Tarosophy (2 book series)

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Table of contents :
Tarosophy: Tarot to Engage Life, Not Escape It
Title Page
Copyright Page
Author’s Foreword
Tarosophy Online
Chapter Summary
Section One: Tarot True
Part 1: Tarot Vast, Tarot Vindicated
1. 1 Introduction
1. 2 What is the Tarot?
1. 3 Tarot History: Guilt by Association
1. 4 Tarot Esoteric
1. 5 Tarot Popular
1. 6 Tarosophy
Exercise 1: Making a Metaphor
1. 7 Metaphors
1. 8 Symbols
1. 9 How Does Tarot Work?
Exercise 2: The Voices Explain Themselves
1. 10 Attributions and Correspondences
1. 11 Synchronicity and Tarot as Vision
1. 12 Archetypes
1. 13 Querent. Client. Customer. Seeker. Questioner. Petitioner. Person
1. 14 You Can Make a Map of the Map
Exercise 3: The Map is the Territory (Literal Readings)
1. 15 Mythic Creation, Creative Myth
1. 16 Types of Foresight
Exercise 4: Your Tarot Journal – The Triangle of Foretelling
Section One, Part 1 Reading List
Part 2: Tarot Consecrated, Tarot Created
2. 1 Your First Tarot Deck
2. 2 What is NLP?
Exercise 5: Consecrating Your Cards, Bag or Box
2. 3 Tuned Consecrations
2. 4 Big Picture, Little Picture
2. 5 Anchoring
2. 6 Fail-Safe Tarot
2. 7 What is the Kabbalah?
2. 8 Tarot in 10 Minutes
Exercise 6: Living the Archetypes
2. 9 Reading the Spread
Exercise 7: Some Cards are Cool, and Some Cards are Small
2. 10 Reading the Tarot of Creation
2. 11 Recording Your Reading
2. 12 The Elements
Exercise 8: The Hand of the Four Elements
Exercise 9: Your Tarot Altar
2. 13 Layouts and Spreads: Analysis and Synthesis
2. 14 The Torus Layout
2. 15 Spreads and DIY
2. 16 The Dawn Spread
2. 17 How to Get a Yes or No Answer
2. 18 The Courtroom or Judgement Spread
Section One, Part 2 Reading List
Part 3: Tarot Oracle, Tarot Voice
3. 1 Oracle, Voice
3. 2 Oracular Talent
Exercise 10: Becoming an Accidental Oracle
Exercise 11: Tarot on TV Trick for Intuition Training
3. 3 You Are Intuitive
Exercise 12: Linking Words for Intuitive Speaking
3. 4 Drawing from the Well of Intuition
Exercise 13: Feeling Towards the Truth
Exercise 14: Natural Dignities (The Cards Go Walking)
Exercise 15: Deeper Down the Well
Exercise 16: Intuitive Response
Section One, Part 3 Reading List
Part 4: Tarot Reader, Tarot Read
4. 1 The Tarot Reader
4. 2 Creating Your Tarot Self
4. 3 The Top 5 Characteristics of an Excellent Tarot Reader
Exercise 17: Pivot Grammar and Linking Words
Exercise 18: Confident Reading
Exercise 19: Flirty and Seductive Methods for Reading
Exercise 20: Creating Your Tarot Self
4. 4 The Tarot Reader’s Toolkit
Section One, Part 4 Reading List
Section Two: Tarot Deep
Part 1: Tarot Told, Tarot Tuned
1. 1 Reading for Others, Reading for Self
1. 2 Strange Places for Tarot
1. 3 Difficult Clients and Querents
1. 4 When Will Dwayne Come Back to Me?
1. 6 The Questions You Will Be Asked
1. 7 A Deck for Every Deal
1. 8 Specific and General Questions
1. 9 When Do People Ask Questions?
1. 10 Dealing with Unusual Questions
1. 11 The Dark Man and the Woman Without Mercy
Exercise 21: Exploring Relationships in the Court Cards
1. 12 Reading Hot, Reading Cold
1. 13 The Only Important Thing You Need To Do
1. 14 Tuned and Attuned Decks
1. 16 Fall-Back Reading
Section Two, Part 1 Reading List
Part 2: Tarot Spread, Tarot Stepped
2. 1 The Minors in Three Lights
2. 2 Tarot Astrological
2. 3 Tarot Kabbalistical
2. 4 The Spiritual Process Triads of Papus
2. 5 The Secret Keywords of the Major Arcana
Exercise 23: Generating Your Own Keywords
2. 6 More Archetypal Than Others
2. 7 Powerful Reading With the Majors Only
2. 8 The Tarot Reader Revealed
2. 9 The Major Arcana Considered as a System
Exercise 24: Chunking Up Exercise (Archetypes)
2. 10 The Major Arcana Enquiries
2. 12 The Temple of Thoth (Gated Spread)
2. 13 The Unfolded Cube Spread (3D Spread)
2. 14 The Snowflake Spread (Fractal Spread)
2. 15 The Next Step Spread (Progressive Spread)
2. 16 Layered, Chained, Linked, and Pulled Spreads
Section Two, Part 2 Reading List
Part 3: Tarot Dreamt, Tarot Realised
3. 1 The Fountain of Morpheus
3. 2 Senoi Dream-work
3. 3 The Inner Guide Meditation
Exercise 25: The Inner Guide Meditation
Exercise 26: Over-Intellectualising Overcome
Exercise 27: Working With Attachments
3. 4 Coded Questions and the Inner Guide
3. 5 Clean Tarot
3. 6 Tarot and the Poet
Exercise 28: Creating a Tarot Story
Exercise 29: Tarot Yoga
Exercise 30: Tarot Martial Arts, Music and Dance
Exercise 31: Creating Your Own Tarot Deck
3. 7 Reviewing Tarot Decks
Section Two, Part 3 Reading List
Section Three: Tarot High
Part 1: Tarot Tree, Tarot Path
1. 1 Learning the Correspondences
Exercise 32: Learning the Correspondences
1. 2 The Kabbalistic Calibrated Spread
1. 3 The Seasonal Path Calibrated Spread
1. 4 Understanding the Kabbalah Through Tarot
Exercise 33: Three Cards to Unlock the Crown
Exercise 34: Four Cards to Unlock Understanding
1. 5 The Mystery of the Kingdom
1. 6 The Mystery of the Rainbow
1. 7 The Wedding Day: A Kabbalistic Tarot Journey
1. 8 The Celtic Cross Unpacked
Section Three, Part 1 Reading List
Part 2: Tarot Stellar, Tarot Trance
2. 1 Exploring the Natal Chart Through Tarot
Exercise 35: Matching the Sun and Moon
Exercise 36: Comparing Sun and Moon
2. 2 Astrological Dignities and the Tarot
Exercise 37: In-Depth Exploration Around the Sun & Moon
2. 3 Tarot Trance
Exercise 38: The Betty Erickson Technique
Exercise 40: Merging the Cards for Creative Solutions
Exercise 41: 3-Card Pattern
Exercise 42: Changing a Situation Through Tarot
Section Three, Part 2 Reading List
Part 3: Tarot Ascended, Tarot Secret
3. 1 The Ladder
3. 2 The Tarot as Illustrating Spiritual Ascent
Exercise 43: Tarot of Spiritual Ascent
3. 3 The Book of Thoth as Illustrative of Spiritual Progression
3. 4 The Ladder Laid Down
3. 5 The Tarot of the Braid
3. 6 Solomon’s Ladder
3. 7 The 1,232 Major Lessons of Tarosophy
3. 8 Tarosophy and a Tarot Secret of the Golden Dawn
3. 9 Never Will the Eternal Change
Exercise 44: The Secret Journeys of the Majors
3. 10 Towards Your Own Tarosophy
Exercise 45: A Tarosophical Spiritual Statement
Exercise 46: A Tarosophical Analysis of an Argument
3. 11 The Ten Degrees of Tarosophy
3. 12 Tarot Long Term
3. 13 The Hidden Teachings Beyond Tarot
3. 14 Tarot Dangerous
3. 15 Who Wants to Live Forever?
3. 16 The Top Five Tarot Crimes
3. 17 Tarot Haiku
Exercise 47: Haiku Your LWB
Exercise 48: 3-Card Haiku Creation
Exercise 49: Annual Year Ahead Spread (36-Card Spread)
Exercise 50: All the Traps/All the Escapes (78-Card Spread)
3. 18 A Tarot Blessing
Section Three, Part 3 Reading List
Author’s Afterword: The Fair-Wrought House
Appendix 1: Half the Market Think You Are Evil (Marketing)
Appendix 2: Tarot Law, Tarot Trade (Legal)
Appendix 3: Top Tarot Tweet Tips (78 Tips)
Appendix 4: Contributors to the Secret Keywords
Tarosophy Squared: Recovering the Spiritual Dignity of Tarot
Don't Build Doors out of Keys
The Tarosophy Approach to Tarot
Why Read Tarot?
Why So Many Decks?
Elevator Pitches for Tarot Decks
The Tarot Expects a Reader to Know …
A Tarot Reader
Do Not Pay Me
Facts and Fallacies
Tarot & Superpowers
Who Not To Read
Three Questions You May Not Ask
The Tarot is Dangerous
Timing and Tarot
Teaching Tarot
Connecting Cards
Tarot and Shakespeare
Tarot and Connection
Tarot and Geography
Waite Smith Prevalence
Above the Head
Different Voices
Bonding with a Deck
Brings and Leaves
Reversed Majors
On Death and Transformation
Turn a One-Card Reading into a Spread
Desire Lines and the Poetics of Space
The Fool Falls
Shadow Work
The Origins of Symbolic Language
Tarot Symbols
- I -
- II -
- III -
- IV -
- V -
- VI -
- VII -
- VIII -
- IX -
- X-
- XI -
- XII -
- XIII -
- XIV-
- XV -
- XVI -
- XVII -
- XIX -
- XX -
- XXI -
Practice Skill Not Method
Which Card Signifies X?
The Unemployment Card
Free or Fixed
Tarot Kihon.
Connecting Cards I
Connecting Cards II
An Interval of Riddles
Random Words
Fire and Fuel
Two Card Draw
Genre Exercise
Creating Keywords
Learn to Read the Universe
Reversed Cards Practice
The Man Who Can Read the Clouds
Illustrating the World
Central Pillar Method
Working with Kabbalah through the Cards
Applying Kabbalah to a Three Card Reading
NLP & Tarot
Incorporate and Utilise
State Generation
Rapport Skills
Impossible Questions
Defusing a Bomb
Dreams and Tarot
Tarot Talismans
Reading the Majors (A 32-Day Course)
Reading Reversals (Majors)
Celtic Cross Reading with Majors-Only and Reversals
Panolepsy Not Theopropia
The Thing
22 Confessions
But This Card
The Major Arcana (Does Not Mean)
Tarot Poem
Tarot Telephone
The Pyramid of Existence
Cards are Cards
Hang in There
To Say to Myself One Day
The First Ten Mistakes of Mysticism
Majors Only Method
Court Cards
Majors Keyword Compression
The Minorverse
Minors Only Reading
Suits For their Opposite Themes
Ten Minor Lessons
Freedom Sequences
Freedom in the Wands
Freedom in the Cups
Freedom in the Swords
Freedom in the Pentacles
Ten Ways of the Minor Arcana
Tarosophy Four Card Court Card Method: Turn a Page.
A New Years (Minor) Re-Solution
New Moon
Super or Full Moon
Festival One-Card Calibration
Easter One-Card Draw
Winter Solstice
Lughnasadh Spread
Birthday Method
Thank Tarot its Friday.
Something for the Weekend?
I Beg Favour
Removing Damp (a Practical Interlude)
Time Travel
One Thing Missing
Unasked Questions
Triangulate the Majors
Simple Split-Deck Method
Oracular Sentences II
High Intensity Tarot Training
Engines of Change
Tarot Affirmation Generator
Stuck in the Middle
Using Combination Decks
Etymology Oracles
Can you handle the Truth?!
Bows and Burdens
Weight Management Through Tarot
Finding Balance
How to Read for any Relationship
Quick Relationship Method
Direct Advice from the Court Cards
Divining How to Act Appropriately
Out of the Box Solutions
Motivation Card
Align your Life to the Elements
Connection Exercise
Fulfilling an Ambition with the Majors
Absent Cards
Dealing with Burn Out
The Greatest Challenge
Tarot Tells Its Own Future.
The Top Ten Tarot Titles You May Never Read.
My Personal Reading Decks
The 22 Major Cards of the Tarot Give Thanks …
Also by Marcus Katz
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Tarosophy (2 book series)

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Marcus Katz

This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be made to the author via [email protected] Tarosophy®, Tarot House®, Gated Spread® and Western Esoteric Initiatory System® are registered trademarks. World Tarot Day™ is asserted as a trademark by Tarot Professionals Ltd from Den Elder.

First paperback edition published 2011 by Salamander and Sons. Second paperback edition published 2015 by Salamander and Sons. This 3rd print edition and Kindle editions published by Forge Press, authorized by the author to whom all rights belong to this work. This edition revised with updated links and references. Edited by Paul Hardacre & Marcus Katz.


Keswick, Cumbria, 2016 www.tarotassociation.net Copyright © Marcus Katz 2011, 2015, 2016.


The Alchemical Amphitheatre (Forge Press, 2008) The Zodiacal Rituals (Forge Press, 2008) After the Angel (Forge Press, 2011) The Magician’s Kabbalah (Forge Press, 2015) The Path of the Seasons (Forge Press, forthcoming 2016) NLP Magick (Forge Press, forthcoming 2016) Secrets of the Thoth Tarot (Forge Press, forthcoming 2016)

With Tali Goodwin

Tarot Twist (Forge Press, 2010) Tarot Flip (Forge Press, 2010) Tarot Turn (in three volumes, Forge Press, 2012) Tarot Inspire (Forge Press, 2012) Tarot Face to Face (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012) Around the Tarot in 78 Days (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012) The Original Lenormand Deck (Forge Press/TGC, 2012) The English Lenormand (Forge Press, 2013) Tarot Life (in 12 books, Forge Press, 2013) Abiding in the Sanctuary (Forge Press, 2013) Learning Lenormand (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2013) Easy Lenormand (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015) I-Ching Counters (Forge Press/TGC, 2015) …

… With Tali Goodwin

Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015) Secrets of the Celtic Cross (Forge Press, 2016) Tarot Edge: Tarot for Teens and Young Adults (Forge Press, forthcoming 2016)

Gated Spread Booklets on Kindle The Garden of Creation The Resurrection Engine The Palace of the Phoenix The Gates of Valentine Ghost Train The Tarot Shaman Tarot Temple

With Tali Goodwin, Sasha Graham (ed.), Giordano Berti, Mark McElroy, Riccardo Minetti & Barbara Moore

Tarot Fundamentals (Lo Scarabeo, 2015) Tarot Experience (Lo Scarabeo, 2016)

With Derek Bain & Tali Goodwin

A New Dawn for Tarot: The Original Tarot of the Golden Dawn (Forge Press, 2015)

As Andrea Green (with Tali Goodwin)

True Tarot Card Meanings (Kindle, 2014) Tarot for True Romance (Kindle, 2014) Kabbalah & Tarot: A Step-up Guide (Kindle, 2015) Angels for Everyone (Kindle, forthcoming, 2016)

As Frater V.

The Magister Vol. 0 (Forge Press, 2016)

Visit Author Sites for Complete Bibliography & Details


www.taligoodwin.com COVER BY JANINE HALL ‘High Priestess’ from Tarot of Everlasting Day (Union Deck) https://janinehallstudio.com/


This book is dedicated to those living voices of tarot, Rachel Pollack, Mary K. Greer, and Lon Milo Duquette. To Naomi Ozaniec for assistance in one sentence during the darkest hour before the dawn. To Barbara Moore, for encouragement and guidance beyond remit.

High Priestess, Thoth Tarot Deck

And as ever, and above all, this book is spiritually dedicated to Antistita Astri Argentei The Priestess of the Silver Star She whose light leads the way to the Arcanum Arcanorum, the Secret of Secrets Vos Vos Vos Vos Vos V.V.V.V.V.


Illustrations from the Aquarian and New Palladini Tarot Decks are reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyrights © 1993 and 1996 respectively by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck®, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, are reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright © 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Illustrations from Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot are © copyright AGMüller / O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). Further reproduction prohibited. Astrological and planetary keywords come permission of excellent and ground-breaking astrologer, Lyn Birkbeck, author of The Instant Astrologer, Understanding the Future, Divine Astrology, and The Watkins Guide to Astrology amongst many other titles. If I have missed a reference that requires acknowledgement, please write to me c/o [email protected] and I will rectify this as necessary in any subsequent editions. Many of the ideas here are not ex nihilo and come from three decades of discussing, learning and teaching tarot with exposure to almost every tarot book, catalogue, pamphlet, and Inner Order original hand written paper available. There is nothing new under the Sun, and if an idea I

consider original has been published prior in exactly the same format, I will welcome references. Some sections of this material have appeared previously in Tarot Professionals Ltd courses, Tarosophist International magazine and as ‘Tarosophy Papers’ on the Tarot Professionals website. Much of this material has been generated during twenty years of teaching and has been thoroughly tested. All material appears here for the first time in publication in revised format, expanded and updated. My thanks to Keren Happuch who provided the method and text for the ‘Exploring the Natal Chart through Tarot’ section and Anne Davies for assistance in the ‘legal’ section. Photos of original ‘Gypsy Method’ courtesy of the Warburg Institute, University of London, used with permission. As far as I can ascertain, copyright on Gardner’s material is no longer applicable, although their images here are copyright Tarot Professionals Ltd (2010) and not to be reproduced in any media. All rights reserved.


Author’s Foreword Tarosophy Online Chapter Summary Section One: Tarot True Part 1: Tarot Vast, Tarot Vindicated 1.1 Introduction 1.2 What is the Tarot? 1.3 Tarot History: Guilt by Association 1.4 Tarot Esoteric 1.5 Tarot Popular 1.6 Tarosophy Exercise 1: Making a Metaphor

1.7 Metaphors 1.8 Symbols 1.9 How Does Tarot Work? Exercise 2: The Voices Explain Themselves 1.10 Attributions and Correspondences 1.11 Synchronicity and Tarot as Vision 1.12 Archetypes 1.13 Querent. Client. Customer. Seeker. Questioner. Petitioner. Person 1.14 You Can Make a Map of the Map Exercise 3: The Map is the Territory (Literal Readings) 1.15 Mythic Creation, Creative Myth 1.16 Types of Foresight Exercise 4: Your Tarot Journal – The Triangle of Foretelling Section One, Part 1 Reading List Part 2: Tarot Consecrated, Tarot Created

2.1 Your First Tarot Deck 2.2 What is NLP? Exercise 5: Consecrating Your Cards, Bag or Box 2.3 Tuned Consecrations 2.4 Big Picture, Little Picture 2.5 Anchoring 2.6 Fail-Safe Tarot 2.7 What is the Kabbalah? 2.8 Tarot in 10 Minutes Exercise 6: Living the Archetypes 2.9 Reading the Spread Exercise 7: Some Cards are Cool, and Some Cards are Small 2.10 Reading the Tarot of Creation 2.11 Recording Your Reading 2.12 The Elements Exercise 8: The Hand of the Four Elements

Exercise 9: Your Tarot Altar 2.13 Layouts and Spreads: Analysis and Synthesis 2.14 The Torus Layout 2.15 Spreads and DIY 2.16 The Dawn Spread 2.17 How to Get a Yes or No Answer 2.18 The Courtroom or Judgement Spread Section One, Part 2 Reading List Part 3: Tarot Oracle, Tarot Voice 3.1 Oracle, Voice 3.2 Oracular Talent Exercise 10: Becoming an Accidental Oracle Exercise 11: Tarot on TV Trick for Intuition Training 3.3 You Are Intuitive Exercise 12: Linking Words for Intuitive Speaking 3.4 Drawing from the Well of Intuition

Exercise 13: Feeling Towards the Truth Exercise 14: Natural Dignities (The Cards Go Walking) Exercise 15: Deeper Down the Well Exercise 16: Intuitive Response Section One, Part 3 Reading List Part 4: Tarot Reader, Tarot Read 4.1 The Tarot Reader 4.2 Creating Your Tarot Self 4.3 The Top 5 Characteristics of an Excellent Tarot Reader Exercise 17: Pivot Grammar and Linking Words Exercise 18: Confident Reading Exercise 19: Flirty and Seductive Methods for Reading Exercise 20: Creating Your Tarot Self 4.4 The Tarot Reader’s Toolkit Section One, Part 4 Reading List

Section Two: Tarot Deep Part 1: Tarot Told, Tarot Tuned 1.1 Reading for Others, Reading for Self 1.2 Strange Places for Tarot 1.3 Difficult Clients and Querents 1.4 When Will Dwayne Come Back to Me? 1.5 Every Sickness, Every Disturbance, Every Attack 1.6 The Questions You Will Be Asked 1.7 A Deck for Every Deal 1.8 Specific and General Questions 1.9 When Do People Ask Questions? 1.10 Dealing with Unusual Questions 1.11 The Dark Man and the Woman Without Mercy Exercise 21: Exploring Relationships in the Court Cards 1.12 Reading Hot, Reading Cold 1.13 The Only Important Thing You Need To Do

1.14 Tuned and Attuned Decks 1.15 Reading Spatially 1.16 Fall-Back Reading Section Two, Part 1 Reading List Part 2: Tarot Spread, Tarot Stepped 2.1 The Minors in Three Lights 2.2 Tarot Astrological 2.3 Tarot Kabbalistical 2.4 The Spiritual Process Triads of Papus Exercise 22: Papus Pimps the Majors 2.5 The Secret Keywords of the Major Arcana Exercise 23: Generating Your Own Keywords 2.6 More Archetypal Than Others 2.7 Powerful Reading With the Majors Only 2.8 The Tarot Reader Revealed 2.9 The Major Arcana Considered as a System

Exercise 24: Chunking Up Exercise (Archetypes) 2.10 The Major Arcana Enquiries 2.11 The Jackson Square Spread (Mutable Spread) 2.12 The Temple of Thoth (Gated Spread) 2.13 The Unfolded Cube Spread (3D Spread) 2.14 The Snowflake Spread (Fractal Spread) 2.15 The Next Step Spread (Progressive Spread) 2.16 Layered, Chained, Linked, and Pulled Spreads Section Two, Part 2 Reading List Part 3: Tarot Dreamt, Tarot Realised 3.1 The Fountain of Morpheus 3.2 Senoi Dream-work 3.3 The Inner Guide Meditation Exercise 25: The Inner Guide Meditation Exercise 26: Over-Intellectualising Overcome Exercise 27: Working With Attachments

3.4 Coded Questions and the Inner Guide 3.5 Clean Tarot 3.6 Tarot and the Poet Exercise 28: Creating a Tarot Story Exercise 29: Tarot Yoga Exercise 30: Tarot Martial Arts, Music and Dance Exercise 31: Creating Your Own Tarot Deck 3.7 Reviewing Tarot Decks Section Two, Part 3 Reading List Section Three: Tarot High Part 1: Tarot Tree, Tarot Path 1.1 Learning the Correspondences Exercise 32: Learning the Correspondences 1.2 The Kabbalistic Calibrated Spread 1.3 The Seasonal Path Calibrated Spread

1.4 Understanding the Kabbalah Through Tarot Exercise 33: Three Cards to Unlock the Crown Exercise 34: Four Cards to Unlock Understanding 1.5 The Mystery of the Kingdom 1.6 The Mystery of the Rainbow 1.7 The Wedding Day: A Kabbalistic Tarot Journey 1.8 The Celtic Cross Unpacked Section Three, Part 1 Reading List Part 2: Tarot Stellar, Tarot Trance 2.1 Exploring the Natal Chart Through Tarot Exercise 35: Matching the Sun and Moon Exercise 36: Comparing Sun and Moon 2.2 Astrological Dignities and the Tarot Exercise 37: In-Depth Exploration Around the Sun & Moon 2.3 Tarot Trance Exercise 38: The Betty Erickson Technique

Exercise 39: Vogt’s Fractionation Exercise 40: Merging the Cards for Creative Solutions Exercise 41: 3-Card Pattern Exercise 42: Changing a Situation Through Tarot Section Three, Part 2 Reading List Part 3: Tarot Ascended, Tarot Secret 3.1 The Ladder 3.2 The Tarot as Illustrating Spiritual Ascent Exercise 43: Tarot of Spiritual Ascent 3.3 The Book of Thoth as Illustrative of Spiritual Progression 3.4 The Ladder Laid Down 3.5 The Tarot of the Braid 3.6 Solomon’s Ladder 3.7 The 1,232 Major Lessons of Tarosophy 3.8 Tarosophy and a Tarot Secret of the Golden Dawn 3.9 Never Will the Eternal Change

Exercise 44: The Secret Journeys of the Majors 3.10 Towards Your Own Tarosophy Exercise 45: A Tarosophical Spiritual Statement Exercise 46: A Tarosophical Analysis of an Argument 3.11 The Ten Degrees of Tarosophy 3.12 Tarot Long Term 3.13 The Hidden Teachings Beyond Tarot 3.14 Tarot Dangerous 3.15 Who Wants to Live Forever? 3.16 The Top Five Tarot Crimes 3.17 Tarot Haiku Exercise 47: Haiku Your LWB Exercise 48: 3-Card Haiku Creation Exercise 49: Annual Year Ahead Spread (36-Card Spread) Exercise 50: All the Traps/All the Escapes (78-Card Spread) 3.18 A Tarot Blessing

Section Three, Part 3 Reading List Author’s Afterword: The Fair-Wrought House Appendix 1: Half the Market Think You Are Evil (Marketing) Appendix 2: Tarot Law, Tarot Trade (Legal) Appendix 3: Top Tarot Tweet Tips (78 Tips) Appendix 4: Contributors to the Secret Keywords Bibliography

Author’s Foreword My relationship with tarot began 35 years ago. When I was 15, a tarot reader came into our religious education lesson to give a talk on tarot, dowsing, astrology and the Age of Aquarius. You might tell from this story that I went to an incredibly progressive school. Later that day we went out to the playing fields with dowsing rods and discovered that they all bent towards the ground along a straight line. When we reported this to our teacher, he suggested that we approach it scientifically and go see the janitor for maps of the school grounds. We did so and were astonished to discover that we had accurately marked the main water pipe which ran underground to the swimming pool. This was one of my enduring first memories of realising that, as Kircher suggests in his book on magnetism, “the world is bound in secret knots.”1 The following weekend I slipped into the adult library at our local town and specially arranged to borrow a book on tarot – the only one that the library had on the shelves, by Stuart R. Kaplan. My father ran a company which had one of the first photocopiers, so I went with him that day and photocopied a page of illustrations of the 22 Major cards. I raced home, cut them out, stuck them onto pieces of cardboard, and began to lay them out to read them. On the Monday, I had enough practice to go into school, with the cards in a stylish old coffee-grind bag on my belt, and set up shop on a table in the cafeteria where I knew everyone would be queuing. I started doing readings and to this day I haven’t stopped. I’m estimating more than 10,000 readings face-to-face on my tarometer.

I still have those cards and the bag.

My First Tarot Deck

During these 30 years I’ve encountered the practicalities, the esotericism, the professional and the academic aspects of tarot, and I hope to have brought a blend of these approaches to this book, providing something for everyone – from tarot beginner to tarot professional. I trust that this book is a wonder cabinet and not a curate’s egg. This is not just another ‘tarot 101’ or guide book, listing another set of meanings or uplifting stories for each card. Instead, this book aims to present many innovations in tarot, to encourage you to seek more and to fully engage tarot as a gear in your real life. It is based upon my courses, and takes you from becoming a great beginner to a seasoned professional through 50 innovative exercises.

This book is really for my dad, who 30 years ago patiently waited for me to photocopy those cards, said very little, but that following Christmas gave me Stuart R. Kaplan’s first Encyclopaedia of Tarot, and only just yesterday said on the telephone to me, “At least with all that work you’ve been doing you know you’ll be selling one copy of your first book. I’ll buy it.” Dad, thank you. 1 Kircher, A. Magneticum Naturae Regnum, Rome 1667.

Tarosophy Online To learn more about the many innovative techniques featured in this book, become a member of Tarot Professionals through the Tarosophy® Tarot Association – for students, newcomers and experienced tarot readers – at www.tarotassociation.net. Membership includes subscription to the world’s leading tarot magazine, Tarosophist International, now with over 25 issues (six years) of quality tarot articles, insights and methods. Our peer-reviewed and professionally edited tarot deck review site can be located at www.thetarotreview.com for considered and practical reviews of tarot decks. If you are interested in a comprehensive course of tarot studies, we have a range of courses from beginner to advanced levels with our flagship course being the online Hekademia Tarot Course, a twoyear ‘degree-style’ program delivered with the latest learning technology. You can enrol at any time at: www.tarosophyuniversity.com. You can meet and make friends in your area through one of our friendly Tarosophy® Tarot Houses, where you can gain membership of your national Tarosophy® Tarot Association, exclusive practice exercises and have fun with others learning tarot. Our growing register of Tarot Houses is at: www.mytarothouse.com. Tarot Professionals also hosts Tarosophy® TarotCon Conventions worldwide. Details may be found on the main site at:

www.tarotconvention.com. As a free service to the tarot community, Tarot Professionals also provides a growing database of legislation, laws and statutes with regard to “fortune-telling” and tarot, worldwide. This can be found at: www.fortunetellinglaws.com. Tarot Professionals also supports Den Elder’s World Tarot Day™ (May 25th) at www.worldtarotday.com which aims to raise awareness of tarot in contemporary society and bring together tarot readers worldwide. For courses in the Western esoteric initiatory tradition, alchemy, kabbalah, witchcraft, tarot, apprenticeship, inner guide meditation, Thelema and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and spellcrafting, visit www.westernesotericism.com. For comments on this book, updates and more see: www.tarosophy.com. And for social networking with other Tarosophists worldwide, join us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/groups/tarotprofessionals Professionals’ on Facebook)




Our Twitter feed is at: @The Tarosophist or www.twitter.com/TheTarosophist For truly innovative and considered teachings in Wicca, Magick:

www.magickaschool.com For learning Astrology and the Sabian Symbols we recommend: www.lynbirkbeck.com

Chapter Summary Section One: Tarot True Basic Tarot in a New Light for the Beginning Tarosophist

Part 1: Tarot Vast, Tarot Vindicated The tarot is introduced as a powerful and mutable system for engaging with life in an active, formative, creative, and spiritual manner. Its history and popularity are briefly explored, and then we immediately introduce key concepts such as symbolism, metaphor, attribution, and correspondence. We look at the nature of archetypes and synchronicity, and types of foretelling. A number of exercises are presented to start working with tarot as a map of real life. There are almost fifty unique exercises in the book, and many ideas on each page for exploration. There are also recommended reading lists per part, a full bibliography and extensive footnotes.

Part 2: Tarot Consecrated, Tarot Created In this part we teach tarot, having provided an exercise to prepare our first deck. We introduce NLP2 and tarot in order to discover simple methods of improving communication with our client. The failsafe method of learning, teaching and reading any standard tarot deck is presented. This has been successfully used to train hundreds of people at a time to read any card in any position for any question – within 10 minutes. The reader will here see what has often been described as the clearest explanation of tarot reading

ever presented, for the first time in print. We also begin to touch upon kabbalah in a straightforward manner, applying it to everyday life. For teachers of tarot, this teaching method is fast and effective, and for beginners it is the easiest way to learn tarot. We conclude this part with a range of original spreads for daily practice. An exercise within this part – ‘Living the Archetypes’ – is an 8 to 16 month exercise which can radically change your life. This exercise is presented for the first time.

Part 3: Tarot Oracle, Tarot Voice This part develops our training to read tarot, addressed in the previous part, into reading for others and oneself. It uses NLP to model and teach intuition, with a range of unique exercises to develop intuitive skills. We introduce the idea of natural dignities and concepts of oracular talent. This part represents the heart of intuitive tarot in contrast with the linear and logical basis of the foregoing part.

Part 4: Tarot Reader, Tarot Read To conclude our introductory section, having established our fail-safe position, in this part we develop the reader’s own self-identity through a series of unique exercises. These exercises are from NLP and esotericism and build the reader’s confidence and competence in presenting a tarot reading. This area of reading is underrated in many modern titles, so is here fully explored. Via a range of exercises, the reader will be able to work towards becoming an excellent tarot reader, with models and methods based upon decades of observation and modelling of professional and proficient tarot readers. A synthesis and summary of the results of the major surveys and memberships in the tarot community are presented for the first time, revealing the average tarot reader.

Section Two: Tarot Deep Intermediate Tarot in a Magical Light for the Enquiring Tarosophist

Part 1: Tarot Told, Tarot Tuned To move on from our introductory work, we extend our material to cover the questions which you will be asked as a reader. This represents years of experience and research, including a comprehensive analysis of more than 38,000 questions and drawing upon materials from almost 1,000 years ago to the present day. We look at difficult questions and clients, and consider the only important thing you have to do as a developing tarot reader. These themes have never before been presented in a tarot book to any significance.

Part 2: Tarot Spread, Tarot Stepped In the heart of the intermediate section, we cover many new ways of performing spreads, with an example of each: mutable spreads, gated spreads, 3D spreads, fractal spreads, and progressive spreads. These are all unique and presented here for the first time. We extend our knowledge and appreciation of the tarot Minor cards with reference to astrology and kabbalah, even Papus. We also delve into the secret unconscious keywords of the Majors, with the assistance of almost 50 tarot readers.

Part 3: Tarot Dreamt, Tarot Realised

To conclude our intermediate work, we present techniques of using tarot in dream-work, including never-before-published techniques from esotericism and shamanic dream-work. We also demonstrate the powerful Inner Guide Meditation of Steinbrecher and extend it with coded questions – this alone represents a potential syllabus for years of tarot experience and self-discovery, and is based upon two decades of teaching the Inner Guide Meditation to groups and individuals. We also briefly touch upon tarot poetry, storytelling, yoga, and dance. We conclude this part and section by considering developing your own tarot deck and reviewing decks. This features ideas for decks such as the Tarot of the Inappropriate. Section Three: Tarot High Advanced Tarot in a Spiritual Light for the Progressive Tarosophist

Part 1: Tarot Tree, Tarot Path In the first part of our advanced section, we present a simple and powerful way for tarot readers and students to begin to learn kabbalah. This profound yet straightforward method has astonished private students for years and excited them to the possibilities of tarot as a key to esoteric and spiritual work. It is here published for the first time. We also look at a kabbalistic meditation for tarot, and a powerful kabbalistic spread (and a new way of doing spreads called calibration spreads). We reveal for the first time in print the mystery of the rainbow and the mystery of the Kingdom. We finally unpack the Celtic Cross a little to show that even the most commonly known spread is full of intrigue! We also present for the first time in book form the earliest known version of that spread, discovered during years of research.

Part 2: Tarot Stellar, Tarot Trance Developing our advanced skills even further, but keeping them accessible and clearly explained, in this part we present a way of exploring your natal chart through tarot and, for the first time, safe methods of accessing trance-like experiences to encounter the tarot in a profound manner. We then provide a few exercises to use trance tarot to access creative solutions and even change real life events in a magical fashion. These powerful methods take tarot to whole new levels.

Part 3: Tarot Ascended, Tarot Secret In this concluding part of our advanced work, we consider tarot as a map of spiritual ascent and mystical development. We offer exercises to use tarot as Tarosophy, developing your own personal philosophy based upon the structure of tarot. I present unpublished material from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as elucidation of this approach, two forms of the Tree of Life and a whole new tarot developed from visionary and dream experience, as encouragement for the reader to do likewise. Amongst many other concepts and exercises, we conclude by looking at the effects of practising tarot in the long-term life of the reader and student. We conclude with tarot haiku and two exercises for advanced students: the first a twist on the year ahead spread, and the second and final, a two month training exercise culminating in a speed spread which utilises every single card in the deck for the reading. 2 NLP (neuro-linguistic programming): a set of techniques and attitudes modelled upon gifted communicators and therapists, now taught to presenters, therapists, teachers, doctors, and others who aim to communicate more effectively with clients.


Basic Tarot in a New Light for the Beginning Tarosophist, in which we explore Tarot, Terminology and Technique

“Tell the King the fair-wrought house has fallen. No shelter has Apollo, nor sacred laurel leaves; The fountains now are silent, the voice is stilled.”

The last oracle of the Pythia at Delphi, 362 A.D.3 3 Vandenberg, P. Mysteries of the Oracles. Tauris Parke Paperbacks: London, 2007, p. 273.

Part 1: Tarot Vast, Tarot Vindicated

1.1 Introduction In this book you will find many innovative ideas for approaching tarot as a divination system, self-discovery method and therapeutic tool. You will be discovering both esoteric and exoteric secrets of the tarot for mystical and practical application. Whilst tarot may be used as divination – and we will cover practical and effective methods for ‘fortune-telling’ – it belongs to a larger context of magical thinking, which I call here the Esosana; the Esoteric Asana, or position on the world. The Esosana is a state characterised by an increasingly comprehensive, consistent and congruent state of awareness. It is engendered by magical practice and the use of tarot as Tarosophy – the living wisdom of the tarot. This book has been divided into three sections, generally classified as introductory, intermediate and advanced levels of work. Whilst these are not absolute classifications, it is intended that this book provide a thorough grounding in tarot for all levels and interests. We will take you from your first tarot deck through to readings for yourself and others, and then onto advanced spreads and methods, through to developing a tarot philosophy and engaging tarot in real life. In straightforward terms, this book is about applied, down-to-earth tarot – tarot for engaging life, not escaping it. In this book you will learn methods for using tarot as an enriching and rewarding interface between daily life and spiritual practice, between the spiritual maps of kabbalah, astrology and your personal life, and more besides.

We will not repeat the endless series of works providing permutations of meanings, catalogues of keywords or ill-considered exercises in which you learn psychotic behaviour such as “What film stars can you see in your tarot cards?” or limiting beliefs such as “Which tarot card are you?” As one of my esoteric teachers once said, these behaviours and beliefs are just different flavours of the same ice cream, keeping you busy until you become worm food. Our Tarosophy here is meant to be applied to enrich your model of Universe and life, leading you to better decisions, insight and creativity. Whilst many of the approaches and models of the world drawn upon in this book are firmly based in Western esoteric thinking, you do not need to subscribe to any particular belief system to apply these methods. However, you will find that any further exploration that you undertake in Western esotericism will enrich the tarot as Tarosophy. I have provided reading lists selected from the best and most approachable works on the various subjects covered here, whilst acknowledging that such lists will never be entirely comprehensive. In Tarosophy, if we were to have our favoured Major Arcana cards they would be The Hierophant, whose name literally means revealer of the sacred, and The Hanged Man, who might be considered as initiation – a revolutionary perspective on the world! In truth, the former is the revealer, the latter the sacrifice which must be made in order to receive that revelation. As we will see later, the previous Esosana of tarot on the whole has been characterised by The High Priestess and The Star; the cards of mystery and hope, law and vision. This book aims to upturn that situation and provide a welcome antidote to tarot dogma. Nothing in this book is sacred, and whilst every method has been proven over the course of thirty years, and every model refined over decades, you are encouraged to test, trial and tweak as you may choose – although I always recommend the best scientific practice of experiment, analysis / reflection and synthesis; The Last Judgement, The Moon and The World cards which correspond to the bottom paths of the kabbalistic Tree of Life.

Throughout this book there are many methods and exercises for you to try, and recommended reading for further discoveries in tarot. These methods are based upon almost three decades of teaching, so you are – hopefully – in safe hands. Before we begin, let me just suggest some of the most common tarot sillies I hear from students (and sometimes professionals), so that I can get them off my chest and we can all move on. The following list should be taken ‘as far as we know so far’: 1. The tarot did not originate ex nihilo from Egypt, the gypsies or a secret order; 2. You do not need to be gifted your tarot – you can buy a deck for yourself; 3. You do not have to keep your tarot in a silk bag or bag of any particular colour; 4. You can let other people touch your cards if you choose; 5. There are no real ‘rules’ in tarot, but some generally agreed good ideas; 6. The keywords for cards are somehow set in stone ... then why do books disagree? 7. The cards are evil ... well, if print and cardboard are evil, avoid libraries; 8. You have a single birth card or yearly card – that seems somewhat limiting; 9. You have to be intuitive or gifted in some special way – you don’t, you can learn;

10. The ‘ancient Celtic Cross’ spread has been used for centuries – it hasn’t! Now that we have spoken so clearly between ourselves and banished some old dusty cobwebs surrounding tarot, let’s move on.

1.2 What is the Tarot? As many definitions of tarot are prevalent as there are cards in a deck. The tarot as most commonly recognised is a family of card decks, most often 78 cards divided into four suits of 14 cards (10 numbered cards and 4 Court cards for each suit) and 22 Major cards. There are presently about 1,000 different decks in print or circulation, and many more out-of-print, rare and collectable decks. It is interesting to reflect upon other descriptions and answers to this question – what is the tarot? – in order to reveal the author’s own projections into tarot. It is commonplace to consider tarot as a metaphor in itself; a mirror, a key, even a forest.4 It is seen as a secret tradition, a paradox, a picture book, a map, and the compass to that map.5 More poetically, the author Italo Calvino considers the tarot a ‘Castle of Crossed Destinies’, using a layout of cards to construct his collection of short stories of that name.6 The tarot can be used to tell a tale, for personal transformation, or as a way of life.7 It can be used to tell the future and cast spells or create talismans.8 It can be used to work with your shadow, or to discover yourself.9 It can also be utilised in the workplace.10 It can be played – as is very common – as a card-game, without any of the latter esoteric trappings. Tarot is not a solitary system: it likes to make friends! It has been variously connected with kabbalah, magick, gnosticism, psychology,

and astrology.11 You can also have your tarot fully feminist, Christian, voodoo, choice-centred, or quantum!12

1. 3 Tarot History: Guilt by Association Whilst most accept a general arising of tarot as we know it during the early 15th century in northern Italy, one could also find many authors suggesting its origins in the systems, symbols and practises of the gypsies, the Hellenic mystery schools, the Sufis, the Templars, and even a perennial philosophy straddling all systems.13 It is a peculiar method that juxtaposes those latter suggestions with tarot history, resulting in a popular misconception that there is evidence of, or a relationship between, tarot and ancient Egypt, for example. This type of illegitimate knowledge is commonplace in tarot: people ‘know’ something about the tarot, such as a connection to voodoo, without knowing how they know (in this case, through watching the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973) which conflates tarot and voodoo). Some might suggest that the only true esoteric tradition is to invent a tradition! Many books – both recent and historical – state something akin to “Whilst there is general evidence that the tarot arose in northern Italy, many have linked tarot to ...” or “Although it can be proven that the tarot was developed in the early 15th century, it has been suggested that it was used by the ancient ...” and then provide lists of the unproven, non-factual ideas which results in a conflation of tarot and those very ideas. The earliest names for the tarot are Italian. Originally the cards were called carte da trionfi (cards of the triumphs), but around 1530 A.D. (about 100 years after the origin of the cards) the word tarocchi

began to be used to distinguish the tarot cards from a new game of triumphs or trumps then being played with ordinary playing cards. You are actually seeing in the cards some direct examples of the triumphs – the procession of floats common at festivals in Italy at the time – particularly in such cards as The Chariot and the Court cards. There is even a Christian tarot in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the cards were used to depict virtues, the liberal arts and sciences, and other aspirational notions from their earliest development. In fact, it could be said that the cards were originally educational or self-development tools, although that could also be debatable. There is no evidence that the tarot were used by gypsies, originated in Egypt or were used for divination prior to the 1700s, despite popular occult lore that the cards have embodied ‘ancient teaching’ from time immemorial. It was not until a connection between the Hebrew letters and the tarot was published in 1781 – by Comte de Mellet, in Antoine Court de Gebélin’s Le Monde Primitif – that esoteric interest began to appropriate the cards to embody occult teaching. The earliest list of the 22 cards which have become known as the Major Arcana is given in a sermon against their use by a monk writing in Latin around 1450-1470 A.D. This sermon is sometimes called the Steele Sermon as it belongs to the collection of Robert Steele.

Sermones de Ludo Cum Aliis Primus dicitur El bagatella (et est omnium inferior): The first is called The bagatella (and is the lowest of all) 2 Imperatrix: Empress

3 Imperator: Emperor 4 La papessa (O miseri quod negat Christiana fides): The popess (O wretches, she who denies Christian Faith) 5 El papa (O pontifex cur, &c. qui debet omni sanctitate polere, et isti ribaldi faciunt ipsorum capitaneum): The pope (O pope why, etc., who must rule with complete holiness, also these criminals make of you their chief) 6 La temperantia: The temperance 7 L'amore: Love 8 Lo caro triumphale (vel mundus parvus): The triumphal chariot (or, the little world) 9 La fortezza: The fortitude 10 La rotta (id est regno, regnavi, sum sine regno): The wheel (i.e. I reign, I reigned, I am without kingdom) 11 El gobbo: The hunchback 12 Lo impichato: The hanged man 13 La morte: The death 14 El diavolo: The devil 15 La sagitta: The arrow 16 La stella: The star

17 La luna: The moon 18 El sole: The sun 19 Lo angelo: The angel 20 La iusticia: The justice 21 El mondo (cioe Dio Padre): The world (i.e. God the Father) 0 El Matto sie nulla (nisi velint): The Fool, thus null (unless they wish)

Steele Sermon

1.4 Tarot Esoteric In Tarosophy, we view the tarot from the context of Western esoteric and spiritual thought. The tarot has been rapidly assimilated into esoteric thought since Eliphas Lévi (Alphonse Louis Constant, 18101875) developed and promoted the ideas about tarot found earlier published in Antoine Court de Gebélin (1719-1784). These later found their way into the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded 1888, who took them to whole new levels through correspondence with other systems as varied as Enochian angel magic, the deities of ancient Egypt, alchemy, and astrology. The aim of this appropriation was not just to make the obscure even more obscure. The purpose of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was to promote an educational agenda of raising the spirit through esoteric practice. The occultist Aleister Crowley (18751947), who originally learnt his magick within the Golden Dawn, certainly saw the tarot as a tool for the highest spiritual attainment; he wrote of it that its structure was “necessitated by the structure of the universe” and that it was for the student to “build these living stones [the cards of the tarot] into his living Temple.”14 Whilst we may baulk at such ambitious statements, we might consider that the tarot is certainly an artefact which has maintained a pervasive role in Western culture for more than three centuries. It has remained so for a reason – it serves an important reminder that there are gates to the soul and the hidden realms.

1.5 Tarot Popular

Tarot has had a revival since the mid-1960s. It is commonplace to see it used in popular culture, films, TV, and magazines, and any number of psychic fairs and psychic TV channels can be found. Whilst generally dismissive of their esoteric appropriations, the historians Decker and Dummett note that tarot has become “highly professionalised” and, indeed, that “personal analysis through Tarot cards constitutes a new phase in their history.”15 That tarot is a far more profound tool is now being rediscovered and explored. The contemporary author and tarot reader Paul Quinn calls tarot a “treasure-box” and a “philosophy.”16 In this present work we will open that treasure-box further and expand upon a tarot-based philosophy. Tarot has emerged back into the mainstream with exhibitions and work such as the SPILL photographic tarot17 and the recent Art of Japanese Tarot exhibition. Innovative tarot is being produced such as Emily Carding’s Transparent Tarot and the animated Tarot of the Divine Legacy by Ciro Marchetti.

1.6 Tarosophy Tarosophy, is a conflation of tarot (likely itself from the Italian, triumph) and sophia (from the Greek, , wisdom). It literally means the wisdom of tarot. Tarosophy refers specifically to the living (divine) wisdom of the art and science of tarot as practised by Tarosophists. The name was given to the present author by utilising the magical square for communication in The Book of Abramelin some years after completing the infamous Abramelin Operation. The author had been looking through the book of magical squares for a tarot-related name which hadn’t already been used (to trademark) and looked up for a moment from one particular magical square, despairing that the combinations of letters were merely gibberish, when ‘Tarosophy’ (including the o-s-o symbol) simply popped into his head! Never let it be said that magic doesn’t work.

The o-s-o symbol you may recognise from a certain Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. This symbol is actually the sign of Saturn in an old magical grimoire, the French Dragon Rouge.18 It was presumed by this author to have been presented as part of the Tarosophy symbol due to its astrological connection with structure and time, and teaching cycles – all of relevance to Tarosophy. It is proposed in Tarosophy, rather grandly, that tarot is an emergent system of images whose multivalency provides a dynamic interface between awareness and appearance. As this interface is what happens everywhere and in everytime, it provides a useful mechanism for engaging with life as awareness. As Athanasius Kircher wrote, “the world is bound by secret knots.”19 Tarot allows us to engage with these knots by observing, tying and even untying them!20

Exercise 1: Making a Metaphor In this first introductory exercise, I would ask you to create your own metaphor for the tarot. Then use that metaphor to ask a question of itself. This is one way to approach the tarot as a self-reflective system. Complete this following sentence with an image or a metaphor, such as “My tarot deck is ... a key.” “My tarot deck is ... [insert your metaphor].” Then enquire about your metaphor’s action. For example, if you had chosen a key: “If tarot is a key, what does it unlock?” Then shuffle your deck and select a card. Try to make sense of the answer. It does not matter if this is your first go with the tarot or you are an

experienced reader. Use what you already have to engage with your deck. You might have said, “My tarot deck is a map” and asked “If tarot is a map, then where should I explore first?” for example, and received the 5 of Rivers (in this case using Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe tarot). This card means, variously: introspection, self-discovery and accepting loss.21 This would make an interesting start to our journey with the cards. If you already know some of the meanings of the cards, you may wish to further the enquiry with “If you unlock [The Blasted Tower, which means ‘sudden change’] then what happens after that [sudden change]?” and choose another card. In this way you can quickly enter a conversational dialogue with your deck. You can say hello to your tarot and have them say hello back.22 A further example might be, “My tarot deck is ... my friend” which would lead to asking, “What sort of friend are you?” and perhaps you might pull out The Magician card. This would indicate (without any other knowledge) a magical friend. Well, that’s good, so we might then ask, “What sort of magic?” and pull another card. If we got the Page of Cups, showing a young man holding a cup from which a fish is emerging, we might think that the deck is saying, “Well, not the magic of rabbits out of hats, but rather fish out of cups!” Having introduced ourselves to our tarot deck, and received its own introduction, before we go on to actually learning how to use it, we first need to look at some of the basic language used in conjunction with our tarot studies, and ensure that we begin to understand a common language (or that we have at least clearly highlighted aspects about which we disagree, so that we can work with those differences). I had thumped into my own head by my esoteric teachers – for many years – the difference between correspond and

attribute, and if you wish to develop your tarot with sound mental health, it is useful for you to know!

1.7 Metaphors Tarot is often considered a system of symbols, and its images a series of metaphors. In the remarkable modelling of the therapeutic work of the late David Grove (1950-2008), James Lawley and Penny Tompkins discovered how powerful metaphors could be in producing change and recovery in therapeutic clients.23 This model, termed Clean Language, will be briefly discussed later in this book with regard to tarot; the first time that Clean language has been utilised with tarot, to my knowledge. However, Lawley and Tompkins first point out a basic concept of particular importance to Tarosophists – the concept of isomorphism. If a metaphor is “understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another”24 then the essential nature of that metaphor is that it is connected in some way – is similar in pattern – to that to which it corresponds. If we say, “They were walking a tightrope in that meeting,” we are using a metaphor. There is some isomorphism between the danger and focus of walking a tightrope and the process of a business negotiation. Someone might add that, “They were working without a safety net,” to further allude to the negotiation having no fall-back position. So, in tarot we have many metaphors. But, although these metaphors may be isomorphic, it is not explicit as to what they are isomorphic. Furthermore, they may be isomorphic to many events, life situations and concepts. This provides tarot its interpretative and projective power; its ability to apply to any situation and analyse complex patterns through inferred meaning. So why is tarot such a powerful tool for this task?

Andrew Ortony labels three qualities of metaphor: • • •

inexpressibility; vividness; compactness.25

We can see these qualities in any well-constructed tarot card. Take, for example, the 9 of Swords in the Waite-Smith deck. This is a card which Waite describes as lamentation and gives a divinatory meaning of miscarriage. The complexity of grief, mourning and loss is here depicted as a metaphor: inexpressible, vivid and compact.

9 of SWORDS, Universal Waite Tarot

At this point, you might like to go through your own deck/s and select a card for you which truly embodies something inexpressible, vivid and compact. If you cannot find at least a few powerful examples, you may wish to consider purchasing another deck.

1.8 Symbols The components of metaphor are symbols. A symbol is something that “possesses specific connotations in addition to its conventional and obvious meaning. It implies something vague, unknown or hidden from us.”26 In tarot, these symbols can be seen as clues or triggers – signposts even – directing us towards a divinatory response to a question. They construct the metaphor of the card, so in our previous example of the 9 of Swords, see how many symbols you can deconstruct from the metaphor and make a note of what they symbolise to you personally. 9 of Swords



Sword …

Violence, anger, rage …

You may like to repeat this exercise for at least one more Minor card, Court card and Major card in your deck. This is our basic ABC of tarot and can be informed by books on symbolism (see the reading list at the end of this section for recommendations). You can maintain and regularly review your own symbol dictionary in your tarot

notebook or journal. This journal can be any blank notebook, special pad or loose-leaf folder. My first journal was A4 paper in a ring-binder, then a notepad – now I have several hundred pads in a large pile in the corner of my library and have luckily transferred to a laptop. The newly unveiled Apple iPad and similar devices might be both the notepad and tarot reader’s table of the future! Many people now use applications on their mobile devices to have tarot readings performed, either automatically or by real readers. A final note on symbols is that symbols can be multivalent; that is to say they can have different meanings according to their intent and context.27 The sword in the 9 of Swords, symbolising violence, is a very different sword to that in the Ace of Swords, where it might symbolise clarity. Do not try to learn single keywords for symbols – learn several each time. This will be a better foundation if you work better by rote learning and repetition.

1.9 How Does Tarot Work? At some point – be it the first time you do a reading that ‘works’ or later in your tarot career, upon long reflection – you might come to wonder what sort of Universe is it in which tarot works? There are as many theories for the working as tarot as there are cards, and then some more. The basic beginner’s question is, of course, “Does tarot work?” or “I had my tarot cards read and they were spookily accurate. What gives?” (the latter question a commonality on Twitter). Some authors present explanations derived from astrophysics or quantum physics, or develop their own science.28 Having a colleague and friend who is both a professional mathematician specialising in quantum physics and an esotericist and scholar, I am loathe to present my own

pseudoscience. He is currently writing a PhD paper on the misappropriation of quantum physics by New Age thinkers and, more interestingly, attempting to describe some of the intricacies of quantum physics that are of real import to esoteric thought and practice. Having said that, no tarot book is complete without at least a stab at it, so here is the model I present during my own courses. It is based upon Itzhak Bentov’s wonderfully clear description of holograms.29 Imagine, for a moment, that you throw a stone into a pond of still water. The stone makes ripples. Now imagine that, instead, you throw two stones. The stones make ripples, and at each point that the ripples meet, another ripple starts out from that point. This is the interference pattern of the stones and their ripples. Now imagine throwing five stones into the water, and the complexity of their ripples and interference patterns – some of which are now caused by the points where the interference patterns meet and meet again. You can try this for real when you are next near a pond. Now imagine that, all of a sudden, the entire surface of the water is flash-frozen, suspending every pattern and the five stones in the ice. You could see the ripples, the stones, the interference patterns – it would look quite random and chaotic; merely turbulence without pattern. However, as Bentov describes in terms of “nature’s information storage”, if you then dropped and smashed that sheet of ice and picked up just one small fragment, from that pattern alone you could re-create the positions of the five stones in the pond. And this would be from any fragment – they are all caused by, and the effect of, the five stones and their relationship. To move this metaphor across to tarot, now visualise five events in your life, one of which is a tarot reading. These events are like the

five stones: they are all the turbulence of the relationships in the whole. So the tarot reading, through the mechanism of perception (which is also translating the entire Universe for you in real time, right now), is directly related to the events. In Tarosophy we go one step further, which is to suggest that every event – past, present and future – is like a stone dropped into the pond at the same time. And that is how tarot might be modelled as working. To practice how this works spatially, you might consider trying to visualise a die, with your eyes closed. Imagine that you can rotate the die so that you can see any face, with the numbers one through to six on the respective faces. You may know that each opposite side of a die adds up to seven, so the one and six are on opposite faces of the cube. Now try to imagine that you can see every side of the die at the same time. Do not unpack it, unfold it or spin it. Try to escape your habitual thinking, preconditioned by years of visual perception, and enter more fully into the mundus imaginalis, where anything is possible. When you have mastered this with space, try it with time: sit listening to a ticking clock until you can hear the gap between the seconds extend forever. In effect, you will experience a complete stopping of time in your awareness. In my experience, this takes about four to five years to achieve, but it is something that you will never forget when it happens. When authors suggest a model, most seem comfortable to leave it stand as presented. In each case, however, we should wonder how the model then informs our tarot method. The important thing for models is whether they help you perform better tarot readings. Is your practice congruent with your belief about the world? The practice of Tarosophy allows us to engage with fundamental questions: what is time? How does time work? What is free will? Does knowledge assist? Where does inspiration come from? These questions should be clear in your own model of the world and engaged thoroughly in your own tarot practice. We will see towards

the end of this book how tarot changes you as a person when practised over time. So, for example, my own metaphor is entirely redundant if time – as a fourth dimension – does not exist in the future. I formerly believed that most physicists understood this to be the case, but new theories and models involving granular time suggest that the old model may be upturned, as may many others such as membrane theory, string theory and so forth. Your model will never be complete.

Exercise 2: The Voices Explain Themselves So we could also ask the tarot, “How do you work?” and perform a reading, or imagine asking each of the Major Arcana in turn. The Magician would respond that the cards work through the divine inspiration of Apollo; The High Priestess might suggest it is through oracular and intuitive talent. The Hierophant might suggest that they do not work at all, and it is all cold reading of the client. Whether you are a newcomer to tarot or not, take the 22 numbered Major cards out of your deck, and imagine how each of these figures would explain how tarot works. Perhaps it is better to answer our original question with: “Who knows how tarot works? Who knows how anything works? I’m just glad it does.”30

1.10 Attributions and Correspondence Whilst we will look at correspondences later, we should firstly just note and learn that attribution and correspondence are different things. We must also think about and utilise the terms carefully.

With regard to correspondence, we might say that “Mars corresponds to The Blasted Tower,” but this does not mean that “Mars is The Blasted Tower.” Do not use that in a sentence or start to think in this way. Mars is not The Blasted Tower – Mars corresponds with it. This might seem pedantic, but it reminds us that one thing is not another, which is important for later work to avoid obsession and the flooding of the conscious mind with irrational and archetypal forces.31 With regard to attribution, then one of the attributes of Mars the planet is its redness. An attribute is a feature of a system or object, something which belongs to it and identifies it. One of the attributes of Mars in astrology is the sexual drive. The astronomer will not see the latter attribute through his telescope! Attributes may correspond with each other, such as the attribute of control in Geburah on the Tree of Life corresponding to the attribute of control found attributed to Mars in astrology. When we think about attributes and correspondences, we are thinking Hermetically and not in any other sense. Thus, the sunflower may resemble the Sun in its colour and with its shape resembling the rays of the Sun, so it corresponds closely via those attributes to the physical Sun. There may be other correspondences of attributes, such as that both sunflowers and the Sun appear expansive and therefore may correspond to growth in this sense. Subsequently, either or both could be utilised as a symbol of expansiveness on a tarot card. Arguing over whether an attribution or correspondence is correct or otherwise is meaningless. Attributions and correspondences are to be used to build a coherent system and the more one does so, the more it will become obvious which attributions and correspondences work for you. Choose one system and stick with it until you prove it otherwise.

1.11 Synchronicity and Tarot as Vision One common term used in connection with tarot and magick is synchronicity, a term devised and developed by the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). Jung refers to synchronicity as a meaningful coincidence, and an acausal connecting principle.32 However, in Jung this synchronicity regards specifically a “simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appear as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state.”33 Whilst Jung admits to the general state – and one perhaps without requiring the human psyche34 – we should not assume that a tarot reading works by synchronicity in the purest sense of the word. In his summarising of the idea, Jung warns that many people have confused synchronicity with synchronism, and defines the three forms by which an occurrence of a meaningful coincidence in time can occur – a synchronicity.35 We can find tarot fitting into one of these three forms, which leads to a surprising statement about a tarot reading itself. Jung refers to astrology in his writing on synchronicity, but not tarot. However, he was somewhat familiar with tarot and his references to it have been collected by Mary K. Greer.36 Jung’s three forms of synchronicity are (with apologies for simplification): 1. The coincidence of psychic content and an objective process happening at the same time – “I was just thinking of you and the telephone rang”; 2. The coincidence of a vision or dream with some objective process happening at the same time – “I dreamt of a ship sinking and it was on the news in the morning”; 3. The coincidence of a vision or dream (what Jung calls a phantasm) with some objective process which occurs in the future.

In terms of a tarot reading which foretells, then we have an event which has the psychic state (in a purely Jungian sense, not a ‘supersensory’ psychic sense) of the reader, the querent and the process of the cards themselves. If these cards reflect the state of the querent, then for that person there is a synchronicity. Put plainly, if the querent says, “Those cards are exactly describing my feelings right now,” that is – to them – a synchronicity. However, the cards are not describing anything – the reader is doing that. So then we have a problem with that form of synchronicity. With the second two forms, we have a phantasm – a dream or vision which reflects in some way an event, whether present or future. In this sense, if a tarot reading is a synchronicity, then it functions as a vision or dream for the querent. Their psychic state is similar during the reading to that of a dream-like state, where their critical faculty is bypassed in part, their unconscious is assailed by images (many of which are of an archetypal nature) and communication is multilayered. Most experienced tarot readers will attest to this state being generated in many querents. Indeed, teaching tarot at an intermediate level for two days will result in a ‘wall’ being hit oneand-a-half days into the training, where the mind simply stops being able to process the cards and their meanings. This noticeable phenomenon on my own courses led to an improvement of the curriculum by adding ‘show and tell’ and video segments to break up the overload on the unconscious. I liken it to a cup being filled with liquid: the unconscious cannot not process everything about ‘death’ and ‘life’ when the cards are shuffled by it, even if they are not studied. After one-and-a-half days, the unconscious fills to the brim with archetypal content. It is then as if the conscious mind can no longer function because it cannot communicate to the overwhelmed unconscious. I tested this for many courses, with many different people, to check that a psychic gridlock was reached with a particular level and amount of content, and it is replicable across any

number of people, demonstrating the power of the tarot to affect unconscious processing.

1.12 Archetypes Archetypes are not observable, but they can be detected by their appearance through the contents of the mind in images, dreams, visions, and personifications. The image is not the archetype. The Fool is not an archetype. The Fool is an example of the underlying archetype of which the fool, jester, clown, trickster are all arising images, constellated around a ‘strange attractor’ from which those general and prevalent – almost universal – images arise.37 The 22 Major Arcana are considered examples of archetypal images, whereas the Court cards are considered as personality types and the Minor cards considered as events and situations in everyday life, symbolically portrayed through metaphor. Again, we must avoid lazy language and avoid referring to “the archetype of The Hermit” and likewise. The image is not the archetype.

1.13 Querent. Client. Customer. Seeker. Questioner. Petitioner. Person. I have used the terms reasonably interchangeably throughout this book, as to whether someone having a tarot reader perform a reading for them, on their behalf, is a client, querent or otherwise. If one does a tarot reading for oneself, is one a self-querent? At the end of the day, you are a person, they are a person. If it assists you with making a mental division, refer to yourself as the reader, the other as the querent.

My therapeutic supervisor often states blandly, “You are only ever trying to fix yourself through these other people,” so perhaps that is also something to bear in mind with tarot reading. Whatever the terminology you employ, at least be aware that you are being consulted to read the cards, not the other person (whatever they are called), and not to just offer your personal advice with the cards as a prop.

1.14 You Can Make a Map of the Map Many people are familiar with the concept that the map is not the territory; a phrase coined by Alfred Korzybski in 1931. It is taken to indicate that what we perceive is not the full story, or a description is not the object, your view of a person is not that person, and so forth. This concept is used widely in NLP and many New Age books on consciousness and self-development. In tarot we can plainly see that the map is not the territory; the pictures on the cardboard are not the life or situation they are describing. If I draw The Blasted Tower card it does not mean that you are about to go and build a tower which will be struck by lightning. However, there are some further, lesser known extensions of that statement which are of relevance to our tarot reading. These are the map is never complete and you can make a map of the map. This first statement means that our tarot reading will never be an accurate reflection of a client’s life, nor should we aim it to be so. A client will often complain that “I am going on holiday next week and you didn’t once mention travel,” as if the reading should tell them only what they know is happening already. Whilst this may ‘prove’ the reading to the client, it is not particularly a good tarot reading which only repeats everything that the client already consciously knows or expects.

The second statement is more of a warning that we should seek to apply the reading to real life situations, earthing the reading and making it practical and useful. If the gears of the cards do not fit into the teeth of action, no progress will be made and the opportunity wasted. I often hear tarot readers get lost in their own poetry of metaphor, much to the client’s chagrin. An example would be: “This card, the 3 of Cups, is much like the carousel of life, where everything comes up roses and you find the silver lining on every cloud. It is as if you are floating in a sea of light ...” and so forth, whereas the client just wants to know if: a) their alcoholic partner will benefit from their addiction meetings, and b) when she should tell him that she is pregnant.

Exercise 3: The Map is the Territory (Literal Readings) At a recent gallery opening, I used the incredible SPILL Photographic Tarot deck to perform a variety of readings, and one was a purely literal reading. I told a querent that she would meet someone who would be wearing a white coat in a room which would have three cups on the table, and that she would be able to see from that position a set of scales. Try reading a reading literally and see what happens. You can use the cards below. Just say what’s on the cards as if they were happening to someone.

3 SPILL TAROT CARDS: Emperor, 3 of Cups, Page of Cups

This is also a precursor to our fail-safe position in the four levels of tarot reading which we will discover later.

1.15 Mythic Creation, Creative Myth In his short story, ‘The Library of Babel’, the writer Jorge Luis Borges describes a library containing all the books in the Universe (perhaps) in an infinite library (maybe).38 At one point in the story, it is proclaimed that as the library contains all knowledge, it must therefore contain the Vindications; “books of apology and prophecy which vindicated for all time the acts of every man in the universe and retained prodigious arcana for his future.”39 These arcana or secrets can be seen as similar to tarot in a particular light – as a collection of potential excuses and vindications. Tarot always questions us as much as we question it. I am reminded of a kabbalistic saying that one should not use gematria (numerology) to prove something which one already knows! Whilst I would suggest a number of works for the known history of tarot, notably Helen Farley’s A Cultural History of Tarot,40 and those works in the reading list for this chapter, I would also encourage you to make your own mythic history of the tarot. A collection of short stories could easily be created to narrate the many myths of tarot, including their original carving onto the pyramids, their usage in Atlantis, and their transportation to Europe aboard gypsy caravans. More obscure sources could be harnessed into one’s preferred myth: the Sufis, the Knights Templar or the Romany Gypsies.41 I offer here my own meta-myth for tarot, inspired by a fridge magnet alphabet sentence which was left on our fridge door by leading tarot author and teacher, Rachel Pollack. She had simply spelt out, based upon a quote by Bram Stoker, “The Cards are the Blood.” If you

would like to read Rachel’s own meta-myth, read her outstanding story, ‘The Tarot of Perfection’, in her collection of the same name.42

The Tarot of Creation In that silence, there could only be a drawing in by drawing out, so it is so. In that drawing out, the inside was created and filled with everything that was not. So the Word was Universe, and Universe was the Word – total, all and living. And living, it grew, and knew itself by its own self, its own Word. And it communicated. In the moment of that communication, the Word itself became twenty-andtwo shards of living light, each the blood of the Word, disparate yet whole, separated yet one. And those lights shone and their myriad reflections became structure, form, process, and patterns, activity and change, time and space and all that now is, was and is to be. So it came to pass that Universe would communicate self-to-self, its own constant exemplar and reminder, teacher and student, through twenty-two pieces of cardboard with graven images, each the blood of the Word.

1.16 Types of Foresight Beginners to tarot often ask if you have to be born psychic, or how long it takes to learn a skill, and so forth. The number of tarot readers of the psychic and mediumistic type, whose grandmothers gave them cards when they were young, is incredible! So far, during thirty years, I have only ever met one actual grandmother of such a reader and had confirmed this commonplace story As a witchcraft shopkeeper once mused to me, some twenty years ago as the wicca movement became more popularised, “You know, I’ve met a lot of hereditary witches, but never their parents.”

The idea that some are intuitive, others inspired, and others have to learn to foretell, divine or read the omens, is not new. In 1477 A.D., Marsilio Ficino wrote that there were three kinds of foresight: “Firstly through divine infusion, secondly through natural instinct, thirdly through art.”43 In art he included astrology as the least common art, medicine the most common. He went on to say that truly “magical ability is mixed and partly predicts through divine and natural fortune, partly through applied technique.”44 Ficino recognised natural ability above learnt skill; that future things are “foretold more completely from a certain gift of the soul than through judgement. Here those unlearned in the art often judge more truthfully than those who are learned.”45 He quotes Ptolemy: “Knowledge of the stars comes both from you and from them.”46 This seems to be argued from the basis that any art has disputable and complex rules which, in relationship, are difficult to judge. That no person has complete experience of the world means that the application of that knowledge or learnt skill is always on an experimental basis until experience begins to inform the judgement. It is a sound argument that the better tarot reader is one with engaged and extensive life experience. The ability to understand the nature of business, relationship and travel – from experience – is a far more useful tool than learning any number of rules for elemental dignities.. The best combination is of extensive experience and detailed knowledge of the cards working in tandem. The third aspect of divine inspiration is always welcome!

Exercise 4: Your Tarot Journal – The Triangle of Foretelling You may wish to include in your tarot journal – if you maintain such a record of your learning, readings and notes – a triangle next to each reading. Label the points of the triangle: Art on the apex, then Infusion and Instinct on the two base points. Divide the inner triangle

into four. When you record a reading, divide your headline notes into these three areas. This will enable you to work towards the ‘magical’ balance of ensuring that all three aspects are honoured in your readings.

Triangle of Foretelling

Furthermore, the inner triangle here is the combination – that which arises – from all three aspects of the experience. As Voss points out from Iamblichus, it may be that our art leads to divinisation; that (in this case) tarot and other divinatory arts such as astrology are part of a wider ascent narrative leading us to spiritual progress.47 You might wish to include in this central triangle any lessons from that particular reading which are of relevance to your own spiritual development. 4 Greer, M.K. Tarot Mirrors: Reflections of Personal Meaning. Newcastle: North Hollywood, 1988, p.1; Ziegler, G. Tarot: Mirror of the Soul. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1989, Foreword; Waite, A. E. The Key to the Tarot. Rider: London, 1910, p.74; Pollack, R. The Forest of Souls. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2003. 5 Cooper, L. The Book of Paradox. Dell: New York, 1975; Huson, P. The Devil’s Picture Book. Abacus: London, 1972; Martin, J.E. The Compass Guide to the Quest Tarot.

Llewellyn: St. Paul, 1973. 6 Calvino, I. The Castle of Crossed Destinies. Harvest: San Diego, 1976. It is a pity that Calvino did not write his proposed follow-up work, The Motel of Crossed Destinies, in which survivors of some catastrophe, struck dumb, tell their stories by pointing out to each other pictures in a comic strip in a newspaper which has also survived the disaster. These pictures would be arranged in a matrix and of course based upon tarot. See his note in The Castle of Crossed Destinies pp. 123-9 for more regarding his usage of tarot in literature. 7 Ricklef, J. Tarot Tells the Tale. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2003; Arlena, W. & Cori, J.L. The Tarot of Transformation. Weiser: San Francisco, 2002; Hamaker-Zondag, K. Tarot as a Way of Life. Weiser: York Beach, 1997. 8 Gray, E. Mastering the Tarot. Signet: New York, 1993; Renee, J. Tarot Spells. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 1998; Cicero, C. & Cicero, S.T. Tarot Talismans. Llewellyn: Woodbury, 2006. 9 Jette, C. Tarot Shadow Work. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2000; Gwain, R. Discovering Your Self through Tarot. Destiny Books: Rochester, 1994. 10 Wanless, J. Strategic Intution for the 21st Century: Tarot for Business. Merrill-West: Carmel, 1996. 11 Hulse, D.A. New Dimensions for the Cube of Space. Weiser: York Beach, 2000; Willis, T. Magick and the Tarot. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1988; Irwin, L. Gnostic Tarot. Weiser: York Beach, 1998; Rosengarten, A. Tarot and Psychology. Paragon House: St. Paul, 2000; Thierens, A.E. The General Book of the Tarot. Wildside Press: Holicong, 2003; Muchery, G. The Astrological Tarot. Bracken Books: London, 1989. 12 Gearhart, S. & Rennie, S. A Feminist Tarot. Persephone Press: Watertown, 1977; Anonymous. Meditations on the Tarot. Element: Rockport, 1991; Martinié, L. & Glassman, S.A. The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot. Destiny Books: Rochester, 1992; Fairfield, G. ChoiceCentered Tarot. Newcastle: North Hollywood, 1985; Love, J. The Quantum Gods. Compton Russell Ltd.: Tisbury, 1976. 13 Rákóczi, B.I. The Painted Caravan. L. J. C. Boucher: The Hague, 1954; Payne-Towler, C. The Underground Stream. Noreah Press: Eugene, 1999; Blakely, J.D. The Mystical Tower of the Tarot. Robinson & Watkins: London, 1974; Léon, D. Origins of the Tarot. Frog Books: Berkeley, 2009. 14 Crowley, A. The Book of Thoth. Samuel Weiser, Inc.: York Beach, Maine, 1985. p.48. 15 Decker, R. & Dummett, M. A History of the Occult Tarot. Gerald Duckworth & Co., Ltd.: London, 2002. p.317. 16 Quinn, P. Tarot for Life. Quest Books: Wheaton, 2009, p.9.

17 SPILL Tarot http://www.spillfestival.com/index.php?pid=40 [last accessed 29 January 2010]. 18 Dragon Rouge source for Zoso symbol: http://www.inthelight.co.nz/ledzep/zososymbol.htm [last accessed 29 January 2010]. 19 Kircher, A. Magneticum Naturae Regnum. Rome, 1667. 20 See also Laszlo, E. The Systems View of the World. George Braziller: New York, 1972, particularly p. 111: “In this world of organised complexity in terrestrial nature, the arrow of time does not determine which pathway is taken by individual systems, only in what direction their paths converge”. 21 Pollack, R. The Shining Tribe Tarot. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2001, pp.147-8. 22 See also the later Clean Tarot exercises. 23 Lawley, J. & Tompkins, P. Metaphors in Mind. The Developing Company Press: London, 2003. 24 Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. Metaphors we Live By. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1980, p.5. 25 Ortony, A. ‘Educational Uses of Metaphor.’ Published in Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1993, p.622. 26 Jung, C.G. Man and His Symbols. Picador: London, 1978, p.3. 27 The occultist Aleister Crowley suggested that appreciating multivalency was the mark of an advanced Adept, so we would be wise to tackle the subject from our very beginning. 28 See, for example, de Angeles, L. Tarot Theory and Practice: A Revolutionary Approach to How the Tarot Works. Llewellyn: Woodbury, 2007. 29 Bentov, I. Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness. Destiny Books: Rochester, 1998, pp.9-33. 30 Although often attributed to Aleister Crowley, I believe that it was a founding member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – perhaps Westcott – who first said: “It does not matter if these things exist or not [gods and spirits], the Universe acts as if they do.” 31 See Bourland’s work on E-Prime popularised by R.A. Wilson in Coincidance: A

Head Test. Falcon Press: Phoenix, 1988, and other works. The Tarosophist is also directed to Carroll, L. Symbolic Logic. Dover: London, 1958. 32 Jung, C.G. Synchronicity. Ark: London, 1987, p.14. 33 Ibid, p.36. 34 Ibid, p.118. 35 Ibid, pp.144-5. 36 Greer, M.K. on ‘Carl Jung and Tarot’: http://marygreer.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/carl-jung-and-tarot/ December 2009].




37 For a clear description of the arguable Jungian terms, particularly as a beginner, I recommend Hall, J.A. Jungian Dream Interpretation. Inner City Books: Toronto, 1983, pp.921. 38 Borges, J.L. Labyrinths. Penguin: London, 1964, pp. 78-86. 39 Ibid, p.82. 40 Farley, H. A Cultural History of Tarot. IBS Tauris: London, 2009. 41 Rákóczi, B.I. The Painted Caravan. L. J. C. Boucher: The Hague, 1954; Payne-Towler, C. The Underground Stream. Noreah Press: Eugene, 1999; Blakely, J.D. The Mystical Tower of the Tarot. Robinson & Watkins: London, 1974; Léon, D. Origins of the Tarot. Frog Books: Berkeley, 2009. 42 Pollack, R. The Tarot of Perfection. Magic Realist Press: Prague, 2008. 43 Ficino, M. Disputatio contra iudicium astrologorum. Translated by Voss, A. from Supplementum Ficinianum, Volume 2, pp.44-51 and Opera omnia, pp.1625-6. In Voss, A. Marsilio Ficino. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, 2006, p.79. I would highly recommend this book for all astrologers and tarot readers in order to gain valuable insight into the impact of the revival of Platonic philosophy upon their art during the Renaissance, through the writing of Ficino. 44 Ibid. 45 Ibid, p.80. 46 Pseudo-Ptolemy. Centiloquium, aphorism 1. In Voss, Ibid, p.80.

47 Ibid, p.20.

Section One, Part 1 Reading List In each section’s and part’s reading list, I present the books which I have found myself recommending most enthusiastically to tarot students during the past three decades. Some of the recommended books are directly connected to tarot, others tangential. I have arranged them in order of personal preference and likely availability and cost – some of the more academic books tend to be more costly and many tarot books are low print runs and sometimes go out of print.

History of Tarot Decker, R., Depaulis, T. & Dummett, M. A Wicked Pack of Cards. St. Martin’s Press: New York, 1996. Decker, R.A. & Dummett, M. A History of the Occult Tarot 18701970. Gerald Duckworth & Co.: London, 2002. Dummett, M. The Game of Tarot. Duckworth: London, 1980. Farley, H. A Cultural History of Tarot. IBS Tauris: London, 2009. Giles, C. The Tarot: Methods, Mastery and More. Fireside: New York, 2006. Kaplan, S.R. The Encyclopaedia of Tarot (4 volumes). US Games Systems, Inc.: New York, 1978-2005. O’Neill, R.V. Tarot Symbolism. ATS: Victoria, 2004.

Place, R.M. The Tarot, History, Symbolism & Divination. Tarcher / Penguin: New York, 2005.

Learning Tarot Butler, B. The Definitive Tarot. Rider & Co.: London, 1975. Gearhart, S. & Rennie, S. A Feminist Tarot. Persephone Press: Watertown, 1997. Greer, M.K. 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card. Llewellyn: Woodbury, 2007. Katz, M. & Goodwin, T. Around the Tarot in 78 Days. Llewellyn: Woodbury, 2012. Lotterhand, J.C. The Thursday Night Tarot. Newcastle: North Hollywood, 1989. Louis, A. Tarot Plain and Simple. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2003. Nichols, S. Jung and the Tarot. Weiser: York Beach, 1980. Pollack, R. The Forest of Souls. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2003.

Synchronicity and Science Bloom, H. Global Brain. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: New York, 2000.

Conforti, M. ‘Field, Form and Fate.’ Published in Spring Journal. New Orleans, 1999. Jung, C.G. Synchronicity. Ark: London, 1987. Laszlo, E. The Interconnected Universe. World Scientific: London, 1999. McTaggart, L. The Field. HarperCollins: New York, 2001. Stock, G. Metaman. Bantam Press: London, 1993. Young, L.B. The Unfinished Universe. Oxford Paperbacks: Oxford, 1993.

Metaphors Barker, P. Using Metaphors in Psychotherapy. Bruner / Mazel: New York, 1985. Gordon, D. Therapeutic Metaphors. Meta Publications: Capitola, 1978.

Part 2: Tarot Consecrated, Tarot Created

2.1 Your First Tarot Deck So you have purchased your first tarot deck, or had one given as a gift. There’s no rule to this, by the way – you can have a pretty deck gifted or given to you, buy a commonplace deck from an online store, or find one scattered along a riverside path as you go for an impromptu walk (as a friend of mine did many years before we met). Whilst it is great to have a special deck because you have interesting associations with it, it is not a requirement. Some decks become special over time. You will obviously require a tarot deck if you don’t already have one. I'd go for the popular deck co-designed by A. E. Waite and codesigned / illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, originally published by Rider (although the colours are muted, as was the original colouring). However, there are some new re-coloured decks which would also suffice, particularly the Radiant Rider-Waite deck or the Universal Waite deck, the latter of which has modified or softened the style of the images.

ILLUS6a-f. Selection of Tarot Cards (Previous pages)

Il Bagatto Fortuna’s Wheel by Nigel Jackson

The Traveler Tarot of the Nine Paths by Art Rosengarten

Page of Rods Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini

Temperance Maroon Tarot by Tomasz Maronski and Maja Zaworowska

The Magician Tyldwick Tarot by Neil Lovell


SPILL Tarot, photographed by Manuel Vason.

When you are ready to move on from the Waite-Smith deck, you might try alternatives which develop those themes, such as Kat Black's Golden Tarot deck, Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot or New Palladini Tarot, and Ciro Marchetti's Gilded Tarot as regular decks. Other straightforward beginner decks include the Mythic Tarot deck (based upon Greek myth and astrology) and the Robin Wood Tarot deck.48 The Sacred Rose Tarot of Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman is also a good starter deck. Amongst some of the striking modern decks, you may notice the Maroon Tarot deck, which is from Poland. You can also invest in limited edition art decks such as those produced by Adam McLean in Glasgow, Scotland. These are 22 card decks featuring the Major Arcana. In a survey I found that 72 per cent of tarot card readers preferred a deck to have 78 cards; Majors, Minors and Court cards.49 However, it is sometimes good to read with just the Majors – I started with my hand-made deck of just Majors, for a couple of years before using a full deck of 78 cards. I also used reversals for many years before abandoning the idea, although I am feeling that I will return to using reversals in some form again soon after 25 years’ neglect. Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris’s Thoth Tarot deck is dense but important, particularly for illustrating his philosophy of Thelema (the Greek word for Will). The Haindl deck is also quite popular as it includes images from many traditions as well as I Ching and rune correspondences. There’s an incredible choice ahead of you. You may also move onto innovative and unique decks such as Emily Carding’s Transparent Tarot, Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe Tarot or the Sol Invictus Tarot by Kim Huggens and Nic Phillips. Some decks have powerful back-stories to their creation which infuse the cards with power, such as Roxi Sim’s Pearls of Wisdom tarot.

In much of the material that follows in this book, we have used NLP to model excellent tarot readers and design powerful exercises to install unconscious processes. We will explain a little bit about NLP before going on to show you how to prepare your tarot cards and quickly learn to read them.

2.2 What is NLP? NLP is an abbreviation of neuro-linguistic programming, a term devised by Richard Bandler and John Grinder to denote their modelling of therapists and language during the early 1970s. Nowadays it is very popular in therapy, communications, presentation, and coaching (amongst many other applications), as it generated many techniques for achieving psychological change. It was modelled on Fritz Perls, Milton H. Erickson and Virginia Satir, amongst others, particularly their language patterns. As a NLP trainer, and someone who has been studying NLP since I was at college, I have been able to utilised NLP to model the generally unconscious processes of successful tarot readers by asking particular questions and also by making long term observations of unconscious non-verbal gestures. I also modelled many tens of hundreds of speech patterns during these two decades of experimentation. I was lucky enough to be learning tarot and NLP together over 25 years, so it seemed natural to put them together. Thus, when I started to see that many good tarot readers moved the cards about the table as they read them, quite habitually and instinctively, I started to model exactly what they were doing unconsciously whilst enacting this mannerism. This soon led to teaching the installation of natural dignities (see later) and anchoring, and several other methods, to my own tarot students. They soon discovered that these were powerful methods.

Over the years, I have modelled many of the leading tarot readers, and some of the methods and training games for successful tarot which have resulted are to be found throughout this book. You may find that NLP is useful to your work as a tarot reader. If so, there are a variety of courses of varying quality, cost and length which you may explore.50

Exercise 5: Consecrating Your Cards, Bag or Box The act of consecration is a ritual act which dedicates your tools to the purpose which you have decided upon. By performing the consecration, you set your cards, box or bag, and other paraphernalia, apart from anything else, and thereby make them sacred. It is no coincidence that many words of magical significance derive from meanings of separation – for example, temple. However, before consecrating your cards, there is a preliminary step of purification, an act of cleansing. This removes all unwanted forces and influences – all prior psychological attachments – from the items, prior to their consecration. In order to perform a consecration, you must first, in effect, consecrate yourself, by preparing a separate place of working in which the ritual takes place. This can be as elaborate as casting a full witchcraft circle or building a ritual temple, to as simple an act as taking yourself to a favourite quiet outdoor location which feels sacred or special to you. The five basic steps of a ritual are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Banish; Purify; Consecrate; Invoke;

5. Banish. You can go for a full three hour Golden Dawn ritual, if you have enough people wearing Egyptian headdresses (ahem), but don't get me started on how long it takes to prepare a Lotus Wand ... or ... how about ... a kitchen version: 1. Banishing (use your finger to draw a circle clockwise around you, sprinkle the inside of the circle with salt and water, saying "I banish unwanted influences and make myself a space of working"); 2. Purification (using water, sprinkle on the bag, saying "I purify this bag, so that all associations and forces are removed from it"); 3. Consecration (holding up the bag, visualise it strongly as an item charged and radiating protective influences, saying "I now consecrate this bag to the sole purpose of protecting my sacred cards of art"); 4. Invocation (make a statement to a Higher Force to bless the consecrated item, for example: “May the Powers of Light radiate within and without and bless these sacred cards with the power of Truth”) – then spend a moment meditating upon this blessing; 5. Banishing (sprinkle salt and water within your circle one last time, saying "I banish all residual forces from this space of working" and draw your circle anti-clockwise, saying "I close this place of working"). Any act done with intention is a magical act, so leaving your bag in sunlight (or moonlight) for a day (or night) will also have the desired effect, so long as your intention is focused and the ritual activity follows the sequence above. It is no point, for example, consecrating an item without purifying it first. This is like trying to make a

vegetarian salad on a work surface on which the remains of Sunday roast still resides!

2.3 Tuned Consecrations Just as we will discover later that certain decks are tuned to certain spreads or questions (although an experienced reader will attune them to any purpose), then certain decks might be considered to be tuned to certain consecrations. The Vanessa Tarot, described as “cute, sassy and glamorous” may not benefit from a gothic-inspired ritual ceremony. Nor would the Deviant Moon deck benefit from a quick splashing of expensive perfume. However, swap those two around and you’d probably have the most appropriate means of consecrating them. You'll also notice that these are non-denominational (or nondemoninational) rituals. If you want to involve a specific deity such as Circe, Athena, Hecate, Thoth, Hermes, etc., then use an appropriate invocation. So, once you have consecrated your object, you can now invoke Thoth, for example, by saying "Thoth, God of Wisdom and the Word, may your Wisdom guide my hand as I use these consecrated cards of art, to obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of thine ineffable name." Then do the final banishing after a brief meditation or communion with the invoked deity. This ritual template will work for any item and any consecration, and is about the most pared down I can get an effective ritual for consecration.

2.4 Big Picture, Little Picture

This book intends to use NLP to assist you to simply do professional readings. As such, there’s a lot of detail in it that you may find assists you to do professional readings.51 Before we begin how to learn tarot card reading more easily than you thought possible – in fact, I once used this method to teach tarot to more than a hundred people at Witchfest in England, in ten minutes – we’ll start with a look at how NLP can be used to illuminate useful aspects of reading tarot effectively and communicating better with surprising effect. So let’s state a truism – that is to say, something obvious. The tarot cards are 78 individual bits of card with pictures on them. They’re usually laid out in a spread – a pattern of positions with meanings. Then the reader – that’s you – reads the cards to the querent – that’s the other person. Whilst doing so, you’ll probably remark on some of the details on any particular card – for example, that the crown falling off The Blasted Tower card symbolises, amongst other things, pride or arrogance or ambition – and so on, occasionally summarising as you read the other cards. In fact, you will do this unconsciously according to what – in NLP – is called one of your meta-programmes: an unconscious pattern that dictates your natural tendency to learn from the big picture or the detail. This will be obvious if you listen – as I did for several years – to hundreds of tarot readers performing readings. Some will talk in intricate detail about the individual symbols on the cards; some will use many general statements, metaphors, stories, and overall summaries. A few readers – usually the more successful ones – will be halfway between these two extremes. On average, a tarot reader will communicate some 370+ items of ‘important’ information during the course of a 30-45 minute reading. In 1956, the psychologist George A. Miller wrote a paper on the limits of processing information in memory, and came up with the concept of a limit of between five and nine items of choice, sometimes given

as 7 +/- 2 bits of information. That’s to suggest that we can only recall between five and nine items from a delivery of information. So that’s about 3 per cent or less of an entire tarot reading. This can be checked by listening to people talk to others after receiving a reading, when others ask them what they were told by the tarot reader. They will often recount about five key things (at most) from the entire reading of 370+ items of communication. We’ll see later how we can ensure that they recall the items we want them to recall. This is not cold reading, or giving so much information that the client only recalls what they recognise or want to hear. It is an essential part of all presentation, where we are giving accurate readings of the cards, but wish to ensure that the client recalls as much as possible to assist them from the reading. So, the first thing that we should do is not talk from habit at our own preferred level of detail – which will probably not match that of the client, and may subsequently result in poor communication – but instead learn to observe the client’s meta-programmes, called chunking level in this case, and match that in our information delivery. This approach, like many detailed within this book, can be used successfully outside of tarot and in business, sales, teaching, and your own personal life. Although they may seem like clumsy overstatements, they are powerful as they become practised and you achieve what is called unconscious competence in the techniques, so that they support, not get in the way of, your natural communication. So, what is the first trick you’re about to learn? How do you tell what level of detail is preferred by the client? It is again simple and obvious, yet powerful.

As they sit down and you introduce the reading, observe their posture. Then, as you lay out the cards, observe if they unconsciously move their position backwards or forwards. It will often be a slight movement, but nonetheless noticeable. The fact is, that people who learn best with big picture, will lean back to look at the whole spread – and you – and people who learn best with detail will lean forwards to look at some detail that catches their attention. You can then adjust your delivery (see later in this book for practices which will increase your range and flexibility of delivery) to match the client. They will learn more, remember more, be more in rapport with your delivery, and probably will be more likely to come back again. They will also be clearer when they talk to others about what you told them, increasing your positive marketing. All by watching a little more carefully. In fact, when presenting to a room full of people, you can bet that the people at the back row (other than those who have arrived late and not found a chair anywhere else) are not looking in the manual or handouts and are big picture types, and the people at the front are busy scanning their manual and learn best from being given details. When you know to read this meta-programme, you can talk differently to the front and back of the audience and take in all learning styles. So, you now know a trick, and hopefully, like many in this book, not one you knew before. Or perhaps you realise that you already do this, intuitively or instinctively. Many of these methods and techniques in this book have been modelled using NLP on successful tarot readers, so it may be that you will simply learn frameworks to explain what you already do, and in doing so, learn to do it even better. And with that simple introduction made we can gracefully move on to our next chapter, where we will learn how to learn tarot in a failsafe manner, so that within minutes we can read complex readings with any deck – even those without pictures or keywords.

2.5 Anchoring Whilst good tarot readers do this automatically, you may wish to learn it consciously until it becomes second nature – anchoring certain cards. Whilst reading, as we have just seen, you present many hundreds of pieces of information. The client will likely recall only five to nine of the main pieces. To ensure that you summarise the important pieces in a way that the client will better recall, you can anchor the cards and messages in a congruent way. Once you have determined the main points during the reading, you can relate these points in summary (no more than nine, about five is good) by using a shift in your voice tonality, or by lifting up the particular cards to a specific place, or (in many cases) tapping the card repeatedly as you present the message. This anchors the meaning and the image together in a more memorable manner.

2.6 Fail-Safe Tarot In this section you will be learning how to read any tarot card individually, for any question and in any spread. You will not be required to learn keywords or learn the symbolism of the cards. In fact, you will not even need pictures on the cards in order to interpret their meaning. However, all those various methods can be adopted – amongst others that we will cover – to further deepen your interpretations, once you’ve learnt this fail-safe method provocatively entitled ‘Tarot in Ten Minutes’. Before we begin, please note that I am not suggesting that the tarot was created with the structure you are about to learn – far from it. However, we do know that later decks, specifically the Waite-Smith Tarot and Harris-Crowley Thoth Tarot decks, were deeply rooted in

this structure, which is kabbalistic. Waite, Colman-Smith and Crowley were initiates of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and thoroughly cogent of the system which we are about to explore. It is therefore no surprise that the cards of these decks reflect this system, albeit through the lens of the respective artists and designers.

2.7 What is Kabbalah? The more common question is actually, “How do you spell kabbalah?” So I will address both questions at the same time. The kabbalah – a Hebrew word meaning tradition from receiving – is a Jewish system of mystical thought and practice. It is most well-known now for having inspired a popular kabbalah school with celebrity members such as Madonna, and its presence in Western esotericism particularly seen through the Tree of Life – a diagram based upon a kabbalistic text, the Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation. The kabbalah entered English magic during the late 16th century onwards and has been resident since then.52 The Hebrew spelling is which would be transliterated (reading right to left) as Qoph, Beth, Lamed, Heh. This would be pronounced (unless you were a native French or Spanish speaker, for example) as ka-ba-lah or similar. Hebrew has no vowels, so there is no correct way of spelling it in English, although typically for early Christian writers it was cabalah; for early magicians and in many New Age books it was / is often qabalah; and for Jewish scholars it is typically kabbalah. I use kabbalah. We will look in more detail at kabbalah as utilised within Tarosophy, but in the meantime we will simply hide it underneath the hood of the following lessons.

2.8 Tarot in 10 Minutes Also described as the (4x10=40) + (4x4=16) + (22) = 78 Method, this approach to learning the tarot turns almost every other method on its head. Students new to tarot often complain that they have spent months learning keywords from a book, and then found themselves stuck when trying to interpret those words in the context of a particular question. How does one use the first keyword violence, given to The Devil card in Kaplan’s ‘little white book’ for the Tarot of the Witches, when there is no threat or violence in the situation being discussed? This method of learning often leads to some stretches of interpretation that go beyond the card itself.53 Other students have complained that they have read lots of books on the symbolism of the cards, and become entirely overwhelmed by the often contradictory interpretations of the symbols on each card. In the Thoth deck designed by Aleister Crowley and painted by Frieda Harris, there are layers of alchemical, Thelemic, occult, astrological, kabbalistic, numerological, geometric, freemasonic, sex magick, and scientific symbols upon every card. The method of Tarosophy teaching starts at the bottom and works up, introducing you quickly to the same model that was used by some tarot deck creators to choose those images and symbols in the first place. It has the advantage of not tying you to particular keywords or contexts, which then enables a rapid move to confident reading, once you’ve practiced a few times. If you are already a tarot reader, it may undo some bad teaching of the past. The method simply requires you to learn four elements, have a clear idea in your head of any particularly creative process that you’ve experienced for yourself, and know four types of people. We then graft your personal experience into the matrices of Pythagorean

numerology, neo-Platonic cosmology and kabbalah. Don’t worry too much about that, it’s painless, you won’t feel anything, and later on you can learn all you want about those subjects. But for now, here we go!

Step 1: (4x10) Imagine a specific creative process that you have personally experienced, anything that comes to mind – writing a report, making a dress, shearing a sheep, cooking a meal, anything. The important thing is that it is a process where, at first, there’s nothing, and then later, there’s something that wasn’t there before – in a sense, this is the cosmological basis of kabbalah, taught to you right there. Now think about the start and the end of that process. What is it like at the beginning? At what exact point does it start? And how do you know when it is complete? How are those two stages related? Is it that your ending is almost part of the beginning – a flash of inspiration that gives you the full momentum until it is manifest? When you finish, do you go back to a new beginning? Let us call the point of starting 1 and the final manifestation 10, and on a scale of 1 to 10 let us divide the rest of your creative project. The easiest way to do that is to think of the exact halfway stage (this is around 5 on our scale between 1 and 10, sometimes 6) and consider the attributes of that stage. It is at a stage where we have committed fully to the project, where it would be difficult – but not impossible – to restart without losing too much, and where for the first time, the end is getting closer than the beginning. Having thought about the 1, 10 and 5 stages, we can easily think about the other stages in a similar manner. Take 2 and 9, for example.

