotos Verlag
On Amazon: The Haindl Tarot, Minor Arcana The Haindl Tarot, Major Arcana