Background: Norbert Lösche and his Cosmic Tarot

I was surprised to see that the Taropedia site didn’t have an entry for the Cosmic Tarot, so I’ve taken some time to complete their excellent template and put up a draft article myself, which I hope and expect will improve  with additional contributions.  Wikis are good for that.

But how telling that this stunning deck wasn’t even there.  It is just so under-appreciated.

Anyway, here’s my article with a sprinkling of added commentary.

Description

The Cosmic Tarot deck by Norbert Lösche depicts symbols and icons gathered from several different eras — from ancient Egypt to modern Europe. Symbolism is used extensively and yet the deck is designed to remain accessible to even beginning readers.

It is a standard 78 card set. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles; court cards are King, Queen, Prince, Princess. The Justice card is card 8, Strength is card 11.

Colour is used to help convey meaning, for example, the images of the Wands suit are usually in shades of red for fire, cups in blue for water, etc.

Many of the characters have been drawn in the likeness of famous Hollywood actors. The deck is known for the evocative quality of facial expressions, no doubt a factor in why this deck is considered easy to read.

The Artist/Creator

Norbert Lösche was born in 1951 near Aachen, Germany. After earning a degree in Art History, he became an artist/illustrator, providing the art work for books dealing with fantasy and spiritual themes. His own spiritual journey began with a study of Hinduism, entering in-depth studies of the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramcaritmanas. In 1982 he joined the community of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho). After a visit to the commune of Bhagwan (Osho) in Oregon (USA), he left the community.

It was not long after this that he designed the Cosmic Tarot and wrote the accompnaying book (available only in Spanish). The deck itself is now translated into nine languages and is distributed worldwide.

In 1994 Lösche met the Tibetan masters Sogyal Rinpoche and Dzogchen Rinpoche in southern France and has since become a practicing Buddhist. He recent works include a series of Buddha images and mandalas.  (I did not know until today that Losche created mandalas, a fact that means a lot to me because so do I.  You can see mine at my site The Mandala Pattern)

The Cosmic Tarot Publishing Details

The Cosmic Tarot was first published by FX Schmid in 1988, a Bavarian company. Unfortunately this company was sold in the 1990s and Lösche’s agent, Walter Holl, had to find new publishers – AGM-AGMüller in Switzerland and US Games Systems, USA.

When AGM AGMüller took over the publishing of the deck, Mr Holl encouraged Lösche to write his book, which was published by Urania. Until now it is only translated into Spanish and is available from http://www.alfaomega.es/ (Oh, how I wish this book was available in English)

Creator’s comments

In creating this tarot, my intention is to make the old knowledge accessible and understandable to everyone by using a few secret symbols as possible. In our times, the search for transcendent meaning and self redemption has replaced the old mystical religions of a distant god. The tarot’s age-old knowledge is always quiet and reserved, yet it welcomes the seeker like an old friend. The tarot, with its dynamic concept of constant change, offers a doctrine for the New Age and thus becomes a reliable guide in this chaotic world of shifting social values.” (quoted by Jean Huets, Cosmic Tarot, US Games Systems, Inc, 1996, pg 6)

Creator’s website

Lösche’s Agent for tarot illustrations http://www.artwork-walterholl.de/suche.php?such=loesche&headline=Norbert+L%C3%B6sche

Lösche’s Mandala website http://www.bilderdermitte.de/

Reviews

This is an excellent, insightful and complete review of the deck:  http://www.wicce.com/redknife2.html The page design does not make reading easy, but it is well worth sticking it out.  This review is so good, in fact, that I once tried very hard to contact the author to tell her, and perhaps maybe encourage her to write a companion book for the deck.  I believe if she would, she’d create something amazing.

Other reviews:

http://www.telp.com/tarot/cosmic.htm

http://www.tarotpassages.com/cosmic.htm

http://www.autumnalwind.com/joan/tarotpostmodc.htm

http://www.telp.com/tarot/cosmic.htm

http://www.angelpaths.com/tarotcos.html

Source information

In addition to the links provided above, I also used the following pages to prepare this article:

http://norbertlosche.bravepages.com/NLcosmictarot.html#CTBookSpanish

http://www.wiki-aventurica.de/index.php?title=Norbert_L%C3%B6sche (A German site for which I needed to use Google translate tools)  [The Wiki Aventurica is a source directory and a platform for other projects that are dedicated to the RPG “Das Schwarze Auge” (The Dark Eye) Its contents may be freely copied and distributed. For details, even at the license terms. It currently includes 22 154 items.]


© Kathryn Tisdale 2010

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