Hexen 2.0 Tarot

Review by Sheri Harshberger

Hexen 2.0 Tarot created by Suzanne Treister

Published by Black Dog Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-9073-1763-7


The Hexen 2.0 Tarot deck is one of those decks that dares not only to challenge the paradigms of Tarot, but flips them upside down. This is a quirky cool deck created by Suzanne Treister and published by U.K. publisher, Black Dog Publishing. The deck was created to articulate what I like to call the "Hexen Movement" which was introduced to the public through the publication of the book, Hexen 2039 in 2006, which documented Suzanne Treister's fictional alter ego and delusional time traveler, Rosalind Brodsky, on a research mission to develop mind control technologies for the British military in an alternate future scape.


The Hexen 2.0 Tarot follows the traditional Tarot structure for a 78-card deck. The cards are traditionally titled and the Majors are numbered with Roman numerals starting with The Fool as 0 through The World as XXI. Justice is XI and Strength is VIII. The elements featured are Chalices (Cups), Pentacles, Swords and Wands. The Courts are King, Queen, Knight and Knave. 

The deck is large with dimensions of around 3.7 by 5.8 inches, which make it comparible in size to the largest Crowley Thoth deck (same width and about 1/4 inch longer). The card stock is flexible and sturdy. I didn't have a problem shuffling these like a playing card deck, but I have large hands. Someone with smaller hands may have a problem adapting to the size. The cards have a matte finish so they don't stick, nor do they slide around easily. The deck is reversible friendly with the black backs of the cards featuring a mirrored image of a mushroom cloud. 


Ah. Now for the imagery. The images of the deck are bound within white borders that aren't really noticeable because of the images. Most of the images are very busy, comprised of both illustrations and text. The style is very reminiscent of colorized pen and ink illustrations. The cards are as big as they are because there is a LOT of information on each card. As someone who has trouble centering a title on a piece of paper, I am in awe of the amount of lettering on many of the cards. It is intriguing in a couple of ways. First, the wording becomes part of the illustration. Second, the information conveyed in the words becomes part of the illustration. Many of the cards feature portraits of significant people, for example, Nikola Tesla is featured on the King of Wands card and Henry David Thoreau is featured on the Ace of Chalices. Some of the names I recognized, some I didn't. Half the fun of this deck was researching the people featured and gaining insight into why the creator of this deck chose the people, images and organizations that she did for each card. This activity brought back fond memories for me of the research I did after I got my very first Tarot deck, a Universal Waite, and I wanted to know more about the images used with it. In many respects, assigning people as part of the cards adds a significant amount of depth and nuance to the cards' meanings. Seeing all that goes into each card's meaning can't help but make one wonder about the thought processes used in the development of some of the classic decks in Tarot so long ago…what are some of the inside jokes we aren't getting because we haven't studied the systems that go along with the decks?


Coming from an electrical engineering background and being a robotics hobbyist (especially BEAM applications), as well as being a HUGE Tesla fan, featuring Tesla really endeared this deck to me, as well as the references to DARPA and technological history. The World card left me gobsmacked. Google as the 5 of Swords. Drones featured as the Queen of Swords. The Star as quantum computing/artificial intelligence. Awesome.


There is no Little White Book (LWB) accompaning the deck per se. If there is a companion to the deck, it would be Suzanne's website, www.suzannetreister.net, which contains all the information necessary to kick off research into this deck. The website also features the book, Hexen 2039. There is a Hexen 2.0 companion book, but it is a book form of what the deck is and features the illustrations and isn't intended to be used as a LWB would be. 

Suzanne Treister works a modern alchemy of her own and brings a vision of a universal theory of all things cyber, techno, occult, military and politico to a Tarot. I found this deck intriguing and something that will hold my attention as a personal reading deck for a very long time to come. This is not necessarily a deck for everyone. It isn't a deck I would pull out to use as a regular reading deck (at least not yet!). This is a Tarot deck for the anarchist, the cool, cyber-steampunk counter-culturist technologist. Readers interested in a completely different application of Tarot may find this deck a worth exploring and a worthy addition to their collection.

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