If you have been following my spread development arc, you will have noticed that I frequently make use of two graphic wheels showing the attribution of the 78 cards of the tarot to the system of astrological correspondences formulated by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The foundation of this system is the arrangement … Continue reading Roll the Credits
As I prepare to do a presentation at a regional tarot meeting tomorrow on the history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, I've been organizing my thoughts on exactly what that organization has meant to the modern esoteric tarot. Obviously, much of the foundation comes from the system of correspondences created by Samuel … Continue reading The Legacy of the Golden Dawn
Those new to tarot have many symbolic puzzles to solve when confronting the archetypes presented in the Major Arcana, but one that arises promptly is why there are two trump cards that seem to be about the same thing: Justice and Judgement. One of the simplest and most satisfying explanations I've seen is that Justice … Continue reading The Trial and the Verdict
The Lady and the Lion: Trump #11 in early decks and also in Aleister Crowley's Thoth but Trump #8 in decks based on A.E. Waite's model, this card has variously been titled Force (or Fortitude), Strength and Lust. Tarot de Marseille decks customarily show a woman opening the jaws of a lion, apparently without having … Continue reading Force, Strength or Lust?
During my recent exploration of the Opening of the Key (OotK) method as described by Aleister Crowley in both the Book of Thoth and in his 1912 release of the Golden Dawn tarot material in The Equinox, Volume 1, Number 8 (which he also identified as "revised and improved" from the version "given to students … Continue reading Christopher Hyatt and the Opening of the Key
As I discussed in a previous post, the Book of Thoth is silent about how to count and pair the cards when the Significator is at or near one end of the line, such that the full count can't be reached and pairs may not be achievable. In Israel Regardie's Complete Golden Dawn System of … Continue reading Counting with the OoTK: The Ultimate Solution?
Another question that the Book of Thoth leaves completely unanswered is how one goes about actually reading the paired cards on either side of the Significator at the end of the First Operation of the "Opening of the Key" (OotK) method. "Make a story of these cards." OK, Al, but are they to be read as … Continue reading How to Read the OotK Pairs
As a follow-up to my previous post on the relationship between the RWS and Thoth decks and their common source in the Golden Dawn's esoteric system, I conducted a small exploratory analysis of the relative adherence of the RWS pip cards to their Golden Dawn roots. I took the descriptions in Liber T and compared … Continue reading Adherence of the RWS Pips to Their Golden Dawn Roots
Let it be said right up front: I'm not a huge fan of the Waite-Smith (aka Rider-Waite-Smith or "RWS") deck. I think that, in many cases, the narrative vignettes embedded in Pamela Colman Smith's scenic "pip" cards - the minors with their ready-made stories - hijack the deeper esoteric meaning that lies at its core, … Continue reading Cheap Shots #21: Thoth vs RWS, Head-to-Head
Those who are interested in the Golden Dawn and Thoth methods of divination have the complex and lengthy Opening of the Key (OotK) series of "operations" to entertain them. This includes a relatively straightforward initial operation that provides an overview of the querent's situation at the time of the reading. It is followed by three … Continue reading An Opening of the Key First Operation Template