The 2 stage of a creative process is after the initial burst of the beginning, when everything is ahead: there is optimism, plans can be made and few obstacles have been encountered. However, there is little to tell us what decisions are going to work out or not – this is something that we’ll have to wait until later to discover. And the 9 stage at the other end of the process is when we’re so close to completion that we really can’t go back, but the whole process has not come to a complete stop. It is here that the initial impetus seems far away, and we have to remind ourselves why we started this creative project at all. If we were to use dress making as an example, here’s the full sequence: 1. I want to make a new dress; 2. I have time to do it, and the energy and resources; 3. I have a pattern; 4. I can see what I need to do, and get on with it; 5. I encounter the difficulties and overcome the constraints; 6. The dress starts to look like I want; 7. It is now easy, but I have to follow what I’ve already pinned together; 8. I can start to fix everything together now; 9. The dress now looks like the pattern, given the changes that I made; 10. I wear the dress.

Now write down your own stages for the creative process that you have chosen, using the table below. Stage Description of Stage in Creative Process 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Every situation that you imagine will have its own version of these 1 to 10 phases, but they will be common to any creative process. The stages can be seen as: 1. Beginning, creation, spark, seed; 2. On the way, but uncertain future; 3. First signs of progress; 4. Results starting, but early days; 5. In the middle, meeting challenges; 6. More results, but shouldn’t rest on laurels; 7. Lots of energy, but keep focused; 8. Things coming together; 9. Results appearing, end in sight;

10. Ending, completion. This is based upon a kabbalistic model. The most common model of divine creation used in kabbalah is the Tree of Life diagram. Although it has many variant forms, the one here referred to is that commonly found in Western esoteric schools. The Tree has 10 stages, referred to as Sephiroth (singular, Sephirah), which means numerical emanation. These emanations of number start at the top and end at the bottom of the Tree of Life, in a sequence of 1 to 10. In kabbalistic terms, our creative project is mapped by the Tree of Life thus: 1 Kether 2 Chockmah 3 Binah 4 Chesed 5 Geburah 6 Tiphareth 7 Netzach 8 Hod 9 Yesod 10 Malkuth

Creation First swirlings First forming Expansion Contraction Balance Cycles Focus Foundation Completion

We’ll look further into this later, as we use our tarot to explore the Tree of Life and kabbalah much further through the concept of correspondences. For now, we can be content that we have experienced a creative process in 10 stages, and learnt the nature of those 10 stages in our personal life. You will have obviously realised by now that we are also talking about the 1 to 10 of the tarot. There are forty Minor cards, running from 1 to 10, in four suits. So we should now move onto the four elements, to give us a matrix of 10 stages multiplied across 4 aspects of experience = 40 cards.

Tree of Life with 10 Sephiroth

Step 2: The Aspects of Experience The four aspects of experience correspond to the four elements – here comes your ancient Greek philosophy now – of Water, Air, Fire, and Earth (W.A.F.E. for short). Now you can attribute these to just

about anything, as you’ll need to if you’re going to see anything in the whole Universe as falling into one of only four categories. So, for simplicity, we will learn: • • • •

Water corresponds to wishy-washy or torrential ○ EMOTIONS Air, airy-fairy or high-minded ○ INTELLECT Fire, burning ○ AMBITIONS Earth, material ○ MONEY

There’s a lot more to it than that, and you can rise through several magical grades in arcane orders just by arguing whether a stick is Fire or Air, if you really want ... but for now, we are wanting to quickly learn tarot, and the easy way to picture the elements is with the four suits found in the deck: • • • •

CUP for Water; SWORD for Air; WAND for Fire; COIN for Earth.

Step 3: Putting it Together (Minors) We can now process our 10 stages through these four simple aspects of experience, without even referring to any tarot cards. Then, having learnt this, you’ll find it is even easier – not more difficult – to work with the cards, which you’ll soon see illustrate what you’ve now learnt, rather than confuse. Let’s take the 5 stage – the challenging halfway house – in the element of EARTH, which corresponds to the aspect of experience

which is MONEY. We would guess that this is the halfway point of working with money; a point which would be challenging, difficult and hard to know whether to move forwards or go back. There would not yet be any return for our investment, we might say. You’ll see that it’s a challenging part of the whole process of money, finances, that sort of thing. Now, take a look at the Waite-Smith Tarot image for this stage in this element. I hope you find it is a fitting picture for what you are feeling about this phase in this world; challenge in money.

5 of Pentacles, Universal Waite Tarot

If you want to check your understanding, go ahead. For example, here’s Sasha Fenton in Super Tarot: “The questioner may suffer a financial loss or be over-extended ...”54 – the rest is merely her commentary on the basic meaning of the card. This process can be repeated for any card, so long as you keep it very simple. For example, looking at the 3 of Wands, you should say, “Stage 3 of 10 in the world of ambition.” Then see what arises for you. Looking at the card in the Thoth deck, we see it entitled, Virtue; in part based upon the Golden Dawn title, Lord of Established Strength. In our system, we know that this card is showing us the first signs of progress in ambition; the first pattern coming together. How better then to describe it as virtue or established strength or success and harmony following struggle?55 So, 10 of Wands – the last stage in a process of ambition? This card probably means that you’ve reached the end of what you aspired to, but there is a ‘stuckness’ to it that you can’t now change. Look at the Waite-Smith Tarot picture of the figure struggling with his ten staves, or read Crowley on the 10 of Wands: “It is a Will which has not understood anything beyond its dull purpose ... and will devour itself ...”56 – yes, you can start to understand more of Crowley’s enigmatic The Book of Thoth because you’re now working from the same basic system as Crowley.

10 of Wands, Universal Waite Tarot

Examples of One-Card Interpretations So, using this method, if you had the 6 of Pentacles in the ‘concerns’ position of a reading about the outcome of a court case:

6 of Pentacles, Universal Waite Tarot

... the 6 is just after 5, so the stage is some sign of the end in sight, but not everything is fixed yet – it could still change and go back the other way. Pentacles corresponds to the aspect of money, so the concern is not an emotional issue but a financial one – the querent is concerned that they have not yet got to the point where they are assured financial victory; things are not yet balanced in their favour. Looking at the Waite-Smith card you’ll get visual confirmation of this: a figure with scales handing out coins to two other figures. Now, Rachel Pollack calls this card one of the most complex in the deck – but you’ve just read it from a simple rule, for a proper question

in a proper spread.57 Not bad going! And the 2 of Wands in the same reading and position:

2 of Wands, Universal Waite Tarot

... just after starting out, so you’ve got to the second step, at least, in ambitions, plans. You’re right – have a look at the card, see how it shows the figure looking out to sea, holding a globe, kind of suggests that very thing, yes? But the challenge is to move forwards, as there are eight steps left to go in that process.

We can now move quickly into reading the cards as a whole, in fact moving immediately to reading 10 cards together in a spread. Okay, that’s 40 cards learnt (don’t make it harder than it is, just remember the basic idea and you can work out the derived interpretation) and you’re already halfway to learning the 16 Court cards (Page of Wands, Knight of Cups, etc.) because you know the elements, and the 16 Court cards are the four elements multiplied by four levels of energy.

Step 4: Growing Up is Hard to Do (Court Cards) What are the four levels of energy? Well, other than the letters of YHVH, the kabbalistic Four Worlds or all sorts of other ideas, you can represent these energies as people. Hey, isn’t that what they’ve done already? You bet it is. Taking a somewhat stereotypical view of people, age and gender, we associate the four types of Court cards with four types of people thus:

So, you have the young go-get-‘em energy of the Page, which is often a flash-in-the-pan; the more aligned energy of the Knight, balanced on his horse, on his way; the receptive, broad, enduring energy of the Queen; and the counter-balanced, established, stable energy of the King. Four grades, if you like, of the same energy,

moving through four elements, from nothing to something – let’s see that in practice.

Knight of Cups, Universal Waite Tarot

The Knight of Cups is emotional energy at its more directed, so as a person it’s someone who is very influenced and driven by their imagination (you’ll be glad to know Rachel Pollack, in her SeventyEight Degrees of Wisdom, agrees with your reading of this).58 But

suppose that it appears in the ‘foundation’ card of a question to do with a new business? What then? Panic? No, of course not – remember the rules: Knight, energy stabilising, Cups, emotions ... sounds like the card here is suggesting that the business should be true to the person’s emotional desires, and the better that it meets those needs, perhaps even at the expense of immediate financial needs, the stronger the foundation of the business. Make sense? Easy! Always go back to the root rules and you’ll find that you will make the rest up from there – that (with a bit of experience and reading of other people’s made-up bits) is how everyone else does it. You can read the energy as a person or as a resource that the querent needs to access within themselves. You can now even read a Court card as a change in a situation, or as any other force without being tied to the “It’s a blonde woman with blue eyes” syndrome.

Facing the Court To revise the Court cards, imagine these are your notes from a lecture.

So, looking at these notes, if you see in a spread where the King of Wands appears as ‘past’: Past King (Stabilising) Wands (Ambitions) Hmmm, what do you think? The situation is fixed: the person has had ambition that has become solid in the past, not allowing any new energy in the future. It could also represent the ‘father’ inside the person, being too fixed in the past, or a trusted advisor giving constraining advice that is no longer appropriate – or all three interpretations. You would think it likely to find a few Aces in the future in that reading, then.

You Know the Type Who ... ? The Court cards also directly symbolise types of people. One such division is Jungian and groups people into types based upon intuition and knowledge. The role and relationship of intuition and knowledge in tarot is obviously one we looked at in types of foretelling. If you would like to find out which of these two approaches (intuitive or rationalist) you are more likely to adopt, you can consider taking a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. This is a psychometric test which groups people – based upon Jung – into four distinct categories: Type


Rational (judging) Irrational (sensing)

Thinking/Feeling Sensing/Intuition

There are many quick and rough tests of your Myers-Briggs type online.59 In our later section on the average tarot reader, we will see

what type predominates. These four personality types can be seen reflected in the four Court suits. There are variations, as ever, but we can start with a standard correspondence:

The rank of the Court card (Page, Knight, Queen, King) can then split these personality types further – introverted, extroverted, and so forth. We can also consider the energies of these cards as being levels of energy in each element, as we will see shortly. We can simply go for age ranges at present: the Pages are children; the Knights are the ‘Club 18 to 30’ range; and the Queens and Kings adults of the respective sex. You’ll notice that Pages and Knights are neither necessarily male nor female. Similarly, a man can have more ‘feminine’ qualities and a woman more ‘masculine’ qualities than gender alone would stereotype. Anyway, in terms of the Jungian types, you should now be able to correspond your family and friends into Court cards – is your Mother a ‘sensing’ sort of person, making her a Queen of Pentacles; or is she a ‘feeling’ person, a Queen of Cups? There’s no single answer, of course, we are each a mixture of all types – there is no single Court card that doesn’t have a voice inside you. We can also look at organisations as Court cards. You can discover a lot more about the Court cards and a unique spread called ‘All the World’s a Stage’ on the Tarosophy website at


Step 5: The Big Two-Two (Majors) Now, that’s what, 40 cards plus 16, that’s 56 cards learnt ... let’s get the remaining 22 learnt, shall we? These are actually the easiest to learn, and as such the ones with even more long term mystery embedded in them. Without going into complex kabbalah, these are your ‘learning’ cards: they all have scenes of life from which we learn stuff. In a reading they bring a lesson, and the lesson is whatever it shows you on the card – that simple. So, the dreaded Death card, in the Waite-Smith deck, brings a lesson that nothing is permanent, everything changes. You can see that in the card – well, I can ... but you should learn whatever lesson each Major card teaches you, and the simplest way to do that is to look at the card and ask it. Listen for a moment, and if you don’t get anything at all – not even a vague feeling – put the card by your bed and wait for a dream to tell you or – even better – an event during the day, a television programme, something you hear in passing – you’ll actually know it when you get it. These 22 cards speak an archetypal language that, by definition, is evident as a pattern underneath everything we perceive, so you just have to call them out. This is covered in a following exercise, but first we will look at covering them quickly so that you can get reading straight away. You can learn the Majors by simple keywords, a sentence to recall the theme of the card, a script, or as a living exercise – a powerful method which takes many months to accomplish. We will now look at sentences, scripts and the living exercise to learn the Majors.

Whilst these sentences give a flavour of the cards’ archetypes, they will never be comprehensive. You should compare these sentences to other meanings that you will learn for each Major card, and continually build up a bank of associations to the archetype of that card (which can never be known). I now provide, as an example, some scripts from my recent work for the excellent Talking Tarot project, where Carrie Paris – an innovative tarot teacher – has the cards speak their own nature.60 In this case, we look again at the Majors to see what they would say if they were in the position of a spread called ‘Your Heart’s Desire’. See if you can imagine each card speaking in its own voice.

Scripts for the Majors as Heart’s Desire 0. The Fool I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you a single white rose open to the Sun. I am the highest truth and the greatest secret found within you. I am your innocence and your freedom – return to me and we will confidently travel together into the pathless land. 1. The Magician I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you direction and inner strength. Like the conductor, I let all things pass through me and yet am one with the music. Your inner music is ready to be heard – get your things together and go for it! 2. The High Priestess I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you a deep mystery. Your heart is hidden and safe, and your intuition is telling you all that you

need to know. It is time to lay down your own law. 3. The Empress I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you abiding comfort. I am the mother of all things, and you are my child. Find me inside to know your own comfort, and let time heal all wounds. 4. The Emperor I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you inner direction and a prompt for action. Open up to the energy I hold and like the ram, we will break through all obstacles ahead! 5. The Hierophant I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you all the advice to which you haven't yet listened. You can learn from other people's mistakes and advice – I say to you, trust your heart but hear the wisdom of friends and those who know what is happening. 6. The Lovers I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you true love. Every man and every woman can be at one, when they realise that their heart is always open. Accept the Sun and the serpent equally, and choose what leads you to me. 7. The Chariot I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you great news! Everything is going ahead and pulling together to achieve results. Time will fly and before you know it, everything will have moved ahead.

8. Strength I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you your challenge. Is the work effortless, or are you wasting your energies? It is time to decide if you can relate to the lion: the roar of your own heart, or the buried anger underneath the calm. The eternity symbol above my head might tell you that nothing stays the same. 9. The Hermit I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you what you know already. Be true to yourself, be clear what it is you want and be strong enough to walk towards it. It is time to join me in the place where you know you want to be. 10. The Wheel of Fortune I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you a great mystery. Look into my eyes – I have many! I am the sphinx who asks the question whose answer is life; I am the wheel forever turning; I am the jackal who guides you, and all four angels who guard you. I tell you now that if you stay still nothing will change, and to move forwards you know that things must. 11. Justice I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you the measure of truth. You have found the right balance in this relationship and can maintain it truly with your own heart's desire. I would only counsel that you must keep an eye on my sword – it is swift to change judgement should you tip the scales with anger and frustration. 12. The Hanged Man

I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you a strange picture. When things are upside down, like me, you can see more clearly. What haven't you seen yet? Imagine that a friend, like me, was seeing your relationship now – what would we say to you if we could turn it on its head? 13. Death I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you what you see in all Nature: all things change. As the rose of romance fades, families, money, journeys await, and all that life has to offer. But do not forget the love that is at the heart of all things; this must not be buried in life. I am only death if you forget my lesson in your heart: love is life and life is love. 14. Temperance I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you glad news that your relationship is able to draw upon so many different things to create a truly tempered couple; balancing, matching, moving in a graceful dance of opposites. I say to you that I can appear angelic, but the energies of the Sun and the mountain are powerful – accept my fire in your heart and together we will forge a powerful relationship. 15. The Devil I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you passion, growth and depth in the dark times. The Sun shines at midnight and there is a fire deep within that will not go out. Hold onto your heart and what you desire – there will be an end to present sorrow. 16. The Blasted Tower I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you sudden change, and new horizons. Prepare for an unexpected change, but look beyond it

when it happens to the longer term goal that you have set yourself. 17. The Star I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you hope. I am the star of vision, the star of your dreams and the star that is clearest in the darkest night. I shine on you now, and whisper in your ear, "Don't give up, follow your dream." 18. The Moon I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you a quiet mystery. Look inside yourself now and know that you are more ready than you think to emerge from your hiding place – your shell – and start upon the road ahead. From here, the road looks beset with unknown danger, but when you are on it, I light the way. 19. The Sun I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you glad news. The inner light is glowing, shining, bursting, and like a garden of sunflowers, ready to burst! Stay true to yourself, stay open and don't clutch to anyone or anything – just enjoy the ride. You can! 20. The Last Judgement I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you an inner calling. The mistakes of the past are forgiven, you are free to make a new day now. 21. The World I represent your heart’s advice and I bring you the whole wide world! I am everything you are, and everything around you, and I am in your

heart now. In this relationship you are finding everything coming together – welcome me with open arms.

Exercise 6: Living the Archetypes As a final way of learning the Majors, this exercise is a longer term and far more dramatic method. This is the most powerful and lifechanging technique given in this book, so whilst it appears early, you may wish to return to it at a later stage in your development of Tarosophy; tarot as a living art and philosophy. Whilst it has a vague similarity between other methods – such as ‘card of the day’ – it is not the same and of an entirely different order and impact, as those who have experienced the method will attest. Since teaching it (and I was taught it personally by my first teacher) I have seen it leak out in various forms, but this is the most considered and original method given here. This method will take between six and 18 months to perform, and you will probably only do it once in your life. I’ve done it three times over the course of 30 years and would certainly say that the first time was the most astonishing, whilst subsequent performances have been more profound and subtle but held less impact upon my daily life. In this method you take The Magician tarot card – the first numbered card of the Majors – and place it somewhere prominent, such as your bedside cupboard, desk at work, or shrine. You must be able to see it regularly for some time. You then wait. You wait until The Magician speaks to you. It will be the sort of event that will be unquestionably The Magician. If you wonder if ‘this one counts’, then it is not the event for which you are waiting.

The Magician, Tarot Obscura

The event may be dramatic. It will arise from an activation of that archetype (of which The Magician is an image) in your real life. In my case, I was robbed the night that I started this method, reminding me that Mercury (to which The Magician corresponds) is the god of thieves as well as magic and communication. A salutary reminder that has remained with me for 20 years!

Once the event has transpired, record it and move onto the next card: The High Priestess. Return The Magician to the deck. You will be unable to use the deck during this time, and this method only requires the 22 Major cards, so I suggest purchasing a special deck for the exercise. I favour and recommend one of the limited edition Majorsonly decks published by Adam McLean – I used the Tarot Obscura by Chris Bivens for my most recent practice of this method, which took nine months.61 This method is only for the 22 Majors as it is working with the archetypes, not the situational cards or personifications. Some cards will take longer to communicate than others – you may wait several weeks or months for The Wheel of Fortune card, for example. There is no need to force the timing – this method requires patience. The process of patient waiting and observation is part of the Esosana required to make this method work. One observation from personal experience and confirmed by others is that the manner in which the archetype communicates is as much to do with the archetype as the communication it provides. That is to say, The Magician may come through into your life in a somewhat magical manner, whereas the next card – The High Priestess – will be a more subtle event. The Blasted Tower, of course, will be shocking, whatever it communicates. As you will live these events, and experience them in a fully engaged method in your real life, these lessons will never be forgotten and will inform your tarot reading in a spiritual, deep manner. This is why the exercise must not be taken lightly and must be commenced with an open mind and serious intent, as well as a commitment to complete the entire sequence. Again, the commitment to complete – taking an oath if necessary – is an important component of the Esosana to make this method work. Like most esoteric and particularly initiatory work, it has its own

safeguards in that the inappropriate attitude will not unlock the results. When you finish with The World card, you can review the entire sequence of events. It is important to commence with The Magician and finish with The World, and not randomly pick out the cards – they must be maintained in sequence. Similarly, you do not use The Fool as, in this case, you are The Fool – pure awareness – on the journey through the archetypes which construct experience, imaged by the tarot Majors.

2.9 Reading the Spread Now that we have learnt the components of our tarot engine, let’s take it for a spin. In doing so, we return to our introduction lesson on seeing the big picture. We also use a lot of the modelling work of NLP to teach you how to do what an experienced tarot reader does – even before they know that they are doing it! We lay the cards out in a spread – for example, a 10 card spread such as the Celtic Cross (more on this spread, later). Again, turning conventional notions and teaching methods on their head, you’ll find this easier to learn with more cards, not less. You’ll see why in a minute.


So, here’s what we now do when we’ve laid the cards out in front of us. We take ... a big ... step ... back ... and ... look at the whole picture first. You may even blur your sight a little to avoid looking at the detail. We will look at the colours, shapes and movement of the cards, and if you want to practice this more, you will find recommendations below for three decks tuned to colour, shape and movement. Firstly, we look at the colours: • • • • •

Is it a dark reading or a light one? Is it the same all over, or very patchy? Is there a pattern where the darker colours are to the left, or the top? Are there lots of hot colours? Cold colours? A mixture? Are there bright colours and subdued colours overall?

Don’t worry at all about what this means just yet – just notice that you can learn to immediately see the overall impact of the colours. Now, this method works best with cards drawn by an artist who understands colour, of course – either intuitively, artistically, esoterically, or all of the aforementioned. You may find pleasant surprises when you adopt this method. The Druidcraft Tarot deck, for example, shows a surprisingly deep pattern embedded in the hues of the landscapes of the cards, dependent upon the time of day which is built into the card. You can thus have a reading which is more ‘dawn’ than ‘evening’ and all that might mean. Another good deck for colour work is the Sacred Rose Tarot deck. Secondly, we look at the shapes:

• • • •

Are there straight lines or curves? Are there jagged or smooth edges? Lots of geometric designs or curves? Is everything pointing up and down or left and right?

The shapes method is a great way of intuitively approaching the Thoth Tarot deck, which is based upon projective geometry. Thirdly, we look at movement: • • • •

Do the cards presented show static scenes or moving ones? Where is the movement in the spread? If the spread were animated, would it be fast or slow? Is the range of movement consistent across the cards, or changing?

For those who function better with sound, have a go at hearing the sounds of the cards across the reading. What music do you get as you look at the spread, and does it change as you move your eyes from left to right or up and down, dependent upon the layout of the spread? A deck tuned to this method is Ciro Marchetti’s Legacy of the Divine Tarot deck, which also features animated versions online. There are many other aspects of the big picture that your unconscious processes will pick up on, but those detailed above are enough to bring to conscious attention and begin training yourself to do the big picture (gestalt) first. We will look at what these possibly mean – other than the obvious, or your own personal interpretation – later on when we look at spreads and layouts.

Pattern Recognition You may be interested to know that there is another occupation that uses the same skills as an experienced tarot reader: the chess

player. The psychology of chess and cognition demonstrates that what makes a grandmaster of chess is not memory, nor IQ, nor the ability to compute or think ahead, but ... pattern recognition.62 This skill comes with learning to chunk pieces of information and rapidly assess their importance. This is where I first learned the basis of teaching as I teach – from chess. It is also perhaps one of the things that makes my own teaching methods very different to those elsewhere: I am keen for my students to learn how to recognise patterns, not details, and I teach this first. We can also consider the relevance of the oriental game of Go, which takes very simple principles and places them upon a large playing board to generate complex games. I have found that laying out cards upon a Go board – using the same pattern concepts found in the game – creates very profound and elegant readings in which cards create ‘ladders’, ‘eyes’ and ‘nets’.63

The State of Play We now look at the distribution of cards and weighting of numbers across the spread. Again, practice this with a few personal or example spreads until it comes naturally to you. Or simply take out 10 cards at a time from a shuffled deck. It only takes a little while for it to become second nature and you’ll soon start to sense the whole reading before looking at any level of detail at all. Other systems tend to read one card at a time to ‘make it easier’ or number the positions in a spread (which implies that you should read them in a linear sequence). Here we question both those approaches and start on the outside, not from the inside. This is another example of our Hanged Man approach: turning the teaching of tarot upon its head!

Remembering Some Mathematics from School Here are some interesting statistics and probabilities that may also provide a baseline from which to judge where a reading is skewed, i.e. towards the Major Arcana, or way over into Wands, etc. There are 78 cards in a standard deck, composed of three groups of 22+40+16 cards. That means that the groups of cards represent the following percentages which, multiplied by the 10 positions in a Celtic Cross spread, show how many – statistically – of each one would expect in a 10 card reading:

That is to say, about 2 or 3 Major cards, 5 Minors and 2 or 3 Court cards should be found in a 10 card spread. The five Minor cards should be statistically distributed equally between the four suits: one card of each suit, with one suit having two cards. So, if you get six cards of the suit of Wands in a 10 card reading, either you haven’t shuffled properly since the last time you put the cards in order (which some readers do on occasion to ‘reset’ their deck or ‘rest’ it, or if they’re using their deck as part of teaching) or there is a skew towards Wands, i.e. ambition and lifestyle being demonstrated in the reading. The interpretation of these skews varies, of course, but for now we learn:

More Wands More Cups More Pentacles More Swords More Majors More Minors More Courts

Ambition and lifestyle highlighted – this is about values Emotions and deeper feelings – this is about your heart Matter, material, resources – this is about things and stuff Ideas, education, thought – this is about knowing The current is strong, stop paddling the canoe and steer The river is slow, stop waiting and learn where to paddle It’s either about people, or there are lots of sides of you

And, of course, the absence of the other suits, Majors or Minors, or Court cards also tells the querent where not to seek answers, or what is not presently important, despite their question or expectation. In Book T, the Golden Dawn writings on the tarot, a section was devoted to the other rules which might assist reading from the big picture. Whilst given here with brief introduction, you are encouraged to find your own with experience and observation. At the foot of this extract is also the Golden Dawn teaching on dignities, which we will consider elsewhere in a simpler form as natural dignities.

Overall Considerations of a Spread Using a simple rule base, one can consider the balance of cards in the whole reading as depicting the overall nature of that reading. This method should be tempered by experience and used with caution, as it can be too simplistic.

Majority Wands of Majority Cups of Majority Swords of Majority Pentacles of Majority Keys of Majority Court cards of Majority Aces of

4 Aces 3 Aces 4 (Knights) Kings 3 Kings (Knights) 4 Queens 3 Queens 4 Princes 3 Princes 4 Princesses 3 Princesses 4 Tens 3 Tens 4 Nines 3 Nines 4 Eights 3 Eights 4 Sevens 3 Sevens 4 Sixes 3 Sixes 4 Fives 3 Fives

Energy, opposition, quarrel Pleasure, merriment Trouble, sadness, sickness, death Business, money, possessions Strong forces beyond the querent's control Society, meetings of many persons Strength, generally – Aces are always strong cards

Great power and force Riches, success Swiftness, rapidity Unexpected meetings – Knights, in general, show news Authority, influence Powerful friends Meetings with the great Rank and honour New ideas or plans Society of the young Anxiety, responsibility Buying and selling (commerce) Added responsibilities Much correspondence Much news Much journeying Disappointments Treaties and compacts Pleasure Gain, success Order, regularity Quarrels, fights

4 Fours 3 Fours 4 Threes 3 Threes 4 Twos 3 Twos

Rest, peace Industry Resolution, determination Deceit Conferences, conversations Reorganisation, recommendation

Of the Dignities The concept of dignities in tarot is one where we correspond the cards to various systems, such as the neo-Platonic elements, numerology or astrology, and take account of the relationship between those components to interpret the relative influence of a particular card in the whole reading. This is most appropriate in its original usage in long lines of cards in the Opening of the Key spread, where positional meanings are not given. It has more recently become vogue to teach, learn and use these in smaller readings (3 cards) or common spreads such as the Celtic Cross. The following rule base is from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s Book T– The Tarot. A card is strong or weak, well dignified or ill dignified, according to the cards on either side of it. Cards of the same suit on either side strengthen it greatly, for good or evil according to their nature. Cards of opposite natures on either side weaken it greatly, for either good or evil. In short: • • •

Swords are inimical to Pentacles; Wands are inimical to Cups; Swords are friendly with Cups and Wands;

Wands are friendly with Swords and Pentacles.

If a card falls between two other which are mutually contrary, it is not much affected by either.

Peregrine Cards Some cards in a spread do not matter as much as others. Although this is a common problem that beginners face in spreads, it is rarely pointed out. An experienced tarot reader will often ignore or downplay certain cards, whilst exalting and concentrating upon others. This appears to often happen in an unconscious manner. Whilst I was modelling tarot readers over a period of some years, I would sometimes point out to them that they had not even mentioned one (or sometimes two or more) of the cards, particularly in a larger spread. They would reply that they “Hadn’t really noticed” or “Thought that it was more important to talk about the ‘big’ card/s elsewhere.” When you are a tarot beginner, you do not see some cards as ‘bigger’ than others – this is an entirely unconscious process that comes with experience. However, you can learn to do so more quickly now that we know that this is the representation (size of card in their own mind) by which experienced readers work.

Exercise 7: Some Cards are Cool, and Some Cards are Small Take 10 cards out of your tarot deck at random. Place them in a circle, face up. Run your eyes around the circle in a clockwise direction, taking the cards into your conscious attention. Start doing this as fast as possible, with each spin. Then close your eyes and see the circle again in your mind. If you are not a ‘visual’ visualiser (see later) then ‘feel’ the circle in your mind. Now allow yourself to see if

one (or two) cards reduce in size in your circle, and if one (or two) cards grow larger. Some people find that one card glows, and that one card vanishes or fades. You will have your own unconscious way of representing this pattern. For kinaesthetic (i.e. ‘feeling’) visualisers one (or two) cards may feel hot, another one or two cold. As you progress, your experience, knowledge and intuition, with a little inspiration, will dictate which cards are ‘bigger’ / ‘smaller’ or ‘hotter’ / ‘colder’ than others in a spread. Having observed many hundreds of readers over many years, it is usually one or two cards in every 10 that have this quality. As you install this unconscious process by this regular exercise, you will find it occurring during your readings as it does when an experienced tarot professional reads a spread. In horary astrology, a planet in a chart (cast for a question or a natal chart) can be positioned in a sign where it possesses no essential dignity – it is neither dignified nor debilitated and may seem to be independent of others. This is easily termed in horary astrology as peregrine, from the Latin to travel abroad or wander.64 So in this context, we can introduce the idea of peregrine and exalted cards: cards which appear in particular positions to be more or less important than if they had appeared in others, or in relationship to other cards. Given that there are many millions of possible combinations in spreads, there can be no easily given chart of such combinations of cards and positions. However, a few examples might begin to allow you to construct your own or, more importantly, start to allow yourself to notice such cards / positions occurring in your own readings. Ace of Pentacles – exalted in a 3 card spread in the ‘future’ position. This is when an experienced tarot card reader would immediately say “Ooohh, that’s a good card to get there.” It is a card associated at its

simplest level with new material and financial possibilities and opportunities. To have it in the ‘future’ of a 3 card spread would be very powerful. 3 of Swords – peregrine in a 15 card spread in the ‘past’ position where most of the other cards are lower numbered Minor Arcana and generally positive Major Arcana or positive relationships and dignities to each other (see later for dignities). This would be when an experienced reader would touch upon the card briefly, “You’ve come to this situation from quite a separation,” but then spend most of the reading talking about all the other cards. It is neither important nor possible to consciously know every possible combination leading to peregrine or exalted cards. It is, however, a good concept to learn – even for a beginner – because it will free you up from attempting to read every single card in a spread in a one-byone equal fashion, which is not how good tarot readers perform a successful and powerful reading. Some cards barely make sense in particular positions or in relationship to others. To an astrologer working with planets in positions in the zodiac or in the houses, this is part of their ABC lexicon of learning. To a tarot reader, it has rarely been taught and yet appears unconsciously through experience. These cards may signify something of little import and impact, or they may be a loud ‘squeaky wheel’ in the spread, which is causing the client some grief (the 3 of Swords in the previous example) yet now has little bearing upon the situation or its progression.65

Where are We at in Your Story? The final part of getting the big picture is to look at the weightings of the numbers of the Minor cards, which technically should be evenly distributed between 1 and 10. However, if we see a majority of low

numbers in the spread, then we might read this as picturing the early development of the question or situation being examined; whereas a majority of cards from, say, 8 to 10 depict the last stages of the process being acted out. So, if someone was asking about a new relationship, and got a majority of later cards – 8s, 9s and 10s – this might suggest that whatever has been decided in that relationship is now becoming fixed and finished, whether the querent is aware of it or not. Also, don’t forget that the tarot should not be considered a static snapshot, but rather, more a passing glimpse. That is to say, the deep ontological and cosmological concerns of the Western Esosana or attitude create a divinatory device that is quite linear and static. In other systems, we might discern a different Esosana: Tarot I Ching Runes

Western Linear, cause-effect, aspirational, symbol based, static Taoist, Non-linear, acausal, cautious, metaphor based, fluid Norse, Sequenced, nature bound, morality coded, myth based, dynamic

When the tarot sequence reaches 10 we should see that, like the figure gathering his wands together on the 10 of Wands, we can create a single bundle and start off again: the Ace. The kabbalah teaches that “Malkuth is in Kether, and Kether is in Malkuth, after another manner” – a more precise version of the Hermetic “As above, so below.”

10 of Wands & Ace of Wands, Universal Waite Tarot

In the tarot we should see each card on the verge of becoming the next card in the sequence – an idea which we will explore later with dynamic tarot for change.

You’ve Been Framed All of these considerations taken together present us the outside frame which the detail of the reading can fill. Although we might flex the frame as we paint the picture, it is rarely the case that the individual detail of the cards will contradict our initial impression of the reading. The book, Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, explores our ability – when we have some specific technical knowledge and experience – to discern facts quickly without conscious awareness of the reasoning behind that decision.66 We can, of course, get it wrong, but more often, with practice and learning, we should trust our ability to get the big picture quickly.

The practice of all the methods previously described is designed to facilitate that skill. There may appear to be a lot to remember, but learning from the basic structure and rules first and building up from that will rapidly increase your ability to be flexible and interpret many different decks, spreads and questions, rather than being stuck in one particular style, teaching method or deck.

And All the Time in the World If you randomly pull out one card from a deck of 78, there are only 78 ways that such an action can turn out: namely, that one of the 78 cards will emerge. If you choose one card, then another, having randomly shuffled the deck prior to or between, then there are a little more than 6,000 combinations of pairs. So, if you do a 2 card reading once per day, every day, it’s likely that you won’t get the same pair for about 17 years. When we take the entire deck and look at larger spreads, the numbers go into amazingly high scales of magnitude. The possible number of unique combinations of 78 cards shuffled at random and arranged as a selection of 10 (in the Celtic Cross or similar spread) is calculated by taking the formula 78 (shriek!) to 10 places, which is: 78 x 77 x 76 x 75 x 74 x 73 x 72 x 71 x 70 x 69 This is 4,566,177,000,000,000,000 unique readings. That is to say 4.5 quintillion in the short scale description. The chances of getting the same cards in the same positions are mind-bogglingly astronomical, of course, and it is unlikely that even if every person on the planet was reading tarot full time, the stars would have long gone out before anyone got the same reading of a 10 card spread.

That’s pretty incredible: just as Universe has never made another you before, and never will again, everyone will always get a unique reading in front of them, every time.

2.10 Reading the Tarot of Creation To summarise our first section on learning tarot, I offer below some of the personal keywords that I generated from the ‘Living the Archetypes’ exercise given earlier. This is followed by a cheat sheet on the 10 numbered cards and the Court cards in each suit. These may be handy for your reference, but again – work from first principles and your own experience. We will also see in a later section the secret keywords for these same cards.

The Majors

The Minors 1 to 10 and Courts in the Suits The following are divided into smaller sections in order to show how they are structured in the Tree of Life diagram. The first three numbers are part of a trinity, and the 4 to 5 and 7 and 8 are paired on the Tree of Life.

Court Cards Court

Keyword / Concept

Page Knight Queen

Kick-start, sudden, flash Forceful, focused Enduring, patient, flexible


Rigid, dominant, established

Suits Suit

Keyword / Concept

Swords Cups Wands Pentacles

Thought, intellect, Llearning Feelings, emotions Spirit, lifestyle, ambition, values Matterial, health, matter, money, security

2.11 Recording Your Reading To record your tarot readings, you are encouraged to adopt a common key, as follows. Minor cards: Label as the number and suit. For example 7P, 3C is 7 of Pentacles, 3 of Cups. You can label Aces as 1 or A, so 1C or AC would be Ace of Cups. Major cards: Label as their Latin numerals. For example, III is The Empress, XVIII The Moon. Court cards: Label as abbreviation of type and suit, with Kn for Knight and K for King, to avoid confusion. For example, KnS is Knight of Swords. Thus the 10 cards in your Celtic Cross spread might be: AP, 4C, KnW, IV, 7P, 9P, QC, XVI, 5S, 4C

So long as you are consistent in your layout and order, this is enough to record the reading with any commentary you wish to place upon it.

2.12 The Elements You may recall from our ‘Tarot in Ten Minutes’ that in many esoteric groups the basic teachings revolve around the four elements: Fire Earth Air Water These are as first described by the Ionian philosopher Empedocles (ca. 490-430 B.C.) who called them roots. These were first called elements (in Greek, stoicheion, which means a letter of the alphabet) by Plato (428/427-348/347 B.C.) who noted them as being preSocratic. It is from these four elements, and the fifth – Aether (or spirit) – that we derive much of our esoteric cosmology. They can indeed be seen as the basic letters of our occult alphabet. In your own tarot deck, the elements can be seen as corresponding to the four suits. We will return to the idea of correspondence often in our studies ahead, so it is highlighted here again as a primary teaching. The elements correspond to the suits as follows: Fire Earth Air Water

Wands, Rods, Batons Coins, Discs, Pentacles Swords, Daggers, Blades Cups, Chalices, Dishes

Exercise 8: The Hand of the Four Elements This hand game is to encourage elemental awareness, and selfcapacity. You may feel that this is something you should learn from the tarot – a sense that you are capable and ready to live according to the lessons of the cards. The game is played by putting your hand forward, and shaping it into the elemental weapons represented by the tarot suits: the Pentacle, the Cup, the Sword, and the Wand. You should soon realise that the cards are pictures of basic principles that can be found on many different levels – even in the palm of your hand!

The Hand Game Place your hand forwards, arm outstretched in front. Turn your palm flat and facing upwards, like a plate. Say: "This is my Pentacle, where my life is lived." Now cup your palm, forming a bowl as if to collect raindrops. Say: "This is my Cup, where my love is lived." Now flatten your hand and turn your palm sideways. Say: "This is my Sword, where my decisions are lived." Keeping your palm sideways, point one finger ahead and close your others. Say: "And this is my Wand, where my will is lived." Clench you fist and say: "My life is in my hands." You can practice playing this game each morning before going out to face the challenges of the day; perhaps concentrating on each

position and the different energies that they embody. This game is based upon the concept of asana or positions in yoga, which are states of mind as well as physical positions. The use of gestures or mudras is an important part of Eastern traditions, and even the martial arts such as ninjitsu have four hand positions for circulating the four elemental forces. It is given as a game to encourage all students to use tarot as a means of developing self-determination and self-awareness. It is a practice with relevance to life as well as esoteric teaching. You might begin to wonder how this work will change you.

Exercise 9: Your Tarot Altar Go into your kitchen and take out the following items: a knife, a cup, a plate, and a fork (or chopstick). Place these items on a table where you can work and play with them during the week ahead. This space is now your tarot altar. If you do not have a permanent space for an altar, consider buying a small piece of cloth which you can lay out to serve as a temporary altar when required. You can then store this cloth somewhere safe when not in use. The head chef will soon ask you the following questions so that you can show you have mastered the kitchen tools: • • •

What is their function, and what properties do they possess as individual items? What can you do with each of them? What tasks are they not suited for?

• •

Can you put two of them together and make a new opportunity? Can you use them for innovative functions (making music, perhaps)?

Consider how we can divide Universe67 into just four elements, four functions, and then represent them by these four tools. They each must carry many attributes to comprehensively describe anything in Universe. So, what attributes belong to each element? As we have seen elsewhere in this book, it is a crucial teaching that there is a difference between attributions and correspondences, so let’s think about listing attributes of the elements. The chef gives you a menu to complete in your own time:

2.13 Layouts and Spreads: Analysis and Synthesis

In the realm of the mind – to which Air and Swords correspond – we learn through reason, comparison and contrast. We analyse and then we synthesise, breaking things down into pieces and putting them together again. Sometimes entirely new thoughts and learning result. One way of doing this in tarot is actually in every spread you do for a reading. A spread is simply an arrangement of positions indicating the relationship of the card that will be placed in that position to the real world. The best spreads are comprehensive (i.e. they cover many aspects of a situation) or specific (i.e. they cover aspects that relate directly to the situation to be examined). Most popular spreads have about 10 cards; this is likely because we human beings are able to recall chunks of information in groups of roughly nine, give or take two, i.e. between 7 and 11. When you perform a tarot reading – particularly a larger one with, say, 10 cards – it is statistically unlikely – to an almost impossible degree – that you will ever get that pattern of cards again during your life. Each reading is truly unique: there are about six quintillion lessons that you can learn from a 10 card spread of 78 cards – that’s more than enough for the lifetime of every person on the planet, doing a reading every day, until the stars go out! So, when you do a reading, consider the uniqueness of the pattern and the lesson that it teaches us: that there are patterns underneath even the most apparently random and infinite sequence of apparent events. And each spread will give you another example of those patterns. A layout is slightly different. Here we take a group of cards – usually the 22 Major Arcana – and lay them out in a prescribed arrangement in order to compare and contrast cards as a learning exercise. You can even do this to make up creative stories, as does Italo Calvino in his book, The Castle of Crossed Destinies.

2.14 The Torus Layout Here’s a layout that you might like try out and notice what patterns you can discern between the cards. It is based upon a pattern in Itzak Bentov’s book, Chasing the Wild Pendulum, describing a model for the flow of matter into manifestation. Bentov draws a torus or doughnut shape, showing phases of expansion and contraction of space-time. We can place the tarot cards in the same shape, matching the flow of direction to the sequence of the tarot cards. This places The Fool and The Universe (World) cards outside the cycle, as nothing and everything, with the cards then cycling out to The Lovers (VI) and to The Blasted Tower (XVI) before returning to the circuit. Once placed, we can then use the layout to contemplate the cards.

Torus Layout, using the Tarot Lovers Deck

One of the first patterns that we can see is that the two outer cards on the left and right can be taken to represent the Garden of Eden and

the Fall, particularly interesting if the sequence is taken as a picture of manifestation or myth. The central cards can be compared: The Magician and Justice. As these are in the centre of our layout, we might look at them as balancing elements. However, we can see that Justice appears to be holding the balance, whilst The Magician is actually in balance – channelling the Above to the Below. With a layout, we look to discern patterns and themes, unexpected contrasts and comparisons of cards. There is no one single ‘secret’ layout that reveals vast hidden depths of the structure of the tarot, but all layouts give hints – and maybe you’ll discover such a ‘universal key’ yourself.

2.15 Spreads and DIY The best thing about spreads is that you can make them up yourself. It is important to realise that you can be creative. Many readers get stuck with the Celtic Cross spread as if it were written in stone. This spread – the supposedly ‘ancient Celtic Cross’ – is neither ancient nor Celtic nor a cross! In fact, it was only designed during the last century. Its popularity comes from its early appearance in publication, accompanying the popular Waite-Smith deck, and its comprehensiveness and ease of use. We will return to unpack this spread and reveal its origins – for the first time in a book – in the advanced section.

2.16 The Dawn Spread So, here’s an example of a made-up spread. You don’t yet have to know much about tarot – although you should be able to basically

interpret the cards by now, from our ‘Tarot in Ten Minutes’ section. Just practice laying out the cards each morning and then reviewing the reading at the end of the day. What correspondences jump out at you just from looking at the cards at either end of the day as a ‘picture’ of that same day?

Dawn Spread

The positions are as follows: 1. Morning

2. Afternoon 3. Evening 4. Friends and Colleagues 5. Finances and Rewards 6. Lesson of Today 7. How to Get the Best Day 8. What to Avoid The example in the illustration is a real reading and was on a day when I was going to a dinner party in the evening. Surely enough, when I came back and looked at the spread, I could see that my morning had been tense, with disagreements about domestic duties, and I spent the rest of the day writing coursework (The Hierophant as teacher) and the evening looking forward to the party (The Star). I’m not sure about the ‘friends and colleagues’ card, so I’ll leave that for now. I had to be very strict with my shopping, as I didn’t have much cash (King of Swords), and the lesson of the day was certainly about relationships and company, and perhaps making the right choices (The Lovers). I followed the advice of the Queen of Cups by being very ‘watery’ and going with my emotions, being enduring and patient. Although the dinner party wasn’t as fun as I had hoped, I avoided over-drinking and being too effusive (Ace of Cups).

2.17 How to Get a Yes or No Answer Whilst many of the recent tarot titles published during the past 20 years have regurgitated the same tired material, it is refreshing to go back to the 1930s-50s and discover rare curiosities. In an article from Fate magazine, published in February 1955, we read about Irys Vorel's encounter with a Swiss Gypsy ‘Boudrie’ who used "colorful Tarots." The author goes on to talk about "penticles," the likely origin of tarot in "the Far East" or "the land of Sumer," and the popularity of tarot during the "Middle Ages"! Despite these romantic assertions, the article does contain a couple of gems. The idea of assemblation, a term used to denote how a card is read in conjunction with the card next to it in a reading, and a yes / no spread, which I reproduce here: 1. Formulate the question which should have a yes / no answer; 2. Remove the Wheel of Fortune card and place it face up in front of you; 3. Shuffle the remaining deck and fan out face down; 4. Draw seven cards at random with your left hand; 5. Put these seven cards face down on top of the Wheel of Fortune card; 6. Pick up the eight cards and turn the Wheel round so that it faces as the others; 7. Shuffle these eight cards;

8. Lay out the top four cards (as illustrated) in a square face down, 12-3-4; 9. Lay out the next four cards on top: fifth on the first, sixth on the second, seventh on the third, and eighth on the fourth; 10. You now have two cards in each corner of what can now be called the Destiny Wheel; 11. Locate the Wheel of Fortune in the pairs – the position of that pair gives the answer: Yes, soon, delay, or no.

Yes/No Spread

Even where there is a ‘no’ answer, the skilled reader can look at the assemblation of the cards to divine what the obstacles and challenges may be to turning this into a positive result.

2.18 The Courtroom or Judgement Spread This spread is for when you can't make a judgement or want to weigh things up. This is a 9 card spread based upon the positions in a standard courtroom. You can look at other courtrooms and extend this spread, or perhaps add a jury of 12, each with their own characteristic. This would give you an excellent overview of the situation. You could have each of the 12 jury members represent one of the 12 houses in astrology, so that together they would signify every aspect of the question – from personal issues to career and spiritual issues. As with any spread, you should feel free to adapt and develop the positions in order to meet your requirements. The aim is to have a range of spreads so that you can be flexible and creative in working with a range of clients.

Courtroom Spread

Courtroom Spread Card Positions 1. Defendant The card here shows the 'safe' assumptions of your situation; what is most likely to happen if you do little or nothing at all. 2. Friendly Jury Member

The card in this position signifies the positive and optimistic aspects of the case in question. 3. Negative Jury Member This card only depicts the aspects which you'd rather ignore or not look at. 4. Neutral Jury Member The card here shows a 'logical' or 'most likely' viewpoint of the situation. 5. Witness The card here is crucial: it shows what you might not have even thought about in regard to making the decision or judgement. 6. Prosecutor This position highlights criticisms of your case, shows weak points that need to be addressed. 7. Recorder This position highlights and summarises everything that has led up to the situation which has a bearing upon the matter. 8. Case for the Defence This card highlights useful resources that will come into play if you make the decision or judgement to act. 9. Judge The summary card.

48 We have a list of our top-50 recommended decks at www.tarotassociation.net. 49 Survey of small tarot group, November 2007. 50 See my website, NLP Magick, at http://www.nlpmagick.com for details. 51 These two sentences provide an example of the same information being given in a big picture and little picture manner. 52 Neo-Platonism and kabbalah first entered Germany through Reuchlin (1455-1522) in particular, inspired by his meeting with Pico and his work De Verbo Mirifico (1494). From here Neo-Platonism and kabbalah moved through Trithemius (1462-1516) and then Agrippa (1486-1535). It is then through Dr. John Dee that these works and ideas entered the English magical current during the late 1500s. 53 See also the NLP method which allows a reader to get any card meaning to fit any question given in Goodwin, T. & Katz, M. Tarot Flip. Forge Press: Keswick, 2010, p.38. 54 Fenton, S. Super Tarot. Zambezi: Plymouth, 2002, p.48. 55 DuQuette, L.M. Tarot of Ceremonial Magick. Weiser: York Beach, 1995, pp.134-5. 56 Crowley, A. The Book of Thoth. Samuel Weiser, Inc.: York Beach, 1985, pp.194-5. 57 Pollack, R. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. Thorsons Publishers: New York, 1997, p.247. 58 Ibid, pp.190-1. 59 See HumanMetrics Jung Typology Test website: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp [last accessed 29 December 2009]. 60 See Talking Tarot website http://www.talkingtarot.com [last accessed 18 January 2010]. 61

See Adam McLean’s Limited Edition Artwork Tarot website: http://www.alchemywebsite.com/tarot/tarot_decks.html[last accessed 27 December 2009]. 62 See Chessville website: http://www.chessville.com/misc/PsychologyofChessSkill.htm [last accessed 29 January 2010]. 63 This subject may be developed further in a later book. See also Charles Williams writing on “the great dance of the royal figures” and their relation to a chessboard in his tarot novel, The Greater Trumps (1932). You might also like to explore the Waite-Smith deck for black

and white chequered patterns embedded within the images, which also correspond to the floor pattern of a Golden Dawn (and Masonic) temple. 64 I am indebted to the traditional astrologer Keren Happuch for introducing me to this term. 65 We will see later, in the Next Step Spread, how tarot readers may learn a method of progression in its astrological context. Advanced Tarosophists may decide to use the concepts of peregrine, exaltation, detriment, etc. in tarot by learning the astrological correspondences of all the cards and applying them in spreads based upon the houses and zodiac. This allows the same rule-base to be applied across the two systems. Adept Tarosophists may then compare such a reading with the progression and natal charts of a client – this can provide astonishing insight and mapping, and a guide to clients making the most of both systems in tandem. 66 Gladwell, M. Blink. Penguin: London, 2006. 67 I use the term ‘Universe’ rather than ‘the Universe’ in order to signify that Universe does not have a ‘the’ outside of it from which to refer. It reminds me that it is the whole and all.

Section One, Part 2 Reading List There are many titles addressing kabbalah and NLP from different perspectives. I have given here a few lesser known titles which provide, in my opinion, good orientations.

Kabbalah Berenson-Perkins, J. Kabbalah Decoder. Barrons: Hauppage, 2000. Fortune, D. The Mystical Qabalah. Ernest Benn Ltd: London, 1979. Kaplan, A. Meditation and Kabbalah. Samuel Weiser: York Beach, 1985. Scholem, G. Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. Schocken Books: New York, 1961.

NLP Shervington, M. Don’t Think of Purple Spotted Oranges. Marshall Editions. 2000.


To start you on your journey into symbolism and its vagaries, I recommend here several dictionaries of symbolism. These are useful starting points, but symbols are contextual and multivalent; they must be interpreted in the light of their relationship to the environment in which they are presented, be it a dream, vision or tarot. Becker, U. The Continuum Encyclopaedia of Symbols. Continuum: New York, 1994. Cirlot, J.E. A Dictionary of Symbols. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1985. Cooper, J.C. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. Thames & Hudson: London, 1978. Thomson, S.A. Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary. St. Martin’s Griffin: New York, 2003. Tresidder, J. Dictionary of Symbols. Duncan Baird: London, 1999.

Part 3: Tarot Oracle, Tarot Voice

3.1 Oracle, Voice Having established our fail-safe position in learning the basic pattern of the cards, and a few basic spreads, in this section of part one we develop your own self-identity through a series of unique exercises. Again, these exercises are combined from NLP and esotericism, and build your confidence and competence in presenting a tarot reading. This area of reading is underrated in many other books, so is here more fully explored. In this section you will gain the ability to move from reading for yourself or friends to reading for clients. I have used client and querent interchangeably throughout, as explained in the introduction of the first chapter. We have now seen that we can get the big picture for a reading – using any deck and spread – and a fail-safe method of interpreting the cards which gives us flexibility to answer any question. We will move onto putting two or more cards together using intuition in a later chapter. However, we are here going to take an important diversion in developing your own voice for tarot – not just your tone of voice, of course, but your personal style. It is perhaps strange that many tarot readers do not like people peering over their shoulder when they perform a reading. There are obvious concerns, such as client confidentiality, but it is very hard as a beginner to get a good idea of how a tarot reading is performed, and – more importantly – in how many different ways a tarot reading is performed.

You should not fall into the trap of learning specific keywords and then later getting into discussion about the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ meaning of a card. This can happen even inside your head – many students are concerned about giving the ‘right’ reading, of course. However, this concern is due to a faulty teaching, rather than the reality of performing a reading. You can perform the most astonishing readings when you are not reading the right keywords for the cards, but instead drawing upon the deep structure of the deck allied to your own intuition and experience.

3.2 Oracular Talent In this section we will look at exercises which have proved entirely successful in developing – irrespective of your belief – intuition and oracular talent. NLP and hypnosis allow us to model other people’s talents and replicate them to some extent. The way in which one person ‘does’ intuition may give us a clue as to how to develop that skill or ability in ourselves. Here we have used modelling to investigate the talented tarot readers who claimed to use intuition alone, and after discovering the key elements of that state of awareness, worked on a method by which that state can easily be invoked in oneself. This following exercise also uses a disassociation technique in order to bind the unconscious into easily providing the state known as channelling. You will require a friend or interested partner for this exercise, which is a good exercise for training groups or a couple. In many cases of this training game, this technique has led people to discover how easily they can access their unconscious resources. This technique is also a good building block for other magical skills such as invoking a deity or clairvoyance. Over the years, students have also reported that – even on their first attempt – information

was accessed that proved accurate, no matter how banal or meaningless it appeared at the time. It is suggested that you keep notes.

Exercise 10: Becoming an Accidental Oracle Firstly, two people, A and B, sit either side of a scrying device – for example, a crystal ball, black mirror or deck of tarot cards. You must be able to see each other clearly. It is recommended that you do not have a table between you, in order to get the full experience. Note: Although it is not quite as powerful an experience, you may find that you can perform this teaching game by yourself using a photograph or image of an oracle, instead of another person. The person (A) who is not going to be ‘oracular’ begins by assuming a state of being an oracle. This takes all the pressure off the other person (B). Person A adopts the physical posture of the greatest oracle in the world, a true child of Delphi, able to see into the mysteries of time and space. They may gaze or stare, or have their eyes closed in profound meditation. The important thing is to look as if you are worth the other person having paid every last cent to consult with you. When you have attained this state, simply nod to the other person (B). You may also ring a bell or chime, which the other person can then use as a trigger for their own readings after this exercise. Person B then does the following in sequence: 1. Approach the oracle (person A);

2. Look at the oracular device, knowing that you cannot see anything; 3. Look at the oracle, and see that they truly see all things; 4. Look at the oracular device, wondering what it is that the oracle sees – feel their presence and power connecting to the device in ways you cannot imagine; 5. When the oracle is ready, they will nod again or ring a bell or chime – you (person B) start to talk out loud what it is that the oracle says to you, imagining that you are hearing them speak to you. You can either record what you say, agree beforehand that the oracle will remember it, or jot notes and sketches as you talk. It is important that you just talk and keep talking, perhaps whilst focusing on the oracle who should be looking ‘oracular’. These notes may appear meaningless, yet often refer to profound metaphors and insights, whether spoken out as literal or symbolic descriptions. An example might be: “I hear the oracle telling me that the, er ... eagle is more important than the nest, and I should fly soon, but not until the, er ... water is clear. Something about my father, and that it is ‘not like it was’ ... and I’m seeing the oracle give me a green bag, and telling me that it’s for the leaves that fall from the trees. Right. I have to keep the leaves until next spring.” Usually students are amazed at how easily they access this oracular ability inside themselves via this method. It often unlocks a door which never closes again, and truly transforms readings and your confidence that you can access a deeper, intuitive, part of yourself. This training method uses a sequence of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic processes, as well as disassociation and our natural ability to empathise. It is modelled upon successful readers, then

reversed to ensure that there is no conscious pressure or expectation upon the individual practising their ability to speak from the unknown within themselves. Over time, this exercise generates a positive state which provides intuitive leaps in many other areas of life and relationship. Remember: an oracle is for life, not just for holidays.

Exercise 11: Tarot on TV Trick for Developing Intuition For an individual-only method of developing intuition, this particular trick has been developed from experience with Chaos Magick, which often utilises contemporary devices for ancient methods. In this case, we work on the principle that the intuitive processes of the mind are strange devices and easily tuned. We also become conditioned and practiced in the most unlikely ways. Whilst many modern oracles and seers attempt to use a crystal ball or black mirror device for fortune telling, a lifetime of watching television has accustomed most of our brains to expect to see moving images on the screen of a TV. In effect, you have probably already spent many thousands of hours practising this next method. To start to provoke this pre-installed talent, perform a tarot reading – and the more cards the better (i.e. 8, 10, 15 card spread). Lay out the tarot cards, look at them very quickly, like clicking and flicking through channels on a TV set. Then look at your blank TV screen (the TV should be switched off, otherwise you will be predicting the news or the events of a soap drama). Allow any images, impressions, moods, emotions, arising thoughts, snatches of conversation – anything – to arise. There is no expectation to this technique at all. It is just exercise for its own sake and not meant to produce anything in itself. We are (in NLP terminology) installing a process for later use in actual readings at a

level of unconscious competence, just as occurs in an expert tarot reader. As we have seen elsewhere in this book, the memory can recall about 7 +/- 2 elements of discreet information from any singular presentation, so see if at least five things come to mind: images of particular cards, a certain feeling, even an association with a particular TV show. Let come whatever comes as you watch the blank screen. Then wait a moment to see how it switches to something else. Then return to your tarot spread and put the cards back in the deck. Do not analyse or look at the cards, however tempted you may be to do so. This is part of the practice method – you can be lazy and not have to think about this one! Practice once a day and see how it begins to alter your actual readings after a few weeks or less.

3.3 You Are Intuitive There are many discussions in the tarot community with regard to intuition. It is not the intention here to argue about the role that intuition plays in a reading. However, it is felt that intuition is an intrinsic gift of awareness, and that not only can it be found in all of us, but can be trained like any other natural skill. You will find that the following exercise – which can be played often – will subtly develop your intuitive abilities, particularly when allied with the other exercises in this book. Intuition is seen as the ability to derive non-obvious or non-causal relationships between apparently discrete items of information. It is therefore not logical nor necessarily an entirely conscious act. In fact, it is often tricked into play by having one’s mind elsewhere. That sudden realisation or flash of insight that comes whilst asleep, or daydreaming on a long journey ... this next exercise teaches the

brain how to do the conscious bit of intuition better, so that the flash of insight is more commonly experienced.

Exercise 12: Linking Words for Intuitive Speaking Take any trigger word, such as heart. Look about your environment and pick any object that you can see, such as, a tree. Say internally, “Heart link tree.” Allow a feeling to arise, and hear or see an emergent link, a word or an idea. In this case, for example, we might think of a heart being carved on a tree, and say the word, kiss. Then take the new word, kiss, and repeat the step with another object which you can see, such as a newspaper. Say internally, “Kiss link newspaper,” placing the stress on the word link, and feel whatever feeling arises, and hear or see a new object, concept or word, such as scandal. Keep repeating, so that you may have:

Heart Tree Heart link tree

Kiss Newspaper Kiss link newspaper

Scandal Coffee Scandal link coffee

Exploitation Book Exploitation link book etc.

Try to speed up the links to under three seconds, the so-called point of indifference, and finally finish by using the first trigger word, arriving at, for example: Shoe link heart And letting a final idea or object arise, in this case, perhaps: Soul. We have, therefore, started at heart and arrived at soul through prompting fast links between two items of information, the second of which is something that has been seen externally and visually. This is modelled upon the process of intuiting from a sequence of tarot cards, and will very quickly install a new semi-unconscious method of making intuitive leaps in your readings. One side effect of this exercise is that you will find yourself able to create keywords, phrases or emergent concepts naturally from pairs of tarot cards. One student group who were taught this game and

played it a lot during a full morning were astonished that during the afternoon they were easily saying “Well, those two cards together mean ‘deferred judgement’ in this case,” even though when they were prompted, they weren’t entirely sure how they’d arrived at that conclusion. This was a student group who had not read tarot before.

3.4 Drawing from the Well of Intuition You might already know what intuition is: that feeling you get when you know something without knowing how you know it? Think back to a time when you had that feeling where you just deep down knew something before being told. Now, where did you feel that feeling? In your head? In the pit of your stomach? Or did the hairs raise on the back of your hand or neck? Did you get a slight buzz? Strong emotions have a physical correspondence in our body – it’s where we get the phrases like “He made me sick,” “I had a gut feeling,” “That feels dodgy,” or even “It just doesn’t sit right with me.” It’s important as a tarot reader to find the location or sensory representation of intuition for yourself. Then you can work towards it whilst reading – a sort of internal ‘hot or cold’ system.

Exercise 13: Feeling Towards the Truth When performing a tarot reading, notice where you begin to feel as you get ‘on track’, ‘in the zone’ or however you word that buzz when a reading is just right. Notice next how it moves through your body: it must cycle in some way, otherwise it would be too brief to notice. Then start to imagine that it is moving faster – breathe in time with it – or imagine that it has a colour and/or sound and deepen the colour,

heighten the sound, until your feeling amplifies or intensifies. Anchor that heightened sensation to your body by placing your hand briefly at the starting point of the feeling – often your forehead, stomach, hands, etc. where others would name chakras or energy meridians. When next reading, start that feeling in the same way by placing your hand briefly upon that anchor spot. The more that you practice this, the more immediate and intense the feeling will become. This is a rapid technique of self-modelling, amplifying and anchoring using NLP to trigger the intuitive state.68 Intuition can be thought of as a rapid knowing without reason and sometimes it is seen as being independent of all previous knowledge and experience. That is to say, “There’s no way you could possibly know that!” Has that ever happened to you? And if so, how do we know that we have exhausted all possible explanations? It seems to many that science is still discovering new things every day. Incidentally, intuition was seen by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as being pictured by The Lovers tarot card, showing Perseus rescuing Andromeda from the Kraken – go figure!

Exercise 14: Natural Dignities (The Cards Go Walking) We saw earlier a few rules from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn with regard to dignities. These are rules for relationships between the cards based upon their elemental, zodiacal or other correspondences. These dignities can be useful in assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses of particular cards in an overall reading in a spread without stated positions. This is how they were used within the Golden Dawn method called the Opening of the Key.69 However, there is a simpler way to develop this type of approach which utilises powerful unconscious responses, modelled upon

expert tarot readers; one which gets better as you practice. There is a secret method based upon the cards as walking as well as talking tools. There is a physical way of training your intuition, as well as teaching you to recognise the relationships between the cards, without having to learn anything. Get out your tarot deck, and place three cards drawn at random next to each other, like so:

5 of Wands, 7 of Cups, 2 of Swords, Universal Waite Tarot

Take your left hand and put your index finger on the left-hand card. Then take your right hand and put your index finger on the right-hand card. Fix your gaze on the card in the centre of the three cards. Now allow your fingers to reposition the two cards on the table. You may find that they want to remain absolutely fixed. That’s fine. You may find that only one wants to move, or both. Up or down, further away or closer to the central card. Let your arms remain loose and only concentrate on the central card. Notice also the type of movement – is it sudden and rapid, like a magnet, or does it vibrate? You may find that a card wants to move in a circle, like an orbit.

Don’t yet question or interpret this (other than for those who might see here a more intuitive demonstration of the dignities) – just practice with several different draws of cards, maybe once per day for the week ahead. See how many variations of movement you can find. This is a dynamic and intuitive way of learning more about the cards and makes a change from the conscious learning of other lessons.

Exercise 15: Deeper Down the Well Let’s take a card from the Oracle of Initiation deck by Melissa Weiss Steele. This stunning photographic deck is both powerful and immediately evocative. Whilst it is an oracle deck not conforming to the standard tarot structure, it is one highly recommended for profound spiritual and self-discovery work.

Discovery, Oracle of Initiation

What is being communicated in this image? If this figure appeared to you in a dream, what do you imagine it would have to say to you? Is this someone you would be drawn to in a room, or move away from? What would you ask this person?

Now involve your other senses. What sound accompanies this image? What can you hear in the background? What can you sense in terms of incense or other scents, and what can you taste? Sense too the feel of the fabric and the feathers, use your whole body to respond to the image.70

Exercise 16: Intuitive Response Go through your own deck and without long consideration, quickly and instinctively place each card into one of four piles in front of you. One for POSITIVE FEELINGS, one for NEGATIVE FEELINGS, one for NEUTRAL, and one for NOT SURE. Then go back through NOT SURE and place them into one of the other three piles, if you can. 68 I am indebted to the genius of Richard Bandler and John Grinder, co-creators of NLP, for their training which has inspired me to model excellence in tarot and created the tools to do so. See Bandler, R. How to Get the Life You Want. HarperElement: London, 2008 and the recommended reading list of NLP titles. 69 Not covered in this present work, but taught as part of the intermediate courses of the Tarosophy Tarot Association. 70 Pamela Colman Smith appeared to have a highly developed sense of synesthesia, where one sense overlapped another. We know that she was inspired to paint what she felt when listening to classical music, so it is perhaps evocative to hear the cards as well as see them. We discuss this in Goodwin, T. & Katz, M. Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot. Llewellyn: Woodbury, 2015.

Section One, Part 3 Reading List I think that it a good idea to understand the tradition of seership, oracles and divination. These recommended titles reveal some of the roots of our Tarosophy tradition. Campion, N. The Dawn of Astrology. Continuum: London, 2008. Copenhaver, B.P. (translator). Hermetica. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1992. Johnston, S.I. Ancient Greek Divination. Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester, 2008. Vandenberg, P. Mysteries of the Oracles. Tauris Parke: London, 1997.

Part 4: Tarot Reader, Tarot Read

4.1 The Tarot Reader Who makes a good tarot reader? What type of person is drawn to tarot as a collector, enthusiast, student, or professional? In this part we will examine a few tropes and stereotypes of the tarot reader. There is a common assumption that the tarot reader is one of certain types. Within the general population, the image of Gypsy Lee or Miss Cleo probably comes to mind, replete with bangles, headscarf and crystal ball.71 The tarot reader is also generally perceived and depicted as a New Age or hippy counter-cultural icon. Another image, sometimes within the tarot community itself, is that there is an elite conclave of Adepts of Tarot – usually male and of a Freemasonic-Occult-Group persuasion – behind the scenes. Whilst not wishing to promote any stereotypes, or make generalisations, we can offer some suggestions as to the population of tarot readers, based upon a summary of the few surveys that have been conducted, and the membership information of tarot groups.72 With those proviso in mind, we can say that the average tarot reader, collector or enthusiast is 44 years of age, 79 per cent likely to be female, and likely to be older and married, and somewhat more likely than most to have suffered from serious illness or not be full time employed. This is the conclusion from my own survey of all known tarot surveys conducted during the past five years. A glance at any photograph of a tarot conference, talk, meeting group, or online forum will rapidly confirm this conclusion.

There are very few – a minority – of young tarot readers, or specifically younger male tarot readers, and those few are often studying tarot as part of a wider esoteric perspective. Most tarot readers are well educated, with an extremely diverse range of interests – so much so that tarot is often found to be their only commonality. Having said that, as a totally diverse community, there are many non-average tarot readers, collectors or enthusiasts – those embracing alternative and/or minority religious / spiritual viewpoints, sexualities, gender, or lifestyles appear to be drawn to tarot. Tali Goodwin, the Marketing Director of the Tarosophy Tarot Association, suggests that this may be because tarot offers an alternative roadmap – almost a blank Bible – to those on the ‘road less travelled’; one where we can project our own map into the landscape and navigate our unique course free of imposed interpretations. Rachel Pollack suggested to me that this was also because of the theatrical bent of tarot as performance. Many find their personal, spiritual or sexual route through tarot. One person, known as Kahlana, says that she found her “heart’s home” when, through a chance tarot reading, it was suggested that she should research a particular alternative lifestyle in the BDSM (bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism) community.73 The male tarot reader – although again there is little statistical evidence to support this, merely experience – is more likely than in most other special interest groups to be homosexual. At present there are no clear statistics as to the sexuality of the majority female tarot readers. There are other possible categorisations of this diverse ‘Tarot Tribe’. Jette, in Professional Tarot, categorises tarot readers into five types:

teacher, interpreter, healer, mystic, and the alchemist – the latter embodying the idealised reader who blends the foregoing types.74 In the less prosaic terms of the Myers-Briggs types, a poll on a Tarot forum which has been running since 2003, with 274 respondents to date, demonstrates clearly that the majority (70 per cent) of tarot readers answering the survey are ‘introvert intuitive’, with 49 per cent of the whole being more specifically ‘introvert intuitive feeling’. This is composed of types INFP (‘healer’) and INFJ (‘counsellor’) Keirsey role variants. Interestingly, type INFP is reportedly amongst only 4.3 per cent of the population, and type INFJ just 1.5 per cent – both minorities.75 Whatever Myers-Briggs type our average tarot reader may be, they will certainly have more than one tarot deck. The more experienced and engaged tarot reader involved in a tarot organisation or forum will have an average of 33 decks. Geographically, tarot readers are distributed widely, with the obvious concentrations in metropolitan and urban areas. There are two observations further to this – in the U.S.A. it was reported that a majority of the members of the most active tarot group were residing on the West Coast, rather than East Coast; and in the United Kingdom there were significant clusters in seaside resort towns. This latter phenomenon is likely to be that such towns support booth venues where tarot readers can find a sustainable market. Most tarot readers are somewhat off the radar as far as the profession goes, strangely enough. Many of the tarot readers you will meet at psychic fairs and other such venues will not generally be those who attend professional tarot conferences or subscribe to tarot organisations. The majority of those with an enthusiastic interest in learning will be those who only read for themselves or their friends and family. This situation is changing somewhat, but the field is extremely fragmented.

The majority of tarot readers have learnt by themselves, or via a few books, and then a minority have progressed and taken courses, joined organisations or otherwise developed their skill set. The engagement of tarot is a very broad based pyramid, with many at the base who have been given a deck, purchased one out of curiosity, and who have then given up after a few readings for friends. As a result, present polls and surveys of tarot should be treated with some caution. The information that I use here is a conflation of four general polls and collections of data over the past five years, where the information – in terms of questions and responses – was reasonably coherent and consistent.

Certificates in Tarot With regard to standardising tarot through certification, endorsement, licensing, or other means, the tarot community is equally divided. Equal thirds don’t think that this is a good idea, do think that it is a good idea, or don’t care either way! There are several scam sites promising ‘Tarot Certification for little more than your money, or for receiving your hard work, or for a pyramid of payments leading to grand titles. Other groups ‘endorse’ readers for performing a number of successful online readings, yet many such endorsed readers do not give face-to-face readings. As with therapeutic modalities, I think it matters not one jot to your client about the paper on the wall. What matters is you and your ability to work with them and your chosen methods to achieve the result which you have both agreed upon. However, I do think it important for you to learn and experience a range of readings, and test your knowledge and ability through reputable courses if you intend a career in this field. Membership of an organisation such as Tarot Professionals (Tarosophy Tarot Associations) can provide a

membership certificate showing you have engaged with a larger body of work outside your own. We will return to standards, ethics and trading terms and conditions – often conflated in the ethics of tarot groups – in our appendices on marketing and trade law.76

4.2 Creating Your Tarot Self So, we have looked at a few methods to train your oracular and intuitive abilities. These are now added to your ability to gain a quick big picture and interpret the cards with a fail-safe method. Of course, like all skills, once taught it will be practice that refines your ability, and the best practice for reading tarot is to read for someone else. In NLP, we model excellence by making the unconscious patterns of the skill-set conscious (through observation or elicitation) and then determine ways to install the unconscious patterns in others who would like that skill. The art is in finding games or exercises that naturally and inevitably prompt unconscious resources in the same sequence as the skilful pattern. This has been done in the worlds of therapy, sales, sports, and presentation – even flirting and seduction – but is here applied to tarot reading for the first time. As a young NLP practitioner, I spent many years observing tarot readers across the United Kingdom – often as an undercover client – in order to elicit these common patterns of successful readings. That is not to say that all good tarot readers will share these same patterns and, indeed, many will be great readers because they have unique patterns and skills. However there are, as in any other human

endeavour, common themes and patterns to the best professional readers. What is it that makes a great tarot reader? Although different readers will have different approaches, there’s something about certain readers that will ensure they get good feedback, repeat clients and lots of recommendations. It seems that experience leads to repeating what works, and not doing what doesn’t work, so in modelling a lot of tarot readers for this exercise, the more experienced professionals were chosen.

4.3 Top Five Characteristics of Excellent Tarot Readers Here are the top five things that you will see in an experienced and excellent reader: 1. Congruency; 2. Flow; 3. Pacing; 4. Intimations of depth; 5. Curiosity. Let’s take these one at a time, and then we’ll learn how to enter into our best tarot reading self.

1. Congruency

A bad tarot reader is definitely one who changes their mind so many times in a reading that you – the querent – are not sure whether you know what they’ve said, and worse, you’re not sure that they know what they’ve said! This is the sort of reader who dashes about the cards on the table, flitting from one to another quickly, doubling back upon themselves, and firing off rapid sound-bites of information. A good tarot reader is the one who looks at the cards they’ve laid out and quickly communicates to you that you are in experienced and safe hands, that they immediately know the answer and will now endeavour to communicate it clearly to you. There are few hesitations or deviations, and the reading stacks itself up congruently and is well summarised. The best readers are those where the summary is identical to the initial statements made about the reading.

Exercise 17: Pivot Grammar and Linking Words To practice a nice flow and gain increasing congruency, try these two practices which I have taken from NLP. The first is pivot grammar. Speak out loud in a clear voice any sentence, such as “My name is Marcus Katz and I like to read Tarot”. Then try speaking it again, however, as you say each two words, say them again, in reverse. It’s actually easier to do than to explain. You would say, “My name name my” pairing the first two words and then saying them in reverse order. Then do the next two words, “is Marcus” and then say “Marcus is” and so on through the sentence. It would sound like this; “My name name my is Marcus Marcus is and I I and like to to like read Tarot Tarot read”. If the sentence has an odd number of words, simply repeat the last word. Over the course of several days, with practice, you can get quite quick with this – and what happens is that your “normal” language pattern starts to get more considered. You

are installing a little time-delay in your speech, which leads to increasing congruency and a sense of sureness to your speaking. The second practice is much the same. This one uses linking words derived from the speech patterns of Milton H. Erickson, an influential doctor and therapist whose work was modelled in the formation of NLP. Spend a few days practising speaking with lots of the following words; whilst, because, so, and, then, or, when, that, which. The aim is not to end a sentence. As an example you might say “I am practising linking words because it seems a good idea and when you have a good idea you can carry on so that it seems like the sentence never ends and so you start to wonder exactly how far you can speak like this it is surprising when you think that other people often speak like this without ever pausing and if they do it is like …”. The practice of this language pattern over time installs more fluidity and ease to your normal speech pattern, leading to more lyrical readings and compelling communication.

A Brief Note on Dialogue We should also consider the idea of dialogue. This is a key concept in academic studies of divination, especially astrology. It can be applied to tarot reading in this context: when you are reading, what dialogue is occurring, and between whom? A good tarot reader will tend to have an external dialogue with the cards and an internal dialogue with their response to the cards, whilst then communicating those dialogues in a third dialogue with the client. A nervous or bad reader will tend to engage in a primary dialogue directly with the client, referring back to the cards as a second dialogue. This actually makes it harder to perform a reading, and is based upon our natural patterns of communication, where a person takes priority over an object. We should take into account that a tarot

reading is not a natural communication, nor does it follow the same pattern. An excellent reader will often find themselves engaged in multiple dialogues, some of which will be between unconscious aspects of themselves and the client, or even divine dialogues.

Exercise 18: Confident Reading To gain confidence in your readings, before a querent arrives, visualise in the empty chair your ideal client. Most tarot students say that their ideal client would be: open, patient, curious, friendly, serious, and communicative – some of course, add, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, troubled and rich! Get a strong picture inside your head of that ideal client, and project it into the chair in which the actual client will be seated. Once the client is seated, imagine that the ideal client is now inside the actual client, and read for them. Inside every client, no matter how uncommunicative, unfriendly, or apparently closed, is a part which is receptive to your reading.

2. Flow The ideal tarot reading is like a piece of music, with an overall theme delivered in a flow, creating a soundscape or sound-story. The piece is punctuated by the cards, but there may be repeats of a certain section throughout the movement, which helps to tie it together. You may find that by referring back to the base card (see the chapter on spreads herein) at regular intervals throughout the reading, or even the outcome card (no-one said that you had to read a spread in

the order in which it was laid out!), you can gain a theme that underpins the whole reading. You should also refer back to the question at regular intervals. A general test of a clear reading is that someone entering the room and listening to you at any point in your reading should be able to quickly ascertain the subject matter for which you are reading. Although this is not a hard and fast rule – some readings can be mystical or lyrical throughout – it is a good starting-point. I don’t recommend music – no matter how innocuous – in the background of a reading, as the music may not fit the flow of the reading, which could be quite urgent and demanding, rather than bland and unchallenging. If you want to listen to a piece of music that drifts, has urgency, dialogue, and maintains an easy flow, my recommended track is ‘Californication’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Really.

A Brief Note on Voice Although you must seek to find your own natural voice, you may also consider a brief course of voice training – the best of which will also reveal your natural voice, rather than replace it. When performing a reading, particularly at the beginning, natural nervousness will tighten your chest and make your voice higher pitched. Your breathing will also quicken, and words will naturally come out more quickly. The best remedy for this is to buy a cheap digital metronome and learn to speak whilst slooowwwwiiinggg the metronome down until it becomes habit.

3. Pacing

In a similar manner to the flow, which is an overall consideration, the pace of the best readers fits the client’s state and question, and the reading itself. There are no rules that say that you should adopt the ‘fortune-telling’ voice when performing a reading. Again, this is an error that has crept in due to insufficient role models being available. Most people have an idea in the back of their minds what a reading is like, based upon their limited experience and the media portrayals. Feel free to pace the reading at a rate that feels like it is mirroring the energy of the cards that have been laid out. If there are a lot of wands, straight and jagged lines, and red, then give a passionate reading full of energy. This also supports the congruence evident by the best readers in the business.

4. Intimations of Depth A more difficult quality to measure or model, the intimation of depth is the most elusive skill that I have modelled in tarot reading. It is there in the most excellent of readers, although these readers are often not the popular or well-known readers. It is a deeper consideration of the context of the reading, but – more importantly – this is somehow communicated to the querent. When asked to explain what it is that a client seeks in a reading, the answers from students vary from the obvious ‘an answer’ and ‘clarification’ to the more subtle ‘permission’.77 It is my contention that a client is also seeking something more, whether they know it or not: evidence that their experience is not only part of a bigger picture, but is in relationship to that picture. That is to say, any successful tarot reading demonstrates to the client that the world is indeed “bound by invisible knots” and that their issues – no matter how negative or positive – are in some way intimately linked with a larger unfolding of events, even though they

cannot discern the connections. The reading gives them, at a deep unconscious level, a sense of context. This is extremely important for troubled querents and one of the highest gifts that a reader can give to the client.

A Brief Note on Troubled Clients When I wanted to really practice face-to-face readings, I set up stall at a regular ‘car-boot sale’ for several months, advertising readings for £2.50 ($5). This ensured that I got queues of people waiting, and so performed 20 to 30 readings per day. During that time, I had a reading that was so negative in all respects that my wife drew a startled breath as she walked behind me, without even looking in detail at the spread. After concluding the reading – through which all I could do was opine that things were pretty bad, but wouldn’t get worse, and that this dead end was part of a bigger story that wasn’t over, even if it seemed so – the client left the table. As the client left she thanked me for the reading, and said that she probably wouldn’t commit suicide that night as she had planned. Whilst I was glad that the reading had provided something, I wasn’t sure what. The reading in all respects was negative, and despite my wanting to frame it as ‘empowering’, the cards wouldn’t let me until I gave in and just read the cards in all their negativity. I thought about this reading for many years afterwards. My belief now is that the reading – no matter the content – showed the client that there was more to life than she had seen, and that she was connected to it, as the reading was such an accurate reflection of her state. That in itself was the essential communication of the reading, and a boon. She was told that she was part of a bigger story; a story which there and then chose to communicate its presence to her.

If I had tried to perform an ‘empowering’ reading, glossed over the cards, believed that there were no ‘negative’ cards or readings, or fallen back on saccharine advice entirely oblivious to the reading, her story might have been different. As I will make the case many times: Read the cards, NOT yourself, and NOT your client. That’s what you are – a tarot card reader. Everything else follows.

5. Curiosity The most important quality that I found with popular tarot readers is their sense of curiosity and adventure. This is made obvious in the reading to the client by the reader’s delight in discovery. I suspect that the enthusiasm for the reading rubs off on the client and they join in their own self-discovery. A bad tarot reader makes you feel like you could be anyone, and that they are not enjoying reading for you. A bad tarot reader gives you the sense that they know everything about tarot and have seen it all before, including your question and the response. They deliver their verdict as all-encompassing and final, as if written in stone. A great reader explores the reading with you, asks questions, prompts and pokes you, gently, with good humour and respect, and is genuinely curious as to the reading. They treat each reading as a unique opportunity to discover something new – in themselves, the cards and the querent. As the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn invoked prior to any consultation of the cards: “I invoke thee, I A O, that thou wilt send H R U, the great Angel that is set over the operations of this Secret Wisdom, to lay his hand invisibly upon these consecrated cards of art, that thereby we may obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of thine ineffable Name. Amen.”

A Brief Note on Empathy and Rapport NLP offers many techniques to improve rapport between yourself and other people, and although it is slightly out of the scope of this book to provide a NLP practitioner course, there are a few simple techniques which will assist you to gain rapport and make your communication more effective. You may leave the client saying, “I have never experienced a reading like that in my life,” when you use these methods. They turn the reading into an experience which is communicated at many levels, rather than simply a verbal and visual show-and-tell – a fate which befalls many readings. You should also note that these are not means of so-called coldreading, which is where NLP skills have unfortunately been associated: to ‘read’ the client’s body language in order to say what you think they are expecting. A bad tarot reader will unconsciously do this anyway, and badly – particularly a nervous reader. These skills are to assist you to deliver the dialogue you have discovered with the reading and yourself, not the client. Again, a few good examples of reading by telephone or email will disabuse anyone of the notion of cold reading playing any part in a successful divination.

Exercise 19: Flirty and Seductive Methods of Delivering Your Reading In this exercise we will practice a range of methods for delivering the communication of a tarot reading in a compelling manner, using some of the techniques taught in NLP. a. Breathe at the same pace as your client, then gradually slow your breathing down to a relaxed pace;

b. Speak when the client is breathing out, and pause when the client is breathing in – this makes your communication far more compelling;78 c. Listen to the client’s own words for good and bad states, and use those words – rather than your own – when you are delivering the interpretation. This makes it easier to understand for the client. As an example, if the client has mentioned the state of the “terrible parking” outside, use “terrible” rather than “bad”, “horrible”, etc. if referring to that state in another context. You might refer to the “terrible mistake” implicit in The Blasted Tower card, rather than your usual phrase of it being a “bad mistake”. This also encourages you to listen to your client, and implies that you are reading for them to understand, not just for you to explain in your own words; d. Match your words with their descriptions in your delivery – this again supports congruence in a reading, making it more memorable. So, when you say the words “slow down”, say them slowly. When you say “pick it up”, pick up a card. When you talk about being focused, press your fingers together. This skill – usually unconscious – is very evident in readers who get many return clients; the clients have picked up on the congruency and the fact that the reader speaks their language. There are many more such techniques, but those above will already place you into a more experienced bracket of reader. You may find these techniques difficult to remember and apply all at once, or do them too consciously at first, interrupting the reading and making communication worse, not better! It is, therefore, important to simply practice them one at a time for a while, and briefly – whilst not getting in the way of your natural communication – until they become an unconscious competence.

Exercise 20: Creating Your Tarot Self

This exercise uses a simple visualisation exercise and is modified to ensure that the process is analogue, rather than digital. That is to say, rather than try to move in one jump from just being yourself to being at your best, you allow yourself a sliding scale. This allows the unconscious to move your state in a far deeper and more effective way.

Entering Your Reading State Using a role model or a visualised ideal, imagine what you would look like as a slightly better tarot reader – not ideal, or perfect yet, but just ever-so-slightly more experienced and a little bit more confident. Perhaps yourself as you would be after a few more readings, a few more weeks, a couple more books, or a course. In particular, see your posture and your clothing. See the way you hold yourself. See yourself stood in front of you, looking at your visualised new self’s back. When you’re ready, take a nice deep breath and step into that self. Feel what you would feel in that self, breathe how you would breathe, even see and hear what you would see and hear as that slightly more confident, experienced, tarot reader. Enjoy the sensation for a few moments and really feel it in your body. Now, having gained that little movement forwards, accepting that it was only a small improvement, look ahead and visualise a new you: a new, even more confident, experienced, professional reader, dressed slightly differently, holding yourself differently, and speaking differently. How would that now look, looking at yourself ahead, and seeing the back of that person? Again, when you have that person firmly in mind, take a deep breath and step into that new self.

Repeat this process several times until you are literally glowing with light and vibrating like a tuning fork on all frequencies. Now say a word inside to anchor this feeling, rolling it around your tongue to taste what this feeling tastes likes, such as “Rockin’”, “Sizzle”, “Light”, or “Wow.” When you next prepare for a tarot reading, gain this state by repeating the trigger word a few times inside your mind, really revelling in it and gaining that inner smile of delight. Each time you perform this process, add increasing levels of detail, sound, feelings and vision. You are ready to read!

4.4 The Tarot Reader’s Toolkit In this final part of Section One, we will look at building the essential components of the working toolkit for your life as a tarot reader. Although we can simply use one deck for all readings – particularly as we begin to learn the skills – over time you may wish to collect decks and explore other styles of reading via different decks. There can be a number of general categories for your decks, ranging from the working deck to the purely collector’s deck, plus personal decks, oracle decks and specific, deep and experimental decks.

The Working Deck The working deck is the main tool for your readings. It is your default deck and often is the first or second deck with which you learnt tarot. Some readers will have several working decks over time; some will allow and encourage the querent to choose from their working decks on the table. The most common working decks I have seen over the

years at psychic fairs and similar venues are the Waite-Smith, Thoth, Mythic, Morgan-Greer, Robin Wood, and nowadays a variety of pagan themed decks such as the Druidcraft deck. Sometimes a reader will have a totally unique deck, rare deck or older style deck such as a Marseilles tarot as their working deck. Your working deck is likely to become worn with use over time, so if it is a rarer deck you may wish to ensure that you buy a spare copy pretty early in your career, before it becomes too expensive to replace. One interesting issue is that one reader I know who has been using the Mythic deck for many years, came to replace her very worn deck with another Mythic deck and found that she couldn’t use the replacement deck – even though it was identical in every respect! She returned to using her battered edition.79

The Portable Deck Do consider having a smaller travel deck with you at all times – you never know when the opportunity might arise to perform a reading.

The Oracle Deck There are many oracle decks on the market which do not follow the ‘standard’ tarot family structure, often themed around a specific subject or divided into very different aspects. These decks are often useful as a second deck against which to perform more domestic or yes / no type readings. I would recommend any tarot reader to have a favourite oracle deck. I personally use the Psycards by Nick Hobson and Maggie Kneen,80 although other decks include many angel decks, or good party decks such as Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards.81

Madame Endoras Fortune Cards

The Specific Deck You may choose to have decks for specific types of reading: the Lovers tarot for relationship readings; the Mythic deck for personal development readings, and so forth. There are tarot-like decks for

problem solving such as the Creative Whack Pack by Roger von Oech.

The Personal Deck You may have a deck that you use for your own personal readings. I use the first deck that I ever purchased – the Aquarian deck – purely for my own readings as it carries a sense of nostalgia and connection for me.

The Deep Deck A good deep deck is the Philosopher’s Stone deck by De Es.82 This oracle deck is powerful and good for producing one or two cards for a querent to remember and contemplate over the weeks following a reading. I usually use this deck for deeply personal or spiritual readings, following any other decks used for spreads. I also recommend Melissa Weiss Steele’s Oracle of Initiation divination deck for spiritual work.

The Experimental Deck There are many interesting decks which you may purchase to experiment with, even if you don’t use them for actual readings. They allow you to break free of your usual patterns before returning to your readings somewhat renewed. A good example would be the Tarot of the New Vision, which takes the Waite-Smith images and reverses them, as if you were looking out from the card to the scene on the other side. This made a great deck for blowing the cobwebs away, but I found it difficult to read in actual readings.

The Collector’s Deck Finally, there are decks which you might want to purchase as collector’s items. You may even buy two of them: one for a collection and one to actually use. Some collector’s decks now go on sale or auction for reasonable sums of money, and it is often difficult to know if a deck will become collectable. Sometimes decks go out of print for a long time, then are republished. Buyer beware! 71 See my paper, ‘Tarot on the Threshold’, in Auger, E. (editor). Tarot in Culture. Association for Tarot Studies (June 2011) for more on the way in which this image has arisen in popular culture. The skull, crystal ball, headscarf, and owl are all commonly associated visual shorthand connected with tarot. 72 It is intended that the recently formed Tarosophy Tarot Association will conduct a properly constructed global survey in the future. 73 Private correspondence. 74 Jette, C. Professional Tarot. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2003, pp.14-18. 75 See Dolphin Cove INFJ website http://www.infj.org/archive/typestats.html [last accessed 18 January 2010]. 76 See Tarosophist International 1.7 (Summer 2010) for a range of articles on Certification and Ethics in tarot. 77 My thanks to Hanneke von Osch, a gifted reader and counsellor in the Midlands (UK) for this simply-stated but important insight. 78 For various reasons which we won’t dwell on, other than to point out that we talk when we breathe out and it is more difficult to talk and think at the same time – particularly for some people! 79 The Mythic deck has also been recently re-released with an entirely different artist having re-created the deck. Lynne has now moved onto the Thoth deck as a more regular working deck in order to give her Mythic deck a well-deserved rest! 80 See Psycards website http://www.psycards.com [last accessed 21 December 2009].

81 See Monolith Graphics website http://www.monolithgraphics.com/fortune.html [last accessed 18 January 2010]. 82 See De Es’ website http://www.dees.at/stein_en.htm [last accessed 28 December 2009].

Section One, Part 4 Reading List For teaching and training tarot, I use NLP and stage presentation training. I list here a few books for those wishing to learn training techniques to improve their delivery of tarot in presentations and teaching.

Training and Teaching / Stage Presentation Churches, R. & Terry, R. NLP for Teachers. Crown House: Carmarthen, 2008. Jackson, P.Z. 58 ½ Ways to Improvise in Training. Crown House: Carmarthen, 2006. James, T. & Shephard, D. Presenting Magically. Crown House: Carmarthen, 2001. McCarthy, B. & McCarthy, D. Teaching Around the 4MAT Cycle. Corwin Press: Thousand Oaks, 2006. Overdurf, J. & Silverthorn, J. Training Trances. Metamorphous Press: Portland, 1995.

SECTION TWO: TAROT DEEP Intermediate Tarot in a Magical Light for the Enquiring Tarosophist, in which we explore Tarot Reading, Spreads and Inner Work

Part 1: Tarot Told, Tarot Tuned

1.1 Reading for Others, Reading for Self In this intermediate section of the book we will cover more on becoming a tarot reader, and begin to deepen our basic understanding of the cards by looking at three further ways of seeing the structure of the deck and its application in divination. We will also extend our conceptual space by looking at tarot in connection with kabbalah, and our practical scope by looking at ways of integrating tarot with your psyche through contemplative, dream and visualisation methods. We will conclude this section by looking at innovative developments extending into new types of spreads: we will consider layered, chained, fractal, mutable, calibrated, and pulled spreads. This is in preparation for our advanced section where we will consider an example of a powerful gated spread and a party trick speed spread. It is often asked if one can read for oneself. The practical answer is, of course, yes – there is no difficulty in laying out cards for a question that you wish to ask. However, there are some differences in reading for oneself: you are associated fully with the situation and the outcome and will inevitably project that outwards into your interpretation. One way to monitor this is to keep a personal diary of your own readings and return to them regularly with the benefit of hindsight. It was Aleister Crowley who said that the task of the magician was to interpret their own magical record, and I believe this to be so. Your making sense of your history is all that you can really do – this is the preparation for what is happening now. The best practice (in my opinion, and others may disagree) as you develop is to read face-to-face for others, with perhaps some

readings online if you must. The trend of endorsing readers based upon a particular number of online readings is no encouragement to use tarot to live an engaged life with real people, real situations and real problems. As a contemporary oracle, you should take your ability and test it in life, learn from it and refine it. Start with charity events or pub events (or preferably restaurant or café venues where there is less alcohol). Move onto paid psychic faires and medieval faires, where you expect to find a tarot reader – no-one will be shocked to see you. Always have a tarot deck with you, perhaps a smaller deck – you will be surprised how many people will want a reading when you make it known that you are practising or learning. Then begin – if you choose – to charge fully in reflection of your time, training and effort. See our marketing and legal guides in the appendices for an idea of the issues that will surround you (mainly common sense, but rarely covered). Whilst these are applicable in the United Kingdom, they will find similarities with your own local ordinances, regulations and laws. Check with Tarot Professionals for regular updates of legal standing in your area.

1.2 Strange Places for Tarot You will also be surprised by the strange places in which you end up performing readings. I have read in the lobbies of very exclusive hotels; one reader read in a cave on a beach83 (using stones to keep the cards from blowing away); one reader of my acquaintance practised readings on a flight returning from Oman; and another tarot reader told me about reading on the passenger seat of a travelling car in Indonesia.84 It seems that no place is too high or fast in which to have a tarot reading! Perhaps there is a mile high club for tarot readers or a speed-record?

1.3 Difficult Clients and Querents You will encounter many different people whilst reading tarot – this is truly one of the gifts that it will bestow upon you as a modern diviner. You will start to appreciate the complexity and challenges of life as it is lived by others, with corresponding impact upon the way you live your own. Sometimes you will meet with challenging questions – questions about situations that personally upset you, with which you have firsthand and possibly traumatic experience. Sometimes you will have questions that entirely confound you. With each experience there is potential for growth. Whilst most experienced tarot readers will be able to manage their clients and the ‘frame’ in which the reading is done, there will always be exceptions: the drunks who fall into your tent at the end of a festival; the sneering party-goers; the silent and accusatory-faced man who pays, listens to your reading and walks off without a single word. Theresa Reed, a very experienced reader, recounts an example of an argumentative client: “I had a client who came in, sat down and wearily said to me ‘Everything you told me in that last reading was totally wrong. I'm so disappointed.’ I said to her ‘Let's see if we can do better this time’ and began reading the cards. The first thing I picked up on was job loss and she immediately got angry and said ‘That is completely wrong’ in a nasty tone. I told her we'll stop the reading, I'll refund her money and won't continue on. She insisted I go on – so I did. After a few minutes she said to me ‘Yeah, I'm laid off now and looking for work ...’ and I was incensed at this announcement. ‘So I was right when I just said you would be out of work’ I snapped. Needless to say, we began to bicker as she didn't consider being laid off as being out of work. Astonishingly, she started telling me about all the things that were RIGHT in her last reading. I was dumbfounded and said to

her "You walked in here and said I was all wrong. What the hell?" She sheepishly admitted that I was right and didn't give me any reason for her actions. This was simply an angry woman looking to take her problems out on someone and I was not about to be her dumping ground. I finished the reading, showed her the door politely and banned her from being a client in the future.”85 You must remember that you are in charge of the reading. It is your responsibility and right to terminate the reading if you are unhappy with any aspect of the situation. If you have good and clear terms and conditions (t&c) you may hold to these with regard to any financial or time issues.

1.4 When Will Dwayne Come Back to Me? In this section, we will learn exactly and precisely the type of questions you will be asked as a tarot reader, based upon a comprehensive recent survey and the experience of hundreds of readers and thousands of my own readings. We will compare these contemporary questions with the questions asked of the oracles of ancient Greece, and even earlier petitions for Christian Coptic magic, to demonstrate the ubiquity of these questions. You will see that there is indeed nothing new under the Sun when a client comes for a reading and asks what – to them – appears to be a unique question. We will also look at the range of questions from the bizarre to the profound and, equally importantly, the language often used by querents, which is rarely examined in tarot books.

