A Moment’s Reflection

I have now completed my detailed instructional material for the cards of the Major Arcana. In going back over it, I realized just how much of a personal connection I’ve made with them over the last four decades, and how seriously I’ve taken Aleister Crowley’s advice to heart regarding the best approach to the cards:

(The student) “cannot reach any true appreciation of them without observing their behavior over a long period; he can only come to an understanding of the Tarot through experience. It will not be sufficient for him to intensify his studies of the cards as objective things; he must use them; he must live with them. They, too, must live with him. A card is not isolated from its fellows. The reactions of the cards, their interplay with each other, must be built into the very life of the student.”

Crowley considered the cards to be “living beings” (not human but semi-intelligent natural forces), and in another place said “It is for the student to build these living stones into his living Temple.”  I’ve always viewed them from that angle, mainly as psychoactive agents within the subconscious realm of projective cognizance (that is, innate awareness of, and subliminal intervention in, one’s destiny – or, as the New Age cliché has it, “you make your own reality”). They speak clearly to those who have ears to hear. Although I intended to  follow an entirely predictive model for my definitions and observations, my enthusiasm for Crowley’s visionary mysticism and razor-sharp intelligence led me astray more often then not. This hopefully produced a set of useful pragmatic insights with a profound sheen of  esoteric allure that is not too daunting for the novice. In a small way, I also attempted to showcase the interaction between pairs of cards in their natural habitat, in both a dualistic and incremental sense. The goal was to suggest how one segues into the next without covering every single instance of transitional handoff. I will dismiss the implied obligation by citing another breezy Crowleyism: “It is very important as a mental exercise to work out for oneself these correspondences” between the characteristic behavior of one card and that of the next.”

Next I will move on to the court cards, using this earlier tabulation of all the pertinent keywords and descriptive phrases (Crowley’s “moral characteristics”) in Part Three of the Book of Thoth as my starting point and inspiration:


2 thoughts on “A Moment’s Reflection

  1. There is a shift in the paradigm. Everyone is preparing for the next … evolution. The revolution…
    Thank you for sharing your insights. They have been very illuminating. And it’s funny. The shift. The change. All the we once were… we’re all different now. We’re leaving behind our legacy for the next lot of… gods? Whatever, who ever wherever… just sprinkling our seeds and hoping they grow…
    Thank you for contribution to the collective. Thank you, for everything you’ve done. Your life’s work. Your great work is not yet done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been thinking about why I’m bothering to do this. It’s more than just a brain-dump of everything I’ve learned through study and practice. Partly, I think it’s to counter some of the more bizarre interpretations that have come out of the purely intuitive approach to reading the cards. My methods are largely knowledge-based, with a wash of free-association that enlivens the reading and takes the hard edge off the analytical rigor of my style. Mostly, though, I think it’s the pleasure of writing about something I truly love and appreciate that inspires me. It doesn’t even matter if nobody reads my words.


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