Dune Tarot

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Dune Tarot

Post by gwern »

A number of years ago, someone suggested on DUNE II, IIRC, that a Dune Tarot deck could be drawn up using _Dune_ characters. I thought it was an amusing suggestion and drew up some correspondences. Submitted for your amusement from my archives:

* 0 - The Fool == Paul Atreides
* I - The Magician == Pardot Kynes/Kwisatz Haderach
* II - The High Priestess/The Papess == Alia
* III - The Empress == Irulan
* IV - The Emperor == The Padishah Emperor
* V - The Hierophant (or The Pope) == Siona? (Heretic == Hierophant, Siona was main character of _Heretics of Dune_)
* VI - The Lovers == the twins of Children of Dune (Ghanima and Leto II)
* VII - The Chariot == Spacing Guild
* VIII - Strength == Farad'n
* IX - The Hermit == The Blind Prophet in _CoD_
* X - Wheel of Fortune == water of life/gom jabbar/Reverend Mother
* XI - Justice == Truthsayer
* XII - The Hanged Man/The Traitor == Ghola Idaho
* XIII - Death == Water of Life
* XIV - Temperance == Stilgar
* XV - The Devil == Baron Harkonnen
* XVI - The Tower == the Jihad, the conspiracy, and the actual tower on Arrakis; or the actual bridge Leto II fell off?
* XVII - The Star == Jessica
* XVIII - The Moon == Muad'Dib
* XIX - The Sun == Chani
* XX - Judgement == Shai-Hulud
* XXI - The World == Dune
"Uproot your questions from their ground and the dangling roots will be seen. More questions!"
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Re: Dune Tarot

Post by Freakzilla »

Siona was in GEoD. I think a Dune Tarot should resemble an in-universe deck and anyone past CoD shouldn't be in it.

My choices (without much thought):

* 0 - The Fool == Paul Atreides
* I - The Magician == Korba
* II - The High Priestess/The Papess == Alia
* III - The Empress == Irulan
* IV - The Emperor == The Padishah Emperor
* V - The Hierophant (or The Pope) == Jessica
* VI - The Lovers == Paul and Chani
* VII - The Chariot == Spacing Guild
* VIII - Strength == Gurney Halleck
* IX - The Hermit == The Prophet
* X - Wheel of Fortune == Melange/Spice
* XI - Justice == Truthsayer
* XII - The Hanged Man/The Traitor == Dr. Yueh
* XIII - Death == Water of Life
* XIV - Temperance == Stilgar
* XV - The Devil == Shaitan
* XVI - The Tower == CHOAM
* XVII - The Star == a star
* XVIII - The Moon == Arrakis' two moons
* XIX - The Sun == Salat
* XX - Judgement == Shai-Hulud
* XXI - The World == Dune
Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
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Re: Dune Tarot

Post by SandRider »

I'd like to see some more speculation on this - what did the cards for sale
in the Arrakeen markets look like ?

Dune Encyclopedia wrote: The secrets of the Dune Tarot
are said to be revealed in the Azhar
Book, but its obscurities only pique the
inquiring intellect and convey nothing
to the uninitiated. Some revisions of
the Orange Catholic Bible confirm
some of the symbols, but these
spurious editions have unreliable
origins in older, abandoned faiths from
the time before space travel. Scholars
date the Tarot from more than 20,000
years ago, and find in the Dune Tarot
some symbols common to cultures as
diverse as the Bene Gesserit and the
Fremen; however, initiates in the
Mysteries refuse to divulge any secrets
of the Temple, and indeed refuse even
to acknowledge that a Temple exists in
physical and not just in ideal form.
A tarot deck has 78 cards: the
major arcana, 21 cards of power
symbolizing the forces of greatest
import in man, society, and the
universe; and the minor arcana, 56
cards divided into four suits of 14 cards
each. The number seven is the mystical
seed from which the deck grows: each
minor suit has twice seven cards; the
major arcana, or trumps, have thrice
seven; the suits together total 77. The
joker (or Fool) is unnumbered in the

Some have argued that the four
suits of the minor arcana-Knives,
Globes, Staves, and Basins-are of
Fremen origin because their designs
suggest aspects of that culture. The
suits and their associations are:
Knives Crysknives Head Nobility Earth
Globes Glowglobes Heart Clergy Fire
Staves Windpoles Loins Merchants Air
Basins Dew Collectors Feet Peasantry Water