1.5 Every Sickness, Every Disturbance, Every Attack

In the second half of the 10th century, a magician might offer a range of rituals, summonings and offerings to treat sickness, disturbances and attacks made upon a person. If James Hillman is right – that “We’ve had a hundred years of psychotherapy and the world’s getting worse”86 – then we might go further and suggest that we’ve had a thousand years of magic, and our inner world hasn’t got much better. This is because the list of 21 ailments – some physical, but many psychological – brought to the Coptic mage is eerily identical to those brought to the tarot reader or psychotherapist today. Here is a sample: A person who is in prison; A person who is experiencing hostility between him and his wife; A person who is bound so that he is unable to have sex with his wife; A person who has pain; A person who is going on a mountain; A person who is hastening towards ruin; A person who cannot find rest for himself; A woman who has children who have died.87 These situations still occur today. Our lives are still beset with what the Coptic papyrus calls “every sickness, every disturbance, every attack.” Sarah Iles Johnston speaks of the most important job of the mantis, the Greek diviner, as being crisis management. She refers to The Iliad, where a diviner is spoken of as someone who “knew all things that were, the things to come and the things past.”88 The ancient Greek oracles were presented with much the same range of questions, albeit more practical, domestic and arable. The

questions presented to the oracles at Dodona include: Geris asks Zeus concerning a wife, whether it is better for him to take one; Heracleidas asks Zeus and Dione ... whether there will be any offspring from his wife Aigle; Cleotas asks Zeus and Dione whether it is better and profitable for him to keep sheep; Thrasyboulos asks by sacrificing to and appeasing which god will he become healthier in his eyes?89 So, when you begin to get out there in real life and offer tarot readings, what will be presented to you and your cards?

1.6 The Questions You Will Be Asked First of all, we will categorise the type of questions that you are likely to be presented with during your tarot readings. We will start with a survey of a large database of tarot readings which was collected between 2004 and 2008 and contains about 12,500 questions. Although this survey is not entirely representative, being online and non-charging, it is in general accord with the experience of face-toface and charging tarot readers. Type of Question


Romance General Career Finance Travel / moving

58 per cent 14 per cent 12 per cent 4 per cent 5 per cent

Education Health Spiritual Legal

3 per cent 2 per cent 2 per cent 1 per cent

You may be unsurprised that the most prevalent category is that of romance and relationship questions. In fact, almost three in every five questions that you are likely to be asked will be about a relationship, love or romance.90

1.7 A Deck for Every Deal Given that we can categorise likely questions into nine categories, you might like to purchase a different deck for each type of question. Although it is entirely possible – and one of the wonders of tarot – that you can use a single deck to approach any question of any type, you may like to refine your skills with different tools: Category Romance General Career Finance Travel / moving Education Health Spiritual Legal

Your Deck

1.8 Specific and General Questions Here are some likely questions that you will be presented with as a tarot reader: • • • • •

Is there any chance of a move of home this year? What can I expect from my relationship with John this year? I have two houses in two countries – which one should I settle in? I don’t fit in at work – is there a new job ahead for me? What do I need to know to improve my finances?

You will also be presented with general questions: • • • •

Give me a general reading; Just an overall reading will do, thank you; Oh, just anything that comes up; Nothing in particular comes to mind, just do it how you want.

If you want to turn a general reading into something more specific, you can ask the querent: “If you woke up in the dark hours of the night, what might be playing on your mind, do you think?”

1.9 When Do People Ask Questions? A more interesting question, once we have determined the type of questions that may be asked, is to wonder what prompts people to consult a tarot reader. In an examination of the question database, it seems clear that for most it is the start of an uncertain situation which often leads them to consult a reader. A number of examples will suffice to illustrate the type of event: •

Have I done the right thing ending my five year relationship?

• • •

What do I need to focus upon to ensure my new business is successful? I have broken up with my boyfriend. Is love ahead for me? I am having surgery in a month – is there anything I need to know about it?

Some questions are phrased in the negative, for example, “What will happen if I stay with my abusive husband?”

1.10 Dealing with Unusual Questions Whilst not decrying any particular question, nor belittling the import to the querent, there are some unusual questions that you will be asked as a reader. In such cases it is wise to use a standard pattern in self-relations therapy; • • •

Acknowledge (empty); Repeat (clarify); Develop (understand).91

That is to say, when someone asks,92 “Will I find the canoe that I lost?”, “My boyfriend’s dealing drugs – is this a bad thing?”, “Does the second baby’s father want to marry me or his ex-wife?” or my favourite, “Where can I find a soil mat” (which is either the most misplaced or misspelled version of soul mate that I’ve ever seen!), then the pattern of response is: • • •

You have asked me a question and I will consult the cards; I will ask the cards if you will find the canoe that you lost; Here is what the cards tell me in answer to your question.

1.11 The Dark Man and the Woman Without Mercy

There is a common understanding that most questions asked of tarot readers are of love and relationships. The trope of the ‘tall, dark, handsome stranger’ is common. This phrase though is comparatively recent – it seems to have appeared around 1906, and was certainly common in 1949 when Paramount produced the posters for the film, Alias Nick Beal, which proclaimed: “No man has ever held more terrible power over women than this tall dark handsome stranger from nowhere!" But perhaps the character type is not so welcome when his appearance is foretold in a reading. More recently the trope has been inverted, such as in Heart’s song of the same name, written by Holly Knight and Albert Hammond (Brigade, 1990) where the singer describes her exhaustion of this type: “I've had the tall, dark, handsome, stranger I've had the devil in disguise I've been attracted to the danger I was never satisfied” The female equivalent is perhaps the femme fatale, the enchantress who beguiles the male querent wishing her entrance – literally – into his world. It is, of course, ironic that the vamp in question may turn the dark handsome stranger into his opposite self, as does the La Belle Dame sans Merci in Keats’ (1819) poem; “I see a lily on thy brow With anguish moist and fever dew, And on thy cheeks a fading rose Fast withereth too.”

These archetypes underpin the questions that will be asked of you as a tarot reader. You yourself are already framed within a powerful archetype: as diviner, seer, oracle, and augur. Rather than roll our eyes at the question, “When will Dwayne come back to me?” asked as if the querent was the only person to ever wonder so, we should use it to connect to that profound archetypal world which informs our lives.

Exercise 21: Exploring Relationships in the Court Cards It is important that, as most questions will be asked of us with regard to relationships, we work as readers to understand the way in which relationships are depicted in the cards. In this exercise, we will examine the relationships that present themselves to us through the Court cards. In this case, we take the cards as simply and literally representing people rather than energies or situations. Take out the Court cards of your deck and divide them into two piles, separating out the male and female characters. Where this is unclear – for example, a Page card – place it into either pile to keep a balance. Then shuffle both piles, and turn over the first card of both. Make a note of the male and female persona being depicted and then describe the likely relationship/s between these two types.

1.12 Reading Cold, Reading Hot A common critique of tarot is that it is merely an example of cold reading (when given live) or the Forer effect (when given in writing).93 That is to say, a tarot reader gives many vague statements that could apply to anyone, and the querent fits these

into their own life automatically. This is sometimes also referred to as the Barnum effect. The Barnum effect is an expression originating from Paul Meehl, in deference to circus man P. T. Barnum's reputation as psychological manipulator who is quoted as saying "We have something for everybody" and “There’s a sucker born every minute.” The tarot reader could also be accused of suffering from apophenia. Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness."94 Conrad wrote about the reality tunnels that we tend to get trapped in as observers: “While observations of relevant work environments and human behaviours in these environments is a very important first step in coming to understand any new domain, this activity is in and of its self not sufficient to constitute scientific research. It is fraught with problems of subjective bias in the observer. We (like the experts we study) often see what we expect to see, we interpret the world through our own personal lens. Thus we are extraordinarily open to the trap of apophenia.”95 However, I would argue that this is the way that we see the entire world anyway, and without entering into a debate herein, it is experience that will tell you whether cold reading is what you are doing or not. The number of times that you surprise even yourself with the validity and accuracy of the cards for a particular question and client is what will convince you of their usefulness.

1.13 The Only Important Thing You Need To Do The important task is to read the cards, not the client. You can use NLP and communication methods to ensure that the communication

is best delivered, but the task in hand – the task for which you have trained and practiced – is to read the cards. You will undoubtedly pick up much unconsciously from the client’s body language, breathing, eye movements, and much more – our unconscious processes are remarkably aware and active. However, the client will also be picking up much of your processes, and hence it is important to clearly deliver the conscious message and, if anything, cold read yourself for important signals in response to your dialogue with the cards, not the other person. This is the only important thing that you need to do.

1.14 Tuned and Attuned Decks In the Far Away Centre and Tarot Professionals, each lesson has what we call a tuned deck – this is a deck that, by design or happenstance, appears to be most suited to the task in hand. It is likened to a string on an instrument which vibrates a tuning fork: some decks are more tuned to answering material questions, others to spiritual analysis. Some decks are more suited to affairs of the heart and yet another deck may be better for creative inspiration. You do not have to use the suggested tuned deck – any deck may be applied to each lesson. The deck tuned for contemplating spiritual ascent is the Thoth Tarot deck. You may like to list your own decks and consider for what they may be best tuned. It is an interesting experience to perform a reading for a very serious question with the Hello Kitty deck, or use the brutally honest Thoth Tarot deck for a romance question! You may find that some people manage to attune their deck to a particular usage. That is to say, one person – through their own approach, background, psyche, knowledge, experience, and intuition

– may be able to use the Thoth Tarot deck for romance questions very well, whereas others may struggle with the same deck.

1.15 Reading Spatially Why be limited by the traditional chairs and table, or the flat surface? According to the exam of C. C. Zain's 1936 tarot course, the best position for a reader and querent is sat opposite each other across a table. This is usually the case, particularly at a psychic fair or restaurant readings, etc. However, the Brotherhood of Light teaching then goes on to specify that the best position is that "the reader sit on the south side of the table and the person to whom the reading is given sit on the north side." This is because the "natural magnetic flow is from north to south, and this seating aids the establishment of a relation of positive to negative between the client and reader." Whether you accord with this doctrine or not, you may wish to experiment with your positioning relative to the querent. Many readers now like to sit, if possible, on the same side of a curved table as the querent (far better for horseshoe-type spreads and Opening of the Key) so that, in effect, you are looking at the cards together. It also avoids possible confusion when you don’t have to turn cards around to look at them, and are using reversed cards. Some readers prefer the floor and cushions. Pamela Colman-Smith certainly was pictured sitting on cushions on the floor to perform her storytelling, and I like to imagine that this was how she may have read tarot.

The Brotherhood of Light also suggest that an unvarnished table is better for absorbing the reader’s thought influence over time, and hence more likely to give rise to the ‘psychic intelligence’. Again, if you are going to buy a table for a tarot reading space, office or parlour, you may wish to consider this esoteric advice.

1.16 Fall-Back Reading In kabbalah the system is based upon a model of four worlds. These four worlds are: Atziluth Briah Yetzirah Assiah

The world of emanation The world of creation The world of formation The world of action

Kabbalists use a formula called Paradise to interpret secret texts through these four worlds, first taking the lowest literal level and then working up to the deepest or highest level. The word Paradise is formed from the first letters of the Hebrew words which mean simple, symbolic, pursued, and secret: Pshat, simple or literal level (Assiah); Remez, symbolic level (Yetzirah); Drosh, pursued level (Briah); Sod, secret level (Atziluth). A good example of applying this model is to a developing friendship. On first meeting a person, we see their physical appearance, clothing and environment, and their actions. We then go up a level and make interpretations of these things, using them as symbols for

the personality. We then pursue that relationship, making of it a friendship, and expand the other two levels, redefining our view of our friend as we see them in different situations. Finally, we reach the level where flashes of almost mutual thought occur, and we intuitively know what they are thinking, or which gift may appeal to them. Most beginning tarot readers struggle when they go blank and reach for book-meanings, try to remember interpretations or symbols or more. They often close their eyes or look away from the client whilst grasping for this information. Whilst natural, it is the worst thing to do and not what experienced tarot readers do. The easiest thing to do, whilst it appears obvious, is to look at the cards. Then start from the literal level and see if you can work back up. Do not try to go for the symbolism and meaning first. So, if you have a ‘mind freeze’, simply start at the bottom and say, “In this card here I am seeing a picture of two figures who are holding a cup ...” and you will soon find yourself easily building back up to meaning, interpretation and insight. So, although originally used as a means of interpreting sacred texts, PRDS can be applied to all events in order to analyse their structure in a kabbalistic manner. The further that this is pursued itself, the more effective it will become. The first world is revealed by practising observation, free from internal dialogue and interpretation – a truly literal view. The facts, and only the facts, noted with our trained perceptions. The second world is opened by learning and education, particularly in the knowledge of symbols and their associations; the structure of myths and dreams. The third world is one that is found by continued effort and perseverance; a willingness and patience to trust that there is more to life than meets the eye. This is not a world that can be opened by learning or luck. Finally, the fourth world is, in a sense, the reward of the work of the others: a sudden insight, a vision, an

intuition or moment of knowledge that breaks through and illuminates a trail through each world, revealing a spark of divine presence. 83 See Lisa Rangitsch’s Twitter page http://twitter.com/TaRoTLuVr 84 See Kurunia Djayanto’s Twitter page http://twitter.com/TarotBoy 85 See Theresa Reed’s The Tarot Lady website http://www.thetarotlady.com [last accessed 29 December 2009]. 86 Hillman, J. & Ventura, M. We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy and the World’s Getting Worse. Harper Collins: New York, 1993. 87 Meyer, M. & Smith, R. Ancient Christian Magic. Harper Collins: New York, 1994, pp.33941. 88 Johnston, S.I. Ancient Greek Divination. Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester, 2008, p.118. 89 Ibid, pp.69-70. 90 See Goodwin, T. & Katz. M. Tarot Twist. Keswick. Forge Press. 2010. This work contains 78 totally new methods of performing divinatory readings with tarot and also gives a unique and innovative method of turning any question into a bespoke spread at the moment of reading, using Clean Language, a language pattern developed by the late David Grove. 91 Gilligan, S.G. & Simon, D. Walking in Two Worlds: The Relational Self in Theory Practice and Community. Tucker and Theisen: Zeig, 2004. 92 I am indebted to Anastasia Haysler and Carol Finlayson for two of these questions. 93 Wikipedia entry for ‘Forer effect’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forer_effect [last accessed 29 December 2009]. 94 Wikipedia entry for ‘Apophenia’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia [last accessed 29 December 2009]. 95 Ibid.

Section Two, Part 1 Reading List In this part we have looked at the questions we ask of tarot. In responding to these questions, we should grow ourselves. The following books go into some of the many issues which you will encounter behind the scenes of even the most straightforward question.

Relationships and Related Issues Botwin, C. Tempted Women. Vermillion: London, 1994. Lawson, A. Adultery: An Analysis of Love and Betrayal. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1990. Lerner, H. The Dance of Intimacy. Thorsons: London, 1989. Lewis, D. Loving & Loathing. Constable & Company: London, 1985. Person, E.S. Love and Fateful Encounters. Bloomsbury: London, 1989. Spezzano, C. Whole-Heartedness: Healing our Heartbreaks. Hodder & Stoughton: London, 2000.

The Inner Child

Bradshaw, J. Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child. Piatkus: London, 1991. Wolinsky, S. The Dark Side of the Inner Child. Bramble Books. 1993.

Other Issues Berry, C.R. How to Escape the Messiah Trap. Harper Collins: New York, 1991. Brinkman, R. & Kirschner, R. Dealing with People You Can’t Stand. McGraw Hill: New York, 2002. Carter, J. Nasty People. Contemporary Books: Chicago, 2003. Forward, S. Toxic Parents. Bantam Books: New York, 2002. Lévine, P.A. with Frederick, A. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma. North Atlantic: Berkeley, 1997. Sanford, L.T. Strong at the Broken Places. Virago: London, 1991. Simon, G.K. In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. AJ Christopher & Co.: Little Rock, 2000.

The Client / Counsellor Relationship Whilst tarot readers are not necessarily counsellors nor therapists, our work often bridges such modalities and the following titles are of particular relevance.

Casement, P. On Learning from the Patient. Brunner-Routledge: London, 2002. Clark, J. (editor). Freelance Counselling & Psychotherapy. BrunnerRoutledge: Hove, 2002. Feltham, C. Time-Limited Counselling. Sage Publications: London, 1997. Gray, A. An Introduction to the Therapeutic Frame. Routledge: London, 1994. Karasu, T.B. Wisdom in the Practice of Psychotherapy. BasicBooks. 1992. Oldfield, S. The Counselling Relationship. Routledge Kegan Paul: London, 1983.

Part 2: Tarot Spread, Tarot Stepped

2.1 The Minors in Three Lights In this intermediate section, we will begin by deepening our appreciation of the Minor cards by building up their meaning from three different lights. These are through astrological correspondences, kabbalah (again) and an older system from Papus, an early writer on tarot.

2.2 Tarot Astrological We will first look at astrological correspondences. I have provided keywords from leading astrologer and author Lyn Birkbeck so that you can create your own combination for each card. You should also look to the system of decans to provide alternate keywords and concepts for the Minors. The Golden Dawn – and Crowley following – also utilised planetary and kabbalistic correspondences to fully determine the nature of each of the cards. Here we will take a simple method as a starting point. If we take the 2 of Wands first, we see this corresponds to Mars in Aries. We next look at the keywords for those two items and find:

Mars drive – desire – effectiveness – effort – exertion – push – energy – stimulation – excitement – sex – masculinity – force – impulse – strife

– action – violence – anger – selfishness – stress – aggression – threat

Aries active – championing – pioneering – precipitating – leading – emerging – courageous – assertive – brave – dynamic – straightforward – independent – angry – self-centred– impatient – impulsive – aggressive – arrogant

So without further troubling astrologers, who can read more into this than us, we could put those keywords together and discover a card which is obviously extremely driven, active, impulsive, very much an assertive individual card. When we look at the 2 of Wands, we see this very nature depicted.

2 of WANDS, Universal Waite Tarot

We can take another example, such as the 10 of Pentacles, corresponding to Mercury in Virgo:

Virgo efficient – analytical – pure – hard working – studious – well prepared – clean – conscientious – orderly – meticulous – dedicated – analytical – shy – caring – vulnerable – problem solving – computerlike – perfectionist – critical – intolerant – insular – nagging – prissy – irrelevant

Mercury thinking – perception – reason – nervous system – communication – dexterity – speech – mentality – employment – hands – education – wit – lack of feeling – over-rationalisation – nervousness

How does this work with the rather domestic scene usually depicted in the 10 of Pentacles? Perhaps now we can start to see under the hood of some of these cards.

Astrological Correspondences 2 of Wands 3 of Wands 4 of Wands

Mars in Aries (0-10°) Sun in Aries (10-20°) Venus in Aries (20-30°)

5 of Pentacles 6 of Pentacles 7 of Pentacles 8 of Swords 9 of Swords 10 of Swords 2 of Cups 3 of Cups 4 of Cups 5 of Wands 6 of Wands 7 of Wands 8 of Pentacles 9 of Pentacles 10 of Pentacles 2 of Swords 3 of Swords 4 of Swords 5 of Cups 6 of Cups 7 of Cups 8 of Wands 9 of Wands 10 of Wands 2 of Pentacles 3 of Pentacles 4 of Pentacles 5 of Swords 6 of Swords 7 of Swords 8 of Cups 9 of Cups 10 of Cups

Mercury in Taurus (0-10°) Moon in Taurus (10-20°) Saturn in Taurus (20-30°) Jupiter in Gemini (0-10°) Mars in Gemini (10-20°) Sun in Gemini (20-30°) Venus in Cancer (0-10°) Mercury in Cancer (10-20°) Moon in Cancer (20-30°) Saturn in Leo (0-10°) Jupiter in Leo (10-20°) Mars in Leo (20-30°) Sun in Virgo (0-10°) Venus in Virgo (10-20°) Mercury in Virgo (20-30°) Moon in Libra (0-10°) Saturn in Libra (10-20°) Jupiter in Libra (20-30°) Mars in Scorpio (0-10°) Sun in Scorpio (10-20°) Venus in Scorpio (20-30°) Mercury in Sagittarius (0-10°) Moon in Sagittarius (10-20°) Saturn in Sagittarius (20-30°) Jupiter in Capricorn (0-10°) Mars in Capricorn (10-20°) Sun in Capricorn (20-30°) Venus in Aquarius (0-10°) Mercury in Aquarius (10-20°) Moon in Aquarius (20-30°) Saturn in Pisces (0-10°) Jupiter in Pisces (10-20°) Mars in Pisces (20-30°)

Astrological Keywords (Signs) ARIES active – championing – pioneering – precipitating – leading – emerging – courageous – assertive – brave – dynamic – straightforward – independent – angry – self-centred – impatient – impulsive – aggressive – arrogant TAURUS stable – productive – earthy – insistent – enduring – sensual – dependable – persevering – conservative – security conscious – determined – strong – loyal – possessive – stubborn – materialistic – slothful GEMINI communicative – amusing – contact making – quick – light – versatile – talkative – inquisitive – dualistic – unstable – nervous – flirtatious – restless CANCER nurturing – securing – reflective – responsive – receptive – dreamy – protective – emotional – family oriented – sensitive – sentimental – moody – sympathetic – clinging – apologetic LEO generous – commanding – playful – entertaining – powerful – dramatic – noble – dictatorial – proud – showy – egocentric – domineering – flashy – grandiose

VIRGO efficient – analytical – pure – hard working – studious – well prepared – clean – conscientious – orderly – meticulous – dedicated – analytical – shy – caring – vulnerable – problem solving – computerlike – perfectionist – critical – intolerant – insular – nagging – prissy – irrelevant LIBRA social – beautiful – pleasant – harmonious – graceful – charming – diplomatic – refined – superficial – indecisive SCORPIO private – deep – decisive – sexual – intense – passionate – powerful – delving – transformative – influential – manipulative – jealous – interrogatory – controlling SAGITTARIUS philosophical – prophetic – understanding – wise – faithful – enthusiastic – cultural – superior – demanding – big-headed – preachy – self-righteous – trendy – expansive CAPRICORN constructive – worldly – established – ordered – cautious – earthbound – unyielding – ambitious – tenacious – responsible – accomplished – climbing – rigid – controlling – leaden – cold – calculating – ruthless – inhibited – stiff AQUARIUS

open minded – reformist– revolutionary – impartial – cause oriented – humanitarian – observant – indifferent – rebellious – unpredictable – scattered – aloof – fanatical – remote PISCES empathetic – supersensitive – inspired/ing – whimsical – imaginative – spiritual – kind – creative – gentle – healing – confused – evasive – vague – slow – non-confrontational – phobic

Astrological Keywords (Planets) SUN purpose – will – spirit – life – heart – intention – importance – warmth – strength – father – confidence – essence – consciousness – centre – light – vitality – conceit – egotism MOON security – responses – childhood – mother – family – habits – emotional support – home – past– instinct – sympathy – feelings – comfort – unconscious – soul – memories – moods – fear of the unknown – reactions – over-sensitivity MERCURY thinking – perception – reason – nervous system – communication – dexterity – speech – mentality – employment – hands – education – wit – lack of feeling – over-rationalisation – nervousness VENUS

love – attraction – affection – beauty – art – happiness – eroticism – superficiality – society – sensuality – values – femininity – harmony – refinement – indulgence – hedonism – seduction MARS drive – desire – effectiveness – effort – exertion – push – energy – stimulation – excitement – sex – masculinity – force – impulse – strife – action – violence – anger – selfishness – stress – aggression – threat JUPITER growth – beliefs – ethics – morals – furtherance – opportunity – wealth – confidence – joy – goodwill – goodness – travel – higher education – God /Goddess – philosophy – enthusiasm – understanding – optimism – aspirations – success – laughter – excess – pie-in-the-sky – self-righteousness – zealotry SATURN responsibility – structure – duty – stamina – patience – discipline – order – maturity – boundaries – force of circumstances – lessons – concrete reality – karma – effort – status quo – authority – time – ambition – status – work – material stability – restriction – inadequacy – doubt – repression – limitations – inhibition – obstacles – shadow – fear You might also wish to explore the decans in astrology, with regard to the 36 Minor cards in tarot (not counting the Aces, which are seen as the seeds). These derive, in part, from the esoteric work of Paul Christian, Eliphas Lévi and many others, synthesised by S.L. Macgregor-Mathers of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Thus, the first decan (36 portions of 10°) represents Saturn in Leo. This, in turn, is equated with the 5 of Wands, which the Golden Dawn terms

The Lord of Strife. The earliest explanations of this decan indicate why: Agrippa says, “this image signifieth and causeth boldness, fortitude, loftiness and shamelessness.”96 You can also see images of these decans – which were called paranatellonta by the Greek astrologers – in the work called Astrolabium Planum, dated 1488. These images might even be a good basis for a new tarot deck. The images depict professions and activities that are suited to each of the decans, and hence provide a career advice mechanism, combining both astrology and tarot.97

2.3 Tarot Kabbalistical We will now briefly return to the Minors with regard to kabbalah. As you will recall, we had 10 stages in our Tree of Life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Seed Beginning, uncertain future First signs of progress First results, but early days Half-way, challenges More results, mustn’t stop Lots of energy, keep focused Coming together Results, end in sight Finalisation, end

First Point First swirlings First formings Expansion Contraction Equilibrium Cycles Focus Foundation Completion

Notice that the half-way point of the sequence 1 to 10 in the diagram of the Tree of Life is 6, Tiphareth, the central Sephirah. If you think of the Aces as not the beginning, but the seed of the beginning (the Nascent cards), then 6 is better numerically as the half-way point between the beginning (2) and the end (10). This is graphically

represented in the Waite-Smith Tarot between the harmonious 6s and the more challenging 5s in the Minor Arcana.

Example The 7 of Pentacles is the cyclic energy of Nature in the world of action or manifestation. Taking the Waite-Smith image, we see the figure contemplating a growing vine, whilst leaning on a gardening tool. It is extremely indicative of the cyclic process of Nature, and the result of action in relationship to that cycle. In the SPILL Tarot, we see this card as illustrated on the following page.

7 of Pentacles, SPILL TAROT

A Brief Note on the Sephiroth The Hebrew word Sephiroth (plural of Sephirah) is given to the components of the Tree of Life drawn as circles on the diagram. However, it does not mean circles or spheres particularly, but rather numerical emanations, which is far closer to the role that the

Sephiroth play in the kabbalah. The names of the Sephiroth – of which there are ten – and another component called Da’ath, are given below, with their Hebrew transliteration and the meaning of the word. As in any language, a word may have several different meanings or connotations, depending upon the context. Here I have highlighted in bold the usual translation, but given the other meanings as they often shed light upon obscure kabbalistic interpretations.

2.4 The Spiritual Process Triads of Papus Our third light to examine the Minors from the intermediate perspective is through a method of not ‘wearying the memory’ from The Tarot of the Bohemians, published in 1892 by Papus, the nom de plume of Gérard Encausse (1865-1916). Demonstrating that there is nothing new under the Sun, we were recently reminded that Mary K. Greer has also presented and developed this pattern in Tarot Mirrors. Here are our selected keywords for this exercise and Papus’ original keywords:

Then we take Papus’ proposal of a triad operating in a cycle for the Minors: Commencement – Opposition – Equilibrium You can also consider these as: Starting – Challenge – Balancing This is all that we need to remember; those three words. Then we repeat them and apply them in sequence as follows: 1 Commencement of Commencement (starting of starting) 2 Opposition of Commencement (challenge of starting)

3 Equilibrium of Commencement (balancing of starting) 4 Commencement of Opposition 5 Opposition of Opposition 6 Equilibrium of Opposition 7 Commencement of Equilibrium 8 Opposition of Equilibrium 9 Equilibrium of Equilibrium The 10s are seen as being determined by the surrounding cards. I see them as being the culmination or container of all other forces. We then apply this sequence to the keywords for the suits. In effect, this method means that we only have to remember 4 + 3 =7 words to generate deep meanings for all 40 Minor cards. Here are two examples: 5 of Swords Transformation








It is interesting to view the 5 of Swords as a double negative in a process of transformation. The card certainly shows someone perhaps opposing something, which in itself is oppositional. As a result, they are challenging the transformation which that opposition or conflict will ultimately produce. Personally I found this way of looking at the 5 of Swords a powerful insight into the nature of this often confusing card. 8 of Wands Opposition of Equilibrium in the process of Creation

In this card we usually see meanings of news, movement and things not yet settling but in motion. In the method of Papus, we validate these meanings by understanding the card as representing a resistance against equilibrium – a drive to change – in the process of creation.

Exercise 22: Papus Pimps the Majors Or, going beyond Papus, for an interesting exercise try the above pattern with the Majors, i.e. The Magician starting at ‘Commencement of Commencement’, making The Hierophant (5) ‘Opposition of Opposition’ ... and repeat the cycle at card 11, Justice, being the new ‘Commencement of Commencement’, 12, The Hanged Man being the ‘Opposition of Commencement’ (or in my terms, the challenge of starting – can you see that in The Hanged Man)?

2.5 The Secret Keywords of the Major Arcana In our intermediate analysis of the Majors, we look at the secret keywords. The tarot cards are often given keywords. These are single words used to denote the nature of the card. As an example, the keyword given to The Fool might be folly or freedom.98 Furthermore, sometimes phrases are given to the cards as mnemonic devices, such as the 4 of Wands being considered as the Haven of Refuge.99 In Crowley and Harris’ Thoth Tarot, and some other decks, the keywords may be printed on the cards themselves, for example: Luxury on the 4 of Cups, or Failure on the 7 of Disks.100 Whilst some tarot readers like this device, others do not – the opinions are generally mixed. Some will point out that one can ignore the word if it doesn’t fit the situation, although others note that the querent may not ignore the word, particularly if it states Ruin! Some

tarot teachers prefer to teach by keyword and some ask the student to develop their own keywords in response to the image of the card. As we have already seen, the images on the cards are metaphors; complex constellations of symbols which refer to any number of situations. When added to the pattern and relationship of a spread, and the potential calibration and refining possible with elemental, zodiacal and natural dignities, it is no wonder that some tarot readers – particularly beginners – prefer a simple keyword to anchor the card. However, in a recent exercise conducted with almost 50 tarot card readers and students, we reversed the process of keywords to ask, “What does this card NEVER do?” whilst limiting the response to one word.101 We did not offer any further information, other than a few examples, such as The Tower Never Asks and The Fool Never Remembers. We alluded to the competition containing a ‘trick’ which would be revealed at a later time – in this book. Whilst the original intention was to use the entries to discover the unconsciously inferred keyword for each card, by simply reversing the keywords given, a number of other keyword-related discoveries were made – namely that certain cards were chosen more often, and that certain cards contained a greater commonality of chosen words. In effect, this allows us to infer unconscious keywords, identify those cards more and less similarly understood by tarot readers, and those cards more favoured by tarot readers than others. This latter discovery is the parallel to asking the person in the street to name any tarot cards they know. This information allows us – particularly as tarot teachers – to identify the Major cards which, to even experienced tarot readers, are less ‘known’ than others, and focus more upon those cards to balance teaching. We can also offer more powerful keywords generated from the unconscious processes of those using tarot for some time, should students require keywords. As a tarot student, this information might also allow you to compare the cards you feel less ‘knowledgeable’

about, and see that even experienced tarot readers favour some cards more than others. Firstly we will look at the basic results, gathered during the three months over which this exercise was conducted. The table below summarises the frequency each Major card was chosen – given free choice and allowing any number of entries from each tarot reader and student.

The most immediate observation is that The Fool card was chosen far more than any other. The Blasted Tower was chosen the least. It is interesting that Adam McLean, the tarot collector and cultivator of Tarot as Art, chooses both The Fool and The Blasted Tower cards to illustrate his reviews of new decks. He says that The Fool is the card which gives most freedom of expression, and that The Blasted Tower is the most prescriptive card.102 According to this exercise, it might be the case that readers also respond to more freedom. So, the three least chosen cards are The Blasted Tower, The Hanged Man, and The Chariot. The latter two are certainly those that, in my own teaching experience, intermediate tarot students start to notice are ‘difficult’ to read. It is also immediately noticeable that three of the ‘stellar’ cards are at the bottom – The Moon, The Sun and The World – with The Star being isolated higher up in the fourth position. This perhaps signifies that the ‘character’ cards are easiest with which to identify, and the ‘object’ cards least accessible to interpretation. This is something which tarot card designers might note. If we now take a look at the 22 words which were submitted for what The Fool never does, we find the following variations: stops – looks – fears – crashes – worries – never – lands – forms – defines – fails – weeps – worries – listens – worries – counts – adventures – indicates – looks – contrives – falls Obviously, the word worries comes up three times, with similar words such as fears, fails and weeps. If we now take the NLP position that to process a surface negative the unconscious must process the positive first (i.e. “Don’t fall off that wall,” or “Don’t think of a camel”), this means that to answer the question of what a card never does, the unconscious processes what it does – what it is – first. So, in the case of The Fool, the most common unconscious process is that of being without worry – being carefree. In fact, taking a gestalt of all of the words, we might suggest that the common opposite – the

unconscious keyword – is frivolity (Mary K. Greer suggested trust to me, which I also find appropriate). In fact, this word has deeper meaning, in that it probably comes from the Latin, of little value, and the un-numbered or zero card of The Fool is certainly of the ‘least’ value. The word also signifies acting like a clown or taking things lightly, which again is suitable for the interpretation of the card. I take this word also to imply the spiritual freedom of The Fool of the highest nature – he is frivolous, because he has realised the worth of the world, as nothing and yet everything. It is only The Magician that takes it seriously, as One. In this manner we can create the hidden keywords that operate in the Major Arcana cards. I have appended a list below of these keywords:

We notice some familiar keywords to accepted meanings, but also some interesting variants. The final card of The World seems for many to unconsciously infer a beginning, or a continuation. The ‘stellar’ cards of The Star, The Moon and The Sun share three processes of enlightenment, ignorance and demonstration. The Magician for many is not just the usual reading of skill and resources, but actual inferred success. Whilst these remain my own keyword opposites from an intuition of those words presented, you are encouraged to discover your own in the following exercise.

Exercise 23: Generating Your Own Keywords To generate your own keywords, simply follow the procedure of asking, for each Major card (and you can also try the Minors), what it never does. This should take the form of: • • •

The Blasted Tower Never Builds; The Fool Never Falls; The Magician Never Lies.

When you have completed the list, you can then reverse the words to gain your own secret meanings for the Major Arcana. In this case, you would have the opposites: • • •

The Blasted Tower The Fool The Magician

2.6 More Archetypal Than Others

Deconstruction Rising Truth

One further discovery from this exercise was that it appears that some cards have stronger strange attractors of meaning than others. That is to say, more people independently provided the same negative words never dies for Death, than other cards where there are bigger ranges of words and meanings. Whilst it would be difficult to provide a full assessment, here are the three most similar and least similar cards according to this exercise: Most Coherent

Least Coherent

The World The Sun Death

The Last Judgement The Hanged Man Temperance

You might consider exploring your own keywords for the three ‘coherent’ cards on the left, and developing more innovative keywords and discoveries, and exploring the three ‘least coherent’ cards on the right and re-examining your own associations with those cards. You may find that you project more personal material into those least coherent cards than the others.

2.7 Powerful Reading With the Majors Only Using these keywords alone with the Majors can produce extremely powerful and flexible readings. I might ask, “Should I leave my job, retrain, or stay in chance of promotion?” of a 3-card Majors-only reading, with three fixed positions of; ILL ADVISED, SAFEST OPTION and BEST ADVISED. The three cards laid down might be: 9 (The Hermit), 14 (Temperance) and 10 (The Wheel of Fortune). Utilising the secret keywords that we have constructed as an amalgamation of almost 50 tarot readers, this would reveal:

Ill-advised Safest option Best advised

Solitude Assessment Movement

In interpretation, that would certainly and immediately indicate that a movement from the job was advised, not to work for oneself, and to start job hunting. The advantage of powerful keywords is that they offer a good mixture of flexibility and directness.

2.8 The Tarot Reader Revealed One other consequence of this exercise was to reveal the five most favoured tarot cards of established tarot students and readers. These are: • • • • •

The Fool; Death; The High Priestess; The Star; The Wheel of Fortune.

If we take these as representing the current situation of the tarot Esosana, we see that tarot readers on the whole value frivolity (in a spiritual sense, as discussed prior), life, revelation, enlightenment, and movement. One might suggest that tarot readers like to seek and offer freedom, transformation, revelation, vision, and an answer to change. Of course, the tarot reader may also project and identify with other attributes of The Fool as being the spiritual seeker; Death as the great unknown; The High Priestess as being the archetypal tarot reader; The Star as being the great card of hope; and The Wheel of Fortune as fate and destiny. In these cards the tarot reader instinctively finds their own reflection.

At an even deeper level we might also consider that tarot itself is a response to the apparent chaos of life, death, the unknown, the future, and fate, as depicted by those same cards.

2.9 The Tarot Major Arcana Considered as a System Each of the Major Arcana can be considered to be a question within a whole system of such questions into the nature of ourselves, Universe, and relationship. As such, the questions are both indicative of the cards themselves and their nature, and the answers – relating to another card – demonstrate the many potential links between cards and their positions within the system. In this way we discover the hidden paths of the tarot Major Arcana. Advanced Tarosophists may choose to draw these links onto a Tree of Life.

Exercise 24: Chunking Up Exercise – A Journey to the Archetypes To engage with the archetypes, we will first go on a mental journey to discover a few for ourselves. This journey can start in any location. 1. Choose any object (e.g. boat, bird, tree) and write it down; 2. Now think of the set of which this is an example. In the case of a bird, it is in the set of animals; 3. Then repeat: Animals is in the set of (for example) living things; 4. Living things is in the set of things; 5. Things are in the set of everything. You may be surprised how easily any item – and this exercise can be practised from picking an item or symbol on any tarot card – rapidly translates up to the archetypal forms such as God, Truth, Love,

Universe, Time, Law, and so forth. The archetypes are the building blocks and tarot is very much part of their creativity.

2.10 The Major Arcana Enquiries Each of the following questions is that proposed to be asked by each card. You may have variant questions which tell you what the nature of this enquiry may be for you personally. You may also choose to answer each enquiry. In this sequence, the question and the answer may be different or the same.

0 The Fool’s Enquiry In this card, we enquire about the nature of freedom and awareness. This card may be considered as the paradox of the system. As Borges remarks in his The Garden of Forking Paths, in which “time forks perpetually towards innumerable futures,” in a riddle whose answer is chess, the only prohibited word is chess.103 This card represents the multiplicity of Zeno’s paradoxes in philosophy, the Ain Soph Aur of the kabbalists104 and the event horizon of astrophysics. It is whatever lies on the other side of the Planck length and time of quantum physics. The Fool enquires, “What is not here in this deck of tarot cards?” He enquires into your life, and asks, “What is missing in Universe? What resources do you not possess? What objects? What feelings? If there was something missing that you do not know is missing, how would you know?” The task of The Fool’s enquiry is to recognise that you only possess whatever you would not lose in a shipwreck, as the Sufis say, and that whatever you need is always to hand. Think upon the 4 of Cups

to assist this enquiry. Take this card out and place it on your Tarosophy table and engage life according to its message whilst looking for that missing cup to appear.

1 The Magician’s Enquiry The Magician may be considered as a symbol of will, intent and the resources gathered together to fulfil such intent. As such he is a channel of creation, in which we ourselves become co-creators. It appears that Universe is very good at creating things, but has no will; whilst we are very good at will but, as Bennett points out from the Gurdjieffian system, we cannot do anything.105 So The Magician enquires, “What is the intent of the tarot? If tarot was doing something, what is it doing? What is its will, purpose, direction? Where is it going?” Once you have answered this question, you might consider whether you are on the same journey.

2 The High Priestess’ Enquiry The High Priestess enquires, “Which card contains the most hidden meanings, neither obvious nor apparent?”

3 The Empress’ Enquiry The Empress enquires, “Which cards promote growth and expansion, which cards curtail and constrain?”

4 The Emperor’s Enquiry The Emperor enquires, “Which card is that which drives the others, if a race were to be held, which card would win?”

5 The Hierophant’s Enquiry The Hierophant enquires, “Which card is most fixed in meaning?”

6 The Lovers’ Enquiry The Lovers ask a simple question, one of choice. They enquire, “Which two cards are most alike?” You might also like to consider this enquiry with that of The Devil and that of The Chariot.

7 The Chariot’s Enquiry The Chariot enquires, “Which pair of cards, when added together, produce a third which contains itself?” This is an esoteric and initiatory mystery – a true riddle of the Sphinxes depicted on this card. When people talk of initiation, secrets, mysteries, and occultism, whether to hint at such mysteries or decry their existence, they forget one thing: the worker is hidden in the workshop.

8 The Enquiry of Strength Strength contains its own mystery, but offers another enquiry. We will look at the mystery of Strength first, then contemplate the enquiry

which arises: “Which cards constrain, which cards expand, and which cards mediate?”

9 The Hermit’s Enquiry The Hermit is most-often considered a solitary card, and so asks a solitary enquiry. However, he also proffers a second enquiry which arises from the symbols on the card. The Hermit’s first enquiry is, “Which card stands most apart from all the others?” The Hermit’s second enquiry is; “Which card is the lamp, which card the staff and which card the cloak of The Hermit?” You may divine a hint in Eliphas Lévi’s formula: “The initiate is he who possesses the lamp of Trismegistus, the mantle of Apollonius and the staff of the Patriarchs.”106

10 The Wheel of Fortune’s Enquiry The Wheel of Fortune enquires, “Which card is the most unlikely to appear in the past of a reading, which one least likely in the present position and which one least likely to appear in the future position?”

11 The Enquiry of Justice Justice enquires, “Which pair of cards balance each other out the most?”

12 The Hanged Man’s Enquiry The Hanged Man enquires, “Which card is the same whichever way it is read?”

13 Death’s Enquiry Death enquires, “Which card takes any other card and transforms it into another?”

14 Temperance’s Enquiry Temperance enquires, “Which one card provides an answer to any question asked? What is that answer?” In this conundrum, the bind is not the question, but the limitation of only one card for the answer. If you did only 1-card readings, and had only one card in your deck, which card would you want it to be? Answer carefully, as ever, in case this eventuates.

15 The Devil’s Enquiry The Devil enquires, “Which card is most difficult to see when you are within it?”

16 The Enquiry of The Blasted Tower

The Blasted Tower enquires, “If the whole deck of 78 cards were a computer, which card is the CTRL+ALT+DEL function? Which card resets the whole system, losing all that has gone before? And furthermore, is there a SAVE card? Perhaps hidden in the Minor Arcana?”

17 The Star’s Enquiry The Star enquires, “Which card is most unrealistic, and speaks not of anything present?”

18 The Moon’s Enquiry The Moon enquires, “If you were stuck to live forever inside one card, which card would it be?”

19 The Sun’s Enquiry The Sun enquires, “Is there a card that never requires any interpretation, and is always what is appears to be, obvious and enlightening to all?”

20 The Enquiry of The Last Judgement The Last Judgement enquires, “Which tarot card can be given to someone, , and with just a few words would definitely make them do something?”

21 The Enquiry of The World The World enquires, “Which tarot card would you sacrifice in the deck, and what would you expect in return?”

2.11 The Jackson Square Spread (Mutable Spread) Whilst lecturing as part of the ‘Tarot in Popular Culture’ panel at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA / ACA) Conference, I learnt this spread from a reader in Jackson Square, New Orleans. She claimed that it was her own method, and in 30 years, I haven’t seen an identical method, although many similar methods exist. It is also a useful spread for the intermediate Tarosophist, for parties and ad hoc readings, as it is mutable. A mutable spread is one where the fixed positions are not tied to given meanings. Here the spread has 9 positions in a 3 x 3 square, but the meanings of those positions can be created as the spread is performed. The suggested positions here are my own, but feel encouraged to improvise. It is the method here which is fun, rather than the spread positions. It is a good spread to practice with your oracular voice.

Jackson Square Spread

A Note on Bridges and Anchors Experienced readers use what I call bridges and anchors when reading such spreads; they constantly refer one card back across to

another, pairing them and bridging the meaning between them also, and keep returning to certain cards more often than others, anchoring them in memory. As the reading progresses, the bridges and anchors become the lovely bones of the reading – the true relationships that matter. Place three cards down in the first position (you can start anywhere on the square) and read them in one summary. That is to say, you might place three cards down in the position in the centre and say, “In your present I see ...” and if the three cards were 9 of Wands + Ace of Cups + Page of Swords you might say, “... that you are having to defend your opinions and beliefs to maintain your happiness, which has meant that you are withdrawn in what you say.” A suitable tarot deck which is tuned to this spread (yes, decks can be tuned to particular spreads) is the small deck designed by Dennis Fairchild and illustrated by Julie Paschkis, published by Running Press as Tarot: The Complete Kit or Tarot Nova. You can also attune the Transparent Tarot or Transparent Oracle by Emily Carding, published by Schiffer, to this method. Incidentally, the progressive palmist Batya Weinbaum told me that the Paschkis (Tarot Nova) deck was the most useful for cross-cultural tarot, as the symbols were reasonably pared-down and culturally transferable.107 As she had recently travelled across places such as Israel, India and South America, reading for a living, I am inclined to agree with her assessment.

2.12 The Temple of Thoth (Gated Spread) As we reach towards the end of our intermediate techniques for this first book of Tarosophy, we here give – for the first time in book form – a unique method of using tarot. I do not believe that I have seen such a method before, although I would be interested if readers have

encountered an identical approach elsewhere. This method is a combination of the ‘Talisman of Self’ walking meditation that I teach spell-crafting students, shamanic journeying techniques, and the concepts of the ancient Egyptian afterlife, structured along the lines of a typical ancient Egyptian temple. This approach to tarot is called a gated spread, of which there are many varieties. A gated spread is one which cannot be done in one reading. It requires the Tarosophist to perform an initial reading in order to divine the present situation and the manner in which the local environment (inner and outer) is to be changed as a pre-requisite to any further progress or divination. We go beyond dialogue with the cards to a living contract, taking our utilisation of tarot to whole new levels. This is particularly suited to the Thoth Tarot deck, which swims with the very presence of the ancient gods. We therefore look to the deck as a temple through which we pass – if we are able – to meet at last the living voice of the deck, Thoth himself. In this particular context, the initial reading corresponds to the hypostyle hall of the ancient Egyptian temple and is called The Measure of Ma’at and The Heart’s Sacrifice. The Tarosophist must then engage with life and enact the required change before returning to the next level of the spread. Without doing so, the next reading will be meaningless. The conditions of each gate must be met, as was the case for the ancient Egyptian soul passing through the gates of the Underworld, making a negative confession at each, before being allowed to pass. The second level of the gated spread corresponds to the inner sanctum of the temple. Here we divine for the requirements that must be satisfied to meet our own true will, and the manner in which we must enact that will. This is called Honouring the Living King and Passing the Fields of Iaru (a place within the Egyptian afterlife

journey). It is particularly appropriate for Crowley’s system of Thelema, a Greek word meaning will. However, this is not the end of the spread and our journey into the divine otherworld. Behind a false door, we discover that there are three holy barques (boats) presented to us, over which each presides a particular god. We must then choose one of these barques in which to pass beyond our current expectations and into a wholly new realm. This third divination is called Opening the Gates of Heaven. Again, we must fulfil the journey and meet the wishes of the chosen god or goddess before we can enter the last gate. This last gate is called Entering the Naos, the inner shrine or chapel of the god; in this case, the great tutelary deity of our deck, Thoth. It is here at last that we can meet the god himself and hear his word – if we dare – and learn how we must utter it in our life. Again, this is a sacred contract and not to be taken in anything other than this manner.

The Temple of Thoth The Tarosophist will prepare for this journey, treating it as a sacred moment. They will thus be bathed, cleansed and free of distraction for each reading. They may choose to burn kyphi incense (I recommend Katlyn’s incense from Mermade Magical Arts)108 and play suitably evocative music, such as ‘Hymn for the Sunrise’ by Ali Jihad Racy from his album, Ancient Egypt. The practitioner of this particular journey must allow a week across which this spread is gated. The deck utilised is the Thoth Tarot deck. It may assist to have images and representations of the appropriate deities. Day One: The Measure of Ma’at and The Heart’s Sacrifice e.g. Tuesday

Arise and greet the rising Sun on a day of your choice. For those practising Western esoteric magic, you may choose to perform Crowley’s Solar Adoration, Liber Resh vel Helios. Otherwise, spend a moment aligning yourself to the rising light and look forward to the week. Prepare yourself and imagine that you are entering an invisible temple, constructed of all the parts of the seen world. The walls of your house may be the pillars; the postman a sacred messenger; the local park an inner sanctum. This is a magical practice inspired by the secret workings conducted by Florence Farr’s Sphere Group at the turn of the last century (and at the time a secret group within an inner order of an occult organisation!) and is called Entering the Temple of the World. Now perform a 2-card reading from the Book of Thoth: 1. “What must I do to meet the measure of Ma’at?” [1 card] 2. “What do you ask in sacrifice?” [1 card] Contemplate these cards. Take a look at both the keyword and title of the card. Also consider any Egyptian deities that might be present and making themselves known to you at this time (and if so, find out their attributes and qualities). In this contemplation, seek to answer the two questions – the first will give directions for action in the days to come, and the second will give you something that must be given up or paid. You have three days (e.g. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) in which to meet the conditions of these cards.

Days One to Three: Fulfilling Ma’at and Making Sacrifice During these three days do not conduct any further readings or magical practice. Seek to meet the conditions established by the

cards without deviation. Know what it is specifically to meet these requirements and demonstrate in the eyes of the very gods that you have done so. Do not progress in this working if you do not meet the requirements over these three days. Do not extend the practice – unless the two cards suggest in some way. Otherwise, abandon the entire working and only return to re-commence from the beginning after at least a full lunar month (i.e. 28 days) has passed. Day Four: Honouring the Living King and Passing the Fields of Iaru e.g. Friday If you have satisfied Ma’at and made appropriate sacrifice, arise and greet the rising Sun. As before, enter the invisible temple of the world and visualise that your place of working is now within an inner sanctum. Your own self is here as a statue – you have been honoured and yet are forgotten. The old self is to be left behind as you re-align yourself to your own true will. This next divination will show you who you are and what you must do to be ready to pass beyond. Now perform a 2-card reading from the Book of Thoth: 1. “How must I honour the Living King?” [1 card] 2. “What must I do to pass the fields of Iaru?” [1 card] Take the two cards given to you by the deck and contemplate them as before. The first card tells you of your essential self, and the nature that you must recognise and honour more in your life, and the second card tells you the way in which you must do so. This level of the reading is more intimate and mysterious than the previous, and will be of personal import. The message of both cards combined should lead to definite action – an action or series of actions which, in

turn, change your beliefs or behaviour, or call your values to be engaged more with the world. You have this day and the following day in which to perform this action. It must be decisive, immediate and clear. You may choose to say, “I honour the Living King” when performing the action, or just prior to it. Day Five: Choosing the Barque and Opening the Gates of Heaven e.g. Saturday On the evening of the fifth day, make observation of the setting Sun. See that the light is diminishing and the old self is passing away as you start to renew yourself. If you have been able to honour the Living King and have passed the fields of Iaru, you may now proceed to the chapel in which are the three holy barques. If you have not been able to perform the action required for day four, abandon the working and do not return to start from the beginning until at least a lunar month (i.e. 28 days) has passed. In that time, contemplate the Honouring the Living King card each day as a penance. After sunset on the fifth day, find time and space to recognise again the temple of the world. See that night has fallen and there is a profound silence in this region of the temple. Visualise in front of you a chapel of stone with three large wooden boats waiting for you. In front of each boat stands an ancient Egyptian deity as here: Khons, the God of the Moon Isis, the Mistress of Magic Ra, the God of the Sun Take three cards from the Thoth Tarot deck and place them face down in these three positions, each to represent one of the barques.

Now take a moment to select which of these barques you are going to choose to take – it must only be one: 1. The Barque of Khons, in which case the question is: “What service must I offer to reflect the hidden light?” [1 card] 2. The Barque of Isis, in which case the question is: “What must I learn about myself to become closer to the hidden light?” [1 card] 3. The Barque of Ra, in which case the question is: “What shall I create in the world to reveal the hidden light?” [1 card] Select the card which corresponds to your chosen barque. The card will reveal the answer to the relevant question. Discard and return the other two cards to your deck without looking at them. The card of your barque is to be contemplated and enacted over the following two days. This represents the opening of Heaven; a deserved passage into a new sense of self and reality. Through this activity, you are making a journey into the afterlife. Days Six and Seven: The Journey into the Afterlife e.g. Sunday and Monday With the card of your chosen barque in mind at all times, engage with the world in a manner befitting it. Offer service, meditate or create as dictated by the card. This should occupy as much of your time as possible, for the more time you offer in contract, the more rewarding the final result will be. You should note that even if you fail in this activity, you must now still perform the last divination. Dare you face this final judgement, then, without having performed the journey fully? At this point there is no abandonment possible, nor failure – only the judgement of Thoth awaits. To simply stop the working at this point and not perform the last divination will not stop it occurring anyway. This is a magical working.

Day Seven: Entering the Naos e.g. Monday At sunset of the seventh day, considering the whole week prior and in particular the journey of the last two days, you should return at last to the temple of the world. Imagine then that your place of working is now a secret place, hidden in plain sight. To others it is simply your workroom, your bedroom, your study – to you now it is the hidden place of the gods, opened by your journey into the unseen world which permeates the apparent world. At last you approach Thoth, the very heart of this deck. Visualise him as an ibis-headed scribe, the recorder of all that has been created, the creator and utterer of creation itself, the single word that vibrates in all eternity. Bow your head for a moment in recognition and then select two cards in response to the questions which you have long sought to ask: 1. “What is your word?” [1 card] 2. “How shall I utter it?” [1 card] The nature of these cards will be appropriate given the level of service you have performed in the preceding week. The answers of the god Thoth may be direct or enigmatic; they may be calls to action or to moments of contemplation. They may be simply mysterious or magical. But they will indeed be the very voice of Thoth, scribe of the Gods, “ruler of the sacred books in the house of life” and hence the voice of your own deck when it is used to truly engage with the world and your very life.

Further Gated Spreads

There are many variations of the gated spreads, and these are best accomplished through a mentored week-long experience. The various gated spreads are designed to utilise decks tuned to particular teachings, and are presented in a style and manner that fits the teaching, such as the elegant ritual of the Temple of Thoth to the mechanistic and ruthless grinding of the Resurrection Engine. The following two gated spreads are some of many now available on Kindle: The Gates of Valentine: tarot for relationships; particular study of the Court cards. Discover the ability of tarot to explore your relationship to not only your partner/s, friends, family, and colleagues, but to life itself. A new way of experiencing the wisdom of the tarot and hearing its true voice. The Resurrection Engine: tarot for recovering what is dead; particular study of kabbalah and tarot through the Major Arcana. Recover something that you thought you had lost in your life through the rigours of the Resurrection Engine. Not for the faint-hearted!

2.13 The Unfolded Cube Spread (3D spread) More recently I have been experimenting with 3D readings by using a set of Perspex display boxes onto which can be placed tarot cards flat, on levels, above each other in layers, and standing upright on the layers in a tower. This works incredibly well with Emily Carding’s Transparent Tarot. It will certainly attract interest at a psychic fair or similar, and set you apart from any competition. It is based upon the cube of space, a method of contemplating tarot arranged on a cube, in 3D. This method allows for many variations and the introduction of new elements in a spread, such as blocks, dimensions, trajectories, vectors, and tilts, where we can move / rotate the spread to see what

happens if different cards / issues are taken as the primary issue. Here is an example 3D reading conducted with the Tarot of the New Vision, a deck also tuned to this type of reading. I am currently creating a 3D box into which the Transparent Tarot cards will slot, allowing for full rotations of the spread.

The Introduction Bianca, you asked about the family dynamics and the interweaving of stresses and responsibilities currently playing out. I therefore chose to perform a 3D reading using the Tarot of the New Vision. As you probably know, this deck is a Waite-Smith deck designed by rotating the perspective of the deck 180 degrees so that the viewpoint is from behind the standard image, looking outwards. I thought that this would assist us to gain a unique perspective on your present situation, enhanced by a 3D spread, enabling multiple viewpoints to be considered. I trust that you find this reading a powerful addition to your own considerations at this time. The spread, pictured below, uses a Perspex display system to array the cards in an extended cube. Different faces of the cube and different layers hold important levels of meaning in the reading as a whole. This particular variation is called the Unfolded Cube.

Unfolded Cube Spread

The Elements of the Cube The Unfolded Cube spread includes several positions and patterns. However, unlike a flat reading, we also consider the vectors and trajectory of the multiple forces in play. That is to say, we rotate the cube and look through it at different angles to divine where flows of energy are present, where they are distorted or blocked, and where the energy is stagnating or accelerating. The dimensions: these represent the same situation as it is seen by the other principal actors; in this case, your mother, grandmother, husband, and uncle. These are arrayed across the first plane of the cube. The boundaries: these are your own boundaries with respect to the four interplaying forces. They are the cards on the edges of the cube. The blocks: these are the vertical cards that stop the light playing clearly through the situation, and hence filter or distort your perspective. The resources: these are the cards underneath the cube which support you and from where you can currently gain the most stability. The base card of the remaining deck can be used as in a flat reading, and represents the totality of other minor actors, in this case, your cousin/s.

The Reading

The cards that were chosen for this reading were pulled from the deck after shuffling. However, during the shuffle one card reversed itself face-up, and this was viewed as significant given that the reading is about perspectives. The card that turned itself face-up against the other cards was The High Priestess. It was felt that the shuffle should continue until The High Priestess returned to the top of the deck, and then the card (i.e. The High Priestess) was placed at the top of the cube, and the next cards drawn for the reading itself. The cards were, variously: husband – 4 of Pentacles; uncle – Ace of Pentacles; mother – 12 (The Hanged Man); grandmother – 8 of Wands; boundary on grandmother – 7 of Swords; boundary on mother – 18 (The Moon); resources – 5 of Pentacles, 9 of Wands; blocks – 19 (The Sun), Knave of Wands.

Considerations There are no Cups in this reading, indicating that the matter is significantly about your values, lifestyle, health, and material concerns. The reading counsels approaching these present events as a challenge not to your emotions, but to your path in life. It warns that there are few clear-cut (Sword) answers, nor to concern yourself with the undoubted emotional content of the present, but rather make progress based upon being true to yourself and your own future, as selfish as this sounds. The High Priestess is taken to represent yourself, facing away from the public and private concerns of your own family. It is the side of you behind the veil, as yet not fully resolved or consistently present, merely in glimpses. It is this aspect of your life that is being called out by the present events. Are you a priestess? Do you look out

fearlessly to see the depths, whilst others merely offer prayer to the unknown? The Tarot of the New Vision shows that whilst you may appear to be stand-offish with your family, even at such a time as this, therein is revealed considered wisdom (an owl on the card) and an understanding of the cycles of life (a pomegranate). I would suggest reading again the myth of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. How is mourning conducted as the seasons pass? It may also indicate that 21 September will be a turning point in this unfolding situation.

The Interpretation The dimensions show the tension that is pulling at you – and I say pulling, not pushing. They are the cards the 4 of Pentacles, Ace of Pentacles, The Hanged Man, and 8 of Wands. They have no cohesion together; they are all working in different directions. There is little hope, I might suggest, of you bringing everyone together in this situation. There is no common ground or goal being demonstrated here. The situation is such that there are material interests being brought by your uncle (he may say otherwise) and resistance by your husband to be involved in overwhelming practical matters. Although he may act otherwise, inside your husband is feeling stuck – he wishes to help, but sees more clearly than others the work and energy required. You should help him to see his own responsibilities by laying them out in stages, i.e. “If X happens, I’ll need you to do this, but not this; if Y happens, then ... and nothing more – is that okay?” Your mother’s concern is that her life is in the balance. As such, it is unlikely that she will have any further significant influence. When we tilt the cube, we see that you are seeing your mother through The Star card. This signifies that you are recalling the hopes of your

relationship, not the realities. It is time to balance these – again, the new vision card shows us that there is a figure walking away with a sack. This means that it is time to collect together the good things and the bad, and wrap them up. There is little else to do, other than provide a light, also shown on the card. Your grandmother’s dynamic is more active. The 8 of Wands signifies that she still has much to communicate – there are messages and meanings not yet present, but on their way. You should endeavour to collect as many messages from her as possible, but not yet make sense of them. This will come later. In the meantime, communication is the key; there is much she can tell you if you listen. The boundaries indicate that on your grandmother’s side it is essential that you let bygones be bygones and accept that not everything will be made clear. You must, however, deal with issues as they arise, and not put anything to one side – this is not the time to do this. The resource to help you do this is not one of sticking to your principles, but a more selfish and practical one of ensuring that you keep your own health by not bottling anything up as it arises in the present. You may be surprised by how liberating this is, and not just for yourself – it may bring new light to your relationship with your grandmother (seen tilted through The Sun). She will be seeing you as your younger self – play to this, but be present as an adult. It may feel manipulative, but it is a game that will maintain your sanity, boundaries and health, and allow a healing light to make itself known. The block on that side is The Sun, which may seem strange, but it is significant that the light is facing away from the child in the new vision. We could say that you must face the unknown elements of your own past, recognising the legacy from your parents and their parents, whilst acknowledging that you will never be entirely clear about the whole picture. The child becomes itself. That is all that it

can do. In pain, separating itself from its parents. And the wound is part of the child – in this we find our strength. Looking through the cube from the other block, the Knave of Wands, we might see that your relationship with your mother has perhaps fostered in you a progressive element, a journeying and a quest. However, a perfectionism and insecurity combined (The Sun and 9 of Wands, tilted) has meant you have not – yet – fully realised your journey. This is what will be released by the present situation. You will come through it having found your own challenge – the new vision shows a threatening wild bear facing the figure on the 9 of Wands. You will not come out of this without cares ahead, but they will at least be your challenge, and no-one else’s. Looking at the cube another way, we see that you are perhaps burying your own material role in this situation. You should bring that honestly to the surface, despite your concerns – whether they be hopes or fears. You will find them to not be real (The Star). The financial aspects, legal aspects and so forth must be raised to your satisfaction, to keep the central pillar of the cube intact – otherwise you may find that, despite your best intentions to be above it all (The High Priestess), the situation will collapse quickly, dragging you down into it. The boundary on your mother’s side is probably the most interesting one here – it is The Moon – so we look through and see The High Priestess facing the waters (yourself), where The Moon shines down (boundary) upon The Hanged Man (your mother). Are you seeing her, or your own reflection? You may consider that The Hanged Man – here, your mother – is fastened to his own principles and values, and hoisted by his own petard. He has chosen the life that he has lived. In some ways that may reflect (The Moon) and challenge your own life, but your life is

separate (the blocked Sun on the counter-face) and it is time for the child to face the light.

The Conclusion There are many further considerations that one might take from this reading, particularly by looking at the vectors and trajectories of energy playing through the cube. A lot of the core of the cube is timebased: The Sun, The Star and The Moon. It indicates that the situation will unfold one day at a time. In such a dynamic, one should perhaps take stock each day with what you have learnt, what is still unclear, and what you might do the following day, with no real longterm plan that is set in stone. There is a static tension holding things together that could unravel very quickly given any change in the system – this is why I would suggest that you bring the material issues to light, and the requirements on your husband. These will maintain your position above the situation, keeping an overview.

2.14 The Snowflake Spread (Fractal Spread) Many situations can be seen as being composed of different levels of complexity and meaning. Much like therapy clients, the majority of querents seek a simple and immediate answer to their situation; only once that is shown to be limiting and often too high an expectation will they be prepared to examine the deeper issues of the situation. This approach to reading, called fractal or snowflake reading, allows us to acknowledge and explore the deeper layers of a situation, in response to the querent’s readiness to work with those layers. It also

allows for an interactive exploration of an issue between the reader and the querent, providing opportunities for both to guide the process. Take a significator card and place that centrally. Shuffle and sort as usual, then place three cards in a triangle around the significator. These three cards represent: 1. Self-image; 2. Values, beliefs and actions; 3. Time / space.

Self-Image Position The self-image card represents the querent’s own view of themselves in this situation; how they perceive their own capability and response with regard to this issue, and which is the most active part of their psyche called by the situation. This can often be a good position to get a Court card, or Major card, and practice one’s ability to read parts of the psyche through that card. A Minor card in this position likely indicates that they have not yet sufficiently considered their own changes in response to the situation. In our example, if we had the Ace of Swords come up here, we would interpret that as a need to start a new identity; a forceful, dynamic and clear self-image, gaining sureness and clarity in order to confront the situation with a rational consideration.

Values Position

The card in this position indicates the top level of values held by the querent with regard to the meaning of the situation. It indicates how they are valuing and applying criteria to the issue, such as judging it as successful or a failure. It indicates how important it is to them, and is often an initially perplexing card if they are unclear as to how their question fits into their whole life. If the card here depicts a clear activity, then we can read that activity as to the underlying values that would underpin such an event. As an example, the 8 of Pentacles shows a craftsman at work – this indicates values of professionalism, pride, perseverance, and so forth.

Time / Space Position This position is more nebulous in that it indicates the querent’s regard of time in this issue. It therefore is to be read in conjunction with the other two positions, and its impact seen upon the whole interpretation. The card indicates whether the querent is viewing the issue appropriately in time, and whether they have space in their life to work with this situation. As an example, if we had the 6 of Swords in this position, we would be able to see that the querent regards this as a transitory issue that was already more than half-way in motion (i.e. stage 6 of 10, and reading the image of the boat on the water).

Interpreting the Initial Layer Having placed these three cards down, we can interpret them as a whole by looking at the three together and making a summary interpretation at this initial level. In our example, we might state that the querent is in a situation that they already see is in motion, calling into question their value of doing a professional job and sticking things through, whilst they struggle to initiate a new persona which is more direct and authoritative.

The querent may have asked a been put forward for promotion, I’ve been wondering whether I good at, and whether being a really me.”

question such as, “In my job, I have but although it is a safe bet I’ll get it, should move from what I’m already manager rather than a designer is

Building the Snowflake Having interpreted the initial layer, we now move on to exploring further layers by using a fractal method, breaking down each aspect of the reading into increasing levels of complexity. We can do this initially on all aspects of the spread, although the querent or reader may choose one side on which to concentrate. To build the snowflake, we imagine a triangle now extending from each point of our initial triangle, like so:

Snowflake Layout 1

We then lay out two further cards to represent the two sides of that triangle:

Snowflake Layout 2

These now give us a new triangle to interpret, based upon the original interpretation of the single card which forms the source of that triangle:

Snowflake Layout 3

2.15 The Next Step Spread (Progressive Spread)

This unique method of Tarosophy works best with questions which contain an element of ‘stuckness’ or obstacle. If the querent just needs to know a next step, or has tried many options and nothing is working (i.e. a ‘brick wall’ has come up), then this technique is ideal. It also answers the usual question after even the most detailed reading, which is: “I get that, but what do I actually do about it?” 1. Perform a 3-card reading for a simple question; 2. Lay the three cards out and then underneath each card select the ‘next’ card in the sequence of the Minors, the next card ‘up the Court’ if a Court card, or the next in sequence if a Major. For example, if the first card in your 3-card spread is the 8 of Wands, the card that you put underneath it should be the 9 of Wands. If the card is the Ace of Cups, the card that you put underneath it is the 2 of Cups. If the card is the Page of Pentacles, the ‘next’ card is the Knight of Pentacles. If the card is The Blasted Tower (16) then The Star (17). If the card is at the ‘end’ of the sequence, cycle round to the ‘start’, i.e. 10 of Wands becomes Ace of Wands, King of Swords becomes Page of Swords, The World becomes The Magician. The only card that has no ‘next’ card is The Fool, of course – The Fool remains the Fool! So, for example, we shuffle, split and deal a 3-card spread which is:

The cards that we place underneath are therefore:

Then look down each pair and ask, “How does this card become this next card?” Look for clues, for what must have happened ‘in between’ the two cards. What did The Hermit do to become The Wheel of Fortune ... perhaps give up his mountain retreat to go gambling? How

did the Knight become the Queen ... other than the gender change, perhaps by gaining maturity through travelling the world? Then take these three bridging strategies and put them together to create a narrative with a single theme; perhaps one of maturity though experience, trusting instinct, learning from others, or going it alone. If you are wary about working with the querent in this coaching manner, you can draw a card to make a divination for each of the bridging strategies, i.e. a card between the 2 and 3 of Wands, Knight and Queen of Pentacles, and The Hermit and The Wheel of Fortune. This drawn card will indicate the action required in order to move forwards. This narrative – either discussed or divined - will provide the next step required by the querent to move out of their presently stuck situation. This is a powerful method and, in dialogue with the querent, often provides innovative insight and coaching potential. The apprentice Tarosophist can often bridge out of this method by laying down more cards, doing mini-readings using one of the pairs as a bipolar significator, or via many other creative and unique methods.

2.16 Layered, Chained, Linked, and Pulled Spreads A layered spread is simply a spread in which you layer another selection of cards on top of the existing spread. That is to say, if you were performing a horseshoe type spread with 8 cards, having read those cards you would then seek a ‘higher level’ of insight by placing a card on top of each card already laid out. You can then pair the cards, or see one as impacting upon the one below it. I would recommend no more than four layers for smaller spreads; one for larger spreads.

A chained spread is a spread in which you explore one aspect of an existing spread (i.e. one in which 3 cards of the 10 laid out represent the future, and the client wishes to know more about them). You make a chain by laying out the next card from the deck next to the cards that you wish to explore, then interpret that card as the ‘insight’ required and lay out further cards as you see fit in a chain. A linked spread is similar to a chained spread, but uses another spread. So you can link a Celtic Cross spread to a horseshoe spread, for example. You can also do this with an annual year ahead spread, so that if you get a card for a month which looks somewhat ominous or striking, you simply link a Celtic Cross spread to it in order to explore the nature of that card in more detail. A pulled spread is one in which you lay out several lines of cards starting from a significator, e.g. two or three cards in four lines stretching out from the central significator card like a star or the rays of the Sun. You then assess each row and see if any are particularly pulling against each other, or calling your attention. You can then lay out further cards in that line and feel the pull of the additional cards, then lay out cards in one or more of the other lines to balance the reading. This is a more intuitive spread method and requires some intermediate experience. There are further advanced spread methods that a following work may include, such as cascading and sorting spreads. You should feel free to observe and develop your own approaches to spreads, and not be limited by what you have read or studied. 96 Agrippa, C. (edited by Tyson, D.). Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 1998, pp.377-9. 97 The Decans also inform the Sabian Symbols, an Astrological Oracle about which more can be discovered in Tarot-Town. 98 Bunning, J. Learning the Tarot. Weiser: York Beach, 1988, p.111 gives: “Beginning, Spontaneity, Faith, Apparent Folly” for The Fool. Louis, A. Tarot: Plain and Simple. Llewellyn:

St. Paul, 2003, pp. 51-2 gives 43 keywords for The Fool, including phrases such as: “All things are possible,” and “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” 99 Louis, Ibid, p.161. 100 Crowley, A. The Book of Thoth. Weiser: York Beach, 1985, p. 197, 215. 101 I am indebted to Tero Hynenen for provoking this exercise with the original ‘Tero’s Law of the Tower’; the Tower Never Asks. 102 See Adam McLean’s The Artwork of Modern Tarot website: www.alchemywebsite.com/tarot/ [last accessed 21 December 2009]. 103 Borges, J.L. ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’. In Labyrinths. Penguin: London, 1970, p.53. 104 Limitless Light – that unknowable which must be there if everything else which is knowable is here. 105 See Libet, B. Mind Time: The Temporal Factor in Consciousness. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 2004 for a neurobiological suggestion that, as the Guru Da Free John states succinctly, “it is always, already, too late” to do anything, decide anything, or exercise free will or embark upon any spiritual quest for truth. Everything that you ‘do’ is in your past – tarot included. Our best hope is to steer our course by the ongoing preparation of our past. Perhaps this is what Aleister Crowley meant when he said that the task of the Magician is to interpret their magical diary. Ultimately, we realise that the Magician’s question, when exhausted, becomes the Fool’s question. 106 Lévi, E. (edited by Waite, A.E.). Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual. Rider: London, 1968, p.92. 107 See the Femspec Journal website http://www.femspec.org/ 108 See the Mermade Magickal Arts website http://www.mermadearts.com [last accessed 29 December 2009].

Section 2, Part 2 Reading List To explore some more of the mysteries of ancient Egypt and its magic, I have listed a few titles which give a good orientation without the necessity of buying the other myriad titles proposing to reveal the ‘true secrets’ of Egyptian magic! I have also suggested the reference to Papus, and the best book on Crowley’s Thoth Tarot (in my opinion – but do buy Crowley’s The Book of Thoth also).

Ancient Egypt Farr, F. Egyptian Magic. Aquarian Press: Wellingborough, 1982. Particularly page 11 on the model of the soul according to the ancient Egyptians and its relevance to magical acts. Hornung, E. The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West. Cornell University Press: New York, 2001. Lurker, M. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson: London, 1994. Naydler, J. Temple of the Cosmos: The Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred. Inner Traditions: Rochester, 1996.

The Tarot of the Bohemians Papus. The Tarot of the Bohemians. Wiltshire Book Co.: Hollywood, 1973.

The Thoth Tarot DuQuette, L.M. Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. Weiser: York Beach, 2003.

Part 3: Tarot Dreamt, Tarot Realised In this part we will examine methods of engaging with tarot in our dream-work and imagination. These methods begin to bring the tarot into our experiential and inner worlds. Whilst rewarding, these still remain only rungs of the ladder, and it is important not to get too overwhelmed by the treasure house of images which these exercises will unlock.

3.1 The Fountain of Morpheus As you approach sleep, begin to visualise an elaborate garden of labyrinthine design. Proceed in your imagination to the centre of this garden, taking time to feel the evening breeze, inhale the perfumes of the closing flowers, hear the call of nightingales as the Sun begins to set, touch the overhanging leaves of the bowing trees, and see the evening sky darken in hue. At the centre of this garden at last come to a fountain of intricate design, drawing water from some hidden depth, splashing and playing in streams and jets upon marble dishes. Find a seat against the edge of the pool into which this fountain flows so that you can watch the individual globes of water as they fall in slow and precise patterns across your gaze. Notice that in each globe a nascent dream is being born – images swirling in moving crystal reflections. As you drift into sleep, find in one particular globe of water the dream you feel opening and fall into it, allowing yourself to enjoy the unfolding scenes, seeing what you would see, hearing what you would hear, feeling what you would feel in that very scene.

If sleep does not find you immediately, you may choose to emerge from one globe of water to another, enjoying wholly different and various environments as your unconscious ingenuity provides. Know that when you awake you will leave these flowing beads of water to return briefly to the seat by the fountain of Morpheus, so that you may recall your experiences before fully awakening. The practice of this meditation sequence prior to sleep, allied to the positioning of a notebook and pen by the sleeping space, will greatly improve dream recall and the vividness of dreams.

3.2 Senoi Dream-work The components of a dream may be developed through the perspective of tarot by asking the following questions in your journal. These are based upon the technique used by the Senoi tribe of Malaysia.109 1. What tarot card is the key to unlock this dream? This is found in the incomplete nature of the dream, the landmark (a term used in this context by René Guénon). Which tarot card would complete this dream? What was unresolved, what did the dream need that it did not possess? 2. What parts of the full Court are present in the dream? In the recording, retelling and recognising of the dream, we look at each symbol as a part of ourselves and identify those parts as Court cards. Where is the imbalance in the levels of energy and the elements when we do so? 3. What card is the main figure in the dream?

If the dream had a main figure, which card would it be, and what is the intent and message of that card in our life now? 4. What gift does the dream bring? We look at the dream and wonder which tarot card it brings us as a gift. Thus its benign power and role is acknowledged, and the card becomes a symbol to capture the essence of the communication and the intent. This card would make a far better ‘card of the day’ if you insist on performing that type of exercise. 5. What quest might I receive from the dream? If I was to look at the dream as presenting me a real world task, homework, assignment, mission, or quest, what would it be? Which card would picture that quest? A search for solitude such as The Hermit or the 4 of Swords? Or a challenge to shake up things such as The Tower? 6. What trophy do I gain from the dream? If I accept the dream as providing a quest, what card do I win as a result of that task? What is the reward of acknowledging and living the challenge of the dream?

3.3 The Inner Guide Meditation The Inner Guide Meditation (IGM) is a technique from the book of the same name by the late Edwin C. Steinbrecher.110 Since its publication in 1982, I have been using it to teach tarot and kabbalah to many hundreds of individuals and groups, with incredible results. I have also, more recently, used it in therapeutic practice to work with a range of interventions including inner child work, traumatic

memories, grief, and self-confidence issues. Its virtue is that it is reasonably straightforward, the client can work with it themselves, and it is extremely flexible. In Tarosophy, it allows us to enter into a psychological dialogue with the cards – specifically the Major Arcana – to affect change internally and externally. The process is self-guiding and intuitive, and contains its own safeguards. It can be used in tarot dream-work, tarot trancework and for exploring cards and spreads. I am astonished that this book and method is not widely known. It appears in an altered form without any due recognition or acknowledgement in Elias’ Finding True Magic (1999) where it is the main heart of the techniques given in that book.111 A variant form of a ‘shamanic journey’ appears in Mary K. Greer’s Tarot for Your Self. I would suggest that if you have any interest in integrating tarot, astrology or kabbalah into your daily practice, or offering a technique to do so for your clients or students, you go and buy Steinbrecher’s book right now. Here we will give an operational précis and offer some additional comments for utilising the technique with tarot, using NLP to deepen the experience, and a method from esotericism not covered in Steinbrecher.112

The Inner Guide Meditation Workbook – A Route-Map for Your Very Soul The IGM book also covers a wide range of astrological analysis of a person’s natal chart to map across to tarot correspondences. This provides a means of producing a workbook sequence of pieces of work to engage with one’s own personal psychic structure – what we call, at Tarosophy Towers, a route-map for your very soul. If you would like such a workbook, providing a guide to working for several months to a year on your own patterns you may contact the author

who has worked with leading astrologer Lyn Birkbeck to provide accurate, personalised and annotated workbooks.113

Exercise 25: The Inner Guide Meditation The Inner Guide Meditation (IGM) is a visualisation technique that follows a number of recognised steps in a specific sequence. Whilst it has commonalities with other techniques, notably ‘shamanistic’ guided meditations, it has its own plane of working and should be treated in its own context before widening it out to other practices or variations. 1. Visualise a beach, with your back to the sea, looking at the shoreline; 2. See a cave in the shoreline; 3. Walk across and enter the cave; 4. At the back of the cave, find an exit to the left leading out of the cave; 5. Exit out into a landscape; 6. Call for an animal to come and guide you to a place where you may meet your Inner Guide (IG); 7. Await the animal and then follow the animal to a place; 8. Meet with or await your IG; 9. Test your IG by requesting that they take your hands and transmit their feelings towards you through your hands. This should be an intense and loving experience. If this is not the case, ask your animal to take you to your IG; 10. Ask your IG to take you to a representation of a tarot card with which you wish to work – The Sun is a good starter card; 11. Ask the representation of the card what you can do to honour its energies in your daily life, and what gift it has to give you.

Once you have finished such work you can check with the IG if everything is accomplished, and then return with the animal to the cave and exit to the beach. Then from there you can allow the inner landscape to fade back into your imagination. This method should take anything between 20 to 50 minutes. The Steinbrecher book includes many questions and responses to issues that may arise during this practice, so I would again recommend its purchase. I have offered below my own techniques from NLP and hypnotherapy to overcome some of the common difficulties that people have with undertaking this practice or similar visualisation methods. There are a number of differences of opinion that I have found with Steinbrecher in almost three decades and many hundreds of people experiencing this technique. There are, however, two primary ones. Firstly, Steinbrecher states that the first ‘true’ guide (as you can have several over years) is always male. I have found exceptions to this statement, although the majority are male. The second difference of opinion is the relationship of the natal chart to the physical appearance and nature of the first guide – along with Lyn Birkbeck, I have some variations on this relationship. So do buy the book, keeping an open and experimental mind in practice. One of the major difficulties that people have with this technique is either trying to ‘see’ in visualisation or over-intellectualising the practice. I have offered two techniques below to assist you or your students where this may be happening.

Exercise 26: Over-Intellectualising Overcome Try this quick trick: use every fibre of your 'intellectual' conscious creating-ability to visualise an image of you on the beach looking

towards the cave, standing ahead of yourself (as you are when you first build the scene). However, this image of you is the version of you that dreams, is creative, and attuned to your unconscious, and will find the IGM a completely natural easy experience. What do you look like? What are you wearing? What expression do you have on your face? Really go for it – use your whole detailed intelligence to create the image. Challenge your intellect to really ensure that it is exactly the you that you would be if you were the sort of person who would easily go with the flow of the IGM. Now, when you are sure that you can't do any more detail, say to yourself, "Down I go!" (or similar phrase or word – it's important to have an auditory anchor to the state, as when you've done the practice a few times you'll be able to just use the phrase or word without the rest of the technique) and 'step into' that figure out of your existing 'intellectual' figure whom you should leave on the beach like a shell, ready for your return. Sort of like a ghost stepping out of one body into another. Look out through your new eyes at the figure you've just left, and you'll probably be quite amused ... then turn and go do the IGM in the best state you've just built for yourself.

Exercise 27: Working With Attachments This powerful method of working within the IGM allows you to transform old behaviour, compulsions, bad habits, or other attached thought processes. 1. Go to the Inner Guide (IG);

2. Ask the IG to take you to a place which connects to your childhood; 3. In that place, ask the IG to connect you to a tarot figure or give you an object that represents boundless curiosity (those exact words); 4. With that figure or object, amplify the feelings by exploring the place in which you have found yourself, paying attention to the detail of the inner landscape, looking underneath things, exploring as you would a new place as a child. Ensure that you are holding the object or the figure’s hand whilst you do this. Get excited, see what you can find, speak out loud to your IG with an excited voice, telling them everything that you find; 5. At some point, the IG will motion for you or ring a bell, or some such, to indicate that it is time to move on; 6. Ask the IG to now take you (whilst still accompanied by the figure or object representing boundless curiosity, which may now be glowing or luminous, or hot, or bouncing) to a figure which represents place attachment (those exact words); 7. When you arrive at that figure, ask (or request the IG to ask, if the figure is uncommunicative, as may be the case) the following, precisely, "What NEED of mine is it that you ensure is met?" 8. When you have been answered, and that need is identified, ask the IG to provide you with at least THREE new ways of thinking, or actions, or behaviour changes, that each MEET that NEED; 9. Ask the figure of place attachment if it is now willing to take on any or all of the three new ways of acting to be content, and in fact, be even happier that it now has new ways of getting what it does for you. Once it has affirmed this (if it doesn't, generate more from the

IG until it does), thank it for looking after you, and wish it well as it lets go of the old pattern and takes on more flexible and effective behaviour aligned to the rest of your needs; 10. Finally ask the IG to begin to merge the figure of place attachment with the object or figure of boundless curiosity until they are wedded to become a new figure (or object). This final step often provokes some very weird experiences, accompanied by unusual sensations and corresponding images in the inner landscape, so enjoy! Ask the IG how to integrate that new figure or object into your life and take it from there. As in all cases, of course, your IG might want to modify these instructions or elaborate upon them for your particular personality, value and belief system, or environment.

3.4 Coded Questions and the Inner Guide In 1923, the notorious magician Aleister Crowley recorded a typical clairvoyant session using Eddy Saayman as the seer.114 As with all of Crowley’s work, this was recorded in detail and demonstrates the working practice of testing the vision. This is a particularly esoteric technique that does not appear in Steinbrecher, yet is intrinsic to the Western Esosana of experimental magick. We do not take these visions at face value. In this case, recorded on 28 September 1923, Crowley utilised certain Hebrew names and symbols connected with Jupiter which Eddy would not have known, and Eddy returned information appropriate to the influence of Jupiter. Crowley wrote: “There is a sphere or plane not material in the ordinary sense, which is yet in some sense or other real, possessing definite laws, correlating its phenomena w[ith] human ideas of moral or intellectual order. These

phenomena can be produced and controlled by an irrational arbitrary system of traditional methods of Magick.”115 These arbitrary methods include testing by hexagrams of the I Ching, for example in an unpublished vision sequence by Lea Hirsig (Alostrael) recorded in April 1925.116 The seer would be presented the hexagram, about which they had no knowledge, and the entities in the vision would be expected to respond appropriately. In the Tarosophy version of the IGM method, we use coded questions to test the spirits and the personifications of the tarot cards that we may encounter in our meditations. These work best when given and guided by a partner who talks you though the visualisation and prepares coded questions in advance without your knowledge. A coded question is when the figures in the visualisation are given just letters or a code which stands for a question, without being told the actual question, which remains unknown also to the person performing the visualisation. It thus requires someone else to determine the questions and the code, although the person undertaking the visualisation may have a range of questions that they wish to be presented in this manner. Here is an example of a coded question from a typical IGM session in 1994, where the client was approaching a lot of issues with regard to their family. They had been taken by their IG to a personification of The Empress tarot card, in this visualisation named Betty. The person guiding them (in the outside world) had prepared a large number of coded questions by taking the first characters of the key elements of the questions, of which two examples follow: R.N.? A.C.?

“What can Bianca [the client] do to resolve the negativity caused by the character of her grandmother?” “How should Bianca approach contacting her mother

again?” There were about nine other potential questions which had been prepared. In the event, the external facilitator chose to present ‘A.C.?’ at a particular point, asking Bianca to ask her inner representation of The Empress (Betty) only the two letters, ‘A.C.?’ and describe the response. Bianca did not know the full question, of course, and the test is whether Betty has access to some other source of information with which to make an appropriate response. The response was typically direct, even for such a coded question. Bianca:

“Betty has given me a perfume-bottle, it has M on it, and the scent of lily of the valley. She gives me a pen to dip in it, I have to write something – to change something. Make the scent turn into something like a wood after rain. ‘Can send it backwards,’ she says.”

When the working was discussed with Bianca and the coded questions revealed, it was evident that the perfume was her mother’s favourite perfume, and that the suggested response was to write to her mother and make contact after a long separation. Given the directness of this response to a question that Bianca had no idea was being asked, she did so (i.e. made contact with her mother) and made good progress regaining her relationship with her mother, courtesy of Betty – The Empress! This is one of many thousands of examples collected over two decades of working with the IGM, tarot visualisations and coded questions, and I would encourage you to buy the Steinbrecher book, have an IGM workbook constructed for you and explore the techniques.

3.5 Clean Tarot Clean language is a system of working with metaphors which was modelled by Lawley and Tompkins, based upon the work of the therapist David Grove (1950-2008).117 This system has been introduced into a diverse range of communications including the work of many teachers, trainers, coaches, researchers, and the police.118 The language pattern which is the basic part of clean language is referred to as ‘clean’ as it attempts to not pollute the client’s representation of the world with any mind-reading from the practitioner. It therefore inserts the client’s own words, descriptions, metaphors, process statements, etc. into a framework of leading questions, intended to develop the metaphor into a more useful state. This process often opens up creative insights into the problem state, although in practice it is not suited to every client nor at all times. It is certainly powerful. I attended a clean language course in London and was running through an exercise in which we explored our metaphor for learning by initially drawing a picture. My partner in the exercise was a shamanic practitioner who had been attracted to work with me as my metaphor picture was plainly alchemical – unlike those pictures of the counsellors, coaches and teachers in the room. She took me through my metaphor of the Philosopher’s Stone and the crucible as a picture of learning, and from just a few well-chosen questions, culminating in the zen-like, “So, triangle is up. And when triangle is up, what happens to glass?” to which my verbal response was, “Glass reflects everything,” my state entered into a profound unification with Universe, which lasted for several minutes.119 I have found these questions most useful when used briefly to explore a metaphor offered by another, whilst also eliciting the spatial location and modalities of the experience. These can then be

utilised later when talking to the client about that state. The list of basic clean questions is given here (with a more advanced grouping for existing NLP practitioners or clean language coaches to utilise):

Developing (chunking up / down / across) 1. And is there anything else about [client’s words]? 2. And what kind of [client’s words] is that [client’s words]? 3. And that’s [client’s words] like what? Spatial (anchoring) 1. And where is [client’s words]? 2. And whereabouts [client’s words]? Moving Time (timelines) 1. And then what happens? 2. And what happens next? 3. And what happens just before [client’s words]? 4. And where could [client’s words] come from? In counselling with tarot, you can develop the card/s chosen during counselling through any particular method and extend their impact upon the client by using these questions.

Clean Language Syntax The syntax given expressly to utilise clean language is: And [client’s words]. And when / as [client’s words], [clean question]? That is to say, you could be talking about the Page of Cups in relationship to the client having dreamt about a similar card or character. The client may say, “Well, it’s like the fish is trying to escape the cup.” You could respond, choosing the first clean question to develop the metaphor: “And the fish is trying to escape the cup. And when the fish is trying to escape the cup, is there anything else about the fish trying to escape the cup?”

PAGE OF CUPS, Universal Waite Tarot

In practice, you can shorten the response as you progress, but this exact and strange syntax encourages a particular form of dialogue appropriate to tarot counselling. This is not like normal language, and you should practice the exact form – its precise usage tends to elicit a naturally trance-like state, with many people choosing to close their eyes to follow and respond to the questions. The client might respond with, “Anything else? Well, it looks like it didn’t fit in there.” To which you might choose to respond: “And it didn’t fit in there? And as it didn’t fit in there, that didn’t fit in there, that’s like what?” The client is likely now to start to discover that the dream is a release message of a situation in which they no longer personally fit, and you can develop this un-teasing of the metaphor using the clean language questions.

Advanced Relationship Questions A couple of slightly more advanced question from clean language are from the relationship questions between multiple metaphors – the living heart of a tarot reading: And when [client’s words / metaphor / tarot card] what happens to [client’s words / metaphor / tarot card]? And what’s between [metaphor / tarot card] and [metaphor / tarot card]? Even when doing the most simple 3-card or 5-card reading, you can gently prompt a querent to answer the question, “And what’s between the Ace of Cups and the 5 of Swords,” and you will get

astonishing answers to the client’s benefit and breakthrough. This is particularly an appropriate question for two cards in the present and future positions of a reading. Similarly, you might ask in a 10-card spread, “And when The Blasted Tower, what happens to Knight of Cups?” to further explore the cards as active metaphors in a client’s inner landscape. This form of question is ideal for deeper spreads where positions may relate to inner blocks and your resources, as an example.

3.6 Tarot and the Poet Whilst we come to look at tarot and haiku in our conclusion, we will briefly say here that tarot can be used – and is often used – to inspire writing. We saw earlier that the author Italo Calvino utilised tarot layouts to create intricate short stories, and his ‘Cities and Signs 1’ in Invisible Cities is a perfect description of tarot. Tarot has also been used to create poetry or has been incorporated in poetry, as in T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ (1922) where: Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, Had a bad cold, nevertheless Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she, Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor, (Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!) Here is Belladonna, The Lady of the Rocks, The lady of situations. Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,

And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card, Which is blank, is something he carries on his back, Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.120 The poet and tarot student Tabitha Dial has also utilised tarot in her work exploring identity and the creative process. Here is one of her poems, ‘The King of Pentacles’:

KING OF PENTACLES, Universal Waite Tarot

My wife sits beyond these walls, knows I am married to this stone, moat and mortar –

I’ve tangled with dark fruits, found leaves open at midnight.

she no longer comes to bed, says I don’t know what the drawbridge looks like anymore, and that I can no longer describe her eyes.

She no longer says, “Come to bed” but says she has grown older and I the same.

“Statue,” my vines – her voice – rasp in insult.

Daily, a servant replaces the roses on my crown, never turns her back.

Obsidian, she names me – my lips and lids have hardened. I am too comfortable to move.121

Working through an Arthurian mythos, Tabitha also created new suits for the deck, including the suit of Some Front (i.e. the battle is always busy on some front). She also developed the suit of Wounds and speaks of the “restlessness of the Court cards.” Thus we have the Knight of Some Front, whose aid is sought in self-discovery, “and on the cusp of his company, / another knight / reminds me I am I am / armored on the inside.”

Exercise 28: Creating a Tarot Story Split your deck into three piles containing the Majors in one, the Minors in another and the Court cards in the third. Shuffle each deck and lay them face down. Select cards from the appropriate pile as indicated below to create the cards for your story. The first card, choose from the Court card pile. This is the hero/ine, and depicts his or her ordinary life. What sort of character is s/he, and what sort of life does s/he lead? The next card is a Major card and is the call to adventure. What changes in this person’s life to start them on their journey? The next card is a Minor card and is the nature of their refusal to go on this journey or engage with this event or opportunity. What do they do? How do they respond? The next card, a Court card (or you can select a Major card) shows their mentor. Who or what encourages them, teaches them, provokes them to change, and how? The next card, a Minor, shows the first threshold that must be crossed in order to enter a different world. The next three cards

(choose from any pile) indicate the tests, allies and enemies that they encounter in this new situation. The next card, a Major, shows the next threshold and the nature of the inmost cave – the secret heart of this story, a revelation, where they encounter the ordeal (select a Minor or Major card) and gain the reward (select a Minor or Major card). They then take the road back to their starting-point (choose a Minor card) and cross a third threshold experiencing a transformation or resurrection. Finally, they return with a boon or elixir, a Philosopher’s Stone or gift to bring to their previous situation. This is indicated by the final card, a Major. This sequence is based upon the mythic journey or hero’s journey described by Joseph Campbell and recast in contemporary style for authors, playwrights and screenwriters in Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey.122

Exercise 29: Tarot Yoga The tarot can also be viewed as a sequence of asanas, or positions. Our body often remembers better than does our mind.123 To explore the tarot as a physical and kinaesthetic mapping, assume the position of each card in sequence.124 You may find that The Magician card, depicted by Pamela Colman-Smith with his arms in that particular position, is very powerful – but try holding it for some time! Many students remark on how unstable The Star position is in this deck, which leads to interesting embodied insight with regard to the stability of vision and hope.

MAGICIAN & STAR, Universal Waite Tarot

Exercise 30: Tarot Martial Arts, Music and Dance You might also like to try a kata or set of movements by taking out four cards from your deck and seeing if you can choreograph a sequence of intervening movements between each card’s depicted position. This will also allow you to explore the bridging strategy or in-between card between each pair of cards. It also encourages you to think of the whole deck as embodying snapshots of a sequence in movement, rather than a static artefact.125 You can also use the correspondences already existing in esoteric circles to create tarot music. The Hermetic Order of the Golden

Dawn member Allan Bennett researched the correspondence of sounds, colours and Hebrew letters to the zodiac and hence to tarot. His notes on the subject are published as ‘Of Flashing Sounds’ in Appendix III of The Golden Dawn Court Cards.126 Thus if you wanted to produce the ‘sound’ of the 10 of Pentacles, corresponding to the third part of the decan of Virgo, and ruled by Mercury, it would be in the scales of F (and colour green-yellow) and E (yellow). That ‘sound’ would include Beethoven’s ‘Pastoral’ (written in F) and J. C. Bach’s ‘Symphony No. 28 op. 18 no. 5’ (in E) as suitable mood music for this card and the evocation of its magic.

Exercise 31: Creating Your Own Tarot Deck In this exercise we will discover many novel decks that have the potential to revolutionise the tarot world. It is a very simple exercise – take a dictionary and a thesaurus and randomly open each to find one or two words, creating your new deck. This can be along the lines of ‘the Tarot of [chosen word]’ or ‘the [chosen word] deck’ or ‘the Tarot of the [first chosen word] [second chosen word]’. Interestingly enough, when I recently tested this exercise for this present book, the word in the centre of the page of the dictionary I opened was Sibyl, a reference to the prophetesses of ancient Rome. Thus I thought of the Tarot of the Sibylline, a long-lost tarot deck which illustrates the Sibylline books, and was the only artefact to be rescued from the fire of 83 B.C. at the Capitoline Temple of Jupiter.127 This particular imagined deck of tarot would be illustrated in the Graeco-Roman style, be written on tablets of cedarwood, and the method of divination would involve wrapping each card in wool, placing them in a box, and drawing out one of them for the divination.128 Whilst working with a tarot study group on this simple exercise, we generated over 20 new decks within 10 minutes, ranging from the

sublime to the twisted: • • • • • • •

the Paranoia Tarot (designed by Tali Goodwin); the Tarot of Repose (Goodwin); the Tarot of the Desirous Wildebeest (created by Liz Manison); the Tarot of the Inappropriate (by Brett Bradford); the Architect Deck (Bradford); the Iron Curtain Tarot (by Linda Hoyland); the Septic Tarot of Disease (Envisaged by Lucy Manera).

