RIP Michael Hurst

Ross G Caldwell

Many people here will know the contributions of Michael Hurst to Tarot history. It is my sad duty to inform them that Michael died on Wednesday, August 24, of a sudden heart attack at his home in California.

A search of his posts on Aeclectic will bring up hundreds of examples of his dogged persistence in presenting the facts of Tarot history, along with epic debates among the major participants in this forum. Despite his caustic wit, which frequently got him into trouble, and made him some enemies, I hope that participants will remember him more for his generous posts, often accompanied by helpfully designed, illustrative artwork, and his unique take on Tarot's meaning - "Know your place. Practice the Virtues. Trust in God." His last post on his own blog, "Pre-Gebelin Tarot History", in March of this year, is also, fittingly, a discussion of Tarot as illustrating the Dance of Death (Danse Macabre).

Of his life outside of Tarot history I know little; I don't even know his year of birth with certainty, nor what he did as a profession. From hints over the years, I believe he was born in 1950.

Michael J. Hurst
Tarot historian and interpreter


That is so sad - a great loss. Thanks for telling us - we miss so many such events when no-one mentions them.


May he rest in peace :(


Thanks for telling us Ross, I remember Michael Hurst.. May he rest in peace xx

Ross G Caldwell

Thanks Sulis, Gwynydd.

Although I never met him in the flesh, he was a fellow traveller in the intellectual wilderness for 15 years, and he was already pursuing this study online by 1999, two years before I began. He had a rare sincerity and clarity, and an even rarer breadth of knowledge. He also wrote well and profusely, something I admired.

We certainly rarely saw eye-to-eye on anything, especially in these last few years. I was often the target of his mordant criticism, although not as often as others. I don't think anyone ever examined or critiqued his ideas as fully as he would have wished, and he no doubt felt ignored, even where people have generously helped themselves from his enormous output. He was a great believer and practitioner of "a picture speaks a thousand words", and he spent most of his time finding cognates for Tarot in artwork. He was, foremost, an iconographic interpreter.

The Tarot history world has lost a great star. I will miss him, and the sense that he is lurking somewhere, reading what I post and ready to leap out of the silence with biting sarcasm, or, if I'm lucky, a strong attaboy.

Laura Borealis

That's sad news. I have learned a lot from his blog and appreciated the knowledge that he shared.


I remember visiting his blog every now and then. Such a sad loss for such a small comunity (Tarot). May he rest in peace.



Thank you Ross for letting AT know of this sad news.

It's true he had a depth and wealth of knowledge, and as you say he freely shared it, here and on his site. Despite his sometimes 'caustic wit' as you put it, his contribution to Tarot can only be matched by a small number of other historians and researchers who have have posted here.

Go In Peace Michael.



Thank you, Ross, for letting us know. Very sad news, a big loss for the tarot community. Rest in peace, Michael, and thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge about tarot history.


I'm so sorry to hear this. Michael Hurst was very generous in sharing his knowledge, and I'm grateful to have learned a lot from him. May his family and loved ones be comforted.