Tarot, Tea and Armageddon

In this article, we step in for tea with Florence Farr and W. B. Yeats in 1895, to find ourselves at the dawn of Armageddon.

It started as ever, with a chance coincidence. Who would have thought that a book purchased a generation ago, left on a house shelf, for me to find, would have contained a rare quote about the very man I was researching? There are way too many synchronicities occurring with our Waite-Trinick project. Whilst I was researching Wilfred Pippet for the project I discovered on my bookshelves at home a book about Thomas Wright of Olney, for whom Pippet had a connection and illustrated his work. In fact, Wright wrote in that very book that Pippet was very reliable – and hence perhaps why he was chosen to pick up one of the Tarot illustrations for Waite via H. M. Duncan.

[box type=”info”] We also have a wonderful picture by Pippet of St. David in Every Childs Picture Book of Saints which bears an uncanny resemblance to his depictions of Da’ath and the Emperor in the Waite-Trinick Tarot images. We do wonder what he was told of his work, being a Catholic craftsman.[/box]

Anyhow, within this book I saw in passing an entirely unconnected mention of the letters of Bernard Shaw to Florence Farr. I knew that Farr was a member of the Golden Dawn and an astonishing woman and teacher but I thought little else of the mention.

That same evening I was trawling through Oxfam online, which often sells little gems of books. I was surprised to see a copy of a book of Shaw’s letters to Farr, edited by Clifford Bax, and saw that it contained letters from W. B. Yeats, another Golden Dawn initiate, also – for sale at our local town Oxfam! As ever one thing leads to another! The following day I went down and purchased the book, which is the 1946 first edition.

Letters to Florence Farr

Letters to Florence Farr

There are many interesting letters here. In one of the letters from W.B Yeats to Florence Farr, he writes:

My dear SSDD [Farr’s magical motto in the Golden Dawn] has the magical Armageddon begun at last? I notice that the “Freeman’s Journal” the only Irish paper I have seen has an article from its London correspondent announcing inevitable war and backing it up with excellent argument from the character of Cleveland. The war would fulfil the prophets and especially a prophetic vision I had long ago with the Mather’s [i.e. Moina and Macgregor, one of the three co-founders of the Golden Dawn], and so far be for the glory of God but what a dusk of the nations it would be? For surely it would drag in half the world. What have your divinations said or have they said anything? When will you be in town next? Come and see me on Monday and have tea and perhaps divine for the Armageddon?

This letter was written in about December 1895, possibly in regard to the “Venezeula Crisis” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venezuela_Crisis_of_1895) and just nineteen years before the outbreak of the first world war. It is a chilling thought that Yeats and Farr would have been having tea, performing Tarot readings and discussing Armageddon on the dawn of what would become such an apocalypse.

I was talking to Marcus about this at our daily project meeting, and he mentioned a series of novels by Clive Barker called Abarat. This features a culture that uses a form of Tarot for divination, called Abaratian Tarot – which has 88 cards.

In the latest book, the Abaratian populace live in a world that is facing impending doom. However, their powers of divination are not serving them:

As is true of all prophets, the prediction merchants of the Abarat were egotistical and combative, contemptuous of any other seers besides themselves. The fact that each of them worked in radically different ways to achieve their results only intensified the antagonism. One might see signs of futurity in the eighty-eight cards of the Abaratian tarot; another found his own vision of tomorrow in the dung of the yutter goats that grazed the golden fields of Gnomon; while a third, having witnessed the way the music of Noncian reed pipe had induced the lunatics in a madhouse on Huffaker to dance, had then discovered evidence of how the future would unfold in the footprints the patients had left in the sand.

Thus, separated by their own methodologies and by a dangerous sense of their own importance, none of the soothsayers ever compared their predictions with those of others. Had they done so they would have discovered that each of them – however unlike their methods – was receiving the same news. Bad news. A darkness was coming.

(Abarat, Clive Barker, p. 155)

It struck me, reading both Yeats letter and this extract from Barker, that when we read Tarot we rarely compare our readings. There is no such thing as an “Oracular Watch” on the world, with a crack team of diviners acting as a radar on the future – and warning us if we are coming close to disaster, or even Armageddon.

And even if there was – what would we do about it?

One of the fascinating avenues that is not included in the finished Waite-Trinick book is something I read in the work of Charles Williams, a member of Waite’s F.R.C. and accomplished author. Whilst we cover his use of Tarot in his novel, The Greater Trumps, and its relation to the Greater Symbols of the Paths (or not), his work on co-inherence proved equally interesting.

