Tarot as a Tool
The Tarot is a tool, which can be used to produce more exalted states of conscious awareness, as a means for achieving spiritual, mental and psychic expansion, for greater realization and knowledge in Light. Like all true systems of occult development, the Tarot represents a Way of Self-Initiation. It is designed to induce in the aspirant certain definite states of consciousness, which lead to greater self-awareness. The aspirant uses the Atu of Thoth to initiate himself into the Mysteries of the Ageless Wisdom; for they are keys to the Inner Sanctuary of the Universal Knowledge. Tarot is one of the most remarkable and effective of all the magical methods for initiating oneself into the Supreme Knowledge of the Gods, and it inevitably leads one to the Holy Sanctuary of Eternal Wisdom, where WoMan is immortalized in his/her soul.
The twenty-two Atu of Thoth are forces of archetypal existence in the subconscious mind of WoMan. They are microcosmic and subjective. By experiencing each of these inner forces, in their various modes of psychological expression, we can extend our conscious empires of knowledge and experience and thus obtain greater progress in our dynamic endeavor to participate in the grand scheme of divine evolution. The Tarot is, to all intents and purposes, a book of Self-Initiation, that is, a method and means of realizing by oneself the essential wisdom of one's True Self without the guidance of a visible teacher, but by way of an invisible teacher who is, in fact, the One Teacher of which every visible teacher is only a symbol.
Tarot symbolically describes the Alchemical Operation of Self-Transformation. The twenty-two Atu of Thoth represent particular stages in the performance and accomplishment of the Magnum Opus or Great Work of Alchemy. They represent stages in what is called the "process of individuation" in the field of Psychology. They can be used by the Magician as symbols of the individual steps to be taken in the spiritual growth of his/her consciousness and in the inner initiation of his/her soul. For each Atu is an Alchemical Revelation of the Great Work of Self-Initiation, and represents one of the essential stages in the Way of the soul's progress and attainment.
If we work with the Atus and Paths in the proper manner up the Tree of Life, as a Way of Self-Initiation, we can produce those states of mind, which are required for the development of the Universal Consciousness. In this case we start with the Serpent's Tail at the place of Atu XXI and the Path of Tav on the bottom of the Tree of Life, and we end at the Serpent's Head at the place of Atu 0 and the Path of Aleph at the top of the Tree. In other words, we commence our journey from Malkuth (Below) and we end in Kether (Above). Malkuth is earth, our natural place of habitation. Kether is the Spirit, our transcendent home of spiritual existence. If we ascend upward to Kether, it is the same as saying that we become one with God or the Universal Consciousness. This is certainly an endeavor of great significance and is the goal of all who seek to evolve spiritually and psychologically. The twenty-two Atu and Paths of the Tree of Life are a good means for accomplishing this high goal, for they are doors to the Palace of the Infinite; and the Royal Serpent of Initiation which ascends the Tree of Life is the Sole Guide to that Ineffable Splendor of the Gods. The Way of the Serpent embraces within its coils the twenty-two Paths and it ascends from Tav to Aleph. It represents the Path of the Magician, and it is called The Way of Initiation. The Serpent itself is Nechushtan, a symbol of Initiation. The twenty-two Atu and Paths of the Tree are the various modes of the essence of this Serpent Force. In the Eastern Science of Yoga, this Serpent Force is called the Kundalini.
The Major Arcana of Tarot can also be used as a tool to elucidate upon Qabalistic Mysteries. For example, let us consider the Hebrew letter Shin, which is the letter of Path 31 on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This letter is composed of three Hebrew Vavs, so that its true number is 666, which is the most sacred number of Our Lord the Sun. In Magick, it is the sacred letter of the God Set. Translated qabalistically, the number 666 is Mem, Samekh and Vav. The particular Tarot Atu of Thoth that correspond with these particular Hebrew letters are the Hanged Man, Art and the Hierophant. The numbers of these Tarot Atu of Thoth are 12 (Hanged Man), 14 (Art), and 5 (Hierophant). Now 12+14+5 = 31, the number of the God AL. Therefore, according to this Tarot scheme, in the letter Shin is concealed the God AL. 31 is also the number of LA, a Hebrew word meaning "Not." In the Science of the Qabalah, there is a system called Gematria, which affirms that any two words having the same numerical value are descriptions of each other or of a single idea. AL and LA are key words of Liber Legis (The Book of the Law) and 31 is the key number of the same.
