Philip Pullmans 'His Dark Materials' Tarot


I’m quite new to tarot, (and completly new to these boards, hi!) I’ve been interested in tarot for about three months now. I love the art and have been wanting to make my own deck for a while now.
I decided to make a deck based on Philip Pullmans ‘His Dark Materials’ books because, well I love them and I think it would make a very good deck I'd be able to understand.
I really wanted to make it alone, but if anyone here knows a lot about both tarot and has read all three HDM books I’d really like to hear what you think!!
I’m making it quite slowly, I have some pictures ready to scan, but a lot of the cards are undecided.

If it turns out anyone here has read the books and is interested, I’ll explain my reasons for each.

0 Fool- Lyra
1 Magician-Lord Asriel
2 High Priestess- Xaphania
3 Empress- Serafina Pekkala
4 Emperor – John Faa
5 Hierophant – Father MacPhail
6 Lovers – Lyra and Will
7 Chariot – Iorek Byrnison
8 Strength – Lyra and Iofur Raknison
9 Hermit - John Parry
10 Wheel – The Alethiometer
11 Justice – Will Parry
12 Hanged Man- Lee Scoresby
13 Death – Lyra getting in the boat to the land of the dead
14 Temperance – Mary Malone
15 Devil - Metatron
16 Tower – Lord Asriel ‘tearing’ open the sky to cittagazze
17 Star - Dust
18 moon – Mrs Coulter
19 Sun – Mulefa (may change)
20 Judgment- Harpies
21 World – The ‘Republic of Heaven’ (Lyra thinking of it)

The Court cards are changing constantly, but some that seem right are:

King of Wands- Lord Roke
Queen of Wands – Ruta Skadi
King of Cups- Farder Coram
Queen of Cups- Ma Costa
Page of Cups- Ama
King of Pentacles- Master of Jordan College
Queen of Pentacles- Dame Hannah

I am having the most trouble with choosing the pages and knights!

The Minor Arcana is hard to decide too, so I’m not posting my ideas for that yet. (changing too often) I’ve nearly finished the pic for the three of swords though (Lyra leaving Pan behind at the ‘land of the dead’).


Hi Mazzy,

First of all, welcome here! :)

I really like your idea, I think it's very interesting.

And Mrs Coulter as the moon is so perfect, she's such an intriguing, double-sided, dark character....

Also, from your idea of using Lyra leaving her deamon behind for the three of Swords, I suddenly had an aha-moment about that card in general.

That it's about putting your mind over your heart, and all of the anguish that can lead to, justified or not.
It's one of those cards that has always seemed a bit out of place for me; with all that sorrow it seemed more like a cup card, almost.
But now I see that that sorrow is caused by being rational above all else.

If you've already got some cards you're willing to show, I would be very interested in seeing them!
What kind of technique are you using?


Thankyou for the welcome! I'm very glad to have found this forum:)

I haven't finished any of the cards yet, but I hope to have the three of swords up in a few days (I'll post here as soon as I have it) That particular scene just seemed very clear in my mind!
I've drawn it already (about A4 sized, can't draw small!) and I'm going to scan it it in and colour it on the computer with Corel.

It's a bit awkward for me to get things on computer. Athough I love using paint programs I really wanted to the the tarot deck completely by hand- but my scanner seems to hate light colours! (It won't pick them up). But it doesn't matter because with the program I can put in realistic textures on certain things. I suppose that makes up for it. *kicks scanner*


Great Idea..I like the Lovers card and I am with Hedera on the other ones..Sorry to say I dont remember much more of the books..Been a long time since I read them. Good luck with your project.


Welcome, mazzy!

I like your choices for the cards quite a lot! I tried to match up some cards with characters once, and I could see each character fitting different cards at different points in the books...I just ended up confusing myself!

I especially like your choice of Lyra and Iofur as Strength.

I can't wait to see a sample of your cards! Good luck!



Baby Owl

What a fantastic idea! I love these books. (Have been longing for a daemon ever since I read them.)

Some of the characters are a bit fuzzy in my mind, but I would love to see what you do with the concept!

Baby Owl


Here is a part of the three of swords so far. It's Lyra's face, looking heart-broken (I hope). It's still unfinished, I think I need to make her hair a bit dirtier :) I hope she doesn't look to weak here (it was not the best day of her life), in the other cards she will definitely look much stronger.
Looking at the book, it says Pantalaimon looked 'more misery than animal' so I'll work on that next.

Sample of the Three of Swords-

Also, here is some 'His Dark Materials' fanart I did quite a long time ago now. Serafina and Mrs Coulter. I won't be using these on the cards, because I want to start fresh with the tarot deck (and I'm a bit better with shading faces now).
This is just if you want an idea of how I see them.

Serafina Pekkala (the file is a bit blurry unfortunately) -

Mrs Coulter-

I need to think about what the angels might look like, and the mulefa are just...hurting my brain a lot...the mechanics...

The next time I post an image, it will be a finished card :)


Oh my, they are gorgeous!

I especially like Lyra, that one seems to have somehow a softer texture than the others.

She looks like something out of a fairytale: not the syrupy Disney kind, but the raw, grim, sad kind, like some of Andersen's or the brothers Grimm.



Oh, mazzy! Lyra is beautiful! You really captured her sadness.

Great job!



Baby Owl

All of them are wonderful! I do hope you'll pursue this (although I suppose you couldn't actually publish a deck unless you had an agreement with Pullman or his publisher or something?)

Baby Owl