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Joseph Vargo's Gothic Tarot

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  • Joseph Vargo's Gothic Tarot

    This has become one of my very favorite decks and very quickly!

    1. Are the minors illustrated or not?

    Yes they are.

    2. Do the suits have the traditional names (Swords, Wands, Pentacles, Cups) including the names of the Court Cards (page vs. princess, etc.)?

    Yes except the Page is Knave in this deck.

    3. What are the order of Justice & Strength?

    Justice is 8 and Strength is 11.

    4. What are the Swords & Wands associations (air or fire)?

    Swords are air and wands are fire.

    5. Does the deck have an accompanying book or just the LWB?

    Yes, the Gothic Tarot Compendium, highly recommended to understand this deck's imagery! Additionally, knowing the Dark Tower story (three fiction books written and illustrated by Vargo and Joseph Iorillo) is helpful to the "mythology" of some of the images and really helps interpret the cards.

    6. What are the size of the cards?

    A little larger than normal playing cards and other tarot cards, 5" x 3".

    7. Who is the publisher?

    Monolith Graphics

    8. Who is the artist?

    Joseph Vargo

    9. Who wrote the accompanying book (if any)?

    Joseph Vargo, Joseph Iorillo, and Christine Filipak wrote/designed The Gothic Tarot Compendium (ISBN-13: 978-0-9788857-2-4)

    10. Would you recommend this deck to a beginner? Why or why not?

    On it's own, I would not. With the companion book (The Compendium mentioned above) it would be fine, because the author lays out in detail what the imagery in each card means.

    My personal impressions:

    This deck is gorgeously dark and gothic, but not morbid or macabre. The males and females are all beautiful, and yes, Vargo did draw the women in obviously sexually-flattering gowns and garments, but it isn't gratuitous, in my opinion. This is a very BLUNT deck, it does NOT pull any punches so be ready for what it has to tell you. It's not that it doesn't give you good news; it can. Many of the cards have very positive, affirming messages and meanings. However, as mentioned, this deck tells you what you NEED to hear. Think of it as the parent that wants to guide you and fears that by giving you too many compliments, you'll get a huge ego or not be careful enough to achieve all you can achieve. It errors on the side of that parent, making sure you always know the bare-bones truth, even if it's a little over-harsh. One thing you'll never have to worry about--this deck never lies to you or sugar-coats anything! Often I find myself worrying a little too much about the message and the "impending disaster" I'm watching for after a reading is much more minor than I feared. So in a way, I've come to realize many of my own fears are greatly exaggerated and this deck has helped me overcome that in a weird way. If anyone would like more details feel free to ask here or message me for a conversation! (Also feel free to visit my facebook study group for this deck, at

    Blessed be!

    Last edited by Sontia; December 1st, 2019, 09:42 PM.