Been working with the Tarot lately.
Firstly I’ve been working with the Tarot as a magic(k)al system via the Golden Dawn way of working. It’s a fairly easy way of working ritual, beneficial to anyone interested in a Western Hermetic form of magic(k). At the heart of using the Tarot for magic(k) is the manipulation of
Elemental and Astrological symbolism built within the Tarot trumps. Like most ritual magic(k) these energies are called upon and raised via visualization, and through a syncrhronization between Mage and object(in this system that being the Tarot) this results in the focused direction of Will.
Because of the Elemental nature of Golden Dawn based magic(k)the Mage is asked to work within the confines of quadratic magic(k)al operation. That means that an altar is constructed utilizing the Aces of every suit each representing the fundamental framework of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Upon this altar the Magician places the object (A Tarot card) that is the goal of the rite and around the Magician circle the 12 Astrological signs of the Zodiac embodied within the Greater Arcana of
the Tarot. So as in all Magic(k)al operations the Magician becomes the focus of the entire universe in that moment – The heavens above symbolized by the Zodiac and that which is below and within via the Elemental altar and the Magician him/herself.
I decided to take up this Tarot form of working after having put down Enochian. I had been wanting to experiment with a Western Occult form of magic(k) and learning. Enochian was far to complicated/christianized/hierachical/expensive for me to play with…so using the Tarot and delving into its symbology along with learning a bit more about Golden Dawn symbolism fit the bill.
Secondly, I’ve been becoming more familiar with the Tarot in general. The Tarot embodies a story and I’m using decks that draw on the idea that that story is mythic and universal. My main deck is the LOTR deck primarily because of its mythological relevance; it tells a story, and each card represents a stage of that universal life story. Also I’ve been constructing and using regular playing card decks that hold the ideals of myth and story that I like to explore with Tarot.
When doing readings for others I feel the cards should not only have meaning for me, but should be identifiable by the Querent. If I’m using a Rider-Waite deck will the Querent understand the five of wands…probably not. But if I’m using a deck that carries symbolism that our culture readily understands through our shared mythos of movies, TV characters, or children’s fables perhaps the Querent will be able to add to what I bring as a reader.
So, I’m working on obtaining and constructing decks that remove the mystical from the Tarot and allow Querents to better understand the message of the Tarot through the common mythology of modern stories. Tarot, and any form of divination, does not need to be weighted down with esoteric gobbledygook, its merely a tool that helps people understand the present and how that present shifts into the future – it’s not inherently magic(k)al, special, or spiritual – it certainly can be given those connotations, but it doesn’t need them in order to be functional.