In this part I will be discussing the history of the Tarot and how to do a divination using the Tarot. Remember, becoming proficient in a divination system is necessary to prevent Grey Magick from becoming Black Magick. That is why this study is very important.
First, though, you might wonder why you should study the Tarot and not some other system. Perhaps you are already familiar with the Yi King (I Ching) or crystal gazing or astrological prediction. All of these systems, in fact, are excellent. Aleister Crowley used the Yi King far more often than the Tarot. But as you will see, in this book we will be using the Tarot for reasons other than just divinatory purposes. And it is my belief that the more you use the Tarot in any way, the more easily you will become proficient in its use in all ways.
You perhaps have heard the expression "World View." The idea behind this expression is that you can have an underlying viewpoint which gives you a way to understand how people, our world and the universe function and interrelate. Some people have a world view based upon politics, religion or various psychological doctrines. Ritual magicians usually have their world view based upon the Kabalah and the Tarot. Thus, the Tarot is already in one of the first rituals given here. As this book progresses, you will see that it plays even more important parts in ritual magick.
There are actually two histories of the Tarot. One is factual, the other is made up of unproven and sometimes absurd theories. One of these unproven theories attributes an Egyptian heritage to the Tarot. A story of the Egyptian theory has it that Thoth, the god who functioned as the scribe to the other Egyptian gods, gave 22 pictures which illustrated great wisdom to the ancient temple mystery cult of Egypt. These pictures were hung on pillars in a temple underneath and be-
Again, there is no proof that any of these stories is in any way factual.
There are many other stories as to where the Tarot cards may have come. Some versions say that the Tarot was brought out of Egypt by the Gypsies. Note that the word "Gypsy" is derived from the word "Egyptian." Other stories, which do have a bit of possibility to them, have the Tarot developing out of gaming or fortune-telling systems from India or China. There is, however, no proof that any of these stories are true.
We do have historical records of the following facts:
1. The first mention of the Tarot was made in 1332 by Alphonse XI, king of Leon and Castile. He banned them along with other gambling games.
2. In 1337, Johannes, a German monk, wrote that they "could be used to teach morality."
3. In 1392, Charles VI of France bought three sets of the Major Arcana from a man named Grigonneur.
4. By the 1400s, the Italian version, known as the Tarocchino, had over 100 cards including the Zodiac and the so-called Christian virtues.
Thus, the early 14th century is the earliest we can positively date the beginning of the Tarot. At that time, as now, there was a great deal of non-standardization. At least one deck had over 140 cards! Tarot decks were used for gambling and instruction of the young (especially those who had not been taught how to read), but by the 1800s, the Tarot was used almost exclusively for fortunetelling. Most decks used at this time were based upon the deck of Charles VI, now known as the Grigonneur deck. One variation of this deck is the Visconti pack; another is the Marseilles Tarot.
The Golden Dawn made extensive use of the Tarot, and as already mentioned, we will be learning some of the more esoteric uses of the Tarot later in this book. A.E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith, both members of the Golden Dawn, designed what is today's most popular deck, the so-called Rider-Waite Tarot. When it was first released in 1910, it caught on very quickly because it marked the first time that a Tarot deck had been simultaneously published with a book explaining how to use the deck. In this instance, the book was Waite's ! Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Of all of Waite's ponderously written tomes,
The "correct" version of the Tarot (their own version) was considered to be an important secret of the Golden dawn. Waite, who had taken solemn vows not to reveal the inner secrets of the Golden Dawn, kept his word. Many of his cards are designed with incorrect symbolism (compared to the Golden Dawn version) in order to fool the uninitiated.
Today, there are many decks based upon Waite's designs. More "original decks" (which are actually based on Waite's and Smith's art) are popping up almost every day. And all of these decks, according to the Golden Dawn tradition, are symbolically wrong. However, because of their massive use and popularity, they have developed a validity of their own, different though it may be from the Golden Dawn tradition.
Other members of the Golden Dawn who designed Tarot decks include Aleister Crowley (Thoth deck), who mixed the Golden Dawn ideas with his own system of Egyptian, Sumerian and Tantric occultism (plus a good dose of perverse humor), and Paul Foster Case. Case's B.O.T.A. deck, which gives a version that seems halfway between the Golden Dawn deck and Waite's deck, was the first public revelation of the Golden Dawn attributions of the Hebrew alphabet with the Major Arcana cards.
A few years ago a deck came out called the Golden Dawn deck. Although it is the deck recommended for this course, I would like to point out that the artist, Wang, made some glaring errors and omissions. There is not enough space to list them here, but if you are interested in discovering the errors, I suggest comparing Wang's designs with the descriptions as printed in Regardie's book, The Golden Dawn. Still, it is the most symbolically correct deck (in a Golden Dawn sense) on the market.
I know some people who claim to be occultists and who collect tarot decks. Their collection, in fact, is their only claim to knowing about the occult. But some decks which they collect are so distant from anything which could be called "metaphysical" that I wonder about their brand of occultism. One deck I saw has each card drawn by a different artist. Even though it is based on Waite's deck, it gets so silly that it even uses popular cartoon characters on them! Another deck, called the Tarot of the Witches, (certainly an insult to most if not all Witches) was designed for a James Bond movie. /
In summary, there is no proof that the Tarot came from a single ancient source in Egypt, China, India or anyplace else. That they were first introduced into Europe in the early 14th century is known, but where they originally came from is one of the great unprovable (at this time) mysteries of the universe.