When engaging with this exercise, you might like to further detail your new deck by answering the following questions: 1. When this imagined deck arrives through the post, how is it packaged? We discovered that the Tarot of the Inappropriate came in a box with a collage of rather inappropriate scenes on it, each superimposed upon each other so that you couldn’t quite see the embarrassing detail of each scene; 2. Does this imagined deck have a unique structure? In the same Tarot of the Inappropriate, we immediately decided that the cards were in four levels of inappropriateness, ranging from the merely silly suit to the downright shocking suit. 3. Think of a particular Major and Minor card and imagine how it would be represented in your imagined deck. We had the 9 of Cups in the Paranoia Tarot being almost exactly the same as the Waite-Smith illustration, other than a terrifying pair of eyes peering out from the curtain behind the main figure! And you do not want to know about The Lovers card in the Septic Tarot of Disease! This exercise not only promotes novel thinking regarding tarot, but also encourages you to think about the themes, structure and illustration of all tarot decks. At some point, someone has generated the same idea – be it from a title or a theme, or a structure, and gone

ahead and made it manifest. Who knows how many of the infinite decks in the Akashic Records you will be able to imagine, and which perhaps one day you will help to manifest?

3.7 Reviewing Tarot Decks There is a booming business reviewing tarot decks, particularly online, as it feeds the collector, professional and enthusiast markets, and is relatively easy to do. A lot of tarot readers will rightly want to know a lot about a deck and its images before spending money. However, there are many very bad reviews. If you are going to review decks, please consider doing it from the most informed and aware position possible. I would recommend a basic knowledge of art criticism, a comprehensive knowledge of tarot history, and a wide knowledge of contemporary decks. Emily Auger’s Tarot and Other Meditation Decks and Helen Farley’s A Cultural History of Tarot are essential, as is Stuart Kaplan’s four volume Encyclopaedia of Tarot. It is also helpful to understand the perspective of the designer and artist, although this is arguable when reviewing from a critical standpoint. 109 After Johnson, J. (1975) in Lankton, S. Practical Magic: A Translation of Basic NLP into Clinical Psychotherapy. Meta Publications: Capitola, 1980, pp.210-12. 110 Steinbrecher, E.C. The Inner Guide Meditation. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1982. 111 Elias, J. Finding True Magic. Five Wisdom Publications: Seattle, 1999. Despite the lack of acknowledgement to Steinbrecher, this remains a useful book of techniques for those wishing to integrate NLP, hypnotherapy, trance work, and engagement with archetypal energies. 112 The book also features illustrations from a rare deck, the DOME Tarot Deck by the artist Sheila W. Ross. This was apparently published by Blue Feather Press in 1978.

113 See the Tarot Professionals website http://www.tarotprofessionals.com 114 Skinner, S. (editor). The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley. Neville Spearman: St. Helier, 1979, pp.196-8. 115 Ibid, p.198. 116 DD5, ‘Visions’, notebook, Yorke Collection, Warburg Institute, London. 117 Lawley, J. & Tompkins, P. Metaphors in Mind. The Developing Company Press: London, 2003. 118 See the Clean Collection website http://www.cleanlanguage.co.uk [last accessed 18 January 2010]. 119 See the Clean Change Company website http://www.cleanchange.co.uk [last accessed 18 January 2010]. 120 Eliot wrote in his notes for this poem, “I am not familiar with the exact constitution of the Tarot pack of cards, from which I have obviously departed to suit my own convenience. The Hanged Man, a member of the traditional pack, fits my purpose in two ways: because he is associated in my mind with the Hanged God of Frazer, and because I associate him with the hooded figure in the passage of the disciples to Emmaus in Part V. The Phoenician Sailor and the Merchant appear later; also the 'crowds of people', and Death by Water is executed in Part IV. The Man with Three Staves (an authentic member of the Tarot pack) I associate, quite arbitrarily, with the Fisher King himself.” The name of the clairvoyante he took from Aldous Huxley’s first novel, Crome Yellow. 121 Reproduced with permission of Tabitha Dial. 122 Vogler, C. The Writer’s Journey. Pan Books: London, 1999. See also Campbell, J. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Paladin: London, 1998. 123 See Miller, A. The Body Never Lies. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.: New York, 2005. Whilst specifically about the “lingering effects of cruel parenting,” is a wide-ranging exploration into the physical effects of psychological trauma. 124 See Gore, B. Ecstatic Body Postures. Bear and Company: Santa Fe, 1995; Frankiel, T. & Greenfield, J. Minding the Temple of the Soul. Jewish Lights Publishing: Woodstock, 1997. 125 See Williams, C. The Greater Trumps. Regent College Publishing: London, 2003, originally published 1932. This depicts the dance of the Major Arcana as a moving

relationship. 126 Mathers, M. & Westcott, W.W. (edited by Darcy Kuntz). The Golden Dawn Court Cards. Holmes Publishing Group: Sequim, 1996. 127 Vandenberg, P. Mysteries of the Oracles. Tauris Parke Paperbacks: London, 2007, p.254. 128 See Johnston, S.I. Ancient Greek Divination. Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester, 2008 for various methods of divination and magic during this period.

Section 2, Part 3 Reading List

Dream-work Corriere, R., Karle, W., Woldenberg, L. & Hart, J. Dreaming and Waking. Peace Press: Culver City, 1980. Faraday, A. Dream Power. Pan: London, 1973. Faraday, A. The Dream Game. Penguin: London, 1974. Hall, J.A. Jungian Dream Interpretation. Inner City Books: Toronto, 1983. LaBerge, S. & Rheingold, H. Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. Ballantine Books: New York, 1990.

Pathworking and Visualisation Ashcroft-Nowicki, D. The Shining Paths. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1983. Compton, M. Archetypes on the Tree of Life: The Tarot as Pathwork. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 1991. Denning, M. & Phillips, O. Magical States of Consciousness. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 1985.

Farrell, N. Magical Pathworking. Llewellyn: St. Paul, n.d. Glouberman, D. Life Choices & Life Changes Through Imagework. Mandala: London, 1989. Richards, S. The Traveller’s Guide to the Astral Plane. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1983.

Some Lesser-Known Fiction of Interest for Intermediate Tarot Reading Pleasure Cooper, L. The Book of Paradox. Dell: New York, 1973. “An occult odyssey through the Tarot to an inner world beyond the portals of death.” Features interesting tarot illustrations by Barbara Nessim. Dunwoodie, H. The Tarot Reader’s Daughter. Corgi Books: London, 2006. A hip contemporary fiction for teenagers. Roberts, W.D. The Tarot Spell. Lancer Books: New York, 1970. A gothic novel: “The Tarot cards cry vengeance on Catherine Sorenson – for a sin she never committed!” Contains very interesting tarot readings as part of the plot. Skibbins, D. The Eight of Swords. St. Martin’s Press: New York, 2005. One of a series of fictions about a tarot reading detective. See also the Tarot trilogy by Anthony, P. God of Tarot, Vision of Tarot and Faith of Tarot. Granada: London, 1980.

Some Recommended Tarot Titles for the Intermediate Reader

Dequer, J.H. Arrows of Light from the Egyptian Tarot. Kessinger. n.d., originally 1930. Greer, M.K. & Pollack, R. (editors). New Thoughts on Tarot. Newcastle Publishing: North Hollywood, 1989. Holy Order of MANS. Jewels of the Wise. Holy Order of MANS. 1974. Naylor, A.R. Tarot Abecedarian. Mandrake Press Ltd.: Thame, 1997. Ozaniec, N. Initiation into the Tarot. Watkins: London, 2002.

A Selection of our Tarot Books for all Readers Tarot Twist (Forge Press, 2010) Tarot Flip (Forge Press, 2010) Tarot Turn (in three volumes, Forge Press, 2012) Tarot Inspire (Forge Press, 2012) Tarot Face to Face (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012) Around the Tarot in 78 Days (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012) The Original Lenormand Deck (Forge Press/TGC, 2012) The English Lenormand (Forge Press, 2013)

Tarot Life (in 12 books, Forge Press, 2013) Abiding in the Sanctuary (Forge Press, 2013) Learning Lenormand (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2013) Easy Lenormand (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015) I-Ching Counters (Forge Press/TGC, 2015) Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015) Secrets of the Celtic Cross (Forge Press, 2016) Tarot Edge: Tarot for Teens and Young Adults (Forge Press, forthcoming 2016)

SECTION THREE: TAROT HIGH Advanced Tarot in a Spiritual Light for the Progressive Tarosophist, in which we explore Tarot, Trees and Tarosophy

Part 1: Tarot Tree, Tarot Path

1.1 Learning the Correspondences In the Western esoteric tradition Universe is seen as a living whole, a total system with integrated components. In this Universe, we are each part and parcel, and in ourselves a Universe in reflection of the whole. This is one meaning behind the initiate’s statement: “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” Another practical reading is that we are all created with the same matter that forms the planets, stars and galaxies. Not just that, but the very same processes and patterns that inform the opening of a rose, or the force of gravity, inform us equally. In a galaxy we see a spiral force flinging out vast arms of gas in huge swirls, and in a seashell we see the same spiral etched in the living fabric of Nature. It is in this context that we read correspondences. We cannot equate a car with a human being, but we can make correspondences between them: the pistons in the engine of a car obviously correspond to the valves of the heart in a body. The fuel tank for a car is the equivalent of what the stomach is to the body. Note that we do not say the tank is the stomach, but that they correspond – they are not the same. How does that help us? Well, it helps when explaining or learning one system, activity, behaviour, or object in terms of another. So, if you know that your car corresponds with a body, you know that you need to keep it fuelled – assuming you know that about a body. If I wanted to explain how a computer programme worked to a chef, I could make correspondences to a recipe and oven instructions.

In effect, all learning is through correspondence. We make links all the time, and our complex brain makes equivalent linked patterns of neurons to remember the information. A number of initiates of the Western esoteric tradition developed memory theatres and other devices to aid learning, many of which are still taught today to aid memory. In a magician’s Universe, these correspondences serve another purpose. As it is believed that all things are interconnected, these correspondences become powerful tools to align Universe and the self to the will of the self. There is a mystical argument that what happens is that both sides are aligned already, but for magical purposes we will assume that we are utilising our will with all our might and influencing Universe. A magician knows that s/he can make a correspondence between any number of systems that, to the unknowing eye, appear separate. So, the system of astrology can be matched to the system of emotions or desires. In astrology, the concepts of love and beauty have been attributed to Venus – the planet Venus is actually an inhospitable methane ball, very far from loving! However, that allows us to use the qualities attributed to the planet in that system to correspond with an emotion which we wish to evoke in a ritual, for example. Furthermore, we know that the planet Venus has been attributed to the incense sandalwood in the system of incenses. Thus, love can be seen to correspond with sandalwood across the three systems. Magicians have collated many tables of correspondences across as many systems as you can imagine. So, if you were doing a ritual to invoke the quality of love into your life, you would be able to select ritual objects that correspond to that emotion from crystals (rose quartz), animals (dove), colours (pink), music, etc. Using a suitable ritual template you could then organise a ritual activity using these corresponding items to perform a powerful

focusing of your life around that desired quality. This gathering together of correspondences shakes the web or provides a strange attractor and, through the interconnected Universe, aligns your environment accordingly. All of a sudden you get the party invitation and meet the person who then evokes the experience of love in your daily life. There are many reasons – and I’ve given you the practical one above, for the moment remaining secret about the more important and mystical ones (i.e. what this method of learning does to your awareness and what it prepares you for later) – to learn the correspondences.

Exercise 32: Learning the Correspondences Once you have learned to draw the Tree of Life, here’s a good sequence to follow, referring to the tables in the course material. 1. Learn the names of the Sephiroth. You should be able to write down the names in order of 1 to 10, and to write them onto a blank Tree of Life. Practice saying them out loud in order, from 1 to 10 then backwards from 10 to 1. As you learn more things about each of the Sephiroth, this exercise will prove a wonderful meditation, going up and down the Tree of Life. As an aid, you should also learn the English meanings of the words, e.g. Kether = Crown, Chockmah = Wisdom, and so forth; 2. Learn the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This takes a little more time, but persevere. It helps to lean the values at the same time. So, you should learn Aleph = 1, Beth = 2, Gimel = 3, and so forth. Learn all 22 letters and their values. If you wish to extend your learning, and have some fun and challenge, learn to draw the Hebrew characters as well. You

will find lots of useful wall charts online to help, if you search for ‘learning Hebrew’; 3. Learn the attribution of the Hebrew alphabet to the tarot cards. Many decks have the Hebrew letter corresponding to the card actually printed on the card. You should know that Gimel corresponds to The High Priestess card, or that Nun corresponds to the Death card, and so on, for all 22 letters and cards. One way of doing this is to put one card up by your bed or in a suitable place every day, and learn the letter in the morning, picturing the card, then remember it a number of times during the day, saying to yourself the letter – for example, “Resh” – whilst picturing the tarot card in your imagination. In three or four weeks, you’ll be able to evoke any tarot card by saying the corresponding letter. You’ll also begin to see why the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn temple, with its mass of symbology, is an almost overwhelming experience to someone who is immersed in correspondences. The temple becomes an entire alphabet of existence, and by simply moving between one position and another, or looking at a particular arrangement of tarot cards, a whole state of consciousness can be changed – once you’ve learnt the language; 4. To put these together, and without building an entire Golden Dawn temple (that’s a later exercise!) you should then learn the attribution of the letters (and hence the tarot and the values of the letters) to the paths on the Tree of Life. You should be able to draw a Tree, write on it the names of the Sephiroth, and mark on the paths which Hebrew letter and tarot card correspond. For example, you should know which Sephiroth are Yesod and Malkuth (Foundation and Kingdom), and that on the path between them is the Hebrew letter Tau (meaning cross) which corresponds to the tarot card, The World.

Once you have learnt these basic correspondences and their positions on the Tree, you can begin to elaborate by learning the astrological correspondences (for example, Mars corresponds with Geburah, and also to the path on which is The Blasted Tower tarot card, between Hod and Netzach). You can go on to learn any other sets of correspondences that appeal to you, using what you are interested in to guide your learning. What about the Egyptian deities, colour schemes, and so on? You can learn by doing artwork expressing the correspondences and mapping them onto the Tree. Which 10 film stars would you attribute to each of the Sephiroth? What 22 songs embody for you the paths? Over time you will find yourself organising your brain and your Universe into an interconnected, vibrant, living dance of corresponding elements which, to a magician, is exactly what it is.

1.2 The Kabbalistic Calibrated Spread The Tree of Life provides a comprehensive map of processes and relationships as an idealised structure. The kabbalistic scholar, Gershom Scholem, writes that the Sephiroth “constitute a wellstructured form, in which every part or limb operates upon every other, and not just the higher ones on the lower. The Sefiroth are connected with one another by means of secret ‘channels,’ tsinoroth, whereby each radiates into the other and in which the other is in turn reflected.”129 We will return to these secret channels later, but for now we will use our tarot and the basic Tree of Life model as a means of examining, exploring and explaining an event in our life. This method is particularly useful for exploring a long past event, one which was traumatic, crucial, life changing, or otherwise notable. It is best used to recalibrate one’s lessons and values which emerge from such events in our lives, whether we believe it to be resolved or otherwise. I would like to thank a particular intermediate group of students who allowed me to test this method with them using important and real life experiences.130

This is not just a simple reimaging of an event in the light of a tarot reading; it is a comparison of such an event against a congruent structure or map through correspondence. In this manner, we engage with our life experience, calibrating it to a map – refining both in the process. It also honours the structure of both tarot and kabbalah in using specific cards for the divination and comparing them to fixed cards upon the chosen map – in this case, the system of correspondences as developed and utilised by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The depth of this method and variety of outcomes and insights precludes a comprehensive overview of all potential results. The method will be presented and a sample reading given, with a list of some of the main routes of enquiry you might like to pursue on adopting this method.

The Method 1. This method uses only the Minor cards. Take the 40 Minor cards, Ace to 10 in each suit, from your tarot deck. Set the others to one side; 2. Consider the complex situation which you wish to explore. This could be a past event, unresolved, or a present unfolding where you wish to explore the lessons being taught or which you need to learn. In effect, this method provides a large contextual frame in which your life story can be explored; 3. Shuffle the 40 cards; 4. Lay the top 10 cards out, face up, in the pattern of the Tree of Life (illustrated below).

Tree of Life with Card Positions.

The First Analysis

1. Write down next to each Sephirah the numerical difference between the card number (Aces are 1) and the number of the Sephirah. This will indicate the areas in which the event is most aligned and misaligned to the grand cosmic plan or ideal template of creation. Example: You notice that the Ace of Swords has fallen into the position of Kether, the first Sephirah, numbered 1. Whilst further down the Tree, the 3 of Cups is in the position of Malkuth, numbered 10. This would indicate that the event was aligned in its conception, source and root – it started well and powerfully – but ended very misaligned; the 3 of Cups is 7 away from the ideal 10, perhaps suggesting that the nature of companionship (an interpretation of the card) stopped you from fully realising your ambitions in action. 2. You may also notice whether the alignments and misalignments are towards the top of the Tree or the bottom, to the left or to the right. This will indicate whether the event was on rocky ground at its commencement (upper Sephiroth) or completion (lower Sephiroth), or in the aspects of its energy (right pillar) or structure (left pillar). Example: There are several cards in your reading which are misaligned greatly; these are on the left hand side of the Tree spread as you are looking at it. These might be the 9 of Wands in position 3, the 10 of Swords in position 5 and the 2 of Cups in position 8. The cards on the other side of the spread seem more congruent, being the 3 of Cups in position 2, the 4 of Pentacles in position 4, and the 9 of Pentacles in position 7. The left hand column has a total variance of 17, the right column a variance of 3 – quite noticeable. This would indicate a major problem in the organisation of the event, the structure, the rules and regulations, or expectations, being on the pillar of form. The energy in the event was far more conducive to success, on the pillar of force; it was just wasted or misapplied in the structure.

The Second Analysis Now take a look at the Major tarot cards on the paths between the points of most divergence. They will indicate the archetypal forces that are required to calibrate and realign (restoration, tikkun, in kabbalah) the situation. Through the analysis of the Major cards at most stress, or most compressed, you can build a powerful model of the nature of the forces at play in the situation, and discern and divine the most appropriate actions and responses. Example: The 3 of Wands and the 2 of Cups are in the positions of Netzach and Yesod, the seventh and ninth Sephiroth. These ‘younger’ cards are appearing quite ‘late’ in the Tree. The path between Netzach and Yesod is that of The Star card. We thus discern that our vision and hopes are bringing too enthusiastic forces into play too early, embodied by the 3 of Wands and the 2 of Cups. Perhaps we had better curb our enthusiasm in this case.

1.3 The Seasonal Path Calibrated Spread So, a calibrated spread is a way of reading the cards against a set template or pattern; an idealised pattern in which the cards are already structured. This is not just a spread, as it is designed to be read as a measurement against an ideal layout of the cards. The difference between the cards as they are placed and what they ‘should be’ is the indication of how you measure up to the perfect situation. There are many ways of doing calibrated spreads. In addition to the kabbalistic one given above, I would like to give you the witchcraft version – the seasonal year spread. This spread uses only the Aces to the 8s of the Minor cards; so take out those 32 cards. You do not use the Majors, Court cards, 9s or 10s

for this reading. The path of the seasons has eight stations, each representing the cycle of the astronomical and agricultural festivals, from the Spring Equinox to the Winter Solstice, and Imbolc to Samhain. These are the eight positions of this spread: Imbolc / Candlemass; Spring Equinox; Beltane / May Eve; Midsummer; Lammas / Lughnasadh; Autumn Equinox; Samhain / All Hallows Eve; Yule / Winter Solstice. Ideally, the natural template of the first eight Minor cards to these seasonal festivals is: Imbolc / Candlemass Spring Equinox Beltane / May Eve Midsummer Lammas / Lughnasadh Autumn Equinox Samhain / All Hallows Eve Yule / Winter Solstice

Aces 2s 3s 4s 5s 6s 7s 8s

Shuffle your cards and then place one card in each of eight positions around a wheel, mirroring the eight festivals. Then turn up each card. Ideally, you should have an Ace in the first position, Imbolc; a 2 in the second position, the Spring Equinox, and so forth. It is rare that this will happen, of course. Each position represents that time of the year in your life, so although this is an annual spread, you can also condense it to cover a particular project by dividing its whole life cycle into the eight stations from initiation to completion.

Now you take the numeric difference between the festival number and the card that you have in that festival’s position. So, if you had a 4 of Cups in the first position, the Spring Equinox (1), the difference is 3 (4 minus 1). If you had a 7 of Pentacles in the fifth position, Lammas, that would be a difference of 2 (7 minus 5). It does not matter for basic interpretation whether one is higher than the other; simply take the difference between them. If you would like to consider an advanced way of reading this spread, you might think about the difference as representing whether you are too far ahead of yourself, or too far behind. The positions where the difference is small or there is no difference (i.e. the 8 of Wands in Yule) shows a time of great power and connectivity to that time of the year. The suit tells you in which sphere of life this power resides so that you can plan ahead and take advantage of that current. The positions where the difference is large (i.e. the Ace of Swords in Samhain) shows times of challenge and struggle. The card will indicate the nature of that challenge, allowing you to prepare for it in the intervening seasons. If there is a small difference, the card and energy is weak for that time, e.g. a difference of 3 or 4. So, a difference of: 0 Strong connection, powerful influence of that card 1 Quite strong, noticeable 2 Reasonably strong, enough to work with 3 Neither here nor there 4 Neither here nor there 5 Reasonably challenging, should take notice

6 Quite challenging, testing 7 Very challenging, major stress The general flow of the differences shows the pattern of alignment that you will have during the whole year, perhaps starting off close to the seasons, then diverging as differences amount, or the other way, or perhaps even a random spread. For advanced work, the cards in between the placed card and the ideal card (i.e. if you had the Ace of Swords in Samhain, position 7, this would be the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of Swords) demonstrate the lessons and tasks that you need to perform to bridge the gap of that challenging time. The tuned decks for this spread are the Druidcraft and Mythic decks. You can, of course, attune any deck for this spread.

1.4 Understanding the Kabbalah Through Tarot In this section we’ll look at kabbalah and come to understand it in a unique way, particularly suited to tarot readers. Kabbalah – a Jewish system of mysticism – has been extensively utilised and incorporated into Western esoteric practices for more than a century, and is the scaffolding upon which the most popular esoteric decks such as the Waite-Smith and the Thoth have been constructed. “Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvellous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books

on alchemy, in the ceremonies practised at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed.” So wrote Eliphas Lévi in his introduction to The Doctrine of Transcendental Magick (1855), where he further made clear his correspondence of the tarot cards to the Hebrew Letters – the first author to attempt to bring together these two sets of systems. That there are usually 22 Major tarot cards and 22 Hebrew letters is a reasonable foundation for such a synthesis, but we will find as we progress that there are quite remarkable patterns to be revealed by comparing the two systems. As above, so below. In this section, we will look at a way of contemplating tarot as illustrative of the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life, so that you can experience what the Sephiroth are about from your existing knowledge of tarot, before or whilst studying the kabbalah as a system in itself. The Tree of Life is pictured thus:

Kircher Tree of Life

The Tree is composed of 10 Sephiroth and 22 paths although, confusingly, the Sephiroth are often referred to as paths. The glyph is taken as a symbolic map of the creative act of Universe, and as

means of understanding the ineffable reality of Universe. Phew! Note that I always refer to the Sephiroth (plural) or a Sephirah (singular) as describing what are drawn as circles – this Hebrew word Sephirah means a numerical emanation and I don’t like confusing it by referring to it as a sphere or a circle. When people write about the ‘spheres of the Tree of Life’ I can only think of balls. In this section we’re looking at the Sephiroth, which have names in Hebrew that I’ve translated in the table previously. There’s another complication which I’m entirely ignoring today – that of Da’ath which is not a Sephirah but is often referred to as such, or drawn on the Tree. I’ve included it in the chart but you’ll notice that it isn’t drawn on Kircher’s Tree of Life (above) which was published in 1652 and is the most common layout in the Western esoteric tradition.

We’re going to look at the Hebrew letters that spell out the names of the Sephiroth and the tarot cards which correspond with them. In doing so, we will contemplate and experience how one system illustrates the other. Firstly, note that both systems – letters and cards – are hieroglyphic (pictographic and symbolic) – that is, both represent things other than what appears in the picture or shape of the letter. When Lévi wrote on the tarot “from a kabalistic point of view,” he called it a “hieroglyphic book ... composed of a kabalistic alphabet and of a wheel or circle of four decades.”131 That is to say, the Majors and Minors he saw as corresponding to the kabbalah, and the Court cards to Humanity. As an example of this symbology, the Hebrew letter Lamed, , has a meaning of ox goad, which one could discern from the shape. It also has a value, 30, and other meanings, such as learning by rote, training, instructing. Any trainer or teacher on a bad day will recognise the relationship between a letter shaped like a stick to beat docile cattle and the process of teaching! Furthermore, the letter Lamed is also spelt out like a word; in this case, Lamed, Mem, Daleth, LMD (Lamed). This means, unlike in the English alphabet, where L is just a L, the sign for the letter Lamed, pronounced similarly to the L of English, is much more – a word, a literal meaning, a shape, a symbolic meaning, and a value. You will already know that this is the same with the tarot cards – each embodies a word, such as Justice, a literal meaning like “A court case is possible,” a set of interpretative meanings, such as “You will come to need balance in your life,” and a value, in this case, “It is time to concentrate equally on your own resources more than those you give to others.”

Exercise 33: Three Cards to Unlock the Crown

Now, let us quickly look at three particular tarot cards. You may want to try this exercise before reading further – and I would guess your tarot cards are not too far away. Take the cards: The Wheel of Fortune The World The Sun

WHEEL, WORLD & SUN, Universal Waite Tarot

Lay the cards out next to each other, and build up an overall feeling for the nature of these cards, using the pictures, colours, movement, energy, meanings, values, and what you know about the cards. See if you can sum it up in a sentence, and then see if you can summarise the sentence in one word. Imagine that the cards are cogs in a machine – what sort of machine would this one be? Or parts of an engine – what sort of engine would it be? Or imagine that light shines through each one as a prism – how would such light be changed by each encounter, and how would it emerge differently from the pure light that entered?

For best results, try this out before reading any further. When a group on a recent course were given these cards they came up with ideas such as it keeps going, perpetual, infinite, cyclical, it happens regardless, independent, and when looking at the pattern further they noted that it seemed to unfold in the order presented, something emerging. The three cards were seen as change – centring – opening and the overall word chosen was emergence. I hope that you’ve had the opportunity to contemplate these three cards before reading the above, and before I give the game away. This is your last chance to discover for yourself what you already know about kabbalah. So, those three cards are chosen because they correspond to three particular Hebrew letters. That is to say, in the system of correspondences used by the Golden Dawn (there are some variant correspondence systems, these are the three tarot cards on the same paths of the Tree of Life as the Hebrew Letters: Kaph (K) Tau (Th) Resh (R) And those three letters are the spelling of the Hebrew word, Kether, meaning Crown, and the name of the first of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. This Sephirah in kabbalah is seen as the first, primal cause of Universe – the Divine Creation – and the Point from which everything else emerges. So look at the meanings you came up with, or as given from the class example earlier. Were you close? The group on our course was literally spot-on.

The tarot cards have become illustrations of the most sublime mysteries of the Tree of Life. You have now used your knowledge of one system to illuminate the mysteries of another system, through the magick of correspondence. The nature of Kether could no better be pictured than with these three cards, and by contemplating them often, you could discover many more things about how Kether is seen within kabbalah – particularly as you read more kabbalah.

Exercise 34: Four Cards to Unlock Understanding And, of course, now you know this rather simple secret you could get your deck out and look at another of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, that of Binah, the third Sephirah, often seen as the Divine Feminine or form aspect of the Tree. This is spelt in Hebrew, as you will see on the chart of names, as: Beth (B) Yod (Y) Nun (N) Heh (H) So, using our table of correspondences, we can see that these correspond with the tarot cards: The Magician The Hermit Death The Emperor

Now there’s an interesting and powerful combination of cards, that’s for sure. Who would have thought that these four ‘male’ characters symbolised the ‘great mother’ of the Tree of Life, Binah? I won’t give too much away here, as these contemplations are best processed in your own experience, but think of The Magician as managing creation, The Hermit as being, Death as transforming all that exists from one state to another, and The Emperor – using another set of correspondences to the zodiac – as Aries, the creative energy. Perhaps in your contemplation of these same cards you will uncover other relationships between the images and your understanding (which is what Binah means: understanding)? How do these cards picture what understanding is like for you? Or you can reverse it, and think of how as a trainer and teacher, or anytime you are trying to communicate some point of learning to someone, to give them understanding, it works like this: The Magician – what resources are you going to use to illustrate the point? The Hermit – what examples do you have that demonstrate the point? Death – how will you know when you’ve taught what it is that you’re teaching? What will have been changed? The Emperor – what do you want the other person to do, act upon, your point? Still using these cards illustrating Binah, understanding, you may even choose to try an intermediate exercise and look at the Sepher Yetzirah – a truly difficult document, but source material for much of Western esoteric kabbalah – through the perspective of the tarot. Take, for example, what the Sepher Yetizrah says of Binah, seen as the third path: “The Third Path is the Sanctifying Intelligence, and is the basis of foundation of Primordial Wisdom, which is called the

Former of faith, and its roots, Amen; and it is the parent of Faith, from which virtues doth Faith emanate.”132 Can we see pictures of sanctification, wisdom and faith in those same four cards of The Magician, The Hermit, Death, and The Emperor? How is Amen pictured? Perhaps in the Death card? The potential contemplations and illuminations possible within this pair of correspondences is truly unlimited, and I would recommend any student of tarot wishing to approach the mysteries of the Western esoteric kabbalah to at least investigate the basic sets of attributions, perhaps by examining the names of the 10 Sephiroth.

1.5 The Mystery of the Kingdom I’d like to conclude by noting just one of the many mysteries given in the simple correspondences between the Hebrew letters and the names of the Sephiroth. If you take the letters of the word Malkuth, meaning Kingdom (as in “thine is the Kingdom” in ‘The Lord’s Prayer’), you have the letters M L K V Th. These letters have the following meanings and correspondences: Mem corresponds to The Hanged Man Lamed means goad Kaph means palm of hand Vau means nail Tau means cross Have a look at that. Even within the words are the symbols and meanings discovered; in this is a picture of the sacrifice of Kether to

manifest Malkuth. I believe that there’s a myth in some religions which covers the same ground. As above, so below.133

The Hebrew Letters

1.6 The Mystery of the Rainbow The lower Sephiroth of the Tree of Life contain a useful model to evaluate everyday experience through tarot correspondences. This map is called Qesheth, the Hebrew word for rainbow or bow. It is spelt in Hebrew: Qoph-Shin-Tau, QShTh. The attached diagram details the components of this model. By mapping an event, plan, experience, activity, or process onto this model one can examine and evaluate it, discovering factors that might be causing imbalance, or a drift of energies focused too strongly in one area, ignoring another.


The paths forming the word QShTh are seen on the diagram and demonstrate that experience should be reflected upon (Q), decisions and actions made (Sh) and the result re-evaluated (Th) as a whole, feeding back into itself time and time again if necessary until the situation is rectified. The paths correspond to The Last Judgement tarot card (Sh), The World (Th) and The Moon (Q). In turn, these have the attributes of: The Last Judgement The World The Moon

Doing it, action Getting it together Going round it again

Apply this model to at least one event and map it onto the lower Sephiroth of the Tree. Note the results of re-evaluating the situation, and returning to it. What changes? Does the cycle have to be repeated a number of times? How is this described by the tarot images? Are there areas where you are paying too much attention and time, and a path where you are weaker?

You can, if you wish, map the situation to the other triad above Yesod, using the cards: The Sun The Star The Blasted Tower

Seeing it clearly The vision to which you aspire Clearing the space

There is a further secret teaching with regard to the arrow which this bow fires up the paths on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life. If you would like to solve this riddle, take a look at the archer and its corresponding tarot card – particularly the Waite-Smith version. It is incredible how these correspondences work, including the astrological shape being an exact mapping to the configuration of the paths involved in the arrow (which is also intimated by the WaiteSmith tarot card).

Table of Hebrew Letters Spelt in Full

Table of Correspondences

The astrological correspondences are allocated according to the division within the Hebrew language itself. That is, the Hebrew letters are divided into three ‘mother’ letters, seven ‘double’ letters and 12 ‘single’ letters as follows: Mother letters: Double letters:

Single letters: To the mother letters are allocated the three elements of Air, Fire and Water. The double letters have the seven ‘visible’ planets attributed to them, and the 12 single letters have the constellations of the zodiac attributed to them. The element of Earth is allocated to Tau with the planet Saturn.

1.7 The Wedding Day: A Kabbalistic Tarot Journey

This working was designed to evoke the archetypes of the 22 Major Arcana of the tarot deck within a guided visualisation exercise.134 It followed a series of intense workings of a similar nature by a New Age discussion group in Geneva during 1988. Having worked through the Sephirah and paths of the Tree of Life, it was requested that a working be composed to briefly summarise the respective energies and characters of the Major Arcana. It was hoped to evoke the sequence and process embodied by the 22 cards, more so than the individual energies of each card. This following piece was the result. It was worked originally with a full group of 13 people, but has since been followed over the years by numerous individuals. It can be extremely powerful as it works with the entire creative sequence of the Major Arcana, so if you are finding yourself faced with blocks or obstacles in your current aims and ambitions, it will often lead to you finding, dreaming or being provided in some magical way the solution to those blocks to creativity. This can sometimes prove challenging to your present state. Ideally, it is best worked by having a partner read the working to you slowly, whilst you relax with closed eyes and visualise the images. Allow for a small hand signal if you wish to request a pause in the working to allow further exploration of a particular event or character as described in the working. I would not recommend spending more than one hour in a particular session, due to the strain that this may place on you. It would be far better to end the working at a convenient place and return to it after a day or more. Another way of performing the working is to record it to tape with pauses at particular moments, and then play it to yourself when you are ready to commence the meditation. It can also be effective if read a few times before sleep, allowing dreams to communicate the response to the many images and archetypes evoked within the working.

The Wedding Day Closing your eyes now, you feel yourself standing in a simple room, clearly lit, with a plain black floor, looking out through your own eyes as you relax in the room around you. Ahead of you is a single door upon which is depicted the tarot card of The World. The air smells dry and stale, the walls of the room are cool to the touch, and the room is utterly silent aside from the sound of your deepening breathing as you allow yourself to relax and the detail of the room to build around you. And as the details of The World card become clearer ahead of you, the door opens and the strangely garbed figure of the Fool enters the room. He gives you a stick and a bag, and asks if you would like to accompany him on his journey. Almost without giving you time to answer, he turns and dances out through the door. Choosing to follow him, you step through the door and find yourself in a rainbow coloured room, in the centre of which is a complicated clockwork machine, in constant movement and making a dinning cacophony of sounds and noises. The Fool tells you that this is a vision of the machinery of Universe, and as you examine the contraption more closely, you see that it is powered by motes of light, seemingly flashing in and out of existence – randomly - within the confines of the machine. On the other side of the machinery is a single door, upon which is painted The Last Judgement card. The Fool takes your hand and leads you through this door into a long chamber full of fire, but as you pass through it seems that the fire passes through you and within you, purifying you; burning away all the unwanted thoughts and emotions that restricted you in the past, leaving you feeling sharp and pure and focused. The Fool laughs as the sound of a trumpet urges you forward. At last you reach the end of the chamber where a large arched gateway is decorated with the card of The Sun.

“Onwards!” laughs the Fool as you enter through the gateway into a sunlit meadow. Feeling the Sun high above you, glowing warmly down upon your skin, you pass across the meadow until you come to a great wall engraved with the signs of the zodiac. The Fool shows you how to climb this wall, but you find that you have to leave your shoes behind in order to get a grip upon the wall with your bare feet. On the other side of the wall you drop into a twilight garden, where pale moonlight filters through the passing clouds above. As you walk the garden path, the Fool pauses by a pool and, looking at his reflection, jokes: “Mirror, mirror on the floor, who is the most foolish of us all?” You cross the garden and begin to leave it further behind as you make your way up steeper wilder slopes, towards a very bright star in the sky ahead. “Onwards!” yells the Fool as you reach the top of the slopes and lightning begins to play around you in the night sky. Further up the path you see a tower struck by lightning, and avoid the toppling masonry that falls around you. You get the impression that the tower is often rebuilt only to suffer the same fate time and time again. Your path now leads into the mountains and you arrive at a cave entrance. “Down we go!” cries the Fool, as you descend into the dark underworld through a long tunnel. The tunnel is suddenly blocked by the hulking figure of the Devil, who glares down at you with malice and anger. “Give him the food,” whispers the Fool, and you reach into your sack, having perhaps forgotten it was there, to find some food which you can offer the Devil. This you do, and the Devil lets you pass after ensuring that your bag is now completely empty. “That always fools him,” says the Fool in a conspiratorial whisper, “He can never know where we’re going, so he always thinks that he’s in charge and getting the best deal. Little does he know!” Going further down now, following the Fool down carved steps into the dark, you come to a flooded cave where you have to cross a

narrow bridge, with one foot in water which runs down one side of the bridge, and one foot on the dry side of the bridge. A deep gorge opens both sides as you make your way carefully forwards. The Fool suggests that you use your stick to balance, like a tightrope walker. “You see,” he says, “Couldn’t have done that with a full sack on just one end, could you?” The bridge enters into a low tunnel from which the water flows. The Fool tells you to take off any jewellery that you might be wearing, or otherwise you will drown at this point. Once you have done so, you can enter the flooded tunnel and begin to swim up the stream, finally coming out to the open air and sunshine again. “Onwards!” smiles the Fool. You walk through a beautiful landscape in which everything is as perfect as you could possibly imagine a place to be. “Just like a vision of beauty,” adds the Fool. A moment later, you come across a crowd of people surrounding a man hanging by his feet from a noose tied to a tree. A judge sits in front of the figure, and the crowd is silent, awaiting his verdict. But the hanging figure looks at you and you see a strange peace and understanding in his eyes, which he shares with you. The judge spins a roulette wheel on a table in front of him, and the ball falls into number 23. The crowd cheers, but the Fool takes your hand and leads you away before you can see what the result means. You continue to walk through the idyllic landscape, until you begin to rise up into hills and mountains again. A bright light appears on the path high above you. “That guy again,” says the Fool, “You can never see him, because he’s always ahead leading the way. I guess he’s more interested in people getting to where they need to go, not just following to find him.” “Onwards!” continues the Fool. Passing through the mountains safely, you enter a rough terrain with wild plains surrounding you. Suddenly, after a moment of walking you are surprised and trapped by lions. They snarl and roar, but the Fool just grins inanely at them. He seems

to have gone through all this before. As you stand, a beautiful woman approaches and smiles at the Fool, and at you, and then reaches down and quiets the lions. She points out some directions to the Fool, then walks away, the lions following her, purring like kittens. “She has that effect on me, sometimes,” the Fool muses, but then, “Onwards! Onwards! Mustn’t stop, even for her!” With this, he takes you a little further across the plains until you reach a chariot, where an armoured knight sits waiting, two sphinxes reined ahead of him, waiting for you to step up with the Fool onto the chariot. As soon as you do, the chariot races ahead across the plains towards a great walled city in the distance. “Soon be there!” shouts the Fool. You enter the city, and pass through streets lined with celebrating people – there appears to be a royal wedding taking place today. “To the inner court,” the Fool yells excitedly, “I’m expected and so are you!” The chariot brings you to the front of a great palace and you dismount to press your way through throngs of celebrating people, perhaps recognising a face here and there from your past, and then from your present, and even seeing faces that you have yet to meet. You realise that the city is composed of everyone that has had some bearing upon your life, and that here in this place they all have a part which they play, small and large. The Fool says, “Yes, but the best thing is that the city is dancing!” At last you come to the gate of a great inner palace, built upon a carved mountain in the very centre of the city. You are stopped by a high priest, but the Fool engages him in jesting conversation, and as he is distracted, you sneak past. A moment later the Fool rejoins you. “Good man,” he says, “But takes things too seriously and can miss the action sometimes. But he has a lot to say when you’re ready to listen.” “Oh!” continued the Fool, “But it’s almost time!” as you enter the inner courtroom of the palace. Nobles and merchants line the courtroom, forming a long corridor through which you proceed. As you walk down the line you see ahead of you the Emperor and Empress of All

Things, sat upon thrones, radiating intense power and love. Behind them you sense the even more powerful energy of the magician, and the more lovely mystery of the high priestess, but they appear content at this time to remain less visible. The Fool approaches the royal couple and speaks clearly, “Congratulations on your wedding, and the harmony you bring to Universe!” He continues, “And for my gift, on this day of unity and joy, I have brought you,” and with this he pauses, turns and winks at you, “I have brought ... my SELF!” The Fool, with this word, gives you a final smile and claps his hands sharply, once, together. For a moment, you sense the entire scene expand outwards, encompassing the thrones, the palace, the city, the mountains, plains, caves, and chambers, all the way to the door of Universe through which you first began; then the entire vision is drawn backwards to a single point that is at once everywhere within you and outside you ... and nowhere now ... ... that you slowly become aware of your body in a time that is now, and return comfortably in your own time to open your eyes bringing all that you have learnt with you ...

1.8 The Celtic Cross Unpacked In this section to conclude part one of our advanced work, we will explore the so-called Celtic Cross spread, from its usual publication to its earliest origins. In doing so, we hope to demonstrate how often tarot myth gets written and how common misunderstandings get promulgated in tarot material. With such research taking many years to conduct and often relying upon luck it is no wonder – but still unfortunate – that websites and books rely on ‘cut and paste’ without checking sources. There are fascinating mysteries in tarot in even the

simplest, apparently well-known spreads and decks. Tarosophy requires patience and research, not cut and paste!

Introduction The Celtic Cross spread is arguably the most well-known tarot spread in general usage. Here’s what it says on the popular tarot.com site: “The 11 positions of the Celtic Cross offer enough detail to represent complex situations, which is why it has been the standard tarot spread for hundreds of years.” In this section we will be looking at the actual known history of this spread and clarifying some of the confusion that might surround it – either in the name of the spread itself, the history or the practical method of reading the cards in the spread. We start with what appears a simple question – “Why is it called the Celtic Cross?” – and we will use this as a gateway into many other areas of tarot. And as with any research, this examination raises more questions than it answers, although we hope that it excludes some previously given answers. Also, there is still ongoing research which will be made available in future editions of Tarosophist International magazine. Importantly, we exclusively present here the first published photographs of the earliest hand written and typescript versions of the spread from the archives of the Golden Dawn, the Hermetic society which was founded in London in 1888 and flourished for about 20 years. We also provide full transcripts of these two primary and original documents. We will look at a number of members of this society and their role in creating the original Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, with which – as we will discover – the Celtic Cross is inextricably associated.

We hope that this section presents all tarot students and readers with an examination of the way in which tarot history, myth and presentation gets confused over time, and the manner in which we can now work on rediscovering our roots, which are often far more curious and interesting than the wishful thinking and unfounded speculation that too often surrounds tarot. We are quite prepared to question anything here and reverse our thinking – that’s what research is about: two steps forward, one step back. It may be that the author suggested here simply copied his work from Waite’s published version, in which case, without accurate dates, we are no further forward than having a few more early documents. The extensive reading list at the end of this section provides many possibilities for you to research the history of this spread, deck and those involved in their creation. The books listed also cover much of the history of the Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn, the original backdrop of so much of our current Tarosophy.

The Spread The Celtic Cross spread can be found in most books on tarot. A selection of introductory books and learning guides gives a range of descriptions for the spread; in Learning the Tarot (Bunning, 1998) it is “probably the oldest and most popular pattern”; in Tarot Readings and Meditations (Pollack, 1986) there are almost 70 pages devoted to examples of reading the spread; in Tarot Made Easy (Garen, 1989) it appears as the Keltic Cross; in the popular Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice (Connolly, 1979) the spread is described as “a very ancient method”; whereas in the Mythic Tarot (Sharman-Burke & Greene, 1986) it is merely “one of the oldest” spreads.

The spread is often described as being presented by A. E. Waite or recommended by him (as in Tarot Plain and Simple, Louis, 2003), published by him, and so forth. Over time, this conflation has led to the spread sometimes – as in a live discussion thread on one Tarot forum – being termed ‘Waite’s Celtic Cross’ method. The Celtic Cross spread itself consists of 10 cards, of which actually only two are crossed; then four are placed around the two, and a short line of four cards is placed to one side. Most authors explain this layout as representing the title by illustrating or describing the cross as the central cross of a Celtic cross, the surrounding cards as the knotwork, and the cards on the right as the stave (as in SeventyEight Degrees of Wisdom, Pollack, 1980 and 1983) or stand of the Celtic cross itself.135 We will see that this was neither intended in the design, nor the title which is spurious to the spread itself.

The Publication The first known publication of the method is to be found in A. E. Waite’s monograph, The Key to the Tarot, of which a first edition can be found in the British Library with its wonderful moiré patterned cover with ouroboros serpent (see also The Story of the Waite-Smith Tarot, Jensen, 2006, p. 135). This was optionally bundled and boxed with the Waite-Smith cards being published also by Rider (London) in December 1909 and into 1910. Here it is simply referred to by Waite as “a short process which has been used privately for many years past in England, Scotland and Ireland.” He goes on to say, “I do not think that it has been published – certainly not in connexion with Tarot cards; I believe that it will serve all purpose.”

Immediately following versions of the same work, now re-titled The Pictorial Key to the Tarot and including illustrations of the cards, published a year later in 1911, contain an apologia by Waite for his dealing – as an “exponent of the High Mystery Schools” – in divination methods. He goes on to state that: “I have given prominence to one method of working that has not been published previously; having the merit of simplicity, while it is also of universal application, it may be held to replace the cumbrous and involved systems of the larger handbooks.” In this title, it is now referred to for the first time as an ‘Ancient Celtic Method of Divination’ – so even here it is not a Celtic Cross! The Celtic descriptor is applying to its (spurious) geographical usage, not the shape of the spread. As we will see, it is unlikely that the spread was commonly used other than by a few people, and the “many years past” Waite refers to are likely to be about 15 to 20 years at most. So, in Waite’s typical style, instead of writing, “this method has been used privately by a few individuals over the last 15 years, living in various parts of the country,” we get an intimation that it is an old Celtic method which he is revealing for the first time. This should already ring alarm bells as the Celts – to my knowledge – didn’t have tarot cards! There are other significant differences in the text between the two versions – and following versions of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. One such difference is that in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot we are told what to do if the final (tenth) card is a Court card. There are other differences, but time prevents collating every edition and performing a textual analysis across the versions. Jensen (2006) discusses the popularity of the spread, and goes on to conclude with the open question: “Where Waite found inspiration for it is not known, but the interest in everything Celtic was typical for the time.”

Indeed, Waite was fascinated – as was Yeats, a fellow Golden Dawn member, and several other members of the Order, notably Mathers and Florence Farr – by Celtic revivalism. His rather neglected 1927 novel, The Quest of the Golden Stairs, is a naïve tale of loving and longing of a Celtic Faëire realm. It is this fascination and meeting of particular minds within the Golden Dawn Order that provides us our major clues and backdrop for the Celtic Cross spread and it is where my research took me – into the original archives of the Order, held within the Yorke Collection of the Warburg Institute, University of London.

The Background The use of tarot and its correspondence to astrology, kabbalah and other systems was a central component of the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in London, 1888, by Westcott, Mathers and Woodman. They took the concept of tarot and merged it with the tracing boards of Freemasonry to utilise tarot as ritual tools: a candidate would be shown tarot designs as part of their initiation work as illustrating their magical progress. As such, tarot was a teaching tool and magical map, rather than a mere means of fortune telling. However, the Order did have a method of divination called the Opening of the Key. This required knowledge of the Holy Name, YHVH, Hebrew letters, the astrological, elemental and planetary correspondences of the tarot on the kabbalistic Tree of Life, and an ability to appreciate numerology and the dignities between correspondences. As such, it was a long, drawn-out affair, that in practice takes several hours to work through five stages of reading, with many days then required to fully interpret the reading, particularly if one has also paired the cards for additional depth as suggested in the technique.

A good example of this method of reading is given in Women of the Golden Dawn (Greer, 1995) where readings performed by Annie Horniman (1860-1937) in 1903 are given and a page of her original notes are presented, all using the Opening of the Key method. It is of importance that we see that she sent these readings to W. B. Yeats – by his magical name, (D)emon – for his additional comment, demonstrating his knowledge of the subject at that time. The tarot cards used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn were hand drawn, and some were drawn by S.L. MacGregor Mathers, William Wynn Westcott and others to be copied by members. Other members had Italian decks, but there was little choice in decks – certainly not to the extent that would follow after Smith and Waite’s 1909 deck. It was into this Order that a number of significant personages found themselves being initiated, including the poet W. B. Yeats, the artist Pamela Colman Smith and the verbose mystic and poet A.E. Waite. It is these three, with one other, that we now turn to explore the origins of the Celtic Cross spread.

The Originators We know that the deck which was published (with the accompanying monograph first revealing the spread) was proposed by A. E. Waite and illustrated – with probably a reasonably freehand design – by Pamela Colman Smith during an incredibly short period of time; the seven months between April and October 1909. Unfortunately we have only one letter (Pamela Colman Smith to Alfred Steiglitz, 1909) and a few memoir notes (Waite) referring to the nature of this collaboration, and these remain ambiguous. We can compare the length of production of this deck to the several years it took for Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris to construct the other

monolithic tarot of the age, the Thoth deck – in many ways the darker and deeper shadow of the Smith-Waite deck. There is, however, another originator in the background. In an article in The Occult Review (Volume X, No. 12, 1909) entitled ‘The Tarot: A Wheel of Fortune,’ Waite stated that as he and Pamela Colman Smith designed the deck: “... we have had other help from one who is deeply versed in the subject.” Roger Parisious136 suggested that this help came from Yeats.137 Here is the original quotation from The Occult Review: “This being the case, and recurring for a moment to the fact that the Tarot, as I have said, is in the air, while many people who divine – and a substantial minority who are students rather than dippers at random into the chances of fortune – are all in want of the cards, I have embraced an opportunity which has been somewhat of the unexpected kind and have interested a very skilful and original artist in the proposal to design a set. Miss Pamela Coleman Smith, in addition to her obvious gifts, has some knowledge of Tarot values; she has lent a sympathetic ear to my proposal to rectify the symbolism by reference to channels of knowledge which are not in the open day; and we have had other help from one who is deeply versed in the subject. The result, and for the first time on record, is a marriage of art and symbolism for the production of a true Tarot under one of its aspects; it should be understood that there are others, but whatever has transpired about them or is likely to be related hereafter is and can only be concerned with a part of hidden system and will mislead rather than direct.” The nature of this “other help” is, of course, not specified. Does it mean help not in the design and production, but in providing material and interpretation, or financial assistance, or something else, perhaps research for a divinatory spread, which was not Waite’s primary interest at all? Or does it simply mean additional help with the design and production? Certainly it is hard to imagine Waite working with

another in design, and Coleman Smith almost certainly was not assisted in her drawing. The only thing that we know for sure is that it was one whom Waite considered – or promoted as – one “deeply versed” in tarot.

The Method of the Spread Here, for reference, we reproduce the method as given in the The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. We see that in this slightly later edition, the spread was now entitled an ‘ancient Celtic’ method rather than simply another method. The Art of Tarot Divination We come now to the final and practical part of this division of our subject, being the way to consult and obtain oracles by means of Tarot cards. The modes of operation are rather numerous, and some of them are exceedingly involved. I set aside those last mentioned, because persons who are versed in such questions believe that the way of simplicity is the way of truth. I set aside also the operations which have been republished recently in that section of The Tarot of the Bohemians which is entitled "The Divining Tarot"; it may be recommended at its proper value to readers who wish to go further than the limits of this handbook. I offer in the first place a short process which has been used privately for many years past in England, Scotland and Ireland. I do not think that it has been published – certainly not in connexion with Tarot cards; I believe that it will serve all purposes, but I will add – by way of variation – in the second place what used to be known in France as the Oracles of Julia Orsini. An Ancient Celtic Method of Divination

This mode of divination is the most suitable for obtaining an answer to a definite question. The Diviner first selects a card to represent the person or, matter about which inquiry is made. This card is called the Significator. Should he wish to ascertain something in connexion with himself he takes the one which corresponds to his personal description. A Knight should be chosen as the Significator if the subject of inquiry is a man of forty years old and upward; a King should be chosen for any male who is under that age; a Queen for a woman who is over forty years; and a Page for any female of less age. The four Court Cards in Wands represent very fair people, with yellow or auburn hair, fair complexion and blue eyes. The Court Cards in Cups signify people with light brown or dull fair hair and grey or blue eyes. Those in Swords stand for people having hazel or grey eyes, dark brown hair and dull complexion. Lastly, the Court Cards in Pentacles are referred to persons with very dark brown or black hair, dark eyes and sallow or swarthy complexions. These allocations are subject, however, to the following reserve, which will prevent them being taken too conventionally. You can be guided on occasion by the known temperament of a person; one who is exceedingly dark may be very energetic, and would be better represented by a Sword card than a Pentacle. On the other hand, a very fair subject who is indolent and lethargic should be referred to Cups rather than to Wands. If it is more convenient for the purpose of a divination to take as the Significator the matter about which inquiry is to be made, that Trump or small card should be selected which has a meaning corresponding to the matter. Let it be supposed that the question is: Will a lawsuit be necessary? In this case, take the Trump No. 11, or Justice, as the Significator. This has reference to legal affairs. But if the question is: Shall I be successful in my lawsuit? one of the Court Cards must be chosen as the Significator.

Subsequently, consecutive divinations may be performed to ascertain the course of the process itself and its result to each of the parties concerned. Having selected the Significator, place it on the table, face upwards. Then shuffle and cut the rest of the pack three times, keeping the faces of the cards downwards. Turn up the top or FIRST CARD of the pack; cover the Significator with it, and say: This covers him. This card gives the influence which is affecting the person or matter of inquiry generally, the atmosphere of it in which the other currents work. Turn up the SECOND CARD and lay it across the FIRST, saying: This crosses him. It shews the nature of the obstacles in the matter. If it is a favourable card, the opposing forces will not be serious, or it may indicate that something good in itself will not be productive of good in the particular connexion. Turn up the THIRD CARD; place it above the Significator, and say: This crowns him. It represents (a) the Querent's aim or ideal in the matter; (b) the best that can be achieved under the circumstances, but that which has not yet been made actual. Turn up the FOURTH CARD; place it below the Significator, and say: This is beneath him. It shews the foundation or basis of the matter, that which has already passed into actuality and which the Significator has made his own. Turn up the FIFTH CARD; place it on the side of the Significator from which he is looking, and say: This is behind him. It gives the influence that is just passed, or is now passing away. N.B. – If the Significator is a Trump or any small card that cannot be said to face either way, the Diviner must decide before

beginning the operation which side he will take it as facing. Turn up the SIXTH CARD; place it on the side that the Significator is facing, and say: This is before him. It shews the influence that is coming into action and will operate in the near future. The cards are now disposed in the form of a cross, the Significator – covered by the First Card – being in the centre. The next four cards are turned up in succession and placed one above the other in a line, on the right hand side of the cross. The first of these, or the SEVENTH CARD of the operation, signifies himself – that is, the Significator – whether person or thing – and shews its position or attitude in the circumstances. The EIGHTH CARD signifies his house, that is, his environment and the tendencies at work therein which have an effect on the matter – for instance, his position in life, the influence of immediate friends, and so forth. The NINTH CARD gives his hopes or fears in the matter. The TENTH is what will come, the final result, the culmination which is brought about by the influences shewn by the other cards that have been turned up in the divination. It is on this card that the Diviner should especially concentrate his intuitive faculties and his memory in respect of the official divinatory meanings attached thereto. It should embody whatsoever you may have divined from the other cards on the table, including the Significator itself and concerning him or it, not excepting such lights upon higher significance as might fall

like sparks from heaven if the card which serves for the oracle, the card for reading, should happen to be a Trump Major. The operation is now completed; but should it happen that the last card is of a dubious nature, from which no final decision can be drawn, or which does not appear to indicate the ultimate conclusion of the affair, it may be well to repeat the operation, taking in this case the Tenth Card as the Significator, instead of the one previously used. The pack must be again shuffled and cut three times and the first ten cards laid out as before. By this a more detailed account of "What will come" may be obtained. If in any divination the Tenth Card should be a Court Card, it shews that the subject of the divination falls ultimately into the hands of a person represented by that card, and its end depends mainly on him. In this event also it is useful to take the Court Card in question as the Significator in a fresh operation, and discover what is the nature of his influence in the matter and to what issue he will bring it. Great facility may be obtained by this method in a comparatively short time, allowance being always made for the gifts of the operator – that is to say, his faculty of insight, latent or developed – and it has the special advantage of being free from all complications. I here append a diagram of the cards as laid out in this mode of divination. The Significator is here facing to the left.

ILLUS37. Original Celtic Cross Spread

The Significator. 1. That covers him 2. What crosses him. 3. What crowns him. 4. What is beneath him. 5. What is behind him. 6. What is before him. 7. Himself. 8. His house. 9. His hopes or fears. 10. What will come.

The Archives and Original Documents Having learnt that spread myself and used it for so many years, I had always wondered about its origins, and the name, which I never liked; I found myself telling querents that “this is called the Celtic Cross, but it’s neither Celtic nor particularly a cross, in fact, we will see it as an arrow, a wheel, and a matrix during our reading ...”! So, some 20 years later, when I had gained opportunity and access to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn archives in London as a PhD Researcher, I began to keep a lookout for anything that resembled the spread, or might indicate references to it in letters or papers. The archive itself is poorly catalogued. Not only that, but library constraints make it difficult to gain initial access (you’ll need good letters about you from respected academics and possibly some good letters already after your name) and even more frustratingly, one is only permitted one or two items out on a table at a time. In the case of individual letters, where there might be a hundred in a folder, this makes a three day trip to look through merely one or two items of the thousand or so in the collection. So it is no wonder that one can come across buried treasures even now, such as two unpublished letters by Dion Fortune about Aleister Crowley, which tell us for sure how she felt about him, rather than the interpretative and tentative proposals given in books published so far which touch upon the matter. These two letters are not only misfiled and buried in a folder with the wrong title, but are also under her original name Violet Firth. Under these conditions and constraints, I have made several trips to the archive over the years, but only recently begun to narrow down certain folders and items of interest to the history of tarot. It is in one such folder that we find something of immediate interest; a very early hand written version of the spread.

An Early Hand Written Version of the Spread In a set of documents that were bound by string, and had not been opened for many years, I discovered a hand written version of Book T, the tarot ‘Bible’ text of the Golden Dawn. This was one of the copies made by the Golden Dawn member F. L. Gardner (18571930?) whose records comprise a large section of the archives and who played an extremely active role in the Order. Whilst being excited to find some additional material in this version, never before published, I was about to close the book and move onto something else when I noticed that not all the pages at the back of the notebook were empty; after a gap of blank pages, Gardner had sketched in an addendum. This additional material was none other than the spread now known as the Celtic Cross! I hope that you may share a moment of the thrill I had when I saw this as I reproduce it here for the first time in publication.

NS63 NOPQR, 1892

Here is the unedited typescript for this original document.

NS63 NOPQR 1892 Golden Dawn manuscripts in the hand of F. L. Gardner

Another Method of Divination

You place the Card corresponding to yourself in the middle and after shuffling well and cutting three times you place the top card on yourself and proceed as follows:

1st Covered 2nd Crossed (i.e. across yourself) 3rd Crowned (i.e. above all) 4th Under Foot (i.e. beneath all) 5th looking From (i.e. on your right as you face the figure) 6th Looking To (i.e. on your left as you face the figure)

7th Represents Yourself 8th Represents Your House 9th Represents Your Hopes and Fears 10th Represents What Turns up Example


There is only one particular issue with this sketch. Although it represents an early sketch of the method, there is a date written which might have been written at the same time: 26.1.1913. This would – if it were written at the time – date the sketch after the publication of the method by Waite in 1910. But there are some questions with that date. The example spread written uses the Cavalier of Cups as a significator, which points to the use of an older or alternative deck than the Waite-Smith, and not even a Golden Dawn deck. The meanings sketched in seem closer (although this will bear checking) to the original Golden Dawn meanings than Waite’s published meanings. So we are left with an exciting discovery, but a bit of a mystery. The notebook itself is certainly from the early period of the Golden Dawn, around 1892. So it is possible that Gardner later wrote this method in as an alternative method after seeing it in Waite’s book. However, this seems unlikely – Gardner would have used the same terminology, perhaps, a version of Waite’s deck, maybe, and why would he have sketched it if it were now published? Perhaps the date was added later? Anyhow, I made a note of this discovery and returned to my other research. It was somewhat uncertain what this sketch signified – but at least now I knew that there was evidence within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that the method was being utilised by at least one member.

A Gipsy Method of Divination One year later, and returning to the archives for research on Aleister Crowley, I decided to search the catalogues for any evidence associating Gardner specifically with tarot or even the Celtic Cross

method. After a fruitless search, I then noticed something in a set of typescripts by ‘various authors’. One item was listed as a ‘Gipsy Method of Divination by F. L. Gardner’. I requested the folder, thinking that at least this would indicate something of Gardner’s interest in tarot. The item in question turned out to be three sheets of typescript (probably typed by Yorke from original documents later dispersed to other folders or collections, or not originally in his own collection) in amongst many other sheets of material. The first of the three sheets was entitled ‘A Gipsy Method of Divination by Cards. By F. Leigh Gardner. Frater De Profundis ad Lucem.’ I looked down to see which method Gardner had composed, and was amazed to read that it was a method of ten cards, laid out in a particular way (sketched later onto the typescript, possibly by Yorke) which of course is the Celtic Cross!

Title, Gipsy Method

Again, I reproduce here for the first time the actual typescript photographs and unedited transcript from the collection, with permission and not to be reproduced.

Gypsy Method 1

Gypsy Method 2

Gypsy Method 3

Gypsy Method Close-up of Handwritten Diagram

NS 103.12 A Gipsy Method of Divination by F.L. Gardner. Golden Dawn Folder 3. Typescripts by various authors.

A Gipsy Method of Divination by Cards. By F. Leigh Gardner. Frater De Profundis ad Lucem.

This mode of divination is the most suitable for obtaining an answer to a definite question. The diviner selects a card to represent the person or matter about which he enquires. This card is called significator, and should he wish to ascertain something in connection with himself he takes the one which corresponds to his personal description.

A Knight represents a man of 40 years and upwards. A King for any male under that age A Queen a woman of 40 years and upwards A Valet a young man or woman. The four court cards. Wands represent very fair people with yellow or auburn hair, fair complexion, blue eyes. Cups have light brown or dull hair with grey or blue eyes. Swords have hazel or grey eyes, and dark brown hair and dull complexions. Pentacles very dark brown or black hair, dark eyes and sallow or swarthy complexions. You can be guided on occasions by the known temperament of a person. One who is exceedingly dark may be energetic and would be better represented by a sword card than a Pentacle; on the other hand a very fair subject who is indolent and lethargic should be referred to Cups in place of Wands. If it is a matter about which an enquiry is to be made the significator should be a Trump or small card which has no meaning corresponding to the matter – supposing that the question is “Will a lawsuit be necessary?” In this case take the Trump card ‘Justice’ as the significator as it has reference to legal matters. But if the question is “Shall I be successful in my lawsuit?” one of the court cards representing

yourself should be selected. Subsequently consecutive divination can be performed to ascertain the course of the process itself, and its result to each of the parties concerned. Having selected the sig. place it on the table face upwards, then shuffle well and thoroughly the rest of the pack cutting three times after each shuffle – lastly keeping the face of the cards downwards, turn up the top or front card of the pack and cross the significator with it and say 1. This card covers him. This card gives the influence which is affecting the person or matter of the enquiry generally, the atmosphere in which the other currents move. Turn up the second card and say 2. this covers him It shows the nature of the obstacles in the matter. If this is a favourable card the opposing forces will not be serious, or it may indicate that something good in itself will be productive of good in this particular connection. Turn up the third card place it on the Sig. and say 3. This crowns him. It represents

1st the Querents aims or ideals in the matter. 2nd the best that can be achieved under the circumstances but that which has not yet been made actual. Turn up the fourth card place it below the Sig. and say

4. This is beneath him. It shows the foundation or basis of the matter, that which has already passed into actuality and which the Sig. has made his own. Turn up the fifth card and say 5. This is behind him. It gives the influence that has just past or is passing away. N.B. If the Sig. is a trump card or a card that cannot be said to face either way the diviner must decide beforehand which side of the Sig. he will take as facing. Usually this fifth card is placed on the right hand side of the sig. as it will be found that most of the court cards are looking towards the left hand. Anyhow if you decide to always adopt the plan it will be found to work satisfactorily, only make a rule always to do so. Turn up the sixth card place it on the side that the Sig is facing & say 6. This is before him. It shows the influence that is coming into action and will operate in the near future. The next four cards are turned up in succession and placed in a line by the side of the others which are in the form of a cross. The first of them is the Seventh card signifies the person himself or else the thing enquired about, and shews its position or attitude in the matter. 7. 8. The eighth card represents his House i.e his environment, and the tendencies at work there which have an effect on the matter for instance his position in life, the influence of immediate friends and so forth.

9. The ninth card gives his hopes and fears in the matter. 10. The tenth card is what turns up, the final result, the culmination which is brought about by the influence shewn by the other cards that have been turned up in the divination. The operation is now complete and if in any divination the tenth card should be a court card it shews that the subject of the divination falls ultimately into the hands of a person represented by that card and its end depends mainly on him. In this count it is possible to have a fresh divination taking the court card as the Sig. to discover what is the nature of his influence in the matter and to what issue he will bring it. Great facility may be obtained in this method in a short time, allowance being made for the gifts of the operator, that is to say his faculty of insight, latent or developed, and besides which it is free from all complications. Fortune telling by cards. Non Order method.

Looking at the F. L. Gardner Gipsy Method Transcript There are some immediate points that can be made from this typescript. Firstly, that the title including ‘by F. L. Gardner’ does not, of course, mean that the method was composed by him. It could be that Yorke meant in the hand of as he catalogued other materials – but Yorke was always specific about such matters, where possible. The similarity of the paragraph with regard to “great facility may be obtained ...” and other phrases can be heard in Waite’s published version. So, if this is indeed an earlier version, one would imagine that Waite would have had to clear it with Gardner to reproduce this

method almost verbatim. Could this be what Waite meant by his 1909 comment about assistance from another “deeply versed” and not Yeats? Another exciting point is that the title refers to Gardner’s magical name within the Order. We know that Gardner took a magical name when he joined the Order – which was not well received by the Chiefs – and later changed it upon entry to the Inner Order to that given here. If this typescript is verbatim, and the title was on the hand written original, then we can date the manuscript to 1895 or thereafter. It is of relevance perhaps that Westcott was still using the Opening of the Key reading in 1894138 as was Annie Horniman in 1904. If this alternative method was being utilised by any other member of the Order, it was not widely adopted as far as the evidence suggests, albeit we do not have all the records of the Golden Dawn members.

The Works of F.L. Gardner So could F. L. Gardner have actually designed this spread himself? We can say that it is not impossible. Gardner was the son of ardent spiritualists, had visionary experiences when he was young, and later personally knew Madame Blavatsky. He had a large collection of books and worked hard within the Golden Dawn initiatory system, taking grades between June 1895 and February 1897. By 4 February 1897 he was initiated as a Theoricus Adeptus Minor and able to examine other candidates to the Portal grade leading to the Inner Order. This would have demanded a thorough knowledge of the subjects of the Golden Dawn: astrology, kabbalah, tarot, Egyptian myth, and more.

Interestingly enough, in letters dating 1895 discussing Moina Mathers, astrology and tarot, he mentions a reading for the “result of a lawsuit” for James Durand, the very same question used as determining the significator in the example of his typescript. As a person we have few records of his character – however, Mathers did describe him as “uncertain and wavering ... excitable and nervous” when he joined the Order, and Farr didn’t like his drill instructing of candidates in ritual. I am presently searching for a photograph or portrait of Gardner. There is then the matter of the interesting title – ‘Gipsy Method’ – which seems to be at odds with his likely studies. Is it possible that he himself was referencing something he’d read as a gipsy method and this was published even earlier? This might also accord with Waite’s cryptic suggestion that it had never been published “in connexion with Tarot.” It would be interesting to have a catalogue of the cartomancy books and pamphlets he was selling for a long time, and scour those for such a gipsy method.

The Method As a practical method, we can see some confusions creeping into this spread. The original notes obviously indicate a very brief description of what each position means – and this may account for the sheer variety of personal variations that followed in the literature as everybody attempted to make the method clearer, and in so doing added more complexity to those buying more than one book describing the method. There are a number of issues that we can see in the method which require clarification. I offer here some personal solutions that I apply to the method of this spread.

The Significator The earliest versions – both published and the Gardner typescript – suggest that we can use any card for the significator. That is to say, we should choose a Court card for a person about which the reading is being performed, or choose an appropriate card to reflect the situation. This would allow us to perhaps do alternative readings for the same situation by reading it from different perspectives. It is my personal approach that the choice of a significator, whilst entirely optional, allows the reader to begin to filter through their understanding of the situation as a preparation to perform the reading itself. The analysis and synthesis of the elements of the question are undertaken unconsciously and consciously whilst selecting a significator. This is ideal for complex situations which are known to the reader, whereas I do not personally believe using a significator adds much to an unknown, unstated or simple question for divination.

The Direction of Laying out Cards The order in which the cards are laid is of some confusion, particularly where the instruction is followed to observe the direction in which the Court card or personage faces to determine the order. At least we are instructed to make a decision and stick to it where we are unsure. This is also a confusion based upon the deck utilised in the spread – some decks are more readily discerned to be looking one way or the other. My approach is to take the time sense of the querent; this is usually left to right or front to back and is a trick from NLP. You can ascertain someone’s timeline (although I prefer to consider it as time/space) by watching their eyes whilst they recover memories (“Where were you this morning? How was your journey here?”) or look to the future (“What are you doing after this reading?”), or by watching their

gestures and listening to their language (e.g. as they motion over their shoulder behind them whilst saying, “I want to put things behind me.”) This is a positive use of cold reading type skills, where we utilise the client’s own representation of the world to make effective communication, rather than merely fishing for details and feedback. I then arrange the ‘past’ and ‘future’ cards to suit the client’s worldview of time. It is perhaps in this instruction that we can trace the Golden Dawn lineage, as the Opening of the Key method counts cards from the direction in which the significator is deemed to be looking. Again, it will bear further research to see where this tradition enters into the vocabulary of tarot.

The Meaning of the Positions This is the area that has a lot of variation, given the sparsely worded descriptions of both the Gardner typescript and Waite publication. I particularly use a variation which holds the ‘hopes and fears’ position as ‘concerns (of both a good or bad nature)’. This enables me to tell a client that their hopes / fears revealed in this card / position are not relevant to the situation. In effect, this is my drop zone to elicit and discuss / re-frame limiting beliefs. It can also be of considerable help to the querent to release anxieties constructed upon unfounded expectations which are either too high or too low’ The ‘outcome’ card can then be contrasted against this position.

I also contrast and compare the two positions called by the Gardner typescript: “... the Seventh card [which] signifies the person himself or else the thing enquired about, and shews its position or attitude in the matter. 7. 8. The eighth card represents his House i.e his environment, and the tendencies at work there which have an effect on the matter for instance his position in life, the influence of immediate friends and so forth.” I call the seventh position ‘this is how you see yourself’ and the eighth position ‘and this is how others see you’. We can then contrast these two positions and reveal why the querent may not be seeing eye-toeye with others, examine the querent’s behaviour as others might be seeing them, or explore a projection onto others from the querent’s perspective. It is often remarkable how different the two cards can be which fall into this position, and how many opportunities there are to learn about relationships in just this simple pairing with these meanings. They often explain to the querent in an ‘Aha!’ moment why it is that they are not getting what they desire from others, or provide a sudden insight into why things are not as they first appeared in the situation.

The Rosy Cross and the Actual Celtic Cross In papers written for private circulation between 1906 and 1911, Waite wrote on the ‘Tarot and the Rosy Cross’.139 In this treatise on the tarot and its relation to the Tree of Life – in particular the stage between the Inner and Outer Order – the phrase Rosy Cross is mentioned nine or 10 times. If Waite were going to refer to a cross in

a tarot spread, surely it would be Rosy – particularly at this time of his magical career – rather than Celtic? So where might the ‘Celtic’ nature of this have cross crept in? It has been here seen and suggested elsewhere that both Waite and Yeats had a Celtic tendency, and Yeats was possibly involved to some extent at the time of the deck’s (and spread’s) publication. Yeats had met Colman Smith, they had worked together on the broadsheet and magazine, The Green Sheaf, and he had been involved with Waite a number of times. There is even a sketch of Yeats by Colman Smith. Despite various schisms in the Orders, these three certainly remained a potent and connected triptych. So I Googled (not the most respected research tool, it has to be said) ‘W.B. Yeats and Celtic Cross’ and was astonished to find an immediate and direct connection – Yeats specified, in a poem, where he wanted to be buried, and what epitaph should be on his tombstone: Under bare Ben Bulben's head In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid. An ancestor was rector there Long years ago, a church stands near, By the road an ancient cross.

No marble, no conventional phrase; On limestone quarried near the spot By his command these words are cut: Cast a cold eye

On life, on death. Horseman, pass by!

This burial place, at Drumcliff, has indeed a Celtic high cross with a carving of the Tree of Knowledge and Adam and Eve upon it, and there is even a nearby tower; which just happened to be struck by lightning ... It is where Yeats’ ancestor lays, and where he himself now rests. Notice also the break in the cross – maybe it wasn’t always in one piece, perhaps like our considered spread?

The Drumcliff Cross

So the Celtic Cross had a profound meaning to Yeats, and it would be likely that he (if anyone) made a suggestion that the spread – becoming immediately popular in the first year of its publication in Waite – be tagged with this important symbol, perhaps even as a magical act.

So When Did the Spread Become Ancient? Unless we discover an earlier gipsy method available to Gardner and Waite in their extensive collections of books, the spread dates to around 1895 at its earliest. This is hardly ancient in most conventional contexts, and certainly not ancient in an historical sense. So, although it is referred to as ancient in later versions of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, how is it associated with such antiquity? The answer lies in marketing and a return to earlier views of the tarot that Waite had sought to banish. In an issue of The Occult Review, dated 1920 (and reproduced on James Revak’s website) and advertising the Rider published deck, we see that there is no mention of the ancient origin of the deck, nor any reference to anything other than methods of divination or Fortune-Telling by the Tarot. It was not the publisher Rider that promoted this antiquity, despite the new ‘ancient Celtic’ title of the method that had crept into the book. However, as Revak also illustrates from a 1938 catalogue, the unauthorised copies of the deck and book being marketed by the De Laurence Company were now described as the ‘Ancient Tarot’ with a marketing spiel containing: “Came with the Gipsies from India ... The early Tarot cards are said to be of Oriental and Egyptian origin ... The early gipsy connection is affirmed. These cards came with the gipsies from India ...”140 It was in such marketing, prevalent throughout the 1930s to 1950s, whilst the tarot sat in the relative doldrums between the revival of the method in the Golden Dawn at the turn of the century and the 1960s esoteric revival (a period that I covered in my presentation at the New Orleans ACA / PCA Conference in April 2009) that the idea of antiquity crept back again. In fact, for a while during this period tarot was considered illegal in the United Kingdom under the Witchcraft Act, so (noted by Greer on her Blog) the deck vanished for a good while in the UK.

The tarot hence became an occult tool with secrets hidden from the uninitiated, taught only in small Orders – deriving their work on the whole from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – and, in the public mind, became associated with superstition: the key marketing ingredients of that period are wizards, pointy hats, and rather oddly, an owl which turns up in many adverts of the time. Most importantly, the symbols of the pyramids of Egypt are often depicted in the background of such adverts – most notably in Rosicrucian (AMORC) adverts of which I now have a neat collection which I look forward to sharing with readers in future. This almost subliminal yet obvious call to antiquity has become associated within the public consciousness as what my friend Michael Orlando Yaccarino has kindly pointed out is called illegitimate knowledge in the field of cultural studies. This is a subject in itself (i.e. the association of tarot with certain elements in public awareness), one that I hope to return to in future issues of Tarosophist International and is the subject of my paper in Tarot in Culture (ed. E. Auger).

Conclusion In conclusion, we can see that this spread is neither ancient, nor Celtic, nor particularly a cross. It was possibly designed in London (14 Marlborough Road, Gunnersby, to be precise) during the period 1895 to 1897 by the bibliophile and bookseller F. L. Gardner, aged 40 to 43 at the time, an ex-Theosophist and Freemason and a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It was designed to be shorter than the time consuming Opening of the Key method taught by the Order, or a non-Order method for public usage and originally called a Gipsy Method.

It was published by Waite in 1910 and – likely based upon the Celtic revivalist tendencies of Waite and Yeats – after a revision, termed ‘Celtic’ rather than as was written originally and correctly, used in England, Scotland and Ireland. This ‘Celtic’ did not even then refer to the ‘cross’ in the spread, merely the method and the pseudo-historical / geographic usage of the method. Subsequent publishing introduced the term ‘cross’ into the title, again, perhaps at the suggestion of Yeats, to whom the symbol of a Celtic cross had particular significance. This also led to a sometimesproposed suggestion that Yeats had designed the spread himself. Waite himself had no particular interest in the symbol – preferring the concept of the Rosy Cross and neither did he have much interest in the use of tarot as divination, as his second – and generally unknown – tarot deck testifies. Within 30 years of its publication in 1910, marketing attempts, notably in the United States, began to reintroduce the idea of antiquity to the cards, which became confused with the spread, leading to it also being later perceived as ‘ancient’. So from an alternative and quick method likely designed by a Hermetic student in London around 1895, it became an ‘ancient Celtic Cross’ spread within the course of a century and has been referred to such by every author since that time with varying amounts of explanation. There remain unanswered questions that this research might provoke and avenues that have not yet been fully explored – other than those usually asked, such as “Which card do you place down first?” or “Should I use reversals in this ancient spread?” which include: 1. Are we sure that the person intimated by Waite as assisting the work was Yeats? Could it have been F.L. Gardner or another? I look forward to getting a copy of Roger Parisious’ work on this matter (Waite and Yeats) which has so far remained elusive;

2. The Gardner typescript is probably of an original hand written document – where is that hand written original? 3. When Waite refers to the spread as not being previously published – “certainly not in connexion with Tarot cards” – does he simply mean that it was published within the Golden Dawn, or – more interestingly – does he mean that it was previously published, but perhaps in a book (owned by Gardner, who also donated books and shelves to the Order) on cartomancy, playing cards or some other subject? That could mean that Gardner – or another Golden Dawn member – did take the spread from somewhere earlier. This would take our research into reverse as it might indicate the spread as being more ‘ancient’ than we are giving it credit; 4. Where were Yeats and Waite (and Pamela Colman Smith) at the time that the deck was being designed and executed, over so few months? We know that Colman Smith was in London (York Mansions). How much were they in contact over that time? And, of course, on a tangent to this research but nonetheless intriguing and possibly the most important research discovery pending, where did the original 80 drawings go? Colman Smith said that she might send some to her agent, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) in New York, but we have no record that she did so. Some have suggested that they were all destroyed in the wartime bombing of London, but this may be a confusion that the publishing plates were destroyed in this event, not the original sketches. Perhaps on a basement shelf at what was (in 1909) Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery in New York lie several sheets of paper ... 5. Who exactly might have influenced the change of title of the spread? Could it have been the publisher (about which more could be said) and not Yeats? Why would he have had a say in the matter? 6. If it was not indeed Gardner who designed the spread, as the typescript suggests, was it then another member of the Hermetic

Order of the Golden Dawn: Mathers, Westcott, possibly even Yeats, or another? At the very least, after several years of research, we might now be able to go back to tarot.com and suggest that they re-word their description of the Celtic Cross as not dating back “hundreds of years” – or perhaps they know something we don’t ...! 129 Scholem, G. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead. Schocken Books: New York, 1991, p.43. 130 Brett Bradford, Liz Manison, Linda Hoyland, Lucy Manera, and Tali Goodwin, 2009. 131 Lévi, E. The Doctrine of Transcendental Magick. 1855, p.124. 132 Westcott, W.W. (translator). Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Creation. 1887. Available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/yetzirah.htm 133 See also the last few pages of Sagan, C. Contact. 1997. Orbit. The idea that the universe is a holograph, encoded with patterns generated from the expanding edge of a black hole, is now a potential model being examined in Quantum Physics. Sagan’s use of PI in Contact as a signature of the creator is a beautiful analogy. 134 Crowley, A. ‘The Wake World.’ Published in Konx Om Pax: Essays in Light. Walter Scott Publishing Co.: London and Felling-On-Tyne, 1907 – good version with original key at http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib95.html; Ashcroft-Nowicki, D. The Shining Paths. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1983; Anonymous. Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, particularly the ‘Commentary on the Chymical Wedding’ by Gareth Knight and Adam McLean, and the version at http://www.levity.com/alchemy/chymwed1.html ; Campanella, T. The City of the Sun. Available at http://www.levity.com/alchemy/citysun.html. 135 See the example given in Naylor, A. R. Tarot Abecedarian. Mandrake Press Ltd.: Thame, 1997, p. 79 where the Celtic Cross spread has the knotwork arranged in a circle around the cross. 136 Parisious, R. Figures in a Dance: W. B. Yeats and the Waite-Ride Tarot. 137 See Gilbert, R. A. A.E. Waite: Magician of Many Parts. Crucible. 1987, pp.138-9. 138 Gilbert, R.A. The Golden Dawn Scrapbook. Weiser. 1997, p.92. 139 Gilbert, R.A. Hermetic Papers of A.E. Waite. Aquarian. 1987.

140 See ‘Early Advertisements’ at http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/Adverts.html

Section 3, Part 1 Reading List

The Mysteries of the Celtic Cross Spread Colquhoun, I. Sword of Wisdom. London. Neville Spearman. 1975. Gilbert, R. A. A.E. Waite: A Bibliography. Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1983. Gilbert, R. A. A.E. Waite: Magician of Many Parts. Wellingborough. Crucible. 1987. Gilbert, R.A. Hermetic Papers of A.E. Waite. Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1987. Gilbert, R.A. Revelations of the Golden Dawn. Slough. Quantum. 1997. Gilbert, R.A. The Golden Dawn Companion. Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1986. Gilbert, R.A. The Golden Dawn Scrapbook. York Beach. Weiser. 1997. Gilbert, R.A. The Golden Dawn: Twilight of the Magicians. Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1983. Graf, S. J. W.B. Yeats: Twentieth-Century Magus. York Beach. Weiser. 2000.

Greer, M.K. Women of the Golden Dawn. Rochester. Park Street Press. 1995. Harper, G. M. Yeats’s Golden Dawn. Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1987. Howe, E. (editor). The Alchemist Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1985.





Howe, E. The Magicians of the Golden Dawn. London. RKP. 1971. Jensen, K. F. The Story of the Waite-Smith Tarot. Melbourne. ATS. 2006. Kaplan, S.R. The Encyclopaedia of Tarot (Volume 3). US Games Systems, Inc.: New York, 1990. O’Neill, R.V. Tarot Symbolism. Melbourne. ATS. 2004. Raine, K. Yeats, the Tarot and the Golden Dawn. Dublin. Dolmen. 1976. Torrens, R.G. The Secret Rituals Wellingborough. Aquarian. 1973.





Waite, A. E. The Key to the Tarot. London. Rider. 1989. Waite, A.E. The Quest of the Golden Stairs. Hollywood. Newcastle, n.d.

Part 2: Tarot Stellar, Tarot Trance

2.1 Exploring the Natal Chart Through Tarot In this section we’ll be exploring (in a method provided by Keren Happuch) the links between tarot and astrology in the context of the role of the Sun and the Moon in the birthchart.141 I’ll be detailing the method only as it applies to the Major Arcana – do be aware, however, that the Minor Arcana and Court cards also have astrological significations.142 The Sun and Moon are known as the Lights and are the core of the birthchart. To understand why the Lights are so important, let’s take a quick detour into one of the most fundamental principles of traditional astrology.

Why the Lights? Basically, light is power. Just look around at the plants in your garden and the wind blowing the clouds across the sky. All the energy that we have on Earth stems from the light of the Sun. It’s no surprise therefore to find that in traditional astrology the Sun is considered the source of divinity. He is eternal, the one source of energy which powers all life: all else is merely a reflection of this holy light. In the birthchart, he represents the divine spark, the central purpose of that person: in essence, the qualities that they are striving to develop during this lifetime.

In contrast, the Moon is the planet closest to Earth: hence she represents our Earthly imperfections. As the Moon’s face is scarred, and her shape changes constantly, so we see our own imperfections and inconstancy in our attempts to reflect the holy light. In the birthchart, she represents our unconscious habits and insecurities. Her qualities relate to both past lifetimes and early experiences in this life. The concept of the Lights also links to the kabbalah, which associates the Moon with Malkuth, the lowest and most earthly sphere, and the Sun with Tiphareth, the angelic heart of the Tree of Life. So, to recap, the Sun operates in the external world and represents both what we are striving to achieve and how we go about getting it, while the Moon operates in the internal world and represents how we deal with our memories, emotions and intimate relationships, including what self-protective traits we have in place for times of need.

Linking the Tarot to Astrology The illustrations that follow show the links that each card of the Major Arcana has to planets, elements and zodiacal signs. As a first step, using the left hand side of this table with your favourite tarot deck, take out The Sun, The High Priestess, and the two cards which represent the signs in which your Sun and Moon are placed. In doing the exercises which follow, I want you to discard the divinatory meanings that you would usually associate with the cards. What we’re doing here is picking up a sense of the energy of each card, without applying too much judgement to them. Strive to view the cards as if for the first time.

Exercise 35: Matching the Sun and Moon On the left, place The High Priestess and your Moon sign; on the right, place The Sun and your Sun sign. Notice any similarities or differences between the Sun or Moon and its sign card. Does your Moon sign card seem to harmonise with The High Priestess? Is it intensifying her qualities? Or perhaps there is a sharp contrast? The same goes for The Sun and your Sun sign card. Do they fit together? Or is there a clash? This exercise shows you that some signs are more naturally suited to solar or lunar expression than others. For example, if your Sun is in Pisces you will compare the Moon card to the Sun card – what a contrast! This lets you know that it is more difficult to express the energy of the Sun through the sign of Pisces than, say, Aries (The Emperor).

Moon and Sun Sign Layout (Universal Waite Tarot Deck)

Exercise 36: Comparing the Sun and Moon

Before you do this next exercise, let’s recap the principles. If the Moon and Sun were people, what kind of people would they be? You might think of the Moon sign card as a passive, silent and indirect yet deeply powerful energy, while the Sun sign card is an active, loud voiced, assertive, and consciously powerful energy. Now put The Priestess and The Sun to one side. We’re going to compare your Moon sign card and your Sun sign card directly to one another. What are your impressions? Do they share any common characteristics? Are they working together? Or are they pulling in different directions? Ask yourself which card you sympathise with the most, or feel closest to. Is one card being dominated by the other? Are you glad of this? Or do you feel the frustration of the repressed energy? You may feel that one of the cards seems to represent someone else: a partner, or perhaps a parent or sibling. And yet these cards are yours – they show your energies. You may have projected this energy onto someone else, but why? Are you afraid of that card? Do you find its energy distasteful? Why? This exercise will give you some clues as to which side of you – the Sun or the Moon – you are most comfortable living through. It is rare that a person lives through both equally. Often a man feels most comfortable using his Sun energy, while a woman feels most comfortable using her Moon energy. In both cases, there is a tendency to attract a partner who exhibits the qualities of the unfavoured sign.

2.2 Astrological Dignities and the Tarot Now we’re going to look more deeply at the qualities of your Sun and Moon sign cards by combining traditional astrological dignities with

the attributions of the Major Arcana. Included below on the right hand side of the table at the end of this section are an extended set of correspondences based upon the astrological dignities (a full explanation of which sadly would not fit into the space available). This arrangement may look complex and random but is actually based upon a very simple concept. Much as Wands and Swords share an affinity (both are active), while Cups and Swords do not (one is passive and emotional, the other is active and intellectual), so a planet shares an affinity with some signs and not with others. From this table we can see, to put it simply, which planets are happy in which signs (and conversely, which planets are unhappy in which signs). I have included a middle column headed ‘mixed feelings’ – this is where there is some affinity between the two energies, but also some friction. These combinations can sometimes work well together, but equally they can produce fairly disastrous consequences as they seem to encourage each other in just the wrong way. Consider this when you are looking at the ‘mixed feelings’ cards. During the next exercise, bear in mind that the ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ of a sign or planet are based upon the affinities they share. For example, if you draw a ‘dislikes’ card and it seems to represent someone you admire, all it means is that you have attracted someone into your life who seems to possess some quality that you lack, or that does not come naturally to you. Conversely, if one of the ‘likes’ cards seems alien or negative to you, consider why this is. It may be that your Sun and Moon signs are contradictory, or it may be that there are other astrological factors at play. As a note, The High Priestess card corresponds to the Moon in astrology, and The Sun card corresponds to the Sun. It would be easier if The Moon card corresponded to the Moon in astrology, but it doesn’t – it corresponds to Pisces.

To find the ‘element’ card, consult the table given at the end of this section, where the element for each sign is given. Then go across and find the same element in bold in the same column – the card against that main element is your element card for your sign.

Exercise 37: In-Depth Exploration Around the Sun and Moon Place your Sun sign card in the centre of the table. Using the extended table below, pick out the extra cards which are ‘liked’ by your Sun sign card, including its element (if you have an Earth sign, pick out The World to represent the element of Earth). For example, if your Sun is in Aquarius, you would pick out The Fool (Air) and The World (Saturn). Lay these cards around the right hand side of your Sun sign card. Remember to focus on the Sun as an active, energetic quality; the part of you which consciously goes out to make your mark upon the world. These cards represent additional qualities to your Sun sign. Again, look at them with fresh eyes. Does their energy resonate with you? Can you see different sides to your active personality emerging? For example, how you behave at work compared to at home? Does one seem to represent a friend or partner? What is this card adding to the central Sun sign card? How does it bolster or complicate your impressions? Next, pick out the ‘mixed feelings’ card, if there is one, and place it centrally above the Sun sign card. For Aquarius, this is The Magician (Mercury). How does this card resonate with you? Do you recognise this quality? How is it helping or hindering the other energies? Alternatively, does it seem to represent a person in your life? Do they help or hinder you? Finally, pick out the ‘dislikes’ cards and lay them to the left of the Sun sign card. For Aquarius, this is The Sun (Sun). How does this card

interact with the others? Is it out of step with the others? Does it represent a quality you admire, or something you dislike? Is it something you recognise as part of your shadow side? Does it seem to relate to a person in your life?

Dignities Layout

Here we see an Aquarian Sun sign. The Star corresponds to Aquarius, and the major element is Air, hence The Fool card. The Star and The World ‘like’ each other; The Sun however is a ‘dislike’, and The Magician (Mercury) is ‘mixed’. Now, repeat the exercise for your Moon sign, this time focusing upon the cards as representing that part of you which is intuitive, emotional, silent, and reactive. These cards show how you deal with

your feelings, your fears and desires, and how you find safety when you feel threatened by the external world. The Moon represents your comfort blanket and your desire for security. Do you approve of these traits or not? Perhaps you resonate more strongly with your Moon cards than your Sun cards? Why? And again, note which cards seem to represent other people in your life. This brings us on to the final part of the exercise – comparing your Sun and Moon cards. Set the two circles of cards out side by side: Sun cards on the right and Moon cards on the left, with any shared cards in the middle. Do you see any major conflicts between your Sun and Moon cards? How does this apply to conflicts in your daily life, internally or externally?

Solar and Lunar Light

Perhaps some cards are shared: does it fit positively with one set of cards and negatively with the other? Or perhaps it fits similarly for each set. How is this card reflected in your daily life? This exercise is very in-depth, yet it is something that you can come back to at any point. Don’t feel that you have to explore all of the interactions now. Rather than having just the four cards we looked at in the beginning, you now have a much wider selection of images to explore and contemplate in the context of your solar and lunar energies.

A Brief Note on the Ascendent After the Sun and Moon, the next most important point in the birthchart is the ascendant, also known as the rising sign. To find this, you will need to know at least an approximate time of birth. You might like to pick out the cards relating to this sign and relate them to your Sun and Moon cards, bearing in mind that the ascendant symbolises the mask that we wear in everyday life; that side of us which we believe to be most socially acceptable. It is not necessarily a true part of the personality – rather, the ascendant is the window through which the Lights shine.

Table of Astrological Dignities

2.3 Tarot Trance The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn taught a range of techniques for members to project themselves into a tarot card. This was termed projecting into the sphere of sensation, rising on the planes or what is more commonly known nowadays as pathworking. There are many intricacies and variations in these methods, and not all are simply guided visualisations. The reading list at the end of this section covers the many variations which you may wish to further explore. Here we will give two methods of self-hypnosis which are safe to practice and a suggestion for experiencing the tarot within a light trance state.

Exercise 38: The Betty Erickson Technique This method can be practised alone or taught to pairs of people working together. It uses truisms – statements of fact – and incorporation to provoke an easily accessed trance-like state of indifference. It can be used very well for insomnia. It works by simply making yourself comfortable and slowly, very slowly, choosing something that you can see, noticing that thing, and then saying out loud (or in your head if it is not appropriate to speak out loud): “I can see a ... [object].” Then slowly move your attention to another object, and repeat, slowly: “I can see a ... [object].” Repeat this to a total of five items. Then do the same with things that you can hear, i.e. saying: “I can hear … [sound].” Repeat, again to a total of five times.

Then do the same with things that you can feel, emotionally or physically, i.e. saying: “I can feel ... [sensation].” Again, repeat a total of five sensations. Now, slowing down even more, and perhaps going into more detailed observations, repeat the entire sequence of “I can see ...” four times, “I can hear ...” four times, then “I can feel ...” four times. Then again with three repetitions for each. At this point you may feel like closing your eyes. When you do so, return to the top of the sequence and start again with “I can see ...” five times, perhaps observing images arising in your mind. By about the third repetition of this pattern, you should be nicely in a slightly trance-like state. You can now visualise a tarot card and step into it as if it were a door. You can meet the characters in the card, and even conduct an IGM as explained earlier in this book. This technique is very powerful if you practice it for three or four nights when you are already going to sleep or in an otherwise comfortable situation such as a relaxing bath. This establishes a relationship between the technique and the desired state. You may find with practice – particularly if you do the technique frustratingly slowly – that your unconscious mind short-cuts the technique after a while and moves you into a good state almost as soon as you start the practice.

Exercise 39: Vogt’s Fractionation Another useful beginner’s self-hypnosis technique is Vogt’s Fractionation. In this technique we drop in little steps into a trancelike state, bringing ourselves back up to normal awareness each time. This is good for overcoming resistance to relaxation. It can be

practised alone or with a partner or student group being led. Here it is given in the syntax for leading someone else; you can amend it to use ‘I’ rather than ‘you’ if practising alone. Use the following very simple trance format (VSTF) for a few minutes, and then ask the person (or yourself) to return to a ‘normal’ state. Then resume the VSTF for a few more minutes, and ask the person to open their eyes. Then resume the VSTF for a longer period, and then ask the person to return – this should become harder and harder, and acts as a ‘convincer’ to the trance-like state also. At some point you can then enter into the tarot visualisation.

The Very Simple Trance Format To enter into a relaxed state, begin by making a series of verifiable statements of fact, also called truisms: “As you sit in the chair ... listening carefully ... and the wind blows against the windows ... wondering what will happen ...“ Continue this for a while and then begin to interweave, mirror, pace, and lead suggestions of relaxation: “... breathing in ... and out ... more slowly now ... and deeper ... feeling where you feel most relaxed ... spreading out now ... slowing down ... thoughts easily moving to where they need to go to relax you further now ...” Establish eye closure or disassociation: “... closing your eyes ...” or “... letting your conscious mind wander ...”

Start deepening: “... perhaps you’d like to count down with me, 10 ... allowing yourself to float free ... nine ... relaxing further any remaining tension in your body ...“ Utilise and incorporate any reactions / events: “... hearing that far distant car, wondering where it’s going to, and how long it will take to get there, remembering what it’s like to be a passenger in a car, late at night, knowing that your driver is driving, the road is safe ahead, and you can just let go and relax whilst you are taken to your destination ...” Establish intervention, etc.: “... and whilst you relax further you can listen to my voice, or the sounds outside, it doesn’t really matter as your unconscious listens all the time, and it likes stories and I know that I can tell you about a tarot card, which is actually a doorway ...” Once the journey and exploration has been accomplished, you can start upening (re-orientation): “Saying farewell for now to those inner landscapes of tarot, whilst you listen to my voice, becoming a little more aware of the ticking clock in this room, in this place, becoming more aware of the relaxation in your legs as you start to wake a little ...” Close trance state: “... and only as soon as you can bring all those wonderful feelings back with you in your body and mind and heart you can open your eyes and look again with new eyes to new things now.”