the minor arcana, with its four-
fold significances, including the four
seasons and what the Reverend Mother
Gaius Helen Mohiam called the "four
pillars of the universe": "the learning of
the wise, the justice of the great, the
prayers of the righteous, and the valor
of the brave." The four suits are twice
linked in sets of two: Knives and
Staves, both elongated forms, are
black, symbolizing the welcome night;
Globes and Basins, both circular forms,
are red, symbolizing the sun and the
day it brings.
The bridge between minor and
major arcana and the central symbol of
the trumps is the sign , recognized
throughout the Imperium as proper to
the letter M in many alphabets; the
initial of melange, which is the true
them, or "water of life;" and a
hieroglyph for the S of the sandworm
hi its transverse motion. The sign
unites the elongated and circular shapes
of the minor arcana also, and in most
designs of the Tarot deck appears on
four cards of the major arcana.
The major arcana suggest a
journey — Hajj or Hajra — to a
Temple, either inner or outer,
supported by the four pillars of the
universe. In keeping with other
Mysteries, the trumps imply esoteric
rites which lead the initiate to
membership and then to an exalted
state in which the traveler gains the
universe, becomes one with the
Kwisatz Haderach, or attains Alam al-
Because several versions of the
Tarot vary in small respects, the
following offers only the terms and
designs of the major arcana which are
I. The Hajrite. A man wearing a Jubba
cloak holds a lasgun upright in his right
hand as if it were a spear, and he raises
his left hand in a fist. He stands under
the vaulted ceiling of an Atreides
castle, and behind the castle the First
Moon appears. He symbolizes a fateful
journey made in anger; success
II. The Hajrita. A woman whose black
Aba suggests a Fremen lifts a
Glowglobe high; but behind her, down
the recesses of a vast vaulted hall, a
crone lurks. She stands for a quest
made in love, and failure follows her.
III. Baraka A man wears a crown with
the sacred emblazoned on it. The
barrel cactus and the evening primrose
provide a setting in the peaceable
kingdom brought by justice.
IV. Auliya. A woman likewise wearing
a crown with the sacred ,
surrounded by Akarso leaves. A catch
basin appears in the background,
symbolizing the delights of the blessed.
V. Ampoliros. The vehicle unites the
physical and spiritual, or unites one's
own planet with the regions of Alam
al-Mithal. Any heighliner could
symbolize the soaring spirit, but this
particular one suggests the endless
nature of the task.
VI. Wawi or Vahi. A man and woman
stand hand-in-hand looking toward a
rising Moon. They symbolize Two-in-
VII. Baraka-Heiros. He holds a baliset,
for he plays the music of the spheres
which can be heard by only — and yet
by all — true seekers of the way. He
stands for harmony in art or nature.
VIII. Krimsful. Wearing a garland of
Akarso leaves, a stillsuit-clad figure
kneels, arm around a couchant
sandworm, both figures against a
background of a Cheops board. The
man, worm, and gameboard signify
physical strength moderated by
IX. Ilmist. An eremite. The journey is
always solitary. He represents either
self-reliance or loneliness.
X. Ixion. Celebrates the invention of
the wheel as the beginning of culture.
All small things, like the journeyer, are
fated for great things; but the wheel
turns downward too, and the card can
mean a fall from high degree.
XI. Istislah. The Fedaykin and the
Sardaukar were both devoted to
Istislah. The card depicts a perfect
square to imply equal proportions for
all. There is no adornment (no
obstruction) on the square, and it is
upheld by four pillars.
XII. Giudichar. An inverted strong
man: the truth which supports the
universe. When heaven is reflected in
earthly dealing, it means "Right makes
might — as above, so below"; when
times are bad, it symbolizes the
triumph of might.
XIII. Erg or The Desolate Sand. A
monster like a Maker entwines himself
in Inkvine and enchains a black box.
The unlikely combination of Maker
and Vine implies that the initiate must
pass through a death phase and emerge
having conquered fear. Or the Desolate
Sand itself may represent a great
mystery or an ultimate test — a
Tahaddi al-Burhan.
XIV. Great Mother. The horned
goddess, sign of Time, treads on a star.
XV. Great Worm. Sometimes depicted
as Shaitan. He lies curled deep in a
cave and guards the "pearl of great
price." The negative side of each
person, or in society, the Fall of a
XVI. Pillar of Fire. A Pyrocket falls in
the desert, and a Cielago hovers in the
background. The exoteric yields to
Mantene, symbolizing a swift
enlightenment or the breaking of a
XVII. Star or Sayyadina. A Star adorns
the hood of a cloaked Fremen woman.
From love mid service come the light
of knowledge.
XVIII. Al-Lat, The heat of the desert
sun encourages the growth of Shai-
Hulud, but this is the devouring sun, a
deadly power. It glowers over the
Desolate Sand and a Sandworm. It
signifies an approaching trial, or
growth of the spirit.
XIX. Moon. Either of two satellites of
Arrakis. The moon confers the
refreshing dew, a source of life, and
glimmers over Akarso and catchbasin,
the latter adorned with the central
XX. Judgment. A Sadu presides over
the traditional scales, which here weigh
either the soul or the water rendered
from the dead, for the scales form the T
of the Tau.
XXI. The Universe. A figure with two
faces represents the Kwisatz Haderach
bridging space and time, and
symbolizes the intrusion of the divine
into the ordinary.
O. The Wanderer. Against the
desolate sand he walks alone, his
bindle with staff over his shoulder. He
does not know what the bindle
contains, for he does not understand the
affliction a Hero brings to his planet.
The card may mean escape or
When the major arcana were
used in prognosticating, the deck was
shuffled and cut, and the top card,
representing the one whose fate was
probed, was dealt face up. Around it
were dealt six cards, face down, in the
following positions:
At the prompting of the seeker
(if present), the six cards were turned
face up one at a time. The order of their
revelation established the order of
event. The significance of the cards
was determined by their position: thus,
for example, al-Lat represented a
spiritual burgeoning if it fell in a
"fortuna" position — Head or Right
Hand; but warned of a test to come if it
fell in an "infortuna" position — Left
Hand or Loins. The cards had a ranking
of "power": Gods, Demigods, Heroes,
Men, Animals, Things. Within each of
these ranks, the expected ordering
prevailed: for example (in descending
order), Baraka-Heiros, Baraka, Ilmist,
Hajrite, Wanderer. Thus, a more
powerful figure on a "fortuna" position,
say, will outweigh a less powerful on
an "infortuna" position.
The skill of the reader came into
play, too: as Elagar Lunacharakii says,
"Meaning resides not in the cards but in
the mind of the reader; the cards
provide only a focus and a symbology
for the channeling of the energy, for the
clearing of the vision, for the opening
of the eyes of the seeker." And there
were many in high and low positions in
the Atreidean empire who had that
skill. A new edition of the Tarot pack
appeared from unknown sources about
1021%; both Paul and Alia were vexed
by its increasing popularity, but they
could do little to halt its use and they
knew moreover that the rising tide of
divination of all kinds had been
inspired by their prescience. They had
marked out prescience as part of the
Fremen way, and spoke more clearly
by their example than by proclamation.
Further references:
x Melange;
x Elagar Lunacharakii, Pasteboard Prophets: On
Reading One's Own Fear and Calling It the
Future (Kaitain: Linthrin UP);
x Hadi Bai, Love, Wealth, and Peace Through
the Tarot (Zimaona: Kinat).
Dune Messiah wrote: They make much of the Dune Tarot which clouded Muad'dib's powers of prophecy.
-Analysis of History: Muad'dib by Bronso of Ix

