I wasn’t actually supposed to get this deck of Tarot cards. I’d placed and order through Amazon and received an “out-of-stock” message along with a note that unless I specifically stated that I still wanted the cards, my order would be cancelled. I did nothing, assumed the order would in fact be cancelled, and then did a double-take when the package arrived two days later.
Mistakes happen, of course, and sometimes maybe they’re not really mistakes. From my way of seeing things, I believe I was meant to receive the deck despite my intention to cancel. The universe, it seems, had other plans for me.
And so I have the Hexen 2.0 deck created by Suzanne Meister. It’s been sitting here for the last few days, and now I’m ready to open it and take a look at it.
Here is how Amazon’s sales blurb describes the deck:
The HEXEN 2.0 Tarot features 78 alchemical drawings depicting interconnected histories of the computer and the Internet, cybernetics and the counterculture, science-fiction and scientific projections of the future, government and military research programmes, social engineering and ideas of the control society; alongside diverse philosophical, literary and political responses to the advance of technology including the claims of anarchoprimitivism, technogaianism, and transhumanism.
In recent months, I’ve been doing a great deal of research on government and military programs, social engineering, politics, and conspiracy theories. I’ve ventured out a bit into “crackpot” territory, I’ll admit. The frightening thing, however, is that so much of what’s generally regarded as “looney-tune material” is actually based on fact. There are definitely some very fine lines to be drawn. Yes, the government has done a lot of things which sound unbelievable, but which can be verified. Just spend a morning browsing. Look up The Tuskogee Experiment, read a bit about MKULTRA and other mind-control experiments, find out about waste dumping in Utah, and investigate the “accidental” death of Frank Olson — which curiously follows the guidelines provided in a CIA assassination manual. You can also read the manual here, along with the CIA’s remark that “persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.”
Crackpot stuff? Ridiculous conspiracy theories? Not at all. Even a single morning reading factual evidence of government “experiments” will leave you looking at the world from a new perspective.
So, I was drawn to the Hexen 2.0 Tarot precisely because of it’s implied connections to knowledge of these “fringe” experiments and programs. Now, with the deck in my hand, I am preparing to “map out hypothetical future narratives” — a statement from the deck’s creator — and, hopefully, to increase my understanding of what’s really going on in the world around me today.
Whoa! I am impressed immediately with this deck.
I have to say, though, that I struggled to open the box. This is, in fact, one reason why the cards have been sitting untouched for several days. When I first received them, I attempted to tear off the cellophane wrapping, but couldn’t do it easily. So, I set the cards aside. Finally, with the wrapper removed, I tried opening the box. It was extremely difficult! I worried that I’d end up destroying the box to get the cards out.
But the cards! I’m salivating. First, the back design. The nuclear “mushroom” is obvious, and I should also point out that these are extremely large cards, measuring approximately 4 x 6 inches.
The overall effect for me is a sense of powerfulness. There is something substantial to be found here.
I am awed, too, by the sheer amount of information contained on each individual card. Most of the references, I will quickly admit, are foreign to me. I see “The Macy Conferences” appearing on the HIGH PRIESTESS card. I’m clueless. The ACE OF PENTACLES has “Nano Bio Info Cogno”. Again, I’m clueless. There are references to Post WWII “Early Computers” and a look at Cybernetics. All of this will be fascinating reading, and as I look at each card and discover how it relates to “traditional” Tarot meaning, I’m certain my knowledge and awareness will grow.
One Big Disappointment
As a Tarot collector, I have many decks and I’m accustomed to seeing various “re-interpretations” of the standard divinatory meanings. In other words, even when a deck’s creator has a radically-different approach, I can jump in and figure out what the cards mean and how to use them. Most such decks, however, do include a guide of some sort. This Hexen 2.0 deck has no explanatory material whatsoever.
There is a guide, but it’s a costly book ($29.95) which can be purchased separately. I won’t buy the book because I’ll enjoy doing my own research into card meanings and correlations with traditional imagery.
What I do miss, though, is the deck creator’s philosophies. I’d like to know more about why Suzanne Meister chose to create this deck, how it evolved, and more about her experience in developing the ideas and symbolism she included on the cards.
Reading with the Hexen 2.0
When I sat down here earlier, I’d hoped to have time to do a short reading with the deck, but the morning has gotten away from me and other responsibilities are calling.
I do want to take a little time to look through the cards and to devise a reading method that will take full advantage of what the Hexen 2.0 Tarot has to offer. I will be including insights from the deck in future posts.