If someone does not come quickly out of the trance-like state, you can use: “... and feeling so good in that state, you imagine and wonder how good it will feel when it feels even better to open your eyes now and fully awaken now.” Don’t worry about being ‘stuck’ in hypnosis or trance. What happens is that after a while you briefly drop into a regular sleep state – for a moment – then immediately and naturally wake out of the sleeping state. The body and mind will not allow you to die because you are hypnotised, honestly.

Exercise 40: Merging the Cards for Creative Solutions This original technique has been adapted from a NLP technique called ‘spinning icons’ developed by Joe Munshaw and Nelson Zink: 1. Select a problem state for which you wish to create a solution; 2. Perform a 2-card reading. The first card is for your problem state. The second card will represent the resources that you need to resolve the state; 3. Arrange the two cards on the table as you see them in relationship to each other; 4. Allow yourself to select a single symbol from the ‘problem state’ card, such as the crown on The Empress, the sword held by the Ace of Swords, etc. Close your eyes so that you can see or sense the symbol in your inner space;

5. Do the same thing for the ‘resource state’ card. Open your eyes, choose a symbol from the card, and close your eyes again to place it in your inner space in relationship to the ‘problem state’ symbol; 6. Slowly start to rotate the symbols around each other, as if they were changing places on a circle, and when they have revolved once to return to their original position, keep on rotating them in the same loop. Start to accelerate the rotation, so that after seven or so rotations the symbols are spinning so fast in the loop that they begin to blur together, forming a continuous ribbon or loop; 7. Keep on rotating this ribbon or loop until a new symbol emerges from it. This symbol can be anything – do not stop to analyse it (yet) but take a deep breath and opening your eyes, imagine that you have breathed the symbol into the air in front of you and can see or sense it clearly; 8. Immediately – and I do mean immediately – start to tell a story (any story), make it up (you’ll have to) and don’t pause for breath, keep going, telling the story out loud. It could be nonsense, something that’s happened to you, a fairytale, bits of all of the aforementioned, anything at all – keep going; 9. When you have exhausted the story, you can begin to wonder what the story has to tell you in relationship to your ‘problem state’ card and application of your ‘resource state’ card. However, this conscious analysis is secondary to the real unconscious work that will have already been undertaken during this exercise.

Exercise 41: 3-Card Pattern This version of a spinning pattern can be used to practice and install an unconscious pattern to read 3-card spreads. This pattern is also a great way to review learning on a course and to generate a meta-

view of a series of experiences that have been selected on the basis of their importance.143 The pattern is as follows: 1. Think of the three cards in the reading and notice the first thing that comes to mind – where you had a, ‘Aha! or ‘Umm ... fascinating!’ feeling. Associate fully so that you recall what you saw and heard when you felt that feeling; 2. Disassociate so that you can create a picture of that moment. Freeze-frame it; 3. Think of the 3-card reading again and find another such learning moment. Associate fully again so that you recall what you saw and heard when you felt that feeling; 4. Disassociate again so that you can create a picture of that moment. Freeze-frame it and place it to the right of the first frame; 5. Repeat steps 1 and 2 a third time and place the framed picture to the right of the other two, so that you have three pictures, like frames in a movie; 6. Start to imagine that the pictures are now frames in a movie, running slowly at first, then faster and faster. Notice any emerging feeling from the movie – what is it that was underneath these three experiences? What is common? What is the overall lesson or communication that you were receiving? 7. Allow yourself to wonder how you will act upon that meta-learning. This pattern (much like Munshaw and Zink’s spinning icons and similar methods) often generates a semi-conscious emergent pattern which is only later realised, through a dream, a sudden positive

behaviour which can be linked back to the learning, or a later ‘Oh, I get it!’ moment.

Exercise 42: Changing a Situation Through Tarot As we have seen, the tarot cards depict Universe manifesting itself in a variety of ways. This exercise introduces you to analysing a situation that you are currently living through, with the tarot and the Tree, and then appropriately choosing a required energy to change the situation for the better, and using the appropriate tarot card to call that energy. This is one example of using tarot in the format of magical ritual, and you may be surprised at the results from even this simplest ritual activity. If you are using your cards as a regular interface with reality – engaging life – they become a powerful conduit for change, whether you can see the invisible knots or not. 1. Take a situation that you currently wish to change. What would you like to happen? 2. What is the nature of the change that is required, in terms of the four elements? Material change, money, finances, health Emotional, fluid, deep Intellect, learning, education Beliefs, lifestyle change, goals

Earth / Pentacles Water / Cups Air / Swords Fire / Wands

3. How far has the situation you are in got to? How long has it been going on? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “I’ve only just realised

that I need to change something that has just started,” to 10: “It’s been going on forever and I’ll never change it”; 4. What energy is required to change the situation? A sudden, fresh energy (Page); a forceful, dynamic, piercing energy (Knight); a stable, comforting, enduring energy (Queen); or a constant, fixed, robust energy (King)? 5. Take the appropriate MINOR card (i.e. 4 of Pentacles if it is a wealth situation that has been ongoing for a while, but hasn’t yet stabilised – 4 on a scale of 1 to 10) and the appropriate COURT card (i.e. Page of Pentacles if you need a new fresh energy to break the wealth doldrums); 6. Place the MINOR card to the left of the COURT card, somewhere convenient, i.e. where you can work with them for one week. Leave a gap between the two cards representing seven card-widths. As each day passes for a week, move the COURT card one position to the LEFT towards the MINOR card. This begins to bring the required energy into your life in order to change the situation, until on the last of the seven days, place the COURT card on top of the MINOR card. 141

For a full natal chart, I recommend the services of Lyn Birkbeck http://www.lynbirkbeck.com and/or Keren Happuch http://www.keren-happuch.co.uk [last accessed 39 January 2010]. 142 I am grateful to Keren Happuch, traditional astrologer and tarot reader, for providing this section. 143 Adapted from a method demonstrated by Richard Bandler during NLP training course, 2000.

Section 3, Part 2 Reading List For those wishing to explore hypnosis and trance a little further, you may wish to consult the following titles.

Hypnosis / Trance Havens, R.A. & Walters, C. Hypnotherapy Scripts. Brunner / Mazel: New York, 1989. Hunter, C.R. The Art of Hypnotherapy. Kendall / Hunt: Dubuque, 1995. Philips, G. & Watts, T. Rapid Cognitive Therapy. Crown House: Carmarthen, 1999. Rosen, S. (editor). My Voice will Go With You. W.W. Norton: New York, 1982. Yapko, M.D. Trancework. Brunner / Mazel: New York, 1990.

Part 3: Tarot Ascended, Tarot Secret

3.1 The Ladder The ladder is a common icon of Western esotericism and Christian mysticism. It symbolises not only the spiritual ascent narrative – the idea that we can unite with the Higher – but also sometimes the descent; the lowering of the above into the below, resulting in inspiration, divine contact, communication, initiation, and even illumination. The ladder is a picture of the connection between the ground and someplace otherwise unreachable. Can you find any ladders in any of the cards in your deck/s? This idea of connection is of course very relevant in divination, literally, from the Latin divinare, to be inspired by a god. The breath can also be seen as an important part of divinatory practice, as the word inspire indicates; it literally means to breathe in, with inspiration being seen as the authority to receive and communicate divine truth. Many books make a great deal of intuition and tarot readers often talk about the place of intuition versus non-intuition and so forth. I consider this somewhat misleading. Intuition is merely knowledge of something without the accompanying conscious knowledge of how that knowledge was derived. It cannot be done about something of which you have no knowledge. So a surgeon may intuit the right thing to do during heart surgery, without knowing how he came to a particular decision, but a shop assistant will not be able to do likewise, in surgery. Therefore, intuition is a skill that comes with practice, and knowledge – experiential or learnt. It can also be taught. Inspiration is a far more compelling concept and aim; to

provide truly inspirational readings, with or without intuition – it doesn’t matter. So when you perform a divination by tarot cards, consider the following aspects which are at play: • • • • • • • • •

Connection; Knowledge – learnt or experiential; Intuition; Reason; Emotion; Communication; Breathing; Ascent and descent; Inspiration.

These aspects are all part of the dialogue between you and the cards, you and yourself, you and the querent, and ALSO the querent and the cards.144 You might also consider that a divine dialogue is also taking place during moments of inspiration (so breathe in ...). When you breathe in, you cannot talk. The mind is habituated to this simple fact and has a natural rhythm of processing to this pattern. Whilst you are talking, thinking is interrupted because you are processing your language and all of the musculature to talk. If you want to test this simple thesis, try the following exercise, either in a tarot reading session or other circumstance: What happens when you only talk on somebody else’s out breath? Watch someone for a moment in conversation, notice their breathing. You can do this by de-focusing slightly or looking slightly over their shoulder. The outside of the eye is more geared to picking up movement – you’ll see less detail but suddenly see how much movement is present, including the shoulder movements of breathing. You can also watch an earring if one is being worn, which neatly goes up and down with the breathing cycle.

Then, pace yourself and start to talk only as the other person breathes out. See what happens to the mood and pacing of the conversation. If anything, what does this mean? What does it mean when you are reading cards? Should you perhaps pause to breathe in a little more, see how that generates inspiration?

3.2 The Tarot as Illustrating Spiritual Ascent In the ascent of the spiritual ladder, which is Western esotericism is mapped by the kabbalistic Tree of Life, the tarot cards are seen as corresponding to the paths upon the Tree, as depicted in the following diagram. You will see the Majors on the paths and the Minors and Court cards on the Sephiroth, drawn in this diagram as circles connected by the paths. The Hebrew word Sephiroth (singular Sephirah) means something close to numerical emanation, and not sphere. If you intend to study kabbalah in any depth, please get into the mental habit of seeing the word Sephirah or Sephiroth as describing an abstract emanation or sequence, and not a sphere. There are no spheres of Mercy in the real world, only the concept. It is like looking closely at tap water to see the little blue and red balls that were used to teach you about hydrogen and oxygen molecules in chemistry class. All the books talking about the ‘spheres of the Tree of Life’ are lazy books and lead you into bad habits. In fact, many versions of the Tree of Life depict the Sephiroth as concentric rings, chains or other devices differing from those circles / spheres most commonly seen in Western esoteric books.

Tree of Life

In the following diagram from Robert Fludd (1574-1637), we see how the Tree of Life is actually a tree with its roots in the higher realms and the branches and leaves descending to the lower. This is an important concept to be introduced right at the beginning of kabbalistic study, but beyond the scope of this current intermediate lesson. You might like to consider how The Hanged Man tarot card symbolises this reversal.

ARBER SEPHIROTHECA Utriusque Cosmi, Robert Fludd, 1621. Vol. II

So we can now map across the tarot cards to the rungs as follows:

That is to say, if we are making spiritual progress, then according to the map of the kabbalistic Tree of Life and its correspondences to tarot, we will experience and use the lessons of The Blasted Tower, then Strength, then The Empress. You may like to correspond these to other patterns such as the hero’s journey as described by Joseph Campbell.

Exercise 43: Tarot of Spiritual Ascent But for now, let’s keep it simple and correspond the pattern to real life – then later work to spiritual nuances. Please fill in the following with appropriate descriptions. Going on holiday has three stages: The tarot card of ...

Illustrates the stage (in sequence) of going on holiday ...

The Blasted Tower Strength The Empress Growing up to adulthood has three stages:

The tarot card of ...

Illustrates the stage (in sequence) of growing up ...

The Blasted Tower Strength The Empress Spiritual ascent has three stages: The tarot card of ...

Illustrates the stage (in sequence) of spiritual progression ...

The Blasted Tower Strength The Empress

3.3 The Book of Thoth as Illustrative of Spiritual Progression The particular ladder that we will be studying is the kabbalistic one used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and also Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). In fact, Crowley wrote a poem called ‘The Ladder’ which describes very well his experiences in the Golden Dawn of a method called variously, the art of scrying, travelling in the spirit vision, rising on the planes, or projection of the thought-ray into the sphere of sensation. In this method, more latterly somewhat simplified and called pathworking or even creative visualisation, the Adept explores the planes in astral journeys, encountering the appropriate visions suited to each place. ‘The Ladder’ was originally published in a private collection of Crowley’s poems, The Winged Beetle, in 1910 in a limited and numbered edition of 300 copies on standard paper and 50 copies on

unbleached paper. It has more recently been republished by Teitan Press in 1992. It was also printed in Crowley’s esoteric magazine, The Equinox, in 1910.145 Whilst the poem is apparently available online, as with many such works, particularly those by Crowley, it has been poorly scanned into an OCR (optical character recognition) device and in this case the online version is incomplete. Once someone has uploaded such a version, and then it gets copied everywhere, no-one ever checks the original source in a book, never mind the original manuscript. In the case of ‘The Ladder’, the online versions all contain the same spelling mistakes and several incorrect words, as well as being less than half of the actual poem. I have spent a few hours checking the original and two different published versions, including the facsimile of The Equinox from 1910, in order to provide the version here given. You should read through the poem and record your thoughts and response in the first instance before progressing. What is the nature of the journey that Crowley is describing? What is his attitude to the journey as he undertakes it? How does it progress from stage to stage? And in what way is the return different? Make a note of the various symbols you recognise – whether they be colours, animals, deities or planets. Even numbers may be symbols. Perhaps there are obvious or subtle references to tarot cards that you can see, although this is what we will look at shortly in this section.

The Ladder To K. M. Ward

"I will arise and go unto my father"


Dark, dark all dark! I cower, I cringe. Only above me is a citron tinge As if some echo of red, gold and blue Chimed on the night and let its shadow through. Yet I who am thus prisoned and exiled Am the right heir of glory, the crowned child.

I match my might against my Fate's I gird myself to reach the ultimate shores, I arm myself the war to win : – Lift up your heads, O mighty gates! Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors! The King of Glory shall come in.


I pass from the citrine: deep indigo Is this tall column. Snakes and vultures bend Their hooded hate on him that would ascend. O may the Four avail me ! Ageless woe, Fear, torture, throng the threshold. LO! The end Of matter ! The immensity of things

Let loose – new laws, new beings, new conditions; – Dire chaos; see ! these new-fledged wings Fail in its vagueness and inanitions. Only my circle saves me from the hate Of all these monsters dead yet animate.

I match, &c.


Hail, thou full moon, O flame of Amethyst !

Stupendous mountain on whose shoulders rest The Eight Above. More stable is my crest Than thine – and now I pierce thee, veil of mist! Even as an arrow from the war-bow springs I leap – my life is set with loftier things. I match, &c.

SAMECH (and the crossing of the Path of Pe)

Now swift, thou azure shaft of fading fire, Pierce through the rainbow! Swift, O swift! how streams The world by! Let Sandalphon and his quire Of Angels ward me!

Ho! what planet beams This angry ray? Thy swords, thy shields, thy spears! Thy chariots and thy horsemen, Lord! Showered spheres

Of meteors war and blaze; but I am I, Horus himself, the torrent of the sky Aflame – I sweep the stormy seas of air Towards that great globe that hangs so golden fair.

I match, &c.


Hail, hail, thou sun of harmony, Of beauty and of ecstasy! Thou radiance brilliant and bold! Thou ruby rose, thou cross of gold! Hail, centre of the cosmic plan! Hail, mystic image of the man! I give the sign of slain Asar. I give the sign of Asi towering.

I give the sign of Apep, star Of black Destruction all-devouring. I give thy sign, Asar re-arisen : – Break, O my spirit, from thy prison!

I match, &c.

GIMEL (with the crossing of the path of Teth)

Hail, virgin Moon, bright Moon of Her That is God's thought and minister! Snow-pure, sky-blue, immaculate Hecate, in Thy book of Fate Read thou my name, the soaring soul That seeks the supreme, sunless goal! And thou, great Sekhet, roar! Arise, Confront the lion in the way! Thy calm indomitable eyes

Lift once, and look, and pierce, and slay!

I am past. Hail Hecate! Untrod Thy steep ascent to God, to God! Lo, what unnamed, unnameable Sphere hangs above inscrutable? There is no virtue in thy kiss To affront that soulless swart abyss.

I match, &c.


I am insane. My reason tumbles; The tower of my being crumbles. Here all is doubt, distress, despair: There is no force in strength or prayer. If pass I may, it is by might

Of the momentum of my flight. I match, &c.

GIMEL (and the crossing of Daleth)

Free from that curse, loosed from that prison; From all that ruin am I risen! Pure still, the virgin moon beguiles My azure passage with her smiles.

Now! O what love divine redeems My death, and bathes it in her beams! What sacring transubstantiates My flesh and blood, and incarnates The quintessential Pan? What shore Stretches beyond this secret door? Hail! O thou sevenfold star of green, Thou fourfold glory – all this teen Caught up in ecstasy – a boon To pass me singing through the moon!

Nay! I knew not what glory shone Gold from the breathless bliss beyond: But this I know that I am gone To the heart of God’s great diamond!

I match, &c.


I am passed through the abyss of flame; Hear ye that I am that I am!


Behold! I clothe mine awful light In yonder body born of night. Its mind be open to the higher! Its heart be lucid-luminous!

The Temple of its own desire The Temple of the Rosy Cross! As Horus sped the flame, Harpocrates Receive the flame, and set the soul at ease. I who was One am One, all light Balanced within me, ordered right, As was ever the initiate’s ken, Is now, and shall be evermore. Amen.

The Rungs of the Ladder of Ascent We can see first in Crowley’s poem that it is divided into parts, each named with a Hebrew word or letter. So the poem starts with Malkuth (Kingdom), and then progresses into a section entitled Tau, a Hebrew letter meaning cross.146 In Hebrew the letters have meanings, values, are symbols, and also have spellings, unlike the English alphabet. These sections trace a spiritual journey up the central column of the Tree of Life – a diagram used in kabbalah and based upon one of the oldest written texts of kabbalah, the Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation, which describes the creation of Universe from the Hebrew letters.147

You may wish to print out a Tree of Life and colour the appropriate paths and Sephiroth identified in Crowley’s poem. There are many variations of correspondence, even of the letters, before one reaches the variations of correspondence of the tarot cards. It is best to check at every stage whether any particular text and diagram – particularly when taken from the internet – is using the same system. You will then see that when considered as a ladder, the Tree of Life has three horizontal rungs; these are the three paths crossing the Tree between the Sephiroth. They are the paths, and the corresponding letter: Path 27 Path 19 Path 14

Peh Teth Daleth

The letters mean mouth, snake and door, which may bear some meditation or contemplation, particularly with regard to the process of inspired tarot reading. They are given in the order by which we ascend them, starting from the bottom rung to the middle rung and the highest rung. What might these three letters and their meanings signify?

The Strait Way Furthermore, the ascent described by Crowley is made directly up the Tree of Life, starting from the bottom, Malkuth (Kingdom), and reaching Kether (Crown). This journey then traverses the paths of the middle column, as indicated also in Crowley’s poem: Path 32 Path 25 Path 13

Tau Samekh Gimel

These are the letters which mean cross (Tau), prop (Samekh) and camel (Gimel). although Gimel also signifies a person in motion, a going. So the three paths up the Tree of Life in the central column carry the significance of the direct approach to mystical progression through these letters. What might these three letters and their meanings signify? You may wish to re-read the poem at this point to see where these letters occur, both in terms of the strait way and the rungs of the ascent. Now let us take a look at the deck chosen to illustrate this progression, the Thoth Tarot deck designed by Aleister Crowley and executed by Frieda Harris. If you would like to know more about this deck, please refer to Tarosophist International #4 which contains 146 pages of material regarding the deck by the world’s leading authors and experts on the tarot and Aleister Crowley.148 You can substitute these cards with the same cards from your own personal deck/s and make similar analysis. However, it is preferable to choose a deck where the designer/s or artist/s have background in the kabbalah. You might, therefore, use the Waite-Smith Tarot or one of the Golden Dawn tarot decks. Similarly, the rarer Servants of Light (SoL) deck could be utilised. Here are the three cards – The Tower, Lust (Strength) and The Empress – which we have seen as illustrating the rungs of ascent; the means by which we pull ourselves up the Tree of Life and make spiritual progress according to this map.

Tower, Lust & Strength, Thoth Tarot Deck

You are encouraged to assign your own meanings, based upon reading Crowley’s extensive notes on these cards, to each of these images. I offer here a brief indication (using selected quotes from Crowley’s The Book of Thoth) of how they might be seen as applying to spiritual progress in the Western esoteric initiatory system. You should also refer back to Crowley’s poem and the text he writes against these cards (or your own ‘little white book’ for your own deck, or guidebook) and then return to contemplating these cards as illustrating a sequence of spiritual ascent narrative. Stage 1: The Tower The world is seen, in a shock, as the “grossest form” of the “manifestation of cosmic energy.” It is all seen as a play of the “will to live” and the “will to die” (the dove and the serpent), with no escape. The known Universe is destroyed, and nothing is left. All values are destroyed – the eye of awareness sees only constant building and destruction with no meaning or end. We are, however, released from the illusion and can begin. This is the card of initiation in its rawest and most brutal sense. Mars.

Stage 2: Lust (Strength) This shows the progression to a stage of “divine drunkenness” or “ecstasy” in its spiritual form. The whole life of the Adept is now “absorbed into the Holy Grail” of the mystical quest. Crowley also alludes to the sexual formula whereby this card signifies alchemical distillation and “the physical-magical formula for attaining initiation, for the accomplishment of the Great Work.” Stage 3: The Empress At last, the “highest spiritual [qualities] are combined with the lowest material.” This card illustrates the “Gate of Heaven” (recall the letter here is Daleth, opening) and the “initial perfection of Nature and the final perfection of Art.” In The Empress is the Lotus, the final emblem of the living Holy Grail – the Adept at one with Nature and Universe. These are brief outlines of the many mysteries and lessons that can be discovered in this sequence of images of those three cards. When you consider them as rungs – or stages – and read Crowley’s mystical poem, they will come to life as living lessons of spiritual progress. You can also examine the final concluding verse of the poem, entitled ‘The Return’, which obviously describes the descent back down the runged branches of the Tree of Life, and in doing do, the descent of spirit into matter. Here we see a number of lines which – as with much of Crowley’s work – are best understood through the correspondences. As a starting point, consider that the lines appear paired and wonder if they may correspond to the Sephiroth rather than the paths, coming down the entire Tree: The Return

Behold! I clothe mine awful light [Kether] In yonder body born of night. [Chockmah] Its mind be open to the higher! [Binah] Its heart be lucid-luminous! [Chesed] The Temple of its own desire [Geburah] The Temple of the Rosy Cross! [Tiphareth] As Horus sped the flame, Harpocrates [Netzach] Receive the flame, and set the soul at ease. [Hod] I who was One am One, all light [Yesod] Balanced within me, ordered right, [Malkuth] As was ever the initiate’s ken, Is now, and shall be evermore. Amen.

These correspond to the Minor Arcana through the system of correspondences. With our starting point of the Aces in Kether, the Aces therefore illustrate the line: “Behold! I clothe mine awful light.” So, in what way do the four Aces ‘clothe’ the ‘light’? And what is the true meaning of the word ‘awful’?

The four suits of the Minor cards are seen in this system as corresponding to the four worlds of kabbalah. You may wish to study this in more detail through my self-study online kabbalah course at http://www.kabbalahcourse.com or via Dion Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah. For the final exercise of this section, you may like to consider the cards which correspond to the stages in Crowley’s poem as he ascends the Tree of Life, on the strait way. These are the three cards that correspond to the three paths in the middle pillar, starting at the bottom and working up: The Universe, Art (Temperance) and The High Priestess. These cards might be taken as embodying the essential experiences and challenges of the Adept as the journey is made. Again, you can substitute these cards with the cards from your own personal deck/s. If you do so, please feel encouraged to share your discoveries, for example, when working with the Druidcraft deck or a similarly ‘pagan’ deck, or an overtly ‘feminine’ deck such as Motherpeace, etc.

Priestess, Thoth Tarot Deck

Art, Thoth Tarot Deck

Universe, Thoth Tarot Deck

The Universe card depicts the manifest Universe, and our experience of it through the senses. This is our ‘fallen’ state. Crowley writes against this card, “Treat time and all conditions of Events as Servants of thy Will, appointed to present the Universe to thee in the form of thy Plan.”149 We awaken through art, through alchemy, through the winged messenger Iris (in other versions of Temperance), often seen as an angel. Here Crowley suggests that we should now aim to “transmute all wholly into the image of thy Will, bringing each to its true token of perfection.”150 Ultimately we come to the highest state, which appears to be pure light held in a net by The High Priestess. Yet even here is a challenge: “It is important for high initiation to regard Light not as the perfect manifestation of the Eternal Spirit, but rather as the veil that hides that spirit.”151

3.4 The Ladder Laid Down And at the end of our journey, we must come to realise that all our maps and vehicles have been nothing more than tools to get us to our destination. No matter how much we enjoy reading, a map of Paris is not the same as a night in Paris. And at the end of our ascent, we must come to lay down our ladder.

Mutus Liber Plate

“Provided with eyes, thou departest” From the final plate of Mutus Liber

3.5 The Tarot of the Braid After about 12 years of studying tarot and kabbalah, and particularly after embarking upon a year-long dream-work project for a magical order, I began to have intense dreams involving the tarot and the paths of the Tree of Life. In two dreams occurring during 1992, I dreamt of entirely new variants of the Tree of Life paths and sensed glimpses of the tarot cards which would be related to these new configurations. Whilst leaving any detailed analysis or development for a further book, I present here for the first time the Tarot of the Braid (and the Lattice Tarot) and Solomon’s Ladder. I hope that it encourages you to dream your own tarot.

The Braided Tree This variant is a standard Tree of Life of Sephiroth, but with 23 alternate paths. The paths are numbered and their nature determined by the interaction of the Sephiroth which they connect. This produced a Lattice Tarot whose main theme was the various stages of process, each card of which has a set of attributes and symbols which accord with those attributes. In the dream, I saw the Tree as I sketched it thus in the morning, and heard several of the cards named, such as The Turbulent, The Architect and The Converging. The rest were designed based upon these few keys.

The Braided Tree

3.6 Solomon’s Ladder In this second case, I dreamt of a very alternative Tree of Life, with two Biblical illustrations in two of the Sephiroth. These were of Solomon in one of the Sephiroth and Sodom in another. I drew these into the diagram, and realised through correspondence that they were Chesed (Solomon as Mercy) and Geburah (Sodom as Judgement). The rest of the Sephiroth were then easily identifiable. In this case, the tarot remain on their corresponding paths but now take on a new spatial relationship to each other, e.g. creating tarot nexii where the paths cross over each other, combining four cards. This would lead to the creation of four new cards, as an emergent property of the creating and crossing double pairs. On the far left of the diagram, for example, where a small black block is drawn, this divides the two arched lines into four sections / paths, which correspond to cards 11, 12, 13, and 14. This would result in an emergent card from Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, and Temperance. You might consider what such a card would be.

Solomon’s Ladder

3.7 The 1,232 Major Lessons of Tarosophy In some kabbalistic schools there are methods of making permutations of the 22 Hebrew letters, particularly those associated with the various names of God, in order to achieve enlightened states. One such method is called Galgal, or cycling. In this method, one permutes the letters in a prescribed manner to “channel the forces into ones spiritual being.”152 In mystical treatises such as the Book of Blendings or The Treasury of the Hidden Eden, kabbalists would seek to discover sacred mysteries in these cryptic permutations of Hebrew letters. In Tarosophy, we might find an easy equivalent in every spread: every spread demonstrates a new teaching in the arrangement of the cards and their corresponding meanings at that particular time and place. However, we may also begin to suggest various prescribed patterns that derive from the very structure of the tarot deck itself. The first prescribed pattern is that of the Majors applying to the Minors and Court cards. This is a simple 2-card pattern, entitled

Major Lessons, which generates an incredible 1,232 combinations. We take each Major card at a time and apply it to the Minors and Court cards as a reading or permutation. The Fool plus each Minor (40 cards) + each Court (16) = 56 combinations 56 combinations for 22 Majors = 1,232 Lessons We can examine a sample permutation in three decks in order to learn the Major Lessons of each deck. If we take an example of a Major card, The Empress, applying to the Minor card, 5 of Pentacles, we see how this specific permutation teaches us in different ways.

Thoth Tarot Deck In the Thoth Tarot deck, this permutation is rather wicked. It is the salt of The Empress, the inactive element of alchemy, combined with the strangulation and worry of the 5 of Disks. As Crowley describes the latter, “the economic system has broken down”153 and the former, “in no other card is it so necessary to disregard the parts, to concentrate upon the whole.”154 This is a global constraint in the material system – perhaps a potent permutation representing the recent global credit crunch.

Transparent Tarot Deck The Transparent Tarot deck version of this permutation is more subtle. Placing the two cards upon each other results in a scene wherein a silhouetted figure leans against five pentacles, whilst a rose grows in a green and gently rolling background. Emily Carding writes of the temporary financial dip which must be borne by the

figure, whilst patiently waiting the eventual growth signified by The Empress. In this card the permutation is more personal, muted and perhaps more gentle, but carries the same significance.

Tarot of the Magical Forest In this whimsical deck, The Empress is represented by the crowned piglet, who declares the freedom of all animals. The suit of Pentacles is replaced by Foxes, in which the 5 of Foxes is demonstrative of an overwhelming desire for money. Here the desire for money and comfort has destroyed the seekers, and they remain far distant from the decrees of the crowned pig. In one we see dawn, Nature and clear skies; in the other we see only twilight, a wall and snow. The permutation here shows the stark contrast between the two states – suggests more of a story between them – and allows us to consider different responses to the acquisition of comfort and material resources. So each deck will have its own variant on the 1,232 permutations. In each permutation we see the impact of an archetypal force playing through every situation. In some, we will see that the archetypal energies develop and support the situation; in others, such as The Empress and the 5 of Pentacles, it is in high contrast; and yet others it will disrupt the situation. An example of the latter might be the impact of The Chariot upon the 2 of Pentacles: the last thing that the juggling man needs is a faster vehicle! By considering these permutations we gain insight into the world at large and empower our readings further.

3.8 Tarosophy and a Tarot Secret of the Golden Dawn

In the unpublished materials of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, there are still many fascinating tarot treasures worthy of further research. These may form part of a sequel to Tarosophy, but in the meantime this section offers a riddle for advanced Tarosophists regarding the correspondences of the tarot and the Hebrew letters. Whilst there are many variations of these correspondences, the Golden Dawn appeared to settle upon a system which has remained a general standard for the past century. However, in the following piece by F. L. Gardner, here published for the first time (as far as I am aware), we might divine an alternative system. This is also a good example of using tarot to construct a spiritual metaphor or personal Tarosophy – a philosophy based upon tarot. We can see earlier examples in Eliphas Lévi and Aleister Crowley. The latter’s usage of tarot as a structure upon which to construct elaborate spiritual metaphors is a subject also to be covered in a further book on Tarosophy. We will also here provide a structure for you to begin to construct your own Tarosophy, or tarot spiritual statement.

3.9 Never Will the Eternal Change In a notebook written by F.L. Gardner is the following two page poem, obviously referring to tarot cards and structured upon the Hebrew letters (in the notebook written as Hebrew characters, here provided in their English translation):155 Aleph Beth Gimel Daleth

All, announces an acting intelligence cause Number serves to prove the living unity of its laws Nothing can limit him who in himself the all contains Alone anterior to all beginning, his

Heh Vau Zayin Cheth Teth Yod Kaph Lamed Mem Nun Samekh Ayin Peh Tzaddi Qoph Resh Shin Tau

omnipresence all sustains As He is the only ruler Him alone adores He reveals to the pure in heart the truth of dogma and laws But one surely must be chief, the works of faith to accomplish Wherefore we have but one altar, one law, one way to live And never will the Eternal change the base of this law Of the heavens of our days, he regulates every phase Abundant in mercy, mighty to avenge all sin and crime He promiseth his people a king in future time The tomb is but the passage to the new land The good angel calms and temperates desires The evil spirit is filled with pride and ire God commands the lightning, bids the flame to stay Vesper and its dew doth God know and obey He placed on our tower the Moon’s watchful light The source of all regenerates is the Sun of Splendour bright His breath the dust of tombs anew embraces life Where to unguided mortals descend, death, life His crown the Mercy Seat covers, and over the Cherubim his glory hovers

We can also see from this extract the Christian perspective being expressed through tarot. Some of the references are obvious, such as the Moon and the Sun; others slightly more obscure, such as “And never will the Eternal change ...” However construed, the tarot

correspondences are not to the standard Golden Dawn structure, with Samekh, for example, usually corresponding to the angelic Temperance card, here being associated with The Devil. The advanced Tarosophist may choose to explore the correspondences suggested by this piece, particularly exploring them upon the Tree of Life and through the Sepher Yetzirah, from which this piece obviously draws, as from the work of Eliphas Lévi.

Exercise 44: The Secret Journeys of the Majors (Counting Creation) In the Opening of the Key method of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, taught on my own intermediate courses and to be found within the works of that Order and Aleister Crowley, one lays out cards in long sequences and makes use of a counting method to select which cards are read in the spread. The counting rules are based upon correspondences and are reasonably straightforward, if you know your correspondences to the Majors. To me, these correspondences are the difference between a ‘beginner’ student and an ‘intermediate’ student: the latter is able to bridge the tarot to other systems. So, in the Opening of the Key, one learns the following rules for counting cards. There are variations, and a minor confusion that they are often given with the Golden Dawn / Thoth deck titles of the Court cards, so this is my own chosen method: Aces Minors 2 to 10 Pages / Princesses Knights (Princes), Queens, Kings (Knights)

Count 11 Count the number on the card Count 7 Count 4

Then for the Majors, one counts according to the type of correspondence present upon that card, be it elemental, planetary or zodiacal: Elemental Planetary Zodiacal

Count 3 Count 9 Count 12

Rather than teach the Opening of the Key, I would like to present a secret of the Golden Dawn based upon the Major cards. This secret is taught within a particular Order and is here given for the first time – it is called the Count of Creation. Assuming that the cards have settled into a reasonably stable archetypal pattern, reflecting something of the nature of our relationship to reality, one goes on to suggest that the sequence embodies the pattern and structure of all creation. This is seen within our concept of Universe as hologram examined earlier in the section, ‘How Does Tarot Work?’ Through correspondence, a Hermetic analysis of Universe and its connections (i.e. the invisible knots), we also assume a reflection of a deeper pattern.156 Having established that position, we can now discern secret patterns in the thread of the tarot tapestry by the method of counting through correspondences. That is to say, every card in the Major Arcana has its own journey; we have briefly discussed the Fool’s Journey and the Adept’s Journey, but there are journeys for each card based upon the counting method. There is a hidden High Priestess’ Journey, Hermit’s Journey and Journey of the Wheel. To discover these journeys for yourself, follow this simple method. To take the Fool’s Journey first, starting with The Fool (and in this method, you count the card from which you commence), count appropriately through the Majors based upon correspondence. Where the count ends, that is the next stage of the Fool’s Journey.

You repeat this counting, cycling back through the Majors, until you encounter a card which you have already counted. If we take The Fool, corresponding to Air, an element, we count 3, taking us to The High Priestess. From The High Priestess (Moon, planetary) we count 9, taking us to The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter, planetary). Then counting 9 we reach The Moon (Pisces, zodiacal); counting 12, reaching The Chariot (Cancer, zodiacal), to count 12 again which takes us to The Moon. As we have already selected The Moon, the count stops. So the Fool’s Secret Journey takes him to The High Priestess, The Wheel of Fortune, The Moon, and The Chariot. In discussion with some of my advanced tarot students, we saw this as a parable of the spirit discovering that the world was veiled and revealed, that everything was connected, and though the world itself was reflected light, the Master of the Temple – a correspondence of the Chariot – transcended this state. It led to a very profound and somewhat gnostic discussion of Universe. You may now choose to discover the hidden journeys of each of the Major cards through this previously secret system. One student recently suggested that for those discovering through numerology or astrology (or other methods) their ‘birth card‘ (one of the Majors), ‘life card’ or ‘year card’ could utilise this system to see further the hidden journey of discovery waiting ahead. It is also a suitable method for developing 1-card Major-only readings, where the card itself is merely the gateway to the journey which naturally follows it – a universal ‘necessity’ as Crowley called the structure of the tarot. Another method of engaging with this exercise is to draw and plot the paths of each of the journeys as paths in a labyrinth or forest, using coloured pens to show the different paths between cards,

elemental, zodiacal, or planetary. This will show you an incredible garden of forking paths as Borges might call it, with interesting loops, dead ends, major thoroughfares, and intersections – all hidden in plain sight. The tarot is a fascinating device, and through correspondence and intermediate study it becomes a veritable map of creation itself, of which it is part and reflection.

3.10 Towards Your Own Tarosophy To construct your own Tarosophy, or spiritual statement based upon tarot, you may choose to use the following template or derive one from your own associations with the Major cards. You could choose to use the secret keywords already explored in this book or keywords or concepts from other authors. You might equally choose to structure a themed poem, stuck situation or argument in this manner, in order to explore the archetypal energies at work in the situation. This is when we truly become Tarosophists, engaging life with our tarot, not escaping it. Also note that many tarot readers construct a statement of ethics or similar, which we have discussed briefly in the legal section of this book. These are often irrevelant, misconstrued and useless pieces of text, often confusing trading terms and conditions with personal statements. They are often stated in the negative, for example, as if a doctor would have a large statement saying,“I aim not to hurt you” rather than “My aim is to heal you.” Here we would aim to state everything in the positive – in the linguistic sense rather than the New Age sense. This statement could then stand on your website or in information given to clients as a reflection of your use of tarot as a living guide, for yourself and the client.

You may wish to complete the ‘Enquiries of the Majors’ as a background to this exercise, or develop your own enquiries for each card based upon your own knowledge and experience. I have numbered the cards for brevity and given two templates – the first for a spiritual statement and the second for an argument – to demonstrate the flexibility of this method.

Exercise 45: A Tarosophical Spiritual Statement 1 I believe that I am here to 2 The mysteries of life I will discover by 3 I will assist creation by 4 My power is 5 And what I have to teach is 6 I will base my choices on 7 And go forwards in 8 Whilst remembering 9 I am here to guide others by 10 And I believe that fate and destiny are 11 There are laws or not – I believe 12 And my highest values are 13 Death is 14 And through my experience comes 15 I view the world as 16 And change is 17 My vision is of 18 And when I fear, I will remember 19 The brightest things in life are 20 And when all is said and done, I will 21 For the world is here to 22 And I am free to

Exercise 46: A Tarosophical Analysis of an Argument

1 The things that have been said are 2 But I know that secrets might be 3 The only thing growing here is 4 And we are each fixed in 5 The power is with 6 And the choice is with 7 The only way I see forwards is 8 And where we fight, we 9 My own stand is 10 And what has changed is 11 It seems fair and unfair here 12 And I can only stand by 13 What must be let go and changed is 14 Whilst learning 15 Because we are attached to 16 Even though 17 Our shared aim is 18 But we can only progress by facing 19 The best thing about this is 20 But we must act by 21 For at the end of the day, what must happen is 22 And then we can

3.11 The Ten Degrees of Tarosophy In this section we will discuss a provisional tarot curriculum. Rachel Pollack observed that when she asks at her sessions with Mary K. Greer at the Omega Institute for an indication of those who consider themselves ‘beginners’ in tarot, she often gets a majority of hands held up – and many of those hands belong to the same people who then hold them up for reading more than five years. At the Far Away Centre courses, we receive applications for those wishing to start at the ‘intermediate’ level because they have been reading tarot for more than five years and then are completely non-plussed when they meet our ‘beginners’ who can already utilise correspondences,

multi-layered, fractal, intuitive, or kabbalistic readings, design their own decks and spreads, and have a comprehensive grasp of tarot in history and popular culture. So, as there is no official curriculum, we propose one for Tarosophy here. In 1777 a secret society in Germany, the Orden der Gold- und Rosenkreuzer, or Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross, utilised a ten grade hierarchy of teaching and membership, based upon Freemasonic design, allied to kabbalah and with alchemical instructions.157 This has been discussed in English in Christopher McIntosh’s The Rosicrucians.158 The teachings and structure of this Order are those which directly came into the Western esoteric initiatory system via the Freemason, Kenneth Mackenzie, who reproduced them in his 1877 Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia. It is Mackenzie who is suspected of producing the so-called ‘Cipher Documents’ which came to form the basic structure and curriculum of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888 by Woodman, Westcott and Mathers.159 This structure was written into the tarot, both explicitly and implicitly, by A. E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, both members of that Order, when they created their deck which was first published in December 1910. This present work was completed during the 100th year following the date of that publication. Waite saw the tarot as more than mere divination. Although he did have divinatory readings performed, he saw tarot as depicting the spiritual ascent narrative. When he later had the opportunity to design a new deck, around 1921, illustrated by J. B. Trinick, it was the Majors he worked upon and they each hold profound esoteric insight.160 His lesser-known writings on the cards show that he saw them as reflecting that esoteric structure, for example, “the symbol of the riven Tower in the path of Pe indicates the work of him who enters the Grade of Philosophus and the region of the dedicated will.”161

In the Tarosophy tarot curriculum taught in the Tarosophy University, we use the Tree of Life and the tarot correspondences as their own reflective teaching syllabus. The grades upon the Tree connect to specific paths which correspond to particular aspects of teaching. In summary:

Grade Curriculum Beginner 10 9 8 7

Structure of the deck, history, spreads Symbolism, models of working, layouts Kabbalah, astrology and analysis Intuitive, oracular, inspirational work

Intermediate 6 5 4

Living the archetypes, tarot for change Cube of space, advanced tarot Developmental tarot

Advanced 3 2 1

Tarot philosophy Tarot wisdom Tarot as life

These degrees of Tarosophy are learnt through four lights: the Solar Light (Atu XIX), the Lunar Light (Atu XVIII), the Stellar Light (Atu XVII), and the Worldly Light (Atu XXI). In each of these Lights we respectively teach tarot for developing awareness and clarity (The

Sun), reflection and self-discovery (The Moon), vision and divination (The Star), and application and practice (The World). The two phases of learning are given in the two cards of initiation – The Hanged Man and The Hermit. These might be described as The Drowned Student and The Raised Teacher. We all fluctuate between these two poles in all learning and initiatory progress. On the Tree of Life these connect Geburah and Hod (Constraint and Intellect) and Chesed and Tiphareth (Expansion and Self), which are most appropriate to these states. The Tree of Life provides an incredible model of learning, education and teaching approaches, as it models all creative activity and acquisition of knowledge – albeit that knowledge, Da’ath, is not seen as part of the Tree at all but something nebulous that arises from wisdom and understanding. In the Tarosophy teachings we also promote an understanding of the Adept’s Journey as well as the Fool’s Journey (and the secret journeys of the Majors as covered in exercise 44). This Adept’s Journey is that made as one treads the Tree upwards to divinity, and is a subject to be covered in our following book on the Western esoteric initiatory tradition.

3.12 Tarot Long Term In this closing section we will examine the impact of practising tarot on the reader and, in particular, the hidden side-effects and long term impact of this practice. We will see that the regular practice of tarot is a powerful agent of change for the benefit of the practitioner and their relationship to Universe. However, we will also discuss the drawbacks of practising a system rooted so powerfully in archetypal symbolism; one which generates largely intuitive insight. It is unfortunate that a long term study has not yet been conducted on tarot readers to assess the practice, or whether such a study

could be carried out in any depth. This section therefore hinges upon personal experience and the observations and experience of a selection of long term readers. A study of those practising meditation – a particular meditation of inward focusing – by Sara Lazar at Harvard University demonstrated a noticeable change in the structure of the brain: “Brain regions associated with attention, interoception and sensory processing were thicker in meditation participants than matched controls.”162 The tarot reader and teacher Helene Scherrer attests to long term changes in perception of time and space through tarot.163 We are currently discussing further papers regarding this transformative effect of tarot upon the practitioner.

3.13 The Hidden Teachings Beyond Tarot In a book which I consider to be one of the greatest gifts that my first teacher of the Western esoteric initiatory system presented me, The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga, the philosopher Paul Brunton argues that the “hidden limitation and undetected weakness of mysticism [is] that it is not a quest of conclusive truth so much as a yearning for emotional experience.” 164 He goes on to suggest that: “The value of meditation for inner peace, sublime ecstasy and world-free selfabsorption is immense. But its value for the quest of truth and reality unaided by philosophy is quite a different matter and demands searching investigation by sympathetic yet impartially critical minds possessed of a sense of proportion and philosophical acumen – qualities usually absent from the mystic’s make-up.”165 That is to suggest that tarot is a rung upon a ladder, not the ladder itself. It must be approached from a variety of angles and utilised as a tool, not a chain. Over time, this right attitude to tarot promotes

what might be called wisdom in the practitioner – a comfortable, experienced knowing of the world and its ways. The tarot reader Dale Andre, who has been reading tarot for more than 20 years, notes that his ability to “see things in life, not just in Tarot” has improved over time.166 The Finnish tarot reader Tero Hynynen further adds that working with the archetypes for long periods of time accesses a more comprehensive sense of self, through the nature of those archetypes, characters and images pictured in the tarot.167 It is proposed that tarot exercises us in such a way that other changes occur in the way in which we relate to the world. Hopefully, this is for the better. We become more tolerant, insightful, perhaps even wiser. But we must not assume anything: “Truth is a dynamic, not a narcotic.”168 With repeated readings we learn to comprehend and map many of the crises that afflict us as human beings. We learn to see life through tarot, and learn tarot through life. If every reading is used to teach ourselves a lesson, then perhaps over time we learn a better path. If “the ultimate goal of yoga is to always observe things accurately, and therefore never act in a way that will make us regret our actions later,"169 then the same should be said about our tarot.

3.14 Tarot Dangerous About half of people in the street, as we see in the marketing survey, fear tarot for the Death card, and any supposed ability of tarot to instigate negative change or ‘mess with the mind’ in some way. However, so far in UK law, other than a few rare cases of outright fraud, no-one has ever claimed against a dangerous tarot reading. Neither have there been any insurance claims against faulty

readings. I discussed this with an insurance expert and he suggested that the worst case scenario would be if you knocked a large crystal off your table onto someone’s foot, and they were a footballer, or your candles set light to a hall in which a psychic fair was being held. In this context, you can, and usually must, in the UK, get public liability insurance (PLI) before reading for any organisation. You should check in your locale what the equivalent might be. It is unlikely that you will get or require professional liability, unless you are offering other services such as therapy or physical therapy. Incidentally, most venues will not let you use candles or throw around large crystals! So, can tarot be dangerous? It can be when taken too seriously, or not seriously enough. It can be when used as a crutch, not a ladder. It can be when wilfully misused or misinterpreted. Much like our regard for any knowledgeable friend’s advice, the danger is not in the tarot, it is in ourselves.

3.15 Who Wants to Live Forever? Whilst many tarot readers will avoid health readings (which is to read for a question specifically asking about medical advice), requests for such are often posed to the reader: “Will the operation be successful?” “Should I take the doctor’s advice, or will my pregnancy have a healthy outcome for myself and my child?” These are genuine concerns that we all have, particularly when the medical advice is uncertain, unclear or contradictory. At this point you may find yourself consulted. It is to state the obvious that a tarot reader is a reader of tarot cards, not a consultant, medical practitioner, specialist, counsellor, or other

therapist. However, many tarot card readers are consultants, medical practitioners, specialists, and therapists. Many of my own students are professionals in both medical and mental health fields, and I often find myself training NLP and hypnotherapy to those who then enquire about my tarot work. So the situation is not as clear-cut for those of us bridging those fields. At the end of the day, the situation is that a tarot reading is not a medical consultation, nor is it ever to be taken as anything more than another source of material for consideration – no matter the weighting given to it by reader or querent. Whilst only anecdotal, and a direction for further research, many tarot readers have experienced serious illness or crises of health. Perhaps this changes us in some way to appreciate the fragile veil of life. Perhaps in part it is the obvious economics of tarot being a suitable profession for those not able to engage in mainstream work. However, like any aspect of tarot, we can consider this situation as part of our human condition and draw immense strength and insight from it. Chanah Liorna Wizenberg, a tarot reader who in 2000 was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, writes clearly about her engagement with the real world and her illness through tarot.170 Firstly, she found a balance and a calling through tarot whilst working in a demanding role: “I was working as a substance abuse counsellor at a hospital that specialised in treating addiction and dual diagnosis. That means that patients had addiction and a mental health illness. It was an amazing job and contributed to my return to the Tarot. In treating addiction we advocate highly the importance of developing a spiritual practice. I facilitated a daily meditation for the staff, and frequently for patients. All of this helped me come full circle. The stronger my reconnection became with working with Tarot, the more I realised I could not work. I was losing energy with each day. I pulled out my

deck and upped my own readings. What I discovered in the cards validated what I already knew. I had to leave my job.” Now running a successful tarot group and continuing to learn and teach, she reflects on her illness: “Because I have chronic illness it places me in a unique position. I can use the Tarot for deeper insight into my own illness and help others reconnect with hope and healing. I am constantly learning how to develop new insights on how to manage my days, a daily learning experience as none of these ailments are known for their consistency.”

3.16 The Top Five Tarot Crimes Whilst there really isn’t a Tarot Police, there are certainly some wanton acts which break the regulations of all right-minded Tarosophists. These are, in order of criminality: 1. The crime of belief. This is characterised by believing that there are tarot rules and regulations. This is the most heinous crime of all and is punishable by instant dismissal from Tarosophist Towers. Immediate arrest is made upon anyone found to be saying things like: “A tarot deck won’t work if it hasn’t been gifted to you,” or “You must keep your cards in a silk bag.” The former is simply bad grammar and would also mean that I would have to give refunds to more than 10,000 clients, and the latter is often the belief of a reader who makes a second income from selling silk bags; 2. The crime of uncommon-sense. The evidence of this crime is to be found in the bath, on the windowsill, or under the table of many criminal tarot readers. Detective work will soon reveal the crime of taking your tarot cards into the bath to study them, placing them on a windowsill to ‘absorb the moonlight’ (and then opening the window in the morning to

discover a breezy day), or leaving them out on a table exposed to the work of children and animals; 3. The crime of knowledge. This self-evident crime is often the hardest to detect. The perpetrator is often the most innocent looking, or may be so deep undercover that they have forgotten their identity. The crime takes place when a person starts to know things for sure, without any evidence or the possibility of change. They also evidence signs of boundaries, out with which they cannot see nor explore; 4. The crime of prejudice. An obvious crime with regard to the wider society, within the tarot community this crime is often greeted with understanding and sympathy. Typical examples include: “I wouldn’t touch the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck – he was an evil man,” and “The best and only deck is my Crystal Oracle deck of the Dancing Dakini Warriors”; 5. The crime of hypocrisy. This is a more advanced crime often carried out by ruthless gangs of tarot folk, who will blog about there being no ‘secrets’ in tarot, and rail against those who ‘keep the pretence of secrecy’, and then a month later advertise their book as ‘revealing powerful secrets of tarot’. I would also add a subsequent crime of persecution. That is not to say persecution of others, but a self-persecution complex. Some tarot readers seem to imagine that ‘the world’ is out to get them, or doesn’t understand their art. They prefer to be outsiders. In 30 years of tarot I have sought to normalise my interest in everyday polite and professional company alike, and have never once – well, once – been treated unfairly.171 It is illegal and simply impolite in most places to do so! The recent furore in the UK with regard to a change of law brought out such self-persecution complexes which had been institutionalised into the psychic/medium community. The actual

change in law was beneficial and fair to all traders of any description, tarot or otherwise – and removed ‘fortune telling’ or ‘fortune telling devices’ entirely from the statute books for the first time in several centuries! Keep a level head and your common-sense to avoid this common crime.

3.17 Tarot Haiku Japanese haiku are a familiar form of poetry usually adhering to the convention of 17 sylables, broken down into 3 lines of 5-7-5 syllables. An example might be: Now five syllables It doesn’t seem like many To write a poem.

5 syllables 7 syllables 5 syllables

Japanese haiku are usually seasonally based in Nature and elegant in their sparse simplicity. They are often somewhat morose. The famous haiku poet, Basho, wrote this:

No one travels Along this way but I, This autumn evening. This is actually 5-7-5 syllables in Japanese, not in the English translation. The important observations from haiku for their use as a means of discovering tarot are – interestingly enough – the exact opposite of

the metaphor-rich, embedded language that we use elsewhere in studying tarot: • • • •

No usage of metaphor, only verifiable sense observations; Usually refer to a season, often coded to an object, i.e. Moon = harvest-time; Sparse and specific – well-formed – answers who, what and when; Double image, connected by an implicit, unspecified, unconscious link.

Another advantage of learning to think in haiku is that it installs an unconscious process for rapidly summarising complex information, from the symbolic to the literal; an important skill for all tarot readers. It also allows us to make a statement, extend that statement and then transform it, which is a useful linguistic construct for promoting change or re-framing a client’s experience in a therapeutic manner. This is perhaps another reason why haiku, other than their simplicity, are so popular. Here is an example of a tarot haiku written by a tarot student:

HANGED MAN Upside down is I Bound tight. Sacrifice in sight Earthed by own values.172 The summary process and the mechanics of producing a haiku can provide you with a wonderful means of creating your own LWB (‘little white book’ that usually comes with any purchased tarot deck).

Exercise 47: Haiku Your LWB Take the 78 cards and write a haiku for each of them over a period of time. Return to your haiku on occasion and you may find yourself generating more variants for the same card.

Exercise 48: 3-Card Haiku Creation You might also like to try an advanced method by taking three cards at random and writing a haiku based upon them as representing the three lines. This will gradually install an unconscious synthesising and summarising process for 3-card combinations. For example, taking the 2 of Cups, Page of Wands and The Empress: From love arises Our own personal journey Returning to grow.

(2 of Cups in 5 syllables) (Page of Wands in 7 syllables) (The Empress in 5 syllables)

To conclude this section, I present here a beautiful and somewhat enigmatic haiku from the Japanese poet, Hirouyki Iwane. It is based upon the Wheel tarot card in the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot deck. 173

The Wheel Rotating the karma with zodiacs, Sphinx and Rat,

talking to Jupiter.

As we rotate our karma and return to the very end of this particular work, I would like to offer two straightforward down and dirty practical spreads for advanced students. Like most of my personal methods, here shared for the first time, they either have twists or are modelled upon the best tarot readers and teachers who I have met during the past few decades. Between you and I, the first method below pays my first month’s rent every January, and the second is a great party trick, particularly when people don’t expect what you’re about to do – and particularly if they’re jaded tarot readers who think that they have seen it all. And it only takes two months to learn.

Exercise 49: Annual Year Ahead Spread (36-Card Spread With Twist) I have seen many readers offer a Year spread with one card for each month. This seems somewhat bland and anodyne to me, and somewhat constraining and passive. It encourages a limited perspective upon a whole month, and a laissez-faire attitude to what it is likely to present. This is not Tarosophy. In the spread that my wife and I have been using for more than 15 years, at the start of each year we lay out three cards for each month ahead. These cards are:

The theme card for the month is the standard ‘card of the month’. It portrays the likely theme of the month considered as an overall summary. It is the second card that then takes us towards Tarosophy – the signpost (or opportunity) card is the ‘advisory’ card which tells us what may occur which we would have otherwise not noticed –

and how to recognise that opportunity. It provides a signpost as to when we are on the right path and which direction to take when we get to that point. The third card then is our most innovative twist to standard readings. This is the key card which ‘unlocks’ the month. It does this by providing a meditation or contemplation image which must be observed for the entire month. We do this by having an image of the card as a screensaver, on our personal altars, by our writing desks, or bedside. The image of the card provokes the necessary response to draw out the best resources to unlock the month. One student wears a locket which contains a picture of her particular key card for the month. We believe that it is not what happens that decides a life (i.e. the theme card), but how we respond to it (i.e. the key card). When we read this spread at the start of our year we always find ourselves looking at how we are being called to respond, not at merely what’s going to happen. This spread is an important training system in itself, which I teach to advanced students – it is an example of what I call an iterating spread. At the end of every month (or two) it is important to go back and review the month/s both behind and ahead in the light of experience. In doing so, you will find that the readings of the cards ahead become tighter and more focused as you make sense of those behind you. Also, your constant re-working of the past installs (NLP style) a new mental strategy: predictive hindsight. With predictive hindsight, trained over time, you begin to find yourself doing two readings when looking at a spread – the one you’d do anyway before knowing what will be happening, and another; the one you’d be doing looking back after things had happened. At first you may find yourself correcting yourself as you read: “Now I know I said that, but just thinking about it, I think it’s more likely to be this.” However, as time goes on and you practice this iterating reading over the years, you will find your engagement with life, the key card method, and the constant reviewing will become an unconscious

competence. You will discover yourself saying what will be happening from the cards from the position of it having happened – you will not be telling the future, but speaking to the present from the future; this is true Tarosophy.

Exercise 50: All the Traps / All the Escapes (78-Card Spread) In this final exercise, we start with a simple practice and rapidly but methodically build up to a great party trick – a reading using all 78 cards in the deck. This is also called my Tri/Tri/Tri spread, as in ‘Try, try, try again!’ and as it is laid out in three triangles. The practice exercise is fairly straightforward – I know many students despair at their ‘little white books’, when after a desultory explanation of the cards, they are then given a 10 or 15-card spread to practice. Here we take another approach, like weight training, adding more weight as our muscles develop. To practice, take a single card out of your deck and ask yourself, “What is this card bringing (or calling) to my attention?” Then answer, with ONE word. So you might pull the 2 of Cups, and answer: union. Practice this several times a day, maybe pulling a single card two or three times each session. Keep up the practice for one week. Then draw two cards each time. Ask the same question and again answer with one word. So, if you pulled the King of Wands and the 3 of Swords together, you might answer, liar, for example. Do this a few times, repeat several times a day, and practice for a week. Then the third week, do it with three cards, still using one word, and the fourth week, four cards ... until after two months you can do it with eight cards at a time. Like any exercise, you may find that you meet a personal wall or threshold at some point – or many points. Your practice regime may

need to be altered in response to your progress – don’t strain yourself! When you can easily summarise eight cards at a time, you can perform this spread. It works best in an unaware party or tarot gathering to pretend to be doing a simple 6-card spread first, which I call the resolution spread, laid out in a triangle:

This uses six cards. Then suggest that you lay out a few more cards to clarify the situation. Incidentally, the following is modelled upon Rachel Pollack’s gifted reading of cards, with my own personal interpretation of her unconscious processes. For each line of this reading, you can use your new skill to summarise in one word, making it a quick and powerful reading, or interpret the sets of cards as a normal spread. Lay out 1 card, saying and reading it as “How you sum it up” 2 cards, “This is what you think is involved” 3 cards, “So this is how you tend to act” 4 cards, “The relationships involved appear to you as” 5 cards, “Here we see the patterns of the past” 6 cards, “Some things you avoid” 7 cards, “The old story you tell yourself” 8 cards, “All the traps”

At this point you will have a large triangle of more than half the deck laid out on the floor space. If on a table, you can overlay each line as you read it. If you have been doing the one word summary in an authoritative tone, this spread is very powerful. You now lay out 8 cards beneath the 8 cards showing “All the traps” and say: “So ... all the escapes.” You can pair each ‘trap’ card with the ‘escape’ card below it, noting that the solution is always contained within the problem. You then start to lay out a reverse triangle of decreasing cards in lines as follows: 7 cards, “The new story you should sing” 6 cards, “Some things you engage with” 5 cards, “The patterns of the future” 4 cards, “What you need to do with others” 3 cards, “How you should act” 2 cards, “What is really being decided” 1 card, “How it really is” You will now have used every card in the deck! This is also the drilling down to the base card of “How it really is” that appears in our other methods of reading, and any other spread not using the whole deck. You can, of course, look at the balance of cards in the triangles and identify any particular patterns. You will note how the triangles are opposite reflections of each other, such as “Some things you avoid” and “Some things you engage with” and the “old story” naturally turning into the “new song.”

3.18 A Tarot Blessing

Thank you for your time and consideration to engage with this first book of Tarosophy. I trust that you find the tarot information and exercises rewarding for your own personal journey. It only leaves me to wish you the tarot blessing which I feel most fitting at this point in our shared journey: “May a full deck of possibilities be yours.” 144 During a face-to-face reading, whilst you are reading the cards, the querent is also reading and responding to them. 145 The Equinox, 1 (2). 1910. 146 The Hebrew letters and names of the Sephiroth have multiple meanings. For simplicity I have given the most standard. 147 Westcott, W.W. (translator). Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Creation. 1887. Available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/yetzirah.htm - for a more in-depth analysis, see Kaplan, A. Sefer Yetzirah. 148 See the Far Away Centre and Tarot Professionals Lulu Store: http://stores.lulu.com/farawaycentre 149 Crowley, A. The Book of Thoth. Samuel Weiser, Inc.: York Beach, 1985, p.260. 150 Ibid, p.258. 151 Ibid, p.73. 152 Kaplan, A. Meditation and Kabbalah. Weiser: York Beach, 1985, p.83. 153 Crowley, A. The Book of Thoth. Samuel Weiser, Inc.: York Beach, 1985, p.181. 154 Ibid, p.77. 155 NS70, Golden Dawn notebook, Yorke Collection, Warburg Institute, London, pp.21-2. 156 Another example of this deeper pattern idea is to be found at the very end of Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact. 157 Geffarth, R.D. Religion und arcane Hierarchie. Brill: Leiden, 2007, p.83. 158 McIntosh, C. The Rosicrucians. Crucible: Wellingborough, 1987, pp.82-94.

159 Kuntz, D. The Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript. Holmes Publishing Group: Edmonds, 1996, pp.17-26. 160 Decker, R.A. & Dummett, M. A History of the Occult Tarot 1870-1970. Gerald Duckworth & Co.: London, 2002, plates 10 and 11. 161 Waite, A.E. (G. H. Frater Sacramentum Regis). ‘The Tarot and the Rosy Cross’ (circa 1910). In Kuntz, D. The Golden Dawn Tarot. Holmes Publishing Group: Edmonds, 2008, p.39. 162

See the Meditation Research from the Lab of Sara https://nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/~lazar/ [last accessed 19 December 2009].



163 Helen Scherrer: http://www.clairconscience.ch/Clairconsciousness/clairconscience.html [last accessed 29th December 2009] 164 Brunton, P. The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga. Rider: London, 1941, pp.160-1. 165 Ibid, p.161. 166 See the Dale Andre Soleil Tarot website http://www.tarotsoleil.com [last accessed 19 December 2009]. 167 See the Tero Hynynen website http://www.tarotpuu.com [last accessed 19 December 2009]. 168 Brunton, P. The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga. Rider: London, 1941, p.320. 169 Desikachar, T.K.V. 170 See the Chanah Wizenberg website http://www.wisewomantarot.com [last accessed 30 December 2009]. I am grateful for Chanah’s detailed response to my call for stories with regard to tarot and ill health, which I believe is a subject for further enquiry. Those with serious health problems tend to appreciate the fragility of life more than others, and often come to explore deeper explanations for life than those who have not suffered trauma. In these explorations, tarot serves a role. 171 I was once asked with derision by a smug group of party-goers to “read the crisps” that they had broken up on the table. I responded that I was trained to read tarot cards, not chips, nor for chimps. This was probably the worst experience in my tarot career of 30 years, as it demonstrated that often those with most to learn and benefit are the least open. 172 Reproduced with permission of Helen Davies.

173 See the As The Crow Flies blogspot: http://asthecrowflies-iwcrow.blogspot.com/ [last accessed 28 December 2009].

Section 3, Part 3 Reading List A forthcoming book by the present author on the Western esoteric initiatory tradition will examine the ascent narrative as conceived in the practice of Western esotericism.174 A few titles below are selected for more general reading.

The Mythic Journey Feinstein, D. & Stanley Krippner, S. Personal Mythology. Unwin: North Sydney, 1989. Moody, H.R. & Carroll, D. The Five Stages of the Soul. Rider: London, 1998. Murdock, M. The Heroine’s Journey. Shamballa: Boston, 1990. Parish, B.L. Create Your Personal Sacred Text. Broadway Books: New York, 1999. Spiegelman, J.M. The Tree of Life: Paths in Jungian Individuation. New Falcon: Phoenix, 1993.

Advanced Treatises on the Tarot as a Way of Life Anonymous. Meditations on the Tarot. Element: Shaftesbury, 1991. Pollack, R. The Forest of Souls. Llewellyn: St. Paul, 2003.

Sahdu, M. The Tarot. George Allen & Unwin Ltd.: London, 1962. Templar, E. The Tree of HRU. Kingfisher Press: Irchester, 1990. 174 This is now published, Katz. M. The Magister Vol. 0. (Forge Press, 2016).

Author’s Afterword: The Fair-Wrought House Will Be Built Again The growth of tarot continues apace, with organisations such as Tarot Professionals (Tarosophy Tarot Association) leading the way to normalise tarot in society, restore the spiritual dignity of tarot and return the oracles to the world. A surge of academic interest in divination and cosmology, and a movement towards the reenchantment of the world, have led to a higher level of discussion and insight to our art. The market has been introduced to wider perspectives of the physical cards, in photographic art, digital and other media.175 Every day brings a new creative channel to tarot. You can celebrate World Tarot Day™ on 25th May each year with other tarot readers around the world at www.worldtarotday.com. During 2010 we held the world’s largest tarot reading with more than 100 readers worldwide contributing one card on the day – and the card most drawn to depict the spirit of tarot was The Star! We also discovered the name of the Fool’s dog and stopped him retiring early from his journey in a range of collaborative tarot events across the globe. The technology continues apace, and whilst transparent decks may be at the current leading edge of materials, who knows how soon it will be before we have 78 ‘cards’ which are digital screens and sensors, able to animate the images on each card in accord with the cards in its surrounding area! At least a database of elemental dignities and other occult correspondences would be easier to maintain than memorise! The rise of 3D screens and motion-capture technology certainly appears to herald a holo-deck like future, where we can tour the castles of the cards, meet the avatars of each archetype, and inhabit a world where the true currency is

imagination. The tarot will be with us in space, I am sure, as it is in time. So as a final word, we should state plainly, for those who have ears to hear, that Delphi is not forgotten; the fair-wrought house is being rebuilt in the hearts of those who would give their effort; Apollo returns to his place in the sight of those who would give their time; the fountains will sparkle again in front of the sacred shrines and Her voice will be returned from the stillness. You speak with honey on your lips from the Book of Clouds, echoing the voice of fire from the living darkness, or you do not. There are no half-way oracles.

Vos. Vos. Vos. Vos. 175 See the song video of ‘The Wheel’ by Roseanne Cash for a whole screed of tarot card images, and the excellent animated tour of the Waite-Smith Tarot in Madonna’s ‘ReInvention’ Tour, amongst a host of other irruptions of tarot in popular culture.

Appendix 1: Half Your Market Think That You Are Evil (Marketing) Introduction This appendix presents various considerations for those looking to market their tarot reading or work. It is based upon my own experience over the past 30 years, international work, communications training, and MBA material. If it appears commercial, it is. If it appears to represent a less than spiritual approach to tarot, it isn’t – it is merely looking at the mundane matters of marketing. As marketing is an art as well as science, these are my own personal opinions and you may discover your own in experience. As the law regularly changes, and does not apply universally, you are encouraged to check your local ordinances, regulations and updates through groups such as Tarot Professionals. This appendix applies specifically to the UK. What is Marketing? Marketing is not advertising, it is the science and art of considering four elements: Fire Water Earth Air

You The market Your product Communication

And there is a fifth element which you might also consider: Aether

The law

There are many concepts and tools to bind these elements together harmoniously. No text on the subject can be comprehensive, otherwise marketing directors, consultants and authors of marketing books would be out of work very quickly. We also have to consider sales and advertising which overlap into this area, and the rapidly changing nature of the internet. Much of what follows would not have been foreseen last year, and will be obsolete within two years at most. You need to know what the market wants, what you provide and where best to provide it. You need to know how and when your clients buy, and what to charge in order to ensure that you can run your business. You need to know what everyone else in your market is doing. Is this important? If you are a professional tarot reader – that is, you make some or all of your income from reading – then it is. A friend of mine supplemented her income with tarot readings. She’d built up a good client base and had excellent word-of-mouth recommendations. She is very good at what she does and has been doing it a long time. Last year, her car broke down and she realised that she didn’t have the money to fix it. This had never happened before. She thought about it and realised that she hadn’t really seen many of her clients – and no new clients at all – for more than eight months. I suggested that she check our local bookstore. Sure enough, for eight months a new tarot reader had been putting up a small card in the New Age section of the local bookstore, advertising her service. The card made a great play on “For a new approach in tarot for you!” Although my friend is a good reader, she had forgotten her marketing. The other reader – and my friend couldn’t even believe another reader would have worked in the small town in which we live, never mind take her entire business – had worked out the market, targeted her clients and advertised effectively at low cost.

This is why a little marketing in your mix is a good idea. So let’s start with you. Element 1: You Yes, you. Many tarot professionals seem uneasy about actively promoting or marketing their own craft. This is often also seen with therapists and counsellors who refuse to sell themselves in a ‘business-like’ manner. The response is that “We’re healing people, not selling widgets.” However, clients looking for tarot readings should expect a professional service, and it is no use being an excellent tarot reader if no-one knows about you. You Are Your Brand Your sizzle should be your brand – that’s why you are the element of Fire in all this. Your enthusiasm, passion and love for tarot should be evident (and this will sometimes compensate for a multitude of other sins). So ensure that you have your smiling face on your website, cards or pamphlets. People are buying into you, whether you like it or not. In the end, paradoxically, clients are not actually interested in you as a person. They don’t need to be Tweeted with your favourite biscuit of the day. They want to know what you can do for them – they are, after all, a customer of your services. As tarot reading is an art as well as a science – and some might also call it a performance (the face-to-face reading in particular) – some customers will be right for you, and some customers will be right for someone else. Also, most of your clients don’t really need to know if you understand the best historical analysis of the proto-sequence of the earliest tarot decks, or the kabbalistic correspondences of the decans – this is only relevant if you are aiming to attract a small segment of the market who appreciate your skill set. You can tell your clients on your

website that you have a large collection of tarot cards, but only in the context of what this means for them, i.e. you’ll always have the right deck for their reading. So you need to let the market know what you offer, and what you are – what sort of tarot reader: do you take a purely intuitive approach, do you call upon spirit guides, do you rely entirely upon kabbalistic knowledge of esoteric correspondences, or what? How would you describe yourself? Or (much better) how would other people (particularly your previous clients, if you have any) describe you? Get your friends and relatives, colleagues and clients (where applicable) to help with your marketing description. Ask them to sum up you and your approach in a sentence or two. Don’t be shy – other tarot readers aren’t; they make up all sorts of sentences for themselves, and then wonder why they don’t get repeat clients. If I go for a totally honest, experienced reader and find a totally vague beginner, I won’t be going back – but if they’d have included ‘New Reader, Looking to Practice, Special Offer’ in their marketing material, I’d be a happy customer and possibly return later to check upon their progress. What Else Can You Sell? How about authenticity (i.e. openness + honesty) and an experience? These are the most valuable commodities of the market because they are the hardest to manufacture. Disney isn’t shy about offering a pretend world in which to indulge escapism – they are authentic about it. Coca Cola also sells ‘the real thing’ as we will see later. Don’t put anything in your marketing material that really can’t be verified or which oversells you. If you can’t live up to it, don’t put it into the market. There are now too many coaches and advisors selling their own ‘wow factor’ and charging you to advise you to do the same. Funny

how they are always spending their time telling you about the ‘awesome’ courses that they have attended, and the ‘awesome’ life that they are leading – ever wonder why they need to do so, and have the time to do likewise? Keep it simple, then. No long lists on your website detailing how brilliant you are without telling me how much you cost. That’s probably one of things that I need to know first. That you don’t know that tells me a little about you. Sell an experience. A tarot reading should be either a clinical, concise, accurate portrayal of my life leading to self-discovery and informed decision-making, or a magical, mysterious whirlwind of portent and prophecy. What am I getting from you? How is it delivered? A favourite site of mine which demonstrates this is Auset Gypsy http://www.ausetgypsy.com/. James (Auset Gypsy) is congruent throughout the site. You get the overall flavour of his approach from every image, text, font, background, etc., and you certainly know that he offers a particular experience in his reading. Element 2: The Market Is your market skewed in any particular way, and if so, have you taken that into consideration? I am here thinking of a simple fact: in recent surveys of two volunteer tarot organisations – one in the US and one in the UK – the exact same percentage figure turned up for membership: Female Male

82 per cent 18 per cent

Check out most of the tarot and psychic websites, or the clientele of your local New Age shop – it is an incontrovertible fact that this

percentage holds true. You are working in a mainly female market, as both reader and as a client. Without wishing to stereotype, if your marketing approach doesn’t recognise this, or goes in the opposite direction, you’ll be missing the market. Of course, one could go for a niche of this niche market, and concentrate upon corporate readings for men. I know one member of Tarot Professionals who does so and is very successful. As I say, “Just because someone’s cornered the market already doesn’t mean I can’t take the other three corners.” But do research the market, and target accordingly. The Main Mistake With Tarot Marketing The main marketing mistake with tarot readers is a very simple one: they market to their competition (who aren’t really their competition because they are also making the same mistake). Most tarot readers offer their services to people that they are in touch with and who support their tarot interest, i.e. other readers, students and enthusiasts. This is not your market. Your market are those people who want a tarot reading, or might want a tarot reading, or don’t know that they want a tarot reading but would if you told them about it ... and they are the general public. The lady in the bakery I will mention later – she is your market. Now I know that it can be difficult for a shy retiring tarot reader to go face-to-face with people, but that’s why we have the internet. In the real world, when a Tarot Professionals Pizazz Project Team simply went around trying to give a free tarot reading to people just walking about in a town centre, the majority response was outright nervousness and refusal. So it is difficult – you need a large mass of population (or good outreach on the internet) and then you have to move people beyond

their preconceived concerns and anxieties. We will see later that almost half of your potential market thinks that you are evil in some way. So what are those trade barriers in the marketplace? We’ll tackle those later. But the worries about the Death card, getting cursed, and the ‘evil’ of the deck are surprisingly present, especially in the older demographic of the market. You’ll have to tackle those barriers up front or you’ll waste a lot of energy wondering why no-one is coming to see you. A sales technique called inoculation is perhaps applicable here: knowing the concerns and resolving them quickly and up-front, without accidentally re-enforcing them. Chasing someone down the street with a deck of cards yelling, “They’re not evil, they’re not evil!” is just going to make matters worse. There are too many sites already saying that tarot is not evil. It’s far better to say what it is. A typical inoculation applied to tarot – say on a website or in a prereading discussion – would be, “I know that a lot of my clients have been concerned with the Death card, and I understand that if you think that the cards are literal, that would make sense. Luckily, the card with the eight flying sticks doesn’t mean that you should keep clear of scaffolding. The cards are symbols, and I will read them for you. And, in fact, some of my clients start to look forward to the Death card as it means a change to their circumstances!” You should have similar inoculations for the concerns that clients express. If you have already been reading for a little while or longer, you should be able to list these concerns by now and may have already noticed your own inoculations. There’s Always Another Mistake

The second main marketing mistake is pricing – that is to say, getting hung up on it in some way. Firstly, clients are not buying a tarot reading. If they were, it would be cheaper for them to go and buy a deck and read the cards themselves. They are buying your service to read tarot cards. Your service includes two main components – your time and your ability. Your time is 30 minutes, 45 minutes or one hour of the reading itself. That’s the first thing to set price against, weighed against the market. Look at your competitors’ pricing and set yours in line with those. In a free market, the market sets the prices; the prices are what the market will bear. You may offer specials, introduction rates, and so forth, but your standard price should be fixed. It is easy to lower your rate, but almost impossible to raise it, once you have set it. Then, your ability. When you read the cards for a client, you are working from hours, days, weeks, months, even years of total study and practice time. In each of those hours, days, weeks, months, or years you could have been practising to be a doctor, earning money teaching piano or cleaning a backyard for a few dollars. But you weren’t – you were learning to perform this service. So, price accordingly. I personally charge a lot now, because I usually only read for clients who want a very serious reading by someone who they know has 30 years of experience and one of the largest tarot libraries in the country. When I started I offered £2.50 readings in a stall in a sheep market for the summer, when I could have been backpacking or earning five times as much cleaning cars. I charge £385 for a full Opening of the Key spread, as it takes three days minimum to do properly and I have 30 years of training and experience behind me to do it darned well. Although this is not my best seller, it does mean that people take my readings as seriously as I perform them. Cross-Promoting (But Don’t Make Me Cross By Promoting)

The market will always bear some cross-promoting. But don’t assume that because I want a tarot reading I always want to buy your jewellery. I don’t, unless it’s very special jewellery, well priced and I need to buy jewellery on that day. Same with crystals or unicorn statues – I might be interested, but don’t assume. I want a tarot reading. Useful cross-promotions may include the services of a friend (not yourself, unless you are very talented and gifted in a range of fields), such as to offer a natal chart or astrological progression. I promote my friend Lyn Birkbeck (http://www.lynbirkbeck.com/) because I know that he is a good astrologer, author of nine books and I like his style which reflects well with mine. Only cross-promote the people you believe in. I think it good to cross-promote your writing, if you do so. A few pamphlets or nicely produced photo books or beginner’s guides to tarot help inform your clients, promote your services and generally market your work. They can be produced cheaply and priced to sell as a small additional income. Check out http://www.lulu.com Element 3: Your Product The first question is very important. Do you know what Coca Cola sells? A black fizzy drink? Nope. They sell nothing less than ‘the real thing’ – and everyone wants the real thing! The fizzy drink is just the medium by which you get that ‘real thing’. I noticed an advert for the drink Malibu recently; they’re not selling coconut liquor, they’re selling ‘that island thang’. Are you trying to sell yourself as a shuffler of bits of cardboard, or something else? So, the first question is: “What does my client want through the reading?” The other two questions are: “What do I offer that is unique?” and “What can I offer a little extra, more than they expect?”

As an example, I did a search for a tarot reader in a randomly selected American state, using Google. The first one that I got (and therefore kudos for search engine optimisation – more on that later) had a whole paragraph about the reader, including such text as:

Tarot reader since 1979, known nationally ... providing psychic readings after pursuing my interest in palmistry ... higher senses of vision, touch, sound, and greater spiritual awareness ...

So far, as a nine second browser of a web page before flipping back to my Google results, I have no idea what this person actually does, or what I will get. I need to know so that I can determine whether it matches what I want. And if I don’t really know, perhaps the seller should tell me what I’ll be getting anyway. Although here the seller is obviously trying to establish their reputation, as a marketing and selling technique, a better first paragraph might read something like: Looking for answers? Guidance? Or simply a new perspective? Tarot reading can help you resolve questions and much more! My name is Joe Bloggs and I am this State’s only tarot reader with a psychic parrot and ten years of experience. Have a reading with me and get a half-price follow-up reading within three months. Call now on 0187666222. Notice the call to action. Although more in the sales arena than the marketing arena, many tarot readers forget to tell the client what they

are expecting them to do having read their incredible text, accounts of their abilities and testimonials. When the client has finished reading your marketing material, ask them to do something – contact you, subscribe to something, click a link, email you ... this is called the call to action and is often missing from tarot marketing material. Element 4: Communication In the Beginning was the Word Word of mouth. Simple as. I was in our local bakery when I overheard two of the shop assistants talking about a hen’s party which one of them had attended. She was talking about the tarot reader. The other said that she was organising a girls’ night out next week and could she have the details? That tarot reader made 20 new clients, a party booking and probably several full cost readings in the following weeks, whilst I was buying a pastry. So, if you are the shy retiring type, head to the internet section (but don’t get your hopes up). Otherwise start talking about what you do. My hairdresser knows that I am a tarot reader. He has mainly male clients, but they often have partners – wives, girlfriends, mistresses even – all of whom make up 80 per cent or more of the market place. My friends know that I am a tarot reader – they ask me to bring my cards to their parties in order to freely entertain others and provide something to do in the quiet spaces. The people I do volunteer work with know that I am a tarot reader – they work with large groups and sometimes those groups need a speaker. And so on. Cards, brochures, pamphlets, and flyers – all next section, but in the meantime, talk about what you do. Get used to it. Normalise it. Written / Online Tools Keep your message simple. I was recently advising an astrologer on his three-fold pamphlets. On the front was an astrological motif –

very good, shows what the pamphlet is about – then a paragraph about him; then a few bullet points about his readings, and a testimonial. All on the front fold. I wondered what he offered me. That’s actually all I’m interested in at first. So the re-draft of his pamphlet now has the motif, a photograph of him (so I meet him first) with a one line caption: “Astrologer of 30 years, author of nine books” – that’s all I need to know just now – and a summary of the questions that astrology will answer, mainly stated as “You will receive ...” and finished with a final one line testimonial. So prepare your ‘elevator pitch’ or mission statement. You should be able to describe what it is that your clients will get from you in less than four sentences. That’s the same text which you’ll use just about everywhere. I particularly like LucyD’s ‘only tarot’ message at: http://onlytarot.net/blog/ – “No magic, no mumbo-jumbo, just the tarot” – and the Fickle Finger of Fate’s: “The Fickle Finger of Fate is a collective of Old-Time fortune tellers. We are entertaining, elegant and accurate. No bullshit.” See the Fickle Finger of Fate website: http://www.ficklefingeroffate.co.uk/ Ginny Hunt goes for: “I give honest and clear Tarot readings. I lay out the cards, tap into my intuition and tell you what I see. If you want an

honest, direct and intuitive reading, that's what I do and do well.” See the 78 Notes to Self: A Tarot Journal website: http://78notes.blogspot.com/ James Wells is more prosaic: “Supporting your journey to full radiant personhood and the well-being of the Whole of Life through Tarot, circle process, reiki, journal writing, and motivational listening.” See the Circle Ways website: http://jameswells.wordpress.com/ Blogs Firstly, content is king. Before you start up your blog, fuelled with the hype of internet gurus (who make their money advising others, not writing blogs), think on this – your time is your only real resource. Your time is the raw capital of life. How much time will it take you to create content? And I mean CREATE content, not just copying it from someone else, re-Tweeting their card of the day via Facebook into your blog, so that everyone can subscribe to a fourth-hand retelling of the 2 of Cups as related to a quote by Osho or Rumi. That’s clever once (almost), but not more than that, and not when everyone is already doing it. I get almost 78 cards as ‘card of the day’, so what’s the point of that – I already own a tarot deck. So how long will it take you to create the level of content that people will read and return to, in order to nourish their tarot interest? And how often will you have to spend that time? And what happens when you don’t? If you set up a blog you will need to be on it every week. Every week. If you don’t, everyone will know. That same day. So they may come back and visit, perhaps in a week. Or they may not. There are exceptions, of course. Have a look at Ginny Hunt’s 78 Notes to Self: A Tarot Journal (website detailed above) which is updated maybe once per month or less.

Then ask yourself: have you got the insight, novel approach (and not copying Ginny’s, she’s already owned that), depth, and length to produce that sort of copy? If so, you can afford to update your blog every few months – I’ll come back and check. I’ll even have a paid reading from you. Ginny is the only person who I’ve paid to have a reading from during the past 10 years, that’s how good her content and approach is, if I’m any measure at all. Now have a look at Mary K. Greer’s blog: http://marygreer.wordpress.com Have you got the research and writing skills to present something like this? Have you got several books and articles behind you? If so, you can afford to update your blog irregularly – I’ll come back and check. There’s something else that both Ginny and Mary do: they make it easy to let you know when they have new content, but it’s something that only works if you have good and original content. I know one blog that is merely a re-setting of Google news alerts on tarot and other people’s blogs. It seems quite successful, but it is disheartening that the content is easily accessible from the original sources. And there is no editorial. This particular blog repeated a ‘news item’ about divination in South Korea. Not only did it then repeat the mistaken view that divination is booming in hard times (there’s no evidence that it is, and my own brief polls have shown quite the opposite – tarot readers live in the same economy as everyone else), but it repeated the ‘fact’ that there are 400,000 diviners in South Korea. That seemed a handy round number so I checked. Firstly, there is no evidence or source for that figure. Secondly, the population of South Korea is about 49 million, making the claim signify that almost one in every 100 members of the population are full time diviners making a booming income. RSS Feed and Subscriptions

If you have a blog or podcast (see later) then ensure that people can subscribe to it and that it has a RSS feed. If you don’t know what those are, think again about doing a blog, as it will sit in the outer wastes and your voice will be a lost cry in the wilderness within a month – or you’ll lose your voice entirely by having to keep shouting. Newsletters (and Spam) Some tarot folk offer newsletters from their websites. A great example of this – which presents quite a consistent hard-sell in a friendly and open manner – is Tilly Tarot. Take a look at her website http://www.tillytarot.com/ and subscribe to her newsletter. The newsletter is well geared to provide an overall theme matching the website, competitions to encourage interaction and engagement, and cross-promotion of her live reading services at Liveperson and Kasamba. The newsletter is relatively light on content, but that makes it easy to maintain and consistent. It doesn’t matter too much so long as the newsletter does the job that you have stated on your website. The secret of a successful tarot newsletter is to get the subject line sorted. That is to say, if your newsletter is nothing more than a catalogue, no problem, just make it clear. The subject line should be ‘Latest Offerings from Bloggs Tarot’. If you can keep it going with content, then it should be ‘Bloggs Tarot Newsletter with Latest Articles’. If it’s more of a newsletter in which you update people with news and offers, then ‘Regular Newsletter from Bloggs Tarot’. It sounds simple, but an analysis by Mailchimp (more of them below) found that the biggest reason for unsubscription to a newsletter was that the subject line – and expectations of the reader – were at odds with the content.

The two recommended (by me and others) providers of newsletter services are: Mailchimp http://www.mailchimp.com Constant Contact http://www.constantcontact.com Both offer services to create and distribute your newsletter, provide signup forms for your website, and a database of subscribers. They both offer services to analyse how many subscribers open the newsletter and even which links they click, which helps to assess whether your content is relevant and the degree of interest in particular offers or promotions. The most important thing about using a service rather than your own email list is that they help you to avoid becoming a spammer. That’s really the last thing that you want. There are now laws in place for such mailings, and you need to be aware of them – for example, having your full name and address on a mass mailing. These services will help you to avoid those traps and getting blacklisted. Do make your newsletter original in some way, though. Take time to take photographs that are unique to you, or use images that no-one else is using. A newsletter comprised of standard stock images is not really engaging. Also expect feedback and be prepared to adjust your marketing campaign in response. Make time ahead to do so. One recent tarot newsletter was advertised on Aeclectic, received gushing support, and when the first one came out it was full of inaccuracies. As they had explicitly requested feedback throughout the whole process, Tarot Professionals sent a courteous email detailing the problems, which was met with a response of “I can’t do anything about that.” Well, a factual corrective paragraph could have been included in the next newsletter, as one would expect from a professional newspaper or other informative newsletter.

If you decide to use Mailchimp do let us know at Tarot Professionals (email [email protected]) before signing up as we can ‘refer you’ and we’ll both get extra free credits for our mailings. Twitter Have we mentioned content? Twitter http://www.twittter.com allowsyou 140 characters, so for content that has to be somewhat precise. Tweeting a ‘card of the day’ may seem like fun, but if everyone else is already doing so, you can bet that I’ll be blocking you pretty soon. Tweeting about your penchant for a particular pop star may be entertaining to your friends, but isn’t what I want to read if I subscribed to you as representing a tarot group or website. You can bet that I’ll block you. And I’ll eventually join the estimated 40 per cent who leave Twitter within a month of joining. Read that again. Who I will follow includes those with something to say and a quirky way of doing it. One tarot reader who I am following has a separate account which is from their shadow. I like to keep in touch with this person’s shadow as it often disagrees with what is being posted on the main account of its owner!176 That sort of originality is fun and insightful and worth reading. Here’s what Twitter might be good for – and it’s early days yet, so feel free to update me by Tweeting me @TheTarosophist the moment these things change. 1. News. Related news to tarot. Twitter was originally seen as a SMS social network; a cloud of people collecting into common interests (now #tags) instantly communicating by text messages. Keep that idea in mind and you’ll keep close to what Twitter is actually designed and useful for: real-time distribution of simple messages of relevance to interested people. No, that does not include a minuteby-minute Tweeting of what you are seeing in the same TV

programme that I am watching. If you were that much of a friend, you’d be on the couch with me watching the same screen. 2. Links. I think that’s about it. But not a link to your blog or Facebook site or anything else that I am likely to have found elsewhere if you have marketed properly. I don’t need to be reminded every day that you have a blog. I’ll just block you. So I am interested if you find a link you think is relevant and needs to get told quickly – a special offer, a breaking news item (that day or day after only) and so forth. If you keep doing that, I’ll follow you – you’re my kind of tarot person. 3. Voxpop surveys. A quick shout to the ‘community’ to ask a general question. This proved very useful in finding out quick reactions to some small snippets of this present book. You should invest in such tools as HootSuite (some people use Tweetdeck) to manage your feeds of Tweets. I use Hootsuite to place into separate columns certain people who I am following, search terms and groups of interest. A marketing tool such as Tweet Adder can be useful, but must be utilised with care and respect. I committed a terrible faux pas by Tweeting a whole series of 78 Tarot Tips automatically every 5 to 15 minutes, flooding my followers so that they couldn’t read anything else. I lost 15 people the following day. I find Tweet Adder a useful tool for finding and following those learning tarot or seeking a tarot reading and unfollowing those who don’t follow me in return after a couple of weeks. We managed to get to #4 out of 250+ users within two weeks on the most recognised (but unofficial) ‘most influential’ list of Tarot Tweeters simply by providing and sharing good content, in the form of Tarot Tips and Top Ten websites and books.177 Whilst this is not the total content output, it forms a substantial marketing offering. We also entered a voting competition, and gained the most votes in the Shorty Awards for the year’s best tarot content – again, with only a few weeks on Twitter.

However, this was market research, not competition. We gained 78 votes (our aim) and then analysed the reasons given by those voting. These provided us with a list of what people responded to in our Twitter content. I think that this was missed by everyone else – even though it was public – so here are some of the words that describe what your market are looking for in your Twitter content: informative – positive – accessible – pure tarot – diverse – shared – useful – friendly So if you intend to Tweet, ensure that you have time, time and plenty of time, and a nose for news, research and more – and are enthusiastic about it. And also that you can make real friends and network easily in real life, and have a life! Yahoo Groups Although an original mainstay of the tarot community, there are only a few regular groups left, including Tarot-L, Comptarot, TarotPsych, and Professional-Tarot-Readers. When I recently took over management of the latter, I discovered that although it had been running for nine years, no-one had ever cleaned out the bouncing emails nor analysed how many people had flagged themselves not to receive emails. This meant that a group perceived to be comprised of 300 people was actually closer to 200 (when the bouncing addresses had been removed), of whom only about 78 received direct emails, out of which only about four or five would be actively participating in discussion. Looking at those ratios, you can see that a tarot Yahoo group is not a great idea. However, such groups are free – so attract those who seek a free resource – and are actively defended and promoted when under critique, whilst otherwise remaining generally dormant. NING Spaces

A personal version of Facebook, you can set up a Ningspace, as has Magicka School and the Book of English Magic. Magicka School Ningspace http://magickaspace.ning.com/ The Book of English Magic Ningspace http://englishmagic.ning.com These are heavy maintenance affairs and require a good team of volunteers, mentors and fans to keep them alive. Don’t do it unless you have a lot of trusted friends and a big fan base to begin with. In fact, you should wait until one of your fans sets one up for you – don’t set one up yourself and expect the market to come flooding through the door, it won’t happen.178 Another issue that you may face with setting up a NING site is the issue of copyright and intellectual property rights. Do not set up such a site and expect to make money from other people’s work – they will not provide it. Facebook / Fan Pages There are a number of ‘fan pages’ for tarot readers on Facebook, but like NING, they are probably more effective once you have built up a client base who then seek an immediate method of being informed about your activities. You can also pay for advertising on Facebook, as does Tarot Professionals. Facebook advertising is effective in that it targets specific interest groups, but carries a cost in that the audience expect everything to be free. That means that you may attract a mass audience, following or market, but this will cost you a fortune and very little of those will convert. A recent example suffices, when we ran the first Tarosophy Conference. We paid for Facebook advertising, and generated hundreds of interested contacts. Many of these required emails about venue,

accommodation, costs, transport, and so forth. Many didn’t read the website before contacting us, and we spent many hours replying over several weeks. By two weeks prior to the conference, we had about 12 people ‘definitely’ coming on the Facebook page for the event, and 48 of the 84 ‘maybes’ had been in touch to say that they ‘might’ be coming. I was forced to tell the venue that we had between 20 and 80 people coming. In the end, none of these people paid nor attended! Not one of them. In the final analysis, the marketing on Facebook failed because people seem to believe that they can participate by clicking on things – not actually engaging, travelling and certainly not paying. But you will pay, so ensure that you take this into account. We find that it works well to market an offer – a very financially appealing one – and drive people to that offer via the Facebook group, and to the Facebook group via limited paid advertising. There’s a very low break-even point, and you will have to find it quickly for yourself in order to avoid losing your entire advertising budget. So be brutally realistic. Just because you have a thousand ‘friends’ on Facebook, unless you have met some of them, they are not really friends. This also applies for ‘harvesting’ contacts by ‘friending’ someone with a good range of contacts and then ‘friending’ all of their friends. What some people fail to realise, for example, is that most of the friends on the Tarot Professionals list are actually real friends whom we have met, and had long relationships with, either in person or online. We haven’t just clicked on them because they may be a useful contact for our intensive networking. Again, you can waste a lot of time building a list which isn’t really that useful or what it appears to be. Friends are built by time and shared experience, not clicks.179

SEO and Google Advertising Having spent a lifetime in the internet, buried in cables (almost literally in some cases) or designing sites, I guess that I could write a book about search engine optimisation (SEO) or advertising online. Again there’s only the obvious facts: 1. Content. You need good content relevant to the market. Original articles, easily navigated, on tarot, will be excellent. Keywords, repeating the word tarot, etc., may get you dropped down the Google list faster than you think, so stick to good content. What do people search for? ‘Tarot reading’? Look at how many sites are listed. You’ll have an impossible job to get to the first 50 pages of that! Now Google ‘Tarot Professionals’ ... you’ll see that we own not just the first result, but virtually the first three pages. Now Google ‘Tarosophy’ and you’ll see that owns all the results. The first case is a reasonably unique phrase and the second case is a unique (and trademark registered) word. This is where branding becomes important – you need to market your brand so that people will look for it, as unique. Then you can be assured that they will find you quickly. You are not going to be found as a ‘tarot reader’ or by someone randomly searching for a ‘tarot reading’ – so don’t market yourself on that alone. Market yourself, set up your website and content as ‘TillyTarot’ or ‘Auset Gypsy Tarot’ and then sell and advertise that brand. A final thing with SEO is that it is the quality of the links to your site that also count highly. Our Far Away Centre website: http://www.farawaycentre.com,

which offers tarot courses and more, went from page 40 on Google Search to page 1 for ‘tarot courses’ within a week of the link being featured on the New Statesman website. This was the result of writing an article for the online ‘Faith’ column of the New Statesman. So look at the highest ranking websites – not necessarily tarotrelated – and work out how you might get them to feature your site and link to it. Again, content is the key. Web Page Design (Marketing) Again, many books can be – and have been – written about website design and internet marketing via your website. There are a couple of specific considerations for tarot professionals: 1. You need images of tarot cards on your site. Images are copyright, so you need the permission of the copyright holders. You can decide to go for commonly used decks, which are more likely to be instantly recognised, and contact the publisher for permission, or choose several lesser known decks, and contact smaller designers and publishers. Choose a deck that reflects your image – there’s a big difference between having a Goddess Oracle deck and the Deviant Moon deck on your site – don’t just choose one because it’s the first one that you purchased yourself. 2. Disclaimers (more on the legal side, so see our separate section on tarot legalities) give a marketing message also. You actually do not need disclaimers in the UK and Europe – this is contrary to one of the most common myths within the tarot and psychic professions. You simply need a clear statement of what you offer, clear pricing and a terms and conditions policy which at least addresses refunds. Forums

Research is a most important prelude and component of marketing. There are several forums that you must be a part of in order to be connected to current debate, discussion and – more importantly – to be able to review the past decade of such. There’s nothing as bad as entering a market without any research – you’ll never recover. So before you announce your latest deck, book, website, or discovery you must check and do your research. These forums are the places to ask and discover. You may find that, although you think your Christian Tarot deck is a novel idea, it was first done during the 1700s and there’s been a few books since on that very subject. Join the forums and ensure that you know before you fall on your face in the open market. Our Tarot Professionals forum is quite focused upon innovative and new tarot, so achieves a slightly lesser rate of activity. It is too easy to replicate other forums and provide a thread for ‘your favourite deck’ or ‘worst card’ and so on, but that’s not really progressing tarot, merely treading water.180 Skype Skype is an essential component for online readings, and its teleconferencing facilities are particularly useful if you are running a tarot class. Although there are other packages like WiZiQ http://www.wiziq.com for larger training systems – such as those used by Tarot Professionals, with whiteboards, video recording, Flash, and PowerPoint integration – a basic system can be found within Skype using just teleconferencing and screen sharing. You will need a good headset in order to avoid feedback and improve audio quality. You can purchase a system called PAMELA which records a Skype session – both audio and video if you wish, so that you can archive your session and send a copy to your client afterwards.