This is the doctrine that in the same way that Christ took on the sins of the World each of us cannot redeem ourselves but is in a position to redeem others. Williams asserted that we do this by taking on the pains and the trials of our close friends – this is a part of co-inherence called substituted love. A general sharing of tasks on behalf of others is simply called exchange.

In fact it is known that Williams established a small group for this practice over a long period of time called the ‘Companions of the Co-inherence’.


Is this co-inherence something that we do as Tarot readers or is that somewhat of a Messianic statement? Are we actually being self–serving when we just read for others, rather than reading for the world? Is it that between these two poles every Tarot reading and divination exists?

Now Marcus once asked what it would mean if one day everybody woke up and no Tarot reading worked, no I-ching reading applied to the situation or question, no oracle could be found to have any application to real life. What a great way to start a novel! I guess for some people it is like that already.

Turning that on its head, supposing that tomorrow we all woke up and every Tarot reading started to mean the same thing – a broadcast signal across all channels blocking out our local communication. This is the situation that Barker describes in Abarat. Would we, unlike the Abaratian “prediction merchants” put aside our “vanities and self-importance” and avoid tragedy by sharing our divinations, by co-inhering with others?

Or will Armageddon come upon us – whilst we sip tea and read Tarot?




A Historic Day in Tarot

A Historic Day in Tarot

The British Museum, following our payment for photography from the funding drive, has now made available for viewing our commissioned photographs from the Great Symbols of the Paths album by J. B. Trinick and Wilfred Pippet. As we pledged, these divine Tarot images, hidden for almost a century and lying forgotten in the British Museum since 1973 are now made available for the benefit of all private researchers and interested parties.

This historic discovery and event has been made entirely possible by the research work of Tali Goodwin and the funding support of 100 people, who will be named in our forthcoming book, Abiding in the Sanctuary.

Please note that these are not the entirety of images – the BM are still photographing several images missing from those taken to date – nor do they include the text within the album which is subject to known copyright.

You are encouraged to view the images, however, you must strictly observe that these remain © Trustees of the British Museum, and must not be used on websites, etc., without appropriate permissions and licensing.

Also note that these are not the “final” coloured versions which are housed in private collection, and photographs of which will be included in addition to these images and other photographs in Abiding in the Sanctuary. We look forward to providing the full set, commentary, correspondences and other research & photography supporting the images.

We would again like to thank all those who have donated to the project to realise this first stage of our ambition. You have provided the Tarot community the greatest of services.

Tali Goodwin & Marcus Katz

Waite Trinick Tarot – 5

Est Una Sola Res

Our funding drive, which completed yesterday, raised $6,413 towards our target of $15,000. We estimate that with photography, licensing and publication costs (and additional research trips, expenses and conference presentations which were all entirely self-funded) the total budget of this project has reached approximately $20,000. Myself and Marcus Katz have covered, and will cover, any difference between this amount and the funding raised, from our own pockets. This will obviously have a massive impact on our income over the next year, but we know that this event is worth a lifetime of work, so it is not too big a price.

The final photography has now been completed and added to those photographs already from private collections and we are laying out the book at present – an exciting and daunting task. Here’s what will be included:

32 full colour full page images

23 black and white half-page plates

13-15 black and white full page images

3-8 colour full page images (additional)

These images are of the Great Symbols themselves, numbering 22 (corresponding to the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot) + 1 (Da’ath) in colour and b&w; plus many original variant illustrations and sketches of the same in both colour and b&w; plus 22 + 1 plates (the finished b&w versions); plus supplementary photographs relating to those involved in the production of the images.

There will also be a preface, introduction, biographies (featuring new information on A. E. Waite, Pippet and Trinick), text for each image and a commentary on their correspondences to the Tree of Life by Marcus Katz. Our sponsors will all be listed with their websites (if they wish) and there will also be a limited edition bookmark with one of the images and the names of sponsors.

The book will be 8” x 10” and printed on high quality lustre paper in hardback with dustjacket. We estimate that it will be 120pp.

We are looking to price the book very fairly, and estimate at present a price of £55 + postage. We have also decided that to thank all those contributing, however much their amount, the book will be available to all sponsors at a discount rate (say, £45 + postage if the standard price is £55 + postage). We will confirm price & availability shortly as we are waiting on a few final photographs which may change the page total over a publishing price-break.

