Major Arcana

0 - The Fool. If the abyss of the unconscious unexpectedly gapes open before you, all reason may fail. As you pass the spheres of existence one by one, you approach the centre of the External Universe where time and space no longer have meaning. Extraordinary creatures are born of chaos in the mad mind of Azathoth and settle in the multidimensional world.

I - The Magician. Thirteen centuries ago, the Yemeni wizard and poet Abdul Alhazred wrote the Necronomicon: the key that opens the gateway to the underworld. From the open window overlooking the countryside of Damascus, we can hear the nocturnal insects that the people call Al Azif, but the Magician knows that they are really ancient demons.

II - The High Priestess. The wise woman holds the nocturnal knowledge of the World of Dreams and jealously guards the book of incantations. Every waterway sustains witches, who float even if bound.

III - The Empress. In the grottoes of the isle of R'lyeh, the Lady reigns over the creatures banished there while waiting to be conjured up to once again reign over the surface of the planet together with Cthulhu. As during the long winter, Mother Nature veils herself in darkness and awaits the propitious moment to manifest life again. The Lady is the mother and the Goddess of the Ancient inhabitants of the world.

IV - The Emperor. The occultist Emperor Rudolph II thus dreamed of himself in the secret undergrounds of the palace of Prague, after having obtained a translation of fragments from the Necronomicon from court magicians John Dee and Edward Kelley. He holds the secret to making gold dust and keeps the two alchemists as servants. They are by now mad and reduced to formless creatures.

V - The Hierophant. The High Priest Zanthu invokes his god Ythogtha against the tyrant Ghatanothoa on the lost continent of Mu. This arrogant gesture will provoke the ire of the Old Ones and the destruction of Mu, which will sink into eastern oceans. He grasps the The Zanthu Tablets tightly to his breast, but even this grimoire brings with it the terrible destiny of he who desired power. 

VI - The Lovers. The call of the creatures of the moors pierces the fog and shows us the path that leads to the subtle dimensions of the Beyond. The two lovers grasp each others' hands. The time has come to decide: say good-bye and head out to explore that unknown world between the rocks of the Antarctic or remain united into the fading of time between the Mountains of Madness.

VII - The Chariot. Far from the concentric shells of Azathot and from The World of Dreams, the Beyond awaits the chariot of the irrational one, where pure creativity can generate the fantasy of the immaterial spirit or the madness of the eternal nightmare. The charioteer whips the two horses with glowing ember eyes while transporting the remains of material bodies.

VIII - Justice. At the foot of the impassive and severe idol that keeps the chalices of Shadow and of Light in equilibrium, the servitors of Cthulhu have left traces of black magic, evocations of demons and Voodoo rituals.

IX - The Hermit. In the solitude of his studies, this scholar of the occult consults the grimoire De Vermis Mysteriis, written by the heretical warlock Ludwig Prinn in a gloomy dungeon of the Inquisition before being burnt at the stake. The prudence of the scholar discourages him from chanting the evocation to save the Earth from the terrible scourge of the liberation of the demons.

X - The Wheel. In the northern wood, ancient her-mae guide the servitors of Cthulhu to the clearing where they find the gaping Well of the Shoggot. The depths of the well open towards the abyss and the servitors evoke the creature who have lived for ages in that pit. Man observes this ritual and The Thing at the Threshold.

XI - Strength. With the Shining Trapezohedron the girl confronts the gigantic avatar of Nyarlathotep, that "something that is not in the stone, but watches her from beyond the stone": the Strength to conquer the evoked demon can be found in your heart and not in the grimoire.

XII - The Hanged Man. The terror triggered by reading the grimoire gives rise to the deepest desperation in those who know that "the window in the room under the eaves is a gateway to other dimensions, to times and spaces not of our world...".

XIII - Death. In the Nameless City the mad poet who wrote the Necronomicon also wrote the famous verses: What can live eternally cannot be dead, and in strange aeons even death can die".

XIV - Temperance. In the sacred woods the secret of eternal Life is imparted by the Fount of Life. The sacred waters gently protect from excess.

XV - The Devil. In the crevasse that mirrors the Moon, the gigantic hands of the slimy and scaly Dagon emerge from the waters, like the deepest horrors emerge from our unconscious.

XVI - The Tower. The monstrous Cthulhu with its blob-like octopus head has reawakened: it now wraps its flaccid body and tentacles around the Tower, which collapses under the blows of the horror that came from the stars to wait in the shadows.

