The card back design of the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery features the Staff of Serapis, Serapis being a principle god in Egyptian mysticism. The staff features the head of a wolf, a lion, and a dog, representing the three Platonic souls and also, the past, the present, and the future heads of Cerberus. During the Renaissance, this imagery was associated with Prudence, who is featured on The World card.
That Staff of Serapis card back design was the first thing I saw of this deck, and I was immediately intrigued. Years ago a friend of mine gifted me with the Sevenfold Mystery deck, believing this was a deck I’d love, and he was right.
Creation of the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery by Place began “at the dawn of the 21st century” and was initially inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Edward Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones himself was inspired in large part by Botticelli and Michelangelo’s depictions of human figures and expression of Neoplatonic themes.
The unnumbered Fool card is Stultitia, featuring a woman with ass ears symbolic of the Soul of Appetite. She is blindfolded, symbolizing ignorance, and the dog at her side represents instinct. And of course, The Magician card is Hermes, and the High Priestess is Sibyl. Note that Key 9 is unnamed, for The Unnamed Seeker, The Hermit. This is “a mystic who has a vision of the sevenfold mystery. . . He has no name because he represents silence and meditation.”
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