Also observe that Set in Hebrew is spelled Shin-Teth. Now the Atu of Thoth that corresponds with the letter Shin is The Aeon and the Atu of Thoth that corresponds with the letter Teth is Lust. The number of The Aeon is 20 and the number of Lust is 11. 20+11 = 31. So by our Holy Qabalah, Set and AL are descriptions of a single Force. The Tarot once again shines its sublime light on the Mysteries! It is most remarkable in its wondrous powers to illumine the minds of the initiates. The initiate can apply the Major Arcana of Tarot in innumerable ways to attain innumerable insights into the innumerable Mysteries of the Universe.
Tarot is most commonly used as a tool for divination. As the 78 Cards represent the various forces in Nature, they can be used to divine the future and determine past and present influences. Through proper understanding of the various forces that the cards represent, they can be applied to any situation to understand unknown influences and factors or to learn future influences. Although it is a fact of supreme importance that only a true initiate can divine with Tarot, it is also a fact of common knowledge that many who are not initiates can use Tarot to divine events with incredible accuracy. This is due to the universal nature of Tarot; it can awaken in any person the various psychic forces of their subconscious minds. It does not matter in what land they are, what language they speak, or what religion they might practice. Tarot can speak to all; it is a book of universal symbols, which are understood by the inner minds of all; and it can influence and awaken in all the inner forces of their psyches.
But to properly divine with Tarot is to exercise divinity; it should be a sacramental act, a religious experience, a uniting of the mind with Universal Truths by way of occult symbolism and numbers. It should awaken creative insight and intuitive realization, bringing the self to a point of understanding its present relation with itself and its environment, and how best it may create its future in accordance with the conditions of its present. It should not be viewed as a simple means of foretelling future events; it should be viewed as a sacred means of exercising divinity, of helping us to evolve in the divine consciousness of MEZLA. By the Divine Influence of MEZLA we are able to truly divine with Tarot, thus only a true initiate may do so in the light of the fact that he is one with MEZLA, the Spirit of the Highest Unity. To divine means to communicate with one's God. To exercise divinity is to be united with divinity; to be united with divinity is to be one with divinity; and this is the work of the initiate.
Consider these important words by Eliphas Levi concerning the Art of Divination: "One of the privileges which belong to the initiate of the Great Arcanum, and that which sums them all, is Divination. According to the vulgar comprehension of the term, to divine signifies to conjecture what is unknown, but its true sense is ineffable in its sublimity. To divine (divinare) is to exercise divinity."
Moreover, the French Magus declared: "The Tarot, that miraculous work which inspired all the sacred books of antiquity, is the most perfect instrument of divination, by reason of the analogical precision of its figures and numbers. It can be employed with complete confidence. Its oracles are always rigorously true, at least in a certain sense, and even when it predicts nothing it reveals secret things and gives the most wise counsel to its querents."
Aleister Crowley, who proclaimed himself to be the reincarnation of the Magus Eliphas Levi, stated the following concerning Tarot and Divination: "The 78 symbols of the Tarot are admirably balanced and combined. They are adequate to all demands made upon them; each symbol is not only mathematically precise, but possesses an artistic significance that helps the diviner to understand them by stimulating his aesthetic perceptions. The Master Therion finds the Tarot is infallible in material questions. The successive operations describe the course of events with astonishing wealth of detail, and the judgements are reliable in all respects. But a proper divination means at least two hours hard work, even by the improved method developed by Him from the traditions of initiates. Any attempt to shorten the proceedings leads to disappointment; furthermore, the symbols do not lend themselves readily to the solution of spiritual questions."
