This page is designed to help people who are collecting the Alchemical Tarot to identify the different editions. There are six editions identified below by the box cover, and the front and back of the Star card. I picked this card because it was the first one I designed for the deck and it was the first to be published when it appeared in a article in Gnosis Magazine, in 1989, before the deck came out.
ONE (out of print)
The first edition of The Alchemical Tarot, called simply The Alchemical Tarot, was published in 1995 by Thorsons, the UK branch of HarperCollins. The original Lovers card I designed for the deck was considered too sexually explicit. So I redesigned it with the Lovers only kissing. Also I designed the cards to be the same proportions as the Waite Smith cards but the publisher wanted them wider. So I devised the border design with the columns to take up the extra width. It came in a boxed set with a book that I co-authored with Rosemary Ellen Guiley. That is why both our names were on the box, and the box is actually larger in relation to the cards than is pictured.
TWO (out of print)
The second edition of The Alchemical Tarot was published under my publishing label, Hermes Publications, in 2007. This was called The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed. For this edition, I reproportioned the cards so that I did not need the border design. This allowed the imaged to take up a larger space on the card without making the card larger. I scanned all of the drawings into the computer, made improvements, and recolored them. I also included both versions of the Lovers card, the censored one and the one that was originally published, making it a 79 card deck.
THREE (out of print)
The third edition was published by Hermes Publications in 2011. It was called The Alchemical Tarot; Renewed Third Edition. It again had 79 cards. I made improvements in the coloring and drawing and added some additional alchemical symbols. One of the biggest changes was the addition of wings on the beast depicted on the Eight of Swords, making it a combination of the four beasts of the Evangelists, depicted in the corners on the World card. The design for the back depicts the four elements and the two principles on a checked background. In 2011, Hermes Publications also published an updated and greatly expanded companion book, Alchemy and the Tarot: An Examination of the Historic Connection with a guide to the Alchemical Tarot. This book is now out of print. It was meant to be a guide to all versions of the Alchemical Tarot and even to the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, which is closely linked to the Alchemical Tarot.
FOUR (out of print)
The fourth edition was published by Hermes Publications in 2015, and it is called The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed Fourth Edition. For this 79 card edition I totally redesigned the coloring by placing the drawings on a tan antique paper and coloring them with layers of transparent color, like an antique alchemical manuscript. I again made improvements in the drawings and added many more alchemical symbols, particularly on the trumps, where I added a symbol for the alchemical operation that each card represents. These are all operations that are part of the Great Work of alchemy, the work that leads to the formation of the Philosopher;s Stone. I again redesigned the card back, which depicts the Lady Alchemia, the mother of the elements, the the material of the Stone. In 2017. This edition does no contain a little-white-book, but I published a new expanded and updated book that is a companion for this deck and for The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. It is called The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism. It can be purchased on this site.
FIVE (out of print)
The fifth edition was published by Hermes Publications in 2020. It is called the The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed 5th Edition (the Quintessential Edition). The art for this deck is the same as the 4th edition, but the cards have gold edges, they come in a two part cloth covered box, and the deck includes a little book with a color cover beside the more extensive The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism still being available.
The sixth edition published by Hermes Publications in 2022, is called the The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed 6th Edition (the Blue Sky Edition). The art for this deck is mostly the same as the 4th and 5th editions, but the skies are blue instead of the parchment background color, the cards have silver edges instead of gold, and the two-part cloth covered box is blue instead of green. The deck includes a little book with a color cover, But the more extensive The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism is still available. The biggest change is that there is a 22nd trump card called Truth. This card is based on a vision that Rosemary Ellen Guiley, my partner on the first edition, had after that edition was published. Rosemary died in 2019 and I included my illustration of the 22nd trump as a homage to her. you can read more about it in my blog post: The 22nd Trump
Other Tarot decks by Robert M. Place that are not sold on this site include, The Angels Tarot, The Tarot of the Saints, The Buddha Tarot, and the Vampire Tarot. You may be able to find copies of these on the Internet. I am also the author of The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, which was given a stared review in Booklist and said to be maybe “the best book ever written on …the tarot.” Copies of this book can be found on the Internet and in many libraries.
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The 63rd Temple of Hermes newsletter was sent on July 26, 2022. If you did not receive yours, you may need to update your email address.