The book will be produced in limited edition in accord with our licensing agreement and will have a guest scholar preface. We believe this book will be a collector’s item and an essential piece of Tarot history and look forward to presenting it prior to Christmas 2011.

Tali Goodwin

Waite Trinick Tarot – 4


The Work of Wilfred Pippet

As we reach a third of our funding requirement, with only two weeks remaining to maintain our schedule, we would like to share another piece of the extensive research we have been conducting over the last year into the story of the Waite-Trinick Tarot images. We would appreciate your continued support in the publishing project – you can make any small contribution at our Funding Site and become part of Tarot history in the process – and please widely share links to my Tarot Speakeasy for the whole story!

We have today received a mockup of the finished book, just using our draft photographs, and it is looking fine – at 8”x10” it is a medium-sized ‘coffee table’ book and the colour images look great. We’ve got some important final research material arriving this week which will confirm (or otherwise) two important discoveries; one in Waite’s life and the other in Trinicks.

In this blog posting, I’d like to talk about one of the other interesting figures involved in the production of the Waite-Trinick Tarot images, Wilfred Pippet (1873 – 1946) who was 44 at the time he designed two of the images which became part of the finished set of plates. How he intersected with the images – as he may not have been a member of Waite’s “Fellowship of the Rosy Cross” (FRC) – is fascinating.

There is a record from Waite that he was unsatisfied with Trinick’s first two attempts of an image for “Da’ath” on the Tree of Life, so he had one of his members, a “Frater Vocatus” to ask one of his engravers artists to carry out the work.

Bob Gilbert, in his biography of Waite, Magician of Many Parts (Wellingborough: Crucible, 1987, p. 144) tells us that Frater E tenebris in Lucem vocatus was H. M. Duncan, an “employee” of the Lanston Monotype Corporation, who died in 1924, only a year following this event. That Duncan was born in America, as was Waite, perhaps gave them some connection – certainly Duncan was a primary funder of the FRC at the time. In fact, he was actually the Managing Director of the company, having originally come across to England in 1897 to save the company by demonstrating machines. He had struck lucky by meeting Lord Dunraven on the Atlantic crossing, who was returning from a failed tourist enterprise (an “English Hotel” in Colorado) and who promptly purchased the rights to the machines for £220,000, a significant sum!

So who did Duncan ask to produce the image? Wilfred Pippet was a prolific illustrator of religious tracts and part of a large Roman Catholic family – whose story we will discuss in the book. It is therefore not too far an assumption to imagine he was the artist to whom this work was given, via the engravers at Lanston. We know he was illustrating First Communion Days in 1923-24 [in Katz private collection with many other Pippet works] and living in London, so would have been a very likely choice.

Here is a later illustration from Pippet, from Telling Beads, by Angela Verne, a book on the Rosary published in 1932 [Katz private collection]. It is, however, hard not to read some Kabbalistic significance into the layout of this image!

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin (Wilfred Pippet)

The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin (Wilfred Pippet)

It is apparent from Waite’s notes that Duncan was not happy with the finished results from the artist – Waite remains silent on the matter. However this leaves us a mystery in that if Duncan “rejected” Pippet’s work, did Waite then pass one of them to which Duncan was unhappy? Was Duncan’s involvement because of his experience in lithography and design? It is also probable that the plates were produced by Duncan’s own company.

Or was the artist someone else entirely and then Pippet was asked independently – unlikely, but possible. The fact that Pippet also produced one other image, the Emperor (Plate XI) is part of this minor mystery. If he were just an artist drafted in to produce one image, why did he create another – one which is part of the finished plates?

In our book, Abiding in the Sanctuary, we will publish both of Trinick’s original first colour attempts at Da’ath and the original sketch and finished plate by Pippet, along with Pippet’s other image – the Emperor. It appears that Pippet saw the original illustration by Trinick of the Empress at the very least, or was given precise instructions, because the symbolism of the two cards bear great similarity.

As a Roman Catholic artist working for an engraving company, we wonder whether he would have been aware of the nature of the illustrations being requested, if such were the case and he were not a member of the FRC.

As we complete our text for the book, I’ll bring you further updates, particularly once principle photography and then draft layout is complete. In the meantime, please do consider supporting our research and funding drive, with my thanks.

Tali Goodwin

Beginners Tarot Decks

What are the first decks a beginner should buy? We asked hundreds of experienced Tarot readers and I have the answers below!