Furthermore, the Master Therion declared: "Divination of any kind is improper in matters directly concerning the Great Work itself. In the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel, the Adept is possessed of all he can possibly need. To consult any other is to insult one's Angel. Moreover, it is to abandon the only person who really knows, and really cares, in favor of one who by the nature of the case, must be ignorant of the essence of the matter -- one whose interest in it is not more (at the best) than that of a well-meaning stranger. It should go without saying that until the Magician has attained to the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel he is liable to endless deceptions. He does not know Himself; how can he explain his business to others? How can those others, though they do their best for him, aid in anything but trifles? One must therefore be prepared for disappointment at every stage until one attains to adeptship."
There are various methods of performing a divination with Tarot. The most common is the so-called Celtic Method, which is actually a development from the Renaissance. This is a most simple method and is a very suitable means for obtaining insight into the past, present and future. There is also the Tree of Life Method, in which ten cards are laid down in the arrangement of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This is also a most satisfactory method. There is also the Golden Dawn Method, which is much more complex and in depth than most methods used. And there are other methods, some extremely simple and others more complex.
Before all divinations proper, let the Magician perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or the Ritual of the Star Ruby (Liber XXV), and a purification and consecration to detach him/herself from his/her personality and increase the sensitivity of his/her intuitive faculties. Then let him/her take hold of his/her cards in the left hand. In the right hand let him/her hold the wand over them, and say: "I invoke thee, IAO, that thou wilt send HRU, 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 I may obtain true knowledge of hidden things. To the glory of thine Ineffable Name. Amen." When the Divination is complete, let the Magician duly perform a License to Depart, as in Chapter XVII of "Magick in Theory and Practice", by Aleister Crowley. Then let him/her perform another Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or the Ritual of the Star Ruby (Liber XXV).
The Royal Road
The Tarot is designed in such a manner to allow the aspirant to travel a Royal Road of Self-Initiation. In this case, there are twenty-two steps symbolized by the twenty-two Atu of Thoth and the twenty-two Paths of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Each Atu or Path is experienced in consciousness and assimilated into the very fiber of one's being. By this direct process of identification with each Atu and Path, the aspirant inevitably attains the goal of the divine life, which is symbolized by the Crown of Light, in the highest sphere of the Universal Mind.
At this point in our lesson, I would like to communicate a brief account of particular magical events which occurred before and during my journey on the Royal Road of Self-Initiation, to demonstrate how the Tarot has influenced the whole of my life as a Way to the Crown of Attainment. Not only has Tarot been the foundation of my magical career, but also the Wisdom of Tarot is the basis of most of the Order teaching, and all is contained therein. This may seem a far-fetched statement to some of you, but when you consider the fact that Tarot is not only the Book of Life, but also the Book of Initiation, it shall become quite evident to you how true this statement is.
I am of the opinion that there is a definite link between those experiences in my life which occurred before and during my journey on the Royal Road of Self-Initiation. When I commenced my journey, by working the process of interpreting the events of my life in accordance with a particular Atu and Path, I realized that I had already been on that Path for the whole of my life and that it was only then that I was taking a real step forward in the process of initiation, by the significant realization of my true place in the universal scheme as indicated by the Atu of Thoth.
My family introduced me to the Tarot at a very early age. However, I did not begin to fathom its mysteries until the age of fourteen, when a friend of mine gave to me a Tarot deck, which I immediately experienced a magical affinity for. I began to take it to school and I would literally meditate in silence upon its symbols, knowing in some way that it was affecting my consciousness. Then one night, at the age of 15, a friend and I were divining with my Tarot Cards and successively, at random, we picked out the four Minor Arcana cards which are numbered four. The most amazing part about it all is that after picking the first card, I said that it would be interesting if we picked another card also with the number four on it, and it happened. I again said the same thing for the next card, and again it worked. Again it happened, and we were looking at all four Minor Arcana cards numbered four in the Tarot.