In terms of marketing, having a Skype contact shows that you are easily accessible, and this also encourages international audiences. Just be aware of the time zone differences if you are marketing overseas. Press Releases If you have the skill to write a professional press release, or the budget to hire someone to do so, you may consider using a PR engine. The one used by Tarot Professionals is PRWeb http://www.prweb.com and there are many others. You might also consider (at half the price) SEO Press Releases: http://www.seopressreleases.com. If you take this route, ensure that your press release is accurate, factual, straightforward, and not too self-aggrandising. Also ensure that you are not libellous or offensive in any way, as your press release will be distributed far and wide. If you are uncertain, consider taking advice. One press release from Tarot Professionals attracted the ire of fundamentalist tarot card players for not making clear the distinction between tarot cards as a trick playing game and tarot cards for divination and self-discovery. Youtube / Videos A video clip is an interesting way to promote your material and give an overall snapshot of your style. It should obviously fit with the rest of your theme, even more importantly as it may include music and graphics which produce an emotional response. Alternatively, the featured music and graphics could deliberately oppose your theme, for shock or amusement value.

Again, you must observe copyright with regard to the use of images and music. It is far better to use your own images and music – perhaps one of your friends can provide such for cross-promotion of their work – rather than stock images and sounds that have been seen elsewhere. This is particularly important when working in a niche market like tarot; if everyone is using the ‘gypsy with shawl’ image, your impact will be absolutely minimal. Animoto produces excellent video segments from your still images, photographs and brief snippets of text. It now even includes short video clips (of about 10 seconds duration) within the overall montage. Professional members of Tarot Professionals get a free video utilising their images, etc. but you can try a short and Animotobranded version for youself. See the Animoto website http://www.animoto.com Producing good video for Youtube is another method of promoting yourself. You should consider providing an example reading, or teaching segment, for such marketing. However, consider that people’s expectations are quite high, and a shoddy recording of you mumbling into a webcam will do irreparable damage to your image. Perhaps you can contact your local college which runs a media course and ask if they have some students who would film a segment for their portfolios? Conferences / Talks Tarot requires a great deal of educative marketing. As we will see, almost half your potential market thinks that you are evil. A little bit of education into the marketplace can work wonders. An opportunity for this is giving talks and lectures. One person I know gave a talk to their local Women’s Institute which gained them almost 20 new paying clients within the following fortnight. So think about where you might offer a talk and expand the market a little. Tarot Professionals can help if you need material or a checklist of facts and ideas.

Another marketing opportunity and an important part of marketing research is to attend tarot conferences. Here you will network with other professionals, get news of current and forthcoming events, and much more. There are several well established conferences and a number of new ones, including our own Tarosophy TarotCon Conferences worldwide. There are many other meet-up groups and irregular gatherings of tarot workshops, talks, presentations, and more. Although only attended by relatively small numbers, those attending will represent the more engaged tarot audience and are therefore a good sample of your market in terms of other readers and tarot enthusiasts. Podcasts / Radio Online Although tarot is primarily a visual medium – tarot readers like nothing more than to see and hold both new and old decks – there are some good podcasts / online radio shows such as Beyond Worlds http://www.tarottribe.com. You may wish to offer your own, but of course, research what is available already. As with video, you need to ensure that the recording and production quality is high, that you have a good voice for audio and that the content can be maintained regularly. Element 5: The Law Whilst in Appendix 2 we have provided our guidance on trade law for tarot professionals (also see issue 1 of Tarosophist International) in the UK and Europe, here we offer considered guidance on marketing law, particularly as it relates to advertising in print and broadcast media – which are covered by separate regulatory bodies. This should not be taken as specific legal advice, which should be sought from a legal professional.

You can be informed about the law in your area at: http://www.fortunetellinglaws.com This guidance is provided by Tarot Professionals with the assistance of the UK-based Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). It is essential for any practitioner in the UK (and we offer these guidelines as good practice elsewhere in the world whilst we collate specific regional information) to be at least aware of the laws and regulations applying to their trade. Ignorance would be no defence should a complaint be made against you. Having said that, despite somewhat hysterical claims in certain quarters of the psychic world, we have found that the relevant bodies are friendly, free to consult and able to offer clear, impartial advice on the relevant issues. They also have a sympathetic understanding of the vagaries enshrined in law, and a sense of humour when it comes to some of the ensuing discussions – as when recently talking about the difference between psychic and non-psychic charms ... ! Non-Broadcast (Print) Media Marketing Law We present here first marketing advice for the non-broadcast world. This advice applies to magazines, leaflets, business cards, pamphlets, and any other print media. The CAP copywriting team in the UK are a free service to advise you if you remain unsure after reading this article whether specific text in your material may contravene these guidelines. We’ll begin by presenting a real case of a recent advert, complaint and adjudication against a tarot reader in the UK. We are hoping that Sister Charlotte is not a member of Tarot Professionals! Here’s the original advert, which received one complaint – which we should notice is enough to invoke the CAP and a legal team.

TO ALL BELIEVERS PSYCHIC READER SPIRITUAL HEALER ... SISTER CHARLOTTE CAN DO MANY GREAT THINGS FOR YOU! I am a palm tarotcard crystalball reader and spiritual healer with 25 years experience. I specialise with 100% success rate in removing: Bad Luck Sorrow Depression Curses Body Sicness Headaches Jealousy Witchcraft Evil or Negative Energies around you or your home Remember no matter how big you think your problems are, they are not impossible to solve! I can find solutions for you in: Love Relationships Marriage Job Business Family Money Finance Studies Exams Immigration ...

Have a moment to look through that wonderful advert. We couldn’t have made up an example as bad as this one, of course! Notice how many things you might find to complain about in the text, how many inaccuracies you might notice or where you simply disagree with the wording, spelling or grammar. Once you have done so we can turn to the actual complaint and the official adjudication of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) advertising body. Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-Broadcast) Issue 1. The complainant challenged whether Sister Charlotte could prove that she had a 100 per cent success rate in removing bad luck, sorrow, depression, curses, body sickness, headaches, jealousy, witchcraft, evil, and negative energies.

The ASA challenged substantiate:





2. the claim that she had 25 years' experience, and; 3. the claim that she could find solutions to people's problems in love, relationships, marriage, jobs, business, family, money, finance, studies, exams, and immigration. The CAP Code: 3.1; 7.1 Response Sister Charlotte said that she had withdrawn the leaflet and her future advertising would not contain claims identical or similar to those challenged. She said that she would refer to the CAP Code before drafting new marketing materials. 1. Sister Charlotte stated that she had received no complaints or negative feedback from clients. However, she had no proof of her success. 2. Sister Charlotte asserted that she had 25 years' experience as a palm, tarot card and crystal ball reader and as a spiritual healer. She said that she had been continuously involved in the provision of psychic and spiritual services since childhood to the present date, both in the UK and Canada. However, she had no documentary evidence to prove her level of experience. 3. Sister Charlotte said that she would avoid claiming that she could find solutions to people's problems in future, and would instead explain that she was able to provide support and advice in relation to certain problems.

Assessment 1, 2 and 3 Upheld The ASA noted that Sister Charlotte was unable to send documentary evidence to prove that she had a 100 per cent success rate in removing the afflictions listed in the ad or to demonstrate her length of experience. In addition, she was unable to send evidence to show that she had found solutions to people's problems in any areas of life. We considered claims that marketers could successfully solve all problems, break curses, banish evil spirits, improve the health, wealth, love life, happiness, or other circumstances of readers should be avoided because they were likely to be impossible to prove. We concluded that Sister Charlotte's claims were unsubstantiated and were likely to mislead. We welcomed Sister Charlotte's assurance that the claims would not reappear and that she would have regard to the CAP Code in future. However, we were concerned that she had taken six weeks to respond in writing to us, despite having received several reminders to contact us, and had not honoured any of the deadlines that we set. We told her to respond to our enquiries promptly in future. On points 1, 2 & 3, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness). Action The ad must not appear again in its current form. We advised Sister Charlotte to contact the CAP Copy Advice Team before advertising in future. This ends the actual adjudication from the CAP.

The CAP Help Sheet Having read through that real case, we can see that in all cases we must be appropriate with our wording and claims, and be able to provide documentary evidence where we make any claim. We must also demonstrate to some extent that we have taken steps to substantiate our skill or take appropriate advice, which is where an organisation such as Tarot Professionals can assist. Notice that this area of law is on marketing only – such considerations as insurance are covered by the new European Fair Trading Regulations as discussed elsewhere. We are pleased – with permission – to present the entire text of the ‘Help Note’ which has been drawn up by the CAP specifically for the marketing of spiritual and psychic services. I am guessing that most professional tarot readers in the UK have never heard that this exists, and yet it is essential reading. It was recently updated, so also see their website for the latest version at any time after the publication of this book. A link is provided at the end of this appendix and, for members of Tarot Professionals, in the legal area of the members’ website. Committee of Advertising Practice (Non-broadcast) Help Note on the Marketing of Spiritual and Psychic Services, Astrologers and Lucky Charms CAP Help Notes offer guidance for non-broadcast marketing communications under the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotions and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code). For advice on the rules for TV or radio commercials, contact Clearcast www.clearcast.co.uk for TV ads or the RACC www.racc.co.uk for radio ads. 1. Background

These guidelines, drawn up by CAP, are intended to help marketers and their agencies interpret the rules in the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code). The ‘Key points’ are intended to guide media ad departments. The Help Note is based on past ASA decisions. It neither constitutes new rules nor binds the ASA Council in the event of a complaint about a marketing communication that follows it. 2. Key points for media ad departments Marketers should hold documentary evidence to prove any claims that are capable of objective substantiation (Section 4). Marketers should not mislead or exploit vulnerable people (Section 5). Claims about successfully solving problems or improving health, etc. should be avoided because they are likely to be impossible to prove (Section 5). Claims of ‘help offered’ should be replaced with ‘advice’ (Section 5). References to healing should refer to spiritual rather than physical healing (Section 5). Direct marketers should not imply that they have personal knowledge about recipients (Section 5). Claims relating to the accuracy of readings or guaranteed results should not be made unless they are backed up by appropriate evidence (Section 5).

Claims about being a personal advisor to stars, the wealthy, etc. and claims such as ‘... as featured on TV’ should be backed up by appropriate evidence (Section 5). Claims relating to the length of time that a marketer has been established should be backed up by evidence (Section 5). Money-back guarantees should be clear and genuine (Section 5). Any testimonials used should be genuine (Section 5). Marketers should not imply that a lucky charm can directly affect a user’s circumstances (Section 6). Claims that a lucky charm can act as a confidence prop are acceptable if emphasis is placed on a user’s state of mind (Section 6). Unproven beliefs that do not relate to the effect of a lucky charm may be acceptable if expressed as a matter of opinion (Section 6). Marketers offering premium rate fortune telling services should adhere to the ICSTIS Code of Practice (Section 7). 3. The Law Marketers should seek legal advice or contact their Trading Standards Authority to ensure that their claims comply with the law. As a result of the repeal of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 psychics, mediums and spiritualists are now subject to the 2008 Consumer Protection Regulations.

These regulations make it the marketers’ responsibility to prove that they did not mislead or coerce the average consumer and thereby cause them to purchase a product or service they would not have taken otherwise. The average consumer is deemed to be either a member of the group to whom the marketing communication was targeted at or consumers who are particularly vulnerable to unfair commercial practices. 4. The CAP Code Marketers should comply with the CAP Code and, in particular, with these rules: 4.1 General rules “Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation” (clause 3.1); “Marketers should not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers” (clause 6.1); and “Testimonials alone do not constitute substantiation and the opinions expressed in them must be supported, where necessary, with independent evidence of their accuracy. Any claims based on a testimonial must conform with the Code” (clause 14.3). 5. Additional guidance 5.1 Marketing by spiritualists, clairvoyants, psychics, fortune tellers, astrologers, etc. Marketers of services that involve the prediction of the future, or the promise to make specific dreams come true, should advertise their services in a way that is neither misleading nor likely to exploit vulnerable people. Claims that marketers will

successfully solve all problems, break curses, banish evil spirits, improve the health, wealth, love life, happiness, or other circumstances of readers should be avoided because they are likely to be impossible to prove; 5.1.2 Claims of ‘help offered’ should be replaced with ‘advice’ and the emphasis should be on the individual helping him or herself rather than events or changes happening to them as a result of some external force; 5.1.3 Psychics, mediums and religious organisations may be able to make some claims about healing only if it is clear that they are referring to spiritual, not physical, healing; 5.1.4 Marketers should not state or imply that they have personal information or knowledge about recipients of direct marketing e.g. “I see a major change or a move for you and possibly someone close to you.” They should not imply that they send personalised readings to recipients if the same, or a substantially similar report, is sent to everyone who requests a reading; 5.1.5 Marketers should not make claims relating to the accuracy of their readings or claim that results are ‘guaranteed’ unless they are able to provide evidence to prove the claims; 5.1.6 Claims that a marketer is a personal adviser to royalty, the police, celebrities, or wealthy business people, or that he or she has been featured on television, radio or in newspapers or magazines should be backed up by adequate and relevant evidence; 5.1.7 Claims that a marketer has been ‘established in the UK since ...’, ‘... nobody has been established longer ...’ or similar, should be backed up by evidence;

5.1.8 Marketers should ensure that the terms of any moneyback guarantee are clear and that the guarantee is genuine; and 5.1.9 Testimonials used in marketing communications should be genuine. Testimonials and newspaper articles alone are not sufficient to substantiate claims (see clause 14.3 of the CAP Code). 6. The marketing of lucky charms (formerly the Help Note on the Marketing of Lucky Charms, August 1996) 6.1 Marketing communications for lucky charms or other products with unproven supernatural properties should not imply that these products can directly affect the user's circumstances. Examples: "Could the lucky charm make you popular?" – Unacceptable. "I bought the lucky charm and got promoted at work" – Unacceptable. 6.2 Claims that they could act as a confidence prop are acceptable if the emphasis is on the user's state of mind and not the product's effect. Examples: "When you're feeling lonely clasp the lucky charm and tell yourself you're an attractive person with lots to offer" – Acceptable. "I used the lucky charm as a focus for positive thinking and got promoted at work" – Acceptable.

6.3 Unproven beliefs that do not relate to the effect of the product may be acceptable provided they are expressed as matters of opinion. Example: "Some Himalayan tribesmen believe the lucky charm vibrates with cosmic energy" – Acceptable. 7. Premium rate fortune telling services 7.1 Premium rate fortune telling services may either be live (where a caller speaks to a live operator) or recorded (where they listen to a pre-recorded message). As well as complying with these guidelines, the following special provisions that apply to promotional material for live premium rate services are contained in the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards in Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS) Code of Practice (9th edition): i) Unless the live service is available 24 hours a day or permission not to provide such information has been granted by ICSTIS, hours of operation must be stated on the promotional material; ii) Unless ICSTIS has granted permission to do so, no promotion may be directed primarily at persons under 18 years of age or encourage such persons to call the service; iii) Marketing communications must clearly state that conversations are being constantly recorded where there is such a requirement.

Marketers should contact ICSTIS for further advice or visit their website at: http://www.icstis.org.uk. Advice on specific marketing communications is available from the Copy Advice Team by telephone on 020 7492 2100, by fax on 020 7404 3404 or by email on [email protected] The CAP website at http://www.cap.org.uk contains a full list of Help Notes as well as access to the AdviceOnline database, which has links through to relevant Code rules and ASA adjudications. February 2004 Revised: January 2009 Summary of Guidance So this is the official guidance and help on the legalities of marketing our profession here in the UK. There are no other laws, regulations or loopholes on tarot, psychic services or astrology anywhere other than this guidance and the CAP standards to which it refers, which are more about general issues of substantiation, guarantees and the exploitation of vulnerable people which apply to any trading. There are no secret government agendas to target psychics, astrologers and tarot readers that can be inferred from these laws, neither are they constraining to any who practice an ethical, considered approach to tarot reading and who state this clearly. We should welcome, consider and even work to develop such regulation in order to avoid the Sister Charlotte’s of this world keeping us in the 15th century. We will now turn to the even stranger regulations governing the broadcast media. In the UK we are surrounded by regulatory bodies, making regulations and rulings that seem almost perversely random.

Did you know that on Psychic TV, a satellite channel devoted to online psychic and tarot readings, you cannot say the word tarot? Broadcast Media Marketing Law There are going to be specific laws in your area for the broadcast media marketing of tarot. These are likely to be antiquated, vague, contradictory, or downright bizarre. One of the aims of Tarot Professionals is to survey these laws and start to campaign for their updating, particularly where they are prejudicial or inaccurate. The following piece is primarily for UK broadcast media, but may give an indication of the likely legislations, ordinances or guidance in your area. The first important point – and this is little-known in the tarot community – is that the whole of the UK guidance on mass media legislation for tarot is based upon the ill-informed opinions of less than 3,000 people. That’s about 0.004 per cent of the UK who have helped decide what you can and can’t say or do with regard to tarot on TV. This is because the current guidelines are based upon one of the few quantitative surveys to incorporate a mass audience perception of tarot which was conducted in November of 2001 when some 3,000 people in the UK were surveyed for the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). The aim of this survey, which was called Beyond Entertainment, was to assess whether certain types of alternative belief or psychic and occult phenomena would cause offence if demonstrated or explicitly discussed on television – an offence suggested by a prevailing view as being likely. The survey has certain constraints and is not comprehensive in its geographical selection of population, which was limited to London

and Manchester. It also only included in the ‘expert’ category of the sample, an "energy Healer, Diocese Exorcist, Alternative Medicine Practitioner, Para-Psychologist Academic, two Psychiatric Social Workers, and a medium." It did not include any tarot readers or practitioners or academic students engaged with tarot or any other purportedly ‘esoteric’ subjects. The survey is couched in terms which demonstrate implicit bias, such as referring to tarot as part of the ‘unregulated fringe practices’ which includes astrology and palmistry, as might be expected, but also Satanism and yoga! So it is no surprise that the recommendations are mostly negative and at best cautious. The statements include assessments that some psychic material is considered unacceptable on mainstream television and a recognition that some types of psychic material has the potential to be harmful. Whilst lumping together occult practice, mediumship, spiritualism, and tarot, the guidance included: “Respondents suggested that ‘supposed contact with the dead’ should be considered ‘occult’ only when it involved the purported invocation of unknown spirits or negative forces. In other circumstances, clairaudience and clairvoyance were usually seen as relatively harmless, though respondents felt certain restrictions should still be applied.” So if you go on mainstream television to do a tarot reading, ensure that you do not use the Golden Dawn prayer “I invoke thee, HRU ...” before doing so! The confusion in the research was astonishing, as reflecting a wider confusion in the public perception. Here is a section on the difference between psychic and occult: Psychic

“... many psychic practices such as horoscopes, reading auras, chakra healing, and crystals were seen as relatively harmless. Most thought much of it, for example, horoscopes, palmistry, etc. was about the acquisition of positive, comforting information and generic advice. Clairaudience – the claimed ability to hear things beyond the range of the power of hearing, e.g. voices or messages from the dead, and clairvoyance – the claimed ability to see things beyond the range of the power of vision e.g. the future, fell into an area of uncertainty. For many, these practices were acceptable because they involved supposedly, communing with dead loved ones, rather than unknown spirits. But others felt uncomfortable about them, and felt that they could be detrimental.” Occult “Respondents clearly identified things of the occult, for example, black magic, Ouija, Satanism, spells, and voodoo as having a negative quality. The occult was not just considered supposed contact with the dead but to be about invoking dark forces (potentially) with evil intent. Respondents felt occult practices were about influence, rather than personal enlightenment.” Half Your Market Thinks That You Are Evil Tarot was seen by 44 per cent of the respondents as occult. That means that if this survey is anything to go by, almost half the population of the UK views tarot as associated with something entirely negative. The main reasons given by this appallingly small sample of people from London and Manchester for the negativity of tarot? The Death card, and tarot ‘messing with your mind’. So those are the main two concerns that you have to face with this as a product on the market.

The main reason that astrology wasn’t seen as veering into the occult and associated with negativity? ‘It’s in the newspapers’ so it must be normal and alright in some way – ‘a bit of a laugh’. That’s possibly the best that we can ever hope for with tarot; to move it from occult tampering with the dark forces to a jokey parlour game. Teaching Tarot on TV? So, in summary the report states that (quoting the ITC Programme Code): “Horoscopes, palmistry and similar ‘psychic’ practices are only acceptable where they are presented as entertainment or are the subject of legitimate investigation. They should not include specific advice to particular contributors or viewers about health or medical matters or about personal finance. They should not be included at times when large numbers of children are expected to be watching. Fiction programmes containing ‘psychic’ phenomena should not normally be scheduled before the watershed, although a fantasy setting, for example, may justify such scheduling. There was widespread agreement that ‘how to’ demonstrations on the occult were unacceptable and that programme content featuring practices such as horoscopes, palmistry and psychic practices should not be shown when children might be watching.” Which means that you couldn’t teach tarot before 9:00 p.m. on television, and then only on a niche channel. This is ironic given that when you go onto Youtube and type in ‘tarot’ and get 28,000 videos, the first of which is ‘Tarot Card Reading Guide (2007)’.

Conclusion There are many pitfalls in marketing, even for experts. In such a niche market as tarot, which is furthermore surrounded by barriers of misunderstanding, it is essential to understand marketing and research clearly. You must also factor in an educational project with your marketing, in order to better inform the market as to the nature of tarot reading. We are not well served by tarot groups and readers who play upon the gypsy and crystal ball stereotype which roots tarot in something occult and hence evil or harmful in public perception. There are many choices and channels of marketing available and it is easy to be overwhelmed or overly-ambitious. The producer of a newsletter should know how much time it will take, and the level of conversion (subscribers to purchasers) required in order to operate the newsletter – otherwise they will add to the low expectations when they have to stop the newsletter after seven months or continually run it with the copied content of other people. Content. Content. Content. And the time to produce it. Then go to market!

Further Reading on Marketing Fox, J.J. How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting & Keeping Customers and Clients. Vermillion: London, 2000. Ries, A. & Trout, J. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. Profile Books: London, 1994. 176 See Facilier’s Twitter page http://twitter.com/Facilier [last accessed 30 January 2010]. 177 See the We Follow ‘Tarot’ Twitter page http://wefollow.com/twitter/Tarot [last accessed 30 January 2010].

178 By the time of re-editing this 3rd print edition of Tarosophy, both those Ning sites were dead, and I do not believe Ning is commonly used now. 179 See DiSalvo, D. ‘Are Social Networks Messing with your Head?’ In Scientific American MIND, January / February 2010, pp.48-55. This article notes that research suggests those who do best with social networking are those who use it to support their existing friendships, not create virtual ones (unless you are an adolescent, in which case it can be good practice for real life). 180 Now replaced by our Facebook group with over 22,000 participants.

Appendix 2: Tarot Law, Tarot Trade (Legal) In this appendix we reproduce our guidance from Tarot Professionals on the current legislation in the United Kingdom concerning tarot as trade. It was written by Anne Davies, and whilst informative, is not to be considered absolute legal advice. We would advise regular checking of such sites and regulations in your area if you intend to trade as a tarot reader or similar. Check for the latest updates at http://www.fortunetellinglaws.com. Anne’s disclaimer: I am a qualified solicitor who is admitted to the Supreme Court of England and Wales. This means that I don’t know much about Scottish Law (it’s a different legal system). I work in the field of private client law and do a little bit from lots of areas of law. I dabble in tarot cards on the side, and am setting out down the road of reading professionally. As I say above, I’m no substitute for specific legal advice about your specific situation, and if you do some form of reading I’m not familiar with (which is practically anything other than tarot), then you should consult someone who does know about that type of reading.

Consumer Protection Regulations 2008 – Guidance This advice relates to the recent enactment of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This is now the law in the United Kingdom. There has been a lot of talk on internet

forums and websites regarding the new regulations which came into force on 26 May 2008. Much has been made by various news sources of ‘they should have seen it coming’. A typical article goes on to describe how spiritualism and such assorted practices are being ‘persecuted’, and how mediums will be obliged to ‘disavow their religion’ by claiming that everything they do is unproven, must be regarded as ‘an experiment’ or should be regarded as ‘for entertainment purposes only’. There has even been talk about how this can be seen as religious discrimination, and a ‘return to the dark ages’. Many of the articles heavily imply that these new regulations specifically outlaw spiritualism, fortune telling and psychic services. This is a relatively obscure piece of legislation, introduced because the European Union says so, which had its nod through parliament and was introduced without much fanfare. If particular bodies had not gone running to every newspaper and broadcast media outlet they could find (including BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and Radio 2’s Lunchtime with Jeremy Vine) then we might suggest that the awareness of this ‘new law’ would be much lower than it now is; tarot readers and other associated readers would not be in a panic, and the newspapers would not have reported hysteria-based scaremongering as ‘fact’. Read some or all of the articles below for a flavour of what’s been said and then, if you are really keen, Google ‘Consumer protection regulations 2008 fortune tellers’ and see how similar many of the results are. One word of caution: watch out for the Australian items, they seem to have brought in something similar and have taken a similar approach! ‘Fortune-tellers targeted in new Consumer Protection Regulations’ http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/public_law/article3 987725.ece

‘There may be trouble ahead’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7354089.stm ‘Consumer protection laws overhaul to stem unfair practices’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2029154/Consumerprotection-laws-overhaul-to-stem-unfair-practices.html ‘New rules for consumer protection’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7416809.stm What virtually all of these articles state as a ‘fact’ is that ‘all spiritualists and fortune tellers will be obliged to say that their work is “for entertainment purposes only”’ (or similar wording). This just isn’t true. I’ve read the regulations very carefully, more than once, and I can’t see anything about this. I cannot find anything which specifically or implicitly refers to mediums, spiritualists or tarot readers. As with much legislation these days, rather than deal with ONE thing in ONE act, many things have been lumped together and dealt with via a ‘broad brush’ approach. Trying to read the legislation is confusing: you have to try to cross-reference to several other parts of the legislation in order to be able to attempt to understand what it is that is actually being outlawed. One thing which does strike me is that ‘commercial practices’, which are the entire focus of the regulations, are taken to include the supply of a service, whether or not a commercial transaction occurred. My interpretation of this is that a free tarot reading service could potentially be included within that definition.

Of the 31 practices specifically outlawed within the legislation, the two which are most ‘relevant’ to ourselves are number 17: ‘Falsely claiming that a product is able to cure illnesses, dysfunction or malformations’ and number 20: ‘Describing a product as gratis, free, without charge or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item’. These two provisions are plainly aimed at those people who either advertise offering to cure you of a curse or bad luck, or who send you junk mail offering bits of tat which have been ‘blessed by the saints’, or whatever the current line is, for only a ‘processing fee’ of a frankly eye-watering amount of money (think £25 and upwards). It is important to note that when they talk about ‘product’ they also include ‘service’ within the definition of ‘product’. I cannot see how an honest tarot reader, who stressed to all querents that tarot can’t run their lives for them, and that they are responsible for their own decisions, could be held liable under this. So, what does the Government have to say about all this? I suggest that you spend ten minutes or so reading the below linked leaflet, published by the Office of Fair Trading. It should alleviate most fears: The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations: a basic guide for business http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/cpregs/oft979.pdf You may also, if you have a particularly fierce bout of insomnia, wish to read the regulations themselves. The best publicly available link I can find to these is below, and they are still labelled as ‘draft’. Please be assured that nothing is different in the enacted version. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/draft/ukdsi_9780110811574_en_1 A response from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to an email from a tarot reader, published on the internet, said (section in bold highlighted for emphasis): “Thank you for your e-mail about the repeal of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 and the new legislation that replaces it. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs), which came into force on 26 May, put in place a comprehensive framework for dealing with sharp business practices and rogue traders harming the economic interests of consumers. The regulations set out broad rules outlining when commercial practices are unfair. These fall into four main categories: 1. A general ban on conduct below a level which may be expected towards consumers (honest market practice / good faith). This is intended to act as ‘safety net’ protection for consumers. 2. Misleading practices such as through the provision of false or deceptive messages or by omitting important information that consumers need to make informed choices. 3. Aggressive sales techniques that use harassment, coercion or undue influence. 4. 31 specific practices are banned outright. For a practice to be unfair under the first three categories it must harm, or be likely to harm, the economic interests of consumers. Where a person pays to have a tarot reading knowing full well what he is buying we think this is unlikely to be unfair. This is because the consumer would not have been misled into taking a transactional decision he would not otherwise have taken.

The CPRs are not directly concerned with the quality of the goods or services provided, e.g. the accuracy of a tarot reading, to which other longstanding legislation applies. They are mainly concerned with the way traders advertise and market their goods and services to consumers. Provided this is not misleading we do not believe tarot readers will need to give disclaimers saying that the reading is for ‘entertainment purposes only’. The CPRs are enforced by the Office of Fair Trading and local authority Trading Standards Services. These enforcers have limited resources and will focus their enforcement work on unfair practices causing significant consumer detriment. However, where an enforcer brings enforcement action for a breach of the regulations it will need to prove the facts of the case. The CPRs do not give individuals a private law right of civil redress where they have been harmed by an unfair practice. The regulations therefore make no changes to the existing law of contract or tort, or the burden of proof in such cases.” So, in essence, as long as you aren’t door-stepping old ladies and insisting that they pay you £50 for a one card reading lasting 90 seconds “or else you will be cursed forever and your house will fall down,” then we should all be fine. Does anyone honestly approach people and ask if they’d like to pay for a tarot reading? I suspect what happens is that we set ourselves up quietly somewhere at a ‘festival’, put some fliers out and sit there and wait for the clients to come to us. Some of us may have websites offering our services, or adverts in local newspapers. I don’t know any reputable tarot readers who use aggressive sales techniques. If you are still worried that someone’s going to leap out in front of you one day and slap a summons on you (which, if you’ve read all of the above, you will know is highly unlikely), then what can you do to protect yourself?

1) Join a ‘reputable’ organisation. Tarot Professionals was founded by the present author to ensure that tarot readers and clients were well informed and reputable. 2) Get a qualification. There are no formal qualifications or certificates in Tarot reading, but you can be certified for completing a range of courses, such as the 2-year Hekademia tarot course offered by Tarot Professionals. Alternatively you might want to consider a qualification or short course in a related field such as counselling, business management (for those reading full-time / professionally), therapy techniques, or perhaps neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). 3) Use a disclaimer. A controversial suggestion; there’s no guarantee that a disclaimer would work, you’re potentially creating a lot of paperwork for yourself and, as a lawyer, I find it astonishing that clients just don’t read what I give them to sign – how many clients will actually read the disclaimer? 4) Assess the client. There’s a big difference between “Should I dump my boyfriend?” and “I’m not sure where my relationship with my boyfriend is going, can the cards offer any advice?” The first wants you to tell her what to do, the second wants some insight. The first is more likely (in my opinion) to report you to Trading Standards depending upon ‘what the cards tell her’. Spend a few minutes giving them a ‘verbal disclaimer’. When I do free readings for people via email, the second paragraph states that the cards cannot tell them what to do, but can offer advice and insight into the possible outcome of the path of life they currently find themselves on. I go on to emphasise that they can change their path themselves at any time. You should assess whether the person sat in front of you has the ability to think for themselves. Obviously this can be a very hard call, but the question they ask should give you a good lead into this.

If you are wary about the client (and rely on your intuition here), you can always refuse to read. Better to turn down a client and leave them a bit upset than to take the money and open yourself up to aggravation. 5) Only read for one person at a time. If ‘Sandra’ has a question, only have Sandra in the room when you answer, not Sandra and four of her mates. Obviously, if you’re reading for a couple then there is an exception, but generally, ‘hangers on’ will not be helpful. 6) Make a note of your readings. Even if it’s only a book with some columns you fill in such as ‘date’, ‘time’, ‘client’s name’, ‘number of cards used’, ‘question asked’ (and possibly not even as detailed as that), then this all goes to show that you are reputable. 7) Have a flyer. This should contain your details, and a postreading ‘disclaimer’. Something along the lines of ‘I hope you enjoyed your reading today. Please remember that the cards cannot tell you what to do in life, and you must take responsibility for your own actions, inactions and the decisions you take in life’. 8) Be squeaky clean. Even if you’re only doing one event a year and making virtually nothing in ‘profit’, be above board. Have insurance in place. As a rough guide you’ll need public liability and almost certainly professional indemnity. If you read from your home (i.e. clients come to your house) then you should tell your house insurer. If you have a vehicle and you use it to get to places where you do readings, tell your insurer. It is likely that any increase in premium will be only slight, but if you have told them, then you are fine. If you don’t and then have to claim, you may well find them refusing to pay out – even if the claim is nothing to do with your tarot reading business. Sort out your tax and National Insurance (NI) NI position. HM Revenue & Customs provide a tremendous amount of

help for new businesses. Yes, you will have to complete a self-assessment tax return, but as long as you’ve kept adequate paperwork you’ll be fine. If you are reading on a small scale basis you’ll be able to do the ‘short’ return, and you will be able to claim a very wide range of expenses to offset any tax liability. You’ll also need to pay NI, unless you earn less than approximately £4,800. Yes, there are many forms to fill in, and yes, it will be boring, but set aside an evening in June to sort it all out and it’ll be fine – if you get your return in early they’ll even work out the tax for you. If you’re a serious full-time tarot reader then you might want to employ an accountant to sort all this out for you. From anecdotes I read, you stand a much greater chance of a disgruntled client reporting you to HM Revenue & Customs than you do of them reporting you to Trading Standards – get in there first! 9) Consider working through an agency. The advantage of this is that not only will the agent vet you, but they’ll probably also carry out some due diligence on the client. This sort of work is more likely to be at the corporate and ‘light-weight’ end of things, but I hear that the money can be very good. The disadvantage is that the agent will take a cut of your fees, and may even tell you how much you’re going to be paid, rather than you setting how much you’d like to charge. 10) Tape readings. Again, this is highly controversial. Some readers won’t; some get very nervous about speaking into any sort of machine; some are worried about something they may say within a reading getting taken out of context if listened to again at a later date. Consensus seems to be that if you are going to go down this path, it should be either via a digital format and both you and the client get a copy, or you should retain the ‘tape’ for yourself and not let the client have it at all.

11) Use your discretion. If an event doesn’t want ‘hippy lunatic tarot readers’, don’t force yourself onto them. I know we’re not doing anything wrong, and most of us aren’t doing anything that could even be described as ‘occult’, but some people get very anxious about these sorts of things, and before you know where you are, there’s banners and protests and letters to the editor of the local newspaper. Be upfront with an organiser of any event, and if they think you won’t fit in, don’t bother. Do you really want the hassle of a hostile reception? Let someone else fight the battle and go back when you will be accepted. In summary, my advice is not to panic. An individual member of the public cannot sue you for a ‘bad reading’. The worst they can do is report you to Trading Standards. Unless you have a particularly forceful local Trading Standards Officer, who has a particular hatred / fear of tarot readers and their crafts, then you should be fine. If you take your time to understand and read the regulations and ensure that you are a reputable dealer who isn’t taking advantage of clients, then you should be fine. This advice is based upon my understanding of the law at the time of writing (August 2008). The regulations are, as far as I can tell, currently untested, i.e. no-one has as yet been taken to court by Trading Standards for breaching the requirements of the regulations. As such, you should apply your own common sense and knowledge of the regulations. You should at least read the OFT leaflet so that you are aware of your obligations. This advice is not a substitute for specific legal advice in relation to your specific problem or situation. If you are unsure about what you should do, then you should seek professional legal advice from your own solicitor. If you don’t have a solicitor, look on the Law Society website for your territory, for ‘commercial’ lawyers in your area.

Appendix 3: Top Tarot Tweet Tips (78 Tips of Less Than 140 Characters) No.1: The card at the bottom of the deck in a reading is what is really going on even if the client is unaware of it. No.2: Small glass picture pebbles are an excellent way of holding down yr cards when reading outdoors and look cool! No.3: Get to grips with Court cards. 3 card sprd Court only. 1. What u need more. 2. What u fight. 3. What u mst let go. No.4: Practice intuition. Whn u meet someone, blink & imagine a card appears above them. Which card? Review later! No.5: Each of the 4 suits r happier in certain numbers than others. Pentacles are happier at higher nos, Swords at lower. No.6: Team-building game. Take out 4 Court cards. Imagine they r missing a 5th person in their team. Which Court card? No.7: You can rest/reset yr deck after a particularly intense reading by re-sorting the deck into order then shuffling. No.8: If you get stuck during a reading, don't go symbolic and metaphoric, go literal. Describe what u see on the cards. No.9: A Major card can be seen as a river current you can ride, a Minor when the river is still & u can paddle yourself.

No.10: 4 ways to read a card: literal, symbolic, extended story & intuitive. Learn and practice all 4. No.11: Buy a small portable deck 2 carry around with you – u never know the unlikely places u may be called to divine! No.12: Try runes & I Ching as divination tools. Tarot is snapshot, runes narrative & I Ching transitory. Find what works 4 you. No.13: When u do a reading, 1 card will be an 'anchor' for the others. This may be clear at start, mid, end of reading. No.14: To engender synchronicity, a tarot reading must be dreamlike – a phantasm, acc. to Jung's definition. Use props! No.15: Not all clients like tinkly music, they can't concentrate on more than one sound source. Some allergic 2 incense! No.16: Sit on the same side of the table as your querent for collaborative engaging readings, help them read also 4 self. No.17: Always read the cards, not the client. Practice with email readings. Your job is to divine from cards only. No.18: Tarot is contra-indicated 4 some: drunks, or those suffering frm schizophrenia, paranoia, manic-depression, etc. No.19: In a F2F reading, client is reading the cards unconsciously at same time you are! Ensure their attention on you! No.20: Keep shuffling until u feel like someone takes yr hands & shuffles 4 u, watch hands from distance with curiosity.

No.21: Use 6 cards for timing: Tower (now), Moon (later), Wheel (long time), Devil (never), Death (will change), Star (unlikely). No.22: Don't be afraid to draw more cards to clarify any card in a spread. Take 2 cards: 1 for clarity, 1 for response. No.23: Learning tarot should be fun! Learn to enjoy the characters of different decks as you would different friends. No.24: Take each card and point 2 actual centre of card. Touch forehead & point 2 ‘mental’ centre. Touch heart likewise. No.25: The cards are multivalent and faceted, so must be read in relationship. If 1 card, symbols in relationship. No.26: Game for pairs/group: speedreading 3 cards, 3 mins, answring same question, "What’s going to happen?" Rotate. No.27: A mix of high & low number Minors may indicate lack of cohesion. See which numbers missing for resolution. No.28: The best beginner’s book? I have 3000+ books over 30 years and I vote for Tarot Plain & Simple (A. Louis). No.29: The cards are static artefacts; imagine what happened a moment *before* and *after* the image on each card. No.30: Mouldy boxes in your collection? Clean with pure white vinegar to kill spores. Keep humidity < 60% if poss. No.31: Many clients come to readers in desperate states. Have a good list of agencies for general referral.

No.32: If you use the Thoth deck, you must buy Crowley’s book even if you find it difficult! Consult the author! No.33: At start of reading, ask "What do you expect/want out of session?" & agree u can provide. Then chk at end! No.34: When reading 4 self, read cards frm other side of table, as if talking 2 other! Use ‘you’ and speak aloud. No.35: Have a default deck, a domestic deck (angels, psycards, etc.) and a deep deck (De Es) 4 range of readings. No.36: NEVER read in front of others, i.e. at a party. U never know what the cards may tell a person, how private. No.37: To understand a deck, learn its context: Greek myth 4 mythic, kabbalah 4 Waite-Smith, Thelema 4 the Thoth. No.38: Think about what ‘soul-mate’ means to you. Research it. Consider. U will b asked about it a lot as reader. No.39: It's not just interesting what the client asks, but y now? Some clients r seeking permission, not answers. No.40: Tell a story out loud about a card. Don't end sentences, use: and, or, while, because, so, then until it flows. No.41: Image practice. Look at a card. Close eyes. List as many things as you can from card. Open eyes & compare. No.42: Cards that appear to be appearing more than others regularly may have a message 4 YOU not jst yr querents.

No.43: Regularly ask yr deck how 2 use it better! 3 cards; how am I doing? What can I do better? What new to try? No.44: The Aces are not the ‘beginning’ of anything, that's the TWOs. Aces are the SEED, or nascent, potential. No.45: The Tens, whilst they may b the ‘end’ r also the last moment before a new beginning or cycle in that area. No.46: Pick 1 card. Ask "What r u calling to my attention?"Answer in 1 word. Practice. Then 2 cards. Practice. 3, 4 ... No.47: Learn to do three-card readings with @emilycarding Transparent Tarot. Then look at yr regular cards anew! No.48: If client sprds cards out 2 shuffle, select cards 2 read, use up/down/sideways; normal/rev/lateral meanings. No.49: The Druidcraft Deck is very good for timings – ‘when?’ Qs – the cards move through seasons & times of day. No.50: Have confidence to accept own thoughts which differ from key words which arise when looking at a card. No.51: Build the cards in your imagination. You should be able to walk through whole deck b4 sleep, all 78 cards. No.52: Treat cards as the symbolic ingredients of your soul. Sustain yourself from the full deck to be fulfilled. No.53: Take the pattern in C. Vogler's Writer’s Journey (à la J. Campbell) and read 1 card for each stage. Write!

No.54: In the V&A Museum, London is a Christian tarot deck. It features Biblical scenes as teaching aids. Ahah! No.55: Whilst a lot of Court cards may mean ‘meetings of many persons’ it can also b 2 many levels of energies. No.56: Select a Major card for your day (not random) which contains resources u need. Write affirmation or mantra. No.57: Keep up to date with latest decks, news & innovations by joining a tarot organisation. No.58: Whilst optional, keeping a tarot journal and photographing readings for later reference is useful review. No.59: Lots of lower numbered Minors signifies early days, later numbered majority signifies nearing the end. No.60: Take 1 card. Write down all symbols. Maybe get about 20+. Now take colours as symbolic. And shapes. 70+! No.61: For intermediate work, learn elemental correspondences, then use dignities in reading 4 card weightings. No.62: Best marketing source for female party clients? Who should have your business card? Hairdressers! Natch! No.63: Shorthand tarot recording for readings: 1P, 2P, 3W, 4W (Minors), XVII, IX, XIII (Majors), QC, KnC, KC, PW (Courts). No.64: Good intermediate book: Greer, 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card. Good advanced book: Hulse, Cube of Space.

No.65: Good kabbalah intro book but lesser-known: Kabbalah Decoder (Janet Berenson-Perkins), covers a lot simply. No.66: Good intro to Jungian ideas & dreamwork but lesser-known: Jungian Dream Interpretation, James A. Hall. No.67: Whilst on subject of books, my all-time fave 4 Minor Arcana meanings, Feminist Tarot (Gearhart, Rennie). No.68: "What falls on the floor comes through the door": a card that falls out may signify an immediate event. No.69: Reminds me numbers are symbols also. Learn some numerology, particularly based on Pythagorean systems. LOL. No.70: You will never learn ‘every meaning’ or ‘every symbol’. Don't try! Symbols are multivalent, many meanings. No.71: If there is 1 tip alone worth re-tweeting, is this one. There is NO ‘correct’ way in tarot! Think for self! No.72: Enjoy the journey of tarot, 4 there is no final destination in the endless possibilities the cards reveal. No.73: Your clients expect answers. You must expect questions. Lots! “No real question” often turns into many! No.74: If a client says "No real question" u can ask, "If u woke up late at night, what would be on yr mind?" No.75: To engage the cards in your psyche, use Edwin Steinbrecher's Inner Guide Meditation. We provide charts!

No.76: To practice summarising a reading, learn to do haiku. Make your own haiku for every card, yr own guide. No.77: U can ‘certify’ u were on a course, but not a reader or reading. Don't pay 2 b a Master Tarotist on paper! No.78: Go get your decks out! Take them out into the day. Engage them in life. That's all. Delight in your decks!

Appendix 4: Contributors to the Secret Keywords

Annie Andrews @astrologerthe Carol (@darkmoon) Cheryl Sprague David Atwood Dawn Tallon @elevenmoons Emily Antonen Georgianna Boehnke Jane Booth Jason Karney Joyce Pfaffle Kisten Tarotwissen Lina Lisa Lloyd Lyn Birkbeck Ruth (R.C) Stacey Riley Tero Hynenen Tina Huerta

April Matthews Bridget London Chanah Wizenberg @BARSIDEMYSTIC David Zunker Donnaleigh de la Rose Ellis Wood Garry Kennedy Jade Hawks Janine Ashton Joan Pantesco Katrina Wynne Kristine Gazel Linda Hoyland Lucy Voss Missy Kaoscatz Shannon Presson Tali Goodwin Tim Brooks Val

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Thierens, A. E. The General Book of the Tarot. Wildside Press: Holicong, 2003. Vandenberg, P. Mysteries of the Oracles. Tauris Parke Paperbacks: London, 2007. Vogler, C. The Writer’s Journey. Pan Books: London, 1999. Voss, A. Marsilio Ficino. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, 2006. Waite, A. E. The Key to the Tarot. Rider: London, 1910. Wanless, J. Strategic Intuition for the 21st Century: Tarot for Business. Merrill-West: Carmel, 1996. Williams, C. The Greater Trumps. Regent College Publishing: London, 2003. Willis, T. Magick and the Tarot. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1988.

Wilson, R.A. Coincidance: A Head Test. Falcon Press: Phoenix, 1988. Ziegler, G. Tarot: Mirror of the Soul. Aquarian: Wellingborough, 1989.

About Marcus Katz Marcus Katz is a professional tarot teacher at the Far Away Centre, the first independent contemporary esoteric training centre in the United Kingdom. As the co-Director of Tarot Professionals, the world’s largest professional tarot organisation, he has studied and taught tarot for 30 years and has delivered more than 10,000 face-to-face readings. Marcus is also the co-creator of Tarot-Town, the social network for tarot readers, with thousands of people worldwide sharing innovative tarot development. He graduated from the University of Exeter as the first student in the world to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Western Esotericism – as such he is one of the few recognised academics in this field. A licensed neurolinguistic programming (NLP) trainer and neo-Ericksonian hypnotherapist with 20 years of experience training, presenting and teaching, he has completed training with Paul McKenna, Richard Bandler, John Grinder, and many other NLP luminaries. His esoteric, kabbalah and tarot courses and workshops are attended by students from across the world, and he delivers three online courses in spellcrafting, kabbalah and alchemy to students through the Magicka School. He has also travelled and taught private groups across Europe, Asia-Pacific and the United States. Marcus has learnt from, met and corresponded with many of the leading names in occultism during the past 30 years, and has enjoyed unparalleled access to private and academic libraries and rare manuscripts. His own library of esoteric books, magazines and materials is one of the largest and

most comprehensive in private collection. The author of numerous articles, essays and conference presentations on the tarot and the occult, Tarosophy is his first full-length work.



TAROSOPHY SQUARED Tarot to Engage Life, Not Escape it.

Copyright © Marcus Katz, 2021.

This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be made to the publisher. Those pirating this work, sharing, or downloading it from any illegal site are encouraged to purchase a copy of this book and benefit from meeting the cards honestly and respectfully, rather than as a thief, for whom the cards will always know and reflect their theft. How could it be otherwise? © Tarosophy is a registered trademark. First English edition published 2021 by Forge Press (Keswick). Cover art ‘Temperance’ by Janine Hall from the Tarot of Everlasting Day (2021), www.janinehallstudio.com.

This book is dedicated to Alexander Chaphino.

In Memory Stuart R. Kaplan. April 1, 1932 – February 9, 2021. "The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days." - A. E. Waite on the 'Fool'.

And finally, but above all, to:

Anistita Argenteum Astrum, The Priestess of the Silver Star, She whose light leads the way to the Arcanum Arcanorum, the Secret of Secrets, Vos Vos Vos Vos. V.V.V.V.

Don't Build Doors out of Keys What the Major Arcana say about the concerns that may hold back your tarot reading, starting with the Magician, then the High Priestess, all the way through the twenty-two cards to the World. And what the Fool answers at the end. That.

I don't have the skill, I don't have intuition, I don't have experience, I have no power, I don't know the rules, I don't love tarot enough, I don't go far enough, I am frightened, I am alone, It goes round and round in my head, I am unbalanced, I can't read reversals, I'm scared of the Death card, The Spirits do not talk to me, People think it's the work of the Devil, I keep learning then it all falls apart,

I'm hopeless, I am not deep enough. I am not bright enough, Everyone will judge me, I am not as good as/like everyone else,

You know what, says the Fool, I have no care, Just Read Your Tarot. For they are the Keys to Your Freedom, Not more locked Doors.

The tarot is the door between the Fool and the World, and its key.

Contents Don't Build Doors out of Keys TAROSOPHICAL TAROT The Tarosophy Approach to Tarot Why Read Tarot? Why So Many Decks? Elevator Pitches for Tarot Decks The Tarot Expects a Reader to Know … A Tarot Reader Do Not Pay Me Facts and Fallacies Tarot & Superpowers Who Not To Read Three Questions You May Not Ask The Tarot is Dangerous Timing and Tarot Teaching Tarot Connecting Cards Tarot and Shakespeare Tarot and Connection Tarot and Geography Waite Smith Prevalence Above the Head Different Voices Bonding with a Deck Brings and Leaves Reversals Reversed Majors On Death and Transformation Turn a One-Card Reading into a Spread Desire Lines and the Poetics of Space The Fool Falls Shadow Work ARCHETYPES, SYMBOLS & LANGUAGE The Origins of Symbolic Language Archetypes Tarot Symbols

THE 21 PRINCIPLES OF TAROT -I- II - III - IV -V- VI - VII - VIII - IX - X- XI - XII - XIII - XIV- XV - XVI - XVII - XVIII - XIX - XX - XXI FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS Practice Skill Not Method Prediction Which Card Signifies X? The Unemployment Card Free or Fixed SKILL DEVELOPMENT EXERCISES Tarot Kihon. Connecting Cards I Connecting Cards II An Interval of Riddles Random Words Fire and Fuel Two Card Draw Genre Exercise Creating Keywords

Learn to Read the Universe Reversed Cards Practice The Man Who Can Read the Clouds KABBALAH Illustrating the World Central Pillar Method Working with Kabbalah through the Cards Applying Kabbalah to a Three Card Reading NLP SKILLS NLP & Tarot Incorporate and Utilise State Generation Rapport Skills Impossible Questions Defusing a Bomb Dreams and Tarot Tarot Talismans THE MAJOR ARCANA Reading the Majors (A 32-Day Course) Reading Reversals (Majors) Celtic Cross Reading with Majors-Only and Reversals TAROT INCANTOS Panolepsy Not Theopropia Naught Numbers The Thing 22 Confessions But This Card Baggage Without The Major Arcana (Does Not Mean) Tarot Poem Tarot Telephone Celebration The Pyramid of Existence Cards are Cards Hang in There To Say to Myself One Day

The First Ten Mistakes of Mysticism Majors Only Method Court Cards Majors Keyword Compression THE MINOR ARCANA The Minorverse Minors Only Reading Suits For their Opposite Themes Ten Minor Lessons Aces Twos Threes Fours Fives Sixes Sevens Eights Nines Tens Freedom Sequences Freedom in the Wands Freedom in the Cups Freedom in the Swords Freedom in the Pentacles Ten Ways of the Minor Arcana COURT CARDS Tarosophy Four Card Court Card Method: Turn a Page. TAROT FOR ALL SEASONS A New Years (Minor) Re-Solution New Moon Super or Full Moon Beltane Festival One-Card Calibration Easter One-Card Draw Winter Solstice Lughnasadh Spread Birthday Method Thank Tarot its Friday.

Something for the Weekend? PRACTICAL METHODS & SPREADS I Beg Favour Removing Damp (a Practical Interlude) Time Travel One Thing Missing Unasked Questions Triangulate the Majors Simple Split-Deck Method Oracular Sentences II High Intensity Tarot Training Engines of Change Tarot Affirmation Generator Stuck in the Middle Using Combination Decks Etymology Oracles Can you handle the Truth?! Bows and Burdens Weight Management Through Tarot Finding Balance How to Read for any Relationship Quick Relationship Method Direct Advice from the Court Cards Divining How to Act Appropriately Out of the Box Solutions Motivation Card Align your Life to the Elements Connection Exercise Fulfilling an Ambition with the Majors Absent Cards Dealing with Burn Out CONCLUSION The Greatest Challenge Tarot Tells Its Own Future. The Top Ten Tarot Titles You May Never Read. My Personal Reading Decks The 22 Major Cards of the Tarot Give Thanks … BIBLIOGRAPHY

Also by Marcus Katz


The Tarosophy Approach to Tarot This book further develops Tarosophy, the unique approach to tarot, cartomancy, and divination, which was first presented in the original book Tarosophy, published in 2011.[1] In the decade since Tarosophy was published, much has happened to open the world of divination, cartomancy, and esotericism to a larger audience, particularly through social media.[2] This present book provides the main developments of Tarosophy over that time and is the second of a trilogy of books, the third of which will likely be published in 2031. This book should be considered as an intermediate book, requiring some experience and knowledge of both tarot and Tarosophy. It is recommended that the reader is familiar with the first Tarosophy book, although both books are written to stand alone in their presentation of tarot and divination. In this second book we will provide many new practical methods, spreads, and skill development exercises. We will also re-examine the foundational concepts of Tarosophy, given as the twenty-two Tarot Principles. I will also share several examples of Tarot Incantos - poetry or prose based on the sequences of tarot. We will look at new ways of working with the Majors, Minors and Court cards in further split-deck methods, first introduced to Tarot in the original Tarosophy.[3] As with the first book, the reader is encouraged to recognize the various models employed in the methods, such as NLP, Kabbalah, and esoteric correspondences, and learn the cards as their own language, ultimately finding their own oracular voice. I will provide further reading in each of these subjects.

We will begin with a re-statement of the basics of Tarot from a Tarosophical perspective, in the form of questions and answers. 1. What is Tarot? The Tarot is a realized dream of reality – like all experience – in a recognized pattern of seventy-eight entities. The template of this pattern is twenty-two Major Arcana, sixteen Court cards and forty Minor cards in four Suits, usually termed Pentacles, Swords, Cups and Wands. This pattern is usually (but not always) demonstrated in the form of art upon cardboard, a deck of tarot cards. This pattern has correspondence – resonance – with many other models of the universe. 2. How Does Tarot Work? The Tarot works by arising in the same interface (between our sense of Identity and our sense of Universe) as all our experience of reality. It exists as a stabilized and tested representation through iteration and evolutionary processes. As a reasonably congruent, consistent, and comprehensive map of experience, it functions to partially reflect our engagement with the Universe. As such, it also provides a blank bible for personal philosophy.[4] In the shuffling of a deck of tarot cards, we recognize the interplay of the Universe and the resulting chosen cards – images – can be interpreted as modelling that relationship, in an unbound manner. This unbound manner is partially a-temporal, non-spatial, and nonlinear, whilst being represented in a unique moment of space-time.

As a result, the images can provide illustration of events, advice, probabilities, possibilities, and states of mind - whether past, present, future, historical or imagined, present or distant - that are uniquely accessible through this process, which we call divination. 3. What is Tarosophy? Tarosophy is the living wisdom of the tarot; in the main formulation that we use tarot to engage life, not escape it. It arises from an attitude of curiosity that generates techniques for every oracular moment. We hold two further important determinators; that there is no such thing as an accidental oracle and the oracular moment is sacrosanct. Tarosophy has a character that can be recognized by experimental, enthusiastic, and open play with the limitless opportunities of tarot – or any other form of cartomancy divination or magical practice. It recognizes a full deck of possibilities and celebrates the diversity of divination. 4. What are the key tenets of Tarosophy? The World is Bound by Invisible Knots - You either Speak with Honey on your Lips from the Book of Clouds, Echoing the Voice of Living Fire in the Trembling Darkness, or you Do Not. There are no halfway Oracles. 5. What is the Aim of Tarosophy? The aim of Tarosophy is to make accessible the language of tarot prior to delivering the journey into the place in which that language is spoken. To teach tarot as a symbolic system in preparation for

initiatory, mystical, and magical experience in the Western Esoteric Initiatory System.[5] 6. What is the heart of Tarosophy? The heart of Tarosophy is the embodiment in the practitioner of the living wisdom of tarot – an applied philosophy mediated by the structure and images of the deck. The heart of Tarosophy was developed from long-term systematic observation and encounter with hundreds of tarot readers over three decades and comprehensive review of published and unpublished material over the last three centuries. Tarosophy uniquely bridges academic appreciation of tarot and allied subjects with long-term experience to deliver a powerful revisioning of tarot. It focuses on teaching correspondence, incorporation, and utilization to move the practitioner into the oracular moment – to go from nothing to here, to go from knowledge and experience to intuition and inspiration. Tarosophy teaches correspondence to empower elegant readings and prepare the practitioner for work in the Western Esoteric Initiatory System if they pursue that path. Tarosophy teaches incorporation to ensure that readings work with the client’s issues and language, not the readers – whilst leaving space for the original interpretation and oracular nature of the reader. Tarosophy teaches utilization to emphasize the readers own skills and allow them to develop their diverse methods in an

accelerated and flexible manner. 7. What is the Ambition of Tarosophy? The ambition of Tarosophy is to remove the barriers to entry for all who seek to learn tarot – whether it be for self-development, divinatory and oracular purposes, or fortune-telling. We recognize that there are many gates and many paths, all of which lead to one destination. 8. How Does Tarosophy Teaching Differ from other Deliveries of Tarot? Tarosophy teaching separates “skills” and “methods” to provide accessible and accelerated training. It teaches from the destination backwards; understanding how readers read after thirty or forty years and reverse engineering those skills to be taught to beginners. It has also asked systematic questions of contemporary readers (taking advantage of social media) and derived answers that are unique to Tarosophy and have led to the development of hundreds – if not thousands – of new methods. 9. What are the Unique Foundation Methods of Tarosophy? There are hundreds of unique methods in Tarosophy; the most prominent are teaching tarot in three minutes and teaching tarot in ten minutes; split-deck methods; standing methods (such as “Finding Hope”); pinpointing and bridging; chunking to apply any card to any question; the keyword kaleidoscope to generate personal keywords; real-time construction of spreads based on a client’s metaphor; tarot gated spreads (such as Tarot Life) and countless other innovative methods.

The three-minute method uses the three interpretative lenses of resource, challenge, and lesson, for each card, providing three core components of narrative structure. The ten-minute method uses the structure of Kabbalah to formulate a simple mapping of any easily described creative act in the life of the student to the structure of the tarot. These two methods have been refined over many hundreds of hours teaching to provide the fastest and easiest way to learn tarot from its own foundation. In this sense, our teaching methods refer to the principles of learning a game like Chess, where the rules can take less than an hour to learn, the common patterns may take years to learn and practice, and mastery is the work of a lifetime. 10. How do I engage with Tarosophy? The primary book for Tarosophy is the book of that title, Tarosophy, (2011). There are seventy-eight new methods of Tarosophy in Tarot Twist and the absolute beginner’s booklet, Tarot Flip. To understand some of the oracular nature of Tarosophy, refer to Tarot Inspire. The Gated Spread experiences are to be found in Tarot Life (in twelve booklets), and others such as The Gates of Valentine, The Garden of Creation, The Ghost Train and The Resurrection Engine, etc. The Western Esoteric Initiatory System is explored in the Magister. The reader will note, as with much of the work of Tarosophy, that the ten statements above are mapped to the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life from Kether to Malkuth. The first Tarosophy book introduces the importance of the Tree of Life as a lens through which tarot is seen as the language of initiation and the structure of its mysticism. In all

that follows, assume that any material given in sets of twenty-two, twelve, ten, four, etc., has correspondence to the Major Arcana, the Zodiac, the Sephiroth, the elements, etc. These correspondences should be studied until they become a natural expression of the practitioner. We will now look to responding to many of the first questions that arise from work with divination, both from readers themselves as they dive deeper into their practice, and by others who may be critical of the practice of divination.

Why Read Tarot? I read Tarot because ... In frivolity there is freedom, To say what must be said, To know what can be known, To grow what can be grown, To own what must be owned, To teach what can be taught, To love what cannot be fought, To go where we can go, To fight what can be fought, To atone when we are alone, To sail the seas of destiny, To right the injustice we see, To turn things on their head, To leave things rarely unsaid, To speak with angels pure, To keep the devil at the door, To know more than we can say, To seek an everlasting day, To face fear as a way to pray, To meet the light upon our way, To resurrect ourselves anew, To do all that we can do.[6]

Why So Many Decks? As we saw in Tarosophy, the average reader at that time who was invested in tarot sufficient to be a regular at the Tarot Association TarotCon conventions, or on the social media platforms, would have - on average - around forty different decks. At the time we did not expand on this observation, other than to say that more than forty made you officially a collector. The usual external observation on this phenomenon, i.e., that a tarot reader will have many decks, is that there appears to be no requirement for a reader to purchase more than one deck, as they can read with one. However, whilst the decks may be tools of utility, they are also tools for accessing wholly different states and each deck is tuned to different purposes.[7] Similarly, given the complex nature of the universe, which may indeed be a ‘simple rule repeated an almost infinite number of times’, the cards themselves are merely components of a vast algorithm.[8] Another component of that algorithm is the reader, and another is time – a particular deck may suit a particular reader at a particular time. Also, a deck is time-bound (culturally-bound) to its own time, whether it is ‘mainstream’ or ‘rebellious’ to the cultural norms in which it arises. A gardener is now more likely to use a lawnmower than a scythe; although the latter may still be useful sometimes. We can also answer this question with the response; "why are there so many books, they're all just based on just the same 26 letters?" (at least as far as all books written in English).

The answer is also that different decks are based on different principles, themes, and utilisation. As ‘mere’ artwork, they are also all different expressions. The more we study and use tarot, the more these differences are useful; and the more we study and use tarot, the most wonderful and powerful is the diversity. At the end of the day, as readers, we love to experience the worlds of more than one book or one deck. And we should never find ourselves in the same position as someone who is listening to their favourite tracks of music, and suddenly hears the devil whisper in their ear, "You know, all it does is go up and down".

Elevator Pitches for Tarot Decks A useful exercise for the Tarosophist is to develop and maintain “elevator pitches” for various aspects of cartomancy, i.e., stock answers that can be recalled and delivered as succinctly as possible, conveying the most important material in the least amount of time. In the following examples, we have our preferred elevator pitches for four of the main lineages of tarot decks. The Tarot de Marseille (c. 15th C.) The Tarot de Marseille was designed as a living allegory of the triumph of virtues and a reliquary of Christian and mystical teaching. The Tarot of the Golden Dawn (c. 1888 onwards). The Tarot designed by the Golden Dawn was never produced as a deck but copied by hand between members of the order to convey illustrations of the initiation system and the Tree of Life teachings taken from Kabbalah. The Thoth Tarot (1938 - 1943) The Thoth Tarot was designed to function as an atlas of the universe through hieroglyphs depicting the doctrine of scientific illuminism. It also serves as a pantacle of thelema built from the bricks of the Aeons. The Waite-Smith Tarot (1909-1910) The Waite-Smith Tarot was designed as a rectification of the power of symbolism to provide universal access to a hidden sanctuary of mystical experience, created by a Bohemian Catholic artist and a Catholic mystic, presented through the Theatrical tradition.

The reader will discover, throughout the original Tarosophy and this present book, sections which can provide or provoke elevator pitches for other common questions such as “how does tarot work?”, “do you believe in tarot?” and similar enquiries of our art and science.

The Tarot Expects a Reader to Know … In Tarosophy we look at the tarot deck as a living language which has emerged and stabilised in manifestation as a means of communication between aspects of presented reality. As it arises in the same manner as all things, it is ultimately a-temporal and nonspatial, and as a result can connect with aspects of manifestation that are apparently (in the true sense of the word) distanced from the present moment in time, both “past” and “future”. It also allows us to divine – see beyond the normative world – events apparently disconnected and distant in space. When we look at the tarot deck like this, we can also utilise it in a meta-manner, beyond itself, and the usual practices that have so far been accorded to it. One common method in Tarosophy is to use the Major Arcana as a set structure (as corresponding to the Tree of Life in Kabbalah) for formulating any pattern of existence – and thus providing an instruction manual, question set, or expectation set for any situation or artefact of existence, including itself. As Eliphas Levi (1810 - 1875) remarked: A prisoner devoid of books, had he only a Tarot of which he knew how to make use, could in a few years acquire a universal science, and converse with an unequalled doctrine and inexhaustible eloquence. The oracles of the Tarot give answers as exact as mathematics, and measured as the harmonies of nature. By the aid of these signs and their infinite combinations, it is possible to arrive at the natural and mathematical revelation of all secrets of nature.[9]

If, for example, we wanted to know what we were expected to know so we can best utilise tarot, we can see that already presented to us in the Major Arcana. When we interpret the cards in this manner, we allow the tarot itself to tell us something about the tarot – or our best approach in using it. Here is what the tarot might expect a reader to know, then, in twenty-two responses following the numerical order of the Major Arcana: 1. The Magician: How to divine and communicate clearly. 2. The High Priestess: How to access your intuition. 3. The Empress: How to acknowledge that nature and nurture have a role in the situation of the client. 4. The Emperor: How to empower the client, not yourself. 5. The Hierophant: The History of our sacred art and science. 6. The Lovers: Enough about relationships to answer 3 out of every 5 questions you will face which will always be on relationship. 7. The Chariot: When to use logic to go forwards and when not. 8. Strength: How to gain rapport with the client no matter their state towards you. 9. The Hermit: When to take time to yourself before you give it to others. 10. The Wheel of Fortune: The difference between fate and destiny, and the role of free-will. 11. Justice: How to measure up the cards with impartiality and recognise the presence of bias.

12. The Hanged Man: How to read reversals if they are one of the third of readers who read them. 13. Death: About death, dying and grief. Also, life. 14. Temperance: How to create a space for change not only during the reading but thereafter. 15. The Devil: How to recognise and work with the shadow, projection, and transference – and all the blocking mechanisms of depression, repression, etc. Also, how to know what you do not yet know. 16. The Blasted Tower: How to elegantly incorporate and utilise significant life events for positive outcome. 17. The Star: How to set realistic expectations and orient the client to the future. 18. The Moon: About walking into the dark places and speaking the symbols of dream. 19. The Sun: How to work with the inner child. 20. The Last Judgement: How to use the cards for their own calling and to discover the true calling of the client. 21. The World: To establish and maintain clear boundaries and a professional business, understanding finances, contracts, terms and conditions, personal ethics, and a code of good practice and conduct.

0. The Fool: But most of all, the tarot expects a reader to be brave enough to walk in emptiness.

If the reader also places these responses on the Tree of Life according to any common pattern of correspondence, they will see the way these activities connect the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. In doing so, we discern which aspects of the utterly unknowable universe we are experiencing and activating in each practice. If, for example, we are developing our work with the Inner Child, corresponding to the Sun, we are working on the path of Resh, between Hod and Yesod; the “splendour of the foundation”. In doing so, we come to activate that ‘splendour’ – the patterns of our own childhood in conscious thought (Hod), re-connected to their earliest origin (Yesod). In this, we bring them into the front of our mind, or head, the literal meaning of the letter Resh. We also come to see how the universe is its own splendour of the foundation, in that the patterns of existence from its original point are still present in all manifestation, i.e., as light, symbolised by the Sun.[10]

Illus. The Tree of Life with Tarot Correspondences.

A Tarot Reader In attempting to define what a tarot card reader is, or what they do, it is important to keep it simple. I always state that I am a "tarot card reader" so I “read the tarot cards”. I am paid to read the cards. If I read the cards, that is what I am paid to do and the service I offer. My experience is in reading tarot cards, usually the deck or decks that I use to conduct the reading. I may be a reader who is well-studied, highly intuitive, a good people-reader or a master of the secret Arch of Shamballah. I might be able to channel Zathras of the Fortieth Aethyr or my most illustrious Ancestors. I may be able to go into a trance and divine from Apollo himself, or use the deepest symbolism of alchemy to produce a stone of philosophy. These are all interesting, useful, or weird and curious, depending on our beliefs. However, if I am a tarot card reader then I will read tarot cards; everything else is something else. I do also try and communicate what I have read to my client. This is far further towards personal experience and skill, natural or learnt – or both – than the actual interpretation of the cards, their “reading”. The communication of the reading is a separate thing and thus one that can be separately developed. However, as I could never guarantee such a complete mastery of communication and the client's ability to appreciate and integrate any particular message, I do not offer the communication of the reading as an entirely infallible part of my service. I guarantee that I will read the cards.

Usually, I read the cards and tell the client what I read and it is useful to them. Often, it is a powerful and moving experience - or a hilarious one - that gives them information that might prompt change in their life. Sometimes, it does not appear to be, even though I have read the cards, as I always do when I am paid to read the tarot for someone: What are your fees?" inquired Guyal cautiously. "I respond to three questions," stated the augur. "For twenty terces I phrase the answer in clear and actionable language; for ten I use the language of cant, which occasionally admits of ambiguity; for five, I speak a parable which you must interpret as you will; and for one terce, I babble in an unknown tongue.[11] I am, after all, simply a tarot card reader. One who reads tarot cards. Aspirations As we have seen, the approach of Tarosophy encourages readers to use their deck to answer or provide a framework for any situation. If we were to ask the deck what it inspired in people, either ourselves or our clients, we can discern the answers in the Major Arcana as any other question: A Tarot Reader should aspire themselves and their clients to be ... Free, Magical, Mysterious, Nurturing, Empowering, Wise, Loving, Active, Strong, Self-Aware, Connected, Fair, Radical, Transformative, Creative, Physical, Striking, Visionary, Reflective, Demonstrative, Decisive, and Present. Just like the Major Arcana, from the Fool to the World.

When we have these answers, we can pull a Major Card for ourselves and the card will suggest to us which aspiration we can work towards that day.

Do Not Pay Me There are some readers – and many clients – who have a somewhat strange (and deliberately so, in the case of prospective clients) view of tarot and payment. Some readers, increasingly few in proportion during the present expansion of interest, claim that you can only give readings for “free” as it is a “spiritual” practice. Whilst I would accept that divination is a spiritual practice, I personally do not accept that time and attention in the linear realm should not be fairly compensated. Similarly, I believe that a client should be aware of exactly what they are being asked to purchase, which is far more beyond the hour and the cards that a reading might appear. In response to this matter often being raised on our social media platforms, I wrote the following personal pitch for myself, and would encourage every reader to fully evaluate their own unseen capital. Do not pay me for this hour of tarot reading. Instead, pay my dad for allowing access to an early photocopier in his company, so I could photocopy a set of 22 cards from a book that I had loaned from the grown-up section of the library - and the librarian for letting a 13-year old borrow the book. Do not pay me for what I will tell you about your situation based on these cards. Instead, pay me for a thousand or more hours that first year being obsessed with the cards, reading them for schoolfriends, visualising them every night, stepping into them in dream so that I could meet them as living things in my own life every hour of every day. Do not pay me for any new insight I might offer from this reading.

Instead, pay me for all the thousands of books I purchased and hundreds of courses I took over thirty years so I could prepare for this moment with you. All the books on therapy, communications, business practice, astrology, tarot, psychology, history; all the courses on business, marketing, customer service, finance, alchemy, and kabbalah. Do not pay me for opening solutions from the deck that you could not get anywhere else, despite how much you paid them. Instead, pay me for six years of my life costing tens of thousands of pounds, studying western esotericism at a university 346 miles away, and flights to conferences in Europe and America, taken to Masters and PhD levels to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the context of these cards. Do not pay me for interpreting any of several quintillion possible combinations of cards that you will see on the table in a moment. Instead, pay me for purchasing hundreds of decks, reading with them for thousands of people, in public and in private, for all the multitude of questions that have been brought to oracles since the beginning of time. Do not even pay me for the cost of this deck, this room, this light, this time. Instead, pay me for every second I risked my livelihood to devote myself to a passion, to write books with little return, to organise events just because it was important, to spend time learning, teaching, and sharing every moment I could, when I could have been doing something else.

Pay me for the online negativity I had to learn to ignore - particularly from others 'in tarot' for the first five years before they realised I wasn't going to go away, and the death threat (from another 'tarot person') I had to report to the police. And certainly, do not pay me for laughter, tears, sudden revelations, or a slowly dawning appreciation of what you can do next to resolve your situation. Instead, pay me for choosing to devote myself to something ridiculed by most, seen as an idle curiosity by others, a futile occupation by even those who were once friends, and yet here we are. You and me. And these cards. So, do not pay me for this hour of tarot reading. Pay me for everything I have done to this moment so we can get on with something that might just be useful to you. In summary, I believe someone is paying me for thirty years’ experience and practice, and the risk I take in offering them insight from the entire universe, transcending all known notions of time and space, by uttering inspired and oracular words - in a manner that could potentially change their entire life - based on a single layout of one of 1.4 quintillion combinations of seventy-eight historical and arcane images that correspond to every psychological, practical, emotional, intelligible, situation that any human being has ever experienced, is experiencing or ever will likely experience. And my fee for doing such a thing is stated on my website.

Facts and Fallacies In Tarosophy, we dealt with several facts and fallacies about tarot, and the history of the deck as far as it is currently known. We will now delve deeper – perhaps, pedantically - into several narrow fallacies. It is unfortunately necessary as there are so many online sources still alleging that the tarot was invented by the ancient Egyptians, or that you should only be gifted your first deck, and worse fallacies. The First Illustrated Pips There is a fallacy that the Waite-Smith Tarot (1909) was the first deck to use "illustrated pip cards". It is often conflated with another fallacy that this accounted for its success and enduring popularity. Unfortunately, neither of statements are entirely true. There were many other card decks which used illustrated scenes on the pip cards, the most notable cartomantic example being the Sola Busca deck. It was this deck which Waite and Colman Smith viewed in the British Museum, when images from it were loaned from the Italian family which owned the deck at that time. We can see the equivalent images in several of the Waite-Smith cards, such as the Three of Swords. In a sense, every card deck has merely seven cups to show that phrase might be better as interpretations" for the pip cards,

“illustrated” pips, even if they are card as the Seven of Cups. The "scenically or character-based such as a group of people using

the five wands on the Five of Wands to fight each other playfully rather than them being illustrated as a broken tower of sticks.

Many antique playing card decks prior to tarot had “scenically or character-based interpretations” for the pip cards, often presented as ‘morality’ or ‘teaching’ decks to avoid tax or religious censure. Some also had key-phrases, short poems or couplets, biblical phrases, and even speech bubbles to denote the message of the card. Your First Tarot Deck There is a sometimes-repeated fallacy that a reader must be “gifted” their first tarot deck. Despite research, the first publication of this idea has yet to be discovered. It is also an extra layer of problematic answer to say that this was introduced to stop non-readers buying their own deck and putting fortune-tellers out of business. It is certainly nice to be gifted your first deck, as it will be a source of nostalgia in future, particularly if it is a unique situation or someone special to you who presents the gift. It is nice to make your own first deck. I did, and several other readers I know did likewise. It is also nice to purchase your first deck in the most ordinary of situations and then discover how extraordinary your experiences become with it. Bonding with Your Deck Another fallacy and a question asked most on social media and according to our Tarot Association website hits is that a reader must place their deck under a pillow and sleep on it to bond with the deck - or perform some other act of bonding. In ritual terms, this would be considered a "consecration", a dedication of an object to a specific purpose. I would counter-propose that a tarot deck is consecrated to its purpose of divination by its use - the performance of shuffling, sorting, and selection into a spread is a ritual of itself. Further, we

could suggest that each deck and reader would be better served by what we call an attuned consecration. This means that we would consecrate a Tarot of the Moon deck on a full moon night, with white wine and silver candles being part of the dedication. The Thoth Tarot we would consecrate by the recitation of an Ancient Egyptian verse or Thelemic ritual. The Druidcraft Deck we would take to a stone circle, or grove, etc. Whilst sleeping with a Tarot Deck under our head may consecrate it to speak to you unconsciously or through dream, this might not specifically serve you in a wide-awake reading with a real person. Storing Your Deck Whilst it may be good to store your deck in silk, each reader should find personal and effective ways to store their decks. My two most personal and favorite containers for tarot are a hand-made cork box cut perfectly to size for my old Waite-Smith deck and hand-painted with the Golden Dawn symbol, and an old sackcloth coffee-grind bag in which I carried my hand-made tarot cards when I was young. Natural Gift or Learnt Skill? It is sometimes implied that one must have a "natural gift" to read Tarot, or that you cannot be "taught" to read Tarot, or "learning from books" is not a way to learn tarot. There is no one way of learning tarot being "better" than another, or the only way of learning. However, it can certainly be taught, be improved, and some people also have a natural gift to particular ways of reading. And that is all for the good. Reading for Yourself

Some find it difficult to read for themselves, and others say it is impossible. Some people only ever read for themselves. Again, it is all good. Whilst it may be challenging and require more objectivity there are no more problems in reading for oneself than reading for someone else. When we read for others, we still project, have potential bias, and there can be transfer and counter-transfer. Our own state of mind also influences a reading whether for ourselves or others. There are many methods we can use to read for ourselves that make it easier. Tarot in Antiquity As mentioned at the start of this section, fallacies continue regarding the history of tarot as being mysterious or unknown, when it is neither. Tarot appeared first in 15th Century Italy. The origin of the word "Tarot" is, however, unknown, appearing only almost a century after the first decks to describe the game, and in Italian, as "Tarocchi". They were earlier referred to as a "Game of Triumphs", or "carte da trionfi". There are many ideas that the Tarot embodies hidden, even ancient wisdom, deliberately or through universal patterns, etc. There are ideas that the Tarot was 'carried' by 'gypsies' and originated in 'ancient Egypt'. None of those ideas has any solid proof, in an academic or historical sense, i.e., primary, or even secondary source material, such as a set of twenty-two images carved in a pyramid that exactly relates to the modern tarot, in the same way that the "Game of Hope" cards match the "Lenormand" cards, separated by only 50 years.

The first evidence we have of these more 'esoteric' ideas appears in Court de Gebelin's Le Monde primitif, volume 8, in 1781. There is no written or recorded evidence prior to that date of any connection of Tarot to ancient Egypt, Kabbalah, secret teachings, Freemasonry, or any other system. Tarot is Evil It may be superstitious, but some believe that the tarot "is evil" or that "it opens you up to evil spirits". In my personal experience, I have had no evidence of this. The only evil I consider that tarot can promote is a dependence or avoidance of responsibility when consulting the cards. That is why we say, "tarot to engage life, not escape it". Tarot is just Cold Reading Critics argue sometimes that reader do not read anything at all from the cards, we simply 'read' clues from the body-language, dress, or behavior of the client, and from what they say to us. This of course does not explain how many readers offer email readings - but that we will cover again with the next fallacy which is "you have to make a physical connection with the client". I personally would never deny that when in-person or by telephone, Skype, etc. I do not pick up anything from the client in terms of their tonality, metaphors, and non-verbal language, but this simply adds to the reading and I neither deny it nor do I rely on it. Sometimes the cards tell a completely different story to the one as presented by the person in front of me. At the end of the day, we read the cards. Connection to Clients

Although it is less common these days since the internet, some believe that you have to physically connect with your client, or the cards have to be held (or never held) by the client. My only rule on this is that there are some decks I would not have my clients shuffle because I use them purely for my own magical workings, dream work or personal readings, and some decks that I have as "collectors’ items" and never - or rarely - work with. I also offer online readings, email, and telephone readings, Skype, etc., so I believe from experience there is always a connection in the moment of reading, which transcends a physical necessity. Tarot and Fortune Telling Even in divination circles, there is an argument that you cannot use tarot for fortune-telling, or you can only use tarot for fortune-telling. This is a strange yet profound subject, because it rests on our experience of time and free-will – of our own understanding and beliefs of our everyday state of existence as a “being in time and space”. Do we believe the future is singular and has already been set in motion, like it is “determined”? If so, how does that give context to our readings? Do we believe that time is unwritten “in the future”, so can be “changed” by a reading or any other action? How does that speak in our readings? Do we believe that fortune-telling is more like a “forecast” than a “prediction”?

Have you ever “told a fortune” so clearly that it surprised even yourself – and then it turned out to happen – or not happen – and why do you think so, in either case? Basically, this simple question or fallacy about tarot being one thing or another, or a tool only capable of one thing or another, or whatever, is a question about how reality works for us. The reader is encouraged to answer all these fallacies with their own experience and have an answer to each, as they are common. What do you think? How does time work? Do we have free will? If so, what is it and what does it mean for “fortune-telling”? Tarot on the Edge or Mainstream As we will see in the conclusion of this present book, there is a fallacy - or argument perhaps - that tarot should be on the edge of society, and those who read it are “weird”, or, alternatively, that tarot should be mainstream – or would be ruined by being “mainstream”. Firstly, we should question what does “mainstream” mean, or, for that matter, “weird”. Consider the rise of “geek” or “nerd” culture, with shows like the Big Bang Theory. The game of Dungeons and Dragons was considered virtually “demonic” at one point, and now some old-time gamers complain about the way it has become ‘watered-down’ by being popularised. Tarot has been promoted and sold in vast quantities to buyers at Urban Outfitters, although one wonders how many buyers just have it on a shelf as an esoteric ornament. Does a Gummy Bear tarot deck devalue the art, or elevate it? Or make no difference at all? Perhaps it is at least better than Tarot always being evil and surrounded by superstition, when we see it on prints and designs on

fashion runways in Paris and Milan. Or do we want to keep it mysterious? Powerful and Profound? Away from the masses? Is there a middle-ground? Will it indeed, always protect itself from being “ruined” in any way? This argument is an old one and a continuing one - and is likely to prove even more challenging in the future, to which we will return at the conclusion of this book.

Tarot & Superpowers We might see the prevalence of superhero movies and extended story arcs in streaming services as the latest emergence of ancient mythic and epic story telling. In the same manner that the phases of “wild west” and “cop” narratives answered an ineluctable social and psychological privation, superhero stories provide a child-like escapism and a form of modern theology. The identity-process of the ego is assuaged by momentary and transitory identification with the protagonist of genre movies. The fragmented and flawed parts of the psyche are to be found to be ultimately healed in the third act of “buddy-cop” movies or the “team event” of superhero narratives. Our superego wishes to be nothing more than more than nothing – and in so, we all carry a secret identity, even a secret flaw and villainous side that must eventually be exposed to complete our journey to true heroism – and our necessary sacrifice. Yet we do not need to go epic to realise our own heroic journey. Our life is already such a journey, for it is to what we identify writ largescale in any fictional narrative. As such, we can reflect on our own personal journey through the multi-dimensional liminality of the tarot. Consider something you do very well, or other people tell you that you do. It can be anything from knitting to looking after people, from partyplanning to keeping things tidy. Anything, no matter how big or small, that you do well enough that it is common knowledge to others. Consider that, and ask the cards, "what is the essential secret to my skill?"

Take a deck, shuffle, and pull a card. What does this tell you about one of your own super-power? It might be an expression of a specific aspect of yourself (a Court card) or be part of a bigger pattern in your life (Major Arcana) or be a skill that has different manifestations in your life (Minor Arcana). Repeat this question for several times, each with a different skill that you exhibit, until you have drawn several cards, denoting the secrets of your powers. Arrange these cards into a narrative as follows: Court cards: Superheroes in the story. Major cards: Villains and challenges in the story – also their ultimate lesson to the hero(es). Minor cards: Events that reveal the characters of the hero(oes). Identify these cards with existing fictional heroes, or even better, make them up for yourself.

Who Not To Read There are lists of contra-indicated clients for certain therapies, even if they are not always agreed upon by the profession. Hypnosis is contra-indicated for schizophrenia, for example, and not recommended as effective for those with a short attention span or disorder in which this arises. However, there are sometimes variations of an approach that can work with such indicators, i.e., Vogt’s Fractionation method of inducing a trance-state in everincreasing chunks, which works effectively with those who are experiencing a noticeably short attention span. In Tarosophy, there is almost no-one for whom we would not read, even the “cynics” or “glare and stare” types of personality. We would rarely read for those who appear to be intoxicated or obviously on drugs, for their altered state is not one easily tracked, and to which can be reliably communicated without skill or experience. We would certainly not read for those who have not requested it unless they were part of a situation in which we were reading for our own context. If a King of Swords turned up as an immediately identifiable person in a reading for oneself, and we drew a clarifier card or two which investigated their motives or actions, it would still be within the context of a reading for oneself. We read for the person inside the presented person, the person who has brought the outer person to our table. We read for the person in the future; the person this person can be, once they recognise from the reading that their story is connected to everything and everyone, even their future self.

We can read for the bully with compassion, for the cynic with openmindedness and for the scientific, with curiosity. We can read for the lost with a sense of freedom and for the constrained with a sense that with each card, a brick is being removed. We can read for the guilty with innocence and for the shamed without judgement. We can read for the powerless with respect and the powerful with honesty. We can read for the exhausted with compassion and for the terrified with courage. The cards will not only tell us what to read but – if we look another layer in – how to read it. A spread with many Swords tells us to cut to the chase, be precise, break our reading into smaller points. A reading with many Pentacles might indicate to provide concrete examples and actions. A prevalence of Cups may suggest a poetic delivery and a stack of Wands a reading delivered as a motivational speech. When we read the cards, we are giving them voice – let them tell you how to read for the real person in front of you, not the one they have presented to your table.

Three Questions You May Not Ask In this section, I would like to share three questions that you may not think to ask your cards, particularly when reading for yourself. A tarot deck can provide us provocative answers and help us think outside our own usual patterns, particularly if we ask it provocative questions. Here are three questions you may not think to ask your cards. Perhaps one, two or all three of them may prove relevant or useful to a situation you might put to your deck. 1. What Question Have I Not Asked? The first question you may not always think to ask your deck is to help you with the question itself. We are often drawn to ask a question which seems most reasonable, and this may not always be the question that provides the most useful or easily enacted response. Ask your deck “What question have I not asked?” and draw two cards. If one or either are a Court Card, this indicates aspects of yourself (or if immediately obvious, another person) which should be questioned. If one card was the Queen/King of Swords, for example, the new question should involve asking about “where can I be ruthless?” or however you read that card. If a card or both are Majors, these can be considered to indicate big patterns that need to be in the question. If you had the Wheel of Fortune card as one of the two cards, it would suggest asking “What is going around again in this situation – how can I get off?”

Of course, you may read the card differently when reading it with the other card to make a question. If a Minor card, or both are Minors, these can be seen to provide a fairly direct question about what angle of activity or response should be questioned. The 8 of Wands suggests asking more about “What can be rapidly moved on?” whereas the 10 of Pentacles says to ask more about “What can be settled?” Using this approach, we might have a situation where we were going to ask, “How can I get the most out of the forthcoming trip?” and instead, first, draw two cards for the unasked question. These two cards might be Temperance and the 10 of Wands. This would suggest we ask instead, “In the forthcoming trip, what might I hold back which will actually lead to a personal struggle?”

Illus. Temperance and the Ten of Wands indicating an Unasked Question. This might prove a far more interesting question to ask the deck.

2. How Will I Describe This in the Future? Instead of asking the deck – which we already accept can transcend time in some way – about the present or future, why not ask it to consider the future from a further future, as the past? That is to say, why not ask your spread to describe not the future but how it will be seen from an even further future? In framing the question this way, we can perhaps tap into a far more intriguing way of reading tarot as if we are looking constantly at our own present from the future. You can perform any spread with your situation framed this way, although a three-card reading will be sufficient to provoke insight. Some spreads might need tweaking if they have fixed positional meanings such as “past” and “future”. In this case, simply see the “past” card as referring still to the future of the present, and the future card referring to an even further future, from the future position. Again, a three-card spread might be better for the first time you use this approach. If I asked this question of a situation and drew Judgement, Page of Cups, 6 of Pentacles I might say: In the future, I will look back at this situation and know that it was part of a greater calling, surprising me in how creative I became and eventually it did lead to a better way of me seeing my finances. 3. What is the Smallest Thing About This? We always ask the big questions, so why not ask the small ones? We sometimes do not think to ask a little question, something trivial,

that might be something we can do. Ask the deck “What is the smallest thing about this situation?” with a mind to receiving a simple answer that tells you something small which is manageable, maybe obvious, or something you can easily change by action, decision or looking at things differently. I might ask the deck, “What is the smallest thing about this [hugely important] situation?” and receive the 2 of Swords. I see this as ‘conformity’ regarding my question, and it shows that the smallest thing is about conforming to something – and this is something I can see as being not so important. There are probably a lot of questions you may not ask the tarot and I trust in this section we have opened a few new avenues of questioning to which your deck may be very enthusiastic in response.

The Tarot is Dangerous The Tarot is dangerous and like any tool must be used correctly to avoid harm. The danger of tarot is not that it contacts evil spirits, not that it shows your imminent doom in the Death card, and not that it attracts the curses of the dead upon you, but something far more common and even worse than any curse – the danger of laziness. We know that generally, half of people think that tarot is negative in some way. However, the reason they give is not because of the aforementioned idiocies but actually for a very good reason. They know, as some tarot enthusiasts online may seem to be forgetting, exactly why the tarot is dangerous. In 2001, a public survey was conducted in the UK on behalf of the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC). It aimed to survey public attitudes to subjects such as astrology, tarot, and psychic phenomena and its results were used to establish all regulation on the broadcasting of such subjects in the UK. Whilst I looked at this survey in detail in Tarot in Culture Vol. I, I would like to return to it briefly, in that it showed one thing; tarot was seen by the audience as positive when it offered “positive, comforting information and generic advice,” but negative when it produced personal information that “delved into a person’s consciousness”.[12] Whilst experienced readers saw the immediate misunderstanding of Tarot here, I would argue that many actual tarot readers are falling under this same spell.

There is a growing trend amongst tarot enthusiasts to simply put across their own thoughts using a tarot card or spread as illustration of the message they wish to convey. I would argue they do this to give implied authority to their words, which otherwise would be more simply, “their opinion” or “their belief”. The danger is that they may even believe that this is the case, that the tarot is supporting their belief, their opinion. This is self-hypnosis of the worst possible kind, in that appears benign and supportive. Whilst at times we may all do so, whilst at times it may be difficult to be courageously responsive to our cards, we should at the very least not fall into the laziness of turning our tarot into a deck of confirmation. When people create a meme, an inspirational message with a tarot theme, or add text to a set of tarot cards, they are often using the tool of tarot to convey their own message – a message that is independent of the cards and to which the cards are forced into servicing. This arises in two ways, and both are dangerous. The first is that the archetypes behind the tarot images have simply swallowed the conscious considerations of the user. They have allowed themselves to become overwhelmed by their unconscious (and often shadow) content, by opening to that content through the cards. Their conscious and reasonable mind – common-sense – has surrendered to the uncommon power and energy of the unconscious, which is comparatively all-powerful in this context. The second way is that the person has shut down any communication from the tarot to themselves, denies it and projects it

outwards. This causes mental instability (or arises from it, as the person seeks to protect themselves) and results in the cards being used in increasingly strident ways to the point of obsession. Whilst this may manifest in seemingly gentle, apparently positive, and generally harmless ways; everyone sharing the meme, everyone “liking” the post, or most just scrolling by it, there is a growing danger that the tarot is being diluted, even entirely uprooted from its own source of power. At least this will protect it, if not the users. It is like unplugging a toaster – no-one will be able to electrocute themselves with it, or set fire to anything, but they may smash their toes by trying to use it as a hammer. The toaster may still survive until it gets back into the hands of someone who knows it needs plugging in and wants to make toast for themselves – or their family and friends. The Kabbalists understood this process, too, much earlier. They said of gematria, the numerology of Kabbalah, that one should never use gematria to prove something that one already knew. As an example, I saw someone recently go through quite a significant downfall, which was made public by them - as the situation unfolded from their happy launch to their eventual loss. They were expecting the project to go very well, and it failed. They then “pulled” (I suspect ‘chose’) and posted online the “Wheel of Fortune” card for the event, to explain it away, with appropriately soft-focus image of the Wheel and a friendly font. Most importantly, they wrote something that they could have more easily written without the card. They wrote what they wanted to

write about having to now be patient, their time was not yet, one day they would succeed, karma, etc. The card indeed provided them a lot of comforting advice. It was advice they wanted to hear. However, if you “plugged in” that card, it would be actually and truly dangerous – it might tell you, perhaps, that what was actually required of you was a revolution. A revolution of your thinking; what you thought was up should be down, and what you dropped down should now go up. The card might tell you to push harder, go round the wheel again, get off your bottom and head back to the top, to do the opposite of what you just done, swallow your pride, realise that we are all on a cycle, grab somebody else’s hand to help lift you up, etc., etc. It is a card of a major turning-point, the point of the Fool’s journey where everything is seen in one whole - ahead of a final realisation at the World. It is not a pretty picture to tell yourself what you want to tell yourself. It is a tarot card. It is dangerous. It will delve into your consciousness and tell you to change it – and tell you how. Tarot is dangerous – and you should let it be so, but not by telling yourself what you already know. I admit there is a scale between "I am making this up without any reference to the cards in front of me" to "The cards told me to jump off a bridge, so I did" and the art I think is allowing the cards the most appropriate and effective impact on changing our perspective - and resultant action.

The tarot is a fable of the singular fallacy of your soul; that there is something between you and the world.

Timing and Tarot There are many proposed methods for “timing” in Tarot, such as the correspondences of the Court Cards to the seasons (four seasons, four suits, etc) or the obvious correspondences such as the Sun (one year), the Moon (one month), and the Blasted Tower (very soon) or the Wheel (forever). I personally use the Minor Arcana for an indication of how far the situation is along the cycles of manifestation, and in which worlds. This always tells me the likely outcome in time. If we have a reading with ten cards and there are a lot of “Sevens”, “Eights” and “Nines” in it, all in Pentacles and Cups, then basically, it is quite far along already, but getting stuck in the mud (Earth and Water) so needs a big push to get it to the “Ten” stage of completion. I’d look to the cards in the reading that stuck out from this, such as maybe the Ace of Swords or The Blasted Tower and their positions would indicate from where that push, or shock would come. If we had a lot of mixed cards all over the place; Sevens, Fours, a Three and a Ten, then I would look at the middle card in that pattern, such as the “Four” and see what that meant – and how that related to time; such as the Four of Pentacles might indicate that “until the savings run out” or “until the contract is released”. Often, I ask for the range of timing from the client, i.e., “any time between a month at shortest and a six-month period at most, certainly not a year”, and then roughly apply the balance of Minor cards as a percentage of that time, so if I had all Tens, it would be at the far end of that range, and all Aces, Twos and Threes, at the earliest time likely in the client’s estimation.

This is a bit of an art, comes with practice, and you must ask the client for their likely timings even if that is between “now and never”. That is still a time period. That method can be done purely mathematically if you want to try experimenting with precise timing.

Teaching Tarot The first thing to teach is that “we read the cards. We are tarot card readers. The clue is in the title”. Whenever we get stuck, there is no stuck – we have pictures, we have cards, we have illustrations and symbols. First, teach people to say what they see – “a man”, “a skeleton”, “a tower”. Never be afraid of saying what you see, that is always going to be true. Then, never teach that tarot is difficult to learn. It is easy to learn. We teach it in three minutes – or ten for non-scenic decks – but, like chess, we then recommend a thirty-year period of practice and study to get better at it and deepen your experience of it, and life itself as a result. They say that a skill takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a “master” at it.[13] That is 10,000 readings – so start practising right away. Be honest that you are just learning. Use a book. Use books. Use your head. Use your notes. Use everything. Then, teach that tarot is deeper than even you know, so the student doesn’t learn your boundaries, or theirs, or anyone else’s. Teach the scene in Rambo, where the Colonel says, “we didn’t make Rambo, we chipped away at the rough edges to uncover what was there underneath”. Be delighted that your students have their own way, their own voice, and their own manner.

Connecting Cards As we have seen, most tarot card and many oracle cards are not symbols but metaphors – a complex of several symbols. They are also multivalent, in that they can have any number of meanings. A specific card is “closer” to a specific theme or range of meanings than another, for sure – but they can potentially mean anything, such as the Death card heralding “love” depending on the question, the context, the other cards and the particular moment and inspiration of the reading. The oracular moment is sacrosanct. Connecting cards is done through the process of constructing a narrative, like a story. It is done by taking one card and its metaphor in the reflection and relationship of another card. One card – one theme – two cards, a mix of those themes. If we had the Hermit and the Four of Pentacles, that would be a “loner” and “someone saving”, so “a loner saving” which might mean “a man keeping himself to himself”. It would not be a “good” story. Then, we can connect cards by pinpointing a specific symbol and bridging it to another symbol in another card. We weave a web of meanings, like sentences, to construct the whole story. We might see the sea in the background of the Two of Swords and bridge it to the sea in the background of the Two of Pentacles and say, “when you hold making a decision, nothing happens, but when you start to juggle it for real, you’ll make waves”. Do not be afraid of making a new metaphor from the cards, and then applying it to the question.