Now, I would like to give my unprovable guess as to how the cards developed. It is known that both India and China did have gaming systems which, to a minor extent, resembled a pack of cards. Although unprovable, I maintain that it is likely that a traveler going from one of those countries to the Middle East, or perhaps a trader from the Middle East who went to India or China, somehow left one of these systems, or a version of it, in one of the Middle Eastern countries. Then, during one of the Crusades, a knight brought back one of these proto-decks and gave it to his lord or king.
Next, that lord or king, in a display of egotistical vanity ("I've got something you don't have!") showed it to a peer, another lord or king. That second person decided to have it duplicated. Or, in a similar manner, the artist of one lord showed it to the artist of another lord, and the second artist either made a direct copy or made a version from memory. Moving from lord to lord, from king to king, the Tarot evolved.
There were, at that time, artist guilds which, like masons, may have included some form of mystical knowledge. Certainly many artists then, before then, and now were interested in the relationship between humanity and the divine. One of these artists could have added some mysticism in the Tarot art, and another could have added more. This progressed until we have the Tarot as it exists today.
But the most important question is, "Does it matter where or how the Tarot developed?" To this there must be a loud "NO!" in answer, for the tarot's use as a powerful mystical and magickal tool has been proven over the past several centuries.
It is important to understand the difference between fortunetell-ing and divination. Fortunetelling says that something must happen. Divination, such as with the Tarot cards, never says what must happen, it only indicates what will probably happen if you continue on the path you are currently traversing.
According to this view, you have the freedom to insure something happens or prevent it from occurring. You have free will and the choice is always up to you. Fortunetelling would say that, as an exam-
pie, you will have an accident on a boat on a specific date. Divination would tell you that a boat trip at that time could cause problems, and you are advised to stay away from boats. You can then either avoid the boat trip or be extra careful when on the boat. Fortunetelling says you have no choice; you will be on a boat at that time and you will have an accident. Divination says you have free will: you can move to the desert, or at least you can stay away from boats. In this book we strongly affirm free will, not predestination.
There is another reason, a very practical reason, for doing divination and not fortunetelling. In many states, counties and cities, fortunetelling for money is not legal. If you decide to become involved with giving readings for people and intend to charge for them, I advise calling what you are doing psychological counseling, divination or, if you obtain a ministerial certificate, spiritual or religious counseling.
On the following pages I will give a method for doing a divination using just the major arcana cards. I will note here that a good reading Can be given using only these 22 cards. They tend to represent changing forces rather than the more static forces represented by the minor arcana. Using the minor arcana can give more detail, but using just the major arcana can give you more information on how things are changing or will change in your life.
In the diagram can be seen two triangles (the "split'hexagram") with an extra card between them. The upper triangle represents spiritual forces being brought down to a physical plane. The lower triangle shows conscious and unconscious desires and what is truly wanted or needed. The card in the center represents the final outcome of the matter under question. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use this Tarot "spread" (layout) to determine the outcome of Grey Magick. This reading may be used for many purposes.
1. Set up the major arcana cards in a packet so that they are all facing one direction in numerical order. If they are face down they should have the card entitled The Fool at the top of the pack. The 21 card, the Universe (or World), should be at the bottom.
2. Now, formulate your question. It should be in the style of, "What will be the outcome if I use magick to ___?" Do not ask the cards, "Should I do such-and-such?" as this puts the responsibility for your actions on the cards rather than on you. You should be seeking advice, not asking a pseudo-mommy for instructions.
3. While concentrating on your question, mix up the cards in any manner or fashion you desire. Continue to do so until you get a "feeling" that it is time to stop. Make sure that some of the cards are mixed end for end, too.
4. Cut the cards into three piles to your left. Pick up the piles from right to left.
5. Lay the cards, face down, on your table in the order shown in the diagram. The first three cards make up the upper, downward pointing triangle. Cards 4, 5 and 6 make up the lower, upward pointing triangle. The 7th cards goes in the middle, between the two triangles.
6. Turn over cards in the positions 1 and 2. Both positions represent unknown spiritual influences. Card 2 will have a stronger effect on you than does card 1. Interpret these two cards.
7. Turn over the card in position 3. This represents spiritual advice for the matter. Interpret this card.
8. Turn over card 4. This card represents your unconscious desires in the matter. You may find that your real inner reason has no relation to your outer reason. Interpret this card.
9. Turn over card 5. This card represents your conscious desires in the matter. Interpret this card.
10. Now turn over card 6. This card will indicate practical advice in the matter. It may suggest changing your focus in order to achieve what you really want. It may advise you to go ahead or abandon the project. Of course, whether you continue with the project or not is up to you.
11. Turn over card 7. This is the final outcome if you go ahead at this time. Even if the reading so far has been positive, the outcome may be negative. This is because there may be other considerations which this short reading does not take into account. The Split Hexagram spread is a quick and easy method, but it is not intended to be totally and fully complete. It should be enough, however, to get you through the course of lessons in this book.
Let's look now at a sample reading:
I mix up the cards while thinking, "What will be the outcome if I use magick to bring a new love into my life?" After cutting the cards and laying the spread, the cards are as follows:
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.