XVII - The Star. The demons that came from distant spaces are imprisoned by the energy of the perfect alignment of the Stars: the evil stellar progeny has been defeated by the propitious astral conjunction.

XVIII - La Moon. The Full Moon reflects on the ocean of the unconscious: the nocturnal light unveils some shadows where monsters lurk, ready to reawaken and ambush the mind.

XIX - The Sun. In the legendary city of Arkham, "suddenly the Sun seemed to fade, yet there was not it cloud in the sky., .a bolt of lightening flashed in the distance, and astonished men scoured the sky for signs of a storm in vain...all raising their arms rhythmically..."

XX - Judgment. The Great Old Ones need man and make themselves known in their dreams by calling low: the monolith rises between the rainbows that recall the pact between man and his Soul.

XXI - The World. Beyond the physical world created by the madman Azathoth, reaching The Beyond via the most subtle oneiric dimensions means saving yourself and fulfilling your greatest dream.

Minor Arcana

Facing your most profound self means knowing even your dark sides and your weak points as well as strong ones. Then your Dreams will emerge from amidst your desires and fears, together with the Shadows and Lights to be harmonized and the Demons to be dominated. All these energies become resources if guided virtuously by awareness. The traditional Elementary quadripartition can be found in the symbols of the Minor Arcana and in the essence of man himself: in this way, he who yearns to know himself will find it significant that the four suits will correspond to his own four main centres, which must tend to integrate.

The Chalices are Dreams and represent emotions and the Element of Water, corresponding to your own emotional centre, joys and pains. Dreams are delicate and are held in the heart like wine in a chalice. Dreams sometimes well and overflow, like tears in our eyes when we are moved.

The Pentacles are Shadows and represent matter and the Element of the Earth, corresponding to our own physical centre, the body, its needs, and the material that surrounds it. Amidst the Shadows grow attachments of men who identify themselves with their body and with the objects they possess.

The Wands are Lights and represent creativity and the Element of Fire, corresponding to our own creative centre, together with sexuality. The Lights defeat the darkness and disperse fears, releasing a vibrant creativity.

The Swords are Demons and represent thoughts and the Element of Air, corresponding to our own intellectual centre, with the mind and its potential. If thoughts escape our control, they can become obsessions, taking the form of Demons that enslave the mind.

The following general indications should be used to interpret the individual cards, taking into consideration the meanings of the suits and always relying on one's own sensations and instinct.

Ace: the book of individual potential is still closed; a beginning, concentration of forces.

Two: diverse energies face off in the depths: obstacles, a critical point, accumulation.

Three: The grimoire falls opens to natural magic, to creativity, to union.

Four: a level of comprehension is reached and consolidated; stability, fulfilment.

Five: there is the opportunity to move on to a higher level of consciousness, but there is also uncertainty and difficulty in abandoning personal convictions.

Six: analysis of the situation and reflection are necessary before deciding.

Seven: mental and physical actions are developing dynamically.

Eight: the ability to decide and fortitude come from reason and generate a desire for balance, stagnation.

Nine: the experience produced abundance, wholeness, but perhaps also isolation and crisis.

Ten: the end of a chapter of the grimoire represents fulfilment, consolidation, and a new beginning.

Knave: presage of the onset of a transformation: the secret learning of the hidden knowledge of the Pyramids.

Knight: enterprise and vivacity urge to action: inclination to a sudden turn of events.

Queen: the keeper of the forces of one of the four personal centres, the perception of this energy.

King: the control of one of the four personal centres, the full possession of one's resources. 

Ghi Chú:

Ancient texts of magic, witchcraft, and rituals are called Claviculae or Grimoire. The latter were often books of Black Magic: in them initiates could find instructions and magic formulas for concocting potions, medicine, spells, and talismans with alchemical, astrological, or cabbalistic derivations, sometimes finalized at summoning angels and demons.

It was thought that these "forbidden" books were rare and dangerous, especially if used without due precautions. The Church condemned them unreservedly in 1557 with the Index Librorum Proibitorum, but all this served only to fuel the legend and clandestine market. Authentic copies were confused with masterful counterfeits and the copies, both real and presumed, of ancient books of magic spread throughout the world from the Middle Ages onwards. In addition to the famous Clavicula Salomonis, the Lemegeton, the Mutus Liber, The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, the Voynich Manuscript, and many other legendary books, the rediscovery of the following were declared: The Book of Abraham the Jew, The Book of Dzyan, The Book of Enoch.


