This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, September 26 2018 6:25 PM UTC +00:00.
About the Cards
The Demon-Possessed Tarot is a deck that captures the essence of every demon of the Goetia and traps them in the cards. The cards are meant to look like they're authentic copies from a deck created in the 1600s by a conjurer and then hidden away in the wall of a castle for four hundred years.
The cards are aged with wrinkles, rips, and discoloration. Some cards have holes where fire or ash has burned through. One card is even spattered with blood, suggesting the conjurer failed to protect themselves against a violent demonic entity. These are all graphic enhancements, of course, the cards themselves are pristine!
This deck feels ancient and mystical--imbued with real magic--making each card truly unique with a life all its own.
In many cases, the artwork representing the demons was easy to find and came from an established artistic and folkloric tradition. However, pictorial representations of some demons have either never been created or do not match the description of the demon found in the Ars Goetia. To remedy this, I combed through thousands of public domain images from old books to find quality pictures that accurately represented the demons who had never been drawn before.
Many of the drawings had extensive amounts of background clutter (mostly mountains and random lines) that are really distracting. I painstakingly erased these lines and also touched up the images where necessary. In the image of Balam below, you can see I'm the first artist to repair that gaping hole in the poor bear he's riding upon.
Many source texts contributed to the creation of the Demon-Possessed Tarot.
For example: The system of correspondences between the Tarot and the Goetia was compiled from multiple authors. The descriptions and names of the demons varied slightly between sources; however, whenever there were significant differences, I always used the name in the summoning sigil as the primary name on the card and the alternate name / spelling was included on the lower right hand corner.
Drawings, sigils, quotes about the demon, and obscure astrological symbols were gleaned from half a dozen different ancient texts.
My primary sources in developing the Demon-Possessed Tarot were:
- The Testament of Solomon (100 - 300)
- Key of Solomon (1300s - 1400s)
- The Grand Grimoire (1521)
- Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (1577)
- Archidoxis magica (1591)
- The Lesser Key of Solomon (mid-1600s)
- Dictionnaire Infernal (1863)
- The Tarot of the Bohemians (1892)
- Liber 777 (1909)
- The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (1911)
- The Symbolism of the Tarot (1913)
- The General Book of the Tarot (1928)
All Tarot decks are endowed with esoteric symbols that convey subtextual information and prevent the uninitiated from misusing the cards.
Some demons are more powerful than others and require special circles, symbols, or incantations to be safely summoned into our realm. Many of these demons can only be conjured inside of the Magical Triangle, or kept at a safe distance through use of a magic ring. These protective devices are printed right on the cards where they are needed. Every symbol on every card serves a purpose.
Additionally, each card contains the name of one of 72 Angels of the Shem HaMephorash written in ancient Aramaic script under the name of the demon. "As above, so below."
The Six Grand Princes of Hell
The number of demons in the Goetia (72) and number of cards in a Tarot deck (78) do not align, so I knew there would have to be some improvisation in adding demonic entities that were not necessarily found in the primary lists of Goetic demons.
Many of the grimoires that deal with Goetic demons also list other powerful princes of hell. These ancient demons were worshiped as deities before the dawn of Christianity, and most of them bear familiar names, making them ideal companions to the 72 primary Goetic spirits.
The Correspondence System
Although several authors have created correspondences linking the Goetic demons to the Tarot, this linking is actually quite incidental. The true links originate in the correspondence between the demons and astrological signs (the decans, specifically). Even this system is not truly original as it was derived from the linking of the decans to the 72 names of God (angels who rule over the various demons). This system of correspondence only works for the minor arcana, and previous authors have created significant “doubling up” of demons to decans, making it impossible to follow perfectly when designing a Tarot deck.
After spending several weeks trying to find ways of aligning the demons to specific cards, it became apparent that I would have to develop an entirely new system of correspondence. Using the basic decan system and various astrological charts, combined with Crowley's correspondences and details gleaned from close readings of the grimoires, I finally settled on a correspondence that links the significance of each Tarot card with the demon's power.
Here's where your money goes
The primary cost involved is printing the cards. The printer has already been sourced and I've had several variations of test decks printed. These variants each involved changes in the overall graphic design as well as the physical texture / thickness of the card. I kept printing test decks until I was satisfied with both the look and feel of the cards. If you like what you see on your screen, you're gonna love the way they look in your hands.
