Review – The Hermes Playing Card Oracle

The Hermes Playing Card Oracle

Author: Robert M. Place
Artist: Robert M. Place
Hermes Publications
ISBN #978-0-692-56238-3


“The Hermes Playing Card Oracle” is a standard playing deck of 52 cards, with the addition of two Jokers. It comes with a small LWB that gives the meanings of the cards. The deck can be used for card games, or it can be laid out in the traditional pattern termed the Grand Tableau, and used for divination. Small symbols are placed on the cards which can be used for divinatory meaning.

The LWB (Little White Book) notes than in the late 18th century, we saw the first publication of oracle decks in which each card was illustrated with a symbol that was primarily used for divination, with a small image of the playing card associated with each symbol. One of the most popular of these decks was the Petit Lenormand, which was first published in Germany in 1847.

I love that Place has reversed the imagery, with the card resembling a standard playing card, with the inclusion of one small symbol. There is a very gentle, well put together look to these cards. The symbols are very simply drawn, and do not detract from the playing card aspect of the card in any manner. The symbols on the ace, 6,7,8,9,10 and the three royal cards of each suit are the same as in the Lenormand oracle. If the number 2,3,4 and 5 pips of each suit are removed, the deck can function as a standard Lenormand oracle deck.

Place notes that the cards can be used for any card game, but that if they are used for divination, they should be laid out in the Grand Tableau pattern (four rows of eight cards, laid left to right, from the top to the bottom row, with the remaining four cards constituting a fifth row, centered under the top four rows). If the Grand Tableau is to include the two jokers, the pattern is six rows of nine cards, laid out left to right, top to bottom.

The most important cards, according to Place, are the significators: the Ace of Spades, representing the subject of the reading, if she is a woman, and the Ace of Hearts, representing the subject of the reading, if he is a man. The Ace of Hearts may represent a love interest for a woman, while the Ace of Spades may represent a love interest for a man. The cards can be used in any layout recommend for the Lenormand cards.

The LWB give the meaning for each of the symbols in this deck. For example, the Moon on the 8 of Hearts can represent honor, intuition, and drams. The gentleman riding a horse on the 9 of Heart can represent a messenger, a visitor, or news.  The letter being carried by the bird on the 7 of Spades can represent a message, news, or a document. The candle on the 2 of Diamonds can represent peace, solitude, and meditation.


The cards themselves are 2 ½” by 3 ½”, on glossy cardstock. The backs of the cards show a ½” white border, surrounding a blue and white background, with an image of Hermes in the center. The backs are reversible. The card faces show a white border surrounding the card image. The icon for the suit, along with the number (for the pips) or letter (for the court cards) is in the upper left hand and lowr right hand corner. The card faces are reversible.


The Jokers are very nicely done, with one wearing, gray shoes, red leggings, a red cap, and a green tunic, with the other wearing red shoes, gray leggings, and a green tunic and cap. This Joker is also strumming an instrument.

I find this deck quite interesting, and I think that you will too!

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.


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