The Arcus Arcanum Tarot is the product of a happy and mutually stimulating collaboration of Günter Hager and Hansrudi Wäscher. The first is a German who was responsible for starting the project and who conceived this deck and wrote a book about it as well. Hansrudi Wäscher is a Swiss comic strip illustator whose career goes back as long as the early fifties!
Freely translated ‘Arcus Arcanum’ means ‘Bow of secrets’ or ‘Mysterious bow’. “Just as the bow is the connection of two poles or sides, tarot makes it possible to connect the unconscious with the conscious”. The booklet that comes with the deck is larger than most and does not have the usual tiny print that almost calls for a magnifying glass to work through it. Luckily in this case, because the contents are more than worthwhile. The symbolism and scenes are described in a very down-to-earth manner, as are the meanings of the cards. This Tarot was not intended to use with reversed card meanings, but this shouldn’t prevent anybody from doing so all the same. After the description of the Major Arcana, two spreads with sample readings are presented: ‘The Tau cross’ (sweet and simple) and the ‘Sequence of questions’ spread that I find rather cumbersome, but may appeal to others. The booklet continues with the minors and gives the Celtic Cross at the end.
This deck has inspired a group of young German artists to produce a musical based on some of the Arcus Arcanum characters. (Floris Wijers @ tarotpassages.com)
Arcus Arcanum Tarot
First Published in 1986 by AGMüller, Neuhausen, Switzerland (in a German and an English edition).
Conceived by Günter Hager and painted by Hansrudi Wäscher.
Book by Günter Hager, “Tarot – Wege zum Leben” (Tarot – way of life),
Urania Verlag AG (dept. of AGMüller, Neuhausen, Switzerland).
Both the deck and book are readily available throughout Europe. The items are either sold seperately or in a deck/book set. In the United States the deck is distributed by US Games Systems Inc. I am not sure if the book is available in the US at all, since I have never seen it advertised there.