Top positive review
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A Timely Addition to the Classic Texts!
on 14 February 2004
As a devotee of Paul's work on his "Supertarot" website, I was very pleased with my recent purchase of this book. Simply, ALL the material with which I had become familiar (Elemental Dignities, Card Pairing and Counting) is present here, but in improved book format. This, together with significant new material, in a stylish volume, attractively illustrated with (monochrome) images of the Crowley-Thoth deck, makes this book a wonderful addition to any Tarot or Magickal library.
For those (like me) in the process of honing personal systems of divinatory "meanings" for the cards, the methods described here allow significant progress towards producing useful readings in the interim. Separation of the "mechanistic" part of reading (forming a basic Tarot "story") from the subjective or intuitive process, allows additional meaning to be added as a THIN layer, according to the experience and the progress of the individual reader. As a bonus the book could even be used with other popular decks based on the Thoth structure but e.g. with more pictorial minor arcana scenes.
The book is structured around the traditional Eleven Chapters of Magickal texts of history. A cursory glance at the text reveals too a significant departure from the usual format of introduction and end material, surrounding a lengthy list of card meanings! Each chapter here, begins with illustrated pairs of Major Arcana cards, but selected according to a new, intriguing take on an ancient Qabalistic (Atabash) sequence. (Lest anyone be put off by the notion, suffice it to say that this provides an interesting and logical take on the card orderings!) The Aces and the Minor (including Court) cards then take their place in their chapters, according to more familiar Qabalistic "Tree of Life" places.
Rather than the usual basic commentaries on card meaning, the text here concentrates on more useful, pertinent observations by the author or provides commentary on Crowley's original text. In this sense, perhaps the book becomes more appropriate for someone with some BASIC notions of Tarot? Despite that, it remains an eminently approachable text and, above all, appropriate to anyone with the serious desire to learn (a lot!) more.
The novel card ordering is also used to advantage, using Gematria values of the card combinations to generate new meaning and even to suggest hithertoo occult (sic) significance e.g. in the Tarot card ordering. Specific topics (cited above) then form the remainder of each chapter. This also had the effect of curbing this reader's inate tendancy to "skip about" and miss out on crucial information!
Half way through the book, we are lead, albeit fairly seamlessly, into more Magickal areas inferred by the Title? Again no very specialist knowledge, experience or initiatory status is needed, but a basic understanding of the terminology might be an advantage? This could e.g. already be within the grasp of the many readers, particularly those familiar with or already using the Thoth deck.
Many of those will also be familiar with the attribution of various "spirits" to the Tarot cards. Previously, decks such as Duquette's popular "Tarot of Ceremonial Magic", gave correspondences for Enochian Angels, Goetic Deamons, Shemhamphorash Angels and the lesser known Spirits of Crowley's Liber 231! Despite this, the neophyte could perhaps be forgiven for being a little confused over exactly HOW these entities related to Tarot or indeed could be used?
Methods for evoking the Goetia are perhaps common enough in (even) beginning texts on High Magick. But these often seem to depend on a process of cajoling reluctant entities, followed by extreme effort to restrain the powers thereby released! Here, it is the authors contention (and indeed experience), that all these (especially Liber 231) spirits appear as a direct and painless consequence of the presence of certain "unaspected" (qv) cards revealed by the practice of the reading techniques described in earlier chapters. At very minimum ths represents a significant contribution to the working and understanding of the relatively unfamiliar Liber 231 alone.
Despite the reviewer's own Magickal experience being limited to "theory" in many of these areas and a background in professional science, laced with skepticism, I have found the topics discussed in this book totally captivating. True knowledge of this material is perhaps indeed something to which anyone might aspire? Overall this book presents a wonderful insight into the workings of a modern-times, practicing Magus and Tarot Reader. Great stuff!