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This blog describes my journey with the tarot. Here you can find articles, spreads, deck reviews, tarot fiction, practice readings, exercises or get readings (see tabs above).

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Sonntag, 27. Januar 2013

Deck Review: The Haindl Tarot - my verdict

I have taken some time to try and test the Haindl Tarot by painter Hermann Haindl (Lotos)  and this is my verdict on the deck.

The cards are rather big, with a matte finish and well-rounded edges. The size is not really good for shuffling or riffling the deck, which is a bit of a pity as that means it will probably not make it into my standard decks. I tend to get annoyed with cards I cannot shuffle properly. The back shows a non-symmetrical human eye, so it's perhaps nothing for people who put a lot of weight on reading reversals. 

The pip suits were superimposed on paintings and I'm not sure they always fit the meaning of the card but in most cases they do. The colours are muted except for some of the fundamental colours (red, blue, yellow) that appear a bit brighter, which gives the deck a bit of a serious and sombre quality. 

The imagery is clearly influenced by Crowley's Thoth deck but not a Thoth clone or derivate, Haindl has developed imagery of his own using mythological images from various cultures, occult systems and religions (Norse, Hindu, Egyptian, Native American, I Ching, Runes, Alchemy....), which makes it a bit of a deck for the advanced reader. I find it hard to interpret the pips without any prior knowledge of tarot, the suits and the progression within the suits. So it's clearly not a deck I would recommend for total beginners. Haindl uses different names for some of the Majors (e.g. Transformation/Death, Alchemy/Temperance, Pan/Devil) and for the Courts (Mother/Queen, Father/King, Son/Prince and Daughter/Princess) and he follows Waite's numbering of the Majors (XI=Balance, VIII=Strength)

The imagery and style reminds me a bit of the Petersen deck. I think it's a bit of an acquired taste. Either you like it and it "talks" to you - or you don't and it doesn't. Personally I found it quite interesting to work with and got very clear and good results in my readings. I would have instant associations with most card images and the key words and references helped, too. 

The LWB gives you very little to go on, there's a description of the card and a very short and somewhat limited explanation of its divinatory meaning. Again, I'd say that makes it an "advanced readers' deck". 

There are a number of cards I like especially in the Majors, for example The Hermit, The Tower, Strength, The Lovers, Two of Cups, The High Priestess and the Magician. My least favourite card is perhaps the Queen of Wands depicted as Kali as it stresses only the dark side of this card (makes me wonder if Haindl is scared of strong women). 

As I already said in the deck interview this deck somehow had an "old wise man" feel to it. It's a rather serious deck with a distinctly sombre quality. Not necessarily dark but perhaps a good deck for serious questions, meditation and shadow work. I quite liked it but it will probably not become one of my standard decks in use. I still have to test its use in creative writing and there was a spread suggested in the LWB I have yet to try. In any event, this one is a definite keeper. Beautiful artwork and rich symbolism. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea...but mine. 


  1. Nice review. Still in my top 20 :)
    There is a standard size deck in addition to the large German issue one you and I both have.

    1. Oh really? I'll have to look out for that one because the only real "con" I found for this deck was its size.

  2. I used this deck a few weeks ago and you are so right about the old wise man feel :-D
    It felt kinda serious, nothing to fool around much with silly games. I am glad I took it out though. I have a standard size deck and it shuffles most excellent!

    1. I will have to keep my eyes open for the standard size version as I think it could be a great deck for me to do readings with.

  3. I totally don't agree with your vision of Kali! If anything, she is terrifyingly beautiful and intense, honest, deeply and passionately in love with truth. She is definitely not the shadow side of the Feminine. She is actually the greatest goddess. For me, this is the most beautiful card in the whole deck. Blessings!