Gothic Tarot by Vargo - Study group - King of Pentacles


I tried looking for this in the index but didn't find it. So I guess I'll start things off.

In the King of Pentacles, a dark man stands atop a huge structure of some sort. He is positioned between two gargoyles that are facing him, their tongues sticking out. The man has his arm extended and placed on the left gargoyle's horn (our left). Is he using the gargoyle as a support, to keep himself from falling off? We do notice that his left foot (again, our left) is about halfway off that building.

The bottom part of the card has three arches. The middle arch contains the pentacle, while the two arches on both sides contain crouched gargoyles whose mouths are agape. Above this, and right below the man, we see two demonic faces on the left and right. Their tongues curve the same way as the one in the Two of Cups. Between these two demon carvings is a different one--one that bears its fangs.

This whole structure could be a castle, and the man could be its King. But, it could very well be a gate--the Gate of Hell to be more exact. We get that idea because between the two sets of designs, the inscription writes: "ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE."

I checked Allen Mandelbaum's translation of Dante's Inferno, and this is the whole inscription above the Gate of Hell (this may be unnecessary, and most of you probably know this passage already, but for the sake of clarity and completeness...):


Of course, Dante didn't understand this. So Virgil explained: "Here one must leave behind all hesitation; here every cowardice must meet its death."


Fabulous Dante inscription, Kittaine! Thank you for including that as well.

I had the strangest thing happen. After lacing the cards, when I split my deck my eye feel on "King" and saw "Vargo" for a moment before I stopped and the doppleganger passed. A self-portrait of the artist, of sorts?

This King's domain is his, there is no doubting his command. I feel like he's standing at the top of his highest turret, or perhaps straddling the portico of the castle's drawbridge, surveying the lay of the land before him. There is a wind that moves his cape.

His right toe hangs over the ledge, but there is no sense of imbalance here. And so what, even if he did "fall"...? He's a vampire. He could jump if he wanted. There is no fear in the presence of mastery.

The way he rests his hand casually against the gargoyles shows that he puts no weight into that arm, it is not a point of support so much as a touchstone. Perhaps the gesture is an absent stone caress.

His makeup kinda reminds me of the Crow. Another image of a supernatural creature, perched on rooftops.


King of Pentacles

The Vampire King is standing on the parapets at the top of his keep. He is in-between two of the crenulous standing very prominently, wishing to be observed. Sitting on each of side of the vampire is canine looking gargoyles; at this point, neither one of them look animated. The King of Pentacles has his right arm stretched out, petting the ear of his canine creation. The wall of the keep, below the parapets is very ornate; there are multiple layers of sculptures on the walls. On each crenulous pictured is a horned and pointy eared devil with a split tongue sticking out. Right below the vampire is A demon head, with huge bull like horns sticking out both sides of its head. Below that layer is another row of sculptures. A running arch is the patter here. Underneath two of them is a perched gargoyle, and in the arch in between them is a pentacle. Above each of the dips I the arches is a winged skull. The sky is mostly cloudy, but a small clear space exists about the king, but no stars can be seen. On the stone above all the arches it states “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”

This vampires castle is very ornate. It is an architectural and artistic masterpiece that shows the sophistication, wealth, and prominence of the King of Pentacles. He stands on the battlements, so proud and confident. He is secure and he knows it, the nearly impregnable castle, full of undead guardians, gargoyles, and of course vampires. Who in their right mind would be trying to take him down in this, his own home? He does show that he has appreciation for what he has. He does not take his power or his abode and the minions at his beck and call for advantage. He is a loyal king, and provides well for those in his charge. Woe to any to wrong him or his own…..or come to his fortress bearing any ill will or intent.


My first impression is one of wealth. The decoration of where the king stand is pretty ornate. Much craftmanship. I wonder if it's been done to impress and give a message of power. It's give an sensation of awe!


King of Pentacles
The ornateness of his castle decoration shows the wealth of this King. He has accepted and tamed his gargoyles and the mask-like faces that represent his feelings. He makes them sit at attention in orderly rows. This shows the discipline and patience that make him wealthy and successful and that make him a true King. This same disciplined harnessing of inner forces makes him unbeatable and he has written "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" on his outer wall as a message to his enemies.



This card was based on Vargo's work 'Dark Tower'.


How wonderful this study group is, I keep learning new things. Not only tarot-related, but also literature- and mythology-wise. I love doing research on the internet for things I don't know yet. I never read The Divine Commedy, so I looked it up. And now I know what it's about.
All thanks to this study group...

September Pixie

I find that the King's body language says a great deal about him.. he is a ver steady and confident individual.. one with great intelligence and compassion.. but he is very connected with Justice -- he harms those who wish harm to him, and grants those who help him enchantment beyond their wildest dreams in his realms. The castle he stands ontop is much like him.. very tall, very strong.. very cold. Stone has no warmth.. and those he himself, feels human, he knows he is not. "ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE" is a message for everyone who can read it.. for friends -- all things you have hoped to seek and find in him and his realms -- you need to let go of and let HIM guide you and show you the wonders of his kingdom.. for foe -- a critical warning.. he will have no mercy upon you.. seek him to harm him and you seal your own doom.... I find this to be quite a clear message and the archway looking very much like both old tomb stones and a crypt.


This is the card of the narcissist He is the Byronic hero He is alluring, hypnotic, beautiful and predatory. He tires easily of situations and people. His sexuality is ambiguous, he is attracted to beauty and challenge. He is merciless and totally lacks compassion. All figures on this card, excepting our (anti) hero, have horns. Different uses for the horn such as aphrodisiac, rutting, killing, gorging, fighting for territorial rights, trophy, sparring add insight to this character.

He leans against one of his gargoyles whose tongue hangs out like a faithful dog. This King demands loyalty. He is dangerously fun, the two satyrs preclude drink, revelry and sexual exploits. His victims break themselves upon him like ships upon rocks and he enjoys watching them sink. People are attracted to him for many and varied reasons, women (and men) want to tame him, love him, make up for whatever happened to him to make him so bestial but the reasons for his unremitting cruelty are buried beneath the bones of his many victims. He will take all you have to give then throw you away, probably after torturing you. And, if you are in love with such a creature, each moment spent with him is exquisite. You'd rather be tortured by him than left.

On the side of his castle reads: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here and you would be well warned to walk away. Beautiful though he is, this vampire is perilous.

He represents co dependency, abuse, domination, cruelty. He's the heart breaker, the soul destroyer. Totally unobtainable.


He has excellent management of his coffers, his kingdom, and his house, but screws up relationship matters without meaning to. Moral issues are a problem to him too. That means if you flip the King of Pentacles when enquiring about financial/family/etc issues, it's probably a positive card. On the other hand if you're inquiring about relationship/morality issues, it becomes a negative card. Here is the negative, romantic side:

Dark haired lover watches on, from afar, as a scene unfolds before his eyes that will bring him hopelessness. The words "ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE" reinforces the loss of control. Two winged gargoyles support him through the desperate moment, but he pays little attention to them, eyes focused only on the scene, and feeling his hopes slowly drain.

For those who don't know: in Britain, a game is played among young boys. One of them would stand on a stone "castle", high above the rest, play-mocking them in a popular British rhyme whish goes like this:


In the game, he guards his own domain below from "invaders" using his authority.