This event aroused my curiosity in understanding the Tarot. I bought my first book by Aleister Crowley, that is, the Book of Thoth, and with it I bought the Tarot of Thoth. When I brought them home, however, a vain and foolish man told me that I should not read any books by Aleister Crowley and he lent me a book called "The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages." I attempted to read and understand both books, but to no avail, for I was not educated enough at this time in my life to read or write a proper sentence due to an extremely poor education. Yet, as I shall demonstrate, the Spirit of Tarot helped me in such manner to surmount my difficulty and I was able to reach a point in my life where I was able to educate myself and mature in my mental and moral nature. Let us progress with our account.
It was at the age of five that I had my first occult experience. The location was Los Angeles, which is also the place of my birth. I was standing on top of a staircase eating a bowl of cereal when, all of a sudden, I experienced an awesome sensation as though I was falling rapidly from the Sky and I was sure that I would land on earth and die. But I landed safely on the bottom of the staircase, not as a human body, but rather as a Body of Light. All of a sudden I realized that I was in another body as well as in my physical body. With this realization came the direct perception that even though I was in two bodies simultaneously, I had but one consciousness or self. I was looking with my astral eyes at my physical body on top of the staircase at the same time that I was looking with my physical eyes at my Astral Body on the bottom of the staircase. My consciousness was one, but in two bodies simultaneously. After this quick realization, I assumed full physical consciousness again.
At the age of seven, I was confronted with the Spirit World; and by experiences that developed later in my life, I am able to say with complete confidence that such a phenomenon as this was not a product of a little child's wild imagination; it was the product of many past lives in which I have been directly involved with the Spirit World, and I was only experiencing what was already second nature to me. I met with my first Spirit and He remained with me for at least two months thereafter. He often spoke with me and told me things about myself from the past; but I could never really understand Him; and whatever He told me always seemed irrelevant to me anyway since all I wanted to do was play with Him. His image was always male in form, never anything else. I remember that I always wanted to reform His shape into something small, like a little man of some type; but I would always end in frustration, since the Spirit would never change his original shape, which was very difficult for me to perceive, as though a thick veil surrounded Him. I believe this is why I always sought to transmute His image in my imagination, so that I could make Him into something that I could perceive as physically real, to play with Him, but always to no avail.
When I first met this Spirit from the Beyond, He remained with me for a long time. However, every other occasion I saw Him was always short and sweet, like ten minutes at the most. I was very frightened when I first saw Him, but there was a deep feeling of inner security, which I could never really understand. His last appearance occurred when I was sleeping in bed, and when I was awakened by a Thunderous Voice that said my name, and I saw a very dark and indescribable figure standing next to me looking down upon me and laughing. I was terribly frightened by the event. It has been a recurring image all through my life, a thought for eternity.
At the age of eight, I realized once more that I was not alone; I knew by instinct that there were many Spirits with me. With this realization came the perception that They could communicate to me and raise my arms and hands in the air if I so willed it. I then attempted the act of allowing them to raise my arms and hands in the air, and my perception proved correct; for my arms and hands were raised high above my head, and a great Electrical Sensation covered my whole body. Within a short time after this I started writing actual invocations to Spirits on paper, as though I was already versed in Magick.
At the age of ten, I presented my first lecture on the Occult in my sixth grade classroom. I received an "A" insofar as the grade for my presentation was concerned, but all my friends thought I was a liar and a fool, and I was presented for the first time with the living facts of persecution. However, I continued to communicate with the Spirits. It was also at this age that I awoke one night from a Vision in which I was communicating with the Spirits in a Temple of some sort. I actually perceived images of Them. I do not remember what They said to me, but whatever They did say was very important for my inner mind to grasp. I do remember, however, that when They did speak to me it was in the form of symbols, which my mind interpreted into words. It was all very spontaneous and extraordinary.
At the age of eleven, my communication with the Spirits was growing more intense. I realized that They were like an Invisible Brotherhood of some type; and that I was related to them in some strange manner, which I could not grasp at all. At this age I was also seeing a revolving Wheel in my mind's eye before going to sleep. This experience lasted for a long time, for at least two months or more.
