The trumps struck me as the most impressive, although I confess I thought the art-work was a bit ordinary. Nevertheless this is still my default deck today, the one which I most use for doing readings. One has to remember that for 19 years from until , this was the closest thing to a Golden Dawn type deck that was publicly available. In many ways this would be an ideal deck, due to its bold artwork courtesy of Lady Frieda Harris and its wealth of symbolism which is all authentic … from a Thelemic point of view.
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The trumps struck me as the most impressive, although I confess I thought the art-work was a bit ordinary. Nevertheless this is still my default deck today, the one which I most use for doing readings.
One has to remember that for 19 years from until , this was the closest thing to a Golden Dawn type deck that was publicly available. In many ways this would be an ideal deck, due to its bold artwork courtesy of Lady Frieda Harris and its wealth of symbolism which is all authentic … from a Thelemic point of view. Essentially Crowley took the GD symbolism, right down to the particular colours appropriate to each card — and augmented it with ideas derived from his own visionary work, e.
Hence, whilst it is mostly GD-ish, and undoubtedly superb for actual Thelemites, a GD purist would need to be wary of this. It is not based upon the traditional Tarot format at all: instead, each card represents a portion of the Enochian Watchtowers and the Tablet of Union. Meanwhile, the reverse of each card instead of having a uniform backing has elemental symbolism corresponding to the Enochian associations on the obverse side which can be used in skrying.
The meanings of the individual cards take a bit of getting used to, although there is a logic to the general scheme which is based on GD teachings.
This has given me an idea — about how an Adept might incorporate this into ceremonial magick. When performing a divination with this deck, typically there will be one card which points to the solution of a given problem. What I find most appealing is that the creators of this deck have based the artwork on Greek mythology.
Hence: the suit of Cups is the story of Cupid and Psyche; Wands is the story of Jason and the Argonauts; whilst the characters in the Major Arcana are identified as Greek gods and goddesses. This is a visually appealing deck because, like the Rider Waite one, all 78 cards are fully illustrated. Also it is refreshing to see a deck which goes with an original idea for a change which comes off successfully.
Of all the Tarot decks which are available, the ones that particularly interest me are those created by Occultists — as opposed to the many which appear to be novelty decks, or created by people with only a superficial understanding of the subject. I suppose it was thus inevitable that I would seek out the Builders of the Adytum, given that it was designed by not only an occultist but by an actual Tarot scholar, Paul Foster Case.
The thing about the BOTA deck is that it comes uncoloured: the point being that as a student learns about the Tarot, they use their own knowledge of the esoteric associations of colour to colour it in themselves.
So I cheated. The unfortunate fact, I am ashamed to say, is that a full set of scans of the entire BOTA deck is available via bit-torrent and certain P2P clients.
The trumps feature a lot of lurid artwork — dragons, monsters, scantily-clad buxom women, etc — which only vaguely references traditional tarot imagery. Meanwhile the accompanying booklet puts a Vama-marga Tantric spin on interpretation of the cards.
I first acquired this when a dear friend of mine was getting rid of her spare tarot decks, so I just happened to pick this up. Ironically, the same friend later received a present — another copy of the Black Tarot.
Hmm seems to me this must be more than coincidence — perhaps the universe is trying to tell her something???
Enochian Skrying Tarot
The two tarots are related and share the same numbering and elemental correspondences, but differ in detail and symbolism. The face of these cards shows the deck known as the Enochian Watchtower Tarot. Instead of having a pretty back design, these card backs also have another Tarot system - the Western Tattvas Tarot. Physically, the cards are smallish, similar in size to normal playing cards.
The Golden Dawn Enochian Skrying Tarot (kit)
Golden Dawn Enochian Skrying Tarot