Some books of magic, born as narrative devices for tales of horror, became so famous that many actually believed in their existence. The best known of these pseudobooks is certainly the Necronomicon, born of the extraordinary nocturnal visions of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937). In the Call of the Cthulhu, this writer from Providence, Rhode Island explains the genesis and history of this celebrated grimoire, written in the 8tn century by the Arab poet and magician Abdul Alhazred under the title of Al Azif and later translated into Greek and Latin. According to Lovecraft's tales, the original Arabic text for the Necronomicon was lost, but its translations continue to impart the mythology of the Great Old Ones, evil creatures who arrived on our planet thousands of years ago, and the rituals to summon them forth, releasing them from the dark, secret prisons to which they were condemned; the erudite mystic, John Dee, supposedly wrote an English version in the 16tn century at the court of Emperor Rudolph, who was a scholar of alchemy and enthusiast of occultism.

There are those who maintain that the Necronomicon was written on parchment made from the skin of humans killed during black magic rituals, while its history became tainted with legend. Lovecraft himself stated that this grimoire was merely a literary invention, but many other narrators continued to write about it and later, the prestigious expert on the occult, Colin Wilson, hypothesized that the author truly possessed a copy of the Necronomicon, but was intent on denying its existence to not reveal the initiatory secrets of an esoteric sect.

What is certain is that the success of the literary genre and the widespread diffusion of Lovecraft's mythology, which would recruit followers like Robert Bloch, inventor of the ominous grimoire De Vermis Mysteriis, and renown admirers like Stephen King, who mentions it in his tale entitled Jerusalem's Lot.

It does not matter that The Pnakotici Manuscripts in the equally imaginary Miskatonic University Library do not exist, nor that no Francesco Maria Guazzo never wrote a Compendium Maleficarum, nor that The Nine Gateways to the Realm of Shadows fail to lead to the Club Dumas; what is important is that the human imagination is free to create extraordinary worlds, breathing life into mythopoiesis and renewing the art that, as Ovid taught us, is often inspired by the unknown, by the shadows that animate dreams, by our deepest fears.

Tarots as Books of Magic

This deck of Tarot cards was inspired by the dream worlds of fantasy literature, by grimoires, whether real or imaginary, by the nightmares that they have generated and continue to generate in the depths of the subconscious.

Perhaps even these cards are fragments from an ancient sacred book of illustrations only: a text full of wisdom and knowledge that transmits symbolic messages with a language similar to that of dreams. It was not by chance that Court de Gebelin associated Tarots with the mythical Book of Thot in 1781: "a Work of the ancient Egyptians that escaped the flames that destroyed their superb libraries (...), who would not be eager to know such an extraordinary Book!". Likewise,

the esoteric expert, Eliphas Levi, author of the Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1855), defined the Tarots as "a miraculous book inspired by all the sacred book of ancient civilizations".

The most humanistic Tarology of the 21st century, which is considered in keeping with the theories of Jung and Pauli on synchronism and Archetypes, even if distant from the world of the occult and magic, continues to be of great interest for its oneiric and symbolic dimensions. In the world of symbols, in fact, fantasy literature can be an extraordinary source of meditation and comprehension for messages that rise from the depths of the unconscious.

The Dark Grimoire Tarots are therefore a true Clavicula due to their intrinsic nature and genesis: a key that can open forgotten doors in the darkest corners of the psyche, those doors hidden in the shadows and engulfed in spider webs. Opening those doors can mean gaining knowledge of our own fears and recognising our own dark side, learning how it can balance our whole being. In those secret chambers, beyond the darkness, is where creativity is often imprisoned like an exiled deity who sends oneiric messages veiled in symbols to free himself by reaching beyond to transform nightmares into dreams.

Key to Reading

The profound meaning of the Tarots is a message of love, of awareness, and comprehension that seeks to answer the eternal queries of man, who can thereby escape his so-called destiny by developing his consciousness, like in the ancient Delphic saying "Know yourself. For this reason, ignorance can never be redeeming, nor can awareness bring about any determinist curse. Therefore, Tarots could never be an evil and frightful grimoire, but rather will always adapt to being an instrument of the will of man, a true master of his own destiny and always more aware of this power.

As a divinatory game, randomly select five cards from the deck and arrange them according to the Magic Pentagram, a symbol that the grimoires advised for fettering the demons of Air, the spirits of Fire, the spectre of Water, and the ghosts of the Earth.

Position 1: The purpose of the query, the objective or the desire of the Querient.

Position 2: The past that led to the current situation.

Position 3: The probable evolution of the current situation.

Position 4: Obstacles and difficulties to be overcome.

Position 5: The suggestion for overcoming the obstacles.
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