At the age of fourteen, I had a tremendous dream that radically changed my way of viewing life. It was my first nightmare; but also my first real prophecy. In this dream a World War was at hand in which the yellow people of the East were conquering all of the nations. This was all occurring on the night of Christmas Eve. All was total chaos; it was the worst feeling that I ever encountered. The first thing I remember is receiving a telephone call in this dream, and it was my Grandfather. He communicated with me for awhile and then asked me if he could talk to my Mother. As I advanced to tell my Mother that he was on the telephone, I realized that he was dead. I did not tell her knowing this fact. Instead I went back into my room which was being invaded by machine-gun bullets and a giant chain saw. Warplanes were everywhere outside bombing the whole neighborhood. At about this point a man walked into my room and showed me a mark on his wrist, and said: "Put this on your wrist, and you will have Peace." I then awoke completely frightened. I was totally numb and cold; I was not the same, for the impact of the dream was more tremendous than anything I had ever experienced up to that point in my life.
After calming down I went back to sleep, and sure enough I had the same type of dream in another form. This time the scenery was outside, and a friend and I were running for our lives. The Oriental people were again conquering the world. I awoke again, but with a deeper sense of horror. All of this was so alarming to me that I contemplated death; but I perceived an Inner Voice say that I was here on earth to teach the Children of Light, and that I must live. This I did not understand at all, but it convinced me to remain in my body, for I knew intuitively that it was a truth of some unusual type that was uttered by my inner Spirit. A few months after I experienced the above dreams, a friend of mine gave to me a Tarot Deck and I began to analyze its symbolism. I was fascinated, especially by the Wheel of the Tarot, which I had experienced before in my mind's eye, and its Guardian Kerubs.
At the age of sixteen, I was inspired by the Spirit of Tarot to commence a journey, to begin a Way of Life that I was in no manner consciously familiar with. I knew nothing of the Qabalah or Tree of Life, yet I knew intuitively that the Tarot was a Way of some type for me to follow. I took my chances, and I started what has come to be a much used system of Self-Initiation among members of the Order. On December 22, 1980 e.v., I bound myself in blood to the Great Work. I took a formal Oath, without any knowledge of what an Oath was. I was entirely dependent on intuition to guide me in my ways. And it worked! During the experience of my first path, I was inspired to educate myself. Fortunately, some neighbors across the street were conducting a garage sale and they had books on Yoga, Tarot, the Qabalah, Philosophy, Math, and other subjects of importance. I purchased them all and I obtained a large Collegiate Dictionary, which I began to study and memorize, and gradually I was able to comprehend parts of "The Book of Thoth" and "The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages". As I continued to go from one Path to the next, I was gradually refining and enhancing my mental and moral nature, and I was able to regain my balance and intelligence which had been so clouded due to an extremely difficult upbringing. I also obtained a copy of The Book of the Law at this age and I was completely fascinated by its magical content. It was at this age that I also witnessed one evening a flash of Red Light in the air immediately after calling upon Our Lord Pan to heal me of an overwhelming illness which was gone by the following morning.
At the age of seventeen, I began to see glimpses of my True Will and I began to realize that I was one of the four Cherubim, but I did not understand the nature of this realization. Soon after this, visions of Angels came to me, and I was told by the Angels that I would soon see Flashing Lights in the sky. And sure enough, one night a vast Flash of Light, like a comet, appeared unto me while I was reading a book. I was greatly puzzled! Many more of these Flashing Lights appeared unto me after I convinced myself that I was seeing things, but they were much smaller in form. I did not know what to make out of any of this; I thought that it was a terrible illusion of some type, and that my mind was playing dirty tricks on me. I was not on drugs, and I was not enduring any extreme mental difficulty at this time. Some months later I invoked Horus, and a vast figure appeared unto me, and we were united as One. Shortly after this I obtained a copy of book 777 and other Qabalistic Writings by Aleister Crowley.
At this age I also met an authentic psychic of some sort who told me that I was "one of the four" (a Cherub?), after I had already realized that my True Will was to be just that. She confirmed my Inner Vision, and I never told her a single thing about me. She also told me other things, which I never communicated to anyone. During the whole of the remarkable session with this woman, I remained in total silence. At the end of the divination session she asked me if there was anything else that she could do for me. My only response was for her to tell me anything of further importance. She then proclaimed, "Yes, you are one of the four!"
