Writer: Donald Tyson
Artist: Anne Stokes
While I have kept my box for a good long time, there’s nothing special about it other than the full-coverage artwork that covers it. It’s good for storage, but not transportation.
A wide guidebook, (5.25” tall x 8” wide), . The first sections cover HP Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos and its correspondances with other divinitory systems. The middle of the book gets into the Trumps (Major arcana) and the lesser suits as one might expect. Each card gets a detailed description of its imagery (in case you miss details looking at the cards themselves) along with regular and reversed meanings. The Divination chapter talks about using the cards for spreads and provides a custom 11-card spread, with five pairs of above-below associations and a top “Card of Fate” as a looming over message.
The 78 cards are full color illustrations (no pips-only minors, thankfully) and of standard size. The imagery is otherworldly and often graphic in gruesome and unsettling ways. Perfect for the cosmic and psychological horror of the Cthulhu mythos. The Majors have their Tarot associations on the bottom, and their Mythos association at the top. Minors detail their tarot association on the bottom. Unless you’re super into the Cthulhu mythos, some of the imagery might be vague and unclear. The guidebook is essential for understanding the history and associations baked into the card’s artwork. This is a deck that will take some studying
Two extra cards are lists of all the cards and suits in the set, rounding out to 80 cards in the entire deck. The Majors card also lists the Majors associations with Cthulhu lore as well as Zodiac correlations. The Minors card has the court cards and their elemental associations.
Reading with this deck
Again, familiarity with the Cthulhu mythos will help a lot with using this deck. The structure of the deck is traditional, as are the primary associations. It’s the cosmic horror layer that the Cthulhu mythos adds that requires some additional awareness to get the most out of readings with this deck. It’s functional as a standard RWS deck, but in that case, why not stick with an RWS? You’d use this deck because you want the existential dread that this deck provides to permeate your readings.
If you’re a Cthulhu mythos fan, this is a good deck. It’s well researched and informative, with a detailed guidebook (if a bit awkward sized), and the artwork of the cards is evocative and detailed. I give the Necronomicon tarot by Llewellyn 4.5 stars out of 5.