Other significant costs include the cool velvet bags and tuck boxes that are used to store the cards when you're not busy summoning demons to guide your future, bring you love, teach you liberal arts, or destroy your enemies (not that you'd ever do that, right?). Also, shipping all these decks will end up costing nearly as much as getting the cards themselves printed.
In short, your money is being well spent. And you can always conjure Lucifuge Rofocale (Ace of Pentacles) if you need help paying your rent after blowing all your extra cash on supporting this Kickstarter.
The Grimoire of Dark Souls
An extremely lucky few can obtain a hand-crafted, totally unique grimoire giving detailed information about the demons including invocations, summoning sigils, circles of protection, and other scary stuff. Some of the grimoire is written in a coded-language from the 1600s, but the majority of the text has been translated to English for easy reading.
The entire 40-page book has been carefully aged using a three-step process. This leaves the paper feeling a bit like leather. Some of the pages have actual burns along the edges or even right through the pages. These burns are real (unlike the ones for show on the cards), there is also occasional wax spatter from where the unholy grimoire has been used by conjurers in the past. The spine of the book is hand-sewn and surprisingly sturdy.
Due to the time and labor involved with producing these one-of-a-kind works of art, only a limited number will be made available.
The project started with only four, but had to expand pretty quickly to keep rewarding all you awesome backers. The higher it goes, the more stretch goals will be added!
- GOAL MET! $7,000 Gold-gilt edge: All decks get premium gold-gilt edges to mimic the brass vessel that Solomon originally used to contain the demons.
- GOAL MET! $13,000 Images of all cards: Images of all 78 cards are added to the basic digital guidebook that is sent to backers at $10 and higher.
- GOAL MET! $15,000 Sexier velvet bags: Backers were polled and selected the Secret Seal of Solomon as the custom image on the velvet bags.
- GOAL MET! $20,000 Custom tuck boxes: Instead of plain white boxes, ALL full decks will come in cool custom tuck boxes.
- GOAL MET! $25,000 PDF of Demonic Grimoire: A PDF version of the Grimoire of Dark Souls will be sent to all backers at the level of $55 and above (anyone who backed a full deck of cards).
- GOAL MET! $30,000 More Demonic Grimoires: The Grimoire of Dark Souls is extremely time-consuming to create, BUT, an additional 50 copies were made available.
- GOAL MET! $40,000 More Custom tuck boxes: Early backers and those of you who backed at the $70 level and above will get a velvet bag AND your deck in a custom tuck box.
- $60,000 Cursed Pages: Anyone who backed a full deck ($55 early, $60 and $70) will also receive a single random page ripped from the Grimoire of Dark Souls along with their deck.
- $80,000 Treasure of Asmoday: A solid silver Ring of Virtues, 30 silver dollars, and precious gemstones worth at least $1,000 USD will be securely hidden somewhere in the world (either North America, Europe, or Australia). The clues to find this treasure are located within the Grimoire of Dark Souls. The treasure will remain hidden until one of the backers of this project finds it. The printed versions of the grimoire will contain three clues, the electronic PDF version will contain only two clues.
- $100,000 Treasure of Solomon: Instead of one hidden treasure, THREE treasures, each worth at least $1,000 will be securely hidden around the world: one in North America, one in Europe, and one in Australia.
Risks and challenges
I've devoted an entire year researching and painstakingly creating this beautiful, powerful deck of Tarot cards. The artwork is already finished, several test decks have been printed successfully, and I'm ready to start the big print run to get these babies into your hands. Once the cost of printing the decks is covered, they'll be created and shipped from the printer to me to you.
Shipping will be pretty quick from the printer since I'm paying for express. The decks fit perfectly into a priority mail flat-rate small box, so I'll use those for simplicity and speed when shipping from me to you. This means your decks will all arrive a few days after I get them packed and to the post office.
I love the Tarot! Creating this deck without promise of payment was a labor of love. I'd now like to share it with the vast community of Tarot collectors, cartomancers, and demonolators who will find the same joy from having their own Demon-Possessed Tarot deck.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!