Later I met with another woman in a public library who noticed that I had a copy of book 777. She introduced herself to me and invited me to her home, and during the course of our conversation at her home she said that she would like to give me a Yi King reading. I agreed; and I asked the question whether or not I should devote myself to Magick. The forty-fourth Hexagram was obtained; and she said that whatever I asked was destined to be. It is only now that I understand this event; for the number forty-four is the sacred number of Horus, and I was born 44 minutes in the Sign of the Eagle (Phoenix) on October 24, 1964 e.v. The Eagle is the Kerubic Hawk, and is a symbol of Horus. Moreover, the Eagle is the Kerubic Emblem of the new Golden Dawn, of the Rising of the New Sun of Liberty. In the Holy Book of Quartus Kerub, received by my own hand in the year 1988 e.v., it is proclaimed: "The Ox has been slain upon the Altar of the aeons; and an Eagle has arisen from the ashes of the sacrifice."
At the age of eighteen, I obtained my first copies of Magick in Theory and Practice, Book 4, Magick Without Tears, The Law is for All, the Holy Books of Thelema, and other books of supreme importance. I determined to devote myself headlong into meditation and study. I remained in total isolation for most of this age, having only two friends and seeing very few people. During this stage of my life, I was enduring a great mental ordeal about my own Will. I wanted to know in detail who and what and why I was. I devoted myself to the quest of discovering the truth of my own True Will, and I eventually came to rename myself David Cherubim (Beloved Kerubim). I also attained the knowledge of my True Name. This name is Quartus Kerub, and it is the True Name of the Man that I am, for it defines and affirms my Magical and Universal Will as a Man. The sacred image of Quartus Kerub (Fourth Cherub) is the Eagle. It is this Name which became my Motto of magical aspiration in the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis), which I joined on 16 June, 1985 e.v. (Note: I officially resigned from the O.T.O. on 4 December, 1994 e.v.) Quartus Kerub is also a formula, from a more interior point of view, of my inevitable function as a Magus in this Aeon of Horus. This Holy Name is a symbol of the Logos, both Solar and Supernal. It is the mystical foursquare name referred to in Liber Legis, II: 78.
At the age of nineteen, after reading for many hours "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie", by Eliphas Levi, and then lying down to rest my brain, I saw with my own eyes a pair of eyes without a head or body looking directly at me. I also met with a person who intuitively perceived that I was into Magick and the Occult. He approached me by asking me if I was into Metaphysics. When I told him that I was not, but rather was I into something more along the lines of the Occult, he then asked me if I was a reader of books by Aleister Crowley. He sort of caught me off guard, since most people would not talk about the Beast. I asserted that I did read his books, and he casually invited me for a cup of coffee. He later introduced me to the Ordo Templi Orientis in Los Angeles, and I attended my first O.T.O. Gnostic Mass.
At the age of twenty, I started teaching Magick Classes at a place called the Psychic Eye Bookshop and I joined the O.T.O. after failing in an attempt to contact Israel Regardie concerning the Golden Dawn. Shortly after this, I met a very odd psychic. When I approached him to talk with him for the first time he made the Sign of the Cross on my breast, and told me that I was from the Order of the Golden Dawn. He then said that we had met before in the fourteenth century during a political problem of some type in an Ancient Fraternity, and that the same condition would be recurring in this lifetime, but in a different manner. He then continued his conversation with me by saying that I was a mad man in my past life during which I was also a mountain climber and a drug addict. There were no links possible for this man to have any idea who I was in this life, let alone in a possible past life. I met him due to the fact that a stranger told me about him and that I should go and see him in action. He worked at a nightclub in Sherman Oaks, and I went to this nightclub with a lady friend one evening. We volunteered to write our names on a sheet of paper, which we then folded and put into a container of some sort. There was a large crowd of people and the psychic was performing acts that were highly questionable, until he started picking the folded sheets out of the container. He picked up my folded sheet of paper and attempted to say my name, which he succeeded in doing, and then he predicted a major event in my life that immediately came to pass. After a short time, some rude and drunk people in the crowd started screaming that he was a phony, and he soon left stage. But we followed and approached him, perceiving his authenticity, and that is when he made the Sign of the Cross on my breast and told me I was from the Order of the Golden Dawn. The odd thing is that I did not become a member of the Golden Dawn until five years later. At the time I thought him a possible charlatan, and then one evening a lady friend and I were on the road at 2 am, and we decided to get a bite to eat. We went to a restaurant in another city; and lo and behold! when we entered the restaurant there was the psychic chap having some coffee with his daughter. We sat down with him and he then gave the Sign of Pan, and said, "Some people think I am a phony, but I once told this guy the amount of money he had in his pocket and he realized that I was for real." Shortly after this peculiar proclamation of his, he then left the restaurant and I went to pay my bill. When I pulled out the money from my pocket, I had the exact amount that he proclaimed!
