I’ve been dreaming of designing my own set of playing cards for a lot of time. The idea first came in 2007 when I was working on my Theogony project. For a brief time I was even considering turning the whole project into a tarot deck. Last year I finally started making drafts for the more widely used French deck and that’s how my Trumplust Deck of Cards began to take shape.
Although it was no longer a part of Theogony, I decided to follow a similar concept which can be described as re-interpreted depictions of ancient mythological figures and deities. The main difference is these interpretations now follow the organization of the standard playing card deck and to achieve that, I had to assemble groups of deities under common “houses” that correspond to the four suits of Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.
The end result is a divine pastiche of gods and goddesses from Norse to Hindu mythology. The symbolism of the suits was also re-imagined and so were some of the cartomancy concepts as you will see in the explanations below. Like the rest of my projects, the Trumplust Deck of Cards is far from finished, so I will gradually expand it further. For example, the association of each suit with a cardinal geographic direction is not accidental and it’s going to be one of the ideas I will definitely spend some time on.
The House of Spades
Symbolism: War, violence, challenge, sacrifice, death, afterlife
King of Spades: Osiris
The card symbolizes the cycle of life and death through pain and sacrifice. Osiris was one of the most revered Egyptian gods, ruler of the underworld and a symbol of life at the same time. He embodies almost every archetype of an ancient supreme deity. According to the myth, he was twice killed by his own brother Set and twice resurrected with the help of his wife Isis. Their son, Horus, was conceived by Isis from the dead body of Osiris.
Queen of Spades: Kali
The card symbolizes the brute force of nature and evolution, devoid of human categories like justice, compassion and mercy. Kali is the Hindu goddess of rage, annihilation and destruction and symbolizes the moment of death and letting go of one’s ego. She is often associated with darkness and the force that transcends time, one of the fundamental aspects of the Universe to which every creation inevitably returns.
Jack of Spades: Belus
The House of Hearts
Symbolism: Love, romance, emotion, spirituality, magic
King of Hearts: Anteros
The card symbolizes the union of hearts and the triumph of love over individualism. Anteros is the lesser known brother of the Ancient Greek god Eros. He’s the god of fulfilled, requited love.
Queen of Hearts: Astarte
The card symbolizes the yearning for love. Astarte is an ancient Eastern Mediterranean goddess of sex, love and fertility. She’s the “prototype” for the Ancient Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman Venus. All of them are associated with the “evening star” – the planet Venus.
Jack of Hearts: Kamadeva
The card symbolizes sexual desire and passion. Kamadeva is a Hindu god of physical love. According to some myths, he was born from the mind of Brahma, the god of creation.
The House of Diamonds
Symbolism: Luck, wealth, greed, rationality, materialism
King of Diamonds: Jörmungandr
The card symbolizes possession and obsession with power. Jörmungandr, also known as Midgard, is a mythical ancient sea serpent in Norse mythology, one that holds all the waters of the world in his embrace. According to the myth, the end of the world will come when Jörmungandr loosens his grip.
Queen of Diamonds: Lakshmi
The card symbolizes wealth and material prosperity. Lakshmi is a Hindu goddess of wealth and fortune, closely associate with money, which are considered one of her many manifestations.
Jack of Diamonds: Mammon
The card symbolizes greed and the speculative accumulation of wealth. Mammon wasn’t originally a deity but a Biblical term used to refer to unjust material gain and gluttony. Later, it was personified as a false god and as one of the seven princes of Hell in Christian demonology.
The House of Clubs
Symbolism: Birth, fertility, desire, sex
King of Clubs: Chronos
The card symbolizes the passage of time. In Ancient Greek mythology, Chronos is the personification of time. He is sometimes depicted as a serpent, who circled the primordial egg which contained the world, ultimately splitting into three different parts – earth, sky and ocean.
Queen of Clubs: Rhea
The card symbolizes birth and the instinct for procreation. In Ancient Greek mythology, Rhea is the mother of many Olympian gods, among which Zeus, Hades, Demeter, Poseidon and Hera.
Jack of Clubs: Min
The card symbolizes fertility and the primal sexual desire. Min is an Egyptian god of nature, reproduction and male sexual potency. He’s often portrayed black-skinned and with an erect penis. The Ancient Greeks associated Min with their god of nature, Pan.