The Emperor's Tarot (aka Imperial Tarot) is a pack of seventy-eight psychoactive liquid-crystal wafers that are linked to the thoughts of the Emperor. The Tarot, commonly believed to have been designed by the Emperor himself, is used throughout the Imperium as a form of divination.
The cards are laid up-side down and then turned. As they are turned they are read and interpreted by the reader. The second and fourth cards drawn are signifiers, bringing clarity to the ones preceding them.
When drawn upside down, the meaning of the card changes dramatically; the complete opposite to the non-inverse version of the card.
Known cards are:
- High Priest
- Emperor / The God-Emperor
- Harlequin (of Discordia)
- Inquisitor (of Mandatio)
- Assassin (of Adeptio)
- Space Marine
- Daemon (Major Arcana)
- Hulk (Major Arcana)
- Warped Renegade (of Discordia)
- Galaxy (Major Arcana)
- Star (Major Arcana)
- Knight (of Mandatio)
- Emperor's Throne
- Eye of Horus
- Great Hoste
- Shattered World
- Galactic Lens
- The Great Eye
- The Despoiler
- Lost Child[2a]
- Magus (of Executeria)[2b]
- A Body, browned with age and blackened in death, sits locked within a great throne of gold, steel and brass. The corpse's mouth is open, projecting a silent scream that echoes through the unseen layers of the universe. Before the howling cadaver, a legion of angels kneels, crying violet tears.
- When drawn from the deck, this card speaks of warp travel, of discovery, of hope in the cold depths of space.
- When drawn upside down, it foretells of the warp's malign touch infecting the servants of the Imperium. A hopeless war. Death from the far reaches of space.
The Great Eye
- An eye. The Eye. A wound in reality, an open scar in space where the bruise-purple and blood-red eye of Chaos leers into the galaxy. The stars die around the Eye: some fading into cold blackness, others bursting in white hot torment. The Eye stares dully, little emotion beyond distant hate. But the nebula flares, tendrils spreading across space. The Eye has opened.
- To draw this card it to foretell of war against Chaos.
- The galaxy burns. A figure stands in ancient armor, wreathed in a billion screaming souls that encircle him like mist. In it's right gauntlet, Holy Terra blackens and crumbles. A demigod's blood drips from the talons. In the dim reaches of the vision, almost an afterthought, a distant howling light fades into darkness and silence. The figure smiles for the first time in ten thousand years.
- When drawn, the Despoiler card is the bane of life, the truest indicator of the coming loss and unavoidable bloodshed for the Imperium of Man.
- Inversed, A rival for the Despoiler. Someone destine to stand against the Archenemy's machinations.
- The combination of the Eye of Horus with the Great Hoste, the Shattered World above the Emperor's Throne inversed, and the Galactic Lens inversed is known to be a very bad one. It signifies the gathering of the powers of Chaos and the death of worlds.
Cartomancy is a form of divination using cards, practiced by the Grey Knights, many of whom are powerful psykers. Brother Leodegarius practiced it on Salinas while planning the Knights' counter-attack to an outbreak of Chaos on the planet.
Each card drawn by Leodegarius represented the character of a person in a group he had assembled, all of whom would prove to be pivotal in the coming battle.
Tarot is a card game, with rules similar to poker, popular on many Imperial worlds. Known cards include The Emperor, The Primarch and The Inquisitor.
- 1: Cadian Blood (Novel), by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, [Needs Citation]
- 2: Dark Heresy Core Rulebook:
- 3: Cain's Last Stand (Novel) - Ciaphas Cain: Defender of the Imperium (Omnibus) by Sandy Mitchell, Chapter Five, pgs. 564-568
- 4: The Killing Ground (Novel) by Graham McNeill, Chapter Eighteen
- Inquisition War (Novel Series) by Ian Watson, [Needs Citation]
- Last Chancers (Novel Series) by Gav Thorpe, [Needs Citation]
- Ragnar's Claw (Novel) by William King, [Needs Citation]