Tarot and Shakespeare There is no explicit reference to tarot cards in the plays of Shakespeare, although there are references to alchemy and the practice of witchcraft as it was seen at the time. There are further suggestions of a popular knowledge of freemasonry, in the description, for example, of honeybees with “the singing masons building roofs of gold”.[14] However, we now know that his plays were the source of much of Pamela Colman Smith's designs for the WaiteSmith Tarot, particularly the Minor cards.[15] Tarot (as cards or a playing card game) was not widely known in England at the time of Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) having only arisen in Italy during the mid-1400’s. It was not associated with cartomancy until around the mid-1700’s. When the Golden Dawn mentioned it in the late 1800's, they had to import or source decks from Europe, mainly France and Italy. However, as the main design for tarot at present remains the WaiteSmith Tarot, it is useful for readers to have knowledge of the plays and in particular - the characters of Shakespeare, to deepen their connection with the Waite-Smith designs, especially the Minor Arcana. In studying Shakespeare, alongside the Golden Dawn Book T, the reader will unlock most of the designs and intent of that foundational deck.

Tarot and Connection Only connect! That was her whole sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die. -

E. M. Forster, Howards End (1910).

In a sense, everything is in relationship and therefore connection. The universe arises from one thing that is really no thing, as it contains everything – even all time. Plato called time the “moving likeness of eternity” and it is within the eternal moment that we are all moving – including the tarot. When we divine with cards, they are as subject as we to the connection of every past event to every future event. Nothing is without cause, and everything trembles the world-wide web of creation. When we shuffle, and read our cards for ourselves or a client, we are not connecting, but re-cognising the existing connection. We are reminding ourselves of what is always already the case. The Greeks called this anamnesis; the loss of forgetfulness of the soul. In performing a tarot reading we have an opportunity to remind ourselves and our client that they are part of the story, they are connected. The congruence of the reading to their life is demonstration of this connection. Our job then is to open an inspired dialogue – with the client, ourselves, the divine connection, the relationship of symbol and

reality; it is a multifaceted dialogue that in part is mysterious even unto ourselves, and it from this mystery that we best speak when we are fully oracular. As the fourth tenet of Tarosophy has it; “The World is Bound by Invisible Knots – You either Speak with Honey on your Lips from the Book of Clouds, Echoing the Voice of Living Fire in the Trembling Darkness, or you Do Not. There is no such thing as a half-way Oracle”.

Tarot and Geography I have always wondered about the Golden Dawn system of attributing the stellar constellations to world geography and hence nations - a process generally referred to as locational astrology or astrogeography. There is also a form of creating a world map with planetary lines, astrocartography, based on the birth time of an individual, showing where certain places might be located worldwide for the benefit or detriment of that person. As a result of correspondence, and "as above, so below", that means that the zodiac corresponds to nations. Other astrologers have assigned such signs to the "birth" of nations, or to their general characteristics. Then, from there, we can then make the regular correspondences of astrology to the tarot cards, either the Decans (Minor Arcana) or the Majors. That might give us, for example, the Emperor (Aries) for Senegal or the Five of Cups (1st decan of Scorpio) for the Atlantic Ocean, depending on your chosen system to correspond astrology to geography. Similarly, the position of Court Cards in the map of the heavens (minus the Pages) would also indicate corresponding earthly locations. As different systems of astrology hold different sets of correspondences, as ever, it is better to choose one and modify it over time than try and pick and mix from a variety of systems. The following list, with some outdated names and geographic descriptions, comes from William Lilly, An Introduction to Astrology (1852, first published in 1647 as Christian Astrology).[16] I have added the Tarot card correspondences to the twelve zodiacal Major Arcana. The Emperor (IV)/Aries

Countries: England, Germany, Denmark, Lesser Poland, Palestine, Syria, Naples. Towns: Florence, Verona, Padua, Marseilles, Burgundy, Saragossa, Bergamo. The Hierophant (V)/Taurus Countries: Ireland, Persia, Great Poland, Archipelago, and the southern parts of Russia.




Towns: Dublin, Mantua, Leipsic, Parma, Franconia, Lorraine: also, the islands of Cyprus and Samos, and the port and vicinity of Navarino. The Lovers (VI)/Gemini Countries: North America, Lower Egypt, Lombardy, Sardinia, Brabant, Belgium, West of England. Towns: London (especially), Versailles, Mentz, Bruges, Louvaine, Cordova, New York, and Nuremberg. The Chariot (VII)/Cancer Countries: Holland, Scotland, Zealand, Georgia, and all Africa. Towns: Constantinople, Tunis, Algiers, Amsterdam, Cadiz, Venice, Genoa, York, St. Andrews, Manchester, New York, Bern, Lubeck, Milan, and Vicentia. Strength (VIII)/Leo Countries: France, Italy, Bohemia, Sicily, Rome. Towns: Rome, Bath, Bristol, Taunton, Cremona, Prague, Apulia, Ravenna, and Philadelphia; also, the Alps and the ancient Chaldea, as far as Bussorah [Basra].

The Hermit (IX)/Virgo Countries: Turkey in Europe and Asia, Switzerland, Mesopotamia, or Diarbed; all the country between. Justice (XI)/Libra Countries: China, Japan, parts of India near them; Austria, Usbeck in Persia, towards India; Upper Egypt, Livonia, the vicinity of the Caspian Sea. Towns: Lisbon, Vienna, Antwerp, Francfort [Frankfurt], Spires, Fribourg, Charlestown in America, and its vicinity. Death (XIII)/Scorpio Countries: Barbary, Morocco, Norway, Valet the Catalonia, Bavaria, and the ancient Cappadocia. Towns: Francfort on the Oder [Frankfurt], Messina, Ghent, Liverpool, which is especially ruled by the 19th degree. Temperance (XIV)/Sagittarius Countries: Arabia Felix, Spain, Hungary, parts of France near Cape Finisterre, Dalmatia, Istria, Tuscany, Moravia, Sclavonia [Slavonia]. Towns: Cologne, Buda, Avignon, Narbonne, Toledo. The Devil (XV)/Capricorn Countries: India, Greece, parts of Persia about Circan, Macran, and Chorassan; Lithuania, Saxony, Albania, Bulgaria, Stiria, Mexico, and parts about the Isthmus of Darien, Santa Martha, Popayan, Pasta, etc. Towns: Mecklenburgh, Hesse, Oxford; and also, the Orkney Islands. The Star (XVII)/Aquarius

Countries: Arabia the stony, Russia, Tartary, Prussia, parts of Poland, Lithuania and Muscovy, Lower Sweden, Westphalia. Towns: Hamburgh, Bremen, Piedmont; also, Affghaunistan, and other parts of Asia bordering on Persia; and this sign has rule over the affairs of state in England, especially the 13th degree. The Moon (XVIII)/Pisces Countries: Portugal, Calabria, Normandy, Galicia in Spain, Cilicia. Towns: Alexandria, Ratisbon, Worms, Seville, Compostella, Tiverton. The reader is encouraged to experiment with using these twelve cards as locational devices, even if only to consider their next vacation.

Waite Smith Prevalence Since the publication of the original Tarosophy, the growth of independent deck designers, particularly alongside increasing accessibility of print-on-demand or small print-run printers, has led to a dizzying and increasing range of published decks. In the previous ten years to this current work, the Waite-Smith template has been either diluted or entirely dissolved by radical new designs. In our social media platforms, we have been surveying the prevalence of the Waite-Smith deck, and will continue to do so in the coming decade. Will it remain the most popular favourite, or be entirely replaced and forgotten in a sea of new designs? We asked readers whether they only used the Waite-Smith deck or whether they never used it, i.e., they used a Waite-Smith Variant such as the Aquarian Tarot, or totally different designs such as the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans. We also asked if readers used a range, for example, they might read with the Thoth Tarot and the Waite-Smith Tarot. We also enquired as to the prevalence of those readers only using antique decks such as the Tarot de Marseilles, Sola Busca reproductions, Etteilla, etc. By Waite-Smith we mean a deck that is either explicitly the WaiteSmith or virtually identical in design; so, a Waite-Smith deck design with cats replacing people is not counted, but a 'Universal Tarot' or ‘1909 Original’ deck which is another artist who has re-drawn the Waite-Smith deck would be counted as Waite-Smith. Here are the results from our survey of 2020. Interestingly, there was an increase in the number of people mainly using Waite-Smith from

2019, perhaps due to the number of beginners new to tarot during the pandemic who were usually starting with a Waite-Smith Tarot. Waite-Smith Mainly


Waite-Smith and Others Equally Never use the Waite-Smith Waite-Smith Only

29% 22%


TdM and Antique Decks Mainly


Above the Head The Kabbalist Isaac Luria (1534 – 1572) was said to be a skilled practitioner of Metoposcopy.[17] This is the practice of physiological divination based upon the discernment of Hebrew letters in the lines of a person’s forehead. Whilst we may not be as conversant with Hebrew letters as much as this, we are conversant with tarot cards, which correspond to Hebrew letters. As a result, we can try an interesting experiment; the next person you meet, imagine a tarot card appearing above their head, which answers the question "what has this person to teach me about life?"

Different Voices In Tarosophy we consider that different decks have different voices, as if they were a broad group of friends, each with their own opinion and experience. And, like people, they have their own unique quirks; so, the Thoth Tarot card of the Moon is by far more negative than the Waite-Smith Tarot Moon or the Motherpeace Tarot Moon. At the same time, like friends, we might go to the Thoth knowing that we are better served by that friend rather than the Motherpeace - or vice-versa.

Bonding with a Deck Whilst we looked at some of the fallacies of bonding with a deck, one early method I employed still proves useful with getting to know a new deck. Before sleep, with my eyes closed, I would visualise every card in order as much as I could, starting with the Majors, then the Suits, from Ace to Ten and the Courts (in order, for me, Pentacles, Swords, Cups, Wands). I try and run through the whole deck, even if I get blanks or fuzzy images for some of the cards - or even a lot of them - I carry on until I get to the last card of the deck in this order, the King of Wands. In the morning I compare what I can remember from my imagination to any of the cards which I felt did not have enough detail or I had forgotten what they looked like. I then look through the physical deck at least once or twice during the day and notice a few more details, colours, patterns, symbols, etc. and repeat the process each night. I keep repeating the process for a week or two until I can shuffle the entire deck in my mind, pull three random cards, and see the detail of those three cards enough to do a reading in my imagination. This may be a useful method for other readers to improve their bonding with a deck.

Brings and Leaves In this exercise, we look at the cards with an important and useful filter, which assists us unconsciously when we conduct a reading. This exercise also provokes a new way of viewing reversals as what the card is taking away from the situation, whether for good or bad. 1. Take any card from the deck. 2. Consider how it both brings its nature into the world, and what it also leaves. 3. Use the sentence structure "It brings ... but it leaves ..." Examples Ten of Swords: It brings a stop to all those plans, but it leaves no room for doubt. Queen of Cups: She brings depth but leaves insecurity. The Hermit: Brings solitude but leaves company.

Illus. Ten of Swords, “it brings an end to plans, but leaves no doubt”.

Reversals If all the cards are reversed in a reading, or a majority, and we definitely shuffled them, we can tend to assume the cards are telling us we need to ask the reverse of the question we asked or look at the situation in a totally opposite manner and ask a new question to the deck. If there are just one or two cards not reversed out of several, we might consider that the spread is telling us that the answer is "what do you need to do to turn these cards on their heads, and the other cards are the consequences - that is my answer, now go do it". If we take this to mean that the question is upside down, it is not the reading, which is just trying to do its job. We either turn every card the other way around (including upright cards which then become reversed) and read it, or we put the cards back in the deck and shuffle again, asking a new question which is totally the opposite of the one we thought originally to ask. We then read the new reading to the new question, even if it still has a lot of reversals, which strangely enough does not seem to often happen. The Hanged Man Reversed When beginners get the Hanged Man for the first time, they sometimes turn the card around because it looks upside-down, which is of course the very nature of the card. I used to find this card the most difficult to read when I first started reading, whether upright or reversed.

Illus. The Hanged Man (reversed). It is an upside-down card, right-way up. It is all about being reversed, seeing things the wrong way up and differently to everyone else. What might it mean when we get the card reversed? The little but powerful book, Tarot Flip, co-authored with Tali Goodwin, took the words of hundreds of real tarot readers and looked at what readers unconsciously think about card meanings from actual experience.[18] This allowed us to create sentences for each card as if a real reader was talking about it to a client, not what a reader might tell you “about” the card – which is also useful, but not the full picture. These “tarot tellings” rather than “tarot meanings” were often surprising but made sense on further contemplation; the Magician

was not about ‘skill’, ‘resources’ or ‘channeling’ but about ‘success’. That is, no matter what a reader says when that card turns up, in terms of the reading, it means essentially, ‘success’ - even if that success is as a result of ‘skill’, ‘resources’, etc. Similarly, the Sun turned out to hold the unconscious keyword of ‘demonstration’, which is illustrated by the little child on the horse, but also the sun itself - it can only burn, it cannot hide its own light. This is the essential placeholder meaning of that card, no matter how it is spoken of in the context of the reading and the situation. Death, as another clear example, was not about ‘death’ in readings but about ‘life’. The World was about ‘beginnings’ and not ‘endings’. This is because a reader takes the essential meaning of the card and then further interprets it. They may say ‘death’ with the Death card, but then they talk about transformation and living life. Often these ‘over-the-table’ words are what follows the usual book keywords, so the Sun in a reading is really about ‘demonstration’ rather than what the books say about ‘positivity’ and ‘radiance’. When a real reader talks to a client about the Sun, they might encourage the client to demonstrate their self-worth or demonstrate by taking positive action, etc. They will not simply say out of context the words “positivity and innocence” as if they were a programmed robot. When we look at the upright Hanged Man, the unconscious keyword for the card is not ‘sacrifice’ but rather ‘surrender’. It is the surrendering to our highest values, what is most important to us, which can often turn our world upside-down, particularly if we have been living a lie or a make-do situation.

The Hanged Man is surrender in giving up to what is real and right above us. The symbol shows that the Hanged Man is fastened to the above and not the below – he is glowing because he is true to himself. When we looked in the Tarot Flip project at the reversed meaning of the Hanged Man using the unconscious key-words of tarot readers, we got something that is not often given in books but is obvious when we think about it – struggle. The Hanged Man (reversed) signifies a struggle. It is a struggle to put things the right way up, in the same way that we sometimes turn the card the wrong way up because we think it is wrong when it is right, so to speak – it is confusing and a real struggle.[19] The unconscious keywords take our real experience when we see the card, as when we think “oh no, that’s the Hanged Man reversed, that’s really confusing, and I struggle to read it” and incorporate that response in what we say. When the card comes up in reverse, feel that feeling and simply apply it to the reading, for example in a future position for a work situation; “You will struggle if you take this way, it will be very confusing, and you will not know which way is up”. In the same situation, if the Hanged Man card was the right-way up, we would say “You should be true to your highest principles even if you have to give way (surrender) and let something else happen”. The Hanged Man is a challenging card, but it should be a card of challenge, not challenging to read. The fact that you think it might be is the very way to easily remind you of what the card is all about. The Hanged Man, as we might say, carries itself.

Reversed Majors In reversing the Major Arcana, we can look at their meaning as a hesitation to act on the impulse of the energy embodied by that archetype. This can be applied - as we see in the example list below - to everyday hesitations, such as the reason someone might lurk on a social media group and hesitate from engagement and action. If the reader - or their client - is hesitant about some action or another, simply draw one reversed Major Arcana from a split-deck of Majors (or a Major-only deck) and read the reversal as follows: 0. Fool: You don't want to be considered a Fool, so you don't leap in. 1. Magician: You are waiting for magick and have yet to see that it is everywhere. 2. High Priestess: You don't trust your intuition and feel like you're waiting for a sign. 3. Empress: You don't feel as if you have enough experience, but you are wise with life. 4. Emperor: You don't feel that you own your own power - but you do. 5. Hierophant: In a world full of experts, you don't know what to trust, so why not ask and test the answers? 6. Lovers: You find it difficult to choose between approaches, so you never end up fully committing. 7. Chariot Everyone else seems driven, but you can't motivate yourself to engage.

8. Strength: You're frightened of loudmouths and know-it-all’s, but you can block from your life those whose bark is worse than their bite (or, perhaps, whose reason is less than their roar). 9. Hermit: You're a bit solitary, but this gives you a unique way of looking at things - why not share it? 10. Wheel: You have a busy life of ups and downs at the moment, but you could make a still centre for one moment and do something to centre yourself. 11. Justice: There's always an argument for not taking time to do something that matters to you. 12. Hanged Man: You're often suspended in indecision, even about something important to you. 13. Death: There's a fear that if you say something, things might have to change. 14. Temperance: You don't like conflict, so it’s often better not to get involved in something. 15. Devil: For some reason, tarot frightens you a little at some level or maybe you always feel like you just don't know enough? 16. Blasted Tower: There's something holding you back, like everything might come toppling down if you open your mouth. Perhaps you can take out one brick at a time? 17. Star: It always seems hopeless, and things sometimes don't work out the way you envisioned them? But oftentimes we must wait for the dark to see the stars. 18. Moon: There's a fear of the unknown. But what's the worst that can happen, other than embark on an incredible new adventure?

19. Sun: You have an honest innocence to things but can get hurt. Maybe time to recognise how much you've already grown? 20. Last Judgement: You haven't yet found your calling, so never go for anything. Maybe just go for anything - something - different, and go from there? 21. World: There always seems too much to learn, and you can't see the point of it. So perhaps, start with what is in front of you. One interesting side-effect of this reading in practice is that sometimes the client (or oneself) will read the card and suggest it does not fit with them. Sometimes they will be suppressing this reaction, even in the face of the reading, and sometimes they will immediately say, “It’s actually more like …” and come to an actual realisation about their hesitation.

On Death and Transformation For those who have trouble dealing with the Death card in a reading, here is a tarosophical suggestion, based on the word most used by actual readers when they do not want to simply say ‘death’.

Illus. Death. Tarot readers often talk about the card as “transformation” and we can dig deeper into this generally recognised keyword for the card by considering the root of the word. The word ‘trans-formation’ comes from two Latin words, trans- and form, meaning ‘across’ and ‘shape’. It literally means ‘to change something from one shape to another’, i.e., a change of appearance or structure without changing the actual component undergoing transformation. A useful example is coal,

which is transformed plant-material, although it is not coal (as is sometimes popularly thought) that is transformed into diamonds, even though diamond is an allotrope of carbon. It is then transformed - technically, transmorphed - by heat into ash, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and other by-products. All of these are (in part) within the existing material or created by a reaction of released materials with other chemicals, gases, etc., in the environment. Water undergoes a similar transformation when subjected to a change of temperature (energy) - it transforms from a liquid to a gas when we boil it, but it is still the same molecules, just in a different state. This process of transformation is the same one being attributed to the Death card. The card is saying that wherever it appears in the spread is where we need to change the shape of things; not add something or take it away but work with what we have got. The Death card is saying you can only change things around, there is nothing new to come, or anything of which you should get rid. In the past position of a reading, Death tells us that we must change the shape of our memories. We cannot add anything into the past nor take anything away. In a practical sense, we could perhaps make some memories bigger than others by recalling them as more important and positive. However we might think about the past, we have to change the shape of it, as another example, stretching a bad memory further back or bringing a good memory from childhood closer towards us.[20] We can massively change that landscape, even if we cannot add or remove anything from what has already happened.

In the FUTURE position, Death tells us that we might want to stop trying to find something new and start to simply re-arrange what we have already. In a practical sense, it is making changes in the workplace without looking (yet) for a new job, or similarly in a relationship. Whatever it is that we want in the future, the card is telling us that before we go there, we must transform what we already have in the present. Strangely, that often opens new opportunities in the future, by simply re-organising the present. In the PRESENT position, Death tells us that we are already being changed, but because it is not dramatic (as illustrated by the Tower), or subtle (the High Priestess), we probably will not see it yet. It tells us in the present that we are changing the shape of our relationship to everything, and this is always inevitable and always happening, so if anything, we should simply be patient and let it happen. In a practical sense, Death in the present is a card that tells us to notice what is “the same, but different” and in doing so, realise how far we have come, and how far we might yet go.

Turn a One-Card Reading into a Spread In the fractal approach common to many Tarosophy methods, we can ‘drill down’ into the detail of a single card reading to provide further detail, making it either a deeper reading or even a new spread for four or more further cards.[21] If we take this method to an extreme, we can then repeat the process with any further cards, until we have exhausted the entire deck and reached the closest attractor point which represents the absolute answer. This method also works best with complex designs and overloaded symbolic decks, which can assist the reading of a deck that might otherwise prove difficult to read. It also works to go further into a single card in a larger spread, which might be proving curious or difficult to read - or one for which the client requests more information. First, we draw a single card as we would do usually with a one-card reading - or select a card from a larger reading we wish to explore. We then mentally divide the card into three to four sections, e.g., into four squares or two vertical or horizontally split rectangles, three corners, etc. depending on the design. We then choose the main symbol (as we learnt in pinpointing cards) in each section of the card and use that symbol to suggest a theme as if it were a position in a new spread. If there appears to be no symbol in that section, the colour itself, even a plain blue sky or yellow floor, is a symbol; “your highest aspiration” or “means of grounding”, for example.

We can then simply lay out a new card for each of those positions and read further into the card. Example To explore the Empress, either as the result of a one-card reading or in a ten-card reading, in the position "What to Do". In a single-card reading, we might read that card as 'let things take their natural course' but this might not be very practical, useful, detailed, or deep advice. We can now divide the card into four sections and see that we have clear symbols in those four locations to which our intuitive eye might be drawn: SCEPTRE + TREES + SHIELD + WATERFALL.

Illus. Empress Divided for One-Card Reading. We then quickly imagine these are positions in a new four-card spread: Sceptre: What to do to take control. Shield: What to do to protect yourself. Trees: What to do to rise steadily. Waterfall: What to do to find the best flow. We quickly draw four cards and place them around the Empress in those positions and read further into the card. And as we have seen, we can then repeat the same method for any of those cards in a fractal reading, such as if we drew the Four of

Swords for the Shield location of the Empress, which would answer “withdraw” to “What to do to protect yourself”. We could then further dive into the Four of Swords and explore the exact steps to “withdraw”. We might divide the card into a triangle of protection with three sections: PAX WINDOW + CARVED SWORDS + TOMB.

Illus. Four of Swords Divided for One-Card Reading. We could use these as three spread locations: Window (Pax): What to filter out of your life. Carved Swords: What resources to draw on and keep in your life as you withdraw.

Tomb: How to get the best recovery possible. And so forth, down as many cards we need as we chase the fractal divination to the singular point to which every reading is always pointing.

Desire Lines and the Poetics of Space A tarot reading is a spatial affair as well as a temporal one. It exists as a visual metaphor, an arrangement of symbols on a usually horizontal plane. We might indicate vaguely that the temporal dimensions of the spread are “the future” and “the past”, represented by cards to the left or right of the space. A card placed in the middle is often “the significant person” for whom the reading is conducted, or rather, perhaps, constructed. A card placed in the lower half of the implied spatial boundaries of the spread is often something unknown, whereas cards placed in a higher location are interpreted as representing higher things, aspirations, and goals. A card placed in some significantly spatial manner - at the top of the reading - or temporally - as the final card placed - or both - is often “the outcome”, to which the central card is then beholden. In a Grand Tableau reading of Lenormand cards, this spatial framework is even more explicit, likely because of the method deriving from the reading of coffee grounds in a cup, where location and distance are intrinsic to the reading of the symbols; a cloud at the top of the cup or below a symbol which looked like a dog was totally different than the same cloud in the dregs of the cup at the bottom or located immediately above the head of a man. When we lay out cards, we should consider the implicit symbolism of the space between the cards - and how we move the cards once they are laid out. As we saw in Tarosophy, we can anchor a selected set of symbols by movement to assist a client to recall important aspects of our interpretation. We can also add to this by being aware that lifting a card higher than the others, even if only to look at it

more closely, has some symbolic impact during a reading. A nervous moving of a card back and forth once down on the table might dramatically weaken our point. Using one card to flip up another card to our hand may act as a symbolic reinforcement of the relationship between those two cards - or people, should they be Court cards. The poetics we can bring to our space, to rephrase the Poetics of Space (1957) by Gaston Bachelard, can be part of the art of our reading. If we lay out cards around the edge of a space first, we signify a boundary reading - alternatively, if we lay out and read one card at a time, the client will not know how many cards, how much space, and how much detail might be about to be provided. Either option has an application, if chosen deliberately rather than used merely as a matter of preferred style or habit. Similarly, we can look for so-called lines of desire in a spread. A desire line or path is the route made by pedestrian or animal traffic which has been repeated often enough to erode a distinct path. It often marks some short-cut or popular route amidst more formal or designated paths.[22] In a reading, we can watch either the client or ourselves in the way in which we constantly return to a significant pattern of eye or hand movement, gesture, or attention, between two or more cards, despite the overall reading. That desire line will be worth paving, making concrete by observation and utilisation, bringing it to the surface and interpreting it. We might find ourselves saying out loud, “in this Thoth reading of fifteen cards, we have kept glancing between that troublesome Moon card and the Nine of Disks down in the left. Let us spend just a

moment to mention that and speak its symbolism, particularly as we walk the three cards between them”. It is often an oracular moment to speak what we see and listen to what we find ourselves speaking. As Bachelard wrote, “Sight says too many things at the same time. Being does not see itself. Perhaps it listens to itself”.[23]

The Fool Falls Becomes Manipulative, Distracting the Eye, Blind, All surface and skin, Strangling, Like weeds in a forgotten garden, Controlling, For the sake and necessity of it, Hypocritical, Revealing only fear, Caught, In between love and the terror Of loss. The Fool Plummets Becomes A rider not the ride, Becomes That against which he fights, Becomes Blind in insight, Becomes Fatalistic, Becomes

True to nothing, Nothing at All. The Fool Loses By sacrificing nothing In particular, By transforming nothing Worthwhile, By Meeting his Angel Only Half-Way, By Surrendering to Her Shadow. The Fool Ruins All that what built Without Spirit, All that was Visioned Without Truth, All that was Dreamt Without Light, All the Sons and Daughters, Twinned behind the Wall. The Fool Discovers In the Abyss of Forgetfulness, Remembrance of an Angels Call, The World Revealed,

And vows to Return.

Shadow Work Whilst it is beyond the scope of this present book to provide socalled shadow work, which should always be undertaken with the assistance and supervision of an experienced or trained practitioner, there are certain negative states which can be denoted by the tarot. These occur, as we would suspect, in the Court cards, using reversals: A Page reversed illustrates Regret. A Knight reversed illustrates Remorse. A Queen reversed illustrates Shame. A King reversed illustrates Guilt. We can further denote these states applying to particular areas of life: Behaviour (Pentacles). Thoughts (Swords). Relationships (Cups). Desires (Wands). When upright, Court cards upright show the parts of the self with opportunity for: Remedial action (Page). Acceptance (Knight). Self-forgiveness (Queen). Maturation (King). In the area of life of their Suit, for example, the Knight of Wands shows the opportunity for work regarding acceptance of desires. We can use the sixteen Court cards as a split-deck, with reversals, to

draw a card for the repressed or supressed state, and a card for the opportunity to work with that shadowed aspect and generate creativity.


The Origins of Symbolic Language In early 2021, a discovery was made in Indonesia of a cave painting featuring a warty pig, which may well be the earliest known human example of art, dating to at least 45,500 years ago. The painting was accompanied by two handprints, which are part of the earliest writing - or prehistoric symbolism - of our most distant ancestors. In fact, recent research has proposed that during the Ice Age period, there were thirty-two common signs used by our forebearers - a number of symbols that will be immediately recognised by Kabbalists, for it is the number of paths on the Tree of Life, itself, one of the oldest symbols in ancient art.[24] These thirty-two symbols were proposed by archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger and have been previously associated with the entopic visions of shamanic trance.[25] In particular, seven basic symbols were associated with closed-eye states, such as spirals, zig-zags, and dots.[26] We can take the full set of symbols and discover that they not only fit onto the Tree of Life, but also illuminate correspondences to the Sephiroth, numbers and corresponding Major Arcana of the tarot.

Illus. Ice Age Symbols on Tree of Life.

In effect, this provides us the most primitive and original set of tarot symbolism, if we were to consider that the pattern of our appreciation of the universe has remained consistently wired in our brains since we began to evolve consciousness and language. The symbols in themselves have no agreed meaning or interpretation, given the distance of time and the general lack of context of their usage or possible intent.[27] I have presented my own interpretations according to generic symbolism, etymology, and in terms of their correspondence to the Tree of Life. The thirty-two identified signs have no intrinsic order, as they represent a collation of signs from many different areas and are not in themselves a formulated language. I have arranged them according to their best (and surprisingly straightforward) correspondences to the Tree of Life. The Sephiroth 1. The Dot (Kether). This most basic of symbols or makings represents the point of Kether in which all is created. It is the simplicity of existence. Interpretation: In an oracle, it could be interpreted as the “obvious point” or simple truth of a matter. It could also mean “to simplify” or do one thing, not many. 2. The Claviform (Chockmah). This “club-shaped” symbol is the first extension of the universe into a simple line, from the point of Kether. The word claviform is formed from the word for ‘club’, which in turn has its earliest origin in the

meaning of “to break”. It is the first breaking asunder of the universe into differentiation and separation. Interpretation: Striking to break something apart, making a difference, forming a new boundary. Reaching out. 3. The Triangle (Binah). The triangle is a straight-forward symbol for Binah, the third of the Sephiroth, and the according symbolism such as the City of the Pyramids. It is the “one becomes two becomes three”. Interpretation: Triangulation, first structure, strength in numbers, pulling together to get to the point, three, not two or one. Establishing your base before extending yourself further. 4. The Quadrangle (Chesed). The basic shapes, becoming eventually seen as the platonic solids, are already present in this earliest of human communication or expression. The Square corresponds with the fourth of the Sephiroth, Chesed. In making these correspondences, we can further bridge to other systems, such as astrology, in this case, Chesed - and the Square - corresponding to Jupiter. Interpretation: Structure, defence, expansion. Building, organisation, making a clear boundary. 5. The Segmented Cruciform (Geburah). Similar to the Pentagram, the segmented cruciform illustrates the sorting and judging aspects of Geburah, meaning ‘severity’. Interpretation: Breaking apart to put back together, sorting out your issues, harsh times, a necessary evil. Discipline. 6. The Asterisk (Tiphareth).

In the centre of the Tree of Life, Tiphareth is the beauty of dynamic equilibrium, suitably illustrated by the symmetry of the asterisk. The word ‘asterisk’ means ‘little star’, and is often six-pointed, fitting the position of Tiphareth as the ‘son’ of the upper Sephiroth. Interpretation: Active balancing, keeping in the centre, recognising your part in things. Harmony, diplomacy, smoothing things out, inclusivity. 7. The Circle (Netzach). The nature symbolism of Netzach and its connection to the emotional world are here shown by the circle, in which habits are formed. The circle sits below the spiral of the Wheel and the halfcircle of the Moon below it. As with the correspondence to Venus, which is the only astrological sigil to overlay the entire Tree of Life, the circle is an all-inclusive symbol. Interpretations: Circular patterns, being caught in a loop, needing to break out. Habits, or more positively, setting a regular schedule. 8. The Line (Hod). The claviform of Chockmah, reflected down and across the Tree of Life in a lower arc, now becomes the straight line of Hod, the Sephirah of logic and the mind. It is the simple truth of the mind, and the linear nature of thought. Interpretation: Requiring thought, straight line thinking. Simplicity, bringing everything down to the base line. Clarity, straightforward action. Keeping on the way you are going. 9. The Cupule (Yesod).

These half-dome depressions are cup-like, hence called cupule, which also references the base of an acorn. In terms of Yesod, this is the foundation of the Tree of Life, where the influences of all the other Sephiroth are gathered prior to connection with Malkuth. Thus, there are many, as differentiation is now present in the system, as illustrated by the “house of many mirrors” metaphor for Yesod. Interpretation: Different ways of seeing the same thing, different opinions, a gathering together, forming a support network, ensuring an agreement. Providing a holding space. 10. The Cruciform (Malkuth). The Cross is the material nature of Malkuth, and is also the meaning of the Hebrew letter, Tau, which corresponds to the World card and the path between Yesod and Malkuth. We will also see this identical correspondence of Ice Age symbols to the Hebrew letters in the Star card on the paths. Interpretation: Base matter, absolute materiality, lack of spiritual insight, money, time, struggle, suffering, sacrifice. The Minor Arcana In these signs, we can make a simple association based on shape and number to the ten Sephiroth, ‘numerical emanations’ of the Tree of Life. In western esotericism, these correspond to the Minor Arcana, in numerical order. The Suits of the Minor Arcana correspond to the four elements or four worlds of Kabbalah, giving forty combinations. We could have four Cupules, then, with the Cupule of Earth (Nine of Pentacles), the Cupule of Air (Nine of Swords), the Cupule of Water (Nine of Cups) and the Cupule of Fire (Nine of Wands). The Dot of

Fire (Ace of Wands) would be the first and highest emanation of the cards and the Cruciform of Earth the lowest, being the Ten of Pentacles and the Malkuth of Assiah. Court Cards To create the Court cards, we can assign the negative hand to the Page, the positive hand to the Knight, and the sign of the Oval (as the Empress) to the Queen and the sign of the Open Angle (as the Emperor) to the King. The reader is encouraged to allocate alternative signs of their own preference and ingenium. We then place these symbols next to their elemental representations to each Suit, either pictorially or through their alchemical symbolism: Earth: Circle (stone) or flat line (surface), or bisected triangle, point-down. Air: Cloud or dots, or bisected triangle, point-up. Water: Waves or ripples, or triangle, point-down. Fire: Flames or sparks, or triangle, point-up. Thus, the Queen of Air (Swords) would be an oval and a cloud, whilst the Knight of Wands would be a positive hand and flames, or a positive hand with an upright triangle. The Major Arcana and the Twenty-Two Paths 11. The Negative Hand (Fool). As the most basic symbol of the self, a hand-print may have been used as a form of signature or identification. The Negative Hand symbol was likely created by placing the hand on the surface of the rock and blowing ochre dye from the mouth so that the negative imprint was left when the hand was removed. This corresponds

neatly with the Fool in tarot symbolism, particularly as the last stage of the spiritual ascent when the identity is resolved into unification with the divine. The act of blowing reminds us of the identification of the fool with folle, air-head, or madman, from the Latin, follis, ‘bellows’. Interpretation: Leaving something, being absent, removing yourself from a situation. Emptiness, a simple “no” or “nothing” as the answer. 12. The Positive Hand (Magician). As the Fool is the negative hand, so the Magician is the positive hand. The hand that enacts the Will, the hand that points above or below. The hand that is positive action or hides a trick. Interpretation: Doing something, taking full responsibility, it is entirely in your hands, willpower, a simple “do” or “yes” answer. 13. Y-Sign (High Priestess). The Y-Sign can be seen as a sexual symbol or as an aspect of the trinity, both of which can be seen in the virginal aspect of the High Priestess as the image of Mary. It could also be taken as a symbol of intuition, where ideas from ‘above’ are funnelled into a single thought ‘below’. Interpretation: Intuition, trusting yourself, the feminine, carefully bringing your thoughts and feelings together, taking time. 14. W-Sign (Empress). The Empress is the gateway of creation, and the W-symbol can be taken figurately as the breasts or buttocks, as the Y-symbol is to the Yoni. This is then a symbol of the maternal, mothering aspect, or physical nature of the world.

Interpretation: Nurturing, mothering, supporting. Take a support role. 15. Open Angle (Emperor). The open angle can be taken as the arrow-head like force of the Emperor or the track or horns of Aries, the ram, to which this card corresponds in the Zodiac. Interpretation: Energy, power, focus, zooming in, acting swiftly without thought, putting all your energies in one place to one goal. 16. Tectiform (Hierophant). This symbol is shaped like a roof or rudimentary hut or building, and hence symbolises the building of beliefs, religion, churches, and society. These can be protective structure or the prison of enslavement, whether of belief or rule. Interpretation: Beliefs and values, social conduct, going with everyone else, conforming. Sometimes the trap of believing in something over actual reality. 17. Cordiform (Lovers). The heart symbol is an obvious choice for the Lovers card and this corresponding path on the Tree of Life. It symbolises feelings, love, the warmth of connection. Interpretation: Relationship, connection, love, trusting your own feelings in a matter. 18. Spanish Tectiform (Chariot). This symbol is unique to the caves of Spain and may be either a variant of the tectiform symbol, so a form of hut or dwelling, or a depiction of a canoe or similar vessel. In this context we take it as a means of transportation, and the ‘canopy’ of the Chariot.

Interpretation: Movement, transport, leaving one place or situation and going to another, support will be found (or given) during a transitional period. 19. Crosshatch (Strength). The weaving together of lines to make a stronger pattern is ideal as a symbol of Strength. It shows the power of repeating something that works, building on a structure, and consistency. Interpretation: Sticking to what works, repetition, weaving together people or events to make a better position, situation, or pattern. 20. Flabelliform (Hermit). This symbol was one of the three remaining symbols after the most obvious symbols were allocated between the Ice Age symbols and the thirty-two paths and corresponding tarot cards. Similarly, the Hermit, Lovers and Chariot remained on the other side of the equation. As the cordiform was found to represent a heart, making correspondence to the Lovers, that left the Spanish Tectiform and the Flabelliform (a fan symbol) to allocate - as the Flabelliform was originally assigned to the Lovers. Once the Spanish Tectiform was discerned to be a mode of transportation (in some interpretations) it was straightforward to allocate that to the Chariot. The flabelliform, or symbol of a fan, was thus the de-facto correspondence to the Hermit. It can be seen as a means to hide oneself, as well as advertise one’s status, heavily symbolic in this regard in Japan, amongst other countries. When we consider the Hermit has removed himself, yet it still pictured at the top of a mountain holding a bright light, we can see how the lantern functions in the same symbolic manner as a fan; it both conceals the person

yet at the same time reveals their status and availability in some manner. Interpretation: Step back but remain visible. Patience, awaiting others, leave a sign that they can follow. Invitations. Not revealing too much. 21. Spiral (Wheel). The spiral is an ideal correspondence to the Wheel in motion and is symbolic of the swirling change that turns the square of Chesed into the circle of Netzach. It is literally the movement of the stars and all things and one of the most fundamental patterns of existence. Interpretation: Change, turning everything around tightly, sweeping up and doing something differently in the space, movement, initiation, going somewhere new. 22. Penniform (Justice). This feather-shaped symbol represents the feather of Maat, or Justice, and is an already-associated symbol of Justice. The feather writes the laws or fundamental patterns of existence and whilst light, must be weighed against the heart to assure truth has prevailed. Interpretation: Lack of guilt, shame, or regret, doing what is right, honesty, transparency, lightness of touch, deftness of action. No blame, no fault. 23. Scalariform (Hanged Man). The











correspondences of this set and fell into place within the final few remaining correspondences. The symbol was not originally recognised as a ladder, so became obvious as associated with the

Hanged Man upon reading the etymology of “scalariform”. The Hanged Man symbolises the above made present in the below, the sacred being part of everyday life and matter. It also symbolises our ascent through initiation up the cosmic realms, degree at a time. This ascent is often symbolised by a ladder. Interpretation: Scaling a situation up or down, reversing your point of view, getting a higher overview, or climbing out of a situation. Taking the highest path. 24. Reniform (Death). This kidney-shaped symbol is allocated to the Death card as it functions to filter toxins and waste substances in the body and is the most visceral symbol of the set. As a symbol it represents the deep “inside” of the body and the person and is a literal organ of transformative. Interpretation: A matter of life and death, importance of omens, filtering out negativity, removing bad influences. 25. Aviform (Temperance). The Angel of Temperance is here represented by the shape of a bird, symbolic of flight, ascent, and higher matters. Whilst this does not reflect the totality of the Temperance card, no correspondence will ever be a total match throughout the systems being compared otherwise, they would be the same system. In this context, the Aviform is symbolic of the connection to higher realms within each person and situation. Interpretation: The presence of a higher meaning to the situation. Taking notice. Rising above the everyday or limited view. Gaining a wider perspective. Looking to new horizons.

26. Serpentiform (Devil). The correspondence of the serpent symbol and the Devil is relatively straightforward, as it is to some extent with the symbol of the snake in the Lenormand deck. The snake represents danger, temptation, and hidden influence, as reflected in the interpretation. Interpretation: Hidden danger or influence, other involved person (or people) who are not known, possible temptation. Beat about the bush to scare any hidden influences out into the open. 27. Zigzag (Blasted Tower). The lightning-shaped zig-zag symbol reminds us of the lightning striking the tower of god on this card. It is the path between the circle of Netzach and the straight line of Hod, marking the constant movement that results from balancing these two aspects of existence. In some ways, this is a symbol of tacking in sailing; using the energy of air and water to go from side-to-side and move forwards as a result. Interpretation: Moving through change, going from one side to another. Making a new way ahead that is not straightforward. Planning for a few more stations in the road. An immediate result or progress is not to be expected. 28. Unciform (Star). The unciform is a hook-shape, and immediately corresponds to the Hebrew letter Tzaddi, fish-hook, which in turn corresponds to the Star. Interpretation: Diving deep, hooking onto an idea or a vision, perhaps sinking bait. Getting an idea out there, seeing what

happens. Simply, fishing around. Having some patience. 29. Half Circle (Moon). The half-circle of the lunar crescent is one phase of the Moon card and can be contrasted to the Y-symbol of the High Priestess, who also has a lunar symbolism. The moon provides more of a vessel than a transmission; it is more place or state of mind that a communication. On the Tree of Life, it connects the circle and the cross of Yesod and Malkuth, partaking somewhat of both symbols. Interpretation: Receptivity, waiting for inspiration or intuition. Divination. 30. Oval (Sun). Although the circle might also be a convenient correspondence, the oval eye-shaped symbol is chosen as representing the “eye” of light often associated with the Sun, such as the eye of Ra in ancient Egyptian mythology. The Earth is also situated on an orbit that is far more oval than it is circular around the Sun. Interpretation: Opening up, seeing something new. Observation is key, light. Taking time to see what is really happening before taking action or making a decision. A day or a year. Time. 31. Finger Fluting (Last Judgement). These signs made by fingers scribbling down a wall may be meaningless, but have been assigned potential interpretations as serpents, water, or hunting marks, such as paths to gatherings of animals. They could be simple counting. In our interpretation, we see them as the divine connection from above to below, calling us on

new paths in a new life. The description of these signs as fluting carries an unintended resonance to the trumpet blown by the Angel. Interpretation: Finding your own way, following your own path or calling by making it. 32. Pectiform (World). This comb-shaped sign may indicate a literal comb, whose basic function is to untangle. The comb is also a symbol of the feminine and magic. In the third story of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, ‘The Flower Garden of the Woman Skilled in Magic’, a golden comb is used on the little girl, Gerda, to make her forget her previous life. In such, it might be considered as a symbol of the world in its ordering of our lives and the forgetfulness into which we might sink. In a purely stylistic manner, the line is creating smaller lines in an act of self-creation. Interpretation: Sorting, creativity, action. Untangling a situation before it tangles further. Remembering what is most important. The reader may be interested to create a personal hand-made tarotdeck composed of these simple signs, to divine from the earliest set of symbols ever created by humans. Whilst it is of course impossible to ascribe specific or singular meaning to such ancient symbols, we can think of them as a dreambook from which we create our own grammar.[28] Tarot symbols, as we take them back to this most primitive of conceptualisations, offer a language, a symbolism, a writing of sorts, but “Not a writing which simply transcribes, a stony echo of muted

words, but a lithography before words: metaphonetic, non-linguistic, alogical”.[29] Example If we were to conduct a three-card reading using a deck created with this most ancient of symbols, we might receive Serpentiform (26) + Spanish Tectiform (18) + Zig-Zag (17). This would signify as an oracle the following message: There is hidden danger in the way you are intending to go. There will, however, be support for you if you make good preparations before you start and know your intended route. It is advised that to avoid the dangers that you cannot presently see, you make more steps or stages in your plan, even if it delays it or makes it more frustrating. You must test each stage from one extreme to another and not let people know exactly where you are heading as a destination. Then the hidden dangers will not be able to wait for you in any particular place or time.

Archetypes Archetypal patterns are part of the field, flowing around us and through us, dancing their ancient dances wearing contemporary clothes. When we name them and sponsor them, we can find gifts in their presence and meet the challenges they present. - Selene Vega, ‘Movement Practices for Self-Relations’ in Gilligan (2004).

When we consider archetypes, we are working with an arguable and vague concept, even in the writings of Jung himself over time. We use the word interchangeably as both “archetypes” and “archetypal images”. The “fool” for example is an archetypal image of the archetype of the “fool”, but it remains unclear as to how the archetype exists without any representation - perhaps as a ‘tendency’ or ‘complex’ in the unconscious or the universal unconsciousness. In tarot, we can perhaps think of the Major Arcana as the clothes of the archetypes, whatever-they-may-be, so the Fool is the contemporary clothing of the 'Sacred Fool' archetype, which is present in different clothes in many cultures and across many times. Yet how a tarot designer depicts the Fool card is perhaps a constellation of their own relationship to an archetype; perhaps it may be closer to a trickster, or even a clown. Similarly, how we ourselves relate to the images and the archetypes they depict will have much to teach us about our own process of individuation and relationship to these illustrations.

In terms of interpretation, we can see how the Major Arcana are utterly multivalent - and perhaps in a way much broader and deeper than their Minor Arcana counterparts. The Fool alone can be interpreted as “you are free to choose”, “nothing is certain”, "you are heading towards the truth of the situation", "You can find balance in your work", "You must play more in the relationship", "Just create and let the world look after itself", or "It will change". The archetype is clothed with the illustration and the interpretations are descriptions of the clothing. Profoundly, our life is also the cloth of the archetypes, and we are illustrating their patterns in every situation. It is not we who imagine the archetypes, but it is in their pattern, their presence, in which we arise. As do the cards. In the end, every tarot reading comes down to comparing pictures - the pictures on the table and the picture of our life.

Tarot Symbols When we consider tarot, we consider a wide gamut of concepts, such as meaning, interpretation, divination, archetypes, and symbolism. In this section we will consider symbolism, following our introduction of the most ancient primitive signs, and recommend several reference books for standard interpretation of symbols. In one sense, a symbol is much like a tarot or Lenormand card, in that we must interpret it in context. A snake may be a symbol of masculinity, evil, another woman, temptation, a hidden danger, etc., but to someone who has several snakes as pets it may have a very individual meaning. To a student of the bible, the snake may be a very loaded symbol, as it will be to someone who suffers from Ophidiophobia. To one practitioner of shamanism, it may very well be their guide. A snake may be genuinely friendly and supportive in one person’s dream and extremely threatening in another person’s dream, in contrast to either of their conscious reactions to the reptile. What exactly is a symbol? The word ‘symbol’ itself derives from the Greek, σύμβολον, symbolon, meaning literally “to throw together”. It comes from the original practice of breaking a coin or token into two parts, which each part would together represent an agreement or token of contract. Thus, a symbol stands for something else, it allows us to compare or contrast one thing to some other veracity or external authenticity. A symbol is basically something that points to something else, to which it has some relationship. A symbol as it is commonly used can stand for a concept, object, or relationship. A heart stands for love, but also could be the label on a jar in a mortuary - context is, as ever, all important. A black heart

with three swords in it could stand for a troubled relationship. An “equals” sign of two short straight lines atop each other of equal length could stand for an equal relationship but is more likely to be found expressing a mathematical relationship. A single tarot card image is usually a collation of symbols, creating a complex metaphor; each symbol may change the overall interpretation of the card, or only one symbol might be selected for the overall reading.[30] If we described a card as a man rowing a boat in which are stood six swords, thrust into the boat, which also carries two hooded figures, one of which looks like a woman and the other a child, we have a wealth of symbolism at our fingertips. The success of a deck, at least in terms of being a tool for divination and not just on artistic merits, will depend on the consistency of its symbolism and the multivalency of those symbols. The structure of tarot appears to be already optimised, so varying a deck by adding a Suit or ‘bonus cards’ will have some - but minimal - impact on its utility. The Waite-Smith design remains dominant due to both these characteristics; the consistency to the Golden Dawn codification of correspondences in Book T and the multivalency of Shakespearean and theatrical sources, already recognised as universal narratives. If Pamela Colman Smith had been a more consistent student and artist and shared Waite’s knowledge of higher-grade materials, the deck would have been even tighter. Waite’s second application of symbolism to the deck in the Waite-Trinick Tarot, ten years later, is more abstract and requires deep knowledge of the design for any reference to its images.[31]

However, there will come a time when the dominant designs and even the basic symbols will shift. Symbols are also time-bound as much as they are cultural; Heinrich Zimmer wrote, “Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth, hence it is delusory to borrow them. Each civilisation, every age, must bring forth its own”. [32]

Consider how symbols might not only be time-bound but might also have to be constructed to communicate a message for a timeless period. This is the task faced by the nuclear waste industry who have long been working on methods by which a buried nuclear waste dump might carry warnings that could still be understood in ten thousand years.[33] The snappily-named Human Interference Task Force have considered the levels of meaning that are required to be communicated and how a message may be preserved longer than any human construction has survived to this time. Even if tarot, as some propose, is said to communicate a specific hidden teaching, it has only existed for a few hundred years, and certainly not yet tens of thousands of years. A field of thorn-like granite structures with pictures of exploding nuclear bombs carved into each structure might stop farming and warn present-day people away from an area, but would that merely symbolise an ancient shrine to be excavated to our far-future population? One idea proposed was to form an atomic priesthood, a sect modelled on the Catholic Church who would preserve the gospel of radiation danger for timeless generations.[34] I would recommend the following reference books as guides to traditional interpretations of symbols, whether they be for dreams,

cards, or visions. I have placed them in order of personal recommendation as each will build on the previous title and obviously no book will be complete. Symbolism Reading List Juan Eduardo Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols (New York: New York Review Books, 2018). Jean Chevalier & Others, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Penguin Books, 1997). Hans Biedermann, Dictionary of Symbolism (Plume, 1994). Jean C. Cooper, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols (Thames & Hudson, 1987). Adele Nozedar, The Element Encyclopaedia of Secret Signs and Symbols: The Ultimate A-Z Guide from Alchemy to the Zodiac (Harper Collins, 2009). Jack Tressider, Watkins Dictionary of Symbols (Watkins, 2008).

THE 21 PRINCIPLES OF TAROT Whilst there are numerous ways of looking at tarot and its practices, over the years several significant principles seem to arise from the approach of Tarosophy. When these were formulated, they corresponded – as might be expected – to the archetypal sequence of the Major Arcana. These principles were shared and discussed amongst a small group of students and eventually settled in the following statements: 0. Aim in All Things to Restore the Spiritual Dignity of Tarot. I. Remember that Tarot Starts and Ends from Within. II. There is No Such Thing as an Accidental Oracle. III. Tarot is a Connection to Meaning. IV. All Readings are for Yourself as they are for Others. V. The Oracular Moment is Sacrosanct. VI. Tarot is the Loss of Forgetfulness and the Beginning of Choice. VII. Be Confident and Considerate in All Readings. VIII. Tarot is Recognising Relationship. IX. Tarot is the Learning of a Lifetime. X. Always Continue to Discover Mystery. XI. Apply the Lessons of Tarot in Every Day. XII. Seek to Find the Answer that is There. XIII. Learn to Hear the Real Question. XIV. You Do Not Need to Know Everything.

XV. Every Reading is as Important as Every Other Reading. XVI. Prepare to Face Ten Thousand Readings. XVII. Spreads are for Beginners. Later, One Reads Only the Cards. XVIII. Learn the Meanings with Precision, Reading is another Matter. XIX. See the Spaces Between the Cards. XX. Be Serious in your Study but Inventive in your Practice. XXI. Tarot is to Engage Life, Not Escape It. We can then further apply these principles to specific practices, examples, and tips, as Tarosophy is an entirely practical approach to divination. The principles which arise from practice and reflection then give rise to further practices. We can also see that these practices are cumulative and as they follow the order of Major Arcana, provide an entire method of teaching tarot from an absolute beginner level to relatively advanced within twenty-one lessons. This teaching was worked online with a large group of students in China, who were extremely engaged in the process, and the practices proved highly effective. It provides a new method of teaching Tarosophy where the core principles and practices are bound together in the delivery of the teaching. In the following part of this section on the Tarot Principles, we will review each principle and provide an extended commentary. We will also present the associated practice and teaching of each principle as providing a new curriculum of Tarosophy. This is an inbuilt course which can be taken for daily practice, meaning that it can be conducted in twenty-one days, i.e., about three weeks, and the practices have been written with this in mind,

so refer directly to the student and refer to the daily practice if the reader is following it. This approach of teaching can also provide an experienced, intermediate, or advanced reader with a means of reviewing their own experience and a reset to the Tarosophy approach, which can be integrated within their own style of divination. It can also be conducted prior to following the “Reading the Majors” syllabus later in this book, which is a further thirty-two day course if conducted daily.

-IRemember that Tarot Starts and Ends from Within.

The Tarot is a Tool. It provides a means for divination and the oracular state. Every person who reads Tarot will have their own experience and knowledge. So, every person will eventually find their own voice. Remember then, from the very beginning, that the tarot is the key to your state, your voice, your expression. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Practice For each card, commencing with the Majors, Minors and then the Courts, simply look at the image and write three single sentences (or one combined) to indicate how that card might picture or be interpreted as: 1. A Challenge 2. A Resource 3. A Lesson Write whatever comes to your mind, even as an absolute beginner use the tips below if something does not come immediately or easily to you at the beginning. Example

The 3 of Cups is the challenge of meeting new people, the resource of friendships and a lesson that being open to new experiences brings rewards.

Illus. The Three of Cups as Challenge, Resource and Lesson. TIPS If an idea does not immediately spring to mind, move onto the next card. To consider the challenge, imagine how the image of the card would be an obstacle in a hero's journey. To consider the resource, imagine you could plug yourself into the card and draw energy from it - what sort of positive energy would it give you?

To consider the lesson, imagine if the card was an illustration in the back of a book for the final chapter, which gave the lesson of the whole story. What would be the sentence or cliché?

- II There is No Such Thing as an Accidental Oracle.

The Tarot is a Connection and a Communication. It provides us a glimpse of a living mystery. Everything is oracular when we are in connection with our universe through our own unique experience & knowledge. So, every event is a communication. Remember then, from the very beginning, that a tarot reading is one glimpse - in that very moment - of an infinite number of connections. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Practice There are 1.2 Trillion possible combinations of seventy-eight Cards in ten Positions of the Celtic Cross. To put that in perspective, if you worked through one unique combination of the Celtic Cross every second without repeating yourself, it would take approximately 32,000 years to lay all possible combinations out. Think about that. It is likely when we perform a Celtic Cross 10-card reading with 78 cards, not one human being - ever - will come across that exact spread of 10 cards. Not ever. We have only had Tarot on the planet for about 300 years, and if we imagine since then, even if 1,000 readers every day are laying out at

least one Celtic Cross, and none have been the same so far, that’s only 109 million combinations – 109,000 days with 1,000 spreads a day. That’s only .009% of the total number of combinations. Your Selection and layout of cards is most probably a truly unique moment in the universe. Really. You (and your client) may be the only human being to ever see that particular combination of cards when you lay out a 10-card (or more) reading. So … Today, we do one simple task – before we even get down to ‘interpreting’ or ‘reading’. Shuffle. Take ten cards from your deck. Lay them out in any way you like, Celtic Cross or in a line, a cross, a triangle – anything. Just spend today contemplating the uniqueness of your cards. You do not have to "read" the cards, look at them particularly (unless you want to - they may have a message) - just lay them out. We may come back to these cards over the next three weeks, so just in case, make a note of them or take a photo. However, whilst you think about this – do one more thing – see if you can apply that realisation of uniqueness to as much as possible in your life today. You may wonder at your uniqueness. At the combinations. At the singleness of each moment. And perhaps, you may become aware

of connections. And even, a communication. TIPS Be aware all day of obvious things – a found item, a chance encounter, an overheard word, a weird triviality, a line from a song, a radio, a gift, a meme …

- III Tarot is a Connection to Meaning.

The Tarot is a Blank Bible. It provides an illustrated interpretation of all experience. Every reading is connected to every event. So, we can use tarot as a reminder of our own connection. Remember then, from the very beginning, that the tarot is telling you something just by its existence in the world. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Practice We return to our simple practice today. Shuffle your deck, thinking of the word “connection”. When you feel ready, select out three cards. Lay them out face down in a line, left to right. Do not look at the cards. We take these three cards as an illustration of our connection to the world. Turn over the first card, saying … “My challenge in connecting to the world is …” Interpret this card as a challenge. Turn over the second card, saying … “However, I have the resource of …”

Interpret this card as a resource. You can also say “This card shows me what I can draw upon and it is telling me I can draw upon …” Turn over the third card, saying … “And when I do so, I will learn the lesson of …” Interpret this card as a lesson. Say whatever comes to your mind, even as an absolute beginner use the tips below if something doesn't come immediately or easily to you at the beginning. Example “My challenge with connecting to the world is … in trying to contain my emotions”. [I looked at the fish in the cup on the Page of Cups] “However, I have the resource of … being willing to change when it takes me forwards”. [I see the Wand held by the Knight of Wands, who appears more mature than the Page of Cups and prepared to look to where he is going] “And when I do so, I will learn the lesson of … Magic … which is being who I am, where I am, when I am, connected to the simple truth”. [I am looking at the Magician card, and those words came to me] TIPS If words do not immediately spring to mind, say the sentence out loud.

Imagine you can hear an imagined wise tarot reader in your own head or as if you were watching them read the cards on a TV show – what might they say? It is OK if you change the words of the suggested sentences slightly, although consider why you have done so and what it offers you instead of the suggested words. If you draw a complete blank, go back to the first Principle, and take time looking at other cards with the three key themes. Then return to look at your reading. These principles can be returned to many times, as they are designed so that you will always see something new in them each time.

- IV All Readings are for Yourself as they are for Others.

The Tarot is a Means of Recognising Your Own State. It provides a guide towards a more consistent, comprehensive, and congruent state. Every card and combination is an image of your own existence in the world. So, we can use tarot to see into our own life as we see into others – and our relationship to their life at that moment. Remember then, from the very beginning, that the tarot is a powerful machine to engineer your life as much as it can change another’s. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Practice We continue with our simple practice today. Imagine that you are reading for someone else – an imagined person we will call Alex. Alternatively, find someone in your life with whom you can practice and has no particular expectations of your reading. If you are reading for a real person, ask their permission and share the reading with them. Shuffle your deck, thinking of the other person. When you feel ready, select out three cards.

Lay them out face up in a line, left to right. We take these three cards as a reading for the other person. Look at the first card, saying … “Your challenge is …” Interpret this card as a challenge for the other person. Look at the second card, saying … “However, you have the resource of …” Interpret this card as a resource which may not have been considered by the other person. You can also say “This card shows you what you can draw upon and it is telling me that you can draw upon …” Look at the third card, saying … “And when you do so, you will have the outcome of / avoid …” Interpret this card as an OUTCOME or OUTCOME WHICH WILL BE AVOIDED depending on the card. Say whatever comes to your mind, even as an absolute beginner use the tips below if something doesn't come immediately or easily to you at the beginning. Do not be concerned if you are unsure as to the meaning of each card – we will return to ‘meaning’ in the next lesson. For now, get used to the idea and speaking as if you were reading for someone else, using the same approach that you have already practiced – nothing more. In our next lesson, we will go around the cards in another way, continually deepening our readings; and so far, we are neither

relying just on intuition, guesswork or learning static meanings – we’re doing a bit of everything! In fact, we’re doing something totally different.


Illus. Knight of Pentacles + Hermit + Ace of Swords. Knight of Pentacles + Hermit + Ace of Swords. “Your challenge is to throw your seeds into fertile ground – which to me means that you have a challenge making money. However, you have the resources of a hermit – you know that you are on your own path and can give illumination to others. When you continue to stick to your own path and insights, you will have the outcome which is the sharp sword of clarity and then the bees will make honey from the roses. I take this to mean that your clear thinking will make you money – because you have stuck to your own path and not followed others”. TIPS Much the same as the previous lesson and … If you are unsure whether the third card is an outcome or an outcome which will be avoided by meeting the challenge with the

resources, then consider how the card looks compared to the other two cards. If it looks more ‘negative’ then it is likely an outcome which will be otherwise avoided. If it looks ‘positive’ we assume it is an outcome that will be attained by meeting the challenge in the manner suggested by the second (resource) card. We say this because all readings are generated towards a positive outcome. Recording Your Reading To record your tarot readings, you are encouraged to adopt a common key, as follows. Minor cards: Label as the number and suit. For example; 7P, 3C is Seven of Pentacles, Three of Cups. You can label Aces as 1 or A, so 1C or AC would be Ace of Cups. Major cards: Label as their Latin numerals. For example; III is The Empress, XVIII is The Moon. Court cards: Label as abbreviation of type and suit, with Kn for Knight and K for King, to avoid confusion. For example; KnS is Knight of Swords. Thus ten cards in a Celtic Cross spread, in order, might be written as: AP, 4C, KnW, IV, 7P, 9P, QC, XVI, 5S, 4C So long as you are consistent in your layout and order, this is enough to record the reading with any commentary you wish to place upon it.

Our example reading today would be recorded as KnP/IX/AS. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise In this fourth principle, we start to add optional exercises for those who wish to extend their practice. Consider how knowing this reading affects the way you think about the other person and their situation. After you have read the cards as if for another person, consider and make a note of any situation in your own life where this reading would have applied to you.

-VThe Oracular Moment is Sacrosanct.

The Tarot is a way in which truth speaks to power. It provides a truth that is outside of oneself and in relationship to the real world. Every symbol in the cards is a possibility of connecting to the sacred. So, we can use tarot as a divine system – a true divination. Remember then, from the very beginning, that the tarot is neither church nor temple, priest nor priestess, but the moment in which we ourselves can hear truth. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary When we say that tarot is a way in which truth speaks to power, we mean primarily that it offers itself as a vehicle in which our own inner truth – the very nature of our relationship to the divine – can speak to the power of our own psyche. It is our psyche which is generated from this inner relationship and by means of the various processes of ego maintained in a state of necessary separation. The Tarot – like a living dream – like a ritual trance – like a vision or breakthrough following trauma – is a key which opens the portal of truth by its very existence. Practice

We extend our method of interpretation today and add a new practice; that of ritual. We can have a day off if we want from reading the cards – we never want to force ourselves or make it difficult to read. Now, by ritual we do not mean a complex ceremony but merely a simple practice, one which separates out the oracular moment. This is not to say that every tarot card reading must be conducted in high rites or solemnity – quite the opposite! When we recognise the oracular moment is revealed in every moment, a light-hearted draw of a cereal box from a shelf can provide a meaningful message from the deities. I most often recite this verse when I am shuffling my deck: "In the divine name IAO, I invoke thee, thou Great Angel HRU, who art set over the operations of this Secret Wisdom. Lay thine hand invisibly on these consecrated cards of art, that thereby I may obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of the ineffable Name. Amen”. It is from the Order of the Golden Dawn and the Angel HRU is also invoked in a particular piece during the consecration of the Vault of the Adepti. I see this Angel as particularly appropriate to Tarot and Divination because it is also called upon to assist our “spiritual perception” and rise beyond our “lower selfhood” into a state of divine union. However, you can utilise any verse; even something as simple as “I shuffle these cards one, two, three/secret things they will tell to me”. Choose or create a short verse that you can remember and recite it several times when next shuffling your deck.

This may seem an easy exercise today, but consider this – firstly, you may want to take today to also practice another three-card reading – and secondly, in constructing a verse you are having to state how YOU see the cards working, what you feel they are for, how they work, and what you want to achieve. Your verse is a sacred statement. It separates out your reading and your state into something different than the everyday. TIPS Your verse will never be set in stone. It is just for now. You can change it as you make progress, and it reflects your deeper learning. Consider it as a ‘magical name’ in a sense, that it represents your understanding of your current relationship to the divine in a single sentence or so. Even the most mundane and obvious sentence or two can become an invocation: “I shuffle these cards and connect to the divine/In doing so they will speak beyond time”. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Lay out a three-card reading as previous lessons. Look at the colours. Look at the shapes and patterns. Close your eyes. Allow a sound to be generated for each card. You can keep opening your eyes until you have the sounds.

Notice how they compare and contrast with each other – do they go up in volume, are they all quite different, do they smooth out or get more jagged? Now run them all together in a sequence, one after another – each sound – making them go around faster and faster in your mind - until they begin to blur into one final sound or noise. What does the final sound tell you? What flow or story comes from the three individual sounds?

Tomorrow we return to card interpretation in much more detail.

- VI Tarot is the Loss of Forgetfulness and the beginning of Choice.

The Tarot is a memorial of the soul. It reminds us of both separation and unity through each illustration. Every shuffle – in the very act - tells us that there is change and choice. So, the cards tell us to remember ourselves. Remember then, from the very beginning, that whilst the question most asked is about relationship, the answer to every question is only always about relationship. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The tarot should not be used to wallpaper our prison cell but as a map of escape. And when we say escape, we do not mean from life but rather escape from our forgetfulness. We are all always already connected to everything – we do not need to learn this, but rather learn to forget our loss of memory. Tarot provides us, from the very first reading to the very last, a keepsake of this truth. Practice We return today to the means by which we interpret tarot. Every card has what we call a “strange attractor” but is also “multivalent”. In simple terms, every card can mean anything, but each card tends towards one meaning rather than any other.

That is to say, the Three of Swords could possibly, in certain circumstances, in a reading, mean “love”, “bliss”, “a helicopter” or “smug satisfaction” (a keyword associated usually with the Nine of Cups) but it will tend to mean “separation”, “sorrow”, “an emotional cutting of attachment”, etc. The cards work because they can be interpreted in any way for any situation – the symbols are ‘multivalent’, having many possible meanings. But they also work because they each have specific meanings that they tend towards – their ‘strange attractors’, which they never meet so are never ‘fixed’ to that meaning. If every time the Three of Swords came up you had to say, “you are heartbroken”, or “you have been heartbroken” or “you will be heartbroken” and nothing else, we would be very stuck with our tarot. It is just the way in which we see the world that has resulted in a stabilisation of a system with exactly seventy-eight elements in it divided into four sets of ten, four sets of four and a set of twenty-two. It is seventy-eight because of the same reason that seventy-eight is the revolutions per minute (rpm) on old vinyl records – both result from the existing ratios of the entire universe as we interact with it. The exercise for today is to take three cards from your deck – any three cards. No question, no reading, just take three cards out. Look at the first one and interpret it as meaning “a type of greed”. Look at the second one and interpret it as “being something to do with sport”. Look at the third one and interpret it as “an upset child”.

When you have an idea as to how you might word these interpretations, shuffle those three cards around and do the same exercise. If you get the same card for the same interpretation, do it again, either consolidating your first thought or coming up with another angle. EXAMPLE Ace of Pentacles + Nine of Swords + Fool.

Illus. Ace of Pentacles, Nine of Swords & Fool. The type of greed in the Ace of Pentacles is that of grasping the resources and seed of something, like owning the idea and not giving it to anyone else. The Nine of Swords pictures an athlete who has been injured and is facing despair that they cannot continue. The Fool is an upset child because he is going to throw himself to the ground to get attention.

[Interesting, I never saw the Fool as a card of “attention seeking” before.] If I then shuffled them around and got the Nine of Swords as “an upset child”, I might say “The Nine of Swords is an upset child who is refusing to go to sleep”. In this way, like weight-training, you will exercise an essential skill whilst also unconsciously installing the principle; that the cards are multivalent. In Tarosophy, we would never expect a student to ask, “Which card means an unfaithful person?” We would expect our readers to be able to interpret every card in terms of aspects of “unfaithful person”. And yes – this way of teaching tarot is back-to-front to how you might have thought you would learn or have learnt in the past! But each exercise is specifically designed to take your existing skills (i.e., to interpret a picture as a symbol) and exercise them into essential practices before we add the “methods”. Then, you’ll already be ready for the method before you even know it. “Skill up first!” TIPS Use your Verse whilst shuffling the cards. Do not force anything, and even if your first thoughts seem a bit weird or not quite fitting, go with them until the next time round. There is no singular answer to any of these questions or cards, but feel free to ask on our Facebook group for thoughts.[35]

Make a note of the three cards as we may return to them later. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Go back to the three cards you used in the exercise yesterday. Perform the same exercise with those three cards. If you want to exercise this skill further, take the Major Arcana and interpret each as an aspect of “you should not start the project”. Then go back and read each Major Arcana as a reason to definitely start the project.

- VII Be Confident and Considerate in All Readings.

The Tarot is both a map of our journey and the compass for its navigation. It illustrates the characters, situations and patterns that arise through creation. One card can change everything. Many Readings can be ignored. So, the cards can be our constant companion on the Way. Remember then, from the very beginning, to read the cards. Read them as well as you can, mindful of the moment and all moments. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The act of reading tarot cards is a practice. As with any practice, it can come naturally, be taught and learnt, be improved and changed over time. Tarot is its own teaching and each reading teaches us more about reading as surely as it teaches something about life. As the Oracular Moment is Sacrosanct, so we cannot determine the impact of any particular reading. We should aim to be as comprehensive, consistent, and congruent as possible. We should not omit anything, be true to the cards and apply them to the situation as fully as we can. This means that we must therefore consider clearly how we deliver such information – to ourselves and to others. We do not second-guess the cards, but we can be thoughtful about our communication.

Practice We turn today to how we read for others as well as ourselves. However, in the way of these Principles, we are also going to install a few ideas during the practice. Ask the cards, “What is the most difficult but useful thing you can tell me at this time?” Shuffle your Deck. Say your Verse. Lay out three cards in the full knowledge that it may be difficult for you to hear the advice that the cards can offer you. Allow the cards to sit with you all day. Do not try and read them deeply. Listen to any first impressions or feelings but do not consider them to be the absolute answer. Spend time considering them. Do not rush. This is not a competition or a race. There is no correct answer, nor is the answer particularly important. The important thing is to hold the emptiness and allow the cards to provide their answer within it. Do not seek to read the cards – allow them to speak to you as you go about your way. At the end of the day, return to your cards. If you have no answer, no problem. You have successfully completed the exercise by allowing the cards their time. If you have an answer, no problem. Allow it to sit with you and decide what action you might take as a result of hearing a difficult but useful suggestion from your companion. TIPS

Having laid out the cards, walk away from them several times and come back to them. This is an exercise. Turn them back face-down and turn them back up again. Look at them one at a time and in pairs. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Repeat the same exercise in the same way but with a different question: “What is the most difficult yet useful thing you can tell me about my relationship to … [choose a person or situation, or “money” etc.]?”

- VIII Tarot is Recognising Relationship.

The Tarot is read through relationship between symbols and cards in the context of the situation. It provides us metaphors which can be applied to both pulling apart a challenge and putting together resources for a solution. Our own minds are pattern-makers as much as they are patternbreakers. So, a reading is a re-thinking of our relationship with the way in which we see the world and changes the way in which it is arising. Remember then, from the very beginning, that you are engaging with the cards in relationship to the very highest and lowest principles no matter what is communicated. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary Taking time to read tarot is a form of meditation or contemplation. It is a form of mindfulness. It is a form of remembering our own presence and place in the universe. It connects to our deepest story and offers a recognition of our own relationship to the past and future. A reading places us, no matter how briefly, at the centre of our universe, present and correct. That we can see life through symbols and the metaphors of each card is a miracle in itself. It implies that life itself is a miracle, full of invisible connections that bind the universe together.

Practice As we have now established several fundamental principles in our approach to tarot, we can start to look at meanings and interpretation. It is important to understand first that the cards are multivalent and open to any interpretation before we even begin to look at ‘meanings’. The answer to “what does this card mean?” to any reader trained in Tarosophy is simply, “Possibly Everything”. We should quickly look at a few technical definitions as they apply to our approach; ‘symbol’, ‘metaphor’, ‘meaning’ and ‘interpretation’. You can skip over this following semi-semantic analysis and discussion if you just want to get practising – but please do come back to it at some point! As far as this lesson needs it, a SYMBOL is found where we choose any part of a card and relate it to something else. Examples: The figures falling from this tower are your old plans failing; the blue sky behind the Knight is your clarity in the future; the Crown is a symbol of Kether on the Tree of Life; the child is you, giving yourself the gift, which is excitement. Sometimes a symbol points to another symbol, which in turn points to something in the situation. This is usually through correspondence; “the crown symbolises Kether on the Tree of Life which represents the highest ambition of the project”. A METAPHOR (in its simplest terms) is a collection of symbols which makes a story – which in turn, can also relate to the question or situation.

Example: turning 7 symbols into a metaphor for a single emotion; The man in a dark robe, bowed down in contemplation, behind which are a particular number of cups, which are spilt, and there is a bridge, over a river, with a building on the other side of it … is a picture of your disappointment. A MEANING is a really complex issue, but for the sake of our purpose, it is a reference to something abstract or real that applies to the situation. Examples: This card means that the problem will be over swiftly; this symbol means you will not succeed if you continue to work alone; this reading means that you will be happy with your new relationship. A card does not really ‘mean’ anything until we make a correspondence to the situation from the symbols and metaphors that are illustrated by the cards. An INTERPRETATION is the activity or process of bridging the SYMBOLS and METAPHORS by giving them a MEANING in relationship to a situation. Example: “I interpret this card, particularly due to the symbol of the toppling crown, and the overall metaphor of a collapsing tower from which people are ejected, as meaning (in this case, for your situation) that you will not succeed if you continue to work alone”. OK, now let’s practice. This is still all about relationship – relating symbols, relating cards to the world, relating our interpretation to situations. Pick a card.

Look at it and think about – or write down - as many individual symbols as you can find. Place a few of those symbols together as a metaphor and think about – or write down – what that might mean when applied to the world. Take another card. Do the same thing – recognise symbols and metaphors – apply them to a situation. Now take any symbol or metaphor from one card and pair it with any symbol or metaphor on the other card. What interpretation comes to mind when you try and sense meaning in the relationship of this pair of symbols or metaphors? If it helps, consider it in the context of the question which is asked 3 times out of every 5 questions; “What can you tell me about my relationship?” EXAMPLE The Hanged Man I see a figure hanging upside-down, an ancient Egyptian Ankh symbol, two flying fishes, and a whale under the sea.[36] I also see a dragonfly. Looking further I might see symbols in the cross of the tree, the eternity symbol of the rope, the leaves of the tree are green, and the figure wears red – colours and shapes, numbers and patterns are also symbols. I interpret the figure as getting things the wrong way around and being stuck with a misunderstanding. I interpret the Whale as a big issue under the surface of the situation. The flying fish seem to be

talking into the ears of the figure, so I interpret these as different pieces of advice from other people. The whole metaphor of the Hanged Man I take as being stuck in a situation which whilst not negative, is deliberately ignoring advice or issues. Seven of Coins A dog with his mouth open looks up at a rose bush. The background is with a lake and mountains. The plant has birds on coins as flowers and the rose blooms with a female face who sheds a single tear. The rose is thorny. The birds seem to be happy. I take the symbol of the dog as a faithful companion. The rose is a symbol of love but also here is yellow and flowering with many different birds. Nine of Cups A young woman reaches out to catch a falling star. A fountain is pouring water into eight cups from one large central cup. A crescent moon and stars are in the sky. The ground is cobbled with stones and mountains are in the distance. I take the symbol of catching a falling star to mean that dreams are within reach. The fountain is a positive symbol because it is endlessly filling the cups. The cups are symbols of emotions, so are being fulfilled. The whole metaphor is one of happiness, having good emotional satisfaction within reach. Six of Swords

A naked witch with a large hat rides a broomstick quickly across a background which is six swords. They have butterfly-handles. The butterflies appear to have eyes on their wings. Four roses make a garland above the scene. The symbol of the witch means to me that there is a rapid and natural progress being made in the situation. The swords are symbols of thought and have been placed in the background. I take this as a metaphor for doing what comes naturally, going with the flow and not being caught up in logic or arguments. Nine of Cups + Six of Swords I take the shooting star from the 9 of Cups and the flying witch from the 6 of Swords. Together they both represent natural forces and very fast movement. I interpret them together as meaning “allowing things to happen in their own time, keeping a watchful eye, and welcoming what happens naturally will bring about fast progress”. I might further add a commentary on my interpretation, which is “… so do not force things, do not rush and do not make things more complicated”. TIPS Look up symbols in a good symbol dictionary or dream interpretation book; all symbols have common sources, usually based on the attributes of the objects. The Sun is light and gives life to things, these are its natural attributes. So, we further attribute “positivity” and “growth” to it. Another attribute is that it is at the centre of the solar system, so it becomes a symbol of the self, at the centre of our system of

personality. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Intermediate or Advanced Readers will recognise this method as a variation on “pinpointing and bridging” which we developed for beginners and use in several books and our tarot training. An intermediate/advanced exercise would be to lay out four cards in a square, and practice pairing symbols between each of the two pairs them, then pairing the two resulting interpretations to result in one overall interpretation.

- IX Tarot is the Learning of a Lifetime.

Tarot is responsive to change throughout our lifetime. The questions asked of the most ancient oracles are the questions that are asked now and will be asked in a thousand years. Tarot becomes part of the way we view life and the way we live it. So, we learn what life reveals in every card. Remember then, from the very beginning, to discern the biggest picture and the smallest detail. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary This principle applies at every stage of learning tarot, from the beginner, to the experienced professional, to the enthusiastic with many years of passion. We should allow tarot to encourage our insight into the patterns that play out over a whole lifetime as much as we try and see detail in every symbol. In the asking of questions from ourselves and others, we begin to become aware of the similarity of behaviour and response despite the diversity of circumstance. If we continue to read tarot over decades, studying the distant past and proposing new futures, we are changed by it and our life is changed by it. In turn, this makes us a better reader, able to see beyond the present moment and into the bigger question. Practice

One of the things we hear many tarot readers say after ten or twenty years – even thirty years or more – is that they still always have something more to learn about tarot. So, whilst we can teach someone to read tarot in three minutes, or ten minutes, if we have time, it is like chess – the rules are simple, but the play is endlessly complex. Today, take out the Hermit card from your deck. The Hermit can represent Solitude. Notice today the moments that you are by yourself. Notice today the moments you are in company – of any sort. Notice today when you feel alone even if you are with other people. Notice today when you feel like you want to be alone or in company. Notice today when you see someone else who is alone. Notice today when you see a person in a crowd. Learn to see the Tarot in your lifetime, learning every moment. EXAMPLE I am presently writing by myself. I look out the window and see someone crossing a road, by themselves. Tonight, I will go to a Karate class and be with other people, but I will have to face my own individual limits and successes in training. TIPS Be aware of the exercise as often as you can through the day. However, if you forget, gently bring yourself back to it. It is better to notice one thing properly than many things improperly.

Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Extend the practice to solitary items, objects, or even abstractions. Consider a “single thought”. Consider how a tarot deck is a collection of seventy-eight cards, not just the Hermit. Consider how you choose one apple from a box of many apples. Consider how one word might change a life or shine a light on one particular thing previously lost in a confusion of many things. Consider that a particular moment is unique amongst all moments. Be the Hermit today in everything and see what you learn in living life through tarot.

- XAlways Continue to Discover Mystery.

Tarot is a Token of Mystery. The cards are a play of fate, fortune and destiny. Tarot allows us to read our fate and turn it into our destiny. So, we learn to incorporate and utilise whatever is happening in the moment. Remember then, from the very beginning, to understand that every reading is the centre of a revolution. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The 21 principles are given as core approaches to Tarot which provide a firm basis for individual study and practice. There is no end to the mystery of Tarot as it plays out in every life, and this 10th Principle can be taken with the 9th and 11th Principle for deeper contemplation. The student of the Principles may benefit from comparing different principles, taking them together in pairs and triads, etc. Practice Today, we will look at the Major Arcana. These are the big patterns that play out in our lifetime. Sometimes they are so obvious that we might miss them, and they remain a mystery hidden in plain sight.

An example is that the twenty-one Principles of Tarot (and the Zero principle) are based on the Major Arcana.

Yesterday, for example, was the Principle of the Hermit (IX), “Tarot is the Learning of a Lifetime”. Today is the Principle of the Wheel (X), “Always Continue to Discover Mystery”. If you start at the first Principle, corresponding to the Magician, you will now see how the Major Arcana themselves have given us these Principles. A Mystery, in Plain Sight. The Fool is the Overall Mystery so does not have a numbered Principle, but we will share that Principle when we get to the World, the 21st Principle. So, today, we will look not only at the Principle but the Wheel card itself. In the series of twenty-two cards, the Wheel is card ten, sort of halfway through the sequence – if we take the Fool out as an “unnumbered” or “zero” card. The Wheel shows how patterns tend to go around in a circle. Either side of the Wheel (10) we have the Hermit (9) which is ourselves on the road of life and Justice (11), the scales of balance. The exercise today is to use the Major Arcana to uncover a pattern in our lives. We tend to teach that due to their nature, the Major Arcana are quite obvious cards to interpret; by definition, we all mostly know what the

“Devil” is, or what a “Lightning-Struck Tower” might signify. Take out the twenty-two Major Arcana – the cards including the Fool and numbered, usually in Latin numerals, from I to XXI. Shuffle them whilst thinking about your life and all its ups and downs. Turn the deck of twenty-two cards face-up and carefully look through them until you find the Wheel. Take out the Wheel and the two cards either side of it. [Hint: If the Wheel is at the top or bottom of the deck, take the card below/above it and the card at the other end of the deck] Take a look at the two cards. What might they tell you about the way in which you are stuck to a pattern? What is that pattern? Leave these cards out, as tomorrow we will look at them using the Minor Arcana. If you want more keywords, please consult Tarot Flip, the book I personally use most when reading for myself. It is the smallest book we’ve written, but the most powerful as it condenses thousands of real readings to work out what the cards usually signify in actual readings in real life. It is the first book to take a massive survey of actual readings as the source of keywords, rather than make them up or copy them from other sources. EXAMPLE The High Priestess and the Moon, either side of the Wheel.

Illus. The High Priestess, The Wheel & The Moon. I first see that both cards have two pillars or two towers. The High Priestess can be most simply read as “Mystery” and the Moon as “Fear”. There is a pattern here of “fearing secrets” and both cards are aspects of the feminine. In fact, the correspondence of the High Priestess is the Moon. This is a personal and powerful lesson to see in the cards and it is generated by just three cards. You may wish to practice and introduce it for your own clients if you read for other people.[37] TIPS Consider how the Major Arcana arise in life. The Fool arises in every situation where you need to step into the unknown. This can happen from considering a job offer in another country to selecting a new cereal in the grocery store. Big and Small. The Pattern is still the Same.

Consider the “spiral”. How many times do we see that pattern? In a bathtub to a galaxy, in the way a roulette ball goes to the way we go around a problem until we face it. Big and Small. The Pattern is still the Same. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Having received the two cards either side of the Wheel, look out for them in your life today as you did for the Hermit.

- XI Apply the Lessons of Tarot in Every Day.

Tarot is an application of wisdom in life. Our readings allow us to look through the World. Tarot shows us that every day is a challenge, a resource, a lesson. So, we seek wisdom not only in the tarot but in life. Remember then, from the very beginning, to see the way of wisdom in the cards. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The Living Wisdom of Tarot, ‘Tarosophy’, is a set of principles and approaches to the methods of cartomancy. It takes the act of divination into everyday life and uses tarot as a language. As a result, we learn to see life as an active illustration of our connection to the divine. We learn to learn from life. Every day becomes an opportunity to make progress to a deeper sense of reality, a deeper presence. Practice In this exercise, we take the stuck and cyclic pattern we discerned yesterday and use it as a question back to the Minor Arcana. Select out the forty Minor Arcana of the Deck. Consider your two Major Arcana from the previous Wheel exercise and the way these illustrated a pattern in which you are stuck.

Ask the cards as you shuffle, “what one thing can I do today that will be a lesson in making progress from this presently stuck pattern?” Or you can word it as you wish, such as “What can I do to escape this Wheel?” Ensure that it is a “doing” question. The Minor Arcana are events and situations, relationships, and dynamics – they are things that happen or actions you take. Select out one card. Lay it face-up and take it as the first answer. What is it that is pictured for you to do? Then allow another question to arise as you look at this card and consider its suggestion. You may ask for more clarity, or warning, or a further “how exactly?” Select a point on the card which symbolises your next question or strikes you as needing more explanation. Imagine you are talking it over with a friend. Nothing heavy, just a conversation about something to do today. Shuffle and take another card. Lay it out on the first card, placing the corner on the part of the first card which you chose as representing your next question. You can stop at this point or keep selecting cards, engaging in a live conversation with your Minor Arcana. Do not forget that you are still working from the first question – “What can I do today …?”

When you have an answer with which you are happy and can do today, pack up your cards and go do it. It may be, that whilst doing it or after, you realise something new about that revolving stuck pattern of the past – and how you can move on from it. Perhaps it had something still to challenge you with, so you could grow. Perhaps it hid a powerful resource when you look at it differently. Perhaps it is now an important lesson as you see it in your past. The Scales of Justice balance themselves in the everyday everything. EXAMPLE Considering my cards yesterday, the High Priestess and the Moon, either side of the Wheel, I shuffle the forty Minor Arcana. The first card I draw is the Five of Cups.

Illus. Five of Cups. Briefly, this card says to me that “You should spend today thinking back to emotional losses to move on from the cyclic pattern”. I then look at the big black cloak on the illustration and feel how heavy it is. So, I ask, “Is there any activity I can do whilst I do this thinking today?” I draw the Ten of Pentacles.

Illus. Ten of Pentacles. This card suggests I stay at home, perhaps talk to my family. I see the small child holding the dog, and think, “OK, is there anything I should do for myself as well as talk to my family today?” I draw the Ace of Pentacles.

Illus. Ace of Pentacles. Ah. Spend some money. Not something I would have considered doing today. I look at the open gate and ask, “On what should I spend some money today?” I draw the Nine of Cups.

Illus. Nine of Cups. Something nice to drink and perhaps something nice to eat with it. As a treat. I can then carry on, but for now I have some things to do today. It already feels like a good thing to do – spend time talking to family, and not something I had planned to do today. What will your cards suggest for you in response to your stuck pattern? TIPS

Allow the pictures to do the talking and keep it very simple. Take the cards literally and then work from that. Imagine them as a friend who knows a bit about you but doesn’t really have a lot of time just now to talk to you other than offer something obvious. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Consider that you can do this reading method for any situation – select a Major Arcana card for the issue and do a two-card reading as yesterday in order to illustrate the situation. Then do a Minor Arcana reading as today in order to plot your way out of the situation. Examples might include using the Blasted Tower to ask, “How can I regain perspective after a shock?”, or the Emperor for “What issues are causing me to feel powerless?” This method not only gives you the answer, but something to do about it.

- XII Seek to Find the Answer that is There.

Tarot is both the Answer and the Question. In the cards we can enter a dialogue with the deepest patterns of our life. Tarot allows us to gain a new perspective, as if from another source. So, we should consider that the Universe is a process of Enquiry. Remember then, from the very beginning, to ask the question. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The graduation of initiation is signposted by the questions which remain to be asked – and answered. That which is asked is a marker of value, perspective, and identity, whilst also signifying present attachment. A tarot reading (or other divination) may be utilised to undo attachment, release identity, shift perspective and change value through action. We should aspire that anything less is a waste of an opportunity in a reading. Practice In this lesson, we provide a set of keywords and phrases to assist readers in the second half of this course, taken from our free Beginners Guide written under the pen-name Andrea Green. The full booklet, Tarot Keys, containing these keywords and nine spreads to use as a beginner is available on the My Tarot Card

Meanings site, along with a free course you can take which is delivered to you every day for every card.[38] As we’ve seen in the first half of these lessons, our aim is to be able to read any card in most any way – so these keywords are to be considered comparisons to any other meanings you ascribe to the cards, not as fixed meanings. The Major Arcana 0. Fool: Freedom, Inspiration, Risk, Adventure, Innocence. 1. Magician: Success, Skill, Trickery. 2. High Priestess: Intuition, subtle change, divine law. 3. Empress: Harvest, natural growth, pregnancy. 4. Emperor: Power, control, dominance, energy. 5. Hierophant: Professional, advice, wisdom, revelation. 6. The Lovers: Love, relationship, choice. 7. The Chariot: Driving, ambition, control, force. 8. Strength: Management, maintenance, equal relationship. 9. The Hermit: Single person, loneliness, perspective, inspiration. 10. The Wheel: Luck, chance, cycles, habits, patterns, ups and downs. 11. Justice: Balance, Fairness, Right, Deserving, Rule. 12. The Hanged Man: Reversal, betrayal, lack of dignity. 13. Death: Transformation, change, moving to a new phase. 14. Temperance: Watering down, peace, diplomacy, mixing. 15. The Devil: Ignorance, attachment, secrets, darkness.

16. The Blasted Tower: Shock, sudden change, surprise, clearing away. 17. The Star: Vision, hope, guidance, seeking a direction, following. 18. The Moon: Changes, dreams, fear (unnecessary). 19. The Sun: Light, energy, power, growth, radiance. 20. The Last Judgement: Decisions, a calling, invitation, new life. 21. The World: Time, coming together, resolution, closing one door. The Minor Arcana The Suit of Pentacles The Pentacles, disks or coins suit are all about the material things in life, be it money, resources or your time. They show us all the different stages of financial issues, from investing (Ace of Pentacles), saving (Four of Pentacles), through poverty (Five of Pentacles) to retirement (Ten of Pentacles). The Ace of Pentacles: Investment, Seed. The Two of Pentacles: Juggling, uncertainty. The Three of Pentacles: New skill, assessment, learning. The Four of Pentacles: Saving, holding, possessing. The Five of Pentacles: Holding back income, dispossession, poverty. The Six of Pentacles: Charity, give and take, work/life balance. The Seven of Pentacles: Review, assessment, taking stock. The Eight of Pentacles: Work for its own sake, constant labour, skill. The Nine of Pentacles: Things being good, but suffocating. The Ten of Pentacles: Stability, financial settlement, family.

The Page of Pentacles: Contemplating a new project, planning. The Knight of Pentacles: Solid work, consistency, trust, steady action. The Queen of Pentacles: Nurturing, rewarding, holding. The King of Pentacles: Riches, Wealth, Reward. The Suit of Cups The Suit of Cups are the dreamy, emotional aspects of our life, and all to do with relationships. Actually, all the cards show relationships, and lessons, but the Cups are specific; so, we have the partnership of the Two of Cups all the way to the happy family of the Ten of Cups. The Ace of Cups: Overflowing, abounding, joy, delight. The Two of Cups: Equality, partnership, meeting of hearts and vision. The Three of Cups: Celebration, party, support of friends. The Four of Cups: Missing a trick, being stubborn. The Five of Cups: Sorrow, loss, disappointment. The Six of Cups: Gifts, freely given, childhood, nostalgia. The Seven of Cups: Getting distracted. The Eight of Cups: Moving away from a long, outworn situation. The Nine of Cups: Smugness, satisfaction, accomplishment, showing off. The Ten of Cups: Family, Deserving, Reward, contentment. The Page of Cups: Novelty, surprise, creativity. The Knight of Cups: Vision, questing, on a mission.

The Queen of Cups: Deep emotional understanding, contemplation. The King of Cups: Hidden depths, connection, wisdom. The Suit of Wands With Wands, we look at our lifestyle; our ambitions and decisions in the world. They are like the walking staff that supports us in our journey in life, they show us our beliefs and intentions, that guide us in our behaviour. So, they are connected to the other suits, as they provide the foundations of all our thoughts (Swords), feelings (Cups) and actions (Pentacles). The Ace of Wands: Power, control, energy, will, direction, explosion! The Two of Wands: Planning, comparison, strategy. The Three of Wands: Setting things in motion, going ahead. The Four of Wands: Invitation, friendship, mutual benefit. The Five of Wands: Confusion, argument, re-arrangement. The Six of Wands: Success, but beware of pride, leadership. The Seven of Wands: Standing your ground, fighting off others. The Eight of Wands: Swiftness, movement, travel, news. The Nine of Wands: Holding fast, ignoring other opinions. The Ten of Wands: Overburden, responsibilities, overload. The Page of Wands: Journeying, adventure, following a calling. The Knight of Wands: Activist, doer, fiery passion. The Queen of Wands: Wisdom, experience, confidence. The King of Wands: Dignity, honour, living to one’s word. The Suit of Swords

The Swords are the Suit of the Mind, all our thoughts and plans. As a result, they show us our worries, our concerns, and matters of knowledge and education. The Ace of Swords: Decision, cutting, black and white. The Two of Swords: Denial, holding off, avoidance. The Three of Swords: Separation, judgement, sorrow. The Four of Swords: Rest, respite, recuperation, removal. The Five of Swords: Putting arguments aside, regrets. The Six of Swords: Movement, assistance, travel. The Seven of Swords: Treachery, sneaking, underhand action. The Eight of Swords: Holding yourself back, an old habit of thought. The Nine of Swords: Pity, grief, sorrow, and worries. Not thinking through. The Ten of Swords: Pinning something down, everything out in the open. The Page of Swords: Watch and wait, spying the land before action. The Knight of Swords: Rushing ahead, entering the discussion. The Queen of Swords: Calm but swift action, decisiveness. The King of Swords: Wisdom of experience, applied to fair decisions.

In this exercise, shuffle the entire deck to ask a question – make the question a very clear one and one which requires some action. It does not matter if it is a very minor question, the most important thing is that it is a simple question that can be clearly stated.

Example What can I best do this weekend in order to most successfully finish [a specific thing]? Shuffle and lay out five cards in a cross as illustrated.

Illus. Simple Cross Spread. Now read the cards individually as below, using your own or the suggested sentences. Rather than give “positional meanings”, in Tarosophy we give “suggested sentences” as every reader will be saying their

interpretations, whether to themselves or other people. Do not force the sentences together. Take each one at a time, independently of the others. 1. The Centre card “In this centre card is pictured my current situation with [specific thing] and it seems to tell me that the most important/interesting/new/obvious thing about what is happening is …” 2. The Left card “The situation has developed because of what has happened before, which is … [read the left card or use the keywords]” 3. The Bottom card “I have the resources to draw upon to [subject of question, i.e., finish the specific thing] by following the advice of this card, which suggests …” 4. The Top card “In drawing on those resources, mindful of the past, and in the current situation, I should aim for … [read card as something that will be obvious when achieved]”. 5. The Right card “And if I do so, I will realise that … [read card as a lesson, or perhaps a further challenge we can meet, or a resource that you can find for yourself in this situation]. Remember, take each card and each sentence one at a time. EXAMPLE I have mainly stuck to the keywords as given in this lesson and a little bit of additional interpretation of the specific illustrations and symbols in the cards, which are from the Jolanda Tarot. 1. Seven of Wands: In this centre card is pictured my current situation about the project and it seems to tell me that the most

important thing about what is happening is that I feel as if I am fighting off a lot of unknowns – or perhaps I am attracting attention from dangerous animals? I have a light and a club, but am I ready? 2. Three of Wands: The situation has developed because of what has happened before, which is that things were set in motion. Perhaps it was originally done in a light-hearted, almost naïve, fashion? This is in the past. 3. King of Cups: I have the resources to draw upon, to be successful in the project, by following the advice of this card, which suggests drawing on my inner depths and wisdom – i.e., experience. This is rather than any other factors, I should stress my experience rather than anything else. [Comparing cards 2 & 3 really says “it is time to grow up about it”] 4. Devil (XV): In drawing on my experience, mindful that I need to be more serious, and in the current situation where I feel overwhelmed, I should aim for dispelling ignorance, banishing shadows, and putting everything utterly out in the open. Be a devil for good! Have a good time doing it! 5. High Priestess (II): And if I do so, I will realise that things have changed over time, and that there is a spiritual progress already in motion that will be fulfilled in this project. I can then spend time comparing and contrasting the cards, particularly positions 2 & 5 and 3 & 4. I may smooth over the sentences too and weave them more together as whole. TIPS Use everything you have learnt already.

