We have the honour to present you a very interesting interview with Robert M. Place. a devoted scholar of the occult, an alchemist, a successful author and an extremely talented creator of wonderful tarot decks. He has designed the Alchemical Tarot, a very popular Tarot Deck with state-of-the-art depictions rich in alchemical and occult symbolism. As my personal favorite, the ‘Alchemical Tarot’ inspired me to search further for the wonders of alchemy and magic guided by the beautiful work of Robert M. Place. So let’s dive into the endless wisdom of Alchemy with Robert M. Place and explore his wonderful yet mystical world.
Question: Alchemical Tarot is a deck full of advanced symbolism, which makes me think that you are definitely a devoted scholar of Alchemy. Is that true? What inspired you to create the alchemical tarot?
Answer: I am an artist and a scholar of art history. As an artist I have always been interested in mythological and symbolic images. The Tarot provides a natural collection of subjects for my work. Likewise, alchemical texts are filled with enigmatic illustrations that have a symbolic reality that defies everyday logic the way images in dreams or in surrealistic art does. I have been fascinated by these illustrations since I was in collage in the 1960s. Because of this fascination, it was natural for me to study and attempt to understand what motivated this imagery.
I have also always been attentive to my dreams and the guidance that they provide. In the summer of 1982, I was introduced to the Tarot by a dream. In the dream, I was told that I would be receiving an inheritance from an ancestor and that it was a powerful tool that had to be used wisely. This inheritance was the Tarot and the connected wisdom tradition. My first decks were the Waite Smith Tarot and the Tarot of Marseilles. I learned everything I could by working with these decks and this study lead me into reading everything that I could find on alchemy, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, and related subjects