The Experimental Tarot - Meet the Author


Me and my Tarot ...

Life to me is like a scientific experiment, thus the naming of this Tarot. Within a given framework, the outcome is unknown and undetermined, free will is being exercised at all times. I love the experiment of life. The Tarot has served me in the most vivid (meaning "chaotic") parts of it as a mapping- and awareness tool.

When I was 27, in the year of my Saturn return, I became introduced to the little Rider deck by a very lovable Italian guy in his fifties who played it as crazily as he had the game of life for over 20 years then. My early experiments where very unstructured until 3 years later I was attending a course with a US born mystic woman who blew my mind away with her in-depth insights into Crowley's serpent-like symbolism. She was later to co-design the Osho-Tarot, which is still one of my favorites today. From the people I met and the sources I read, I assume that there are as many opinions on the roots of Tarot and the associated symbolism as there are "experts". Some evocate Atlantean wisdom while others only go back to the Egyptians of the Pyramids, while even others hold medieval artists - mainly Italian ones- responsible for the design of the first sets of divinatory cards.

In any case, while trying to comprehend the role of various schools of symbolism like Astrology and Numerology, the part of ancient gods and goddesses along with the accompanying myths for a good ten years I learned, that about all the stuff that makes up our perceived reality is in some way symbolic. I realized that contemporary, everyday scenes yield a far deeper and broader symbolism than outdated ancient books can reveal. After all, a symbol is what you make of it, whether you've read the meaning somewhere or your broader consciousness (often misnamed "subconscious") itself, in it's boundless creativity and access to physical and non-physical information, does the job for your surface Mr. "That's Me" ego.

I hardly ever succeed in interpreting my dreams according "to the book" (about dream symbols) but I often do according to my own feelings and visions about it. That's why I assume that there are as many symbol libraries as there are human beings. Some common denominators may exist as well as junctions between peoples' interpretations of everyday symbols. I wrote this little guide, which is strictly my own set of association with the events shown on the deck. If the cards talk to you right away there's no need to consult it. You may use it as a "helping hand" or "second opinion", or if you aren't quite clear what to make of the picture. Every time I had more than one possibility of interpretation (which was usually the case) I wrote down the "highest" one with the broadest implications. Needless to say that there is no "right" or "wrong". What the card means for you is the meaning of the card. One word of caution: If you are playing with a friend or doing a reading for him or her it might be good to mention beforehand whose vision and interpretation should be the valid one, in order to avoid choosing the outcome closer to one's own hopes and desires.

Although I use the 78-card Major and Minor Arcana classic kind of Tarot structure, I name the suits by their respective element, rather than hiding them in in symbolism like "swords" for air and "wands" for fire. I also prefer naming the court cards in a more contemporary manner as son, daughter, mother and father over the traditional king & queen combo with associated pages, princesses and/or princes. The Major Arcana as well as the elements are clearly visible by means of a symbol in the lower right corner of each card.

It is often said that the Minor Arcana represent events, or, in the case of court cards, people in the questioner's life, while the Major Arcana represent his personality features. My experience shows no such divorce of meanings. Particularly other people in my life are often depicted by major Arcana if they are important enough. For me there is a decline in energy and precision from major to minor Arcana. The major cards generally representing more important and possibly more immediate events than the minor. Future and past may be seen, but I suspect that in either case, they are merely probables, the freedom of choice always applies, even "backwards" in time and seemingly more so with the questioner's growing awareness of everyday events. Only the HERE & NOW is a clear reference point and readings pertaining to it seem to be the most precise.



I dedicate this work to Osho Rajneesh, Lord of the Full Moon, who essentially guided me for over a decade, and to all other sources of inspiration inside and "out"side of myself.



The Creators of the Elemental Tarot, Caroline Smith and John Astrop, through their deck have had a strong impact on my perception of the Tarot in a contemporary way. I found their work most inspiring and in most cases followed their outline of the structure of Major and Minor Arcana. Their deck was the one most used by me ever since I discovered a copy in the back room of a small bookshop somewhere in the middle of India.

My personal gratitude goes to Deva Waduda for her impressive introduction to the Crowley set of cards back "on the Ranch", with which I later gained most of my experience in the use of Tarot for the decade to come; it also goes to Vimal Purnima who assisted with the cards and booklet in moments of lack of inspiration on my side. Her flow of ideas and insights is based on 12 years of experience in the field of Tarot.

Special thanks also to the CorelDraw! team. Without their marvelous computer-based drawing tools and huge library I could have never expressed my creativity in that richness and variety. The people of the Hamburg based Corel-support-hotline who where ever helpful in cases of problems with the program deserve a special mentioning.

I also thank all of my friends who gave invaluable feedback and allowed the first designs to grow up into the full blown deck. And -last but not least- Oliver/Prabhu who proofread this text for me - it is now readable thanks to is his virtue, the remaining "bugs" are entirely mine of course.


Reading that inspired me (among others)


About the author (fact-sheet, sort of ... :-)

Samvado Gunnar Kossatz was born in St.Pauli, a part of Hamburg, Germany on 12th of March 1953 (11:35 am). He tried Communismn, Anarchie, LSD and TM before he started playing with Tarot-cards back in 1979. That (among other happenings) led him to meet Osho in Poona in 1981 who became his prime source of inspiration for the years to come. He bought his first Seth-book around the same time; Jane Robert's books became another great inspirational source. In his spare time he flies a little airplane (a C172A). He also designed a Tarot multi-media CD for Windows-based computers.

This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1996/2015 by Samvado Gunnar Kossatz, Hamburg, Germany.