Feel free to go back and look at any previous principle or all of them. Have several goes at it if you want. Take all the time you want. Word it however you want. Allow things to not make immediate sense. Seek only to find the answer that is there. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Take a look at the card that remains on the bottom of the pile once you have laid out the five cards. Take this as an illustration of what is really going on underneath the whole situation – the real answer to the whole question. How does it work with the five cards – is it confirmatory or conflicting? Example Base Card – Five of Cups: This situation has put me in touch with something powerful in the past which was disappointing. I do not need to take that into the new situation other than as a challenge to enjoy myself in comparison to the past.

- XIII Learn to Hear the Real Question.

Tarot is a matter of life and death. In a reading we can discern more questions from every card. Tarot opens the gates to universal truths transcendent of space and time. So, we should honour the question. Remember then, from the very beginning, to listen and listen again. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The 12th Principle and 13th Principle are coupled together, reminding us to ask the question and seek the answer. To listen to - and to speak - the truth of the matter. It appears obvious that we should ask a question and divine the answer, however, in this very process are the real questions; How does the Universe work to allow this? Why am I doing this? What does this tell me about the Universe? The real question under every question is “Am I Real?” but even this too changes from level to level of the spiritual journey. The enquiry undergoes transformation as we die to our old selves in each question – and each answer. Practice When we conduct a reading, we can also use the cards in many ways to explore the original question. This is the case even if the

question is “Can you do me a reading?” or “What is it I most need to know at this time?” An important way is to turn the question into a spread using ‘Clean Language’ – a form of therapy developed from the work of the late David Grove. The concept of Clean Language in Tarot was first introduced in Tarosophy (2011) and this specific method first published in Tarot Face to Face (2012). When someone expresses their question, it usually has an emotional content, and this can be turned into a metaphor – then a spread - by a specialized but straight-forward series of clean questions. It takes less than a minute or two, and then you have a precise metaphor of the question against which to design your spread – right there and then on the table. This provides a powerful reading for the client because it uses their own model. The sequence of questions is as follows, with the essential sequence highlighted in bold: Querent: My question is X [including some emotional content, such as “and I’m concerned that I may not make the right choice”] Reader: … so, I’m concerned [saying it exactly like the client]. Where is your concern? Querent: In my stomach [or Querent will gesture unconsciously even if they say “I don’t really know”] Reader: … in your stomach. Is it outside or inside? [you will likely already know from the way the client has moved or gestured, etc.]

Querent: Inside, in the pit of my stomach. Reader: … inside, in the pit of my stomach [always repeat what client has said exactly]. I’m wondering how you’d best describe the size of that? [not ‘describe it’ but ‘how best would you describe …’] Querent: Well, it’s hard to say, it feels tight and small. Reader: Tight and small, and what shape is it? Querent: I guess it’s about the size of… [makes a gesture like a small ball].

Reader: … And so it’s the size of [makes same gesture] And that’s like what? Querent: It’s like a clenched-up fist, that’s what. Now we have a metaphor, the “clenched-up fist”. We simply use this as a spread, saying something like, “let’s use that as a spread – suppose I lay out five cards to represent the five fingers on your hand. These will tell us what is holding the anxiety in a fist in your stomach. Then I will lay out five cards on top of those cards to show you how you can release that anxiety and make the right decision. In fact, I will place one card down after that, in the palm of your hand – because you hold the answer in your own hand”. These readings will likely replace any given ‘spread’ as you get practiced with them, because they are so powerful and speak to the client’s deepest representation of their question.

To recap, the questions are, in this sequence: WHERE IS … [abstract emotion or concept]? IS IT INSIDE OR OUTSIDE? WHAT IS THE SIZE? WHAT SHAPE IS IT? [Optionally, also, what colour is it?] AND THAT’S LIKE WHAT? You will see that the specific order gives the client no way out of ignoring or not answering the next question. If you have a feeling, it must be somewhere. If it is somewhere, it must be inside or outside. If it is inside or outside, it must have a size. If it has a size, it must have a shape. If it has shape, it must be like something else – which is the symbol or metaphor for the original feeling. TIPS You can frame the questions in any particular way, following the Querent’s own language. The faster you do it, and the more you pay attention to their whole communication, including non-verbal gestures, the more noticeable it will be that the question suggests its own spread in response. Beginner Method The method given with this principle might be considered intermediate/advanced – if you would like to apply the principle as an absolute beginner, start with this alternative method. When pointing out any symbol in a card, say it out loud and ask the client – or yourself – “…and that’s like what?”

It will help you (if it fits your particular style of reading) discover more, with the client, of their actual situation and question. Example Reader: “So, the Trumpet in the card … and that’s like what?” Client: “Ah, I guess it’s like an alarm clock”. Reader: “And what do we think it is waking you up to?”

- XIVYou Do Not Need to Know Everything.

Tarot is an imitation of life in as much as life is an imitation of reality. In a reading we can see the map laid out, but it will always be incomplete. Tarot allows us to make a map of the map. So, we might wonder from every reading, what new land has been revealed. Remember then, from the very beginning, to look as far as you can, knowing that you cannot see everything. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary There is always something new to learn in that the universe is a process of radical enquiry. The landscape of the soul is revealed in relationship to reality through the illustrations of the tarot. It neither predicts nor prescribes, it is only a presumption. At the very least, the cards offer us a constraint, a check and a challenge. They may highlight the resources and signpost us to the lessons. But it is up to us to travel, to do, to act, to go. There is a reason there are twentyone principles and not twenty-two; sort of. Practice Today we have several simple practices which are recommended to be done quickly and in sequence, without too much preparation.

As we do not need to know everything, and some things will always be tempered by our ability and experience, we can simply practice for fun. Exercise 1

Shuffle Your Deck, thinking, “Tell me something funny”. Select a card. Look at it, note it, perhaps consider what it is saying. Return it to the deck and carry out exercise 2. Exercise 2 Shuffle your Deck, passing it from one hand to the other like a flow of water. Think, “What is best and what is worst right now?” Take two cards, top and bottom and look at them. Note them. Perhaps consider whether they answer the question immediately. Compare whether they are Court Cards, Minors or Majors, and if that tells you anything else immediately. Return the two cards to the deck and carry out exercise 3. Exercise 3 Shuffle your Deck, passing it from hand to hand. Think, What is a Question I have not Asked and What is the Answer? Select the top card from the deck and consider it as a question. Is it one you had not thought to ask?

Turn the deck upside-down and look at the bottom card. Consider it the answer. Does it answer the unthought question? Exercise 4 Shuffle your Deck, considering that we sometimes have two conflicting parts of ourselves. Turn the cards over one at a time until you have a Court Card. Lay out the Court Card and continue turning the pile until you have a second Court Card. Lay the two Court Cards side by side. Look at them during the day. At night, consider both of them before you go to sleep. Perhaps consider them in a relationship. What would that be like? Record any dreams in the morning or your general feeling when you look at the two cards in the fresh light of the morning. Notice any changes in your own attitude or behaviour – no matter how apparently insignificant or obvious – during the day. Also notice any strange occurrences. TIPS Perform these exercises as a flow and as play, whilst remaining aware they can be powerful and significant. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise Continue to shuffle. Think, “Tell me a New Exercise that I could do with the Tarot”.

Draw 2 Cards and spend time developing a whole new way of working with your cards from the suggestion of the two cards. You can draw a third card if required for further inspiration. This method produced the Fourth Exercise.

- XV Every Reading is as Important as Every Other Reading.

Tarot is the story of everyone as told by someone. It is also the story of someone told by everyone. A Tarot reading can be the most important thing that someone ever ignores. So, we might never know (as with everything) the full consequence of our cards. Remember then, from the very beginning, to treat every reading with respect. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The first reading that ever tells you something should stop you ever reading again until you have come to terms with the consequence of the working of tarot. If it works, then what does it tell you about yourself, the universe, time, space, and the relationship of these things? What does it suggest as to the notion of purpose, of free will, of fate, fortune and destiny? How does it work to reflect all possibilities in one deck? Every reading engages in this fundamental act of enquiry; what is possible? And, most importantly above all considerations, every reading is the possibility for initiation. Practice

In this exercise, we look at the final set of cards in a deck, the Court Cards. There are many ways of working with Court cards, which we have cover in our books. In these Principles, we will return to the key concepts introduced in Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot with additional material.

RANK Page: Unformed (make a start of …) Knight: Directed (make a movement towards …) Queen: Experienced (recognise the experience of …) King: Established (work with the establishment of …) SUIT Pentacles: Resources (finances, time, health, family) Swords: Thoughts (education, learning, mind, logic, speaking, communication) Cups: Emotions (feelings, intuition, depth, unconscious, unspoken) Wands: Ambitions (will, direction, spirituality, lifestyle) To practice with the Courts, select out the sixteen Court cards into a separate deck. Shuffle whilst thinking “What do I need to know today about relationships and people?” Select one card. Look up the key concepts by Rank + Suit.

Make a sentence as an answer to your question, modifying the words and grammar if necessary. Then – and most importantly, extend your interpretation with commentary, by saying “Today I will …” and decide on one particular action or attitude that you will take today. EXAMPLE Queen of Cups (I) Recognise the Experience of (that which is) Unspoken. Today I will, at least once, speak something that has remained unspoken. TIPS Ensure that the action is something that you can do and has an observable action or impact. Rather than “I will be happier” state “I will watch at least one comedy video” or “make one person smile”. Visualise the card when you take the action. Intermediate Exercise At the end of the day, consider not only how the card related to your action but also the results and consequences of that action, particularly if it involved another person or people. How would you see them in terms of court cards? Advanced Exercise Consider that this 15th Principle corresponds to the Devil (XV) card of the Major Arcana. What does the Devil mean in the context of personality and people?

How might this exercise reveal something about the ‘shadow’, an attribute of the Devil?

- XVI Prepare to Face Ten Thousand Readings.

Tarot is a dynamic engagement with every situation in time. When we read for others or ourselves, we re-align ourselves to the present moment. Tarot teaches us that time is the moving likeness of eternity. Time is a Tower that is endlessly building and collapsing. Remember then, from the very beginning, that every reading, time and again, is a reminder that you are present. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The secret of tarot is time. All our creation is bound by the process of time and a reminder that we transcend it in every moment. The mystical teaching of tarot can be discovered in every reading, even if we have to conduct ten thousand readings to see the truth of the matter. At some point, we will know that every reading is one reading, endlessly infinite and constantly unified in change. This realisation is like the lightning that strikes the place of the divine and releases us from our illusion. Practice Shuffle Your Whole Deck. Consider any situation for which you would like clarity.

Draw out four cards and place them face-down in a vertical line starting at the bottom. Part 1 Turn over the lower two cards (1 & 2). Read the lower card (1) by saying “I see this situation from my own point of view as …” Read the second, upper card (2), saying, “However, other people see this situation as …” Compare the two cards – are they very similar interpretations or very different? How does this explain how people are behaving about the situation? How does it explain why you are receiving the feedback and responses you want or do not want? What might you say as a commentary on these two cards and their comparison? Part 2 Turn over the upper two cards (3 & 4) – only having read as much as possible in the lower two cards. Read the lower of these two cards (3) by saying “My major attitude about the situation which is not necessary is …” Read the card as a distracting hope if it is generally positive in nature or a distracting worry if it is more negative. Either way, it illustrates something that should now be dropped or released in some way.

Offer a commentary on how this attitude (whether a useless, unrealistic and misguided hope or a depressing, anxious, worry) might be utilised. Read the uppermost card (4) as an outcome by saying, “So, the outcome will be …” Interpret that card as a natural consequence of the insights gained from the previous three cards. Does it offer a warning or a result? Either way, it is the necessary information to be communicated at this time. Take a moment to look at all four cards and their relationships. Do you have several Court cards? TIPS Always go back to first principles if you want by using the keywords or the words you chose for challenge/resource/lesson. Always look at the cards. Allow yourself to read them as pictures in a book. EXAMPLE 1&2 I see this situation from my own point of view as a lesson [Hierophant] However, other people see this situation as something I am driving [Chariot]. Commentary: I realise from the difference of these two cards that I need to show more responsibility and accept my agency. That it is not just a lesson for me – it impacts others. Also, that I should share what I am learning with those involved.

The fact that the two cards are Major Arcana shows this situation is a pattern that plays out in other areas and times of my life beyond the present situation and question. 3&4 My major attitude about the situation which is not necessary is working without reward [Eight of Pentacles]. The outcome will be a fruitful blessing that will grow naturally and with bounty [Empress]. Commentary: Whether I worry about the work and effort or not, the outcome is one which will be rewarding given time. I should also allow it to take a natural course. I can follow the advice that arose from cards 1 & 2 and take the reins that belong to me, as a major lesson in my life. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise You can now read a Celtic Cross. If you go back to Exercise XII (12) and add this Exercise XVI (16) you will see that we have now learnt the whole Celtic Cross. Go back to the very first layout of ten cards in Exercise II (2), “There is No Such Thing as an Accidental Oracle” and lay them out in a Celtic Cross if they were not already in that layout. Read your reading from Exercise 2 using Exercise 12 & 16 and you may now see that there is indeed, no such thing as an accidental oracle. All is planned to the pattern and you are now prepared to face 10,000 (or more) readings. In our final five lessons XVII (17) – XXI (21) we will explore further methods for you to put all the principles into your ongoing practice

beyond this section of the present book.

- XVII Spreads are for Beginners. Later, One Reads Only the Cards.

Tarot is a lyrical language of the soul's encounter with the Universe. It arises freely, and like the most dignified dance, allows us to express ourselves in motion to the music of the divine. The re-arrangement and reading of the deck is as sacred as the most religious ritual or act of love. Remember then, from the very beginning, to Treasure it. Trust it. Let it divine you. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The tarot deck itself is a sacred artefact. It is a place-holder for our encounter with what we do not yet know in life. As such, when we lay it out in a fixed spread, we constrain it within our own choice and expectation. We assume that we know which spread will be suitable to our situation. Having said that, the oracular moment is sacrosanct, so it likely matters not at all whether you choose a spread. In Tarosophy we seek to follow our cards with one essential attitude; curiosity. This means that sometimes, we will simply read the cards in some manner that does not involve any fixed spread or positions. Practice In this lesson we will work with one of the many Tarosophy split-deck methods, which goes beyond basic spreads but is easy to perform

as a beginner. We call it “Oracular Sentences” and is good for practice, selfreading, and particularly parties – it is one of the methods for practical readings we cover in Tarot Face to Face. Divide your deck in advance into three piles; Majors (22), Minors (56) and Court cards (16). Place these three separate piles face-down from left to right on your chair, table or other space available. These three piles will form the structure of an “oracular sentence” composed of a noun (object), a verb (action) and an adjective (a description). You may wish to practice this method and then play with your own variations. Pause and then select the top card from the first pile of Majors. Turn it upwards and say, in your most oracular voice the name of the card. If for example, you turn over the “Empress”, simply say “The Empress”. If you are moved in the moment to say something else, do so – however try and ensure it is a noun, an object, or a thing that you can see on the card, for example, “The Field”, or “The Waterfall”. Never deny an oracular moment, always say what tells true to you. Now select a card from the second pile of Minor cards. This card is the ‘verb’ of our Oracular Utterance. This card says what the previous noun or object is doing.

As an example, if we pulled the Two of Swords, we might say “balances” or “weighs up” or even “waits”. Add this verb to your noun and say it out loud, clearly, and deliberately, for example: “The Empress weighs up…” or “The Waterfall waits …” Finally select the top card from the third pile of Court Cards. This gives you the adjective or descriptive word for how the verb (action) is being performed, for example, if you pulled the Page of Swords, you might describe this as “carefully”, “cleverly”, “thoughtfully” or “cautiously”. You can now utter the full oracular sentence in your best soothsaying voice: “The Empress Weighs up Carefully…” At this point if you feel moved to do so, add any poetic or divinatory statement, such as: “The Empress Weighs up Carefully … so be aware that whatever you sow you shall reap”. And that is it. Do not interpret or explain your oracle, even to yourself. If you do not add any commentary, that is fine too, just state it as a succinct oracle, perhaps stressing a word, such as “The Field Waits Cautiously. That is your oracle. Remember, this is important – The Field WAITS cautiously”. It is meant to be mysterious and enigmatic – but nonetheless, it may be immensely powerful (in Tarot Face to Face we share one of many

events where this method totally hit home with someone and shocked them into insight). TIPS Make sure you speak in an over-the-top or simply deliberate oracular voice, even if you are doing this method for yourself. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise As an advanced version of this method, when you have practiced your oracular sentences arising from three cards, you can perform this reading by taking the top cards as already described, then adding a “BUT …” and taking the bottom card from each of the three piles and adding that sentence as a prophetic warning or advice. EXAMPLE The Wheel of Fortune + 3 of Wands + Page of Wands. Temperance + 6 of Pentacles + Queen of Pentacles.

Illus. The Wheel of Fortune, Three of Wands & Page of Wands.

Illus. Temperance, Six of Pentacles & Queen of Pentacles. ORACLE The Centre Looks Out Earnestly but The Angel Measures Materially. Spoken out as: “Your Centre may look out earnestly, but your Angel measures you materially”.

- XVIII Learn the Meanings with Precision, Reading is another Matter.

To learn tarot is to learn life. In life, as tarot, we continuously strive to recognise rules and patterns for prediction based on our observation and experience. The meanings of each card, whilst multivalent, tend to specific core meanings. We learn upwards from the core meanings and downwards from connecting the cards to life. Remember then, from the very beginning, to know what the cards mean and be able to justify your interpretation. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary We have seen that cards can mean anything even if they tend to mean something specific. In learning and practising tarot, we experience a constant process of connecting meaning to events and those same events inform our meanings. If we continue to read for many years, perhaps even maintaining and reviewing a journal, we develop a new faculty; predictive hindsight. This is the ability to know and say what you would say about a reading after the situation had developed following the reading itself. The skill is to be able to know what you (would have) will say later and say it before – at the time of the reading. Practice

There is a simple practice for today. It is to break us out of ever thinking that the meanings of the cards are either beyond our interpretation or fixed in some particular manner.

Shuffle your deck. Take a card. List in your mind or write out possible keywords to describe the card, in this specific way: Start with one Keyword or phrase beginning with the letter A. Then think of another keyword beginning with B. Then C. Then D. And E … That is all for today. As with many exercises in the approach of Tarosophy, it may appear simple, but it installs a different way of thinking about your cards. Obviously, do not be too concerned about key-words beginning with Q or Z, etc. or if you find yourself using Q(uest) or any other word for more than one card. EXAMPLE The Ace of Pentacles. Affluence. Bargain. Beginning.

Coin. Cash. Design. Economy. …

TIPS Use a dictionary or thesaurus. These are essential tools for a good reader. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise If you come up with more than one word beginning with a particular letter, also make a note of it. Another good exercise – particularly for beginners - is to look through one Suit of cards at a time, or the Majors, and close your eyes before sleep and try and visualise every card in sequence. Then see how your visualisation compares with the real cards and keep practising each night until you can run through the entire deck in your mind.

- XIX See the Spaces Between the Cards.

Tarot is as much about silence as it is about speech. In a reading there are spaces that make up the spaces outside of the lines. Tarot shows us not only a map of the land but of the people, the politics, the names of the places as they were and are and will be known. So, we might see that we can look between the cards and through them, as much as we can look simply at them. Remember then, from the very beginning, to recognise the vast space that awaits beyond the edges. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary There is an idea in art that one can draw a shape, such as a horse, by imagining not the horse itself but the outline of it as being a coastline of the space that is not the horse – the space around the horse that forms in the middle as you draw the lines of the space. This perspective applies as much to tarot as to any situation. What cards are not present in a reading? What Suits are missing? Why did the Court card that most applies to the most significant person in the situation not turn up at all? Ask not what you are missing or have got “wrong” but what the silences and spaces are shouting to you. Practice

In this practice, as we approach the conclusion of the Tarot Principles, we provide a method for daily practice. I do not teach “one card of the day” as I find it slow and limits the student in later years. Rather, practice this spread in the morning and review it in the evening. It is called the Dawn Spread (designed in 1983) and was introduced in Tarosophy.

Simply use this spread for your ongoing practice and review. TIPS The practice of this spread will increase your ability to interpret every spread or method for other people. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise

In Tarot Twist (2013), we published the Sunset Spread, a companion spread for additional use as an evening review once the student has become comfortable with the Dawn Spread. They can be used together, or switch from the Dawn to the Sunset Spread as you find works for you. The 3 Base cards (left to right): Review – What is the basic lesson I can take from today? Resolve – What do I need to do differently tomorrow? Refine – What can I see now that I couldn’t see before? The 5 Arched cards (left to right): Others – What have I learnt about those around me? Environment – What have I learnt about the world? Me – What can I say about myself now? Problems – What is the nature of the challenges I face? Solution – Where shall I look for solutions tomorrow?

- XX Be Serious in your Study but Inventive in your Practice.

A Tarot reading requires five attitudes, but a sixth is the attitude that it requires whatever it asks. These attitudes are; congruency, flow, pacing, intimations of depth, and curiosity. We should aspire that our reading is true to the cards as it is to life; that the divination comes to us and is delivered in a powerful flow; that we recognise when to speak and when to hold silence; that we communicate the connection to all things in our narrative; and that we are open to the question as well as to the answer. So, we might welcome every reading as an opportunity for practice. Remember then, from the very beginning, to be curious – when we divine, we learn as much as we can teach – this is our calling. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary These five (six) attitudes were observed and collated from hundreds of readers at fairs, events, conferences, bars, parties, workshops and gallery shows, online for free or for dollars per second, an open square in New Orleans and a forest in Switzerland. They were present in readers around a fire in Brazil as they were in a Youth Club in Singapore. They were present in an absolute beginner three decades ago and an experienced reader today. Above all though, we shuffle our cards to remind us that nothing is set in stone forever –

we can adopt and adapt what works for us, even these attitudes. Of course, in doing so, we follow them. Practice Today’s practice is our fail-safe method of reading the cards, to assist you in every reading. Firstly, we know that we only read the cards – at least, in the beginning. When we get stuck, we should just read the card – but there is more than that, and it is in Kabbalah we find a method which applies to all divination. In Kabbalah, the system of Jewish mysticism whose Tree of Life diagram is familiar to most esoteric students, when one studies a sacred text, there are four levels of interpretation.

These also apply very well to Tarot:

1. Peshet


2. Remez


3. Drosh


4. Sod


Level 1: Simple The first level is the simple description of the text; its length, number of words, any key appearance of particular words and so forth. In

Tarot this is the simple and literal description of a card. Try it with this card, starting sentences with “I see…” [5 of Wands]

Illus. Five of Wands. Notice that you might tend to drift up a level to the “interpretative” or symbolic level. You might say or write, “I see five men arguing” whereas what you actually see is only “five men holding sticks” – the “argument” is an interpretation of the literal images of the card. Level 2: Symbolic The second level is this “symbolic” and interpretative level. This is the level where books of symbols can assist you and any text written by the artist(s) and/or designer(s) of the deck.

At this level we say or write, “On this card are five staves, symbols of the will or values of a person”. Level 3: Extended The third level is “extended” which in Kabbalah would look at other sacred texts, make comparisons, and put the studied text into a wider context. In Tarot we do this when we say such things as “So it is like a war …” or “This reminds me of the story of “The Three Little Pigs”. We even do it when we extend our interpretative level to the other person’s life or our own; such as “So in your life this is those moments when you feel out of control or at a loss, two aspects of the same problem”. Level 4: Secret The fourth and top level is when we have those moments of connection or insight, intuition or conscious realisation and there is a certain sense of “fit” in the reading. This is that “Aha!” moment, when in the case of this card above we might suddenly see, in context of the other cards in a spread, “So what is really happening is that your previous failures have led you to develop a bad habit, entirely self-destructive, where you never complete anything”. Which Way to Go When You Get Lost – DOWN NOT UP Now what happens when readers flounder – and we have watched many hundreds do so at one time or another – is that they always (almost always) go UP the levels of interpretation, usually straight to the symbolic or extended.

Readers start to flounder and generate flourishing metaphors and symbols, clichés, and sayings, such as “So here we can see that like the three little pigs, the wolf is not able to use his breath to blow the stone house down …” and so on. This does not help the other person. The best way to deal with a flounder or moment of confusion, is to go straight back DOWN the levels to the absolute literal. Face the card and let it face you – re-establish your connection on the basic level. Simply describe what you are seeing in the card. Keep describing it. At some point you will start to naturally rise back up the levels, and there will have been no break in your reading. Also, you will have remained true to the cards. As an example, one might start to flounder with the above card in a “future” position in a spread and so then start to re-describe the card: “So … er … I am seeing these five men. They are bearing their staves. One man is looking away whilst the others are looking in other directions. The sky is white. The man looking away is perhaps the leader – ah – so I figure that one particular experience or value in your future is being turned away because of the blankness of your memory, you have forgotten something that is most important to you …” And off you go again, back up and down the levels. So always remember when stuck, read the card. Just before we leave this lesson, notice that the first letters of those Hebrew words spell out the word PRDS.

As Hebrew has no vowels, this may not be at first obvious as a word, however, it is the word Pardes, meaning “garden”. We are more familiar with it when pronounced and spelt “Paradise”. This is called in Kabbalah the “formula of Paradise” and is a way of opening the secrets of holy texts and re-entering Paradise. As our Tarot is also, in a sense, a divine text, it is also a key to that same garden. TIPS Read the Cards. In Tarosophy, the use of Kabbalah underpins most of our techniques and teachings through correspondence, and we recommend further study. Intermediate/Advanced Exercise When dropping down to the literal level, use lots of linking words, such as: and … then … so … when … as … because … with … This will create a narrative flow and soon take you into the symbolic, extended and even secret levels of the reading.

- XXI Tarot is to Engage Life, Not Escape It.

Life is our Temple. Heaven is Hid in our Images and we Abide in the Sanctuary. We should use Tarot to Take Us Beyond Ourselves, not See in it an Endless Series of Selfies. So, at last, we might come to realise that this World is the Answer we have always sought. Remember then, from the very beginning, we are wayfarers, and our journey takes us to the very end, where we will switch off the lights together. There is no Escape, simply an Everlasting Day. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary The most valuable knowledge has always passed through the most unlikely of hands. The secret can only be hidden in plain sight because it is so simple – tarot is the moving likeness of eternity; it is time in our mind made real. When we consider the past, present and future, we make images and these images are in the cards when we lay them out – past, present, and future. We remain, here and now, looking at the cards, perhaps waiting for revelation. Yet it is this. We are here. This is our temple. It is real. Practice

Welcome to your final lesson of the twenty-one Principles of Tarot. In Lesson III we used three cards to illustrate our connection to the World. We now return to that method and add to it a timeline. This is where we have been leading you, from the Empress (3) to the World (21). For this reading we draw NINE cards and lay them out FACE DOWN in a 3 x 3 Square. We first read the centre column. The centre column is the PRESENT, with the top card our challenge, the middle card our resource and the bottom card our lesson.

Illus. Nine Card Grid. THE PRESENT We read these exactly as we did in the 3rd lesson. You can now go back and review all the lessons if you wish, before conducting this reading. Turn over the first card, saying … “My present challenge is …” Interpret this card as a challenge. Turn over the second card, saying … “However, I have the resource of …”

Interpret this card as a resource. You can also say “This card shows me what I can draw upon and it is telling me I can draw upon …” Turn over the third card, saying … “And when I do, I learn the lesson of …” Interpret this card as a lesson. THE PAST We now turn up the three cards in the left column, reading these as the PAST in order to see how the situation has arisen and gain more context. We do this by simply using the past tense in exactly the same sentences: Turn over the first card, saying … “My challenge was …” Interpret this card as a past challenge. Turn over the second card, saying … “However, I had (found) the resource of …” Interpret this card as a past resource. You can also say “This card shows me what I drew upon …” Turn over the third card, saying … “And when I did, I learnt the lesson of …” Interpret this card as a past lesson. THE FUTURE We now turn up the three cards in the right column, reading these as the FUTURE in order to see how the situation has arisen and gain more context.

We do this by now using the future tense in exactly the same sentences: Turn over the first card, saying … “My challenge will turn into …” Interpret this card as a future challenge. Turn over the second card, saying … “However, I will benefit from the resource of …” Interpret this card as a future resource. You can also say “This card shows me what I can draw upon …” Turn over the third card, saying … “And when I do, the outcome will be (or the problem avoided) …” Interpret this card as a future outcome or avoidance of problem. EXAMPLE “My present challenge is how to develop my new work [Three of Pentacles]. I have the resource of experience and knowledge of my subject [King of Swords]. And when I do, I learn the lesson of taking delight in it [Ace of Cups]”. “My challenge was that I was over-active and got into conflict [Knight of Rods/Wands]. However, from that, I can now see I found the resource of exposing ignorance [Devil]. And when I did, I learnt the lesson of making clear-cut decisions [Ace of Swords]”.

“My challenge in the future will be carrying the responsibilities and not being overburdened [Ten of Wands]. However, I will benefit from the resource of direction – being able to delegate and do one thing at

a time [Ace of Wands]. And when I do, the outcome will be success and good leadership [Six of Wands]”. You have now, in your three-week journey, come to understand the twenty-one Principles of Tarot and experience many methods for your practice. There is just one more thing, nothing really, for those of you who wish to take one little leap.


Aim in All Things to Restore the Spiritual Dignity of Tarot.

Remember then, from the very beginning, that this is our spiritual journey. This will never be any different, from the beginning to the end. Extended Commentary We see the tarot as the language of initiation into the Western Esoteric Initiatory System. The teaching of tarot is to provide a symbolism for a sequence of progressive mystical states and ultimately provoke and communicate those states in an accessible manner. The cards, arrayed on the Tree of Life, illustrate the challenges of the quest, the resources of grace and the lessons of the divine.[39]


Practice Skill Not Method We have seen elsewhere in this book that we should practice skills first and methods separately, once we have the skill to conduct the method. In this context, it is good to practice by not doing readings first, but practice making up stories - from the cards. Take three cards out and say: "First, there was [say the SCENE/IMAGE from the first card, like "A man with 10 sticks on his back"] … then this happened ... [say EVENT/ACTION from second card, like "everything got shook up"] … which meant that ... [say the SENSE/LESSON from the third card, like "A decision had to be made" or whatever comes to your mind].

Illus. Ten of Wands, The Tower and the Queen of Swords.

There is a tendency as a beginner to practice something that is being found difficult by practising the method, which just results in frustration. Practice the skill by itself, with no pressure, no rules, no expectations, or performance, and then go back to the method of reading three cards as a standard reading. You may be surprised by what happens.[40]

Prediction The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. - Archilochus (c. 680–645 BC),

When Dan Gardner looked at the accuracy of predictions in his book, Future Babble (2012), he mainly looked at popular media and pundits, concluding that their accuracy was limited and often prone to bias and narrow thinking, amongst other factors. He categorised the lack of accuracy of hedgehogs, who applied one view to predict one outcome, against the foxes, who were wiser with more broad knowledge and awareness of complexity. Interestingly, he also looked at those “foxes” who were far more able to make precise and accurate predictions, proven over time, and found at least three main factors to their success: Aggregation. Meta-Cognition. Humility. These three factors should be borne in mind by Tarosophists; the ability to aggregate - gather - all the cards and nuances in a reading, into a consistent whole. The more the details are aligned, until the whole picture fits, the more accurate the reading. This aggregation should include everything the reader knows about psychology, politics, economics, history, philosophy, and every other experience at their disposal. These sides of their life should not be set aside to become a tarot reader - quite the opposite.

The Tarosophist should also be aware of their own ways of thinking and have a removed assessment and review of their own life, i.e., meta-cognition, which we might more broadly term self-knowledge or self-awareness. This is developed over time and by working on oneself, but also through formal counselling or therapy, which I would encourage all towards at some point in their life and more often than for one period of time. The third quality of humility should be brought to a reading to acknowledge that the reader is not a faultless oracle - unless engaged in an exercise of such nature - but rather brings a curiosity and openness to their reading, alongside the client, viewing it as a map of a journey outside of the map can ever fully explore. With these three attitudes of experience, self-knowledge and humility, developed constantly, the predictive nature of readings takes on a more subtle and, in a way, accurate nature.

Which Card Signifies X? A common question on our social media is in the form of “which card signifies marriage”, or “which card shows someone who has an addiction”, or even, “which cards show most the sort of person likely to leave for another country”. These questions are predicated on a misunderstanding of the multivalent nature of the cards, and the oracular moment. In effect, as we have seen elsewhere in this present book, any card can potentially stand for any event, situation, or person, it is just that certain cards are more (or less) likely to do so. Also, we must note that a wide question can be answered from any number of different approaches, dealing with different aspects of the question. If we asked, “which card signifies a road traffic accident”, we might be tempted to answer, “the Chariot, reversed”. This may seem a fitting and surprisingly easy correspondence - literally, an upturned car. However, the Three of Swords might be a better indication of the precise specificity of the accident; “this card shows an injury, perhaps a broken leg in three places, caused by a car accident which happened because the road was wet with the rain we see in the background of the card”. Further, in conjunction with other cards, it could also be the Three of Cups because someone had been out drinking with their friends, or the Eight of Wands because it was the busy rush hour of traffic all trying to get to the same place at the same time. It could be signified by three cards, or a combination of fifteen cards in a Thoth Tarot reading, or any other variation. The question of which card signifies

something is more useful as a means of testing the reader in their ability to interpret multivalent images, and a test of the deck to see which cards might presently and without context better or lesser signify a particular thing, to that reader at that time. We will consider in the next section which card might signify the losing of a job, in this light.

The Unemployment Card We will now demonstrate how any card might be an “unemployment” card, in the context of the previous section. As we have seen, some cards may more closely tend towards a particular meaning than others, and an interpretation will also depend on the question and context. Having noted that, let us now see how every card can be the “X card”, where in this case, X is potential unemployment. Minor Arcana and Court Cards This card is the “lose your job” card because: Ace of Pentacles - you are about to start at the beginning again. 2 of Pentacles - you cannot juggle your finances and lifestyle anymore. 3 of Pentacles - you need to go learn something new, you have outgrown your job. 4 of Pentacles - you have achieved everything you can here and must move on. 5 of Pentacles - there is only poverty ahead in your current job. 6 of Pentacles - you are not being valued properly and giving to much in this job. 7 of Pentacles - you have put all your hopes in one job and now must change it. 8 of Pentacles - you have worked without reward for too long, they do not appreciate you. 9 of Pentacles - you have been successful but are unhappy and need to fly out to a new job.

10 of Pentacles - you are at the end of the road in this job and must look to a new place. Page of Pentacles - It is time to seek a new way of earning money. Knight of Pentacles - Your current job is a bore, and you can only stay stuck. Queen of Pentacles - A better and more fruitful job awaits you. King of Pentacles - You are already at the top of your game here and must seek other kingdoms.

Ace of Swords - you will lose your job in a sudden cutting of resources and staff. 2 of Swords - there is a decision being made about your job you cannot see, and the tide is changing. 3 of Swords - you are going to be divorced from your job. 4 of Swords - a long extended 'rest break' is on its way from your career. 5 of Swords - someone is plotting against you and you will lose your job. 6 of Swords - time to travel to another job, fast. 7 of Swords - someone is plotting (this time, behind your back) and you will lose your job before you even know it. 8 of Swords - you are bound within this job and will soon be relieved from it. 9 of Swords - prepare for lots of worry and sadness about your lost job and lack of future.

10 of Swords - you will lose your job. It will hurt. Lots. Page of Swords - Start looking for another job. Knight of Swords - You will make a rapid move to another job soon. Queen of Swords - You will be judged and lose your job and must attend interviews. King of Swords - You might make a better boss than your boss when he tells you that you have lost your job. Ace of Cups - you must follow your heart, it will soon take you to a new job, because you are about to lose your job. 2 of Cups - when you lose your job, you will be better in a more equal partnership. 3 of Cups - you will lose your job and take time to celebrate your freedom with others. 4 of Cups -Don't refuse any new offer when you lose your current job soon. 5 of Cups - You will feel very bad when you lose your job. 6 of Cups - Your current job is really weird because you have outgrown it. The man in the background walking away is a secret symbol that you are about to ... lose your job. 7 of Cups - Your current job is unreal and you will lose it soon and have to look at many other options. 8 of Cups - You are about to lose your job. Sad. 9 of Cups - You may feel comfortable in your job, but you are about to lose it through self-satisfaction.

10 of Cups - You will soon be spending all your time with your family. Because you are about to lose your job. Page of Cups - It will come as a complete surprise when you lose your job. Knight of Cups - You will be going on a quest soon because you are about to lose your job. Queen of Cups - Whilst you were not keeping an eye on things, you prepared the ground for losing your job. King of Cups - You are very unsteady in your job and you are trying not to feel it. You will be overwhelmed when you lose your job, despite your armour, because this is the lose your job card. Ace of Wands - Time to strike out on your own because you 2 of Wands - start looking for a new job. 3 of Wands - set your sights on a new job. 4 of Wands - accept any invitation to a new job (because, just in case this isn't clear, you are about to lose your current job). 5 of Wands - there is too much confusion in your current job, no-one can agree, there is chaos, nothing is being done and you will soon lose it. Your job. You are going to lose your job. 6 of Wands - You feel very self-accomplished, but that horse has a secret look to that tells me it is going to throw you which means that you are going to lose your job. 7 of Wands - You have fought to hold your position, but it cannot go on, you will lose your job. 8 of Wands - you will rapidly lose your job and must move on.

9 of Wands - You are going to be pushed out of your job and it will wound you. 10 of Wands - you have carried this job for too long and will soon lose the ability to hold it. Page of Wands - Time for a new job because you are going to lose your job. Knight of Wands - Ride out to new challenges when you lose your job soon. Queen of Wands - Look for new values after you have lost your job, which this card signifies (the black cat is "evil" and brings only misfortune, so it means you will lose your job). King of Wands - You will soon be the boss of yourself - because you will lose your job. Major Arcana Fool - You will lose your job and be free. Magician - You will lose your job because this is a man stood by himself. High Priestess - The oracle herself says you will need to lose your job for spiritual discovery. Empress - There is a new job already waiting for you (she is pregnant with a new child, signifying your new job, anyone can see that). Emperor - New job. A powerful one. Because you are going to lose your current one. In the Spring because this card corresponds to Aries. So, exactly March 20th.

Hierophant - You are going to be sacked. Lovers - You are going to be given a choice in your method of redundancy options. Chariot - You are going to lose your job and move on. Strength - Someone is going to force you into leaving this job. Hermit - You are going to lose your job. Wheel - You are going to lose your job. Justice - You are going to lose your job. Hanged Man - You are going to Death - You will lose your job. Temperance - You will lose your job (and move onto another job). Devil - You will lose your job. Blasted Tower - Definitely, you will lose your job. Star - You must look to a new hope because you will lose your job. Moon - In twenty-eight days, you will lose your job and enter a dark unknown future. Sun - Within the year, you will be "stripped naked" like the child as you lose your job. Last Judgement - You will have to get another job and make a new life. World - It is certain the world awaits you when you are free from the constraints of your current job - which you are about to lose. Which in esotericism brings us back to the Fool, so this is an important part of your journey through the Arcana. You are losing your job, that is.

Free or Fixed When looking at a card, consider where it is free and where it is constrained. Where can it move, where is it fixed? Are there more points free or fixed? What is the difference between those points? This gives a lot more detail from a single card and is powerful when reading it across several cards. Example If we have the Page of Pentacles (Waite-Smith Tarot) in a one-card draw, "What do I need to know about Project X?"

Illus. Page of Pentacles

We can see that; the BELT is FIXED; the COIN is FREE; the FEET are half-FIXED, half-FREE. The Trees are FIXED; the field is halfFIXED, half-FREE. The Hat is half-FIXED, half-FREE. Most importantly, the hands are free. We can read more deeply from that card in terms of our possible avenues of action - our agency. We might first consider that the FIXED BELT is the main point of constraint in this card. We might ask, what have we fastened around ourselves that has bound us? Is it an expectation, a promise, a contract? We can then consider (perhaps with another card, or just considering the situation) how we might loosen that constraint. We might consider too, that our hands are free - what do we want to do with them? If this were part of a three-card reading, we would look at the hands in another card for the answer. We might also look at the half-free/half-fixed aspects of the card; perhaps we just need to wait until the field is fallow or full. We might only fixed to its state at this time. This is one of several ways of looking at a one card reading for greater depth, or when looking at methods to consider several cards together. And, when we think we have read all the detail in a card, look again notice how tight his sleeves are around his wrists. We might say, "Why are you wearing a particular set of clothes to make you look like something, when in fact, it is too tight?" That might be interpreted as another potential constraint; perhaps the person in this reading cannot improve their finances because they are constraining themselves to behave as they think others

expect. Also, some things in the landscape are more fixed than others - the mountains more so than trees, the trees more so than the ploughed field. We can then map those symbols to different areas of the situation; what is the field, that can be waited on a little while to grow? What are the mountains in the situation and is there something positive about their nature, even though they have always been there and will continue to be so in the far future?


Tarot Kihon. The Tarosophy approach to teaching tarot is modelled on the traditional manner in which teaching is conducted in martial arts. There is a far older and richer tradition in such teaching than in cartomancy, and much to be learnt, particularly in the way in which mixed ability and experience classes are taught and the grading of experience and skill. Whilst there is a natural reluctance to grade cartomancy, it is apparent that different people have different experience and skills. It is also of interest that - as in tarot - martial arts have many different types and even traditions within each school, so one form of Karate may have variations to another form. In martial arts, one learns by repetition (kihon) and a graduated set of patterns called Kata - 'forms'. We do this before we even practice the analysis (bunkai) or application (kumite). I love the word "Kumite" because it means 'grappling hands', like the 'shuffling' hands of a tarot practitioner. In Tarosophy, this is how we teach tarot: Kihon is the simple, rapid, but powerful split-deck methods. Kata are the layouts and use of correspondences. Bunkai is the language patterns. Kumite is all the reading methods applied in practice. This may seem at first a little obscure, but it is the fundamental structure of all our unique teaching. Example

As an example of Tarot Kihon, shuffle your deck and split it in two, face-down. Turn face-up the top card on the left. Say "In answer to your question about starting a new business, this card says ..." and then say something quick. Now turn face-up the top card on the right. Say "however ..." and then say something quick from that card. Place the cards to one side and turn up the next card on the left. Say "In answer to your question about starting a new business, this card says ..." and again say something quick. Turn the top card up on the right again, saying "however ..." Keep repeating the process until you can do it for any card combination easily and fluently. You have now experienced a Tarot Kihon, a training method of repetition, which is also a confidence building exercise and an actual method you can use at the table. In the following exercises and skill-building techniques we will explore more practices that serve a variety of purposes.

Connecting Cards I One of the common challenges which is reported by absolute beginners to tarot is connecting cards to weave a story and address the question. This is in part due to faulty teaching which advises a student to learn “one card a day”, installing the idea that cards are separate and deep, which ignores the idea that cards are endlessly deep and better read in relationship to each other, as the universe itself is one whole set of connections. In this exercise, we keep it simple, as it is better to produce exercises which have steps that are difficult to fail and utilise existing skills - or teach those skills prior to their exercise. 1. Take your deck and simply shuffle. 2. Take out three cards and as you do, say out loud the title of each card like so: "Well, it was all a bit [name of first card] until now when it's just …” “[name of middle card]” and it looks likely to …” “[name of third card]". You can add your own voice, stresses, sighs, raised eyebrows or any other body language as fits the cards. Do not be concerned about making any interpretation in this exercise, it is a failsafe exercise that can be performed by anyone who can read the name of each card from the card. Example Cards: Queen of Pentacles + Ace of Swords + Ten of Pentacles.

Illus. Queen of Pentacles, Ace of Swords & Ten of Pentacles. Sentence: "Well, it was all a bit Queen of Pentacles until now when it's just the Ace of Swords and it looks likely to Ten of Pentacles". I felt like saying that very positively, picking up to the third card. My tone changed a bit when I said it a second time, dropping a bit on the Queen of Pentacles. The first time it was more neutral on that card. Pack the cards away and try it again a in a few days, or several times a day or week as you like. You may notice your actual 3-card readings joining up a bit more. We are just using this Kihon, this “drill” to install a language pattern without worrying about the 'interpretation' bit.

Connecting Cards II Once we have practised naming three or more cards in some sort of sentence structure, we can utilise our natural skill at interpreting pictures applied within an oracular sentence. In this variation, practice will help your story-telling flow: Shuffle and take three cards out from your deck. For the first, write (or think of) one action that is shown or suggested by the card, i.e., dancing. For the second, select a situation in life that is suggested, i.e., the home, the workplace, friends, etc. For the third, think of a state of mind or emotion that the card depicts, i.e., separation. Then put the three together in a sentence as follows … “I see you [or “myself”] in these cards [action] in the situation of [situation] which results in [state of mind].” “I see myself in these cards dancing in the situation of work which results in a state of separation”.

Illus. Three of Cups, Ten of Pentacles, Three of Swords. Once we have practised the sentence construction in the present tense, we can also move it into the future. Take three more cards and repeat the same process to come up with another action, situation, and state, and place those three words into the following sentence in the future tense: So, these cards show us that you [or “I”] should [action] to bring about [situation] and gain [state of mind]”.

Illus. Two of Pentacles, Four of Cups, Six of Swords. In these cards I might say: “I see myself in these cards juggling in the workplace, resulting in a feeling of boredom. So, I should take time to myself to bring about travel and gain a new enthusiasm.” And there we have it, a six-card format reading to describe and advise upon any question. The more we practice this, the more

variations we will think upon, until it becomes extremely easy to speak our own voice and tell a story from our cards.

An Interval of Riddles The Tarosophist may find themselves always considering tarot as an endless riddle. Here are six riddles given as an interval, and the reader is encouraged to create their own from the cards.[41]

Riddle 1 I am the Path into the Unknown. I am Imagination but not Spirit. Which card am I?

Riddle 2 I am on my way yet already there. I am swift but not a bird. Which card am I?

Riddle 3 The Cioppino is fresher than I thought. Which card am I?

Riddle 4 I am Change, Unexpected. I am Change, Again. I am Change, Transformation.

I am Change, Hidden. I am Change, Waiting beyond the Fear. Which Five Majors are We?

Riddle 5 If I was a thing, I would be a breath of fresh air. What card am I?

Riddle 6 We'll never get this church built in time. Which two Minor cards are we?

When these riddles were given to readers of our Facebook group, ‘Tarot Professionals’, many readers concurred with their answers however sometimes there was leeway to a couple of riddles.[42] This was notable as it was often a choice between a suggestion of a Major card favoured by some as an answer, or a Minor card by others. In some cases, it was two common answers slit between the same Minor or Court card. This demonstrates the resonance pattern between the Majors, Minors and Court Cards, where a particular "interpretation", "energy" or "meaning" exists in one card from each of those three segments of the deck. A further exercise is then to take any concept and using a split-deck constraint, find the best Major, Minor and Court card to fit that concept. Examples

Freedom: The Fool (Major), the Eight of Wands (Minor) and the Page of Wands (Court). Courage: Strength (Major), Seven of Wands (Minor) and the Knight of Swords (Court).

Random Words To practice your skills of tarot interpretation, it is sometimes better to work backwards rather than forwards. Use a book, dictionary, or online random word generator to select three random words. Then, as quickly as you can, ascribe them as keywords to three Tarot Cards. Example Monotonous + Porter + Vote. We might ascribe those as: Hermit + Chariot + Hierophant. The cards do not have to be Major Arcana, for example: Turret + Airline + Inflated. We can ascribe these as: Blasted Tower + 8 of Wands + 9 of Cups. Once you have practised this several times and can feel confident there is no word in the English language that cannot be roughly assigned to one card or another, add sentence creation to your practice. Simply create a sentence for a reading with the three cards, whether you use the same three words or not. Example Using the first example above: Hermit + Chariot + Hierophant. "Nothing will change as someone in power casts their vote (at work, maybe)". In the second example from above:

Blasted Tower + 8 of Wands + 9 of Cups. "Being secure, the airline raises its prices".[43]

Fire and Fuel In this exercise, we take a six-card triangle reading and view it in two important parts; the fire and the fuel. This is a metaphor for actions that need to be taken, supported by resources that also need to be in place. It is a good practice to ensure that every reading (other than oracular ones or those not requiring this pattern) has both fire and fuel - clearly defined actions coupled with resources which will support and maintain those actions for the client. To visualise and practice this structure, create a six-card reading where the bottom three cards are the fuel for the top three cards. CARD 1: Aim. CARDS 2 + 3: Actions. CARDS 4 + 5 + 6: Resources.

Illus. Six-Card Triangle. This can be conducted as a full-deck or split-deck method, in the latter case using Majors for the Fuel of positions 4 + 5 + 6, and the remaining deck of Minors and Court cards for positions 1 + 2 + 3. The blended deck of Minors and Courts (rather than splitting them into two sets) is used as the aim might be best described as behaving, becoming, or acting like a particular person (Court) or best described as taking on specific actions (Minors) - so we would use both sets.

Example Aim: 3 of Wands. Actions (Fire): Hierophant + Hermit. Resources (Fuel): Queen of Wands + Hanged Man + 3 of Pentacles.

Illus. Six-Card Triangle Example Reading.

Interpretation: Our aim is to build and set our plans in motion, a positive confirmation of the go-ahead of a project. Our actions, on which we must expend our energy, time, resources, and commitment are two-fold; firstly, to seek advice from professionals (Hierophant), and secondly, to remove ourselves from distractions so we can give the project serious and solitary thought (Hermit). In order to maintain this two-fold and likely time-consuming switch between others and ourselves, we are advised to draw on the following for fuel; the Queen of Wands, somebody who is passionate and driven, and can be invited into the project to cheerlead it; the Hanged Man, ensuring that at every stage our own values are met, and we are prepared to make sacrifice as ‘fuel’; and finally, the Three of Pentacles, a plan that is fixed (by the professional with experience) and checked against at regular intervals, reducing stress. In dividing our triangle up into aim, action and resources, or fire and fuel, we practice ensuring that we are always looking into the cards to deliver not only advice, ambition, action steps, but also the resources the client (or ourselves) requires to support those actions and meet their aim.[44]

Two Card Draw This practice exercise, like most in Tarosophy, can also be used as a divination. It is useful to have methods that are extensively used which also provide practice in the core skills of divination, so every reading builds the ability of the reader as well as providing a divination. Conversely, it ensures that no practice is wasted and always applied to life and real-world events. In this exercise, we use a two-card draw to pare down the basic concepts of Tarosophy and practice our ability to link two cards in a combined narrative. This method also obliquely practices a skill useful for Lenormand or Oracle card reading. Take a deck. Shuffle. Pick a card. If it is a Court Card, think of a person. If it is a Major Card, think of a big thing throughout your life. If it is a Minor Card, think of a recent event. Accept whatever thought comes to mind as you look at the card, allowing time for a single thought to repeat itself or stabilise in your mind. Shuffle the deck again, leaving the first card on the table. Pick a second card. Apply the same rules to the second card as the first card.

When you have two separate thoughts for each card, or even as a second thought arises, ask yourself, “What relationship is illustrated between the two cards, if any?” Example We draw the Two of Swords and think immediately of a recent situation where we had been holding back from a decision, but then the tide turned, and the situation was resolved without us having to make any decision. We then draw the Fool and after some thought, settle on the theme of not applying personal responsibility to life and too often taking the easy road.

Illus. Two of Swords & Fool.

We then consider both cards and see that sometimes it is good to know that you need not be responsible, but the responsible choice is to know when to make a decision or when to leave things as they are in a situation, so that it can resolve itself. We are immediately reminded of the song, The Gambler (1978) by Kenny Rogers, with the chorus line of “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em/know when to fold ‘em”. When we look up the lyrics of the song, we find much other relevant advice, smiling in that it is of course, about cards, and a verse that sticks out is “And somewhere in the darkness/The gambler he broke even/But in his final words/I found an ace that I could keep”. We can now see the Two of Swords as a bit of a gamble, particularly with a card like the Fool nearby, and we can also think that the next time the Two of Swords shows up, and we need a decision, we can shuffle the four Aces and take one out to divine what sort of decision will resolve the dilemma and be least risky: Ace of Pentacles, a practical decision that involves us. Ace of Swords, a change of mind that does not outwardly involve us. Ace of Cups, a change of heart that does not outwardly involve us. Ace of Wands, a stand on principle that involves us. We can see in this extension of the original method that now we have more language in which to speak with the cards, and, in this case, a perfect solution for the situations in a reading that come down to whether someone should walk away or stay at the table.

Genre Exercise In this exercise, we continue to work on linking cards in their three types; Majors, Minors and Court cards, by utilising a source with which we are already familiar; novels or films. We can then apply the fictional narratives to our real-world divinations. Take three cards at random from a split-deck, one from each pile. i.e. a Court card, Minor card and Major card. Apply the three cards as illustrations within the same unique genre of narrative, such as a thriller, horror, sci-fi or fantasy, no matter what deck it is. This works especially well as an exercise to choose a genre that is totally opposite the style of deck, such as a chicklit genre to the Thoth, or gothic horror to the Gummy Bears Tarot. Take the Court card as a character, the Minor card as a scene, and the Major card as the theme of that chapter. Example We might draw the King of Cups, Four of Cups and Temperance from the La Corte dei Tarocchi by Anna Maria D'Onofrio (pub. Osvaldo Menegazzi, il Meneghello). We can then Imagine them as the chapter in a Noir Thriller book. We see the King as a policeman, a "copper" (from 'Re di Coppe', perhaps), and he is an established part of the police force; but then that cup looks like it could be a cup of poison - perhaps he is the killer. The Four of Cups, also pulled entirely at random from the Minors, is then a scene where he is attempting to kill four people - perhaps

people with whom he has an emotional issue. We can make it even more noir by assuming they killed his family. The final card, Temperance, is the theme of becoming what you do the angel looks as if it is not enjoying being tempered; so, nothing good comes of it.

We can play about with those ideas, but we do not have to do anything else - it sets up a loosening of our thinking for when we next do a reading - it becomes increasingly easier to apply the cards to a real situation, because we have been stretching ourselves in a specific way by applying cards to a genre outside of their own reality. If we were to apply those cards to a reading, under the same thinking, we might say "There's a guy who has been around a while, but he is offering something that is poisonous to you - take time to think about how it will change you if you accept whatever he is offering".

Creating Keywords Once we have some experience in tarot, we should be able to create quick key-words to utilise any deck, even one with an uncommon structure, renamed (or extra) Suits, or other variation of the standard pattern of tarot. In the example below, using a deck based around the film, Labyrinth (1986, dir. Jim Henson) we see how simple keywords were suggested by the names of the Suits, such as “Owls” being a Suit of “vision”, without forcing the correspondence to the elemental Suits. The numbered Minors bore enough resemblance to a standard one to ten pattern for kabbalistic keywords modified slightly by the theme of the film, such as gifts, temptation, dreaming, fighting, and surrendering. The Court cards were also ascribed keywords to the coming of age phases of life, such as proposing, and as an adult - considering and deciding. The Major arcana were keyed already to the film characters and situations, so would require knowledge of the film to utilise fully. However, they were forced by the deck designer to fit the existing tarot template, such as the Blasted Tower or the Hermit, and these archetypes could be already read as a common pattern. Suits Orbs = Action Owls = Vision Clocks = Time Books = Knowledge Minor Numbers 1 = Plan

2 = Break 3 = Balance 4 = Build 5 = Fight 6 = Surrender 7 = Gift 8 = Take 9 = Dream 10 = Finish Court Ranks Jack = Wait Cavalier = Propose Queen = Consider King = Decide Example Reading Cards: 5 of Orbs + 7 of Owls + 4 of Clocks. Interpretation: Fight in all your actions to gift your vision and it will build over time. We can also practice in reverse, by taking any set of related components and assigning them divinatory meanings, for example, we could make up the Tarot of the Anemoi, based on the Greek deities of the Winds and have four Suits, being Boreas, Zephyrus, Notus and Eurus. The Suit of Boreas, then, would have the attributes of storms, cold and a violent energy, being of the north and winter.

The Ace of Boreas (or Ace of Storms) would be the north pole from which cold winds might come and carry corresponding interpretative meanings. We could then design the other Suits and even imagine what the cards might look like in such a Tarot. The reader is encouraged to consider the observed and established patterns in the world, the great myths, legends, metaphors, fables and stories, and recognising their symbolism as a form of tarot; this is the state of mind described by A. E. Waite when he wrote that the “true tarot is symbolism”.[45] He meant not that the tarot deck is symbolism, but quite the opposite; all symbolism, all the universe, is a tarot - a set of symbols presented to us for our divination and interpretation. We will experience this concept a little further in the next exercise.

Learn to Read the Universe Look around you right now. See if you can see three objects that suggest Tarot cards. Read them as advice for your life in the coming week. This method practices intuition, observation and correspondence, and in particular the link between tarot and real life. Example Soda Can - Ace of Cups. A map on a shelf saying "The World" - The World. A book called The Magus - The Magician. Interpretation: "This week I should remain emotionally open to see the whole picture and the magic within the world". In this method we also practice reading the universe as a constant oracle, without it becoming too overwhelming.

Reversed Cards Practice In this exercise, we play with a pair of reversed cards using pinpointing and bridging. These are the two essential skills of connecting cards and building narrative. As with all Tarosophy exercises, this is both a practice and a method in itself, in addition to installing a useful unconscious or habitual skill. 1. Take your deck and shuffle whilst thinking of a situation where you need new insight. 2. Take out a card, face-up, turning it upside-down if not already reversed. 3. Look at it, and see which single item sticks out most, like a "hat", or "cat" or "wand" or "river". 4. Write or think "The [item] is upside-down..." 5. Select a second card and turn it also up-side down. 6. Look at it and again see which item sticks out the most. 7. Write or think "… so I must upturn the [item]" as you slowly and deliberately turn that second card the right way up. You may get something quite surreal, apparently meaningless, or profoundly oracular. It does not matter as your unconscious will do the work. Leave it be. This method can also surprise you by working better with a deck which is very different to those with which you might usually work, so explore any such different, unfamiliar, or barely used decks in your collection. Example

Cards: Nine of Wands (rev) + Queen of Pentacles (rev).

Illus. Nine of Wands (Rev) & Queen of Pentacles (Rev). Symbols: Tallest pole sticking up + Coin (pentacle). Oracular Sentence: “The tallest pole is upside-down so I must upturn the coin”. Interpretation: When this sentence was said, there was an intuition to say the plural word of “coins” rather than “coin”, so we will take that as an oracular moment. The “tallest pole” was immediately noticeable in the Nine of Wands when upside-down, as it looked almost too big, bigger than the others or that held by the figure, who seemed far less important in the reversed image. The statement of “upturning the coins” and even “the tallest pole” feel as if they do indeed relate to two extremely specific things - a situation where one

thing above all is actually causing impact, and a very definite reversal in the way finances are being utilised. We should resist conscious interpretation and allow this message to sink into our unconscious, which will often seek resolution or closure to this “incomplete yet signalled-as-meaningful and important message” by naturally and powerfully directing our actions and behaviour.

The Man Who Can Read the Clouds The man who can read the clouds and divine thereby will say it is truer to reach to heaven. The man who reads the secrets of fate in rocks will say it truer to touch the earth. The woman who reads others will speak of the truth of the heart and she who reads the lines of the face tells the truth of the body which houses the soul. They who read pictures upon cardboard (in all its various configurations) will tell you that only such symbols truly illustrate all that a person may dream. Perhaps it is only true and most certain that nature is true to the divine and not the diviner always true to nature.

KABBALAH The Kabbalah is a mystical tradition within Judaism and was adopted by esoteric thinkers, particularly the Tree of Life diagram.[46] We have introduced this subject in several other books and in the first Tarosophy but will quickly review it here for ease of reference. One of the main texts of basic Kabbalah is the Sepher Yetzirah, ‘Book of Formation’, which deals with the twenty-two Hebrew letters, their correspondences, and relationships to the divine and to the world. It is upon this text that the corresponds were built to the twenty-two Major Arcana of the Tarot and then the Suits, Minor Arcana and Court cards - in order of the level of direct correspondence. There are many arguments about correct correspondences, but it is really only a discussion about which type of map might be best for the way in which you are travelling. In Tarosophy, we consider the ten cards of each Suit as stages of creation, the four Suits as aspects of the world as it manifests, and the Court cards as levels of energy (worlds) within that manifestation. The twenty-two Major Arcana correspond to the paths or relationships between the manifest world, illustrating how we learn from the world as it arises from the divine and make our return ascent. When we have made these basic correspondences, we can see that the Ten of Cups is the tenth (final) stage in the world of Cups (emotions), so it has concluded – and a new cycle starts. In doing so, when we go on to study Kabbalah, and consider “Malkuth (10) in Briah (Creation)”, we will already know how that is illustrated.

In that sense, the Tarot is an illustration of the same universe as described by Kabbalah. Two maps. Same place. The evidence for the origins of this connection between Kabbalah and Tarot is clear and not at all mysterious or unknown. We have evidence for the origins of Tarot, which originated 1380 - 1440 in Northern Italy depending on which deck we call Tarot or what primary texts we accept as evidence. However it is, the origin and approximate date remains clear, and there is currently no evidence at all for any earlier origin, and certainly not in ancient Egypt. We have relatively clear evidence for the origins of Kabbalah which was first written down c. 2nd Century, again, depending on what we might specify as Kabbalah. We have clear evidence for the first written connection between Tarot and Kabbalah (which could have only come after the 15th Century because Tarot did not exist prior) in 1781, when Antoine Court de Gebelin and Comte de Mellet wrote about the alleged connection (and to Ancient Egypt) in Le Monde Primitif. We then have all the evidence thereafter in which occultists such as Eliphas Levi, Papus, Wirth, and then Mackenzie, Westcott, Woodman and Mathers (Golden Dawn) and then Waite and Crowley all took the connection as meaningful in some way and developed it further. The Kabbalah proves an invaluable tool in Tarosophy on which to map the tarot, and the tarot proves an invaluable tool through which we can illustrate Kabbalah. And ultimately, both are maps of the world, of which tarot - and the letters - are the language by which it is

constructed through correspondence. In our brains, as they create the reality in which we exist. As above, so below.

Illustrating the World We have seen that through magical correspondence is revealed the arcana of the world of concepts. We can take any Hebrew word and find it illustrated by Tarot through simple correspondence, illuminating the patterns beneath thought. The Hebrew language works for this as it is a cipher, symbol, and each letter also a number, amongst other characteristics. We might compose a similar set of correspondences for the English language, but it would not carry the same utility and breadth.[47] We can unveil vast patterns of correspondence with the Majors, such as when we make enquiry into the nature of the World. We take the Hebrew word for ‘world’, which is Olam, as in Tikkun Olam, the repairing of the world to its original estate. This is spelt in full as A’aVLM, Ayin + Vau + Lamed + Mem. We can then make a correspondence of these letters back to our Major Arcana: Ayin: The Devil. Vau: Hierophant. Lamed: Justice. Mem: The Hanged Man. These cards can now be considered as the ‘illustration of the world’ and the pattern that exists just below the surface of the apparent world. It illustrates the material nature of the world through the Devil, and the relationship of the Devil to the Divine. The Hierophant demonstrates the world as a divine teaching, an interface or exemplar of the divine patterns. Justice further explains the

equilibrium or ‘truth’ in which the world is maintained - some might even see in this the law of Karma. The final letter of Mem, corresponding to the Hanged Man, shows the divine nature ‘drowned’ upside down in the matter of the world, but ever-present. This pattern of cards also shows the path of return through the world that we must tread; that we must initiate a complete reversal of our beliefs, learn the patterns of the world, connect to the world as a teaching of the divine, and ultimately face the devil of our ignorance, in order to pass beyond and through the world as it appears on the surface. We can conduct this analysis for every card, every word and every concept, revealing endless patterns of correspondence and teaching in the everyday patterns of letters and words - through which we construct our universe.[48] If we were a teacher who wished to know the deeper level of our role, we could look up the word ‘school’ in Hebrew, which is Bet Sefer meaning literally 'house of books'. In Hebrew characters this is BYTh, Beth + Yod + Tau and SPhR, Samekh + Peh + Resh. By correspondence, these letters correspond to: Beth: Magician. Yod: Hermit. Tau: World. With: Samekh: Temperance. Peh: Tower.

Resh: Sun. We can see that the concept of a school, of education, of learning, is illustrated by the tarot as the meanings of those cards, first for how to build the House of learning: Skills (Magician) + Self-Knowledge (Hermit) + Experience (World) Or: Spoken Instruction (Magician) + Self-Study (Hermit) + Practical Work (World) Leading to the impact of learning or books: Independence (Temperance) + Change (Blasted Tower) + Awareness (Sun) Or: Maturity (Temperance) + Revelation (Blasted Tower) + Confidence (Sun). We can consider these concepts as the pattern and goals of education, of schools and learning, through analysis of their correspondence in Hebrew letters to tarot. The reader is encouraged to take their job, role, their place as a mother or father, sister or brother, any location with which they are having issues, any object or action in life, and analyse it through correspondences, breaking the world down into its fundamental patterns. In doing so, we can better understand and align ourselves to the deeper and divine nature of the world.

Central Pillar Method In this Kabbalistic method, we utilise the fundamental patterns of the Tree of Life as a spread, but with a tarosophical twist - we use splitdeck methods to pre-select a range of cards that best suits our question, resulting in far more precise and direct readings. As ever, this method is only one example of the many that the reader can then discern in the branches of the Tree. Take a question and select a Suit to the context or theme of the situation. Pentacles: Material things, resources, time, money, or health. Swords: Clarity, education, logic, decisions, learning, confusion. Cups: Emotional, relationship, family. Wands: Ambitions, will, values, importance, lifestyle, the big picture, self-development or spirituality. For the Suit you have selected, we further refine it and take out of the deck only the Ace, Six, Nine and Ten of that Suit. Example If it were a job or employment question, particularly involving a financial aspect, we would take the Ace of Pentacles, the Six of Pentacles, the Nine of Pentacles and the Ten of Pentacles. Lay them out as illustrated in the example, in a vertical column, Ace at the top, Ten at the bottom.

Illus. Ace, Six, Nine & Ten of Pentacles in Vertical Column.

What we have laid out is an illustration of the central pillar of the Tree of Life in the most appropriate of the four kabbalistic worlds which concerns our question. We now look at the pictures on those cards. They will tell us: Ace: The crown of your situation. Where it comes from. The absolute thing we really need to get from this question. Six: The beauty of the situation. Where we can find balance in it, where it will all make sense and hold together. Nine: The foundation of the situation. Where, in that particular world - of money, of love, of ambition, of decision - we can find stability and get it fixed. Ten: The kingdom of the situation. How we can act, what we can actually do, where the activity must concentrate to manifest and complete it. Take a moment to look at how those four cards illustrate those things, and if you are using Waite-Smith, a variant, or Thoth, etc., you should see those lessons illustrated to some extent. Other decks may have surprising things to say in their illustration of those numbers. Now for the Kabbalistic Magick. We take a breath, shuffle the rest of the deck, whilst considering the situation and looking at the four cards. When ready, lay out a card from the shuffled deck on each of those four positions - one card on top of the Ace, one on top of the Six, one on the Nine and one card on the Ten.

Those cards can now be read as Universe telling us how to align ourselves to those four essential creative steps; the card on the Ace will show us what to aim for, the card on the Six how to maintain it in a balanced manner, the card on the Nine how to stabilise it and the card on the Ten how to act and manifest. And all four cards will work together because we are reading them to the most powerful map of all creation. Even if we do not know any Kabbalah. In the next section we will look at other potential patterns we can discern on the Tree, particularly regarding the Sephiroth and their balance.

Working with Kabbalah through the Cards We can work with our Major Arcana cards to represent locations on the Tree of Life and resolve imbalances at the highest levels through their divination. The Tree represents a blueprint of existence as it is; perfect and whole. However, from our perspective, flawed and incomplete in our illusionary separation from the whole, the universe may appear far from perfect. In such cases, we can take any of the Major Arcana from their location on the Tree and divine them in terms of their relationship to the divine world; the world represented by the unknowable Sephiroth. As each Arcana illustrates a path between two Sephiroth, we simply draw two cards, one for each of the Sephiroth, and interpret their relationship. Example 1 1. Select out the Strength Card. 2. Shuffle the remaining deck and place one card to the left and one card to the right of Strength. 3. The left card shows you what you have made 'active' in your life that should be passive and constrained. 4. The right card shows you what you have made 'passive' but should be given free expression without bounds. In performing this reading, you will be learning about Geburah and Chesed on the Tree of Life, and their relationship illustrated by the correspondence to the Strength card. Example 2

1. Select out the High Priestess card. 2. Shuffle the remaining deck and place one card above the High Priestess and one card below her. 3. The upper card tells you what divine lesson is being expressed through your life right now. 4. The lower card tells you how to manifest that in your awareness and actions in the world. In performing this reading, you will be learning about Kether and Tiphareth and their relationship illustrated through the High Priestess card. You will also be learning about "intuition" expressed as action in attunement to a recognised divine source.

Applying Kabbalah to a Three Card Reading In this method, called the Tree of Life Locator, we utilise the Tree of Life map by taking the schema of the Four Worlds, the paths and the Sephiroth, upgrading a simple three-card reading to something far more elegant. 1. Take your deck and consider a situation in your life about which you seek a kabbalistic and spiritual perspective to guide your response. 2. Split the deck into three decks; 22 Majors, 56 Minors and 16 Court Cards. Part A. What is actually happening [Court cards]? 1. Take the Court Cards and Shuffle, asking “To which world does this situation actually call me?” 2. Take out one Court Card and consult its rank: King: This situation is coming from the highest world and requires contemplation …. Queen: This situation is coming from the creative world and requires me to create … Knight: This situation is coming from the formative world and requires me to organise … Page: This situation is coming from the world of action and requires me to act … “… with regard to [consult Suit of the Court Card drawn] …” Wands: My ambition.

Cups: My feelings. Swords: My thoughts and plans. Pentacles: My behaviour. Example We pull the Queen of Pentacles, who says, “This situation requires you to create [new] behaviour”. This is a situation that doesn’t require contemplation, planning, or organisation, but actual behaviour, and creative … so, in this case, writing new material, not discussing it, thinking – just writing. So that’s what I do – I was tempted to respond in a particular situation by a longer-term plan, but the time for that may be later; this reading makes me do stuff instead. In using this method, the reader will soon start to dynamically and experientially appreciate the Tree of Life model of the four worlds, and the elements, as they are modelled by the Court Cards. This brings Kabbalah into your everyday activity through the map of Tarot. Part B. What is the actual problem [Minor Arcana]? Take the deck of Minors and shuffle, asking, “What is the state of this situation?” Select one Minor card and consult its number: 1: This situation has only just started and ... 2: This situation is full of energy and … 3: This situation is starting to get stuck in a pattern and … 4: This situation is getting out of control and … 5: This situation is getting constrained and …

6: This situation is being balanced and … 7: This situation is going round in circles and … 8: This situation is being focused and … 9: This situation is establishing a foundation for something and … 10: This situation is finished and … Then consult the Suit of the Minor card and add … Wands: is consuming everything. Swords: is dividing everything. Cups: is splashing over everyone. Pentacles: is costing. Example We draw the 3 of Cups and put together that this situation is getting stuck in a pattern and splashing over everyone. That makes sense, although it brings my attention more to that it is becoming a pattern and affecting others – I need to change my behaviour, which is what people respond to, as indicated by the first card! At least I can see that there is no “cost” in this situation, which was a concern. This method also tells you a lot by excluding the other states and situations, alleviating false concerns. This part of the method teaches you how to use the ten Sephiroth in the four worlds via the correspondences of the elements in a real application. You are seeing here how the ten Sephiroth flow into creation, from the source (Aces/1) to the manifest world (10). In each

of those states are the four worlds again, as the pure divine source flashes down the Tree into the world as we experience it. Part C. In what Activity is the Resolution [Major Arcana]? The Majors are attributed to the 22 “paths” between the 10 Sephiroth, so in effect arise from the activity between them. This is a perfect mapping because it allows us to use them to see what two Sephiroth (aspects of the universe) we really need to balance, resolve, sort, merge, or whatever we have been advised by the previous two parts of this method. Take your 22 Majors, shuffle, and ask, using the words from the previous two card draw, “What activity will bring the most divine outcome to this situation … [use your words here from the previous two cards, in my example, “which requires me to create new behaviour and [was] getting stuck in a pattern and splashing over everyone?”] For each major card, for reference, I have given the numbers of the Sephiroth [i.e., 5-6 is Geburah and Tiphareth] so intermediate students can see which two Sephiroth are being worked with by the corresponding Tarot card on the path between them. I have also repeated the Tree of Life diagram here for ease of reference. Consult the card: 0: Fool [1-2] Doing something new, novel, totally unexpected. But doing it with a leap of faith. 1: Magician [1-3] Get everything together, out where everyone can see it. Exposure.

2: High Priestess [1-6] Withdraw, find your own centre and source. Remind yourself what the point is. 3: Empress [2-3] Weigh up and balance what you are putting in and what you are getting out. That’s it. 4: Emperor [2-6] Look at one particular thing on which to focus all your energy and effort. Do that. 5: Hierophant [2-4] Other people can give you advice to expand from where you are. You need help. 6: Lovers [3-6] Only associate and work with things that are harmonious. Make choices. 7: Chariot [3-5] Use a set plan to rein in what is happening. Stick to the rules. Drive safe. 8: Strength [4-5] This is a card of perfect reconciliation. There is only one working solution. Find it. No grey lines or areas allowed. 9: Hermit [4-6] As you expand, you must keep everything in balance. Take some time off and away from it. Don’t get dragged down below. 10: Wheel of Fortune [4-7] There is an obvious pattern here, again. Do something that changes it. Anything. Take a chance. 11: Justice [5-6] It is up to you – the power is with you. Make the best decision you can, no-one else can. 12: Hanged Man [5-8] You are being asked to raise the stakes. Take a step up, don’t hang around. 13: Death [6-7] Transform. Everything changes, you must accept that and go with it now. You’ve done it before, you’ll do it

again. So, do it now. 14: Temperance [6-9] Everything needs to be in the mix – include everything and everyone, no matter how difficult. 15: Devil [6-8] You must be the bad guy to get what you want, in holding people to their word. Do not allow them to hide in the shadows, stick to what was agreed. 16: Blasted Tower [7-8] There is no simple resolution, let it all fall where it may and get ready to rebuild. 17: Star [7-9] Sticking to what is important, keeping that vision, even through change, wait for a while, and then continue. 18: Moon [7-10] Go back over it and repeat. Repeat again, keep on going on. 19: Sun [8-9] Clarity is what will resolve this situation once and for all, even if it burns someone. 20: Last Judgement [8-10] Decide, shake things up a bit, and call on others to change. You are the one who knocks! 21: World [9-10] Resolution comes from completing everything, take on nothing new, close the doors, and get everything tidied once and for all. It is almost done.

Illus. Tree of Life with Major Arcana Correspondences to Paths. Example

We pull the Hermit, between Chesed and Tiphareth, the Sephirah of Giving and Balancing. I am advised that I need to take a break from being dragged into the situation – the same one I have been told by the previous reading which is splashing over others and requires new behaviour. That behaviour is even more obvious now, given the third card, it is not to engage but to get away – and take time to create new things. That is the course of action I choose, thanks to this method. Also notice (according to kabbalah) that the advice also counsels and suggests not doing the opposite, as that is likely the temptation. As an example, if you had the Magician, you may have tended to try and resolve the situation by keeping secrets, hiding things, not calling someone out on their behaviour. The reader may find this three-card reading a powerful method of applying complex Kabbalah to their life through tarot. And even though it is not necessary, the more you learn Kabbalah, the more powerful this method will prove.


NLP & Tarot Asking about the “most useful” method of NLP in Tarot highlights several methods which are useful.[49] The first one is the approach of “incorporation and utilisation” which I have taken from the pioneering work of Milton Erickson. You can see that I have already “incorporated” the exact phrase used by the question, rather than reword or re-purpose it to my own design; I am going to use “most useful”. Now I am going to utilise it in a demonstration of the very thing I am explaining. This is also NLP – as Richard Bandler said, “We go there first”, we always enter the state first in which we want to move our client. We aim for congruency – in our language, body movements, tonality – everything. A tarot reading gives us a lot of opportunity to do this, as we can adopt the poses and tones of voice suitable to each card, providing non-verbal anchors for each message from each card. Anyhow, back to the point, which is “most useful”. When we say “most” or “least” in a phrase, it generates what is termed a “transderivational” search in the other person, which happens in the unconscious. They must go through a list of all the methods (in this case) to determine the “most” or “least”. Knowing that, the most useful thing to say to a client is “think of the time you were most happy” not “think of a time when you were happy”. Representational Systems

It's interesting from an NLP point of view that a lot of tarot readers say things like, "OK, I will see what the cards say" (a visual representation of hearing something). Some readers say, "the cards just aren't talking to me today" or "I'm not seeing anything in this reading". Other people will say, "I'm getting the strong feeling that this card is telling you to ..."

Everyone has their own unique way of using their representational systems, it's interesting to develop all of them. Another interesting thing is that most people switch their main "system" when they go into an altered state, whether it is a trance or a panic, etc. Someone who changes their state when using divination tools will go from a usually "auditory" person to a very "visual" person, etc.

Incorporate and Utilise In NLP Magick, I introduced the concept of “incorporation and utilisation” from the work of Milton H. Erickson. This attitude allows the practitioner to appreciate all communication as meaningful and that even an apparently resistant response is still a positive response. There is no such thing as not communicating. In Tarosophy, we take this even further in that we perceive the entire universe as a constant flow of communication, divining our state within it as a mode of relationship. In this state of awareness, it is only natural, in fact, inevitable, that we will incorporate our surroundings within a formal divination. We can utilise the arising and spontaneous emergence of events as a constant synchronicity in this oracular state. This includes the apparently mundane events or aspects of a situation, none of which should be ignored. In fact, the entering of this state will often provoke unusual or remarkable events in the surroundings. The natural circumstances can provide a timely and precise spread in answer to an unspoken question. If the client is silent but has spoken about some past event, and there are five worn-in coffee cup stains on the table, we will use them as the pentagram positions of a "The Soul is Stained with Experience" spread to see what old patterns are worn into the soul of the client. The table and the stains become a living metaphor in real-time, using the cards as illustration and interface, allowing deep conversation and change. If we are sat near a quiet staircase, and a client has asked us about motivation, we might use the first three steps of the staircase as a

"Getting Up One Step at a Time" spread, with three cards on each step. This will lead to further discovery and an easy communication of the interpretation, as we all recognise what walking upstairs feels like as a common experience. If our client is sitting on a wobbly chair, we might lay out two cards on each arm, either side of them, and ask them to keep steady whilst we read "The Cards of Gaining Life Balance". If there is a net curtain behind us, we can place one card behind it for the end of the reading as the card which "Unveils the Secret". The World is a Living Oracle. Divine it.

State Generation In NLP, we learn to use conversational language patterns as part of our overall communication.[50] In a client reading, one example of this I would call “framing preamble”. In our opening conversation with the client, if it feels natural and appropriate, we can introduce a range of themes that might come up in the reading. These are general themes that are likely to apply in any reading, rather than anything specific. In a sense, this is the opposite of cold reading; we are setting a framework for the divination to call upon if it further serves the interpretation of the cards. It is also a useful approach because it encourages the reader – as would it an NLP Practitioner – to have a conscious set of “resource states” to hand. In Tarosophy, we might recognise these “resource states” as one of the three contexts for the three-minute learning method, being “resource”, “challenge” and “lesson”. Every card contains a wealth of resources, and it is often such that many readers will pick up on during a reading, when you observe many readings. The Ace of Cups, for example, contains the resources of “spiritual connection”, “deep emotions”, “grace”, “generosity” and so on. The more general themes that we can usefully seed in our preamble include, but are by no means limited to: Change Recovery Healing Openness

Curiosity Determination Positive Thinking Patience To seed these themes in our preamble, we might talk about how fast the weather has changed recently, or how the days are getting lighter – or we are finding more comfort as the evenings draw in during winter. We might even pick up on the smallest thing and amplify it slightly, again, in context, such as “it was good thinking for you to park your car there, it is much cheaper”. We might reply to the client’s initial presentation of their situation or question with stated curiosity and openness, also modelling these states for the client. We might say “that’s really interesting and I’m sure there’s a lot more going on than you can easily say. However, that’s what I find the cards can sometimes surprise me with, when you’re open to them – a new side of the situation or a new solution”. Notice also in that casual sentence a Me/You switch, embedded between the two seed words, which is a form of Ericksonian Language pattern. We might refer to something odd and then explain it, such as a little mystery like "I never knew what was in that shop next door – did you?" which will directly elicit curiosity in the client. Again, we are not planting ideas in the head of the client, we are merely laying out positive resource states that will frame our interpretation of the cards. Of course, the reader might also consider what positive resource states they are best in when conducting a reading, and how they can

move themselves into those states at will.

Rapport Skills A recent study of a range of therapeutic modalities suggested that the type of therapy counted far less to successful outcomes than the relationship between the therapist and the client. In tarot, it is also the relationship we establish between the cards and client’s life that is of utmost importance, and the increasing of congruity, comprehension, and consistency in their consciousness. One way of building rapport - or certainly, not losing it - is by speaking to the client’s own meta-pattern of big picture or little picture. This is sometimes called “big picture thinker” and “detailed thinker”. We can discover which part of that spectrum is natural to the client, and then deliver the reading in a more easily received manner, maintaining rapport. We should discern whether the client likes lots of detail or do they prefer a general overview? Do they get overwhelmed with detail or do they get uneasy with too vague a description? We can tell quite quickly whether someone is "big picture" or "little picture"; listen to how they describe their world or themselves. This works a bit with email enquiries too. Do they tell us about their journey to get to see you in lots of detail? Or do they just say, "It was fine"? We can also watch how they arrange things or their gestures. Do they make lots of small precise gestures, or a few sweeping ones? Often someone who is opposite in their pattern to you (you are "big picture" naturally and they are "little picture") you might find annoying, frustrating, or confusing, or just not "get".

Another way of telling is to watch in the corner of your eye which way they unconsciously move when you put the cards out on the table. If they move slightly back to see the whole layout, they are a "big picture" person, and if they move forwards to look at the cards, they are a "little picture" person - or have poor eyesight, you always need to check in several ways before jumping to a conclusion. Once you know if they are particularly big/little picture, deliver your reading with that in mind - to help them. If they are big picture, use lots of general stories, metaphors, keep providing a summary and overview - don't get lost in detail. If they are little picture, use lists, details, pick out different points in the cards and symbols - they can handle it. When you finish the reading, summarise it in general terms for the big picture person like so "So, overall, there are positive currents when you use the things you have done in the past ..." and for the little picture person, summarise it in a list of precise details like so, "As I mentioned with the Four of Cups and the Fish on the Page of Cups, you will be twice as successful in your business if you take the four creative steps of ..." The best practice for all these skills is listening to people in your life with the concept in your mind. Make an exercise to find someone who is a really big picture thinker and someone who is a really small picture thinker - they may be obvious when you see them in this way. Also ask what are they good at, both approaches, and what not so good? What eases them, what disrupts them? And... which one are you? How can you change your thinking and language to be flexible in both modes?

Impossible Questions In Tarosophy, we adopt the NLP Magick principle of “Incorporate and Utilise”, which itself draws on the approach of psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Milton H. Erickson (1901 - 1980).[51] In the case of incorporation, we accept all communication in a session, be it a hypnotherapy session, counselling session, tarot reading or conversation on a train. Any confusion, conflict, or challenge is simply met as a communication which can be utilised, rather than an obstacle. This approach works to make a tarot reading a far more dynamic and interactive experience for both reader and sitter. It also applies to just about any situation that will ever arise and prompt creative solutions in real-time, rather than a rule-book which cannot answer every possible issue. Sometimes, for example, if we take the whole notion of divination to the extreme, there could well be a totally impossible question presented to us. I am not sure what this might be, but let us presume it could be something such as “how does God(ess) work?” Firstly, if it is impossible to answer, we do not attempt to answer it, but rather we do incorporate it as a useful situation. As we are tarot readers, with the spirit of curiosity that is the hallmark of Tarosophists, we might want to know why the question is impossible to answer. That does sound like a question we can ask our tarot. We draw a few cards, dependent on our usual style. We then interpret them to get an understanding of why the question is impossible to ask or answer through the tarot.

Example Actual Question: “Why is it impossible for the tarot to answer, ‘how does God(ess) work?’ Cards: Judgement card, crossed by the Six of Cups, with a clarifier card of the Five of Swords. Interpretation: To awaken this question, it is as if you are asking a question that can only be understood from a new life. It is blocked by spiritual immaturity and exceeds the boundaries of your expectations.[52] Once we have that answer, we can then further utilise it by continuing to accept (incorporate) the impossibility of an answer, in asking “what can we do (if anything) to make the question possible to answer?” We can then draw one or a few cards dependent on our usual style and interpret the cards as an action we can take, or a new way of thinking about the question. Example Cards: Two of Pentacles crossed by Nine of Cups, a clarifier card of Three of Cups. Interpretation: We must organise the physical practice (Two of Pentacles) of our spiritual life into a more harmonious (Three of Cups) way of celebrating the divine and not just sit on our bench (Nine of Cups) imagining we might be able to ask that question. Then, the answer to making the question possible, requires it to be part of a fully engaged spiritual life, not just a one-off question in the middle of the other stuff of life.

We then set about actually doing the actions as suggested by the reading. We can eventually then satisfy the bounds of the impossible and make something possible. Once we have done so, we might reask the original question in some new light, phrasing or from an entirely different perspective. If we do not understand the answer even from the new perspective, we can ask the tarot a similarly incorporated and gently curious question as to what we can do to understand the answer. Once we get that tarot is a language, we can talk to it about anything.

Defusing a Bomb When we might have issues interpretating Court cards in a reading, particularly when they are buried in the middle of a spread, we can often get more information by taking the cards to an extreme. As we might be having issues interpreting their characters, behaviour, nature or even energy, rather than trying to take that limited knowledge to an extreme, we take a situation they could be in to an extreme. In fiction writing, it is sometimes said that a character is best revealed by their reactions to challenges rather than simply a description of their traits. And of course, a narrative is best constructed by constantly providing increasing challenges to your protagonist. If we take an extreme situation and drop our somewhat uninspired, insipid or sketched-out characters, into the middle of it, we often discover a lot more about them than we might have guessed. My personal go-to situation is posed as a simple question, particularly when it is a pair of Court cards: How would they defuse a ticking bomb with only moments to go? This is from a real reading where I was struggling to get a lot of detail about how a Court card representing the client and another Court card had come up, representing a work colleague, regarding a project which had a tight deadline. I simply made the situation a bit more extreme so I could dig more detail out of the two Court cards. If the question had been "is X the right partner for me?", we might look at the two Court card(s) in a reading, and say instead, "How

would these two investigators work out if Mr. Normal is the serial killer or not?" When we have answered that question, it will throw more light on the way in which the client will work with their prospective partner, whether they go into crime-fighting or otherwise! A question about a work project with a one-card draw producing a difficult-to-read Court Card becomes "We have a month before global disaster, what does this Court card invent that no-one has considered, to save the day?" We always make the scenario ludicrously extreme so we can test the character and draw out what we already unconsciously know about ‘that sort of person’ who is a Knight of Wands, and how they would react coupled with a Queen of Cups in a plunging elevator. That is the first trick with this technique of extreme thinking, then there is a twist. If we take any truculent or recurring question, we can conduct a reading by using a split-deck of just the Court cards, drawing out one or two cards. We then turn the question into a dramatic scenario and resolve it in some fictional or narrative manner with the court card or cards. Then we simply wait a few days without attempting to read the Court card in any more detail or as an answer to the actual question. We have already processed the answer unconsciously, by "chunking it up" to an extreme - the actual solution to our question often then arrives naturally and suddenly in our conscious mind after a few days. It may also come to us upon wakening, in a weird synchronicity or in a dream - it is quite a magical technique.

Sometimes it may even come as a weird change in the situation or event that you could not have possibly influenced. This NLP-based practice will also help you practice the ‘extreme’ exercise skill which will kick in unconsciously whenever court cards come up in a reading or any spread. Our best Tarosophy exercises install new patterns in our unconscious, which it will often take on board as easily as a new habit.

Dreams and Tarot In Tarosophy we take a generally Jungian approach to dreams, particularly inspired by the work of James A. Hall M.D.[53] Characters in dreams are either a part of oneself that is consciously recognisable, in the case of a known person in the dream, i.e., our mother, a friend, or Taylor Swift, etc., or, if it is an unknown person, i.e., “a young woman wearing a black dress” then it represents a part of oneself that is unconscious. In either case, if they relate to tarot cards, they will also arise in the same field as our dreams, so there is a universal message being relayed.[54] The action, role or place of the card/person in your dream will indicate their function within your psyche and how that may be projecting out into the world, both in events, and in your readings when the same card appears. There is a lesson to be learnt from that card, and its place in your overall life – particularly if it is a Major Arcana. If it is a Court card, it is an opportunity to develop a part of yourself that perhaps has been placed into a “shadow” aspect and is being projected (and strangely attracted) into your life circumstances. There is no division between cards, dream, and reality; they are all merely aspects of our relationship to divinity. This much we can learn each time they coincide with each other.[55]

Tarot Talismans The twenty-two Major Arcana of the Tarot are illustrations of archetypes, or fundamental patterns and forces that project the world and in turn, are projected by us back into the world. As a result, they can be powerful communication tools in a reading and serve as a profound magical tool to generate change in our reality. One of the simplest ways in which we can utilise the Arcana as a magical tool is by creating a talisman. These talismans are somewhat like sigils but are designed to be a long-standing and constant energy rather than a sharp burst of intent to achieve some immediate result. As it is often “lust of result” that gets in the way of magical acts, we can go some way to remove this by stacking tarot cards in a talisman. This helps us submerge the initial intent in layers of symbolism, freeing us from obsessing upon the result and allowing us to concentrate on the pure will, “unassuaged of purpose”.[56] Creating a Talisman We first select two Major Arcana cards that serve our purpose; that embody the nature of the change we wish to bring about. In this example case, we are going to look at protective talismans. Protective talismans are a good exercise for beginners as they are “passive” in a sense and serve to protect only the caster but can also bring about noticeable positive consequences. If we were in a situation where someone was misusing their authority against us, for example, we might select the Magician and the

Hierophant. One is about control and power, the other is about authority and respect. Another example might be the Blasted Tower and the Devil card; together they would create a talisman which protected you from sudden shocks – shocks which might result in being chained to something unwanted in your life. A third example might be to create a talisman protecting your family, which would be the Empress and the Emperor, perhaps, for balance too, or the Empress and the Sun, for better luck. Suggested Talismanic Powers of the Major Arcana Fool: Freedom, Choice, Liberation, Space to Breath. Magician: Chance to Speak, Success, Accomplishment. High Priestess: Protection from Ill Speaking, Keeping under the Radar. Empress: Family Protection, Growth of all Projects and Work. Emperor: Power, Energy, Authority, Recognition, Control. Hierophant: Courage of your own Commitments, Attracting Experts. Lovers: Love, Choice, Passion. Chariot: Victory, Triumph over Odds. Strength: Strength, Courage. Hermit: Simplification, Clarity, Leadership (with Emperor). Wheel: Good Luck, Revolution, Change of Fortune, Finances. Justice: Fair Play, Balance, Resolution of Work/Life Split. Hanged Man: Exposure of what is Hidden.

Death: Change, Letting Go of Old Habits, etc. Temperance: Grace, Favour, Divine Guidance. Devil: Pleasure, Facing Your Shadow, Fearlessness. Blasted Tower: Acceleration, Sudden Change, Clearing the Air. Star: Ideas, Inspiration, making your own future, following of a vision. Moon: A talisman to encourage divinatory dreams. Sun: A talisman to bring success. Last Judgement: A talisman for entering a new life, stepping into a new job, etc. World: Binding, Finishing and Starting Anew, general protection. To create a Tarot Talisman, select two appropriate cards, choose a specific symbol from each, and draw them together or on top of each other, such as a lightning flash and a chain for the Blasted Tower and the Devil. Draw them how you feel is most appropriate. In the case of the Empress and the Sun, the talisman might be a sheaf of wheat and a sun symbol. Then seal the talisman with a third Major Arcana card, which should be chosen to represent the strength or resources available to you already, no matter how weak or small. This is the Tarosophy tweak with talismans, in that we have found it best to always leverage your current situation and amplify the archetypal patterns from where you are presently. This avoids merely trying to create a talisman (or sigil) that is entirely constructed of future components, and not at all grounded or earthed in anything of the present.[57]

If you are unsure, choose the Strength card. Another example would be that if you had already some amount of time available to you, you could choose the Wheel of Fortune, or if you had expert advice already to hand, the Hierophant. You can choose a card already used within the pair of cards if it is appropriate, simply choose the same - or a different - symbol from the same card. Next draw a shape around the two central symbols using a symbol from the third card. In the case of the Wheel, simply draw a Wheel in a circle around the symbols. In the case of the Hierophant, perhaps a triangle of Keys or a Circle of Crosses. Use the symbol most fitting to you and in the shape that conveys most protection. Using Your Talisman Place your talisman under your pillow, in your garage, car, pocket or at your place of work, etc., wherever most appropriate for the talisman to function. Those with an esoteric background or training might utilise other means of activating or charging the talisman to most effect. Those with astrological background might choose a specific time to create the talisman. Those drawn to colour and correspondences might choose specific colours. Those with knowledge of numerology or divine architecture might choose a specific number of symbols to draw as a seal on the talisman.

Those experienced in ceremony and ritual might use the talisman itself to inspire a whole ceremony or unique ritual. Those skilled with oils and incenses can blend a particular and corresponding scent. Those who work with pantheons can select out the appropriate and corresponding deities to bless the talisman, such as Zeus (Wheel) and Hestia (Empress). Have the talisman active in whatever chosen manner for a specific period, i.e., a lunar month or until the threat has passed. Whatever happens, destroy the talisman after a set period. You do not want to remain attached to an outworn protection. To destroy the talisman, burn it or bury it, throw it in a river or cut it into pieces and fling it into the air, depending on the elemental nature of the two Major Arcana chosen for the talisman. Experiment, play, and discover combinations that work for you.


Reading the Majors (A 32-Day Course) A student of Tarosophy is encouraged to learn to read using only the twenty-two Major Arcana. Ideally, we should be able to conduct a spread such as the Celtic Cross using the Majors and reversals, and divine from these cards not only the thematic patterns but also granular detail and practical advice in the situation.[58] With just a few Major Arcana we can often get to the heart of any situation and discover the lesson we are being encouraged to learn from the challenge of the situation – and what resources are best employed to meet that challenge and learn that lesson.[59] This makes the Major-only reading a very direct and practical approach, although it is often said that tarot cannot do this in comparison to Lenormand, for example. The methods we give in this book for Majors-Only readings can also be usefully employed with a Tarot de Marseille (TdM) deck or one of the readers preferred Majors-Only Deck - I have provided a brief outline of some of my own favourite Majors-Only decks at the conclusion of this book. We can consider that Major Arcana cards are nexus points, placeholders of patterns, somewhat like the junctions that turn roads into journeys. They work together to illustrate that our experience is a series of relationships, which create the specific journey – a “Fool’s Journey” if you like – of each individual. It is not only what happens to us that creates the journey but how we respond to it.[60] 1. Take the twenty-two Majors out of your deck or use a Majors-only deck. 2. Shuffle whilst thinking of the situation or question. 3. Take the top card and the bottom card of the pile. 4. Place them side-to-side, the bottom card on the left, the top to the right. 5. Say to yourself, “Everything is going from [name of left card] towards [name of right card]”. We might say, “Everything is going from the Tower to the Sun” or “Everything is going from the Devil to the Hermit”. That may already give you some idea of the situation, but do not try to interpret the cards. As these two cards are describing the flow of the tide, we now need to know what to do. With the Majors we may not immediately get a “straight” answer, we get something we must learn, in the face of a challenge by drawing on implied resources. We take it that we are never given more than with we which can deal.

6. To discover the lesson, shuffle the remaining twenty cards whilst considering the two-card sentence. 7. Pick out one card from those twenty cards from anywhere in the stack and place it above the two cards already laid out. 8. Say “In order that [or “so that”] I can recognise [name of card]”. We might say, “In order that I can recognise the Chariot” or “In order that I can recognise the World”. In our example, then, we might have “Everything is going from the Tower to the Sun so that I can recognise the Chariot”. 9. Now we can simply interpret that oracular utterance straight from our reaction to the images, use our normal reading experience, or even look up key-words and replace them in the sentences: “Everything is going from sudden change to expansion so that I can recognise my own direction”. (or) “Everything is going from shock to growth so that I can recognise limits”. Every interpretation will likely work because the Major cards are images of big patterns and particular junctions. Also, we all naturally have been taught to learn lessons in this way, from our parents, peers and education; "learn to stick up for yourself", "learn patience, save your money", and so on. Now it is time to learn f