We have been conducting a number of big surveys whilst we wait on a quote for photography on the Waite-Trinick project. We have also sent off for “swatches” of paper from the printer, to decide on quality and costs. We have also thrown together a tester book with some of our own personal photographs of the Trinick material, so we can judge the layout and print quality.

Please do help us make history in your company with a donation to our funding drive, no matter what amount – it all counts!

In the meantime, here are the Top Ten Decks recommended for beginners by experienced professional Tarot readers:

1. Waite-Smith Tarot

2. Robin Wood Tarot

3. Universal Waite-Smith Tarot

4. Radiant Waite-Smith Tarot

5. Morgan Greer Tarot

6. Hanson Roberts Tarot

7. Aquarian

8. Tarot de Marseilles (Noblet)

9. Gilded Tarot

10. Golden Tarot

Technically, I guess the Waite-Smith versions count for one deck, if you only purchased one of the versions and not the others, so in that case, I can add:

11. Mythic Tarot

There were then a number of decks which were recommended, however only by one reader, so I will include those interesting selections on my Signpost Sheets which will be going out each month to members of Tarot Professionals.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey – I will also reveal soon which decks are most used by professionals for reading for others, and for themselves, and which decks have become valued by experienced readers after many years.

Tune in soon again for more news on the Waite-Trinick project!





Waite-Trinick Book Title

Waite-Trinick Tarot – 3

“There is an explanation of the Trumps Major which … belongs to the highest order of spiritual truth: it is not occult but mystical; it is not of public communication but abides in its own Sanctuary”.


(A. E. Waite, Shadows of Life and Thought, p. 194)

My research into the Waite-Trinick Tarot (WTT) continues to uncover further information on a daily basis and we have been grateful to everyone who has so far given support and donation to the funding drive to publish these historically valuable images.

Please do support the photography and licensing of these images for publication in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at our funding page at Indigogo. We will keep you updated as to our progress, which is intended to publish prior to December 31st 2011.

My consideration of the spiritual import of the images also continues to deepen and whilst I work with my co-author Marcus Katz to present the WTT in an appropriate manner, I felt it necessary to make a series of blog postings  about how the images have called to me through this magical process and the dilemmas I have faced in responding to this call.

Much of the time I have returned to Waite’s original writings for advice, and the unpublished notes from the primary artist, John Brave Trinick, who lived so close to me here in the Lake District.

In Trinick’s personal notes on his stained glass work he wrote that his intent was to “hang a veil of vibrating light and colour” in the stonework, and to achieve this effect it would appear that characters would be “interwoven” into the background, which he admits is not appropriate for other forms of pictorial art. It is however evident in the WTT that this approach was taken, thus fusing the spiritual sensibility of an ecclesiastical stained-glass artist with the romantic Christian mysticism of A. E. Waite. Perhaps it is this unique combination that gives the images their ethereal quality and opens a new landscape for us to contemplate.

As Marcus has suggested, they may even have been intended for stained glass. Imagine a temple of stained glass Tarot images – and in fact, Waite writes of such a chapel, albeit demonstrating the perlesvaus, or grail story (The Holy Grail: The Galahad Quest in Arthurian Literature, A. E. Waite. p. 491). It may even have been on his mind a decade earlier – which Waite/Colman-Smith images have stained glass upon them, and what is the hidden word in one of them?

Trinick Stained Glass Work

Trinick Stained Glass Work

With regard to my naming convention for these images, although it could be argued that Pippet contributed to the WTT, I have evidence to suggest that Waite was not totally particular with one artist – in fact, when neither Trinick nor Pippet produced an “acceptable” image for one of the paths, Waite asked another member of his group to have a draftsman at their place of work produce one – luckily perhaps for us all, this one was also found lacking, so a Trinick image was settled upon.

It is my research on Pippet that has really engaged me, although Marcus will not be content until I locate a photograph of the man! I have however traced his family tree and through this discovered many of his works and that of his many brothers – which still adorn (as Trinick’s) many churches in this country to this day. I will tell more of Pippet’s story in the book, particularly as we now have many first-editions of his works and a lead on his photograph. I wonder if the “Sisters of Mercy” who produce a particular publication which may have Pippet material will hesitate when they receive our “Tarot Professionals” cheque for book and postage!

With regard to publication, and discussions surrounding this issue, at the moment, I consider the images to be sealed doors which we may each approach, whether in the sanctuary or in our daily life. In fact, I would wonder if in this present day and age it is even more important that they are brought respectfully into our lives as reminders of the depths of the spirit from which we have become separated.

