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William Blake Tarot

Updated on September 26, 2014

William Blake Tarot - Based On The Art Of William Blake

If you're looking for creative, unusual and artsy or artistic tarot cards, the William Blake tarot is one worth checking out.

I got myself this tarot deck from Ebay (it's sold out at Amazon, but you can still get it from Amazon sellers at reasonable prices) and initially I have found it difficult to read the tarot cards with, so I put them aside for about a year.

Eventually I picked them up again because my fingers were itching to try something new, and I really wanted to get aquainted myself with these cards. Afterall they were just gathering dust next to my many other tarot decks, and I paid some nice money for the deck.

The William Blake Tarot

The William Blake Tarot: Of the Creative Imagination
The William Blake Tarot: Of the Creative Imagination

This deck is a revolutionary consideration of Blake's work, taking it out of the purely academic and intellectual level and placing it squarely where Blake's passion lay--the imaginal realm.

William Blake
William Blake

Who Was William Blake - The Artist

William Blake was a very erudit artist living between 1757 - 1827. He was an English painter, a poet, as well as a printmaker. Like most famous artists, during his liftimes he was a nobody in the realms of art. Only after his death he became well known and sought after.

His first works very early on were engravings of various Greek antiquities (copies) that his father bought him. He prefered engraving to actual drawing. During this time he got exposed to the works of the famous Michelangelo, Raphael and Albrecht Durer.

While his poems are also famous, we will focus here on his visual art which lead to the creation of the William Blake tarot deck.

One of the most prominent way of creating his books, his poems and his pantings was through something called relief etching, whcih is also called illuminated printing (something that he is mostly famous for).

For example he is well known for having done the engravings for the Dante's Divine Comedy. Sadly his death in 1827 stopped his work short, and he only managed to create 7 of the actual commisioned engravings.

William Blake's art is considered in the Romantic style, and the William Blake tarot cards follow this style quite well. Each of the 72 cards in the deck show a reproduction of the work collage by William Blake.

Musing from the William Blake Tarot

Musing William Blake Tarot
Musing William Blake Tarot
Death - Transformation in William Blake Tarot
Death - Transformation in William Blake Tarot

Personal Review Of The William Blake Tarot Of The Creative Imagination

The William Blake tarot was designed by Ed Buryn (with the help of Mary Greer) based on some images of Blake's works that strongly resembled the Major Arcana.

When I finally sat down with the cards, I didn't start reading with them right away. I first wanted and had to get to know them. I wanted to make friends with them and lure out their secrets and mysteries.

As usual I shuffled well the cards since they were new, and then started randomly taking out cards, regardless of whether they were Major Arcana or Minor Arcana.

The truth is that I was so blown away by the beauty of William Blake's work, that I eventually ended buying his Complete Illuminated Books at Amazon because the art is simply too beautiful to brush aside.

At some point though I got over my "open jaw" syndrome and I seriously started to study the cards. And it was worth all the time spent!

One thing I've immediately noticed is that the names of the cards have been changed. For example the suits (from wands, cups, swords and pentacles) have become Painting, Science, Music and Poetry.

Also some of the Major Arcana cards are renamed as shown below:

00 Eternity - there is no corresponding card for this

0 Innocence - Fool

1 Magic - Magician

2 Mystery - High Priestess

3 Nature - Empress

4 Reason - Emperor

5 Religion - Hierophant

6 Knowledge - Lovers

7 Experience - Chariot

8 Assessment - Justice

9 Imagination - Hermit

10 Whirlwind - Wheel Of Fortune

11 Energy - Strength

12 Reversal - Hanged Man

13 Transformation - Death

14 Forgiveness - Temperance

15 Error - Devil

16 Lightening - Tower

17 Stars - Star

18 Moon - Moon (remained the same)

19 Sun - Sun (remained the same)

20 Liberty - Judgment

21 Union - The World

If you are very used to work with the typical Rider Waite style decks, you might find it a bit awkward to learn to read cards with this deck simply because these new names will take a bit to get used to. Of course some of the first cards I looked at was the Death, Devil and Tower. Interestingly enough, the new card names were quite appropriate and I found myself nodding in agreement on the meanings.

I always saw the Death card as a card of transformation and the Devil with the "erroneous ways". So I realized that it will not be that difficult to read with these cards afterall, especially when the names seem to tell a rich story by themselves, full of symbolism.

Liberty from the William Blake Tarot

Liberty William Blake Tarot
Liberty William Blake Tarot
Discipline William Blake Tarot
Discipline William Blake Tarot

The William Blake Tarot Deck Style

The cards in the William Blake Tarot deck are all surrounded by a white border with the card titles being at the top. The suit and numbers are at the bottom for the numbered cards.

While the traditional cards have the king, queen, knight and page as characters, the William Blake tarot deck uses instead the angel, child, woman and man.

Each of the 79 cards comes in color and I found that the cards themselves help greatly with readings that enhance the creative process of a person. Sometimes the cards are collaged, and it seems that the art quality imitates quite well that of the original art pieces.

There is just a bit of nudity in the cards, so you might want to keep away the cards from small children.

Do You Also Find The William Blake Tarot Intriguing?

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Angel from the William Blake Tarot

Angel William Blake Tarot
Angel William Blake Tarot

© 2011 Marika

Have You Become Interested In The William Blake Tarot?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      When are people going to get it, you canont label the occult. The occult stands for hidden wisdom which nine our of ten people will never, ever understand. The occult isn't fairy tales, but real spiritual and external intelligence. Albert Einstein had occult, magical knowledge. No one discovered what he did before he came out with his equations, yet people could understand. He was a spiritual man and his famous quote, the most beautiful thing we can experience is the unknown , proved that.

    • Zola Mars profile image

      Lydia Workman 

      4 years ago from Canada

      This looks like a deck that I will have to add to my collection. I am a big fan of William Blake. I was him in a previous life!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent overview, both of Blake's work and of this tarot deck. Thank you so much.

    • LittleMy LM profile image

      LittleMy LM 

      6 years ago

      great review ... ages ago I loved reading william blakes poetry but must admit I'd sort of forgotten about it ... this review has re-inspired me to look at his poetry and especially the deck ...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      William Blake is my favourite poet.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have to admit that this is one deck I wasn't too familiar with, but you have written a wonderfully informative lens here - thank you. I do now use the Universal Waite, more because my clients seem to really like them and are familiar with them, but my previous deck was the Merlin Tarot, which only had illustrations on the major arcana - I did love that deck. I am thinking of getting a new deck, so may just consider this one. I am currently working on my own card meanings and observations in conjunction with an exercise about how to learn to read the cards.

    • DianaPrice LM profile image

      DianaPrice LM 

      7 years ago

      This is one of my favorite Tarot decks, AND one of my favorite artists.


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