At the age of twenty-one, I completed the Tarot Paths on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. For five years I traversed the Royal Road of Tarot, going from one path to the next, completing the circle at the age of twenty-one. Through this I was fortified in my soul, mind and body with the Ageless Wisdom, and I attained a New Life. It was not an easy road, especially toward the final stages of its completion, but the reward is perpetual progress. The Way of Initiation is beset with ordeals no matter how one may approach the Great Work; and he who attempts to evade an ordeal is unworthy of the title "initiate." Toward the end of the Road, as symbolized by the Atu of Thoth, I was stripped naked of everything in my life. When I completed the work, I was forced by my own inner nature to start from scratch and build a whole new life for myself. This I did, with complete devotion to the Way of the Wise, and I began to seriously dedicate myself to Magick and writing about the Great Work, almost as if the Spirit of Thoth had incarnated in my flesh.
So, we may conclude, the Tarot is evidently the foundation of my knowledge and experience in Magick, and thus it is in one sense the foundation of most of the Order teaching, since the Order is mainly a development of my own sweat and blood. In this respect, may you consider the following words by Eliphas Levi: "All secrets of the Qabalah and Magic, all mysteries of the elder world, all sciences of the patriarchs, all historical traditions of primeval times, are enclosed in the Hieroglyphical Book of Thoth." Moreover: "Without the Tarot, the Magic of the ancients is a closed book, and it is impossible to penetrate any of the great mysteries of the Qabalah."
I shall now do best by recommending to members of the Order, who thirst for more knowledge concerning the Tarot, and who would like to expand upon their understanding of this Ageless Wisdom, the following books to add to their precious library:
The Book of Thoth, by Aleister Crowley
Tarot Divination, by Aleister Crowley
The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, by Paul Foster Case
The Book of Tokens, by Paul Foster Case
The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, by Paul Foster Case
Highlights of Tarot, by Paul Foster Case
The Qabalistic Tarot, by Robert Wang
The Tarot, by Mouni Sadhu
Before we end this lesson, let us all meditate upon the following words from Chapter 78 of The Book of Lies, by Aleister Crowley.
The Great Wheel of Samsara.
The Wheel of the Law. [Dhamma.]
The Wheel of the Tarot.
The Wheel of the Heavens.
The Wheel of Life.
All these Wheels be one; yet of all these the Wheel of TARO alone
avails thee consciously.
Meditate long and broad and deep, O man, upon this Wheel,
revolving it in thy mind!
Be this thy task, to see how each card springs necessarily from each
other card, even in due order from The Fool unto The Ten of
Then, when thou know'st the Wheel of Destiny complete, may'st
thou perceive THAT Will which moved it first. [There is no
first or last.]
And lo! thou art past through the Abyss.
Here ends our Thelemic Golden Dawn lesson on the Divine Science of the Tarot. May the Holy Influence of MEZLA descend upon you all. And may each of you be guided and fortified by your higher aspirations to attain the Ageless Wisdom, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, and Perfect Happiness.
Love is the law, love under will.