But it was the time of the tarot which he'd forecast in an
early vision. The damnable tarot! It muddied the waters of Time until the
prescient strained to detect moments but an hour off. Many a fish took the bait
and escaped, he reminded himself. And the tarot worked for him as well as
against him. What he could not see, others might not detect as well

For furnishings, it contained
one flimsy basket chair occupied now by the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam,
a pallet with a brown cover upon which had been spread a deck of the new Dune
Tarot cards, a metered water tap above a reclamation basin, a Fremen privy with
moisture seals.

She glanced at the cards. They spoke of the powerful turning their
backs on supplicants. The card of the Great Worm lay beneath Desolate Sand.
Patience was counseled. Did one require the tarot to see this? she asked
When she had gone, the Reverend Mother returned to her tarot cards, laying
them out in the fire-eddy pattern. Immediately, she got the Kwisatz Haderach of
the Major Arcana and the card lay coupled with the Eight of Ships: the sibyl
hoodwinked and betrayed. These were not cards of good omen: they spoke of
concealed resources for her enemies.

Red and green packages containing the new Dune Tarot were prominent among
the vendors' wares, Alia saw. She wondered about the tarot. Who was feeding this
device into the Arrakeen market? Why had the tarot sprung to prominence at this
particular time and place? Was it to muddy Time? Spice addiction always conveyed
some sensitivity to prediction. Fremen were notoriously fey. Was it an accident
that so many of them dabbled in portents and omens here and now?

And he thought of the performance out there in the Great Hall. The dancers
had entered in the costumes and guise of the Dune Tarot, flinging themselves
about in seemingly random patterns that devolved into fire eddies and ancient
prognostic designs. Then had come the rulers -- a parade of kings and emperors
like faces on coins, formal and stiff in outline, but curiously fluid. And the
jokes: a copy of Paul's own face and body, Chani repeated across the floor of
the Hall, even Stilgar, who had grunted and shuddered while others laughed.
Children of Dune wrote: Many things were being offered for sale, the
voices shouting in competitive stridence: there was the Dune Tarot with its
booklets of commentaries imprinted on shigawire.
................ I exist only to amuse myself ................

I personally feel that this message board, Jacurutu, is full of hateful folks who don't know
how to fully interact with people.
~ "Spice Grandson" (Bryon Merrit) 08 June 2008
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Re: Dune Tarot

Post by Freakzilla »

They had images of the cards in the DE, too.
Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
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Re: Dune Tarot

Post by Robspierre »

Brian mentions in "Dreamer of Dune" that his mom had aset of the Dune Tarot made up. Wonder what ever happened to it?

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Re: Dune Tarot

Post by Freakzilla »

Robspierre wrote:Brian mentions in "Dreamer of Dune" that his mom had aset of the Dune Tarot made up. Wonder what ever happened to it?

Another OH holy relic.
Paul of Dune was so bad it gave me a seizure that dislocated both of my shoulders and prolapsed my anus.
~Pink Snowman
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