It is their keys, commentaries and explanations which remain for us all to find and use to unlock the corresponding gateways of our souls. Through that work we each can discover what awaits us on the other side of these “veils of vibrating light” and by that work we are changed. We are each our own Rosy Cross, and the Rose Key to that Cross must be fashioned by our own work, so that at last, we come to stand in our own true sanctuary.

And this is why we have decided to entitle our publication:

“Abiding in the Sanctuary: The Waite-Trinick Tarot”.

Waite-Trinick Tarot

Waite-Trinick Tarot 2 – Timely Synchronicities

One of the three major synchronicities of my research into the Trinick-Waite Tarot has been that John B. Trinick lived the last years of his life so close to me, here in the Lake District. Actually, the Lake District and surrounding area contains two of the larger Tarot collections in the world, one of the largest private collections of esoteric teaching material from magical orders of the last century, and of course is the home of Tarot Professionals and Tarosophy.

There is something about the paradisiacal beauty of the place that attracts souls of a magical nature. Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey, and many other poets, artists and authors have been inspired by the landscape here. Wordsworth wrote about the Lake District;

A sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy.

Another interesting fact from one part of another research project is that Fergus Hall, the artist of the “Witch’s Tarot” (the most mis-named Tarot but well-known in that it was used in the James Bond film “Live and Let Die”) also resides very close to me here in the Lakes!

So it is relatively easy for me to research certain facets of John Trinick’s life-story and as is often the case, each research lead throws up more questions than answers.  As I leave for France tomorrow to attend the ATS Tarot Conference, I thought I would share a photograph that you might think is from a Dan Brown novel – however it is 100% real. I’ll explain in the book what this has to do with the Trinick-Waite Tarot.

In the meantime, please visit our funding drive to assist in this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

It doesn’t take a ‘symbologist’ or ‘cryptographer’ to see the symbols on this CHURCH clock …

Church Clock

Church Clock

Waite-Trinick Tarot

The Waite-Trinick Tarot – 1

At our Tarosophy tarot conference this weekend I was delighted to announce my discovery of a set of original John B. Trinick paintings commissioned by A.E Waite, 1917-1923. These Tarot images were painted and drawn towards “The Great Symbols of the Paths”, a profound and evocative illustration of the spiritual ascent narrative in the initiatory schema.

As you know, A.E. Waite co-produced with painter Pamela Colman-Smith what have become the most popular Tarot deck in the world. Now we are looking at what he produced ten years after that time, with a well-known stained glass artist, J. B. Trinick – a set of images that have been rarely seen in public, if at all – a set of images almost a century old that mark the swansong of the magical revival in Victorian England.

Marcus Katz and I recently viewed these enigmatic and timeless images, with their border paint marks and pencil blobs, with the holes still in the canvas where they were perhaps hung in the temple, and were completely overwhelmed by their astonishing beauty. Not only that, we found Waite’s own commentary on the images, and Marcus has reconstructed Waite’s correspondences to the Tree of Life – which as far as we are aware is also unpublished.*

I also announced at the conference that Tarot Professionals have arranged an agreement with the present custodians of these particular paintings and sketches to publish a full-colour book with our commentary and research.

However – this is where we need everybody’s assistance. In order to properly publish and make accessible these images we require funding to have high quality images taken and there are also additional costs to use the images. This is a not-for-profit venture; we are only keen to bring this historic work to light at last.

And the cards seem to want this to happen – as you will see in further blog entries as I recount my tale of research.


The whole research into this set of images has taken a long time – and I have been experiencing magical synchronicities and events throughout, leading to this most recent discovery of paintings. I’ve also been able to discover some answers to the riddles posed by Decker & Dummett in the first published mention of these images almost a decade ago. There are further questions and other originals still to be discovered, maybe – my goal is to follow the calling of the cards to be seen.

Here is a small part of one of the images, in low-resolution (as unfortunately whenever I put something online, it gets copied even if I ask that is it not copied) for a preview. Please do not copy this – you are otherwise welcome to link to my blog page here if you wish!

I am sure you can guess which image it is, as it is one of the more obvious symbols. However, you may be surprised that this is only one quarter of the entire image – and the rest of it contains wonderful symbolism, meaning and Kabbalistic correspondence:

Waite-Trinick Tarot Image (Section Only Low Res)

Waite-Trinick Tarot Image (Section Only Low Res)

Over the next month or so, I’ll blog about my experiences, research and the book as it is funded and we go into production.

