Dabbling in Divination

I was grateful to spot a recent ‘Anatomy of an Artwork’ in the Guardian Guide on ‘The Tower’ from the 1982 “Neuzeit-Tarot” (“New Age Tarot”). It provided some interesting background to the deck I was given in 1984. Initially I used the cards a lot, mainly for others (as one should). Below is the cover of the book that I used to help me make sense of the cards. Please note that the deck in the book is not the Neuzeit one, but the Raider-Waite deck).

photo of cover of a book on interpreting Tarot cards - showing the 2 of pentacles of the Raider-Waite deck

But let’s get back to the Neuzeit, or rather, its creator!

Tarot card from 1982 New Age deck - XVI - The Tower

Walter Wegmüller (February 25, 1937 – March 26, 2020) was a Swiss painter and recording artist. According to the Guardian’s Skye Sherwin: “Wegmüller’s sensibility was steeped in 1960s and 70s counterculture. Of Roma heritage and based in Switzerland, he was an intriguing figure in a local hippy circle that included the acid guru Timothy Leary, in exile after fleeing prison in the United States, the mystic Sergius Golowin and the artist HR Giger, who created the visuals for the film Alien.

All of them were drawn into the krautrock scene when the head of Ohr Records, Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, showed up looking for prescient voices for a new label, Cosmic Couriers. It birthed a string of seriously cult albums, with of-the-moment ideas chanted to far-out jams by German prog rock’s finest. Leary aired his thoughts on Ash Ra Tempel’s Seven Up, for which Wegmüller created artwork. Wegmüller soon followed suit. As a student of tarot, he mined his cultural heritage to create a Gypsy pack and he describes each card on the album Tarot. It featured contributions from the likes of Ash Ra Tempel and Wallenstein.”

Here are some more cards – and I think all of the above makes sense:

I have to admit that even though I am German, Krautrock was never my thing – still, I have to confess to a bit of hippie-ness in me, certainly a light-hearted interest in finding out what the future holds.

image of Kipper cards (Divination cards) cover, showing Lady Fortune emptying the horn of wealth
KIPPER Divination Cards

Much easier to interpret than Tarot are ‘Kipper’ cards. This German fortune telling system dates back to the 19th Century. The deck traditionally has 36 cards, many are people in various roles and relationships. Major life events and common situations are also clearly designated in the cards, for example: Marriage, Work, Worries, Illness, Good Fortune. So they are quite literal, the images and titles indicate exactly what the card means, e.g. ‘Success’ or ‘A Journey.’ You will usually know exactly what kind of person you are dealing with, for example, ‘the thief, ‘a false person’ or ‘ a person from court’. So, altogether, much more sedate and cosy.

image of 21 Kipper cards (Divination cards) showing people in various situations or landscapes
The first card on the left in the 2nd row is “a False person’ – the fifth in the same row is ‘a Rich girl
image of 15 Kipper cards (Divination cards) showing people in various situations or landscapes
Here you can see ‘the Thief,’ or ‘short illness’ and also ‘Great Fortune’
Kipper Card No 11: Winning lots of money: A desk and cupboard full of coins and some banknotes.
‘winning lots of money’
Kipper-card No 19: Death. Illustration of a coffin and candelabra.
An ‘event of death’
Kipper card no 10 - A journey. Drawing of a horse-driven carriage going through a forest road.
‘A Journey’
Kipper card - receiving a present. Small girl holding a goldfish bowl while a boy looks on.
‘Getting a present’

Again, I have had these cards for quite some time but these days I just like looking at them for the lovely Biedermeier illustrations. Even ‘Death’ has a certain beauty. Do you use cards to get a sense of what might come next? If yes, it would be great if you could share your favourites – do get in touch!

I never wanted to be a professional card-reader – maybe I did miss my calling?

Advertising card of a spiritual healer - palm and face readings, tarot and more
This came through my letter-box the other day – a cosmic hint?

7 thoughts on “Dabbling in Divination

  1. Never heard of the Kipper cards but they are delightful to see for their art. I still have many of my Oracle card decks and two tarot packs – The Rider Waite, and The Fairy Wicca. Used to have lots more Tarot but in the end preferred oracle.
    You can see some of my decks in a post I made here: https://thevintagetoyadvertiser.org/2018/03/17/oracle-and-tarot-cards/
    There was a group of us back in the UK who collected these cards and read for each other and anyone else interested for free. We also advised on crystals, healing, and related matters; all very informal and by word of mouth – we didn’t have a premises… though with all the wonderful mystical objects we had between us we could have easily made a shop for reading and healing.
    Lovely to see this post, thanks 🙂

    1. Wow, lovely to find that you were rather more serious about it all – I would have come to your shop for sure!. Will look at your post now – thank you for your guidance! x

  2. I DO like some of those Wegmüller cards…

    The kind of psychic who can “destroy your problems before it destroys you” sounds like good material for a film… but not sure if it would be like ‘Buffy’ or ‘What we do in the Shadows”…

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