“Robert M. Place is an internationally known visionary artist and illustrator, whose award winning works, in painting, sculpture, and jewelry, have been displayed in galleries and museums in America, Europe, and Japan and graced the covers and pages of numerous books and publications. He is the designer, illustrator, and co-author, with Rosemary Ellen Guiley, of: The Alchemical Tarot and The Angels Tarot, which are both published by HarperCollins and have received international acclaim particularly for their skillful and illuminating graphics. He is the designer, illustrator, and author of The Tarot of the Saints, and The Buddha Tarot, which are published by Llewellyn. His fifth book, The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, is published by Tarcher/Penguin. He has also authored Astrology and Divination, Magic and Alchemy, and Shamanism. His latest Tarot deck and book set is The Vampire Tarot, published by St. Martins Press.”
To begin episode 75, Robert describes the prophetic and synchronistic manner that he was introduced to the Tarot. As an artist, he was able to intuitively grasp the symbolism and levels of meaning portrayed in the Tarot images, allowing him to create “The Alchemical Tarot“, a very highly-acclaimed and beautiful deck. Robert then describes his latest creation, “The Vampire Tarot“.
As a Tarot scholar, his research into the history and folklore of vampires and the Dracula legend led him to the realization that this story was like an inverse of the alchemical quest. The Great Work is analogous to the story told by the Major Arcana of the Tarot. In his analysis of the Dracula legend, Robert realized that this story was also a quest for immortality but in a far darker and different way, replacing the spiritual with the material.
Robert tells us how the vampire legends invoke the Jungian concept of facing the shadow or the other. The resurrection of these legends in literature coincided with the scientific revolution and Romanticism. The original vampire stories, like the unrefined unconscious mind were dark and frightening, but when examined in the light, by writers and artists, these same stories can take on an alluring quality. Robert explains this evolution from a historical, psychological, and artistic perspective.
We finish off the conversation as Robert describes how he views the Dracula legend as analogous to the quest for the Holy Grail. Dracula can be seen as the dark knight and those trying to defeat him as the Knights of the Round Table. His perspective on this legend and his beautiful artwork in “The Vampire Tarot” can bring forth yet another version of the archetypal hero’s quest, there all along and just waiting for us to discover it.
Robert and I recorded another interview based on his research of Tarot history in “The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination“. This second interview is available in the Occult of Personality Member Section.
Alchemical Egg – Robert M. Place’s web site
The Alchemical Tarot web site
The Alchemical Tarot by Robert M. Place
The Buddha Tarot by Robert M. Place
“The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination” by Robert M. Place
“Astrology and Divination, Magic and Alchemy, and Shamanism” by Robert M. Place
“The Vampire Tarot” by Robert M. Place
“The Pictorial Key to the Tarot” by A. E. Waite
“Carl Jung” Wikipedia entry
“Dracula” Wikipedia entry
outro music by The Electric Crayon Set – “Key to the Sacred Pattern”
Occult of Personality presents “Meditation and the Western Esoteric Tradition” on Thursday, October 29th at 8 PM. Please see the link for specific details.