I’d like to blog today about one little snippet – showing how my primary research takes place.

My research passion is in Genealogy and it was through my research into Trinick’s life using primary source material that lead to many of the breakthroughs in this project. There are still some things that cannot be done on the internet – useful as it is! In fact, the first of many coincidences is that I quickly found that John Trinick lived here in the Lake District, only a stone’s throw away from my house! There is a further story to this which I will be able to reveal soon, which makes the whole quest much like a real-life Dan Brown novel.

Anyhow, I’d like to say today that there is indeed “a lot in a name”. The first published mention of these Tarot images was in 2002, in “History of the Occult Tarot”, where Decker and Dummett (p. 158) give Trinick’s full name as John Brahms Trinick. I presume this was taken from an earlier published reference to Trinick in 1987.

My first task was to follow that lead, so I checked and found that his First World War Embarkation Roll does indeed show John as “John Brahms Trinick”.

One of the next stages of conducting my type of research was to access the births and deaths Index in the UK. I immediately found the name recorded as John Brave Trinick. This was somewhat conflicting. The only way to ensure accurate research was to order both the Birth and Death certificates.

The certificate arrived with me on the morning of our Tarosophy conference this last weekend and as you can see from the scan it clearly has John Brown (maybe?) Trinick crossed out and replaced with John Brave Trinick.

Trinick Name

Trinick Name

I am now waiting to receive the birth certificate as there is another anomaly which I have rarely seen – in the births index it is hard to locate John’s record, as it was not where it should have been. I think this is quite unusual because it was written by hand at the bottom of the index.

Why is this important and what has it to do with these Tarot images? Well, it is through following strange leads or anomalies that interesting & unexpected discoveries are made, so in itself, the name is sometimes not so important – but chasing it reveals other threads and strands of the full story. Also, it means that we become more certain of the facts of a story as we progress and build research – in fact, some things I have found may be shown soon as incomplete, disproven, wrong – and that is great, if it leads to further knowledge. This is to be expected.

As this story unfolds, I’ll be sharing more with you – we have so much already to tell; Freemasonic symbols, lost artifacts in bookshops, mysteries in stained glass windows; the stuff of fiction playing out in my real life!

In the meantime, please visit our funding drive to assist in this once-in-a-lifetime journey.


* It is not the same as published with the incomplete b&w images in Decker & Dummett.

A Rosicrucian Spread

The Rose Cross and Rosicrucian Spread



In this very special, secret and spiritual article I time-travel all the way back to 17th century Germany, to the small town of Tubingen. We walk together along the cobbled streets, with the early mist rising from the river, hearing echoes in time … to come at last to the place where Johannes Valentinus Andreae is to be found, perhaps composing the enigmatic piece, “The Chymical Wedding” which would later be known as one of the three Rosicrucian manifestos. These pieces – the first paper blog posts which went viral – created the whole Rosicrucian mythos, and more secret societies than one can count.

And at the centre of these secret societies, one simple symbol, one secret beyond measure.

Today we present the mystery of the Rose Cross, and unlock it with a very special Tarosophy® tarot spread.

The Rosy Cross is enchanting, it oozes mystery and meaning, lately it is something that has come very much into my Tarot space in the course of research on behalf of Marcus Katz, who is doing a presentation on A.E Waite’s second deck, The Trinick deck, at the ATS conference in St. Suzanne, France on the 24th September 2011. This deck contains the beautiful, mysterious images of the stained glass artist John B Trinick and illustrates the spiritual ascent as pictured by Tarot within Waite’s secret order of the Rose Cross.

The Rosy Cross holds within its centre twenty-two petals, and they are guardian to a profound esoteric and mystical teaching and a catalyst for transformation and meaning, as the quote so rightly expresses ad rosam per crucem, ad crucem per rosam,  which means “to the rose by way of the cross, to the cross by way of the rose”.

Lon Milo Duquette expresses this beautifully in his book “Understanding the Thoth Tarot”, where he says “Magical tradition informs us that, on the material plane symbols are symbols, and living things are living things”. Perception of reality is fixed differently, that on the magical and visionary plane, all is reversed so that “symbols are living things and living things are symbols”.

