Ritual Tarot

The tarot cards I am using this month are The New Dawn Ritual Tarot. The deck is based on the traditional teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It touted itself as the tarot deck of the 1990s (it was published in 1991), and was geared toward people who wanted to get back to the basics of Ceremonial Magick.

I’ve waited this long to use this particular deck because the cards never appealed to me. The cards themselves seem to be cardboard without any sort of slick coating to make them easy to shuffle and deal, which is bad enough, but the designs are also off-putting. Still, I have the cards as well as an oversize 230-page book, so I figured I should at least try to learn something from this particular tarot. So far, the only thing I’ve learned is that my original assessment holds true: these cards don’t at all appeal to me.

As for the book, it gives the history of the tarot, an account of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an examination of the principles of the Qabalah (an ancient mystical system that more or less parallels the tarot), and explains a variety of rituals and divination procedures specifically “designed for magickal work with the Tarot.”

Mostly, the book describes in great detail each card, telling us what we are seeing (though why they need to point out the red and yellow and black parts of a card when the colors are obvious even to the most disinterested person, I don’t know). The book also describes what each part of the card signifies, how the card relates to the Qabalah, what the cards significance is to the earth and the solar system. Two pages to describe a card, but when it comes to discussing the meaning of the card itself, all they can come up with is a brief phrase. In other words, that huge book says nothing more what the booklet that came with the cards says.

I suppose for those who are deep into the mystique of the tarot, all the intricacies of the card are important, and perhaps someday I will be interested enough to delve further into the cards, but for now, all I need to know is what they mean.

Today’s cards are the six of pentacles, which means “success and gain in material undertakings,” and the ten of swords, which means “ruin, defeat, disruption.” An interesting combination, right? The cards seem to negate each other, though I suppose it could also mean that I will find some sort of success today followed immediately the ruination of that success. Or . . . something.

I’m still searching for a tarot deck that speaks to me, one that I might care to learn about its intricacies beyond the few divinatory words that usually pertain to the cards, but this is not such a deck.

***

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7 Responses to “Ritual Tarot”

  1. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    I don’t care for this deck either. I’m too set in my ways to stop using the Thoth deck.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I’m not too keen on the designs, either. Also, I know quite a few people, including my father, who would be surprised to hear Kabbalah has parallels to Tarot (it’s originally Jewish in nature). I’ll have to ask him about that the next time we talk about that.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The tarot people borrowed the Qabalah (the tree of life) as well as a lot of other Jewish symbols and numbers for some unknown reason. I still haven’t figured that one out. The only thing I can think of is that some group somewhere along the line decided to mix all sorts of mystical systems and symbols into the tarot. Oddly, I even had a Qabalah tarot deck.


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