Hieronymus Bosch Tarot

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Deck box and cards from the original Hieronymus Bosch Tarot deck.

The Hieronymus Bosch Tarot is a 78 card Tarot deck created by occultist and author Travis McHenry. It consists entirely of original artwork by the Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch.


This deck was conceived on the premise that had Hieronymus Bosch been commissioned to create a Tarot deck by a European noble family in the 1500s, the deck would have looked very similar to this one. Bosch actually lived and worked during the same time period as the development of early Italian Tarot decks, and many of his paintings use the same archetypes as those decks as well as the Tarot decks that came later. For example, The Conjurer and The Wayfayrer cards share artwork that is nearly identical to the Rider-Waite Tarot's Magician and Fool cards.

The author spent several months isolating and manipulating the necessary images in such a way that their scenes could be singled out for inclusion on specific cards. Often, many images were pulled from a single work of art.

Major Arcana

Three cards from the Major Arcana of the Hieronymus Bosch Tarot.

The Major Arcana of this deck follows the same basic meanings of previous Tarot decks, and many comparisons can be made between it and the Rider-Waite Tarot, however some of the names of the cards have been changed as well as the artwork.

The cards are, in order from 0 to 21:

  • The Wayfarer
  • The Conjurer
  • The Mistress of Terror
  • The Virgin Mother
  • The Kings of the East
  • The Surgeon
  • The Lovers
  • Deception
  • Ignorance
  • Illumination
  • Table of Plenty
  • The Flower Pusher
  • The Barrel Boy
  • Death
  • Paradise
  • Temptation
  • The River to Hell
  • The Dreamer
  • The Grail Knight
  • The Christ Child
  • Ascent of the Blessed
  • The World

Minor Arcana

Three cards from the Suit of Skates in the Minor Arcana of the Hieronymus Bosch Tarot

The Minor Arcana of this deck is radically different from any previous Tarot deck, yet it still shares many of the themes and imagery found in previous decks. It is divided into eight suits of seven cards each. The new suits were derived from symbols that recur throughout Bosch's paintings.

The Minor Arcana Suits and Meanings
Suit Name Element Overall Meaning of Suit
Berries Earth Abundance, fertility, harmony, joy, friendship
Birds Air Movement, travel, personal growth
Skates Water and Metal Trouble, difficulties, indecision, fun
Swords Metal Skill and ability, conflict, victory
Vessels Water Untamed activity, blessings, sins and salvation
Books Earth and Air Knowledge, intelligence, learning
Coins Metal Business, career, success, wealth, money
Sins Fire The troubles and desires of the human condition

Court cards

Because each suit contains only seven cards (a number determined by Bosch's Seven Deadly Sins painting), all the cards in the Minor Arcana are Court Cards.

  • Page - Most basic understanding of the suit.
  • Knight - Ambitious, active member of the suit.
  • Baron - The lowest octave of the suit.
  • Prince / Princess - Mastery of the suit.
  • Queen - Mature, female mastery of the suit.
  • King - Mature, male mastery of the suit.
  • Ace - All encompassing meaning of the suit.

Publication history

The deck was first published in November 2020 by Bloodstone Studios. It launched as part of a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $130,000. The cards featured borderless full artwork with only small titles at the top and/or bottom.

Rockpool edition

On 9 November 2021, author Travis McHenry announced that he had signed a deal with Australian mind-body-spirit publisher Rockpool Publishing to reprint a mass market edition of the deck. The deck was released in all international markets in December 2022.

External links