This is where the Rosy cross brings the symbols to life, and when the tarot is put into its rightful place within it, then hidden wisdom can be revealed. Lon stresses this magical law to make us more aware of the “immeasurable symbolic power stored in the Rosy cross”.

There is an old phrase, that of “only seeing things through Rose tinted glasses”, this is where we see only reality as beautiful or positive, we are not actually seeing what is there, we effectively see beyond the mundane to another plane where we can influence our life for the better. So let’s put on our metaphorical rose tinted glasses, discard our doubt, and transform through the Rosy cross and the Tarot. Let’s say we transpose our existence, our very being onto the Rosy Cross, we are it and it is us. We are our own true potential waiting to unfurl.

Unlocking your spiritual self through the Rosy Cross

This sublime spread opens up the mystery of the soul through the petals of the Rose Cross. In doing so, it allows us to reach into the rarest secrets of our inner being and outwards into the challenges and lessons that life presents us.

Like most of the spreads in Tarosophy® it is not merely a spread but a whole method, with the capacity to engage life in an almost limitless manner, using the magical correspondences between Tarot and the Kabbalah.

The Method (Way of the Rose Cross)

A. Take the Rose Cross diagram, numbered and lettered.

B. Shuffle your Tarot deck and contemplate the ever-unfolding petals and events of life.

C. Lay out 22 cards in the sequence given on the diagram.

Rosicrucian Spread

Rosicrucian Spread

D. As a beginner, you can simply read the inner three cards together as the “elemental” basis of your question, what is really happening at the core of the situation.

E. As an intermediate reader, read the middle circle of seven cards as the “planetary” aspect of your question, the forces at work and active at the present time to present your challenges.

F. As an advanced or confident reader, further read the outer circle of twelve cards as the “zodiacal” aspect of your question, the lessons you can learn.

G. We can now “unfurl” the spread by taking any of the particular questions below which concerns us most. Whether it is at the heart of your spiritual life such as “where is my spiritual horizon”, corresponding to the 1/Aleph position on the innermost circle of the rose, or an outer concern such as “How do I transform a little into a never-ending resource?” which corresponds to the 17/Tzadi position on the outer circle of the rose. It could be one of the middle questions such as “How do I know when to give in – and what?” which corresponds to the 16/Peh position on the Rose.

H. Having decided on the question which most concerns you now, you can read the cards which overlap the petal both inwards and outwards, gaining a “way” through the most spiritual aspect of your question to the most mundane or outer concerns.

As an example, if we took the question, “How should I be true to my calling?” (20/Shin), this would naturally radiate outwards to the positions of 21/Tau, 3/Gimel, 4/Daleth (see the diagram). Perhaps then we see that the card in the 3/Gimel position attracts us and we read that card. We can then unfurl that outwards to 15/Samekh and 14/Nun on the outer circle of the rose and read either or both of the two cards in those positions.

This would flow naturally from “How should I be true to my calling” to “How best should I harness my sensitivity” and outwards to “What do I need to let go” and “How do I know it is time to make changes”. The cards in these positions will also answer a spiritual mystery which is that to find your calling, rather than look for it, you start from the outside of the Rose – you let go of what is no longer necessary, and you recognise it is time to make change. Then, your sensitivity is free to respond to the inner calling – in this way, we make our way through the rose to the cross, and through the cross to the rose.

In this way, this spiritual method of Tarosophy® provides an ever-flexible road-map of spiritual advice and progression through dialogue with the divine, upon the rose and the cross.

I. Advanced readers may also find further elucidation by comparing and reading the corresponding Tarot card to each fixed position to the card that falls in that place in the spread. Thus you will pair the twenty-two cards that you draw from your deck to the twenty-two Major cards, showing how the entire archetypal field is playing out in your life.

J. There are many other ways of using this method, which I leave open to your delightful discovery, and if you have any questions at all, or would like to let me know what you find when performing this Rosicrucian spread, do let me know.

The Positions on the Rose

When laying out the 22 cards from your shuffled deck in these positions, allow your hand and mind to draw the lines between laying down each card in each position, slowly building up the shape of the entire rose.

The positions below also include the elemental/planetary/zodiacal correspondence for further usage in your interpretation, and the alternative titles used by Crowley in the Thoth Tarot deck.

1. Fool (0)/Aleph/Air: Where is my spiritual horizon?

2. Magician (1)/Beth/Mercury: How can I clear my spiritual channel?

3. The High Priestess (2)/Gimel/Moon: How can I best harness my sensitivity and receptivity?

4. The Empress (3)/Daleth/Venus: How I can assert my will without alienating others?

5. The Emperor (4)/He/Aries: How do I rule myself and stop unproductive emotions getting in the way?

6. The Hierophant (5)/Vau/Taurus:  How to reveal my divine truth though ritual and discipline?

7. The Lovers (6)/Zain/Gemini: How do I find union with the divine love?

8. The Chariot (7)/Cheth/Cancer: How do I keep my momentum on the spiritual path?

9. Strength (8)//Teth/[Lust]/Leo : How do I keep my faith through change and hard times?

10. The Hermit (9)/Yod/Virgo: How do I make pilgrimage, or go on a journey within, to discover the true me?

11. The Wheel of Fortune (10)/Kaph/Jupiter: How do I turn aspects of a regretful past into a future of fortune?

12. Justice (11) [Adjustment]/Lamed/Libra: How do I make sense of the world in this uncertain time?

13. The Hanged Man (12)/Mem/Water: What aspect of my values do I have to sacrifice?

14. Death (13)/Nun/Scorpio: What in my life do I need to let go of to bring in renewal?

15. Temperance (14)/[Art]/Samekh/Sagittarius: How do I know when it is time for me to make changes in my life?

16. The Devil (15)/Ayin/Capricorn: How do I turn temptation into a virtue?

17. The Tower (16)/Pe/Mars: How do I know when to give in and start again?

18. The Star (17)/Tzaddi/Aquarius: How do I transform a little into a never-ending resource?

19. The Moon (18)/Qoph/Pisces: How do I draw forth the deep magic that is the moon?

20. The Sun (19)/Resh/Sun: How can my will and purpose best generate energy and enthusiasm?

21. Judgement (20)/[Aeon]/Shin/Fire & Spirit: How do I answer and be true to my convictions/callings?

22. The World (21)/ [Universe]/Tau/Saturn & Earth: How do I recognise and seize opportunity in this very moment to make a new start?


PS. Advanced students, if you are using the Thoth deck, you may wish to follow Crowley’s lead and exchange the correspondences of Tzadi and Heh when carrying out your interpretation.



Tarot Transformation 5

In this concluding part of our transformation through Tarot sequence, I present the Stellar cards, the heavenly bodies which transform us by calling us upwards. Rather than simply reading these suggestions, perhaps wonder which of these cards calls to you most right now, and act upon it.

17. The Star.

The Star says for you and I to transform we must forever shine our light onwards and outwards into the world.  Hope and regeneration are in the zenith, we could become whatever we desire, success is well-aspected – vision can be obtained if we stick to the way we are being guided, the way of clarity and purity of thought. After the realignment brought to us from the brutal change, challenge and course correction of the Tower we are offered the light, the olive branch of forgiveness. We are a bright burning star of potential YOU and I. Lets shine!

18. The Moon

The Moon says for you and I to transform we must watch listen to our instinct, we must be ruled by our emotions, we must wallow in our emotional drive. In this state we will be receptive to all the messages which are transmitted out into the universe. You and I now have the opportunity to friend her on  her version of astral Facebook, she wants to be our friend, she wants to share, she wants to network with us , she wants to encourage conversation friendly heart to heart, she wants us to act as a channel for her communication.

19. The Sun

The Sun says for you and I to transform we must DO! DO! DO! Get going and be active for the hours of sunshine are short. Be and act confident and this will breed more of the same, productivity and enthusiasm is the name of the game.

20. The Judgement

The Judgement card says that for you and I to transform we must recognise that we are all together in this and there is no getting away from this brutal fact of life. So let’s think about how we can make this work better and make this transition less painful, let’s look back on our life and assess where we may have made mistakes and said and done the wrong thing to the person who just happened to be in our own little personal firing line. Lets do a de-brief on this, and then perhaps we can start afresh with a clean slate. A fresh new world can then await us.

Do today those very things that you have considered yourself not capable of doing and in the process of doing these things you release yourself from your own unfair judgement. You are worthy of your own high regard for yourself.

Lowbrow Tarot World by Aunia Kahn

Lowbrow Tarot World by Aunia Kahn

21. The World

The World says that for you and I to transform we must recognise that we are here for a short time only and that the world we inhabit will inherit our woe. We need to see how our actions impact and how we are just one of many that take the journey from Fool to World. So at the end of our journey let’s try and transform for the better in everyway we can, we owe it to the World.

“We want the World and we want it NOW!”

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